Category Archives: Bible

Book Review: The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen

I came across this book in the library when I looking for some Alexander McCall Smith books. I looked in the regular section and noticed that I had read all the McCall Smith books there already, so I headed over to the Large Print section. There were no McCall Smith books there, but I saw several other books with the same code, a couple of which were by Grace McCleen.

I took The Land of Decoration off the shelf, read the blurb at the back, opened it up and had a scan of its contents. The writing style looked simple enough and there looked to be conversations with God. Was this a religious book? Was one of the characters delusional? Or…both?

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Home School 2017

Today is actually a public holiday since New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. However, I cannot start school on a Tuesday. The curriculum we use has the weekly schedules all printed out nicely and I try to follow that. I know I don’t have to adhere to it strictly; if there are public holidays, or whatever, just move the work over to the next day. But doing that makes everything off-kilter and more difficult. We might end up finishing a book on a Monday, instead of Friday the week before, and start a new book on Tuesday, instead of Monday, which is the proper way to do things. So, over the years, my children have resigned themselves to doing school on a public holiday. Besides, they’ve been on holiday since November 12, so it’s been seven weeks, and that’s long enough.

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A Creation/Evolution Debate

On 26 September, 2015, I posted a link on my Facebook page: 10 Misconceptions About the Theory of Evolution.

The post has generated a long discussion. I am posting redacted parts of  it here now to make it easier to read. I welcome readers to add their thoughts to the discussion.

I apologise for the length of this article!

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Dear YEC Friend – #13 A Matter of Interpretation

A continuation of a series of letters I have written to a fictitious young-Earth Creationist friend. While the ‘Friend’ is fictitious, it is based on observations of, and interactions with, people who hold young-Earth ideas.

You can click on the Category Letters to My Young Earth Creationist Friend or go to the Page to find more.

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Dear Friend,

I think the main reason why YECs find the idea of an old earth — and its cousin, evolution — to be illogical is that it is incongruous with their interpretation of the Bible. So committed are they to their particular interpretation of the Bible, that it is difficult for them to see things any other way.

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Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 109 – Isle of No Return, Part I

I listened to this episode here.

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Creation Works. Through these CDs,  they hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

NOTE: The producers of this series neglect to reference their information in any form.  No references is ever given either on the CD or in the Study Guide for ANY information presented in the series.  Even the voice actors of the series are not given any credit anywhere.

Plot Summary:

The Creation Response Team accepts a challenge to a competition with the Explorer’s Society, which pits their creation worldview against this evolutionary team at an undisclosed location. But will the CRT’s snap decision lead them to victory, or defeat, as they fight to stay alive on Snake Island? (Taken from here.)

Review:

Overall, the story is somewhat engaging. I think it really depends on one’s tolerance for such stories AND one’s predisposition to like/dislike anything produced by a YEC organisation. Yes, I freely admit prejudice comes into play here.

Kendall Park, Jim Brenan, and Jonathan Park are on Ilha da Queimada Grande, a snake-infested island off the coast of Brazil. They are competing against a “Evolution” team. The team that makes its case — and survives — wins. How and why these people agree to go on such life-threatening adventures again and again — and bring children along — is a matter of suspending belief. The women and girls do not go along this time (phew!… I think).

As always, it is good to remember the basic premise of the creators/producers of this series. There are two — and only TWO — worldviews: Creation and Evolution.

Creation: The universe and everything in it was created by God over a six-day period about 6000 years ago. Genesis 1-11 is to be interpreted literally. Science must be done with the Bible in mind. We know scientific findings are correct when they agree with the Bible. If they do not agree with the Bible, it means we are not interpreting the evidence correctly. Creationists are godly and GOOD.

Evolution: A man-made theory about how life, the universe, and everything came about through random, chance processes over millions of years in an attempt to disprove God. Anything and everything that does not agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is lumped as “Evolution”. People who believe in evolution are called “Evolutionists” and are, at best, misguided, and at worst, EVIL.

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Thoughtful Thursday: Answer This, Creationists!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is God of Evolution.

His latest post is entitled 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer.  While I think the word “no” in the title might be slightly off — in his blogpost, he does mention some YECs attempts at some answers — the article is pretty spot-on. Perhaps a more accurate title would be: 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationists Can Answer Satisfactorily.

If you are not familiar with Tyler Franke’s style of writing, be prepared for some pithy humour which may, or may not, border on snarky depending on your tolerance level.

In summary, here are the questions:

1. What was the point of the tree of life?
2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?
3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?
4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?
5. How did Adam and Eve know what death was?
6. If the punishment for eating from the tree was that Adam and Eve would physically die … why didn’t they physically die?
7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?
8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?
9. Why is incest wrong?
10. And finally, if it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally?

“I Cannot Come”

Dr Deborah Haarsma of BioLogos recently went to bat for Dr Hugh Ross when Mr Ken Ham criticised him. Dr Haarsma then invited Mr Ham to join her and Dr Ross for dinner. Readers can leave comments on the blog. One can also leave comments on their Facebook page here.

Mr Ham’s response is on his blog here. Mr Ham does NOT allow readers to leave comments. However, he has also posted about it on his Facebook page where people can comment.

 “We have written a number of articles on the AiG website to warn people that compromising God’s Word in Genesis is an authority issue, a gospel issue, and, indirectly, a salvation issue.”

So, there you have it. Belief in Young-Earth Creationism IS a salvation issue after all! Thanks for clearing that up, Mr Ham!

No, I did not miss the preceding ten-letter adverb indirectly. When you think about it, everything ultimately is a salvation issue. Everything will either draw you closer to God, or draw you further away. The question isn’t “Is ‘x’ a salvation issue?” but rather, “How much of a salvation issue is it?” In this case, young-Earth Creationism ranks quite high on Mr Ham’s Salvific Index (SI).

We at AiG are busy “rebuilding a wall.” We are equipping God’s people to defend the Christian faith, and I believe we are doing a great work for God. We are busy being “watchmen”—warning people of those who undermine the authority of the Word of God. Now, of course, I don’t consider Dr. Ross a personal enemy (as Nehemiah considered some of his detractors)—he is actually a pleasant person. But he is what I would call an enemy of biblical authority. He already knows our views, and we know his.

Ken Ham’s response to the dinner invitation? Well, I was reminded of the song, “I Cannot Come” which I learned years ago. I’ve re-written it with different lyrics.

CHORUS:
I cannot come.
I cannot come to the dinner,
Don’t trouble me now.
I am building a wall,
I am keeping my vow.
I must hold to the Bible,
I will not succumb.
Pray, don’t change my mind,
I cannot come.

VERSE 1:
A certain man had a site
Where he taught from God’s Word.
To those who disagreed,
He called them all absurd.
“Compromising Christians,”
Is what they all read.
But when they asked to dine with him,
This is what he said:

CHORUS:
“I cannot come.
I cannot come to the dinner,
Don’t trouble me now.
I am building a wall,
I am keeping my vow.
I must hold to the Bible,
I will not succumb.
Pray, don’t change my mind,
I cannot come.”

VERSE 2:
“God has told us very clearly
How the world we see was made.
He made it all in six days,
By that I won’t be swayed.
I must work to warn others
Not to compromise His Way.
To enemies of His Word,
This is what I say:”

CHORUS

VERSE 3:
“‘Millions of years’ is the Big Lie
Satan wants us to believe.
We must stand firm on the truth
Though he tries hard to deceive.
To be sure, far more dangerous
Are those who claim to follow God
Yet believe in an old earth.
Indeed it’s very odd!”

CHORUS

VERSE 4:
“When my days on earth are over
And I go to meet my Lord.
I am sure He’ll say to me,
‘Child, come to your reward!’
Be encouraged, dear believers!
When sheep-clothed wolves come your way.
If get asked to dinner,
Be certain that you say:”

CHORUS

No Cake For You!

A few days ago, I came across an article about a Christian couple in Oregon who run a bakery. A lesbian couple ordered a wedding cake from them and the couple refused, because it violated their beliefs. As a result of this refusal, the lesbian couple decided to sue.

You can read more about it here.

Melissa posted a message that said they were vowing to stand firm in their faith. It read, in part:

“To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands. … Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan.”

The Grammar Nazi in me feels it necessary to point out that it is incorrect to say “To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I…” It needs to be, “To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and me….”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

The article points out various instances where businesses were compelled to serve customers whose lifestyles are in violation of the business owners’ religious, ie Christian, beliefs.

Aaron Klein, the bakery owner, said that he and his wife will not back down from their Christian beliefs.

“There’s nothing wrong with what we believe,” he says. “It’s a biblical point of view. It’s my faith. It’s my religion.”

Okay, let’s talk about that.

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Always Be Prepared…

Those of you who have been following my blog and have been reading my posts on Creation/Evolution will know that I am a Christian who accepts the Theory of Evolution. What few people may realise is that it is only on my blog that I state this openly; I rarely am this open in real life. Then again, real life seldom affords opportunities where one needs to state one’s beliefs with regards to evolution.

The pastor at our church has been doing a series on ‘Sharing Our Faith’ on Sunday mornings with a more in-depth study on Tuesday evenings at the church. Usually, Bible Studies are held in people’s homes, but for this series they are at the church. Since my two daughters go for Girls’ Brigade on Tuesday evenings, I thought it would be good to join the Bible Studies. (GB is obviously ‘unbiblical’ because it is an age-segregated, gender-segregated activity!)

Last week’s study was on ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’ (1 Peter 3:15)

We split up into groups and tackled some of the common questions/challenges that non-believers/non-Christians may have.

Our group was assigned questions 7, 8, and if we had time, question number 1. I hoped to get through the discussion quickly and tackle Question #1 because it was ‘What about evolution?’ Furthermore, I had to leave the Bible Study before the session was up because I needed to pick up one of my daughters from Girls’ Brigade.

There was space under the question to write down some thoughts. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received by the rest of the group, but I wanted the chance to read it out loud to them.

The minutes ticked along and we were quite involved discussing Questions 7 and 8. Finally, finally, we got to Question 1 and, would you believe it, I had to go. So, I made my apologies and said, ‘…but I would like to read what I’ve written down: I do not believe that the gospel message is in conflict with the theory of evolution.’

To my pleasant surprise, everyone in the group (four of them), agreed with me! One even said, as I gathered up my things, that he had an article which showed how NOT believing in evolution is anti-Christian.

I look forward to reading that article.

YEC Biblical Evolution? I Have a Book That Says Otherwise

Naturalis Historia talks about how the YEC model to explain the diversity of life after the Flood cannot hold water.

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