Matter of the Heart

Last night I saw the movie “Expelled” for the second time. If you haven’t seen it, it is certainly worth going. If you have grown up immersed in the secular education system, you might especially find it an eye-opener. In Starting Point groups, we discuss some of the same things that were brought up in the movie and also some of the implications that go with both sides of the debate. [By the way, new SP groups are beginning May 3 and 4 and there’s still time to sign up.]

One of the things I found most intriguingin the movie was an answer Richard Dawkins gave at the end of his interview with Ben Stein. I don’t have the exact quote, but Ben asked Richard if it turns out that indeed the God of the Bible exists, what would he (Richard) say to God if or when he should encounter Him. Richard’s answer was a quotation from another person, and again, I don’t have the exact words, but the essence of his answer was, “Why have you worked so long and hard to hide from me?” That made me think of many scriptures that speak of God’s revelation to us even through His creation — of which we are a part. For instance, Romans 1:19-21:

19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.  

But also, as I read our Odyssey ’08 passage today, I was taken by how specifically it speaks to the issues raised in the movie.

The first thing I saw was the parallel with Gideon. When God called Gideon to lead a special mission which would deliver Israel from her enemies, the first thing God told Gideon to do was to tear down the altar to Baal, burn the Asherah pole, and set up an altar to the true God.

One would think that since earlier in the passage, (Judges 6:6) it says the people had cried out to God to deliver them, they would be ok with seeing the Baal thing go down, but no! The next morning, a lynch mob came to kill Gideon because he had torn down their false worship system. Notice the answer Joash (Gideon’s father) gives to the mob, “If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar!” In other words, he’s saying, let’s just be honest, we all know Baal is just a fake. We’ve just created an alternative deity because we didn’t want to listen to the true God, even though He was very good to us.  I notice that Joash’s answer closed their mouths and stopped the lynching.

 In the Luke passage, we have Jesus’ mock trials before Pilate and Herod Antipas. There is so much here, but what parallels with the movie is the verse at the end of that passage. Luke 23:12 “(Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)” I’m not good with quotes, but isn’t there one that says, “A common enemy makes for strange bedfellows”? Even though Herod and Pilate had been enemies, they now both shared a common enemy, Jesus, so they became friends. You might have noticed in the movie the discussion of an unusual partnership between the religious left and the atheistic evolutionists. Even Dawkins comments on the obvious contradiction between the two, but they share a common enemy – those who believe in intelligent design.

That reminds me of a Starting Point group member, who was condemned by his former pastor for teaching creation to teens in his previous church. This was in a church where one would just assume the Bible was regarded as truth.

In the Psalm passage, we really get to the bottom line. Psalm 95:6-7:

 6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!

I hope you will read this entire passage, but I want to extract a couple of phrases from their context (regarding the nation of Israel) so that you can see how similar we are today. Psalm 95:9b & 10b

 9b …even though they saw everything I did. 10b … ‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.

This issue isn’t really about science, although creation is the only true scientific explanation for how life began, but the real issue is a matter of the heart. It’s a choice we all make whether or not to acknowledge and trust our Maker. I’ll end this post with another quote from Psalm 96:7-8a:

7 O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
      recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
 8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!

 

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