Monday, December 18, 2006

Moved to isaiah816.wordpress.com

I moved to isaiah816.wordpress.com and everything should be mostly set up soon (apologies, I couldn't help myself).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Are You Sure You Like Spurgeon?

I had been looking for this article, and I finally found it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why I don't want to be a Southern Baptist At Times

There are times when I don't want to be a Southern Baptist. The post I linked to above is the first in a series of 16 articles (no, I have not read the others). I think he makes some good points. But I think his main point is that we have lost the Gospel in the SBC. The latest blog entry of Dr. Tom Ascol of Founders is the first blog posting I read on this issue and is short but well worth reading.

http://www.founders.org/blog/2006/12/nathan-finn-on-what-ails-sbc.html

Please understand, this is not (necessarily) a Calvinism issue, nor should it be. This is an issue of the Gospel itself and calling sinners to redemption and transformation in Christ. Though I have serious doubts about the future of the SBC, I have strong hopes as well. We have many excellent young men resolved to live lives of obedience and faith to God, and determined to make a difference. We have many older Christian gentlemen who serve us as wise mentors and veteran soldiers in the fight of faith against the deadening effects of sin in our culture. God reserved 7,000 to His name who had not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed him (1 Kings 19:18 and Romans 11:1-5), and they were completely unknown to the greatest prophet Israel had at that time apparently. So there remains hope. But as always that hope must be centered in God and in His Son Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Baptism of Disciples Alone

Fred Malone's book "The Baptism of Disciples Alone" would be another fine book to have in a theological library (why is it that I only seem to find these books when they go out of print?). I am of the Credobaptist persuasion, though my friend ManyMarius (whose article I posted in the blog entry previous to this one) leans towards the Paedobaptist position. Needless to say, we don't agree, though I pray we can always express that disagreement in a Christian and gentlemanly manner (somehow somewhere I read a proverb, authored by someone unknown to me, that I really like which said, "Make your words sweet, because you may have to eat them.").

Edit: Perhaps the best place to start researching this issue is here: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/babtism.html

Saturday, December 09, 2006

To Reformulate Credobaptism

[Ed: email the author of this blog entry at manymarius@aim.com. I will reserve personal comments on this entry for a future blog posting.]

TO REFORMULATE CREDOBAPTISM

I am proposing that our view of baptism must be reformulated. If we say that we don't baptize infants, only people who have been able to make, and have made, a confession of Christ, then I believe we must reformulate our understanding of baptism.

It does no good to repudiate Paedobaptists because they are baptizing infants who cannot make a confession, and yet allow for the fact that people can be baptized who are not saved themselves. The Credobaptist argument is that only those elected can be baptized, yet we can't say that if we allow for the fact that we CAN, even if by accident, baptize non-elect people.

The reason, I think, is that we are using baptism to be a sign of a prior conversion. How can it be a sign of someone's already having been converted if: A) We can't know that the said person has indeed been born again-for it's an invisible work. B) Someone can lie and say they have and get baptized-yet not having been born again.

It seems to me that under these auspices a Credobaptist has no reason to argue against a Paedobaptist that is baptizing infants that can't make a confession of faith, and therefore have been born again. For if we argue that one can't know if the baby is elect, then the logical rebuttal is that the Credobaptist can never KNOW if the recipient of baptism is truly regenerate either.

So, what did baptism mean in the New Testament, and for us today? I am proposing that it must mean something more than an acquiescence to a creed! What is what I want to work out and formulate. With God's grace I can come up with something that is at least Biblically provable,and hopefully Biblically grounded. So now I set out to reformulate baptism in a way that eliminates the need for infant baptism, and allows for the baptism of only believing people.

I think that one place we must look at is the difference between the "Old Covenant" and "New Covenant." Also, we must find a way in which these two are found to be connected to the Covenant of God to Abraham to bring about "the" seed, Christ. In so doing, I want to formulate a doctrine that allows for continuity between the Old and New testaments within the Abrahamic Covenant of Election through Christ; and one that makes a distinguishing between the Old and New Covenants from the Old to the New Testaments, and the difference that Christ's ascension to his long awaited and prophesied place of Glory and rulership.

Another place we might look at is not only the beginning of God's covenant with Abraham, but also the continuity between the protoevagelion of Genesis 3:15 and the Abrahamic Covenant. This would show that Christ has always been the plan throughout the Bible, from the beginning. And therefore, our understanding of NT baptism can in some way be influenced by the fact that God has always planned to bring about the work of Christ on the earth, and that the elect were chosen in Christ before the foundation of world.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Calvinism

I'm in a Calvinism mood right now (whatever that is).

This Theopedia article on Calvinism is excellent, as is Theopedia itself in general I am sure. Also, check out this page on John Piper stuff at Monergism.com. And finally, don't miss this Spurgeon gem, "A Defense of Calvinism."

So, if you're not a Calvinist, you should be. I can't promise you that you'll be happier, but I can almost guarantee that I will like you more as a result. :) (Of course, please understand this is not a fellowship breaker between Christians, or at least should not be). Though I am completely convinced that Calvinism is true, Christianity is far larger than Calvinism by itself (a subset at best), and greater still is our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith of Christianity.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well, first off, it's not a picture, but a collection of verbal statements. But that was intentional. What the page actually contains is a list of important "victories" for the American Family Association (AFA) for the year 2006. At first glance, what true Christian would not immediately approve of its message? So I ask again, what's wrong with this picture? Here's a helpful hint: what's missing is truly the more important.

What message is really being communicated here?

Here is what is NOT being communicated here. There are no references to salvation anywhere on this page that I can find. So there are no genuine conversions to Christ and His Lordship mentioned anywhere on here, which should without any argument be supremely important to a Christian organization seeking real change in society. So there are no genuine changes of heart. What do we see instead? We see changes of behavior, surely, but brought about by massive organization of vocal opposition and economic pressure. At best these are hollow victories. But is it wrong to engage in these methods when seeking to make our voices heard and presence felt? No, I do not believe so. But my point is this: such changes are brought about quickly, and disappear just as quickly, because they are not based upon lasting transformations such as proclaiming the Gospel and educating those who are already Christians in the Scriptures, but in socio-economic influence and political muscle which have both proven only as strong as the number of people in your activist collective and their resolve to pursue goals of policy change for the welfare of those affected.

It is not my intention to merely be critical of the American Family Association for the sake of being critical. That is, I'm not simply out to find fault for some ulterior motive, such as making myself feel better about the condition of society I find myself in or out of some secret desire I do not actually possess to put down Christian conservatives. The good people at American Family Association and its associates are my fellow Christians whom I love; I count them as brethren in the Lord and would be honored to claim friendship with any of them. No, I simply intend this missive in the spirit of constructive criticism meant for spiritual help. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV) says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

If anyone from AFA ever sees this, please consider these words carefully as they are intended in the spirit of "speaking the truth in love". Social change is not just a good idea. It is a must. But it only comes in a lasting fashion in the form of repentance, in turning from old dead works to living faith in Christ. Put your trust not in the wisdom of man, not in the success of political maneuvers or social and economic pressure, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His sovereign power to redeem lost sinners and transform them into children of God. As Christians our message must once again be, Jesus Christ is Lord!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sophie's World

Note to self: buy this book on philosophy sometime in the future.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

DataRat Theological Glossary

Love the name. Love the site. Someone was nice enough to inform me of its existence and I'm finally blogging about it on my theological blog.

"Paedobaptism Versus Believer's Baptism" by Hal Brunson

Though currently out of stock, this will make a fine addition to any theological library.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Debating a Paedobaptist

The following article has been thoughtfully submitted for your consideration by a friend of mine named ManyMarius (click on his name to send him email). I am posting its contents verbatim below this paragraph, without necessarily endorsing any viewpoints expressed therein. However, I do value this friend's judgment and thoughts on the matter (though I politely disagree with the paedobaptist position and hold to the credobaptist position personally).

Debating a Paedobaptist

Hello. I hope all are well today. I have been looking over and considering the pro and con infant baptism debate. I am very much inclined to agree with the reformed infant baptism side, but nothing is in stone for me yet. I do not wish to discuss why I think one is true and the other false. Instead, I would like to make a comment or two about how the debate should take place. It seems to me there are some problems when people begin to debate the topic, or any topic. I have listened to the debate by fames white, and read many papers on the pro and the con from people like: Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, Louis Burkoff, James White, etc. I have read more articles from the con position than the pro. And this is what leads to my comments here. In listening to James White, which I admit was the first time I had ever heard a formal debate, I found that he came at the debate wrong. I'm not saying his ideas are invalid, just that he didn't do anything to disprove the infant baptist's view. I want to say this: If you are gonna debate someone else's viewpoint; know it, and disprove it on it's terms. If I come to you and say: "I don't agree with credo baptism.", I had better come up with refutation based on why YOU believe in creedo baptism, not why I believe in infant baptism.
Likewise, if someone comes up to me and tells me: "infant baptism is wrong", that person had better know why I believe it, and show me how, based on my own suppositions, they are wrong. If you come to me with a bunch of scriptures that are your own proof texts, and use that as your refutation, all I have to do is show you mine. This will do nothing more than prove to me I'm right, and prove to yourself that you're right. However, if the person who wants to debate me can start at the point of my suppositions, and debunk THEM, rather than tell me why he believes he is right, then that person may very well change my mind. Remember, both sides believe in the New Testament as authoritative. So my point is this: Don't say someone is wrong because of your assumed right, but prove him wrong on his own rightness.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New (Smaller) Paedobaptism debate MP3s available

Well, the fine folks at Alpha & Omega have their own (shorter and/or smaller) version of the Paedobaptism debate MP3s available. w00t! Go AOMin! (Credobaptism is the side I hope won, though I still haven't listened to the debate yet)

EDIT: Or, if you prefer the more direct link to the page: http://www.aomin.org/BaptismDeb.html

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Paedobaptism debate free MP3s

The two parts on this web page are both very large MP3 files. The debate was between the Reformed Baptist James White and the Presbyterian Bill Shishko. Worth a listen, I think (I plan to eventually).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Acts 29 Network Doctrinal Statement

This site was referred to me by a friend and fellow blogster, JST. The link provided above displays the doctrinal statement of the Acts 29 Network, which is probably one of the best statements of faith for a missional network I have ever read. I'm quoting the very first part of the statement below.

What does Acts 29 believe?

The short answer is that we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How can Jesus be both God and man?

Read this. Then bookmark it. Or vice-versa.

More Christian Linux stuff

Jesux, the Christian Linux OS that wasn't

Jesux. Yes, that's right. No, it's not some atheist's anti-Christian linux mad science project that escaped from the lab and is now running loose in the wild. Though you might think that with one or two glances at what could be called a horrible name (at least from a Christian perspective). By "wasn't" in the title I meant to infer its continued "lack" of existence, not reason for (almost) existing.

It's actually Christian in intent, with an even more oddball pronunciation (Hay-sooks???), and a not so surprising stillborn delivery. Sorry, for being critical, but I have to be honest (Where do people get these ideas? And perhaps more importantly, how on earth do I dig this stuff up from the bowels of the Internet?). OK, I admit---I am blogging this simply to waste electrons, internet bandwidth, distract otherwise weary eyeballs, and steal visual stimuli processing time in your brain just for reading this--so I can produce the thought in your head, this blog entry just wasted my precious time! Sorry about that. Really.

Three word summary of my review: just plain silly.

*EDIT* Found out this was a hoax (see "More Christian Linux stuff" above)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Word FM

I really feel like I should link to the other Christian radio station I listen to here.

Book Review of Don Piper's 90 Minutes in Heaven

Challies Dot Com has an interesting book view on an interesting book by an interesting person named Don Piper who claims and wrote a book about a visit to heaven, titled 90 Minutes in Heaven. I just happened to hear an interview tonight with Don Piper himself on the local radio station KBJS in the Jacksonville, TX area (Haven Today with Charles Morris). I was impressed with Don Piper's warmth and sincerity, but not his heaven or his so-called visit there. To borrow from the Challies book review I linked to in the title of this post, a Christian describing a Christless heaven just bothers me for some reason (and I can state personally that he did not mention seeing Christ once in his so-called heavenly journey, which is troubling to say the least).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Baptists and Calvinism article

James White links to a very interesting article by John Orlando on "Baptists and Calvinism."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Christian Nation Myth

This is really beginning to bother me. America has never been a Christian nation, and never will be. Such an idea is a logical impossibility, if Scripture such as Matthew 7:13 means anything at all. That verse states (NASB), "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." Furthermore, history itself invalidates this conception. In addition to the article linked above, there are other good articles on this as well.

FFRF: Is America a Christian Nation? No.
AU: Is America a 'Christian Nation'? No.
Biblical Discernment Ministries: Is America a "Christian" Nation? No.
Atheism.About.Com: America a Christian Nation? No.
Skeptic Tank: Is America a Christian Nation? No.

And in the interest of fairness, I will post an article which is not as supportive of my views as I would like.

Catholic Education: Is America a Christian Nation? Yes and no.

Please understand, I am a Christian. I do not endorse any of the above sites necessarily, except wherein I find agreement with their views. Explicitly, for the purposes of this blog post, that means I endorse the view that the belief of America being a Christian nation is a myth. As serious Christians, we really ought to practice our holy faith and devotion in reality as we find it, not as we would like it to be (and I sincerely desire that this myth were completely truthful instead!). I for one believe that the Scriptures which speak of being "Salt and Light" in Matthew 5:13-16 are much more important than earthly political identifications and partisan struggles anyway. Or at least, they SHOULD be.

e-Sword on Linux, revisited


Finally got it to work as desired on Linux. Still can't install any modules, so I did the next best thing, which is copying the e-Sword folder from the Windows side to the Linux side, and adding the appropriate DLLs needed as Wine overrides (riched20, msls31). The registry had to be updated to point to the new e-Sword location, too. But now it works almost perfectly, pop-ups and all.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sylvania Church

This is my church. And our sermons are generally available on iTunes. You can directly access the podcast feed by clicking here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Chicago Statement of Inerrancy

This is excellent. This post originally had BGCT in the title, and I must admit there are some good points about the BGCT, but I want to personally reaffirm my belief in Biblical inerrancy and my immediate disagreement with anyone (BGCT or not) who denies inerrancy. Belief in inerrancy simply isn't optional in my opinion.

The Village Church Podcast

This is what I wished I had in the last blog post.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Matt Chandler of the Village Church

Recently I discovered Matt Chandler of the Village Church, Highland Village, TX. He preached two services at the FOCUS 2006 in Arlington, TX, put on by the BGCT to the best of my knowledge. In short, he is an excellent expository preacher with contemporary application.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thoughts on Genesis 2:1-4

This chapter begins what is known as the second Creation story. Some have completely distinguished this second account from the first. Some distinction must be acknowledged simply due to the fact of its separation from the first account. My personal view is that this second account is simply a continuation of the first, with further details and a different perspective (more on this later). In fact, I am of the view that this so-called second Creation story does not actually start until verse 5 of this chapter, and that these first four verses should actually be in chapter 1 (which I say in the knowledge that the chapter and verse divisions are neither inspired nor infallible, though the actual contents of Scripture are divine in origin and inerrant). But my judgment is of course not infallible; it is simply offered as the personal opinion of a Bible student on the matter.

Verses 2:1-4 end the first Creation story in Scripture, with the perspective focused on God as Creator. Verses 5 and following begin the second Creation story, and I believe the focus is centered upon God's highest creation, Man. This helps explain the two creation accounts, and each has important lessons for the believer.

Verse 1 follows immediately after the benediction of the previous chapter in which God judged His work to be "very good" in six days of Creation. That work is now completely finished, including all the "hosts" or contents of the heavens above and earth beneath. This verse seems like an insignificant summary at first glance, but I believe what it teaches about the creative power of God is important: God finished His work. That is, God's work in its entire scope was brought to completion, nothing was left undone, and most importantly, God Himself is not changed or lessened or weakened by the creative process which has just been finished. This is a very implicit reference to the infinite power of God as an argument from silence I think, because God is not described here as having changed (become tired, lost strength, decreased in creative ability, etc.) but the Creation is described as finished, and with completeness. This is very important for understanding the next verse.

Verse 2:2 brings the full force of this thought to bear upon the mind. God's work, unbelievably vast, is finished, and God rests from the work He has done. Because God has not been described as being wearied in His task here (a very important omission!) the "rest" here must be understood as a ceasing from activity, the reason for which is given first: the work is completed. Again, seven is used here as a number of perfection (see previous blog entry). So three ideas are evident here after some careful thought: God's work is completed, He ceases from the activity of Creation, and its initial created state is complete and perfect.

The third verse tells us that God blessed the seventh day, perhaps meaning that it is marked for divine praise in contradistinction with the other days. He also sanctified it, which means to "make holy" and refers to the only source of Holiness there is in this passage, Himself. In other words, this day shows us and represents the Holiness of God in some important way. I think that this important way is what I will call the Static Perfection of God: God's eternal, perpetual state of static changelessness and unalterable perfection. Because I know from other Scriptures that Christ is the Creator, I can recall Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (though the verse is used in a different context there).

Now I confess that I am not a Hebrew scholar, and know no Hebrew, so I want to warn the reader that I am plunging on a tangent in this paragraph which can probably be ignored. I noticed that the "created and made" at the end of 2:3 have two different Strong's numbers, so I read both (created-1254, made-6213. Click on the numbers to see what I found). I am going to merely repeat some teaching I received on this: I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but I believe it makes sense. "Created" refers to what God created Ex Nihilo (out of nothing) by His power, while "Made" refers to God using some of the created things in some form or fashion to produce other things. I think this is seen for example back in 1:24 where God says let the earth (which He created) bring forth the living land creatures, and in 1:25 which says "God made [Strong's 6213] the beast of the earth after his kind" (KJV). The earth was "created" but the animals here were "made" in some manner referential to the earth. Perhaps this is wrong, but if so, it is a minor point, and I currently believe it to be true.

Verse 4 makes me want to rethink my terminology of the different perspectives between the two Creation stories. Here, it makes me think that the focal reference is in the creation of the heavens and the earth themselves as the handiwork of God, whereas 2:5 and following speak more about the creation of Man and his involvement with God. So, I believe at least that two perspectives on the same Creation event are recorded in Scripture, and that both are true, correct, and in ultimate harmony simply because they are presented as such in the Scripture covering both chapters (and given my stated presupposition of the Bible's truth and accuracy mentioned previously). Verse 4 says that this is the account of the Creation of the heavens and the earth, with no uncertainty, nothing left out, and no defense offered for the given explanation. For one who believes the Bible to be true, this is the authoritative account to be believed and cherished. A defense is simply not expected or required, at least according to this context (which I unreservedly accept as completely true).

Lastly is the idea of the Creation of the heavens and the earth "in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven" (NASB). Now, if this is a literal day, then we have a contradiction here with the six days of Creation which Scripture explicitly testifies to taking place. Rather, I believe that this verse is explained by the previous verse (3), in which all of Creation is viewed from the finished perspective of God's completed, perfect work which is blessed and sanctified in the seventh day (Saturday, the Jewish Shabbat). I believe this verse is not contradiction the explicit teaching of the previous Scripture which detailed the six Creation days, but that a very important idea is communicated here for the believer. The entire Creation in all of its scope was complete and perfect first in the mind of God before Creation even started.

Thus, we have the summary "very good" of 1:31 (judged by the only standard, His Holiness of being and perfection of understanding), and the fact (I assert) that all of Creation is viewed from the vantage point of the meaning of the Sabbath. This Sabbath day ultimately is not so much about rest (though it is for that in the Old Testament), but about the perfect completeness of God and His worthiness to be Worshiped simply for the essence of His being, His total majesty, and His excellence of character (I admit I'm preaching here). Therefore the Sabbath day is really about worship, when viewed from Man's perspective, and about perfection and wholeness centered in the person of God, when contemplating the divine perspective given (sometimes implicitly) in these verses.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

First Thoughts on Genesis

(Edit: fix typos and other irritations)

Reading Genesis 1 has made quite an impression on me. I began blogging my thoughts on it and realized I was churning out a book from my keyboard. So I have resolved to state my thoughts on the subject as simply and concisely as I can (Edit: as it turns out, not very). I begin with a very powerful presupposition which I will not attempt to defend: that the Bible is perfectly true. Period. All of my commentary will assume that context, with the aim of discerning the truth taught in the Scriptures.

1. The first four words of verse 1 are the thesis statement for the entire chapter. "In the beginning" or "in beginning" (as a friend tells me the Hebrew says) shows the ultimate origin of the creation and even time itself. The very first "who" in Scripture is right here: God. And we see that God exists outside of the "beginning" and transcends it, and indeed, authors it into being. The first statement in Scripture is NOT a defense of God or proof of His existence. God Is. He has always been. He will always be. He has no beginning or ending, and depends on nothing for His existence (implied by the solitary, independent authorship spoken in the first verse). I am reminded here of Christ speaking in Revelation 1:8 (ASV): "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

2. In verse 2, we see the person of the Holy Spirit in operation in darkness and over the Earth which is then formless and void, all preceding the creation of light. The powerful truth taught here is that the profundity and magnitude of God's power, besides being self-authoritative and self-existing, is here unseen and invisible. Mortal eyes do not see this, appreciate it, or critique it. But God revealed it to Moses, to teach him and God's people truths about God.

3. Verses 3-4 show the creation of Light and its separation from Darkness, on the first day of Creation: Sunday. Notice it does not say, God created light and darkness. God created light, speaking it into existence. This teaches us another powerful truth. We define darkness as the absence of light. God is the only source of this light, and it exists by His pleasure. Just as light either is, or is not, and darkness is in relation to light as a secondary reference, I believe we too (and all Creation itself) has only one ultimate reference point: God Himself. Notice too, before the separation of light from darkness in verse 4, that God simply spoke light into being, and there was light. God's word cannot fail, and no explanation is given here. We naturally want to know the how, but this is not given to us here. We are told instead the Who, what, when, where, and why.

4. The second day, Monday, sees the division of waters above from the waters below by an expanse. I'm not sure what the theological significance here is, but I would hazard to say that the division by the expanse known as heaven is meant to be humbling to us: there is a division here we cannot easily cross, a threshhold that God has reserved for Himself. Even now, when God has granted such wonders as space travel and space stations, we are still reminded of our humble nature and humble dependence on the Earth which forces our return to being underneath the division God made. Though this is speculation, as dry Earth did not yet even exist. Incidentally, today is the only day in Creation about which nothing is said to be good. Make of that what you will.

5. On the third day, Tuesday, God creates dry land (Earth) and the herb and fruit of the field. It is very interesting to note that each contained seed after its kind. By this seed, these plants have sustained the existence of their species since the beginning of Creation, and will, barring extinction, continue it until the Lord's return. I believe here you can see the suggestion of the concept of eternal life and self-existence, ultimately found in God alone. God is the source of life and self-exists. But more importantly as a Christian, I see in the seed a teaching of death, burial and resurrection. The seed "dies" and is buried, and a resurrection of life comes forth (this is from the commentary of others but I do agree). The Lord Himself used this same concept to teach His resurrection, in John 12:24 (ASV), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit."

6. On the fourth day, Wednesday, God created the sun, moon, stars, and other heavenly bodies from my understanding. God created day and night, signs, seasons, and days and years. I believe that in these verses, reminding us of the changing states of creation, that we are taught two things about God: that God's work is not static or limited, that it is ongoing, and that God is in complete control of it (though we don't fully understand the "how" we have some understanding of the who, what, when, where, and why). That many of the things mentioned here cycle (seasons, day/night. etc.) give witness to both the logical order of God's arrangement and His ceaseless existence and control of all things, even by His unseen hand. Only God could create the cycle itself, and only God can keep it continuing, even smoothly flowing from one to the other. God does not change, and He is not cycling through patterns of strength and weakness as the false gods the heathen worship (who worship nature and not its Creator). God's work is continuous, mostly unseen, and could not be predicted beforehand (who would have invented seasons, for example?). But its reliability itself points to the constant unseen hand of God. Incidentally, "He made the stars also" according to commentary I read is a well-earned swipe against pagans, the simple heathen who ignorantly worship nature and glorious celestial objects such as stars that merit merely a passing reference in a passage centered on the excellency and supremacy of God, who transcends the highest, most glorious objects of Creation with an infinite degree of superlative existence.

7. On the fifth day, Thursday, God created the sea creatures and the birds. I find it interesting that God speaks both blessing and command upon these creatures to fill and multiply on the planet. This divine command is built into their very nature: be fruitful and multiply. I suppose I can say here that God's blessing gives and intends life. And that life itself is a gift from God who authors it and sustains it. Though I confess, I forgot that Scripture even said that sea creatures and birds were blessed by God.

8. The sixth day, Friday, sees the creation of cattle and other creeping things on the Earth. Man is created last. Man is created in "Our likeness," a plural here referring to the God who we know is a unity. Is this simply a plurality of majesty? Or a reference to the Trinity? The Holy Spirit is seen in 1:2, as a separate person but of the same essence as God the Father in verse 1, perhaps. And we know from other Scriptures the eternal Son of God, who created all things (Colossians 1:12-16). Man is given authority over the other life of all creation, because he is made in the likeness of God. And male and female are both created in the image of God, showing a fundamental spiritual equality between the genders in our essential personhood and souls. However, the male is mentioned first, showing (I believe) an authoritative superiority in the created order, and a difference in role and function. God also gives as food to them and all other creatures on the earth the herb of the field and other plants (curiously enough, not mentioning the food of sea creatures). Man would sustain his life by food outside of himself (showing dependence and ultimately complete dependence on God the author) and that this food did not consist originally of animals, who according to the literal Hebrew (ASV footnote, as I know no Hebrew), are "living souls." I'm not sure how much to make of this, but I think it simply means they are alive and possess breath, at the very least. I think the choice of food, here, however, is to show man in his original holy state of perfection, before the Fall (and I'm *not* suggesting vegeterianism is a moral requirement; but I do feel it was God's original perfect plan for the pre-fallen creation, now stained by the Fall).

9. Last, I count seven times that "good" appears in the Scriptures, ending with a superlative "very good" that demands recognition of the Holiness and perfection of God, who creates out of His own goodness, by the only standard of goodness and righteousness that has ever existed or ever will exist, Himself. The seven "good" statements are found in 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25, 1:31 (with superlative prefix "very"). Seven is a number of perfection. How do I prove this? By proving it from Scripture, starting here. :) And I believe in this, that God was most pleased, and His goodness was best expressed, in the creation of Man (and to a lesser extent, of land animals which appear first on the sixth day before Man).

10. Lastly, I want to note the "evening and morning" as the separation of days, with a night inbetween two portions of days. This is deliberate, as God first created light, and day and night, which together formed the first day of 1:5. There is no other way it could be when you stop and think about it. Though I'm not sure how this worked before the creation of the Sun and Moon on Day 4. But the concept is simply this: that God created and is master over Day and Night together is inescapable, in my opinion. The totality of every thing is under God's control. And more importantly, God is sovereign over everything: Day and Night exist at His pleasure, not ours, and for His purpose, not ours. God's strength is not limited to Day, or Night, or creation itself, or to time in which creation operates. And also this points to God as the first and best recordkeeper, and knower and sustainer of all things, before Whom all are ultimately accountable.

I apologize for the book-length of this blog post, but I wanted to fully express my thoughts. I love the depth and richness of Scripture, and how God uses it to point to and teach about Himself. Yet, the feeling never leaves me that our understanding is like that of schoolchildren who learn only a little at a time and very gradually over a long period of time. We cannot comprehend God's infinitude of Being or Sovereignty. But it is God's good pleasure to condescend to us and teach us, focusing our eyes on Him, and granting us the deep desire and privilege to humbly approach Him and worship with reverential awe.

I feel led to close this post with Paul's wonderful doxology in Romans.

Romans 11:36 (ASV)
For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.

I really did

I really did read Genesis 1 today.

I really did mean to blog about it.

I really did get distracted with...like, things and stuff.

Especially as I notice that my today above should have been "yesterday" because it is now past 2 AM in the morning, and I am extremely tired tonight (this morning!) so it will not be done until later. Much later.

I really did use those pathetic excuses.

I really did expect sympathy, and/or understanding.

I really did.

But that was then. This is now. It's simply too late to care. :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Welcome to my Theological Blog

Greetings to anyone coming from my Byroniac blog (which will now host only my non-theological interests, mainly in the areas of computing and such). If you didn't come from there, I am very surprised. However you got here, welcome and enjoy your stay. :)

I will begin blogging my way through the Old Testament and posting my discoveries in the Scriptures along the way. My goal is not to uncover new truths in old treasure, but new treasures in old truth, with the Holy Spirit of grace and the confessions of the saints of history as my guides. I feel that God has drawn me to the Old Testament in recent days, and I want to study this great truth He has preserved for us and illuminated in the New Testament. Please pray for me in my journey. And constructive comments are always welcome.

(Edited: typos and such)