Biblical truth standing on its spiritual head to get our eternal attention.
  • .: Welcome :. is devoted to the pursuit of truth, whether plain or paradoxical, whether simple or sublime, or simply absurd yet absolute.

    Our Lord came down from life to suffer death; the Bread came down, to hunger; the Way came down, on the way to weariness; the Fount came down, to thirst. —Augustine, Sermon 78
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    "It is refreshing to see the truth unfold from God's word about this most important subject."
  • More Permanent than a Tattoo

    Posted By on November 19, 2018

    More meaningful than carrying a Bible, or a Bible app; more powerful than memorizing scripture; and more permanent than a scripture tattoo – is God’s word written on your heart.

    Genesis 1-2 – Complementary or Contradictory?

    Posted By on November 19, 2018

    A young lady approached me wanting help with the “contradictions” between the two creation accounts in Genesis 1-2. Firstly, these two chapters don’t contradict; they are complementary to each other just as coins have both heads and tails.

    The first coin

    • Genesis 1 is geocentric focusing on the earth.
    • Genesis 2 is androcentric focusing on Adam and Eve and their home in the garden of Eden.

    The second coin

    • Genesis 1 focuses on mankind’s, both male and female, shared spiritual identity – in God’s image.
    • Genesis 2 focuses on mankind’s physical identity – Adam out of dust; Eve out of man.

    The third coin

    • Genesis 1 shows male and female having ontological equality – both in God’s image and therefore, both functionally ruling over the earth.
    • Genesis 2 shows male and female having functional differences – subjection of the female and yet, not inferior, because she is created to be equipped to help the male. Being a helper implied ability, as well as compatibility; but even more importantly, complementary supplement for the express purpose of completing the Divine will for humankind, His greatest creation.

    The fourth coin

    Differences are even found in what God is called. This has made some conclude the chapters had different authors. Once more we must look deeper into intent:

    • Genesis 1 God is Elohim who creates everything which emphasizes God’s power.
    • Genesis 2 has, what is revealed later to Moses, God’s personal name, Yahweh (equivalent to Jehovah). This emphasizes the more personal side of creation; which is shown in how Yahweh individually forms Adam and Eve. This more personal view shows Yahweh to be concerned for Adam’s needs.

    Secondly, all of this shows that if we want to understand a text, especially those that are seemingly contradictory, we must first understand the writer’s purpose. What appears contradictory is, often, beautifully complementary.

    Genesis 1-2 – Comparisons Between Creation Stories

    Posted By on November 19, 2018

    An impertinent college student had the nerve to suggest to his professor that, despite communism and fascism being considered opposite ends of economic systems, they share similarities. That student was subsequently ridiculed in front of all. Why? Many focus myopically on contrasts, and are blind to broader commonalities.
    For example, many stress the differences between the two creation accounts in Genesis 1-2. Subsequently they fail to see the similarities:
    Genesis 1
    [ ] Both male and female receive their beginning from God.
    [ ] Both male and female were made in the image of God.
    Genesis 2
    [ ] God made Adam directly from the earth.
    [ ] God made Eve indirectly from the earth.
    Then there’s Genesis 1:1-2 and 2:7:
    [ ] Creation starts with the Earth (erets) vs Adam’s creation starts with dust (aphar) of the ground (adamah).
    [ ] Creation starts with the hovering of the Spirit or wind of God (ruach) vs Adam’s creation starts with a related concept of the breath of God (neshamah).
    In both there is incompleteness:
    [ ] The earth was formless and empty, that is incomplete, until God made it good.
    [ ] Adam was incomplete too, which was not good.
    In comparing the two accounts and based on the many similarities, we have an answer as to why God made Eve from Adam.
    [ ] Structure – In days 1-3, God provides the materials. Function – In days 3-6, God organizes.
    [ ] Structure – When creating Adam, God provides the material structure. Function – Eve is made from that which existed to provide function: “a helper complementary to Adam.”
    Obviously there are differences due to how the narratives are being relayed. But if we don’t see the similarities then we are missing half the story, and many incredible likenesses. And apparently that former student is still fascinated at finding connecting patterns among disconnected thoughts. There can be a lot of similarities between opposites.

    Genesis 19:24 – Foreshadowing the Trinity

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    The Jewish Bible is filled with foreshadowing of God’s true nature, that of a plural singularity. Most of familiar with the “let us” passages. One lesser known allusion is very strikingly connected to the NT: JPS Tanakh 1917 – Genesis 19:24 – “Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven”. Just as the NT talks about how God created through Jesus (John 1:3; Col.1:16); this passage teaches how Yahweh destroys through Yahweh.

    Acts 2:38 – When A Preacher Can’t Quote Scripture

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    I listened to a famous and respected preacher on Acts 2:38; and he deserves respect. I wanted to learn from him about receiving “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (a requested sermon I will preach Sunday). But today’s thought got interrupted by other things he said.
    1. He said we receive the Holy Spirit by “repenting and identifying with Jesus”. I agree baptism is identifying with Jesus. But he never simply quoted the Holy Spirit through Peter. To him identifying was a public. The eunuch didn’t have to go back to Jerusalem to have a crowd (Acts 8).
    2. Then later he said, “repent, and to show forgiveness had been accomplished, be baptized.” Again, he doesn’t quote Peter.
    3. Further along he said, “We receive the Spirit when we repent, not by water baptism.” Doesn’tthe inspired Peter put both repentance and baptism, before both forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
    Isn’t it sad (and scary), he couldn’t just quote what Peter said? “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” If we can’t quote scripture to get people to believe scripture then maybe we aren’t teaching scripture!

    The Linguistics of Faith Only

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    The debate about “faith only” is often set in theological tones. But should it? Instead, should it be culturally linguistic connected?
    Let’s play around with a couple of words. Are we to have faith? Yes. Are we to be full of faith? Yes again. Are we to be faithful? Absolutely? Is Jesus faithful? Thankfully. Does Jesus then have faith….?
    [ ] When we think of faith as believing without evidence, that is not biblical faith and cannot describe Jesus or us.
    [ ] When we think of faith as just mental ascent, that is not biblical faith and cannot describe Jesus or us.
    Review the life of Jesus in your head. Did He ever ask anyone to have faith without giving them reason to believe? He even showed Thomas His scars and today we rely on the testimony of people like Thomas. Did Jesus ever fail to act on what He believed? Again no, because Jesus had a covenant relationship with His Father signed by His own blood.
    Notice the following: “Cultural assumptions even affect the meaning of individual words. For example, the English word ‘faith’ refers to someone’s personal belief about something. This meaning reflects the rationalistic and individualistic values of Western culture. However, the biblical notion of ‘faith’ reflects relational and collectivistic cultural values. In the Old Testament, an Israelite’s ‘faith’ is a commitment to their covenant obligation to honor Yahweh. Likewise, the New Testament word translated ‘faith’ (Greek: pistis) suggests loyalty and fidelity to a relationship. Biblical faith is not merely ‘belief about God,’ but ‘allegiance to God.’ Western cultural values give the word ‘faith’ a cognitive, individualistic meaning that distracts readers from the relational connotations of the biblical concept” (Psalms, an honor-shame Paraphrase, pp.8-9).
    What does this have to do with the “faith only” controversy? Jesus isn’t asking us to simply accept intellectually the proposition of Who He is. Jesus is inviting us to have a covenantal relationship of trust with Him .
    “In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (CSB’17 Luke 22:20).
    Therefore obeying is not earning salvation; obeying is accepting the terms of covenantal obligations that Jesus is faithful so we show faithfulness.

    Genesis 2-3 – Asymmetry in the Curses

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    An interesting asymmetry in the curses:
    [ ] Adam is warned by God eating of the forbidden fruit would lead to death.
    [ ] Eve believes the serpent that she would not die but become like God.
    [ ] Eve is promised by God a type of immortality or continual life through the bearing of children – Life.
    [ ] Adam is promised exactly what God said the consequence of eating the forbidden fruit would be – Death. 
    This shows that God was harsher to Adam than to Eve. The reason for that is Adam had the greater failure in abdicating his leadership.

    Genesis 2:21-22 – Why Adam’s Rib?

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    This is going to sound like a fable, but I checked it out. Why did God choose to build (meaning of Hebrew) Eve from Adam’s rib?
    Skeptics who deny the Bible, ridicule its stories such as Eve’s origin: “If that were true then why don’t males have one less rib than females?” Let’s do something people often don’t when it comes to religion, and use common sense! If an amputee has a child, is that baby born missing any limbs because of the father?
    But here is another way of answering as to why the rib. Did you know the rib bone is the only human bone that can grow back? From a review of a study done at USC:
    • “When they removed both rib cartilage and its surrounding sheath of tissue — called the perichondrium, the missing sections failed to repair even after nine months. However, when they removed rib cartilage but left its perichondrium, the missing sections entirely repaired within one to two months.”
    This has been called the first surgery, and God even did what doctors do today – put the patient in a deep sleep (i.e. anesthesia).
    If this is the reason God chose Adam’ rib, instead of another bone, it falls in-line with the same reasoning God commanded Israel to wait to perform circumcision on the 8th day because it causes less bleeding. Both presuppose unknown knowledge.
    The Bible is not a scientific book, but isn’t it amazing how often it reveals God’s knowledge before Man possesses such? I don’t know if this is why God chose the rib instead of another bone. After all, God could have caused an entire arm to regrow. But knowing the rib can grow back does dismantle the skeptics’ ignorant argument.

    Scripture Tattoos

    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    More meaningful than carrying a Bible, or a Bible app; more powerful than memorizing scripture; and more permanent than a scripture tattoo – is God’s word written on your heart.


    Posted By on November 17, 2018

    TODAY’S PRAYER – There is no other way to say this than, “righteous people do unrighteous things.” Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7) who did the unthinkable by offering his virgin daughters up for rape to protect strangers “because they have come under the protection of my roof” (Genesis 19:8-9). Either he expected the Sodomites to reject his daughters or else he put his daughters in a position no father should. Why? I suggest Lot felt duty-bound to his culture’s understanding of hospitality. My prayer is, “Dear God of heaven, who is unbound by any culture, may I see how I am unduly bound by my culture so I may never do what should be unthinkable. Amen.”