An Interesting Study (Part 2)

So, a few days ago I made a post about something I came across in the Book of Genesis. Just to give a basic review, my Bible mentioned that Cain conceived children with his wife, who was never named specifically, and my commentary mentions that Cain MIGHT have committed incest. My goal? Figure out who this person is and what’s going on in this situation! 

Now, we know that Adam and Eve had three male children… and these were the first people in history. Therefore, some incest had to occur in order to populate the planet! However, it seems that some Biblical scholars believe that Cain did NOT commit incest. I thought of several situations and scenarios in this could be possible (surprisingly, none of them involve evolution). After a few days of research and reflection, I came to the following conclusion:

Following the order of events in Genesis 1, God created mankind on the sixth day of Creation. After this specific creation account, another one is presented that talked about the creation of the first two people, Adam and Eve. God is very logical in His plans and execution of His will. He inspired Moses to write the Torah in way that people of all backgrounds could understand their origins and how to conduct themselves in life. That being said, why would God make Moses write the events of Creation in chronological order for the majority of Genesis 1, but then has the Adam and Eve account listed AFTER God created mankind?? The most logical conclusion from all of this would be that God created a small, finite number of human beings (the creation of mankind itself). Afterwards, God knows that His newest creation has consciousness and thought, so He finds a way to test their obedience and bestows upon them Free Will (i.e. the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden). This argument would claim that God created mankind as a whole, THEN Adam and Eve specifically, as representatives of humanity, in order to see how Man will respond with Free Will. 

Now, if that blew some of your minds, I apologize entirely!

If this is the type of thinking that some Biblical scholars have, this would definitely be an “underground” way of thinking about one of the biggest events in Genesis. What’s the truth though? God created Man, then Adam and Eve, so He can test them? Or is it just as we understand it in Genesis already? There is a philosophical concept called Ockham’s Razor. It simply states that “all things being equal, the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.” Both ideas that I have presented are equally viable! However, the simplest explanation? You guessed it, Genesis as it is! Therefore, in my expert (some people call me an expert 😀 )opinion, we can take the events of Genesis at face value, which in turn means that Cain had to commit incest in order to have children! 

Hopefully, this all made sense in some way or another. I’ll be sure to post more soon. Take care everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Sheldon Out

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An Interesting Study

So, one day while I was studying my Bible (I decided to do a study on the Torah – Pentateuch, Mosaic Law or any other name you wish to give it) I came across something interesting. In Genesis Chapter 4, it mentions the man Cain conceiving a child with his wife. Now, obviously there is nothing inherently wrong about that statement. However, up until this point in the Bible, the family tree of the Human Race appeared as follows:

Adam+Eve = Cain, Abel, and Seth (eventually). Also, according to some of the commentary in my Bible about this particular verse in question, it states that scholars SPECULATE that Cain committed incest with his mother, which is against the Law. However, the fact that this comes before Moses brought the Law is not the issue. The problem is that if the early stages of Humanity actually began this way, then Cain HAD to conceive a child with his own mother. If God created Adam and Eve, and then they bore Cain, Abel, and Seth, then in order to continue to populate the Earth, Eve had to be shared with all of the men present until enough generations were created until she was not required anymore. Now, I apologize for how graphic that was, but my point is this: If most scholars do not think that Cain committed incest, than who was Cain’s wife? This only leads to one conclusion: THERE WERE OTHER PEOPLE AROUND!

Now, if there were other human beings on the planet during all of this chapter of Genesis, than this means that our traditional understanding of the events in the Book of Genesis need to be altered. The easiest way out? Dismiss everything in Genesis. Personally, I think that’s a cop out, so other conclusions can be as follows: 1) Everything depicted in Genesis DID happen as it was told, but over the course of a few generations. 2) Everything depicted in Genesis occurred EXACTLY as it happened and Moses did not want to say directly that Cain committed incest. 3)Everything that happened in Genesis is purely allegorical and is more for moral teachings than for historical accuracy. OR….. 4) Everything in Genesis actually happened… but in a way that no human being has ever considered! I have my own theories about this and I am currently developing upon them. In the near future, I shall make another blog post as a follow up to this one and expound upon these ideas. If I am right though…. this can be EARTH-SHATTERING!!!! To be continued my faithful readers!

 

Sheldon Out

 

The Canonical Gospels and How They Agree with Each Other

One argument that many non-believers like to use against the Bible is as follows: “How can anyone trust the accounts of the life of Jesus when they all contradict each other?” Now, to most people, this is a very valid question, however, is entirely flawed. The Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus…… and they do not contradict each other in any way at all! Do I have your attention? Good! Let’s break this down.

To understand why I claim that the Gospels do not contradict each other, we must understand not only the historical context of each book, but also the author’s purpose of writing each book. I’ll break down each book and discuss them separately, then I’ll bring everything back together, so bear with me!

Mark

I begin with the Book of Mark because the earliest manuscripts that we have found of the New Testament came from Mark. Mark was written around the year 70 A.D., following the events of what is known as the Jewish War. The Jewish War lasted from about 66 – 70 (sometimes noted as 73) A.D. The Jewish War was started by the Roman Emperor Vespasian and ended by his son, Titus, with the climax of the war being the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Which leads to my discussion of the Gospel of Mark itself.

By studying the earliest manuscripts and even our modern translations of Mark, we notice that Mark is stylistically different from the other Gospels. It’s written in plain, simple language. It is easy to understand and is the shortest out of all the Gospels. By implementing this style of writing, Mark had the perfect medium to convey his theological message about Jesus: Jesus is the Secret and Suffering Messiah.

Although the Gospels share many of the same stories and is worded similarly, each Gospel has a different perspective of Jesus and His life and ministry. Mark wrote his Gospel to show that Jesus was not only the Messiah, but that He had to come here to suffer and die for our sins. Mark emphasized this by showing that Jesus did not want people to know that He was the Son of God. Jesus would cast out demons in His name and He would tell them to be silent, because He did not want the public to know who He was or why He was here. Mark emphasized that Jesus came here to suffer by the hands of Man and to die for the sins of mankind and to not be acknowledged for it. He came here to do His divine duty and grant Salvation to mankind in peace. 

Matthew

Matthew is dated to have been written between the years 80 and 85 A.D. Following the events of the Jewish War, tensions between the Romans and the Jewish peoples were not the best in the world. There were issues within Matthew’s community about the Jewish leaders, Sadducees and Pharisees, and how the Law should be interpreted. (Note: I am referring to the Torah.) During this time of tension, Matthew wrote his Gospel to show his perspective of Jesus: He was the JEWISH Messiah,

Matthew was concerned about showing that Jesus had Jewish roots. Remember that long genealogy in the beginning of Matthew that most people skip? If you notice closely, Matthew traced Jesus all the way back to Abraham! yes, THAT Abraham! Now, some people criticize the historicity of this genealogy because Matthew says that significant events occurred every 14 generations for the nation of Israel. (i.e. the founding of Israel, to David, to Babylonian Exile, etc.) We know that Matthew had to skip a few generations to do this, however, Matthew was not trying to restate facts. Matthew was using this genealogy to show that the coming of Christ was another significant event in the history of Israel and His coming was divinely ordained! 

Remember all of the Old Testament verses that Matthew cites too? He used those to show that Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament, Now, the original context of some of those verses say otherwise. However, Matthew was showing that Jesus gave Scripture MEANING for all mankind! The original verses applied to Israel, but with Jesus, Scripture is being fulfilled for everyone. 

Luke

Luke is dated to around 85 and 90 A.D. Luke is particularly interesting because it is stylistically the most complex of the Gospels. His sentences are long, thoughtful, and thorough in detail. What also makes Luke unique is his theological perspective of Jesus: Jesus came to bring Salvation to ALL of mankind, not just the Jewish people. 

To emphasize this idea, think back to the two stories of the Baptism of Jesus in Mark and Luke. In Mark, after Jesus is baptized, God tells Jesus that He is His Son (You are My Son). Whereas in Luke, God says He is My Son, as if declaring to another person. Therefore, in Mark, God is speaking JUST to Jesus, whereas in Luke, God is speaking to all of the witnesses at Jesus’ Baptism, declaring that Jesus is HIS Son! Now, let’s compare another concept that Luke shares with Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus.

In Matthew, Jesus’ lineage is traced all the way back to Abraham, showing that He had Jewish roots. In Luke, however, Jesus’ lineage is traced ALL the way back to ADAM HIMSELF! Luke did this to show that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but the Son of Man as well. Jesus came not just to for the nation of Israel, but for the rest of mankind as well! 

John

John is dated to around 90-95 A.D., making it the latest Gospel out of the Canonical Gospel group. The Gospel of John is the “oddball” of the Gospels. I say this because it shares almost no similarities with the Synoptic Gospels and makes the absolute boldest statement about Jesus: He is equal to God.

Now, to modern day Christians, this idea almost requires a “duh?” response. However, careful inspection of the other three Gospels proves otherwise. Neither Mark, Matthew, or Luke explicitly mentions that Jesus is One with God. They mention miracles, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. However, none of these Gospels mention that Jesus is equal and at the same level as God Himself. John implements this idea immediately in the first few chapters of his Gospel, in a section that’s known as the Hymn of the Logos (Logos is the Greek word for “Word”). In this Hymn, John explains that Jesus was not only in the beginning with God, before time even began, but He was also important in the act of Creation itself! 

Now, I could’ve went into a lot more detail about each Gospel, but I felt it would be unnecessary.

The main point of this post is to show that each Gospel has a different message and shows a different aspect of Jesus: Mark showed that Jesus came here to die for our sins. Matthew showed that Jesus is the fulfillment of Jewish Scripture. Luke showed that Jesus brought Salvation to all of mankind. John showed that Jesus is Divine and equal to God. That being said, each Gospel does not always line up with each other as far as stories go. Matthew has a Sermon on the Mount, while Luke has a Sermon on the Plain. Matthew says that Peter denied Jesus three times before a rooster crowed once, while a rooster crowed twice in Mark. None of these minor details matter in the bigger picture. The Gospels were written to show the many sides of Jesus and that He was so important, more than one account of His life and ministry were required to tell it all! So to any non believer reading this, the Gospels are not contradictory in any way, but rather, they each show the life of Christ in various manners. Have a good day everyone!

 

Sheldon Out

Ezekiel and Why It’s Important

For the past month and a half, I’ve been studying the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Now, there are of course several different ways to study the Bible, some quicker than others, which accounts partly for why it took me so long to get through the book. Anyways, I’ve noticed in my life that when people usually quote one of the Major Prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel) that Ezekiel is not mentioned at all or barely even talked about! From my study of this book, I have learned that Ezekiel has a great message that all Christians (and Jews of course!) need to hear and apply to their lives. Now, in order to understand why Ezekiel is so important, we must look at the historical context of the book, the author, and the state of Israel during this time. Ezekiel prophesied during the exilic period of the Jews in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar, yes THAT one, sent three invasive waves to Jerusalem from around 605 BC to 586 BC, eventually conquering the city. Ezekiel became a Prophet of the Lord a few years before the final invasion of Nebuchadnezzar. Most people know this story because Ezekiel describes this experience in the first few chapters of his book. He describes how the Glory of the Lord embodied itself, appeared to Ezekiel, and he became a Prophet. (Note: Some people believe that this part of Ezekiel describes a UFO and alien spacecraft – that’s another discussion for another day!) Ezekiel then went on to prophesy to the Jews while they were exiled to Babylon. Most of his visions and prophesies were allegorical and metaphorical, describing how Israel had lost its way and that God allowed the Babylonians to conquer them in order to teach His people to change their ways. Now, during this time, Ezekiel gave his most vivid, and possibly most famous prophecy, about the restoration of Israel. Coincidentally, I believe that this vision best exemplifies the overall message of The Book of Ezekiel, but more on that later. In Chapter 37, Ezekiel receives a vision from God: a valley of dry bones, the bones of all of the Israelites. God commands them to come back to life, and suddenly tendons, flesh, muscle, and skin begin to grow and cover the bones in the valley. God had given life back to the bones of the Israelites. Ezekiel understood the vision meant that the nation of Israel may look hopeless now, but that WITH GOD, Israel shall be restored to as it once was, a nation of the Lord! I believe that message is the overall significance of the Book of Ezekiel. We Christians are not perfect. We stray from the righteous path every once in a while or we appear to be in our darkest time ever. However, we know that God is always with us and He will always restore us back to where we once were, we just have to let Him! I hope I didn’t bore anyone with this. I’ve been convicted to write about Ezekiel for a few days and finally had time to do so. My next Bible study will be on the Minor Prophets (Hosea, Malachi, Haggai, etc.) and to write about each of them as I finish them. Hope you enjoyed this and take care!

 

Sheldon Out

The Cloning Debacle

We all know that technology is at a tremendous point in our lives. So many things can be done through modern medicine and technology that were only dreams thirty or forty years nowadays! One of these remarkable advancements is the use of cloning. For those not in the know, genetic cloning is the process of taking an organism (like Dolly the sheep, Google her!), and creating a genetically IDENTICAL organism from the parent! Now, Biology is not my forte and I will not pretend it is, however this kind of process is complicated, so please look it up if you’re interested in learning more! Back to the original point of this post, cloning has been used to create genetically identical organisms from cats, dogs, sheep, to even HUMAN EMBRYOS. Now, of course, we have not allowed a clone of a human being to come to full fruition. These embryos that are created in a lab are typically destroyed to treat diseases for the parent human being or another person that needs it! With that last statement being said, this topic of cloning has become EXTREMELY controversial! At face value, it is used to help other human beings, which is moral and honorable. On the other hand, a completely new life that has been brought into this world is being destroyed before his or her potential is fully realized! In order to solve this kind of debate, we must find a way to classify this newly created clone of a human being. Is he or she considered a human being, with potential for greatness, the capacity to feel emotions, and to be able to make an impact on this Earth? Or, is she or he considered as a medical tool and can be used by scientists to fulfill any agenda that he or she pleases? Personally, here is how I feel about the situation. We know from Genesis 1:26&27 that we are all created in God’s image. We were formed, molded, and shaped by God within our mother’s wombs for 9 months until we were given life and brought into this world! However, if we, human beings, create a clone of something originally designed by God, than this makes the new person a creation of MAN and not GOD. God created each and every one of us to fulfill a glorious plan that He has made for us! By creating a clone of a human being, WE are creating another person to fulfill a plan that WE create for that person, and not a plan that God has set out for them! By these arguments, I do not condone the use of human embryos in this manner and do not believe that cloning should be an area that humans should be dabbling in. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them!

 

Sheldon Out

What’s Up with The Big Bang??

If you were to log onto Facebook and posted a status asking your friends, “How did the Universe begin?”, you would probably get various responses. However, the two most common would be “God created everything” and “Everything came out of the Big Bang”. The majority of the population believe that these perspectives are conflicting views on the same topic. HOWEVER, in reality, both of these concepts are linked and are THE EXACT SAME THEORY. Take your time. Breathe. Good? NOW. The idea that eventually became known as the Big Bang Theory was originally postulated by a man named Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian astronomer, Physics professor, and PRIEST. Lemaitre proposed a theory that Universe came from what he called the “primeval atom.” This atom was the initial point that the Universe exploded from! This idea was completely radical when Lemaitre proposed it in the 1930’s, even Albert Einstein himself did not accept the idea immediately. Now? The Big Bang is one of the most widely accepted theories within the modern scientific community. Christians and other theists believe that since the idea is accepted by scientists, that it must be an atheist or secular concept. However, this post is to my fellow Christians, and a few secular folks possibly, that the Big Bang has always been, currently is, and always will be a CHRISTIAN IDEA. The idea has God stamped all over it! Now, some of my Christian friends might ask how the Big Bang coincides with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”? First off, Christians know that God created everything, but had no explanation or understanding of it. The Big Bang Theory provides us with insights to how beautiful and wonderfully made Creation really is! Secondly, to borrow a few points from an article by Frank Turek in my Apologetics Bible, we need to understand the full implications of the Big Bang Theory. This explosion did not occur at a specific time, but it CREATED time. This event did not occur at a specific point in space, it CREATED space. This phenomenon did not involve any matter that existed previously, it CREATED all matter in the entire Universe! Therefore, in order for this event to occur, it had to be beyond time, space, and matter. Who is above all of those items listed? GOD. Finally, if an atheist or agnostic asks if the Big Bang Theory could occur as a cause of natural forces or possibly due to something along the lines of the Oscillating Universe Theory (Google it), you can answer them with confidence with this bit of information: The Big Bang did not occur naturally because nature and natural laws did not come into existence UNTIL the Big Bang occurred! Therefore, by definition, the forces that caused the Big Bang were SUPERnatural – God. In conclusion, Christians do not be afraid when someone talks about the Big Bang Theory. Think of it as a stepping stone in the scientific community that allows God to present…… even when some scientists don’t think he is! Take care everyone!

 

Sheldon Out

The Fall of Lucifer

Hello everyone! Today, I would like to discuss about Lucifer (Satan, the Devil, whatever you want to call him). Lucifer is one of the most interesting characters in, not only the Bible, but all of Christianity! We all know that he lives in Hell and likes to cause trouble and strife in our lives. However, most Christians do not understand or even know about his origins. Now, this is where things can get divided between different groups of Christians and even Jews! We, Christians, usually go to the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament to find the fall of Lucifer. In Ezekiel 28:12-19, the Prophet Ezekiel describes a lament over the King of Tyre, a major seaport of ancient Phoenicia, or modern day Lebanon. At face value, Ezekiel is describing how the King of Tyre was in the grace of God and fell tremendously, due to his own sins and pride. However, we notice that the description is too elaborate to be attributed to JUST the Earthly King of Tyre. The interpretation we receive from these verses then is how Lucifer fell from Heaven and became Satan as we know it today. Now, most people would say that Christians are just reading too much into Scripture and not taking the face value story. Although, this is a valid point, we know that Ezekiel was known for making elaborate descriptions within his book of the Bible. The first few chapters are about his vision of the Glory of God! Therefore, it is entirely possible that Ezekiel was shown Lucifer being expelled from Heaven, and Ezekiel described the event in words and images that he could understand! Personally, this makes the most sense to me as both a Christian and as a scientist. Ezekiel described in immense detail how Lucifer became proud and tried to become better than God. This wasn’t exactly a lesson of sorts, but I felt that in order to understand the great message of God’s Word, we need to understand Satan and how he lives in opposition to God and His Word. I hope whoever read this found it interesting. Take care!

Sheldon Out