Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Wisdom of Beaver

The Glory of God in Man

“Are you the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve,” asked the Beaver?
“It’s a saying time out of mind that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit in those four thrones, then it will be the end not only of the White Witches reign but of her life.”

What is man that you are mindful of him? The psalmist first asks the question, but many since then many have asked the same question. I ask the question frequently but I notice that in different moods I am coming at the question from two slightly different perspectives.

The first way of asking the question what is man that you are mindful of him often comes when I am appreciating the vastness of God’s creation. For instance I might be gazing at the starry host on a dark night when even the duller stars seem to glow superlatively. I find myself thinking of me as very small-- and marvel that the God who created all of this host still remembers me. I think this view implicitly has my sinful nature in the back of its countenance. It is not at all the view of Beaver in the above quote. Beaver is looking at man as the natural heirs of the kingdom; something I rarely see if only because of my introspection. Instead, I look at the enormity of God and his creation, and that makes me inevitably feel small and insignificant.

The second way of asking the question what is man that you are mindful of him? seems to often originate when I am looking the inward manner of human life, particularly my own. For instance I might be caught up in part of what God has created in me, or in humans in general. I am looking at the plan of God for us, rather than at the humble state of my sinful soul. Why in the universe would God chose to become a man and why would he have such a glorious plan for humans? Rather than seeming smaller, in some fashion that I cannot fathom, I seem to have been made grander, as if I were two again and my father had given me his shoes to play in. The shoes are too awesome for me, and as a little boy I can never hope to do more than shuffle about in them. Now I am looking at the same verse but differently. I am looking at the enormity of me as God’s creation, and that too makes me feel inadequate, but awestruck at the enormous place He has given me.

Which way is the way the psalmist meant the question? I cannot answer for sure but I would rather hope the latter. For God to be so concerned about us does not seem to be a natural thing (the first manner) but God becoming man is at least equally unnatural (the last manner). Yet doesn’t a logical tenet follow from God becoming a man? Does it not follow that such a God would indeed be very concerned with the humans He has chosen to become? I take comfort in a God who has become like me, wearing my shoes that someday I may walk in His. As Beaver says, “The Sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve will one day sit in thrones.”

Mr. D 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Interesting article

This article does an excellent job of explaining the fundamental contradiction between the two views of creation and evolution. There can be no reconciliation between the two views.
P.S. This article refutes the contradiction and insists that all can be rosy between creation and evolution. It is full of solipsism in my opinion.

Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design
By P. Davis ©2005

     It seems to me that almost no one is doing the job of putting forth the facts these days. I am always surprised by the official story screaming in the headlines. Always the headlines portray the reasoned voice of a fatherly science compared to those irrational wacko religionists. Beware of those who do not answer their opponents, but rather belittle them, for oftentimes they have only the weakest arguments. And this is where evolutionists are increasingly finding themselves these days.
     The truth is that the theory of evolution, as promulgated by Charles Darwin, is faltering and failing under its own myth. There are a number of fallacies in the myth of evolution that would alarm the world if they were honestly debated. So the answer on the part of the evolutionists is to stifle debate. And they are doing a very successful job of it.
     Now I admit my bias. I am an evangelical Christian, who is almost an endangered species today. I believe in the creation of an intelligent designer and I cannot look at a tree, a mountain, or a thunderstorm without seeing the work of the creator. I stand in constant awe at the creation he has made.
     Now I have admitted my bias. When was the last time you listened to an evolutionist admit his bias? I cannot remember one instance. Instead they carefully insist that their work is a work of science, while what I am talking about is philosophy. Actually many of the evolutionists are disguised atheists looking for an opportunity to further their creed in the name of science. And that somehow makes their claim that their view is science and therefore not to be debated philosophically much more suspect.
     The major problem with the theory of evolution has always been the fossil record. As Darwin neared the end of his life he himself enthusiastically proposed a worldwide search of the fossil record. In that record, he believed, would be the thousands of intervening species that showed how evolution had happened. After 130 years of searching the fossil record scientists have found millions of fossils but zero intervening species.
     Often they will try to illustrate intervening species. I remember one argument presented in which evolutionists tried to present horse fossils as smaller and then growing larger over a period of ages. The only trouble with that argument is that modern horses do come in a variety of sizes, both very small and very large. The can be no evolution of one size to another when all sizes do exist today.
     Another problem with evolution is found in the deep complexity found in the animal kingdom. Remember the claim that scientists made a few years back? They claimed that they were going to be able to make a genetic map and within a few years they confidently predicted genetic engineering would begin to do away with diseases. Unfortunately, in higher organisms such as man, the genetic record in far more complex than anticipated, and scientists have not even been able to “engineer” one cure.
     Scientists can not even agree how many genes there are. Estimates have wildly ranged from 30,000 to 100,000. What is agreed on is that man is a whole lot more complex than at first thought. Back in the seventies, when I first became a Christian, I looked at the human eyeball. How could evolution ever have produced such an enormously complex organ of the body? All of the thousands of genes and molecules that work flawlessly to give sight to the body, according to the theory of evolution, had to come from literally millions of mutations in a species. They had to coordinate together, and happen within a very short time or else what benefit would they give if not sight? And this is just one organ in the human body.
     And that brings us to another major problem of evolution. In Darwin’s time scientists thought that this process could take place in a relatively short time; hence the projections of the earth’s age were relatively short. In the hundred odd years since Darwin scientists have begun to realize the enormous complexity of life forms they have realized the need for vast amounts of time; hence the projections for the age of the earth began to greatly multiply. In other words, as the impossibility of evolution began to become apparent the true believers merely added the magic ingredient of time. "With enough time, all things are possible”, they assured us.
     I must say that I am not a scientist, but as I begin to appreciate the complexity of the human eye, ear, and brain, just to name a couple of the organs of the body, I can easily see that the earth would have to be far, far older than any model today that I have seen proposed. In fact, some evolutionists realized this fact, and have argued for a “sudden surge” in the evolutionary model from time to time through the ages. They have no convincing argument for the surge, or a plausible explanation of why it has happened.
     I could go on and on, but since no one will probably read much further than this, let me invite you to question and debate. I do believe that debate is good for the soul, and sometimes brings truth to light. There are a great number of books available for reading that will persuade you to question the myth of evolution. The latest one I have read is entitled The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, by Tom Bethell. It has the advantage of being current, but there have been a plethora of books published over the last twenty years. An excellent author is Henry Morris and the Institute for Creation Research has published many fine works over the years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Answer Age

The Answer Age
By P. Davis © 2005

I have a new term for our age. The Answer Age. As a fourth grade teacher, I am absolutely enamored with my high speed internet access. I can find the answer to virtually everything. I have found information about everything from unicycles to swimming pool pumps; from cars (we bought one online) to finding books like A History of the English-speaking Peoples, by Winston Churchill (I haven’t made a successful Ebay bid on this yet); and from US actual presidential vote counts to an explanation of our starry constellations.
Everything is there. Everything. I so envy the children of my class. Nine year old children with the world at their fingertips must be rich beyond measure. I remember trying to form opinions and figure things out at that wonder filled age, and being frequently frustrated from lack of information. One of the richest gifts I got as a nine year old was a pictorial history of the Civil War, by Bruce Catton. It had more information about the Civil War than a nine year old could imagine, and I became a life-long lover of historical books.
But children now have histories of the Civil War at their fingertips. A simple word typed into Google and they find themselves with a plethora of pictures and anecdotes of the war. And not only that war. Virtually every war of which we might think has many web pages. Often there are interactive sites as children are asked, in some manner, to participate with these sites. Never has learning been so fun!
My own fourth graders pick a research topic and become nine year old experts on their topic. They then build web pages so that they can share their discoveries with other nine year olds. As a teacher, I like teaching this because it teaches children to think, to write, and (what they like the best) to create.
But I do have to wonder. As a pre-modernist growing up in a post-modernist age, I wonder if we haven’t lost sight of the great questions. Like these. Why am I in this world? What end is there for me? Why do I feel there is a definite right and a definite wrong? We do indeed have web pages on these subjects, but I wonder a bit at the irony. Most people today do not even acknowledge the importance of these questions. Here we live in the Answer Age. But having the answers without the questions has put us in a fine muddle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


By Patrick Davis

     Rules are the threads that bind the multi-colored fabric of our society together.  Yet they are hated by most of us privately.  How many of us would gush over the fact that the speed limit is 65 miles per hour?  Rules are there, to be observed, to build fences, to force respect and toleration, but never to be gushed over.
     Imagine that you were living 4000 years ago.  Your leader has gone on a retreat and he comes back with a list of ten commandments, most of which begin thou shalt not. . .   Are you going to gush over the rules?  I expect that most of us have remarkably similar reactions to being forced to conform to something we may find grating on our natural desires.  
     Rules:  we know the reason for rules, at least in our finer moments we acknowledge their justness.  In our weaker moments we do remember Mom’s reason for doing something: “Because I said so.”  When you were little did that raise the hairs on the back of your neck the way that it did for me?
     I have found, purely from empirical lifelong observation, that everyone seems to have it in for a certain rule; there is one rule that incenses them beyond reason.  It may be the speed limit.  It may be waiting in a long line.  It may be when he notices the cell phone being used in the car next to him.   But one rule will make anyone sometimes go ballistic.
     But today I wonder what it is exactly that brings our obstinacy to the forefront with that certain rule. Is it perhaps a sign of our weak conscience? We are hard against one thing that we ourselves would never be caught doing, but all the while there are a hundred things equally as bad that we do everyday. “Before you find the speck in your brother’s eye, take care to remove the beam from your own eye.”

Monday, December 19, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

Thanksgiving, 2005
By P. Davis

Thanksgiving is over.  Whew!  All the family and the food gone.  Another year gone.  And I am another year older, but probably not another year better. I want so much to be better with each year, but the wrinkles come and come, and I still wrestle with the same me that I wrestled with even when a youngster.
     And that has brought me to a truth.  An “I wonder about truth”.  I am really thankful for lots this year.  My father yet lives and walks.  So do both of my in laws.  I have three wonderful grandsons beginning to grapple with realizing their own shortcomings.  And they are beginning to unravel their own strings that represent the joyous yarn of living.
     While I am so thankful, I do realize with age that some things do not change, at least in the few years of our life.  I wonder about my father, who I prayed for so long ago.  As he lay upon what I thought would be his deathbed, I prayed to God, who in His mercy heard and answered.  I prayed for extra years to be added to his life, that he might yet have time to see the grace of God that is provided for in Jesus.
     I have watched God deal with my father during these successive years, and watched most anxiously as He would steer my father so close, and then....  My father would pull away once more, tantalizingly coming so close, and yet so far from redemption.
     Which brings me back from my digression.  My “I wonder” for this weekend is whether adding years would do anything for the salvation of my dad.  I lay in my bed this morning wondering about praying for more years for my dad.  I see his hurts, his aches and pains grow, and not his alone, but also those of my in laws.   I see the frailness of their shell that used to hold such hearty promise of life, and now that shell has become so thin and fragile so as to almost be translucent, waiting for just the slightest knock to break it irretrievably.  How I hate death!  I abhor that which must come, unless the Day of the Lord should redeem us.  Even so, come Lord Jesus, come.
     And may my father, even in his eleventh and one half hour, still find the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Thoughts about our World

Thoughts about our World
By P. Davis © 2005
     When I first became a Christian, others sometimes ridiculed my decision saying I was using religion as a crutch. I would rejoin that that was totally an incorrect analogy; Christianity is not a crutch. Rather it is the whole hospital, and not just a hospital, but the emergency wing of the hospital, and not just the emergency wing of the hospital, but the heart-attack room, with the patient’s heart having just quit, and the whole hospital staff working to revive even the faintest of heart beats. I am on that table now, receiving “urgent medical care” for my soul, and apart of the care of God in Christ, I shall surely come to complete and utter ruin. I could wish for the crutch analogy to be true, but it is about the biggest understandment of the need for grace that I know. I am a total wretch, a lost street urchin, a homeless soul bereft of food or clothing. There is no hope for me, until I met Christ.
     And so, it is in that spirit that I wish to make the following statement. Jesus spent more of his time warning about hell and judgment than he did telling about the promises of heaven. In our day of “niceness” where no one is ever told anything distasteful, this statement must jar the ears like fingernails across the blackboard. Last month I concluded a class discussion in which someone in the class made the statement that she did not believe in a God who would judge someone evil; rather she believed in a God who saw good in people no matter who they were. The class was not religious and since I did not want to offend her, I suggested that she line up the words of Jesus. What do they actually say? I suggested that she might be surprised. Jesus spent many words warning of condemnation and coming judgment.
     C.S. Lewis aptly points out that this choice is not one logically left open to us; in spite of that there are many people today who platonically state that Jesus was a good man. To say he is a good man ignores the content of his message which simply put was he that has seen me has seen the Father. Obviously we only have two choices left to us in the face of such a claim. One is that he was a delusional nut who, in evangelizing the world, committed the greatest crime against mankind ever conceived. He got the world to believe in a savior who wasn’t. The second choice is that he was who he claimed to be. The Son of God come to rescue a needy planet. He absolutely could not be the third choice, a good man.
     So the record of what he said is vital to us. Was it a nice message? I submit that it mostly was a message warning of mortal judgment coming upon man except for those who heard his message and received his freely offered grace. What is the mortal judgment of which he warns?
     First he tells us that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He tells us that if we act unjustly towards others we will be handed over to the jailers to be tortured. He tells us in many parables that if we do not measure up to the standards of heaven, we will be cast out into the outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. He says that those who do not measure up will go away to eternal punishment. Not trivial punishment, not temporary punishment, but eternal punishment, where as he says, the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Whoever does not believe, he declares will be condemned. And how condemned? He that believes not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only son of God. Whoever rejects the son will not see life.
     And it is on this basis that I would offer that it is necessary for Christians to warn of the coming storm. Not only is the gospel defined aptly as one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread; it is sometimes the needed thing for the beggar to tell where not to get bread.
     Whatever else we may know about Christianity, we are certain of this. Christ himself claimed to have exclusive truth and to be the only way to God. No one is allowed to come to God except through him. Again, I refer you back to the logic. Either Jesus was a demented and crazed man, or he was who he said he was. There is no third option.
     So what can be said for those who reject this grace of God? Their judgment includes the eternal decision of God. And where are they put? They are put into the hell which causes eternal torment evidenced by weeping and gnashing of teeth. Are there special judgments for those who are specially wicked? Revelation 21:8 seems to indicate so for it spells out the sexually immoral, the vile and the murderers.
     So what shall we say about those who terrorize our society today? Who believe that their bombs will explode them to instant heaven? If we are to believe the words of Jesus, their bombs will explode them into eternal judgment where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
     What an awful waste of life! And what sort of judgment will fall on those men who teach these young men to blow themselves into Hell? I shudder at the coming judgment. Jonathan Edwards had it right: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Election and Freewill

Election and Freewill
By P. Davis © 2005

It seems to me that hundreds of years after Calvin first raised this issue, there is still much to be resolved. The Bible presents both points of view in the strongest terms; both election and freewill are presented as pillars in the scriptures. Since they seem to be an apparent contradiction, I find many fine people who either give up on seeing it, or worse, seize one side or the other to the detriment of the Biblical view. Of course this issue has been debated almost ad nauseum, and I realize that revisiting it is like trying to boil an egg a second time- it probably is a useless gesture. Here I do not hope to resolve the bitter fights of each side. Rather I just want to speculate on one way in which they might be in total harmony with each other.
With the wise Christian the harmony must, it seems to me, be assumed. How could we countenance a God who authored evil? Or how can we hold people responsible for what they cannot help, as they are being manipulated?
God has of course given us the preeminent example of the two working in harmony together way back in Genesis. Pharaoh hardened his heart exactly one half of the time in not letting the people of Moses go; the Lord hardened his heart the other half of the time. So is God responsible for Pharaoh’s actions? After all, it might be argued, God is a lot bigger than Pharaoh, and how could Pharaoh possibly be held responsible?
While trying to think of an analogy which might help understanding, I found myself thinking of a huge livestock corral. In a large corral there are different paths or chutes which the cattle may be driven and sorted. For the sake of my analogy, assume that there is one chute splitting into two minor chutes. One chute leads to the slaughter house; the other leads to the greenest pastures imaginable.
For the sake of our analogy, cattle are now literate. Plastered along the chutes that all the cows are being pushed through are signs warning of what is ahead. Cows are given ample opportunity to read signs. Signs picturing the greenest pastures are clearly marked; signs of becoming a future Big Mac are equally well presented. All cows have free choice.
Now let us imagine that the head cowboy is somehow omnipresent with each cow, even before they enter the chute. The head cowboy somehow lives outside of the process of time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. All points of time he is totally aware of for his cows, yet he is commanded by none of the points. In other words he sees the end and the beginning of each cow even before the cow enters the chute.
Further he is present at all times with each cow bumbling through the chute and through vigorous means he attempts to call each cow to the green pastures. But his appearance is found to be appalling to many of the cows, who find themselves shying away from the one who would direct their paths. Frustrated with their hardness of heart, the head cowboy waves his hands in disgust, further shying the cows away. Other cows seem to recognize the head cowboy, and listen eagerly to his call. Those he chooses and has sweet cubes of sugar to feed them along the chute.
Is the cow free to choose? Yes. Has each cow been called, yet only some chosen? Yes. Can the head cowboy say that each cow is predestined for one end? Yes. Did the head cowboy harden the hearts of some of the cows along the way? Yes. We now have a possible scenario where free will and election peacefully coexist.
In the beginning of my paper, I said I did not want to go beyond speculating one way in which it might happen; I do not suggest this is the way that it is happening. I merely wish to suggest that the God who so loves the world is in harmony with the God who judges those who will not heed his manifold warnings. The Christ of the first coming is in perfect accord with the Christ of the second coming. Of that the Christian should be assured for, as the Scripture reminds us, He is truth, and those that worship him must worship him in truth.

The Spiritual Host

The Spiritual Host
By Patrick Davis

     I went to church this morning and it was well attended.  There were almost a thousand people in the chairs and on the risers.  How marvelous it is when believers draw together in unity!
     One question: if we had spiritual eyes, what would we see?  It says in Psalms that the angels surround us; I know one old favorite pastor who used to say that it meant that each of us had eight angels.  Six to surround us as a cube, and two more: one to carry our prayers to God, and another to bring them back.  I smile as I remember that teaching- nearly thirty years ago- but it does give me pause from time to time.
     I wonder.  Do you remember the prayer of Elisha when surrounded by his enemies?  He was not at all afraid, as was the man petitioning Elisha, for he saw the spiritual host.  He prayed that God would open the man’s eyes that he might see- and the man saw all the heavenly host arrayed against the enemies of Israel.
     What pause it gives me to think we are here feeling so alone, when all the while, the focus of the heavenly host is upon us, watching to see what we will do.  Waiting for our weak petitions, that they might move.  With the coming judgment upon us, how shall we neglect so great a salvation?  And what shall become of us in our neglect?
     I wonder what we would see, if we had spiritual eyes, I mean.  With a thousand souls gathering to worship, what angels, what hosts, what armies would we see if we had but the eyes?  Oh God, give me the eyes to see not only the host before me which I must fight, but also the eyes to see the greater host behind me.

Society and Christians

Society and Christians
By P. Davis
On the one hand we have an attitude of righteousness as Conservative Christians. We condemn certain lifestyles as abhorrent, and declare the judgment of God upon those people. Jesus did this, and it is good that we try to follow in his footsteps. I am told by Bible scholars that Jesus spent the great majority of his time talking about Hell and judgment for those who do not repent.
But let us remember that Jesus also taught us great compassion. One of the many poignant moments that define my life came when I was working with the homeless in Los Angeles. I worked with a friend whom I respected and admired very much. He would often pick out the homeless man who was totally emaciated, perhaps from his alcoholism. Lice often crawled on his shirt, which in any case was dirty beyond description. To these men my friend George would go, and hug the men, saying gentle things which I could not hear, but which often brought a genuine human smile from a poor wretch. Often as not, both would disappear into George’s office, and there he would try to reach through to the man’s soul.
When I think of George I often think of the pictures I would see on TV of Mother Theresa, hugging the lepers and the poor pitiful souls that she would give her life of service to. I am convinced that both George and Mother Theresa had something which I need- something which was also present within Jesus. Remember the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned? Jesus stood by her side, not praising her lifestyle, but standing against the men who would have taken her life. Those people Jesus reminded of their own sin, and they, being convicted by their own sin left the woman to Jesus. He remonstrated her, telling her to go forth and sin no more.
How can we be a people who are not only counted as being against poor lifestyle choices? How can we become a people who are known for being as compassionate as Jesus, and not compromising His message of sin and grace?
The Miracle Record

By P. Davis © 2005

I much like the interventions of God in the Bible; they speak of a God who does love his world. Though the miracles are not as often as we might imagine; Elijah, the chief of all prophets, had only eight miracles during his entire lifetime. We are reminded in the New Testament that there were three thousand deserving widows during the famine of Elijah, yet God took care of only one. In the Old Testament (the book to which we moderns look for miracles) His miracles seem few and far between; in fact we are often told that visions were infrequent. God has seemingly always been reluctant to stop the march of men through history. We may well ask "who is man that Thou art mindful of him", yet in some manner God cares far more for us than we deserve. He speaks to us through those rare miracles: the unusual, the dramatic moment, the turning of a point of history, or the revelation of some new mercy.
I do like the parting of the Red Sea for I can imagine the huge sea with immense walls of water on each side. The Bible tells us that the Israelites walked across on dry land. It was a very huge miracle indeed- far beyond the capability of anything that we might imagine. Pictorially the Israelites were baptized and redeemed as they began their journey of forty years of walking with God.
I think of the miracle of Elijah calling down the fire from heaven. What a light show that must have been! He scoffed and mocked the prophets of Baal all day long and at the evening sacrifice time he had his entire offering washed with four barrels of water three times. Thus the miracle again showed the redemptive cleansing of God for the twelve tribes of Israel. I have always wondered where the water came from. It was the end of a long three and half year drought. As one who always looks for the comedy of the scene, I have imagined that the water belonged to the king who was hoarding it. Elijah called on the mighty power of God so that the people would know that the LORD is God, and fire descended from heaven licking up the sacrifice, the wood, and the very stones themselves. What a mighty act of God!
And there is of course the great miracle where the sun stood still for Joshua as the Lord helped them fight their enemies. I have always wondered about the mechanism of the miracle of the sun standing still. What did God do to the sun to cause that to happen? What a mighty force of awesome power is exhibited in the one who created and is master of the sun! Or if that is not powerful enough for you, Isaiah prayed and the shadow went backwards ten degrees as a sign to the king Hezekiah. Did God indeed march the sun backwards ten degrees? What a marvelous and powerful one we trust in!
But perhaps my personal favorite miracle came when the doctor stood over the bed of my father telling him and me that something had happened beyond the explanations of science. For they had cut open my father's chest to find a burst aneurism and the aneurism was NOT bleeding. The doctor stated that he did not understand why my father had not quickly bled out and could not explain why he was living. To a son who had claimed the life of his father before God in prayer, those words rank as perhaps the sweetest testament that I will ever hear.
But the time of the year is upon us when we celebrate the greatest miracle of all. That God in the flesh would come into this awful world to redeem us is beyond our richest dreams. That he would come as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, signifying his future death, was almost unlooked for. Except for an old man named Simeon and an old widow named Anna, almost no one noticed the babe, the savior of mankind. Simeon declared himself ready for death now that he had seen the salvation of mankind, a light for the Gentiles to see by. The son of God was in the world and yet the world hardly cared.
In this season let us remember the Christ child who came to die for the ungodly. Let us lay aside our ungodliness in the coming year in hopes that someone might see Christ in us. For we may be the Anna and Simeon that live to see his second coming- a coming in which he will not be as an innocent babe, but rather as a roaring lion. And it will prove to be a coming when the time for many choices for people will be past. How much more should we be found working upon that day!