Sunday, May 27, 2012
God Has Questions for Job! Pentecost Sunday Sermon Notes
Now I Have Some Questions for You!
May 27, 2012
Today is Pentecost Sunday and we celebrate the great outpouring the Holy Spirit on the Church as noted in Acts 1-2. This is the culmination of the Spirit’s activity and the fulfillment of Jesus’ work and promise.
* In Creation: Genesis 1
* In the Incarnation: Luke 1
* In the Resurrection: Romans 1 (John 20!)
* In Mission: Acts 1
The whole world was brought into existence in the atmosphere of the Spirit and so was the entire Church. This reminds us of our dependence on the Spirit as life-giver, not only for ourselves but for all creation. This also reminds us of the centrality of the Doctrine of God as Creator, especially in a day of unrelenting attacks on this doctrine by pop-culture atheists like Dawkins, Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.
Do we have questions about our origins? It is important to remember that before we ask such questions, God has a question for us about the same subject! God undermines and lays waste to the basic assumptions that control the worldview of those who are demanding answers from him - he undoes their misguided certainties and replaces them with a new humility that is the true mark of the disciple.
* Cone-shaped view of certainties: Richard Pratt
It’s interesting that as he begins to take Job and his friends into a dialogue that God begins with the subject of origins, not because he’s trying to teach them a particular way of seeing that problem, but because he wants to introduce them to the reality of their limitations. What about us? Are we living with false certainties that eradicate humility, or are we humbly learning how to embrace the truth of God’s sovereign and wise love and power?
What about the question of origins? What is essential to believe and what is an allowable place for Christian engagement on the subject?
I. God the Father, the Creator
* “The Maker of Heaven and Earth”
A. The Basic Views
* Especially Evolutionary Biological Process, and especially as this becomes an entire worldview seeking to explain everything.
- Plantinga on Naturalism and Faith
- 98.6% DNA Equivalence with chimps? OK; thank God for the 1.4% difference!
- Social Darwinism as an overarching theory provides no basis for itself, that is for the preservation of community and society and learning, no reason for itself.
* Berlinski in The Deniable Darwn
b. Eternal Continuum: Carl Sagan - “The Universe that was and is and is to come.”
2. The Basic Christian Views
* There have been many! Augustine’s ‘Spontaneous’ View
a. Theistic Evolution
b. Young Earth and Old Earth Six-Day Creationism
* Mature Universe View
- Did Adam have a belly button?
B. Creation’s Faithful Witness - Psalm 19; Romans 1
* This is my Father’s world
* Neither the anti-religious nor the anti-scientific certainties fit with the Scriptures.
- Two Opposite and Equally Unhelpful Poles: The Religion of Scientism and the Anti-Scientific Ignorance of Know-Nothing Fundamentalism; the earth isn’t lying to us, but our minds and eyes are often blind. Paleontology, Geology, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are the domain of the Christian not least because these spheres lead us to better understand God’s world but serve those made in his image. It is well and good to pray for the healing of those who suffer with cancer but who is praying for the scientists working on cures for cancer?!?
II. Jesus the Son, Our Redeemer
* “And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord”
A. Historical People and Events
* Adam, Eve, and the Fall of Man
- Genesis 2-3; Romans 5
- Man is a sinner against the Creator of his environment not the product and victim of his environment
B. Historical Savior and Grace
- Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 15
- Second Adam, Last Adam undoing the disaster of the fall, and this not only for the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, but for the entire created order: Romans 8
* The Last Adam was made of the dust as well, but the dust was transformed in his resurrection, prophesying the reclaiming of all dust, including our own bodies. In this new Adam, the Last Adam, there is only blessing.
III. The Holy Spirit and New Creation
* “The Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life...”
* Jesus ‘breathed’ on us to bring us to life
- Restoring the Marred Image
- Recovering our Communion
- Renewing the Whole Creation
We are limited in our certainties, but we are by the Spirit directed to the unchanging and infallible truth of the Scriptures which are inspired by the Spirit. These tell us that the whole creation was formed by God’s word, not by chance; by the power of life, not a process of death. By that same creative word the old forces of death have been defeated together with the sin that brought it about, and you can even this day be part of the new creation in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Lord.