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Welcome.

(note:  This is the welcome and info article and it does not change.  Scroll on down for the most recent article addition.)

I believe in the power of truth.  I also believe in the power of freedom.  I am neverendingly impressed at how truth sets us free, and how freedom opens us up to the truth.  Though I have some posts that are personal to me, this is my ministry site.  I post articles about all kinds of things that are of interest to me… and I also find great joy in answering, or at trying to answer, or at least discussing, questions.  Feel free to ask them here.

I am still working on these sites, but the best way to navigate this material is either the tabs at the top of the page – these take you to totally different pages with targeted information.  If you are researching me as a personal therapist, click the Counseling/Therapy tab… if you are a man looking for encouragement, ideas and support in life, click on Phalanx… if you are considering me as a speaker, teacher, pastor, or consultant, that information should be available there.

Most of my work hours are spent serving at FBC’s South Campus in Tyler. Check out the amazing ministry there.

I am also the lead therapist at the Alethia Counseling Center in Tyler, Texas… and I love the team of Counselors we have here, so…

I want to introduce you to our team of counselors at the offices:

Millie Tanner, LPC.   As a Licensed Professional Counselor I see people who have different backgrounds, struggles, and ways of coping.  Pain can come from broken relationships, cold marriages, or the devastation of losing someone we love.  In those times a therapist can give encouragement and insight by asking the right questions to lead to a healthier way of living.  Through this many find freedom as light is shined on dark places in their lives.  www.tannertherapy.com

Zach Herrin, LPC.   I have been a counselor in some capacity for the last eight years. To recognize where you are gives you the freedom and choice to leave where you are.  Working with men and teens are high on my list, but I also love to help families and couples.  The counseling process can be encouraging and discouraging all at the same time but I believe from personal experience it can make all the difference… when we take the first step in asking for help.   www.herrincounseling.com

Keely Burks, LPC-intern.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern, which means I am qualified to do everything an LPC does, but I receive weekly super-vision from Chris Legg, LPC.  My desire is to see marriages healed and parent and child relationships reconciled. I consider myself blessed to come alongside people as they discover the truth of who they are, choosing not to believe the lies they previously subscribed to. www.keelyburkscounseling.com 

Amy Waters, LPC -intern.  Hebrew wisdom tells us that “in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  The decision to seek counseling is both wise and brave.  It is a joy and a privilege  to come alongside people in this way.  As a LPC intern, I practice under the supervision of Chris Legg, as well.  There are few things more rewarding that seeing people get in touch with the truth and be transformed by it. www.amywaterscounseling.com

Nancy Mayer, LPC.  “What is my purpose?” Is a question I hear from clients seeking to understand their life journey and questioning what they can do to reach their true potential. As a licensed professional counselor, I am honored to be chosen to take this journey of discovery with my clients. Having a collaborative approach to counseling, gives the client and me an opportunity to grow and learn from one another. www.receivingthegiftcounseling.com

Allison Cooper, LPC-intern: I am an LPC-Intern with experience helping individuals, couples, and families. My Supervisor is Jennifer Brown.  I enjoy working as a team with clients to help them gain perspective, insight, and self-confidence when facing challenges.  It is my philosophy that through the therapeutic relationship clients can gain strength and find peace.

Josh Berger, LPC-intern: Life is full of storms. The ebbs and flows they bring can leave anyone feeling shipwrecked. My role as a counselor, under the supervision of Chris Legg, is a grounding one: to equip and enable you to see light through the darkness. Together we pursue truth and beauty and lasting freedom.  www.bergercounseling.com

If you are interested in scheduling with any of us, call us at 903 561 8955 today!

…If you are more interested in browsing my articles, then your best bet might be the catagories list to the right.  If you are interested in me writing an article on a given topic, you can request it in any comments section… I will try to get to it as soon as I can!

I will continue to post all new articles here as well as on the targeted site, so either option should still give you the chance to find what you are looking for.

Typically, my series, sermons and seminars will be found at:  Talks

Thanks for stopping in… God Bless you and Keep you.

Chris

More Information on my specific Counseling

My style of therapy is generally called “eclectic” which really just means I make use of many different styles and techniques of counseling.  I believe that every human life has intrinsic value, including yours.  No amount of pain, guilt, shame, regret, resentment, anger, depression, depravity, or brokenness can change that.  Every person has a story that is worth hearing, no matter how much hurt, love, purpose, abandonment or normality that life includes or lacks.

A big part of why I believe what I just said is that I am a proclaimed follower of Jesus, The Christ, into Life, death, and Life again.  I think life can often feel a lot like a series of life and death patterns.  I believe it is hopeful to know that those are a parable of the larger Epic story.  I believe in a Creator, and I therefore rationally think the most foundational thing in life is to have a right relationship with our Creator.

It seems reasonable to me that it would be impossible to over-estimate philosophically how important it would be for a created thing to know its creator.  After doing decades of research, of the major views on this problem, only Christianity has been able to offer what I consider the most reasonable answers. So, with that understanding, I am a Christian therapist.

However, as a “style” I am not exclusively what is called a “biblical counselor” nor do I offer counseling only for other Christians. Far from it. I agree with the way I was taught: I expose my faith, but am careful not to impose my faith on my clients. It isn’t always an easy integration, but that is my goal. The main way that my faith and philosophy impact my counseling is in regards to truth. I believe in the power of truth to set us free (John 8:31). I think it is vitally important for everyone to be able to acknowledge the truth about their lives – this point is also made in Orwell’s “1984” when it is noted that true freedom begins with the freedom to speak the truth.

Until we can say what we know is true, we are still bound. I make use of reality therapy techniques, Gestalt work, psychotherapy, Jungian archetypes, personality theory, paradoxical work, REBT, transactional analysis, and virtually anything else I come across that works and fits within what I believe is true.

I believe that each human being is so complex and unique that no one therapeutic theory covers everyone. Generally, I talk to people for about 50 minutes in the session, but the real work comes in the hours of integration in-between sessions. I encourage people to deal with the past and not ignore it – to speak the truth about their past. This is not about living in the past. Understanding, speaking and accepting the truth about our past is a work of the present.

I also encourage people to face the present and future honestly. Reality therapy becomes vital when dealing with the present. I think that many more people could really benefit from counseling than get it. It takes a certain level of emotional health to be able to risk coming in. Coming to counseling the first time can be pretty tough, so I applaud anyone strong enough to do it, especially those who are able to come in before they are in stage 4 sickness… Counseling isn’t meant to last forever, so come in with some specific goals and you and I will work together to identify and deal with those and any others that arise.

Final words for this section: beware of coming in for counseling when it is storming and the roof is leaking, and then quitting when the rain quits rather than when the roof is repaired.

any questions?

Here is a possible process description I think is reasonable. Basically, in a raw form:

God started life by forming a single celled organism in the dirt. This was nothing short of proof of His existence.

Life proceeds from life, even simple life.

The complexity of the most basic amino acids and DNA structure is evidence of His careful design. Over an extended time (which would have taken precisely as long as God wanted to take) God transformed that single cell into new ones. By manipulating the DNA of each transitional form, He carefully changed (or put into place the processes which changed) each one into the next.

What if someone manages to develop life in a test tube? It will not go far in proving that life comes from watercontanything less than directed intelligent life, in my opinion. I don’t understand why life, if from lifelessness, is not consistently or constantly popping up all around us. Why would the first happening be so rare?

Eventually, God had transformed this single cell into millions of species. There would have been thousands of end points, and maybe millions of midpoints (which there are in the earth strata).

Not all creatures are on the pathway to man; these and many of the transitional forms He thought were good and they flourished under His scrutiny. When he moved from one primate to another, and finally to what we would call something akin to man, the similarities at the microscopic level were striking.

The thread of design was left hidden in the DNA along the way, and the success in passing on these DNA changes within individuals. These pre-humans were the most intelligent of the creatures, with the possible exception of some of the other end forms, like dolphins and other large mammals.

They formed communities and lived in hunter-gatherer societies, perhaps even grunting out basic language as we picture them doing. Physically, they were similar in appearance to a human; spiritually they were no different from a wolf – Human in feature, but animal in soul.

Then God chooses one.

God prepares a garden (the invention of cultivation is felt strongly in the first couple of chapter of Genesis (Gen 2:5, 15), and it could be that 10k years ago was when cultivation began in a large scale way, or maybe not). And takes the man, and “puffs the breath of Life” into Him.” In other words, gives Him a spirit.

This spirit is the connection point between God and Adam that is unique among the rest of creation. The immaterial part of us came from something – from other immaterial makes logical sense to me.

Adam is now at least a rudimentary moral creature. God gives him a simple right/wrong, obey/disobey choice.

Adam, however, is so disconnected from the other pre-humans by this transforming spirit, that there is no suitable mate among them any longer. They are pure animals, he is the animal/god called “man.”

Did God really parade the bison in front of Adam to look for a suitable helper? Maybe, it sounds like in the naming process He did; but He would certainly have passed the chimp, the homo-erectus, and maybe even members of Adam’s own previous tribe. However, they were no longer enough like him to be suitable. In an act of delegated authority, Adam names them and then God, perhaps in a special act of creation (my opinion) creates Eve of a part of Adam (this spirit is now apparently genetically encoded).

Later, did their children marry pre-humans? I have no answer for this. The Bible is too silent. Did God change a partner for each of Adam’s children? Were there more special creations? I don’t know. Something like this, I am sure; it is almost unthinkable that God would have allowed Seth to marry a pre-human, though not impossible – perhaps sex was the original way the spirit was transferred?

I admit and embrace that this is all hocus-pocus since there are NO hints scripturally.

But, if something is true, it is true.  I believe that truth would never come in conflict with truth – if two things are in conflict, at least one must be error.  However, maybe less of our scientific discovery and God’s revelation are in an conflict, when we are willing to study them.

Gen 4:17 tells us that Cain had children by a wife. I think it is possible this unnamed wife was a pre-human. Of course, his child would be born with the moral spirit (as a dominant trait), but his wife would not have it. She might be smart and maybe even somewhat sophisticated, but she would lack that spirit. Cain began to set up cities led by his specially advantaged children (what all advantages did a spirit man have?

Perhaps a better sense of unity, purpose, relationship, but would not the knowledge of cultivating be enough to become almost a god to these wanderers? I think the passages here indicate that there is a type of understanding of progress and technology that these new spirit children had too – read through the relatively quick developments of metal working, tents, war, even music.)

So where are all these pre-humans? For generations, they would have been competed out of existence. Technological improvements left the spirit humans with more time to procreate, I would imagine. Any that would have been left would have been wiped out (or virtually so, depending on the view of that passage) by the flood… the rest, as they say, is history.

As to the moral implications of how “mean” the process of evolution seems: It is a huge assumption on our part that it is “mean.”  We understand even less about any kind of animal afterlife than we do our own!

However, even if we assume that animals are without an eternity, how would this process be more “mean” than the consumption of animals today, which God often commanded in scripture? It may seem “mean” to us, but it is evil or immoral?

What about “wasteful?”  Wasteful is a concept only for those limited in resources.  When resources are unlimited, wasteful is a silly idea.  Would evolution be wasteful?  Not to God.

Do either of these make the case?

I don’t think so.

However, this actually makes another assumption that is not a known thing. The theory of “survival of the fittest” is a descriptive concept to describe what we see in animals today; however, this process has never created a new species so far as we have seen. Do animals starve because they are unfit? They can, but does that transform them into a new species?

No observed evidence of it. Did the pre-fall process of evolution require this level of competition?

It did not require it. It may have happened, but there is no reason to assume it except that we see the competition today, though it does not seem to be helping creatures change! Perhaps the fall ended evolution, rather than causing it. Perhaps that is why we have not seen any new ones in the last few hundred years and maybe the last few thousand. In the end, the answer is unknown for now.

Certainly, the Creator was able to plan all of this out in the “design” phase of Creation.

In any case, to worship creation is always heresy – even if it is creationism that you worship:

“Remember, the teachings of evolution contend that we evolved from monkeys, or from some other intermediate ancestor. Thus, if we follow that teaching to its logical conclusion, we would recognize that it implies the Bible is not true, and simply a collection of stories and myths; and if that is true about the Bible, then God does not exist, and we have no need of a Savior.” – Creationist Website

Heresy.stock-photo-11291083-jesus-reaching-out

Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with God. He is the only Way. Not Creationism… Jesus. To say that anything other than faith in Christ is necessary for salvation is Heresy.

 

© Chris Legg, 2005, 2015

A Progressive Creation theory:

Many in the Christian world view are unaware that it does not have to be in opposition to scientific discovery.

Here is an example of a “progressive creationistic” theory that uses the scriptural account as a foundation. I don’t blame anyone else for this theory – it is entirely mine. I enjoy thinking about this things – and honestly even musing over it…

I used to spend more time delving into the debate with my best friend, but since he died, I am less passionate about trying to uncover the right answer and now more enjoy just considering these questions of biblical insight and scientific thought. Since very often, this conversation leads to creation questions, I enjoy speculating on that topic.

And it is speculation… I am not trying to create doctrine or even a defense (though I would love feedback and criticism). I just enjoy the conversation. If you find it offensive, feel free to dismiss it and move on to some other article that won’t raise blood pressure.

I came up with it when I was more interested in answering this specific question was an attempt to use the findings of biologists and geologists to explain some of the questions left open in scripture – so let me pose these are questions to you:

  1. Could the origin in the dust (or “soil,” or “earth” Gen 2:7) to man been a lengthy (m/ billions of years) process? If so, could this not reflect the secular thought of the “primordial soup” from which sprang the first single celled organisms? God seems to like recapitulating His ways – maybe He started the first person with a single cell and started it on His loving cultivation path toward humanity.
  1. Could Adam have been the first physical Homo Erectus, Sapiens, whatever, in the sense that he was the first with an eternal “Spirit.” In the Hebrew phrase (Gen 2:7) “breathed the breath of life,” two different words are used for breath. The first one means “blow or puff;” the second is:

neshamah (nesh-aw-maw’)a puff, i.e. wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect. or (concretely) an animal:

KJV – blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.

(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Could it be that the breath of life that God breathed into Him made him human, rather than being the first thing to look human? (aka was the final step to true humanity internal rather than external or spiritual rather than physical?)

The idea would be that God crafted humans starting with the dirt of creating man and then spent millennia moving this life through the stages of development through a process like evolution… which would explain the stages of development of the human fetus as well as the stages of creation in Genesis 1.

The idea of “after their own kind” would represent the genetic changes that God was working into their generations.

The world would have been populated with many different animals and creatures… and over the time, many would have gone extinct, evolved into other species, etc.

I am of the opinion that the “death” described in Genesis 1-3 and Romans 5 is the spiritual death of Eph 2. It is not physical death that was ushered in for the first time at the fall of man (after all, neither Adam nor Eve died immediately) but a spiritual death. It was not the first breath (see above) that stopped for the first time, but the second.

Thus, at the time of Adam, the world would have been populated by many different creatures that looked earlymanrelatively human. Perhaps Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or Cro-Magnon… maybe something like “Omo1” type creatures would have been around.

If this were the case, it would answer the question of Cain’s concern: Cain could have feared all of these other “people” (animal/humans – “humans” without the breathe of divinity in them) who could kill him without God’s divine protection. Basically, before Adam, humans were morally no different from animals (is the theory).

This could also answer where Cain’s and Seth’s wives came from, as well as explain why God passed all of the animal by Adam for him to name, but through the naming process, Adam discovered “there was no suitable helpmeet for Adam.” In other words, all the animals did not mean just dogs and lions, but things that looked quite a bit like a person as well. It was not the physical differences that made them “unsuitable,” it was also the spiritual intimacy.

In time, or perhaps after the flood incident, animal/humans would have died out or been competed out by these humans with self-knowledge and a two-way relationship with God, as well as the cultivation He had taught Adam?

I see no scriptural problem with man evolving from single celled organisms – we each were single celled organisms at one point – perhaps the process of growth in the womb is a picture of the original plan? (phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny).issue636

There is an inappropriate emotional response by many Christians to the word “evolution.” This is as inappropriate as the initial response by us to the concept of “The Big Bang.” As mentioned before, both are merely an effort by scientists to describe a process. There should be no moral implications connected (granted there often are, as many “scientists” now treat these processes as a form of religion).

However, we should not be offended by the idea of God making use of a process, like evolution, to create and change His creation any more than of Him using the water cycle to create rain, gravitational pull to create a day, the light spectrum to create a rainbow, or even the process of statistics to guide the rolling of dice! Understanding a process does not steal away anything Divine, but only the superstitious version of religion. These in depth and complicated processes should do nothing more than prove a designer! The more complex a process, the better the proof!

In fact, to dismiss a designer for no better reason than understanding the process makes little logical sense… if I understand the process for how an airplane is built, does that dismiss Boeing from existence? To me, this has seemed similar to finding a murder scene and deciding the more I learn about the murder process, the more I become convinced that there was no murderer. I think investigation should move us in the opposite direction.

I do have a problem with the secular view that man is essentially no different that animals, and the view that evolution is random – precisely because of what I wrote above, and just from the statistical issues involved. This seems unlikely from a statistical view and from a final outcome view.

But, could their be a designer involved?

We will be hosting a Speech & Debate Tournament here in Tyler on Feb 26, 27, and 28th…. at Calvary Baptist Church on Old Jacksonville (the schedule is below).  We need and would love to have local judges come and judge speeches and debates.  Come and be encouraged and impressed by bright leaders of the future engage in high quality speeches and debates.  It gives me hope every time I judge!

304_STOA_Christian_HomeschoolYou need to set aside whatever time is available, plus about 30 minutes for training.  Anyone can do this… and it is fun for the kids to have local people come and judge!

I expected this to be like kids badly doing some school concert that I would help and tolerate how bad it really is… but I was super impressed and encouraged it!

If you are in the Tyler area and interested, please let me know!  You can email me at chrismlegg@gmail.com.

Schedule

Thursday, February 26

Starts Ends Name
7:30 AM 8:00 AM Student Check In
8:00 AM 10:00 AM LD/TP Round 1
10:00 AM 12:00 PM Speech Pattern A- Round 1
11:30 AM 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 PM 2:30 PM LD/TP Round 2
2:30 PM 4:30 PM Speech Pattern B- Round 1
4:30 PM 5:45 PM Parli Round 1/ Juniors
5:30 PM 6:15 PM Dinner
6:15 PM 7:30 PM Parli Round 2
7:30 PM 8:45 PM Parli Round 3

Friday, February 27

Starts Ends Name
7:45 AM 8:00 AM Announcements
8:00 AM 10:00 AM LD/TP Round 3
10:00 AM 12:00 PM Speech Pattern A- Round 2
11:30 AM 12:30 PM Lunch
12:30 PM 2:30 PM LD/TP Round 4
2:30 PM 4:30 PM Speech Pattern B- Round 2
4:30 PM 6:30 PM LD/TP Round 5
6:30 PM 7:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM 8:15 PM Parli Round 4

Saturday, February 28

Starts Ends Name
7:30 AM 7:45 AM Parli Topic Draw
7:45 AM 8:30 AM Parli Round 5 Followed by Announcements
8:30 AM 10:30 AM SPEECH FINALS
10:30 AM 12:30 PM LD/TP Round 6
12:30 PM 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM 2:30 PM Parli Round 6 / Juniors
2:30 PM 4:30 PM TP Finals
3:00 PM 4:00 PM LD Finals
4:30 PM 5:30 PM Parli Finals
5:30 PM 6:30 PM Clean Up and Dinner
6:30 PM 7:30 PM Awards Ceremony

In addition to the powerful rationale of the arguments for the existence of the mind and of God (which represent total other articles), most of us also have a powerful intuitive response to the idea that “there is nothing else.” I experience in my soul that there is something more. Of course, I accept that could be delusion, but I am convinced by the reason, my experience, what I believe to be the testimony of God’s Spirit, and my own intuition that there is something more.

With that in mind, how does someone with a serious respect for the scientific process of studying the “natural” world interact with the biblical accounts of creation?

I am glad you asked.

First, let’s look at the very basic perspectives that are in play:

In specific regard to the creation story… Here is a quick look at some theories that main views can be broken into:

Secular Scientism, materialism, naturalism (or sometimes referred to as evolutionism) – This view holds that process oriented theories, like evolution, alone can explain (and can explain alone) and do (or at least will) explain all the issues revolving the concept of where mankind and matter came from. This view says that “God” (whose existence is denied) had and has no role in any aspect of existence, including beginnings. There are many variations within this basic view, but they all share a secular foundation.

Theism, Deism (some call this theistic evolution, but that term lacks a common definition at this point)– This view holds that some kind of creator/designer god created all that is, including natural laws, which may include laws about evolution, set this creation into motion, and has not interfered in any way since then, at least not supernaturally.

Progressive Creationism (sometimes this is what is called “Theistic Evolution” as well)– This view says that this God has been intimately involved in the creative and growth processes of creation. It evolutionbasically holds to the traditional or similar view of creation except for the timetables. It is basically an old earth view of creation. This view is very broad and might include, for example, an historical Adam or might not, depending on the person you ask. It often also involves a role for evolution – at least at the micro level and often at the macro level.

  1. Traditional Creationism – This view holds to the strictly literal view of creation – historical Adam, 3 sons of Adam & Eve, 6 – 24 hour days, etc. Based on lineages offered in scripture, this view tends to see the earth and the rest of the universe as much younger – often between 6-10,000 years old. How/why, then does the earth seem so much older? Here are three common views:
  1. Gap Theory – in the gap theory, the space between Gen 1:1 and 1:2 are seen as significant.   This theory posits that the space in between indicate another age of “earth” that has already been before and been destroyed before. This earth is why the earth seems so old – because it actually is, at least below the surface. Technically, this would still be an old Earth theory. I see no problem with this theory except that it is crafted from silence. However, it would not be in any competition with other old earth theories.
  1. Created Old Theory – in this theory, it is posited that the earth was created already old – like the chicken being created as a chicken, not an egg, or Adam being created as a grown man, not an infant. Of course, these first two would technically be old-Earth theories since in both cases, the actual Earth would be old. This one seems problematic to me because it feels deceptive. I do not think it fits in with the character of God that we cannot trust our experience of the natural world around us. Further, it seems extremely arbitrary since each created thing is aged at very different rates. An adult fruit fly might be a few hours old, an adult human 18 years? (odd to think how old Adam would have been, huh? We have no information. Maybe he was a fetus… or maybe 50), the light from a star might be millions of years old.
  1. Environmental Changes – This view closely examines the pre-flood climate and the effects of the flood on creation… this one is actual young Earth theory. If you are intrigued to study this option more, I would recommend: https://answersingenesis.org

Biblically, I think that the first chapters of Genesis was written primarily to express why and by whom creation was managed (in other words, to show the teleology) – not how, when, or exactly what. It would be difficult to explain even simple systems that we do understand in only 2 chapters – imagine trying to explain the rules of football in 2 chapters!

Therefore, any theory that includes

1) God being the source of all things – matter, energy and life, for example andcreation-001

2) indicates that He made man distinct from the animals (special) and that He was motivated by His desire to share a relationship with us (loves us) and continues to be engaged in His creation,

should be on the table for Christians and still be considered potentially doctrinally sound.

With that in mind, most of the Christians who are new to reading about these topics are most surprised to find that an old Earth view of creation is not heresy or blasphemy.  If that is you, then I think you will enjoy the rest of this material….

 

Both the “natural” sciences and theology are seeking the true statement. The purpose statement of both are completely integrate-able. In fact, there are many who have made a point of showing the obvious and perhaps necessary connections between good theological thinking and the roots of good scientific thinking. The two paradigms are not contradictory. For centuries, this has been the case.

For the believer, all truth should be seen as God’s truth. God, if anything, is a God of truth.

So, if something is an accurate statement… remember that the very concept of truth is sourced in Him.   It doesn’t matter how and who uncovers something that is true… if it is true, then the ultimate source of that is God.

However, as impressed as I have been by the general lack of scientific knowledge, I was just as impressed by the profound lack of biblical understanding that people who claim to believe in the Bible… and how few have even read much of it.

A lot of people have very strong opinions about passages of scripture that they have not read. Let me encourage Christian people everywhere to go back and read Genesis 1-3 if you haven’t done so in a while before reading the rest of this article.

* * * * * * * * *

There are two concepts that are vitally important to any biblical theory on the origins of mankind in specific and life in general. In my opinion, these are two of the most important concepts. They engage with “why” and “who.” It is vital to discover where someone stands on these two before intelligent discussion can follow.

  1. Teleology – basically, this means “purpose.” Is there design to the universe? Is its form intentional? Is there any kind of “creator” behind it? Is the state of the universe the result of randomness in interaction with certain processes or is it the result of intentional order?
  1. Providence – basically, this means continued interaction. Is there/has there been anything or anyone involved with the changes in the universe? Does this entity ever make changes in the universe; is it still involved or are the changes within the universe still the result of nothing more than randomness in interaction with certain processes?

Obviously, the Christian (along with about 94% of the rest of the world’s population) have come to the conclusion that there is teleology (purpose) to the universe. Many have also come to believe that there is a continued involvement of this “designer” throughout history.

Couldn’t there just be NO God/Designer/Creator, though?

I often say that I can identify with people who think there is NOTHING except the material world. As a psychologist, I can fathom that all of our concepts of God, gods, spirits, miracles, forces, minds, souls, etc. are essentially delusional. Certainly, humans are capable of that…

However, that also means that there is, as Nietzsche once said “No big dark secret behind it all…” or something like that… Meaning, there is NOTHING else.

My experience of seeming to have a mind, that is not merely my brain, is ILLUSION.

My emotions that I have when in love are NOTHING more than mating instincts.

The feelings of the miraculous I experience are NOTHING more than accidental delusion created by the way the human processor seeks to find patterns.

The camaraderie that I experience is not transcendent of merely my bio-chemical desire for a pack.

In other words, I would also need to accept that all of my experiences are NOTHING more than bio-chemical reactions in my body and MUST NOT be interpreted with any more meaning than that.

If there is no “supernatural,” then we are nothing more than slightly-to-somewhat more complex eating, pooping and mating machines with not more real significance (beyond complexity) than tape worms.my_tapeworm_is_hungry_tshirt-r3e00e2a81ab0404285fc8702270b5c05_804gs_512

And with that uplifting thought, we will get ready for next week – so go back and read those passages again!

The Question of Creation

When I speak as a Bible teacher and I open up the conversation for questions, I typically get questions in one of two directions – sex or science.

Periodically, I travel and speak to a group and am introduced as an atheist (the listeners actually are in a skit in which they are led to believe that I am an atheist) and the audience and I have a conversation in which they are allowed to ask the atheist anything they want to ask. By far, the most common issues are about science.The-Creation

I have been troubled by the incredible lack of scientific understanding that most people who claim the name of Christ have.

I know that not everyone is a scientist and not everyone needs or has to be a professional, but this world that God has created is amazing and fascinating! In my opinion, everyone is a theologian… some are bad at it and some are good at it. I believe the same thing about science. You are a student of the natural world and you have opinions about it.

You may have no idea what you are talking about, but you have opinions.

I believe that Romans 1, among other passages, reveals to us that God’s creation reveals a lot about Him! It is a wonderful thing when a Christ follower is enchanted enough with God’s creation to systematically study it… and that is what a scientist is.

I know it isn’t just Christians, but probably everyone in the Western world… but we should be motivated! When God is introducing Job to His power, He points to the natural world – animals, stars, etc.

This level of serious ignorance causes Christians to say scientifically very silly things, like:

References to the “fact” that men have one less rib than women do because of God using a rib from Adam to make Eve.

I will give you a second to count them…. Same number of ribs in both genders.

or

“God would never start with a single cell to create a human.”

Let that marinate for a second.

…..

Pretty sure that every single time a human being comes into existence, God starts us as a single cell which we call a zygote.

* * * * * * * *

However, I think I understand why many Christians, who know little of science, have a science-phobia. They have bought into the idea that if we can understand the process, the designer/creator is explained away.

This is very silly. It borders on being nonsensical, in my opinion.

It is bad enough when secularists buy into this “god-of-the-gaps” mentality; a god who can be explained away with something as simple as a process is not a sound theological concept.

It is much crazier, and much less excusable, for believers to make this mistake.

Isn’t it your experience that the more complex a process is, the more likely it is intentional?

A watch, a gun, a car, etc… these operate by complex processes. Would it be rational to accept the assumption that they had no designer? That there was no intentionality behind their existence?

Does understanding the processes by which a revolver operates in any way indicate that Col. Colt did not exist?   Does colt001understanding how the combustion engine works does not somehow explain away Henry Ford? Of course not. Aposteriori (with experience) thinking shows us clearly that complex processes, at least typically, have a designer.

I say this only because in this world, it is becoming common for secular scientists (Sam Harris is famous for it) to present any belief in God as essentially mental illness. Quite the contrary, it is very rational to believe in a designer/creator.

As a believer, I should not be threatened by understanding a process theory – a theory that explains “how” something happens. Knowing the rain cycle does not mean that it is not God who “makes it rain.” (Jer 5:24) In fact, the incredible complexity even of something as simple as the water cycle motivates me to ask “why” and “who.”

Some secularist are so uncomfortable with these questions, that they seem unable to accept that the questions exist at all! I talk more about this in the series that starts here:

I understand why many in the secular world, whether scientific in their mindset or not, think of theistic thinking as the enemy. Though I understand how many theists have gotten to the point of thinking as scientific thinking as the enemy, it should not be that way.

Both the “natural” sciences and theology are seeking the true statement. The purpose statement of both are completely integrate-able. In fact, there are many who have made a point of showing the obvious and perhaps necessary connections between good theological thinking and the roots of good scientific thinking.

The two paradigms are not contradictory. For centuries, this has been the case.  Why, then, is has there become such a divide?

We will pick up there next time…

Now, why would God be three and one – what difference would that make?

For a long time, many Christian theologians, I think, were taught like I was… that the Triune aspect of God’s nature was academic and interesting, but of no real practical value.

I hinted earlier that recent discussions have focused in on some of the traits that God has revealed about Himself – like that He is loving (I John 4:7, Romans 8:39, 2 Thess 3:5, and many more). And the kind of love connected to God is typically the kind that is sacrificial, charitable, and generous.

How does that work if God existed alone for untold eras “before” the creation of time, or of course, creatures or… even intelligent creatures… angels, humans, aliens, little white mice or dolphins (thanks Douglas Adams)?

How did God practice sacrificial, deferential, serving love if there was no – one but Him around? Granted that love can be a trait that does not have to be expressed all of the time – at least not in action (a person can still love even if they are trapped on an Island, at least by thinking loving thoughts)…

but this trait seems to fundamental to God, that it would make sense that His very identity would be such that He could express love – disinterested and sacrificial love – by the nature of His own Essence.

Notice why the concept of God being three has potential to answer this quandary with great grace – and we even can see it play out in the Bible exactly that way…

The Father encouraging and point to the Son (Mark 3:17, 9:7, Rev 5)

The Father giving the Spirit (John 14:26)

The complexity of the Triune God

The complexity of the Triune God

 

Jesus honoring the Spirit (John 16:7, Matt 12:32)

Jesus pointing to the Father (John 14:28, Matt 10:32, and essentially everything He said)

The Spirit uplifting the Son (Luke 1:35, Luke 4:1-18)

The Spirit encouraging people to the Father (Romans 15:13, 1 Cor 2:10-13)

These are some of the dozens of examples of how the members of the Trinity defer to and love one another…

And we can easily assume that their mutual admiration society extends to before anyone or anything was created – thus allowing God to be by nature, loving and even deferential to someone before anyone was created – because by His own nature, there are Three.

 

That is significant theologically, and pretty cool and implies a wisdom that is beyond something we could have invented, as is so often the case when we begin to uncover the implications of theological truth.

 

Is it for certain that God is? Is it for certain that God is Triune?

 

I am not confident that humans can know anything with absolute certainty. As a psychologist, I am aware of the fact that we can be truly deluded and unable to distinguish reality from non-reality… and in fact, unreality can seem more real for many. No one is free from at least this question about what they believe. Schizophrenic people are unaware that they are not in reality, by definition.

 

However, what I can say is that it is not irrational to believe in the Triune God, and it is a rationally sound concept.

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