8 October 2017

The Everlasting God

Comment to Matthias Media on this book

Just reading Knox's The Everlasting God. What a wonderful accessible book. And, rarely for Sydney these days, one that sticks to the biblical teaching on creation and distinguishes it from evolution. A pity that the idea of chance has overridded the biblical implication of purpose in creation. But then, with Genesis 1 regarded as figurative (it would do Barth proud), the fallback positon is that evolution is the real explanation of life the universe and everything, with the revelation of God a mere chance event within that paradigm.

6 October 2017

How to be pagan

A few prize quotes, for those who deny a link between evolutionary doctrine and Christian theology:

"...I myself have little doubt that in England it was geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation."

F. Sherwood Taylor, ‘Geology changes the outlook’, in Ideas and Beliefs of the Victorians, Sylvan Press Ltd, London, p. 195, 1949.

"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."

Provine, W. B., "Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life." from 1998 Darwin Day address.

"Now what, I ask, was the first lesson given to the indoctinees (by Chinese  communists)?...The first, the fundamental, lesson given was  man's descent from the ape---Darwinism! Darwin negates God, the human soul, the after-life. Into this vacuum Communism enters as the be-all and end-all of the intellecdtual slavery it has created"

O'Gara, C. M., The Surrender to Secularism, Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, 1967.

O'Gara witnessed the communists in China running indoctrination 'education'.

Playing games

Often I find evangelicals playing games with the first half of Genesis. But if you remove a true, historic, space-time Fall, the answers do not exist. It is not only that historic, biblical Christianity as it stands in the stream of history is gone, but every answer we possess in the area of man and his moral dilemma is also gone.

Schaeffer, F. A. 1972 He Is There and He Is Not Silent

3 October 2017

Escape from absurdity

Reading Schaeffer: The God Who Is There. (Crossway Complete Works)

p 164

FS lists the brokenness of man as: man separated [himself] from God, man separated from himself [no longer an integrated being], man separated from himself [no longer in integrated community], and “Fourthly, man was separated from nature”.

I came to a halt with the fourth separation. The word ‘nature’ suggests an independent ‘natural’ reality. But, not so. The non-human world is not ‘nature’, with its hint of autonomy from the creative acts of God, but The Creation, fallen as it is, due to the first separation. This makes the pain of our position even more sharp: we separated ourselves from God and as a result...we are separated from his creation which we were to be stewards of and live in in enjoyment and God’s company.

But FS goes on to some great analysis.

Page 168-9

“The beginning is simply that God exists and that He is the personal-infinite God. Our generation longs for the reality of personality, but cannot find it. But Christianity says personality is valid because personality has not just appeared in the universe, but rather is rooted in the personal God who has always been.”

Page 183

“...The heart of the rebellion of Satan and man was the desire to be autonomous; and accepting the Christian faith robs us not of our existence, not of our worth (it gives us our worth), but it  robs us completely of being autonomous. We did not make ourselves, we are not a product of chance.”

The final sentence caps it all very well.

The alternative to being made and that through the purposeful love of the infinite-personal God is the ironic ‘autonomy’ of chance where purpose is absent, and we live a perceived absurdity of being people full or purpose and intent, and indeed, love, but in a universe, a reality, we imagine has none of this as basic. This man looks back to his roots in meaningless (purposeless) chance and sees a black absence of personality, love and purpose.

To joint the two, as theistic evolution does, for example, compounds the absurdity and evacuates the gospel of credibility. It would tell us that God 'used' purposelessness/chance on purpose, to produce a world of purposeful beings (in his image) that gave no evidence of his purpose! More than absurd because it destroys the fellowship of beings founded in the creation as described in Genesis 1 where God's acts and our being share contiguous objective space-time causality as persons in communion.

1 October 2017

Its all continuous

This morning at  church we had a rather wonderful sermon with this quote from Barth:

‘The goal of creation, and at the same time the beginning of all that follows, is the event of God’s Sabbath rest and Sabbath joy, in which man, too, has been summoned to participate.  It is the event of divine rest in the face of the cosmos completed with the creation of man – a rest which takes precedence over all of man’s eagerness and zeal to enter upon his task.  Man is created to participate in this rest.’ Karl Barth, Dogmatics III/I, 98.

It reads wonderfully well. It reads as though Barth could be an author on this blog.

But not so.

Barth is famous for putting into different compartments scripture and the contiguous objective space-time causality that we inhabit, that scripture seems to speak to and in which terms scripture is delineated; making nonsense of one or the other!

Because: the creation account is presented in terms of the categories and the contiguous causality that we live in. Recursively, this makes the account congruent with the world that it describes and the world whose terms we share in our existential experience. So,  we can make sense of it and take real meaning from it. It gives us a confidence that God has revealed truth to us, and we are not left to the winds of chance.

The world of the account is reflected in a world that has identicial causality with no break in the objective causal continuity between the two, otherwise, one would not make sense in terms of the other and the account would not tell us anything real about this world or God. Which is where Barth is.

The end result would be that the account would have no Real meaning in this world and we would have to seek elsewhere to know not only what really happened, but what is really real, in a basic sense, and how this world, us and god (whose identity is now obscured from us with no place for fellowship...more like Allah than Jehovah) inter-relate. And where would we go? Barth, Dawkins, Enuma Elish? Then, who would we be?

Or, in short:

The nub of it is: if the creation account is not about events (objective causality) in this space-time world, then it is about something else, and the real time-space world is otherly denominated...for which info we have to go elsewhere...where?

30 September 2017

ESV Study Bible

A review that I am much in agreement with, although in enthusiastic disagrement regarding a few points.

My big 'likes':

Compromising the Creation Account

In the “Introduction to Genesis” there is an inexcusable compromise with evolutionary chronology. It is alleged that “faithful interpreters” have explained the days of the creation week in a variety of ways. For example, there is the “ordinary days” view that sees the creation days as six periods of twenty-four hours. Others argue that the days represent “geological ages.” Then there is the “work week” of so-called “God days” (whatever those are).
Additionally, a possible “gap period” is supposed to exist between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, during which a Satanic rebellion occurred. The gap generally is perceived as possibly lasting millions of years, thus accommodating uniformitarian geology. Amazingly, it is argued: “None of these views requires denying that Genesis 1 is historical.” Supposedly, “each of these readings can be squared with other biblical passages that reflect on creation” (2008, 44). How in the name of common logic can the mutually exclusive views of “literal days” and “non-literal days” be harmonized with a biblical narrative that professes to be the inspired word of God?
The author of the introduction is careful to point out that some of the Bible’s genealogical records do not contain strict father-son relationships, and that is true. But if this is intended to suggest that a human longevity of possibly several million years can be accommodated by an elastic genealogy, then the hint is nefarious. Evolutionary chronology flagrantly contradicts Jesus’ statement that humanity existed “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6), and Paul’s declaration that God’s magnificent universe has been humanly perceived “since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20). Scripture must not be twisted to conform to pseudo-science.

The Flood Narrative

The Bible is perfectly clear that the great flood of Noah’s day was universal in its devastation. The Mosaic language could not be plainer concerning the extent of the deluge: “[A]ll the high mountains, that were under the whole heaven were covered. . . . And all flesh died that moved upon the earth” (Genesis 7:19, 21). While it is true that occasionally comprehensive terms are employed in a more limited sense, the context must demand such, and that factor does not obtain in the flood case. For a further discussion of this matter, see Questions About the Genesis Flood.
The ESVSB contends that the biblical text “does not necessarily mean that the flood had to cover the whole earth” (62). The author supposes that it is “questionable” that the flood explains the geological strata, the fossils, etc. (44). This leaves the matter wide open for evolutionary uniformitarianism as opposed to biblical catastrophism.

25 September 2017

24 September 2017

Frittering creation

I’m re-reading Schaeffer’s The God Who Is There. It’s wonderful to run through his fast and furious (pace, not manner) ride through the history of ideas, and the drift down of influence from philosophy to theology.

As I was reading it, and reflecting on the frittering of culture as chance, I drew a line from the work of the early evolutionists and their supporters in long age geologists who chorused for random chemical action, chance, as causal of the world we have today.

This instantly invites Rorty’s despair (based on a quote from Yates yearning for justice and truth to be drawn into a single vision, something inevitably absent in a material world defined (?) by randomness).

If this long line sprang from an evolutionary conceptualisation of the Real, then what is the disjunction with Creation? What light does Genesis 1 thrown onto it?
Why, it contradicts it at the first step.

The account tells us not of a universe where chance interactions deliver order, thought and love, but where these come from one who orders in love and wisdom, by his very nature. From one who is person (in community) and who has made us to bear that image.

Creation does not allow room for a chance impersonal universe, but reveals a universe of purpose internally, and intention externally: out of wisdom and love. Two very personal attributes of action.
But, this is thrown over of we hold that the words of purpose and wisdom obscure the reality of chance. Something that figurative views of Genesis 1 invite, and theistic evolutions, their typical end result, entails.

This must be the case, this overthrowing, if the words of purpose and wisdom are not congruent with the acts (events in contiguous time-space) that make sense in the world we inhabit, as image bearers of the creator, and relate the purposeful move of the creator in creating.  This is so because if the creation is sensible in terms that have meaning for the image-bearer in their relationship to the image-maker, in terms that are real within and to the creation in which is set their fellowship in meaningful terms (giving life in the relationship of love and purpose), then something else is really true, and really sets the structure of the Real.

The frittering of epistemology into chance events reflected in contemporary culture presumes the chance structure of an evolutionary reality. The Creation is fundamentally not like this and so the run of chance will push us further from the real world in though and action, with the end result being some form of intellectual, if not political tyranny.

The two are not joinable. Thus Rorty’s despair, Paul’s warnings and the imperative to rely on the creation account as being grounded in events dimensioned as are any event sequence that we, the image-bearers, have existential familiarity with (‘existential’ as congruent existence, not mid 20C philosophy).