From the Archives: Lessons from the Garden of Eden

I have been physically ill for much of this week and there hasn’t been a new post since Monday. I’ve been digging in the archives and to be honest probably don’t post “reruns” often enough. It’s been six years since this post was published. There is constant turnover online as blogs disappear and new ones are created. I certainly have many more friends and followers today than way back when. And of course some things are worth repeating. From July 2008, here is Lessons from the Garden of Eden.

 

7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.    -Gen. 2:7-9

 

Lesson 1: We are special to God. Human beings are made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27).  What does that mean exactly?  I’m not even sure.  People will tell you what it means, but truthfully, we don’t really know for sure.  We do that no other being in creation is described this way.  Continue reading

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God is Near: Book Discussion #1

book discussionMaybe I’ll come up with a more clever series title but let’s try this out. If you haven’t read the book don’t worry, there should be enough discussion of scripture and of the Christian life in general to give these posts merit. If you don’t know what book I’m talking about it read this page. 

The process of writing God as Near as it exists in its final published form took place over a 2 year period of time, more or less. The first 4 or 5 chapters in particular have been around a while. Chapter 1 deals extensively with the creation story recorded in Genesis and Chapter 2 begins with a quick summary of the Noah story. As publication drew near I decided to leave those chapters alone and ignore certain recent events which are more suited for blogging anyway. Continue reading

Academic Discussion: Young Earth Debate

earthWe started our academic discussion series by defining terms. One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t make the Bible say something it doesn’t say.” I enjoy a hearty discussion and even a little bit of friendly debate as much as the next guy, but we must be careful to build up not tear down other believers. There are many things that we simply cannot know. There are mysteries that will only be revealed to us when we come into God’s Kingdom. The ancient Greeks were occupied with continuous discussion and debate, but Paul encourages us to keep our eyes on the prize so to speak, focusing on what is of most importance.

In the 17th century an Irish bishop named James Ussher worked out a chronology of biblical events, based on male lines of lineage presented in scripture. His work is the basis of many young earth creationists, which it might be noted, was his particular bias when he started the started task. Continue reading

God’s Image – Part 1

stick manSo God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Imaging a simple stick figure. With no more than a circle and a few straight lines, one can convey the image of a human form. But does the stick man above look like me? To an extent yes, but it also resembles every other one of the six plus billion people on earth. We could create a more realistic portrait with a few crayons or colored pencils. A portrait artist with oil paints could create an image approaching photo realism, and of course we could always take a picture. Wax museums are filled with likenesses of iconic figures capable of fooling the human eye.

So what does it mean that we created in God’s image? Continue reading

The Fourth Man in the Fire

Screenshot 2013-03-10 at 2.19.14 PMIn Daniel chapter 3, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego were called to appear before King Nebuchadnezzar. They were charged with not worshiping the gods of Babylon nor bowing down the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar himself. He is willing to give them another chance, and if they will bow down then all will be well. But instead:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  -Daniel 3:16-18 Continue reading

A Seed Must Fall

wheatTruly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24 ESV)  I’ve heard that verse a couple of times this weekend, so it was fresh in mind when I started reading the Exodus this morning.  Let’s first put it in its proper context.

Nearly half of John’s Gospel deals with the events of the Passion week.  The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem is recorded at the beginning of chapter 12, and this verse is spoken by Jesus in reference to his hour having come.  A seed must fall into the ground and die just as Jesus must go down into the earth by being placed in the grave.  John 12:24 is an illustration of how Jesus must die and be buried in order to rise again with new life.  By being obedient to the Father’s will, Jesus will produce much fruit for the Kingdom.  God speaks aloud in verse 27 and says that he has gloried Jesus’ name and will glorify it again. Continue reading

Blessings and Curses

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 ESV)

That is the blessing which God commanded Moses to give Aaron and his sons.  Aaron was the first high priest of Israel, and his sons were anointed to serve under him as priests.  This was the blessing they spoke over the people of Israel, so that God’s name went before them and he would bless them.  I like to place my hands on any man being ordained as a deacon or into the ministry and say these words.  It is a fitting and appropriate way to ask God’s blessing on others.

There is another phrase often borrowed from scripture Continue reading