Monday, December 31, 2007

New Sermon Series for a New Year

I love a new year! I don't know... there's something about the beginning of a new year that gives me hope. Its like a fresh start, a new beginning, a "do over." It's an opportunity to make new resolutions and to put the old year behind me. Don't we all need new beginnings? Don't we all need to start again sometimes? I'm convinced that God wants to lead our church strongly into a new year. He has got plans and opportunities ahead of us that we haven't even dreamed of yet! Where are we going? Where is God leading us?

Starting on Sunday we are going to begin a new study in Genesis, "In the beginning." In order for us to know where God is leading us, we need to know where it all began. So, we're going to be spending some time in the opening chapters of this wonderful, ancient text over the next few weeks. We'll be exploring its pages to find out what it has to say to us, modern-day Christians living in 21st century America. Do you need a new beginning? Would you like a fresh start? Spend some time this week in Genesis 1 and share with the 'blogosphere' your thoughts on this wonderful and exciting book.

And here's a question... What does Genesis 1:1 have to say to a world adrift in a sea of relativism?


Chris Jones said...


I find it amazing the freedom that Christians have in the truth found in Genesis 1:1. For example, a Christian can acknowledge the order and scientific laws displayed in God's creation, but an atheistic materialist could never acknowledge the miracle and the opportunity of the supernatural. Belief in God gives way for creativity, fantasy, and wonder whereas materialism leads to determinism and sadness.
Also, have you ever noticed the parallel in John's gospel to the book of Genesis? John begins his gospel with 'In the beginning'. You also see the parallel that in the Creation story you have the Spirit of God hovering over the waters and in God's New Creation you see the work of the Spirit in John 3:5 and in John 20 when Christ commissions his disciples. You also see the parallels that Pilate declares, 'behold the man' on day six of the Passion narrative and man is created on day six. Also, God rests on day 7 of the Creation account and Jesus rests in the tomb on Day 7 of the Passion narrative. Jesus resurrects from the dead on Day 8 or Day 1 of the New Creation. I always find the parallels in John's gospel and Genesis striking. Keep up good work Jim. God Bless and have a blessed New Year!

Jason Walker said...

as i reflected on your message from Genesis 1, i wanted to address what appears to be a false dichotomy related to the creation account.

it does not necessarily follow that a person must accept the literal, Genesis creation account to believe that God is/was at work in shaping the outcome of the cosmos.

it also does not follow that an evolutionary development of the universe excludes the active presence of God.

one concern i would like to see addressed is the mindset applied to the reading of Genesis. the modern scientific mindset is not appropriate for reading and interpreting a message written by pre-modern Israelites for pre-modern Israelites and Christians. the creation story was used as a teaching tool to explain the relation between God, the cosmos, and humankind. the story was also used among illiterate peoples who could remember and pass down stories. this means it is not necessarily appropriate to read the creation account and demand the same level of "scientifically objective" coverage one would expect from a newspaper or a science textbook. again, this not only about choice of words and the level of detail covered, but a difference of how the message was intented to be digested and contemplated.

it is possible that the Genesis account was never intended to be taken 100% literally, but rather to say that God is in control, he acts with intentional compassion, and he has a well-ordered plan.

so, is there any room in the dialogue for those who believe that the complete Creation event looked like something between the Genesis account and the modern scientific viewpoint?

Jason Walker said...

apologies Jim,

as i re-read my previous comment, it appears that i implied that you created a false dichotomy.

you did not. i was referring to the either/or position that i have heard from others regarding the 6-day creation vs. modern evolutionary/Big Bang science perspectives

Jim Black said...

Jason, good comments. I agree with you for the most part. My approach to Genesis is to simply take it as it is and as it has been handed down to us today. To read it from a scientific, modern or even postmodern viewpoint will be to miss the point. Yet, its so hard for us to read it from a pre-modern, Hebrew viewpoint which is why I emphasized in the lesson something of the historical framework of the Hebrews when Genesis was written down. Sure, the stories were no doubt handed down orally all throughout the time that the people were in bondage in Egypt... but the story was particularly needed as they were freed and about to enter in to the Land of Promise. They needed to be reminded of who they were and where they came from. Genesis tells them just that... and tells us the same thing, by the way. The message... it all started with God. God created and because of that everything makes sense. I'll leave the literal six days vs. figurative six days debate to others. I want to focus on the message and the difference it makes for us today. Thanks for your comments.

Jason Walker said...


the story does provide identity- i personally relate to the words that connect with how God hovered over the chaotic void of waters and created solid, stable land. the Israelites who passed through the Red Sea could most certainly relate, and so could any of us who see how God brings order out of chaotic moments in our thoughts and lives.

it was not my intent to bring debate for its own sake. there is a message for literal vs. scientific discussion in that both viewpoints may need to be altered to find the best thinking-model for using science. our beliefs on how nature was created and functions has repercussions on how well humanity uses science to predict volcanic disaster (plate tetonics, geography) cure disease (genetics, evolutionary biology), and discover alternative energies (quantum mechanics, particle physics). if we start on the wrong foot, our faith may lead to mis-application of practical sciences.

here's to the continuation of practical, healthy dialogue (rather than debate) that leads to blessed outcomes.

Welcome to Jim's blog!

Thanks for visiting my blog... I hope you'll find it helpful, perhaps insightful or at least a little humorous. I hope to do several things through this blog... share pictures, thoughts, and funny stories... but also to converse back and forth about what we are reading in God's Word together. In preparing for Sunday's message each week, I am interested in hearing from you... what do YOU think about Sunday's text? What are your questions? Suggestions? Just click on the COMMENTS section and let's talk. I'll do my best to give you a "heads up" on upcoming lessons and I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance!