Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Thoughts on Genesis

The Cosmic Temple Inauguration view:

Genesis is ancient cosmology, inspired by God, written by human beings to Israel, who had an ancient understanding of the world and the universe. It does not update this understanding, but speaks its message with their terminology and science.

In the ancient Near East culture, the fact that God created the material world was such an unquestioned idea that it did not concern them. It was not a priority. They were, however, concerned with what function and purpose He gave to the material world and how. This, to them, was existence. This was creation. Therefore, the Genesis account is not one of material origin. It is one of functional origin.

The cosmos are God’s temple, created for Him to rest in: to dwell in and carry out His authority. The creation of a temple involves the setting up of its functions and the entrance of God’s presence. The seven days of Genesis 1 refer to this inauguration.</div>

  • The Hebrew word translated “create” (bara) concerns assigning functions.
  • The account begins in verse 2 with no functions, rather than no material.
  • The first three days pertain to the three major functions of life: time, weather, food.
  • Days four to six pertain to functionaries in the cosmos being assigned their roles and spheres.
  • The recurring comment that “it is good” refers to functionality (relative to people.)
  • The temple aspect is evident in the climax of day seven when God rests – an activity in a temple.

<div style=”text-indent: 20px;”>Even though Genesis is not an account of material origin, it is still biblical and theologically correct to believe Him the originator of all material. Genesis is simply not this account. (See Colossians 1.16-17, Hebrews 1.2, 11.3 for material origin.)

As the Bible does not give a scientific account of material origin, the Christian is free to follow the evidence where it leads. They should be leaders in their fields of biology, cosmology, anthropology, paleontology, etc. to give sound and biblical interpretation of it.

Science cannot prove or disprove God. Although as Christians, we believe that God is in and behind every natural law, creating and sustaining our world, we would be bad scientists and bad Christians to say that the evidence proved this. Likewise, although atheists believe that there is nothing behind the natural laws, they would be bad scientists to say that the evidence proved it.

References

The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton

The Language of God by Francis Collins

Advertisements

The Wrong Humility

“One of the crucial roles of servanthood needed in our day is brokenhearted boldness in the proclamation of God’s truth. I mention this, because the spirit of relativism in our day has created an atmosphere in which speaking the truth with conviction, and calling others to believe it, is not considered humble. The typical condemnation of Jesus’ claim to be the only way to heaven (John 5.23, 14.6) is that it is arrogant.

G. K. Chesterton saw this coming in 1908, when he wrote,

‘What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth. This has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert: himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt: the divine reason. The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. There is a real humility, typical of our time, but it so happens that it’s practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.'”

Piper, John. “Humble Yourself in Childlikeness, Servanthood, and Brokenhearted Boldness.” What Jesus Demands from the World. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006.

I grew up in the church and always considered myself a Christian. All through high school and college, I knew that I was a sinner and that Christ was the only one who could save me. I could not save myself. I knew this in my mind. However, I never felt affection for God, especially not over my affection for things in the world, like videogames and girlfriends. I lived a moral life, by human standards. My friends deemed me gentle, considerate, and loyal. All my classmates and teachers held me in high esteem. But the status of my salvation was always uncertain to me. I never rested in the assurance of faith.

At the end of my sophomore year at BGSU in 2007, I learned about the concept of predestination. It threw me into despair because I felt utterly powerless in my salvation. This, along with atheist literature, eventually spurred me to reject God. I decided to openly abandon my faith. I lived as I wanted, striving after the impulses and desires of my heart, caught up in the affairs of the world. I flaunted intellectual objections to Christianity and religion, but I still favored my reputation as a gentle and loyal human being.

After about a year of reading atheist and Christian arguments, I returned to God in my mind. With a refreshing change of perspective, I discovered that Christianity had the answers to the big questions in life. I even found it more reasonable intellectually than the atheist arguments against it. Over the next three years up to the present day, God has drawn me closer to Him so that I acknowledge Him in my heart, not just my mind. At first, I followed Him because it made sense. But the more I learn about Him from His Word, the more I recognize my need for Him, the more I genuinely love Him and desire to glorify Him and obey Him.

God has now given me grace to look at my past and see it with clarity. Prior to 2007, I did not have a change of heart. I did not live in a lot of sin, but I counted that as my own self-righteousness. I never had much affection for God because I gave myself my worth. In my eyes, God saved me because He saw value that I had apart from Him. That is to say, I didn’t need Him entirely. This is exactly the kind of belief that would not renew my mind, would not lead to repentance or self-denial, would not humble me, would not let me trust or love God, and would not produce authentic good works pleasing in His sight. It would send me to hell.

So it was God’s glorious will that I be exposed to the concept of predestination (the doctrines of total depravity and unconditional election,) that would show me that I really was completely devoid of any good or value. In that summer, I felt so helpless and powerless to attain my own salvation, and that was the right way to feel. That is exactly what leads me now to throw myself on the ground before Him who is my only hope and salvation. It is my joy to fear the God who can destroy my body and soul in hell, who loved me despite my utter lack of loveliness, who came Himself down into the world to save it, who crushed Himself whom He loved so that sinners could be justified and His wrath satisfied, who has all authority on earth and in heaven. Glory be to God!

God, according to James

I’ve been studying the book of James for the past two months, meditating on its teachings, and I’ve made a list of things that it teaches about God.

Through Scripture, God lets us understand what He is like, but no human being can fully know God. His ways and His thoughts are above our ways and thoughts. (Isaiah 55.8-9) But He does reveal several things about His holy character and His sovereign will that we are given grace to understand. A. W. Tozer puts it nicely in his work, The Knowledge of the Holy.

“‘What is God like?’ If by that question we mean ‘What is God like in Himself?‘ there is no answer. If we mean ‘What has God disclosed about Himself that the reverent reason can comprehend?’ there is, I believe, an answer both full and satisfying. For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself.” 1

We must meditate on his Word day and night. (Psalm 1.2)

Through meditation on Scripture, we get wisdom, (Proverbs 2.6) we find salvation, (Ephesians 1.13) and we become more holy. (2 Timothy 3.16)

God, according to James:

  • God is one. (2.19)
  • God is the Lord of glory. (2.1)
  • God does not change in any way. (1.17)
  • All things good and perfect are from God alone. (1.17)
  • It is God’s will that we exist, that we be an offering bringing Him glory. (1.18)
  • God has made people in the likeness of Himself. (3.9)
  • God intensely longs for the spirit that He’s given us. (4.5)
  • God wants us to keep ourselves unstained from the world. (1.27)
  • God is able to save. (4.12)
  • God raises up the sick. (5.15)
  • God forgives the sinner. (5.15)
  • God cannot be tempted, and He does not tempt men. Temptation comes from man’s own desire, not from God. (1.13-15)
  • God draws near to those who draw near to Him. (4.8)
  • God hears the cries of those who have been sinned against. (5.4)
  • God is compassionate and merciful, having purpose for those who suffer and remain steadfast. (5.11)
  • God generously gives wisdom to all without reproach, if they ask for it in faith, with no doubting. (1.5-8)
  • God gives wisdom from above, teaching people to be pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. These people reap righteousness in his name. (3.17-18)
  • God gives grace to the humble. (4.6, quoting Prov. 3.34)
  • God exalts those who humble themselves before Him. (4.10)
  • God chooses those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith. (2.5)
  • God promises to give the crown of life to those who love Him, who remain steadfast under trial. (1.12, 2.5)
  • God blesses those who act on what they read in the Scripture, not those who just hear or know it. (1.22-25)
  • God justifies those who have active faiths, with works that complete them, counting them as righteous, calling them friends. (2.22-24)
  • God is the lawgiver. (4.12)
  • God is the judge. (4.12)
  • God watches and judges us. (5.9)
  • God is able to destroy. (4.12)
  • God considers a breach of any part of the law to be a breach of all of it. (2.10-11)
  • God is an enemy of those who love the world, who wish to be friends with the world. They make an enemy of Him. (4.4)
  • God shows no mercy to those who show no mercy. (2.13)
  • God condemns those who say what they do not mean. (5.12)
  • God opposes the proud. (4.6, quoting Prov. 3.34)
  • God judges teachers (of the law, of the Scripture) with greater strictness. (3.1)
  • God is returning to Earth. (5.7-8)

Notes

1. Tozer, A. W. “God Incomprehensible.” Knowledge of the Holy. HarperOne, 1961. 11. Print.

Not of this world.

“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” -1 Peter 2.11

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” -Colossians 3.1-3

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” -1 John 2.15-17

“As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4.18

“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4.17

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 3.20

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” -1 John 2.15

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” -James 4.4

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” -Romans 12.1

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” -Colossians 3.1-4

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” -1 Peter 2.9-10

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘See, you say to me, “Bring up this people.” but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.” Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ And he said, ‘ My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?'” -Exodus 33.12-16

“‘Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers of the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.'” -Jeremiah 31.31-34

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” -Matthew 5.13

Madre mía, for the last three days, there’s been a mighty storm blowing around in my head. This semester, I am student teaching. I was teaching my classes on Wednesday, and one of my activities went badly. The students had been complaining about their grades (some were just a couple points away from a higher letter grade.) I wasn’t prepared to receive that negative reaction from them, so it brought my enthusiasm down a little bit.

It came time to introduce the game I wanted them to play, but I had a hard time getting them set up. I found the directions hard to explain, and they didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped they would. It was just an all-around bad activity.

But it was just one day. I could easily have just moved on and let it go. But I couldn’t. I expressed my worry to my mentor, and from that point on, I could think of absolutely nothing except terrible, negative thoughts about myself as a teacher. Satan got into my head, and helped me to blow my worries way out of proportion.

My mentor stayed after school with me for three hours to help me plan, and we hardly got anything done. I just could not focus. I called off work that night and planned out my next day as best I could, focusing mainly on those classes where my activity had gone wrong.

I prayed to God a little bit throughout that time, but mostly I was just thinking and worrying about myself. Throughout Thursday and Friday, I had lost all confidence. The students could see my insecurity, which made it hard for them to focus on what it was they were supposed to be learning.

I finally turned completely back to God after school on Friday. It felt weird, because God has been leading and teaching me so much about Him this whole semester. He’s really felt like my best friend in the world. And as soon as that one day happened, I cut off all real contact with Him for about 60 hours. Only 60 hours: 2.5 days. But when I at long last started listening to Him again, it felt as if I hadn’t hung out with Him for weeks and weeks! I had just been so caught up in myself and my demons.

I praised Him and asked for Him to have a hand in my planning for the next week. I told Him I knew that if I had faith He would help me, He would. Rachel and John came over that night, and we ate supper. They were going to the Souled Out service that night. I was tempted to not go and instead focus on my teaching. But I felt God pushing me to go, because it was just my worldly desires and Satan that were holding me back – to keep fueling those worries.

Turns out that was true! When I completely let my teaching go and turned to Him with all of my heart and thoughts, He poured into me some awesome teaching ideas! He showed me that teaching isn’t so complicated as I’ve been making it out to be. I can have security, confidence, and joy in what I’ve been called to do!

I read Matthew 6:25 and it fit my situation so perfectly, praise the LORD.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink (or what you will TEACH,) nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food? (Is not life more than TEACHING?), and the body more than clothing?”

It’s one thing to be commanded what NOT to do. But how can I make myself stop worrying? What can I do proactively? Verse 33 goes on to tell me exactly what I should do instead of worrying: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

I have to actually stop addressing my own problems – shun them completely! Seek God first – Him and Him only, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me to stop thinking about the situation at hand. And then God will guide me through that situation at hand.

Here’s some other sweet verses God showed me, praise Him!

“The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” Proverbs 20:29

John had a good story that went with this, from when he was a kid.
He said: “Mom, I’m not strong, but God’s strong. And God’s in me, so me and God are the same strong!”

Wow.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” Proverbs 29:25

I was afraid of my own students, so of course I was bound to stumble!

“One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Proverbs 29:23

This fits my situation in a cool way too: I thought I was being humble by talking with my students about my circumstances and apologizing for the day before. But really, it was just another form of pride. It’s okay to be open, but you have to be open in a selfless way. God showed me that my being open with my students was complete selfishness. It really wasn’t relevant to their lives at all. They didn’t need to hear any of what I said: it only confused them or made them uncomfortable.

I wasn’t thinking about them in my openness; I was still just thinking about me!

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

I’m not ashamed of my insecurities, because we all have them. May the world see how weak and foolish I am! How easily I am tossed and blown around by this world! Praise the LORD for the solid rock that He is.

-hasta pronto