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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Days Three, Four, and Five

Genesis 1:11 records the appearance of vegetation on the earth with seed bearing plants.  If not earlier, at least by this time the Evolutionists are raging.  Biology does not agree with the Bible record about the steps in creation, but the Bible does not claim to be a scientific book.  God's aim in inspiring the Bible to be written is different from the Evolutionists' theories and proofs.  We should not confuse the two.

From the standpoint of what was necessary for man to understand about creation and life, seed bearing plants and trees were primary. This was the beginning of agriculture.  This was the third day.

On day four, God separated the night from the day and set the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night.  God blessed the sequences of days and instituted seasons and time became a factor in how mankind would experience the world.  Stars were to be a part man's experience and they would help count the seasons.

Day five records creation of the life in the sea and the life that flies in the air.  Biology says that life originated in the sea beginning with one-celled animals including amoeba and algae.  The Bible looks at the larger creatures and those that are recognizable by man first and leaves the smaller forms for the invention of the microscope.

Let me emphasize once more the spiritual nature of the Bible--it does not argue about how God created or what the steps were.  The Bible just says that what we see in the natural world came about by God's choice and design.  It is no offense to God to examine his creation or even to postulate how he did it. I believe we commit a grave error when we do not recognize his action and command of natural events.
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Second Day

Impact of water in a water-surface
Impact of water in a water-surface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is is strange that God found the water already on the earth?  He didn't say, "Let the water be."  He saw where it was and chose a separation of the water that was on the earth from the water that floated in the clouds.  The Jewish Bible says that God created a "dome" to separate the waters.  The King James Version says he created a "firmament," and the NIV says he created a vault that he called "sky."  

The Biblical record does not go into the combination of hydrogen and oxygen or even emphasize the necessity of water for the survival of life, but it is careful to make the distinction of dry land and sea.  The necessity of water is assumed.  It was important to God's plan than the water be separated and have a location where it formed its own identity in the sea or in the sky.  Again, the Bible does not distinguish rivers, lakes, vapor.  They each have a function and they are different.  God saw the separation of the water from the land as beneficial to his creation and he called it good. This was not completed on the Second Day.  All the creative acts have attendant consequences that continue to the next marker so that the creation is dependent on and results in another phase, another link in the chain of events.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let There Be Light

Most of the Bible translations I consulted record these words in Genesis 1:3:  Let there be light.  The Vulgate is less descriptive:  dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux.  I translate it like this: "And God said, 'Light, be, and light was.'"  It could be translated "Light exist" or "Light, become."  It's like God addressed Light and called him to stand up and be counted.

Light came before the Sun was created.  Perhaps light came from the mere presence of God.  We are told that outer space is dark and light is only present when there is a sun or star to provide it.  In the initiating stages of God's creation, we have no independent observers.  The Word of God only gives us this introduction to creation.  We have no science or wisdom beyond to explain or elaborate.  Here we begin in faith to see God's creation.  There is nothing before this to guide or educate.  

God was before the beginning and He called the light to shine for us.  God created by his Word.  God said, and it was so.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In the Beginning

Genesis 1 is the story of creation.  I researched several Bible translations and paraphrases to find the meaning of Genesis 1:1.  Most of them say:  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  There are a few exceptions:  The Message says "First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see," and the Wycliffe says  "In the beginning God made of nought heaven and earth." 

The arresting and momentous opening of Genesis proclaims God's sovereignty and eternal existence.  There is a quality of peace in the simple proclamation.  Whatever else happened at that time, God was there, and he was always there before there was even a beginning. 

And the the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.(NIV)  Even in the dark and empty void, God was there with purpose and intent.  His Spirit hovered, waiting, creating, planning.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stand Firm and Hold On

English: Grazing near Stottesdon, Shropshire A...
English: Grazing near Stottesdon, Shropshire A public footpath runs along the other side of the hedge and oak trees. Park Wood can be seen on the sky line past the big oak tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1 Thessalonians 3:8 Paul says this: 7Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

Paul was in Athens after he left Thessalonica because of the mob violence, and he longed to hear from the church there.  So he sent Timothy back to check on them and encourage them.  They were new to the faith and he feared they might fall back to the idols they had worshiped before.  

Timothy returned with a wonderful report of their faith.  He used the words standing firm to describe their position.  He doesn't say they are progressive or modern or updated.  It sounds like an old fashioned position--standing firm.  Paul had planted this church on good ground and their roots had gone deep.  He could rejoice that they were still standing firm. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 he gives them this command again with another injunction:  Stand firm and hold fast.  He expected them to hold fast to the teachings he had delivered to them on his previous visit.  Once they got hold of the truth of the Lord's deliverance, they had to hold on to it.  They could not be deceived by those who would mix their faith with other tales or superstitions or traditions.  They were rooted in good ground and the basis of their faith was unshakable.  They must stand fast and hold on to those truths without regard to the new stuff that flooded around them.  

New thoughts and ideas and philosophies are everywhere, and many of them are appealing or interesting.  But they don't do justice to the old standards of truth and righteousness and salvation that come with the foundation on which we stand firm holding on to Christ Jesus.
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Monday, June 4, 2012

Paul in Thessalonica

Paul preached and taught in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.  Thessalonia is in Macedonia. He followed his normal custom which was to begin in the Synagogue, and he explain how the life and death of Jesus fulfilled the prophesies concerning the Messiah.  He found some willing listeners there; then he preached also to the pagans who worshiped idols. Again, he found many willing listeners, but eventually the trouble makers, jealous Jews and ruffians,  drug some of the new believer into the street and beat them including Jason, the man who had provided a place for Paul's party to stay.

It seems that Paul was most happy and secure in explaining to Jews that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Jewish scriptures that prophesied the Messiah.  Paul was a Jew and  Pharisee so he was knowledgeable and cognizant of the Jewish dedication to the scriptures.  For him it was a natural progression, but he did not neglect the pagans who had no such history and tradition.  Some of the troublemakers who followed Paul were Jews who insisted that they must become a Jew and obey the Jewish laws and be circumcised to be accepted as Christians.  Paul stood fast on the Christian doctrine that it was the blood of Jesus that saved men from sin, not the Jewish law nor the character of their work.
Remains of the ancient marketplace in Thessalonica

In addition to his knowledge of the Jewish scriptures, Paul was also a skilled rhetorician and skillful in explaining and presenting the Gospel.  He seemed to be the lightning rod that attracted the attacks of the troublemakers.Eventually the difficulties became so intense that Paul left and went to Athens, leaving Timothy in Thessalonica to support and encourage the new believers.  Paul had success there, and there was a growing and vibrant body of believers developing.  He loved them and he did not want to leave them without a leader.   Timothy went to Athens to share the news of their growth with Paul.  Paul wrote the first letter to the Thessalonians and sent it by Timothy on his return.  It is full of expressions of love and encouragement.  He used metaphors that revealed how tender and caring he was toward them.  

Read the story of Paul in Thessalonica in Acts 17 and 1 and 2 Thessalonians
The modern city of Thessalonica is thriving and vital with many Christian  Churches.

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