Saturday, April 25, 2015
You can biblically believe in evolution and here is how. Part 1
The debate over evolution has raged on for years. Atheists as well as well-meaning believers state that a person cannot believe in evolution and the Biblical account, as they are incompatible. It is also stated, that if a believer does believe in evolution they are not true believers. However, what if the Bible speaks clearly on the topic, but we miss it. What if one misinterpretation or teaching that started early in the church is actually just plain wrong. I also understand if someone cannot allow himself or herself to see outside of what he or her have been taught this will be hard to grasp.
When I was about ten or eleven, I remember family travels where fossil museums were places we would visit. I was infatuated with T-Rex as well as Triceratops and even ate a brontosaurs burger in a restaurant that was in a town that had a dig. The dig was where it seemed many dinosaurs had been swept away by a sudden flood. The burger was really a huge hamburger that I took on as a personal challenge and as I recall, won. I was a bit saddened when it was the announced Brontosaurs may have not existed and were possibly two other fossils spliced together. Now, recently Brontosaurus has made a comeback like Classic Coke.
I remember in one museum looking at a picture of a hairy ape-like man labeled, the Neanderthal, and I turned to the woman next me and stated, “He was one of our ancestors.” She huffed at me and stated, “Maybe yours, but not mine.” This baffled me. I had no idea what she meant until later when I became a believer and was taught evolution was a lie. As a young believer, I took that at face value and read all the creation stuff I could. However, there were things bothering me even back then as I read Genesis…
“In the beginning…Ex nihilo?”
It struck me one time that this was “the beginning” but seemed that it was not stating it was the “only beginning”. It is the beginning of this creation – the age of God’s image. Many state that there was only God and nothing, and out of nothing God spoke, (Ex nihilo), thus creation happened. I see how people get this but there was something with God “in the beginning” – an element called water.
Evolution claims life came out of water. Interestingly, it appears that this matter – water—is with God in the beginning and is used in creating. God speaks and creates the heavens and the earth yet it was out of water God created. Do you think I am crazy here? 
2 Peter 3:5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, (ESV).
The earth was formed out of water… as Peter clearly states... Water was with God in the beginning and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of the Lord which would be more accurately creatio ex materia (creation out of some pre-existent, eternal matter). While we can go on some majorly fun red herrings here about baptism, being born of water and Heaven, and many other great things, I will force myself to just say, when I noticed this element was present with God, that maybe God used eternal elements to create. Just maybe God, being The Creator God He is, has created many times before, and as stated, will create a new heaven and earth in the age to come. (Rev. 21:1)
The age to come.
"The age to come" is an interesting phrase that many seem to gloss over. We have the "now" this present age and "the age to come", that being the new heaven and new earth. These seem to, as the bible shows us, come out of this creation. The bible has many interesting phrases like “ancient of days”, which has an overly otherworldly quality to it. It is used in the book of Daniel a few times but it seems to be in a different realm or dimension.  Daniel seems to have trouble describing what he sees and uses words like “like” a few times, for example, “like a son of man”. We take this as the pre-incarnate Jesus sitting in his heavenly realm. It appears to Daniel as an eternal realm beyond this creation.
What would an eternal God who loves creating do? I bet He would create… not just once but eternally. Who is to say that God did not create many different ages before “In the beginning...”? For instance, look at evolution. There are gaps between the “ages” where the animals seem to change, die, or go missing. Then other animals appear and there is a new age. I am saying, just between the Paleozoic Era and Mesozoic Era, there are millions of years. However, we move from finned fish to T-Rex with no real connection between the two ages. While maybe fish or other animals seem to pass between ages, there is a huge gap going from a fish to a T-Rex. Unless--- one is one age and then there is a new creation, a new heaven, a new earth, new animals, and other things including humans but changed according to that age or period.
What I am getting at is that we have the Bible teaching that God is a creating God and that there is this age and the age to come and like the Bible states, the New Creation will be something entirely different from this one and yet somehow, we all will be a part of it. With that thought, it would appear that since all life came from water and through water, then we are all somehow connected together. Remember how God made man out of the dust of the earth? With a little creative license here, the Potter made us out of the creation's clay. Now, I am not talking about pantheism and acknowledge I am treading into panentheism territory. However, I am not stating we are all divine or that the eternal matter is God or equal to God. While this appears to be closest to Panentheism, I feel that there is a difference in that while the eternal element is eternal it is not equal or in God but still separate. However, saying this, there is still the idea that we are now “in Christ” and a “new creation”, which may be a hint at the change in relationship between God and the eternal element or as N.T. Wright states often, “inaugurated, but not yet consummated. It is now and not yet.”
I see it as an extension of God more like a potter with clay. Who is to say that God did not already create human-like creatures before Adam and Eve and that Adam who, as the bible states, was “created in God’s image”? Perhaps, Neanderthal man was just a prototype homosapien with DNA close enough to mix with homosapiens, and fossils are just remains of past creations.
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church HarperOne, 2008, 79.
Oord, Thomas Jay. The Nature of Love: a theology. www.chalicepress.com: Chalice Press, 2010.
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Saturday, January 03, 2015
I don't know who Lex Looper is (only that he has a twitter popular twitter account but I agree with the statement in this meme. This is why I state that Christianity is not about being moral. It is about being like Jesus. Morality is based on societal acceptance while believing in Jesus is based on loving God and others. Morality places whomever's standard is the most powerful while love is bound by no laws. The call of Love is one of ethics and not "being moral". It is about living the ethics of love and placing others before yourself. Just because it is legal does not make it ethical or loving.
1Cor. 13:8 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. 9 We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10 But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
1Cor. 13:11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
1Cor. 13:12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1Cor. 13:13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Thursday, January 01, 2015
I came to realize a while back that often we blame God for things and have forgotten He created us in His image to represent HIm. So, were do prison born babies or sex slaves fit into that idea? No where. However, who is to blame. We are. God is not to blame for what we do. In fact, God forgave us of these atrocities so that we could have a relationship with Him and restore us to what we were created to be.
We are called to love God and love humanity. Love does not coerce or enslave others. Love does not starve or kill... BTW atheists usually end their argument with me when I say this. God gave us to end evil and we are the issue when we keep evil alive instead of ending it and loving others as He commanded.
Taking responsibility is part of the answer the other is stop doing the evil that we hold so dear in our own hearts. To me, God is not to blame as He created us as good. We chose to do evil instead of good and that is what entrapped us since Adam and Eve. God gave Adam and Eve over to their delusion of separation and lie that God would not forgive and set things right. Now, with Jesus, who took away out sin, we have nothing left but to choose to believe in Jesus and see the truth of what we are and what we do and end it and return to loving God as He loved us and then loving others as we have been loved. In that way evil loses.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
It seems like such a long time ago but around 2005 I was ordained through the United Christian Ministries International. I was trying to start at church here in Billings and did some research on different organizations that would ordain me for ministry. The biggest reason was to be accountable to someone in my venture.
Long story short, I decided that I no longer needed the ordination and sort of let it go. I made friends with a guy on Facebook who let me know that the head of UCMI had died in June. I am sort of sad as since his death the website is gone. I did make a few friends there so to see part of my past (in a way) gone. Here is Brother Smethers's obituary. http://hosting-24048.tributes.com/obituary/show/Steven-B.-Smethers-101459106
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
1. A man is selling single cigarettes on the street and is confronted by police who in the situation choke him to death.
2. People are upset as to how this tragic situation is handled and create signs and t-shirts saying, "I can't breathe". 
3. Police of the NYPD wear t-shirts saying, "I can breathe". One is asked what they meant by it. "If the man had not resisted arrest he would not have been choked and would still be breathing.
4. Two police have just been assassinated in NYC. 
5. To add to this stupidity the chief of police stated, "I hope there are marches for these two officers like there was for the others." I am like WHAT? Is he that stupid? I agree there should be something to honor the officers. Of course, now people are asking for an apology for his stupid statement. 
Does anyone get this? Is the NYPD (as well as other PD around the US) this stupid? Why not apologize for a sad situation where a life is lost EVEN IF YOU MAY BE RIGHT. I just see this is not the end-- that there is going to be more escalation of violence toward police in general. I know there are good cops out there--but corruption is making harder for police and the public.
Fan the flames NYPD's finest... fan those flames and get more officers killed. Just apologize for the death of anyone even if it is a clean kill. A life is a life, black, white, red, yellow, brown, civilian, or police officer. I am one American that fears the police more than I do any terrorist. Do you think that is crazy? Do you realize you re eight times more likely to die in the hands of a police officer that from a terrorist? 
No one has to die if people just stopped to think instead of seek to harm others. This country is so polarized that it is only "either/or", but it is not only "either/or"... all it takes is some common sense and respect for others. How can we change this America?
 http://bossip.com/1081863/heartless-nypd-supporters-wear-i-can-breathe-t-shirts-to-mock-eric-garner-protesters-following-murder-of-police-officers/ and
Monday, December 08, 2014
I have come to believe this is not the world that God created. OK. While God created it, we have become mad with our sights on ourselves. We lost sight of the true creation and creator. We have fallen into a mental illness that separates us from reality. I call this the insanity of humanity. We want to cover our illness with anything that we see comforts us. This means that even religion that people use to buffer our failings by works as we attempt to appease a god that we perceives hates us for our failings.
We also go so far as to say, “God is not real” as we puff up our pride and arrogance and relish the idea that we are so much like a god we know everything. That is called delusion and it is a mental illness. If someone were to say to you, “I am God” or even, “I am a god” you would assume he or she are insane. I know I would. However many do this every day when they proclaim there is no God. The delusion they experience is the non-realization that they are no God as they are finite beings who have a limited knowledge as to what is scientifically known. Not only is there knowledge limited by what they scientifically do not know, but by his or her ability to understand things like love.
If there is not God, there is no love. Love would only be a chemical reaction in the brain that makes you desire sex. How romantic is that? Yes, I would be reduced to some chemical reaction in my brain and love would not be a reality. The logical reasoning that there is no God reduces love to nothing. Love become no more a reason to do good for others, but only a functional adaptation to procreate. All motives are selfish as they come from our own desires that the chemicals in our brain created.
The bible states, “God is love.”, and every person has an innate desire to be loved.  Children die from lack of loving contact.  The latter is a scientific and observable fact. The only reason we love others is that we once were loved. While some may say that is a learned process, it still does not explain what love is. Science cannot explain what love is. It can tell you the physical and chemical reactions that may cause a ‘love” response, but it cannot explain what love really is. Love must be experienced to be understood. For example, a frog can be dissected and science can tell you that a frog has a heart, lungs, and other parts. However, is that all a frog is? Tell a boy or girl who are at a pond that a frog is just some biological parts as they chase the frog and experience what a frog is.
There is also more to our life than mere experience. One person’s experience is the same and yet also different from another. Imagine as humans our experience is that the world is round. However, if we were a muon traveling faster than the speed of light we would experience the world as flat. Why then is our own experience greater than another’s is? The video that is posted with this blog post asks that same question.  If our own experience can be questionable then to state with certainty “there is no God”, become delusional. To say there is love also become as delusional without there being a way to experience it. I found love when God found me. I sought out love but found there was more pain than love. Love covered pain. Being loved taught me truly to love others. The thing that I found true is that without God, love is just a chemical reaction in the brain that stimulates my sexual desires... Damn, ain't that romantic?
However, when I was found by God and began to understand His Grace, love became real to me. Love is real and without God, it means nothing. I might as well be a dog in heat but instead, love compels me to tell my story of faith, love, mercy, grace, and redemption. For me, love has no meaning without God. An atheist wants to take that away. Love over experiential science? While science is great, people need love over the limitations of science.
I am not saying the earth is flat, but then again, it is only a matter of perspective... I am not saying God's existence is provable, but then again, that is a matter of relationship and experience through faith. My experience states God is real.