Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Brief Break for Book-Writing

I'm working to prepare a book manuscript for possible publication this week and next (I have a submission date at the end of the month), so I'm taking a couple weeks off from the blog. Normal posts will resume on Monday, October 3.

Friday, September 16, 2022

A Prayer from Gregory of Nazianzus

O all-transcendent God--
(And what other name could describe you?)--
What words can hymn Your praises?
No word does You justice.
What mind can probe Your secret?
No mind can encompass You.
You are alone beyond the power of speech,
Yet all that we speak stems from You.
You are alone beyond the power of thought,
Yet all that we can conceive springs from You.
All things proclaim You,
Those endowed with reason and those bereft of it.
All the expectation and pain of the world coalesces in You.
All things utter a prayer to You,
A silent hymn composed by You.
You sustain everything that exists,
And all things move together to Your orders.
You are the goal of all that exists.
You are one and You are all,
Yet You are none of the things that exist,
Neither a part nor the whole.
You can avail Yourself of any name;
How shall I call You,
The only unnameable?
All-transcendent God!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Apologetics: Archaeology (Sodom) & Typology (The Sacrifice of Isaac)

Evidence from Two Sources: Archaeology (Gen. 19) and Typology (Gen. 22)

- Gen. 19 - The Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah - the biblical story shows an immense and rapid destruction of the largest settlements in the Jordan/Dead Sea valley, with fire and stone raining from the sky, as well as a strange anecdote of a person turning into a pillar of salt

- If the Bible were true, one should expect to find clear evidence of such an event.

- Though there's still some debate about the timeline, as well as the proposal of alternate sites, recent excavations at Tall el-Hamman (in modern Jordan, in the Jordan/Dead Sea valley) shows a striking similarity to the biblical story:

     - A very large settlement during the age of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, etc.)--probably the largest in the region--was destroyed rapidly and with intense heat.

     - The destruction layer cannot be explained by any conventional explanation--not war, fire, earthquake, etc. Pottery and mud bricks melted, and bones were blown apart. Estimates of the heat required are around 2700 degrees Fahrenheit. The only natural phenomenon that could cause this kind of devastation would be a cosmic airburst--the explosion of a very large meteorite in the atmosphere above the city, which would have caused intense heat and rained fire and stone down on the city. The destruction layer is also saturated with salt (perhaps a result of the explosion's effect on the nearby Dead Sea), which matches the Bible's account of Lot's wife hesitating and being turned into a pillar of salt. 

Typology: How Gen. 22 clearly points to Jesus, despite coming from two thousand years before his birth:

(See the following posts previously written on this subject:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Photo of the Week

Though years on years roll on,
His covenant shall endure;
Though clouds and darkness hide His path,
His promised grace is sure.

- from a hymn by Paul Gerhardt

Monday, September 12, 2022

Quote of the Week

"To fall in love with God is the greatest romance;
To seek him the greatest adventure;
To find him, the greatest human achievement."

- Augustine of Hippo

Friday, September 09, 2022

A Prayer from Clare of Assisi

I come, O Lord, unto Your sanctuary [...].
As I hope in You, O Lord,
Inspire me with that confidence
Which brings me to Your holy mountain.
Permit me, Divine Jesus,
To come closer to You,
That my whole soul may do homage
To the greatness of Your majesty;
[And] that my heart, with its tenderest affections,
May acknowledge Your infinite love.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Photo of the Week

By faith I to the fountain fly,
Open'd for all mankind and me,
To purge my sins, my deepest dye,
My life and heart's impurity.

- from a hymn by Charles Wesley

Monday, September 05, 2022

Quote of the Week

The Christian is a man who can be certain about the ultimate 
even when he is most uncertain about the immediate.

- Martyn Lloyd Jones, 20th-century British pastor

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Apologetics: Babel and the Nations - from Curse to Blessing

What was the sin of Babel?
    - Twofold: pride ("make a name for ourselves") and disobeying God's will (neglecting the command to "fill the earth")

Historic parallels: ziggurats, intended as stairways to reach heaven (complete with a single room at the top for a god to step down and mingle with humans if they so chose), but with no interior rooms. Ziggurats were built simply as massive stairways to reach the heavens, just as the Bible describes. The Tower of Babel, then, was likely a large representative of this kind of structure. To sum up: this exact kind of building was being built in this exact location in the ancient world, just as Scripture says.

Linguistic evidence: Language tends to be more complex in "primitive" language groups, not less complex. Languages tend to simplify their grammar as they get larger and more developed. This means that if you trace languages back to their roots, you should not expect to find them all developing from one simple source, and gradually accruing complex differences from there (as a linguistic theory of evolution might suggest). Rather, the evidence indicates that today's languages go back to a dozen (or more) very complex original proto-languages. Where did they come from, and why did they all appear and develop independently but also concurrently in the distant past? So far, linguistic science has no compelling answers to this question.

Immediately after the Babel story, the narrative shifts from curse to blessing. Although the nations are now dispersed, God reveals his intent to Abraham to bring them all back together in the spiritual blessedness of Abraham's family. Babel, we must remember, is a mirror image of Pentecost, and what God has separated into languages at Babel he will bring back together in the miracle of tongues at Pentecost, healing our divisions through the unity of the Body of Christ.