The Journal


 

Below are Journal entries, eclectic commentary, and information bulletins for site additions in 2010.  Kind thanks to my dear wife for proof reading these comments from time-to-time.  Most recent posts are shown first:

 

12/6/2010

 

Harold Camping is back in the news, this time with a prediction of May 21, 2011 for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Given the condition of the world, we all wish he was right.  But those who have attempted to calculate the specific date have always been wrong.

 

Back in October 2006, I wrote a brief exposť, The Emasculated Gospel of Harold Camping & Family Radio.  Camping is retired engineer with a fetish for numerical patterns and fuzzy math.  As I noted in my 2006 paper, his latest prediction rests upon the erroneous calculation of 4,990BC for the date of Noah's Flood.  This week my 'auditor' curiosity got the best of me and I went looking for answers to how his dating scheme results in 11,013BC for creation and 4,990BC for the Flood.  Many biblical historians have relied upon the timeline chart (click to see) of James Ussher from his The Annals of the World.

 

Camping claims that Noah's Flood occurred in 4,990BC (rather than 2,349BC) and that God's plan for history is for 7,000 years to follow the Flood.  Thus his formula: 4,990 + 2011 - 1 = 7,000.  He subtracts one year since there is no Year 0.  He further refines his prediction down to the precise day by using Genesis 7:11 at the starting point.   

 

Despite the clear language and construction of Genesis 5:3-32, Camping applies a genealogical time-keeping methodology taken from Exodus 6, and then applies it back upon the six early patriarchs: Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah.  By using the FULL life spans* for these six, he effectively ADDS 4,367 years into the period from Creation to the Flood.  Below is his fuzzy math.  I've highlighted his substitutions.  He also makes calculation error for after the Flood as well.

 

* Prior to the Flood, men and women lived enormously long lives, e.g. Methuselah 969 years!  A number of theories have been advanced to explain the phenomena of such longevity.

 

905+910+895+962+365+969=5,006 (Camping)

90+70+65+162+65+187=639 (Ussher)

5,006-639=4,367 (Difference)

 

 

   

 

11/9/2010

 

Body, Soul & Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate, John W. Cooper, Eerdmans Publishing, 1989.

John Cooper is professor of philosophical theology at Calvin Theological Seminary.  His book is an in-depth, scholastic study in metaphysical ontology and the afterlife from both the Hebrew and Greek.  My interest was driven by the need to determine whether Scripture supports the 'soul vs. spirit' theologies so prevalent among identification writers.  Answer:  No, they don't.  This doesn't conflict with the Apostle Paul's teaching regarding the Two Adams; rather it helps provide the biblical framework in which the soteriological exchange must be understood.

 

This may come as something of a shock to some, but much, if not all of the elaborate speculation regarding the differing realms and operation of "spirit" vs. "soul" (e.g., Nee, Thieme, etc) and how they relate to the believer's identification with Christ are not based on serious evaluation of the biblical text.  For example, in his Preface to What Is Man?, T. Austin Sparks wrote, "No claim is made to any expert knowledge.  The contents represent more the result of observation and experience amongst Christian people over a wide area during a good number of years, than of study of the subject itself."  This statement should immediately make the content of this book suspect for the discerning believer.  Does the "wide area" and "good number of years" provide authentication for his subjectivism?  Was it Sparks' theories that gave license to Nee and others to embellish even further?

 

Google Books link:  Body, Soul & Life Everlasting for perusal purposes.


SAVING LEONARDO: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning, Nancy Pearcey, B&H Publishing, 2010.

This is something of a follow-on to her previous and more comprehensive book, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, and explores the intersection of various philosophies/worldviews with art and the flow of art genre and artists through history.  Overall, readers will find it an easier read than Total Truth.  The first three chapters (Part 1) give a summarized but excellent explanation of the Enlightenment-driven fact/value split so ubiquitous to Western thinking.  Part 1 also forms the intellectual foundation for what followsa narrated journey through both the Enlightenment and Romantic artistic heritage.

Pearcey's particular brand of Reformed/Covenant theology becomes a minor distraction when she posits, "In the Apostle's Creed, the church boldly affirms that all God's people will share in that new creation through 'the resurrection of the body'.  In other words, they will not be saved out of the material creation but will be saved together with the material creation.  At the end of time, God is not going to scrap the idea of a physical world in time and space, as though his first creation was just a mistake.  The biblical teaching is that God is going to restore, renew, and recreate it into a new heaven and new earth" (p. 56).  Underline emphasis mine.  While Scripture doesn't provide a scientific explanation of the future cosmological and ontological transitions, it does suggest exchange via destruction, not amelioration.  For example, see 2 Peter 3:7,10-13 and Revelation 21.

It is increasingly understood, that the Reformed tradition is a hindrance to seeing Christ's work at Calvary as the judgment and judicial end of all things Adamic.  Like the Jewish NT apostles, they fall short of the Apostle Paul's revelation of the "mystery."(1)  While it is true that God will not abandon the corporeal nature of reality in the coming New Heavens and New Earth, it is also true that this involves an exchange, New for Old, not a return to Eden and Edenic conditions.

Despite this shortcoming, I frequently recommend this book as a primer for understanding the battle between secularism and the Christian worldview, as well as a helpful tool in the practical and personal realization of Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

(1)  See: Paul’s Gospel: the Word of God in Its Fullness

 

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