Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Evaluating Truth Claims in Genesis

Some people try to dismiss Genesis as myth containing spiritual truth using elements from the pagan neighbors of the Hebrews. Others say it is misunderstood, as if the Creator of the universe was unable to communicate with us. With closer inspection, we see that Genesis is a historical narrative.

Regarding Genesis 1-3, some people say there was a communication problem between God and us, or that it was myth. A closer look reveals the truth.
Credit: RGBStock / Billy Frank Alexander
The idea that the early chapters of Genesis are mythological should not be accepted by professing Christians, as there are serious problems that result. (One of these is that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others referred to these chapters as literal history, so by denying this, one is calling them liars!) Also, there are repercussions with the gospel message.

Read some classical mythology, then come back to Genesis and see the difference. Myths are vague and have a different flow, but the Bible is precise. Indeed, even the sequence of creation days is specific — a day itself is defined. Interestingly, many translations have in Genesis 1:5 less accurate by using, "...the first day". The New American Standard, Revised Standard Version, Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Version, and several others have this detail correct.

In The Genesis Account, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote:

The days of Genesis 1 have an interesting pattern in the Hebrew, which is not often reflected in English translations. The first day has a cardinal number (i.e. one, two, three …), yôm echad (יום אחד) Day One. The others have ordinal numbers, which are used to refer, for example, to the order of runners finishing a race (second, third, fourth … ). But in Genesis 1:5, the ordinal ‘first day’ (which would be yôm ri’shôn יום ראשון) is not used.

Also, days 2–5 lack an article (ה, ha, ‘the’) while days 6–7 have one on the number but not on the day. So a literal translation of Creation Week would be Day One; a second day; a third day; a fourth day; a fifth day; a day, the sixth; a day, the seventh. One English translation which correctly reflects the presence or absence of the articles is the NASB. For example, for Genesis 1:5, the ESV’s “the first day” doesn’t reflect the Hebrew as well as the NASB’s “one day”. The LXX also reflects the Hebrew article pattern, except for lacking an article on the sixth day.1

I took the liberty of stressing a couple of points that are not emphasized in the article linked below, which is less technical on Hebrew. The main point is that the early chapters of Genesis are written as historical narrative, and God knows how to communicate.
Many Christian scholars have suggested that Genesis 1–3 was never meant to convey historical truth. Instead, they say it is like one of Christ’s New Testament parables. God merely shared a made-up story to convey spiritual truths. Does the Bible give us any clear guidance to know for certain whether Genesis 1–3 is a parable?

After all, as Christians, we believe that there is only one particular way to understand the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, His perfect and personal communication to His people for all time (2 Timothy 3:16). Accordingly, we cannot carelessly read the Scripture any way we want. To rightly understand His Word pleases Him (2 Timothy 2:15), but to twist the Scriptures offends Him and can lead to destruction (2 Peter 3:16). God has placed a premium on grasping what He really said.

To read the rest or listen to the audio by an excellent reader, follow "Genesis—The Original Myth Buster".

1Sarfati, Dr. Jonathan D., The Genesis Account: A theological, historical, and scientific commentary on Genesis 1-11. MOBI edition, Creation Book Publishers, October 2015. The Hebrew may differ slightly from this book, as it would not copy well and I had to obtain it elsewhere on the web.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Misotheists and the Blue Pill

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article has several related sources that refer to the movie The Matrix, which has made its mark on modern culture. It added to discussions about living in a computer simulation, and the red pill/blue pill concepts have been quite interesting.

Some people define reality as atheistic naturalism, then ridicule those of us who believe reality comes from God. They took the blue pill, not us.
The popular "What if I told you...?" line in the "memes" was not used in the move.

In a previous article, I wrote about how narcissists, sociopaths, narcissistic atheopaths, and the like manipulate other people for their own purposes. This is somewhat related because many are attempting to create their own reality. One of my references was the YouTube channel of Matt Cross and "Alpha Male Secrets". While most of his content about how to get the girls and be the most interesting man in the room have no appeal to me (Christians should sanctify Jesus as Lord in their hearts and seek to please him more than anyone else), Matt has some interesting things to consider.

In this video, he discusses the blue pill concept and how people are essentially taking it to escape from reality. This alternative reality is found in movies, superheroes (living vicariously through those who have great powers), video games, and so on: people are not accepting their own lives. It is about escaping reality. Matt also hates pornography and says how it contributes to false perceptions. (Do those videos show real people who actually like each other?) Guys watch the models who are chosen for their appearances, to get views, and sell subscriptions to porn sites — then think that real women are like those portrayed in videos.

Mr. Cross has a problem that I've learned to call truth out of balance. Several things in his video are true, but are too extreme. He dislikes escapism because he would rather be working on ways to improve his life and his business pursuits, or other things that are based in reality. As Christians, we are to seek the kingdom of God and to glorify him. There is nothing wrong with having a bit of escapism to decompress. (F'rinstance, I read, write, and screen material to post, but I read a bit of fiction and watch some television). Like anything else, when escapism becomes dominant in someone's life, it becomes a form of idolatry.

By the way, who cares about the identity of someone walking through the observation deck in the opening credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Professing atheists are usually naturalists (nature is all that exists), and they presuppose that reality itself can only be explained in this way. When presenting material that refutes their worldview and especially evolution, their responses include calling Christians and creationists "reality deniers" and simple denial of scientific facts. Some are so desperate to suppress the truth, they humiliate and refute themselves. Mayhaps it would be helpful to actually read the material before making knee-jerk reactions? For example, see this screenshot (I cut out the image in the middle):

Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes (click for larger)

To jump back to the video by Matt Cross, I've checked profiles on social(ist) media of naturalistic atheists. Many are saturated with anime, superheroes, and other escapism that has nothing to do with reality. And sports. Lots of sports. (Sadly, some professing Christians give such things a priority, then wonder why their spiritual lives are disappointing.) Those of us who believe the Bible know that science, numbers, logic, and everything else are impossible without God. We are not the ones who take the blue pill and deny reality. We affirm it.

The video that inspired this article has a great deal of profanity and some crude content. With that disclaimer, those who want to see it anyway can click here.

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