November 18, 2017

Another Look: Jesus as the New Adam

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Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

      So God created humankind in his image,
      in the image of God he created them;
      male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

• Genesis 1:26-28 (NRSV)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

• Psalm 8:3-8 (NRSV)

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

• Luke 7:18-23 (NRSV)

As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus…

• Hebrews 2:8-9 (NRSV)

• • •

I have come to think that one of the main questions we need to ask when trying to understand the true nature of the gospel message is: What was the vocation that Adam and Eve failed to live up to, but that Jesus fulfilled? 

Also, through the help of teachers like N.T. Wright, whose new book we will begin to talk about this week, I have come realize more fully how the life and ministry of Jesus is important.

In my evangelical life, the focus was almost always on Jesus’ death (plus some on his resurrection). We didn’t spend much time studying the four Gospels, and when we did I usually found teaching about why Jesus traveled around Palestine teaching and healing to be vague and rather insubstantial.

This led, I believe, to an impoverished gospel.

Jesus came as “the last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45). One thing I take this to mean is that Jesus came to fulfill the vocation which Adam failed to fulfill.

Humans were created, Genesis tells us, to live in God’s blessing as his image in the world (his temple), his priestly representatives who were to extend his blessing throughout the world. As we have seen in our study of John Walton’s books and in other posts, God made the world a “good” (ordered) place, a cosmic temple in which he would dwell with humans and give them gifts of life and wisdom to “rule” the world. Because the work of creation was incomplete and chaos (forces of non-order and to some extent, disorder) was also present within creation, God called humans to “subdue” the world as part of their priestly calling.

The Jewish teaching of tikkun olam emphasizes this as well. The Ari taught:

At the beginning of time, God’s presence filled the universe. When God decided to bring the world into being, to make room for creation, He contracted Himself by drawing in His breath, forming a dark mass. Then God said, Let there be light (Gen. 1:3) and ten holy vessels came forth, each filled with primordial light.

God sent forth the ten vessels like a fleet of ships, each carrying its cargo of light. But the vessels—too fragile to contain such powerful Divine light—broke open, scattering the holy sparks everywhere.

Had these vessels arrived intact, the world would have been perfect. Instead, God created people to seek out and gather the hidden sparks, wherever we can find them. Once this task is completed, the broken vessels will be restored and the world will be repaired.

In an intriguing piece at his blog, Ron Rolheiser contemplates how this original vocation of human beings fits with the understanding of biological evolution. He discusses how “the survival of the fittest” is only one part of evolution’s story.

As Rolheiser puts it, nature itself is not “interested” in becoming a one-dimensional place where only the “strong” exist. Everywhere we see evidence of an advantageous complexity that is only possible when the “strong” and the “weak” and everything in between coexist in various kinds of harmonies and partnerships. However, nature by itself shows a “cruelty,” an entropy that also works against such harmonization. It is the task of humans, the most evolved of creatures, says Rolheiser, to assist nature by doing what nature cannot always do for herself: ensure the survival and flourishing of the weak. To use John Walton’s terminology, in partnership with God humans continue the task of bringing order to chaos and of redeeming disorder so that it becomes ordered anew.

When God created human beings at the beginning of time, God charged them with the responsibility of “dominion”, of ruling over nature. What’s contained in that mandate is not an order or permission to dominate over nature and use nature in whatever fashion we desire. The mandate is rather that of “watching over”, of tending the garden, of being wise stewards, and of helping nature do things that, in its unconscious state, it cannot do, namely, protect and nurture the weak….

• “Evolution’s Ultimate Wisdom”

Now think of Jesus:

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. (Matthew 4:23-24, NRSV)

What was Jesus doing here but bringing order to non-order and disorder? Bringing wholeness and shalom in place of chaos? He was fulfilling the vocation God had originally bestowed upon human beings at creation. Here is Jesus, the new Adam, ruling over his world in love, subduing the strong forces that were feeding on the weak and poor and restoring them in God’s blessing.

We also know that Jesus worked miracles in nature, showing power over the forces of chaos and non-order (Matt 8:23-27). We read that he not only healed bodily infirmities but also pronounced forgiveness of sins, redeeming people from the disorder of personal, moral, and spiritual alienation (Matt 9:2-8). In all this, Jesus was doing more than just “showing he was God” (the answer we used to get when we asked why all this was important). Yes, he was presenting himself to Israel as her Messiah, demonstrating that he was Emmanuel, God who had come to be with them to save them from exile. But there was more to that simple explanation than meets the eye.

Jesus was pointing to what God intended human life and life in this creation to be about: shalom— wholeness, peace, dignity, harmony, restored relationships. A world made right. With each healing, exorcism, pronouncement of cleansing, restoration of wholeness, and with each teaching that stimulated hope and imagination and wonder, Jesus brought a few pixels on the screen of this world into focus so that one could see life for what it was meant to be. A few more sparks were gathered. A few more of the weak were protected and nurtured. A few more cells in the body of the universe became healthy again. Non-order became ordered. Disorder was demolished and replaced by an embrace.

One can almost hear the words, “And God saw that it was good,” after each act of tikkun olam Jesus performed.

Jesus was acting as Adam and Eve and all humans were meant to act from the beginning, extending God’s blessing to the chaotic little corners of his community.

Of course, by the time Jesus came, disorder had spread and developed in countless ways so that it became part and parcel of the very fabric of life and creation. “The whole world [was lying] under the power of the evil one” (1John 5:19).

In order to break the absolute dominion of death by which the evil one held us enslaved, Jesus took death upon himself. I like the way one of our commenters put it: “In his complete identification with us in death, the lowest point to which one can go, as God he disarmed death. He had to ‘get into’ death in order to smash it from the inside out.” On the cross Jesus faced the forces of chaos and disorder and absorbed all their dark power. As Alan Lewis said, “God has begun to conquer death not by omnipotent annihilation of the enemy but through submission to its clutches.”

In his triumphant resurrection, then, Jesus became the firstborn of the new creation, representative of a new humanity and a new creation. The evidence of that “newness” in our lives and in our world is often scanty, we must admit. Just as Jesus’ ministry was small and obscure, localized in a way that few appreciated it, even so people today who become new in him by grace through faith begin gathering sparks little by little, finding the lost here and there, comforting that lonely one, protecting the weak who are off the radar, and advocating for those hungering and thirsting for justice, whose voices are rarely heard.

As new “Adams and Eves” in Christ we are called to take up the original vocation God gave to humans. We do this not through spectacular, public triumph, but rather by trusting in God’s wisdom and not our own. We are to exercise “dominion” by laying down our lives as Jesus did, subduing chaos and planting seeds as small as mustard seeds that will one day produce harvests of righteousness because God’s life, love, and blessing are in them.

Comments

  1. Christiane says:

    ” A world made right . . . . . A few more of the weak were protected and nurtured”

    In the Incarnation, Jesus assumes our humanity. In His resurrection, He gives it renewal. All creation awaits this renewal which has already begun in our world, even in the midst of the worst evil and destruction. With the power released at the Resurrection, this ‘shalom’ of Christ’s extends it’s healing to our world far beyond those labels by which we might be tempted to box it in.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wj4ncIEDxw

  2. Awesome ! This fits in nicely with a talk an Orthodox theologian gave at my church on the weekend. (At an Anglican high church – good to see some unity happening ).

    He was talking about Our Lady being a temple of God in the incarnation and explaining wherever she is honoured correctly, she points to Christ. Also that God is glorified through His saints living out their transformed lives. This is part of the cosmic restoration that brings in Gods glory.

    The real interesting thing is that he mentioned that her mission in the inicarnation is the same as ours. As Christ was incarnated through her as a faithful “vessel”, so Christ is to be incarnated through us spiritually. This ties in with vocation of Adam & Eve. Not only were they to help bring order to chaos but they were to begin taking on God’s nature to become like Him.

    Cheers
    Dennis

  3. Excellent!!! I was reminded by your mention of N. T. Wright of one of my favorite quotes. In the first chapter of ‘Jesus and the Victory of God’ (which will no doubt be remembered as one of the two most important ‘Jesus books’ of the 20th century – Albert Schweitzer’s ‘Quest’ being the other), Wright says:

    ‘The reformers had very thorough answers to the question “why did Jesus die?”; they did not have nearly such good answers to the question “why did Jesus live?” Their successors to this day have not often done any better.’

    He goes on to say,

    ‘If the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to die on the cross, as the outworking of an abstracted atonement-theology, it starts to look as though he simply took on the establishment in order to get himself crucified, so that the abstract sacrificial theology could be put into effect. This makes both ministry and death look like sheer contrivances.’

    As you noted, evangelicals (though not exclusively evangelicals) don’t spend much time in the gospels, but focus on the ‘deep theology’ (or so it is believed) of Paul. Thus they have a soterian gospel, an individualistic gospel, an escaptist gospel, in your terms ‘an impoverished gospel’ (you are much kinder than I). Perhaps that’s why one doesn’t seem to find much in those churches that looks very much like Jesus (e.g. the political candidates some Christian leaders endorse and some even proclaim to be ‘God’s chosen man’ with a ‘divine calling’) or hear preaching that sounds much like Paul for that matter!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      ‘If the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to die on the cross, as the outworking of an abstracted atonement-theology, it starts to look as though he simply took on the establishment in order to get himself crucified, so that the abstract sacrificial theology could be put into effect. This makes both ministry and death look like sheer contrivances.’

      Deliberate setup for the Fire Insurance sales push, nothing more.

      As you noted, evangelicals (though not exclusively evangelicals) don’t spend much time in the gospels, but focus on the ‘deep theology’ (or so it is believed) of Paul. Thus they have a soterian gospel, an individualistic gospel, an escaptist gospel, in your terms ‘an impoverished gospel’ (you are much kinder than I).

      A Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.
      Let entropy set in and you get Objectivism with a Christian Coat of paint.

      • Ben Carmack says:

        Okay, but as soon as someone start talking about applying The Gospel or Christianity to our lives, they are accused of “biblicism” or “getting religion into politics.” Why can’t you just live a quiet life and keep that Jesus stuff to yourself?

        There’s an obvious contradiction here in the criticisms of evangelicalism. On the one hand, evangelicalism is wrong because it’s too activist. It needs to chill out and leave everyone alone. On the other hand, evangelicalism is wrong because it’s too quietistic…it’s all about personal salvation abstracted from the real world, not the concerns of the real world. Evangelicalism can’t win no matter what it does. Act to change the world, and you’re a Pharisaical religion pusher. Keep it personal and internal, and you’re a Gnostic Fire Insurance salesman.

        Then again, as someone who likes to think problems through rationally, I recognize I’m in the minority here. I don’t expect anybody to seriously interact with the contradiction because this blog is about emotional venting against a made-up boogeyman: Evil Evil Evangelicals. We’ve moved long past reason and critical thought.

        This from the people who tell us we need a Reasonable Faith open to Science. But you yourselves are a bunch of confused, irrational, bitterly angry logic-phobes with contradictory, self-defeating beliefs. You’re the most unreliable guides for Reasonable Faith imaginable. As Jesus might have said, you’re blind guides.

          • Chap Mike:
            We have been on this track before.
            I really don’t think it is about you. In you I see integrity struggling to figure out faith. I think that is not what Ben’s on about.

        • Ben kinda sums it up…

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > There’s an obvious contradiction here in the criticisms of evangelicalism.
          > On the one hand, evangelicalism is wrong because it’s too activist.

          I don’t believe that it is the criticism of Evangelicalism. Being Activist – as in Active – is not good or bad; it is the nature of the Activism – narrow, combative, and divisive.

          > evangelicalism is wrong because it’s too quietistic

          There is nothing quietistic about modern American Evangelicalism. They are soterian, but I don’t much of anyone would describe them as quietistic.

          > Evangelicalism can’t win no matter what it does.

          False; it can engage [be active] without trying to be a bully.

        • –> “…because this blog is about emotional venting against a made-up boogeyman: Evil Evil Evangelicals. We’ve moved long past reason and critical thought.”

          I can’t change your feeling if that’s how you feel, but I can say that I don’t see it the same way. To me, this blog has always been about “Jesus-shaped spirituality” (with periodic drifts, yes, but ultimately I think it stays true to that theme). The criticisms first of Michael Spencer, then of Chaplain Mike (and other contributors) haven’t been against “Evil Evil Evangelicals,” they’ve been against unhealthy, Jesus-LESS Christianity. Most of the folks who come here have been damaged by bad Churchianity in the past and are sharing experiences and highlighting where congregations (focusing on evangelical, because that’s where they’ve witnessed it) have gone off the rails.

          • Ben Carmack says:

            I did not read this blog in its early days, but I can say that if you’ve been burned by Churchianity, looking for the cure in the American Protestant mainline is worse than the disease. Is there anything that says “Dead Jesus-Less Churchianity” more than aging, shrinking, shriveling congregations that replace the Gospel with various liberal social causes? Seriously???

            Bitterness blinds Chaplain Mike and most of the commenters here from seeing the obvious. Even though it’s been the better part of a decade since he left evangelicalism, he can’t get over how it supposedly wronged him. And he isn’t perceptive enough to see the equally bad and worse problems that surround him in the liberal mainline.

            At some point, you get over your grudges against others and stand FOR rather than AGAINST something. At least that’s how emotionally stable and mature adults handle things…

            • Bustling activity can be just as spiritually dead, if the aim is not to love and serve men and women and share Christ’s mercy with them. And conservative moral causes can be just as much an idol as liberal moral causes.

            • Ben, first I want to say that I’m grateful for your pushback here at IM. I’m not threatened by criticism, indeed I hope it will help me see my blind spots and think and write better.

              However, your paragraph about my “bitterness” crosses a line from debating ideas to judging motives and character. This I don’t appreciate. You have no basis for such personal charges since you don’t know me. Your caricature of my journey and my current mindset is badly drawn, and reflects badly on you, not me.

              This is unfortunate, because you have a point of view that needs to be heard around here. But your credibility is regularly undercut by your suspicious assumptions about me and others, your anger, your overstatements, and the mean spirit which you sometimes display.

            • Dana Ames says:

              Ben,

              The only area in which Evangelicalism actually wronged me was that in certain quarters the logical outcome of thought about women leads to a kind of Arianism, in which women are not quite human the same way Christ is not quite fully God. I was part of that kind of Evangelicalism, where there is a real shadow over women in general, for better than 20 years. Otherwise, I didn’t suffer from any personal malevolence from any “flavor” of them. I know many Evangelicals who are better Christians than I in the ways they truly lay down their lives for others out of love for Jesus.

              My issue in other regards was that in searching in E’ism for answers to some really big questions I had, I came up empty – even as I looked to those reputable scholars of whom you speak. I was left high and dry, and running around in circles. I was thinking about things like, Why did God create humans, anyway? Was it just to “get saved” and then in a wretchedly urgent manner try to herd as many into some other-dimensional place called “heaven” as I could? Don’t scoff – that was impression I was given, even from scholars, though more gently from them. I had no answer to the question of suffering, especially after having had 2 miscarriages and experiencing other sorrowful events of normal life. I wasn’t convinced of God the Father’s love for me; I accepted it as a matter of faith, but always wondered if he had anything else on his mind besides punishment. I began to understand why there were Marcionites, even as I knew I couldn’t go that direction. The caricatures of E’ism were actually a lot of the reality of it for me, **even as I struggled to remain an E’ical**.

              I was attracted to “liberal mainlines” for a while, but didn’t end up there, either. And no, I didn’t revert to the Catholic Church in which I was raised.

              If you want logic with plenty of reference to Scripture, you can do no better than to read N.T. Wright’s “Christian Origins” books. After even just the first one, Paul finally made sense to me. After the second one I wanted to worship Jesus more than I ever before. After the third one, I actually had good news about Jesus and the Father to tell people. I don’t agree with him about everything, but the weird thing was that reading Wright deeply led me to the steps of Eastern Orthodoxy, where I found a theological tradition that is seamless and organic, deeply indebted to 1st century Judaism, saturated in Scripture, completely affirming my humanity as a woman, and incredibly profound – far beyond anything I had known previously. Not only is my mind satisfied, but my heart fairly leaps out of my chest for the beauty: of the vision of God, this life, my purpose, the telos of suffering, who Jesus is and the ramifications of what he has done – all the things that increasingly became a desert for me in the last years of my +30 in E’ism.

              You paint us with too broad a brush. I personally am not bitter – I’m grateful. God has been with me all along, and nothing is wasted in him.

              Dana

        • Ben, my ‘problem’ with evangelicalism is not that it is activist or quietist (though I agree with Adam – it is often activist about the wrong things and certainly isn’t quietist). My problem is that I think evangelicals have poor theology, too narrowly focused on personal salvation, that misses much (if not most) of what Jesus and the early church emphasized. It is a theology based on a modern western hermeneutic (though I recognize it has its roots in the late-Medieval period and the issues that troubled Luther) that has resulted in a faith that the Apostle Paul would probably barely recognize. It is a very Americanized version of the faith, shaped more by the American frontier experience (and in some circles, the American Dream) than the Bible. The problem is not ‘biblicism’ (IMO) as much as it is a lack of biblicism. Its approach to the Bible is simplistic, reading the Bible as though it were written to modern American Christians (ignoring issues of culture and language, and even such basic things as literary context) and an extreme emphasis on ‘perpescuity’ (which, IMO, is a spurious doctrine). It either runs toward a comfortable middle class soccer-mom religion that makes noise about a very narrow set of issues or it runs the other direction and becomes focused on revivalistic evangelism. Either extreme focuses on personal salvation and a ‘personal relationship with God’. If the whole ‘gospel’ is simply about getting people ‘saved’ so they can go to heaven when they die or have sentimental feelings about God as they sing their praise and worship songs, then the New Testament is about 10 times longer than it needs to be. Paul’s letters, by and large, are not concerned with getting people saved but about living out this faith in community, and living as ‘ambassadors’ of God’s kingdom in the midst of the world (to quote N. T. Wright again, living as ‘fully human beings’ in God’s image), living as the ‘new people of God’ (and that is certainly what one finds in the Sermon on the Mount). This sounds a lot more like what CM posted than what one hears in a typical evangelical church on Sunday morning.

          • Ben Carmack says:

            “Its approach to the Bible is simplistic, reading the Bible as though it were written to modern American Christians (ignoring issues of culture and language, and even such basic things as literary context) and an extreme emphasis on ‘perpescuity’ (which, IMO, is a spurious doctrine).”

            Lordy, what a canard! Chaplain Mike has repeated this several times. It’s a slander. There are many capable, serious evangelical scholars at several evangelical seminaries who read the Bible carefully, considering its many genres, in its historical context. This has been true since the Reformation. Wouldn’t ya know? The people who revere the Bible the most are the ones most invested and committed to interpreting and understanding it correctly! To assert otherwise without proof (as you do) is just slander.

            • And what of *before* the Reformation, just for the record?

            • So to follow that logic there is no greater reverer of the Flood than Ken Ham.

            • “There are many capable, serious evangelical scholars at several evangelical seminaries who read the Bible carefully, considering its many genres, in its historical context. This has been true since the Reformation. Wouldn’t ya know? The people who revere the Bible the most are the ones most invested and committed to interpreting and understanding it correctly! To assert otherwise without proof (as you do) is just slander.”

              Actually Ben, I have a degree from one of those seminaries and studied with some of the best evangelical NT scholars (both here and in the UK – I was a Ph.D. candidate [New Testament] at the leading British university in this field). They too lament the fact that once their graduates leave the seminary and go to pastor churches serious study goes out the window in favor of pragmatism, numbers, and not rocking the boat by questioning traditional doctrines or interpretations. There is a serious disconnect between the seminary classroom and the pulpit – it’s the dirty little secret among more academic evangelical seminaries. Some seminaries even take pride in the fact that they train pastors, not scholars (the boast of more than one SBC seminary). And of course all one has to do is attend a Bible study at just about any evangelical church to hear all sorts of foolishness presented as ‘God’s truth from God’s word’ (whether led by the pastor or a lay teacher – anyone with a pulse can teach the Bible in most churches).

              Many of the best evangelical scholars are rethinking traditional theology in light of new understanding of the ancient world, the importance of ancient culture and social structures, advances in linguistics, and so forth. A good example is John Walton’s book ‘The Lost World of Adam and Eve’ (though it is a popular level work it has been endorsed by many notable evangelical scholars). It was at one of those evangelical seminaries that I first learned how those things are challenging traditional evangelical theology – in serious ways. There are many who agree with things such as the ‘New Perspective’ (which is actually quite old by now), question traditional understandings of heaven/hell, penal substitutionary atonement, and the inerrancy of the Bible (just to mention a few), but often do so cautiously – more than one scholar has been asked to find a new home since they questioned the theology of the institution that employed them. And of course, there is often a ‘friendly’ rivalry between the biblical studies department and the systematic theology department. Biblical studies is often much more progressive than the theology department.

              So, yes there are many fine evangelical scholars, many of whom recognize the deficiencies of evangelical theology. But there is a very large gap between evangelical scholarship (even traditional evangelical scholarship) and evangelicalism at large. That gap is due in great part to evangelicalism’s bent toward anti-intellectualism and anti-theologicalism (a critique by many of their own, including Os Guiness and Mark Noll) and it’s emphasis on pragmatism. This probably isn’t ‘proof’ but I could supply names and specific examples if necessary. 🙂

    • –> “As you noted, evangelicals (though not exclusively evangelicals) don’t spend much time in the gospels, but focus on the ‘deep theology’ (or so it is believed) of Paul.”

      This is so true, Greg. In many churches, Paul’s teachings trump Jesus. It feels like entire theologies have been built around Paul’s take on the Good News, rather than the Good News itself. That’s not to discount the epistles, but to see them as they were intended, as purely a way to illuminate Jesus and the Good News.

      In the class I lead on Sunday mornings, I make sure we study the Gospels regularly.

      • Because no one cares how or why Jesus lived. All that matters is that he died.

        His life was OT, and that’s done with, after all.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Tikkun Olam beats Fire Insurance any day.

    Tikkun Olam actually gives you a PURPOSE — a Grand Purpose — instead of just sitting back being Spiritual while waitiing to get beamed up to Fluffy Cloud Heaven. A purpose other than Wretched Urgency selling that Fire Insurance.

    • Well said.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Also, Tikkun Olam is a positive, other-directed motivation, striving for something great.

        Fire Insurance — the Gospel of ONLY Personal Salvation — is by nature a negative motivation (escape Hell) and self-centered.

    • Christiane says:

      Tikkun Olam celebrates the eternal importance of a single act of kindness in this world. This is something that Therese of Lisieux understood as well. In the pursuit of ‘loving-kindness’ like the ‘chesed’ of Our God, there is no act of kindness too small or insignificant that God cannot magnify its effect far beyond our ability to imagine.

      I’m all for the celebration of even a single act of kindness . . . . maybe it is time for some in the fundamentalist/evangelical world to contemplate that cursing the darkness is not as effective as lighting a candle instead. For me, it comes down to this: having come to the Light of Christ, don’t turn back and curse the darkness endlessly . . . . keep moving in the direction of the light, keep your focus on the ‘way of grace’ …. small steps are not to be belittled in that direction, no

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        CHARLIE BROWN: What are you doing, Linus?
        LINUS (with candle): I have heard it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
        cut to
        LUCY: YOU STUPID DARKNESS!

  5. Ben Carmack says:

    Much of the writings of Fr. Rolheiser read like so much pious nonsense. It’s so bad that TBN deserves an apology. Even the worst evangelical schlock peddlers don’t write the sentimental poppycock Rolheiser does.

    Rolheiser offers no serious argument for why a natural world formed through the brutal winnowing process of evolution and natural selection should have room for the weak. He simply asserts it. Magic!

    So God created a brutal world where only the strong survive, but for some reason He wants humans to bring compassion into it? Millions of years after He created it? As a result of two people (Adam and Eve) who didn’t really exist anyway?

    This is serious reflection? No way. It’s the writings of a man whose lost all faith in revelation trying to prop up the lifeless corpse of his faith with mere sentiment. At least TBN hucksters and evangelical schlock peddlers believe in some modicum of Biblical revelation. This joker doesn’t, and it shows.

    • So God created a brutal world where only the strong survive, but for some reason He wants humans to bring compassion into it?

      Well, God did tell Adam and Eve to “fill the earth and subdue it” did He not? Gen 1:28

      Millions of years after He created it?

      The archives here are full of articles and discussions of the chronology of Genesis 1 and 2. The position of most of us here is clear, and we think that we too handle the Word of God rightly.

      As a result of two people (Adam and Eve) who didn’t really exist anyway?

      Here’s there more room for discussion and maneuver. But see below…

      This is serious reflection? No way. It’s the writings of a man whose lost all faith in revelation trying to prop up the lifeless corpse of his faith with mere sentiment.

      From my perspective, trying to take the revelations of nature seriously is neither frivolous or sentiment. The gyrations that YEC defenders have to do to make what we see with our eyes and understand with our minds fit into an overly-literal reading of Genesis seems more like the desperate trying to prop up an endangered faith IMHO.

      At least TBN hucksters and evangelical schlock peddlers believe in some modicum of Biblical revelation. This joker doesn’t, and it shows.

      Even if you can’t take the faith and sincerity of those of us who don’t adhere to YEC interpretations of Scripture seriously, calling us names is going to do nothing to change our minds.

      P.S. God and the Bible pull no punches when it comes to how brutal and (on the surface) God-less this life is. I submit Ecclesiastes as Exhibit A.

      • Ben Carmack says:

        It’s pointless to assert that Jesus is the New Adam, if Adam did not really exist anyway. It’s just pious drivel. That’s why the issue of the historical Adam is important. But if you don’t think it’s important, it’s dishonest to typologically link Jesus and Adam.

        You assert at the beginning that God told Adam and Eve to fill the Earth and subdue it, and to be fruitful and multiply. True enough, and I agree. But if the Earth formed through millions of years of divinely directed evolution, and Adam and Eve did not exist, but were an imaginative fictional representation of a tribe of hominids, pointing to these commands becomes hollow. Why should I believe them? They were directed at fictional people. The events did not really occur. The command may have just been a way for primitive people to understand their world, not longer applicable to me in any direct sense.

        • It’s pointless to assert that Jesus is the New Adam, if Adam did not really exist anyway. It’s just pious drivel

          Is it pointless to refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God if he wasn’t a literal sheep? Just because something isn’t literal doesn’t mean it’s not important.

          But if the Earth formed through millions of years of divinely directed evolution, and Adam and Eve did not exist, but were an imaginative fictional representation of a tribe of hominids, pointing to these commands becomes hollow.

          Is a legacy for one’s kids and grandkids a “hollow” command even if it is decades or more before they receive it? God’s timing is not ours, as any number of verses allow.

          if the Earth formed through millions of years of divinely directed evolution, and Adam and Eve did not exist, but were an imaginative fictional representation of a tribe of hominids, pointing to these commands becomes hollow. Why should I believe them?… The command may have just been a way for primitive people to understand their world, not longer applicable to me in any direct sense.

          IOW, the Bible was written for the Israelite people to understand in *their* time, within *their* culture. Yes, exactly. Why does our Enlightenment/rationalist/literalist view of what is (T)rue have to be the eternal yardstick for measuring all things?

          • Is it pointless to refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God if he wasn’t a literal sheep?

            Can symbolism coexist with literalism? idk. I want to think so.

            The idea entirely is that Jesus is a sacrifice, similar to how sheeps were. Jesus has never, not once, been a literal sheep, even in some holy spirit dream or vision or whatever. These are all symbols and ideas, part of a grand mythology, explaining to them and us what things really are.

            I don’t see why this is so challenging.

            Or threatening.

            • Hypothetical. We know sacrifices were being offered at temples during Jesus’ day. BUT…if they weren’t, and hadn’t for hundreds of years, yet the faith still had those old stories telling about sacrifices and what they did, would Paul and others have still used sheep and sacrifice metaphors to explain what just happened to Jesus and what he did?

              I think they still would have. And would have been just as valid.

              • Christiane says:

                the Passover lamb’s blood was put on the posts of a house and the angel of death ‘passed over’ it and before the Israelites left Egypt, they consumed the flesh of the slain lamb to give them strength for the journey

                when St. John refers to Christ in this way: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’, St. John the Baptist is acknowledging ‘who Christ is’ in a special way that recalls the sacrificial lamb of the Passover

            • –> “Is it pointless to refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God if he wasn’t a literal sheep?”

              –> “Can symbolism coexist with literalism? idk. I want to think so.”

              Just read Hebrews to see how this works. It suggests that Jesus is:

              1) The exact representation of the Father
              2) The high priest
              3) The temple
              4) The sacrifice

              Symbolism mixed with literalism all at once.

            • Dana Ames says:

              Stuart,

              You asked, “Can symbolism coexist with literalism?” Rick answered well.

              In addition, that was the view of all the early Christian interpreters of Scripture, from the NT on. Nobody questioned the “literal” meaning, but the most important thing wasn’t the “literal” meaning. The most important thing was, what was God trying to get across – especially about who Jesus was and what the meaning of his life & death was – by having (whatever) recorded in Scripture. That’s why typology is so prominent among them; typology links what may or may not have happened in the past (not that important if it’s “historical” the way WE understand “historical”) to the historical reality of Jesus’ life and acts, and the meaning of them. The ***meaning*** of those past things is what they were after, not so much “historical proof” of them.

              The Great Divide between what we understand as “symbolic” and “literal” only began about AD 1500 or so, in the wake of the revolution launched by printing press, among other reasons.

              Dana

            • Ben Carmack says:

              Ironically, you’re showing yourself to be ignorant of the various literary voices in Scripture.

              Obviously, Jesus as Lamb of God is a metaphor, grounded in redemptive history–an event that really happened in Israel’s past. Deny the historical event, and the metaphor becomes meaningless.

              Jesus as Adam is a metaphor, grounded in redemptive history–an event that really happened in Israel’s past. Deny the historical event, and the metaphor becomes meaningless.

              Christianity is incarnational, people. That means God is invested in matter! Real stuff happens. When you allegorize everything in the Bible to match a psuedo scientific consensus, you’re turning Christianity into Gnosticism.

              • Ben, you wrote:

                “Christianity is incarnational, people. That means God is invested in matter!”

                This is absolutely true. But the ancient Christian interpreters didn’t go where you go, arguing on that basis for historicity. (They rather argued, among other things, that it was not idolatry to venerate icons. But I digress…)

                Typology is a kind of allegory. The way it works is that the type in Israel’s past (whether or not they occurred as history) doesn’t explain, but is rather is explained BY, the antitype in Jesus and the real historical events connected to his life. It’s not the Passover that explains the Cross; it’s the Cross that explains the real meaning of Passover.

                The Greek Fathers never questioned the historicity of the events of the Old Testament, but they also were not invested in their accuracy the same way some people are today. That was not the most important thing for them. And some of them were among the most educated of their day, including in the sciences of their day. The most important thing for them was the MEANING of those events.

                You have it backwards: The historical events that must not be denied are the ones connected with Jesus in the first century AD. The primacy in Scripture has to be given to the Gospels and what they convey, or else we get the MEANING of everything else wrong. Truth is larger than historicity.

                Dana

                • Ben Carmack says:

                  If truth is larger than historicity, why does Jesus’ Resurrection have to be literal? Your framework is completely arbitrary.

                  “The historical events that must not be denied are the ones connected with Jesus in the first century AD.” Why? Why only these that *must* not be denied?

                  “The primacy in Scripture has to be given to the Gospels and what they convey, or else we get the MEANING of everything else wrong.”

                  Why must the Gospels be given primacy? Do the Gospels say they must be given primacy? Does there have to be primacy? Who defines what this primacy is? Doesn’t St. Paul say “All Scripture…” in I Tim. 3:16? Is Paul wrong? Not primary enough for you, maybe?

                  Jesus said not one jot or tittle of the law would pass away. Was Jesus wrong? Did He not understand His own primacy?

                  • Dana Ames says:

                    Well, actually, my framework is congruent with that of the first several hundred years of Christianity, as I have discovered after spending a good deal of time studying it. There were Christians before the Reformation, yes?

                    Why must the events connected with Jesus not be denied? Because they were witnessed, and faithful people transmitted that witness faithfully. (2Tim 2.1-2) In Jesus’ day, oral transmission was actually preferred over written, because theoretically one could trace back to the original source, and corroborate with contemporaries of that source. In addition, the entrance into history by the Second Person of the Trinity and what he did in history has ramifications for, and is the basis of interpretation of, everything else, Scripture included – not the other way around.

                    Why must the Gospels be given primacy? Because they are all about Jesus, who is the center of everything. Primacy does not dismiss the rest of scripture (and nowhere did I do that); it puts it in perspective. Of course Jesus was not wrong; it’s possible that he wasn’t speaking about what we know as The Complete Bible, because in his day it didn’t yet exist. His Bible was the LXX OT. It would make more sense if he were speaking of the Penteteuch. Of course, the meaning of those books must be interpreted, too.

                    The issue here, as always, is with interpretation. Nobody comes to Scripture, or any other text, without “glasses” through which they interpret it. It seems you and I don’t share the same interpretation of the meaning of some of Scripture. Yes, I want to be aligned with God and what he is doing, through Jesus his Son, the God/Man, living in His Spirit; that’s what I’ve been seeking all my life. I believe that is also what you seek. There are reasons I am convinced about the interpretation of the united Church of the first 6-8 centuries AD. There are reasons you are convinced about the sources of your interpretation. God loves us both, and all.

                    Dana

                    • Ben Carmack says:

                      I never said there weren’t Christians before the Reformation. Try to stay on topic.

                      The Old Testament miracles (such as the Flood) had human witnesses who then recorded it. Skeptics say we can’t trust those witnesses because we’re dealing with ancient peoples with a mythological, pre-scientific worldview. The same criticism can be applied to the authors of the New Testament.

                      Why believe the New Testament but not the Old?

                      You say because of Church Tradition. Of course, Scripture is part of Church Tradition also, so now you’re begging the question of which tradition.

                      Darwin’s Origin of Species came out in 1859. The Church Fathers, whom you seem fond of, lived and worked 1000-1500 years before Darwin. Presumably, they had no reason to question the historicity of Genesis, and presumably they believed Genesis recorded real, historical events. Your appeal to Tradition doesn’t support your argument. If we’re going by Tradition, then that means Genesis 1 should be taken literally.

                      If one can’t recover objective truth from the study of the Scriptures, but there are only differing interpretations, no one of them authoritative, then the same is true of Tradition. If we can’t come to a definitive understanding of Scripture, then we can’t do that for Tradition either. There’s only your interpretation and my interpretation, and who’s to say who’s right or wrong?

                      So, congratulations, you’ve just defeated your own argument. And proved my original contention, which is that your interpretive framework for the Bible is ad hoc and inconsistent and makeshift.

                    • Okay, Ben. It sounds like you’re satisfied with your interpretive framework. I’m not here to win arguments. You asked some questions, and I answered and explained the best I could. I wish you well, and that you find all truth in Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

                      Dana

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              These are all symbols and ideas, part of a grand mythology, explaining to them and us what things really are.
              I don’t see why this is so challenging.
              Or threatening.

              But if “Your Mind is made of Wheels and Metal”?

              • Ben Carmack says:

                Your church teaches that the elements of the Eucharist become the *literal* body and blood of Jesus Christ. Presumably you believe this. After all, your church does teach it.

                Why is this notion of literal transformation into a literal body less absurd than taking, say, Genesis 1 literally? Why balk at one but not the other?

                Leave the Eucharist aside. What about the various Marian apparitions? Or how about Mary’s Assumption into Heaven? Rome says that’s part of Christian Faith. I must believe Mary was assumed into Heaven. Why is it somehow credible and serious to believe that literally, but not Genesis 1?

                Do you believe in wooden literal-ness in the Eucharist because your mind is made of wheels and metal?

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  You sound like a Ken Hamite drawing a one-to-one correspondence between YEC and the Resurrection; both stand together or fall together, Both True or Both False.

                  • Ben Carmack says:

                    So…you pick and which improbable, scientifically impossible things to believe in, on an ad hoc basis, no ryhme or reason whatsoever. Just as I expected.

        • It’s pointless to assert that Jesus is the New Adam, if Adam did not really exist anyway. It’s just pious drivel. That’s why the issue of the historical Adam is important. But if you don’t think it’s important, it’s dishonest to typologically link Jesus and Adam.

          Really? Why is that? Even if Adam is a mythological character or just a storyteller lesson, it’s still a part of the sacred scriptures that God gave us for a reason. Comparing Jesus to Adam is still very important for the sake of the argument Paul was making.

          If we were to compare Jesus to, say, the poor man and the rich man in heaven/hell, that’s just as valid a comparison because of the lessons being learned. It’d be no different if we compared Usain Bolt to Achielle’s and whatever his downfalls would be.

          Not quite understanding your point.

          • Ben Carmack says:

            You’re reducing Christianity to mere lessons, mere thoughts. You’re leaving out matter. You’re leaving out Incarnation. Incarnation means bodies. Bodies mean history. The faith is grounded in a literal historical event. Maybe that’s not mysterious enough for you, but if you’re into mystery religion, Christianity isn’t going to work for you anyway…

        • The command may have just been a way for primitive people to understand their world, not longer applicable to me in any direct sense.

          Of course. And you choose by faith to believe. And part of that belief is the shared mythology, the meta narrative, the story of why we are here and what our purpose is. In this case, we believe that we are to be fruitful and multiply. So, it doesn’t matter if a voice from heaven thundered or an angel appeared and told a single man and a single woman to do these things. The message is still the same. Nothing has changed.

          I don’t understand the disconnect here. Maybe I once felt it, but I no longer understand it.

        • Ben,
          Typology is a literary category which can work completely apart from the historicity of the type being invoked; on the other hand, to make the meaningfulness of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (the antitype) dependent on the historicity of Adam (the type) is theologically unsupportable. Adam as a biblical figure derives meaningfulness from Jesus, not vice versa, at least insofar as Christian theology is concerned. You are putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

    • Ben – Ron Rolheiser is a Catholic priest. There are many views of theology and the Bible besides yours. Some distance upthread, you talked about “evangelical scholars.” I’d like to make a suggestion: Peter Enns’ book on Adam and evolution. (Am blanking on the title, but you can find 7t easily enough, plus link to his site in the IM sidebar.) He is a justly praised scholar who happens to be evangelical, and boy, is he ever *not* YEC.

      • numo,
        Thanks for clarifying that Rolheiser is a priest, now Ben’s comment make sense, not that I agree, but I can follow his train of thought.

        • pilgrim – though i believe the sacramental view of the world and creation plus science is likely as disquieting to some. if not more so.

        • FWIW, Ben did use Rolheiser’s title.

          Also, i have a reply to you on yesterday’s thread that you might find interesting.

  6. I thought our purpose was to spread the Good News of the Gospel, not to count the number of converts, but to help them know and understand God’s love for them.

    Secondly, protecting the weak sounds like an anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia proclamation!

    • –> “I thought our purpose was to spread the Good News of the Gospel, not to count the number of converts, but to help them know and understand God’s love for them.”

      It’s funny, but I became a Christian in part as a “hell avoidance” thing and thought, upon becoming a Christian, that I “must convert people or I’m not being a good Christian,” but as my following of Jesus has progressed (especially the last several years) I’m less interested in “converting” and more interested in “sharing.” And it’s exactly that kind of sharing, of how I see and understand God’s love for ME, that I can now tell others how much I wish they understood God’s love for THEM.

      • Very nice

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It’s funny, but I became a Christian in part as a “hell avoidance” thing and thought, upon becoming a Christian, that I “must convert people or I’m not being a good Christian,”

        Fire Insurance and Wretched Urgency.
        The fruits of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

        (Did you also acquire the idea — don’t know how widespread this was — that your position in Heaven would be determined by “How Many Souls Did YOU Save?” Asked by God Himself at the Great White Throne? Now THAT leads to some really insane levels of Wretched Urgency.)

  7. This was incredibly helpful. It reminds me very much of Terrance Malick’s “Tree of Life.”

    The Gospel compels us to live into the way of grace in the midst of the way of nature.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z28Mi6mUyKo

    • Christiane says:

      ANDREW, thank you for sharing that link

      from the film, the mother speaks:
      “He taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end’

      beautiful!

      This touches on a favorite description of ‘hope’ that only makes ‘sense’ when you stop clinging to the present reality . . . .

      ““Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart;
      it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons
      . . . It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense,
      regardless of how it turns out.”
      (Vaclav Havel)

  8. That Other Jean says:

    The idea of a purpose to life, goes back further than the Jews–at least to Ancient Egypt, where the concept of Maat was universal. The idea of Maat covered a number of concepts–truth, honesty, justice, morality, and the proper balance of the universe. It was the duty of every believer to uphold Maat, by doing right and opposing wrong, keeping order in their lives and in the world, and fighting disorder–indeed, to enter a permanent afterlife, each person would have to declare before the gods that he/she had followed the 42 Precepts of Maat, also known as the Negative Confessions, because they began “I have not. . .” been angry without just cause; debauched the wife of any man; killed men or women. They are rather like an expanded version of the Ten Commandments. Of course, ancient Egyptians were no better at keepietterng them than modern Christians are at keeping the Ten Commandments, so there were magic spells to cover up any lapses that may have happened during life. Lapses or not, though, keeping the world in balance by working against wrong and disorder seems to me to be a better way to live than selling Fire Insurance while waiting for Jesus to come back and remove you from a corrupt world.

  9. A very powerful message. I felt the power of it as I read it and now as I type this it comes to mind that the message is about powerlessness. It’s always the way of the cross.

  10. We’re at a disadvantage 2000 years removed from all this. I don’t know if Jesus is so much the new Adam, as Paul used Adam to better describe or help people understand who Jesus was. Jesus was a mystery for a very, very long time after his death/resurrection. He still is. No one single comparison is enough to understand him.

    • Christiane says:

      an old saying in my Church:
      ” the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New”

  11. Burro [Mule] says:

    Have a comment stuck in evaluation, probably because I linked to the Archdruid. Can you see if you can shake it loose? I’d be interested to see what especially Ben has to say.

    I posted it at 7 am. You all must really hate the Archdruid.

  12. Burro [Mule] says:

    As best as I can recreate the original post, which appears to have vanished….

    About two weeks ago, the Archdruid posted on his blog about the necessity of dealing with what he called Deep Time, that unimaginably long expanse of time where our Earth was in formation before we got here. The Archdruid made a remark that most of the brands of Christianity were either incapable of, or unwilling to, deal with the geological ages that preceded man’s advent or the equally long period of time still awaiting before the helium death of the Sun.

    In the comment section (which are often better than the posts, and John Greer is pretty good about responding to the responses), Damaris Zehner pointed out to him that is was not necessarily the case that Christianity was incapable of adjusting to geological aeons (as opposed to Buddhism or Hinduism with their yugas. The Archdruid seemed to be pleased that this was the case.

    The whole discussion shook a quote from St Maximus Confessor out of my head;

    He who brought the whole world into existence… willed to be united without change with the nature of men, …and by the union with Him, He would make man God. [Thus] He divided wisely the ages and He appointed a part of them to the work of Him becoming a man, and the other part to the work of making man God.

    So if it took so long a time, for the greatest part of which we were not even around, for matter to become a fit vessel for the Incarnation, why should it surprise us that it shouldn’t take an equally long amount of time, once again, for the greatest part of which we will no longer be around, to complete the Divinization of Matter?

    That being said, I still get a bit uneasy about any Christian appropriation of the Kabbalistic concept of tikkun olam. It has an aroma of post-millenialism, as if we could precipitate the Second Coming by acting like Fred Rogers, donating to the IOCC, and voting Democrat (Christiane, I’m looking at you. I don’t know if you are aware that the White Helmets, and their funders, are extremely controversial).

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The Archdruid made a remark that most of the brands of Christianity were either incapable of, or unwilling to, deal with the geological ages that preceded man’s advent or the equally long period of time still awaiting before the helium death of the Sun.

      Which is a real kicker when you realize that of the three Abrahamic monotheisms, Christianity is best equipped to deal with Deep Space and Deep Time through the Doctrine of the Incarnation. No matter how big the Universe becomes, no matter how Deep Time gets, God remains on a one-to-one human scale when Incarnated.

      The Buddhist and Hindu Sagans and Sagans of years and incarnations always struck me as reciting these HUGE numbers for emphasis and impressiveness. Maybe some mind-stretching.

      • The problrm with much xtianity and Deep Time is that it wilfully ignores everything (biological, geological, etc.) that existed prior to the advent of humans. Evrn if these things (such a plethora of species!) are acknowledged, they are sern as having little importance in the overall scheme of things, compared to humankind and salvation. The thing is, I believe (based on what is revealed of the character of God in Scripture) that all created things matter very much to God himself. I believe that we need to be more aware and intent on the other beings and things with which we share our world, for no other reason (though there are plenty of other reasons) than that God cares about them. Like it or not, we live or die along with the rest of the creatures on this planet, most of thrm living lives with close to zero interaction with human beings. We do tend to see ourselves as the center of all things. I have a real problem with that, on multiple levels (including the issue of climate change, serious environmental problems unrelated to climate change, and more).

        But that’s a whole other topic…

        • I understand the problems with anthropocentrism, with putting or seeing ourselves as the center of things. At the same time, I have difficulty seeing how a species like our own very social one, dependent as each one of us is on other human beings from infancy through an extended childhood for survival and thriving, can do anything but behave as if it’s the center of things. I mean, yes, we can make adjustments based on “enlightened” self-interest, recognizing our dependence as a species on the health and balance of the biosphere; but even such adjustments will be calculated on the basis of our own high evaluation of our own worth. It almost seems as if this species self-interest is baked into our genetics, if you see what I’m getting at.

        • In a way, if we could actually transcend our species-ism, if we could really look to the value and welfare of the entire biosphere and change our behavior as a species accordingly, that would actually be evidence for our own uniqueness, no? I mean, what other species does this?

        • I’m not questioning the importance of changing our behavior with regard to our treatment of other species and the environment; but I do wonder if this is possible unless we have the ability to stand outside ourselves as a species, and outside our own narrow and short-term interests, and actually do so, a quality that, insofar as I know, we don’t observe in other species. It doesn’t seem to be a “natural” propensity to do so; perhaps it is a “supernatural” one?

          • Robert, I don’t know how to figure it out, including whether other species can set aside self-interest in this way. Altuism among animals definitely has been observed, but maybe the more relevant question is: how would oyher species view our actions toward others of our own species? We haven’t exactly lived up to the potential you and I and most other folks seem to take gor granted. The news is full of examples every single day.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The problrm with much xtianity and Deep Time is that it wilfully ignores everything (biological, geological, etc.) that existed prior to the advent of humans.

          Don’t you know that everything only existed for a few days before the advent of humans?
          Just ask Ken Ham!

          Evrn if these things (such a plethora of species!) are acknowledged, they are sern as having little importance in the overall scheme of things, compared to humankind and salvation.

          “It’s All Gonna Burn.”

  13. Dana Ames says:

    “We are to exercise “dominion” by laying down our lives as Jesus did…”

    I have come to understand this as the key to everything.

    Fr John Behr’s little book “Becoming Human” has meant a great deal to me in the last few years. I get more out of it every time I hear him talk about its subject matter – there’s a 4-part series on YouTube that begins with the video “Becoming Human”. I highly recommend both the book and the videos.

    Dana