The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 10)

Read the series so far.

Adam Is Tested

In the next section (2:15-17) we read of God giving the man a straightforward command:

Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an actual tree. It is not called a symbol and need not be seen as one. I agree with Merrill that we should not think of “good and evil” in this place as contrasting values so much as an idiom for comprehensive knowledge.1 Certainly, ethical knowledge would be included, since all knowledge bears an ethical stamp, but the innocence of our first parents does not at all lead us to think they were ignorant of the meanings of the terms “good” and “evil.” God is communicating meaningfully to Adam, not speaking over his head. Every word which God speaks to Adam presupposes his ability to receive and comprehend it. Thus, the expression “to freely eat” was just as well understood as the designation “every tree of the garden.” Again the warning “in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” was God speaking to a comprehending and responsive creature. He was not speaking into the air.2 Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 10)

When Followers Don’t Follow

People who don’t consider themselves leaders often find themselves in roles that include some leadership responsibility. These roles include everything from committee chairs, team leaders, and project coordinators to ministry leaders, volunteer coordinators, parents, husbands—even older siblings.

Not only are these leaders often unskilled in leadership, but, human nature being what it is, followers are also often reluctant to follow—any leader. (Moses had Miriam and Aaron and eventually Korah; King David had Absalom; even Jesus Christ had Judas Iscariot.)

So you have leadership responsibility, but those you are responsible to lead aren’t following. What do you do? There may be little you can do. But it’s also possible that relatively simple changes in the use of leadership tools will get far better results. Read more about When Followers Don’t Follow

The Purposes of Human Language

From Dispensational Publishing House; used by permission. Read the series so far.

Dispensationalism & the Literal Interpretation of the Bible, Part 3

Human language had a disruption at the incident of the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-10). There was an initial unity of human language; there was “the same language and the same words” (Gen. 11:1). (The KJV has “of one language, and of one speech,” Gen. 11:1. The NIV has “one language and a common speech,” Gen. 11:1.) There was an organic unity of speech. Vocabulary and syntax were a comprehensible unit understood by all.  Communication was swift. Philologists and linguists fairly agree that there was a parent language to all the languages of the world, based on similarities of vocabulary, grammar and syntax. No one knows what the original language was, although until the 19th century the theory that it was Hebrew was practically unquestioned. Read more about The Purposes of Human Language

Language Requires a Rational Mind

From Dispensational Publishing House; used by permission. Read the series so far.

Dispensationalism & the Literal Interpretation of the Bible, Part 2

A third component of the image of God in man is morality. This has to do with powers which inform one of right and wrong and enable him to act accordingly. A fourth aspect is spirituality. This is the capacity for fellowship with God, to understand and participate in spiritual things, the capacity for eternal life, and the like.

A last capacity in the image of God has to do with physical considerations.

There seems to be a physical dimension to the image of God since man did indeed have a body as a result of being created in the image of God (Gen. 2:7). One way of understanding this is in the sense that Adam’s body anticipated Christ’s body in the incarnation. God made Adam’s body after the blueprint or pattern for the enfleshment He had determined for Christ. The triune God was incorporeal before the incarnation; all the persons of the Trinity were spirit beings. Physical factors regarding God at the time of creation were largely anticipatory. God, however, undoubtedly was a Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ) when He walked daily in the garden (Gen. 3:8), and no doubt was also on Day Six when he made man’s body “from the ground” (Gen. 2:7). Read more about Language Requires a Rational Mind

Review: Finding Your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum

Marylu and I have some longtime Christian friends, a Christian couple from the Chicago area. We were often puzzled by the husband’s behavior patterns—and so was he—until he was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. After his diagnosis, he began attending an Asperger’s support group. His behavior improved; he now monitors his responses and reactions.

Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum. Autism varies from high-functioning to low functioning, and research is ongoing. But the question arises, “How should Christian parents bring up their autistic children?”

Dr. Laura Henrickson points the way in her 144 page book, Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum. Hendrickson is uniquely qualified to write such a book: she had been a practicing psychiatrist, believes in biblical counseling (with an emphasis on personal responsibility), and successfully raised her autistic son. She views autism as a type of personality—with both  pros and cons. And she recognizes the contributions autistic people have and are making in society, referring often to autism’s chief contemporary spokesperson, Dr. Temple Grandin, who is one of many success stories. Read more about Review: Finding Your Child's Way on the Autism Spectrum

Regaining the Joy of Ministry, Part 3

From Voice magazine, May/June 2016. Used by permission. Read Part 1, and Part 2.

We Rejoice Because of the Growth of Others

Imagine standing before a newly planted tree. For the first several years, we see rapid growth; but after a number of years, the tree seems to stop growing. In the first few years, we could measure the height of tree and measure the growth by feet. But as the years go by, the rapid upward growth slows and even seems to stop. Year after year we look at the tree and see little, if any, growth. However, reality often differs from perception. What we perceive to be the periods of little growth is actually when the tree grows the most. The greatest growth in the volume of board feet comes when the tree becomes so large it no longer appears to be growing.

So it is with the spiritual growth of people. When a person first experiences the redemption of Christ, the transformation is both dramatic and highly visible. But as time goes on, it seems as though people become stagnant with little growth occurring. However, what we fail to realize is that God is still at work within the individual. Read more about Regaining the Joy of Ministry, Part 3

Why Do Excellent Work?

I once heard a story—I don’t recall where—of a builder who was commissioned by his employer to build a house. The builder’s employer gave specific instructions regarding the quality of the house. He wanted it to be excellent, but the builder tried to save money and effort for himself by cutting corners. The builder knew that he could hide his below-par craftsmanship so that it wouldn’t be discovered until years later.

In the end, the house looked good, but the low quality of the building left much to be desired. When the house was completed, the employer who owned the house handed the keys to the builder, and explained that he wanted to give the house to the builder as a show of gratitude for many years of service. Of course, the builder instantly regretted his laziness and poor workmanship. Read more about Why Do Excellent Work?

Satan & His Kingdom

(About this series)

CHAPTER VI - SATAN AND HIS KINGDOM*

BY MRS. JESSIE PENN-LEWIS, LEICESTER, ENGLAND

I. SATAN’S ORIGIN AND HOME

The Scriptures give but veiled glimpses of his origin and home, for their purpose is more expressly to reveal God in His character; and Christ as the Redeemer of men; with the history of the redeemed from the fall of Adam, their salvation through the Cross, and their eternal destiny, when Christ shall have “abolished all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:24), contrary to the reign of God, and God Himself shall be All in all.

Our Lord says of Satan, “he was a murderer from the beginning” ( John 8:44) and John says of him that he “sinneth from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). Read more about Satan & His Kingdom