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Monday, September 30, 2019

Should Genesis 1-2 be taken literally?

Should Genesis 1-2 be taken literally?

First question: what is literally? In this case, let's say that "literally" means that the days of Genesis 1 were consecutive 24-hour days, and that the events described as having taken place during these days took place as Genesis 1 indicates that they did, in the order given. I also stipulate that "literally" means that the events in Genesis 2 took place as described, in order as given.

The creative events in Genesis 1 (See here for link to that chapter. I have linked to the public domain World English Bible, but all commonly used English translations may be accessed easily from that page.) may be listed as follows:
Day 1: light (verses 3-5)
Day 2: sky (?) separating clouds from surface water (The King James says "firmament.")
Day 3: dry land, land plants
Day 4: sun, moon, stars
Day 5: moving water creatures, birds
Day 6: land animals, humans

The events in Genesis 2 are as follows:
1: Adam (verse 7)
2. A garden (verse 8)
3. Animals created (verses 19-20)
4. Eve created (verses 21-22)

Genesis 2 is often taken to be a re-telling of the events in Genesis 1, or as a passage putting Genesis 1 in context. But, whatever Genesis 2 was meant to do, the sequence of events is not the same as those in Genesis 1. In Genesis 2, Adam comes before the garden, and before the animals. Thus, Genesis 1 and 2 cannot both be taken literally, if literally means what was specified in the beginning of this post.

There are other problems with taking Genesis 1 and 2 literally:

* The various days, as described, begin with the word "let," for example "let there be," in verse 14. But Genesis 1:2, which indicates that there was a formless creation, probably covered with water, comes before "let there be light," in verse 3. Was there, then, creation before day 1?
* What was the source of light in day 1? (The sun was mentioned first in day 4.)
* "Day" is used in Genesis 1, with the apparent (but perhaps not literal) meaning of 24-hour day. However, in Genesis 2:4, which summarizes the creation, it can't mean 24-hour day. Also, the Blueletter Bible gives several different meanings for yowm, the Hebrew word translated as "day," in Genesis 1, and also in Genesis 2:4.
* (added April 7, 2020) Here's a post on how Young-Earth Creationists haven't fully explored the use of yowm in the Bible.

For more on this topic, see J. Richard Middleton, "What is the Relationship Between the Creation Accounts in Genesis 1 and 2?

Thanks for reading. 

Added March 4, 2020:
I have come across two posts from Answers in Genesis. They suggest that some Bible translations do not translate a Hebrew word correctly, and that where Genesis 2 is translated as "19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field ..." in the World English Bible, and other versions, it should have been translated as "Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals ..." [emphasis added] as in the New International Version, and two other translations. (The rest of the 14 translations given in the Blueletter Bible use "formed.") The translation that they prefer could resolve the seeming discrepancy between Genesis 1 and 2, as to the timing of the creating of the land animals vs. the creation of Adam, but the translation is not preferred in most versions.

But there is still a difficulty with the comparison of Genesis 1 and 2, for those who hold that both should be taken literally.  In verse 9 of Genesis 2, it says "Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow ...". If that should have been "Out of the ground Yahweh God had made every tree to grow ...", none of the 14 English translations in the Blue Letter Bible do so. Thus, there seems to be a contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, as to the sequence of land plants and humans. (Adam is mentioned in Genesis 2:7, before the mention of land plants.)

This is one post on Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2 by Answers in Genesis. This is the other. The first one does not mention Genesis 2:9.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, 1

With this post, I begin what is intended to be a series of excerpts from With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray. I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this public domain work available. To see their post of the book, go here.

PREFACE.

Of all the promises connected with the command, ‘ABIDE IN ME,’ there is none higher, and none that sooner brings the confession, ‘Not that I have already attained, or am already made perfect,’ than this: ‘If ye abide in me,  ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ Power with God is the highest attainment of the life of full abiding.


And of all the traits of a life LIKE CHRIST there is none higher and more glorious than conformity to Him in the work that now engages Him without ceasing in the Father’s presence—His all-prevailing intercession.  The more we abide in Him, and grow unto His likeness, will His priestly life work in us mightily, and our life become what His is, a life that ever pleads and prevails for men.
‘Thou hast made us kings and priests unto God.’ Both in the king and the priest the chief thing is power, influence, blessing. In the king it is the power coming downward; in the priest, the power rising upward, prevailing with God.  In our blessed Priest-King, Jesus Christ, the kingly power is founded on the priestly ‘He is able to save to the uttermost, because He ever liveth to make intercession.’  In us, His priests and kings, it is no otherwise:  it is in intercession that the Church is to find and wield its highest power, that each member of the Church is to prove his descent from Israel, who as a prince had power with God and with men, and prevailed.


It is under a deep impression that the place and power of prayer in the Christian life is too little understood, that this book has been written.  I feel sure that as long as we look on prayer chiefly as the means of maintaining our own Christian life, we shall not know fully what it is meant to be.  But when we learn to regard it as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work, we shall see that there is nothing that we so need to study and practise as the art of praying aright.  If I have at all succeeded in pointing out the progressive teaching of our Lord in regard to prayer, and the distinct reference the wonderful promises of the last night (John xiv. 16) have to the works we are to do in His Name, to the greater works, and to the bearing much fruit, we shall all admit that it is only when the Church gives herself up to this holy work of intercession that we can expect the power of Christ to manifest itself in her behalf.  It is my prayer that God may use this little book to make clearer to some of His children the wonderful place of power and influence which He is waiting for them to occupy, and for which a weary world is waiting too.


Thank you for reading, and practicing, these thoughts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sunspots 747


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to
someone else:

Christianity: BioLogos has an article discussing some great scientists who were Christians.

Education: Grammarphobia on the words "ottoman," "settee," "divan" and "sofa."

Environment: NPR and other sources report that North American bird populations have declined significantly in the last 50 years.

Health: NPR reports on research that indicates that taking brisk walks can relieve common types of pain.

Politics: FiveThirtyEight discusses how the religious right is driving political liberals people away from Christianity.

FiveThirtyEight also shows that  moderates, independents, and undecideds are not the same.

Catherine Rampell complains that neither Republicans or Democrats are paying attention to the experts.

Science: From Knowable: mountain chickadees are able to remember at least 80,000 seeds they have stored. Birds with better memories are more likely to survive the winter.

NPR reports on how relatively easy it is to print out DNA sequences (using a 3D printer that emits DNA sequences), and the possible dangers of this technology.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 94

Watson closes his book:

If there be an heaven upon earth thou hast is. O Christian! thou mayest insult over thy troubles, and, with the leviathan, laugh at the shaking of a spear. (Job 41. 7) What shall I say? Thou art a crown to thy profession; thou dost hold it out to all the world, that there is virtue enough in religion to give the soul contentment; thou showest the highest of grace. When grace is crowning, it is not so much for us to be content; but when grace is conflicting, and meets with crosses, temptations, agonies; now to be content, this is a glorious thing indeed. 
To a contented Christian, I shall say two things for a farewell. 1. God is exceedingly taken with such a frame of heart. God saith of a contented Christian, as David once said of Goliath’s sword, “there is none like that, give it me.” If you would please God, and be men of his heart, be contented. God hates a froward spirit. 2. The contented Christian shall be no loser. What lost Job by his patience? God gave him twice as much as he had before. What lost Abraham by his contentment? he was content to leave his country at God’s call: the Lord makes a covenant with him, that he would be his God: he changeth his name; no more Abram, but Abraham, the father of many nations: (Ge. 17) God makes his seed as the stars of heaven; nay, honours, him with this title, “the father of the faithful:” (Ge. 18. 17) the Lord makes known his secrets to him, “shall I hide from Abraham the things that I will do?” God settles a rich inheritance upon him, that land which was a type of heaven, and afterwards translated him to the blessed paradise. God will be sure to reward the contented Christian. As our Saviour said in another case, to Nathaniel, “because I said I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these:” (Jno. 1. 50) so I say, art thou contented (O Christian) with a little? thou shalt see greater things than these. God will distill the sweet influences of his love into thy soul; he will raise thee up friends; he will bless the oil in the cruise; and when that is done, He will crown thee with an eternal enjoyment of himself; he will give thee heaven, where thou shalt have as much contentment as thy soul can possibly thirst after.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, thank God, has posted excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays. This is the last such post.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sunspots 746


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to
someone else:

Christianity: Relevant on the most neglected spiritual discipline. (You should be able to figure out what that is.)


Computing: Gizmo's Freeware evaluates a browser add-in that extracts text from photos, .PDF files, and other on-line stuff.

Education: Grammarphobia discusses the use of the word "scrub." (Note: that word is used in computing, as well as in floor care.)

Environment: (or something) Listverse tells us about 10 beautiful and bizarre natural features.

Catherine Rampell attacks the Trump administration's recent roll=back of clean water regulations, and questions the supposed growth-causing effect of the general roll-back of regulations, and also points out that at least some industries don't want environmental regulations affecting them rolled back.

Earther asks, and answers the question: "when will we run out of water?"
 
Finance: (or something) Changes are coming to the Amish in Pennsylvania, says NPR.

History: Michael Gerson says that the Founders, like Jefferson should have known that slavery was wrong -- there were those that spoke out against it in their time.

Politics: Relevant reports that President Trump accidentally insulted the pastor of a church in Kentucky. The pastor responded, saying that "Your heart must be in a dangerous place to have such a consistent flow of defamation and disrespect towards so many." He also suggested that Trump exercise more self-control, and that he try to be humble and apologize more.

FiveThirtyEight charts the most recent Democratic debate.


Science: Catherine Rampell tells us about some of the ways that the Trump administration is trying to downplay the importance of measurable facts. The recent flap over a weather report is just one such episode.

The Scientist, and other outlets, report that an electric eel, packing a walloping 860 Volts, has been discovered.

Sports: High tech in baseball: FiveThirtyEight discusses how being able to measure the spin of a thrown or batted ball may be affecting home run frequency.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 93

Watson, near the close of his book, sets forth some rules for being contented:

Rule 18. Be much in prayer. The last rule for contentment is, be much in prayer. Beg of God, that he will work our hearts to this blessed frame. “Is any man afflicted? let him pray;” (Ja. 5. 14) so, is any man discontented? let him pray. Prayer gives vent: the opening of a vein lets out bad blood; when the heart is filled with sorrow and disquiet, prayer lets out the bad blood. The key of a prayer oiled with tears, unlocks the heart of all its discontents. Prayer is an holy spell, or charm, to drive away trouble; prayer is the unbosoming of the soul, the unloading of all our cares in God’s breast; and this ushers in sweet contentment. When there is any burden upon our spirits, by opening our mind to a friend we find our hearts finely eased and quieted. It is not our strong resolutions, but our strong request to God, which must give the heart ease in trouble; by prayer the strength of Christ comes into the soul, and where that is, a man is able to go through any condition. Paul could be in every state content; but that you may not think he was able to do this himself, he tells you that though he could want and abound, and “do all things;” yet it was through Christ strengthening him. (Ph. 4.13) It is the child that writes, but it is the scrivener that guides his hand.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, thank God, has posted excerpts from hisThe Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sunspots 745

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:


Christianity: Relevant takes on the Prosperity Gospel.


Finance: Catherine Rampell discusses the effects of the Trump administration rolling back regulations, and the President's remarks about businesses that are hurt by his tariffs really suffering from bad management.

Politics: FiveThirtyEight has studied crowd size at political events, and found that polls are a better predictor than crowd size.

NPR reports that the Department of Education has been making it almost impossible for teachers to get the loan forgiveness they were promised, if they went into teaching.

NPR analyzes the likely results of the Electoral College in the 2020 presidential election.

Catherine Rampell tells us that the Trump administration has been, and is, waging a war on children, and gives us details.

Gizmodo reports on yet another survey that indicates that all Americans, including gun owners, are in favor of stricter background checks, red flag laws, and the like.

Science: Ars Technica reports that a company that genetically engineered a bull so that he wouldn't have horns also, unwittingly, placed some bacterial and plasmid genes in the bull. Thanks to one of my brothers for the information on this.

Gizmodo reports on research about what causes someone to be left-handed.

The Scientist reports on research into how bar-headed geese can fly over Everest, in spite of the low oxygen at such a high altitude.

Sports: FiveThirtyEight thinks that the NFL pre-season should be eliminated, or seriously changed.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 92

Watson, near the close of his book, sets forth some rules for being contented:

Rule 17. Meditate much on the glory which shall be revealed. There are great things laid up in heaven. Though it be sad for the present yet let us be content in that it shortly will be better; it is but a while and we shall be with Christ, bathing ourselves in the fountain of love; we shall never complain of wants and injuries any more; our cross may be heavy, but one sight of Christ will make us forget all our former sorrows. There are two things that should give contentment.
1. That God will make us able to bear our troubles. (1 Cor. 10. 13) God, saith Chrysostom, doth like a lutanist, who will not let the strings of his lute be too slack lest it spoil the music of prayer and repentance? nor yet too much adversity, “lest the spirit fail before me; and the souls that I have made.” (Is. 57. 16)
2. When we have suffered a while, we shall be perfected in glory; the cross shall be our ladder by which we shall climb up to heaven. Be then content, and then the scene will alter; God will ere long turn out water into wine; the hope of this is enough to drive away all distempers from the heart. Blessed be God, it will be better: “we have no continuing city here,” therefore our afflictions cannot continue. A wise man looks still to the end; “The end of the just man is peace.” (Ps. 37. 37) Methinks the smoothness of the end should make amends for the ruggedness of the way. O eternity, eternity! Think often of the kingdom prepared. David was advanced from the field to the throne: first he held his shepherd’s staff, and shortly after the royal sceptre. God’s people may be put to hard services here: but God hath chosen them to be kings, to sit upon the throne with the Lord Jesus. This being weighed in the balance of faith, would be an excellent means to bring the heart to contentment.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, thank God, has posted excerpts from hisThe Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Sunspots 744


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: Michael Gerson says that white evangelicalism is dying rapidly, and its leaders don't seem aware of this, or to care. Most of the offspring of older white evangelicals don't consider themselves evangelical, or even religious.

Education: Grammarphobia discusses usage of "mens," and "men's," and related matters.

Food: Listverse has an article on things you probably didn't know about chocolate.

Health: (or something) Listverse tells us how to be more attractive.

NPR examines the effect of high summer heat on people's health, and finds that the poor, in large cities, are exposed to more heat than those of us who are better off.

Humor: Relevant on the importance of having fun.


Politics: NPR has outlined the Trump administration's many actions, and attempted actions, on immigration. The goal is clear - keep people out, or send them back, as often as possible.

Science: Listverse shows us 10 cases of animal mimicry.

Sports: NPR reports on a 103-year-old female athlete from India.

The graphic used in these posts is from NASA, hence, it is free to use like this.
 
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, September 01, 2019

The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 by Thomas Watson. Excerpt 91

Watson, near the close of his book, sets forth some rules for being contented:

Rule 16. Do not too much indulge the flesh. We have taken an oath in baptism to forsake the flesh. The flesh is a worse enemy than the devil, it is a bosom-traitor; an enemy within is worst. If there were no devil to tempt, the flesh would be another Eve, to tempt to the forbidden fruit. O take heed of giving way to it! Whence is all our discontent but from the fleshy part? The flesh puts us upon the immoderate pursuit of the world; it consults for ease and plenty, and if it be not satisfied, then discontent begins to arise. O let it not have the reins! Martyr the flesh! In spiritual things the flesh is a sluggard, in secular things an horse-leech, crying “give, give.” The flesh is an enemy to suffering: it will sooner make a man a courtier, than a martyr. O keep it under! Put its neck under Christ’s yoke, stretch and nail it to his cross; never let a Christian look for contentment in his spirit, till there be confinement in his flesh.

Thomas Watson lived from 1620-1686, in England. He wrote several books which survive. This blog, thank God, has posted excerpts from his The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11, over a number of weeks, on Sundays.

My source for the text is here, and I thank the Christian Classics Ethereal Library for making this text (and many others) available. The previous excerpt is here.