Bible Posts

Does God Exist Outside of Time?

Does God Exist Outside of Time?

“Yes!” If that’s your default answer to the title of this post, you’re not alone. In fact, I would have even answered this way until just recently. A handful of years ago I was exposed to the open view of God and the idea that parts of the future could be open to possibilities (see: God of the Possible). Therefore, those parts of the future were also open to change and to the effects of our free will. Obviously, not everyone is comfortable with this view of God’s foreknowledge as it appears at first glance that He’s lacking something. Yet we also have to acknowledge that Biblically, as with stories of people like King Hezekiah, God sometimes changes His mind and what He intended to happen (see: 2 Kings 20:1-6). That doesn’t fit well with the typical Christian’s theology.

Now there are a number of ways I can explain how the open view of God makes the most sense to me. Yet I always did that with a shared assumption that God existed outside of time. I’ll admit this makes it trickier to understand how God’s created timeline could somehow be clouded or open to Him. What I hadn’t considered until just recently was that this very assumption is worth challenging.

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Bells Rung Simultaneously

Hebrew ThoughtI’ve been reading through a book called Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek. Not likely to become a best-seller anytime soon but this book is loaded with interesting perspective. This is particularly interesting for a Christian since the Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. One of the passages that stood out to me comes from John 1. The first three verses begin by explaining Jesus.

“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 the Hebrew thought “word” is “deed.” As the book unpacks it: “‘Word’ and ‘deed’ are thus not two different meanings… but the ‘deed’ is the consequence of the basic meaning…”

In the Greek thought “word” is “meaning.” As the book unpacks it: “The deepest level of meaning in the term ‘word’ is thus nothing which has to do with the function of speaking… but the meaning, the ordered and reasonable content.”

If we consider both the Hebrew and Greek understanding of this idea we find that Jesus is literally the deed of God and the ultimate meaning of God’s intent. Words have meaning, and this one especially so. This word shows us God Himself. I love that it doesn’t matter what language or culture you pick between the two. Both expressions show us that in Jesus we see the fullness of God.

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The Spirituality of Wine

The Spirituality of Wine

Recently I read through Gisela H. Kreglinger’s book, The Spirituality of Wine. I was already familiar with most of what the Bible says about alcohol (I include a discussion of alcohol in chapter five of my book Redeeming Pleasure). Yet this book explored more nuanced aspects of it that I enjoyed (such as the quote below about Noah). She does a great job connecting wine with aspects of the Christian faith as well as offering ways to enjoy it from a healthy, balanced perspective. In Christian circles alcohol quickly becomes a divisive subject, yet this book approaches it from an objective and cautious perspective.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about how wine connects us to Jesus:

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The Irony of Evil

The Irony of Evil

If you’re anything like me, you quickly get overwhelmed and even physically exhausted by story after story of evil happening in our world today. Previous generations lived without knowing the extent of evil worldwide while today our social media feed brings every encounter to our doorstep. It’s too much. Michelle and I talk about this often because we have enough examples of evil just through the people directly connected with us in life and what happens to them. Let alone the evil done across the globe.

It’s easy to lose sight of the goodness of Jesus in the midst of this. It’s even easy to doubt God’s sovereignty, although we rarely give words to those thoughts. Instead, we wonder why God continues to allow stuff like that. I read through Psalm chapter seven this week and found encouragement in the way King David addresses evil.

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How Long Does it Take to Change Your Mind?

How Long Does it Take to Change Your Mind?

This week I was reading through the story of the Apostle Paul meeting Jesus when a new detail stood out to me. You can find the entire story in Acts 9:1-19. Saul goes from actively pursuing Christians to kill them and then changes into one of the dominant figures to propel the new church forward in the New Testament. That’s a cataclysmic shift in perspective. The catalyst for the transformation was Saul hearing the audible voice of Jesus and losing his vision as a result of a blinding light. Then,

“Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Acts 9:8-9

After this, a man named Ananias comes to Saul and the transformation kicks into overdrive. This quickly became, and still stands, as one of the greatest transformations we’ve ever seen. Which is why that small detail about three days is so interesting to me. Imagine Saul contemplating his life for three days. He’s blind. He’s not eating or drinking. He’s processing. All his life up to this point has been misguided. The person who He assumed was a phony is  God Himself. Everything must change. His relationships with his friends and his family. His career. His future. All that he holds dear is now different.

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Who’s Laughing Now?

Who’s Laughing Now?

Ever had the feeling that people were laughing at you behind your back? Or worse (maybe), you saw them laughing at you to your face? None of us want to be in that position. Seth Godin recently wrote a great post about failure and choosing pessimism (see: Sharpening Failure). One of his lines stood out in particular:

“The universe is not laughing at us. It doesn’t even know we exist.”

I agree. That’s an excellent way to overcome the nagging appeal to choose pessimism when a situation doesn’t play out the way you hoped it would. Despite what you read online or heard from that one friend of yours (we all have one), the conspiracy theory against you isn’t real. That’s good news.

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