Thinking Through the Fog


There is something in the human heart that wants to explore beyond the known boundaries, and those boundaries aren't always material. Space exploration took a bit of a nosedive a few years ago, but has been reignited due to the curiosity of many. There are so many questions people want to know about the outer limits of space, the planets in our solar system, and if mankind can one day travel there. History is much the same way. We look back to determine how we arrived where we are located in the current scheme of things, and the further back we go, the fog gets thicker and thicker. Speculations abound, and a veracious hunger for truth drives us to research until we are weary from much study (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Even our speculation about the future is clouded. First century Jews thought that Christ would come as a conquering king to destroy the Roman Empire and set up the final eschaton. Very few saw Jesus Christ for who he was. However, of the 500 witnesses who saw him after his resurrection, it was enough to turn the world upside down with the help of God himself.

It's an unsettling thing to not fully know the past or the future, or what is out there in the cosmos. However, God gives us enough to know what we should, and of course teases us with facts and thoughts about the past and the future. While I believe that it is healthy to discuss some of these things that are unknown, they shouldn't be a source of presumption or controversy. Christians give weight to the Bible above outside sources, or at least they should. It is helpful to consult outside commentaries, histories, and homilies. But there is one things we shouldn't do is invert the authority of outside sources to govern the clear and wonderful teaching of Scripture. 

Americans have a Constitution that protects and informs us of the God given freedoms all men should enjoy. However, like most countries, this foundation has largely been ignored by nefarious and well meaning zealots driven by vain ambition. Very much the same way, there are pastors, scholars, and laymen who drive beyond the limits of nature and scripture to either make a name for themselves, to protect a tradition, or to topple a tradition. It is good to promote sound facts and the truth they communicate; and, it is neither good or bad to hold to or reject a tradition. How we handle traditions depends upon truth. Some traditions are true, and some are false. While it is true that Jesus Christ will return in glory, set up his kingdom on earth, destroy death and the powers that promote it, the how is more speculative. It is the same way with creation. I have no problem trusting in the overwhelming evidence for God in the created order, nor the revelation of this truth in the Bible. However, the how is more mysterious. It is true that the ancient Israelites and other cultures of the world saw the earth and cosmos very different than we do today. The language in the Bible gives credence to this. However, it doesn't mean that their presuppositions about God were wrong. Whether or not I believe the earth is flat or round is irrelevant to the fact that I know it is wrong to murder or steal from my neighbor. We also need to carefully examine the statements of Scripture and not press them beyond their most natural meaning. Ancient cultures used dramatic imagery to illustrate things that we might explain differently as modern Americans. 

I have been listening to various podcasts from Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and everything in between. I have also read a copious amount of blogs, articles, and books concerning topics of origin, futurism, history, text criticism, and space exploration. I heard a guy say once: "eat the meat and spit out the bones." I think this is good advice, but sometime discerning what is a bone, and what is meat can be difficult. Many zealots claim to know more than they really do, and liberals don't claim to know anything. My encouragement to you is to hold firm to the truth of scripture, and do not press the content beyond its natural boundaries. Much of it is spiritually discerned. Also, do this same thing with history, origin science, and eschatology. Be sure you discern and communicate accurately the difference between fact and mere speculation. We usually don't do a good job of this.


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