BSF Genesis: Week 8, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
a.
We must be transformed, born again, born of the spirit. We must accept the gift of salvation and accept Christ into our heart, to bring the spirit into us and make a mark of adoption.  We must reflect Christ’s glory and not our own.

b.
The image is of knowledge and attitude. Of faith. Putting on a new self – righteous and holy (like the creator) – i.e., image is not necessarily or limited to physical appearance.

9.
We are brothers (both of the same Father and sharing the same blood). We have the same desires to be transformed in righteousness and made holy. We both serve the same master. If our focus is on seeing this then we would see our sameness and unity, the other things would then fall out of focus and not be seen.

10.
To form a personal, close, relationship with Christ, held in His bosom. We reflect his glory and are transformed to His image in our thoughts, words, deeds, daily walk

11.
God’s promise are not paper promises, but are written into the very fabric of nature. God does not forget, but we need to be reminded.

My Daily Journal:

Two quick thoughts moved me in today’s study.  The first was in #10.  The image that came to my mind was of a parent or grandparent cradling and infant in their arms.  Although he passed away many years ago when my son was only 6 months old, I can still clearly see my father-in-law holding his grandson in his hands and making faces with him.  My son stared in fascination and attempted to model the face of his loving ancestor, to mirror his smile and the love in his eyes.  That is the same thought that comes to mind with this passage.  When we are veiled from the face of God, it is like a parent needing to wear a hospital mask.  That is not the parent’s desire or choice, but it is for the safety of the infant.  But when the veil is removed, then we can truly see and interact with the face of our ancestor.

Second was the rainbow.  Now, many people look at science and our understanding of how rainbows work and see this passage of the bible as a naive and superstitious interpretation of making something natural be divine.  But looking at that same point from the other side of that perspective makes perfect sense.  We put a lot of value into a signature written on paper.  Checks and contracts must be signed and that makes them binding.  When we discuss something as being absolute, we say it is written in stone.  But even things carved in stone can weather and fade and be erased.  But God chose to sign His covenant in the very fabric of nature itself into the interaction of the light and molecules that comprise the elements of that very promise.  In that light (no pun intended), it makes perfect sense that this is the only way that God would have placed His signature.  Can you think of a more perfect way of sealing the promise for all eternity and to all creatures of every generation?

BSF Genesis: Week 2, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
1st day: intrinsic light – light that will never end. 4th day: the vessels that deliver light to the earth: sun, moon and stars – Psalm 147:4, He knows the number of stars and calls them all by name

6. a. Separate day from night, signs to mark sacred times, give light on earth – Give testament to God’s glory (Ps 148:3)
b.

  • The size and majesty of God compared to man
  • Declare the glory of God
  • To tell the appointed seasons, the requirements of the Lord
  • Saw a star, come to worship the king of the Jews
  • Mark the end times, 1/3rd turn dark

7. a. He gathers the waters. He reveals it in the plants. He marks it from the sky: seasons, lights and patterns that sing His praise.

b.  In the areas that are out of balance. More time praying and trusting in Him and seeking His direction.  I would be far more efficient if I simply accepted His word as fact up-front rather than the circuitous route that I take to get back to it.

My Daily Journal:

I am delayed this week, in part because I spent too much time digging into the challenge question/discussion about Day 4 of creation.  This is such a stumbling block to so many and one I felt I needed to wrestle with to fully understand.

The quandary is that on the 4th day God creates the sun and moon and stars; after He creates the earth and even after He creates plant life.  Commonly accepted scientific theory/evidence is that the stars date back far before the earth and even far before our own sun.  Science says that the universe is vast and the earth is a relatively insignificant spec in the cosmos.  The bible account says the universe is vast, but it exists for the significant souls that God places on the earth.  But, how do we reconcile the timing.  Which came first, the stars or earth?  Which came first, the sun or the earth?  What do we do when the “scientific evidence” doesn’t match the biblical account?

Very noted biblical scholars take varies approaches in answering this question.  Some profess that what Genesis is really saying isn’t that God created the stars on the 4th day, but that there was a cloud or haze that blocked them from the earth (separated the waters below and above) so that their light only became visible on the earth on the 4th day.  Some profess that, because there isn’t clear distinction in the Hebrew words used between past and past perfect tense that it may be saying that God created them on day one but is just referencing them on Day 4.  Some argue that the days are not meant consecutively, but that they just reference distinct phases or periods of time and not necessarily order.

Could these be right?  I don’t know.  But I’m not comfortable with any of these approaches.  To me, they seem a little too loose in bending the words of the bible to match commonly held belief.  They seem a very slippery slope in flexible interpretation, one that naturally lends itself to a re-writing or at least a re-interpretation of any part of scripture that doesn’t match commonly held understandings.

I studied economics in college and my professors drilled into us that in any economic theory it is absolutely critical to always remember what the assumptions are that the theory is based upon.  I think the same applies to any scientific theory since all theories accept some things, whether stated or implied, as given assumptions.

In my understanding of current day scientific theory on the age of stars in comparison to the age of the earth or the sun, three of the key assumptions are:

  1. The “earth” was then (at formation) essentially what we define as the “earth” today (i.e., the third planet from the sun, similar in shape, mass, atmosphere, etc to what it is today)
  2. The stars, sun and moon were, at their formation, essentially the same as what we would define as stars, sun, moon today.
  3. We have sufficient information to reliably predict and test our assumptions.

Where I am going with this is that I believe we (mankind) draw boxes in our mind of how we understand things and then try to make God fit into those boxes.  For example, when Genesis 1 says the earth, is it talking about this ball of mass that we call home?  Yes, I believe it is.  Is it specifying that ball of mass has all of the exact properties that it does today?  Clearly not.  How could it if it was without form?  How could it if the sun and moon did not yet exist?  The same goes for assumption 2 in regard to the sun, moon and stars.

However, I think the most critical, and obviously most arrogant on the part of man, is the assumption that we have sufficient information to treat our theories as fact.  Within the past couple of decades science is just discovering that all of what we know, everything about matter and mass and energy that we understand across the universe, accounts for less than 4% of what is out there.  We are now finding that 96% of the universe is “other” (dark matter/dark energy) that we barely have any understanding of at all.  (see The 4% Universe by Richard Panek).

Call me whatever name you like, but I’m sticking with God’s account of creation as it is written.  I trust in God and I trust in His word.

By the way, if any others may be under the assumption that this is a new argument or that belief in the bible is “out-dated” based on our advanced scientific knowledge, it is important to observe this writing by Theophilus of Antioch in 181 A.D.

“On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it” (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).