Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Big Answers at Wahroonga

Just came across this site by Wahrooga Presbyterian Church.

The had a link to 2W2L by MatthiasMedia (no link because not approved by our site!!).

I had this to say:

Nice site. Thanks.

I clicked through to 2W2L by Matthias Media. It uses the paradigm of God 'ruling' the world. In one sense this is right, but God does not portray himself in such political terms. He more consistently uses relational terms, such as creator (even tho' the folks at Matthias Media seem to believe in some sort of theistic evolution, which denies God as he reveals himself), head (source of life), one who loves and saves, father. I suggest that effective evangelism is impossible if God is misrepresented and misunderstood as in the 2W2L brochure.

In answer to one of their "big questions", they say this:

The Bible makes no scientific claims – it presents God as creator without answering questions of scientific observation. The Bible does make some historical claims – about events that actually occurred – around the life of Jesus Christ. These historical questions are the really important issues of truth raised by the Bible.

Partly tosh, of course. But in what is not said, rather than what is said.

The Bible makes extensive and finely balanced historical 'claims'. Chief amongst these is the very scientific (i.e. pertaining to the material world that we can observe) information in Genesis 1 and the chronogenealogies that put the events of Genesis 1 into our time-frame. If the Bible doesn't do this, then it sets its roots in just another made up mythology that has no bearing on the real world.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jesus Christ - The Man Who Cried Wolf!

"Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, 'You know nothing at all! You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.' He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one." (John 11:49-52)

It's marvelous how the Lord our God used an enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ to declare a truth about Him. Caiaphas is not alone in unwittingly prophesying a truth from God. I was reminded of this when reading an excellent article by Russell Grigg in the latest Creation magazine published by Creation Ministries International (vol. 31 No. 3, pge 39-41).

The article was about Thomas H. Huxley who was a 'mouthpiece' for Darwinism and the man who debated Anglican Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, in the famous Origins debate at Oxford University in 1860.

Grigg's article helpfully included some quotes of Huxley on matters of the Holy Bible and science. These were not quotes from the debate but were derived from various writings of Huxley.

Thomas Huxley had serious but incisive questions for those like many within the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese who have compromised the Bible by adopting the anti-biblical belief of evolution. He said "I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, [sic] for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures.The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made ... if the 'ten words' were not written by God's hand on the stone tables; if ... the story of the Deluge [is] a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome - what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated? And what about the authority of the writers of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?"1

Further "the Universality of the Deluge is recognised, not merely as a part of the story, but as a necessary consequence of some of its details."2 And for those like the current Sydney Episcopalian Arshbishop who doubt the universality of the Flood, Huxley has this to say, "A child may see the folly of it."3

Huxley went on to say, "When Jesus spoke, as a matter of fact, that 'the Flood came and destroyed them all' did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? ... I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God's methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of "Wolf" when there is no wolf? If Jonah's three days' residence in the whale is not an "admitted reality," how could it "warrant belief" in the "coming resurrection?" If Lot's wife was not turned into a pillar of salt, the bidding those who turn back from the narrow path to "remember" it is, morally, about on a level with telling a naughty child that a bogy is coming to fetch it away. Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the domination of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?"4

Thomas Huxley saw through the thin veneer of defence put up by Christians embarrassed by those contents of the Bible under assault from the perceived might of science. In reality, it is bad science which has caused some Christians to falter and that is to the shame of their professed faith. Christianity has nothing to fear from good science because good science is nothing more than the revelation of God's handiwork. Huxley held to a false view of the origin of life but he was given sufficient light to see that there was no room for compromise between his view of the order of life and that presented in the Bible. He rightly exposes the compromisers.

The Lord Jesus Christ said "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15)

I suspect a wolf, the canine type, does not see itself as a ferocious creature. It just is what it is and does what it does. Yet it is ferocious in its effect on its prey. Likewise, the wolf referred to by the Lord Jesus Christ would not necessarily see or present him/herself as ferocious yet such is their effect on faith.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not "cry wolf" in the sense of the fable "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". His warning against the wolf is literal and must be taken with the utmost seriousness. Those who distort God's literal word in Genesis are wolves who do damage to faith by tearing at the gospel.

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?

Sam Drucker

1. Huxley, T. Science and Hebrew Tradition, Vol. 4 of Huxley's Collected Essays, "The lights of the Church and the light of science", pp. 207-208, 1890, , 18 March 2008.
2. Ref. 1, p. 214
3. Ref. 9, p. 225
4. Ref. 9. pp. 232-233

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 15 critical approach

Unfortunately, it is impossible to treat the Old Testament in an expository way without taking the major features of the critical approach into consideration, especially since these critical findings have been popularized and appear on the shelves of public libraries, as does Dummelow's One Volume Commentary. Surely, the main errors of criticism should be shown in order to combat the evil at its source. Those who do not stand in need of the aid that a refutation may offer or are not impressed by the critical claims may, of course, leave those paragraphs that deal with critical matters aside. We have sought to let this apologetic material occupy a place of very inferior importance. Hardly five per cent of the total deals with critical problems.

We shall leave aside all the very able constructive works that orthodox teachers of the church have provided under this head: the works of Haevernick, Hengstenberg, Keil, Rupprecht, and Moeller. These men have ably refuted all critical contentions; only the critics fail to discern that they have been answered. Those who would specialize on these matters will find most ample treatment of the subject in the works of these men. We for our part prefer in this exposition to follow the course of showing in our own way the beautiful and the consistent harmony of the individual accounts, a harmony which is in itself the strongest index of single rather than of composite authorship. Occasional critical questions naturally come in for their share of attention. Our treatment will show that we have drawn upon the above mentioned Old Testament scholars, a fact that we have acknowledged wherever feasible. It will also appear that much can be learned from the more recent Eduard Koenig, though in a number of cases his works must be used with caution.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A question of history

There must be some point to history!

By history I mean the actual events that preceeded us and by their arrangement explain our situation. I also must mean the record of those events, and the attempt at elucidating their meaning: writing about history; but mainly, of course, I have in mind the stream of real events, rather than their recounting. But, of course, we only know of them by their recounting.

Christian faith is embedded in history: it is events in the past that bring us to Christian understanding. It was young Michael Jensen’s recent post that lead to my further thoughts on this topic. (Also see cyberpastor's comments on this blog)

So, naturally I turn my mind to the creation account and its reflection throughout Scripture.

That he is creator is frequently used by God as his identifying act (e.g. Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 43:14-16, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 51:13, Psalm 115:15, Jeremiah 10:16, Hosea 8:14, John 1:1-3 and Acts 17:24 for example).

God clearly declares that he is creator. He is referring of course to his statements of his creative acts set down in Genesis 1 and 2.

Now, to hold out that he is creator, in reliance on his previous word to that effect, the word must have meaning within the world in which it is spoken. So ‘creator’ means the one who did the things related in Genesis 1. But then, these acts so accounted must have also had the meaning given in their account. I think this because if the words made no reference to actual events in time and space, in the time and space we inhabit, and therefore in the continuity of our temporal-spatial definition, then they could not mean ‘creator’ in any real sense; it could not mean creator as being the one from whose will by the stated actions (words) the world we know was brought about.

Without a connection of fact bedded in our real world, the reference to creative actions would have no credibility and would not place God as creator in relation to us; but as story with none but a cute mythic type non-relation to us. Not grounded in the event continuum that we are in would be equivelent to not a set of events at all. So the cosmos would have to be otherwise accounted for and God’s representation of himself in relation to use would break down.

So, God’s claim to be creator must make sense in the world in which he makes the claim. That is, he must be referring to things he really did: they must be real events as related. We have no other possible reference for the events and so must either reject that God is creator, or accept that he has validated his claim by telling us the terms of his acts. This indicates that the detail of the account in Genesis is significant.

The historical framing twins the events in their place (earth) and their temporal contiguity with our frame: they all happened, like all events happen, and all have a temporal reference that makes sense against the temporal referencing that dominates our lives and times.

God drives this twinning by giving time and place coordinates for them: he uses historically referenced language to describe them, not the a-temporally vague references that characterise myth and prevent the subjects of myth from having real interaction with us.

Saying it another way, the Bible sets out the historical credentials of the creation in valid historical terms (see also this post on time); if these terms are made rubbery, mythic, a-historical or otherwise non-real, in our current frame of reference, then the creation, God’s image making, the creation’s very-goodness, and the fall have no meaning because they are not referenced in our frame of action; this undermines salvation history at its heart and makes Christ’s sacrifice to be nonsense, with it resting on a salvation non-history, but just an arbitrary story which in fact tells us nothing about our creator.

On this last point I know that many commentators tell us that Genesis does not teach us details but that God was our creator. However, this irrationally misses the point. God teaches us that he is our creator by telling us what he did, not what he didn’t do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The breadth of Darwin

In the latest issue of "Look" the Art Gallery Society of NSW magazine, subtitled "A man who influenced the whole of western culture" I came across this quote:

Roger Fry, the great English art critic, is our best guide to the matter. He explained (in 1894) that modern art corresponds to a dsitinctively modern conception of "the world as process" -- because, post Darwin, "we have exchanged the static for the dynamic position...The species is not longer a fixed and unchangeable type, ethical codes are regarded as part of the varying modes of adaptation of the human species to varying conditions...

In 1867 the novelist Emile Zola began imagining complex family histories that weave throughout his 20-volume Rougon Macquart series, where heredity became a dramatic force determining the fate of his characters -- an early highly disconcerting application of "social Darwinism". A boyhood friend of Emile Zola and Paul Cezanne, Fortune Marion, was an eminent Darwinian; there were Darwinians who cropped up in the social circle of Karl Marx, there were Darwinians who influenced Nietzsche, Bergson and a myriad of others.

In his manifesto, Towards and Architcture (1923) Le Corbusier depended on the Darwinian paradigm of natural selection to explain how progress occured in the realm of architecture and design.

If you're interested, there's a lecture series on Darwin's influence coming up.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Voyage that Shook the World: Film Review

I had the opportunity last weekend to view the recently released film "The Voyage that Shook the World".

I understand it is being shown at selected film theatres, yet, it is a Creationist film, or should I say documentary, presenting a short history of Charles Darwin's influences, his observations of the world and his propositions on the origin of life.

This writer is a harsh critic of all things put on the big screen purporting to portray the reality of biblical events and persons so I would also judge harshly any Christian attempt to show the world the story of Charles Darwin and his propositions.

As a documentary it stands with the best I have seen. Cinematography is excellent. Portrayals of the boy and man Charles Darwin are as good as one could expect without having the most acclaimed of actors. Interviews of scientists both pro and anti evolution are well formatted to maintain a theme of influences leading to development of Darwin's paradigm of evolution by natural selection. Most striking are the now known errors of assumption made by Darwin in the formulation of his paradigm.

This was, no doubt, an expensive venture by the financial backers of the film to produce something with the quality to be screened in secular venues. The venture is a success as the film merits screening by fair minded operators of theatres, universities and schools around the globe.

Even the hardest hearted critics of Young Earth Creationism should see the film to see how well armed their adversary is in the battle for truth.

I thoroughly recommend the film/documentary "The Voyage that Shook the World". It is quality!