April 2008


Hey Everybody, I don’t have much time for a post, so I figured I’d throw a couple links your way.

If you have time today, check out www.grist.org.  It’s a great site to learn about the environment, and probably one of the more fun and witty enviro-sites out there.  Also, www.treehugger.com and lime.com are good, easy to navigate sites on the environment.  And, of course, go to our teachings page to look at some of what we think about the environment.

 

Here is the quicker version of Debbie’s notes, in picture form:

Here are Debbie’s notes from this Sunday…

Creation

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Gen 2:21-24)  Let’s see a show of hands for people that find Adam’s first comment to Eve to be romantic.   

The Tree

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17)  Before she partook of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was only good in man.  Good can be seen in three elements: faith, hope, and love.  Evil can be seen in the three opposites of good: doubt, detest and despair.  Evil is the perversion of all that is good.  God did not “set us up” by planting the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Where there is good and free will then there is always the opportunity to pervert that which is good.  Since God is all that is good, there is no way for him to encompass evil.  But by creating us with a free will then He had to also allow us the choice of knowing good and evil.  The word “know” which the serpent uses in reference to having an understanding of the good and evil after eating the fruit is the Hebrew word “yada”.  It means to know intimately, to experience.  They would not just gain mere knowledge; they would intimately know evil – the perverseness of all that is good.  

When Eve ate of the fruit, she lost one of her aspects of goodness and that was her faith in God.  The serpent convinced her that her faith in God was ill placed and that God had ulterior motives.  After Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they lost the second aspect of goodness, love.  They lost their love between each other as they struggled to blame each other.  Adam blamed Eve (betrayal), Eve blamed the serpent, and no one took responsibility for their own actions.  (It is so prevalent in our nature to try and blame someone else for our mistakes.  We are constantly shifting the blame onto anyone but ourselves.)  They lost the intimate relationship, the love they shared with God.  And lastly they lost their hope, the eternal life we have in communion with God.  And thus, evil entered the world.     

As their knowledge of good and evil became part of their being, they became ashamed of their nakedness.  I do not think it was a sudden realization that they had no clothing but more of a realization of all that could be construed as evil and perverse about their nakedness.  They were vulnerable.  Their feeble attempt in covering themselves only shows how futile our efforts to hide shame are without God’s help.  It took the work of God to cover them appropriately.  All evil is a distortion of the purely designed intents of God. 

The Curse

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  

Itstsabown – pain, labor, hardship, sorrow

Etsab – pain, grieve, displease, vex, stretch into shape, vessel, object

The word here for desire is “teshuwqah”.

Teshuwqah – desire, longing, craving to control, master.  Desire to run over, take advantage of.  Same word is used in the following chapter to describe the desire of sin to rule over man. “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’” (Gen 4:6-7)  

Mashal – rule over, have dominion, reign

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Ground – all that was fertile and yielding (no longer give up her strength, support to man)

Toil – burdensome labor

Thorns – A thorn is meant to protect the plant from anything which may try to harm it.  Thorns are branches or stems that are modified into hard structures with sharp ends. Though similar in appearance to spines, or prickles they are differentiated by the plant organ from which they arise (i.e. stems, leaves or epidermis). Thorns are generally used by plants to protect themselves from herbivores. 

“The thorns are the doubts and fears that represent our past hurts and emotional wounds. If we focus on them, and grab onto them, we relive the pain, and we cannot see the beauty of the Love that we are, as beautiful as the rose.”

Thistles – the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins.  Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation to protect the plant against herbivorous animals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant.  A thistle is a thorny plant with a beautiful flower.  Its thorns symbolize both evil and protection.

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away.” (1 Pet. 1:24). 

Roles

At the time of creation:

Male: Giving “nathan” (H), “zakar” (H), Seed (give), Give protection, Give Care, Give through praise “halal” (H) and thanksgiving “towdah” (H).

Nathan – to give, bestow, devote, dedicate, commit, to put on, to make, constitute.  Man’s first command from God is to not “take” of the tree.  He was given the task of naming all creatures.  He gave of his body for the creation of woman.  Adam constituted Eve.  She was made from his same substance.  

Zakar (male) – the origin comes from a meaning to penetrate, or infix.  To remember, recall, call to mind, to make mention of with praise.  To bear witness to, to bear a likeness. 

Gabar (man/warrior) – to prevail, have strength, be strong, be powerful, be mighty, be great  

Halal – praise, glory, boast, shine, commend, celebrate, give

Barak – bless, to kneel, to bless, to adore.  This act leads to the word “ashar” which means to be blessed, to be happy.

Female: Receive “pathach” (H), Womb (receive), helpmeet “ezer” (H), Give through encouragement “chazaq” (H).  

Pathach – to open, to free, open oneself, to loosen

Naqab (female) – to hollow out, to excavate, to pierce, perforate or bore into, to appoint.

Ezer – help, succour, from the root word ‘azar.

Azar – to help, succour, support, surrounding hence defending

Cabab – to turn, turn about or around or aside or back or towards, go about or around, surround, encircle, change direction, transform, to encompass, surround. “How long will you wander, O unfaithful daughter?  The Lord will create a new thing on earth – a woman will surround a man.” (Jer. 31:22)

Chazaq – to strengthen, to prevail, to harden, to encourage, to make firm, be resolute, to repair

Story in Numbers 25 & 31 concerning the Midianites.  Women have great persuasive capabilities that should be used for good not evil.  We are held responsible for how we lead others astray.  Prevalent throughout the Old Testament that women led men astray.

Sex: We see these roles manifested in the physical realm as part of the design God intended in our sexual marital unions.  If the woman is not open, she cannot surround or support the man.  If the man is not encouraged, hardened, made firm, then there is no consummation or union between the two.  The man gives of his seed (gives of himself) and the woman opens to the seed and accommodates new life within.

Authority & Submission – 

Original intent was in the roles of giving and receiving.  

Mashal (H) – to rule over, have dominion, reign

Rabah (H) – be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous, to make large, enlarge, increase, become many.

Exousia (G) – ex means “out of”, ousia means “that substance” – “out of that substance”.  

Kurieuo (G) – dominion, rule, lordship over. Never used in relationship between Christians.

Authenteo (G) – exercise dominion over.  Is used once in 1 Tim 2:12

Paradidomi (G) – to give into the hands, to give over into one’s power, to commit, to commend, give oneself up. (Eph. 5:25) [Betray] 

Authority comes from being the source substance of something.  God is the divine and ultimate authority because all things were created by him.  We are all ultimately from his “substance”.  But with authority as the source substance, comes responsibility.  Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are directed to care for it as such.  All substances issuing from the source are considered part of the body and must therefore be cared for as the temple of the Holy Spirit as well.    

Radiyd (H) – something spread, wide wrapper, large veil, “covering”.

Pathah (H) – to be spacious, to be open, to be wide, entice, persuade [Deceive].

Kata (G) – down from, through out, according to

Kalypto (G) – to hide, veil (root: krypto)

Katakalypto (G) – to be covered

The symbol of covering was meant as a protection to women so that they could not be hurt, taken advantage of, or ogled (grasped mentally).  This was a symbol of extreme worthiness not of unworthiness.  God wants us to be open, but in order for us to be open in a world full of sin, hate and abuse we must be covered for our own protection so that we may properly be open to God and to our counterparts.  God wants us to rid ourselves of the thorns and thistles and allow Him to protect us.  We cannot sufficiently cover ourselves, only God can. (Gen 3:21)  We are meant to be open, inviting, encouraging, supportive, strengthening, and enticing.  But in order to do that we must be protected.  A wife encourages the husband to enter into her rest.  He in turn protects and shields her from the pain inflicted by the world in her state of openness.  

Hypo (G) – by, under

Tasso (G) – to put in order, to arrange, agree upon (hupotasso)

Histemi (G) – to place, put, set, standby, to support (hypostasis)

Hupotasso (G) – to submit

Hypostasis (G) – substance

A wife is of the substance of the husband.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24)  As that substance we are designed to support, harden, encourage, make firm, strengthen and repair the source substance.  

The Single Life

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer. (2 Tim. 2:3-4)  I would like you to be free from concern.  An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs – how he can please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world – how he can please his wife – and his interests are divided (1Cor. 7:32-35)  

Top Gun story.  There are certain things you cannot just run off and do as a married person.  As a single person you have a specific and special calling that is unique to you while you are single.  Treasure that calling, for when and if you do get married, you are called into accountability to the demands of the relationship according to scripture.  Singleness is a calling to be a front lines soldier of God.

Christ & the Church

Christ leads us.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  (Eph. 2:22-23)  

Christ loves us.  Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave (paradidomi) himself up for her. (Eph. 2:25)

Christ serves us.  (John 13:1-17)  But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil 2:7)

Christ is the authority because he came first (exousia) – all things were made through his substance.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)

The Church is the encourager and strengthener of the body of Christ.  In our partnership with the Spirit we propel Christ to new heights.  “The Sprit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say ‘Come!’  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17)  We wonder why Christ has not yet returned for us.  Maybe we are not yet fulfilling our roles as his bride.  If you ever wondered why women talk so much, it’s because we are a reflection of the church and God actually wants us to pray (talk to him) that much!

Old and New Testaments

God becomes Father, Messiah becomes Husband, and Spirit becomes Comforter.  These were new roles initiated and reintroduced to mankind through Christ’s sacrifice.  God never changed; His relationship with us took on a new dimension – a new level of intimacy.

Back to Creation

Love & Respect

Giving & Receiving

Authority & Submissiveness

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.”  (Gen 2:23) …meaning… “Because you are my substance – you were taken from my body, my ousia – I will love, protect, care for and treasure you as a part of my body.  I will give you praise and bless you – adore you.  I will dedicate, devote, and commit to you.  I give (paradidomi) myself up for you.”  Is that romantic or what??!!

Goals

God, others, and creation – perfect harmony between all relationships.  The hierarchy of God, man and creation is symbolic of the effort it will take to restore those relationships.  We did fall, we have been redeemed, but it takes effort on the part of all parties to make the plan work to its fullest.  We are human, but that is no longer a curse.  We cannot say, “oh well I’m only human”.  Christ redeemed us and we now have the potential to be “human” as intended at creation.  “We are human” is a blessing not a curse.

Restoration

Mankind became God’s thorn at the fall; God constantly had to contend with man and try to break through to him.  The Cross brought unity between God and mankind through the act of forgiveness.

Woman became a thorn to man at the fall, constantly contending, deceiving, and persuading man.  The Cross brought unity between men and women through the act of forgiveness.  FORGIVENESS is the key!

Christ took our thorns upon himself and wore them as a crown for the whole world to see.  We no longer need to carry our thorns; we are redeemed.  “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.  They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they struck him in the face.” (John 19:1-3)  When God tried to reach out and touch mankind we pierced him with our thorns and thistles.  God wants us to abandon our thorns.  He bore them for us.  We no longer need the harsh protection of them; we have a much greater protection now.

The Future

God calls on us to bear fruit.  Thorns and thistles which we allow in our lives inhibit the growth of fruit.  “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.  People do not pick figs from thornbushes or grapes from briers.  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.” (Luke 6:43-45)  “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed.  In the end it will be burned.” (Heb. 6:7-8)  Let us bear fruit and become fertile land leaving the thorns and thistles behind us.  

 

  by: Cole Gross

    When we think about nature, we think about our responsibility, as humans made in the image of God, to keep and care for it. But, it is also important to remember our relationship with others. For any man, the easiest way to tell if he is living a life of loving God – a life out of love for God – is if he is living a life of loving others. These are our responsibilities, our privileges on this earth: loving God, loving others; one way we do this is by keeping and caring for the earth.

    There are men, women, and children all around the world who are going without food or clean drinking water. There are even people on the street we will pass today who are hungry, and clearly we cannot feed them all. There are countless people who die of starvation and unclean drinking water every day in other countries, and feeding them all ourselves would be an insurmountable task. So, if we cannot expect a utopia here on earth (that is, made by our own hands), what can we do? We can start by picking up two pieces of trash (litter) before we leave a park, a parking lot, or any public area, and of course any neighbors and/or our own backyards. Clearly, this will help take care of nature (which in turn, helps humans), but how can we foster our relationships with others, showing our love for them? Well, it is a terrible fact that in many other countries, men, women and children must wade in piles upon piles of garbage, rummaging for meals or any scraps of recyclable products which they may trade and sell for money to survive. If we remember them when we pick up these two pieces of trash in our own communities, and pray for them, we are already helping and loving them more than we could possibly understand through the Father. In this simple act we have helped our own community and neighborhood, and we have helped another in prayer a thousand miles away.

    For we cannot simply offer food or prayer and go on undisturbed in our lives, but we must invite others into our homes, and step out into theirs. By picking up trash in our community, we have taken that first step into another’s home, those who must scavenge to survive in other countries, and those in our own community who are hurt by the pollution and sight of litter.

    Of course, how we can start to invite others into our own home is a less simple task, so we will start with this simple asking: Whenever we are outside in a public place, let us pick up two pieces of trash on the ground (large or small…whatever we are capable of at the time) and throw them away, or better yet, recycle them if they are recyclable. Then, when we do so, let us pray for those who are poor and hungry, those who are strangers in our own community, but hurt by the very same things, and those who may survive by the very same means of picking up trash, men, women, and children.

 

 

Tony mentioned this last Sunday that he wanted an outline of the teaching.  I figured I’d put it up here, too, so anyone who missed can at least look at the notes.  This week, it’s pretty similar to the blog post I already put up, but I think it could be something we do regularly that’s helpful.

Stewards of the Earth

 

Start with Stories!

            Experiences in nature – appreciate nature? – tell about God?

 

Genesis 1.28-31

Deals with God/People/Nature (after last week; people made in God’s image)

Blessing Idea

Privilege, not obligation

Thus, “multiply and fill the earth” is not mandated or limited

Ancient near east:

Reproduction a gift (wouldn’t be mandated)

Population control also an issue (yet still not limited)

Subdue and Rule: How do we understand this?

Anthropocentric (human-centered): humans at the top, nature made for humans

Leads to humans running ‘roughshod’ over environment

Biocentric (life-centered): all life pretty much equal

Reduces ‘jurisdiction’ and humanity’s ‘subdue and rule’ idea

Reduces humanity’s image of God (jurisdiction, in other cultures, only available to deities)

Theocentric (God-centered): All made for God

          God as ultimate power, humans as image bearers with jurisdiction

          God Creator/King, humans are ‘stewards’

                   We must view everything in relation to God

Luke 19.12-26: Parable of the Ten Minas

          Jesus gives, we are expected to use resources/gifts wisely – for the King

 

Brooke: Ideas on how to be a better steward

 

Wrap Up: Theocentric View

          Humans ‘very good’ part of creation

                   Ought to be God-interested, not self-interested in relating to nature

                   No ‘recipe’ for everything: God is our focus, bringing Kingdom of Heaven

 

Yesterday, we talked about the environment.  Nature.  We read Genesis 1 and saw how God gave jurisdiction to humans.  Jurisdiction, at the time, was only available to deities in other cultures: jurisdiction over the environment is one of the ways that we bear the image of God.  

Traditionally, there have been a few ways that we look at this jurisdiction.  The first is anthropocentric, or human centered.  Anthropocentic thinking has it that humans are at the center; nature is made for humans (and humans are made for God).  This thinking, however, has a few problems.  Essentially, it gives a “blank check” to humans to run roughshod over the environment.  If we are in total control, why should we care about protecting resources?

The response to this view is biocentric, or life centered thinking.  This means that all life is pretty much equal, humans being a little higher on the totem pole — but not much.  This view means that we can’t run roughshod over the environment because of its inherent value, but it also ties our hands a bit.  We were, after all, given jurisdiction over the environment, told to subdue and rule the earth.  The biocentric view means that we over-protect our resources, afraid at times to use them.  

A third way is needed.

Thus, we have the God centered, or theocentric view.  This view holds that God has made the world and has given humans jurisdiction over it.  Yet, it also holds that creation has inherent value.  The question that we ask, then, is whether our environmental decisions are honoring to God.  Rather than what best suits humanity or what best suits all creation, we ask what best suits God and his designs.  We are stewards, then, of creation.  God is the King, and we are in charge right now.  Thus, as stewards we seek to use the resources he has given us to benefit Him.

We must become God-interested people if we are to correctly interact with the environment.  We make decisions based on what honors God.  We may find ourselves fighting to protect clean water in Africa in one moment and arguing for to dam a river for power in the next.  

This week, in our regular lives, how can we become God-interested when it comes to the environment?

We talked yesterday about how men and women are made in the image of God. This is a difficult thought to grasp, a difficult idea to pinpoint. So, we talked about functions rather than structures; we did not talk about how we all have two eyes and that’s in God’s image (I don’t know that it is, though it could be), but we did see how there are certain ways that humankind functions that reflect God.

The three ways we pointed out were: dignity, responsibility, and capacity. Our dignity reflects God, because God is strong and loving and holy and… dignified. Thus, we assume that every human has a certain dignity; every human commands a certain respect. We respect grocery store clerks by looking them in the eye, we respect dying people by giving them comfortable and loving deaths, we respect physically and mentally handicapped people because they, too, bear God’s image and need love.

We bear the responsibility to do this, and the responsibility to ‘have dominion over the earth.’ We treat the earth with respect, too, although it doesn’t share the same dignity as a person, we are the caretakers of it right now. And we have the capacity to grow in God’s image, to become more God-like, to be holy like God is holy, to be loving like God is loving, to be strong like God is strong.

We talked about idols and how they not only push God away but also deny who we are as image bearers. When we worship money, when we make money our god, we suddenly become people only capable of making money, only judged on that ability. We deny the myriad relationships of which we are a part.

We took a final look at God and saw that he is an active God: he is three-in-one, he is a relationship, continually giving and receiving, deferring and exalting. We saw that when we are in relationship, that is when we resemble God in a new way: giving and receiving, loving others and receiving their love. This is fundamental to reality, fundamental to what it means to be human.

In what ways do we see this reality around us this week?