Monday, January 28, 2008

Earth: Young or Old

You know there is a great deal of debate on how old the earth really is. The issue at hand for Christians and skeptics alike seems to be the "tension" between what science says the age of the Earth is and what the Bible says it is.

Let me throw my two cents into the pot just to keep things stirred up!

My first thought is this - We read in Gen. 1:1-2 the following:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

Now my first question is raise because of verse 2. Namely, how long was the earth in this condition before verse three?

Answer: We do not know. It could be billions of years for all we know. The point is the time that lapses durring verses 1 & 2 does not effect verses 3-31. Also we do not know how much time went by before the fall.

So there is one biblical explanation for an old earth/universe. But let me throw out another explanation that I am finding to be more probable.

What if God made the earth and, in fact, the whole universe fully mature? Here is what I mean.

For example, when God made man He made them fully grown people. He did not take an egg in one hand and a sperm in another and mash them together, holding them in His hands until 40 weeks had gone by, nurtured a child, help him grow from baby to boy and from boy to man. No, He created Adam (and Eve) already fully mature creatures, past puberty and capable of producing offspring right from the start. So, even though they had the appearance of, say, a 30 year old man and woman, they in fact were actually only 1 day old as far as actual time is concerned. The same is true of the vegetation, the birds of the air, beasts of the land and the creatures of the sea.

Does it not stand to reason that when God created everything else that he did so as a fully mature Earth ready and capable of handling what God was about to put on it? That the sun was made fully mature and ready to provide the life sustaining energy the Earth would need to sustain what God was going to put on it? That the Universe itself was made fully mature and ready to handle the earth that God made and put in it?

Here is my point: While science may in fact accurately observe an old Earth, it does so based upon appearance not actual time. Meaning - while the Earth may seem old given it's mature state, in fact only about 10,000 years of actual time has elapsed. Thus, when we do carbon dating and measure the universe in light years or whatever, what we are measuring is actually the 'maturity' of the universe and not the actual amount of 'time' that has lapsed.

If we think that time and maturity are the same then we are making a huge assumtion and run the possibility of misleading our selves into thinking that the earth and the universe took billions of years to get to the point it is at now. If your view is that the two are the same, I can understand the difficulty in reconciling science with scripture.

Just some food for thought when considering Earth: young or old.

Getting Inside My Head

To the right are the results of two tests that I took. They are to determine which theologian I most line up with. I was surprised by the results of this one. The second one shows the theological worldview I look at life from. The results for this did not surprise me.

Here are the links to these two sites if you too would like to take this test.

It looks like the percentages for my worldview got cut off when they posted in my blog.

They should read as follows 89% - 75% - 64% - 57% - 57% - 57% - 46% - 39% - 32%


Friday, January 18, 2008

The View From Back To Front

I am taking a church history class for my masters. We are getting into some events that have shaped the church into what it is today; namely Luther and the Reformation. I sit and read with awe at the Popes response to Luther's claims (his 95 points). Luther was labeled a heretic by the church simply because he went against the established church tradition. when asked to recant his statements, salvation by faith alone being one of them, Luther replied simply by asking the pope and church authorities to show him his error biblically. If there was no biblical proof for his error then he was not going to recant.

I understand where the church was coming from though...and it is a warning to us all. The church had become an elite group with power over the masses. There influence and power was something they held on to tightly. It was also absolute. In this the church became corrupt selling indulgences; a practice Luther adamantly opposed. Luther challenged not only the power of the church but the relevance of the established hierarchy itself. Like the Pharisees before them, the bishops and the Pope resisted with all their might. They refused to return to the scriptures to refute Luther's claims and consequently split the church in two.

What a lesson for us today. It is important to know why we believe what we believe, why we do what we do. It is also important that these beliefs and practices are supported by Scripture. Above all else, the lesson I take away from this is that it is better to admit error and walk away having embraced the truth than to win an argument in stubborn denial of truth.

These are just a few lessons I have learned looking at the view from back to front.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Discover the Meaning of Worship

I wanted to share some thoughts I had regarding worship, our ministry context and the issues we need to be addressing as the church in western culture.

For what it is worth here are some thoughts:

Given the whole…I think our understanding of worship is wrong when we come together on a Sunday morning. I am so guilty of this myself but, I am finding that when I come on Sunday I am ready to receive from God a word or encouragement or something that will carry me through from one week to the next. I find myself saying things like "Wow the singing really blessed me this morning" or "I got a lot out of the sermon this week" or "I was really challenged/ encouraged by this or that". It is all about what I get out of our corporate time.

This is the complete opposite of what worshiping God is. Worship is what we give to God to celebrate Him. It is what we offer to Him for His glory and purpose; to declare His greatness and goodness. What I get out of it is inconsequential and entirely irrelevant. What matters is whether or not I have made an offering to the Lord that attributes His worth and that He finds pleasing and acceptable.

What would happen if, one Sunday morning, we told people that they had to come to church prepared to give something to God and the focus of that offering was the glory of God Himself. Not how much better off I am and how good my life is or what I get out of being in a relationship with God but rather a praise, declaration and celebration of who God is what He has done, how He is mighty and good, etc. What would happen if we said there was going to be no “planned” singing, sermon or church program at all but rather each person had to come Sunday morning to present to God an “offering” of some kind where He was the sole focus; i.e. a song, poem, praise/ testimony, prayer, tithe… you get the idea. As I read in God’s Word that He inhabits the praises of his people, I can not help but think this is more of what He has in mind rather than the “church” we do/ have each Sunday. I know this sounds radical but I think there is something to all this.

I am going to stop now before I run the risk of ranting.

I would absolutely love to get your reaction to this perspective and how it would change not only our worship but our relationship with the living God Himself as we discover the meaning of worship!!