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COLUMN: By faith … we understand!

OPINION: “The faith to which we are called as Christians is not ‘blind faith’. There are good reasons to believe the Bible’s record, and we engage our minds as we think about this doctrine of creation. We apprehend what it teaches us about God, His nature, and our relationship to Him, as well as our relationship to the rest of nature.”

The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.

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The ‘hall of faith’ in Hebrews 11 is one of the passages that Christians are most familiar with. It is inspiring to look at the recounting of the biblical heroes, and spurs us on to greater faith. But the first example of faith that the author recounts is one practised by all believers. Hebrews 11:3 tells us:

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

There is a lot of content packed in one small verse which is worth looking at in more detail.

By faith

There are many truths in Scripture that we can only arrive at through special revelation. Nothing in nature would cause someone to arrive at the doctrine of the Trinity; we believe it because it is clearly taught in Scripture.1

Likewise, nothing in nature would lead us to the absolute truth that God created in an orderly process over six 24-hour days. Our own human reason cannot lead us to this truth, either. We must believe it by faith. This does not mean that science has nothing to say about the matter, only that it cannot reach back to the first days of history and tell us what happened. Only an eyewitness can do that, and God was the only eyewitness to creation.

There is a great deal of scientific evidence consistent with six-day creation—but such evidence can never prove either creation or evolution, due to science’s built-in limitations. It is not even enough to have ‘an eyewitness’ when the truths one is proclaiming are so important for our lives that we are literally staking our eternal existence on their trustworthiness. It requires an infallible, divinely-inspired record, which is what we believe the Bible is.

We understand

But the faith to which we are called as Christians is not ‘blind faith’. There are good reasons to believe the Bible’s record, and we engage our minds as we think about this doctrine of creation. We apprehend what it teaches us about God, His nature, and our relationship to Him, as well as our relationship to the rest of nature. When we understand the doctrine of creation, we will apply it to all areas of our thinking. For instance, because human beings are created in the image of God, human life is sacred, so we will be pro-life and anti-slavery.

Because we are the stewards of creation, we will take reasonable steps to preserve the environment, without crossing the line into ‘geolatry’. We could multiply examples; in short, it will affect our thinking in every aspect of our life and worldview.

It is also noteworthy that the ‘we’ in Hebrews 11:3 is talking about believers. This is a truth that is not accessible to people who are not in the right relationship with God, because they have rejected the revelation that would have taught it to them. The idea that faith is preliminary to right knowledge is not new to the author of Hebrews. Much earlier, Scripture stated that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10Proverbs 9:10). This means that “the fear of Yahweh is where we must begin, if we are to have any hope of gaining wisdom.”2

The only way we can understand the true history of the world is by faith; by trusting in the true God who has revealed Himself to us through Scripture.

Creation through the Word of God

Because He is the Creator, God is the source of everything that exists. Unlike in pagan creation myths, however, God did not create the world as the outcome of a war with other gods; He created the world by His Word. He spoke, and what He commanded to come into being, began to exist. Scripture uses God’s identity as Creator to contrast God, who created humanity, with false gods, who are created by humans.

The New Testament, of course, teaches us that Jesus is the Word of God incarnate (the logosJohn 1:1).3 Jesus claimed to be with the Father before creation, and He is the agent of that creation. In light of this fact, it is even more important that we believe what He says about creation, and Jesus Himself referenced God creating the world (Mark 13:19).4

Visible out of invisible

If the creation was not made out of visible things, it had to be made from something not visible—the Word of God. And Scripture teaches that just as it was created by that Word, it continues to be dependent on the Word for its continued existence: “For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16–17).

Examples of faith in the unseen

The author of Hebrews goes on in the rest of chapter 11 to recount examples of Scriptural heroes who had faith in the unseen. Noah had never seen a global Flood; yet he believed God and built an ark which saved him, his family, and the animals. Likewise, Christians today believe in Jesus, whom we have not seen, but we trust Him to save us from judgment. Abraham went out to a land that he had never seen. Yet the author of Hebrews says that Abraham was looking forward to an even better country—the New Jerusalem (11:10, 16).

Materialist scientists pride themselves on only trusting what they can see and test in a lab. But they are either lying or deluded. They believe in things like the big bang, past climate scenarios, evolution and many other things, real or otherwise, they have not seen. Second, they are only personally capable of ‘doing science’ in their own field. A biologist must assume that the chemists, physicists and other scientists on whose work his own research depends have done their own jobs correctly. And given that less than half of peer-reviewed published scientific research can be replicated,5 it seems that many put far too much trust in ‘science’.

Faith in an unbelieving culture

It can be difficult to ‘go against the current’ of the culture, which is thoroughly evolutionized. Creationists are considered so wrong in many areas as to be worthy of only mockery, not serious intellectual engagement. There is thus a real temptation for many Christians to compromise on God’s revealed Word so as to be accepted in an evolutionized world.

However, the Bible’s record reveals that God rewards those who trust His Word, especially against a hostile, disbelieving culture. This does not mean having blind faith, but rather trusting God’s promises based on what we know to be true of His nature. Christians trust Jesus with our eternal destiny based on the testimony of Scripture; shouldn’t we also trust the same book when it tells us why we need to be saved in the first place?

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter

    August 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Who told you that a person is broken because of their Gender, or because of their skin color
    Are you that way, they do say? They do meen that you are broken , and this world has doctors who say you need to be fixed . God has not said such a thing.

    Gender What is it in the eyes of God?
    If God’s people would love all of the humans the way He says to we would not have so many thinking that there are people who are born to what they are and that it is a cause for a -{US AND THEM} world God has no such teaching or doctrine of ***US and THEM*** He does call all of that type of thinking a sin.

    How were we made as God made, Only the People who love God will show what God is in their gender, others are saying they don’t want God or His ways and He says let them go, their own way and now is all they want. We can’t change what God calls for, and we do not have the job of police over the salvation, of what God calls for in others,

    This is what God made and says we all are, to have an Identity of a Eunuch Gender is not God saying that the person is broken because of it. And what we are to do if we obey Him, Is repent of and sins not change our Gender. !

    Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:22-24, Ephesians 5:22-33, Deuteronomy 22:5 is what God made. As such we are not broken because what life has given us as the eunuchs . There is no sin in it or shame.
    Gender and what a human wants in sex are two diferent things.
    Any Eunuch could fall for a false love in our world because of what the church people do, It is easy to see how the perverts can take the un broken in our world the saved people should not let them have them. And we should be the first to say you are not broken and God does love just the way you are.

    The old church of God of the new Covenant has always looked on the medical condition of Transgenderism as a human thing, a human identity promlem, is what people have turned it into, It is a human medical condition but does not need to be fixed so others can love the way they want to, in the flesh, and that the saved people of this flesh and blood world should look out for those who some will take the advantage of because of their Biological human mis understanding of Gender. The old church of God of the New Covenant will not and has not ever said that God does not love all Humans.

    We Have always Understood it as a Medical Condition. A common assumption among some doctors is that there is a biological basis for transgenderism, and we have always said this is the truth and we are not told what from God , and humans should have compassion when a person has trouble in their life when the body is not as strong as others may think they should be we should love like Jesus has loved us all.

    Even if a biological basis for transgenderism could be proven, or not is that basis determinative or does it only provide a disposition for transgenderism that must also take environmental and cultural factors into account?
    The fact is we are just humans and all one Race of Humans, and do have trouble in the flesh with many illnesses in that flesh .
    Gender as something other than birth sex would be some one or something who can change the way a human was made and we know that is not true. to create it takes God and Him only. . Those studies do not suggest that those who experience gender incongruence with their birth sex have chosen that experience, this is a human thing and not of the choice the person would make. But those factors that seem out of their control in regards to their sense of gender have a psychological and cultural cause along with, or rather , a biological cause. In birth . We do know that it does make people think that the person is broken .
    Today most mental health professionals work to help individuals with their experience of gender incongruence rather than the gender incongruence itself. This is because of what the world thinks is an evil thing, but it is not.
    Sex sin is sin just as all other sins.
    Mental health work would be much easier if the people of this world would have love for others just as the Bible tells them to have.

    What we as a nation have to do is, not let the sex perverts have open control of the people who have Gender trouble, they are those who want same Gender marriages , and God calls His people to tell all that a Judement day is coming.
    Judgement On Sex Perverts will be no deferent from any other sin.
    The saved people are to tell them no. because He says no. They are not broken and are not sick, they do not need to be fixed so to please God or humans. God receives them just the way they are.
    The Eunuch Has no such thing to be fixed as their Identity before God they are .Not in the wrong, and are not to be used by any person .
    What is that way that the people of God should keep clean from , in the world ?
    Sex sins from the evil people who will take them over .
    The people of God do have a say for those who cannot help themselves, and God does say keep them from what He calls a Pervert.
    In the Bible, the word translated “perversion” is used to define a deviation from righteousness in sexual behavior (Leviticus 18:23; Romans 1:27; Ephesians 4:19; Colossians 3:5), speech (Proverbs 10:31), or justice (Ecclesiastes 5:8). In each case, there are warnings against using for evil something that God created as good.

    All saved people have God telling them to stop the evil uses of those who have no hope, no freedom, no liberty, those who can’t help themselves, so this world will have to take over the saved to get a free hand on those who have Gender trouble, God’s people will not let others rule over Gender trouble for sex pleasure under the devil.
    Many want the person to have true freedom, all of the saved people of God want this for them but there are those who want it because of what they are. Satans Perverts , once they get their way that person will have no freedom in this life.
    Why do the people of God seek to set them free so they can be free.?
    They know what the devil is and what He will do to them!
    Satan twists things. Every good thing that God created, Satan works to pervert. God created sexuality and called it good (Genesis 1:27-28, 31). Sexual union has a dual purpose—procreation (Genesis 1:28; 9:1) and joining marriage partners as “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8; 1 Corinthians 6:16). There will be no such thing as freedom with a Pervert.

    Since early days, human beings have found twisted uses for sex that accomplish neither of God’s intended purposes. The perversions were so widespread by the time God gave the Law to Moses that admonitions against specific perversions had to be included in detail (Leviticus 18:23; 20:12–13; Deuteronomy 27:20). According to Scripture, any sexual activity outside the marriage union of one woman and one man is a perversion
    and condemned by God (1 Corinthians 6:18; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
    The New Testament lists some specific sexual perversions such as homosexuality, adultery, and fornication, stating that those who practice such aberrant behaviors “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21).
    The saved do understand….

    The third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) first defined “Gender Identity Disorder” as a mental disorder in which someone identified with a gender other than one’s birth sex.
    Jesus says that some are born that way, as Eunuchs . And it is not a sin. Or does it make the person less than others?
    Gay is one thing but to be born without the need for sex in what God called in Jesus the eunuchs, this is not the person born to have sex with others , but them haveing no need for sex.
    Men and women are the perverts God is talking about …..
    Matthew 19:10-12 Jesus says they are born this way. With no needs for sex.
    In the Early Old Church of God of the New Covenant we see in the bible
    Baptism of the the Black skin Eunuch that an angel sent Philip
    To, is in the early old Church of God of the New Covenant
    Acts of the Apostles 8: 26-40
    A Black skin Human in great power on earth was in the eyes of Heaven this man who was just a Human one Race before God, and did worship God, and in His -God’s eyes to be saved because He was in the care of Heaven and because Heaven said so , was about to be take in with wind of God that Holy Ghost , and was about to have His life change forever. . He was good enough for salvation just the way He was.
    Here is where the Clergy of the Old church of God of the New Covenant get one of the saying, that you do hear , that if you work for God you go to any humans He sends you to, and He God has only one Human Race. and God has mercy of whosoever that comes to Him John 3:16., and we are not the police over the salvation of any human.

    Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.

    Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked,
    ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
    ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
    and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
    so he does not open his mouth.
    In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
    For his life is taken away from the earth.’
    The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’

    Question is do you think that Gender should be what keeps us from the water?

    He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

    In the ancient world, including ancient Jewish culture (as reflected in the Talmud), “natural” or “born” eunuchs were not associated with missing testicles. Rather, they were associated with stereotypically not a need for sex characteristics and behavior (just like modern people have, but to be a person who acts out as gay to have what the world calls love sex in wrong ), we should just give up the word that all are GAY, because that does say they want sex , and not all humans have such a need for sex. and it is not a cruse , to abstane from Gay sex. (just like modern gays who want to take others in perversion is a sin ). Moreover, as we have also seen, eunuchs were commonly associated without homosexual desire. (For a complete discussion of the term “born eunuch” and the connection with homosexuality, are two different things. See the web page http://www.oldchurchofGod.com

    The Early old church of God of the New Covenant Church Welcomed not a Gay Man, but a Eunuch , this man was not into sex but into what Jesus has for all Humans worship and a pure life. .) As a reasonably informed person of his time, Jesus would have been aware of this common view of eunuchs.
    Yet he very matter-of-factly asserts that some people are simply born, Eunuchs or as it should be said that way.
    The implication of his statement is profound — God created not gay people the way they are! But some are Eunuchs and He loves them just as they are.
    The want to uses other in sex, is a great sin in our world but that many are born without the need for it . Jesus says so. And that does not make the person Gay or in need of such as some to have Gay sex with them.
    Unlike the foolish of this world , Jesus says nothing is wrong with them and nothing is to be fixed, but one must look out for them in a world where humans have perverted in their way. , Jesus feels no need to “cure” these born or made eunuchs. He speaks no words of condemnation. Rather he lists people born gender neutral alongside another honored class (eunuchs for the kingdom), and accepts them as a natural part of God’s creation order.
    We are aware of and have always known that such talk in this church does cause great anger in this human world, but we preach and teach the truth of God not the thinking of Humans.
    Gender neutral people are in need of this world help, and the people of God should always be on the lookout for the perverts in our world and not let them take them.
    Thus, when Matthew 19 is read as a whole, we see Jesus teaches that most people are created for heterosexual marriage. (We too accept this as God’s predominant creation paradigm.) But, unlike some modern Christians, Jesus does not see this as the only honorable way to live. He acknowledges that some human beings have been created by God to follow a less common, but equally legitimate path. There are some who have been eunuchs from birth — made that way in the womb .
    What the so-called Help from Doctors are!
    A Lot of this is because other humans are saying that it is wrong to be a Eunuch.
    And that it needs to be fixed by the doctors of the world.
    We find that nothing is good enough for some humans, because they are different !
    Identity is not about color or sex in the eyes of God and should be taken away from this worlds thinking..
    By the fifth edition of the DSM (2013), “Gender Identity Disorder” was replaced with “Gender Dysphoria” to remove the stigma associated with the word “disorder.” The diagnosis has shifted from gender incongruence as a mental disorder signified by behavior to the discomfort or dysphoria experienced by an individual due to their gender incongruence. Under the new classification, not all people who would be identified as transgender would also be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, such as someone who no longer reported a sense of dysphoria after a sex reassignment surgery. Considering that 41 percent of individuals who experience gender dysphoria will attempt suicide, this tendency in the mental health field to focus on distress is understandable. And because of the perverts in our world.
    There are four possible outcomes for those seeking treatment for gender dysphoria: (1) gender dysphoria might remain unresolved, (2) it might be resolved in favor of birth sex, (3) it might be managed with intermittent cross-gender behavior (e.g., cross-dressing), or (4) it might be resolved by choosing to fully adopt their preferred gender over their birth sex (including medical options such sex reassignment surgery).
    While some studies of transgender individuals have shown a short-term psychological benefit to sex reassignment surgery, other studies have also shown that the rates of suicide are still abnormally high among those who have fully transitioned. Some blame the cause of continued psychological distress after surgery on the lack of full acceptance by society, but that theory alone may not account for the high number of suicides. Treatment that emphasizes a resolution toward preferred gender could mask problems that resolution alone does not solve. A few mental health professionals have questioned the morality of sex reassignment surgery, especially in light of the lack of hard evidence for a biological cause to transgenderism. An invasive surgical response, involving the disposal of healthy organs, may not be the ethical solution to what may be a deep-rooted psychological condition. In that case, it may not solve the root problem in the long run. Because of these concerns, some hospitals no longer permit sex reassignment surgeries.
    In children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the treatment options include a wait-and-see approach, encouraging the child to identify as their birth sex, or encouraging the child to identify in accordance with their gender incongruence. This last option may even include providing hormone blockers to delay puberty so that children will have time to enter adolescence before they make the choice of how to resolve their gender incongruence. This last treatment seems irresponsible considering the potential risks of sterility, the impact on bone mass and brain development, and that the majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria will not carry that diagnosis into adulthood.
    What God does not want is others saying that they need to be fixed. Because He sees them as good enough, and not broken as people think.
    Gender dysphoria does occur throughout the transgender community and brings with it some negative and dangerous behaviors, from body harming activities such as cutting to suicide it is caused by the words of others.. To say that it is a psychological condition in need of treatment does not take away from the spiritual dimension of gender dysphoria specifically, or transgenderism in general. This spiritual dimension also calls for help. According to Dr. Mark Yarhouse, an evangelical psychologist, transgender individuals should not be seen as soldiers in a culture war, but rather as its victims. The question that needs to be answered is how the church should respond to the issue of transgenderism and to transgender individuals in a way that is fully in line with God’s redemptive plan for all.

    In light of the body. Beyond certain behaviors that can be interpreted as reflections of transgenderism, Scripture does not specifically address a contemporary understanding of gender as a socially constructed concept different from biological sex. A Christian response to transgenderism is better established through a biblical theology of the body rather than by combing the Scriptures for applicable proof texts in light of specific behaviors. That is we are saying keep your mouth of of people of different color and of a different understanding of what you call sex, or Gender.
    At the heart of the transgender experience is gender incongruence, an internal sense of gender at odds with one’s birth sex. A common way to deal with that incongruence is to show a preference for one’s internal sense of gender as representing one’s true self over one’s body. That is what God has done.
    Some within the church have argued in support of a range of expressions of transgenderism by saying that one’s inner self, identified with the soul, should determine gender rather than the body. In other words, if someone with male genitalia has an internal sense of being female, then he should be properly understood as she. The body does not have the vote.
    It is God who sees us as we are. One thing we always say is we are what God says we are not what others think or say and not what we say we are.
    A biblical theology of the body, however, argues for the essentiality of the body in determining our identity in what we do not what we say we do or or want .. The scriptural witness of the sanctity of the body remains regardless of the shifting cultural understanding of gender. Scripture does not speak about transgenderism as it is understood today, but it still speaks to the transgender community and the church.
    A biblical theology of the body can aid the church in developing a response to the issue of transgenderism that respects God’s intention for and redemption of human beings.
    A biblical theology of the body necessarily involves three central Christian doctrines—the creation of humanity, the incarnation of Jesus, and the resurrection of believers. God said Go Philip to the Eunuch, that person was good enough for God so we should see God as God in this world .
    Through these doctrines the scriptural witness about the human body can be fully appreciated. These doctrines also serve as a background for understanding passages which apply more directly to behaviors related to transgenderism.
    Genesis 1:26–31 is the record of God creating, blessing, and commanding humanity as male and female. Humans are created in the “image of God” as male and female. The “image of God” refers at least to the role of humanity over creation as representatives of the authority of God. God’s blessing of humanity, like God’s other blessings throughout Genesis, pertains to continuance, which in this case, means procreation. If humanity is meant to represent God over the earth, then human beings must fill the earth. Hence, God’s first command to humanity is to be fruitful and multiply. Creation as male and female makes human fruitfulness, and by extension the calling to act as God’s image, possible.
    The biblical recognition of two distinct human sexes, female and male, from the creation of humanity as male and female in Genesis 1:26–27, is affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6. The Old Testament also narrates the role that sin plays in corrupting human nature, beginning in Genesis
    The New Testament affirms this corruption of humanity even to the extent of affecting sexual desires (Romans 1:18–32). There is not one aspect of being human or the human experience that is unaffected by fallen-ness, including, but not limited to, biology, reason, spirituality, self-identity, and the relations between all aspects of humanity. The relationship with the Creator and the rest of creation, including other human beings, is also affected by human fallen-ness. Salvation, found in Christ, includes a healing of the effects of fallen-ness so that no aspect of being human or the human experience should be unaffected by God’s redemption through the incarnate Lord.
    The human body receives no greater honor than in the doctrine of the Incarnation. That the Word of God would become flesh and dwell among humanity (John 1:14) shows that the human body as created by God can embody the presence of God. Jesus was born, lived, and died a fully human life as God in the flesh, yet without sin. His resurrection was a bodily resurrection as a human being, the firstfruits of all those whom God will raise (1 Corinthians 15:20–23).
    Jesus lived with all the experience of a human body and all the differentiation a human body possesses in comparison with other human bodies. Jesus grew to a certain height with specific features that made Him identifiable to all who knew Him. He was born with an ancestry that marked Him as Jewish within Israel and the greater Roman world. He had a sexual makeup that identified Him as male.
    Even the scars on His body, which helped identify Him as the Risen Lord to His followers, remain part of His bodily life after the Resurrection. Jesus experienced all the limitations of a human body, including sleep, hunger, sweat, and pain. While not everything about the body of Jesus is described (His height, weight, complexion, hair color, eye color, etc.), what is described reveals Jesus as a fully embodied human with all that goes with a body, from a genetic heritage to daily hunger.
    Jesus remained a fully embodied human being after His resurrection. Jesus is the only concrete example of a final human resurrection. If Jesus rose from the dead with a body that was identifiable, not only as human but as Jesus still bearing the scars of the Crucifixion, then all bodies will be redeemed in the resurrection and still be identifiable. The body then will be continuous with the body now, though made different by the resurrecting power of God.
    Until next time : Old Church of God Church Elder:

  2. Avatar

    ChrisS

    August 9, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Where are the footnotes?

  3. Avatar

    erik hardrada

    August 10, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I am still fascinated by religious apologetics. They just drip with earnestness & desperation. Like the footnote numbers in Lita’s piece, they are signposts to dead-ends, obviously written not so much to persuade skeptics as to shore up the faith of the already persuaded. Even in stubbornly pious America, religious faith is hanging on grimly, but waning, which gives me some modest hope for the future.

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