Monthly Archives: October 2008
Say it isn’t true!!!! Oh, the anguish; Tennant steps down as Doctor Who. Well…at least he’ll be around through all the Doctor Who specials in 2009. On a positive note, perhaps this means the human-Doctor and Rose will make a reappearance at some point in the series? Ten’s been my favorite Doctor so far, and whoever they do wind up choosing, they have some work to do to keep the show up to par.
How depressing…but it’ll make the Specials…special. 😉
posted by OddShoe over at youtube.
Within Philosophy in general, there usually is a discussion of whether or not “God” exists. Now, it is important to keep in mind that the starting point in philosophy is a general idea of “God” not a specific religious POV on who/what God is. So, there have been many philosophers that attempt to approach the question from a general standpoint, often formulating arguments for His existence.
One of the major arguments is the Teleological Argument for God. Many people just refer to it as the Design Argument…however, it isn’t just limited to “design” as in the design of living organisms, but also of the apparent “purposefulness” of the universe; which includes the ordered nature of it, such as the laws of physics.
This would also include things like the apparent unity, and harmony of systems within the universe. I’ve posted before on Ecological Biodiversity, and how the whole system works together to the point that naturalistic explanations fall flat.
Paley often comes up in the discussion of the Teleological Argument for God; him and his famous watch analogy. If you happened upon a watch…even laying on the moon…would you believe it just happened to assemble itself, or would you assume it was designed by an intelligence? Simplistic explanation, but you get the picture.
Of course now, the Intelligent Design movement has kind of resurrected this idea and really grounded it in more technical science. The mass amount of information contained in DNA is one example of a subject now scrutinized by ID…not only the amount contained in DNA, but also how that information is read and interpreted and if there can actually be any logical naturalistic atheistic explanation behind all of this, which, thus far, there is not.
If we want to move more to the specific, we find that indeed God Himself puts forth a teleological argument in several places in the Bible, for example;
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
So, the idea that design and purpose shows forth the fact of God can be seen both in a general way, and also in a Christian framework. As always in apologetics, some people will really like to use and/or hear logical arguments such as the teleological argument that can be used either generally to point to a God, or more specifically to point to The God. Some people do not care for philosophical types of apologetics, and prefer to use other arguments. I’m not coming down on the issue either way, in this blog post, just teaching about it, but I do know that as Paul said, everyone is truly without excuse.
I’ve had several conversations with people lately surrounding the idea of the Tree of Knowledge. Why was Adam given the choice, or opportunity to disobey God…or rather, to not have faith in God?
That answer is quite obvious; Adam had to be given some form, or kind, of choice in order to truly have free will. It is plain that God does not want humans as robots, or else He could’ve very easily made Himself a bunch of automatons to populate the earth. So, in order for there to be free will, there absolutely must be a choice available; The Tree of Knowledge was that choice.
Now, I in turn ask the question; Why was the Tree of Knowledge the choice? Why didn’t God just say; “You see that tuft of purple grass…don’t step on it.” Would that not have been a free will choice between obedience and faith or disobedience and a lack of faith? So, why the Tree of Knowledge in particular?
We are not directly told…but just mull it over a bit. Here’s my opinion; if we were going to fall, which God knew we were, we needed the choice to be the tree. If we fell, in other words, something about the choice itself would aid us in the future to get back to God. I believe the Tree served that function.
If the Tree itself provided us with an idea of Good vs. Evil, then that absolutely helps us find our way back to God. For one simple example, The Moral Argument for God is basically derived from that very idea. The fact that humans know there is right and wrong (even if we disagree on the details) gives evidence of God. A true and meaningful sense of morality only makes logical sense if there is an absolute and objective source for that morality.
The Tree did not create that morality within us; God did…but perhaps the Tree let us tap into it. If the choice had not been that tree, it may have been much much harder for us to return to God because we would not have recognized right from wrong internally.
We have to has that internal sense of right and wrong in order to recognize our sinful state, and that is the beginning of the realization of our need to “get right” with God (which can only be done ultimately through Christ, of course).
In short, I do believe that Adam was “funnelled” to the Tree if he was going to disobey in order to derive some benefit from it, even though that choice resulted in the fall. On a side note, it is important to remember that everything revolves around faith. It is faith, or a lack of it that results in sin. So, beyond eating of the Tree, Adam and Eve lacked faith in God and what He had told them…that was the foundation of the sin right there, not just the “work” of eating the fruit, and only through faith do we get back to God.
What it is that those fictional blood suckers have or do that draws everyone’s attention so? I don’t exclude myself from those that are interested in a good vampire tale or two.
They drain regular folks of their blood to survive, they can’t walk in the daylight (in most stories), they can indeed be killed, but baring a steak through the heart, an inferno, or a lopping off of the head they live forever. In our modern times, they also are always portrayed as suave, mysterious, sexy, protective, etc…
There is an odd fascination with the concept of immortality…but immortality with a price, if that immortality is gotten through nefarious means. Their strength, youth, beauty, etc… all come with a hefty price tag. Most of them walk around guilt ridden, and full of angsty brooding…that, and the insatiable hunger for human blood.
Buffy, Angel, Dracula 2000, Dracula: The Series, The Lost Boys, The Anne Rice novels, The Historian, Twilight, Stoker, True Blood, etc… Vampires are everywhere, and the different writers all like to add their own twists…but many times the themes are the same.
The concept of immortality is something quite interesting from my perspective. I think that it is very significant that humans mull over the idea, and that it evokes such strong imagination. I, of course, feel that it is a tacit acknowledgment by the human psyche that we are indeed immortal. And, we “instinctively” know that immortality is a powerful, but sometimes dangerous concept.
In mainstream Christianity we have the belief that all humans are indeed immortal. I loved CS Lewis’ thoughts on it, and he urged everyone to remember that when we deal with fellow humans, we are interacting with an immortal soul…it tends to change the way we look at, and interact with others (and think about ourselves).
Also, Vampires must shed blood, or choose to drink blood in order to live. I always find it interesting that the Bible clearly teaches that the life of the soul resides in the blood, and that it is by the shed blood of Christ that we were purchased so that we could spend our immortality in God’s presence…but the vampire’s tale is a cautionary one; bad things can happen if you attempt to gain immortality in the wrong way.
In many of the older tales, and some of the new, vampires could not harm someone if they held a cross. Religion has always played a role in vamp tales; even the ones that make the point that their vampires aren’t affected by religious objects or people.
Another set of themes within vamp tales that makes me think of religion are the themes of damnation and/or redemption. A human curses God, so God curses them…or vamps as demons or soulless, that’s the damnation side of it. A vampire who desires to abstain from harming humans and to make up for their past, or find a way to break the curse, that’s the redemptive side of it. And these tales are very effective in communicating to us the very serious nature of both of those themes (Angel is one of my favorites, as far as redemption stories go).
I continue to maintain that the fascination with all of these themes points to the notion that humans tap into them because the underlying ideas are real in some form, if only metaphorical. Immortality is literally real, that we gain life by the shedding of blood, though not in the drinking of it, is real…that life resides in the blood, that power is dangerous, that we have to be careful what we wish for, etc… It’s one of the reasons I do indeed like a good vampire tale, and that I find the “sacred” in the “secular” even amidst a good vampire yarn.
Just some fangy-fun musings…I’ll have to use some specific examples in the future as they come up…or fang-out.
Ephesians 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
My husband, The ‘Shrink, seems to think this is a timely message, and so do I. The stock market thinks it’s a roller coaster, and I personally know many fellow believers that are under attack, physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, etc… Here’s a link to a write-up of a sermon that Doc Scott, and Melissa Scott did/does on this very subject of not fretting: Fret not, Fret not, Fret not.
From the sermon, “This particular man, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down.” And this is something I want to highlight, because if you are in the fretting mode and feeling consumed by your circumstance, God is still ordering your way. He is establishing and making firm your footsteps. It means there is a possibility while you’re in God’s program, and on God’s path, you may fall. In fact I wish I could just retract the word “may” and just say you “will” fall, because we’re all born in Adam. We’re born that way and because of what Adam did we are perpetual fallers. But, “He shall not be utterly cast down.” Many of you have read the passage, “A bruised reed shall He not break,” and I look at that and say God cares for His creation. It matters to Him. Why are these instructions given to us? Because He knows the lot of those that are going to press in and follow after His program, tempted, tried, bruised, almost broken. This is meant for encouragement for anyone going this direction.
“For the LORD upholdeth (the translators added in italics) him with His hand.” God’s going to have me “underneath bottomless.” It means when I fall, and when you fall, God’s ever-present, merciful hands will be there to catch us. There is no place so low that it can be underneath bottomless. This whole picture tells me that God already sees and knows. There is not a particular instance in the life of a believer that God has not already covered in His word.”
For a related post see my, “A Call for Calm“
Exodus 17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
There’s no joking and no denying that a lot of us are going through rough patches right now…almost every believer I know is being “attacked” on one front or another; physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, etc… We are wrestling against ourselves, this world, and/or principalities and powers.
We must never forget that even the heroes of the Bible (save Christ) needed God, working through other humans to “lift them up” and support them from time to time. In chapter 17 of Exodus, we have Moses overlooking a battle. As he raises up his hands (being a visual representation of God’s intervention) the Israelites start winning, as he lowers his hands, they begin to lose.
God, of course, is the main focus here…and Moses is the prophet center stage. But we see here a very human side of God’s chosen man in this case. He literally cannot hold up his own arms…have you ever tried to raise and hold up your arms for any length of time? It starts to ache, to cramp, to hurt fairly quickly.
Now, add to that the knowledge of the stress of the battle; he knows when he begins to put his arms down that his people start getting slaughtered. Fortunately, Hur and Aaron are at hand (literally) and help Moses.
Folks, don’t forget to uphold each other, as we can, when we can, where we can. Our spouses, our friends, our teachers, our students, our brothers and sisters, family, our preachers/teachers/pastors, our praise leaders, our music makers, etc…. Sometimes we all need it; even Moses needed it. In the end all glory goes to God, of course, for His power and grace.
We are a family, we believers, and we should act like one. (Yes, that also means we will bicker and fight…sometimes pull hair, and give the silent treatment 😉 ). But, the fact remains, we all need our hands held up every now and again; we are human. Just a reminder in these times.