Who controls the past, controls the future:
Who controls the present controls the past
George Orwell, 1984

George Orwell, 1984

I am studying the Biblical World, and this literary quote comes from my professor who was discussing how history is written and documented.  We are to protect and accurately work to explain the Bible in such a way that educates, informs, and shares the Gospel message of Jesus Christ with those who would reject it’s accuracy and validity.

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Love is Obedience/Obedience is Love

2 John 1:6  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

I once was asked to preach a sermon at a wedding in the remote mountains of Peru.  It was a great honor to be asked to do that for the 3 couples who had been married earlier that evening.  It was also a great challenge since I was asked to preach in my second language of Spanish.  I preached on love because the topic of love seemed fitting for the ministry that needed to be done in the area.  As the church listened on I explained that love can be shown through obedience to Christ’s commands.  These two things go together so well if you follow Christ’s teachings.  Love and obedience are intertwined.  This is not out of obligation but rather out of a passionate desire to respond to and follow Christ.  I encouraged the young couples to love each other, to love their neighbors, and to love God by following his teachings.  Although the message was for them specifically, it is also for you today.  Listen to what Jesus has to say, and follow it out of love instead of coldhearted obligation.

Lord Jesus, allow us to follow you and in thus show our love for you.  Help us to love others and in that show our love for you as well.  Amen.

Evidence

In our modern day era we don’t take information at face value very easily.  We often need more proof, more evidence, more research(Google/Wikipedia ) ;), or more hard facts before we will buy into some key truth or concept that is foreign to our daily experience.  Christians filled with the Spirit will find the Scriptures illuminated and will see the evidence for Biblical accuracy clearly through solid biblical teaching and a relationship with God.  But what about those unbelievers who struggle with these facts and need an apologetic/archaelogical approach?  Well have no fear! We can do that too! 🙂

If we are to see the Patriarchal Period between 2100 B.C. and 1550 B.C. we must try to find evidence that we can accurately date within those time periods.  Here are a few examples that help us to match up the Genesis accounts between chapters 12-50 and the time period that we assert to be the Patriarchal age.

Beni Hasan tomb painting – This tomb painting dating very close to Abraham’s time frame of moving into Egypt due to geographical drought/famine is a well documented artwork that shows Asiatics caravaning into Egypt with closely detailed depictions of clothing, hair styles, skin colors, animals, weapons, etc.  We can connect Abraham’s lifestyle to this picture, and connect the period to the Egyptian history as well.

Law Code of Hammurapi-  This popular law code made famous by the influential leader Hammurapi(Hammurabi) shares a similar time period within the patriarchal dates, but is more closely connected to the Levitical laws established within the writings of Moses.  It is possible to see, however, that the culture and societies of the region were well structured and developed enough to need this code to establish government in the land.

The Tale of Si-nuhe-  This classic Egyptian tale brings to light a world of information regarding Semitic or Asiatic relations with Egyptian peoples of the 1800 B.C. time frame.  One quote from the text says “No Asiatic makes friends with a Delta-man”(RANE, p.78)  Sinuhe flees Egypt and lives like a semi-nomadic ruler in a foreign land before returning to Egypt to find reconciliation in his homeland.  The story shows us that written narratives could be documented during this time thus strengthening the historicity of the biblical events that are so heavily in dispute in our modern age.

These are only a few of the extra-biblical documents that can help Christians to assert the accuracy and inerrancy of Scripture.  Even with solid arguments and highly valuable documents we must also hold to the truth that if there is no saving faith then no man can truly know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God desires for you to be in relationship with him.  The Bible is the well documented story of how a perfect God can be in connection and a loving relationship with evil men.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to that question.  I would encourage you to look up the three evidences on Google and research them yourself in comparison to a good translation of the Bible(NASB, NIV, KJV) for more information.

beni-hasan2

Creationism/Beginnings Commentary

Below is a post I wrote for a hybrid class I am taking in seminary.  The main topic was Creationism/Beginnings of the universe and life as we know it.  We were also discussing creation evidences from the Old Testament and Ancient Near East secular texts.

 

Instead of rewriting or redefining the same 4 creation theories I would like to make commentary on them and contend for a more literal interpretation of the creation story.
Theistic Evolution:   Combining the two ideas of evolution and theology is a dangerous thing causing us to take into question the Genesis account and the accuracy of Scripture.  You may believe that God exists and created the world and all of life, good, but HOW is also an important question that cannot be excluded.  Evolutionary theory directly contradicts the account of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman.  God created Adam from dust, breathed life into him(gave him a spirit), and then created Eve from Adam’s body sometime later.  That does not match up with this formula of evolution that says humankind came from an organism advancing later on to an ape and then to a man.  In comparison these two theories cannot stand together fully.  

Progressive Creationism:  Adherents to this belief may try to quote 2 Peter 3:8 saying “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  Indeed at first glance it does seem that Peter is trying to say something about time and space in relation to God which is true.  The context, however, has nothing to do with creation or Genesis.  It is saying that God is outside of time and the verse is more like a simile than a literal definition of a “day”.  Do we have all the answers for the timeframes after the first week in Genesis?  No, not 100%, but we do have these words to define the creation in Scripture that we should hold to, God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” Gen. 1:3  I like to believe personally that God is so perfect and powerful that he can and did make all of existence in one true week.   

Instantaneous Creationism:   If you can’t tell from the above writing already then it is true that I do hold more closely to this belief.  This is a stricter belief with a very literal interpretation of creation coming from ex hihilo or “out of nothing”.  When God spoke things came into existence which is similar to when the power of His words made Lazarus come to life as well in the New Testament.  I do not propose to know all things about God, but I do know that there was once nothing, and He was already in existence and had never been out of existence, then the Scripture says that he spoke and then from that point on in an instant He had created something.

Intelligent Design: This theory holds the closest similarities to the Instantaneous Creationism, but can easily lead to an agnostic, polytheistic, or deistic point of view instead of a monotheistic view which we are to uphold as Christians.  I suppose that you could combine theories three and four though by saying that God created all of life both instantly and intelligently.  Those two can coexist, and often times Intelligent Design at least shares a part of the truth of God creating the universe and making it run smoothly.  

 

Also, in comparison between the OT texts and ANE texts I can say that the creation story in Genesis and other accounts of the floods do hold some interesting similarities.  Particularly one should note the dissimilarities in the creation of the gods accounts but also the similarities of the flood accounts.  One can easily see the flawed characters and less transcendent/more humanlike mythology in the Enuma Elish epic.  The evil and highly emotional gods and the creation of man to do their labor and slave work present a flawed theology.  Compare that to the account of a good and holy God creating man in His image to live in paradise, but then mankind turns against God and is punished with the labor.  They are similar, yet they hold differing truths about who we are in relation to God even today. 

Lastly, the flood stories caught my attention with the birds that were released post flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  There were a dove, a swallow, and a raven in this story.  There were a raven and a dove which was sent twice in the Genesis account.  I find that to be strikingly similar, but I only find that the ANE texts are to be taken as a support for evidence in the Genesis stories instead of a literal account in opposition to the biblical stories.