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?
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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
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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.


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 drak┼Źn 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