Tag Archives: genesis

Comet Catching for the Glory of God

On Wednesday of this past week, we witnessed a monumental moment in the history of scientific discovery: the European Space Agency landed a man-made spacecraft on a comet.  I must admit, I was (and still am) impressed.  Scientists flew the Rosetta Spacecraft for ten years, over hundreds of millions of miles through the solar system, using gravitational boosts from Earth and Mars to give the craft the speed necessary to intercept Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Rosetta’s mission was to escort the comet on its journey around the sun.

If that isn’t enough, Rosetta also carried a landing module with it.  The Philae landing module is roughly the size of a washing machine and is equipped with “harpoons.”  Those harpoons are designed to spear the comet to keep Philae secure on its trek around the sun.  On Wednesday, Philae landed.  Engineers believed the craft bounced twice before finally coming to rest.  By Wednesday evening, Philae had sent the first photograph of a comet’s surface back to earth.   Considering the Wright brothers historic “first” flight took place merely 111 years ago, catching up to a comet near the orbit of Jupiter and landing on said comet this week is astonishing.

But why?  The Rosetta mission has involved some 2,000 individuals, and has cost in the neighborhood of $1.6 billion.  Some have given more than a decade of their lives to this mission.  One of the European Space Agency’s stated goals for this mission is to seek answers to the question of life’s origins.  Perhaps, if they can find organic molecules on the comet, then they can validate the theory of “comet seeding” – that comets provided the raw organic materials necessary for life to begin on our planet.

I am impressed with the faith of anyone who is willing to invest that much of their life and expertise to chase such a far-fetched theory.  Even if organic molecules are found on a comet, there is still a colossal leap of faith to get from carbon on a comet to people on a planet.  Personally, I am a fan of space exploration.  Captain Kirk said it best on Star Trek: that we should “boldly go where no man has gone before.”  But in exploring “strange new worlds,” we are not going to find an answer contrary to the one that God has already given us.

Mankind has spent innumerable resources in an attempt to answer the question of our origin.  From the Large Hadron Collider built in Europe at the cost of nearly $10 billion to the $1.6 billion Rosetta spacecraft to the countless other experiments performed over the last century, they have all left scientists unable to come up with any reasonable answer to the two most important questions – where did the stuff of the universe come from and how did living stuff come from non-living stuff.

Thankfully, the answers to those questions can be found – not buried in a comet – but in the first sentence spoken to us by our Creator God – “in the beginning, God created the heaven’s and the earth.”  Out of nothing, He created everything.  You see, I’m all in favor of landing spacecraft on comets – not so we can find a different answer than the one God already gave about our origin, but to see the Heavens declaring the glory of God from a front-row seat.

In Christ,

Pastor Brian

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The Perfect Pair

One of the shows on television that has always given me the creeps is The Bachelor (and it’s girl-power counterpart, The Bachelorette).  I would be lying if I said I had never watched it.  The handful of episodes I have seen were more like opposition research rather than entertainment.  The concept of speed-dating multiple partners, ditching the less desirable ones along the way, until you find the perfect match has all the makings for a trusting and fulfilling, lifelong relationship – especially when you throw in a lot of inappropriate physical contact with those partners, and when you document the whole ordeal in front of a national television audience.  Note the sarcasm please.  There’s just no way to spin the fact that The Bachelor is about giving some dude a harem and saying, “Go get ‘em tiger.”   If you watch it because “it’s soooo romantic,” ask yourself if you would like to see your son or daughter on the show.

One problem with reality television is that it isn’t very real.  Real life doesn’t have makeup artists, wardrobe consultants, multi-million-dollar mansions, or ABC’s bottomless wallet.  Real life doesn’t have rose ceremonies where the broken-hearted can be whisked away in a limo to carry on with their lives, never to be heard from again.  All of this television magic simply serves to mask the big, ugly monster lurking in the shadows.  The biggest problem with almost all reality television is that it is a business designed to exploit human sin in order to make a profit.  The Bachelor, in particular, makes a mockery of the biblical definition of marriage and the reality is that we may not even notice.

Now deceased, Senator Dan Moynihan coined the phrase, “defining deviancy down.”  In sociological terms, if you can’t fix it, make it normal.  Divorce, pornography, adultery – these things were once seen as menaces to a community are now seen as normal by everybody except some evangelical Christians.  Enter the current push to normalize homosexuality.  The reality is that 50 years ago, the concept of The Bachelor would have been terribly offensive to the culture, and any man behaving in such a way would be considered a womanizer at best or a gigolo at worst.  Now, we see the whole thing as “romantic” and we consume it in droves.  In reality of that reality show it is simply a man acting like an animal.

It is no surprise that Genesis offers a proper foundation for our understanding of God’s design in marriage.  And as you guessed it, our current cultural trends do not reflect God’s design.  In fact, like all human sin, the are an affront to God’s design.  Genesis tells us that God created marriage to be between one man and one woman.  There’s no room for homosexuality there. Remember, God’s mandate to mankind – be fruitful and multiply.  There’s only one arrangement that makes that happen.  That’s not intolerant or hateful, just biblical.  Genesis tells us that God created man to leave their father and mother and become one flesh with his wife.  That eliminates any opportunity for fornication prior to marriage.  While the culture today believes that fornicating is completely normal, God says its beyond his design.  It also precludes adultery.  There is no way one can be one flesh with more than one person.  In marriage math, 1+1=1.  That’s why adultery and fornication are so damaging to marriage because it adds a variable to the equation that permanently skews the result.  Genesis also says that man and woman are to “hold fast.”  The divorce epidemic is also out of bounds.  Genesis does not give an exit strategy to marriage.  Oh yeah, all the other deviant behavior pertaining to marriage – all that is out of bounds too.  Chauvinism and feminism, wrong.  Emotional, verbal, physical abuse, wrong.  I could go on.

Sometimes people accuse Christians of being intolerant of homosexuals.  That’s not completely true.  Biblical Christianity must reject all behavior that is contrary to God’s design, not just the one that appears to be the most flagrant.  Perhaps we are more reluctant to treat fornication, adultery and divorce like we treat homosexuality because those are the sins with which we are the most complicit.

In Christ,

Pastor Brian

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The Consequence of Work & Rest

Hugh Welchel, executive director for The Institute of Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org), said, “God is a worker.  From the very beginning of Scriptures we are faced with the inescapable fact that work is part of God’s character and nature.”1  As image-bearers of our Creator, then we have to consider the fact that there are certain aspects of God’s character and nature that we reflect.  God certainly made it clear that the call to work is one of those shared attributes.  When we read Genesis 2, we find that work is the first task given to Man.  Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it.”  God didn’t put man in the garden to string up a hammock between two trees and listen to the birds sing.  Eden was no doubt the epitome of pristine locations, but it wasn’t a vacation.  Perhaps we picture Eden as being the backdrop for a Jimmy Buffet song, but that simply isn’t the biblical picture.  God put man in the garden to work.  Work is one of those topics that doesn’t get brought up in church very often.  Ignoring it has clearly been to our detriment.

It is very interesting that there are three errors regarding work that plague us today.  A proper understanding of the first three chapters of Genesis corrects all three of those errors.  The first error is that of laziness.  The Bible speaks very clearly in regards to this error.  Not only do we have Adam’s commission to till and keep the garden in Genesis 2, Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing.”  1 Timothy 5:8 reminds us, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  I could go on…for a LONG time.  Yet today, we are living in a day and time when laziness is widespread.  Of course, there is something to be said about helping people who are facing unexpected hardships, but as we have seen so many times, handouts and entitlements incentivize laziness for those who are prone to that error.

The second error is that of frustration and a lack fulfillment.  It is important to understand that work was not a product of the Fall in Genesis 3.  Certainly, one of the effects of the Fall is that work is often frustrating and difficult.  However, in Christ, we begin to recapture that perfect image that is marred with sin.  It is for this reason that Paul says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  Christians must begin to understand that work is not a means to an end, a necessary evil in a market-driven economy.  Instead, they should see their work as yet another way to worship God and partake in His mandate to those who bear his image.  Welchel said, “Work is not a curse but a gift from God.  By our work we employ useful skills to glorify God and love our neighbors.  Work is not a result of the Fall.”

The third error is when we allow work to become idolatry.  This is the polar opposite of laziness.  Always remember that after God worked for 6 days, he rested on the sabbath.  Likewise, God gave the sabbath to his image-bearers for their good.  Work can easily consume us.  Now, we can work from home.  And while that may save some commute time, it can also make it far too easy to avoid rest and reflection.  Instant communication means that our work can find us anytime, anyplace.  If we are not careful, we can allow our work to destroy our families, jeopardize our health, and distract us from our faith.  If we are to redeem work for the glory of God, then we must also understand that God desires for us to take time to rest and reflect.

Properly understanding Genesis means that we avoid these errors and begin to reclaim our work for God’s glory, not simply see it as a means to an end.  As Colossians 3:17 reminds us, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

In Christ,

Pastor Brian

 

1.  Hugh Welchel, How then Should We Work, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2012, p. 7.

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