Monthly Archives: November 2013

Flood, Faith, and Russell Crowe

From Hurricane Katrina to SuperStorm Sandy to various massive typhoons across the world, the thought of a Great Flood triggers thoughts of complete destruction.  No greater event as described in the Bible confronts us with the terrifying power of nature than Noah’s Flood. Yet the central theme in the Noah story is not mindless natural forces, but rather the supreme Holy authority of a Merciful Creator God faced with human disobedience.

Even popular culture is fascinated with Noah and God’s Flood.  I do not know how good a film this will really be, but a new movie staring Russell Crowe due in 2014 promises to explore the theme using the latest computer generated imagery techniques:

Film director Darren Aronofsky tells that the story of Noah had captivated him ever since he was about thirteen years old. What do we make of the narrative about Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 that would inspire a movie like this?
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Symposium 2013 Roundup Week Three

Test everything. Hold on to the good.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV84)

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:2 (NIV84)

Among many other distinguishing characteristics, Christianity is all about the truth.  Christian believers do not have the burden of fideism, and can ask any question without fearing that their faith will be overturned by the answer.  In fact, the apostle Paul exhorted us to test everything.

Facts & Faith

We concluded our three-part Facts & Faith Symposium on Sunday night by showing and discussing Hugh Ross’ testimony in the Cosmic Fingerprints DVD, produced by Reasons To Believe.

We recorded the panel discussion and Q&A just as for Week Two, and here is the video:

[vimeo 80690471 w=490]

 

So What?

Why did we do this?  Doesn’t the topic of Creationism divide the church?  Was it worth it?   Continue reading


An Appearance of Age

Is God's Creation like a really good wine?

Is God’s Creation like a really good wine, “aged to perfection”, as they say?

I am pretty much a teetotaler, but my doctor has told me, off the record, that perhaps a glass of red wine per day would be a good thing. I have heart disease in my family, but I am such a lightweight that when it comes to alcohol, I still tend to shy away.

So if I was at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), I probably would have been just fine drinking some water. But a crisis arose at the celebration when the wine began to run short. The mother of Jesus came up to her son, wanting him to do something about it. The servants knew that there was only water in those jars, as per Jesus’ instructions. But the headwaiter soon noted to the groom that what he had tasted was the best wine of the entire evening! The servants, and soon everyone there, saw what had happened. It was indeed a miracle!

Did you know that the wedding at Cana has a lot to do with the controversy between Young and Old Earth Creationism? Read on and find out why…
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Imagination: ‘Jack’ Lewis

I was just a few months old when the death of President John F. Kennedy shook our nation 50 years ago. But everyone who knew of the Kennedy assassination at that time knows exactly where they were at the moment when they heard the news. Like 9/11 in our day, the story of the Kennedy tragedy shaped a generation. However, there was another cultural event on November 22, 1963 that was overshadowed by the Kennedy shooting:  the death of C. S. Lewis.

Clive Staples “Jack” Lewis: famous Christian of the 20th century, influential apologist, and still today a popular author of children’s fantasy… and yet, I often wonder how much the Christian church has truly been been shaped by the life and work of this Oxford don.

As my fellow Veracity blogger, John Paine, confesses, Lewis can sometimes be a little hard to get in sync with.  From another angle, I pretty much boycotted reading Lewis years ago precisely because he was so popular back then. Many evangelicals seem uncomfortable today about the legacy of this tobacco-smoking, British intellectual Anglican. But both John and I have now come to deeply appreciate Lewis more and more.

What does Lewis have to say?  If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be imagination.  It was a vision of a Biblically-informed imagination that brought this atheist to faith, a man filled with animosity towards his father, and who had a very odd, even scandalous relationship with a much older woman. Lewis endured the mindless insanity in the French trenches of World War I, but he rarely talked about it. Lewis, like any human that I know, had moral failures and terrible skeletons haunting him in his closet. But it was the creative energy of thinking about the love story of the Bible, God’s relentless pursuit of bringing a rebellious and alienated people into relationship with Himself, that broke through Lewis’ cynicism, despair, and denial.

We need more of C. S. Lewis’ vision of a Christian imagination today in Christ’s church.  Many Christians get so absorbed by the literal truth of the Scriptures that they forget about the revelatory power of the figurative, the transcendent beauty of a turn of a phrase, the deep wisdom of Biblical poetry, the whoop and wharf of story, and the subtle Truth of myth.

I think Lewis can still help us with that.

I have been listening to a wonderful and provocative audio book by Alister McGrath, C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet.  In promoting the book, McGrath gave a series of lectures, including the following sponsored by the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas in the spring of 2013.

May we as followers of Jesus be shaped by the imaginative vision of C. S. Lewis.  His friends knew him as “Jack”.


Leviathan

In the ancient Babylonia creation myth, Marduk defeats Tiamat, a sea monster.  For many years in the church, the fascination with sea monsters and spiritual symbols they represent have captivated the imagination of people who read about Leviathan in the Bible. But not everyone sees things that way.

In the ancient Babylonia creation myth, Marduk defeats Tiamat, a sea monster. For many years in the church, the fascination with sea monsters and the spiritual symbols they represent have captivated the imagination of people who read about Leviathan in the Bible. But not everyone sees things that way.

In this past week’s Symposium meeting, we received this one comment from a participant:

I suppose that the Leviathan creature described in Job might be difficult to explain with the Old Earth theory.

This raises a really good question, but probably more than what the comment necessarily indicates.    So, yes, who is this mysterious Leviathan creature as mentioned in Job 41? This comment surely has this question in mind, but consider this from a wider perspective: What are the concerns that Christians have when they read the Bible that inform how they interpret the Bible?

My Veracity blogging cohort in mischief and mutual lover of pepperoni pizza, John Paine, has an excellent response from an Old-Earth perspective that deserves bringing forward:

This is a pretty well-worn argument between Old-Earth and Young-Earth creationists. The idea is that if Leviathan and Behemoth refer to dinosaurs, then down goes the argument that there are no dinosaurs in the Bible, and then we can conclude that dinosaurs overlapped mankind’s existence on earth (which would support a Young-Earth view).

There are five verses in the Bible that refer to the Leviathan (according to the English Standard Version):

Job 3:8
Job 41:1
Psalm 74:14
Psalm 104:26
Isaiah 27:1

All of these texts could be consistently interpreted as Leviathan referring to a crocodile (and Behemoth referring to a hippopotamus).

Here’s the Old-Earth interpretation.

Thanks for the comment, and I hope this helps.

John sums it up well. But what do the other Creationist perspectives that we have briefly discussed at the Symposium have to say about Leviathan?
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