On Purpose

The following After Eden comic, for biblical creation ministry Answers in Genesis, was published on Saturday, October 19, 2012,

And the following is my comment on their Facebook post of the same comic identifying what I felt made this comic much better than it at first appears,

This question is actually better than it at first appears. Atheists will immediately respond that the recognition of their argument would lead to people living their lives as they truly wish, not ‘controlled’ by religion or fear of gods, and religious based conflict would stop. We would finally be ‘free’ to live in peace and we would go from strength to strength unrestrained by ‘artificial’ barriers. Utopia. But they rarely take the next logical outcome of throwing away an ultimate authority and throwing away purpose: there is then no reason to act in any kind of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way, and everyone would do what was right in his own eyes (see the Book of Judges for what happens when this is the case). Neither would we have justification for the government and law which puts restrictions on ‘bad’ behaviour. We can see the beginning of this kind of thinking in the last century with the courts having no real authority to condemn anything, instead relying on causes outside the control of the perpetrator like genetics, or up-brining, or mental illness. They can’t call it morally deviant, there’s no yardstick to do that with anymore. Thus, instead of the atheist’s utopia you actually get something worse. What the atheist can’t see or doesn’t want to see is that their utopian vision is actually dystopian.

Not Even Theory

Recently, I was in a brief discussion over Facebook regarding a link to notjustatheory.com. My friend, not a believer of young earth creationism, pointed out the site and I wrote a comment in reply that, indeed, the “just a theory” anti-evolution argument is really an invalid argument. And it is invalid. But it reminded me of “not even wrong,” so I playfully googled for “not even theory” and, to my surprise, came up immediately with an AIG article entitled “Evolution: Not Even a Theory“.

Here’s a taste of the article’s direction:

Although some Christians have attacked evolution as “just a theory,” that would be raising Darwin’s idea to a level it doesn’t deserve.

Was it “very good”?

In the beginning, God created on six different days. On the sixth day, it is written: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noted that “very good” isn’t “perfect.” Why didn’t He just say it was perfect? If it wasn’t perfect, it sounds like it needed some work. Seems like it needed some changing. A little more time. Sounds like a job for…evolution. As it turns out, though, He did say it was perfect, you just have to connect the dots. Don’t worry, there are only two dots and we’ve just discussed one of them.

The Gospels are probably more read than any other part of the bible and, surprise, surprise, it is here that Jesus, Himself, reveals the answer. In Luke 18:19, Jesus replies to a man, “(18) And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ (19) And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” (emphasis added) Considered in modern times, our first question is, “God is merely ‘good’?” Think about it a moment. Can we really consider ourselves “good” next to God? Compared to the next human being, maybe, but to the God of the universe who is Perfection personified? If Jesus says no one is “good” except God, then that must mean something beyond what we consider merely good. And that is our answer to the Genesis dilemma.

If only God can be called good, as Jesus said, and God called His creation “good”, then a good creation must be perfect. A “very good” creation? We can only speculate what that means in the light of Jesus’ words.

Selah.

Six Evidences of a Young Earth

Here’s a quick and enlightening read: Six Evidences of a Young Earth

Here’s a quick and enlightening read: Six Evidences of a Young Earth

For more information on creation, some of the best, most well researched and most well written, ares being published by these folks:

The foundations of the Building are only as strong as the foundations of the Builders

My mother past away last month and since then we’ve had a number of occasions to reflect on her passion for creation – the literal intepretation of the Book of Genesis as it relates the six-day creation of the heavens and the earth.

My mother past away last month and since then we’ve had a number of occasions to reflect on her passion for creation – the literal intepretation of the Book of Genesis as it relates to the six-day creation of the heavens and the earth.

All her stuff in the basement which she’d gather together to put on exhibits at churches or in classes. At her funeral where we setup these things so that visitors could know about her passion. And a creation seminar weekend at Cannington Baptist Church where gifted speaker Calvin Smith taught us many fascinating truths of science regarding the history of the earth. The weekend was lovingly dedicated to Donna in light of her passion for creation. We wholeheartedly thank them for their thoughtfulness and kindness towards us.

Because of all this exposure, though, I’ve really been hit a number of times just how serious it is for believers to doubt the creation account in Genesis. Doubt and skepticism are healthy but only when they lead to uncovering the truth.

Each creation organization that I’m aware of has the same reason for doing what they do: They believe that to contradict Genesis, being the inspired Word of God, is to erode the very foundation of the totality of the faith. Creation Ministries International, for example, entitle their writing on this issue “Genesis—the seedbed of all Christian doctrine.”

According to stats, most Christian youth who go to secular post-secondary institutions will lose their faith because of the onslaught of ideas contradictory to their faith. If their faith can’t stand against apparent flaws, then what good is the faith? Who can blame them for leaving their faith behind. At best, who can blame them for compartmentalizing or halfheartedly living out their faith.

But there are answers. Answers In Genesis is another organization dedicated to teaching the truths of the creation account. Their article regarding the need for teaching creation is entitled “Creation: Why it matters.

Creation absolutely matters. God has Genesis right. He really did create the heavens and the earth in six days. If he said so and he really didn’t, then what else is really true in the bible? Your entire faith’s foundation begins at Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Sons of Elohim

Ever read Genesis 6:1-4? You should. It’s a tantalizing piece of the bible with fantastical possibilities.

Ever read Genesis 6:1-4? You should. It’s a tantalizing piece of the bible with fantastical possibilities.

I don’t know when it occurred to me but ever since I can remember I have always held a connection between those Big Fish (great movie, btw) stories of old, the greek and roman gods, dragons, mythical sea creatures, and more, with the possibility that they may have been based on some kernel of truth, even if they seemed exaggerated out of all rational proportions.

Genesis 6:1-4 talks about “sons of God” and continues to explain the “Nephilim [giants] were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.” But this is even more fascinating, “They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

I don’t know about you but I don’t refer to historical figures as heroes or men of renown. Perhaps renown, in the case of great statesmen, or poets or writers, but used in the context like it is, it seems there’s more.

Before I go to far, this isn’t just my imagination running wild. See Sons of God for an incredible journey of possibilities and some eye-openers.

For those not interested in whether or not there were “giants” in the past, you might be interested to know that the King James Version has what is commonly held as a mis-translation in Deuteronomy 32:8 (read the Sons of God link) that in turn leads to more meaning regarding Genesis 6:1-4.

Don’t be afraid of “errors” in your bible. They’re not the kind of errors that are going to blow up your faith. God’s Word is perfect. Mankind is not.

Your bible is a translation and it may have a mistake here and there. The KJV has been known to have a few ever since it was first published but they let it be, I’m not sure why. At any rate, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there when these issues do come up. The answer is always a google away.

Back to the topic at hand.

When you’ve read the links above you’ll better understand what I say next.

What really excites me is the possibility that the adventurers, the heroes, the kings, the queens, the vagabonds and the gods we all read stories about, were not entirely made up by writers of pure fiction, but sourced on real superhuman beings that presented themselves at that time.

Imagine that! If the gods of olympus were bourne on some kind of truth, what else is out there that might also hold some weight? Imagine each and every incredible, far out myth that has come down to us from the dawns of time and that there may be some truth to each.

What I especially love about all of this is the tapestry, vibrant with colour, rich with texture, God has created for us and placed us in. Whether or not roman and greek gods really did exist is beside the point. There were incredible people, creatures and events that continue to astound us. They are so fantastic our minds can not grasp them as a reality.

And so it is with God.

I talk of stories of the farthest of wild dreams. I might be wrong, but then again there might be some truth to what I’m thinking too.

God lays out the brutal truth,

2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?”
Job 38:2-7

And the Almighty God of the universe goes on and on to drive home the point. We think we are wise. We think we know the ways of God.

The truth is, even this creation he has given us, which we live a lifetime in and think we can finally come to grips with and understand it, even this, even this we truly do not understand the better part of a fraction.

Job 3, Job 38-42

Read it. It’s breath-taking and humbling. When you’re done that, G.K. Chesterton‘s excellent essay may shed some light of the brilliance of the scipture.

Genesis 22-25 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

“35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)

Genesis 22

  • The Sacrifice of Isaac
    • The account raises so many questions. Why would God ask that? Would Abraham have followed through? How close was Abraham to following through when the angel interrupted him? Why does it seem Isaac didn’t put up a fight? Are all three actors in this story crazy? How far was far enough into the sacrifice to prove his faith to God? Would God really require human sacrifice? Maybe God would follow through with it in another time and place? What does it say about God’s character that He would think such a thing, let alone ask it?
    • It’s a powerful story and incredible with the fact that Abraham apparently would do as God asked. I can’t imagine going through with it if I were the one asked. Then again, it was a different time, place and culture. Perhaps the whole thinking pattern was different then.
    • Later on we’re going to see that God commands Israel to destroy nations for their consistently abhorrent cultures. One of the things God highlighted was child sacrifice, He says:
      • “35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)
      • If it never entered His mind then why did he ask it here?
      • I think it’s safe to say He always was going to provide the sacrificial lamb.
      • …He always was going to provide Jesus.
        • “15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
        • I should’ve highlighted this at the time, but this is a foreshadowing of Jesus taking final victory over Satan.
        • I don’t know about you but it’s all these connections and internal references that make me look in awe at God’s Word.

Genesis 23

  • Sarah’s Burial
    • There’s tremendous detail here about Sarah’s burial which boils down to Abraham purchasing some land.
    • Be aware of tracts of text that provide whole bunches of detail for no apparent reason.
    • I’ve said it a few times already but text like this will be critical for constructing the truth out of some issue either in another verse or book or in our study of God’s Word today.

Genesis 24

  • A Wife for Isaac
    • A lovely little story about Abraham sending his servant to get a wife for his son.
    • All through the text it’s clear Abraham and his servant want God to provide the right wife. They don’t just want to find any wife.
    • Even better is when they do find the right girl and seeing how the girl responds.
    • Rebekah, Isaac’s wife to-be, presents herself admirably. Kind, willing to serve, decisive, modest.

Genesis 25

  • Abraham’s Other Wife and Sons
    • After Sarah’s death, Abraham takes a new wife and has more children.
    • He sends these children east, it is written, gives them many gifts.
    • But to Isaac, he gives everything of his own.
    • Abraham lives 175 years.

Genesis 1 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

Trust God’s Word. Trust God’s Word not because it says so, but because it says so and because it welcomes any and all skepticism with a voracious appetite.

I’m a few chapters into Genesis already but I’ve been finding it difficult to write about what I’ve already read. I had read Genesis 1 and actually had a huge piece written up but it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I went real long and in-depth about the importance of the first verse, about cosmologies, creation and evolution, and about approaching Genesis from another angle (which has produced some novel ideas from others). It didn’t feel right, though.

If I’m going to write about reading the bible, I don’t want to get caught up in detailed explanations, theories, wild-goose chases or other tangents. I really want to show readers the best parts, the parts that most show the bible as the solid truth that it is and that most reflect glory upon God.

So let me just get this whole ball rolling…

  1. Genesis 1:1 Is there any more simple, pragmatic way the book could open than this? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s the perfect introduction to history. There was a beginning to all of this and God was there creating all of it and us.
  2. Origins of the Universe. Look up Russel Humphreys and read up on Starlight and Time. His theory may not stand the test of time but others will take inspiration from his novel approach to the text of Genesis 1.
  3. Creation/Evolution. It may seem to you like there’s no evidence for creation. Mainstream media will rarely report anything to do with creationism, less still in a flattering light, so how would we know? It’s up to every believer to be familiar with the massive field of creationism. Many thousands of believers have spent their lives understanding the Genesis account of creation and going about showing that it is true. Answers in Genesis is an organization which I find provides solid, well-reasoned, rational answers to many of the questions we have about what mainstream science is telling us and what the bible is telling us. Their Get Answers section may help you if you, like many, ask why a biblical creation even matters.
  4. God created you and I, male and female, to have not only amazing relationships with each other, but to know our creator personally. God wants to know you and He wants you to know Him. You just wait. You’re going to learn incredible details about the character of God just by reading His Word.

The bible is jam-packed with goodness but I feel I would detract from it by writing too much so I’ll stop here and give you these points and links to ponder. Let me just say one more thing that came up just now.

As we begin reading the bible I do want to give you one bit of advice. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Firefox is your friend. Googlepedia is your friend. Neither of these things has a Christian bent. In fact, Wikipedia can easily lead a weak Christian astray. But let me tell you what just happened while I googled the wiki article for Answers in Genesis, where I knew I was likely to find not only positive views but also criticisms.

What I found was a very unflattering portion of the wiki article entitled Controversy over interview with Richard Dawkins. It painted a very unsavoury picture of Answers in Genesis. Had I stopped right there, I would probably have dismissed Answers in Genesis forever after. But you know there’s always two sides to a story. And you know you have a brain for  a reason. So I went to the Answers in Genesis website and searched for “dawkins response” and their own search results gave me Skeptics choke on Frog, a response to critics about the controversy of the interview.

I hope the lesson is clear. You really need to have more than one side of a story before you can form your own positions.

What’s it like to read the entire bible?

What’s it like to read the entire bible? It is like sight to a once blind man.

It is like sight to a once blind man.

I have read the bible twice. Once with a side-by-side King James version and Amplified version, and once again with a Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Think you can’t commit to reading the entire bible? You might surprise yourself. Hey, I did it reading 4 pages per day. How much of a slacker am I?? But I did it. :)

Modern Christianity focuses on the Bible’s New Testament. Christianity’s history is in this section so, naturally, a lot of focus is put there. The Old Testament, on the other hand, is like hidden treasure. You will never fully appreciate what Christ did for you on the cross until you have read the OT. I really hope you consider reading the bible cover to cover.

When I was going through the bible, I didn’t commit to prayer before or after reading a particular section. I often found, though, that a given portion was so heart-rending, or so convicting, or so enlightening, or so beautiful, that I was compelled to give praise to God or to ask forgiveness or to ask for help – just from reading words on a page.

One thing you’ll begin to understand is what other Christians have recited time and again from scripture, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Words on a page, indeed.

I started this blog with a purpose in mind. It wasn’t to run off at the mouth about my fancies (although I reserve the right to do so!). Instead, it has been my purpose for some time to get myself back into the Word and to blog as I read my way through the bible again. Firstly, I think it will help me get back into the bible as I combine my faith side with my tech side. Secondly, I hope others read along with me and let me know what they think of what they’re reading (and I hope they kick my butt when I slack off).

So, I hope to begin a series of posts that will see us begin with Genesis and read through til Revelation. I’m still thinking of how to structure a post so there’s something constructive to read and to respond to.

Whatever happens, I know I’ll be delighted to be reading things I’ve forgotten, I’ll be learning new things, and hopefully I’ll be shedding new light for others as we go through.

So, what’s it really like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?