Contradiction #5 – Which First; Beasts or Man?

GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Simple answer: Beasts.

Long answer: In one way it is a shame that Chapters, Verses and Subheadings were inserted into the bible after the original authors had finished their works. Here is a good example of a chapter division falling in a pretty awful spot. The Hebrew text would read much smoother if chapter 1 was extended to include 2:1-4. That being said, it doesn’t change much, especially if we understand that 2:4 is in fact a marker for a change in topic.

Chapter 1 is commonly thought of as the historical chapter. While this does hold some other implications if it is taken 100% literally, the common consensus, and the author’s intended reading, is most probably a literal one. Although the author has written with a historical genre, historicity is not his primary concern. What is certain from reading Genesis 1 is the author is concerned with the hierarchical structure of Creation. Using common terms, that structure is: God rules over everything. Man has responsibility for Woman, and Man and Woman rule together over the animals and the earth. This seems to be the primary concern for the author.

From chapter 2:4 the author changes his angle. Confident that the audience now has a clear understanding of the hierarchical structure, he can move on and elaborate on some of the details which ‘he’ finds important. (Note that the details are the things that he finds important, not us, him).

2:4 contains the word  תּולדה  (pronounced toldah). This Hebrew word means family ‘decent’ or historical ‘generations’. It is clear that the authors intent in chapter 2 is to tell the story of mankind in more detail and from a different perspective to chapter 1.

It could be argued (I don’t know how convincingly) that chapter one has a concern with God and creation of the world because this is what it starts with. Following this line of thought, the author would start with the generations of mankind if this were in fact his concern in chapter 2.

Hence, chapter 2 skips the first 5 days of Creation and lands firmly onto man in the 6th day. So it is safe to assume that man is the key character in this chapter’s story. The story of man is fixated on his relationships and vocation.

God’s concern isn’t with the order of creation. And having already introduced his main point of emphasis which is MAN, the author focuses in on man’s relationships. God created animals for man to rule over. He showed man that they were unsuitable for companionship, so woman was created. We can assume (by studying the bible and other ANE literature) that to an ANE (ancient near eastern) Hebraic mind, introducing man first, animals second and woman third led the original audience to understand the relationship between himself, woman and animals.

For a 21st Century audience, it only takes a little intelligent thinking, and a desire to seek the truth to see that the beasts were created first, humans second. There is no contradiction. But I’m sure if you were able to ask the author who was created first, he would look at you with a blank face and reply… “Who flippin’ cares? The whole point I wrote Genesis 1 and 2 was to show that God is our King, and we are here to worship him with our work”.

Kids are: Disciples in training. Not disciples in waiting.

When I started working at Creek Road Presbyterian Church I was reluctant to enter kids ministry. I felt it was a long way from where I wanted to serve. I’m so glad that I gave it a shot. In fact I have found it to be a time of great growth in my own spiritual journey.

Last term I had a great opportunity to do a Kids Talk as a guest at a Korean Presbyterian Church in Brisbane. It was totally awesome to see such a great community of kids all meeting together and being overly enthusiastic about learning God’s Word.

The Pastor, Matthew Kim, while introducing me raised just his pinky finger and said “You are little disciples”. It was really encouraging that those kids are learning what it means to share their faith at such a young age. Encouraging them to share the gospel and training them for a lifetime of ministry. (Sorry QTC…)

This is a video that was shown at our church earlier this year, and it really speaks for itself.

The children that are in your life are the church of tomorrow. What are you doing to encourage them to be the spiritual leaders that they need to be? These children will be the ones who pass Christ’s church on to future generations.

For more information on this video, or similar resources check out http://www.wymad.org.uk/

Justin Bieber: Put God and family first

The king, Elvis Presley began developing his musical talent in a church. More recently pop-sensations such as Britney Spears, Eminem, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber (among several others) have all at some point claimed to be Christian’s that have come under the spotlight of fame and popularity.

The downside to this is any Google search will reveal the explicit controversies that these super-stars have been involved in. From provocative dancing, drugs, sex and indecent exposure to pregnancy scandals and sexual provocative attire. Are these so-called Christians giving the rest of us a bad name? If so, whose fault is it?

I stumbled across an article titled ‘Justin Bieber: Put God and family first’ (10th August 2011) (link here) and it made me ponder on the absolute misrepresentation of Christians in the media. So what the deal? Is Justin Bieber a Christian or not?

Bieber was quoted saying: “I want to say that anything is possible … You got to keep Go

d first and always remember to keep family first. Jesus loves every one of you!”

When the Rolling Stone Magazine asked him about his opinion on sex before marriage he was quoted: “I think you should just wait for the person you’re … in love with.”

These are pretty contrasting views from the teen pop-sensation. Obviously every Christian knows that God’s view on sex before marriage is a little more stringent than ‘waiting for love’. But all this is old news you say…

So I went a little further and dug up an interview with Bieber’s mum whose name is Patty. Patty had some very interesting things to say. When asked about other teen-celebrities being seduced by the cultures of pop fame she answered:

“We need, in this time more than ever, to lift them up in prayer. They are a mouthpiece for a generation. Let’s pray for them, let’s encourage them. Let’s spur them on to the Lord.”

What a great encouragement that is. She doesn’t accuse these young adults of not being Christians, nor does she depict Bieber to be a saint, rather she sends out a ‘call to prayer’. Encouraging all those onlookers who condemn with judging eyes not to kick them while they are down but rather to lift them up in prayer.

My prayer is going to be that God will grant me the wisdom to not judge things beyond my understanding (like the state of sanctification of people I’ve never met). And that the Holy Spirit would continue to work in the lives of Christians who stand in the spotlight of celebrity fame. That He would continue to convict and lead people like Bieber and I will thank Him for the wonderful works that He has already done in these people’s lives.

What defines you? To whose family do you belong? Part 2

[Just a quick edit, if you didn’t read Part one, you can do so by clicking here ]

So, I was sitting in a chapel at the Army Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka, NSW. I was listening to the Padré retell a story of how Jesus and his disciples went from town to town sharing the good news about God’s Son. Read more What defines you? To whose family do you belong? Part 2

What Defines You? To whose family do you belong?

This is part one of my story. It’s about how I came to be a co-heir with Christ.

I was two years old when my parents decided that they could no longer be married. An event that I was oblivious to at the time, and one that would define my childhood. Read more What Defines You? To whose family do you belong?