For Heaven’s Sake!!
This has been my only venture into theology, brought about solely because I saw friends struggling with issues that had been put to rest for me already. In my life, these questions, about creation and man’s destiny, had been settled by a key insight given to me by God when I was praying and asking Him for understanding in this area. Although it was a personal insight, it came when reflecting on Psalm 139 and I was happy that it was scriptural. Before starting to write this book, I began to scrutinise other scriptures, to probe at a deeper level the true nature of the creation and our place in it.
The first problem I faced, common to all who seek truth in scripture, was that the Bible was not written in a modern language such as English! Most of the trivial explanations of creation arise today because the English translations or other modern language translations are used. Genesis was actually written from right to left in an obscure language, Biblical Hebrew, which used constructions for time and events that do not match readily to those used in English. Biblical past and future, for example, are not expressed in similar tenses to English. It is nonetheless disappointing when the Hebrew obviously refers to the future during the creation passages, that the translators have used the past tense, as if it had all happened already. Another serious error is that Hebrew uses different words to describe the act of creation, for example bara, yatzar and asah, but English renditions do not make these vital distinctions. For example, bara is used exclusively for creative acts performed by God and includes a design phase, but this is not communicated to a reader.
A further fascinating fact is that the Hebrew sometimes uses a past tense for prophecies that are still to happen in our time and space; for example, Isaiah 53 regarding the suffering Christ was written in the past tense hundreds of years before the event. From God’s perspective, the events are signed and sealed when He decrees them, although they happen progressively on earth at His timings. The same applies to the creation.
During my research, I found scripture to be more closely aligned to my original personal insight than to modern translations! I bring this out in the book, but recognise that my offering is simply mining ‘at the surface’ what is a fantastic ore body of understanding of who God is and how He creates. What is needed is a worldwide conference of interested scholars to debate and investigate the parameters of allowable interpretation, instead of Christian theological positions trying to limit acceptable belief incorrectly. Perhaps Islamic and Jewish scholars could also be invited to contribute because they too believe Genesis and might shed additional light on it.
Although the response to this book has been muted, I have had letters saying how much it has helped some readers – which is encouraging.
Millions have already lost their faith because of the trivial approach many arms of the Christian Church are adopting towards the origin and destiny of mankind. I am convinced that the whole Christian Church should tackle from scripture the questions of creation and of evolution before they lose the intellectual debate, and with that loss millions more will lose their faith.
I have a few copies of this title that I can mail (worldwide for A$30, Australiawide for $20). Just send me a cheque or money order. I’d be happy to inscribe the book with any message you may choose -you may wish to use it as a gift.