Early Christianity in a Nutshell

I’ve been looking for a way to describe the Christianity I see in the early church fathers for many years. In the midst of a discussion with a friend, this outline came to me.

1. The Gospel: They preached total surrender to Jesus as King. Their Gospel centralized on bodily resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus proved he was King, and our resurrection to eternal life is the reward promised to those who obey him.

2. Baptism: Baptism is the entrance rite into the church. Before the baptism, the convert renounces the devil and all his pomp. He renounces the world. He is then baptized, his sins are washed away, and he is thus buried and born again.

3. Laying on of hands: This was done right after baptism by the elders as they prayed for the Spirit to come upon the new convert. They didn’t necessarily expect any manifestation.

4. Extensive catechizing (basic instruction) in the teachings of Scripture.

5. Faith and works: They understood that baptism and being born again required only faith and repentance because there is no more that a slave to sin can offer. After baptism and the laying on of hands converts are both pure and empowered. At that point they can, and must, offer to God obedience and good works.

6. Most teaching centered on continuing in the faith and obeying God. The warning passages in the NT were much more heavily utilized than they are today.

Two other points should be emphasized. One, the Eucharist was a big deal to them and was eaten at least every week. It was never a cracker and a thimble of grape juice, but a meal, or at least part of a meal. Two, the church was seen as the reservoir of salvation. In it, people were saved. Outside of it there was no salvation.

It’s hard to bring that last point into the modern era. We don’t have the one church that existed in the second century. It was a big deal to the early church, however, and the Scriptures, too, emphasize the unity of the church and the fact that the church and the church alone is the pillar of truth.

Posted in Early Christianity | Tagged , , , ,

Decoding Nicea Interview!

I am excited to announce that I am going to be interviewed on the Seminary Dropout podcast. Shane Blackshear has interviewed such notable Christians an N.T. Wright and Max Lucado. I will be interviewed this Wednesday, August 10. You don’t have to listen to it live (and you may not be able to). Simply go to the link above to listen to it after the interview. It’s in reference to my book, Decoding Nicea, and I am very excited.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Did God Pass the Time for 14 Billion Years?

If scientists are correct, and I think they are, then it took between 12 and 14 billion years for humans to appear in this universe. If Christians are correct, and I think they are, then God made the universe, and he made it—or at least the earth portion of it—for man.

If man was the purpose, or a purpose, for the creation, then what was God doing during the 14 billion years between the Big Bang and the evolution of man? Was he just hanging out? It seems like even God would be bored waiting around for humans for that long.

Science has an answer for that.

The Scientific Explanation for the Activity of God for the last 14 Billion Years

I have a scientific explanation for what God was doing for the last 14 billion years. For the scientifically faint of heart, the short explanation is that it wasn’t 14 billion years to God. He’s outside of time. It could have seemed like a second, or he could have enjoyed a week’s worth of time, or a month, or the whole 14 billion years.

The long answer, for those that want to have some fun with me, goes like this.

You’ve heard of the Theory of Relativity? You’ve probably heard a lot about time and the speed of light, but I don’t know how many of you have focused on the term “relativity.” Einstein’s argument, among others, is that time is relative. Relative to what? Time is relative to speed. The only constant in the universe is the speed of light. Time is not constant. The speed of light is constant.

The guiding principle of relativity is that the speed of light is the same for everyone. You cannot run away from light.

Light will catch you, and it will catch you just as fast whether you stand still or fly away from it on solar winds. You can’t speed it up, either. As a planet we may be rushing toward another galaxy at up to 40% of the speed of light. Nonetheless, the light from that galaxy is going to approach us at 186,000 miles per second. If that galaxy is two million light years away from us (in which case it’s the Andromeda Galaxy, the only one that close to us), it’s light will take two million years to reach us whether we race towards Andromeda or away from it.

The speed of light does not change. Instead, time changes.

Here’s an illustration of how that works.

Let’s say there’s this guy in the utter darkness of the void between galaxies. He is in darkness, but a beam of light is approaching him through the emptiness, or almost emptiness, of space.

It turns out this guy is Superman. You know because you found Albus Dumbledore’s magic binoculars, and you can see him out there between galaxies so sharply that you can read the symbol on his chest. Superman, as you know, can fly so fast that he can turn back time as long as he is flying in a circle around a planet. I am unable to explain the science behind this phenomenon.

I can explain the phenomenon of the light catching Superman. He flees the approaching light because as a false savior, he is terrified of the light. He flies away from the light at one mile per year less than the speed of light. Please notice that I said one mile per year, not one mile per hour.

Let’s say the light is a million miles away. As an observer, you see the light chasing Superman at 186,000 miles per second. You also see Superman flying away at 185,999.99999997 miles per second. Because the light is traveling at only one mile per year faster that Superman, it takes a million years to catch him. That’s your perspective.

For Superman, the light is approaching at 186,000 miles per second. That doesn’t change when he tries to run away. From his perspective, the light catches him in just over five seconds.

One million years or five seconds. Which is it?

It’s both. That’s the point of the theory of relativity. The speed of light is constant, but time is not. Your speed, relative to the speed of light, affects your perspective of time. For you, that light took a million years to catch Superman. For him, it took five seconds.

And yes, that means you aged a million years and Superman aged five seconds. Einstein didn’t make that up. He discovered it. Big difference. This relativity, whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not, and whether we believe it not, happens. Just like gravity is real, so the relativity of time is real.

If we take what I and pretty much all Christians believe as a given, then God controls all this. He’s invisible and he fills the universe, so he doesn’t “move,” not at any speed; however, he has control over the whole process. He’s the creator, he can be above and around it, and he can see any part of it, or he can see it all at once.

That’s why the predestination vs. free will argument is way beyond what we can understand. In Isaiah 46:10, the Holy Spirit tells us that God declares the end from the beginning. That’s because he can see the end and the beginning. Why can he prophesy what’s going to happen? It’s not only because he can control it from before it happened if he wants to, but it is also because he can see that it happened from afterward. He can do both, right now.

I didn’t mean to address predestination vs. free will. It just came up. So let me get back to the point.

The point is that God wasn’t bored for 14 billion years. He could see it all from the perspective of any moment he wanted to. He could slow things down and enjoy watching and experiencing what was happening, or he could make it no longer than a flash of lightning—from his perspective. God could experience it all at once, the expanding of the cosmos to the coalescing of the galaxies to the formation of the earth to the rise of human civilization, none of it incurring any “passing of time” from his perspective.

Posted in Evolution, Evolution and Creation, Miscellaneous, science | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Honesty, Boldness, and the Subordination of the Son of God

I have been listening to David Platt’s _radical_ as I drive. I applaud him for his bold defense of the words of Jesus. It embarrassed and convicted me. It moved me not just to sorrow, but to repentance. It made me remember that it is God who must drive truth home, not me. I have to say what Scripture says whether men like it or not. We all know that, and I have done it often, but not always.

Changing my attitude and bowing more completely to the truth, and thus to Jesus who is the truth, I’ll go ahead and comment on the following:

I ran across a guy who defends “eternal subordination,” which is the teaching that the Son was always subservient to the Father, even before the incarnation. That seems such an obvious truth from Scripture that I’m surprise anyone opposes it, but apparently the idea that the Father and Son are exact replicas of one another is one of those “taboo” doctrines of evangelicals. It can’t be questioned even in areas where it is obviously wrong. Why is there a Trinity if the three members are identical triplets?

Bruce Ware is willing to embrace the obvious eternal subservience of the Son to the Father, a truth that we should honor Jesus for and a truth that Jesus seemed proud of. But Mr. Ware is very careful not to suggest that the Father is in any way ontologically greater than the Son. (Ontologically means in their being, but the concept is rather ethereal and hard to define.)

Perhaps because they are of the same substance/essence, something that was taught from the days of the apostles onward, they are ontologically equal. If we wish to be scholars, however, we cannot honestly claim ontological equality without letting our hearers know that the early churches, those who still held the teaching of the apostles, did not see that equality exactly as we do.

I can make an excellent scriptural case that every appearance of God before the incarnation was a Christophany, an appearance of the Word, not the Father. The early Christians would take it one step further. God (the Father), they taught, CANNOT appear on earth. He CANNOT be confined to one spot. Only the Word can be found in one place. The Father fills all things and cannot be confined. Compare this idea to John 1:18, which tells us that God has never been seen by man.

The following is from Theophilus, bishop of Antioch around AD 170, but you will find the teaching multiple times in the second-century writings of the church:

“You will say … to me: ‘You said that God cannot to be contained in one place; how do you now say that he walked in Paradise?’ Hear what I say: The God and Father of all truly cannot be contained, and is not found, in a place … but his Word, through whom he made all things, being his power and his wisdom, assuming the person of the Father and Lord of all, went to the garden in the person of God and conversed with Adam.”

Is that an ontological difference? Ontologically equal is an impressive theological term, but if it doesn’t allow for the Son to be confined to a place while the Father, who fills everything, cannot be, then the term describes something that is not true.

We need to add one more difference between the Father and Son, this one from Scripture. Mark 13:32 tells us that the Father has a time in mind for the end which is unknown to the Son.

I suppose this does not have to be an ontological difference, but it is a difference that I suspect evangelicals will not allow, no matter what Jesus said. In evangelical eyes, he’s not allowed to be less than the Father in any way except while he was on earth. It borders on silliness to suggest that Jesus was so distanced from his divine role as the Word of God during his time on earth that he didn’t know things that he knew before the incarnation, then suddenly knew it again after the resurrection.

When Jesus said the Son does not know the day or the hour because it is in the Father’s determination, he is saying that the Son will not know until the Father sends him back to rescue us from this corrupt world and from our almost useless theology.

We cannot honor the Son by teaching things about him that are not true from Scripture and from his own words. When we deny the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father and we turn our heads away from differences between the Father and Son that were taught by the apostles, then we are dishonoring the Son, not elevating him.

Posted in Evangelicals, Modern Doctrines | Tagged , , , ,

The Lord’s Portion [of the Nations] Is Israel

I showed a brother a verse yesterday that I find fascinating, and he was surprised by it. He’s been a Christian for 40 years, and he didn’t know about it. Why? Because it only reads the way I read it to him in the Septuagint.

Rather than quote the LXX version, I’ll let Clement of Rome quote it for you::

“For thus it is written, ‘When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance’ [Deut. 32:8-9]. And in another place it says, ‘Behold, the Lord takes for Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Holy of Holies’ [Num. 18:27; 2 Chr. 31:14].” (1 Clement 29)

The second part is a bit of a concoction (i.e., a borderline mistake) by Clement, but the first is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 32. The nations were divided up among ruling angels, but Israel became the Lord’s portion. Clement then compresses two verses together to say that the Messiah will come from the nation that is the Lord’s portion. We all know the Messiah came from Israel, so we don’t need to argue over whether Clement’s compression of the two verses forms a legitimate prophecy.

Clement follows that quote by saying:

“Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking youthful lusts, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride.” (ibid. 30)

What a thought! God divided up the nations and assigned them to ruling angels, but Jacob he kept for himself. We who follow Jesus, whose circumcision is of the heart and of the Spirit, we are Israel, the lot that fell to our Lord Jesus (Rom. 2:28-29). We are the true circumcision, the ones who worship God in spirit, rejoice in the Lord Jesus the Messiah, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Posted in Bible, History | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

I Pledge Alliegance …

Last week I went to my son’s military basic training graduation. Hundreds graduated, but four were also honored with US citizenship for graduating. In order to get that citizenship, they had to renounce all alliegances to all other governments, foreign or domestic, reserving their allegiance for the constitution alone.

When they swore to uphold this standard, the crowd burst into applause. It seems that a sole alliegance to the Constitution is very popular.

Jesus asked for sole alliegance to the Kingdom of God when he preached the Gospel. I don’t know how popular that sole alliegance is because it is rarely preached in US churches.

It seems that even in churches we are excited for the servicemen who submit their lives to the US government, ship out with a few hours notice, and even give their lives meddling in the affairs of other countries. On the other hand we seem embarrassed about the demand of the eternal King of the universe that his followers hate all other alliegances and forsake all their possessions (Luke 14:26-33).

In 34 years as a Christian, I’ve heard a number of sermons on counting the cost, the subject of Luke 14:28-32, but only two that mentioned the surrounding verses, 26 and 33, which actually detail the cost that we must count..

Posted in Gospel | Tagged , , ,

Encouragement from the Septuagint

I’ve been reading through the Septuagint (the Orthodox Study Bible’s English translation of it). This morning was rich. I kept running across passages I wanted to share. Here are some of them:

Thought: God’s interested in simple obedience, not sacrifices:

How shall I come to understand the Lord and devote myself to the Most High God? Shall I reach him with burnt offerings? with year-old calves? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams? or with a myriad of streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my ungodliness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. Or what does the Lord seek from you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to be ready to walk with the Lord your God. (Micah 6:6-8)

Thought: It is God who justifies and makes us what we ought to be, even though it sometimes happens by discipline:

I will endure the wrath of the Lord, for I sinned against him, until he pleads my cause; for he will execute my judgment and will bring me out into the light, and I will perceive his righteousness. (Micah 7:9)

Thought: I’ve had some depression, despair, and hopelessness lately that I think is leftover physical damage from all the chemo I’ve had. So I loved this:

From the end of the earth I cried out to you when my heart was discouraged. You lifted me high on a rock. (Ps. 60:3, Ps. 61 in Masoretic)

Finally, from Psalm 61 (which is Psalm 62 in Masoretic text):

God spoke once; I heard these two things: Power is of God and to you, O Lord, is mercy. For you will repay every man according to his deeds.

Note on the last quote that being repaid for our deeds is a positive thing. God will reward us for the life we live in submission to him. The power of that life is from him, not us, and mercy belongs to God. It is his way.

“Shall not my soul be submissive to God? For from him is my salvation.”

—Psalm 61:2, LXX

Posted in Bible, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Why I Quote the Early Christians

The early Christians used to be able to boast things like this:

With us there is no desire of self-exaltation, nor do we indulge in a variety of opinions. We have renounced the popular and earthly; we obey the commands of God; we follow the law of the Father of immortality; and we reject everything which rests upon human opinion. Not only do the rich among us pursue our philosophy, but the poor enjoy instruction without charge, for the things which come from God surpass the reimbursement of worldly gifts. Thus we admit all who desire to hear, even old women and adolescents. In short, persons of every age are treated by us with respect, but every kind of licentiousness is kept at a distance.

Unfortunately, this was written by Tatian, a guy who was caught up by “self-exaltation” and moved on to the “variety of opinions” of the gnostics. Nonetheless, the churches moved forward in unity and holiness. Until we can boast the same things, I am going to assume that our novelties are error, not improvements on the old ways.

Note: I’m back to posting on this blog. You will see a lot of duplication between the blog and my Christian History for Everyman page on Facebook.

Posted in Early Christianity | Tagged , , , , ,

Visions of the Kingdom

What power, wisdom, and joy we miss because we have forgotten the promises the apostles’ churches knew and took for granted!

A Facebook friend sent me a list of verses he thought described the millennium, the 1000-year reign of Jesus that Revelation tells us will follow a time of terrible judgments upon the earth. I was a little surprised by the first one. It was Isaiah 2:2-5.

It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall go and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths,” for out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come! And let us walk in the light of the Lord. (KJV)

If there is any forgetting of the teaching of the apostles that should bring us to tears, it is this. This passage was held up by early Christians as proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that the Christians were the Israel of God, the new Jews, the circumcised of heart.

Who, they argued, had beaten their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks but the Christians? Where are there men of different nations who do not turn their swords on one another and who do not learn war anymore except in the churches of the Lord Jesus? Who learned the paths of the Lord and walked in them, boldly broadcasting the Word of the Lord beginning in Jerusalem and then going to all the world? Was it not the apostles and their disciples?

Today, we have forgotten! Christians rush to war in defense of the nations of this world, not knowing whether they may be shooting and killing brothers and sisters in the one true King who are just as uninformed and untaught as themselves, but who have chosen other worldly kingdoms to fight for.

Friends, Isaiah 2 is not a millennial passage. It is a passage for the last days, which began on the day of Pentecost in AD 33 when Peter told the Jews in Jerusalem that the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled. It is a passage for now. It is a passage for the Church and for Christians, who are supposed to be living as though Jesus were King now … because HE IS!

How much we miss! Jesus explained the Scriptures to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, telling them “everything” that was prophesied about himself and about the kingdom of God. He spent the rest of his forty post-resurrection days on earth teaching the apostles about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

The apostles taught their churches the same things those two disciples heard on the way to Emmaus and the same things they heard from Jesus over the next 40 days. The leaders of those churches gave themselves to holding onto and passing on those teachings. Faithfully they did this, decade after decade and century after century, but time and a merger with the Roman empire caused more and more of Jesus’ teachings in those last days on earth to be lost. In the west, they are almost entirely forgotten.

Let’s remember! Brothers and sisters, let’s remember!

These promises are for now. This is who we are! Don’t wait for the millennium! Embrace your transfer from the domain of darkness and from the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus the Messiah now!

Here’s another “millennial” passage that should describe us now:

Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, where I have driven them in my fury and in great wrath. I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way that they may fear me forever, for their good and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. (Jer. 32:37-40)

This is us, brothers and sisters! What kingdom beside God’s consists of people gathered from every nation? Who has one heart and one way and will fear God forever except the Christians? Which covenant is everlasting except the new one, which Jeremiah had described in the previous chapter? (31:31-34).

Do we believe that the new covenant will be followed by a newer covenant? Never! We have been given THE new covenant, not just a new covenant.

Our kingdom is the one Daniel prophesied that will last forever. It is a rock, made without hands, that will eventually crush the nations of the earth when our King descends from heaven with a shout.

Why are we bolstering the nations while the house of God is neglected? Not only did Jeremiah prophesy that we would be of one mind and one heart, but the apostle Paul commanded us to be so, and Jesus poured his heart out in his final prayer that we would be one in love (Jn. 17). We fight on behalf of the USA, but we do not fight for the unity of disciples that will prove to the world that God sent his Son.

Too Idealistic?

Does what I described above—no, what Isaiah and Jeremiah described above—seem impossible?

With God it is possible. In fact, his prophets prophesied it would be so.

We are deceived by the massive counterfeit that we see around us, a vast empire of organizations that can never be one in mind and heart. Believers can never be one in heart and mind with unbelievers, and our supposed churches are as full of those who deny Jesus by their works as they are with those who obey Jesus’ commands.

Paul tells us to pursue faith, love, peace, and righteousness along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). The dividing line between us cannot be organizations and where we meet on Sunday. It must be the line that God called a “sure foundation”: Let those who name the name of God’s Anointed King depart from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19).

Let’s quit waiting around for the millennium, and let’s live as those over whom the Messiah already rules. Revelation calls believers to come out of Babylon lest we partake of her plagues. Why should we wait until judgment comes upon her? We are already partaking of her greatest plague: disunity among Christians caused by our unity with pseudo-Christians.

I wish there were a better, easier solution. In the name of evangelism, we have created a monstrosity, the unity of the sons of God with the sons of Belial. We are shocked at the thought of purging the loaf by getting rid of the wicked among us (1 Cor. 5). Paul forbids joining believers to unbelievers, and we apply that passage to marriage rather than the church because we have forgotten that believers are to be “joined.”

It might not be so bad if we called those denominations “outreach centers.” Those who single-heartedly follow our King could then call themselves the church and join themselves to one another. There could be an inside to be guarded and purged, and an outside (Mark 4:11) to whom we preach the Gospel. But to those we would not give the things precious to God until they believed, repented, and bowed their knee to our eternal King.

Why are we so weak, so divided, so terrible an example of the millennial kindom for which we long? Admittedly, there are a lot of reasons, including the simple passage of time. A major one, though, is the joining of the children of God with the children of the devil. Our disinterest in correcting things (and rejection of 1 Corinthians 5) will not be ignored on the day of our King’s triumphant return. It is time to gather the holy things that have been chewed on by dogs and the precious things that have been trodden by pigs, clean out the temple of God, and put the holy things where they belong … among the holy.

Posted in Early Christianity, Evangelicals, Modern Doctrines, Protestants, Teachings that must not be lost | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Evolution and Interpreting the Bible

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. After I got healthy, I had priorities higher than this blog. Only so many things can be done laying in a hospital bed. Blogging is one of them, so I did a lot of it. Now that I’m healthy, playing catch up on work and home issues is going to be the priority for a few months.

Nonetheless, I am a writer that compulsively writes, so you will see me here and there. You will see me even more if you friend me on Facebook.

I have a web site on evolution that I don’t intend to maintain anymore, but it gets a couple hundred visitors a day, so I get lots of emails. Today I got two emails from one person. You’ll be able to figure out what he wrote by reading my response, which I want to post here for all to read.

My Response on Evolution and Bible Interpretation

Thank you for writing me. I appreciate your passion on the subject. Really, though, the line I appreciated most was “Please let me know if this helps.”

It didn’t. Let me explain.

Among the types of Christians I fellowship with–diligent, devoted disciples–it is shocking to find out I believe in evolution. Many have no idea there are Christians who accept evolution as true.

When I found out about the battle between science and fundamentalist Christians, I began studying. It took me about two months to see enough to realize that in the evolution vs. young-earth creation battle, science was going to win. It took me another two months to work up the courage to tell anyone that I had researched enough to feel forced to agree with the evidence.

I started with my wife and my best friend. (My wife is my best friend, but I’m talking about two people in this case.) My wife almost got sick. My friend was stunned and to this day does not agree with me.

Hundreds of people–literally–have tried to explain why I must be wrong. Actually, they have tried to explain why science must be wrong. The problem is, science is not wrong. The evidence is so overwhelming that the unbiased examiner has to give in.

It has been 22 years now since I “came out.” I have heard every biblical argument there is why I should disbelieve or disregard the science on evolution. Nothing you said is new to me. What I have not heard in person, I have read on the CRI and AiG web sites.

So let me ask you a couple questions about your email. Why should I stick to the KVJ of Job 37:8? Do you not realize that “molten” looking glass is a reference to molten metal? Do you think we should use translations that we like more than translations that are accurate? The fact is, Job thought the sky was as hard as a molten-metal mirror. We can’t get around that.

You can say that Job is an epic poem, which it is, so that what he says about the sky does not need to be taken as scientific. The problem is that those who deny evolution have a double-standard. If Isaiah mentions the earth hung on nothing or calls the earth a sphere, then this proves to young earthers that the Bible is scientifically accurate. However, if the Bible says that the sky is set on pillars, which it does in 1 Samuel 2:8, we should ignore that. Any reason to discount 1 Samuel 2:8 is acceptable to young earthers. I have heard 3 or 4 different ones.

You ask about believing the words of the Bible, but honestly, I think I believe them more than you do. You can’t explain, because it is impossible to explain, how there can be water above the firmament. Young earthers have several explanations for the “waters above” in Genesis 1, but none of them take into account that the sun, moon, and stars are in the firmament. Thus, the “waters above” have to be above the stars if Genesis 1 is historically and scientifically accurate. So is it saying that the water surrounds the whole universe? That’s the only way it could be “above” the sun, moon, and stars.

No one explains Genesis 1:7 because they are happy simply ignoring the statement that the sun, moon, and stars are part of the firmament.

I’m never content to do that. I believe Genesis 1-3 are poetic and allegoric. Those chapters have lessons, inspired by God, for us, but young earthers ignore and miss those messages because they are busy trying to turn the seven days and the story of the garden into a history lesson. In this way, you are missing what God has to say to you in Genesis.

I and my family believe that God created everything. We honor him as the Creator. We are not missing the lesson the young earthers want us to get from Genesis. We believe it as wholeheartedly as the most diligent fundamentalist. You, however, are missing some amazing figurative lessons from those chapters because you are looking at what modern, technical, left-brained, imaginatively deficient westerners want you to look at. The Hebrews, including Moses, were not westerners. They were oriental in mindset. They loved the mystery and mystical-ness of God, and they did not need nor would they have wanted the logical, precise interpretations of Americans and other westerners. (Ask the Eastern Orthodox churches about this. There are many branches of Orthodox, and they would all agree with me on this. They consider the western mindset a real theological hindrance to knowing God.)

You make a terrible mistake thinking that I am ignoring God’s Word and words. In fact, I have devoured all the history of Christian interpretation I could, especially the earliest and most highly regarded teachers from the second and third centuries. I did not do this apart from the Bible. I devoured the Bible, too. My friends have used me as a concordance for thirty years.

It is you, with your very limited interpretation of the Scriptures, that might want to worry about disregarding God’s Word. You are approaching it from a mindset that belongs a little bit to the last 500 years and mostly to the last 150 years. Your approach has only been used in Europe and the descendants of Europeans while the Gospel has been all over the eastern world as well as the western since the first century. In the early centuries, both west and east would have been on my side, not yours.

I will ask you the same thing you asked me. Did this help?

Posted in Bible, Evolution and Creation, Modern Doctrines, Protestants, Roman Catholic & Orthodox | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments