Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Puzzle to be Mastered?

The following came through my e-mail box this week ... and I'll admit it made me more than a little miffed.  I'll explain that in a moment, but first the quote:

“All of our doctrines ultimately come from Genesis. A denial of Genesis is an issue of authority: taking man’s word and undermining the very Word of God. If you accept millions of years of history, then you are saying that there was death before sin—clearly contradicting God’s Word, when the Bible states that the creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Now if Genesis is myth, then the gospel is also myth, as the first time the gospel is preached is in Genesis 3:15. Not only that, but the foundation of the gospel is in Genesis, where we read about the origin of sin, death, and our need for a Savior.  If we are not all descendants of Adam, then where did we come from, and what does it mean that Jesus is the “last Adam”? Also, it is clearly taught in 1 Corinthians 11 that woman was made from man—just as Genesis 2 details. (Also Jesus refers to man and woman being “one flesh” in Matthew 19.)Jesus and the Bible writers quoted the account of Noah in the New Testament. So if Genesis is myth, then Jesus is a liar and passages like Hebrews 11 can’t be trusted.”  -  Ken Ham

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about wanting more wonder and less dogma.  Since that time I've re-listened to an entire series of messages from Flood Church laying out points of error accepted for so long in so many Christian writings and teachings.  One of the messages talked about the Bible not being a manual for life or containing all the answers.  He talked about the "gas balloon theory" where you try to self-prove things that really don't fit.  I was reminded about my journey and how I've broken free (mostly) of the need to figure things all out, especially where God is concerned.  And then the quote above wanders by.

For the record, I believe the Bible is God's Word - I've said that many times.  It's a representation to us of the redemption story God is telling.  It's living and it speaks to us as the Spirit moves.  It was breathed out by God to men and, in that original action, was completely inspired.  It retains that quality today, not because of translations and research, but because God still speaks through it in very tangible ways.

Also for the record, I don't believe Genesis has to be taken in a dogmatic way where dates and actions are concerned.  Oh, I still believe in an intelligent design and an Almighty Designer at the heart of it.  But as God described it to Moses, I don't think he had to dictate it in a history book fashion to make it real.  Yes, I believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but that's really not the point.  And I think Ken Ham (and others) spend their energy trying to figure out "the code" and fit things into neat little puzzles.  I'm willing to skip that and still trust the integrity of the God who is telling the story.

Friends, the Gospel started far earlier than what we read in Genesis as the beginning of humanity and time.  It existed eternally within the Godhead because he has always had the desire to create, grant free will and then redeem his creation when it exercised that free will to it's own demise.  My doctrines don't come from Genesis - they come from the Living Word.  They are rooted in an act of selfless love that was initiated before anything resembling time existed.

The God I know - and by extension the Bible he provides - is not a puzzle to be worked.  There aren't some secret series of clues we're supposed to thread together so we figure it out and gain some special knowledge.  In fact, that very concept smacks of cultishness.  It emphasized dogma - most of which is man made - over the mystery.  

So while Genesis isn't myth the way the classic Greek tales are, it most certainly is mythical.  The Crooked Path is one to be traveled, not straightened.

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