Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Creation Stories

Hinduism - Brahma (God) had a dream and from that dream came everything that appears to exist. Brahma has no characteristics, no feelings, no essence. It is indescribably nothing. Everything in the world is actually maya or illusion. It does not really exist. Man will eventually be dissolved back into Brahma and all of the things that make him unique will disappear back into Brahma.

Islam - Allah was in the beginning totally separate from man. He is utterly transcendent and unknowable. The greatest sin in Islam is to claim any similarity with Allah. This is known as shirk. Jesus is revered as a prophet, but to call him the Son of God is blasphemous. There is no idea of a compassionate God to be found within the Koran.

Atheism - There is no god. God is a creation of the strong to hold the weak in their thrall. God is a concept used to control people. Evolution was an invention by atheists to create a world were a creator was not needed. If pushed to its logic conclusions, atheism concludes that man is nothing more than a cosmic accident. Why not termites as Lords of the universe? Man won the cosmic evolutionary lottery. As a result, atheism ultimately devalues human life. Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin and Hitler were men who took atheism to its ultimate conclusions. Man simply happened and will disappear once again. He came from no where and is going no where.

Buddhism - They can be either atheists (miniyana) or theists (mahayana). God is either not definable or doesn't exist.

These are creation stories... The myriad creation accounts all stem from the original, unembellished account of Biblical creation.

Literal Genesis

Why should I trust Genesis 1 as a literal account?

· Counters racism.
· Provides meaning for man’s existence.
· Provides a basis for man’s community.
· Provides an understanding of the way things should be and lays the framework of why I even ask the question, ‘How should things be?’.... People who believe the world is an accident or that everything is an illusion have no real reason to call one thing good or another bad.
· If we discount the creation story as mythical or allegorical, where do we stop? There are no indications in the Genesis story that it is meant to be taken as allegorical or mythical. If I can’t trust the story of creation, why should I trust the story of the resurrection?

God’s creation story in the Bible makes the death, burial and resurrection make sense. Otherwise, there is no need!

God's Wrath

Is God right in killing a generation of Egyptians? How could God kill children? This question often comes up in a similar form concerning the conquest of Palestine and other judgments by God.
  • It is a matter of timing. God could judge them then and there, or He could wait to do it in the next life. God will invariably end the world in the book of Revelation when there are still children upon the earth.
  • The Egyptians were a bloody people. They had slaughtered Israelite children.
  • The Egyptians had enslaved Israel.
  • God had blessed Egypt because of Israel. Joseph stored up grain that fed the nations. During the famine, people sold Pharoah all of their property and their very lives. As a result, Pharoah and Egypt became extraordinarily wealthy. Pharoah owned all of what had once been private property.
  • Notice that God had given them an opportunity to give in to His demands. The Egyptians consistently rejected God's offer. As a result the plagues escalated.
  • The biggest issue would seem to be that Egypt stood between God and the Abrahamic promises. God was going to fulfill what He had promised Abraham.
  • For us today, the Egyptians stood between us and God. They were messing with the advent of the Messiah!
  • What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:22-25).