Another View of Creation

I just discovered an oddity: a Christian scientist. Not an adherent of Christian Science, but a scientist who, though once and atheist, is now a Christian. I discovered him through a video titled, “Francis Collins Denies Intelligent Design.” Like me, you have probably never heard of Dr. Francis Collins. If you click here you can learn why what he says is important.

Dr. Collins’ position on the origin of the universe won’t sit well with the Evangelical Christians that I know; he says creation and evolution are perfectly compatible, and that science and faith are parallel world views with little bearing on one another. While his position is reasonable, I’m not convinced that God’s eternal Word created the universe through a Big Bang. He certainly could have created the universe with the appearance of age, like the young-Earthers preach, but I have to wonder why. Here is Collins’ rationalle for his position:

Almighty God, who is not limited in space or time, created a universe 13.7 billion years ago with its parameters precisely tuned to allow the development of complexity over long periods of time. God’s plan included the mechanism of evolution to create the marvelous diversity of living things on our planet. Most especially, that creative plan included human beings. After evolution, in the fullness of time, had prepared a sufficiently advanced neurological house (the brain), God gifted human with free will and with a soul. Thus humans received a special status, “made in God’s image.” We humans used our free will to disobey God, leading to our realization of being in violation of the Moral Law. Thus we were estranged from God. For Christians, Jesus is the solution to that estrangement.

If you find this presentation reprehensible, I challenge you to act like a Berean and search the Scriptures to see whether or not these things are true. We all have a great body of beliefs that we have received through our church culture, and we need to know, from the Bible, why we believe them.

As I alluded above, I don’t buy it, especially the human part of his story. The Bible clearly states that God made Adam from the dust of the ground; we didn’t evolve with the other animals, from the same single-cell organisms that floated around in the primordial soup. As for the literal, six twenty-four hour days of creation, while I readily admit that God could have done the job that quickly, I need to see more Biblical evidence to arrive there. His ways are not our ways, and similarly, His understanding is not our understanding. I think the part of Genesis 2 that catches me is verses four and five: This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. The word for “day” is the same one used in verse one and all the other references to days of creation. Verse four uses “day” as a period of time during which God created the heavens and the earth.

Feel free to weigh in on the debate, without name-calling and emotional rants. Show me book, chapter, and verse for your position. If I’m wrong, I want to know why.

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Why Are You Still in Such a Hurry?

I’ve often asked that question when “Mr. Wheeler” can’t seem to abide by my speed limit driving, and at the first opportunity, or occasionally before the first opportunity, he streaks around me, just to throw on the breaks at the next traffic signal or turn off at the next intersection. (Thanks for the illustration, Goofy.)

That used to be me, as my Facebook picture shows, so I already know the answer; hurrying originates as procrastination or an over-full schedule, so we leave at the last possible moment, thinking all will be green til we get there. Of course, we all know about the best laid plans, etc., but somehow we fail to consider the near-certainty of Murphy’s Law coming into play at exactly the wrong time (which is, after all, how it works). Before long, hurrying becomes a habit, then an addiction.

This is a revision of an earlier post, because in my observations of my Christian brethren, the church needs this message more than ever. I understand how the urgency of circumstances might push outsiders over the edge of reason, but those who claim to rely on God’s timing and provisions have no excuse for chronic hurrying. Are the few minutes gained by leaving for work late worth all the stress of darting through traffic like a race driver? And those manic, traffic meatheads usually don’t get very far ahead anyway, and pay lots more on fuel while doing it.

Medical science tells us that our adrenaline response “evolved” as part of our fight-or-flight instinct. If that’s true, our nearly constant adrenaline flow is unnatural, placing the sort of stress on our bodies that we place on over-amped electric motors or supercharged automotive engines. In short, we can’t last as long if we’re always in a hurry.

My problem with rushing around is, it undermines the peace I have in Christ Jesus. We already have the supernatural peace that comes from knowing our eternal destiny, as well as the peace we get from knowing, loving and communicating with God through our Savior Jesus. That’s all quite wonderful, and just part of our reward for following Christ, but we fill our lives with more immediate, even urgent, issues than that. While our peace that passes understand is God’s gift to Christ-followers, we must deliberately apply it to life’s everyday choices if we want to enjoy its maximum benefit.

Apostle Paul dispensed profound wisdom to the church in Philippi, but excerpting just a few words from the following passage would not do it justice:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (5) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; (6) do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

Verse four asserts a foundational, spiritual principle that Paul repeated for emphasis: We must rejoice always, and not only when things are going swimmingly. But know that such rejoicing is only possible when a life is fully given to God through the Lord Jesus. Verse five tells us to drop the “manly” act. Verse six deals succinctly with anxiety. But even with the sure-fire solution that follows, actually allowing God to remove anxiety from our lives takes constant vigilance. And I particularly love verses eight and nine, as they challenge me to the max.

This “always” passage gives us a verbal portrait of Jesus, as the behavioral target for our constant striving. And the ultimate reward for diligently pursuing Christ-likeness? God’s peace!

So, don’t hurry after your petty, earthly goals, but make your quest for God’s goals your highest priority.
(Note to self: Follow your own advice! ;^)

A Lesson From Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert of Bavaria discovered an interesting phenomenon that makes glass harder than steel. This YouTube video from Smarter Every Day demonstrates its properties.

Did you notice how the exceedingly strong lump of glass could only be broken by snapping the weaker, tail-section? That suggests an equally mysterious phenomenon within God’s church; as strong as the church is against outside attack, internal stresses can explode it.

When glass is held in a flame until it’s hot enough, it begins to flow like an extremely thick liquid, with its high-viscosity holding it in a single mass. Similarly, when God’s church is spiritually hot enough, it too begins to move, and like a liquid, it fills voids in people’s lives. When the church cools, however, it becomes brittle enough to break easily under stress.

I found the almost-instant, explosive force flowing from a break in the relatively weak tail particularly fascinating. God’s Spirit holds his church together and strong through the people’s individual characteristics and interpersonal dynamics, but the tiniest break can release those dynamics explosively and travel through the church at lightening speed.

The enemy will most certainly use the church’s internal stresses to fracture it, but that can’t happen as long as it’s kept hot by the Holy Spirit’s fire.

Why Muslim Dr. Nabeel Qureshi Converted to Christianity

First, grab a note pad and a pencil, ’cause you’re going to want to take notes; this has some of the best apologetics I’ve heard. Oh, and some Kleenex, if you really love Jesus.

Dr. Qureshi presented this talk on, “Why Islam?” He interpreted that to mean: Why and how should we engage Muslims to share the gospel with them?

  • Muslim family values:
    They are close-knit.
    Their lives are immersed in prayer and devotion.
    They have strong moral principles.
    Young Muslims are taught to be ambassadors for Islam.
    They must be known for their truthfulness.
    They must show respect for their elders.
    They must know the Koran in Arabic.
    They must pray consistently, including the five daily prayers.
    Families must center their lives around their religion.
  • Religious values:
    There is one God, Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.
    Performing the Five Pillars earns Allah’s favor: To proclaim that Allah is God, and Muhammad is his messenger. To pray the five daily prayers. To pay alms. To fast. To go on pilgrimage.
    If they are good Muslims they will go to heaven.
    Allah is unknowable, transcendent, and Muslims are simply his slaves.
    Some Muslims work to please Allah because they love him, but most are just trying to please him.
    If someone tries to share their Christian faith, a Muslim must share Islam with them.
  • Beliefs:
    Muslims believe the truth matters.
    Muslims believe in Jesus and what he did, but they refuse to accept his divinity and death on the cross.
    When witnessing to Christians they challenge Jesus’ deity, and most Christians can’t counter that from the Scriptures.
  • Arguments with David in University that led to his conversion. (15.00)
    Attacks on the Bible’s authority and accuracy, and David’s defenses.
    Three issues he had to investigate: 1; Is Jesus Lord? 2; Did he die on the cross for our sins? 3; Did he rise from the dead after three days?
  • The rational process that led him to Christ.