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Book Review, The Lost World of Genesis One by John H Walton

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It was 7th grade when Mrs Mayo, my public school science teacher, taught evolution.  She prefaced that day stating evolution does not disprove creation but merely explains it (this was in southwest Louisiana, 1982). As I read the bible throughout the years I never really considered that the 6 day account in Genesis was contradictory to an old earth because of the way everything is worded… until I watched a series of videos by a 6 Day Creationist sometime around 1998 who was supremely adamant that evolution was the most formidable weapon of deceit and doubt facing Christians today.  And until exposed to many of the complexities around the issue I considered it for approximately 2 years before dismissing it.  I’m no scientist, but I eventually settled back on the old earth model, thats just what makes the most sense to me.  And like science I remain open to change my views upon further knowledge.

I was faced with the dilemma that I wasn’t comfortable with the 6 Day = 6 Eons theory either, it just didn’t pan out in light of the sequence of days in Genesis 1. For instance Day one begins with the Earth already created, and the stars aren’t there until day 4. So that didn’t add up, how could I be faithful to scripture and not ignore science.

     Walton provides a satisfactory explanation along with a deeper appreciation for Genesis 1, as much more than just an account of creation. He refutes the Concordist model which states Genesis 1 was written to scientifically explain the material creation of life, the universe, and everything.  He shows that this view was beyond the ancient’s worldview and that their main concern was explaining functional origins, i.e. the Cosmic Temple Inauguration model.  And the preeminent thrust of was mainly a teleological account, the explanation of purpose and function.
     The teleological evidence of Genesis 1 is needed today as much if not more than ever. The modern world is so confused when it comes to purpose, we assume that God created us merely to be happy, whether his happiness our ours.  But the authors intention in Genesis is much more profound. The ideas expressed in Genesis 1 as interpreted here are implicitly related to environment, sexuality, family, and every other  aspect of human activity of life and civilization.
     The beauty is that his premise is compatible with both a literal 6 Day Creation model and Old Earth via evolution and/or big bang theory, as well as any other model. The central idea being that Genesis 1 is detailing a functional inauguration, and that since scripture gives no scientific model of the material creation of the universe but states emphatically that God is highly involved in the process no matter the method.
     Science provides no mechanism for the metaphysical question of purpose in regard to the origins of life, it cannot explore the “why” questions only the “how” questions. Science cannot and will not tell us the goal of the universe, why we are here, or even if we have a purpose or not… and it should not… It would not be empirical science if it did.   That is the aim of teleology and metaphysics, which should be taught in conjunction to science, but as a separate entity.
     Any model of the origin of the cosmos and life should be taught along with all its complexities and problems.  And philosophical ideas such as teleology and metaphysics should be taught as objective non-religious ideas, with the aim of teaching students ‘how to think’, not ‘what to think’.  Its is a shame and a waste that there is a conflict that is inherently politicized that prevents textbook publishers and educators to owning up to the problems deep-rooted in the evolution model.  But that is normal science, owning up to and discussing these things is part of the scientific process.
     Science is a great tool for exploring the universe, but it is not the end all of knowledge, nor does it claim to be.  History has taught us that as our knowledge increases the truths of science change.  Whats true and beyond doubt in one generation is not necessarily true in the next.  The process of doing science itself changes over time.  Quantum physics is a huge wrench in the contemporary process.  Again, I’m no scientist, but I’m not ignorant of some of the problems and ideas.
     Lastly, Walton does an outstanding job relating academic ideas in a down-to-earth style. He presents his propositions in a clear and logical manner that is easy to follow. He follows each chapter with a summary, summarizes everything at the halfway point of the book and again at the end so there is not much room for misunderstanding and plenty room for grasping the whole picture. He then answers a few common questions at the very end in a Q & A style. Its pretty concise and logical laid out. Which makes for a great and quick read for such a heavy topic.
 

Proverbs 11 –

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
but a just weight is his delight.
~Proverbs 11:1

A while back my dad was buying shrimp from some shrimpers who were selling their catch roadside.  As they began to weigh his purchase he noticed that they poured an awful lot of  ice on the scales with it, thus weighing more and giving my dad less shrimp.  My dad commented on it so the guy took the ice off, and my dad happened to look down and the guy had his hand pushing down on the scale to make it weigh more.  Of course my dad got it all straight before he left, but it was a pretty crazy experience.

I have to remember this when I price jobs, I’m a contractor, because I want to give people a fair price no matter what.  When I am honest, especially when times are financially tough, I show that my faith and security is not solely in my own ability.  But I have a higher and stronger place to lean and rely on.

It seems that scripture is more concerned with how we live our lives, than with how well we live.  How well we live is relative and lends itself to comparing ourselves with others and competition.

When you treat people right and have honest dealings, you may not get rich financially, but you will have everything you need and you will have wealth in many other ways.

Time is No Excuse

I’ve been reading Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

While it’s geared towards business, I can see lots of applications in most areas of life.

Here’s one thing I found relevant:

“When you want something bad enough, you make time for it–regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it bad enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time.”

They go on to explain that if you cut TV or World of Warcraft just a little, or if you stay up a little later (maybe an hour), etc; you’ll find you have plenty of time to work on any extra pursuits you might have or want to develop.

However like most of us, I often feel overstimulated. Because there are so many things I could be doing at any given moment. From spending time with my wife, playing with the kids, playing music, reading, watching Caprica & Stargate U, and teh World Wide Web; there is just too many interesting things to do.

Things I would love to do include: diy guitar gear, beer brewing, survival, skateboarding, exercise, fixing up the house, landscaping, learning Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, and Italian (maybe Mandarin too), ju-jitsu, yoga, bushido, etc, lol

Maybe I should just pick one to get started

Ps: I forgot to mention knife fighting, speed reading, gardening, and painting

Pss: What’s is on your list of things to do?

1 Corinthians 7:17-24

Key verse: 20 – “Each of you should remain in the situation you were in when God called you.”

Here Paul states that if you were saved as a Jew, then stay a Jew. If you were saved as a Gentile, then stay a Gentile. If you were rich or poor, or a slave. Keep whatever status you had.

When God calls you, he calls like you are. You need to stay in your status because people need to see the change in you. You can’t fool people who have been knowing you your whole life.

This is probably one regret I have that I would have done differently if I were to relive my salvation experience again

When I first became a Christian I eventually ostracized myself from many of my long time friends. Many of whom I have never seen or heard from since. And a few I now have shaky relations with.

On the flip side, when I followed God I was soon reunited with my family in a way that I never knew.

What a wonderful time it was. But what a lesson to learn.

A few days in Avon, Colorado

Sitting in the lobby of the Shereton in Avon, Colorado, drinking a Zen tea. We’ve been snowboarding with Chad and Ally Turner.

I miss Ian and Kamila terribly!

Chad had a rough first day, he couldn’t turn or even stand up on the board. He was sorely dissappointed. He thought he was gonna catch on fast.

I caught on pretty quick… about 15 years ago. I took lessons for 1/2 day and I was good to go. But apparantly that’s not the case with everyone.

Ally did good skiing. She took 2 days of lessons. And one day, between, skiing with Karen & I (she was with us when Karen fell).

I did better this trip than previous trips. I fell 2x the first day and hurt both wrist, but they weren’t bad. Yesterday I tried a small jump and ended up falling and my butt is still sore

Next year I’ll need better equipment. I realize that my heel comes up about an inch or so in my boot. And it’s critical that it stays put or I could get hurt easily since I’m doing harder slopes now. So I’ll have to find a pro shop and demo some equipment next time

I’ve been sampling some of Colorados microbrews. This is something I always look forward to, as some are really great. I think it’s awesome that there is such a great culture where microbrewing flourishes here.

Fat Tire is a good one. I had one called Dales that I didn’t care for too much, it was xtra hoppy and taste like lemon rinds. I normally like hoppy and bitter beers though. But so far porter is my favorite

Diversions?

Whether it’s music, art, movies, books, or whatever, for the Christian these things are never diversionary. We never retreat from the world, we engage and advance.

The Arts speak volumes about our selves as a culture and who we are or who we would like to become (or not become).

We should always seek to find ways to celebrate life and creation, the many facets of who we are and who God is, as well as exploring ideas as to what this life is all about.

Aliens: More Than Human

A mining colony discovers an ancient city on a distant world. The workers soon become enchanted by it and abandon their posts and wander the city, experiencing it’s glory.  As they soon find out… they are not alone. Something has been waiting for their arrival.

And I guess you know how the rest goes….

Dark Horse recently released a new Alien series that is to be called More Than Human, although if you collect the comic it is simply Aliens (1-4).

Some of the themes in the series as a whole include the ideas of human depravity,  impending judgment, mortality, and mystery.

Often times human greed and depravity lead to unleashing the Alien as an instrument of destruction upon humanity

Corporations and governments want the Alien as a weapon to destroy human lives. But it’s not just faceless corporations, for within the story there are treacherous villains often betraying people to their own deaths at the hands of the Alien.

In this story there is an added (and I’m not sure if it was intended or not) theological significance in that while the humans were under the spell of the city an android that was trying to save a little girl saved them.

Sereda had to be More Than Human and not prone the greed and divisiveness of man in order to think clearly to save them.   And to further the Christological significance, Sereda was “killed” and rose from the grave.

Also there is an air of mystery surrounding the city and what causes people to go mad.  And why are the Aliens different there than the other Aliens.   Are they protecting something?  I have a feeling well find out soon enough

I could go on and on about it. But it’s was a great read.   And as I do not normally like horror (ask my wife how I cringe at the sight of it) I’ve always been drawn to Alien movies. I suppose because of their significance and depth of philosophy, theology, and ethics, I love thinking about what it all means.