Directly Helping the Poor and Needy #TimCard #Charity365

That awkward moment… when you see a panhandler at the intersection as you’re driving your daily commute to and from work. Each and every day, the same man or woman for a few days or weeks at a time, then maybe a different person for a while, there most days of the work week, and most days you hope to avoid them or to avoid eye contact, at the least. A few more intersections, then you’re home free – for one more day…

‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ -Matthew 25:37b-39

That awkward moment…

…when you see a panhandler at the intersection as you’re driving your daily commute to and from work. Each and every day, the same man or woman for a few days or weeks at a time, then maybe a different person for a while, there most days of the work week, and most days you hope to avoid them or to avoid eye contact, at the least. A few more intersections, then you’re home free – for one more day…

And you feel a little guilty, but it quickly fades away once you reach your warm home, familiar family and friends, and your safe bed, and your peaceful sleep…

Until your next commute…

Continue reading “Directly Helping the Poor and Needy #TimCard #Charity365”

Creation doesn’t matter to my faith. Right?

Note: This post is a point-form summary for a small group discussion that I compiled from the last section, “Real, Eternal Value Intended by the Original Authors”, of my previous post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Update 2017-07-29: Our small group discussion brought up some interesting points. Here’s some small updates I sent the group after the meet up…

Update 2017-07-29 (1): If anybody’s interested, here’s an AiG article on the ‘topical parallelism’ of creation days that Paul brought up (spoiler: it’s there on a surface read but the devil is in the details, as always; also like we discussed there’s no saying you can’t use various literary devices in different kinds of literature, even historical, it doesn’t take way from it): https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/12/10/its-not-so-parallel/

Update 2017-07-29 (2): I also didn’t know where to go with the point made about Christ needing to be a blood-relationship to a real Adam versus Christ atoning for our sin (we all sin, no Adam needed) or atoning for our sin nature (from Adam, so blood relationship required). In evolution, there’s no first Adam so we’re not blood related so biblically the kinsmen redeemer idea doesn’t work (so did Jesus act do anything?) But if Jesus only died for our sin acts then maybe a first Adam isn’t needed anyway. I don’t have a solid answer, it’s worth some googling, but apparently it has to do with Original Sin (sin nature) vs Imputed Sin (Adam’s sin is “credited” to us). The first is dealt with by the Holy Spirit through sanctification over time, the second was dealt with by Christ’s righteousness being credited to us (so would require a real first Adam for it to make any sense). http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-difference-between-original-sin-and-imputed-sin

Update 2017-07-29 (3): Btw, I don’t pretend perfection in understanding all this is achievable, but I just love how when you go digging usually you find these things have already been covered and they fit right in.

Note: This post is a point-form summary for a small group discussion that I compiled from the last section, “Real, Eternal Value Intended by the Original Authors”, of my previous post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Is Genesis meant to be taken plainly?

  • What was the author intending to convey?
    • Poetry, parable, etc., or history?
    • No Jewish poetic forms (eg. parallelism absent), scholars agree
  • Jesus and the Gospels said they were given by Moses
  • Genesis 12-50 are not really disputed but 1-11 are
  • Colophons on tablets indicate knowledge known to the author up to the end of the tablet indicating historical records
  • Numbered days, ‘evening and morning’ language, strong support for ordinary, 24hour days
  • Similar language structure in Numbers 7 shows evidence original language choice in Genesis 1 specifically intended ordinary 24hour days as we experience them

Reading: Should Genesis Be Taken Literally, Genesis Is History

Continue reading “Creation doesn’t matter to my faith. Right?”

Money is a Test

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The following is an excerpt from James McDonald’s “Found a Faithful Steward” blog from June 23, 2014. It hit home with me because it started at basics and progressed beyond to some things we don’t often consider in how we think about and use our money.

Jesus said,
“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also”
Matthew 6:21

Money is a test of your:

Work ethic: While not universal, generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently did you work, save, and invest in your twenties and thirties? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.

Self-control: You’ll never experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people spend more than they make for years or decades. They’re failing the test, which often leads to financial bondage, tension, and misery in their homes.

Integrity: How did you get what you have? Did you cut corners or twist the truth to win a deal? Withhold taxes? Neglect tithing? Jesus taught, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The money test demonstrates your integrity—or lack therof.

Love for people: When you’re able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one knows. Perhaps you didn’t get a tax deduction. You simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.

Love for God: Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because it’s the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of people’s finances, He doesn’t truly have their hearts.

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Found a Faithful Steward, James McDonald

 

An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ with Daniel Pech -Selah.ca Guest

Why do we espouse Young Earth Creation? Earth is a member of the total cosmos that God created. Would it not be more accurate to call it Young Cosmos Creation? Today, it is popular to think of Earth as a member of ‘the cosmos’. Secularist cosmologists even think of her as entirely the product of him. But not even the cosmological constants are sufficient; their fine-tuning for life is necessary, but not central. There must be an Earth.

I’m happy to introduce a paper by Daniel Pech, an enthusiastic creationist with lots of ideas, in which he proposes a reading of Genesis 1 that includes subtly more nuanced perspectives between the heavens and the earth while retaining a young-earth creationist perspective..

Daniel contacted me after reading my post concerning the complementary nature of Genesis 1 and 2 (as opposed to a self-contained and contradictory nature).

You might be interested in getting to know Daniel a little bit more. If that’s the case, head over to my post entitled Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest.

The first section below, The Best of Both Worlds, is a primer to Daniel’s main idea in his paper on a reading of Genesis that highlights what Daniel believes is a lack of reading the full ‘dimensionality’ of the text.

The second section is an excerpt to Daniel’s paper which more fully reveals his argument and direction.

I hope you enjoy the introduction and take a look at his full paper if you’re interested.

The Best of Both Worlds
by Daniel Pech

The best of both the physics and terrestrial readings conceivably can both be that meant by the author of the account.

By a perhaps very simplistic analogy, suppose we wanted to make a pictograph of a particular portion of a particular year of the Tour De France in which some or even all of the riders saw, on a particular portion of the road, an unusual event in which a flock of birds were on and near the road eating seeds. Here is a single pictograph every bit of which serves to account this particular instance of this particular year of the Tour De France:

O<O O<O
O<O O<O
O<O O<O

Notice that the selfsame set of data comprising the above series of shapes can serve simultaneously to tell both halves of the whole basic story.

Continue reading “An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ with Daniel Pech -Selah.ca Guest”

Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest

I’d like to introduce Daniel Pech, an aspiring creatonist, biblical writer, and philosopher, amidst many other things. Daniel forwarded me his views on Genesis 1 and 2 in response to a blog of my own on the complementary nature, as opposed to a contradictory and self-contained nature, of the first two chapters of Genesis.  I hope here to provide a short meet and greet bio of Daniel to provide a more personal introduction to lead into fuller post later on one of Daniel’s papers.

You can see for yourself Daniel’s prolific writing on his Academia.edu profile. From the art and biology, to the Psalms and Noah, to music and philosophy and beyond, Daniel writes has quite a bit, to say the least. His copious writing style belies very deep and strong critical thinking on the topics he is writing on.

You will see Daniel again on this site under the title An Empty ‘Bottle of Water’ where he introduces us to his view that there are extra dimensions of Genesis that a plain-reading is missing, while holding to a young-earth reading.

I asked Daniel to introduce himself with a few questions,

Continue reading “Daniel Pech – Bio, Aspiring Creation Writer -Selah.ca Guest”

Building the case for ancient blood and DNA

A team of international researchers led by the University of Victoria’s April Nowell has discovered 250,000-year-old protein residue – the oldest ever found – extracted from stone tools used by early humans. –Animal residue on ancient stone tools shines light on early humans

Keep an eye on more and more discoveries of blood and blood proteins on ancient artifacts and in ancient fossils – something experimental science deems impossible until it now becomes unavoidable with many recent discoveries.

Now, even without a plausible mechanism for preserving this organic material, science is beginning to say it is possible for blood artifacts to last hundreds of thousands and millions of years, in spite of the clear and obvious conclusion from experience that they decay far, far faster.

What is happening is a case is being built that blood can last millions of years in order to avoid the contradiction with claimed ages of presumed ancient species such as dinosaurs. The truth is blood, blood proteins, and DNA can last thousands of years, not hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

In the near future it will become common place to extract blood and DNA from fossils thought to be millions of years old but it’s not because they are, it’s because they’re thousands of years old, as the blood testifies to and as the Bible book of Genesis plainly says.

Further Reading

Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims

Update 2016-04-06: A month or so ago, in the middle of a few comments on other things, I let Tyler know I wanted to see a reply to this post. He had just had a son, so I expressed understanding if he didn’t have the time. After all, it took me three months to write my own. He didn’t express anything to the effect that he would. He remarked something about it being too long-winded. At any rate, I often comment on his Facebook posts, acting the Devil’s Advocate to his Theistic-Evolutionist posts, and soon afterward I noticed my recent comments weren’t there. In fact, they were all gone. I couldn’t find a trace of them, not even in my own activity log. I also noticed I can longer comment on any of his posts. I suppose he got tired of someone raining on his parade and bringing up unfortunate points that he’s not willing or able to deal with (backup link). Touche. As I told Tyler many times, you can’t just keep making bold claims without backing it up. He has another post, “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer” (backup link), which sparked my interest. I started to write a response to that while I waited for him but it turned out there are two other very involved write ups on it (here and here) that Tyler did not officially respond to. Surprise, he prefers to respond in the comments ensuring his readers never have to bother with the icky details of the back and forth all truth discovery requires. Tyler fails to see the need to backup his large claims in a studious, rigorous and repeated manner. This post, then, stands as a testament to Tyler’s unwillingness to argue for his position in a way that all could make up their minds in an objective manner which claims were right and which were not. I will, however, be happy to continue our back and forth should Tyler ever wish to respond to this post on his own blog.

Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims

I’m continuing the back and forth I’ve been having with Tyler, of God of Evolution.com, and his article on supposed Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions to which I’ve responded over here. As we had discussed, Tyler responded to my piece with a follow up entitled Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions. The following are a collection of his claims, attempting to prove Genesis 1 and 2 are mutually distinct and mutually contradictory creation accounts, with which I take issue and present responses to each.

Toledoth

Claim

“There are seven (not 10, as the CMI article claims) uses of this particular form of the Hebrew word in Genesis. In six of these cases (5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27 and 25:19), it introduces a genealogy. The only time the word doesn’t introduce a genealogy is — you guessed it! — Genesis 2:4.

The point being, there is nowhere else in Genesis that this word does what YEC proponents claim it does, that is, introduces a more “zoomed-in” retelling of a story that was told (and completed) immediately before it.” -Tyler of God of Evolution.com, Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions

Tyler claims toledoth always introduce their section and that they do not conclude what came before. This is important because the Genesis 2:4 toledoth appears to introduce what follows as “the generations”, or ‘the account‘, with the apparent implication that it is a distinct and authoritative narration of the process of creation. This brings in contradictions between the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 creation narratives that are not present when the Genesis 2 account is understood as a more detailed look at day 6 of Genesis 1.

Response

“These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Genesis 2:4‘generations’, a toledoth

Regarding the toledoth point, Tyler said the toledoth issue is “an unpersuasive point to begin with.” Initially, I was tempted to agree, but having put considerable time into researching what views are out there, I’m inclined to believe this is perhaps one of the most important points in support of interpreting the Genesis 2 account as a supplemental history to Genesis 1 and not a stand-alone account. I will attempt to show why this is a better take below.

Continue reading “Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims”

A response to GodOfEvolution.com’s As different as morning and evening: Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions

Update 2016-10-04: Per the previous update and Tyler’s response to this post, I have responded again in my post Answering Genesis 1 and 2 Contradiction Claims.

Update 2015-12-03: Tyler has responded in his post Continuing the discussion about Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions. I am currently drafting a new response in our friendly back-and-forth in the hopes of answering his further points.

I’ve been discussing with GodOfEvolution.com’s Tyler on Facebook. In response to his article entitled As different as morning and evening: Genesis 1 and 2 contradictions:

If I may respond to your article’s claims:

(1) ‘This is the account’. The CMI article covers this is much more convincing detail than you provide. JEDP also has issues with this verse that lend to summarizing the previous text and introducing new text (all in that one verse) implying the author knows the creation account is done and a new, different account begins (logically and from the text we gather it is not an account of the same things but more details on the previous). Your claim that it asserts a distinct creation account does not have the support it needs.

(2) Shrubs vs plants and trees: You assert 2:5’s ‘shrub’ equates to 1:11’s ‘plants and trees’ but don’t say why – and you should given the extra qualifications ‘of the field’ (many translations) and the implications these plants required cultivation (‘there was no one to work the ground’). The land may have ‘produced’ all vegetation in 1:11 but not all had ‘appeared’ or ‘sprung up’. It’s amusing you disparage Batten but you fail to mention Gen 2:6 (part of the same thought) ‘but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.’ So your claim to a “more important reason” why plants are supposedly not around doesn’t hold water (couldn’t resist the pun).

(3) Creation of animals: It is perfectly congruent for (a) God to have created all animals in Gen 1:24 and for God to have created more of those animals to have Adam name them (to see God actually creating things and to discover none are like Adam), and (b) to take the text to mean that they had already been made and that God “brought” them to him which is the wording of many translations. Your claim about ‘formed’ vs ‘had formed’ lacks support. 2:7 could easily have said ‘had formed’ with the prefix “Now” rather than “Then”. Additionally, when you take the Gen 2 as more details about day 6, there’s no problem reading it either way. God did ‘form’ Adam on day 6 and/or he ‘had formed’ Adam ‘earlier’ on day 6.

(4) I will make a helper suitable for him: Correct. God still had some making to do on day 6. He still had to make Eve. As the points above show, when you view Gen 2 as a more detailed accounted of day 6, the tense of the words makes sense.

(5) “risk distorting these lessons such that the real, eternal value intended by the original authors”: I think CMI sums it up about right:

“The final word on this matter, however, should really be given to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Matthew chapter 19, verses 4 and 5, the Lord is addressing the subject of marriage, and says: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

Notice how in the very same statement, Jesus refers to both Genesis 1 (verse 27b: ‘male and female he created them’) and Genesis 2 (verse 24: ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’). Obviously, by combining both in this way, He in no way regarded them as separate, contradictory accounts.”

Jesus had no problem viewing both accounts as compatible and complementary. He even drew out ‘lessons of eternal value’ from both at once. There is also no need to abandon any actual ‘lessons of eternal value’ by viewing them as plain accounts that make sense of and build on each other.

(6) “In my view, these two snippets of ancient literature contain the essence of God’s reason for making mankind, and the relationship he desires with every man and woman who now lives.” The beauty of a plain reading of the Genesis creation, not only that it makes logical sense from the text, is that you take both historical truth *and* the theological and existential truths. Creationists don’t claim there’s only one level of understanding or one set of lessons that creation provides. You get the best of all worlds when you take God’s Word at His written word. That’s the beauty of God’s written word.

The CMI article referenced is creation.com/genesis-contradictions.

How can I give charitably? #Charity365

‘God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Acts 10:30-31

Recently, I checked off a to-do I’ve been meaning to-actually-do for some time: I added two local organizations to my charitable giving to complement my regional and international charitable giving.

I say this with some trepidation because I don’t want to attract praise for doing so–“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”–but what I do want even more is to encourage everyone to consider starting to give charitably so that we can help out those who really need it on an even bigger scale. We are wildly, fantastically rich, in all ways, in first world countries, start giving now and you will begin to see all kinds of personal benefits.

Start anywhere. Really, don’t sweat it.

It’s so easy to start. I started giving $10/month to three charities – less than one percent of my income. As I continued, and realized I could give more, I started increasing my giving and expanding the scope of those I was donating to.

This time around I want to focus on the immediate how-to because it’s so easy and so convenient and is so rewarding to know that, yes, while you are incredibly blessed in your country, you do want to help others and you are trying and you have tangible actions that show your heart is in the right place.

Continue reading “How can I give charitably? #Charity365”

How to Help ISIS Persecuted Christians #Charity365

The latest atrocities by the Muslim group, ISIS, includes a video of the shooting or beheading deaths of thirty Ethiopian Christians. In previous posts, Charity 360 and Charity 365, I laid out my experience in charitable giving. In the latter post I talked about expanding to include more global and humanitarian groups. If you don’t know how to help here’s a few organizations to support that are helping persecuted Christians in general or are in the Syria/Iraq area directly affected by ISIS…

Continue reading “How to Help ISIS Persecuted Christians #Charity365”