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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths

I had two rather interesting tales passed to me the other day. The concluding remark in one of these, if it weren’t true, might have quite easily served as a joke’s entertaining punchline. It concerned Moore College and its final spiritual and philosophical decrepitude. From without, and put simply, it clearly tips Moore over to the liberal side of the theological divide. More of both these stories later, but first a revisit to ancient Israel.

‘Thus says the LORD:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths,
where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

“And they have caused themselves to
stumble in their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in pathways
And not on a highway.”
(Jeremiah 6:16;18:15)

From the present’s obvious vantage point of being able to peer backwards to the distant past, I’ve often wondered why Israel found it so difficult to appropriately respond to God. Israel did believe in a “God”, of sorts. They understood that the world was created. The people understood that it wasn’t eternal or that it hadn’t just popped into existence from and because of nothing. That much is clear. But why did Israel, time and time again, take the wrong paths?

“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us’?
Look, the false pen of the scribe
Certainly works falsehood.”
(Jeremiah 8:8)

The prophets, repeatedly, spelled out the solution. It was clearly a product of leadership and these “God-appointed” men giving the wrong information. This specious knowledge didn’t suddenly appear one day, causeless, whole, a take-it-or-leave-it package, but incrementally worked its way into the general consciousness of the people through, and what was generally regarded as innocuous, alterations in revelation. I can almost hear the priests discussing it to the lay person: “Look, trust us. Aren’t we Kohenim, God’s elect. What’s it matter if you believe this? After all, isn’t the main focus of our nation to be on the fact that Moses rescued us from the yoke of the Egyptians? As long as you believe that God saved us, then the rest is secondary. Be reassured that the writers of sacred Scripture never meant that it should be taken so dogmatically as you suggest it should. A little bit of give between the text and reader is to be expected in our enlightened age. I wouldn’t have spent all those years studying at Jerusalem to be wrong on this.” Yes, I can very well imagine such self-serving justification.

Their fundamental error was to replace God and His revelation with themselves as the epistemological nub of their spirituality:

“For my people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns – broken
cisterns that can hold no water.”
(Jeremiah 2:13)

Once you substitute God as foundational for knowledge, anything and everything is up for grabs. We should be entirely faithful to God when His Spirit has spoken and we should intellectually honestly deal with that information. Too often people obstinately ignore God’s revelation and turn to another in order to form their understanding of the world.

“Why then has this people slidden back,
Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding?
They hold fast to deceit,
They refuse to return.
I listened and heard,
But they do not speak aright.
No man repented of his wickedness,
Saying, ‘What have I done?’
Everyone turned to his own course,
As the horse rushes into the battle.”
(Jeremiah 8:5,6)

The other morning an acquaintance visited a local Anglican church. The minister and he had previously spoken by phone about Disconnect ’09 and conversation had immediately turned to the great miracle of creation. Some time later he had walked into the church to pass on an article about the genre of Genesis 1. The minister wasn’t there but his assistant was. Again, rather quickly, they began discussing Genesis 1. My friend pointed out to the young and recently graduated Moorite that he had misidentified historical prose as ahistorical poetry. The young man believed, among other things, that if a piece of writing contains repetition then necessarily it can’t be historical narrative. It was pointed out that on the contrary there is plenty of well-known ancient “secular” historiography containing this literary device. His reply was perhaps the most astounding my friend, or indeed I, have ever heard from a Moorite: “You are arrogant because you ignore the findings of postmodernism’s critique of modernism.”

There you have it: the words of wisdom from 4 years of what I can only label ‘brainwashing’ from an institution that is supposedly serving as Australia’s theological flagship. That this represents the zenith of critical thinking is hardly reassuring. Apparently, the best they can offer is to argue that my friend should throw away his personal relationship with God, in which he attentively allows God, the author of Scripture, to speak to his mind, and instead substitute his own intellect to be the basis for and interpreter of truth. The postmodern project says that the author is dead, allowing the reader to puts his meaning - or any other sinner’s or fool’s for that matter - into the text because the author can no longer speak.

And this is why these Moore graduates can look you in the face and tell you that 6 days does not mean 6 days because God’s intended meaning, if indeed He ever had one, has a shelf-life that has long expired. God, in as much as He is the author of His Word, is silent. If He is silent, then it follows that it is up to us to “discover” what happened at the very beginning.

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose mind departs from the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 17:5)

What in fact is happening is that these people are replacing God at the epistemological centre of the search for truth with an ersatz, with an idol of the mind. These people – and first-hand experience bears this out - are no longer approachable by reason because they have forsaken reason and committed adultery with another nation’s gods. Gods do not have to be a physical representation but are more likely to be, and considerably more harmful if they are, the way we think and whom we intellectually rely on.

“For it is the land of carved images,
And they are insane with their idols.”
(Jeremiah 50:38)

The other story occurred at a University of NSW New College function. The speaker, a neo-natal expert from Britain and ostensibly a conservative, presented a lecture on ethics, abortion and biogenetic manipulation. In conversation afterwards he explained how he had complete faith in the scientific project, God’s revelation wasn’t perspicuous and that he was free to hold to a long age view of origins. It was pointed out to him that all of the miracles of the Bible were done in no time and perfectly, yet the biggest miracle, creation, according to his own view, was exceedingly slow and error-ridden. Ignoring all reason that instantaneity and perfection are how our minds recognise God’s miraculous working in nature, he shrugged his shoulders, smiled politely, and excused himself.

Clearly, all his mind’s thoughts had not been made captive to Christ and is a perfect example of a Christian’s outlook being directed by a foreign idol, in this case, the secular Enlightenment project. This philosophical approach splits up the things of faith and the things of science, thereby, in the case of the latter, promoting an independent, God-free epistemology in which the Lord is not all in all.

In August’s Southern Cross Moore College’s principal John Woodhouse makes an extraordinary sales pitch for the college. His first supporting argument is the “godliness” of its teachers. Until I read John’s comments I’d never realised in my nearly 30 years of being Christian that it was another man’s “godliness” that we are to set our sights upon, particularly upon those same men, whom John held up as paradigms of virtue, who would also read John’s article. I’d always thought that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” and that it was Christ’s holiness that we are to be subject to. Maybe I’ve missed something from these teachers of God’s law.

But even more alarming (is that possible?!) is John’s outrageous hypocrisy. Quite incredibly he delusionally argues that Moore has a “worldwide reputation for teaching how the whole Bible and all of its parts bear witness to Christ.” John’s italics here serve as a comedic self-parody. If John actually believed that, he would understand the Gospel and Christ’s first office of Creator; but he doesn’t. Christ clearly tells us in Exodus 31 that He “made the heavens and the earth in 6 days”, and John just doesn’t believe this. John believes that the world is old, very old, and that, quite obviously, Jesus didn’t really mean this when he said this 3,500 years ago to Moses. No, despite the disciple John’s and the apostle Paul’s unequivocal statements that in Christ “all things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made”, despite Christ Himself revealing exactly how long he took to bring the earth into existence, the principal of Moore College, on the contrary, believes that this is just not true. John’s training is in geology and I can only guess that that is where he finds his “intellectual” crutch in order to theologically reinterpret Jesus’ own words to Moses.

I shouldn’t be too severe on John. He does manage, however, to take Jesus’ words seriously, somewhat. At the end of his emphatic statement that the whole Bible serves to witness to Christ, he inserts the textual support for this claim. Bizarrely it’s John 5:39, augmented with an even more emphatic exclamation mark. This verse, as you recall, is Jesus’ own supporting argument to His claim He is from God, namely, that the Old Testament does indeed testify to this. But what is conveniently, and ironically, missing from John Woodhouse’s argument is that Jesus goes on to claim that it was Moses who wrote about Him. Furthermore, Jesus claims that if you don’t believe Moses’ words about Jesus, you won’t believe Jesus’ words about Himself. So, Moses said, after speaking with, in all likelihood, the Creator Jesus, that Jesus took 6 days to create the earth. Moore College argues that this is not what Moses meant. It then goes out into the world (weren’t they spotted standing almost inside St Andrew’s the other week trying to “evangelise”?) and argues with non-believers that it doesn’t really matter what you believe about Moses’ meaning here because you should just believe Jesus died for you.

It’s a very simple formula Jesus put forward: If you don’t believe Moses, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to believe that Jesus said, and meant, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Teach people a pagan, atheistic philosophy that God incomprehensibly used chance, death and time to create, and then expect them to believe that out of His complete love for us, He died for us, they’ll think you’re fools. And rightly so!

God’s judgement is now upon the Sydney Anglican Diocese. Not only has its leaders committed adultery, but it even has allowed itself to follow the vilest principles of secularism by borrowing money to play the stock exchange. It has lost millions. But it doesn’t end there. Taking its lead from the cold brutality of the corporate business world, it sacks people while its clergy continue on the same salary. Yet it expects to “Connect” with the lost!

“This says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on this city and on all her towns all the doom that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks that they might not hear my words.” (Jeremiah 19:15)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whom to believe: Man or God?

An interesting article here, concerns recent genetic analysis of humans, other primates and mice.

One section on one gene serves as a marker to distinguish between our capacity for speech and these other animals’ inability. The discovery of DNA in Neanderthal remains has also been analysed for this gene and marker. Unsurprising for creationists was that Neanderthal has exactly the same genetic information as modern humans. This means that this “ancient” people were fully human and could speak.

Evolutionists have long fed us the unscientific fairytale that Neanderthals were hairy grunters. We now know that they buried their dead, performed surgery, of sorts, and had a bigger brain capacity than ours.

The Sydney Anglican heretics prop up their wayward, jejune theology with the pseudo-science of old-age, evolutionary materialism. This pagan myth stands in stark contrast to real science and the Bible which say, among other things, that Neanderthal “were” fully human.

These heretical Anglicans prefer to listen to the babblings of atheists than God, even allowing this heathen theory of origins to interpret God’s revelation. What sort of faith is this?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 18 interpretation

8. Mode of Interpretation

There are several modes of interpretation current in our day that deserve to be stigmatized as inadequate and unsatisfactory. Some still prefer to allegorize portions of Scripture rejecting the literal sense and seeking a hidden spiritual meaning, although hardly any would venture to follow this procedure exclusively and consistently. In rejecting this type of interpretation we do not question the validity of the interpretation that sees types of Christ in outstanding Old Testament characters especially where the New Testament suggests such a use. Much more common in our day is the fault of attempting to press Old Testament Scriptures down to the level of the sacred writings of the heathen, making them to be works patterned particularly after Babylonian source material.

This type of interpretation includes what for want of a better name must be described as "debunking"--interpretation that speaks irreverently of venerable Old Testament characters, imputes the lowest possible motives to them, and so utterly fails to understand their oft times great and heroic faith. This approach often attempts nothing less than to discredit these sacred Scriptures as unworthy of use by the New Testament church--an approach common in Germany at the present. Of course, there still is need of reminding that sound interpretation dare not disregard the difference between the Old and New Testament levels of revelation.

Good exegetes, even up to the Reformation age, failed to reckon with the fact that the unchanging truth was revealed with ever increasing clearness and fulness, a revelation culminating in Christ Jesus. The fuller revelation of a later age was at times imputed to an earlier word that did not as yet embody the fuller expression. Of course, we do not for a moment imply any such thing as man's progressive achievement. Our principle of interpretation is to unfold the fulness of revealed truth by careful examination of the grammatical statement as well as of the historical circumstances of the inspired text in dependence upon the Spirit of revelation, who alone is able to lead us into all truth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Evolution of a Creationist

Slip over to Stand Firm for this blog on creation(ism). We rate a mention, which is nice.

Just by the by, for an issue that is a 'side issue' as the SADists claim, it reliably attracts vast amounts of conversation both in Christian and non-christian circles...seems to be a little more interesting than the ACL's meetings! Yet the SAD blithly slips away from this ground of Biblical faith and Paul's proclamatory examples!

BTW, one of the commenters on Stand Firm got a little excited that we'd chosen the term 'heresy'.

Here's a dictionary definition of the word: "opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine"

Nothing to get steamed about, just a statement of fact; the SAD as we've criticised it is at variance with the historical acceptance in the church (and the Bible, I might add) that the doctrine of creation is established by Genesis 1, and not Genesis 1 plus materialism. The Archbishop has done nothing to repudiate his view that theistic evolution is satisfactory. Ipso facto...heresy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Darwinists' dance in a circle

Slip over to Uncommon Descent for this post on the illogic of darwinian argument (clearly it is as yet insufficiently evolved!).

And while I'm linking around the shop, Denyse O'Leary has a piece on the conflict between science and fraud. On Haeckel, of course, but oh, so many still think he had something to say that was worth attending to.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The important thing is...

I put this post up on a Neil’s blog 'code red' of a few days ago.

...if they reject the only text that teaches God's creating, then they are hard pressed to maintain that he did.

A friend of mine (a minister) was bemoaning the fact the other day that he could talk to people about atonement, Christ etc. and they just 'glazed over', didn't seem to 'get' it. Well, I think it may be that if people are hearing about Christ with a world view that puts God within the creation (the 'evolved universe'), then of course, they'd have trouble understanding an act that only makes sense if the creator does it, and does it in the stream of salvation history grounded in the universe's creation history. The two are intertwined and inseparable...unless you are a Greek in philosophy while trying to be a Christian in theology!

It is intriguing that our SAD friends can separate God doing something from his account of the actions that show the doing.

That is, I’ve often heard the phrase ‘the important thing is that God is creator’ as John quoted, from the same person who denies that there is any objective content in the Genesis 1 account that aligns with real world events.

They’ve missed the point of the account, I think!

It’s like looking at your bank statement and thinking that the important thing is that you have a bank account, and not the amount of money it contains!

The details do matter!

The creation account in Genesis 1 is God’s demonstration of his being creator and of what his creation is. It shows how God has made the setting for his relationship with us: both generative and covenantal, and links those relationships with the concrete reality of our daily lives, delimited by the real creation that we are in and is from God’s hands.

If we deny that God’s demonstration of his creating is true, then we have no knowledge of God’s being creator apart from words that have a tenuous if any link with the subject of the purported creative activity. The direct link between God’s being creator and his creation is broken, and we have to say that the creation has its source, not in God’s word as he has demonstrated to us, but in some other source. The only other sources offered in our time are that the creation itself has brought itself forth: that’s the detail of the contemporary cosmogony (and biotic evolution), which must inform the general understanding of the origin of the cosmos and life.

God informs this knowledge by a completely alternative source: himself through his word. There are no secondary intervening mechanics or principles that apply to bring forth the world as we know it. This is the point of such references as John 1:3, Col 1:16 and Hebrews 11:3. The creation is intimately and directly linked to God, it is not removed from God by some secondary operation whose effect is to mask God’s role in creation and make the creation appear to stand alone without need of a creator. And this is precisely what modern paganism has: writers from Huxley at Darwin’s time to Dawkins in our own attest to the conception that if the Genesis account is counterfactual, then the cosmos stands on its own feet and there is no need for a creator.

All this leaves us with is a Genesis account that is a folorn mistake and doesn’t represent God’s action as creator, but is just like the pagan tales of creation, where story is substituted for fact, and the real world is something different from the account, but is unknown to the authors, who must invent from their imagination, rather than report what actually occurred.

Not only does this program deny that God has demonstrated that he is creator, but it says that reality: the setting for our encounter with God both in filial love and covenant is not what God has said, and that the marks of purpose in creation are the result not of purpose (because material contains no purpose), but of accident; this reality is not pregnant with intention, will and love, underpinned by purposeful intelligence (and that is God’s demonstration in Genesis 1, etc.), but is a sequence of cosmic accidents that do not and cannot point to God, that even God himself is unclear about and cannot marshal to his covenant with his creatures.

If this is the case, then the game is up!

Thus, it is through the details that we can make sense of the generality that God created. His work actually means something as we have the detail that is tangibly descriptive of the creation and in terms that make sense to our experience of it. Without this, we’d be just like the pagans and only have fairy stories that are disconnected from the concrete world we inhabit and in which sin and salvation operate. To set this aside and maintain the claim that we still acknowledge God as creator is the height of irrationality because we’ve just dismissed the only underpinning information we have of his being creator.

In its details the creation account prevents us entertaining any mistakes about the creation; common mistakes that are entertained by theistic evolutionists and those who interpose long ages somewhere either in the Genesis account, or in the pre-abrahamic history.

These mistakes are such as thinking that the universe (the creation) contains within itself any means of bringing matter from nothing, or organisation from non-organisation; thinking that kinds of living beings can derive from each other, and do not come from the will of God, rendering God irrelevant to the witness to teleology contained within the creation. Matter contains no teleology!

There are more profound mistakes that the Genesis account prevents.

That more generally, anything in creation can have as its source anything but God and that explanations of origins can validly set God aside, dismiss him, and leave us without proper spiritual cause. This mistake reduces God from the involved, loving, personally committed one who creates for relationship, to the deist caricature, of a machine starter who walks away once the devise is puttering along in the distance. This is not the God of the Bible.

Further, this mistake breaks the continuity of objective relations across time (and the temporal congruence is that which brings our 'life stream' and the stream of salvation history, rooted in the creation, into a domain of interaction), and has to hope that there is something more to our world than is revealed by God. This pops up in the form of philosophical idealism, where a reality behind God is imagined and to which God conforms. The sponsor of this direction in thinking is paganism which starts from the basis of the universe being, at some level, a ‘given’. God is not the one who speaks into existence all that is (and lists the ‘how’ as evidence of all that is in Genesis 1, the heavenly world aside, of course), but the one who is himself dependent on something that pre-exists him.

The objective continuity of relations across time shows us that Christ, who is creator and redeemer and re-creator, has as his domain of work the very real world that we live in; and not some airy world of ideas that we do not in fact inhabit. It makes Christ’s work tangible and in the same ‘world frame’ as the one that circumscribes our way of being. His salvation and re-creation are therefore real; not visions or fictional, they are congruent with the lives that we lead in time and space and before God, not off in some otherly defined realm of being.

The details we have in Genesis one etch for us the limits of the material world, set its relationship with the immaterial or spiritual world of persons (God), and deny the independence of anything in the material creation. It is this last point that is particularly important, and one that is set aside by those who deny the account, noting that
-material needs external action to form life etc, it has no teleology, it relies on intentioned action to head to goals;
-nothing in creation is a given; it is all created;
-there is no room for other forces or factors which would have the effect of making the creation rest on something outside of God; this is the very thing that denial of the account permits; it undermines the dependence of the creation on its creator and looks in the creation for something that must be there to give effect what the creation is.

The argument between the Genesis account in all its detail and those who deny the facticity and significance of the detail is the argument between a framing of the world in Christian-theist terms and its counter framing in paganistic-deist terms. One extols Christ, the other denies him.

To maintain their view, that is, to run with their mistakes, theistic evolutionists and ‘long agers’ have to set aside the account in Genesis; with the result that the contradictions they would fall foul of are made to vanish: it’s a sure fire recipe; if you want to avoid being contradicted by the word of God, just redefine it so that it ceases to intersect with the real world. There’s no restraint on mistakes then and people can believe what they like, and end up doing so!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 17 outline

Introduction (1:1-2:3)

Introduction--the Creation Account. 1. The First History--that of Heaven and Earth (2:4-4:26).

1. Supplementary details of the Creation count (2:4-25).

2. The Temptation and the Fall (chapter 3).

3. The Early Development of the Sinful Human Race (chapter 4).

The History of Adam (5:1-6:8).
1. The Separate Development of the Godly (chapter 5).
2. The Commingling of the Two Races (6:1-8).

The History of Noah (6:9-9:29).
1. Noah's Piety (6:9-12).
2. How Noah was preserved (6:13-9:17).
3. The Future of the Races of Mankind Foretold (9:18-29).

The History of the Sons of Noah (10:1-21:9).
1. The Sons of Japheth (10:1-5).
2. The Sons of Ham (10:6-20).
3. The Sons of Shem (10:21-31).
4. The Tower of Babel, or The Confusion of Tongues (11:1-9).

History of Shem (11 :10-26).

The History of Terah (11:27-25:11).
1. The Life of Terah (11:27-32).

[for the rest see the file on