Monday, June 26, 2006

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In his commentary on the the first book of Moses (Genesis), commenting on the first verse of the first chapter, Calvin says: "Moses simply intends to assert that the world was not perfected at its very commencement, in the manner in which it is now seen, but that it was created an empty chaos of heaven and earth. His language therefore may be thus explained. When God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth, the earth was empty and waste. He moreover teaches by the word "created," that what before did not exist was now made; for he has not used the term "yatsar", which signifies to frame or forms but "bara", which signifies to create. Therefore his meaning is, that the world was made out of nothing. Hence the folly of those is refuted who imagine that unformed matter existed from eternity; and who gather nothing else from the narration of Moses than that the world was furnished with new ornaments, and received a form of which it was before destitute. This indeed was formerly a common fable among heathens, who had received only an obscure report of the creation, and who, according to custom, adulterated the truth of God with strange figments; but for Christian men to labor (as Steuchus does) in maintaining this gross error is absurd and intolerable. Let this, then be maintained in the first place, that the world is not eternal but was created by God." [More of this commentary online here]

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Jesus is alive and very truth"

"It was while I was in the Holy Land for thc purpose of making three B.B.C. television programmes on the New Testament that a curious, almost magical, certainty seized me about Jesus' birth, ministry and Crucifixion. I realised, in the first place, that the many shrines, and the legends associated with them, were for the most part, from my point of view, as fraudulent as the bones of St Peter, the fragments of the True Cross and other relics revered by the pious. Then, seeing a party of Christian pilgrims at one of these shrines, their faces bright with faith, their voices as they sang so evidently and joyously aware of their Saviour's near-ness, I understood that for them the shrine was authentic. Their faith made it so. Similarly, I, too, became aware that there really had been a man, Jesus, who was also God. I was conscious of his presence. He really had spoken those sublime words. I heard them. He really had died on a cross and risen from the dead. Otherwise, how was it possible for me to meet him, as I did in the desert wrestling with the Devil, on that hillside preaching of how the meek inherit the earth and the pure of heart see God, falling in step along the road to Emmaus? As I tried to explain in my commentary (included in this volume), the words Jesus spoke are living words, as relevant today as when they were first spoken; the light he shone continues to shine as brightly as ever. Thus he is alive, as for instance Socrates who also chose to lay down his life for truth's sake isn't. Let the dead, as Jesus himself said, bury their dead; in other words, relate themselves to history. Socrates is historical, the shrines and the legends are historical, the Resurrection is historical; Jesus is alive and very truth." 
Malcolm Muggeridge, in the Introduction to Jesus Rediscovered

Friday, June 16, 2006

A New Book

I bought a new book today at Mardel's, Whitefield Gold, by Ray Comfort. I have long been a fan of George Whitefield, and more recently of Ray Comfort, so it is a delight to read this book!