Monthly Archives: February 2014

Life is the Gift of a Benevolent Creator

God knows. God is close. God has created you! These comforting assurances are offered to us in Psalm 139. Today, we are going to reflect on how God has made us and what that means for us, His creatures.
Now normally, this blog doesn’t delve into technical theological terms, but this psalm gives us a great opportunity to grow in our understanding of the three “omni’s”+1. Traditional creedal Christianity has insisted that the Triune God, as revealed in the scriptures, is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (present everywhere). If we add a fourth “omni” to the list, omnibenevolent (always good or always loving), this psalm breaks down nicely into four parts.
This psalm began by reminding us that God knows everything. It continued by pointing out that God is always close, especially when we feel like He is far away. In this third section, where it describes the care God takes in creating each and every human being, we are shown a glimpse of His love and generosity towards us:
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:13-18, ESV)Quietly meditating on the innocence and pure life of a sleeping infant gives one newfound respect for the gift of life.

 
Quietly meditating on the innocence and pure life of a sleeping infant gives one newfound respect for the gift of life.

In short, life is a gift, given to us by a Creator who loves and cherishes us. You don’t have to be a person of faith to consider life a miracle. Even many secular skeptics admit that the odds of organic life ever developing anywhere in a seemingly infinite universe are remote. And yet, here we are, alive and flourishing.
Those who live with a Christ-centered worldview, see a benevolent Creator forming people and blessing them with life so that they can know His love. Without the benefit of ultrasound or X-ray, David knew that human beings are complex creatures composed of many intricate parts. As a shepherd boy turned king, he would have had no formal medical training. Maybe it was the excitement and joy of holding his own child that prompted David to praise the One who gives life.
Anyone with a tender heart, who has ever seen a fetal ultrasound or gently held a newborn baby, can’t help but feel love for the little one. Those who have taken time to learn how babies develop in the womb are even aware of how precious and vulnerable the littlest of these truly are. You are one of these children!
Sometimes it is easier for us to see how God could love others. Sometimes, we are aware of personal flaws that make it hard to love ourselves. Yes, it is true that we are no longer the perfect sons and daughters God created us to be. When we are honest and weak, we can all think of things we have done that don’t deserve the affection of an all-loving God.
Thankfully, God loves us regardless. He loves us all the same, all the time! He has given His Son Jesus to die on a cross that we may be forgiven our sins and given eternal life in Him. The same God who created humanity raised humankind from the darkness of death when Jesus burst forth from the grave. This is God’s most benevolent gift!
Much of the Church celebrates Transfiguration this Sunday. In Matthew 17:1-9, we see Jesus transfigured before three of his disciples. You could say that He underwent a metamorphosis; much like an insect is transformed when it goes from caterpillar to chrysalis to an adult butterfly. Many think that means that the disciples were able to see His divine nature in the place of His human nature, but this shallow interpretation misses the point.
The omnibenevolent God loves you, His human creation, so much that He became a human being so that you can forever be united with Him! Through Christ’s blood and by the power of the Holy Spirit, you too are being transformed. Your heart and mind are being changed in this life as you become more and more Christ-like by forgiving, loving and caring for others.
This transformation has begun now and will be completed when this life ends, and Christ takes you home to be with Him in heaven. Then you will be fully like God. We will not become God, but only when we are fully freed from sin and selfishness will we reach our full potential by being like God and finally be fully human. In eternity, we will enjoy uninterrupted life, love and goodness in the presence of our omnibenevolent, all-loving, all-good God; Who will say of you, “This is my beloved, with whom I am well pleased!”
This is the third of four blogs based on Psalm 139. You can read the first and second by clicking on these links. If you would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please click on the follow icon on the left side of the black banner on top of the page. Thank-you for following and thanks for sharing!!

Reflection On Bill Nye/Ken Ham Creation Debate

Pastor Lepley Reflection On Bill Nye/Ken Ham Creation Debate-

I appreciate Pastor Wren’s perspective on the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. I agree that debates seldom, if ever, change minds.  But they do offer platforms for further discussion. One of Bill Nye’s key claims, which he repeatedly made, was that the Bible never predicted anything that “science” has now revealed.  This untrue, and can be seen multiple places in the Bible.

When discussing universal inflation and Cosmic Background Radiation, it would have greatly helped Ham’s case if he pointed out that some 3,400 years ago, Moses recorded, that on the second day of creation, the universe “expanded.” That was “predictive,” since it was foretold by a prophet 3,400 years before a scientist happened to notice. The psalmist also described God, “covering [Him]self with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.” (Psalm 104:2, ESV)  “Stretching out” sounds like universal expansion or “inflation” to me.

We have multiple references in the Old Testament referring to the earth as a sphere, also “predictive.”  These passages were written thousands of years before Ferdinand Magellan was the first human being to sail around the world. The prophet Isaiah wrote, some 2,600+ years ago:

“It is he [God] who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;” (Isaiah 40:22, ESV)

(Note: Some dispute Isaiah’s authorship of his own book, but whether it was written between 600-700 BC or 200-300 BC, this passage was penned well before an explorer proved the world is a sphere.)

Job, quite possibly the oldest book in the Bible, also recorded:

“[God] has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters

at the boundary between light and darkness.” (Job 26:10, ESV)

These are just a few passages which accurately describe the nature of the universe and shape of the earth thousands of years before science “proved” either. Bill Nye only needs to correctly understand the first seven verses of the Bible to see the creation of light at the beginning (currently modeled by the secular Big Bang theory) and universal inflation/expansion clearly described as tools used by God in the creation of all things. This is “predictive,” the sort of evidence Bill Nye said he would need to see in order to change his view of the Biblical creation narrative.

Faith and science come together in the Bible.  God has clearly revealed many “mysteries” of the natural realm to humanity in His Word, long before science first unraveled them.  A well-educated Christian, who is versed in scripture and the sciences, is the opposite of ignorant (something Bill Nye insisted upon throughout the debate).  In my humble opinion, well-educated Christians are in the best place to answer the most-important question about life-

The question about origins, “Where did I come from?”

The question regarding purpose, “Who am I?”

The question of destiny, “Where am I going?”

If you’d like to get a copy of my book on a scientific look at the Biblical creation account, click here.

On Our Origins

I hope this debate gives Christians one more good reason to learn more about the scriptures and sciences.  Human beings are both physical and spiritual.  The world we live in is both/and (thank-you Ken Ham), not either/or (sorry Bill Nye).

THE WEST CENTRAL CONNECTION

bill-nye-ken-ham-debateReflections on the Creation/Evolution Debate

By Michael Wren

If you did not watch the debate, which took place at the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, you can find the entire event on YouTube for a short time.  Like most debates, last night’s event featuring Bill Nye and Ken Ham is unlikely to change very many minds.  Debates generally don’t change very many minds.  However, if they are good debates, they bring the core issues to the fore for consideration and reflection.  This debate was no exception.  Neither Nye nor Ham had much chance of making an impression on the opposing constituency, but their debate was revealing.  Here are a few reflections.

1)      The question posed for debate favored Bill Nye from the start.  The question was “Is creation a viable model of human origins in today’s modern world?”  In a debate, the affirmative is always more difficult to defend than…

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