Family was everything in ancient Judean society. Cultural norms as well as laws or policies were inaugurated by God through Moses to safeguard a family’s inheritance from abject and austere poverty where a family had to sell the homestead and their land or even, become another’s servant to pay off debt.

A most noteworthy example of this arrangement is the story of Ruth (Ruth 2:20) in which Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, fulfilled the law in marrying Ruth (Ruth 4:4-5, 9-10). The idea behind this legal provision was to restore a family’s wealth, rescue a family member from poverty or slavery, or to repurchase their possessions to maintain the inheritance and preserve the legacy of another family member. An interesting example is Jeremiah purchasing his uncle’s field, knowing that in 70 years, they will be able to re-own it (Jeremiah 32:6-8).

The language of the Bible had a special word for this arrangement not found in other cultures of the time. The word is redeemer. Clearly, this right of a kinsman [a blood relative], who had the resources, the money, to repurchase the homestead of a family member who has fallen on hard times is peculiarly Scriptural. One could argue that God had another redemption in mind in giving us such a culturally outspoken and unique Old Testament covenantal idea. “I, the LORD, am your Savior and Redeemer” (Isaiah 60:16).

Every Sunday morning, in the church I attended as a lad, we closed the AM service with Psalm 19:14 (it was KJV back then): “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” At the time, I had no idea how sacred, how special, how very biblical, were these words, ”Lord, my kinsman redeemer.” It is not enough to say, as we have been, Jesus’ death and resurrection redeemed, freed, us from the slavery of sin. He did this as our elder brother (Romans 8:29). He did this as family (Matthew 12:50).

“In Israel, family members were redeemed from a variety of social situations such as debt, captivity, slavery, exile and liability to execution. In the New Covenant, the new arrangement that was validated in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus is not called our redeemer but our redemption because reference is being made to the method by which He purchased our salvation. “He (Jesus) entered the most holy place once for all time, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12) He purchased us with Himself for God! Again, we are family, which explains why through the writings of the apostles we are repeatedly called His brethren, brothers and sisters. [Evangelicals have carried this theme to the present day.]

He is our redemption. He has freed us from a spiritual bondage to sin. “that we may no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6). Paul called us, God’s family (Romans 8:15). Peter called us, collectively, a special race of people, a special nation of saints, the kids of the King of kings. We are His possession, His family! “But you are a chosen race [of people], a royal priesthood [saints all, members of the Royal family of heaven], a holy nation, [citizen’s of heaven], [God’s] people, belonging to Him, so that you may spread far and wide how glorious a redemption He gave, [of Him] who called you out of [spiritual] darkness into the incomprehensible light of His glory” (1 Peter 2:9).

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Resurrected Bodies

This question occupied my bath today because in the rewrite of my book “Jesus: God’s Gift of Himself” I am reviewing the chapter on “Perspectives on the Cross” the section on God’s provision of justification. The verse before me is Romans 4:25:

He was betrayed because of our sins and resurrected because we were justified.

Aside from Paul’s obvious chiastic parallelism (because of …because of) the second part of this verse stimulates curiosity. The simple interpretation?  “His resurrection,” says John Stott, “was God’s decisive demonstration that he had not died in vain.” Our trespasses slew Him, then, His resurrection to life again vindicated His mission to justify us. Paul explained  it this way:  “If Christ be not raised, we are yet in our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

What kind of “bodies” will our heavenly, incorruptible, immortal bodies be?

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption … we shall also bear the image of the heavenly … flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption … this corruptible must put on incorruption [not subject to decay], and this mortal must put on immortality [will never die].” – 1 Corinthians 15:42, 49-50, 53

Elsewhere Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to His disciples with the scars in His hands, side and feet and asked for a piece of fish to eat as proof He was not a ghost (Luke 24:40-43). And we must assume that our glorified bodies will be just as human looking as Jesus’ body was [“the image of the heavenly”].

This we know or think we know.

But now I begin to over think it.  Will we have two arms and legs, eyes, nostrils, and ears? The body we have now was designed to function in this life.  How will our glorified bodies differ because they will be designed to function in ways, this body didn’t …couldn’t?  Ever wonder!

Have you heard about the “golden ratio”?  Of course: 1.61803398875. So, if your waist is given a value of 1, your shoulders should be 1.618. This would be considered the “ideal” Adonis Index for a guy. Now, let’s say you’re skinny looking to gain some muscle. If your waist measures 28 inches, then your goal for your shoulders should be just about 45.3 inches. If the length of the hand has the value of 1, then the combined length of hand and forearm has the approximate value of 1.618. Similarly, the proportion of upper arm to hand + forearm is in the same ratio of 1:1.618. Measure your lower body and you’ll find the same: If the foot is 1, then the length of the foot + the shin is 1.618. Our bodies are symmetrical. A person’s arm span is about equal to their height. Artists are avid users of human body ratios, because it helps them draw realistic-looking figures.

Will God maintain these measurements in our glorified bodies?  At last I will have the physique my vanity always wanted!

Was Adam perfect?  If so, does that mean our glorified bodies will be similarly well dimensioned … and, of course, functional.  Two arms to hug you with..  And, of course one beautiful smile that shouts how glorious is our God!!

Something to think about…..


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[Taken from “Calvary: The Story Behind God’s Gift of Himself”]

Atonement: A Covering for Sin

One more word is used among the Ancients, which doesn’t translate readily into English [That’s why theologians invent new words]. The Scripture in some places speaks of a covering for sins. The word used in most translations is atonement—a word I am not using because it tends to be overused in translations. To me, atonement is a catch-all word. To atone, says the dictionary, is to make reparations for wrongs done, to reconcile (2 Chronicles 29:24). We have euphemistically interpreted atonement as at-one-ment emphasizing our reconciliation with God (Romans 5:11).

Reconciled or made friends again with God is were Paul, the Apostle, went finally in His understanding of the term. Very often in Ancient Israel, and especially during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, (Leviticus 23:27), sacrifices were made as well ((Leviticus 23:36)). In fact it is hard to think of atonement in ancient Israel without sacrifices. Since Jesus came, He became our sacrifice, so we now just use the word primarily to talk about reconciliation.

Atonement: Cleansing, Purification, from sin

Atonement also speaks of forgiveness but with a condition attached—the person doing the forgiving must be appeased, pacified, conciliated, or in some way made satisfied first (Leviticus 4:26). The result of all this is reconciliation. This word, which I am simply referring to as a covering, but you translated it atonement, speaks of ritual purification (another way of saying, forgiven). When Moses prophesied that God “would cleanse the land for his people” (Deuteronomy 32:43), the basic idea was that God would cover them. This is a euphemism for showing mercy—forgiving them. Some interpret this to mean that God giving Israel a victory over their enemies was a clear sign that He forgave them for all their rebellion, that is, He and they were reconciled.

So, we have one word that seems to mean all kinds of things: a covering, an appeasement or (have you ever heard this word) a propitiation, a cleansing or purification, and a reconciliation. Are you thinking about the Indian proverb again of the elephant and the blind men? I am. Only, it’s not an elephant; it’s an atonement. [Want another big word? Expiation, a word that means God repaired our relationship with Him through the Cross. Much more later, but the dictionary calls it—you guessed it—an atonement.]

Atonement: Need for Forgiveness

Now one more step and we’re there: forgiveness was not thought gratuitous [forgiveness cost God His Son’s life]. Forgiveness was based on some sacrifice that satisfied God on some level (some say appeased God). On a special day each year (usually in our September) offerings of purification were made. This was a ceremonial cleansing to represent God’s forgiveness, “purified in the LORD’s presence from all their sins.” (Leviticus 16:30). Animals were sacrificed for sin on that occasion and the High Priest would go into the inner chamber in the Temple known as the Holiest Place where he would burn incense above what is called “The Mercy Seat” (we’ll look at this shortly.)

This was an elaborate ritual with specified garments for the priests; in fact, every detail was specified. The Mercy Seat ws the lid of the box that contained a copy of the 10 Commandments which itself represented a covenant made between God and Israel. Why mention this? That “lid” was, in reality, a covering (this is our word) that “covered” that covenant from view.; so, instead of calling it a cover or lid, it became known as “The Place of Atonement.”

And why must God put them through their paces with such an elaborate tradition? Could not God have said “You need to repent and be forgiven if you want to become friends again with me” and let it go at that? Words are easily forgotten. But not even you will forget this now, if you understood it. As all Jews understood at the time, “without blood being shed, there can be no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). And since this would someday be God’s Son dying for our sins, God’s love for Israel made it of crucial importance, and to do that, He made it elaborate and ornate. [Read Leviticus chapter 16.] Are there not here hints, at least, that God has His Son on His mind. The price of our salvation was the sacrifice of God’s Son.

Keep in mind that ancient cultures were into sacrificing all kinds of things; so, this wouldn’t have seemed out of the ordinary for Israel at the time. It played right into God’s plan. Almost makes you think that God was behind the evolution of sacrificial systems from the beginning.

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Divine Simplicity

[Taken from “Calvary: The Story Behind God’s Gift of Himself”]

The story goes that little Johnny wrote his ex girlfriend from camp: “Sussie, I hate you.” And then signed it: “love, Johnny.” Some see this as ambivalence [mixed feelings]. God hated Esau, so said the prophet Malachi and Paul, the Apostle (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13), while at the same time according to the Apostle John: God is love (1 John 4:8). How can this be? The bigger question is: How can there be punishment for sin with God if He is forgiving?

Is this the boulder an omnipotent God created too heavy to lift? The phrase “cognitive dissonance” [inconsistent attitudes as regard behavior] comes to mind. It characterizes anyone claiming to live by one principle but doing things outside their professed character. And this is not God!

Only deceivers are complicated. “Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive,” Sir Walter Scott wrote. Genuineness and spontaneous responses—established of love, gentleness, and mercy—are simple, and that is why we say God shows simplicity. There is a sense in which He judges mercifully, He administers justice for the sake of His creation whom He loves.

There is a well-known verse that profiles God, “God is not a liar like some men might be; He does not deceive; He is transparently honest; He is not a human being dealing with regret over mistakes and bad choices. What He promises, He does; do you think otherwise!? When does He speak and it doesn’t happen just as He said? ” (Numbers 23:19).

The doctrine of simplicity, teaches, then, that

  1. God is unlike any other being; “The Lord’s mercy and love exceed far beyond our expectations.” (Psalm 145:3) and that
  2. God is perfect, that is, God’s actions do not share in the limitations of human actions. God’s intentions, what He purposes to do, He does. “My word that comes from my mouth will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do” (Isaiah 55:11). There is no difference between what God intends to do and what He accomplishes. We , however, see these two ideas as distinct.

Understanding God, though, is another matter. Our knowledge of God is on a pre-heaven level. It will be important later to dive into some terms used to describe God because they explain His simplicity. Irenaeus [Haer 2.13.3] calls God an “uncompounded Being, without diverse members, and altogether like, and equal to himself, since he is wholly understanding, … spirit, …thought, ….intelligence, …reason, and wholly hearing, …seeing and light and the whole source of all that is good.” In simple language: “It is an utter impossibility for God not to be all He is: both merciful and just.”

Looking at God through a single lens (of divine love) , interpreting all His actions in terms of His love for us, not only inspires our understanding of God’s Word but it explains everything about our relationship with Him as believers. “I indeed know exactly what I will for you,” the Lord shares His thoughts, “plans for your peace and spiritual prosperity, not misfortune or ruin, but ultimately what you have longed for all along.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

It is our limited reasoning, limited by how we experience life and what we have learned about our own humanity that we endlessly compare our reasoning with God’s and ask so many questions about Calvary that may be above out current comprehension.

Simplicity shows how God could be merciful and at the same time exact a penalty for sin, how His justice could be both retributive and restorative. The doctrine of a divine simplicity for God attempts to show that when God is exercising one attribute of His nature, He is exercising all attributes of His nature. His justice is always merciful. When He displays His anger, He is fierce, but it is a feature of His jealous love for His people. “The LORD is jealous….” (Nahum 1:2; Joel 2:18)

Simplicity teaches that He does all things as an expression of His love. “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the LORD’s unfailing love”(Ps. 33:5; 89:14). All this can be said in one sentence: A study of Calvary is really a study about the love of God, that is, a study of the nature of God.

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Jesus Took Our Punishment

[Taken from “Calvary: The Story Behind God’s Gift of Himself“]

Penal Substitution Theory

I want to quote, Henry Wace, the Dean of Canterbury from 1903 to 1924, in his work, The Sacrifice of Christ: Its Vital Reality and Efficacy, page 16. He argued, “A law which can be broken without an adequate penalty, is no law at all; and it is inconceivable that God’s moral law can be violated without entailing consequences of the most terrible kind. … And can it reasonably be supposed that the most flagrant and willful violation of the highest of all laws—those of truth and righteousness—should entail no such results?”Jesus being punished because of us is an idea we, therefore, should not avoid, if we are serious about the truth about Calvary.

There are two words in the Greek for punishment in the Bible. One, means to defend the honor of the punisher who receives satisfaction in afflicting pain on an offender. Although akin to the idea of vengeance, punishment need not be vindictive, especially if it is required by law. The other word is corrective. The first is retribution for evil inflicted. The second, discipline.

Aristotle [sorry for not offering you an aspirin for your headache] tried to explain this difference: The question is hidden away in the mind of the punisher. Is he doing this to satisfy his rage and defend his honor? Aristotle called this retribution. Or is he punishing someone to deter recidivism [enough pain that makes them think twice about doing it again], as a correction?

From pagan inscriptions, we learn that only retributive justice is spoken of. Violation of cultic law brings retribution and only confession of the offender’s guilt can bring back the deity’s gracious favor. Sacrifices are intended to appease the deity’s wrath, to fulfill (Aristotle’s word for “to satisfy”) their outrage over being dishonored or disobeyed.

The word the theologian likes to use is “propitiation.” The use of this term says that Jesus pleased God by dying for our sins. The suggestion is a retributive justice. [I don’t like the word, propitiation, even though it has been in use at least since the 4th century. Nor am I interested in using it.]

Let’s speak of punishment as retribution, and “chastisement” as correction or a restoration of order, friendship, right from wrong. Now, let’s ask the Bible. The Bible does speak of a severe punishment, torment, but the words used never refer to the Cross. Scriptural silence, however, does not mean that this isn’t true; for, Isaiah’s 53rd chapter is the message of a vicarious [for us] affliction Jesus took on our behalf. This might be viewed as a punishment.

But Isaiah preferred to use the word “chastisement.” He prophesied that “the chastisement of our peace was upon Jesus” ( Isaiah 53:5). This term is primarily associated with the proverbs of Solomon where he addresses parental instruction and the need of children to be taught which sometimes means discipline—but never, hopefully, death.

Punishment in the Bible is eternal and has nothing to do with those who love Jesus (Matthew 25:46). The word punishment went from chastisement to retribution because it lost its use as a corrective force and became more a final solution; so, the New Testament only uses it in the context of final judgment. It might be said that Jesus’ crucifixion was a final judgment (“it is finished”) on our sins and the “old us” (Romans 6:6) but it would have been somewhat clearer had the word been used in that context—it was not.

Our faith was never dependent on our knowing exactly what this all means, anyway, only that it was Jesus who was that sacrifice for our sins. Nevertheless, let’s be cautious about comparing God’s reason for doing what He does with what sounds natural and reasonable to us. Getting back to what Henry Wace said, we need to proceed with an open mind and heart when talking about the “law of God.” Some form of punishment or correction was required because of who we were without Jesus, and Jesus took that punishment and correction for us. We are merely recipients of such a mercy. Later we will talk about this as the “Wondrous Exchange.” It’s awesome!

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The Power of Christ’s Forgiveness

[taken from my newest project: Calvary: The Story Behind God’s Gift of Himself]

It is not uncommon for God in the Bible to use examples from life to explain deeper truths. Hosea became such a lesson (Isaiah 20:3; Hosea 1:2; 3:1). The story behind Hosea’s marriage to his wife, Gomer, is actually God’s story with Israel. Gomer had been a prostitute, whom God asked Hosea to marry, knowing all along the similarities that would surface between their relationship and His with Israel.

[Keeping this in mind:]

Jesus’ death on Calvary for our sins in our place became a powerful proclamation of forgiveness—a message God wants every Christian everywhere to carry with them into their world. Forgiveness is not a word psychologists use or are comfortable with. The Church owns this idea. It is a Biblical concept. It is God’s creation even though it is basically a simple idea. When someone holds on to such negative feelings and thoughts as hate, grudges, revenge, and bitterness, they do themselves harm. To forgive means literally, in the language of Scripture, “ to let it go.” It completes a redemption because it supports the outward action with a corresponding inward one. When Hosea, who we spoke of already, bought back his wife to become her husband, he still needed to forgive her … and, no doubt, she, him.

God paid a huge price in the death of His Son to free us from all the evil that was systemic in our nature and create in us a new heart, as another prophet, Ezekiel, explained it (Ezekiel 11:19). This is redemption (Ephesians 1:4) and forgiveness is a necessary part of it. Paul echoed the message. “The price of our freedom, our redemption,” Paul taught, “was Jesus’ shed blood which includes our forgiveness; these are two provisions of a multifaceted grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

I have chosen in this work to use this upcoming chapter to talk about our forgiving others. Like Hosea’s experience, nothing exemplifies, nothing teaches the lesson of, divine forgiveness like God using us in our circumstances to demonstrate it. When we affirm Jesus’ death as an act of God forgiving us alone, we have found a dogma but not the inspiration of that dogma that brings it to life. Unforgiveness coming with lingering hurts robs us of a future. When we forgive those who are, otherwise, unforgivable for things we accuse them of having done to us—when we let it go, for real—we not only get our future back but we could not preach a louder more emphatic message of God’s love.

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The Parentheses to the Story

The Bible has a prologue as well as an epilogue, an introduction as well as a conclusion (the open and closing parentheses to time). And in between is the story of God and His creation.  This blog is a meditative look at, what I call, the parenthesis that separate out this main story from “the beginning and the end” of all things (Revelation 22:13).

Pondering the first verse of the Bible  (“In the beginning”) I wondered, “the beginning of …what?” Not God! He had no beginning. Theologians call this the Aseity of God (He is uncaused. 1 Timothy 1:17). Not the earth or the firmament, the heavens; they were yet to be created (Genesis 1:6-10). I concluded the only understanding possible here was “In the beginning of time.”

The opening parenthesis, the Beginning: God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day. – Genesis 1:5

The closing parenthesis, the End: Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever. – Rev. 22:5

In Genesis we begin with God creating a unit of time known as a “day” which, as we now know, involves sunlight as the earth spins on its axis. Time ends, logically, when God decides we no longer need the sun. Our Bible records God’s dealings with us “in time” even though everything about Him is outside time. Ultimately He would send His Son  “in time” to die for us (Galatians 4:4).

God, here, calls the coming age a sunless  “for ever and ever” (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων). In the Old Testament the primitive idea in reference to God (We are grateful to Isaiah 40:28 for this) no longer meant some remote past or future but, now, “unending time.” Plato called αἰῶνας timeless “in which there are no days…” [Hernann Sasse for Kittel Vol I, page 198]. As our referenced scholar points out, “how else can human thought picture it?” [page 201-2] This word also does duty for our word “world” since this world is linked to the “age” in time in which it resides. The end of the age is the end of this world (Matthew 24:3 NIV compare KJV).

Sasse then adds, “The future αἰῶν, the future time of the world is the new [age] which follows. It is something inconceivable, to be represented only symbolically, e.g. as ‘the Kingdom of God’ … or ‘the new heaven and the new earth.’ .. [The] contradiction consists in trying to picture in …time that which stands in antithesis to it.” [page 205]

What excites me is in the epilogue when the sun will be no more:

Revelation 22:10-11 [MSG] “Don’t seal the words of the prophecy of this book; don’t put it away on the shelf. Time is just about up. Let evildoers do their worst… but let the righteous maintain a straight course … in holiness. …

Now I must say it! The Bible did not say “forever” but “into the ages of the ages,” (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων). This, to me, is God’s way of describing to our kindergarten brain the indescribable that’s in store for us in His eternity.

I love Revelation 22:20 [in the MSG]

He who testifies to all these things says it again: “I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!”


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Behind all reasoning is a worldview, a frame of reference, a set of principles, that must be assumed before we can begin to discover the how and why of things.  Logic is not simply logic.  The machinations of our thought processes must depend on some ‘in the beginning’ (Genesis 1:1). some starting point, which we tend to forget about while we are attempting to figure out the dynamics of who we are and why we are here.  We need to appreciate the significance of our worldview to our definition of ‘truth.’A worldview is what the Free University of Brussels’  Center Leo Apostel” defined as “a system of representation that allows us to integrate everything we know about the world and ourselves into a global picture.⁠1  The christian scholar, N.T. Wright, explains a worldview as the foundation of a house [the thought process]: vital yet invisible.  Our worldview ultimately gives meaning and reason to everything we do in the name of right from wrong.  

Said another way: our worldview  is the unrecognized thought process behind all our conclusions which we find reasonable. Ultimately it provides the logic that shapes our principles, values, and moral code—that shapes our lives and our futures.  

See it this way: at the center of anyone’s worldview are the core convictions “about the nature of what is real, true and important.”⁠2  

Evolutionary or Societal View

Civilization now comes with a new perspective, a new worldview,⁠3 a different kind of reasoning, an evolutionary approach deemed more scientific, more appropriate for educated minds, than what christians surmised from reading their Bible.  Carter Phipps referred to it as “transformative insights of an evolutionary perspective.” It is a new way of imagining the past and the future.  It comes with a new consciousness.  It is known as the new truth, “the broader view.”⁠4  It is a brand new way of thinking. We no longer grow or develop.  We evolve: socially, culturally and psychologically as well as physically. Every aspect of being is in the genes.  It is the new consciousness and whether or not it is the right approach to the meaning of life is a question never asked any more in academia.

Henri Bergson in his 1907 classic, “Creative Evolution” assured his readers, that “this..will not be made in a day…it will only be built by the collective…effort of many thinkers.”⁠5  The societal worldview represents the frame of reference by which a group explains the meaning to life, defines or trains a collective conscience, decides what morality should call right from wrong, and  gives the culture its identity.  A worldview, for good or bad, creeps slowly unnoticed into the cultural mind.  

Nazism was a worldview that saw the extermination of millions as a reasonable exercise in cultural development—something that would never have been accepted by the German people if the ugliness of this ideology had been put to an open and honest vote instead of fed piece meal, idea by idea, to a nation starving for self-identity and meaning. 

And for the sake of social acceptance and cultural support, some will accept a society’s ‘way of thinking,’ as their own.  It happens often unnoticed in the darkness of some tragedy or in the heat of some spiritual or psychological battle.  For good or bad:  a strange thought strolls down the memories of our minds and walks us into the the light of a new idea that once we would never have accepted.

Evolutionary thinking proposes an eventual utopian world without sickness, poverty, or “evil”.

Materialism or Consumerism

Another example:  it is a creeping materialistic worldview that unchecked can choke the Word of God, Jesus warned.⁠6 


We may wish to be more scientific in our approach to understanding life, but a scientific perspective can itself be a worldview: a faith in man’s ability to ultimately discover all that is there to be discovered and to create his own heaven.  It is the tower of Babel all over again. The erroneous thought is:  man is getting smarter and smarter and wiser and wiser and better and better at eradicating evil, disease, poverty, etc.  Who needs a god, anyway.


Christians endorse science but find a belief in the Creator, the Intelligent Designer, behind it all as a more reasonable explanation.  Christians recognize an attribute of holiness in that Creator that defines moral truth. Believers find the message of saving grace reasonable. For the believer, it is spiritual enlightenment, the miracle by which the love of God shares with us His worldview.  It is a worldview in which salvation in Christ is a real experience.  It is coming into a worldview that is mind transforming and reshapes our very perspective on the Bible and life itself.⁠7


Every worldview, also, has what  philosopher William Halverson called a “touchstone proposition.”⁠8   For the christian this is the belief in the involvement of an immanent God of Love whose purposefulness and plan makes life a progressing toward the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. Miracles make sense.  Our worldview, because it includes God as an author of history as well as a director of it, can comfortably wait on science to “catch up.”  

A scientific touchstone proposition, however, needs to believe in the stability of the universe and the rules by which it is governed.  It needs to reason that such knowledge is comprehensible using rational inquiry.  It needs to rely on the discovery of unchanging principles of natural law.

Evolution represents a touchstone proposition that sees all things in flux, becoming, adapting.  An evolutionary worldview reasons that what is today was not here in the past and will be changed, gone, in the future., We are ever evolving into a better world—in the word’s of Teilhard de Chardin,⁠9We are moving; we are going forward.⁠10

A believer’s touchstone is Hebrews 11:6 (NLT), “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

‘Nough said.

1 Carter Phipps. Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea. (New York:Harper Perennial, 2012), 11.
2 Ibid,, 24.
3 I found this interesting in the Norwegian TV series “Okkupert” (“Occupied”) Season 1, Episode 1.  2015.   Prime Minister Jesper Berg (played by Henrik Mestad) explains:  the world as we created it is a process of our thinking.   It cannot be changed without changing the way we think.”
4 Carter Phipps.  Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea. (New York:Harper Perennial, 2012), 11.
5 Ibid, 12.
6 Mark 4:7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. NEW INT.
7 Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
8 Carter Phipps. Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea. (New York:Harper Perennial, 2012), p. 26.
9 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man
10 Carter Phipps.  Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea.  (New York:Harper Perennial, 2012),  27.
In grammatical terms, the ‘actionsart’ of the present tense could be repetitive or continuous state (as science might see life), nascent or the beginning of a state (as an evolutionist might see the evolutionary process always in flux), inchoative, the beginning of or having just now come into being (which doesn’t suit either evolution or science but might describe the ‘origin of life’ ) and progressive for the christian in which God’s plan is being worked by Him.  ..
Ephesians 4:13 “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” NEW INT.
Sleeping could mean 
falling to sleep; about to fall, on the verge of falling,  to sleep’ (nascent); 
being asleep’ (repetitive or continuous state); 
‘beginning to fall to sleep’ (inchoative); 
in rem sleep, in a deep sleep, dreamland’ (progressive, a working hypothesis for dreams).
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The Cross

[Taken from, “The Cross: Why Jesus Had to Die.”  The book is finally written.]

The fifth chapter in The Acts of the Apostles is an historical reference to possibilities when the church learns to unite behind the Gospel. In verse 12 Luke tells us, “Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles.“ We read this as if this were a one-off event instead of the possibilities for which the Church was commissioned. Verse 14, no surprise, testifies, “Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers…” Governments of the world, take notice!

Make no mistake about it: The Bible is the promise of Salvation offered thru Christ’s death—a message that counters today’s evolutionary worldview of an eventual utopia, a self-made heaven for mankind. The Cross represents a miracle of grace that science cannot confirm or deny because it is outside the realm of natural inquiry. The resurrection from the dead and what it means for believers has broken out of the confines of natural history.

We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.” (Romans 5:10) Christianity is, indeed, a bloody religion, an idea, perhaps, in and of itself, offensive (I’ll give you that) to logical minds, to academicians who reason from a scientific perspective, and who, therefore, see no value in the death of a Savior.

But with an unapologetic conviction, this is what our faith is all about! This is our living hope: the glorious return of the great God even our Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13) who shed His blood on a cross on our behalf, in our stead, to reconcile us to God. “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses..” (Ephesians 1:7) This has become our trumpet sound as believers. Paul unambiguously declared “… through him to reconcile everything to himself … by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

We asked specifically: Why did Jesus have to die? We must agree with John Stott in his work, “The Cross of Christ” (page 159)

The Cross was not a commercial bargain with the devil, any quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honor or a technical point of law.  Jesus was not forced into submission by God as some moral authority over Him, nor  punished by a harsh .. punitive Father.  Nor was God, the Father, reluctant to forgive or accept the Cross as a means of our salvation. 

But these explanations, to some, sadly, sound reasonable. They seek a story that explains Calvary. But the Cross is not a message in logic.  It is a message in grace! 

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Love Feasts

[taken from: my work, “The Cross: Why Jesus Had to Die“]

It is believed that the Love Feasts, Christian fellowship around a celebratory meal, were originally associated with our Lord’s Supper as a proclamation of His death on the Cross “until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).  These were designed as a practical expression of Christian community, ”a joyous declaration of faith”⁠1 from a thankful fellowship for Calvary while looking, with great anticipation, for their Lord’s soon return. If I may borrow a Catholic idea:  there is nothing more sacramental than this.  When Christians began to celebrate the Eucharist or participate in Communion, it was a “holy” communion, a true thanksgiving. We must take care not to marginalize the Spirit’s role in the Church in the name of orthodox purity. Whether we view the communion elements as symbolic or literal, they must always be significant.   

With time, these feasts ceased, for some, to  inspire a sense of spiritual awe, a sense that Jesus was indeed in their midst, as He promised (Matthew 18:20).  In our day, is it possible that, the old hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross,” that used to bring tears of gratitude, are never sung …or if they are, they merely embellish the phylacteries of a now meaningless ritual? Even during the early centuries of the Church, for some, love feasts were less love and more feast, a splintered assembly, eating apart from the poor, cliques of the more wealthy (“who feed only themselves.”⁠2 Jude 12)—a fellowship in name only. They began to eat apart, ignoring others who came from poverty and need.  Jude called it now “…dangerous blemishes at your love feasts as they eat with you without reverence.” (Jude 12) The message of the Cross was now—if I may imagine—lost in a haze of discussions over the dinner and good times without true thanksgiving. Paul described such a person as one who “eats and drinks without recognizing the body.” “(He) eats and drinks judgment on himself” because this is a sacred gathering that has degenerated into something horribly disrespectful of what the Spirit of God is doing there! (1 Corinthians 11:29). Lest we think this overstates the seriousness of the occasion, Paul explained, “This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep (a euphemism for “dead”).” (1 Corinthians 11:30) 

I might think myself correct in calling the elements “symbols” of Jesus’s passion (and I do. Sorry to all my friends of faith who disagree), but I would be wrong to see them as only an object lesson in something that happened 2,000 years ago. Jesus’s crucifixion, for a believer, should be the only thing that really matters and upon which hinges every hope, every promise, and every blessing from God.


1 Colin Brown. ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1986), vol II. p. 547
2 The Greek: to entertain sumptuously in company with
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