Which history?

October 3, 2014

hbirdDavid P. Barash believes that the different views of creationism and evolutionism are irreconcilable. He is correct; however he is backing the wrong horse. These two world views have very different views of history. Creationism is founded on the view of history revealed in the bible, and evidenced by scientific study of biology and geology. Evolutionism is founded on an a commitment to atheism with evidence drawn from biology and geology in support. I place Professor Barash’s comments indented below, with my notes following.

It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution

The evolution Barash is talking about is how the biological machinery we can see today came about. This is his view of history, or his creation myth.

Many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science

Thank God many Americans are not so foolish as Professor Barash.

Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy

Not really. Cells, behavior, molecules, mass and energy are well within the reach of scientists to observe today. Molecules to men evolution is a speculative theory of HISTORY, that cannot be observed today.

Everything that we know about biology and geology proclaims that the Earth was not made in a day

Barash is waxing lyrical from the pulpit here. There is no presentation of evidence, just bold rhetoric. Strangely the secular creation myth would have us believe that nothing created everything instantly in the big bang. Actual history from the creator states that everything was created by God over a six day period.

Evolutionary science … has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God

  1. Argument from complexity,  we have come to understand that an entirely natural and undirected process, namely random variation plus natural selection, contains all that is needed to generate extraordinary levels of non-randomness.

  2. Illusion of centrality,  we are perfectly good animals, natural as can be and indistinguishable from the rest of the living world at the level of structure as well as physiological mechanism.

  3. The problem of pain, just a smidgen of biological insight makes it clear that, although the natural world can be marvelous, it is also filled with ethical horrors: predation, parasitism, fratricide, infanticide, disease, pain, old age and death — and that suffering (like joy) is built into the nature of things.

The pillars of belief in a creator remain potent.

  1. Argument from complexity, see biochemist Michael Behe’s book “Darwin’s black box” for one revelation of the biological complexity that is unattainable to evolutionary processes.
  2. Reality of centrality, the creator states: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground”. Centrality is not an illusion. The primary place of man evident by his rule over the ecosystem today is reality.
  3. The problem of pain, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.

There are none so blind as those who will not see. Barash states that the natural world is “marvelous” and “wonderfully complex” but he cannot see that this itself is a clarion call of our benevolent, controlling creator. Wake up David P. Barash.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A modern parable

June 16, 2014

“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”

– Jesus the Son of God

A King went away on a long journey leaving his three servants in charge of his country. Many years passed, and a message with the King’s seal came to his three servants. The message was read in their presence. “Prepare for my return on the third day”.

The first servant hated the King. He had been enjoying life without reference to the King’s wishes. Further he had received many reports that the King had been killed in battle years ago. The first servant laughed. “The King will not return! The King is dead! He has been proclaimed dead in this very court! This message is not from the King.”

The second servant loved the King and had never accepted the report of the King’s death. The reports readily accepted by the first servant had come from the King’s enemies. The second servant examined the message and verified the King’s seal upon it. “This message is from the King! The King returns!” he exclaimed. “We must ready ourselves!” The first servant looked with disdain on the second servant. “You fool! Your King is dead!”

Then the third servant stood and took up the message. The third servant loved some of the King’s laws, but had accepted the many reports of the King’s death. “Wait friends” he called. He stared intently at the message for some time. Finally he spoke: “This message is undoubtedly from the King, as it has his seal”. The first servant began to rise angrily from his throne. “However, this message does not herald the return of our King!” The second servant began to rise as the first servant subsided. “Hold brothers!” said the third servant. “The King is dead as most of us are aware, so this message must mean something else. I propose we hand this message to our finest scholars to determine its true meaning.”

“The King is dead” said the first servant, “but do as you wish.” The second servant said “It is the King’s seal, I at least will prepare for him”. The third servant retorted “Why? You fool!” “It cannot mean what you believe. The King is dead”.

Complaint to the NZ Human Rights Commission

November 7, 2013

Let’s see what the Human Rights Commission make of this. It occurred to me today that the nullification of one’s democratic vote is actually quite a serious thing.

I am complaining because I believe I have been discriminated against because of my:

Political opinion

What happened?

I cast my party vote legally and intentionally for the Conservative Party of New Zealand at the 2011 general election. The NZ electoral system, specifically the “threshold” rule took away my vote along with 59,237 other votes for the Conservative party. My opinion, collectively with other Conservative voters, should have entitled me to 3 representatives in the 120 member New Zealand Parliament. New Zealand Government legislation denied me this representation of my political opinion.

How has this affected you?

My political opinion has no expression in the New Zealand democratic parliament.

What kind of solution would you like?

Lowering of the electoral threshold to allow representation of opinions that would see 1 list seat in the 120 seat parliament, or 0.83% of votes cast.

Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire

October 21, 2013

At his recent “Strange Fire” conference John MacArthur closed with 8 statements for theological conservatives who do not believe that spiritual gifts ceased in the 1st century. As one of these pentecostal theological conservatives, I reply below.

Continuationists give legitimacy to the contemporary charismatic movement.

Indeed, the existence of theologically conservative Christians who hold to the continuation of spiritual gifts does point to the legitimacy of that view.

Continuationists degrade the miraculous nature of true gifts given by God to the 1st Century Church.

Hardly. A small modern miracle is still a miracle. It is nowhere written that God is currently limited to demonstrations of his power that are pre-recorded for us in the Bible.

Continuationists severely limit how people can be responsive to charismatic confusion.

This is partly true, but not all that is charismatic is confusion.  It would seem that MacArthur wants a blanket ban on charismatic expression. The question is, has God really stopped pouring out the gifts of the spirit?

Continuationists who insist that God gives special revelation today gives way to people being led by confusion and error.

The chief answer to this is that continuationists are channelled by past revelation of the God who does not change. Any word for today will not contradict God’s word in history. Refusing to accept a direct word from God today (prophecy) sounds very much like that person is dull of hearing.

Continuationists tacitly deny the reformed tenet of Sola Scriptura.

MacArthur is correct here. Put another way, continuationists expect God to speak in other ways than through the pages of the scripture. However, the wise Christian realizes that while every word of God is truth, not every word of man is the word of God. The bible is an arbiter of truth because it is the approved word of God, but God may speak in any way he chooses.

By all means the Christian must “test all things, clinging to the good, avoiding every kind of evil”. This is not achieved by putting a blanket ban on something that God does not.

Continuationists open the door to speaking in tongues which is the mindless ecstacy of the charismatic expression.

Tongues in the Bible were not just languages. “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

Continuationists assert the gift of healing and in turn affirm the fraudulent ministry of healers.

Is God unable to heal today? “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Continuationists distract from the Holy Spirit’s true ministry by enticing people to buy into a false ministry.

The spirit gives gifts to all:

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

The Lord gives ministries as he wills:

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Marriage

March 25, 2013

What is marriage? That seems to be the question of the day. My particular view is informed by my understanding of the Bible’s revelation. This is not an experimentally or statistically or democratically derived view; I would call it a historically informed Christian view. Marriage is: a creation of God, a picture of God himself, a means of multiplying children for God, and a prophecy of humanity’s final destiny.

Marriage began at the very start of creation, if not as the first work of God, it certainly was his crowning achievement. The first marriage came about in the creation of man, which happened in this way. On the sixth day of creation, God created a man named Adam from the dust of the earth. But although Adam was able to enjoy the rest of God’s creation, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone. So God took one of Adam’s ribs, and formed from it a woman, to be Adam’s helper. God brought Adam and the woman together, and Adam named her “woman”, because she was formed from his own flesh. From this we see that God’s answer to a lack of relationship for Adam was not the creation of another being the same as him, from the same dust, but a different being, yet from his own flesh. So, in the first marriage we have a coming together which is a kind of reunion where that which was removed from Adam is rejoined to him.

Man was created in the image of God. Moses tells us: “In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them”. Paul adds “Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man”. Although it is true to say that it is Adam who pre-eminently bears that image, Eve both shares and completes that image. Firstly, woman was created from Adam’s flesh, and secondly in marriage Adam and Eve are joined together and become one flesh again. So the image of God in humanity is complete when man and woman are joined together in the relationship of marriage.

Adam also named his wife “Eve”, which means “the mother of the living”. Marriage is not a loose joining together of two equivalent partners, as in a friendship or contractual arrangement between peers. Instead, the marriage joins back together two different beings who share the same flesh for a God-given purpose that individually neither can achieve. For although God had a particular purpose in Eve for Adam, to meet his immediate need for relationship, he had a further purpose: to multiply the image of God through Eve’s children. So marriage is beautiful in that it knits two awesome creatures of God together in a unity which is a picture of God himself, and also in that it multiplies that image in sons and daughters.

Marriage has a further purpose in God’s design however. God’s creation is a picture of the whole scope of time from the beginning to its end. To summarize that picture, God works for a time building the world, and at the end we have a culmination where Adam and Eve are joined together in marriage to rule the world under God. This is the completed creation which is supremely beautiful and good. But we do not see this completed creation today, or in the previous thousands of years of history, as we are all painfully aware. However, God’s plans may seem slow, but they are never frustrated. The beautiful marriage at the end of creation is still coming! For the marriage of Adam the son of God to a woman created by God for him, is a pre-figure of the marriage of Jesus the Son of God, to his church at his second coming. Even to this day, Jesus waits while God prepares for him a beautiful bride, in the Christian church. This church is not made of stone, but it is a living church made up of all those, men and women, who accept the image of the son of God in their lives, who can call the Son of God their Lord.

I think the primary thing to take from the reality of what marriage is, is that it is God’s. He created it. He has a plan for it both in the microcosm of one man and one woman and in the macro of his only son Jesus and his bride. In whatever way we relate to marriage we must remember whose it is. As the Bible warns: “Let the marriage bed be held in honour by all, but the sexually immoral and adulterers God will judge”.

Item on 3 News, Christchurch’s Forgotten Residents

July 25, 2012

http://www.3news.co.nz/Christchurchs-forgotten-residents/tabid/423/articleID/262058/Default.aspx

My MMP Review Submission

May 14, 2012

Should the 5% threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?:

The threshold should be lowered. Currently we accept that up to 4.99% of voters may have their votes discarded. This is undemocratic. I am in favour of the threshold being enough votes to achieve 1 list seat.

Should the one electorate seat threshold be kept or changed? Why? If you recommend change, what should it be and why?

If a party wins an electorate seat, this should have no effect on the threshold for the party vote. With the current 5% party vote threshold, If a party wins an electorate seat, and achieves 4% of the party vote, they should still receive only one seat. Any party vote threshold should always apply. This would discourage the sort of election engineering which happened with Act/National in Epsom. In the last election, the Conservatives received much more of the party vote than Act, but all conservative votes were discarded.

Proportion of electorate seats to list seats. Is this a problem, and what should be done to fix it?:

I see list seats being a problem when list members go against the party platform which saw them enter parliament.  Also, list MPs can be virtually guaranteed a place in parliament via list position, making them less accountable to the electorate. One idea I had was that “list seats” would be vested as proxy votes with the party leader, instead of becoming MPs. This would mean that all seats are electorate seats with proportionality of parties achieved by the party leaders potentially having more than one vote in parliament. In the case where a small party achieved enough party vote to enter parliament, but did not win an electorate seat, the party leader would enter parliament with a number of votes to match the share of  the party vote.

Benjamin baptized, March 17 2012

April 2, 2012

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06HppDgtgys

Remembering an EQC re-assessment

February 24, 2012

For the archives, inspired by http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/perspective/6465450/If-in-doubt-get-a-second-opinion

Our experience of an EQC re-assessment (EQC assessed as 46k, AMI 184k). We showed the assessor rippled wallpaper in a corner as the wall had sunk. He said that was subsidence and denied it was earthquake damage. We showed him the cracks in the ring foundation and his favorite word was “pre-existing”. We showed him how the bolt for our gate was now 50mm below the corresponding hole in the boundary fence. He flat out denied that our house had sunk (170mm fall on deck towards the house), and asked us to get a engineers report at our expense. He stated that if they re-levelled the house, they would not bother to ensure that the guttering functioned properly, as that was not quake damaged. We asked him twice to use his laser level to take a front to back level difference on the house, we had moved furniture so he could get a clear shot. He refused, saying he would just write >50mm.

It aint easy being orange

January 9, 2012

Apologies to Kermit the frog.

Greetings, Dale here
And today I’d like to tell you a little bit about the color orange
Do you know what’s orange
Well South shore for one
You see land is red or green, and CERA says they don’t know
And that means that I’m orange, you see

It’s not that easy being orange
Having to spend each day the color of a road cone
When I think it could be nicer being red, or greeny blue
Or something much more colorful like that

It’s not easy being orange
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like dreary liquefaction in the streets
Or dark chasms in the earth

But orange’s the color of autumn
And orange can be urgent and scary-like
And orange can be big like an engineer in a CERA suit
Or important like a hi-vis vest
Or tall like a demolition crane

When orange is all there is for now
It does make you wonder why
But why wonder why wonder
I am orange, but it won’t be forever
It’s temporary, and it won’t be, what will be