Genesis 1: In the Beginning
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Bible begins with these famous words in Genesis 1, laying the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Genesis 1:1–2:4a is the first of two creation accounts in Genesis, and it focuses on God’s creation of the cosmos.
The Bible’s creation account is the source of a lot of debate. Some modern readers strip away the cultural and theological significance of Genesis, and instead mine it for scientific details about how God created the heavens and the earth. Others suggest it is simply one of many ancient accounts of creation—a myth.
To help us understand this ancient Scripture, we’re drawing from the expertise of Tremper Longman III, a renowned Old Testament scholar. In his online course on the book of Genesis, Longman reveals the cultural and theological implications…
Extracurricular Activities 3.28.15 — Marcion, Christian Stoicism, & Transhumanism
Yesterday, I began a conversation with Nancy Pearcey about her new book, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. Today, we continue this discussion and focus on the benefits and limits of worldview training.
Trevin Wax: James K. A. Smith makes the case that worldview analysis isn’t enough when it comes to discipleship, since we are formed by cultural liturgies, not just philosophical beliefs. What are the limits of worldview training?
In my two previous guest blog posts (here and here) considering Marcion’s Gospel, I focused predominantly on issues of reconstructing this text, highlighting, first, problematic issues in Markus Vinzent’s new monograph and, second, the most important methodological considerations when…
Wednesday Giveaway – Finding the Lost Images of God
The biblical text uses many vivid metaphors to speak of the nature of God, the people of God, and the relationship between God and the community, but in a modern context it can be easy to miss these ancient word pictures.
Instead we bring in our own images and assumptions, and create for ourselves a image of God and an image of ourselves that would have been quite foreign to the first readers of the Bible.
This week’s giveaway, Finding the Lost Images of God, was written to provide the background for accurately…
Bruce Waltke on the reign of Humanity
C.S. Lewis remarked at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 that 'the pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head was a symbol of the situation of all men.' God has called humanity to be his vice-regents and high priests on earth…
After the Fall, however, without God and his wisdom, generic adam is brutish, a tyrant (Prov. 30:2-2; cf. Ps. 73:22); with God and his revelation, adam is humane, crowned with dignity and honor.
In other words,…
Horton on Creation and Humanity
"The origins of creation cannot properly be understood apart from their eschatological aim. If we understand creation (including ourselves) only in terms of an origin (protology) rather than also as a destiny (eschatology), we will miss the crucial point that creation – including humanity – is in an important sense unfinished.
Strikingly, Descartes arrived at his concept of the autonomous res cogitans (thinking thing) by abstracting himself from the world and his mind from his body in contemplative solitude, while the biblical concept of the self emerged in constant interaction with God and other creatures in a particular history of covenantal relatedness.”
– Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way.
Animal Rights and Imago Dei by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
On April 9, 2009, The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Nicholas D. Kristof entitled "Humanity Even for Nonhumans" He argued that one of the great historical landmarks of the presidential election in the United States last year was not in the race or the president himself, but it was in "the limits of human dominion over other species."
He was referring to the "stunning passage in California" by an almost 2-to-1 majority, of "an animal rights ballot initiative that [would] ban factory farms from keeping calves, pregnant hogs or egg-laying hens in tiny pens or cages in which they can't stretch out or turn around." This is part of the vast push for animal rights around the world.
Three Presumptuous Sins of Teachers — By Ronald T. Habermas
In Christology today, two prominent doctrines stand out in need of particular attention: Image of God and Kenosis. All humankind was made in God’s Image and we still retain that reflection, albeit with serious distortions. It is easy to forget that Jesus, as both 100% God and 100% man, was also created in that Image.
Kenosis refers to Jesus’ voluntary submission of all His powers (not His nature) to the Father’s earthly plan for Him. Figuratively, He put these powers "on a shelf" for thirty-three years, which enables us to functionally reconcile His divinity with His humanity. For example, kenosis helps us understand how Jesus chose to not be omnipresent or omniscient.
The two earlier responses to my blog (of 12-11-08) point out realistic roadblocks in our own teaching, when we imitate Jesus’ six people-driven values of ministry. In fact, these two responses point to some of our most frequent and significant roadblocks. Pat referred to people-values #5 and #6, noting the need to realize that sometimes our teaching agendas are just that – ours, not necessarily God’s. Don cited people-value #2 (skills of listening and responding) and the common misbelief that "interruptions seem like irritants" whenever we stick to an inflexible schedule of time and rigid curricular content.
Knowing When to Quit – and Five Other Values of Jesus — By Ronald T. Habermas
When talk comes around to Jesus’ diverse ministries – especially those upholding the dignity of humans – many of us recall our Lord’s advocacy for powerless people. That’s a worthy place to start. Yet several other people-driven values characterize Jesus’ work, too, because at the heart of those values is the fact that everybody still possesses God’s Image. Consider these half-dozen axioms that prize our Divine reflection.
1. Jesus displayed ethnographic sensitivity. Our Lord honored people he served by meticulously studying their historical culture, as well as their contemporary context. These talents empowered him with useful insights into folklore (‘red sky’ forecasts), traditions (‘Corban’), and misbeliefs resulting from regional tragedies (Luke 13:1-5). These abilities similarly enabled him to observe, then teach, the significance of motivations behind personal offerings (widow’s penny). Sometimes Jesus’ transition from his study to application was quite simple, like when he cited a memorized children’s saying to capably criticize his opponents (Luke 7:31-32).