I live in New Zealand, am an ICT Engineer for Rhema Broadcasting Group (http://rbg.co.nz), and have a Bachelor of Ministries degree from the Bible College of New Zealand (Now called Laidlaw College, http://www.laidlaw.ac.nz)
I can be IM'd at geoff at gurutoo dot com.
I was listening to the Michael W Smith song “Missing Person today, and I was struck by the line:
And like a child he would believe without a reason
I find this more than just a little bit annoying. Firstly, its a misuse of what Jesus says in Matthew about “becoming like a child”.
This means to unlearn everything the world has taught you to value, and to relearn how to live in the kingdom of God.
Secondly, How can you “believe without a reason”? There is no possible way you can believe something without a reason. At the very least, you believe something because someone you trusted told you something.
Its an old and very stupid thing that Christians, particularly evangelicals, hold on to. I can remember many Pastors preaching this. “Just believe like a chid” – WELL WRONG. Children believe like children, but then they grow up.
Christians do not, and should not “believe without a reason” – just like when you are at school, or anywhere else for that matter, if someone tells you something, or teaches you something, you dont “just believe it” – you take it with a grain of salt, and you go away and find out, or get a second opinion, consult an expert.
No, friends, there is no such thing as “believe without a reason” – and it marrs what would is otherwise a cool song (and Christianity!)
Its been a quite interesting case with many experts giving evidence. What’s also quite interesting is an article on creation.com where they detail the various kinds of evidence and some of the issues with it. The crux of their argument being that even experts disagree on evidence, which they are able to reproduce, and measure scientifically.
The problem is that whilst the CMI might consider themselves experts, they are not. They are “people who have an interest in firing guns” and not “ballistic experts”. When they DO employ “ballistic experts” they only employ ones who agree with their perspective on how they should interpret the evidence.
This is completely contrary to to facts, and good “Science”. Most of us study the texts to determine what they are for, what was intended to be said, its socio-historical context, its theological context, its historical theological context, etc. The “Science” involved in interpreting scripture is called Hermeneutics. This is what you do BEFORE you start making any scientific conclusions about creation. In fact, once you do this, you realise that any scientific conclusions you make about creation have very little bearing on what Genesis says at all.
They say this:
Further, with the lure of prestige, fame and fortune accompanying evolutionary ‘discoveries’ in academia today, and with most universities firmly ensconced within the reigning materialist paradigm, one would have to be naïve not to believe that much of the evolutionary interpretation is also influenced by the rewards that come with telling the ‘right’ stories.
Apparently evolutionary studies are not based on science, but because scientists are being bribed to manipulate the evidence. Its beside the point because the bible does not have anything to do with the study of evolution, other than the God who ordered the universe also made it possible for science to be done. Either that or all science is a lie.
I liked this article which popped up today on the subject: http://agreatercourage.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/more-pannenberg-on-genesis-1-2.html
… when it comes to the past, an objective, reliable eyewitness account of events carries the most weight. When it comes to origins, the claimed evolution from the Big Bang onward had no eyewitnesses and has never been observed in the field or repeated in a laboratory
Of course we know this to be true. However, scientists can measure and observe, then draw a line backwards and get some idea of what happened. However, this same criticism is true of Genesis, because the author of Genesis was not present at creation either. Worse, the author did not ever intend the text to be understood as an explanation of WHAT (the scientific detail) but rather, the WHY (the theological implications of a God who orders the universe), and HOW (this God is the one God who is above all other gods, and understandings).
They go on to say:
By contrast, creation had the ultimate, most reliable and truthful eyewitness possible, the eternal Creator God Himself. And He has given us an account of that supernatural, six-day, once-off event—primarily in the book of Genesis, but confirmed by many other passages of the inspired Word of God. Noah and his family were eyewitnesses of the Flood judgment about 1650 years after creation, and God (and possibly Noah himself) ensured that the account was also recorded for us in the Bible. As in a court of law, let us take the objective, unbiased account of the ultimate eyewitness at His plain meaning when evaluating the evidence for where this wonderful universe, including mice and men, has come from. When we do so, we will find that all of the ‘forensic’ evidence available to humanity as made in God’s image makes perfect sense when interpreted in the light of that record.
God did not WRITE the Bible, he INSPIRED it. There is a huge difference, and the author of the passage in question was not recounting, as I said, the details of what happened, he was not there, he did not know. He was INSPIRED to write about why things are the way they are. He also was not present at the flood, and did not know NOAH.
These people have stolen what it really means to believe in creation, and the name “creationist” and perverted it into some perverted shadow of the truth.
Apparently, creationism is no longer allowed to be taught as science in UK schools, which is all well and good, but I hope they still teach about it, so that kids will have the information in order to decide for themselves.
You dont have to teach it as science – because it is not, its theology, but you do have to explain it as one of the major historical metaphysical understandings of how the world began.
I heard some guy spouting off the other day, about how he was “lukewarm” and that God was going to “spit him out of his mouth”. He was really quite worried and he was going to all these prayer meetings and charismatic meetings in order to “find his first love” so he could be “on fire” again.
Now, I’ve been there, and I know, it’s quite scary. The reality is though, that is not what Jesus is saying to the Church in Laodicea.
The problem is, taken out of context, the whole bible context, it can be made to mean that, but the author of revelation is carrying on a very vivid exodus theme through out his visions, and to divorce it from the OT is a travesty.
From Genesis 3, sin is spiralling out of control. One murder becomes murder for just touching someone (lamech). One wife, becomes many wives. When the relationship between God and humanity breaks down, so does relationships between humans. The consequence of Adam and Eve ceasing to rely on God for everything is that they begin to try and dominate each other (your desire is for him (to master him), and his is to master you). By the time we get to babel we have got to such a bad point that God has had to destroy people with a flood because of this. The nephilim are despotic rulers (liek gilgamesh) who take and do what ever they want because they are so powerful they seem godlike – recall the emperor in the movie 300?
By the time Babel comes around there are 2 distinct groups, those who “call upon the name of God” (there is a play with the name seth), and those people of “reknown” – people making a name for themselves. These people have come so far they make their own Ziggurat – we have records of such things from other ancient stories and they are always a pathway to heaven… a man made one. To make it worse, the people of babel dont have any natural resources to use, so rather than God supplied stone and wood, they use kiln fired bricks made with bitumen. They have so completely abandoned God they believe they can build their own resources and make their own way to heaven.
Likewise in Laodicea. The people of Laodicea are not “lukewarm” because they only kind of believe in God, in fact, they have abandoned God. They were known for their fine clothes made of wool from black sheep, and also for a special poultice which was used to treat eye ailments. The city was destroyed by an earthquake, and rebuilt by the wealth of its inhabitants. This city was known for its self sufficiency. The story is told that they had no natural water supply, so they built an aqueduct system. By the time the water got to the city it was lukewarm. Look at the text:
Rev 3:14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
Rev 3:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Rev 3:17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, Rev 3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
Rev 3:19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Rev 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Clearly, Laodicea is being told that if they continue to rely on their own wealth, skills, knowledge, etc, they will not find their way into heaven. One gets to heaven by being reliant on God. Eden, the first heaven, is a place where God provided for his people, where they lived as God’s governors. All too often we (I) rely on our own skills/wisdom/knowledge/money/etc. But the faithful, recognise that there comes a point where this is futile, and place their trust in God.