The Care and Feeding of the Heart: Do Beginnings Matter in the End?
Welcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing chow, carefully prepared, to help you run the Godly and good race! For what good is a good race, unless it’s a Godly race?
Have you ever wondered—I mean really chewed on the issue, searched your own heart, researched thought-leader’s ideas, worked out the logic, and deeply discussed it with others—what the relationship between BEGINNINGS and ENDS consist of? The beginning and end of it ALL? The beginning and end of YOU?
Looking at some real-life anecdotes of the relationship between beginnings and ends—in an order beginning with the mundane and ending with the monumental—might prove to be thought-provoking:
“You always have to begin projects of this kind by turning off the electrical current to the appliance. Otherwise it can end very poorly.”
“Sure, I have to do that everyday. How I begin driving to work will determine how and where the drive will end up.”
“When I begin to solve any problem with the best, most worthy end in mind, I always do much better.”
“You bet! I knew I needed to begin my new diet in such a way as to achieve the end I really hoped for. This time I’m going to begin with an accountability partner so I don’t get off track before the end-goal of losing the 25 pounds that I need to lose.”
“The beginning of my marathon didn’t go according to plan: I went out too fast, cramped-up; I couldn’t get the fluids down. I was toast way before the end! If I do another one I need to begin better… So I can finish well…”
“Yeah, I failed my team miserably… Maybe I didn’t take the beginning of this project seriously enough to realize what achieving the end would really involve.”
“There’s not much margin for error in our field. If were to begin the missile launch with the wrong data, it would end millions of miles off course. A sloppy beginning is not an option in our job where the end amounts to many millions of dollars.”
“Absolutely! If we had begun the ascent to the top of the mountain on the wrong route, we all would have met our end.”
“I can see the difference when I fall out of the habit of beginning the day with my quiet time with God. By the end of the day I’m just not myself.
“If the very worthy endpoint we have in mind to ‘be the first choice of customers everywhere’ is going to work half-way well, we have to begin with exactly what our various customer-stakeholders most value. Devoid of this beginning, the business will abruptly end!”
“My wife’s surgery began with an anesthetic that we had warned the hospital she was highly allergic to… She nearly met her end…”
“Regrettably, the beginning of our relationship never took into account the ends God desired for us as individuals and a couple… I wish had begun again before it all came to a such a destructive and disheartening end.”
Closer to the Bone of the Subject Matter at Hand:
“So, it’s like, what you’re telling me about ‘being all I can be’ just doesn’t add up! If my beginnings in the universe were purely random; my life simply a chance collocation of molecules, primordial muck, and meaninglessness; and my end nothing more than being six feet under and food for worms… What the hell difference does it make if I succeed or fail? Nurture or neuter? Bully or bless? Hope or hate? Delight or despair? Be content or cause chaos? Be pure or putrid? Respect my body or cut it? Aspire or hang out? Keep my embryo or kill it? All this mumbo-jumbo about ‘making a difference’ is a big ‘ol lie just to keep me out of your hair. Whatever…!” [Signed, any angry young person who’s been indoctrinated by anti-theistic, naturalistic beginnings while being admired or admonished for not valuing him or her self and failing to ‘be all he or she can be’… When he or she BE nothing more than a highly evolved accident of nature.]
What’s Up with Beginnings and Ends?
Is it Sloppiness or “Strategery” [Saturday Night Live]?
Just the other night I was watching the Olympics and one of numerous promo ads for, “COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey”, a 13-part docu-series on FOX, came by again.
The re-make of the 1980 series by Carl Sagan is heavily promoted and features impressive ads of numerous, highly produced… combining audacious bigness and sub-atom-sized smallness, macro-to-micro, emotionally evoking and intellectually challenging images of ALL… [E.g., ALL… creation, land, space, sea, minds, mineral, mental, bugs, beasts, bombs, Booby Birds, dinosaurs, ducks, from dizzying heights to the dankest of depths… ALL of it.] that the universe takes into account.
“The cosmos is all that is, or all that ever was, or all that ever will be.
Our contemplation of the cosmos stirs…”
[COSMOS promo clip, 2014—same as the 1980 edition]
IT’S EVEN BIGGER THAN BEFORE! But please, let’s remember Carl Sagan’s worldview on the whole thing right from the very BEGINNING:
“We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.”
And additionally, “If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why is he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design; he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business if there was any competition.”
Sagan assured us that “we humans are the products of a long series of biological accidents” and concludes that all of our human traits—loves and hates, passions and despairs, tenderness and aggression—are simply the result of “minor accidents in our immensely long evolutionary history.”
Sagan believed that “men may not be the dreams of the gods, but rather that the gods are the dreams of men.” In an interview published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (6 October 1980), Sagan was asked to comment on his view of the future of man. Sagan replied, “I feel in order to survive we someday must be able to give up our allegiance to our nation, our religion, our race and economic group and think of ourselves more as just a temporary form of life …”
Carl Sagan said, “The secrets of evolution are time and death.” [Cosmos, Episode #2, 1980] He believed that the process of death and bloodshed, over millions of years, had the result of one kind of organism changing into another, with one kind of animal changing into another, and eventually humans evolving from primates.
In the new COSMOS, the span of both tres-grand and teensy-granular questions and answers the docu-series portends to address and resolve is jaw-dropping.
AND, please don’t miss this one: “COSMOS…” is portrayed as absolutely, 100%, altogether, top-to-bottom under the purview of “SCIENCE”—def, “the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”.
Really? It’s more like, “If you can’t fathom that something so impossible could really happen, just add another gazillion years… and have faith!”
In Sagan’s secular-humanist worldview “science” trumps all else, but especially those whose worldview consists of something so uninformed, uneducated, daft, and lazy as religion or “faith in God”: The problem is that the anti-theistic, naturalistic explanation of BEGINNINGS and ENDS takes FAR more faith than any form of fiction or fabrication ever foisted on the world!
Here’s a version of the voice-over of the series / subject matter expert and narrator Astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson:
“Our entire universe emerged from a point smaller than a single atom!”
Please pause for a moment and consider whether or not a declaration of this theological, philosophical, “scientific”, anthropological, “original” [our origins], and eschatological [how we define the end of things] kind ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF THE COSMOS does or does not set a course for everything else that the series will include. I have to admit that it’s a cruel irony that “COSMOS…” is being promoted by using an image of a very famous nebula nick-named, of all things, The Eye of God [see inset image above].
Please consider very closely… It makes a temporal and eternal difference:
“Our entire universe emerged from a point smaller than a single atom! The grandest of mysteries…”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said…” (Genesis 1, and following)
The breadth and depth of this incredibly crucial subject is too vast to go into any detail in this forum, Beloved marathoners for Christ. But let’s chew on a few items below.
Please consider how important CREATION-BEGINNINGS is TO GOD:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)
RE: Beginnings Matter: God’s CREATION is such an elemental attribute of His personhood, attributes, and legitimate reign over ALL created, seen and unseen things, that [in addition to our repentance and faith in Jesus Christ] He will use any given human being’s reaction to His CREATION-BEGINNINGS as a measure of our acknowledgement of God, and whether we will spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell. God believes the origins of the universe, and His consummate creative act in MANKIND, matter a great deal.
And we have created an entire worldview [Darwinism, naturism, “religion vs. science”] out of a made-up, nihilistic, idiotic, hopeless, idolatrous version of ORIGINS and ENDS.
Please consider how important CREATION-BEGINNINGS is TO SATAN:
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:21-23; 2 Peter 3:3-7)
RE: Anti-Theistic Creation is Deceptive and Desperately Wicked:
Dr. Richard Dawkins is an atheist and one of the world’s leading spokespersons for evolution. An interviewer once made this statement to him: “The idea of evolution and natural selection makes some people feel that everything is meaningless, people’s individual lives and life in general.” Dr. Dawkins responded that, “If it’s true that it causes people to feel despair. That’s tough. If it’s true, it’s true; and you had better live with it.” [The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins, October 2005] So if I believe in atheistic evolution and it causes me to despair, what can I do? Be tough. Get used to it. That’s what it’s all about. Live with it.
And then Dawkins was asked this question, “What do you see is the problem with a terminally ill cancer patient believing in an afterlife?” Dr. Dawkins responded, “No problem at all. If I could have a word with a would-be suicide bomber who thinks he is going to paradise, I would say ‘Don’t imagine for one second that you are going to paradise, you’re going to rot in the ground.’”
Motivation is Always Key!
Dr. Phillip Johnson, [Darwin on Trial, Defeating Darwinism, Reason in the Balance] remarked, “What the Bible is saying [Romans 1:20-21] is that, to avoid the reality of a Creator, people have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. Evolution is another form of nature worship, which is what the Bible is talking about here. It’s a way of getting God out of the picture, by replacing the true God with the god of the human imagination. The proposition is, effectively, that God didn’t create man… or anything.
It’s the other way around: Man created God out of human imagination. Of course, the motivation is clear: what man has created man can command. That’s the key point: Idolatry.”
Please consider how important CREATION-BEGINNINGS is in our SUFFERING:
Acting as a prototype for all who are suffering and [legitimately] questioning God about it all, it took Job 37 Chapters! to finally sit down face-to-face with God. And, get this, where did God go to BEGIN… to get it all settled? CREATION-BEGINNINGS:
God said, “Where were you [Job] when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
And God went on about HIS HAND IN CREATION-BEGINNINGS for 4 more chapters! It’s really stunning. Why? Because God was essentially saying to Job and all those who believe and trust in God come hell or high water, the highest joy or lowest darkness, smiley faces or searing suffering as Job did, “Yes, I know… It’s been hell on earth since so much brokenness and pain has shattered your heart, Job. But remember, I began all things; I’m sustaining all things; because I AM: you can trust in Me, rest in Me, worship Me, serve in My name, and be with Me, face-to-face forever… I created ALL seen and unseen things, and I love YOU, My Image Bearers, most of all. Period.”
Please consider how important CREATION-BEGINNINGS is in our PRAISE and JOY:
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11)
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground…” (Genesis 2:1-15).
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
Please consider how important CREATION-BEGINNINGS is at our END—preparing for the time when Jesus Christ returns… to return all things to their perfection as it was IN THE BEGINNING:
“And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.’”
Race Runners for Christ… It is no small thing to instigate, propagate, and acculturate anti-theistic, naturalistic, evolution… or HUMANISTIC BEGINNINGS. No matter how beautifully, convincingly, and bedazzlingly you do so… and as “COSMOS…” has done… again!
Additionally, once the lies of our origins have been so thoroughly and deeply rooted into virtually every aspect of our lives, God’s people are regularly castigated and ridiculed in every realm for refuting a lie of such grand and granular proportions and consequences… Even in the church Biblical Creationists are often treated as unscientific Neanderthals… Ironic, eh?
“Some of us are working to make it possible for evolution to be treated like other issues, where criticism of the official story can get a fair hearing. It is an uphill battle, because Darwinists can use their control of the microphone to cast their opponents as religious dogmatists regardless of what the opponents are actually saying. If critics [of naturalistic evolution] object to the teaching of philosophical doctrines as scientific facts, the microphones [Darwinists] say they are trying to prevent students from learning. If critics attempt to tell the other side of the story and bring out evidence that the textbooks ignore, they are accused of trying to insert religion into the science curriculum in violation of the Constitution. The rule of the microphone is ‘Heads we win, tails you lose.'” (Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial)
God has won the battle for the beginning; the church has lost it; ergo, the culture is sliding so fast down the slippery… slimy… gooey… primordial… icky… slope of misshapen BEGINNINGS and ENDS… The truth of consequences couldn’t be more clear:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:18-23)
“COSMOS…” will be broadcast worldwide beginning March 9. Will you consider ramping up your own defense and apologetic of God’s person, love, truth and role as The Creator and Sustainer of all things?
A Prayer about Nature and God’s Creation
by Joel Stephen Williams
“O Lord, our God, in the beginning you created the heavens and the earth. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You determine the number of the stars and you call them each by name. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. How many are your works, O Lord! Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Everything you have made is good. As you declared, it is very good. You are the one God who has created us; you are our Father. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at your command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By wisdom you laid the earth’s foundations; by understanding you set the heavens in place. Through your Son, the divine Logos, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Your Son has been appointed the heir of all things, and through him you made the universe.
Let all creation praise the Creator. Let the angels, the heavenly hosts, and the stars praise the name of the Lord. For you commanded and they were created. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let us praise the name of the Lord, for your name alone, O God, is exalted; your splendor is above the earth and the heavens. You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.
You are the one we should worship. And we worship you, our Creator, not your creation. Since the creation of the world your invisible qualities–your eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so we are without excuse if we fail to honor you. Many are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can count. Were we to attempt to speak and tell of them, they would be too many for us to declare.
You created mankind in your own image, male and female you created us. You placed us on the earth, because you did not mean for the earth to be empty. You have blessed us with food, which is to be received with thanksgiving. You formed us and made us. You created us for your glory. Since you have created the earth, you want righteousness to rain down on it and salvation to spring up in it. The earth is yours, O Lord, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Everything in heaven belongs to you, so we can make no claim against you, but rather you against us.
Lord, when we sin, you grieve that you have made us. We beg you to recreate us again in Christ Jesus. Help us to put on a new self, created to be like you in true righteousness and holiness. Lord, make us a new creation. Create in us a new heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us.”
(Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 147:4; Jeremiah 32:17; Psalm 104:24; 1 Timothy 4:4; Genesis 1:31; Malachi 2:10; Hebrews 11:2; Proverbs 3:19; Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2; Psalm 148:1-5; Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 148:7-13; Revelation 4:11; Romans 1:20, 25; Psalm 40:5; Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 45:18; 1 Timothy 4:3; Isaiah 43:7; 45:8; Psalm 24:1; Job 41:11; Genesis 6:6; Ephesians 2:10; 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Psalm 51:10)
Blessings to all,
COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey
The Battle for the Beginning, by John McArthur
Creation Matters, Answers in Genesis
Evolution Exposed, Answers in Genesis
Only Time and Death, Ken Ham, May 2008
Creation: Believe It or Not, John MacArthur