Posts from — July 2007
Several weeks back I posted about that that deny even the possibility of an interpretation of observations that conforms with a ~6000 year old universe. In the comments I said that it was arrogant and unscientific to hold such a position (which, I want to add for clarity’s sake, is not the same as saying it is unscientific to believe in an old universe).
Since then, there was a discussion with some folks at church on the issue. I argued that we should interpret our observations of the natural world in light of what is revealed in Scripture. No exegetical arguments have convinced me that the creation days are not ordinary, 24 hour days that we observe today. I am open to being wrong, but it would have to be an exegetical argument to convince me. Most arguments for other interpretations begin with an old age, and then come to the text figuring out how (or if) it can be read to fit with that.
One friend brought up geocentricism, arguing that some texts (he mentioned Psalm 19) shape the interpretation of the our observation of the Sun incorrectly. According to this text, the Sun moves around the earth. Thus, we do shape our interpretation of some texts by our observations.
But, there are several problems with this. First, the text does not require a geocentric reading anymore than our every day use of ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ do. We know the Sun doesn’t move around earth, and yet we still talk about it moving. It seems like special pleading (from the opposing side) to handle the text this way, saying it teaches a geocentric cosmology. Second, geocentricism is not based on Scripture. The Medieval Church did not hold to a geocentric galaxy because of Scripture… it was because Aristotle did. It was the popular scientific cosmological understanding of the time.
My friend concluded that if, at some point in the future, it was determined that the earth was, in fact, billions of years old, his faith would not be damaged. I replied that such a determination is impossible (barring the possibility of time travel, which another friend suggested), but if it weren’t, and what he said happened, then it would damage the trustworthiness of Scripture. He seemed to be shocked by this. But if the topic were the resurrection, I don’t think any Christian would be troubled. If it were proven that Jesus did not in fact rise up again after three days… where would we be left? We couldn’t trust what the Bible says without seriously twisting it.
Which leads to my conclusion. Being a YEC , I do interpret our observations of the natural world in light of Scripture, which I believe to teach a young universe. Opponents may argue that what I’m actually doing is twisting the evidence. It’s pejorative, but I can accept it so long as it is acknowledged that the only possibilities are to twist our interpretation of evidence, or twist our interpretation of the text of Scripture.
Which will it be?
I accept the Young Earth Creationist category for simplicity’s sake. When it comes down to it, I deny the earth is young… it is at least six thousand years old!
July 31, 2007 2 Comments
If you must have a list, then here are two that are a good start…
July 31, 2007 No Comments
Several weeks back I was witness to an internet discussion on the Sabbath and what is and is not allowed on this day of the week. The following Sunday, as we were driving down the street, I jokingly commented about a man that was cutting his grass, “He’s mowing to hell”. A jogger was also passing by, and he was “running to hell”. Megan and I got a chuckle, and that was that.
Except, I was not aware at just how much attention was being focused from the back seats. That the younglins learned something from this comment was revealed this past weekend. As we were driving, a discussion began between the girls in the back. About all the things that go to hell. Sidewalks, roads, bushes… on and on it went. They all run to hell. Through stifled laughter, Megan and I listened to see how the discussion would resolve.
It pretty much ended with Geneva, Head of the Wizengamut, concluded that streams do not, in fact, run to hell. Because they run to rivers.
And then they go onto the sidewalk and people fall into them. I’m not sure if the rivers eventually run to hell or not, though.
July 30, 2007 1 Comment
My new (refurbished) iPod was having some issues. Every so often… two or three times a week, it would stop sending an audio signal. The song would be playing just fine, but no audio would come through. I would have to reset the iPod to fix the problem. And, it had three or four bad pixels on the screen.
So on Monday I entered a service request through Apple’s website. An hour or so after I did that, I got an email saying they would send me shipping supplies and instructions.
Tuesday I received a box with prepaid label to ship the iPod to California to be serviced. The closest DHL place is an OfficeMax near my work, and they have a pickup at 5:30 daily. So I dropped my iPod off on my way home from work on Wednesday.
Thursday I got an email that Apple had received my iPod and were diagnosing the problem.
Friday I got an email that the issue was identified, and they had shipped a replacement iPod to me. It should get here Monday.
Now, whatever faults may be laid at the feet of Apple’s ravenous fan base, their boasting in Apple’s customer service/support is thoroughly justified. It just couldn’t get any better than this.
July 21, 2007 2 Comments
So, this morning on my way to work I stopped to fill up the car with gas. As I sat back into the car when I finished, I noticed a big ‘ol cockroach crawling down my leg. I flicked it down to the floor, and tried to step on it. Twice! Three times! And it got away! It scurred too fast for my long legs in such cramped quarters. I got up under the pedals somewhere. I got out and searched around for it, but to no avail.
Now I just hope it wasn’t a female with a billion fertilized eggs waiting to be laid. Roachmobile.
July 17, 2007 1 Comment
David Field gives insight and good advice into assessing a man’s qualification for office in the Church:
Since there is a clear relationship between a man’s ‘pastoral care’ of his family and his fitness to hold pastoral responsibility in the Church, what happens to the young children when they are under their father’s care is a very, very, very simple test to apply.
HT: The Presbyteer
July 12, 2007 No Comments
I’ve been meaning for some time to post something on The Federal Vision, where I stand and how I see some issues involved with it. Steve Wilkins recently published online a letter (pdf) he wrote for his presbytery regarding the 9 Declarations of the PCA study committee report, and I find it as good a time as any to use that as a platform to share some of my thoughts. Just for background information, I do consider myself in the FV camp, if there is such a camp, but there are still things being said that I wouldn’t sign off on. I give those guys the benefit of the doubt, and even the places I disagree I don’t see them as being unconfessional. I just don’t see the benefit in the position they’re arguing.
I was discussing Wilkins letter on a message board I frequent, and some my points of disagreement or misunderstanding of Federal Vision stuff comes out. It has to do with the “covenantal” vs. “decretal” usages of various terms (elect, regeneration, justified, sanctified, etc.). Wilkins talks about this in his letter under discussion of several Declaration numbers… 2, 6, and 8 .
Here’s what I have to say about that:
At the end of the day, though, I still feel that the “covenantal” versus “decretal” system that Wilkins is arguing for is confusing. I would opt for the second of the alternatives that Wilkins offering, and only add that I don’t like the “judgment of charity” language, because it suggests (at least to me, it does) ignorance and ‘just being nice’. While I believe we can’t know for certain whether an individual is decretally elect or not, it isn’t pure guess work. We have reasons to believe people are elect (and vice versa), and we should use them. I don’t think it’s just to be nice that we regard fellow covenant members as elect, sanctified, justified, etc. My position is that we should actually believe it, just like we do of our spouses, for example. We don’t have absolute certain knowledge, but we trust and believe it to be true… it isn’t that we’re ignorant and just giving them the benefit of the doubt. Rather, we don’t doubt… we believe.
However, I will take this opportunity to say that I do agree with Wilkins that he isn’t contradicting the standards in what he’s doing. I don’t see the benefit in pushing for what he’s pushing for, but from within his paradigm, I don’t see how he’s denying anything in the confession.
I also wonder what exactly Wilkins is referring to when he talks about the blessings experienced by Non-Elect Covenant Members (NECMs). Several times in his letter he makes reference to such blessings, either saying NECMs experience some blessings, or they do not receive all the blessings. I wonder what blessings they receive, and what blessings they don’t receive.
The same question applies to Peter Leithart, in the letter he wrote last month to his presbytery. He wrote, “Baptism expresses God’s eternal sovereign choice of an individual to be a member of the people of God; and those who are members of the church stand righteous before God, are holy, and are sons because they are members of the body inseparably joined to the Son of God, who is the righteous and holy Son; these benefits of baptism, however, belong finally only to the baptized who respond to God’s grace in faith; there are some who are made sons by baptism who fall away.”
When I first read that, I thought it was rather contradictory, saying that baptism inseparably joins one to the Son of God, but that the benefits of baptism only ‘finally’ apply to those who do not fall away. How can one fall away if he is inseparably joined? Reading it again, though, I think “inseparably joined” refers to the church (the body), and so isn’t what I thought it was. But I still would like more explanation on what that means, and also further development on the idea that a NECM stands righteous and holy before God (at least temporarily), and, if since the benefits of baptism “finally” belong to those who respond to God’s grace in faith, in what sense do they belong to the NECM, who does not respond in faith?
So there you go.
July 9, 2007 No Comments
We went out to pick blueberries and blackberries at a local orchard on Saturday. The blackberries were mostly not yet ripe, but I managed to pick nearly 8 pounds of them. We ate some yesterday, and they were somewhat tart. But that’s neither here nor there. Except that it sets the scene.
As we were getting out of the van and getting everyone ready and all that, a rather old gentleman got out of the car next to us and started making small chat.
I was getting the stroller out of the back, and he started talking about how he wasn’t going to do any picking, and he could pay other people to do it for him, because he “made more money than he could spend” out in Virginia Beach. And besides, he wasn’t dressed for picking, and it was hot out.
Megan told him that they had lemonade slushies inside. But he said he’d rather they had a Budweiser. I went into the van at this point and didn’t hear how the conversation went, but when I got back I heard the tale end of Megan making a comment having to do with better beer (than Budweiser).
While I was putting sun screen on the kiddos he asked me what kind of van we had, and if we liked it or not. Before I could really give much of an answer, he explained how his son had totaled his four door pickup truck, and had bought a van for his family.
He continued to bring up almost random, but not quite, topics of conversation while we got ready the buckets for picking and all that rot. He asked what line of work I was in, and I told him. He didn’t care for the general sciences, he said.
It was probably inching towards ten minutes before all the kids were lining up and were ready to go.
He then said, “Are those all your kids?!”
“Yes, sir” I answered, with a smile.
He then quoted (or was it a paraphrase?) Psalm 127, and said that the Lord was blessing us. We agreed and thanked him, and moved to go to the fields. But he wasn’t done yet.
“But now” he inserted himself back into our lives, “is the important part.” He quoted another passage of Scripture, I think it was a proverb, but I’m not certain. It had to do with God’s Word in our heart.
“Yep!” we agreed. I then asked Geneva one of her catechism questions, “Where is God’s Word?”.
But he didn’t pay any mind to that. He was on a mission, it would appear. Not waiting to hear Geneva’s answer, he asked me, “What do I do for a living?”
I looked at him, somewhat confused. “What do you do?” I asked, clarifying his question. That was indeed what he was asking me, and so I said, “I don’t know” and began inching my family along the trail that lead to the field.
He muttered something and began walking closer to me. He said, “I quoted several passages of Scripture to you, and you don’t know what I do for a living?” He appeared to be astonished that I didn’t know how he made his living. But I answered him, “Nope.”
He shook his head and told me how he travels all around, and “everywhere I go, I preach the message of the gospel”.
At this point I interrupted him and said, “Well, you have a nice day. We’re going to go pick some berries.” As we walked away I heard him say something about not going away too soon.
I’m sure he thought he was doing something good. But the whole incident just reminds me of a time Megan and I were in a grocery store around midnight, and trying to decide what kind of ice cream to get, and a guy made a joke about he and his wife doing the same thing, and then forcing us into chit chat until he eventually started a sales pitch and asked me if I wanted to be his partner in some business he was starting.
In both cases, the initial kindness was a sham.
July 9, 2007 2 Comments
It’s an attempt to mock Answers Genesis’ Creation Museum, but she is sure to state that she’s not anti-religion. “There may have been some act of creation by some greater being at some point in history”, she says. She just doesn’t think she has any way of knowing that. But any young earth creationist… you’re ignorant and blind to the world around you. In other words, you can be religious if you want… but if you are, you’re a stupid twit. And you belong in the Dark Ages, where everyone was a stupid twit.
So here’s my question, Kirsten… and I’ll ask here because when I emailed a question to her (that similarly challenged her interpretation of evidence), I got nothing. Is there no possible explanation for the observations we make that would be consistent with a ~6000 year old Earth? Be scientific about it, now… no possible explanation at all?
In reality, I think Kristen is all for religion… as long as it’s her religion. But everyone else’s, especially anyone with the audacity to believe that ancient book the Bible, is an idiot and their religion is ignorant.
July 9, 2007 2 Comments
Today’s date is so fun, I didn’t want to let it pass without having at least a bit of a celebration. So, yay for 070707!
July 7, 2007 No Comments
July 7, 2007 No Comments
What happens when you’re wealthy and incredibly greedy?
July 2, 2007 1 Comment