Thursday, February 20, 2014

Already in Place . . .

I have been fascinated in the road of study God has taken me down lately, which it seems He keeps centering on the church's early 1800s collapse from believing a literal six-day Genesis Creation to believing alternatives like a gap theory or that the "days" of Genesis mean much more than a literal day (despite God saying there was evening and there was morning for them). I thought you might be interested in a brief summary of what I've learned so far . . .

Shoshone Falls area of Idaho. One of many places we saw
on our trip that now attribute the terrain to a short duration
catastrophic flood event instead of a gradual carving out
over long periods of time.
If you'd ask most Christians when the collapse of Genesis belief occurred my guess is that many would say it began with Darwin. The reality is that well before Darwin uniformitarian geology was gaining strength. This basically says that the present is the key to the past (change is uniform) so therefore, since we see earth changing so slowly now, to arrive at where we are now at this rate of change would take vast periods of time. In opposition to them were catastrophists who believe that the earth's surface was explained by a major (or multiple major) catastrophe(s) . . . i.e. a global flood.

Over the early decades of the 1800s it appears the catastrophists were shut out as the dominate voice, with a few "Scriptural Geologists" trying to hold the gates closed, but Christian leader after Christian leader collapsing under the pressure and assumption that the latest geological "evidence" was true. So, scrambling to find a way to "preserve" the inspiration and truth of Scripture these other theories surfaced that tried to reconcile the two, giving room for vast periods of time and Scripture to still be true.

By the time Darwin published his On the Origin of Species book in 1859 the church had already, for the most part, caved to old earth theories—"reinterpreting" Scripture to fit "nature" instead of interpreting nature in light of Scripture. At this point in the early to mid-1800s it seems to me that it is mainly geology and the earth that seem to be discussed, but then, along comes Darwin—strongly influenced in old earth gradual change theory—who publishes a theory of life that has man evolving from primitive life forms over ages and ages of time.

"Oh no! What do we do? Man made in God's image from apes! Death before sin! Heaven forbid!" I can assume many cries like that went up from Christians based on many of the responses to Darwin's book I've read about . . . but, it is the church who'd already put in place from their pulpits the two primary tenets needed to believe in evolution across species (the earth is vast periods of time old, and Scripture doesn't mean what it clearly says it means and confirms in other places in Scripture), and who'd already set the precedent of reinterpreting Scripture to "science."

Well, now the church has to explain how and why the rest of Scripture and God's promises and the revelations of God's character and nature are true when they've already put themselves as the judge and jury in arbitrarily declaring parts of it true and parts not. And, they have to explain in a way that doesn't keep "reinterpreting" Scripture, how death entered through sin if there was death before sin, how a brutal and self-centered killing idea of survival of the fittest could possibly be declared "as good" by God, why Jesus' genealogy goes to Adam, how sin entered through "one man," and so on and so on and so on.

I actually find it stunning in the inconsistency of a church submitting God's Word to purported "science" in the origins and age of the earth issue, but then standing adamantly against that same "science" that equally declares impossible or "false" things like resurrection from the dead, virgin birth, multiplying of loaves and fishes, miraculous healings, parting of oceans, walking on water, demonic and angelic activity, Heaven, Hell, etc. Is it any wonder the world gives us so little credit when we are so inconsistent and arbitrary?

Anyway, I found that insight into the early/mid-1800s compromise fascinating and eye-opening as it sheds light on why, when Darwin pops up, we fell so fast. Maybe it interests you as well. I believe that this issue is tremendously critical as the foundation of our faith in the Bible, how we interpret the Bible, and the foundation of what we submit as the highest source of truth are at stake. And, despite what the media and everyone else tells us, a little research will reveal multitudes of Ph.D. and other scientists who believe the evidence supports a literal young-earth Creation as recorded in Genesis.

Note: Today it is fascinating how many geological sites (some of which we visited on our Fall "Creation Trip" up into Yellowstone) now attribute significant terrain features to massive interior seas that breached in the past and carved out stunning canyons and topography on their way to the major oceans. Of course none of these sites attribute any of that to the receding flood waters of Noah's flood, or mention that these interior seas likely formed during the flood and subsequent Ice Age, but it is interesting to see the word "catastrophe" returning in different forms in secular geologic theories since it was so "taboo" to even hint at it for so many decades and possibly give Creationists and "Flood people" any chance of credibility.

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Glasses . . .

Do you ever find yourself needing new glasses? Or, sometimes you find you see better with an older pair you'd forgotten about. Well, I'd like to share about a couple of pairs of "glasses" you might be blessed by, or might have worn before and forgotten about . . .

Correction from God
Last night as I taught the youth group from Proverbs 3 we talked about correction/discipline from God. I cross-referenced Hebrews 12 which also talks about it. In both cases we are told not to despise it, but to embrace it, because it is the mark of His love for us and of our adoption as His children. In fact it says it is of a Father who delights in His children, and the absence of it is a mark of illegitimacy, that we are not His.

So often we can chafe against anything that keeps us from following our own ways and wants, and if we aren't careful we can see God's correction that way. We might even see it as punishment, but that is not the case because Christ bore the chastisement for our sins. It is correction, discipline, and it is for a reason:
For they [earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:10-11 ESV)
If we see it as punishment we might be tempted to say, "Well, I'm already being punished, might as well do what I want anyway." But if we see it as correction, and a mark of God's love, we can rejoice in it, and we can see that submitting to it (the sooner the better) is the best we can do. The very nature of correction implies it is for a purpose and it is lifted when its purpose is accomplished. I used the example of car wrecks I've been on in the fire department—if a car starts to drift toward the shoulder we "correct" our steering to get back on course. If we "over correct" we can cross lanes or flip our car. Correction is for a purpose, and when the purpose is met we stop.

Might it bless us as Christians to see God's correction through these "glasses"! God's correction is:
1. Evidence of His tremendous love for us and delight in us.
2. For a purpose, and the sooner we submit to it the easier it will be, and the sooner it will be lifted.

That is an ugly word for most of us. Who wants to depend on anyone or anything? We want to control our lives and be "king" of our lives!

This morning in my quiet time I was thinking of all the things I am completely dependent on God for—health, rain to fill our water table and to bring us the grass we need, finances, His Spirit over the fellowship I pastor, etc. I was in that place where there were multiple things heavy and worrisome on my heart, and I had to confess to Him that I was (and am) totally dependent on Him.

Then it struck me anew what I'd said, "I am totally dependent on HIM!" Him, who breathes out stars! Him, who loved me before the foundation of the earth! Him who is not caught off guard by anything that happens in my life or around me! Him who measures the universe with the span of His hands! Him who died on a cross so He could adopt me as His son and live in relationship with me for all of eternity! Him who said He'd never leave or forsake me! Him who said to be anxious for nothing!

Through those "glasses" being dependent is a really, really good thing—because He is far more capable than I am to handle them!

Blessings to you all! Thanks for reading and sharing in my life and thoughts. May you have a wonderful Valentines Day and weekend.   —Erick


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