I already started two days behind, but catching up is fun. I’ve found that reading large chunks of the Bible is particularly helpful for me.
Genesis 1 and 2
I realize any comments on the Creation account are potential fodder for an ensuing messy debate. Please refrain from getting ugly! Why do I say this? As a youth pastor, it seems at least once a month I am encouraged by well-meaning authors and others to teach the kids the right way or else. “Or else what?,” you might ask. Or else they will leave the church. There is a popular sentiment right now that kids are leaving the church in droves because they don’t know how to stand up against the “evolutionists” in the public schools – both high school and college. That is one of many reasons some youth leave the church. Unfortunately, there are many others, almost too many to count. As a pastor to youth, I wish it were as easy as solving one issue involving belief in one issue. What do you think? Why are kids leaving the church?
“So when the woman saw that it was…
good for food
a delight to the eyes,
to be desired to make one wise,
she took of the fruit and ate.”
The tree was desirable; it was beautiful, just as the things that tempt us seem so attractive, desirable, and alluring. We are all tempted in different ways by different things. What is attractive and desirable for me may not interest you whatsoever.
“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze…”
Last weekend at the high school MUD retreat, we were asked to do a fire watch in the night. During the 15 minutes of silence we could hear the wind coming from a distance. It was awesome in the truest sense of the word; that is, it provoked an eerie awe. I could hear it far off and then when it was upon us we could see the effect of the wind on the trees and feel it on our faces. It was as if God was “walking among us at the time of the evening breeze.” Don't worry, we were already clothed!
“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
This comes as a direct result of sin entering the picture, so why would people try and make this normative in Christian relationships? Some say this is something to aspire to in our relationships. In Mark 10, when Jesus is pressed on the issue of divorce, he basically says, “Don’t look to Moses’ time for answers as to how God intended relationships to work. Instead, look to Creation; look to the beginning, before sin."
To use this text, as some do, to argue that it is natural for women to desire men and men to rule over women, I seriously wonder whether they believe in redemption. In Christ, we are new creations. The old has gone, the new has come. We are set free from sin to live under the principles of the Kingdom of God. We are no longer slaves to sin; we are no longer to live under the rules of sin. Instead, we are to live as redeemed people, as Kingdom people. We are to live as God created us to live - in mutuality and shared purpose.
“…every inclination of their hearts was only evil continually.”
Those words “every” and “only” are troublesome. How could this have happened? How did they get there? How did they forget God? The real question is, “Why did God have mercy?” For those who like to say the God of the Old Testament is mean, let’s be honest, if everyone were only evil all the time, wouldn’t you have a problem with that? Wouldn’t you want to change that? Instead, God made a way to establish a promise with Noah and his family, in order that God’s Creation wouldn’t be completely annihilated. God turned to good what people meant for evil.
"God did not reveal his Holy Scriptures so that they might externally on paper remain a dead letter, but that they might become living in us in spirit and faith and that a completely new man might arise. If this does not occur, the scriptures are of no use to us."