The New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

Being a new creation has huge implications.The first thing God did during creation was say “Let there be light!” Jesus is, according to john, the light. We receive light, and as John 1:5 says “the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.) God then separated the light and dark. He does the same in us, separating death, and life, or sin and righteousness.

God called dry ground up from the deep waters. He gives us solid ground to stand on, Jesus (the cornerstone), other believers, and the Bible.

God created the lights in the skies to mark time and events. He gives us symbols of His love (personal messages, beautiful sights, human love) and He creates events that are important to us (salvation, baptism, marriage).

Song of Songs 4:1 — How How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.

God then brought life to the world, life that he told to be fruitful and multiply. The new creation is blessed with “life” (e.g. blessings, gifts, opportunities, miracles). This life will both be fruitful (providing more “life”), and multiply (becoming more and more beneficial).

Philippians 4:19 — And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

The last thing God did was create mankind. God recreates us. He gives us new identities and changed lives.

Genesis 1:31 — God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.

This New Generation.

Matthew 11:16a — To what shall I compare this generation?

I took a personality test today. It was kind of a cool experience because the results really were what I wanted to be (INFJ). It asked a bunch of questions about what I am like, and what I do, but there was one question that made me think. The test asked “Do you think that everyone’s views should be respected whether they are supported by facts or not?” The test was asking about respecting another person’s views, which we should do. It would be rude to go out onto the street, and find some helpless atheist and then start yelling to everyone “His views are wrong! He’s an idiot!” We are supposed to respect one another, even if we disagree. Disrespect, and disagreement are very different.

To disrespect someone is to not show them any love at all, and in fact show the opposite. To disagree is to think that someone is wrong. When we disrespect someone we hurt them, but when we disagree with someone we either respect them and leave it at that, or we try and have a rational argument with someone in order to build them up.

Okay, I’ve got that part done. At this point you may be thinking: I get the difference now, so what? The “so what” is the fact that the new generation (the teens) in America doesn’t seem to get that. For over 150 years the US has been striving toward a goal of complete human equality, meaning that all humans get the same amount of respect. We are closer than ever to completing this goal, but I think that we have taken this idea too far. We have gone beyond respecting and tolerating our differences, and started to ignore them.

This has been worse in certain areas of equality than others. There is immense value in our differences, they are what make us strong. We should be able to use some of our differences to build each other up. The biggest part way in which I have seen tolerance turn to ignorance is in religion. Many teens that I know don’t seem to respond when I talk about the gospel. They say something along the lines of “that’s cool.” This is the problem: we have stopped discussing our beliefs in order to find out who is right and, in the name of tolerance, started to completely disregard each other’s views.

What should we do about this? How do you argue with somebody who isn’t listening? You can’t. This is where some major verses can come into play. 1 John 3:18 says “let us not love with words  or tongue” (eg reasoning, and traditional evangelism) “but with actions and in truth.” John is saying that sometimes words, and speech aren’t enough to get through to a person, we have to love them. When we love people we show them God because “God is love.”

What else can we do? If people aren’t listening to our words then the only other thing that can show them the truth is God moving. This is where healings, and powerful encounters with God come into play. We can show others who God is in even more direct ways than love. We can pray over them.

Spreading The Good News: Where To Start

1 Corinthians 13:13 — Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Often I feel very overwhelmed by the task of telling someone about Jesus. Jesus is so huge ad so important that I wonder, where should I start? The bible, as it often does, has the answer: start with love. Love is the single most important part of the Christian faith. without God’s love there would be no salvation, no blessings, no miracles, no need for praise and worship. As John put it “God is love.” Paul, and John say multiple times that we should be known for our love (see 1 John 3:17-18, Romans 12:9, 1 John 4:8, etc.). Paul even goes so far as to say that without love a Christian is nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 — If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

So we should start ministering to people with love, but what does that love look like. In this case there are two kinds of love: Gods love and our love. We should show people our love for others, and ourselves, but this love should stem from God’s love for us. While this shows God’s love a little bit we can do more. We can tell people about God’s love. Now realize that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are literally saying “God loves you!” all of the time. It might, but it doesn’t have to. God may tell you something special about that person and about how God loves that, or you may be able to demonstrate God’s love, or you may find certain things to say about God’s love.

Romans 5:8 — But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Much of Jesus’ ministry was about love. Why did He heal people if He didn’t love them? Jesus took the time to talk to Nicodemus at night, he talked to the samaritan woman at the well, and he called ordinary men, and gave them a higher purpose. Jesus was all about love, and he should be because God is love.

Song of Songs 2:8 — Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.

The Scientific Affront to Christianity

1 Timothy 6:20 — O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”

Many people in the world today think that Christian beliefs are just “fairy tales”, and “myths”. When Christians try to bring up things like Creationism, and healing many people dismiss it by saying things like “Oh, no, I believe in science.” The trouble with this is that much, if not all, of Christianity is either supported by science, or out of its explanatory range.

Romans 1:22 — Professing to be wise, they became fools.

I have one teacher who I try to talk to creation about. He often starts the conversation by asking me a question. When I start to talk about how I believe that God created everything in a literal six days he always asks me this:  “What about the fossil record?” The trouble with this question is that it,  by itself, cannot prove anything. All that this question claims is that the fossil record exists. I could respond “Yes I think that there is a fossil record.” My fossil record of course is one that proves God created the world in six days. In order to truly understand his question I need to ask him to clarify.

When I get past his question my teacher brings the conversation to a dead stop by saying “Well, I believe in science.” This, also proves nothing. Science doesn’t disagree with what I believe, certainly the majority of the scientists do, but the science doesn’t. Most people seem to think that science and Christian beliefs are in constant conflict. Science says that humanity evolved, Christians say they were created. Science “disproves the existence of the supernatural, Christians believe in a God, and angles, and demons. Science does not contradict what I believe! First off, the science involved in the origin of the humans species is called origins science, and cannot be nearly as certain as operational science which is the science of repeatable, and testable things. Second, Science studies the physical and natural world. It can say nothing about a supernatural world.

Most non-Christians believe that science and Christianity are in conflict when really they aren’t. It is the scientists who disagree, not the science.

Colossians 1:17 — He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Evolution Vs Creationism: A Linguistic Approach

Genesis 11:8 — Come, let us co down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.

In the educational world biology is very closed to creationist views and completely ignores most creationist views on the origin of life. It is the same way in many other common scholarly subjects like geology, and chemistry. Linguistics is nice, though, because it is much more open to views on creation, and the biblical history of the world.

There are many different theories explaining how language originated among humans. linguistics admits that there is a huge gap between animal communication and human language. our throats are built differently than all animal throats. We have a much larger larynx that is much lower in the throat than animal larynxes. This makes it much easier to talk (The larynx is the voice box), but it also makes it much easier to choke. Animals that have a smaller larynx can actually breathe while they eat and drink. The larger larynx would have to exist long before communication could take place, and would have only served as a handicap for humans, something that contradicts evolution’s “survival of the fittest.”

Man Chimpanzee Comparison
Notice the many differences between the human mouth and the mouth of the chimpanzee, our supposedly close relative.

Animals also have no communication near ours. Humans can improvise new words, and new sentences which is something that numerous studies have shown animals cannot do. Humans can also talk about things far away, and in the future or past. most animals can’t do that either. In fact, the best version of this (called displacement) in all of nature is the bee which can “dance” about things far away.

Evolution asserts that all languages must have originated from one original language. Creation says that while there was originally one language, but God made many more when the people were foolish enough to try to build a tower to heaven. The creationist theory makes the most sense to me. The other theories are many.

The first evolutionary theory says that language originated from the sounds of the things around us. The issue with this is that many of our words, and ideas can’t be expressed in terms of what sound they make. The second theory is related to this, and says that language probably originated from the sounds humans make while doing certain things. This would use things like “ouch”, and “yuck” to communicate. The trouble with this is that interjections such as these are normally made by a sharp intake of breath, not a slow breathing out.

The third theory says that language likely came from people having to communicate. This is a circular theory. It says that people had to find a way to communicate so that they could communicate. It doesn’t provide any explanation for why people would think up these complex systems to communicate instead of just a point or a grunt.

The fourth theory states that people just started to use their mouths in new ways, just like they had started to make tools. This is similar to the third theory. It still doesn’t explain why we started to communicate, or why we have so many different forms of language.

Out of all of these theories the creationist view make the most sense. It says that God made humans that already spoke a language, and that when they became foolish He made many other languages, and spread them across the world.

Evolution vs. Creationism Pt. 2: Can Non-Christians Believe in Evolution?

The answer to this is obviously yes. Any one can believe anything, even if it contradicts the facts of our reality. The real question here is this: Is there any logical, rational, or scientific reason for people to believe in evolution? I say no. Evolution is believed by a large majority of people to be true because it is “science,” and many popular scientists believe it. It is also the only theory for the origin of life taught in most schools in th US. just because most people believe something doesn’t mean it’s true (e.g. the sun orbits the earth).

The thing most people point too when I challenge their beliefs about evolution is the so-called “fossil record.” Many people don’t even know what they mean when they say that. Those who do are pointing towards transitional fossils. The trouble with these transitional fossils is that we have very few. According to evolution all versions of life, including transitional animals, existed for very long time periods, so why are there so few fossils of animals that existed between the distinctive forms we see?

Unlike animals there are quite a few reported cases of ape-human crosses. These however could very easily be normal humans for a few different reasons. The first is that many of them are only small pieces of bones from which scientists (with a bias toward evolution) extrapolated the whole ape-man. The second reason is that humans have been manipulating body growth in some strange ways for a very long time. Take, for instance The Mangbetu tribe of Central Africa who practice a tradition known as Lipombo. Here’s a picture:

lipombo
Mangbetus doing lipombo

Notice that the mans head is longer than the normal human head. This means that if paleontologists find a human with a long head it doesn’t mean the fossil is a whole new species. Heres another example. The Vadoma tribe from zimbabwe:

vadoma
People of the Vadoma tribe

These people have two toes. This is just a mutation, it doesn’t make them not human or rather homo sapiens. People in China, also bound their feet for a long time, creating feet that look very strange, and un-human. Just because we find some strange looking human fossils doesn’t mean that they are ape-men. They could also be extinct species of apes that happen to have skeletons similar to humans.

The lack of these transitional fossils is just one reason to doubt evolution. There are animals that scientists believe lived millions of year ago that still exist, or existed very recently. The coelacanth is a perfect example of this. They are a species of fish that scientists thought had gone extinct 65 million years ago until they found out that these fish still live in our oceans today. How can a fish from 65 million years ago still be recognizable today? Evolution says that only 200,000 years ago humans were not modern humans yet this fish has stayed the same for 65 million years.

coelacanth
A Coelacanth found near Africa

As far as we know life cannot form from non-life. There are no firm theories accounting for how proteins and amino acids could have been made, and then joined together in such a way as to make a living thing. There have been experiments done to try to prove that this is possible, but none of them have been anywhere near conclusive. There is a scientific law called the law of biogenesis that says that life can only come from life. This is a scientific law, more than a theory. Evolution, a theory, claims that this law is false, and that life did originate from non-life.

Evolution is the only theory that makes any sense whatsoever if God does not exist. Yet it is not as solid as people would have you believe. It is not fact, nor is it even a law: “a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the universe.” The trouble is that no living human saw the creation of the world so no living human can be entirely sure about what happened. We can however take a look at the facts about life, and the universe to see what is most likely to have happened. The important thing to remember is that creationism, and evolution are on level footing, they are both scientific theories as well as beliefs.

Genesis 1:31 — God saw all that He had made and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.

Evolution vs. Creationism Pt. 1: Can Christians Believe in Evolution?

Genesis 1:1 — In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

This is one of the first verses that kids learn as Christians, and one that sticks with us for our lives. It is also one of the founding principles of our Christian faith, and almost all Christians believe that God did, indeed, create the earth. The debate starts when we try to decide just how He did it. Many people believe that God created the earth in six days, and many other people believe that God started evolution, and guided the process. I believe that evolution cannot be true, because it puts God in a box (saying He couldn’t create the world out of nothing), lessens our relationship with God, and it ruins the whole fall into sin, and Jesus’ sacrifice to undo that.

Job 26:14 — Behold, these are but the outskirts of His ways, and how small a whisper do we hear Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?

God is limitlessly powerful. Imagine that. He is so powerful that we can’t even imagine everything He can do. Think for a moment about the creation of the world from nothing. You can imagine that can’t you? That means that God could do even more than that. To say otherwise is to put God in a box, and also contradict the Bible not just once, but countless times (see mark 10:27, Matthew 19:26, Genesis 18:14, Mark 14:36, etc…).

Genesis 1:27-28 — So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gad blessed them and said to them “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

If God took 4.5 billion years to get from creating the world to humans he didn’t create us directly. If instead we say that God created a cell, or caused proteins to coalesce in such a way that eventually He knew that humans would be born He didn’t create us, He just created our distant ancestor who was without intelligence, and utterly different from us humans. If we say this, how did God create us in his image? How did God breathe life into man? how could God bless something that wouldn’t exist for millions of years, or hadn’t existed for millions of years?

God also said after creating each thing, that they should be fruitful and multiply after their own kind. God didn’t say “Be fruitful and multiply until you become another animal.” God also said after each creation that it was good. He didn’t say that it was alright, but should become something better. He said that is was good.

1 Corinthians 15:45-47 — Thus it is written, “the first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. the first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 

God’s 6 day creation is a crucial part of the “arc” of the bible. The fall kicked it all off. It led to the sinfulness of humans and the need for a savior who came as Jesus, and died for us thereby reconfiguring the human condition. If we evolved then we were not created from dust, and there were probably more than only two humans. If we evolved how did we fall from perfection? evolution implies that humans were not created perfect, and then fell, but that we were created flawed, and rose to our current level.

This is why I think Christians can’t believe in evolution. I believe that it puts God in a box, and is counter to the rest of the Bible story. The trouble is of course that while I tried to write an unbiased post, I am human and therefore biased. Creation is not what assures us a place in heaven though. So If any of us are wrong about this one topic, but still believe in Jesus’ saving power we are still saved.

See part 2 here.