N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 76, Part 1 (the Creation Waits with Eager Longing)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 8:18

(Rom. 8:18 ESV)  18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

The translations differ as to whether Paul means revealed “in” (KJV, NKJV, NIV) us or “to” (ESV, NET, NASB, NRSV) us. The Greek preposition is eis, usually translated “into,” “unto,” or “toward.” Wright says that the preposition is —

implying not merely that we are to be shown a vision of glory (as the NRSV implies), nor simply that a glory will appear within us (as the NIV implies), but that the future revelation will bestow glory upon us, from above, as a gift.

N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians, vol. 10 of NIB, Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 595.

That is, not only will we see glorious things, and not only will glorious things take place, but we’ll participate in the glories of the New Heavens and New Earth (NHNE) (which Paul will get to shortly).

Romans 8:19

(Rom. 8:19 ESV)  19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 

“Sons of God” [JFG]

Really? The glory that is already in us by virtue of the Spirit’s indwelling (like God’s Glory, the Shekinah, in the midst of the tabernacle or Temple) is hidden from most. When Jesus returns, the curtain will be torn and our true, renewed, Spirit-empowered natures will be visible and on full display — revealing us to be “the sons of God” — the true Israel and (are you ready?) kings and queens of the universe.

Now, as we earlier covered, “sons of God” is taken from Deuteronomy, where it refers to the Israelites (male and female, but “sons” makes clear that we all inherit, even women). But “son of God” has a second meaning in the OT —

(Ps. 2:7-9 ESV)  7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.  9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 

“Son of God” was the title of the King of the Jews — from David to Jesus. And Paul is now shifting gears and hence metaphors. We’re not just the new Israel by faith in Jesus. We are also restored to the dominion over the Creation that God gave humankind, male and female, in Gen 1:26-28.

(By the way, “begotten” would be translated “born” if Paul were speaking of a mother rather than a father. It’s the same word used by Jesus in John 3:5 to speak of Christians being “born again,” but since Jesus is thinking of God the Father, I think the better translation is “begotten again,” which ties Jesus’s words to Psalm 2, which would make a lot of sense and be very consistent with the Greek usage throughout the rest of the NT. And, of course, to be re-begotten fits well with what Paul just said about God adopting us. He begets us again. We are re-Fathered.)

“The creation waits with eager longing” [JFG]

To the modern, Western mind, it makes no sense to speak of the Creation — largely inanimate matter — “longing” for anything. How can the Creation have feelings? Is this real? Or is Paul just being poetic? Well, I think the answer is somewhere in between. That is, the renewal of Creation by God will be quite real. And the OT often speaks in terms of human sin impacting the Creation beyond humanity. In fact, the OT prophets often speak of the “land” or other non-human parts of the Creation yearning for redemption.

What does Paul mean by these images? Well, whatever the prophets meant by their similar language. It means at least that the heavens and the earth are affected by human sin. In fact, many of these passages can be most easily found by reading Creation Care literature, arguing for Christians to see God’s mission as including care for the Creation. It’s not all going to burn. Some parts will be redeemed.

James D. G. Dunn explains that “creation” includes more than just humanity —

This is implied by the clear allusion to the narratives of creation and of man’s/Adam’s fall (Gen 1–3, particularly in the next sentence [v 20])—creation understood in distinction from humankind (and from the creator), as also in 1:25. As (the rest of) creation in the beginning had its role in relation to man, the crown and steward of creation (Gen 1:26–30; 2:19), so creation’s rediscovery of its role depends on the restoration of man to his intended glory as the image of God.

James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1–8, Word BC 38A; Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 487.

2. Isaiah 65 and 66, Rev 21 and 22, and all the other NHNE passages speak of the entire Creation being redeemed or transformed. I mean, Gen 1 says that God created “the heavens and the earth,” being the very definition of “Creation.” If we’re going to have a NEW or RENEWED heavens and earth, then the entire Creation is to be redeemed/renewed. God says, “Behold, I’m making all things new” (Rev 21:5). (“New” translates kainos rather than neos. Especially when speaking of the afterlife, the NT writers used kainos to mean made new again or refreshed, whereas neos was used of something newly made. Hence, “made new,” “New Heavens and New Earth,” “new creation,” and “new covenant” all use kainos.)

3. If the entire Creation is to be renewed and freed from futility, as Paul is about to explain, then the entire Creation must have been subjected to futility and bondage.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Holy Spirit and Providence, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 76, Part 1 (the Creation Waits with Eager Longing)

  1. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    I read the verses in Psalms that have been quoted. But, I also read the rest of the text in this chapter. Look at the complete and tell us how the narrative is a description of Jesus. To me the last part is as far from Jesus (a loving Savior) as any king could get.
    Psa 2:1-12 ESV Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, (3) “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” (4) He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (5) Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, (6) “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (7) I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. (8) Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (9) You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (10) Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

    Of course, kissing the son could be an acronym to serving him, and we easily understand that to take refuge in him we will be blessed. But, the concept of him being easily angered and then his wrath quickly kindled, does not sound like the description of our Savior.

    My point is that the messages of these verses can all be applied to a human king, and he would fulfill the role perfectly. Then we have verse 7 which specifically states that, “The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”. When did God explain that he was not identifying the author of the book. Did he not also create the author? Was the author of the book (a king) not anointed of the Lord?

  2. Monty says:

    Larry,

    I know you’ve read 2 Thessalonians 1 about Jesus punishing those who know not God. Jesus is God. When you read about God’s wrath being kindled, his wrath is the same as his Son’s. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” The mercy of Jesus is the mercy of God. There is no variance. The Father is not more wrathful than the Son and the Son is not more loving than the Father. They are One.

  3. Larry Cheek says:

    Monty,
    I sure have. But, re read the Psalms 2 again and then explain to me who is doing the speaking, who is the author speaking to and especially notice the times specified in which these events are or will happen. The specification is either now or today, there is no projection into the future, especially as far into the future as it was to Christ. Do we believe that God would tell Jesus that he must ask as in verse 8 for this action to granted?
    (8) Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
    If this action is or was for Christ, then what would he need with the earth? His possession? I mean did you not explain that God and the Son Christ are One? The only way this can make any sense, would be if the message was not about God’s Son Christ, but about kings of the land in that time. Considering the message which God wrote upon the wall which Daniel interpreted, there are many similarities.

  4. Monty says:

    Larry,

    There are many Messianic prophecies that have a double meaning. The verse applied often times to someone in the present and also to someone(Christ) in the future. The Apostles often quote an OT verse that surely applied hundreds of years earlier to some present day event(in the past) and applied it to fulfilment in their day. They simply didn’t have a problem with it. One reason is they didn’t over analyze it.

  5. Larry Cheek says:

    Monty,
    So history does repeat itself, that is a fact. Does that mean that all authority for any event has to be traced back to the original event?
    Then you state,” There are many Messianic prophecies that have a double meaning. The verse applied often times to someone in the present and also to someone(Christ) in the future.”
    I guess you would have to give me an example of the double meaning, I can not think of a single one. But, one thing I believe that I can be certain of is there was only one Messiah to which prophesy was directed. Any similarities of events concerning the lives of men in the past was just coincidence. The only reference to a likeness of Christ in men of the past that I could relate to would be Adam bringing sin into the world and Christ bring the redemption from sins.

  6. JohnF says:

    In John 3:5 I would prefer “anothen” to be translated “reborn from above.” That understanding is consistent with the lexical definition(s) of anothen. Also consitent with what I think is the intent of Jesus’ statement.

    (Still not getting e-mail notifications.)

  7. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    How could this be a description of life in a NHNE of the time after resurrection? Is there not death here? Will we not be living longer than a tree? Will we really be building houses, planting vineyards, producing children? If we will have descendants they must have been produced after we are there. There will be sinners there who are a hundred years old? There will be Wolves and lambs (not Sheep) grazing together, Lions eating straw, serpent that eats (Satan does not eat) eats dust, sounds like the curse upon Satan. This sounds a lot more like our world with these animals being examples of wolves who are converted to followers of the Lamb, the Kings no longer in authority, having to live like the balance of the inhabitants.
    Isa 65:17-25 ESV “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (18) But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. (19) I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. (20) No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. (21) They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (22) They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (23) They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them. (24) Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

  8. GrandpaFloyd says:

    Larry,

    Sorry, I’m a bit late to the discussion but I just now saw your comment March 17 asking for messianic prophecies with double meaning. The first one that comes to mind is the very chapter in question, Psalm 2. Peter, John and the early believers prayed part of the 2nd Psalm in Acts 4:25, 26. Paul also quoted Psalm 2 in his sermon at Antioch in Acts 13. And the writer of Hebrews quotes from it twice. I think that Psalm 69 is a great example of double fulfillment. David is clearly speaking of himself in vs 5 when he says “O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.” But Jesus quotes verse 4 as applying to himself. And in Rom 15:3 Paul applies verse 9 to Jesus. And the list goes on, probably a couple dozen just from the Psalms.

  9. Dwight says:

    It is strange, but I remember the Jehovah’s Witness handing me a tract with people sitting with a lion on one side and a lamb on the other while their children played or was it 7th Day Adventist?

    But anyways, according to the scriptures Matt.22:30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.”
    Now what the Jews thought and expected is being corrected by Jesus.
    Just because the Jews thought in terms of a NHNE doesn’t mean that was the reality of the situation.

    Isaiah 65 is one of these mixed bag visuals. It is harking back to creation “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food.”
    But then again, “They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat.”
    While all animals might have been vegetarian at one point, Adam and Eve were not builders of houses, but inhabitors of a garden.
    Will there be infants and if so, then there will be marriage.
    And so it goes.

  10. Alabama John says:

    Dwight
    The children that have died all went to heaven as they were innocent from sin, alll of them.
    Hittite and Amorite, all killed (Duet 2:33-36) still those children killed by the Israelites at Gods command went straight to heaven and are with many others waiting on us to cross that river to heaven.

  11. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    Could those children receive that reward and it not been available to their parents? I ask that question because many claim that during that period of time all who died were just like “Rover” “dead all over” because there was no promise of a life after death. Of course, they also state that they would not be subject to condemnation in Hell either. They did not have the “Good News” about a Savior.

  12. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    Could those children receive that reward without it being available to their parents? I ask that question because there are those who believe that anyone who died during that time was just like “Rover” “dead all over” there was no access to a life after death because they did not get the “Good News” the Gospel. Of course they also testify that they would not be condemned to Hell either because they had no Law to obey.

  13. Larry Cheek says:

    Sorry about the duplicate. The first said 503 error.

  14. Dwight says:

    AJ, I kind of figured that if there would be no lame, decrepit, feeble people, and presumably no old people (as they will be made younger?), then the same might be true of the very young. I mean will there be toddlers in heaven? Babies? Will there be changing tables?
    Or will all of this transpire on a NHNE where the changing tables will be made anew?
    There is so, so much we don’t know.

  15. Alabama John says:

    All grown humans of a right mind that died worshiping something in some way. They might of not known God Himself, but being His creation, God knew them. God put His spirit in mankind and all that have lived had heaven calling in various ways before the law as we know it came in existence, no exceptions.
    In other words God didn’t create any people destined to hell upon birth. What kind of loving God would that of been?

  16. GrandpaFloyd says:

    Alabama John said “All grown humans of a right mind that died worshiping something in some way.”

    Could you unpack that statement a little bit? What about them? Were you replying to Larry Cheek? To Dwight?

  17. Alabama John says:

    GrandpaFloyd

    To be clearer:

    Larry: yes.

    Dwight: They will be changed, just how we don’t know as you said a lot is unsaid. Most important though is they (we) will be there.

    Let us remember Abraham was not worshiping God as we teach, but, the moon instead. God saw his sincerity by reading his heart and LOVED him. So, If Abraham had died before knowing God as He really is,Abraham would of gone to heaven by Gods grace and mercy judgment.

    That is how God has seen, loved and will judge most of mankind who erroneously worshiped as best they could using a supreme being or something they considered supreme, through their heart..

  18. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    I did not find that Abraham or Abram (his former name) worshiped the Moon in the scriptures. Where did you find that?

  19. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    You are correct. God did not create any people destined to hell upon birth. But, neither did he save them from birth. Man is responsible for God removing that Spirit from a man who was disobedient, as he disobeyed a direct command from God. When that Spirit was removed he was destined to punishment for his disobedience. God told us it would be a place called Hell which would administer his justice.
    God also commanded that man not worship anything, other than him. The scriptures identify many nations which worshiped earthly objects and were destroyed from being upon the earth. Do you remember the Golden Calf at the foot of Mt Sinai? Would those who died there deny that God killed them because they worshiped the calf?

  20. GrandpaFloyd says:

    Alabama John,

    When you preface something like “let us remember that…” it infers some reference to an authority that we would agree upon. But I’m quite sure that there is no authority that I would accept that teaches Abraham was worshiping the moon in Gen 12:7. Or that he was referring to the moon in Gen 14:22.

    So, just to put a fine point on it; Is it your position that when the Ammonites sacrificed their children to Moloch by burning them to death, as long as it was a sincere but erroneous act of worship then they have “gone to heaven by Gods grace and mercy judgment.”

    I realize this is argumentum ad absurdum, but I’m wondering if I’m just misreading you.

  21. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    This is found at the fourth occurrence of the word “moon” in the scriptures. There is not a mention of the word “moon” at any time while Abraham or Abram (his name before God renamed him) was alive upon the earth. He died 544 years before the Lord gave Moses The Ten Commandments.
    Deu 4:12-26 ESV Then the LORD spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. (13) And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. (14) And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess. (15) “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, (16) beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, (17) the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, (18) the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. (19) And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (20) But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. (21) Furthermore, the LORD was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. (22) For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. (23) Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. (24) For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (25) “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, (26) I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed.
    This is the fifth occurrence.
    Deu 17:2-7 ESV “If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, (3) and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, (4) and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, (5) then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. (6) On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. (7) The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

    Please explain how you believe that Abraham worshiped the moon.

  22. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    To carry GrandpaFloyd’s comment a little deeper, I would ask since you mention “from birth” about all those who God killed in the flood? Are they also heaven bound, if they worshiped anything?

  23. Alabama John says:

    All,
    Abram and his fathers family was in Ur (of the Chaldees) to be exact since there were several UR’s where they all worshiped many idols. Mainly the moon god Nanna.
    Joshua 24;2 says Abram worshiped them too, He grew up doing so as did all the others of that time and place.
    So much of this is on your computer as history. This type of info is not the bibles purpose, Most of history and the many people that have lived and worshiped God is not in the bible.

  24. Grandpa Floyd says:

    Alabama John
    The scripture is pretty straight forward. Abraham’s father, Terah, served other gods. Jos 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”
    Did Abram serve these other gods before God called him? I don’t know. Neither do you. The bible doesn’t say, and I would be highly suspect of any historian that claims to know. Many of us served other gods before the one true God called us. When God called me, I didn’t confuse his voice with the voices of those other idols I had been serving. It is clear that Yahweh God called Abram in Gen 12, not some demonic moon spirit. And Abram recognized the creator God and obeyed in faith.

  25. Alabama John says:

    Grandpa Floyd
    When raised by a father the son follows just as those of us followed our fathers into the COC. Abram was obedient to his father and the other kinfolks of his and as a good son worshiped what they taught him from his youth. That is the most sensible, reasonable belief, not a far fetched one.
    When God called Abram he answered Gen 12;1. Point is God called him and he didn’t know God before.
    Interesting that when he obeyed God and went to Canaan Abraham built an alter to Yahweh at Shechem Gen 12:7. Did God order Abraham to build that alter? That indicates to me a left over belief of building alters and monuments to the idols as was his practice before, including the moon god and who knows how many other gods, as there were many for different things, he worshiped before.
    We’ll never know, but we of the COC interpret the bible as we see and understand what is evidence don’t we. WE have far less proof or exact scripture,but interpretations for many of our beliefs than is presented here. Many heaven or hell beliefs of the COC have gone away and the God of grace and mercy taken their place just like Abraham.
    Thankfully that is changing in our beliefs and teachings and I believe that is very pleasing to God.

  26. Dwight says:

    I have heard this as well…that Abram worshipped the moon God’s or at least other gods than YWHW. It is more probable that this was one of the gods that were worshipped by Abram, among them YHWH. It must be noted that the gentiles had an altar to the Unknown God, of which Paul argued this was YHWH.

  27. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    I realize that there is very little communication about the activities of mankind after the flood conveyed in the scriptures. But, we should not quickly ignore that many of these individuals would have been very familiar with the God who brought Noah and family through the flood. Noah and his children who would have been testifying of the flood and God, remember that Noah built an altar and offered sacrifice, would we not expect that he did not just conduct the offering of these animals using only his imagination? It would be very unlikely that his imagination would have been so nearly like the same instructions which were given to Moses. Notice,
    Gen 8:20 ESV Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
    Clean animals and burnt them on an altar (guess work), No! God instructed him.
    Gen 7:5 ESV And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.
    Noah had not died prior to Terah’s birth, and we would believe that the influence of Noah’s teachings about God would have disappeared, to the extent that Abram would have no concept of God before God called him?

    But, the major point here is that Abraham designed his sacrifice and offering very nearly to the design of Noah’s. We have no clue what design that the moon worshipers were using while worshiping.
    It also seems that Noah was alive for 350 years after the flood which comes very close to the birth of Abram. In that short time men lost all track of God? By whose linage would we believe were responsible for the creation of this moon god worship, which we can read about in the history books? How can we be sure of the dates?

    But, the most important bit of information that we need to analyze here is what you stated earlier that, “man has worshiped God in many other forms”, as if worshiping the Moon would be just as the same as worshiping God. That God would accept that as his worship.

  28. Alabama John says:

    Goodd answer and observation Dwight.
    Larry,
    Many cultures have called on gods of different things like the god of medicine, god of fruits and vegetables, god of the hunt, god of fertility, and so many others. With our knowledge we know that what they were praying for was really heard and acknowledged by the only true God.
    people throughout the ages have has symbols relating to those different gods that we recognize today. Doctors, scientist, teachers, even the cross, some with Jesus symbol on them, of Christians are all symbols that we as humans wear.
    Humans all like something they can look at and touch while worshiping the unseen, untouched by our eyes and hands God of all the many universes.
    Surely we understand that.

  29. Dwight says:

    AJ, I wasn’t arguing that a worship of a moon God was the same thing as worship.to to God, but that Abram might have worshipped God, while he worshipped the others. Even if Abram did worship other gods than God, Abraham still was chosen by God and Abraham followed God from then on.out.

  30. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    You have stated, “Humans all like something they can look at and touch while worshiping the unseen, untouched by our eyes and hands God of all the many universes. Surely we understand that.”
    Yes we do understand that about mankind. But, our God has recorded in the scriptures that he has commanded for no one to make any kind of an image to bow down to. Listen to what God has to say about men who like the things that you have said in your statement. Can you will find statements from the scriptures which suggest that God will allow worship of an idol to be equal to worshiping him? In other words when men pay homage to the object of his choice then God accepts the servitude as his own.
    Isa 44:6-21 ESV Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. (7) Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. (8) Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” (9) All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. (10) Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? (11) Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together. (12) The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. (13) The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. (14) He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. (15) Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. (16) Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” (17) And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” (18) They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. (19) No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” (20) He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (21) Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
    Jer 7:9-10 ESV Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, (10) and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?
    Jer 10:1-6 ESV Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. (2) Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, (3) for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. (4) They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. (5) Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” (6) There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might.
    Read the rest of the chapter, God has more to say.

    Here are a few more messages about the things man likes.
    Exo 20:1-5 ESV And God spoke all these words, saying, (2) “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (3) “You shall have no other gods before me. (4) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
    Exo 23:23-24 ESV “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, (24) you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces.
    Lev 26:1 ESV “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.
    Deu 4:14-20 ESV And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess. (15) “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, (16) beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, (17) the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, (18) the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. (19) And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (20) But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.
    Deu 4:27-30 ESV And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. (28) And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. (29) But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.
    Jos 23:16 ESV if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”
    2Ki 17:35-41 ESV The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, (36) but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. (37) And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, (38) and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, (39) but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” (40) However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner. (41) So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.
    Psa 81:9-12 ESV There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. (10) I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (11) “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. (12) So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
    Zep 1:4-6 ESV “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, (5) those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, (6) those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him.”

    Dan 5:22-23 ESV And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, (23) but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.
    Rev 9:20-21 ESV The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, (21) nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

  31. Alabama John says:

    Dwight,
    Agree Totally!

    Larry,
    Lot of work you put in your answers.
    We in the COC still sing the old song “Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there” Some things we can touch or wear are idols and others are used as an addition to God worship.
    We must know the difference.
    Another note on what we have been talking about for those afar off from Acts 2;39. I like to think on this one a lot and have taught from it often to a lot of people in far off and unusual circumstances..
    Joel 2:28,32. Gods Spirit on ALL people of this world wherever, whenever, however, and ALL will be saved.
    GOD is GOOD!!!!!
    .

  32. Dwight says:

    Larry, your point is well taken, but AJ’s is not without merit either when he said, “Humans all like something they can look at and touch while worshiping the unseen, untouched by our eyes and hands God of all the many universes. Surely we understand that.”
    This is not really untrue.
    This is the reason we take pictures and keep the pictures of those who have died and passed on. We want to see the physical if possible. Seeing is believing and remembering and thus making more real.

    But having said that Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen”, thus is the greater degree of faith in getting past the physical proof or evidences.

    While it is true we are not told to make idols to represent God, since the invisible God cannot be captured in the physical, we are told to do things that capture a “shadow” or sense of God and/or Jesus. The Temple was such to reflect the glory of God on earth as was the Ark within.

    Now the Lord’s Supper gives us a physical representation of the Savior who died for us without contradiction. We are to see Jesus in the elements and partake of Him, tactually and spiritually.
    We must understand that we are not capturing the physical nature of God, since God is spirit, but that we are elevating ourselves spiritually, but also recognizing that God did come down in the physical, thus giving us a physical reference. He was born, he lived and died in the flesh. So are we to do as well, so we can live in the Spirit as the Spirit lives in us. But God gave us a way to see and feel and taste through the Lord’s Supper, but these were probably more geared towards uniting in a uncommon/common meal with the Savior as much as the elements themselves.

    A strange irony is that we often treat the LS like a repeat sacrifice in that we have an altar from which we serve the elements, instead of a table that is treated like a table on which we partake of the Lord’s SUPPER. In fact the invitation used to be called and sometimes is called an “altar call”.

    Sometimes it is hard separating the physical from the spiritual, when we often should, especially true in regards to the church. The membership and borders of the church are in heaven as assigned by God, this should keep us from setting physical limitations, but we still do it based upon what we see and perceive.
    We must overcome ourselves to see God.

  33. GrandpaFloyd says:

    Alabama John,

    Let’s go back to your original statement that Abraham was not worshiping God as we teach, but, the moon instead. Not only is that not a “reasonable belief” it is in fact quite the opposite of scripture. Gen 12:7 states that Abraham built an altar to YWHW. Not the moon, not any other god, but YWHW. I know that for a fact. And you know how I know that? I read Genesis. It says that after he built the alter Abraham called upon the name of the LORD–YWHW. You wondered whether or not the LORD commanded Abraham to build the altar, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he built it to YWHW and then called upon the name of YWHW. You mentioned something about how scripture is interpreted in the COC, however I’m not a member of the CofC so I’m unfamiliar with any idiosyncrasies of scripture interpretation. So there may be some understanding of scriptural interpretation that I’m unfamiliar with on this forum, but I don’t understand how you can take a passage that says one thing, and come up with the exact opposite of what it says. Your note on Joel 2 is a perfect example. You state regarding Joel 2:32 that ALL will be saved. However Joel 2:32 says: “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” That’s very different. And go on to read chap 3, there’s a whole heap of judgment coming.

    I think what I find most intriguing about this conversation is a surprisingly common theme I have found in the CofC blogs and forums; Christian Universalism, or postmortem salvation appears to be very common among your churches, or at least on these forums. Admittedly I am not too familiar with the CofC and so I thought I’d do a little reading and questioning and I’m disheartened to say the least. I knew the CofC had some peculiarities, but I had always assumed a biblical foundation. Postmortem salvation can only be reached at by one of two paths: denial of the plenary inspiration of scripture, or a torturous reinterpretation of scripture to the point where it is unrecognizable to the common, uneducated Christian.

  34. Dwight says:

    GF, I think AJ was gearing his thoughts on Abram’s worship to other deities before Gen.12:7 and before God spoke to him as he was raised by his father in the paganism of the land as you noted in an earlier entry. “Abraham’s father, Terah, served other gods. Jos 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”

    At least after Gen.12 Abram associated solely with God or YHWH as the one true God, but then again we wouldn’t expect a false god to speak to Abram as they can’t.

    But what we don’t know is what we don’t know.
    We do know that Abram’s father worshipped other gods, but we don’t know who Abram worshipped while growing up. There is no requirement that he had to know God starting out in order to follow Him later. It doesn’t make sense that Abraham was always righteous and following God from birth.
    But it is possible that Abraham has some insight and kept the stories of Noah, Lot, etc. and their God close to him.
    But he cannot be forced into either scenario with any surety.
    But we do know Abraham was faithful to God whenever at which point he followed God.

    AJ you would be mistaken in believing that all will be saved based on Joel 2:32 as it does say: “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
    “Many will be called, but few will be chosen” How many? How few?
    We don’t know…only God knows.
    Joel 2:28-32 is a reference to the coming Messiah or Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit in confirmation of the savior who would come to the Jews.

    As far as “Christian Universalism” and “post mortem salvation” in the coC, I don’t know, maybe in some sections of it.
    If you read some other coC blogs or forums no one outside the coC will be saved for any reason.
    I am not aware of any Universalism or post mortem salvation teachings in the coC, but then again I don’t troll many forums, outside of this one.
    It is not a teaching I am familiar with as being taught in the conservative coC and I have been in the conservative coC all of my life.

  35. Mark says:

    “If you read some other coC blogs or forums no one outside the coC will be saved for any reason.”

    Almost no one inside the cofC will be saved for any reason. Additionally, your opinions on various matters will affect the final decision.

  36. Dwight says:

    Mark, I resisted writing what you wrote, because they don’t believe that, but it might be true when they cast judgments on others and create laws to do so.
    Give grace to others as you would have grace given to you.

  37. Mark says:

    I was always on the receiving end of the judgement. I had never heard of grace much less received any.

  38. Larry Cheek says:

    I see that a comment I tried to post last night did not post, I tried twice, first time it did not show up, second time it said looks like a duplicate, so I deleted my original file. Then I see it is not there, well that will give something to do tonight, I have a hard copy. This is a little test to be sure it works.

  39. Larry Cheek says:

    Posting is not working very well.

  40. Larry Cheek says:

    Maybe the larger ones are getting lost.

  41. Alabama John says:

    Maybe Jay is trying to abandon all the negativity posted against the conservative COC.

  42. Dwight says:

    I doubt it. He probably has bigger things to worry about…health wise. Besides it looks like the discussionsection have stalled anyways. Nothing to moderate.

  43. Dwight says:

    All, according to his daughter-in-law, Jay had complications and a medical set back on 3/30 and had to have emergency surgery, not on his heart, and is now in ICU.

  44. Larry Cheek says:

    Sure is good to hear something even if it is not the best news. Keep praying for a fast recovery. He sure is needed in the service to the Master. While searching for another communication devise similar to this one I have been very disappointed by being preached at and not communicated with, those guys just don’t get that their voices are just disturbing the air but not making an impact upon the audience.
    I was very disappointed in a facebook post by Michael Shank April 8 “Baptist friends, take the red pill (Muscle and a Shovel). Your world will be revealed. Save your soul.”
    A long as we can still comment we can still communicate. It sure would be great if Jay could have placed into his plan a method for this site to continue beyond his own abilities, surely someone could have you might say (filled in), because this work is far more important than any other blog on the internet. I see 11462 subscribers, and as far as I know I am not one of these, I just enter into the site and read rather than filling up an email, this figure alone is larger and has more influence than most church assemblies. Probably more influence than some complete national denominations.

  45. Mark says:

    And far more discussion than was ever permitted anywhere else.

  46. Dwight says:

    Really M. Shank posted this, “Baptist friends, take the red pill (Muscle and a Shovel). Your world will be revealed. Save your soul.”
    Man can we take God and Jesus out of the equation or what? All you need is M&S and then salvation is all about you.
    This goes back to how in the 1980-2000’s, possibly earlier and/or later, salvation was about works, because baptism was declared a work and thus works saved and you saved yourself by doing this work through baptism.
    Now if you Google “Is Baptism a work” you will find where the coC have now declared baptism not a work of man, but of God. We are saved by responding to God, but God does the saving.

    But this means that all those people, including me, who were baptized under the understanding that baptism was a work are lost.
    That is if we believe that we must have the correct understanding of baptism.
    We don’t like to delve into our own timeline and teachings though.
    But it appears that M. Shanks wishes to drag us back into the past in regards to our works save us.

    If you really want to be told how things are with no discussion, then go to ARE (Answering Religious Error), which means all are in error except those who host ARE, who are coC.
    This is by far one of the best sites for open discussion on religious topics based on respect for one another in the light of God’s word.

  47. Larry Cheek says:

    Dwight,
    I was not aware and did not find ARE in any of my searches, but I checked them out. Ha Ha, they are so active that they could not even keep up to a snail. Any one would die of old age before being able to learn all the damming errors they had in their lives there.

  48. Dwight says:

    Larry,
    ARE was one of the first sites I looked at before I found this one. I tried the conversational route, but found that they were not interested in conversation, just preaching and correcting. After all they “Answer Bible questions with Bible answers”, if only. It is mainly coC rhetoric.
    Totally lacking in humility and open constructive discussion.

  49. Alabama John says:

    That is the reason so many are not interested in going to heaven, they think as its preached by the coC, heaven will be like church.

  50. Larry Cheek says:

    Being like “church” would not be bad if we really understand what the church is, it is within us. It is not the assembly with its rules and regulations to which we have designed and given our allegiance. Well, some have broken the circle of bondage.

  51. Larry Cheek says:

    It really is a shame that we who have seen the error, have not been able to lead many of the programmed from their bondage. The clout carried by the organizations is like a very strong magnet.

  52. Alabama John says:

    The good is Larry that most that I have known in my life live the happy Christian way all but on Sunday when they go to church.
    Its amazing how they practice religion when away from the church environment in things they do and practice that God would approve of that are not known by most of their church members they only see on Sunday and maybe Wednesday night.
    We are surrounded by a lot of very good people in real life. Most are not coC.

  53. laymond says:

    Alabama John, what happened to Jay, did he quit posting. I haven’t been here in a while.

  54. Dwight says:

    Larry, we often speak of the “institutional church” to indicate those who give to institutions, but really many are institutionalized within the “church” and through the “church” because they hold up the “church” to be God’s way to God. The binders are tradition and pride.
    They don’t see God through people, but through the church.

  55. Alabama John says:

    laymond, Jay has been seriously ill for a while and hospitalized. I am waiting on an update on him.
    I to quit posting and came back recently to post occasionally since I don’t attend a coc anymore after 70 plus years but a community church locally now.

  56. Dwight says:

    All, Jay post to Facebook about his progress (or lack of) every now and then, if you want to follow him and then his daughter will post as well in place of Jay sometimes.

    AJ, that is something I think about every now and then. Even thought I have grown up in the coC and my father was a preacher in it, I have no emotional bond to it, but my wife does and her father was an elder. She doesn’t see the contradictions that I do within the coC. many people only listen to the good parts of the lessons and filter out anything that is contra to scripture or contradictory within our own teachings, because they don’t know to look for them. Let me know how it goes in the new assembly.

  57. laymond says:

    Thanks AJ sorry to hear Jay has been ill, wish him all the best. and God bless you in your new venture.

Leave a Reply