Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"...To Be Alone"

Today I read Genesis 2 during my quiet time. It's not too usual to read Old Testament chapters for quiet time, I suppose, but I do think it challenges me to make sense of parts of the Bible that often get overlooked, or simply aren't seen as being worthy of spiritual enlightenment by the Bible study set. Reading through Genesis 2 was such a challenge. How does the story of Eve's creation fit into my life?

I'll start by saying that I'm still undecided about the old earth vs. young earth creation debate, although my faith doesn't crumble if either side is proven true (nor does it crumble if evolution is true, or if Adam and Eve were metaphorical characters). It do believe that every part of the Bible is useful, though, and when reading through Genesis my mind zoned in on the 18th verse: "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'"

This verse has often been used as proof that all men should marry, or that if a man is lonely, then he is not called to singleness and needs a wife. Now, I love all my friends who are trying to get married (gay, straight, or ex-gay), and I wish them all the luck in the world in finding the man or woman of their dreams.

However, Eve just wasn't made for Adam. She was made to be the mother of all humanity, to fill the world with people, who would go on to form communities. Marriage is a very good thing, but it isn't the cure for loneliness. Community in Christ is, and that's my brief devotional for today. I'm loving my time in Belize, everyone!

15 comments:

Craig L. Adams said...

Marriage is a very good thing, but it isn't the cure for loneliness.

Right! It's more of a responsibility than a "cure" for anything anyway.

Pomoprophet said...

Heretic!

haha. Just kidding. I agree with you :)

David said...

With all due respect, and with an attempt to be as level-headed as I can, the jury is simply not out on young earth.

Radiometric dating is real. The earth can be demonstrated quite easily to go beyond the few thousand years allotted by even the most loose of young earth theories. These are elements that are unstable and decay at known, predictable rates. We can look at their decay and thus deduce how long they've been around. Uranium-lead dating and even argon-argon dating consistently demonstrate the age of the radioactive materials on planet earth.

Not to mention the fact that we are receiving starlight from billions of light-years away (that is, billions of years must've transpired for the light to reach us).

The only way you can get around this is by positing a God who planted this misleading evidence to test our faith. Might I suggest that such a being is not worthy of worship, and is furthermore incongruent with the God of the New Testament.

So to say that the jury is out on that, you simply have to be either willfully ignorant or deluding yourself. I want to be "loving" but I also want to be factual, and I think you know better and so feel less bad about slapping you on the wrist for it.

College Jay said...

Craig and Pomoprophet: Thanks, guys!

David: Okay, you're correct. Like I said, it's not really the biggest issue for me and my faith doesn't crumble either way. I've given it thought and have heard your arguments before, and I'm still undecided. Call me delusional if you will, but I'm processing through these questions and that's my journey. Thanks for the slap on the wrist. Hopefully you can say hello sometimes when your intent isn't to scold or correct me. I'm all about a good debate between friends but if this is the only time you see fit to initiate interactions, then yeah, perhaps you aren't being too "loving."

Of course I also know that you're busy, and I am as well, but you get the idea, right? Take care of yourself, and God bless.

Nathan said...

". . . it isn't the cure for loneliness. Community in Christ is. . ."

Theoretically, I would agree, Jay. However, I have yet to see much true community within the church. . . especially for those who are gay and/or single. I dread the prospect that I may be forced to live a single life. It's ironic that the majority of Christians oppose gay relationships, yet, at the same time, don't provide support for those that must then live without a life partner. In fact, I'd say that the Evangelical subculture has less room for singles than the culture overall. . .

You mentioned how the OT is overlooked, esp. for personal devotion purposes. Personally, I've been struggling with how to deal with the OT lately. IDK if the God (a God of genocide, slavery etc.) I see in the OT is the same as that God revealed in Jesus. Anyway, I'm not sure if you have the same difficulty reconciling these two revelations of God. . .

donsands said...

"So to say that the jury is out on that, you simply have to be either willfully ignorant or deluding yourself."

I think Gos created the earth in 6 days, and it's a few thousands year old.
There's really no way around it I fear. The Bible is true, and so the jury isn't out for me either.

Man's wisdom can't compare to God's truth.

There are good things that man discovers for sure. Galileo, and Copernicus for instance. The Church has a huge black eye there.

But a young earth is scientific and there are good scientist who can argue this with rational and factual arguments.

Adam was created a man by God. This is truth. God gave Adam Eve, a woman. And she is bone of his bones, and he shall cleave unto her, as every man and woman does, and so they will be fruitful, and bring forth children.
Marriage is for a man and woman, and to have children, really.

Are there single men and women? Absolutely.

Paul said it is better to stay single if you want to serve the Lord. 1 Cor. 7

John Stott is a great man of the Lord, and theologian who was a bachelor all his life, and is now in his late 80's I believe. A wonderful example for single Christian men.

I will find some good evidence for a young earth if you like?
I'm no brainy-ac, that's for sure. But the old earth scientist really don't have the last say, I no that much.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts bro. Stay strong in His grace and love, and also truth. The truth will make you joyful, the truth that Christ died for you, and took all your sin, every evil thought, deed, and word, as He did mine, and all who come to Him in trusting repentance.

Have a blessed Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Happy Easter!

freelancer said...

Overall, I liked a lot of what you said. However, I almost stopped reading when I got to the part about you not being sure about the young earth vs. old earth debate.

I think debate here is kind of a strong term. It makes it seem that one side should seriously be considered and that much research and discourse is needed to reach a conclusion. It is like saying you are still trying to choose sides between the flat vs. round Earth debate. There isn't one.

It does matter whether your faith rests on this matter, for if it does you have much bigger problems in your life. I am honestly dumbfounded on how you can sincerely say this is something that you are "processing". Now, I will be the first to admit it was not all that long ago that I was working through whether or not I believed Adam and Eve were real people. Thankfully I have grown a lot since then. Nevertheless, with an 8th grade understanding of science and math you can do at home you can estimate the age of the earth. This has been tested countless times and it's been found to be quite accurate.

I will end this comment turned rant. I hope it comes off as kindly as possible, but I was just awestruck that you of all people would be peddling such nonsense.

Hope to still see you this summer. Haha.

College Jay said...

Nathan: I think that's something that's difficult for every Christian to reconcile. Then again, Christianity always represents the polar opposites of original sin and judgment versus grace and ultimate love. That's why it works so well in narrative form (and another reason to really admire the fiction of Flannery O'Connor, if you've never read her).

It's still not easy to reconcile the Old and New Testaments, but I do think it's something that, as Christians, we have to deal with. It's sad that so many of these questions don't have black and white or easy answers, but that's life, and to me, it is part of what faith is about.

Donsands: I don't think the Bible being true makes the creation argument 100% solid. I think there are very great Christians on both sides of the aisle who have come to different conclusions. The Bible does use metaphorical language often so I don't think a six-day creation is necessarily the case. But like I said, it's not the biggest issue for me. Thank you for your comment.

Freelancer: Hope to see you, too. Sorry for not living up to your expectations, and for not passing eighth grade math and science.

donsands said...

"I think there are very great Christians on both sides of the aisle who have come to different conclusions."

This is quite true brother. I guess my comment had a small twinge of knee-jerk reaction in it.

There are good arguments for a young earth though, it's not nonsense.

Fred Butler has a lot of good material on this. In fact he just a hhad a couple posts on this subject not too long ago.

Have a joyous evening in Christ, our Savior, and risen Lord & Friend.

testingsane said...

I think I agree with everything you said. It's challenging to try and figure out how scripture fits, especially when there are so many different ways it's used. & I say it's great to have a faith that doesn't break if one side of the debate ever is decidedly right. I'm undecided too. "it is part of what faith is about" reminds me oh some verse I seem to hear a lot. Right on.
Good devotional thoughts. This stranger thanks you.
Enjoy Belize & more devotions

Neo said...

Good post, Jay! You have some good thoughts here.

Though it's just one part of what you wrote, the whole young earth/old earth thing does seem to be the hot topic here. I fully agree that there are mature Christians on both sides of the debate, and the truth of one side or the other doesn't in any way make or break the Christian faith. I will say that my personal conclusion, after examining much of the evidence both scientific and theological, is that the earth and universe are almost certainly very old. I tend to lean towards the "analogical day theory," which holds that "day" would be taken to be an ordinary work day for God, which did not have to last 24 hours (for goodness sake, God didn't even create the sun right at the beginning.) According to analogical day theory, God inspired Moses to structure his account this way because it set the pattern for six work days and a Sabbath day of rest. But I'll readily admit that I might be wrong about these things, and it doesn't bother me very much.

A book that I found helpful was Vern Poythress's _Redeeming Science_. He is very solid biblically and theologically, but is not dogmatic about a particular view of origins. He gives in my opinion a fair and balanced analysis of many of the views popular among Christians. In the book he does defend both analogical day theory and the young-earth theory of mature creationism, which holds that God created the world in 6 24-hour days but made it appear much older, just as he created Adam as an adult. I have issues with mature creationism to which I didn't find his responses convincing, but I respect Christians who come to different conclusions than me. Poythress has a good quote from Alvin Plantinga about how he does (and we should) find much more in common with young-earth creationists than atheists who happen to have a better scientifically-informed understanding of the age of the earth.

Being a young-earther does lead to more ridicule especially for someone involved in the sciences (even tangentially, as I am), but that's not really a good reason to pick one view or another. I think my old-earth views may help my witness to some, in that they see me as more "reasonable," but that is again not really a reason to hold a view. Many people would see me as more "reasonable" if I gave up theism entirely! I believe in old-earth creationism because in my limited understanding, it best reflects both the scientific and the theological evidence.

Anyway, hopefully that adds something to the discussion, and continue to enjoy Belize!

Anonymous said...

As a man who has been married for 36 years, let me just say that if you desire to marry, God will bring the right woman along, you don't have to look for her. Marriage has been perhaps the biggest blessing in my life (along with fatherhood). When I think that I would have missed those blessings had I continued in the life I was living back in the seventies, I shudder. And about finding community in church, that also is possible. I'm in a church right now that is amazingly relational.

Daniel M. said...

I pray that you'll find and create community where ever your journey with God goes.
peace,
daniel

AJ said...

Interesting post and comments! I wanted to respond to what Anonymous said though. I dont think thats true that God will for sure always bring along a wife if that is what you desire. What if it is not God's plan for you to marry even though you desire it?? I am glad you found a wife and are happy but its not a given that God will always provide what we desire.

Joshua Cookingham said...

I'm not certain community in Christ is the cure for loneliness either. Does it help? Yep. Is it THE CURE? No.
The fact of the matter is, people change, or leave, or abandon others, etc. Paul was deserted by many of his former friends(and former believers) yet his strength was in God, not men.
I know it sounds rather simple, and more of a band aid solution, but Eve WAS made for Adam, not for the world. Her sons eventually left, as Scripture teaches.

Community is great, but not at the cost of spiritual growth with God. If GOd's not first, if He's not all we need, then it doesn't matter how close we are to others.