A Wife For Isaac

How did Isaac get a wife? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Isaac is coming to the time in his life where he needs to get married. After all, Isaac has some responsibility. He is to carry on the family line since he has to fulfill the promise of God. Abraham having Isaac through Sarah was the first step. The promise won’t come to fruition unless a wife is sought for Isaac.

So then, Abraham sends his servant Eliezer to fetch a wife for Isaac so Isaac won’t marry a Canaanite. Now often there is much joking online about the biblical method of finding a wife and one such method is to do what Eliezer did. Unfortunately, I’m sure there are many internet atheists that think that this could be a normative case.

Eliezer’s example is not meant to be that. He just knew that this could not be something casually done. It was a serious endeavor and he knew that God was intimately involved in the life of Abraham and so he figured that God would be just as involved in what would happen with the son of Abraham. Thus, Eliezer sits down at a well and asks for something to set this lady apart.

He also says nothing about the appearance of the lady. It’s nothing like, “When a totally hot babe comes by that knocks my socks off, I will know this is the one for Isaac.” I’m sure Rebekkah was likely a beautiful woman, but what he asks for is a demonstration of her character. Hospitality was to be expected to strangers in the culture of the time, but this was more than hospitality. This was a lady who was willing to give water to Eliezer’s camels.

Do you know how much a camel can drink?

I even just now looked it up as I hadn’t thought about that and many sources are saying at least 100 liters of water can be drunk at one time. How many times did Rebekkah have to refill the water jar she had for this stranger to take care of all the camels? It would be quite a lot. That means that Rebekkah is a hard-working woman and one who does show kindness beyond the norm.

At this, Eliezer rejoices and tells the story to Rebekkah of his journey. This is a bit of a shock to us in our culture today. Rebekkah doesn’t even know who Isaac is and yet she is ready to go and commit her whole life to him and be his wife forever? In our hook-up culture, we typically hear of people having sex with people in the evening that they didn’t know in the morning, but how many of us would accept getting married to someone in the evening that you didn’t know in the morning?

We should not expect this for us today. God can work to bring some people together, but we should not expect this for everyone. What we should expect to do though is when we find ourselves in a marriage, that we should work to bring about the good of the other person and thus the good of the marriage. We spend so much time in our culture thinking about the right spouse for us, which to some extent we should, but we rarely think about if we are being the right spouse for someone else.

Maybe we should think about that last one more.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The First Polygamist

When did someone try to have a different relationship? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Genesis, we have the fall of man and then when Adam and Eve are forced out of the garden, then we have Cain and Abel come along who are brothers, the children of Adam and Eve. The next thing we know, Cain has killed his brother.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Then the next thing we have happen is we get introduced to one of his descendants, Lamech. Lamech has this idea that “Hey. Why should I be limited to one woman? Why not go and have two women instead?”

Lamech is also seen as a prideful man seeing as he kills someone for insulting him and says “If Cain gets avenged, I should get avenged even more.” It’s not a shock that a man who thinks he can take two women when no one else has decides to think this way. However, this is the first case of polygamy in Scripture, so we need to talk about it.

First, does this constitute a change in marriage? No. Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman based on a covenant. This just has it go to two people at the same time. If any change has done, it is the removal of exclusivity. When we get to Jesus in the New Testament being asked about divorce, we will find he has words to say even about polygamy without explicitly mentioning it.

Second, Moses, or whoever wrote Genesis, wants us to know about this. Something that we will see as we go through the Bible is that when men marry multiple wives, there usually is chaos to some extent in the family. We don’t know much about the family of Lamech, but what we do know is not really ideal.

A brief word needs to be said about polygamy. I would not be surprised if this came to America again soon, at least in Utah, as Mormons could see the way the LGBTQ crowd has attempted to change reality and then say “Well, we need to bring back polygamy.” I’m sure a number of guys might be interested in this, although most guys are getting used to getting the “benefits” of marriage in their eyes, without actually having to make a commitment to someone.

The main argument Jesus makes really in the New Testament is that when male and female come together, then the union is complete. There’s no need to expand beyond that. For the most part, polygamy is a way of saying that one woman is insufficient. It’s the same reason that a man watching pornography can be greatly hurtful to his wife.

As we go through Scripture, we will see a number of polygamous relationships. When we get to the New Testament, this is largely gone and we get to 1 Timothy 3 which I am inclined to say means that if an elder is married, he must be married to one woman only. However, as we go through the Old Testament, I hope we will see why the Jews abandoned this practice.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

One Flesh

What does it mean to be one flesh? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

At this point in the Genesis narrative, we are told once Adam and Eve meet that for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. For us, we think, “Yes. A boy meets a girl, falls in love, leaves his parents’ house and marries her.” In the world of the Bible, it would be much deeper than that.

Family structures run deeper than we imagine. This was saying that the husband and wife would really become a whole new family unit in a sense. The main bond would no longer be between the man and his original family, but between the man and his new wife.

This is also the first wedding in the Bible. It’s tempting to think that just having sex with someone makes you husband and wife, but as we go through this series on marriage in the Bible, I hope to show that that is not accurate. God is the one who marries Adam and Eve together ultimately.

But what is this one flesh?

The word is echad for one and it refers to a powerful unity, a unity that is in the nature of God in the Trinity. When we speak of the three persons as one being, we really speak of a deep and powerful inseparable connection. Such is supposed to take place between husband and wife.

Obviously, this can’t refer to just sex as if you see a husband and wife walking around, they can walk around a part. A couple doesn’t become glued to each other forever when they have sex. At the same time, this means more, but as N.T. Wright would mean, it doesn’t mean less.

For a Christian marriage, a sexual union is supposed to mirror the union that takes place everywhere else, and vice-versa. Barring any medical problems or problems of distance (Such as a husband serving overseas in the military) if the home life is good, the sex life should be good, and if the sex life is good, the home life should be good. The two build on one another.

As one recovering from a divorce, I can definitely say that the separation of the bond that is meant to be there is extremely painful. This is the one kind of relationship where you can say you gave someone everything you had in a covenant promise and they rejected it. It is such a great sting that it cannot compare to any other kind. You never really realize that until it happens to you.

I used to say that I would rather lose my library than to lose my wife, and I meant it. It has been more painful by far. I could easily go out there and earn any number of books all over again. I cannot do that in the area of another human being. You do not truly replace a spouse you lost. Persons are not interchangeable for the most part. You just go out and try to find someone new, but that wound is still there. Just today I had a message from someone who remarried over a decade after his divorce and yet had a hard time with trust still.

However, the bodily union is powerful, and it’s supposed to be. We are not Gnostics. We are embodied creatures and God made us that way and He made the sexual union the way that it is as well. Those who have experienced it do know that there is indeed something extremely connecting about it. It didn’t take me long to find this out in my experience.

God blesses the couple in this. He wants them to be fruitful and multiply as was said in Genesis 1. (Which some guys I know have said is the best commandment God ever gave man.) It’s not something dirty. It’s something sacred God made.

But there’s another part to this passage isn’t there? Yes. We will cover that when we continue.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Eve’s Beauty

What makes a woman beautiful? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Adam is alone and God decides to give a companion for him. He takes a rib from Adam’s body and when Adam wakes up, out comes Eve to him. We also know that she was naked as the text says they both were and had no shame. Adam sees Eve and says “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.”

Now I don’t know Hebrew, but I know people who do, and I have been told that a direct Hebrew way of understanding what Adam said there is “YOWZA!”

Adam was impressed.

Now I’m going to look at the whole one flesh statement another time, but it deserves something on its own so today, I just want to focus on Eve. Who was she?

Now when I was growing up, Eve was one part of the Bible that I sometimes wished had been illustrated. Just think about it. A woman that God Himself hand-crafted. What a looker she must have been! She must have been a total beauty queen! Every man would be thrilled to see her. Helen of Troy has nothing on her!

Now, I’m not so sure of that.

Let’s consider that we have three races. Now usually, if a girl buys a baby doll at a store, she will buy a doll from her own race. After all, that’s the kind of kid she’s likely to have someday. Many people do often desire someone of their own race. Not all do, but we all have our preferences.

Some guys like girls that are slim. Some like girls that are heavier. Some like a certain hair color. We could go on and on and since this is a blog I would hope a family could read, I don’t want to go too far down this road.

So let’s talk about Eve. What do we not know first off? Well, I’m going to have to use modern standards, but there are several things we don’t know.

We don’t know her height.

We don’t know her weight.

We don’t know her race.

We don’t know her hair or eye color.

We don’t know how long her legs were.

We don’t know what her bra size would have been.

We don’t know what her voice sounded like.

We don’t know about her complexion.

And there’s no universal idea of what a woman should look like here so it could be some guys today would see Eve and think she’s no big deal. Others would and be going internally crazy at the sight of her. Some guys have a wife they gush on and on about her beauty and their friends just don’t see it, but that guy sure does.

Here’s the important fact. Adam thought she was beautiful.

That’s all that matters.

And thank God then we don’t have a description of Eve. Can you imagine if we knew Eve was a brunette for example? Every woman who was a blond could think there was something wrong with her and she wasn’t the ideal woman. Every woman who had a different bra size or legs of a different length or was of a different race could feel like they have to compare themselves and many a man would compare his wife to Eve.

Without knowing what she looked like, no comparisons can truly be made.

And you know why that is?

Because every woman is truly meant to be Eve.

Eve is the pinnacle of God’s creation. If I have a daughter in the future, I want to name her some variation of Eve, like maybe Eva. Why is that? Because I want her to know that she is a representation of God’s beauty on this Earth. Woman in the account is the last created and I think the jewel of creation. Certainly in beauty. Nothing on Earth compares in beauty to the beauty of a woman.

All women somewhere in them have that beauty. All are to be treasured somewhere. That beauty should also be sacred and not shared cheaply. Sadly, too many women are doing that today. This is especially so in the porn industry where a man can see a woman’s body without having to make any real effort to be a man.

A woman does not have to compare herself to Eve, but she is still meant to be Eve. She is meant to represent the beauty of God on this Earth. As a man, I am amazed at the handiwork of God when I see a beautiful woman. It boggles my mind how many women don’t see just how beautiful they are in the eyes of their husbands. They live their lives in shame of their bodies and we are sitting back thinking “What the heck are you thinking?”

Ladies. Every time your husband compliments you physically and you argue against it, in some way, you are calling your husband a liar.

Adam saw Eve and he was pleased. The two became one flesh.

This we shall talk about another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Adam’s Loneliness

Why was Adam lonely? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the things often told to a divorced person is to find their joy in God, and that’s true, but that often treats it like God is the only aspect of the world to enjoy and if you have Him, that’s enough. If so, one has to ask why He gives us so many other things? Why does the text in 1 Timothy 6:17 say that He gives us all things richly for our enjoyment.

Maybe, just maybe, God wants us to enjoy other things besides just Him.

In Genesis 2, man is put in the garden to tend and care for it. All the animals are brought to him for him to name. This is showing that man has a place of authority. Whatever he calls that creature, that is what its name is. Even God goes along with this. There’s no indication of God ever saying “No Adam. I want that creature to be called a lion.”

Yet here we have a virtual paradise of sorts with no sin in it and yet we are told something is wrong. We are told that man is not alone. It is not good for the man to be alone either.

Wait a second. How can man be alone? Man was just put in a garden where every creature came to him and he got to name him. Don’t we all love having animal companions either way? I know I refer to my cat in here as one of my best friends. Dogs are normally referred to by that title, but I prefer my little kitty.

Not only that. Man has God. Didn’t Paul say that a man who is married worries about the affairs of this world, how he can please his wife? Surely when it is just man and God, God will keep it that way.

Well, it would be kind of hard for the species to move further that way. However, there are some interpretations that say Adam and Eve were put in the garden as representatives for other people who were out there. Even if this is a correct interpretation, man is still alone and it is not good.

The idea is that man is incomplete at this point. Man needs someone else there to complete him. He needs to be fulfilled. Speaking as a person who is divorced, I can tell you this resonates with me.

Many times when I am at home, for the most part, I can be fine. I have enough that I can do. However, take me to work and get me doing something I don’t like and I am very miserable. I have nothing to distract me and being surrounded by people is incredibly lonely.

Crowds can be one of the loneliest places to be.

Why? Because you see people all around you going about their lives and you don’t think any of them really care about you. When I am at home, I do have my family who cares about me and my cat, but I also can easily jump on the internet and find people who know me and care about me. I can call a friend and talk about my troubles if need be. I am not alone.

When I go to bed at night, I am also alone. Shiro doesn’t usually like to sleep on me and if he tries to get on top of me as I sleep, well I just can’t sleep that way and you can’t really explain that to a cat. I used to sleep next to someone and wake up next to someone, but not now. That is painful.

Does this mean God is insufficient? No, but there are some types of companionship God cannot provide based on who He is. I remember getting together with friends to play video games together. God doesn’t do that with me. You don’t go out to eat with God. You don’t kiss God or have physical intimacy with Him either or sleep next to Him at night.

I think God recognizes different kinds of companionship. He did not make us to be isolated beings. He made us to be creatures who tend to be social. Some are more so than others, but all of us to some extent need other people.

If there was anyone who it could have ever been said did not need anyone like that, two people come to mind. Those are Adam and Jesus. Adam had no sin and all the animals and God and still that scenario was not good for man was alone. Jesus meanwhile was the perfect Son of God living on Earth and yet He had His family and His friends with Him.

I’m thankful this text is here. It tells me God understands my own desires. I don’t want to be without a special companion in life. God hears that. As I thought about this today, God says He clothes the flowers in the field and He feeds the birds.

He also does bring companions into the lives of animals.

Maybe I have met that companion and I’m just waiting for a relationship to blossom. Maybe I will meet her in the future. I do not know, but I am trying to trust that my God knows the desires of my heart and if it is a good desire that He will provide for it. I pray that He does.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Retrieving Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation

What do I think of Gavin Ortlund’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Gavin Ortlund is a pastor and a scholar.

Yeah. I know. I didn’t realize that was legal either. Pastors can actually be well-educated and write scholarly books?

Thank God they can and we need more like that. This book is on Augustine and his doctrine of creation. What can we learn from him on this? After all, he did not know about Darwin and the theory of evolution. He did not know about what modern science says about the age of the Earth. He did not know about Einstein and cosmology. We also have about 1,400 years of biblical exegesis on him now.

If we think we cannot, we miss out. As Ortlund tells us, Augustine’s time was a different time and they had different issues and debates going on which can cause them to see our issues and debates in a new light. Imagine a table where you have Francis Collins from BioLogos, Hugh Ross from Reasons to Believe, and Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis all sitting together debating creation. Augustine comes and joins them. What will he add to the conversation? What will he take away from it?

Let’s start with one of the first lessons he can teach everyone at the table. Humility. Augustine did hold strongly to his positions, but when he wrote, he also said “This position that I disagree with now could be right.” He is not dogmatic in his stances and does not hold only one position on the matter of creation as the Christian position. While we debate how long it took, many might be surprised to hear what Augustine would say. Young-earthers sometimes ask old-earthers about God taking so long to create. Augustine would say the same to young-earthers since he held that creation was instantaneous and Anselm even said that was the most common view in his time years later.

The first lesson that Augustine would want to teach us I think is that we need humility to be able to listen instead of just try to respond. What are the concerns of the intellectual opponents. Why do they hold their position? Should we really be calling their faith into question over this topic? You cannot tell someone’s commitment to Christ solely based on how they answer questions on evolution or the age of the Earth.

Augustine could also tell us a lot about the literal interpretation of Genesis. He wrote a book called that and yet we today would not think his interpretations are very literal. He’s got figurative and allegorical meanings in his understanding of creation. Yet despite this, he also does pay attention to the historical matters in the book. He does tend to want to take it to be historical, but his main concern is how we see the Scriptures. Augustine would have more understanding to someone who takes the passages in a figurative or allegorical sense and yet holds to inerrancy than one who rejects them because he thinks they don’t cohere with modern science and that the Bible just got it wrong thinking the Bible requires one interpretation.

What about animal death? This is a big one and we can be tempted to think that modern science again has caused many people to think animal death was going on before the Fall and Augustine would be unfamiliar with that debate. We would be inaccurate. Augustine spoke about animal predation. He would tell us it’s unwise for us to critique the design of the universe in this area like it would be unwise for a layman to go into an engineer’s office and see many of the tools and be critical not knowing what the tools represent.

For Augustine, creation is a key doctrine and the one that gets him the most enthralled quite likely. He has endless praise for even the simple worm. He does see something beautiful in even predation. The way the system works together is amazing as he says old life needs to pass away to make room for new life. Augustine also lived in a time before the world was touched by Disney. We can automatically think hunting is evil after hearing the story of Bambi after all.

The chapter on evolution is wonderfully named. Can we evolve on evolution without falling on the fall? This chapter deals with how we should see evolution. Ortlund doesn’t take any side in this actually, but he says many of the debates aren’t new. For this one, it usually comes down to the historical Adam and there are evolutionary creationists who think Adam is historical.

Yet even before the coming of Darwin, many interpreters of Genesis were suggesting that Adam was not the only human being on Earth. When the story of Adam and Eve took place, there were other humans there. This explains where Cain got his wife, Cain building a city for inhabitants, and the avoidance of inbreeding to bring about new people.

I am not saying this is what Ortlund says happened as he admits he doesn’t know enough of the science to comment, but I think he just wants us to be more open. Even if we can’t agree in dialogue, is there a way we can have better dialogues? If all three organizations could meet at the table, have a heated debate, and in the end shake hands and leave as fellow Christians and friends though still disagreeing, I think Ortlund would be pleased and even more, I think Augustine would as well.

Those interested in the debate about creation and evolution and Genesis should read this book. Again, I think the main lesson to learn is humility. Reading Augustine could cause us to look with new eyes at creation.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Deeper Waters Podcast 3/14/2020

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the questions a parent often dreads hearing from their child is “Where did I come from?” or just the general “Where do babies come from?” It’s a good question, but the really hard question is how do you answer it on a more universal scale. Where does humanity come from? Many people turn to Genesis.

And then the debate begins.

How old is the Earth? Were Adam and Eve real people? Was there death before the Fall? What was the serpent in the garden? Where did Cain get his wife? How did the first humans live hundreds of years as said in Genesis 5? Who were the sons of God? What about the flood? What about the Tower of Babel?

And you thought the first questions kids ask were awkward.

Fortunately, there are those who have addressed these concepts that sadly divide Christians today. While we can be sure the debate will by no means be settled, we can learn what we can and be informed in our own opinions and in what others think. There is a pair that have written the book Origins to discuss this passage, and one of them is on my show Saturday. His name is Douglas Jacoby.

So who is he?

Douglas Jacoby is an international Bible teacher. After serving as a minister on church staff for 20 years, in London, Birmingham, Sydney, Stockholm, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Washington DC, Douglas has worked as a freelance teacher and consultant. He has engaged in a number of debates with well-known atheists, imams, and rabbis. Douglas is also an adjunct professor of theology at Lincoln Christian University. Since the late ’90s, Douglas has led annual tours to the biblical world.

With degrees from Drew, Harvard, and Duke, Douglas has written over 30 books, recorded nearly 800 podcasts, and spoken in over 100 universities, and in over 500 cities, in 126 nations around the world. The Jacobys have three adult children. Douglas and his wife, Vicki, reside in the Atlanta area.

We’re almost caught up on back episodes. I hope before too long we’ll have all of those up. I’m also actively working on getting the show to be able to be done live. I hope that will make it even better as people can submit their questions during an interview. Please be watching your podcast feed!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Don’t Debate Evolution

Is this an issue really worth debating? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Over the weekend, I saw some Christian friends arguing on Facebook about evolution. One is open to it if not supportive of it and the other is skeptical. I have also been reading through Richard Dawkins’s Outgrowing God who seems to be of the opinion that if you prove evolution, then you have put God out of a job.

Here I sit then thankful that I don’t debate the issue at all.

Let’s start with Dawkins. Dawkins regularly in his book when he talks about anything outside of science gets things stupendously wrong. I don’t want to be like that. When I get to the science section of his book, it sounds impressive, but then I think that he really blundered earlier. How do I know he didn’t do the same here? I try to give the benefit of the doubt because this is his area, but it can be difficult.

Yet here I am, someone who has not studied science. Do I want to make the same mistake in the opposite direction? Do I want to risk saying embarrassing things about science in a way that when it comes time to the areas I do know something about that people will not listen to me?

Keep in mind this is me saying this is what works for me. If you are someone who has studied science seriously and reads both sides, I have no problem if you want to debate evolution really. I think there are better areas to debate, but I’m not going to stop you.

But what about Genesis? For Genesis, I go with John Walton’s interpretation. In this one, Genesis is not describing the formation of creation in material terms, but in terms of function. It is telling how everything works together in the making of sacred space. The days can then be literal because this is just God making declarations over what He has made.

As it stands then, I have no hill to die on. My worldview then does not depend on modern science. Evolution is true? Cool. I move on. Evolution is false? Cool. I move on.

In my opinion, both Christians and atheists who think evolution is the dealbreaker are misinformed. For one thing, none of this has impact on if Jesus rose from the dead. At the most, it can damage inerrancy. The case for the resurrection of Jesus does not depend on Genesis.

It’s also sad that in some sense, atheists are right when they say we have God of the gaps and science keeps filling in those gaps. The early scientists who were Christians did their science to see how God did something. It was not assumed that He had to do something a particular way and if He didn’t, then He didn’t exist.

Let’s take our own formation. We all believe thanks to Psalms that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and the Psalmist says we are knit together in our mother’s womb. At the same time, many of us do not balk at the idea that we are formed through a process of gestation that takes place in nine months and don’t think this means God micromanages our DNA. God can still form us and a natural process can be involved.

Why not with our original creation?

Also, the existence of God is not on scientific terms, since science can never prove or disprove something immaterial. It’s in the area of metaphysics and here the question goes deeper. It is the question of existence itself. What does it mean to be? It’s not just how the universe came into being, but how does the universe stay in being? What about goodness, truth, and beauty? Where do they come from?

These are questions that are not scientific necessarily, aside from perhaps how the universe came to be. The rest are philosophical questions and God is something that can be studied through philosophy. This is where the real battle lies.

Furthermore, I get concerned that we could be keeping up a stereotype of science vs. religion. This is a big problem I have with Dawkins’s book. At the end, he can describe things like starlings in flight or chameleons catching insects with their tongues or anything like that. I read it and think “How marvelous the way God’s creation works.” Why? Because God is largely in my background knowledge and I see no contradiction between evolution and God.

Thus, if God is in that knowledge and I have no problem with evolution, I, like many others, will interpret knowledge I gain through the lens of what I already hold on what I at least think are good grounds. There are plenty of people who will not think that way, but religion is a deeply important part of their lives.

For those who have science as their background and are atheistic, this will get them to think science and religion are opposed, but the problem is a number of religious people could think the same way. Dawkins could wind up driving people away from science.

The reality is if you pit these two against each other, people will gravitate towards the one that means the most to them. Jesus means a lot more to a lot more people than, say, knowing how far away the Crab Nebula is from us. They will accept science on basic things, but not on things that really challenge their thinking.

My philosophy now on it is to just stay out of it. I do not know the field well enough to debate it and I could make blunders that would undermine me in other areas. It also does not impact my position on Genesis or Christianity at all. Once again, if you know the science and you think you can give someone a door to Christianity, have at it. God bless you. If you are not a scientist though or someone who seriously studies it, be careful about debating such a topic.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 11/10/2018: Kyle Greenwood

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the deeper waters and find out.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. In due Christian fashion, we have been debating it ever since. I suspect that the two most debated books in the Bible are Genesis and Revelation and when it comes to Genesis, it’s largely the first 11 chapters and especially the first two.

So if we have been debating this for so long, and our Jewish friends before us have been debating it, what have we been saying? It might be too much to ask one man to go all throughout history and see what people are saying about Genesis, but fortunately, our guest this week took the path of editing a volume on it. By doing this, he allowed a number of people to look at the text and how it was interpreted throughout history.

He’ll be here with us today to talk about that book. We will look throughout history. Has it been the case that everywhere people have been talking about this book it was believed that the Earth is young and that only changed when evolution came along? How have people seen Adam and Eve? All these questions and more will be discussed with my guest, Kyle Greenwood.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Kyle Greenwood earned the Master of Divinity from Hebrew Union College and the PhD from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion. He taught nine years at Colorado Christian University and is now an associated faculty in Old Testament at Denver Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary. Greenwood is the author of Scripture and Cosmology: Reading the Bible between the Ancient World and Modern Science, is the editor of Since the Beginning: Interpreting Genesis 1–2 Through the Ages and just submitted a manuscript to Zondervan titledDictionary of English Grammar for Students of Biblical Languages. Kyle has been married to his wife Karen for over twenty-five years and they have three teenage children. When he’s not teaching or writing, he enjoys exploring the outdoor playgrounds of Colorado and serving in his local church.

We’ll be discussing the interpretation of these passages throughout the ages. We’ll talk about how the Jews interpreted it, how the Fathers interpreted it, how the medievals interpreted it, how the Reformers interpreted it, and then how it is interpreted in our times. We will discuss the different ways the text can be approached. Some people will like and think are treating the text properly. Some will be thought by a few out there to be a horrible way to approach the text. Some approaches could actually just make us laugh.

For those wondering where the show has been the past few weeks, we have had cancelations beyond my control and things like that. We hope to be back on an even schedule before too long. Please do realize I am trying to do all that I can to make this show the best that I can for you. I hope you’ll go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Mere Science and Christian Faith

What do I think of Greg Cootsona’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am not a scientist, but I am always interested in books about the intersection between science and religion. When IVP sent me this one, it was one I was eager to read. Cootsona’s book is different in some ways. It’s not so much because of content, but because of the approach.

Cootsona writes his book largely with emerging adults in mind, the kind of people we would call millennials. These are young people who have a lot of questions about science and religion. What is the relationship between the two? Is there conflict or dialogue or what?

Cootsona answers these questions and often shows information on the side about conversations that he’s had with young people and little statements that they say. People involved in youth ministry need to be reading something like this. These are the very issues that young people are dealing with and as Cootsona sadly shows at the end, many people walk away because they committed the great sin of asking questions.

Cootsona deals with questions not only about creation and evolution, but also about technology. What are the effects that it’s having on society? There is some good of course, but there is also some bad. Are we having too much screen time? Could we actually bear to put the phones down?

He also spends some time with the new atheists. For the most part, the new atheists aren’t really an issue any more, but the mind set is still there. Dawkins is still seen as being on the side of science and religion is seen as the opposite. This leaves many people wondering if they have to choose between science and religion. It doesn’t help Christians out when we tell young people that they just need to have faith and not bother with their questions.

Some of you might be wondering if in all of this if Cootsona has a high view of Scripture. He does. Cootsona upholds orthodoxy and upholds inerrancy in the book. He presents viewpoints to help people understand the questions such as evolution and the age of the Earth. It’s a snapshot in the book as it were, but in the back he provides resources for further study. Cootsona’s book is meant to be an introduction to the questions. It is not an end-all.

There is also a section on climate change and sexuality. Now I am a skeptic of the idea of climate change. I haven’t invested in the study, but I am skeptical. Still, there is good information to consider here even if I am not convinced. As for sexuality, our changing approach to sexual culture is going to need to be addressed. How do we answer questions about transgenderism and homosexuality? Is Christianity behind the times?

These questions about science and Christianity are entirely relevant today. I get many questions from Christians with doubt today. If there is any topic that seems to come up the most, it is questions about Genesis 1-11. It is amazing how many people contact me and say they’re scared that Christianity might not be true and yet they have no questions about the resurrection. It’s all about Genesis. We need better resources on this.

Youth ministers then should definitely read this book! If you’re not a scientist, that’s okay. It’s written in a style laymen can understand. Parents concerned about teenagers and college-age students should read this book. Young people themselves searching should also read it.

Cootsona has given us a good gateway book to the issue of science and Christianity. He has also sounded a clarion call that we need to be listening to the emerging adults today to know how to better reach them. We can answer all the questions we want to, but if we don’t answer the questions they’re asking, we don’t get them any closer to Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters