Entry Level Theological Truth [19]

Snake Genesis 3

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” Genesis 3:1

Ever since one unforgettable but safe childhood encounter with a highly venomous snake I have always had an antipathy towards reptiles. A well-known herpetologist named Bill Haast ran an above average mini-zoo called “The Miami Serpentarium.” He also produced antivenin for hospitals in multiple countries. At one time he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having survived more venomous snake bites than anyone else. (Reputedly he made antivenin from his own blood, but this sounds rather apocryphal to me.) He would conduct a daily demonstration with venomous snakes and lizards for any interested visitors. Being five years old, I was standing at the front of the crowd watching the demonstration. Suddenly he dropped a krait snake about six feet away from me (it could have been farther, but I assure you in my memory it looms closer and larger!) Happily, the snake was totally uninterested in the crowd who were fleeing apace in the opposite direction (all except for my fourteen year old big brother who has always loved snakes – he dashed forward to take photos of the beast.)

 

Since then, I have had a love/hate relationship with snakes: by compulsion I need to watch documentaries about them and visit them at zoos. On the other hand, I frequently have nightmares involving my demise from the savage bites of these insidious creatures. Yet as I open Genesis 3, I put aside my personal aversion towards reptiles to examine the unwitting animal that was a mere pawn and foil for a more dangerous being, whom Revelation 12:9 refers to in these famous words: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” By the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, John gives us his eventual and destined end. But in Genesis 3, we see Satan in his first battle against mankind, coming in the form of a beautiful and “shrewd” (NET) serpent. In next week’s post we will consider the long and painful history of that Old Serpent’s combat against humanity. What is more, we will contemplate evil and its effect on the present world, learning how it got here and what the solution for it is.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [17]

“And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:23

The past four decades brought about much strife over the so-called “battle of the sexes.” Gender issues remain highly contentious and creep into the academic and business worlds, to say nothing of literature and the nightly news. Many polemicists affirm that there are deep divisions between men and women that are irreconcilable. Others contend that there is really no

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Entry Level Theological Truth [16]

Surgery

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2:21-22

Anesthesia has only been commonly available to human beings for about the last century and a half. Anyone who’s read about horrific battlefield hospitals

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Entry Level Theological Truth [15]

Entry Level Theological Truth 15 Earth NASA

“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis 2:10-14

 

God created this world with abundant natural resources – chief among them is water. Astronomers and physicists continue to search for this life-sustaining commodity among the planets. Amazingly, it is quite rare, unless you happen to live on earth where it is common. This is not surprising, for the universe itself manifests many instances of fine tuning. In other words, but for the Almighty’s creative mind and power superintending the physical processes of the creation, life would have been impossible.

 


A Unique Planet With Divine Fingerprints All Over It



 

John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician and Christian believer, points to the scientific understanding of this fine tuning of the universe in his book, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, quoting fellow mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in these words:

Try to imagine the phase space…of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ – which is to be placed at some point in the phase space…Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy – so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics – the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?’

His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10123, that is 1 followed by 10123 zeros, a ‘number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job’.*

Citing astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Dr. Lennox affirms that the chances of a life-sustaining planet like earth existing are 1 in 1030.

 


The Sound Of Many Waters



 

The rivers, oceans, and rainfall all show that God providentially designed this planet with mankind’s well-being in mind. As Paul told the Lycaonians: “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17.) Yet in spite of the Lord’s kindness towards human beings, people frequently squander – sometimes ignorantly and sometimes intentionally – the resources that the Creator has placed on the earth.

At times one group of people with-hold needed water and food from others to advance their own cruel political and social agendas (one thinks of Stalin’s treatment of Ukraine’s wheat in the 1930s, Mobutu Sese Seko’s plundering of Zaire’s mineral wealth in the 1980s-90s, and Qaddafi’s theft of Libyan oil over his three decades of tyranny, to name but a few examples.) In spite of these all too common instances of human evil, it does not change the fact that God fashioned this planet to meet man’s needs. This ought to produce thankfulness, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28.)

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*John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2007, p. 70.

Photo credit: NASA

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Entry Level Theological Truth [14]

Entry Level Theological Truth 13

“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:19-20

There’s a common misconception that modern science and theism are completely incompatible. To borrow divorce court language, God and scientific endeavor suffer from “irreconcilable differences.” In actuality, there is no incongruity between the Creator and rigorous examination of His creation. We derive the English word “science” from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Our Maker is not a “check your brain at the door” type of deity. From the beginning of the creation, God has encouraged mankind to investigate His works which display His wisdom and power. This is readily seen in His treatment of our first

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Entry Level Theological Truth [13]

Apple

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

People sometimes caricature the rift between Adam and Eve and their Creator as being a matter of stolen “apples.” Of course, this betrays an ignorance of the Scripture’s sophisticated narrative of the history of mankind’s progenitors. The tree was not an apple tree, but rather “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” What is more, people often criticize God for seemingly overreacting

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Entry Level Theological Truth [12]

The Alps

“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9

There is a common misconception about God: many people erroneously assume that He does not want them to enjoy life – that He is a sort of cosmic-killjoy. Nonetheless, from the beginning of creation the Almighty demonstrates His desire to bless mankind and give them lasting joy. The problem is that humans have a skewed understanding of well-being. Many of the things that we love in this world are self-destructive. The drunk loves his drink; the addict loves her

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Did God Create Evil?

Fascinating video clip of a young student refuting his professor’s claim that God created evil. The video is supposedly a reenactment of an actual event in the life of Albert Einstein. Whether or not this event happened actually happened as portrayed (it is a reenactment), the video presents challenging some challenging arguments.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [11]

The term “work” often conjures up images of drudgery, fatiguing toil, and unrequited effort. To pleasure-loving westerners, the choice between work and play usually presents no contest. Of course, it is true that there are “workaholics” – people who thrive on mental or physical labor. Yet the high heart attack rate among hard working people shows that there is a human cost to our labor-oriented society.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [10]

EarthRecently, the political columnist, Charles Krauthammer wrote a piece entitled, “Are we alone in the universe?” In it he mused over the recent exciting discoveries in astronomy of planets that have similarities to Earth. He noted with sadness, however, that as yet nowhere in the universe have we found sentient thinking beings that are like humans. In his words: “For all the excitement, however, the search betrays a profound melancholy — a lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering voice amid utter silence.”*

 

Plan 9 From Outer Space?

 

This brought two things to my mind. First, the astronomers’ search highlights the uniqueness of planet Earth. It is a place where God has finely tuned conditions to be conducive to plant, animal, and human life. Even accounting for the effects of the Fall and sin upon this world, it is still a planet where – if managed correctly – life may thrive. This is an anomaly in the known universe. Secondly, it draws attention to the fact that in this desire to hear a message outside of planet Earth, modern people so often discount that such a message has already come to Earth. It is not from alien life forms like those imagined by Spielberg and Lucas, but rather originates from the Creator God. As Hebrews 1:1 says, “God, having spoken of old to the fathers in the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us in His Son” (author’s translation.)

Of course, the first three chapters of Genesis show that God verbally reveals Himself to His creatures. He is in the habit of speaking with them since the day He made them. Furthermore, mankind’s very existence was not a divine afterthought. Rather, He fashioned planet Earth with humans in mind, making it a place which by His providence is fruitful and conducive to the development of man’s talents. We see this in the fact that Genesis specifically mentions that there was no man to till the ground (Genesis 2:5-7.) The Almighty always intended for man to work in conjunction with this earth to make it a place of beauty for God’s greater glory. When God created man on the 6th day, He placed him in the garden as a training ground where he could learn skills under the Creator’s tutelage that would enable him to eventually graduate from the garden and proceed to apply these abilities to this globe in its pristine wildness.

 

Failing Out of God’s School

 

Sadly, man failed the chief test in the garden which was loyalty to the Creator as demonstrated by obedience to God’s Word. In spite of that, God has been seeking to save man from spiritual separation that his own rebellion creates. God speaks from the stars, the cells, every flower, and in every rock – all of these things shout at us, “there is a glorious Creator!” One who is powerful and all-wise. One who is faithful and good.

He also speaks to men through their consciences, although they often do not heed and sometimes cause it to be calloused and malfunctioning through their obdurate pursuit of sin. Most of all, God speaks through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who fulfilled the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (Luke 24:27.) What is more, He is the One who through His Holy Spirit has conveyed the teaching of the New Testament to the first century church – a revelation that has been handed down from generation to generation and remains God’s message to man in the 21st century.

 

God Is Speaking Is Anyone Listening?

 

So to Mr. Krauthammer and every inquiring mind who has ever gazed at the skies and wondered if we are alone, God’s Word says that we most certainly are not. There is a Sovereign Lord of the universe who determines the fate of this planet and every other. He is One who so desires a personal relationship with every human being that He sent His Son into this world with the message of His holy love. A message that is embodied in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, His resurrection in power, His ascension back to glory, and His eventual second coming to Earth. Why not click on an e-Bible today – or if you prefer, pick up a physical copy – and listen to Him today?

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*http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-we-alone-in-the-universe/2011/12/29/gIQA2wSOPP_story.html

Photo: NASA

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