“Man belongs to two spheres. And Scripture not only teaches that these two spheres are distinct, it also teaches what estimate of relative importance ought to be placed upon them. Heaven is the primordial, earth the secondary creation. In heaven are the supreme realities; what surrounds us here below is a copy and shadow of the celestial things. Because the relation between the two spheres is positive, and not negative, not mutually repulsive, heavenly-mindedness can never give rise to neglect of the duties pertaining to the present life. It is the ordinance and will of God, that not apart from, but on the basis of, and in contact with, the earthly sphere man shall work out his heavenly destiny.”
Art can glorify God because of the intrinsic good of creation, not because it has some transformative, redemptive power to usher in spiritual redemption… Poorly written novels — no matter how pious and edifying the behavior of the characters — are not good in themselves and are therefore not really edifying.
In our sermon series on “The Gospel According to Abraham,” we’ve been introduced to the Covenant of Grace. We saw how God furthered His Covenant of Grace with Abraham in Genesis 15, cutting the animals in half and passing through that valley of death to ratify His promise to Abraham and his offspring. But did you notice the seemingly insignificant detail in Genesis 15:11? “And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.” Now why would God include this little tidbit of Abram trying to scare off some buzzards? Is it just to fill in some of the details of the story? Or, is God’s Word so rich and intricate, that even this easily overlooked verse can teach us more of God’s ways? Continue reading →
There are a few events and truths that are so powerful, all of our existence is changed by them. Think what has happened to the world since 4th of July, 1776. Or how things would look so different if D-Day, 1945 in WWII had never happened. But none of these can compare with that first Easter Sunday, the day Jesus defeated death and began to “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). All of history and reality is re-focused through the prism of the Resurrection.
I don’t agree with everything from the Milton Friedman-U of C school of thought. In fact, there are parts even in this brief segment that I have strong reservations about.
But is anyone strong enough to disagree with his opening assertion?
There is a fundamental economic law – which has never been contradicted to the best of my knowledge – and that is that if you pay more for something, there will tend to be more of that something available. If the amount you are willing to pay for anything goes up, somehow or other, somebody will supply more of that thing.
We have made immoral behavior far more profitable. We have, in the course of the changes in our society, been establishing greater and greater incentives on people to behave in ways that most of us regard as immoral.
If this is correct, how may this insight be applied to current moral challenges?
I’m working through the Abraham toledot in our Lord’s Day morning sermon series “The Gospel According to Abraham,” and recently was looking at Genesis 15:12, “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram…”
The word tardemah translates the “deep sleep” that Abram experienced, and nearly every time it is used it takes some special significance.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep (tardemah) to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
1 Samuel 26:12
So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head, and they went away. No man saw it or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep (tardemah) from the LORD had fallen upon them. Continue reading →