A Gift Like No Other

“A Gift Like No Other…”

One of my all time favorite scripture references is the account of creation; not because of the controversy between creation & evolution, although I will freely admit my bias as a biblical creationist, but because of the process of creation itself. Everything we know, see, smell, and touch is the result of God’s desire to spend time with us. Mortals, with free will to love our creator, or not; to listen to and learn from a being that can speak the very fabric of time into existence with a single word. I think for the most part humanity itself has little, or no, understanding of the scope and value in creation. In many ways our desire to be in control of all that is around us, to find a reasonable explanation for everything and anything, as long as it does not involve God, clouds our appreciation for the immeasurable complexity of even the simplest thing.

Within this brief history of humanities beginning is a line that is almost always looked over, or just plain ignored, is the differences in the creation of man and woman. I’m not going to be exhaustive here, but I would like to point out a few things and leave you to find the appropriate level of appreciation for you.

Let’s start with Genesis 2:7, “7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being.”(NABS)

Mankind, in our limited existence, is a three part being: Body, Spirit, Soul. Our bodies, like all of creation, were formed from dirt, sustained by dirt, and in the end will return to dirt. So when God was forming the body of man, He was shaping the vessel that would connect us with the rest of creation. Then He breathed into us the breath of life, and we became a living being. This part is important because it highlights two things. First, that the life given to us is different from all the rest of creation. The rest of life on earth is relegated merely to biology. The life given to us goes beyond biology and into eternity. It is the living breath of God, a tiny piece of His eternal existence. A type of life that is incomprehensible on this side of eternity. Secondly, the life given to man at this moment was the life that was taken in the fall. Death was promised to Adam if he ate from the forbidden trees. We know they ate, and we know that God is not a liar. So, what happened, what died? In John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be “reborn” of the spirit in order to see the kingdom of heaven. Looking at both sides of this coin it should be easy to see that we must regain what was lost. The life we gain in Christ is due to the atonement of our sin, the renewal of the connection between man and God, between creation and creator. In the next few verses we see God extend His heart toward man in a truly amazing way.

“18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”(NASB)

This verse really has little to do with what I am talking about here, but I find it very funny. It’s as if God is looking down from heaven and all He has created, then He looks at the man and says to Himself, “I cannot leave this guy unsupervised.” Now, if that bothers any male egos out there I would like to apologize… I’m not going to, but you should at least know that the thought crossed my mind. The reason I am not going to is not because we are all a bunch of mindless cavemen, but because of what God does next, and guys you really need to pay attention to this part in Genesis 2:21-22, “21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
22 The Lord God fashioned the woman from the rib which He had taken from the man, and then brought her to the man.”(NASB)

Here is the line that we all to often overlook: “The Lord fashioned the woman from the rib…” Did you see it, or are you scratching your head wondering what I’m all worked up for? Let me point it out in another way. Where did all the rest of life come from… DIRT!!! Where did woman come from… Life!!! Of all the life on the planet, women are the only ones not made from dirt. Guys, God did not want us to be alone so He gave us a gift unlike anything else on the planet, unique in every way. The translation of “formed” when it comes to woman means sculpted, compared to the formation of men which is basically translated “pressed.” For generations, women have been given second place in the life of the church because a man decided that, “women submit yourselves to your own husband” should apply to all women and all men, married or not, and society has gone along with it. The truth is that God created us to be equals in life, but with defined roles in family. I think that if we, and by that I mean men, want to really appreciate the incomprehensible complexity of our mortality just a little bit better than we do now, then we need to stop trying to control everything around us and appreciate, in the highest way possible,the gift of Woman. You might just find out that God knew what He was doing. More on this later.

Pastor George, 3-1-16


Random, Chemical… Music?

Random, Chemical… Music?

Some of the simplest, and most common, activities that we enjoy on a daily basis are actually some of the most complicated, mysterious, and unexplainable processes that man has ever tried to figure out. For example, why do we like music? As silly as that question may sound it deserves a moment to consider all that is involved in answering it, but let me ask it in a slightly different way. If we are all just the product of random, directionless, chemical interactions resulting in complex, meaningless, purposeless, and ultimately doomed biology, how can we trust our own opinions on what is good or bad music. After all, music is not just a pleasing sound or a well arranged set of lyrics. Music is highly subjective and varies greatly in style. One kind of music can be deeply, and intensely, emotional to the listener as well as the performer, and to another it is akin to finger nails on a chalkboard.

 If our mental processes are nothing more than chemistry, which I do not believe, than at a fundamental level we should all agree on what is good, and what is bad music, but we don’t. Music is as diverse as the human population, and it changes dramatically within every new generation. So how is it that today I can sit and loose myself in the subtile notes of a skilled pianist, yet later on I might be motivated by the moving tones of an electric guitar? Why is it that some music, even without words, can pull deep emotion out of my heart and bring me to tears, and another fills me with enough confidence to take on the world? How does a simple melody take a, mind troubled by the challenges of everyday life, to a place of rest and peace; while another person may describe the same music as so annoying that they can’t sleep?

I can remember walking through my old college dorm listening to the different music people were studying to. In one room you would hear the carefully composed sounds of Beethoven, and in another AC/DC being played at a decibel level guaranteed to keep the hearing aid business stable for generations to come.

I have always enjoyed listening to music, and music of all sorts of genres. Well, except opera… I have no idea how that qualifies as music. However, it wasn’t until I began to play the guitar that I began to appreciate the other side of music, the creative side. It is one thing to appreciate good music, it is another to make good music. As a musician I understand that, to the artist, music is more than just the result of arranging notes. It is expressive, and usually at a deeply personal level. In todays world music has become a billion dollar industry that cranks out songs at a dizzying rate. I’m not talking about that kind of music, if you can even call most of that music. I’m talking about music that grabs you and stirs your soul from the very first note. The kind of music that takes you to places in your mind, and can calm the storms in your soul. That kind of music is not the result of a random, directionless, process. It is the result of the creative spirit that has been placed each of us. Music is never the result of simply arranging all of the right notes, in the right order. Those notes have to be played and expressed through the hands and heart of a passionate musician. They have to come out with feeling, emotion, and skill. Over the years I have known many technically skilled players that have come to this unfortunate understanding. Although their playing may be precise, it lacks the ability to connect with the listener. The notes are there, maybe even in the right places, but there is no heart, no passion, no soul.

Music may exist in the material world, but it is fundamentally immaterial. Yet, the artist must express it through a material processes. There are three, basic, types of musicians that I have encountered in my life. First, there are those who have all of the heart and passion needed to create music that can inspire an entire generation, yet lack the understanding of the material processes needed to bring what is inside them out. Theses people are usually very frustrated, and often do not know why. Secondly are those with all of the material understanding of sound, tone, and lyric that anyone could ask for, but none of the heart and passion needed to guide their technical skill. These people are often successful to a point, but rarely move beyond a limited influence. Then there is the third and most rare. This is the person who’s music not only connects with passion, and emotion, they also have the understanding of the processes needed to take their songs from the immaterial world of the heart, to the material world of the ear. These people don’t just hear a beat in their head, they listen for ways to make that beat happen. They wake up singing, and spend the day unconsciously tapping out rhythms with their hands, and working out ways to make those sounds available to others. I am not one of those people… if you are, you should know that the rest of us hate you…;0)

How is it possible that we could allow ourselves to believe, even for a second, that music could be the product of chemistry? How does passion, emotion, and heart become not only understandable but desirable to a bag of rearranged pond scum. For that matter how does a random chemical process allow rearranged pond scum to create something as amazing as music? The truth is that humanity goes beyond biology, it goes beyond chemistry, and beyond the limits of imagination. Humanity strives for creativity and beauty because we are the creation of the One who embodies the fullness of them both, praise His Holy name.



Why Does A Literal Genesis Matter?

     Well, finally after a long break I have decided to get my act together and start writing again. Over the last year I have been, to say the least, a little distracted. It’s good to get back to the task of getting the “word” out.  If you are new to my blog I would offer a few thoughts that may help you better understand who I am and the presuppositional approach I take to my writing. Almost all of my writing is directed to one topic: The Authority of scripture. Now, if you were to ask someone more familiar with my writing they may answer the question “what does he writ about” a little differently than I would. I am pretty sure they would say “mostly about creation & evolution”. In a sense that would be an accurate statement, however, it would also be incomplete. Although a large amount of the content is directed at that topic, the purpose is not to spend time arguing about the interpretation of scientific principles that the majority of people, especially in the church, simply do not understand. Instead, it focuses on areas of science that the humanist, and atheist communities have, basically, hidden from the public eye in order to promote their own religious ideology, and yes I am referring to atheism and humanism as religions, because that is exactly what they are.
 
     There are three basic questions that, if answered, move a belief system into the realm of a religion. The first is “where did we come from?” Atheists and humanists try to answer that question through strictly natural processes. Any attempt to invoke a supernatural force, in any way, is a bridge to far, and totally unacceptable. Today the crux of this process is Darwinian Evolution, in one form or another. That is not meant to be a slam to the evolutionary worldview, it is just an observation that evolution has a number of competing theories and processes that attempt to explain the origin of life, and often they do not agree with one another. On a side note, many of these evolutionary theories purposefully avoid the concept of life’s origin. Instead they try to explain the idea of life’s common ancestry through a long slow process of randomly accumulated genetic information. A process that has never been observed,  and that flies in the face of operational science. The problem, is that you cannot presume to answer the questions of life’s ongoing process without first answering the question of life beginning. The two concepts are inseparable. It would be comparable to discussing the growth process of a plant that has never been seen without first discussing the seed that produces the plant.
 
     The second question that moves a belief system in to the realm of religion is “how is life to be lived?” In short, are there any rules? It is basic human nature to resist being controlled, and the idea of an all powerful God that we will answer to at the end of our life, for some, is the ultimate example of control. For the Christian this simple fact is not about control at all, it’s about understanding. I’ll explain more of what I mean about this in a later post. For the Atheist/Humanist there is only one path that is truthful and consistent. It is that life has no meaning, no value, and there are no rules other than the ones we choose to recognize. More on this later, but for now consider this: can a life that started through random chemical processes truly have value, or purpose? The answer is a terrifying, NO! Yet, life does have value, and purpose. Even the most ardent Atheist, when informed of a terminal illness effecting themselves, or their children, begins to understand the value of a single life.  If an Atheist was going to be consistent in their belief system they would come to the understanding that if they, or their child, are nothing more than a  complicated bag of chemicals, and that bag of chemicals was flawed, then it must be removed and not allowed to negatively effect the other, properly functioning, complicated bags of chemicals. Yet, that is not what happens. They fight the disease with everything they can, they hope, and yes, they even pray… because, hey, it can’t hurt. I asked a young atheist once if Hitler was crazy? His response was a rapid and emphatic YES! I then asked if Hitlers actions were consistent with a truly Darwinian approach to the value of life. His response was a quick attempt to speak, followed by a flash of understanding, then a sinking silence. The truth is that Hitler was not insane, he was simply consistent in his evolutionary beliefs, and allowed them to direct his actions. Please understand that I am in no way defending him, or those who carried out his murderous orders. Nonetheless, this is the logical outcome of consistent evolutionary beliefs. Check out this article on a student who gunned down his teacher, then used evolution to justify his actions. http://creation.com/will-cornick-murders-teacher 
   
     The third and last question that moves a belief system to a religion is “what happens to us when we die?” Now, atheists hate the idea that their belief system could be considered anything other than “reason”, and they will never agree with describing their commitment to belief in un-beliefe as a religion. Well, to be plain… thats just to bad for them! When you choose to not only try to answer the complex questions of existence, life, and death, but you also launch a global campaign against other belief systems, mainly Christianity, claiming that “only you have the truth” and “they are wrong”, than guess what, you are a religious movement trying to find followers. The thing that just blow me away is the number of people willing to buy the atheist doctrine, without question. Especially in light of their views on the “end of life”: “when its over, its over” / “there is nothing waiting for you but darkness and fear”… Umm, sure, sign me up… or not.  Wait… seriously… thats more compelling than eternity in a place of light, peace and plenty? Oh, but wait a minute… that eternal life thing, it has a price… and that price begins with obedience to an all powerful, creator God… that has rules… 
 
I hope that help you as we move forward, and I hope you stick around. If you have a specific topic, or question that you would like me to cover just enter it into the comments section and I will do the best I can. Just an FYI: the comments are screened before they can be viewed publicly. I do not sensor opposing views, but I will sensor people who are just out to argue. 
 
 Next post we will begin talking about the foundational problems with an allegorical/metaphorical Genesis.