Investigation has shown that most church goers don’t read the Bible very much. Most just take in what a preacher or a teacher tells them the Bible says.
However, when we read the Bible we can be influenced by what we have seen and heard. When J. B. Phillips developed his translation “Good News For Modern Man” he said he had to look at the texts as Greek texts, not as the New Testament. He also added that it was impossible for him to shake all his preconceived ideas.
There are enough critics who point out what they see as the faults in scripture. Ok. But not if you are uninformed about the structure of scripture. I listened (briefly) to such a critic until he began to talk about “Revelations”.
There is a story in the Talmud about two rabbi’s arguing over a scripture and a Heavenly voice shouts, “Enough! You are both right!” That’s never been comforting to most of us.
Let’s look at two differing scriptural stories that are both right.
Genesis 1 The earth was without form, darkness and water covered it. On day 1 God separated the darkness with light, and the light was called “day” and the darkness “night”.
On day 2 God separated the water and the upper water was called “sky”.
On day 3 the waters were gathered together and dry ground appeared. The ground was called “land” and the waters were called “seas”.
On day 4 God made the sun, moon and stars.
On day 5 God created the sea and water creatures, birds and land creatures. They were to procreate and increase.
On day 6 God created man (human kind ) in his own image, male and female. He told them to increase and multiply and fill the earth, as well as rule over every living thing. The implication is that man and beast were vegetarians. v. 29,30
For some reason there is a traditional chapter break before the seventh day when God finished and rested. (2:1-4a)
Chapter 2:4b starts a second story. In this story God is finished with the earth and the heavens and there is no vegetation because the earth is dry and no one to work the ground. God then makes water gush up from the ground to water the earth for there was no rain yet.
Man (the meaning in Hebrew is (“Adam”) is created from the dust of the earth and God breathed into him life. Then God planted a garden in Eden and it had all kinds of trees that were beautiful. And in the middle of the garden were two special trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The garden is nurtured by a river which ran through it. The garden became the home of the man to tend and care for. He was told every tree was his except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is not banned.
In this story man appears before the animals and birds. Adam gets to look them over and name them, but no suitable helper was found among them. ( 2:20) So God takes a rib from man and makes a woman, Eve (the mother of all living).
The rest of this story tells the continuing experiences of the two of them.
Note some differences. In the second story 2:4b it is one sentence, or thought. God makes it all in one movement. The Lord planted a garden with trees. But in story 1 trees came before man.
Birds and animals are created, but in story 1 they are created before man. Here they are created as companions for the man. Woman comes after animals and man.
Two stories which cannot be read as one, but both are in the Bible. Those in the literal camp say if there is a contradiction the Bible should be thrown in the trash. By the way, that is also the contention of the critics of the Bible. This is bad theological math, that one plus one equals zero. That’s when we use the Bible as a prop to hold up our ideas. Why not see it has two stories (from God) that are there for a reason. Stories that we can learn from.
The Bible is not a single statement of belief. It’s a combination of voices about God. The two creation stories cause the readers to be involved in dialog. It says there can be two equally important ways to understand great truths. To dig in and discuss such differences, such as in 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, and the Gospels, is to understand the Bible rather than just read it. It is in understanding that we honor and apply it.
CONCERNS: Judy Hall remains in a Greensboro Hospital Critical Care Unit. The ventilator and the trac has been removed and she is breathing on her own. However, she has been heavily sedated. They are withdrawing her from that and she will become more and more alert in the days ahead. Deanna McRoy continues cancer treatment. Both Joni and Alan Beach’s parents are having health issues, as does Del Bolin’s mother Teryn Gaynor’s mother is being treated for cancer. Melisha Scruggs’ friend, Jeanie. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Melanie Gentry, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
YOU KNEW, DIDN’T YOU?
Because we often announce that it’s gong to happen, you know that once a month our folks prepare the evening meal at the local Ronald McDonald House. The last time there was no water due to a water break. But they made it happen. Thanks to all who helped.
Also, several of folks pick up the left over bread at Panera Bread and deliver it to the Rescue Mission. By the way, they also need help once in awhile. See Mike Branch, Erma Williams, Susan Jordan, or Leena Bolin who are among those we thank for doing this.
Keep in mind that when it is around freezing we will not heat the annex for the Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study. If you have a question when the temperature is close to freezing, give Keith a call. Sometimes the temperature varies in the area. On those questionable days emails will now be sent.
SOUP FOR SENIORS
You may have noticed in the local paper that a Soup for Seniors drive is starting. In the past it seems the mail carriers picked the soup up. Last year there was so much they needed extra voluntaries. This year it seems it needs to be dropped of at local places, such as all Freedom First Credit Union Banks, and four Vista eye centers locate in Salem, Franklin Rd in Roanoke, as well as Hershberger Rd and Sommerfield Ct.
Remember if you change your email address to let Keith know.