“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 25, NO.20&21 – AN UNCHANGING GOD IN A CHANGING WORLD
From the time I began to pay attention to preachers, teachers and the Bible, I have struggled with the difference between the concept of God in the Old Testament compared to the teaching of Jesus in the New. The God of the Old Testament had no qualms about destroying men, women, children and herds of animals.
I also found it easy for some folks to approach this difference by simply saying that God can do whatever God wants, whenever and to whomever and use whatever means available. There are places in the Old Testament that would seem to support that. But let’s leave God for a moment and approach this from another angle, i.e., the human body.
At some point in time (“In the beginning”) a flesh and blood thing was called “human.” Well, that wasn’t the word, but a distinction was made between this creature and the others. What did the first humans know about what made existence (life) possible? My journey down this road may be a little rocky, but bare with me. They knew without breath there was no life, so it was called “the breath of life.” At some point they realized if the blood ran out due to injury, life was gone. So blood was now added to life. Then, that strange sound in the chest told them when it was silent, life was gone. So now what we call the heart was part of life. How long did this understanding take? We don’t know. What we do know is that the human body did not change in what produced life. It was the same body, but it was being understood better. Each step in understanding produced the next step on which a continuing knowledge was built.
Think about those throughout history who would fall into the “doctor” category. Step by step they learned by observation and trial and error what treatments for pain and sickness would work. Imagine the moment when the actual process of human reproduction was discovered. Centuries of believing the “seed” was all that was needed gave way to a better understanding of reproduction. And, not without those who refused to believe it at the time. Same body, different understanding. At some point the brain was discovered as an important part of life. In recent years the term “brain dead” has become the final determination of life’s end. You may have been taught in school about the great controversy when a doctor said there were germs and the hands needed to be washed before treating the person.
The basic human body did not change, but the understanding of how it functioned did. Where would we be if we still understood the body as it was in ancient times? The history of medicine tells us that those who dared to discard the accepted ways were nearly always seen as wicked and dangerous. Imagine the first time someone cut into a body to perform surgery? Now we have genes, DNA and the genome. As long as human beings exist, the body will not fundamentally change. What changes is our understanding of it.
Is that not also true with God? The book of Job challenges the centuries old belief that bad things do not happen to good people. That was how God was understood. It can be seen in the Old Testament writings as well as in the New. (See Luke 13:1-5) All acts of nature were seen as God.
God’s “voice” was also heard through the ears of how God was understood at the time. Just as the early doctors understood the human body one development at a time, so also those who “heard” the voice God continued to grow in their knowledge of God.
So does that mean the Bible is outdated? No. The foundation of the Bible from the beginning to the end is based on the great and eternal principle of loving God and one’s neighbor as oneself. In Jesus we have the highest standard of moral and ethical teaching and behavior. And, just as the original principle has not changed, the understanding of it has. Therefore Jesus could say, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, (by teachers of God) but I say to you.”
Maybe that’s why Jesus is called “The Great Physician.”
CONCERNS: Rich Crites is still having therapy and is regaining his strength each day: The radiation treatments are almost over. Leena’s brother, Nick Nicklas, is now gaining weight and will resume cancer treatment. Wayne Phlegar is dealing with almost constant pain. Keep the following people in your prayers as they deal with, or are recovering from cancer: Deana McRoy, Jim Hunter, (Jim is having some tough back pain) Philip Pierce’s mother, Connie Crites’ brother, Ruby Stahl, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Joni Beach’s mother, The ten year old boy who had brain cancer, and a school friend of Garrett Lee Williams who has leukemia. Remember as well Helen Nicklas, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Alma Martin, Ron Matney and Melisha, who is still seeking work.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 3-8
Monday: Ezekiel 16:1-22
Tuesday: I Corinthians 14:1-12
Wednesday: Philippians 3:2-21
Thursday: Luke 9:46-50
Friday: Luke 6:17-26
Saturday: Psalm 124:1-8
OUR DAILY BREAD: JUNE 10-15
Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-10
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18
WATCH FOR IT!
After several unforseen delays we are now ready to have the new sound system installed. The new speakers will be almost invisible. For that to happen we will need to have the size of the speakers so we can prepare the place for the installation. As soon as that is done you will see things happen.
For those of you who knitted the scarves for the school children in the more needy areas of Roanoke, there is yarn on the pew in the nursery. Starting to knit them now will make them ready for delivery when the cold weather arrives. If you need any information, see Judy Hall.
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE
Wednesday, June 5, the teen-agers will be assisting in preparing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House.
For those interested in summer Bible camp there’s information on the downstairs bulletin board concerning High Rock Bible Camp. Or you can check it out on highrockbiblecamp.org.
AN ONLINE DIRECTORY
Since so many of you have cell phones that also have internet connections, we are moving toward having the church directory on our web page. It will be password protected so only members can access it.
THE PARKING LOT
As you can tell, the work the city has been doing on the sewer system is almost done. The parking lot will soon be back to normal. However, you may also notice the tree nearest the entrance is now almost completely dead. Be aware of that when you park. We are hoping the city will remove it as they did the one farther down the street.
A work day on the Saturday before Super Sunday would be a good time to deal with the foliage and vines taking over the bank behind the annex. The crew that cleaned it off last year did such a good job we don’t want to lose what was done.
That date is not set in stone, as they say, so we will check and see if that is not a good time due to vacations and other things that start after school is out.