13 March 2018

Are we pagans or what?

One of the challenges faced by attempts to regard both evolution and the biblical creation account in Genesis 1-2 as explanatory as to origins, and thus, the nature of the world and its ontological basis, is that the heart of the creation account is removed.

It was encapsulated in a sermon I recently heard where the speaker claimed that the cosmos 'just is' while endorsing its creation by God.

So, it is not 'just is', but created! One cannot have it both ways or Paganism is given a toe in the door.

Above all else the creation account in Genesis is personal. It starts with the personal as being basic to all that is (both Genesis 1 and Colossians 1 treat this) and emphasises this in the G1 account firstly, in God's real personal agency in creating by speaking and it having immediate effect: no long, nebulous, impersonal processes (the hallmarks of paganism with its determinedly impersonal or a-personal framing).

Secondly the personal is demonstrated in God working in our 'time-space'; thus the reason for the delimination of effort by days. This represents the first move of fellowship between creator and his image-bearer creature: that we share agency in discrete time. God knows what our work is like, and we reflect his in our work. This is the first move of fellowship, and enshrines our image-bearer-ness in the very good creation, not in the disaster that followed in the degredation of creation, which we now suffer from.

Other origin proposals are diffuse, nebulous, as I've said above, and fundamentally de-personalised. The personal in itself, and in our possible connection with it, is lost in their unlocatable and ill defined event that occures in a discontiguity with our experience of the Creation. The door is opened by taking such a framing to Genesis to deism: the remote God. God in Genesis 1 is the highly involved, engaged one in concrete relationship with the very concrete cosmos and its events in time and space.

And there's the clue. It is strikingly odd that our experience of the creation would not be the terms in which creation is explicable to us. In G1 it is very much this. The tangibility of our lives in contiguous objectively causal time-space is the very tangibilty of the creation and the terms in which it is communicated to us. Thus we don't live in a pagan or an idealist (paganism converted to the complicated words of philosophy) denominated world/cosmos/existence. Rather we live in a personal, concrete, discrete things happen in explainable time type of cosmos, denominated in direct connection between actor and event, in time and space locations that are communicable and that establish the event existentially.

7 February 2018

20 January 2018

Where are we?

Comment on a creation web article about theologians who de-reify Genesis 1 etc.:

If theologians want to cut God's creating out of real communicable history, then where do we go to find the framing of relationship between God and humanity that occurs in real history? If the creation account in Genesis doesn't tell us what did happen in space and time, and therefore what really is, we have to ask then, what is 'really' there? What tells us how reality works? Plato, Aristotle, Darwin? If these people define what really is; then reality is other than the scriptures tell us and we have a faith not planted in this world that we experience, but some other world that we don't know...the world of platonic fantasy, of nature red in tooth and claw?

19 January 2018

17 January 2018

Walking the dog

While my nephew and I were walking my dog, I noticed a small statue in a neigbour's front garden. A piece of paper with "Penelope" written on it along with an apple and other fruit were lying in front of the statue, which was decorated with feathers where the head would have been.

A woman and childwere in the garden and the woman noticed me looking at the scene.

She came over, asking, 'lovely, isn't it?" I asked what it was. She told me that it was 'Maisy's offering to peace'. I asked about the statue. She said that it was an Indian god [it looked like a headless Buddha to me] that would bring peace.

I replied, nicely, that it wasn't a god, it was a piece of shaped stone. She smiled, and said, we like to say it’s a god because it’s a nice story, and peace is something I want to teach Maisy.

A story and a piece of stone can bring peace, really?

If we regard Genesis 1 as just another story, we are at the level of the latter day heathen who think that a made up story about a piece of stone can have some real connection with actual lived lives. But it can't. It's a fantasy.

Despite all the fuss about 'genre', asserted 'compatibility with science', which I first heard from a friend in year 4 of primary school, and symbolism displacing realism, if this is all Genesis 1 is, just a story, then we make God no more than a piece of stone: an invention in our minds and not related to us in the real world where we grow apples and limes.

We back ourselves into a corner where a story about God's action in some 'story world', becomes the basis for our worship of God here in the real world. But, there can be no real connection, if it is merely a story.

15 January 2018

Broughton Knox on origins

The doctrine of God the Creator is vivid throughout the pages of Scripture. The gods of the nations are not creator gods and, as the interesting little Aramaic insertion in Jeremiah puts it, the gods that did not create the world will perish, as indeed they have (Jeremiah 10:11). In our own times idolatry, which was a universal substitute for the Creator God, has been replaced by the widely held theory of evolution. Both the ancients and the heathen today deified and worshipped the creature as the creator, modelling images of man, or birds or animals or reptiles and worshipping these, so for Western secular people the modern theory of evolution deifies nature and acknowledges it as creator of all we see around us. All the beauty and intricacy and all the marvellous arrangements of the natural world are supposed to have been evolved by a thoughtless, purposeless mechanical operation of nature, and in this way the God who made the world is as effectively shutout of the minds of those who are enjoying the blessings of his creation as he was by the false religious of idolatry. Just as the idolaters could not see the foolishness, indeed the stupidity, of worshipping gods of wood and stone, which have no life nor purpose nor mind, so modern believers in the theory of evolution cannot see the foolishness of that theory, which not only lacks evidence to support it, but also runs counter to such evidence of origins as is available.
(Knox, The Everlasting God, p. 32, MatthiasMedia 2009)
 Creation implies purpose. In contrast, impersonal evolution is purposeless—things happening by accident without plan. But creation is a personal activity of an almighty, supreme God. Personal action implies purpose, and this in turn implies assessment. The doctrine of judgement is closely related to that of creation. The Scripture are full of the truth of the judgement of God. One of the oldest passages of the Old Testament, the song of Deborah, proclaims how turning away from the true God brought inevitable judgement: “New gods were chosen; then war was in the gates” (Judges 5:8).

(Knox, The Everlasting God, p. 36, MatthiasMedia 2009)

Knox was principal of Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia 1959-85. The book these quotes come from is based on a series of lectures he gave at Moore College in 1979.