Saturday, May 24, 2014

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Gen 2:20  The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. Gen 2:21  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. Gen 2:22  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Gen 2:23  Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

1Co 11:7  For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 1Co 11:8  For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 1Co 11:9  Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

As Paul refers back to Genesis chapters 1 and 2 he makes a pretty profound statement about the creation of man and woman.  He kind of answers the age old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg”.  Actually the Bible answers this very clearly, the chicken came first.  We can understand this question coming from the confusion of the lost man who assumes evolution.  But evolution can’t explain the origin of life; at best it is an attempt to explain where we find ourselves today or the process of life.  Darwin wrote “The Origin of the Species” not the “Origin of Life” because he and the lost have nothing to say on the subject of how life began other than it just happened.

But naturally speaking if the egg came first then we wonder what produced the egg since only an adult hen can do so.  If the chicken came first… well, the naturalist can’t even think like that or their whole worldview collapses.  So they pontificate about the “process” of evolution and more or less ignore the elephant in the room, how did it all begin.  Paul speaks to all this when speaking of male headship and female submission when he reminds us that the first man was not born by natural process from a female but that he already existed first and that the female was taken from him.  In other words, the natural order God set in motion after creation was completely undermined in the beginning.

Humans could not have come from lower species; they were created fully formed and completely contrary to the natural order.  So this is huge in the area of science and anthropology and how we understand ourselves and we see that God made man first because he was to have that position of headship and the woman came next as she was made for man.  For a man and woman to understand who they are they must understand how they came to be and why.  Man was created and then woman was made to help him serve the Lord.  That is something we need to meditate on for a while, especially in this day and age.

I would finish by reminding us as well that both Jesus and Paul quote from the first two chapters of Genesis and they do so taking them literally.  There is no question that they believed Adam and Eve to be the first humans.  And we need to be very careful of trying to play games with these two chapters which is so fashionable today.  One thing is clear; Adam was created fully mature and ready to assume the role of a responsible adult.  So why could not the universe and the earth be created at the stage in which they were fully capable of being the dwelling place of man with everything they needed to sustain us? 

If God unquestionably did this with Adam and Eve then why would we assume anything different for the rest of creation unless we don’t like being dismissed by the evolutionists?  But we are given light so let us walk and talk and think like children of light and not darkness.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Concerning Submission

1Co 11:3  But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

To say that chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians is interesting is to understate things for sure.  Even though there is disagreement among Christians as to all its applications, it contains some very important principles that we need if we are to live godly in Christ Jesus in this present age and because many ignore such passages we sometimes find our churches suffering because of it.  While I might blog on some other parts of it at another time, today I wanted to write something about vs. 3.

Of course here Paul is setting up what he is going to teach about male headship and female submission.  And basically his point in vs. 3 is that we are all in submission to someone and so no one and especially women in the church and wives with their husbands should get upset about being in submission because we all, men and women, are in submission to someone.  There is a created order to the universe and this is the reality in which we live and to rebel against it will not only dishonor God but also bring unneeded problems in our lives and relationships with others.

And so he first states the obvious that every man and for that fact woman is under the authority of Christ and just as much a reality every wife is under the authority of her husband but then he says something extremely profound that when grasped should knock any thoughts of rebellion right out of us.

He tells us that even among the Godhead there is order and headship and submission.  Christ the Son, the second person of the Godhead submits himself to the direction of the Father.  Now there is some debate among Christians as to whether the Son has always been in submission or primarily this happened when he became incarnate for the purposes of redemption.  On the one hand it doesn’t change Paul’s point.  But I have had to wrestle with this of late and while I think that perhaps both sides try to explain too precisely what is not revealed as clearly as we would like, yet I think a better case can be made that this headship and submission among the Godhead is eternal in nature. 

One way to illustrate this is when it comes to who was going to come to earth to die for our sins.  If we think of the Godhead as totally equal in authority with no Father, Son, Holy Spirit relationship then it would seem to me that they would have to cast lots or do “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who would take on what roles.  But of course I think it more reasonable to assume that this relationship of all things preceding from the Father and the Son doing whatever pleases the Father including revealing him and glorifying him in all things was what has been going on for eternity.  Now this gives me all kinds of questions but let’s face it, eternity future is going to be where such questions get answered.

Having said all that though, the profundity of the verse leaves us perfectly willing to assume our roles in husband and wife relations once we realize that we are actually living out the very nature of God himself.  So for a woman to rebel or even be discontent in her role of a submissive wife is actually disparaging the very nature of God.  In essence you are saying by wanting the role of your husband that Christ shouldn’t be who he is but should demand to be as much the head as the Father; or that somehow he is inferior to the Father which the Bible makes very clear is not the case.  One huge problem with this is that this is exactly the thought pattern of Satan when he was unwilling to assume the position that God gave him but wanted instead to sit in the highest throne.  It was not given to him and no creature deserves it.  Our contentment and fulfillment lies in accepting that place God has put us and being faithful to honor him in all things; not to think we deserve something more.  In this we actually are demonstrating the very nature of God. 

Once we come to grips with vs. 3 the rest of this should become a matter of what can I do to fulfill my role as man or woman with no thoughts of assuming the role or the appearance of the opposite sex.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Allow Me a Rare Moment of Speculation and Philosophizing

Mat 25:21  His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'

I have been thinking of late about what eternity will be like.  Of course, we are told so little that such thoughts can be a somewhat frustrating pursuit.  One of the ways that I think it can be described is the absence of frustration which is a big consequence of the Fall.  There are a couple of ways we can see this.

One is contentment.  While we are commanded to be content in this world we know also that to a degree that is impossible.  Much like we are told be perfect yet it is more of a pursuit than a full reality.  Hopefully as we grow in grace we are becoming more content with what God has given us in this life but with sin all around us and within us perfect contentment eludes us like trying to find the end of a rainbow.  Paul had no doubt learned to be content with such things as he had but with his remaining sin and with the struggle to help the saints grow in the Lord and with the pain and sickness that he had to deal with and the loss of loved ones to death and so on, it is just not possible to be perfectly content in this world.

In eternity, though, this will not be the case.  Every need will be met and I suppose that speaking of needs will no longer be necessary.  We won’t have needs that need to be met.  Existence will be continuous fulfillment; I like to use the word bliss, continuous bliss.  In Heaven we can finally say with accuracy, “I just can’t be happier than I am right now!”  We will be in the presence of God who is the source of all life, joy and blessing and there just will never be a moment in which we will want something that we aren’t experiencing.  It is mind boggling to say the least.  We don’t know very much about eternity and what we will be doing and experiencing but we know that we can never get bored or tired gazing upon the Lord of Glory.

The other thing I think of when I think of eternity, and it is connected with the contentment, is anticipation.  It seems to me that one of the fundamental experiences and joys of life is anticipation.  In one sense that is what keeps us going on from day to day; anticipating plans, dreams, goals, experiences and the like.  There is always a reason to get up in the morning, a day of work to look forward to, a relationship to enjoy, something to accomplish.  If we stop and think about it, it seems that it plays a part in just about anything we are involved with. 

But as with contentment, anticipation in this life seldom lives up to the hype.  How many times has the anticipation of something turned out to be a better experience than the thing we looked forward to?  Temporal things just can’t satisfy us in any meaningful way.  The days leading up to Christmas morning or your birthday party often are more fun than when it is all over and we are off to anticipating the next “thing”.  Even our relationships with godly loved ones fall short of what we thought they would be to varying degrees (just ask my wife!).  The reason is obvious everything on this side of eternity is tainted with sin and maybe better said it is soaked with sin through and through.

Now the question I wonder about is whether there will be anticipation in eternity.  My first thought was of course there won’t be because if we are anticipating something then it means that we don’t have everything we want and couldn’t be happy or content.  But then I wondered if perhaps we were made that way by God as part of the human experience.  So while anticipation is often frustrated by unrealized goals, yet is looking forward to the next wonderful thing a good thing that in itself if part of being a joyful human being? 

In other words could eternity be one continuous experience of anticipating all that God has for us and at the same time experiencing them to utter joy and amazement and being completely satisfied?  Could it be everything we reach for in this life only without the disappointments?  Is fully realized anticipation the epitome of the human experience and that which only God can give us? 

The reason I wonder if this is perhaps at least part of it all is because I am the world’s worst for moving from one hobby, experience, food to another always looking for the next thing.  (Well, I might not be the world’s worse but I am right up there)  I remember telling my children many times that variety is the spice of life.  I think we are all wired like this to different degrees and so I wonder if we will spend eternity all giddy with excitement over all the things that the Lord is revealing to us of his glory?  Is it possible to be content without something to anticipate?

Well, I guess it is all musings and speculations until then but if anyone has something else to throw into the mix please feel free to make a comment; even if it is to show me why I am completely off base!  I am not one to speculate about the abstract too often but I guess it is a good exercise from time to time and perhaps better left to minds other than mine.