The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas: C

This is the 3rd in the Series.  This follows The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas: B

C: Covenant & CreationThe theme of the covenant – God wishes to lead all people to a life of communion with Himself. God wishes to bring all people to Himself by making of them a community of worship dedicated to His service, ruled by His law, the depository of His promises.

New Covenant

Jeremiah 31:31-34
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (see also Jer 32:40; Ezekial 34:25 & 37:26)

Matthew 26:27-28
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. {28} “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Through the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus human hearts will be changed and the Holy Spirit of God will be given

New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:16-17
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. {17} Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Galatians 6:14-16

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. {15} For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, buta new creation. {16} And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Romans 8:18-23
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the created universe is waiting with eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Next:  The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas: D

Truth is Truth and Other Myths

One of the amazing things about science is its ability to constantly test its “dogmas” and a willingness to change some of its most “sacredly” held views about life or the universe.   Of course since scientists are human, science has its own resistance to change, even in the face of factual evidence, but because it doesn’t have a closed canon of scripture which it must defend, science does not have a revealed truth, but only a discovered truth.   Since new discoveries are being made continually, “truth” in science is always up for debate.   So we find Kenneth Chang writing in the 1 December 2008 NY TIMES  that A New Picture of the Early Earth has emerged – ideas of held by geologists as “true” a mere 20 years ago are being replaced by new conclusions drawn from new data.

the common thinking until recently was that life could not have emerged on Earth until … about 3.85 billion years ago. …

That is no longer thought to be true.

“We thought we knew something we didn’t,” said T. Mark Harrison, a professor of geochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. In hindsight the evidence was just not there. And new evidence has suggested a new view of the early Earth.

Here we see how science views “truth.”  Truth is something discovered by scientists AND it is an interpretation of those discoveries.  “Truth” is thus testable and mutable. The facts can change, and the interpretation of facts can change as well.  Thus in science it is acceptable to conclude that something that once was thought to be true later be disproved and a new idea of truth emerges.  Thus Dr. Harrison can say with scientific comfort, “we thought we knew something we didn’t.”

Religion has a slightly different view of “truth.”  For the major Western religions, truth is something revealed to us by God, not something we discover by human means.  And truth is embedded in Scripture and the Scriptures are closed – cannot be altered or added to.  What can change though is our understanding of the Scriptures.   For example both Christians and Jews read the Tanakh/Old Testament, but interpret those scriptures in decidedly different ways with Christians accepting that Jesus is the key to unlocking the truth of the scriptures.

Dr. Harrison, as a scientist can readily admit that the new evidence means what scientists taught as truth has been shown to be incorrect.  The new evidence now available  is “‘completely inconsistent with this myth we made up,’ Dr. Harrison said.”

Notice how easily Harrison as a scientist can say that what they taught as truth turns out to be a myth scientists made up.  In science all “truth” is an interpretation of the known evidence; and, for something to be true it must be testable, experimentally provable or disprovable.  For science, Truth is not some sacred revelation which must always be accepted.   Thus if science bothers to look at the book of Genesis as science, it uses its own measure of truth to test any claims of Genesis as science and no “truth” discovered there is ever off limits to further testing or disproof.   If a claim cannot be tested in some fashion, it cannot claim to be “truth.”  Science does not approach the Scripture as “truth” in the same way a believer might.   And to be honest, scientific truth is mostly a threat to “biblical truth” only if one tries to read the Bible literally or as science.   Biblical literalists and Creation scientists are threatened by the word “myth”, scientists are not, and neither are those who recognize the Bible as a source of truth but not as science. 

Science has an innate ability to question its own theories and ideas, and even to declare as myth things it once held to be truth.  Science thus sees the world differently than does religious faith.  Christians understand Scripture to be a sacred revelation – revealing God and the meaning of life, not necessarily offering “truth” as science defines it or dissects it.questioning-genesis3

Believers might find some comfort in scientist admitting their ideas of “truth” change and are changing – science as the invincible truth that will disprove the revealed truths of faith is shown to be far more tenuous than it cares to admit.  Biblical literalists and Creation scientists need also note that the admission that what science taught 20 years ago about the formation of planet earth is myth, does not translate into a support for Creation Science.  For what the scientists have come to realize is that the conditions for life on earth stretch back in time even further than was imagined, giving even more time for the process of evolution to work its way to the present.   . “‘This means the door is open for a long, slow chemical evolution,’ Dr. Mojzsis said. ‘The stage was set for life probably 4.4 billion years ago, but I don’t know if the actors were present.‘”   If what science now believes to be true holds up under scientific scrutiny, the chance of evolution having occurred becomes more credible.  For the believer it only means that we might be given a glimpse into what chemical and biological processes God put into effect to bring life into existence.   The fact is that once God created matter, He fashioned the universe using that matter and limited His Divine Power to work with and within the laws of nature which He created to carry out His Divine Plan.