Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Second Day of Creation

     When one considers the quantity of work that was done on the various days of Creation, Day 2 seems almost like Casual Friday in some respects.  Remember, on Day 1, God created an enormous expanse that, for all we know, has no physical limit.  No small feat, at least from a finite being's point of view.  Other days appear to be full of more than one activity.  Day 2, however, covers exactly one event - the separation of the waters.

     According to v.  2, "the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters" and v. 3 tells us "the earth was without form and void."  It could be that God created the "earth" as a large vapor cloud, which was confined to a specific area, thereby allowing the concept of a "surface."  We could imagine that this cloud covered a large area as large as the Solar System (which did not technically exist yet).  It could have been bigger or smaller, of course.  There is no way to discover from the text.

     Then, on Day 2, perhaps God condensed what we could consider the inner part of the cloud until it became liquid. But what of the "separation"?  The outer section of the original cloud could have been formed as some sort of vapour shield suspended high in the atmosphere, giving the Earth a global tropical environment.  This condition will be important for future considerations on other days of Creation.  There is lot to say here.  These are just ideas that have been bouncing around my head.  For more articles on Creation, see the Answers In Genesis website:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The First Day of Creation

Some years ago, it was my responsibility to teach the young people of our church in Sunday School.  The material one day was about Creation, Genesis 1.1 and all that.  So we read the first few verses, and then I asked them, "What was the first thing God created?"  The answer, of course, I thought, was Light, because it was the first thing recorded that God said.  Even though I thought this was obvious, the teens gave the "wrong" answer - the heavens and the earth.  No, I explained, that was just an overview, the background.  Then they pointed out that there was water first, because it says in v. 2, "the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  It is humbling when my students point out something I have not thought through, but it provides an opportunity for growth, and foolish indeed is the teacher who does not learn from his students.

So I started thinking about that and the implications, and I came to some conclusions.  First and foremost, even though we say the universe is infinite, it is not.  Remember, "infinite" can mean "has no physical limitations" or "has no chronological beginning or end."  Perhaps, therefore, it is true that the universe does go on for trillions of light years and there is no end.  However, it is not true that it has always been there.

Sometimes I think we have the idea that, "in the beginning," God was floating around the universe, which was empty until He decided to create objects to put inside it.  However, there is only one item that is truly infinite, and that is God.  So my idea is that Genesis 1.1 refers to the fact that God created the expanse we refer to as the universe, and somewhere in that huge expanse, He put some water vapor, indicated by the "formless and empty" of v. 2.  After this was done, God said, "Let there be light."  This light also had to be a bit formless, because it was not attached to any particular source, such as the sun, which did not appear until Day 4.  It could have radiated from God Himself, of course, but there is no indication of that.

This was the first day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Brown Wins in Massachusetts

     One might ask what an election in Massechusetts has to do with where we came from or where we are going.  A fuller discussion of the topic will be forth-coming, but it is important to remember what the Bible teaches us about God.  Proverbs 21.1 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases."

     In December of 2009, in the campaign prior to the special election to replace the late Senator Edward Kennedy, Scott Brown was running against an opponent who had a 30-point lead in the polls.  No one gave him any chance at all of winning the election.  Meanwhile, President Obama and the Democrats were trying to reform the nation's health care system.  The bill they were proposing was not gaining any favour among voters, but they seemed destined to be able to pass it.

     Most conservative pundits, Christians among them, believed that the health-care bill would further bankrupt the American economy, but there seemed to be no way to stop it.  However, as the verse above indicates, God can change circumstances in a relatively short time.  The secret deals that the Democrats made just prior to the new year gave rise to intense voter disatisfaction, and in a matter of weeks, the 30-point lead became a 5-point deficit in the only poll that really mattered - the election.  Brown became the 41st Republican in the Senate, cutting off the 60-vote supermajority of the Democrats.  The "king" - President Obama - discovered that his heart had indeed been turned, and called for the delay of any votes until Brown could be seated.  In one fell swoop, the health-care disaster went from a sure thing, to a shelved thing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Divine Judgement

Once again, a disaster has occurred.  Once again, an evangelical leader has referred to it as "the judgement of God."  Once again, there has been a misunderstanding.

The Bible clearly states that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  It also clearly states that "the wages of sin is death."  When you work, you expect wages, or payment.  God tells us that our "work" here in earth does in fact deserves wages, which are handed out in the form of physical death.  Every single one of those people in Haiti was a sinner, and therefore deserved to die.  "Egad!  How heartless you are."  No, it's the simple truth.  But there is more to the story.

In Luke 13.4, Jesus says, "Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?"  Perhaps there was a construction accident, which killed 18 workers.  It was the big story of the moment, something everyone knew about.  There really is nothing new under the sun, so surely someone, somewhere opined that it was the judgement of God.  The answer that Jesus gave indicates that they were right.  He did say they were "guilty."  However, the point of his statement is that they were not MORE guilty than anybody else.  His listeners should have drawn the conclusion that THEY were deserving of death, just like those eighteen.

It's funny how no one ever says, when a great Christian leader dies, "Well, at last he received the judgement of God."  Why do we think in terms of judgement only when there is a disaster?  That a great Christian leader dies is a sign that he was, in fact, a sinner, just like anyone else who dies, be it in an earthquake, terrorist attack, or tsunami.

One day, YOU will physically die.  So will I.  It will be the result of the judgement of God upon sinners everywhere.  The Good News is that God has provided the way to escape spiritual death, or separation from God.  "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved."

Help for Haiti

A wise man once said, "The only justification we need to help other people is that we are Christians."  The recent earthquake is a good place to start.  The link below is one place where you can send help.  There are others available, of course, but please do whatever you can.