Saturday, January 13, 2007

God is discreet

Cards close to the vest

The more suspicious among us may think that biblical obscurities are there for a purpose. If a passage can be interpreted in many different ways, then more people will be able to embrace it. Specificity carries great risks.

On the other hand, you'd think that people receiving dictation from an omniscient God should have been able to transcribe eternal verities of compelling clarity. To wit:
The heavens opened and the angels proclaimed, “Fear any literate man, capable of impressive facial hair, who is comfortable on boats, has a thing for finches, and is named Darwin, for he is basically an unrighteous phony. So it is said in the very literal Kingdom of God.”
Now that is specific and should have been embedded in Genesis if God had been serious about heading off evolution. God, however, did not inspire this particular bit of revisionist scripture. It is, rather, the mortal handiwork of David Ng (long may his name be praised). For a while, though, I though the text's “literate man, capable of impressive facial hair,” might be PZ Myers, to whom I am indebted for the link to Ng's revelatory writings.

Mortal discretion

A reticence similar to that of the scripture writers is exhibited by Dr. Henry Morris III, grandson and namesake of the old Flood geologist himself, in a commentary published in the January 2007 issue (Vol. 36, No. 1) of Acts & Facts from the Institute for Creation Research:
New Year, New Rulers, New Resolve

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

This month the 110th Congress will convene on Capitol Hill. New leaders will be elevated to posts previously held by the other political party. Many are fearful of what these changes could mean for our country.

Post-election pundits predict that previous economic accomplishments, such as lower taxes and sustained economic growth, will be overturned. Others see a battle mounting against President Bush on morality issues like abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell cloning, and the definition of marriage. However, regardless of the uncertainty of the coming months and years, I am reminded of three larger truths:

The election results did not surprise God. Romans 13:1 says that “there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” In the Old Testament, God raised up Cyrus, a pagan king, to carry out His greater purposes. “For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me” (Isaiah 45:4). God is sovereign.

The shift in policy will not last. In 2008, the citizenry will make their will known once more. But apart from that afar greater change is coming. Christ will return in glory as the King of kings to rule the world in righteousness. II Corinthians 4:17 assures us that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us afar more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” God's truth abides.
Now if only God had been smart enough to dictate some prophecies to David Ng, instead of wasting all of his time with that Isaiah guy, we could have had some catchy verses concerning events today, instead of all that bother about long-gone Cyrus and company:
For Nancy my servant's sake, and America my elect, I have even called the president a big fat loser: I have supplanted the blasted Bush with a Democratic Congress, for thou hast screwed up big time. (David 1:1-2)
See? That's much better!

Dr. Morris may warn us not to put our trust in princes, but he does seem to rest quite a lot of his hopes on the next elections in 2008. Sensing, however, that 2008 may not go exactly as he hopes, he hastens to remind us that Jesus is coming again soon, whereupon he will swiftly make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Yes, any moment now. (Impatient Christians are still wondering how to reconcile a two-thousand-year wait with the promise in Matthew 24:34 that “this generation will by no means pass away”; the folks who heard Christ say that are dead, you know.)

I take this as good news: Dr. Morris thinks the Democrats may be in charge till Jesus returns. Listen to the prophet!


Anonymous said...

As a poet, I very much enjoyed my walk through your an avid reader, I think I enjoyed it even more. Time well spent...

Anonymous said...

I always figured that line in Matthew was ripe for a theological SF story about the two thousand year-old last witness of Christ. Maybe this is more up James Morrow's alley than Tim LaHaye's, though.

-- xian

Zeno said...

The Mormons beat you to the idea, xian. They have the "three immortal Nephites" who wander about doing good deeds, but never revealing their identities to us mere mortals. Both devout Mormons and jokesters report sightings of the Nephites and, frankly, it's difficult to tell the serious accounts from the jocular. (I suspect the guy who reported a Nephite working as a gas station attendant is probably pulling our leg.)

Yes, religion is tons of fun.

Anonymous said...

The Medieval Europeans beat the Mormons to it as well, with the legend of the Wandering Jew, who was cursed by Jesus for some reason to wander the Earth in eternal misery until Jesus came back. One of those warm, fuzzy stories that explains why Judeo-Christian relations have been so good for the last 2,000 years.

I do wonder how that quote made it into Matthew anyway. It probably wasn't written down for 40 to 90 years after Jesus died, you'd think somebody would have thought that maybe that'd be a good one to leave out by then. Life expectancy wasn't all that hot back then.