GeoScriptures — John 1:1,14 — God in a dot

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. — John 1:1,14 (NIV 1984)

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary claims of the Christian faith is not that God created the universe (many philosophers believe there must be something outside of the universe that created the universe), or that God can work miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea, but that Jesus Christ (the Word of John chapter one) was God in the flesh. In verse one, it states that “the Word was God,” and in verse fourteen John writes that “The Word became flesh.”

This means that the God who created the entire universe (with all of its laws, energy, and matter), who knows both the position and momentum of each subatomic particle in the universe, and without whom the universe would cease to exist in less than a nanosecond—this God of “all there is or was or ever will be,” became a human being. Not only did God become fully human (while retaining full deity), he became a zygote, a fertilized ovum, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

Much of this is mysterious to us. How can someone be fully God and fully human? How can God, as the second person of the Trinity, be compressed into a single human cell? We don’t fully know, but we can be filled with wonder.

This tells us several important things about the God of the universe:

  1. God is not the God of the deists; a God who winds up the clock of the universe and then lets it run its course without intervention. God is not only involved in the day-to-day running of the universe, he actually has stepped into his creation to become a creature.
  2. God cares deeply about human beings. God does not look at the heart-wrenching suffering and injustices in this world with indifference, as some accuse him of doing. Instead, God entered into this mess in the person of Jesus Christ. He was born into poverty, saw and experienced great sorrow and suffering, was sentenced to death in a series of unjust trials, and was severely beaten before being nailed naked to a roughly-hewn piece of wood. This is not a God who ignores our pain, but who takes the sin of the world upon himself.
  3. Zygotes matter to God. Embryos matter. The Word became flesh at the point of conception. This tells us that a fertilized egg—a zygote—is fully human, which implies that to kill a zygote (i.e. abortion) is the moral equivalent of murdering any other human.

Grace and Peace

Around the web 1/19/2013

THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION WAS/IS A DISASTER — Broken families, sexually-transmitted diseases, abortions. So says writer A.N. Wilson (who speaks from experience) at Mail Online: I’ve lived through the greatest revolution in sexual mores in our history. The damage it’s done appals me.

I made myself and dozens of people extremely unhappy — including, of course, my children and other people’s children.

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More than half of those questioned in the GfK’s most recent survey said that it was a stable relationship which made them happy. Half those who were married said they were ‘very happy’, compared with only a quarter of singles.

The truth is that the Sexual Revolution had the power to alter our way of life, but it could not alter our essential nature; it could not alter the reality of who and what we are as human beings.

It made nearly everyone feel that they were free, or free-er, than their parents had been — free to smoke pot, free to sleep around, free to pursue the passing dream of what felt, at the time, like overwhelming love — an emotion which very seldom lasts, and a word which is meaningless unless its definition includes commitment.

How easy it was to dismiss old-fashioned sexual morality as ‘suburban’, as a prison for the human soul. How easy it was to laugh at the ‘prudes’ who questioned the wisdom of what was happening in the Sexual Revolution.

About one-third of marriages in Britain end in divorce

Yet, as the opinion poll shows, most of us feel at a very deep level that what will make us very happy is not romping with a succession of lovers.

In fact, it is having a long-lasting, stable relationship, having children, and maintaining, if possible, lifelong marriage.

The Bible has it right — Life-long commitment. Self-control. A stable environment for raising children.

HT: Cranach

THE EGYPTIAN ANGLE ON GENESIS 1 — Usually Genesis is compared to Mesopotamian creation accounts, such as the Babylonian Enuma Elish. Apologist Greg Koukl (Stand to Reason) has a short video on Understanding the Creation Account in Genesis in which Egyptian creation myths are given stronger consideration, which makes sense being that the immediate background for the Pentateuch is not Mesopotamian but Egyptian.

THE DAYS OF GENESIS 1 — Tough Questions Answered Blog posted this in 2009, but it showed up in my Google Reader this week. What is the Meaning of the Word “Day” in Genesis? gives a nice refutation of the YEC insistence that the only valid way to understand the Hebrew word yom is a literal, 24-hour, consecutive, solar day only a few thousand years ago.

THINGS YOUNG-EARTH CREATIONISM DOESN’T EXPLAIN, PART 568 — From Naturalis Historia, The World’s Largest Rock Tumbler and the Age of the Earth.

OLD EARTHERS ARE NOT ORTHODOX AND ARE NOT WANTED — I don’t get involved in that many conversations on other blogs. I wandered into a discussion about Tim Keller on the A Daughter of the Reformation blog. I commented because the post had to do with what is going on within my present denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. One of many things that attracted me to the PCA is that it has allowed for a diversity of views on the timing of creation since its inception, just as conservative Reformed theology has for well over a hundred years. But not all are happy with the status quo.

I posted a few comments, several of which never made it out of comment moderation, or, if they did, were severely edited (to the point of no longer making sense in one case). I guess dialog regarding Genesis is not encouraged.

[Update 1/20/13 — All of my comments have now been deleted]

THIRTY YEARS AND STILL ERUPTING — Kilauea has been erupting continuously for thirty years, since January 3, 1983. NASA Earth Observatory.

Kilauea lava fountain -- USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory
Kilauea lava fountain — USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Grace and Peace

Humans and galaxies — the incalculable value of people

A quote from Seven Days that Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science, by John Lennox, p. 99.

“So, both Genesis and science say that the universe is geared to supporting human life. But Genesis says more. It says that you, as a human being, bear the image of God. The starry heavens show the glory of God, yes; but they are not made in God’s image. You are. That makes you unique. It gives you incalculable value. The galaxies are unimaginably large compared with you. However, you know that they exist, but they don’t know that you exist. You are more significant, therefore, than a galaxy. Size is not necessarily a reliable measure of value, as any woman can tell you as she looks at the diamonds on her finger, and compares them with lumps of coal.”

Grace and Peace

Around the web 1/12/2013

THOU SHALT COMMIT ADULTERY — Parchment & Pen Blog has Bible translation bloopers and typos throughout the ages. An example:

“Wife-Beaters’ Bible” (Matthew’s Bible, 1537):
A footnote to I Peter 3:7 is rendered “And if she be not obedient and healpeful unto him, endevoureth to beat the fear of God into her head, that thereby she may be compelled to learn her duty and do it.”

COMET OF THE CENTURY? — Coming to your night skies in November: 2013 comet may be brightest ever seen. But then again, I remember Comet Kohoutek in 1973. Or I should say, I remember lots of hype about Comet Kohoutek, but I don’t remember seeing anything. It was the mega-flop of the century.

WHITE HOUSE REFUSES TO BUILD A DEATH STARWhite House responds to Death Star petition: No.

And some accused the Bush administration of being anti-science.

THE TRUE CAUSE OF NOAH’S FLOOD??? — Here it is, from a pastor named Scott Lively: Wedding songs for homosexual marriages.

Here’s what the Bible says about God’s reason for sending the flood:

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” — Genesis 6:5-7 (NIV 1984)

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. — Genesis 6:11-13 (NIV 1984)

I guess Scott Lively thinks Genesis has it wrong. Genesis  singles out violence, but since he knows that homosexual behavior is worse than violence, God’s reason for the flood must be homosexual wedding songs, despite what Genesis actually says.

HT: Internet Monk Saturday Ramblings

Grace and Peace

GeoScriptures — Genesis 3:15 — The Protoevangelium

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
     and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
     and you shall bruise his heel.” — Genesis 3:15 ESV

The Bible, despite containing passages and books with a great diversity of cultural backgrounds, literary genres, authors, and topics, has several key themes that run throughout its pages, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation. One of these themes is that of salvation: that though humans are sinful and in rebellion against their Creator, God has had a plan since the beginning (actually from before the beginning) to rescue and save us out of our sin and its consequences. Right now, we are somewhere past the middle of this process, which began in Genesis, culminated in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and will have its ultimate consummation when Christ wraps things up upon his return.

The first of many mentions in the Old Testament of God’s promise of a Messiah (an “annointed one” who would save God’s people from their sins) is in Genesis 3:15, which is referred to by Biblical scholars as the Protoevangelium, from the Latin for “first gospel.” After Adam and Eve fell into sin, God addressed the serpent, who is Satan (Rev 12:9) and pronounced his judgment of doom. Satan may have had a temporary victory in causing the first pair to succumb to temptation, but God would send an offspring of Eve who would crush Satan’s head, though Satan might cause a wound to this offspring in the fight.

This offspring (or more literally, “seed”) of Eve is the Lord Jesus Christ. At the crucifixion of Christ, Satan bruised Christ’s heel in a figurative sense, and may have once again thought he had won a great victory. That triumph, however, was again only temporary, as Jesus rose from the dead and bruised Satan’s head, which is a far more serious blow than having one’s heel bruised. Christ’s death secured forgiveness of sins for those who trust in Christ, and his resurrection gave us victory over our final enemy, which is death (Heb 2:14).

The Protoevangelium was an announcement of an individual offspring of Adam and Eve who would destroy the work of the devil. But there is another sense in which we as individuals are either offspring of God, or offspring of Satan. Jesus (in John 8:31-59) got into a discussion (if that is the right word) with a group of Jews who were in opposition to him. They referred to themselves as being children of God (v. 41), but Christ turned and said,

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” — John 8:42-44

There are offspring of the serpent, who reject Christ, and children of God (John 1:12), who have put their faith in Christ. Which are you?

Grace and Peace

Around the web 1/5/2013

EARTH IS JUST ONE PLANET OUT OF 100 BILLION — From Astrobiology.com: 100 Billion Planets May Populate the Galaxy. Not only could there be 1011 planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, there are an estimated 1021 stars in the universe. This seems to make Earth, and the humans who inhabit it, seem rather insignificant. But consider this quote from John Piper:

Sometimes people stumble over this vastness in relation to the apparent insignificance of man. It does seem to make us infinitesimally small. But the meaning of this magnitude is not mainly about us. It’s about God… The reason for ‘wasting’ so much space on a universe to house a speck of humanity is to make a point about our maker, not us.” –John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.

YOU ARE JUST ONE DOT OUT OF 341,817,095 — An online map showing over 340 million dots, one for each person in the 2010 United States and 2011 Canadian censuses.

Census_dots

Zoom in and individual dots can be resolved. My dot is somewhere in the middle of here:

Census_dots_zoomed

Does being just one dot out of 340,000,000 (or one dot out of roughly 7,000,000,000 on Earth today) make the individual dots insignificant? Not at all. The same God who created the universe with its 1021 stars, or the galaxy with its 100 billion planets, has this to say about you as an individual:

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16 ESV

DANGEROUS SCIENCE?7 scientists killed by their experiments — Marie Curie, and six others.

COLDER THAN COLD? — According to one report (Science gets colder than absolute zero), temperatures colder than absolute zero are possible.

Absolute zero is often thought to be the coldest temperature possible. But now researchers show they can achieve even lower temperatures for a strange realm of “negative temperatures.”

Oddly, another way to look at these negative temperatures is to consider them hotter than infinity, researchers added.

This unusual advance could lead to new engines that could technically be more than 100 percent efficient, and shed light on mysteries such as dark energy, the mysterious substance that is apparently pulling our universe apart.

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Temperature is linked with pressure — the hotter something is, the more it expands outward, and the colder something is, the more it contracts inward. To make sure this gas had a negative temperature, the researchers had to give it a negative pressure as well, tinkering with the interactions between atoms until they attracted each other more than they repelled each other.

Or perhaps this is in the same category as last year’s report of particles going faster than the speed of light. Interesting, but not true.

Grace and Peace