Creation

Why Does Creation Matter?

In his thought provoking book Seven Days That Divide The World Dr. John Lennox concludes in an appendix challenging Theistic Evolution:

And why does it matter anyway? Is this not a case of Christians getting involved in an irrelevant sideshow? I do not think so, especially in light of the current insistence on the part of many atheists that there is nothing special about human beings, since they have been produced by precisely the same blind and unguided process as any other species. The status of human beings is no small matter.

Zondervan. Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science (p. 166). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Dr. Lennox reminds us that if we compromise the truth of Scripture we leave fissures that others will exploit in their attempt to destroy God’s truth.

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Categories: christian, Christianity, Creation, Devotional, Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Father Sacrificing Dignity

Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 2 Sam 6:14&15

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. John 19:23

Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal Son. Courtesy: Google Images

On Sunday evening I heard a young man preach his first sermon. It was on the prodigal son. There was much to commend but one phrase leapt at me. When the father ran towards his returning son the young preacher stated that “he sacrificed his dignity.” It was one of those phrases that invites immediate reflection and meditation. The further I thought about it the greater the realisation that more God has dealt with a rebellious and sinful humanity the more our heavenly father sacrificed his dignity – set apart the honour and glory that is His due and came into our chaos to free us from our self inflicted mess.

What we see a glimpse of in David, and the dad of the prodigal son, we see perfectly in Christ. The son, whose rightful place was and is beside the father, came to earth as a human being and died at our hands so that our condemnation would dealt with. That is sacrificing dignity – sacrificing all that is rightfully his for the our sake.

But, I thought, do I really comprehend this sacrifice? Do we as the church understand this? I am thinking particularly of the middle class church in which appearance, reputation, success and honour are so important. If Jesus sacrificed, not just his dignity, but his life for us, how I do I/we reflect that reality in the way I/we “live” our Christian lives and “live” church?

Inspired by Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son, the respected Catholic theologian, Henri Nouwen left his University post and began caring for, and cleaning up after, mentally ill patients. Nouwen glimpsed what my young friend alerted me to on Sunday night – to be Christlike requires us to sacrifice our dignity. To be like Jesus means to sacrifice all for the kingdom – even what people think of us!

Categories: Calvin, Camino, christian, Creation, Ethics | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Pelican and the Glory of God

A few days ago as I was camped on the banks of the Murray River I sat and observed pelicans – as you do. The pelican is an unusually shaped bird but is obviously configured appropriately for its life on the water and in the air; effective in the water, graceful in the air and exuding an independent character all the while. It is so unlike the squabbling gulls and raucous galahs.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”  So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”  And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day.  … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Gen 1)

Too often I come across Christians who are unconcerned about the environment. Their argument seems to be, the more we use and abuse creation, the sooner Christ will return. I find this thinking hard to stomach. God made a creation that was “good” and He placed us as stewards over it. When He does return will he have found faithful stewards? Ummm, I wonder.

In the meantime, for me, the pelican is a simple but special reminder of the beauty and uniqueness of what God has made, but even more, it gives me an insight into God Himself.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Creation, Devotional, Environment, Faith | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

He Calls Them Each by Name

He determines the number of the stars 
   and calls them each by name.

Psalm 147:4

The "Dish" at Parkes N.S.W.

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A Day in the Garden

Finally, after a number of wet weekends, I had an early start and got into the garden. I was reminded once again that rain and warmth equals luxuriant growth – particularly for weeds.

A while back after spending many hours in back breaking weeding, I made the comment that I wanted a word with Eve when I got to Heaven. A friend ( a lady) said I would have to stand in line behind all the women before I had my turn to say my piece. I was put in my place!

The garden is a place of two truths, One truth is the miracle of creation and its beauty. There are flowers, trees and shrubs of infinite shades, colours, shapes and sizes. I am always amazed at what I hadn’t noticed before. I love being out there. It is a place of respite after a busy head filled week. The other truth, though, is the reality of brokenness and sin. Plants die, there are pests that destroy them and then there are the weeds that run rampant and choke anything in their path.

This tension between beauty and ugliness is a metaphor for our lives. There is much to rejoice over, and sadly, much to sorrow over. For the Christian, the beauty is also a reminder that Christ has a place for us – a new weedless and pestless heaven and earth. In fact, we are there with him now (Eph 2). Still, we are also here dealing with our own sin and that of those around us.

But for me, the garden is a place of hope (usually) and it helps me look forward with a real sense of joy. So I had better stop rambling and get out there again.

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A Verse for Monday Psalm 8:1

LORD, our Lord, 
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Even Roman Centurions Need a Break

One of my favourite photos from Rome is a picture I took of a Roman Centurion, near the Colosseum, reading a newspaper. Adding to the relaxed atmosphere was a Gelati van in the background.

Reflecting on this photo it reminded me that some of us, either because of our background or natural disposition frown on relaxation. It is not productive, there are things to be done and we shouldn’t waste time. Some of us, especially those of us brought up under the spectre of the “Calvinist work ethic”, see relaxation as sinful, or if not sinful, certainly heading in that direction.

Is this driven lifestyle something that God wants? Is it healthy?

When reading the Psalms it strikes me that Psalmist, stopped, stood down from his business and basked in the beauty of the creation around him

“You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1b)

“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1a)

“Sing to him a new song; play skilfully and shout for joy” (Psalm 33:3)

There are many, many more examples.

What they reveal is a person delighting in his relationship with God and rejoicing in the beauty and majesty of his God’s creation.

For the hard nosed, star gazing and lyre plucking are not productive activities. However, for the delighter in God, they are worship. There is a joy and celebration knowing that God has surrounded me with His creation – a creation not simply there to be productive and mined, but a creation that reveals God, His majesty and beauty.

So in your busy-ness stop and smell the flowers, or if you like, have a gelati and a read a paper. Even centurions need a break.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Creation, Devotional | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Divine Breath: A poem on Sunday

Divine words creating

Shaping

Holy breath speaking into presence

Majestic imagination

Unfolding and weaving

Triunity

In partnership

Speaking, Breathing, Being

Creation blinks

Light streams forth

Air and water part

Land and sea claim their domains

Leaves shoot forth in their hallelujahs!

Stars, planets and comets scatter into space

The rhythm of being beats

The waters swirl with life

The land abounds

Then I am made

Like God!

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