The Image of God – what does it mean?

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, 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 1:26-28, ESV)

What does it mean for mankind to be made “in the image of God”? I’ve heard lots of ideas about this, and probably the one I thought was best was that it relates to dominion. That relied on the principle that if you don’t know what a verse means, look at the verses around it. Dominion is mentioned around the “image” stuff above, so maybe that’s it.

I just listened to a sermon by Paul Blackham here (listen from 37’38), which bowled me over (as is not uncommon from him). In this sermon, he presented his view of what the image of God means. I hadn’t heard it before but I think he might just be on to something. He does a great job, but in case you can’t be bothered to listen, here’s my attempted summary of the position:

Instead of only looking at what’s around the verses for context, there is a clue actually within verse 27:

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Could it be that the creation of them as ‘male and female’ was the way in which they were created in God’s image?

“But God isn’t male and female!”, I hear you cry. Well yes, but there are some remarkable parallels between the creation of Adam and Eve and God’s divine nature, in particular of the Father and the Son. Let’s take a look at Genesis 2:

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-24, ESV)

  • Eve is a human and was made from a human. She is “human from human”, like how the Son is “God from God” (Nicene Creed).
  • Eve was made out of exactly the stuff that Adam was made of, so one might say that Eve was of one substance with Adam, like how the Son is of one substance with the Father (Nicene Creed).
  • Eve came out of Adam, like how the Son is (eternally) begotten of the Father (Nicene Creed).
  • Adam and Eve are equally human, because they are of the same substance, like how the Father and the Son are equally God.
  • Although they are equally human, Adam and Eve have different roles, like how the Father and the Son have different roles.
  • Adam is the head of Eve, like how the Father is the head of the Son (1 Cor 11:3)
  • Eve is the glory of Adam (1 Cor 11:7, Proverbs 12:4), like how the Son is the glory of the Father (John 1:14, 8:54, 17:5, 17:22, 17:24)
  • Adam and Eve are “one flesh”, like the Son and the Father are “one” (John 10:30) (apparently the word for “one” in “one flesh” is the same word that says that God is “one” in the OT – a picture of his triune nature)

Cool eh! What do you reckon? That explanation of God’s “image” certainly seems to have more to say and to be more rooted in biblical truth than the other explanations, which all tend to be a bit woolly, in my view.

The sermon also has some amazing things to say about marriage – check it out! “A husband and wife may reveal the life of the eternal God”.

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Bible (Gangnam) Style

A while ago I wrote a Bible parody of Gangnam Style and I thought I’d post the lyrics on here, as I haven’t done that yet.

First though, a brief summary of what I did. One day, while Gangnam Style was at its peak of general worldwide mentalness, I thought, “hmm, I wonder if anyone’s done a Christian Gangnam Style parody yet”. I looked on YouTube and sadly discovered that all attempts I’d found were pretty lame. I thought I’d found a niche for a rare burst of linguistic creativity, so I got to work.

I wrote the lyrics over just a few days (mostly when I should have been asleep or at random points during the day when something popped into my head). I went for four sections telling the whole of history:

  1. Creation and Fall
  2. Old Testament promises of Jesus and Jesus’ birth
  3. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection
  4. Jesus’ return and the new creation

After writing the lyrics, I set myself the additional challenge of finding a Bible reference for every single line, to make sure it was all legit and to improve my knowledge of key Bible passages.

I then wanted to put it online, and thus Anselm Hart was born.

So without further ado, here are the lyrics (with Bible references in brackets – I challenge you to look them all up!).

Bible Style (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Bible style (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The beginning of history starts with the creation (Genesis 1:1)
God created mankind to grow into a nation (Genesis 1:28)
He made the plants and animals and then made the man Adam (Genesis 1:11,24,26)
And he put him in a garden (Genesis 2:15)

It was awesome there (Genesis 1:31)
God made Eve as Adam’s wife (Genesis 2:22)
It was awesome there (Genesis 1:31)
They had no trouble and no strife (Genesis 1:28)
It was awesome there (Genesis 1:31)
To serve God was their life (Genesis 2:15,18)
It was awesome there (Genesis 1:31)
It was awesome there (Genesis 1:31)

But the serpent made them want to be like God (Genesis 3:5)
Sold them a lie (Genesis 3:4)
Then they ate fruit God had forbidden (Genesis 3:6)
The first sin changed everything (Genesis 3:14-19)
The whole world was cursed and they were going to die (Genesis 3:17-19)

We’re sinners Adam style (Romans 5:12)
Adam style (Romans 5:12)
Sinners Adam style (Romans 5:12)
Adam style (Romans 5:12)

Hey everybody (Romans 5:12)
Death is our penalty (Romans 6:23)

Though the sinners kept sinning, God had made a plan (Genesis 6:5,12:1)
He made a covenant with a man called Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3)
He offered peace to all through the promise of a seed (Genesis 12:3,7)
So that through him we can be freed (Galatians 3:29, Romans 6:22)

He’s the son and heir
Of God’s promise made to Eve (Genesis 3:15, Hebrews 2:14)
and he’s the son and heir
Of God’s promise made to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, John 1:45)
He’s the son and heir
Of God’s promise to Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:20-23)
He’s the son and heir
He’s the son and heir

Of God’s promise made to David (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Luke 1:30-33)
Israel’s king (good with a sling) (2 Samuel 5:3, 1 Samuel 17:49)
They were waiting for a saviour – all of them, yes all of them (Matthew 13:17)
and he came and he was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:4-6)

Baby Jesus style (Luke 2:7)
Jesus style (Luke 1:31)
Baby Jesus style (Luke 2:7)
Jesus style (Luke 1:31)

Hey son of Mary (Luke 1:30-31)
God born as a baby (Matthew 1:20-23)

Jesus lived a perfect life, he never once did sin (1 Peter 2:22)
He healed the lame and cured the sick and many followed him (Matthew 4:24-25)
He preached a message of forgiveness and of love for all (Matthew 6:14,5:44)
But religious leaders couldn’t stand him (Matthew 12:14)

He was crucified (Matthew 27:35)
God himself hung on a cross (John 1:1, Hebrews 1:1-4)
He was crucified (Mark 15:24)
Paid our penalty for us (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24)
He was crucified (Luke 23:33)
Offered a free gift to the lost (Ephesians 2:4-9)
He was crucified (John 19:23)
He was crucified (Acts 2:23)

Though his dead body had been buried (Mark 15:45-46)
he wasn’t done – over death he’d won (1 Corinthians 54-57)
He rose victorious proving to us he’s the one – God’s promised son (John 20:24-31)
And he offers salvation to everyone (Matthew 11:28, Romans 10:13)

Who put their trust in him (John 3:16)
Salvation style (John 3:17)
Salvation style (Romans 1:16)
Salvation style (Acts 4:12)

Hey to my neighbour (Mark 12:31)
Trust in the saviour (Isaiah 12:2)

Jesus will return and in glory will be seen (Matthew 25:31)
We’ll all be raised and he will judge all evil there has been (Revelation 20:11-15)
But those who put their trust in him have had their slate wiped clean (John 3:16, Colossians 2:13-14)
And will join his new creation (Matthew 25:34)

It’s gonna be perfect there (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
All God’s people in his presence (Revelation 21:3)
Gonna be perfect there (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
There’ll be no more death or violence (Revelation 21:4)
Gonna be perfect there (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
All together for God’s glory (Ephesians 1:10,14)
Gonna be perfect there (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
Gonna be perfect there (Revelation 21:1-22:5)

And this new world will last forever (Revelation 22:5)
No way for us to mess it up (Revelation 22:1-3)
So we look forward, and we know that Jesus is king, we’ll reign with him (Revelation 3:21, 2 Timothy 2:12)
And we’ll get new hearts so we no longer sin (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

New creation style (Isaiah 65:17-25)
New creation style (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
New creation style (Isaiah 65:17-25)
New creation style (Revelation 21:1-22:5)

Hey new creation (Revelation 21:1-22:5)
God’s holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)

There you have it. I hope your view of the history of everything matches that one!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the original video I made for this (up to a non-embarrassing 255 views as of 19 August 2013!). I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not good at singing in this style! If anyone wants to do a better video with these lyrics, please contact me.

Lyrics are © 2013 to me and cannot be used without permission (but please ask if you’re thinking of doing something and you’ll find I’m nice).

The song is a parody of Gangnam Style, which can be seen here and is © YG Entertainment Inc.

A New look at the Old Testament

It’s been a while! Here are some ramblings of thoughts I’ve been having recently.

I once heard a well-educated Christian telling a new Christian that “you won’t understand the Old Testament until you understand the New Testament”. He was saying that the Old Testament has shadows of things and only with the light of the New Testament can we understand these shadows.

I don’t think I agree with this. In fact, if anything, I think a better statement would be “you won’t understand the New Testament until you understand the Old Testament”! I wouldn’t make the point that strongly, but to say that we need the New Testament to understand the Old Testament strikes me as rather odd.

First, for hundreds of years God’s people had the Old Testament but the New Testament hadn’t been written yet. Did these people have no idea what was going on? Did they have no anticipation of what the promised Messiah would be like based on what they had of the Bible? Did God decide for the Bible to be written the wrong way around? Chronologically it makes no sense that God would first give his people something that they wouldn’t be able to understand until hundreds of years later.

Also, the way the New Testament is written shows that a lot of it assumes that the reader understands the Old Testament. The New Testament isn’t usually saying “let me explain those things in the Old Testament that you didn’t understand”. More often it is saying “you know that stuff in the Old Testament that you do understand, well Jesus is the person that it’s about – he’s the one you’ve been expecting”.

In Acts 26:22-23, Paul says

“I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles”.

Paul was simply repeating what the Old Testament said about Jesus.

In Acts 13:26-27, Paul says

“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.”

Those who rejected Jesus were those who didn’t understand the Old Testament. Those who did understand the Old Testament knew who to expect and were able to recognise Jesus as being that person when they saw him.

Some parts of the New Testament explain the significance of Old Testament things and how they tell us about Jesus. However, some parts of the New Testament don’t come with an explanation, and it is expected that the reader will understand the significance already.

For example, Matthew (27:51), Mark (15:38) and Luke (23:45) all report that during Jesus’ crucifixion the curtain of the temple was torn in two. However, none of them explain the significance of this. They must have thought that the readers would already know what the curtain and the temple were about already. They assume Old Testament knowledge and don’t feel the need to explain it.

Therefore, if we read the Old Testament overly cautiously, only doing so through things that the New Testament explicitly confirms, there will be some things we miss because the New Testament authors thought it too obvious to explain!

For another example, let’s look at Matthew 16:5-12:

“When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The number of baskets gathered after the feeding of the five thousand was twelve (14:20) and the number of baskets gathered after the feeding of the four thousand was seven (15:36). Jesus, talking to his Old-Testament believer disciples, couldn’t believe that the disciples hadn’t picked up on the significance of the number of baskets that were left over. He expects them already to know the significance of these numbers without him having to explain it to them. Matthew (or the rest of the New Testament) doesn’t say “ok, so here’s the significance of the numbers seven and twelve so that now you can understand their use in the Old Testament” – instead the knowledge is assumed of the reader.

So how can we get this knowledge today? I find it quite frustrating as most of the good Bible teachers out there are too conservative to go into aspects of Old Testament symbolism that aren’t explicitly stated in the New Testament, even though there are clearly aspects of this that the New Testament authors thought were too obvious to have to explain! On the other hand, if you search on the internet for an explanation of the significance of the numbers seven and twelve in the Bible, you will almost invariably find some crackpot website coming out with all sorts of rubbish. It would be great to see some more conservative Bible scholars stepping out of their comfort zone a bit so we can recapture some of the “obvious” stuff that’s become a little less obvious to folk like us in this day and age.

A new Bible reading plan

After recently coming to the end of reading through the whole Old Testament in my regular Bible readings, I found that a disadvantage with doing that is that you go a long time without reading anything from the New Testament! I decided to look at various Bible reading plans that have been made (including the many on the YouVersion Bible app), but was disappointed to find that most of them seem, shall we say, rather silly.

One common flaw is that many plans involve reading more than one book at a time (for example the widely used M’Cheyne plan). I can’t think of any other situation in life where this would be seen as a good idea. If I gave you four books to read, would you say “ok, I’ll read pages 1-2 of each book, then pages 3-4 of each book, and so on”? That would be absolute madness, yet most Bible reading plans do that! This makes it very difficult to see a book as a whole, so you miss out on being able to determine the author’s overall purpose of the book. As the Bible was written as a series of separate books by different authors, it seems to me to be very important to read it one book at a time. So:

Priority 1: One book at a time.

As I’ve mentioned already, there are some ways in which reading the Bible from cover to cover isn’t ideal, even though it does give you one book at a time, because of the long period of time spent away from the New Testament. It would seem that the only way to fix this is to:

Priority 2: Mix between Old and New Testaments.

Also, given a plan to read the whole Bible, I don’t think the best thing to do is to read all four gospels consecutively and then go the rest of the time not reading them, partly due to the high level of repetition between them. Similarly, reading Chronicles straight after Kings can become a bit of a drag as there is a lot of repetition of events. Reading consecutively books that describe the same events can lead the reader to focus on spotting the differences between the books, rather than on more important matters like what each book is about on its own. So:

Priority 3: Separate books that cover the same events.

The traditional order of the Old Testament books isn’t chronological, especially in the later parts, which results in quite a lot of hopping around in time. I think that with the Old Testament, there is a benefit to a chronological reading, given the developments over the centuries in how God interacted with his people in preparing them for the coming Messiah. Some Bible reading plans I think take this too far, with constant hopping around between books to read accounts of the same event from different books, so I wouldn’t want this to be higher up the priority list. This means that perfect chronology won’t be possible, as many books cover a timespan that overlaps with other books, and some books cannot be precisely dated. There therefore isn’t a single correct chronological arrangement of the Old Testament books, but I’ve had a go at making one, also taking into account Priority 3 to do a bit of separating. (The idea is that, in the event of a conflict between two priorities, the earlier priority should win.) So:

Priority 4: Chronological Old Testament

Regarding the New Testament, I don’t see as much of a benefit to a chronological reading, so have elected instead to choose an order with other benefits. What I did was, after deciding the Old Testament order, I inserted the New Testament books into this framework in what I thought was a beneficial way. I split the Old Testament into four parts, and had the first New Testament book in each part being a gospel. For some NT books, I put them near associated NT books (e.g. Acts after Luke). I also tried to put some NT books in places that are theologically linked with nearby OT books. The nerds among you might want to see if you can spot any such clever linking between adjacent books (some of which I’m quite pleased with!). I’ll admit that the last few NT books I put in were just filling in the remaining gaps, so not every NT book has a clever link, but maybe I inadvertently included a profound link without realising it! Another factor I considered was to apply a bit of NT “refuelling” before and/or after some of the more hard-to-read parts of the OT, so these OT books could be read more joyfully in the light of their NT significance.

Nerd section: The book of Psalms is actually five books in one, so I decided to split these into five given the massive length of Psalms as a whole and do a bit of spreading out of the books. 1+2 Samuel, 1+2 Kings, 1+2 Chronicles and Ezra+Nehemiah are, so I’m told, not separate books but were originally single books, so I’ve kept them together as single books.

I think that after Priority 4, there is quite a bit of freedom in how to specifically arrange the books, so my proposal is just one particular way of doing it, and there might be other ways that work even better (challenge!). I’m going to read through this plan myself; do add a comment if you plan to as well or if you have any suggestions for improvements or alternative plans. Do you think the four priorities are good and in the best order?

So here it is, as a picture file, with New Testament books highlighted in yellow:

Bible reading plan picture

Here it is as a text list:

Genesis

Matthew

Exodus

Hebrews

Leviticus

Galatians

Numbers

1 Thessalonians

Deuteronomy

2 Thessalonians

Joshua

Philippians

Job

Colossians

 

Judges

Ruth

Mark

1+2 Samuel

1 Peter

Psalms 1-41

2 Peter

1+2 Kings

1 Timothy

Psalms 42-72

Song of Solomon

2 Timothy

Proverbs

Philemon

Psalms 73-89

Ecclesiastes

Psalms 90-106

Romans

1+2 Chronicles

Titus

Psalms 107-150

 

Jonah

Luke

Amos

Hosea

Acts

Isaiah

Ephesians

Micah

Nahum

Zephaniah

Habakkuk

1 Corinthians

Jeremiah

Lamentations

2 Corinthians

Ezekiel

James

Daniel

Obadiah

 

Haggai

John

Zechariah

1 John

Joel

2 John

Esther

3 John

Ezra+Nehemiah

Jude

Malachi

Revelation

Time to get reading God’s word!

Science Vs the Bible – is there really no conflict?

St Helen’s Church in London (of which I am a big fan) have produced some videos about Science and the Bible. Please take a look at them here.

It’s mostly good stuff, but I think that in their attempt to show that there is no conflict between science and the Bible they have presented a limited view of the Bible’s scope. A number of the videos contain a point along the lines of

“I see no conflict between science and the Bible because they relate to completely different questions. Science deals with “how” (i.e. how things work etc.) but the Bible deals with “why”. Science is limited and can’t address “why” questions, so we need to go to the Bible to answer those. There is therefore no conflict because they address different issues.” [my paraphrase]

I think this position is right about science but wrong about the Bible.

This position is particularly applied to the early chapters of Genesis. We’re told that if you try to use these chapters to ask “how” questions then you’re doing it all wrong, as these chapters are not there to tell us how creation happened.

However, when you read the text of these chapters, you see that the contention that the Bible is about “why”, not “how”, doesn’t stand up. These chapters actually don’t have very much at all to tell us about “why”, but mainly answer other questions, and “how” questions are probably answered more than any other type.

For example, the first verse of chapter 1 says:

“In the beginning [this is a “when”] God [this is a “who”] created the heavens and the earth [this is a “what”].”

Most of the rest of chapter 1 of Genesis doesn’t deal with “why”, but actually deals with “how”. For example:

“God said, ‘let there be light’ – and there was light”.

This tells us the “what” – that God created light, and tells us the “how” – that he created it with his word. Chapter 1 from verse 2 onwards mainly sets out the “how” of the “what” of verse 1. Verse 1 says that God made everything, and the rest of the chapter explains how God made everything. If you look for verses that explain why God made everything, you actually won’t find very much at all. Perhaps the odd hint here or there, but very little is said in this respect. We do find more on this explained later in the Bible (e.g. Ephesians 1), but there is very little scriptural support for the position that the early chapters of the Bible are about “why” questions.

The next few chapters of the Bible after chapter 1 are similar in addressing lots of different questions, not just “why”. For example, the flood narrative explains in detail how the flood happened as well as why it happened.

I get the sense that some Christians, if they had their way, would quite like to rewrite some of the early chapters of the Bible, as they are frustrated with the conflict they see these chapters as having created between the secular worldview of our day and the Christian worldview. They see this as being due to a misreading of these chapters, which they try to explain away by saying they are just about “why” questions. They see these chapters as a stumbling block getting in the way of the important stuff about Jesus, and would rather keep the focus there.

The problem with seeing the Bible as a “why, not how” book is that this view spreads through the whole Bible and actually conflicts with the way Bible talks about the events regarding Jesus, in particular his death and resurrection. In this area there is no conflict between Christians, as there is with how to interpret the early chapters of Genesis. If the Bible is just a “why” book, then it is strange that the gospel writers spend so much time on “how” aspects as well. Of course, we are told the “why” in that Jesus died so that we might be saved from the punishment due for our sins, but we are also told lots of “how” points, such as that Jesus’ death was by crucifixion, that the crucifixion was ordered by Pontius Pilate, after Jesus had meetings with Jewish religious leaders, etc. The “how” parts of this account help to show us that it was a historical event, and the Christian faith depends on this being an historical event. It’s therefore vital that the Bible tells us how it happened, not just why, so we know it was a real historical event.

If we tell an unbelieving scientist that the Bible is a “why” book (in an attempt to remove the stumbling block of the early chapters of Genesis), why should we expect them to put their trust in the “whats” and the “hows” in the Bible regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection?. They would be likely to see the Bible as little more than a book of moral guidance.

If we try to restrict the “why” part of the Bible to just the early chapters of Genesis, they would see an inconsistency and ask, “how do you know this is just a “why” part while other parts of the Bible are more than this? Who gets to decide which parts of the Bible are which?”

Therefore, I think the attempt to separate the Bible and science into two distinct domains (“why” and “how”) actually diminishes the relevance of the Bible and undermines its authority.

I’d say that a better position would be to say that the Bible has something to say on all of life’s big questions (who, what, when, where, how, why…), but only says a finite amount about each. It tells us as much as we need to know to be able to satisfactorily answer these questions and restore our relationship with God. It mainly therefore gives us the big picture of things, leaving out the details. We can then (starting from the Bible) use science and other disciplines to find out more details about things. In doing science, we’re not exploring territory that the Bible doesn’t address at all, but we are finding out details where the Bible gives only a broad outline.

The Bible tells us certain things about the historical context of the time of Jesus, and we can do archaeology to find out more details about what life was like at that time. Similarly, the Bible tells us that there was a flood that covered the whole earth, and we can use science to find out more about the effects of that and why the world now looks how it does.

We know that we are fallible people but that God’s word is perfect, and so when we do science, we should treat God’s word higher than our own ideas and interpretations, and so we should trust God’s word in every area that it touches. If we come up with an idea or interpretation that contradicts what God’s word plainly teaches, we know that the idea is wrong. (This might seem unscientific to some, but actually science can’t operate without biblical assumptions anyway – see here.)

A better response to the “Bible Vs Science” conflict starts with the same point: that science is limited to “how” questions. However, the Bible doesn’t operate in a different domain but actually science only covers one of many domains that the Bible covers. The Bible has a wider scope and is more authoritative because it is God’s word.

The conflict we have today is not between science and the Bible but is between the Bible’s view of history and a view of history devised by fallible humans with a disposition against the existence of a divine creator. That is why the prevailing view in the secular world of science is that life essentially created itself.

Unfortunately there are many Christians who, in the event of such a conflict, are too quick to appease the views of those who don’t believe the Bible, and to try to make the conflict a non-issue so that they can get to the good news of Jesus. However, in many cases this won’t work as in doing this they have already undermined biblical authority, as I’ve explained.

Instead, we should first stand on the authority of God’s word in whatever it says in all domains, including “how” questions. We should then build our science on that, and not be afraid of disagreeing with scientific experts even if they know more than us about their field. God knows more than them (and us) and has given us broad answers to the big “how” questions in his word. So we know with certainty that if a clever scientist proposes something contrary to God’s word, the scientist is wrong. It’s not actually science that is wrong, just the belief of the scientist.

Steve Chalke comes out as a Bible grappler

No stranger to causing controversy in evangelical Christian circles (he of “cosmic child abuse” fame), Steve Chalke (sadly no relation of Charlie Chalk, a childhood hero of mine – see google images) has published this paper: http://www.oasisuk.org/article.aspx?menuId=31887

In it he advocates long-term homosexual relationships as being an ok thing for a Christian to be in. The main point I’d like to make in response involves the word “grapple”. Here are some quotes:

I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously

 

In my view, however, it is the task of all those worldwide who take the Bible’s text seriously and authoritatively to grapple constantly with what it means to recognise our neighbour and to love them as we love ourselves

There are some nice-sounding bits in the paper about his regard for Biblical authority, but the veil is lifted by his use of the word “grapple”. This word basically means to fight or struggle. This is precisely the wrong attitude to have when reading Scripture. He finds some bits of the Bible he doesn’t like, and then fights with them until he can reach a (still biblical, of course!) position that fits with how he thinks things should be.

If we are to understand Scripture properly, we must not grapple with it but must surrender to it and allow it to grapple us without resistance, whether it says what we want it to say or not. If we fight back we will inevitably impose our own ideas into it and stray dangerously from the truth.

Bible Style (Gangnam Style parody)

Video

Christian Gangnam Style parody, telling the Bible’s history and future of everything. If you like it, please subscribe and follow me on twitter @AnselmHart. Why not look up the Bible references for yourself?

I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not good at singing in this style!

If anyone wants to do a better video with these lyrics, please contact me.

Lyrics are © 2013 to me and cannot be used without permission (but please ask if you’re thinking of doing something and I’ll help out). The song is a parody of Gangnam Style, which can be seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0 and is © YG Entertainment Inc.