In the Beginning There Was A Temple?

I have undertaken a bit of reading around the book of Genesis these days, or mainly the early chapters of Genesis. The current popular discussions on early Genesis has created a whole hubbub of tension and debate amongst evangelical Christians of all types. And there is no doubt these opening chapters are important as an introduction to the biblical revelation of our God. If you want to understand any story, you need to start at the ‘once upon a time’, or ‘in the beginning’. And that’s just what Genesis provides.

In a lot of discussion around Genesis 1, a particular view has been brought forth surrounding the idea that this particular chapter describes the Hebrew God, Yahweh, as building his special temple. Some would advance this notion because of its somewhat parallel approach with other origins accounts of the ancient near eastern world where other peoples similarly described their god or gods building a temple. And, so, as God looked to make himself known to his people within such an ancient context, he accommodated, or utilised a particular method of the day, in communicating his revelation about the primal beginnings of the creation. As God always does, he ‘comes down’ into a particular contextual situation (see Ex 3:8) Continue reading

Two Books in the Post on Evolutionary-Creation

I recently ordered two books from Amazon.co.uk (it’s easier to receive from there than the .com version in the US). Those two book are:

1. I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution by Denis Lamoureux

2. Theology After Darwin edited by R.J. Berry and Michael Northcott

I have ordered both books because of my recent interest in studying whether or not evolutionary-creation is a viable option for Christians (most add on the word creation to evolution because they want to maintain that all creation has a purposeful and personal Creator). Well, at this point, I actually am not bothered if God chose the evolutionary process to bring about His whole creation.

I’ve already begun dipping in to the subject via a lot of what the BioLogos Foundation provides on their site (articles, videos and essays). I think it is excellent stuff.

So, what I am interested in is studying more of the scientific research and theological implications, but mainly focusing in on the theological implications (as a pastor who loves studying theology). What I find is that many evangelicals continue to feel threatened by the possibility of evolution being the God-chosen path by which He brought about creation. They believe that if one accepts evolution, then this will negatively affect such doctrines as anthropology, hamartiology (sin), and especially Christology.

But I personally feel this is a bit too reactionary. I think we can maintain a healthy and robust biblical theology of humanity, sin and Christ even in the midst of a Christian theistic evolutionary view.

So I hope these two books will begin to help inform me more of both the scientific research and theological ramifications for an evolutionary-creation belief.

The Creative Power of God

This past Sunday at Cornerstone, I preached a message entitled, The Creative Power of God. Here is a little blurb about the sermon:

‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.’ And ever since then, God’s creative power has been at work. But with the Fall, sin entering in through our first parents, God must introduce a new aspect to His divine, creative power. What is that new aspect? His redemptive, renewing and restoring power culminating in the work of Christ. We are now called to both receive this renewing creative power of God in Christ and to participate with God in communicating His renewing creative power in Christ.

You can listen to the message by clicking on the audio icon below or you can download the message at our podcast site or through iTunes.

Have You Noticed?

Have you noticed? Yep, that’s my question today. Have you noticed?

So, what am I particularly referring to when I ask, ‘Have you noticed?’ Well, have you noticed the presence and closeness of God in just about every aspect of life, if not all aspects of life? It’s quite beautiful if you take a little time to think about it.

No doubt, God is in the midst of things like our reading of the Scripture, breaking bread together, specific times of prayer and meditation, and in our corporate worship as local church bodies. He is truly in the midst of all of these. But let us not forget of how God is so intimately present in nature and creation, in art, in conversation, in a fiction novel, in a shared meal, and so much more.

Nope, I am not asking us to embrace pantheism, in that God literally dwells in all things. But I am asking us to remember that the One who created everything and called it good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) is present and revealed through all things. It’s what many theologians have termed as the general revelation of God. Matter of fact, I think God can even be revealed in times of tragedy, sin and evil. Not that He is the author of evil, but that He is so great at using such for His own glory and goodness (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

But, my whole point and heart is to get us to remember, to notice, the intimate presence of God in all things – as we brush our teeth, read a novel, watch a movie with our lover, embrace a friend with a hug, sip a cup of coffee, take a Saturday afternoon nap, or peer into the thick clouds of a thunderstorm. Consider the words of Jonathan Edwards in regards to God’s presence manifested in the creation:

‘My sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of everything was altered: there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of the divine glory, in almost everything. God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity, and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon, and stars, in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer…I felt God at the first appearance of a thunderstorm. And used to take the opportunity at such times, to fix myself to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and [awe filled] voice of God’s thunder: which often times was exceeding entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. And while I view, used to spend my time, as it always seemed natural to me, to sing or chant forth my meditations; to speak my thoughts in soliloquies, and speak with a singing voice.’ (Personal Narrative in Works of Jonathan Edwards, p793-794)

Edwards knew of the pulsating presence of God available in all of creation. And if we will remember this, and embrace it fully, I believe we will begin to see a greater development of close intimacy with the Trinity, for that is what They desire. And, I also expect that, as we see such a relationship cultivated, the voice of the One who dwells within us will become much less foreign.

So, have you noticed? If not, take a look around or take a break and listen. You might just see and hear things you were not expecting.

Father, let us be drawn in.