Thinking Out Loud

February 13, 2014

Creation Debates: What Matters Most?

Where did Cain get his wife, and why did he need to build a city? And c’mon, the thing about Eve being taken from Adam’s rib? You don’t believe that do you?

I Cor. 13:12

  • For now we see through a glass, darkly… (KJV)
  • We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist… (Message)
  • Now we see only a dim likeness of things… (NIrV)
  • Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror… (NLT)
  • Now it is like looking in a looking-glass which does not make things clear… (Weymouth)

Tuesday night we listened to two very different podcasts, both discussing the question of origins, a topic which has been on many peoples’ minds much because of the debate that took place last week between Ken Ham, a young-earth creationist and Bill Nye, an evolutionist from the scientific community. The word Genesis means beginnings and the question of “how we got here” has intrigued humans throughout history.

Genesis 3:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

The first podcast — Bruxy Cavey, Theology After Party #7 — introduced the idea that Adam was somehow an intersex person. For some of you this may be a new word, but think of the word hermaphrodite which is less commonly used, and you’ve got the idea. Bruxy, a respected pastor teaching a course at Messiah College suggested that God basically removed the femininity from Adam and left him entirely masculine. Bet you never heard that before, right?

Genesis 4: 17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

The second podcast — Phil Vischer episode #89 — has an idea you might have heard, namely that Adam was simply one among many and that this answers the question of how the earth became populated so quickly and how Cain would have built a city and who would live and work in that city. So far as that goes it makes sense, but it raises more theological problems than anthropological problems, the least of which is the introduction of sin and death into the world, especially in the way we understand this taught in Romans.

It can be bewildering to consider all these things, and given all the discussions that have been taking place online in the past week, it’s possible you’ve found yourself in the middle of one on topics similar to this, or been asked the kind of question in the opening paragraph, above.

Perhaps it’s better to ask, what is our Genesis? Where does the story begin for us if we’re “seeing through a glass darkly” when it comes to the big-picture origins of life?

I love how Mark opens his writing, and it’s significant because Mark is considered the earliest (first written) among the gospels:

  • The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God (NIV)
  • The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here (Message)
  • Here begins the wonderful story of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. (Living Bible)

We don’t know fully — and will never know — what happened in the days, years or eras that followed God’s proclamation “Let there be light;” but can know the author of creation personally, even if he doesn’t let us in on all his secrets, or help us unravel the vast number of theories that both believers and non-believers have concocted to attempt to explain things.

Here are two verses that should be part of your answer to people ask you (I Peter 3:15) about the origins of life; here’s where our story begins:

John3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world…

Col. 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

February 6, 2014

I Was Born a Ramblin’ Man

Filed under: blogging, Church — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:26 am

I had a great re-post scheduled here from a blog that will remain nameless. Nameless because I deleted the bookmark accidentally. So instead I will ramble.

If Shakespeare Lived on my Street

The Bard would no doubt write this if he lived in my town yesterday

Shovel, shovel, toil and trouble

The Debate

The religious Superbowl of sorts took place Tuesday night, though I have to confess I watched a replay Wednesday when there were fewer distractions. I think far too much energy is spent on the whole subject of origins. We don’t know, and furthermore we don’t know what we don’t know. I prefer to spend my energy on incarnation and atonement, or to put it in one word, Jesus.

Still people went nuts over this. If you go to blog aggregator Alltop – Christian or its sister Alltop – Church, you should still find lots to read, even today, by doing a page search for “Bill Nye” or “Ken Ham” or “Creation.”  I liked Phil Vischer’s comments, too; and also what Scott Hoezee said at Think Christian about how pastors are now left to mop up the mess. In balance, you should read comments on this outside the Christian blogosphere and Christian Twitterverse, such as this one.

The Christian Equivalent to “I’m Feeling Lucky”

So this is about ramblin, not random, but I did something deliberately random on Monday night.  First, I went to the website of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches in England. Then I selected a church at random; I chose Aigburth Community Church because I wasn’t sure how to pronounce it and because it was in Liverpool, a town I seem to remember is associated with a musical group of some renown. And then I listened to a sermon on the book of James. A good sermon.

It was nice to hear preaching from somewhere far away; to be reminded that the capital “C” Church is bigger than anything in the United States or Canada; to be made aware of my brothers and sisters across the Atlantic. It was just the message, but they announced a closing hymn, so I hurried over to YouTube and caught I Once Was Lost (All I Have is Christ) which was new to me. I think the song may actually be of U.S. origin.

Donald Miller’s Church Attendance Record

The Blue Like Jazz guy is admitting his church attendance is somewhat spotty. Just doesn’t do it for him.  Justification: “Research suggest there are three learning styles, auditory (hearing) visual (seeing) and kinesthetic (doing) and I’m a kinesthetic learner. Of course churches have all kinds of ways for you to engage God including many kinesthetic opportunities including mission trips and so forth, but if you want to attend a “service” every Sunday, you best be an auditory learner. There’s not much out there for kinesthetic or visual learners.” You can read his whole confession here.  (And no, not the Blue Like Jazz type of confessional.)

The very next day, Thom Shultz posted on The Church’s Male Exodus. David Murrow writes much on this theme in his blog Church for Men, such as this article.

Subway Removing Plastic from Bread

Okay, this one’s a little off-topic, but I’m glad to hear that the chemical that is used to make yoga mats is no longer going to be included in the bread used in Subway sandwiches. ABC News reported, “The World Health Organization has linked this chemical additive to respiratory issues, allergies and asthma, and it is banned in Europe and Australia. Azodiacarbonamide is legal in the United States and Canada.”

for more randomness, catch me over at Twitter

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