15 August, 2019

37. The Fall of Lucifer, part 3


37. The Fall of Lucifer, part 3



"...the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Matthew 25:41b

Just what happened at the Fall of Lucifer, beyond his being cast out of heaven?

Likely, Gehenna (aka the eternal fire / lake of fire) was created. You won't see this word in English Bibles as it is always translated "hell."

Get this:

Sheol (Hebrew) / Hades (Greek) / Hell (Anglo-Saxon) = the land of the dead. They are the same place in different languages.

Gehenna = Lake of Fire

Gehenna / Lake of Fire does NOT = Sheol/Hades/Hell.

Death and the Hades/Hell are thrown into Gehenna/Lake of Fire and destroyed.

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:14
Hell (the Land of the Dead) is a temporary place where humans go when they die. Jesus even went there when he died (Luke 23:43). There is a chasm that separates the righteous from the unrighteous, and the pleasant side is sometimes called Paradise or Abraham's Bosom (Luke 16:19–31). Some scholars speculate that mortals are in a soul sleep, others belief they are fully conscious. Either way, Hell/Sheol/Hades is merely a temporary abode where dead mortals await the resurrection of the judgement (Daniel 12:2).

Swordcraft Tip: Follow this link, then find those verses in your Bible. Circle or highlight the word "hell," and in the margin, write "Gehenna" or "Lake of Fire."

What do you think of Gehenna being created for Satan and his army of demons?
Share your thoughts on the 

Photo Credit: Gehenna Adobe Stock

08 August, 2019

36. The Fall of Lucifer, part 2


36. The Fall of Lucifer, part 2



You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
—Ezekiel 28:14-15

In the phrase, "guardian cherub" (or "cherub that covers" depending on the translation), the Hebrew word translated "guardian" or "covers" means "to block" and "stop the approach." In Nahum 2:5, the same words is translated "defense" while describing the city's walls. So if this is a description of Lucifer, it means his job was to defend God's throne.

Scholars differ on whether Ezekiel 28 (which starts out as a prophecy against the king of Tyre) shifts to a condemnation of Lucifer during his revolt. The use of words like "cherub" and one who walked in "Eden" and on the "mount of God" lend great credence to this view.

While some have speculated that Lucifer rebelled out of jealousy over humans having souls, or the promotion of other angels while he remained heaven's song leader, the Jews of the 2nd Temple period believed his motivation was a bit more grandiose.
He [the serpent] began speaking slander of his Creator, saying, 'Of this tree did He eat and then create the world....
Genesis Rabbah 19:4
If Satan believed his own lie, then he had convinced himself that the power to create resided in the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, he either knows God's power is inherent to God and thus unattainable, or he believes God's power is outside of God and is thus something he too can attain.

Let's assume for a moment that the Genesis Rabbah reflects an accurate view, which do you think is more likely: Satan deliberately invented a lie or Satan genuinely believes his own self-deception?
Share your thoughts on the 
Blogging His Story Facebook page.

01 August, 2019

35. The Fall of Lucifer, part 1


35. The Fall of Lucifer, part 1



For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.
Isaiah 14:13-14

In our last post, The Fall of Lucifer, part 1, we mentioned a possible parallel with the prophesied downfall of the Babylonian king and the fall of Lucifer. Just where did this idea come from?

The Jewish Encyclopedia sums up the Babylonian myth of Etana:
The brilliancy of the morning star, which eclipses all other stars, but is not seen during the night, may easily have given rise to a myth such as was told of Ethana and Zu: he was led by his pride to strive for the highest seat among the star-gods on the northern mountain of the gods ... but was hurled down by the supreme ruler of the Babylonian Olympus.
The oldest version of this myth dates to over 1000 years before the prophet Isaiah penned this passage, and the newest versions were found in the library of King Ashurbanipal, a contemporary of Isaiah.

So either:
  1. Isaiah is using the Babylonian myth to parallel the fall of the Babylonian king. And Christians later came to believe that the myth described the events of Satan's fall.
  2. The Babylonian myth is describing events known to Noah and his family that had not been written down (or had been written and are now lost), and which then influenced the myths of the cultures that arose post-flood. 
As weak as the second point seems, other connections between Sumerian/Akkadian/Babylonian cultures that we'll explore in future posts may actually make it plausible.  And while I am not dogmatic about it either way, I did draw from the Isaiah passage when writing the revolt scene in Primordium.

So what about motive? Just why would the highest ranking officer, second only to God himself, seek to usurp the throne?

We'll cover that in The Fall of Lucifer, part 2.

Had you heard of the Myth of Etana? Which explanation (1 or 2) above seems more plausible to you? Share your thoughts on the
Blogging His Story Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

26 July, 2019

34. Lucifer: What's in a Name?


34. Lucifer: What's in a Name?



How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, morning star!
Isaiah 14:12

Name: Lucifer aka Satan
Status: Fallen Angel and God of this World
Rank: Commander of the Fallen Angel Army

Though Lucifer is the most common name given to the fallen angel known as Satan, this is technically not his name. Lucifer is merely the Latin word for light-bearer, and in Latin versions of the Bible even describes Jesus.

Some Protestant Christians, presumably ignorant of this, have accused Catholic Christians of invoking the name of Lucifer at the Easter services because they annually sing a song about Jesus inspired by 2 Peter 1:19 in Latin.

2 Peter 1:19 (Latin version):
et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris
2 Peter 1:19 (English version):
we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.
In Isaiah 14:12, the king of Babylon is called Lucifer/the Morning Star. Many, but not all, Christians see a parallel in this passage to the fall of Satan, which explains the confusion over the names.

Note: the Hebrew word for lamp shining / light-bearer is Haylel, which is why I named him Lucifer Haylel in The Chronicles of TimeLucifer for the familiarity and Haylel for the accuracy.*

So where does the idea of a parallel come from?

We'll check that out in the next post.

Were you familiar with the Latin version of 2 Peter 1:19? If not, what surprised you the most about it?
Share your thoughts at the 

*accurate IF the Isaiah passage does parallel the fall of Satan.
Photo Credit: Statuette of Baphomet (public domain)

18 July, 2019

33. Cake or Death?


33. Cake or Death?



"The Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Genesis 2:16-17



After God creates Eve, He announces that everything he has created is "very good."

What was God's first command to the human race?

BEEP.

Wrong Answer.

Unless of course you answered: have sex.*

Lots and lots of sex.

Yup. Not kidding. Hover over Genesis 1:28.

Who said God's rules weren't fun?

Moving on.

Before God created Eve, He told Adam that he could eat from every tree on the surface of the earth...save for one. This particular one was in the very center of God's garden. The garden which Adam was the gardener of. God explicitly warned Adam that the fruit of this particular tree would kill him.

The Ultimate Cake or Death.

Would you like cake (the fruit from any of these 1015 trees + immortality)
or death (the fruit from this one forbidden tree)?

Perhaps one of the reasons this passage is so mocked by the ASA is because it seems as unlikely that a real historical Adam and Even would eat from the fruit of the forbidden tree, as it would any reasonably intelligent person choosing death instead of cake?

So what was really going on?

Once again, 2nd Temple Judaism has the answer (as we will see in upcoming posts).

And that answer might surprise you.

Do you think the standard Sunday School explanation reasonably explains why Adam and Eve ate from the tree of Knowledge and Good and Evil? 
Share your thoughts on the

Photo Credit: Cake Image by Pexels from Pixabay 
*Please note: Adam and Eve were married when given that command.

05 July, 2019

32. Lord of Death


32. The Lord of Death



"...the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil."
Hebrews 2:14

The Wisdom of Solomon is a Jewish book dating to a time period referred to as 2nd Temple Judaism, the short-lived, but unique brand of Judaism adhered to by Jesus and Paul.
God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world.... Wisdom 1:13-14 and 2:23 NRSV & KJV
Whether you believe the Wisdom of Solomon is inspired or Deuterocanonical/Apocrypha, one thing remains clear: The Jews of Jesus' and Paul's day understood that God did not create death.

Paul confirmed this New Testament Jewish belief in his letter to the church in Rome:
Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people...
Romans 5:12 and 8:20.
So what does this mean?

Quite simply, it means that God did not use macroevolution, the species-to-species aspect of Darwin's theory, because death is in integral part of the process. (For info on microevolution, the God-created change-within-species aspect of Darwin's theory, see the post Darwin's Finches.)

The species-to-species aspect of Naturalistic/Darwinian evolution and the Bible are at odds, because the former demands that death existed long before the first homosapien walked upright.

This is likely the biggest deviation between Naturalistic science and Creation science. If one believes in naturalism, the Bible MUST be wrong, because Naturalism demands that NOTHING but natural forces operate in the world.

As we've mentioned before, Creation science allows for the First Cause to be supernatural. And it allows for man to be created in the image of God and not a cosmic accident.

Naturalism is the #1 weapon of the ASA,

And the ASA is the #1 weapon of the forces of darkness.

They claim their sword is stronger than yours.

So how did one man bring death to the world? And why in Gehenna would he do so?

We'll discuss this in upcoming posts.

SwordCraft Tips: Highlight Romans 5:12 and 8:20 (and Wisdom 1:13-14 and 2:23 if your Bible has it) in your designated spiritual warfare color.

Are you surprised that 2nd Temple Judaism so explicitly states that God did not create death? 
Share your thoughts on the

Photo Credit: Pixabay

*The Bible of the early Church, including the Bereans  from Acts 17:11, and the original Protestants (including the first editions of the King James Bible) contained the Wisdom of Solomon as well as several other 2nd Temple Jewish books. The Bibles of Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic Christians still contain many of these books.


01 July, 2019

31. Lord of the Sabbath


31. Lord of the Sabbath

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 
—Exodus 20:11

On the sixth day (the first Friday), God declared that his creation was "very good." Planet Earth was Eutopia,* a perfect world.

On the seventh day (the first Saturday), God finished his work of creation, so he "sabbath on the seventh day from all his work."

We often translate the Hebrew word "sabbath" as rested, though it more accurately means "ceased" or "desisted."

At this point in scripture, barely chapter two, God defines himself as Creator of the world, his most magnanimous role, and establishes a 7-day week, and later (Exodus 20:11) would declare that on the 7th day all those in allegiance to him were to honor him as Creator by also ceasing from their own work every 7th day.

Think about that for a second.

God comes down to earth—a very rare occurrence—and writes on stone in his own hand, and of all things he chooses to include this.

Why?

Could it have anything to do with this?
They deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed... —2 Peter 3:5
Interestingly, Jesus refers to himself as the Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5. And in John 1:3, Jesus is referred to as a co-creator with his Father:
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Highlight Exodus 20:11 and 2 Peter 3:5 in your designated spiritual warfare color.

Do you see a connection between 2 Peter 3:5 and naturalism? Why or why not? Share your answers on the Blogging His Story Facebook page.

*Eutopia = a good place. Dystopia = a bad place. Utopia (pronounced the same as Eutopia) = a non-place, meaning a fictional place, such as Narnia or Middle Earth. 

Photo Credit: Commandment Image by Messianic Publications.

20 June, 2019

30. Sabbath Rest


Sabbath Rest



Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.
—Genesis 2:1-2

Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, right?

Actually...that's a presupposition.

(Sneaky little devils, aren't they?)

The Bible never says Adam and Eve lived there. It never says the garden belonged to them. In fact, it says the garden belonged to God and that Adam worked there.
You were in Eden, the garden of God...Ezekiel 28:13a

The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it...no tree in the garden of God was its equal in beauty...all the trees of Eden envied it, that were in the garden of God." —Ezekiel 31:8-9.
When God "rested" on the Seventh day, he was actually moving in, i.e. setting up residence in Eden, and making it His "dwelling place." [1]

Note that the Bible uses dwelling and resting synonymously when it comes to God.
Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord; let us worship at the footstool of his throne. Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power...For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem; he has desired it for his home.“This is my resting place forever,” he said. “I will live here, for this is the home I desired. —Psalm 132:7-8 & 13-14
Genesis 1 is not a house story (with a focus on building), it's a home story (with a focus on moving [2]
in). Day 6 isn't the climax with a random God-rested-even-though-he-doesn't-get-tired Day 7 tacked on so we can have seven days in a week. Day 7 is the climax to a God-wishes-to-dwell-with-mankind love story that often gets missed in the heated debates over science and semantics.

So Adam was God's gardener?

Yes. And no.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. —Genesis 2:15
The words translated "till" and "keep" are terms used in the book of Numbers to describe the duties of the priests.[3] Check out Num 3:7-8, 8:26, 18:5-6.

So what was Eve's job?

While we don't know her specific duties, we do know she was Adam's helpmate. The Hebrew word is ezer, and lest anyone thinks that means one who is inferior, the only other time the word is used, it is describing God. That's right. The other 20x the word is used in the entire Old Testemnt is to describe God as the ezer of mankind. Obviously, God is not inferior to humans. Hebrew scholar Robert Alter says it is best translated "sustainer beside him."

Swordcraft Tip: In the margin of Gen 2:2, write "Eden = God's garden" and "Ez 28:13, 31:8-9." Underline, highlight, or circle the verbs in Gen 2:15 (usually translated work/tend and watch/keep") and write in the margin "priestly terms" c.f. Num 3:7-8, 8:26, 18:5-6. In the margin of Gen 2:18, write "God as helper (ezer): Deut. 33:26, 29; Psalm 33:20, etc."

Have any presupposition changes
after reading this blog post?
Share your thoughts on the
Blogging His Story Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Oast House Archive: CC BY-SA 2.0 / Sold House by Guy Kilroy / Help Button: Pixabay.

[1] Walton, John. (2015.) The Lost World of Adam and Eve.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.

13 June, 2019

30. Eve: Mother of all Living


30. Eve: Mother of all Living



Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 
—Genesis 3:20

According to an article in NewScientist (as well as many other researchers in human genetics), scientists can "trace back the DNA in the maternally inherited mitochondria within our cells" to what they call a "theoretical" common ancestor. They call her “mitochondrial Eve.”

Naturally, the ASA claim mitochondrial  Eve lived "between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago" and that she was "was not the first human" but that "every other female lineage eventually had no female offspring, failing to pass on their mitochondrial DNA."

In other words, EVERY single other woman was a #boymom and they and their descendants all became extinct, because everyone living today, male and female, can be traced back to "mitochondrial Eve."

Okay. Sure.

And in contrast to the Sumerian and other ancient legends where the gods created multiple humans, the Jewish record just happened to have a "myth" that lined up with the science that all humans came from one woman.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

SwordCraft Tip: If you have wide-margins, beside Genesis 3:20, write in your designated supernatural warfare color, "Maternally-inherited mitochondria DNA confirms all living people came from one woman."

Had you ever heard of "mitochondrial Eve?" Do you find it exciting that science is continually discovering confirmation of the Bible (even though the ASA won't admit it)? 
Share your thoughts on the 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

07 June, 2019

29. Adam: Son of God


29. Adam: Son of God



"...Adam, the son of God."
—Luke 3:38

In Jesus' genealogy (in Luke 3), Adam is said to be the son of God.

This title is also applied to angelsGen 6:2,4; Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7; and Deut 32:8 (in the Septuagint and Dead Sea version).

In the novel, Primoridum, it is this title being given to Adam upon his creation that fuels Lucifer's motivation to revolt against God.

Note that in Judaism, the title "son of God" is never a title of deity. However, it is eventually a title that applies not just to Adam but the line of Jewish kings, from whom the Messiah, the son of God would come. And it is a title given to all New Testaments believers (1 John 3:1-2).

Yet in Greek mythology, a son of God was divine, or at lest part divine (usually the offspring of a god with a mortal).

In 1 John 3:1-2, Christians are called "sons of God." If you are a Christian, what do you think of having a title that once belonged only to angels? Share you answers @ the Blogging His Story Facebook page!

Photo Credit: Cropped closeup from The Creation of Adam fresco by Michelangelo.


30 May, 2019

28. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Representative


28. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Representative


Shigir Idol
the oldest known wooden sculpture in the world
displayed in the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

There is scriptural support for all four of the Image of God views being true (we and God have emotions and intelligence; we were created for fellowship; we were giving dominion over the earth; and we are God's representatives on earth).

But which one is the correct definition to the question, "What does being made in the image of God mean?"

In my opinion, #4.

The Image of God as Representation (we are His representatives/image-bearers.

The Hebrew word, tselem (צֶלֶם), translated "image" in Genesis 1:27 ("God created man in His own image") is the same word in Numbers 33:52 that refers to idols -- Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their  pictures, and destroy all their molten images..."

In ancient times, people held an Animation Ceremony for newly-carved idols in which the mouth was opened so that life could be breathed into them.

Judaeo/Christian Worldview

God = Creator of man
Man = Idol of God
Man = Animated by God's breath to Worship God
Man = Indwelt by God (Christianity)

Secular Worldview

Man = creator of the god's image
Wood = idol/image of a god
Wood = "animated" by man
Wood = indwelt by a god

Idolatry is not only a distortion of truth, but it's demeaning to us as humans. Imagine the ancients and how sacred they treated their idols, how they carried them around with the utmost care in liters during festivals, how they

We've replaced ourselves with wood. Instead of recognizing that we are the sacred thing, that we are the very image of God, we bow to wood, believing wood to be what we really are.

Public Domain

Swordcraft Tip -- In your spiritual warfare color, highlight Gen 1:27, and in the margin write: Image Bearers  (idols in Numbers 33:52, 2 Kings 11:18, 2 Chron 23:17).

So how does it feel to discover you are an idol? Share your answers here!

04 February, 2019

27. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Dominion



27. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Dominion


"...Subdue [the earth], and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
—Genesis 1:28

This view sees us made in the image of God in that we share in His dominion over the earth.

The featured image is of a sign for sale at a Renn Faire. It jumped out at me because this ASA sentiment is exactly the opposite of what the Bible says, hearkening back to the battle of the worldviews.


We are to be good stewards of the earth. We are not to abuse or exploit its resources. But we are its lords. We have the God-given right to chop down a tree and build shelter from the elements. We have the God-given right to kill an animal for sustenance. We do not share equality with trees or animals.

What difference does this distinction make? What role does it play in the war?

We buy our oil from Saudi Arabia...a country that commits gross violations of human rights.

Image result for christian torture scars iranA Saudi Arabian blogger who speaks out on freedom was accused of apostasy and "insulting Islam" and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 15 years in prison.

Women who are raped and can't identify their perpetrator are deemed guilty of adultery and sentenced to hundreds of lashes and years in prison.

Despite that freedom of religion, including the freedom to pray, is a basic right recognized under international human rights law, the Saudi government raids homes where Christians meet for prayer, beats them, and threatens them with death.



The country’s oil wealth has been used to fund mosques, charities and Islamic institutions worldwide, as well as radical Islamist groups. 15 of the 19 terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks in the US were Saudi.

But instead of drilling for oil in our own country, creating jobs, and boosting our own economy, we fund a country that rapes, tortures, and murders people because drilling in America would put polar bears at risk.


While the ASA complains of scars left on the land from thumper trucks searching for oil...


...persecuted Christians and other victims of human rights violations bear scars from torture for life.





Want to make a difference?

 Become a Human Rights Activist.

Click here to send a letter of encouragement to a Persecuted Christian.





Further Reading:

America must stand up for persecuted Christians in Saudi Arabia, India and around the world

Saudi Arabia's Crimes Against Christians

Western hypocrisy, Saudi Arabia and the persecution of Christians

Footnotes: 

The "quote" on the sign is falsely attributed to Indian Chief Seattle (who died in 1866), and has been widely quoted in books, on TV, and from the pulpit. A children’s book, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message From Chief Seattle (which sold 280,000 within the first six months of its 1991 issue). It actually originated from Ted Perry, the screenwriter for Home, a 1972 film about ecology.

Information on Saudi Arabia's Human Rights violations taken from "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2004". US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour.

Photo Credit: World Hands: Creative Commons / Polar Bear / Persecution Victims: Fair Use

31 January, 2019

26. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Counterpart


26. The Image of God as Counterpart




For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly... 
—Isaiah 57:15

Humans as God's counterpart implies that we are the relational partner for God, created for fellowship.

What does that even look like?

Think of a big wig CEO, like Mark Zuckerberg, gaming with the man who empties his trashcan.

Or the President of the United States having lunch with the guy who cleans the White House toilets.

And I don't mean a "cares for all humanity" fist-bump in passing for publicity photo. I mean, after a long day of work, the only think Mark or Mr. President WANTS to do is hang out with his janitor because they are best friends.

Humans were created for fellowship with God, but not as His peers.

He's the CEO. We are the toilet cleaner...though out job is not to clean toilets.

Except for our own.

Photo Credit: Toilet & Mark Zuckerberg: CC0


28 January, 2019

25. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Similarity


 25. Imago Dei: The Image of God as Similarity




The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
—Exodus 33:11

The focus on the Image of God as Similarity is on the physical and emotional similarities people have with God.

Ancient Jewish sources hold to this interpretation:

 2 Enoch 44:1–3: The Lord with his own two hands created mankind; and in a facsimile of his own face. Small and great the Lord created. Whoever insults a person's face insults the face of the Lord; whoever treats a person's face with repugnance treats the face of the Lord with repugnance. Whoever treats with contempt the face of any person treats the face of the Lord with contempt. (There is) anger and judgement (for) whoever spits on a person's face.

2 Enoch 65:2: And however much time there was went by. Understand how, on account of this, he constituted man in his own form, in accordance with a similarity. And he gave him eyes to see, ears to hear, and heart to think, and reason to argue.

Our ability to have compassion is because God is compassionate. Our ability to show mercy is because God is merciful. These attributes are what make us distinct from animals; we are not merely upright-walking primates.

While the Bible teaches that God is spirit and invisible (John 4:24, 1 Timothy 1:17), He evidently chooses to inhabit some sort of ethereal body when interacting with humans, as shown in Exodus 33:11 and other similar verses (Exodus 33:20, 23).

24 January, 2019

24. Imago Dei


24. Imago Dei



Imago Dei, Latin for "image of God."

According to ReligionFacts.com, Christianity has been influenced by four definitions of how humans are the imago dei:

(1) The Image of God as Similarity (We have emotions, intelligence, etc).

(2) The Image of God as Counterpart (We are the relational partner for God, created for fellowship).

(3) The Image of God as Dominion (We are like God in that we share in His dominion over the earth).

(4) The Image of God as Representation (We are like God in that we are His representatives on earth).

We will look at each of these definitions over the next four blog posts.

Beyond Genesis 1:26-28, here are a few other verses describing humans as made in the image of God: Genesis 5:13, Genesis 9:5-6, Psalm 8, 1 Corinthians 11:7, and James 3:9.

Photo Credit: Mud Man CC2.0 / Hands CCO.

21 January, 2019

23. Breath of Life


23. Breath of Life




Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. 
Genesis 2:7

The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, meaning “an animated, breathing, conscious, and living being.”

Man did not become a living soul until God breathed life into him.

In Genesis 6:17, "breath" in the phrase "breath of life" is the Hebrew word ruwach,which means “wind, breath, air, spirit.” It is the word translated all throughout the Old Testament in the phrase the Spirit of God, and in the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) as well as the New Testament, it is the word translated in the phrase Holy Spirit.




Photo Credit: Copyright ©Bill Osborne. Used with Permission. / Video: Great Are You Lord by Casting Crowns.

17 January, 2019

22. From Mud


From Mud


"We're filth! We're filth! We come from filth, we're going to filth, we're filth!"


"The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground..."
—Genesis 2:7a

Infamous ASA evangelist Richard Dawkins purports: "Mud, in the form of clay, may have learned to replicate and eventually the process led to the creation of the famous DNA double helix and life itself."

Dawkins arrives at this conclusion because clay has one of the essential requirements for life – reproduction. His proposition is based on the proposal by Scottish chemist Graham Cairns-Smith, who first proposed his theory in 1966 but further studies in 2007 and 2013 backed the principles.

Most recently Biological Engineers from Cornell University's department for Nanoscale Science in New York state agreed clay 'might have been the birthplace of life on Earth'.

Once again, we see the difference is in the interpretation of the science (time and first cause), not the science itself. “Over billions of years, chemicals confined in those spaces could have carried out the complex reactions that formed proteins, DNA and eventually all the machinery that makes a living cell work."


Or...a First Cause could have formed those proteins and DNA in a single day when He formed man.

Ironically coincidental that if it wasn't God, but happened as the ASA theorizes, that ancient man coincidentally guessed correctly when making up the Mesopotamian just-so story.

Research and quotes taken by the article, Revealed: How life on earth began - and the answer is even crazier than you thought by  Paul Baldwin. Aug 17, 2017.

Photo Credit: Filth People: Screenshot from The Tick vs Filth / DNA: Public Domain / Clay Hands: Creative Commons

14 January, 2019

21. From Apes


21. From Apes



"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men (humans), another flesh of beasts (primates), another of fishes, and another of birds." 
1 Corinthians 15:39


Since bananas share about 50% of their DNA with humans, does that mean bananas are half human?


Do similarities between the skeletal features of  Australopithecus (Lucy) to chimpanzees and humans point to a common ancestor or a common Designer?

With no way scientifically answer that question (we can't observe species-to-species evolution and we can't observe God creating a species), we must resort to our belief system or world view.

ASA Scientists believe that primates and humans evolved/descended from a common primate ancestor (primate-kind).

Creation Scientists believe that primates evolved/descended from a common primate ancestor (primate-kind), and humans evolved/descended from a common human ancestor (human-kind).


In this picture, different types of primates are lined up by size and speculated erect statue along with Neanderthal Man, Cro Magnon Man and modern humans. The ASA then claims this line-up proves each one evolved into the next.

Remember post 19. Animal-Kinds and Common Descent? that featured the following Dog Kind image?


In essence, this ASA line-up of primate-kinds and human-kinds, if redone for dog-kinds, is claiming a small dog evolves into large dog and then into a dingo a then into a coyote and then into a wolf.

Swordcraft Tip: Highlight 1 Corinthians 15:39 in your designated spiritual warfare color.

Photo Credit: Monkey Selfie: Creative Commons / Banana Monster: Free Stock Photos / Lucy: Public Domain / Human Evolution: Answers in Genesis / Dog-Kinds: Answers in Genesis

10 January, 2019

20. Who is Us? Part 2


20. Who is Us? Part 1


"The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; 
I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be." 
—Proverbs 8:22-23

Wisdom / Logos view: held by 2nd Temple Judaism and most Christians

It is generally agreed that Proverbs was written by Solomon, son of King David, nearly 1000 years before Jesus was born.


Philo of Alexandria (who predated the Apostle John’s use of Logos and begotten by over 50 years) identifies the Logos with wisdom in Proverbs 8:22 (De Ebrietate, 31), and calls the Logos “the eldest son,” and “the first-begotten of God.” See Philo’s On the Confusion of Tongues, 63 and 146 respectively.

Some 50 years later, the Apostle John identifies Jesus as this logos and God's begotten, and confirms his role in Creation.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." —John 1:3
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, written even before John's gospel (but also post-Philo), also confirms Jesus' role in Creation.
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." —Colossians 1:16

Nevertheless, wisdom/the logos/the pre-incarnate Christ is not the Creator; throughout scripture, that magnanimous role is always attributed to God the Father...a fact understood by the early church, as evidenced in the creeds: "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth."(Apostles Creed) and "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible." (Nicene Creed).

So which is right the Heavenly Court view or the Logos/Wisdom view?

Although both Christian and Jewish scholars agree that the royal "us" is inaccurate, some Christians* take umbrage at the heavenly court view. However, the two views (Heavenly Court vs Logos) need not be mutually exclusive. That the Logos was involved in creation does not contradict God's addressing the heavenly court. And creation would not be the first time he does so. In 1 Kings 22:19-22, God implicitly asks the Heavenly Court how he should deal with an evil king, and one angel's suggestion is implemented. (Other mentions of the Heavenly Court are Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6; Psalm 89:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; and Daniel 10:12-13.)

Which view do you hold? 
Do you see the Logos and the Heavenly court view as mutually exclusive?
Share your thoughts on the
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Swordcraft Tip: Highlight Proverbs 8:22-23, John 1:3, and Colossians 1:16 in your dedicated spiritual warfare color.

Photo Credit: Jehovah Creates the World by Walter Rane. / Philo: Public Domain  / Apostles Creed

*Gleason claims, "It could hardly include the angels in consultation with God, for nowhere is it ever stated that man was created in the image of angels, only of God....This can only be understood in terms of the Trinitarian nature of God." But as we saw above, the Jews who hold to the Heavenly Court view do not believe it means God must then make man in the image of angels (1982).

08 January, 2019

19. Who is Us? Part 1


19. Who is Us? Part 1



"Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness." 
 Genesis 1:26

The Majestic View: held to be false by both Jews and Christians

Some claim the "us" in Gen 1:26 is the royal "us" or majestic plural, which is when a plural (we, us, our) is used to refer to a single person who is a monarch. (This is similar to the editorial "we," such as when a small business run by one person says, "You can reach us at..." or "Our hours of operation are....")

Yet the royal "us" is not used in ancient times, as both Jewish and Christians scholars note:
"Such a pluralis excellentiae was, however, a thing unknown to Moses and the prophets. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, David, and all the other kings, throughout TeNaKh (the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa) speak in the singular, and not as modern kings in the plural." —Rabbi Tzvi Nassi, Lecturer in Hebrew at Oxford University11
"This first person plural can hardly be a mere editorial or royal plural that refers to the speaker alone, for no such usage is demonstrable anywhere else in biblical Hebrew."
—Archer L Gleason, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School2
The Heavenly Court view: held by Rabbinical (Modern) Judaism

"Although [the angels] did not assist Him in His creation...Scripture did not hesitate to teach proper conduct and the trait of humility, that a great person should consult with and receive permission from a smaller one. Had it been written: "I shall make man," we would not have learned that He was speaking with His tribunal, but to Himself. And the refutation to the heretics is written alongside it, in the following verse: And G-d created," and it does not say, "and they created.3

On our next post, we'll take a look at the view held by 2nd Temple Judaism / Christianity.

Were you familiar with either the royal "us" view or the heavenly court view?
Share your thoughts on the
Blogging His Story Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Angels: Stefan Keller from Pixabay / Angels at creation: attribution not found

1 Nassi, Rabbi Tzvi. 1863. The Great Mystery, 1970, p.6.

2 Gleason, Archer. (1982) Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. p.359.

3. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki). (1040-1105). 
Midrash. Chabad.org

Sounds great. So to clarify, are you thinking of this as the Dec craft or a different time?

07 January, 2019

18: Animal-Kinds and Common Descent


18. Animal Kinds and Common Descent



And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. —Genesis 1:24-25

According to the ASA*, "methodological naturalism is a 'ground rule' of science today" that "requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify." (emphasis mine)

So the ASA requires that science (specifically naturalism) be observable.

Do we observe evolution? Yup!

Take the dog "kind" for example.

We observe evolution all the time with both natural selection (nature's breeding) and man-made selection (intentional breeding, such as all the new "designer dogs").

A chihuahua can evolve from a wolf (over long periods of time).

We observe a LOSS of information.

A wolf cannot evolve from a chihuahua (over any period of time).

We do not observe a GAIN of  new information.

And yet, the ASA would have you believe that observing a LOSS of information (micro-evolution) proves a GAIN of new information (macro-evolution).

In other words, because dogs can evolve into other types of dogs (micro-evolution), one species can evolve into another type of species (macro-evolution), such as a primate-type can evolve UPWARDS into man (a GAIN of information).

But this breaks the ASA's required rule of science.

What else breaks the ASA's required rule of science? A single-cell organism that adapts/mutates/evolves into amphibians and then reptiles and then birds or primate-type creatures that then adapt/mutate/evolve into human beings.

We do not observe this.

Ever.

Think about that. To use observable loss of information (microevolution) to prove non-observable gain of information (macroevolution) is not scientific.

We cannot scientifically prove that one species turns into another. We cannot scientifically prove new information evolution. We can believe this happens, but by the ASA's standards, we cannot prove it.

Now, by ASA standards, we also cannot prove a first cause. We cannot prove God created individual animal kinds (such as a dog kind, a cat kind, a primate kind). But happily, creationist scientists do not adhere to a "we must scientifically prove the existence of God or He does not exist" rule. What they do adhere to is the ASA's "science must be observable" rule. Thus, they believe in micro-evolution (change within species) but do not believe in macro-evolution (change from one species to another species).

Note: Sometimes things are mislabeled a gain. Take for instance cockroaches that become resistant to a certain pesticide. It's not that the next generation gained NEW information, it's that natural selection weeded out the non-resistant cockroaches.

Further Reading:

Non-religious articles on Alternatives to Universal Common Descent / macro-evolution:

A Big Problem for Common Descent: Hundreds of "Active ‘Foreign’ Genes" Don’t Fit the Standard Evolutionary Phylogeny 

Some Problems in Proving the Existence of the Universal Common Ancestor of Life on Earth 

Creationist articles on micro-evolution:

Variety Within Created Kinds

Created Kinds (Baraminology)

*Quote is sworn testimony in court by expert witness Robert T. Pennock, an anti-Creationist and anti-Intelligent Design professor with a PhD in history and philosophy of science.

Photo Credit: Cat Kinds: Answers in Genesis / Dog Kinds: Answers in Genesis / Macro Micro Evolution Figure 4.8 (Makroevolution vs Mikroevolution) from Evolution Ein kritisches Lehrbuch. Used with permission.

05 January, 2019

17. Sea Monsters and the Chaos Myth


17. Sea Monsters and the Chaos Myth



God created the great sea monsters...
—Genesis 1:21 

On day five, the writer of the toledoth (or Moses) specifies that God created the sea monsters. Why is this important...because it is specifically named. In others words, God says, Let there be lamps and there were lamps...let there be birds and there were birds...let there be creeping crawly animals and there were creeping crawly animals. But when God says let there be swarms of sea creatures, there were swarms of sea creatures and sea monsters. 
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. 
 Why is this so relevant?

Because in ancient times, the sea monster was the personification of chaos, a co-eternal primordial force of wrath and destruction, which the storm god barely managed to tame and defeat.

But in the Genesis account, it is merely a created creature. It is placed on day five to distinctly separate it from the deep of Gen 1:2 before day one (we'll see why in a later post),  and God did not tame it or defeat it...it was not co-eternal with him...he merely spoke it into existence. The end.

To the ancient reader, this was like an ultimate Chuck Norris joke.


When Chuck Norris does a push up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
The Hebrew word translated "sea monster" is tanniyn. (It is NOT the Hebrew or the Greek word for whale). In Greek, it is drakōn yes, where we get dragon from. Tanniyn has been linked to Leviathan, Lotan, and Yam, the sea monsters / chaos gods in the ancient world.

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Photo Credit: Sea Monster Adobe Stock / Chuck Norris Fair Use

03 January, 2019

16. Darwin's Finches


16. Darwin's Finches



And God said..."Let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created...every winged bird according to its kind.
—Genesis 1:20-21

Yes, Creationist scientists believe in Darwin's Finches.

They also believe in speciation, adaptation, mutation, and yes, even evolution (i.e. slow changes over long periods of time within species—more on this in the next post). Many even believe an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs (more on this on another post). As I said before, the biggest difference between the Bible and evolution is time and first cause. The science is the same...it's the interpretation of the scientific evidence that varies.

What may really surprise you is that it's NOT a religious argument.

There are many ASA scientists that believe in a first cause (an unknown, intelligent designer*), and many ASA scientists that believe in catastrophism (example: grand canyon carved by catastrophe, rather than by uniformitarianism)...solely based on observable, repeatable science. It only becomes "religious" when Creationist scientists give the first cause intelligent designer the name God (as in the Judaeo-Christian God of the three monotheistic faithsJudaism, Christianity, and Islam), or label a particular cataclysm as one described in the Bible (as in Noah's flood).





*Intelligent Design (ID) was started by non-Christians who saw organized purpose in the world rather than random chance. ID is not Creation Science in disguise, in fact many Creation Science organizations are highly critical of it. ID scientists simply believe that the complexity o the natural world could NOT have occurred by change. They feel the evidence points to an intelligent entity, but that entity could be anyone or anything. 

Further Reading:

Intelligent Design: It's a Creationist Plot

Intelligent Design is not Creationism


Photo Credit: Public Domain

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