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TANGENTS AND TRUTH
Conversions, Reversions and Inversions,
Being Congenial With Genesis
This Chapter involves review in some depth of early Genesis and what it warrants, and recent development in the PC of America.
Genesis is a term of beginnings. It can be used of the genesis of matter, life, thought, inspiration, and in the case of the Bible, it is used most grandly, of the beginning of whatever is not God. What does it mean ? is the topic I suppose one can safely affirm, of millions and a throng of so-sayers. It is good to look at the book itself in its nature, in view of this, and to learn to relish what it actually is, as distinct from the study of reviews for their own sakes, with their own preoccupations and mutual competitions.
Let us make an assumption, namely that the reader has read Department of Bible ... Volume 11, Ch. 12, on the nature of Genesis. It brings an initial presentation and appeal found in the book.
Consider also the
1) THE REPORT OF THE CREATION STUDY
of the Presbyterian Church in America, June 2000
Report of the Creation Study Committee, June 2000 - (exposed in Let God be God, Ch. 12). This was immediately*1 accepted by the Assembly of 2000, overturning a recommendation for delay so that Presbyteries might consider it.
We now have the independent
2) Aquila Report, dealing with similar topics concerning especially Reformed and Presbyterian over time, and in May 2011 providing and presenting a Presbyterian's approach to the topic as part of this on going presentation of news and views. This may be found at
and no doubt is available for consideration in the field.
NEW TUNES REMINDING US OF OLD ONES
As to 1) and 2), the first impression is this. It is like having temporal transport back to Mars Hill to look at the latter two Reports, the second not notably soiled by irrelevant irony as was the other. In the former, this world's tearing desires against the things the Bible teaches tends to be left to innuendos, ideational excursions, to terrains of troubled mind. Instead we have in this second Report, something more like a journey to the fascinating wilds of theological excursions (twin share cheaper). Yet troubled are the waters and scarcely fit for bathing in the word of God, because of the swirling torrents and their turgid places.
In both cases, in that way in which a failing Presbyterianism comes to deny itself, there is some scholarship, sometimes useful, and much irrelevance both from textual exposition and scriptural principles, and also found are some things misleading, because not given in their original setting and to be found with their actual implications. This is far from, let alone "necessary" ones, as the Westminster Confession rightly insists, in terms of that to which the mandate for teaching the faith applies. This is found in its Ch. 1, 6 (bold added).
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Those are the only generics.
That is a necessary provision to prevent joint authorship by God and a Church or person, and a hideous roving which is inclusive of human imperfection and divine truth in unseemly seamless conjunction. What HE gives in His word, YOU teach, and that, with authority because it is His, in terms of the faith, and no more (II Timothy 4:2).
Thus we learn as in 1) the first Report, so in this second case, Report 2), that there are pluses and minuses. We examine as it were, the students from the professorial chair, on parade, and consider for each the good and bad points in order to see to whom to grant the Exhibition. Any of them might do; all have their points, You have to take care this way and that, to maximise the good, and minimise the evil in any preferred approach. It might be the straight reading in terms of the newly created and defined days; or despite the definition provided in this story's narrative grammatical facility, this account, in its chosen verbal format. It might be that each day is thousand(s) years, a suppositional trifle not considered by the Author as needing a matching trifle of explanation, as worthy of note, so that a profusion of confusion is left to the inventive interpreter, providing us with something as far from reality as many of the guru shows are, when dancing and wine make blind.
Of course, there is nothing to be noted in the fact that 'day' may of itself, refer to 1) a rotational day 2) an occasion, 3) any day of normal time, 4) an epoch. It all depends on what you are talking about, and if you know how to talk, then the context is selective, and efforts to make it ambiguous stand on the ability of those who translate contrary to context, perspective and exposed intent, and proceed to share a foundation with pure speculation without warrant or discernible ground of any kind, except the Mars Hill variety, which cannot seem to rest except in restlessness. THIS is assuredly not the intent of the Writer (Proverbs 8:8-9).
To be sure, things may be sought from the text which are not given, and such constitute little more than the misuse of questions where no answer was intended in the chosen data provided by the Author. However, when the very scenario chosen gives us the account of the generations of the heaven and the earth, and reassures us in Ch. 2 that this is indeed so and that this is what was given, and goes on without there being any explanation to the contrary, or any need for it, to dwell on detailed data, it is amazing how anyone can imagine there is some 'problem'! It simply proceeds in Ch. 2, to talk in terms of man, and HIS generations in the normal way one means on such a topic. It lists the procession which follows, having first examined the initial pair, and what befell them. Further, it uses the term generations apace, applied in due course to this series of families from the first, so then it is apparent that there is nothing different in principle. Thus we find the grandest constructive plan: God generates heavens or earth or botanical items or biological flesh, or ongoing generations of man, proceeding in the immediate sense, just like plants ongoing from seed, and it is ALL of Him and for Him and from Him, and any of it can be marred by misuse on the part of what has the power to choose that line of conduct.
The intimate relationship of man and heavens, in these items, make for the understanding that the Creator, like a great engineer and artist, takes now this, now that item and idea, consorting, compiling, comprehending them in one system, with many huge diversities, but one overall plan; and that so far from any one part having an autonomous or eternal basis in itself, without cause, it is all caused by Him, in detail, in coding, in context, in perspective, with intent, with plan, with oversight, with controls and with power infinite and infinitely beyond the suppositious meanderings of man. ALSO apparent is that in that God is TELLING us, that is, this is an ACCOUNT as in Genesis 2, of what was happening in the area of the foundation and information concerning all things: this was HOW He did it, it is a true account, it informs you of the actualities which obviously you are in no position to contest, not having been there at the start, at the beginning, when God on the contrary was, and acted as He TOLD us, in the bringing into being of all this.
So far from any excuse for confusion or profusion as if this were some delicate series of nuances of things NOT told by methods NOT known, for reasons NOT given in some hidden bowl of strangeness, the entire discourse is self-explanatory, informative and exposes what it is impossible for man to know, or contest, since observation was not then supplied, except to what is reported in the name of God, which leaves two options only. Receive it as in the New Testament, without qualification or innovation or additional flavouring to taste; or don't.
MORE ON GENESIS 2,
SO BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED
IN THE ENTIRE PROSPECTUS
The second Chapter of Genesis proceeds as indeed all of it till it is done, to acquaint you with more and more detail as the topics are refined from the situational and the background and the explanation, into the particular field to be shown in the main thereafter, man before God, and in mind, with the universe as a stage and planting for purposes of the Maker of it.
Thus in Genesis 1, the tableau, heaven and earth, is shown; then verses on the specialised preparation of the earth; than from v. 14, those on the specialised preparation of the heavens. In sequence in this chapter, both were there as announced, from the outset; and each required work and GOT IT, for more intimate specifications, and we even hear of man. In Ch. 2, there is enlargement on the case of man. It is the course to the coming specialisation which reading continuing chapters reveals; and this is done with simplicity AND actuality in detail, just as before, so that those earlier generations and these later ones, each has as a set, its place, and the investigative treatment.
Thus, in Ch. 2, with man, as if now turning to the high power microscope, we find some of the features not revealed earlier in Ch. 1, for it would have in a possibly confusing and certainly inelegant way, in the grand overview. Now is the time for closer study, and we learn some of the elements which went into the structuring of man's situation, just as we had done concerning that of the earth. There is parallel in method, and in vocabulary, which leaves only a spirit of variance open for ignoring these powerful and remarkable testimonies; it would seem as if a special blindness would have to be accorded, to avoid these features. They grip the situation like a vice.
So to man's case we proceed. Yes there were questions of mist and rain, of growth and specification of the NATURE of the things in view, whether rivers or trees or other, as earlier with source of light in Ch. 1, later specified for more specific purposes. God can do it, and so made like any engineer, what He needs in whatever seems the basic stage need, and thus presenting it there. Failure to see this or insistence that there is some problem, is merely one attestation that the consistent creative character of the Supernatural God is being confused with the maintenance character of His products, when that becomes relevant. That assuredly is not the case before the Fall, which itself is one more new element, impending for assessment ... and result. Operational character for the human product is part of the spread.
It proceeds in entire consistency of method, and manner, and vocabulary in one way, leaving no room for justifiable doubt, or erratic judgment, as if to instruct God on other ways He could have written it. The 'need' for Ch. 2 is the same in TYPE as that for 1:14ff., namely, to fill in on matters of specialised interest deemed apt background for introduction to God, universe, man as rightly understood, his past, his test, the conditions of his failure and the way the test was marked.
The account proceeds after the start. Earth ? let's hear about that. 1:14 ? heavens, yes, let us receive revelation about that. And phases of life , including your own, now let us briefly insert this into the program (1:27). The procedure is manifest, progressive, uniform, persistent in coverage, consistent in method.
It is as if it is then further unveiled, somewhat like this.
Ah! now man, yes there is a story, an account there; and now that we are clear (as in 2:1ff.), in summary about the things past in generic wonder, let us pursue the particularities of THIS more intimate side of things, and find understanding here also; and indeed, it has its own parameters and functional ingredients and precise past, Hear it now and learn!
So it flows and follows as in a great
congregation addressed, not in the name of the King, but of the King of Kings.
THE REAL AND BASIC PROBLEM IS BUT ONE
To imagine that this divine method of exposition to man and for man (and anyone else in view), to the stage and to stages in the life and history of man, has within its breast some kind of problem is the only problem in the whole matter. Of course we understand the use of 'day' as period of time, as a notable and distinct time aspect for a development. The idiom is not outré. We are not children. This is scarcely worth even mentioning properly speaking, but if necessary it can be done. You refer to something happening on various days of the week in a coverage, and then, if it was in the past, you may refer to this in a generic, as 'the day in which all that sort of day-by-day happening was common,' or some such thing.
This is not some strange ground for ambiguity, as countless idiomatic usage quite normally makes the meaning of such usage crystal clear. But the use of day in the idiomatic focus on 'feature container', that is the point, for the question of which is in mind is no more obscure than in any normal writing. In ordinary speech, we would almost shrink in embarrassment if some adult student asked about such usage in a context which is clearly instructive and enunciatory on the first usage, and recapitulatory in explicit and then extending overview, on the other.
But the days in ordinal sequence are not a problem in themselves; the ordinal usage of numbers is not to be expected because not biblically clearly found when it comes to overview or epochal type day, while it is normal for events that have the dawn-dusk type day. It is an account in verbal usage, as a norm for this type, in sequential logical progression, in character insistence in detail as in "evening and morning", in persistence in clarification of steps of more and more detail, until it is finished. That is the logical and usual way in biblical usage. Here is is "day one", defining in a distinctive way what 'day' means, to meet any obtuseness, and then the rest are listed, second and so on.
WHAT was explicitly finished, as noted in Ch. 1, was the creation of the heavens and the earth, with perspective details added, and sequential emphasis vast, so that the express SUMMARY as creation's day is normal teaching, the overview to emphasise the sort of thing done, in case anyone still needed such further characterisation. The procedure moves into the special field of interest and into all that duly concerns it, so that its SPECIAL features can justly and historically be understood as an explanation of all things, in terms meaningful to man and not ambiguous, as if it were a badly written report paper, supinely pressing what it wants. Ch.3 exhibits this, as in accounts of a family history.
When it is God who
speaks, and in this manner, that is to have this a 'problem' invented for
unknown reasons by the reader. The cohesion, method and intent of the account is
so clear that short of contradiction, the matter rests in its reception, a
matter of biblical fidelity.
ENJOYING GENESIS 2,
AND THE SCENIC TOUR BEFORE AND AFTER IT
Take now Genesis 2 once more. Its coming after Genesis 1 is an ideal procedure from LP to HP microscopic investigation, and the emphasis all the time is on precise matters such as gathering of the waters, the earth's appearance, the light generic and then its partitive exposure in terms of a MOULDED furtherance, into multi-purpose sun and moon and stars as individual light sources, this then gifted with further detailed purpose specifications. This continues with the imperturbability of an ocean liner in the receptive ocean. In the course of this progression, involving man's intimate environment and proceeding actions, here are named rivers and the intent is clearly to cause us to discover the specifications of these happenings in history, these purpose procedures, the actualities into which we ourselves are increasingly obviously being placed, and which we need, as part of mankind, to appreciate. These arrive apace. In Genesis 3, as it begins, we are left poised awaiting what now comes in Scene III, in any playgoer; but this is not play, but a uniquely portentous workout!
The fact that man can murder man fits into the foregoing with that easy harmony, yet detailed specialisation which has been the constant nature of the account of the first Chapters of Genesis. What then ? God can create. He can form and formulate. He can intend. He makes man in His image, and the body of man is a construction from what is already created, through the use of creative energy and divine imagination. Being bearer of such an image, man also can purpose, plan, institute, imagine, and be exposed in more or less detail as the purpose of the narrator may require. This we learn. The parameters flow like a river, and the situation becomes a crucial test.
It is all so crystal clear if you take what it says and nothing else, that it reminds one of one's early initial wonder on seeing large chemically made crystals, that they were (as they are) so sharply defined in outline, so clear in appearance, so precision built in outline, of such specialised geometrical kind in appearance, and so built. It is almost breathtaking in its order and outline, just like Genesis 1-6.
There is no room for trying to make it a special sermon on this or that feature, grabbed without warrant and either specialised as a new found purpose suggests to someone, or for that matter, to vault even further to THE (imagined) purpose, or for trying to impose this or that philosophical feature, focus. Such eisegesis, insertion instead of exposition of the text, reminds us of the Judge in Gilbert and Sullivan who, amidst the somewhat disorderly liberties of the court, chattering away and excited in their appreciation of things, forget the simple fact that the Judge has something to say, and their part is to listen, just in case they found out what that something was! LET ME SPEAK! he says. Slowly the irrelevant clamour dies, and they begin to ponder that.. listen, why yes, of course!
So here. Do that and listen exclusively, from the first, and it is all not only clear, but logically taut, beautifully wrought and continually hostile to intervention, to invention, to the added or cancerously enlarged imagination as to intention. Its unified dynamic, self-propelled integral elegance is then revealed. Nothing could be clearer. There is no complexity, prolixity, uncertainty, while the competence is mixed with grandeur and the purpose is summed up for the slower student, perhaps, or for even more marked elegance, when we come to man as in Ch.l 2.
That appears the status quo as one proceeds.
VOIDING, AVOIDING AND COLLOIDING
Making Strange New Conditions
In voiding or avoiding, transforming or compounding or ignoring this vital and perspicuous harmony that is found in what is written, then indeed one is left with a fright, like some British folly building structure, rather weird, wild and strange, possessed of some mystic purpose ? As to that, it is a copious architectural enigma; just like the building of unwarranted studies in a text which goes about its business with no allowance for such manhandling.
Indeed, the text does not stand intrusion, like the work of a classic artist into whose painting intrusion, extrusion or creative art is added by another, a sort of graffiti invasion. Moreover, to bypass the thrust, you are left with dabbling and wandering, and in this present case, the author in mind would have to be a monument in prolixity and carelessness. In actuality, however, His characteristics are shown to be the PRECISE opposite of this. He can challenge but He does not confuse (Proverbs 8:8, 25:2). For that matter, when challenges are made, however gratuitously, it CAN help, in that the concentration may cause more of the actual to become more explicitly defined in the mind of the reader. Thus Paul declares (I Cor. 11:19): "For there must be also heresies among you that those who are approved may be manifest among you."
Again, we find from these two Reports, the first more invasive, the second more evasive, but still comparable in this with the former, that it might be a Framework Hypothesis (we are not dealing with proclamation from the word of God but hypothetical constructions from the mind of man, with no invitation provided from the Author), or an analogical proposition, or a series of ages, each accomplishing this or that in its own sweet way in opposition to the composition of the creation, which as presented leaves no time for the involvement of vast histories, however much this would flatter the anti-scientific and anti-textual concept implicit in those Ages, given with a few billion years for an evening and morning day, in futilely aberrant dynamic long departed from the drastic exhibit of just HOW God did it, which has its own ethical and procedural basis, parallel with the power involved.
It is no idle thing that it shows just HOW the supernatural can and did and does handle things with His own power, when the topic is not maintenance, as relevant now, but the institution, not continuation, but creation, not adaptation but rendering of the structure by spiritual choice, bound to nothing, binding as and how and what He will.
it is reminiscent of a case noted when someone was seeking to expound an important point not desired by the auditor who, however, did not make this clear in any direct manner. Instead, as the exposition was made, the would-be listener went on making a sort of personal, vocal exhibition of something of interest, as in crossed telephone lines! Thus it was the case what not merely a matter of listening to some thing else, but PRE-OCCUPATION with something different from what took place, not only in the mind, but in the words spoken!
But what of putting forth one's own ideas, let alone characterising them and giving them titles, when ostensibly one is listening to another author ? and in particular, in the case where that Author is God ?
When being told HOW a thing happened, so that it is shared knowledge, then in the case of a King, to retell it as anything different is revolt, and disguised or otherwise, revolution in conceptual form, intended or not. When told, Keep off the grass! it is not intended as in any other practical, imposing, authoritative and enactive writing, that it REALLY means that you are being tested to see if you instead of doing what you are told, regarding the all too apparent grass, you feel called to investigate different meanings available for the phrase, 'keep off', or whether grass is an implicit reference to drug taking, and this is the REAL import of the message.
When we are dealing with the operatically nice, imaginative and imaginary thoughts, and find it fun to circumnavigate the point, as in Dr Seuss style fun, there is room for extravaganzas. When, however, we find things of note and appeal, self-styled report and explanation, given what in principle comes close to such impish treatment, then when God is the Speaker , it becomes impious, and it is time to avoid this pit. With erratic man now, in his latest declivities and the imagination of his heart, which culture tends always to represent, the case is clear. Void this avoidance, as in Romans 16:17.
Yet the departure is not always MADE clear, and the impression might be and often is left that this which is added, is the actual point! Thus many may be misled, the word of God muted as they look up to consider it (cf. Mark 7:7ff.).
Fish have natural flavour; when these are salted in (like putting salt into herrings in a tin), there is a change of flavour proportional to the degree and nature of the intrusion!
So we find in the PCA Report, as also in the Aquila case later, there is much to be added to the declared objectives, actualisations and developments which are actually to be found in the text, or may DEMONSTRABLY be found there. Indeed, there is more, much more in store in these optative offers, and there are caveats if you CHOOSE this one or that, and advantages if you instead prefer another: and these are laid out before you, to judge with an ensemble of views, and so find out what YOU, the buyer, want. What is it talking about ? Let us see. Ah yes, let us talk about that. You want that way ? it is an option.
It is, however, better to display what God THERE is statedly and clearly talking about, and present it in clear and empathetic manner, accurately mirroring the original, with emphasis on outcome as FROM the text.
Yet it is becoming more customary for areas for transient thought to be considered, unwarranted, on display, competitively revealed, reviewed, so that the obedient listener can hear THE WORD OF THE CHURCH, OF A THEOLOGIAN, OR OF SEVERAL FALSE PROPHETS. So is creation re-written, like a rumble-tumble in the darkness, without impelling need or compelling ground, in a sort of playground of ramifications, innovations. This is on offer, this type of rendering of Genesis creative thrust, and that kind, or the other. It is more like mine fields than the masterful dynamic of deity explaining (but not explaining away) His creation to His image-bearers, and how they must heed, for they have need.
But you do not so act ? There is the optional grouping ?
Then you can follow it to your own satisfaction, this or that, knowing that the Church (which is able to accept so tolerantly, all except the plain teaching of the text AS self-sufficient and God endowed) will be happy with your paying attention even to some things, and in other areas of address and explicit statement, not worrying too much about other things. There is a smorgasbord for you. Do you like it ? what is its consumer-satisfaction rating ?
WHAT IS WRONG
Let us review to the purpose.
What is wrong with that ? First, it is not PROCLAMATION of the word of God, despite the retention of some good general points of an overall character. Secondly, it is philosophically inventive in terms of the biblical use in reference to or quotation of these Chapters, which is not hard to follow, since it cites what is written most uninventively, as if the words of Genesis were sacrosanct, delivered by God! And that is precisely what the two Reports fail to do. NOTHING seems sacrosanct in the way of mixing the mind and self-intimated ideas of man with the concepts and divulgements of God.
Genesis 2 indeed continues the rush of realism, in stable sequence, summary and more minute attention, normative teaching, analysable disquisition, of readily interpretable movement from general to particular, generic to detail, from the less thematically near to man, to more so.
Pause a moment further. This Chapter 2, that proceeds after the exhibition of majesty in Genesis 1, is an ideal procedure to HP microscopic investigation, in line now at a human level, on earth and then heavens, its scope requiring low-power lenses. Just as Genesis 1 gives the emphasis all the time on precise matters such as gathering of the waters, the earth's appearance, the light generic and then its partitive exposure in terms of a MOULDING RESULT in the forming of further sun and moon and stars as individual light sources from the generic, the last-named in this immediate purpose, a lesser contributor to the situation in terms of its soon apparent focus, light for man: SO coming to man's epic now there is the moulding that makes things specifically functional to the degree needed.
Man's trial is now soon sketched, and the structural provisions needed for it. Ch. 2 details its crux. Ch. 3 gives the test results and the way they in fact were achieved and marked...
Thus the stage for action has been viewed in Genesis 1 and reviewed in early Genesis 2, the relevant detail is - if not sketched in, then rather brought past imagination of what might have been, to observation of what actually is to proceed. Ch. 3 itemises the history of the affair, being set for it.
It is all as if a child snuggling up by the fire were to say, And what happened then! eyes glistening with anticipation, mind fortified with the clarity of the consistent procedure, the relish of the first Chapter coming now to the expectation of what is to be the output for the case mentioned in 1:27, in the next Chapters. We come to the heights of ascending significance for man, just as before we saw the grandeur of what was descending from the mind of the Speaker. If depths is the result, as in a lost tennis match, yet the opportunities were there!
Consider then Genesis 1 and its grand declaration at the outset, and its specialised attention to various domains and their movement from matrix to masterpiece. Then in Genesis 2, gifted with further detailed purpose specifications, this account continues. There are named rivers and the intent is clearly to cause us to discover the specifications of these history happenings, purpose procedures, actualities into which we ourselves are increasingly obviously being placed, as created, and the thing which we need to appreciate, this proceeds apace.
There is a further individualised wonder, a setting, a case to ponder, just as might be done in any incremental narrative; and we are carried, the summary finished as Ch. 2 opens, into the opportunity to learn about man, our own race, our position, where we stand, and in fact, how we fell. Our position appears neither normal nor natural, but a combination of marked intimacy, in being made in the image of God, and the mark of failure, in the midst of the creative grandeur that provided our heritage, near and far.
The power, absolute in creation of all that may be seen, was also thus in the case of what could not be seen, but worked and functioned in the midst of what could be. The mind, yes and the donated SPIRIT given to man could now be investigated, its source clear, its resultant resources exposed, and its test situation divinely revealed for all to see. You could take it or receive, like a physician's heart report; but it does not change at your will; and indeed your will and its bases, is a feature of your creation.
Not idly was spirit given to man, and this feature is now exhibited as having results to match creation, in the field of desecration. The test failed, we are not only told the consequences, but given to hear them, and see their profundity, a new kind of deep, one for which to weep, and at which not merely marvel. The personal in its vast significance is now revealed, and the spirit given to what is in the image of God is seen as operative to the point of disaster, though provisions of grace appear, both in man's continuance after test failure, for a temporary time, even physically. The text moves also in the very interstices of the disgraceful test result, to the prediction of the Messiah, the Saviour.
This is found arising in a form of One endued with flesh and yet endowed with power not only to meet the horror of the tempter, but to OVERCOME what brought man down, and to pay for this service, with the foretold power of God Himself (Genesis 3:15). With what magnificent and thrilling procedure, incandescent in clarity, effervescent with knowledge and perspective, history and hope are given thus to man. He is not an orphan, though guilty enough for such an office; but as orphan he remains, unless returning to base ultimately in the place alone provided. SIN must go; the SAVIOUR must come; the MEETING is crucial and SALVATION is in its midst.
With what naturalness it proceeds to the generations, not now of the heavens and earth, but of man as his PERSONAL format for body, continues, father to son. This moves right down to the phases of language, all men with one language, desire, design to arise in situation to the heavens, but once more, from this aspiration, brought down like erratic birds, turned into swatted flies. The tower of Babel, one more loathsome revolt into unreality, again lowers man's situation, in another personal phase of testing; and alas, failure and rebuke, come like an idle repetition.
On the account proceeds, the type of case more and more obvious, and it comes as if into a new scene left by the upraised curtain. Here is a nearly ultimate ruin and disaster, solicited by immorality, amorality, licence and lust, humming humanity flooded with folly, visited with sharp instruction on the power of flood physically, in parallel to that spiritually. So far from not mattering, the spiritual is antecedent to the physical, both in creation in the first place, including the formation of human liberty, and this exhibited in man's self-promoting creativity.
Here comes the flood, a new dispossessing possession, givenfor the unnatural and desperate self-importance which man took for himself, ruining his created splendour and abusing his delightful gifts.
Indeed, just as his jaunt into playing with the word of God and entertaining evil hypothesis about its nature led to death, as seen in Genesis 3, and efforts to gain the heights led to his dispersion, so now his culture became wanton, and its extinction a mercy.
In all this procedural nexus of stages and events, there is another common these. It is this. We are left over and again, with the need in continuity for divine grace, and historical understanding, as the modern world appears with its clearly explained perplexities, and its depth in judgment already (cf. John 3:18). Meanwhile, soon found is a crucial exhibit of this grace and mercy. Not only was the human race permitted to continue at all, but inl the line of Abraham, the patriarch, this feature the more clearly resumes, and again we find the systematic methods of grace which God held all in His plan, and exposed it as time and man passed continually, as well as in significant measure, prophetically. Indeed, the call to Abraham, through whose see the Christ in human form was to come, was shrouded in coming grace, filled with it (Genesis 12), confirmed in it (Genesis 15, 22) and it also, it involved test (cf. Micah 7), and in the end, grace for the rest needed and the wonder intended.
Let us review a little further. It is within this program of instruction and warning, understanding and orientation, realisation of how and why we came to be, and where we now are in the overall program, that we learn as we pass, of various expressions in some more detail, in the consistent method of exposition, on the way.
One thing, for example, that is early shown in the case of Cain and Abel, two very different brothers, is the fact that man can murder man, with motives not only unseemly land ungainly, but evil. This fits into the foregoing with that easy harmony, yet detailed specialisation which has been the constant nature of the account of the first Chapters of Genesis. God can create. He can form and formulate. He can intend. He makes man in His image, and the body of man itself is a construction from what is already created.
Being bearer of such an image, and receiver of a spirit from Him who made him, with some provision of liberty, man also can purpose, plan, institute, devise, and be exposed in more or less detail, whether good or evil, lkas the purpose of the narrator may require. It has not been a notoriously pleasant beginning in the use of the spirit given to man! What has been is the provision for him of the grace of God, and the clarity of his liberty to sin, met by the divine liberty to save.
THE MORE IT CHANGES, THE MORE IT IS THE SAME
As noted before. with less detail, so now with more:
It is all so crystal clear if you take what it says and nothing else, that it reminds one of one's early wonder on seeing large chemically made crystals, that they were (as they are) so sharply defined in outline, so clear in appearance, so precision built in outline, of such specialised geometrical kind in appearance, and so built. It is almost breathtaking in its order and outline, just like Genesis the earlier phases.
There is no room for trying to make it a special sermon on this or that feature, grabbed without warrant and either specialised as a new found purpose, or made THE purpose, or trying to impose this or that philosophical feature, focus. It reminds us of the Judge in Gilbert and Sullivan who, amidst the somewhat disorderly liberties of the court, chattering away and excited in their appreciation of things, forget the simple fact that the Judge has something to say, and their part is to listen, just in case they found out what that something was! LET ME SPEAK! he says.
#So here. Do that and it is all not only clear, but logically taut, beautifully wrought and continually hostile to intervention, invention, added or cancerously enlarged imagination as to intention. Nothing could be further from a squabble session, a justifiable request for philosophical help, or lack of clarity. It is there, it is all there, and it is all what God has said, in an expository style, lined with majesty, propounded with clarity, expressed with certainty.
Being, as it were, propositioned by Reports concerning possibilities amounts to pollution of the word of God, just like the old Liberal antics, reading in the unthinkable as if it were strong on thought, the invisible as if it were plain, when to use C.S. Lewis's interesting term, in his ‘Fern-seed and Elephants’, it is as clear as fern seed, and one might add, as this seen from the air. Lewis looks with dismissive eye at endeavour to find finely worked truths between the lines of the Gospels, hooked on what is little more than hocus-pocus. It is like what could be called tangentialism, a rapid movement from the tenor of the truth, into far-out features that pre-occupy, but do not occupy on the points in view, rather glancing to the point, prancing to the tangent..
It is as in Isaiah 30, where it is like a blindness, so that the text, instead of being read with clarity, conviction and awareness that has a commanding vision of its portent, is cut into bits, into ideas; essence of vanilla or cinnamon is added to taste, and you see how the diner responds, taking due care of his welfare. I Timothy 4 is far away from this, concerning preaching and teaching with all authority; and Isaiah 28 is near, in its pointed exposure of the pettifogging bits and pieces of commentary replacing text with twiddles here and there, and points and preferences supplied for the discerning diner.
How the Lord displayed HIS approach to such dealings with His word! You see this with no small feeling, in Isaiah 28:9-13.
Whom shall he teach knowledge?
and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?
those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people,
to whom he said,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest;
and this is the refreshing:
yet they would not hear.
But the word of the LORD was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
In Isaiah 28, the Lord proceeds to judgment where such preoccupation replaces occupation, such agile tangentialism subverts exposition, or delays it, taking away the awe-ful impact of the very word of God, arguing with Mars Hill incumbents, and the recumbent. His word is more than awesome, for it is the power which created the very souls which can feel awe. His word is a precious wonder, beyond all its works (Psalm 138), for by it He made them, as God spoke and it was done.
To authorise the teachings incorporated in the Report, is to violate the cited Confessional command, concept and entirely depart from this distinctive, redefining the basis of the doctrine for the Church, and hence it occasions a breach of contract, violation extraordinary, breach not only of a doctrine, but of the basis of all doctrine, misuse not only of authority, but of the Lord's authority, by exaltation of the Church's authority, and consequential demeaning of its message, pollution of its historical springs in the Reformation and the Bible which it had placed above all human traditions, innovations and additions, in its system of doctrine.
In its unreformed abuse, it has shattered bonds and given to its people, a new impress, a new piety and a novel ground. But with the falling of the ground of all doctrine for Church authorisation, into a quasi-modern mess, there is the removal of bonds, pending correction. If a false teaching is made, that is one thing; when the basis for any teaching is the issue, that is surpassing in rupture.
Not for one hour could Paul abide such augmentative pollution, not as the months roll by, could or should one abide in this, and long was to be the search for a clear answer, unsupplied after the initial travesty. The Jeremiah message is clear (Jeremiah 15:19). It has corrupted its credentials, and how could one stay! It flays the word of God, and how could one participate! (Romans 16:17).
The Confession does not err in its insistence in this case : Isaiah 8:20, 34:16, 55:8-11, John 12:48-50, Mark 7:7ff., Jeremiah 23, Proverbs 30:6, Ephesians 4:14, 2:19-20, Matthew 23:-10, II Corinthians 10:12, and see Separation 1997. In II Cor. 10-11, Paul was especially clear that bondage to Christ did not equate with or enable propriety for bondage to man. It is God who is Lord, and the authority was to DO as HE had done, and that was to speak what was commanded (John 20:21, 12:48-50).