Friday, December 17, 2010

Some Reflections on dNous 2010

I had the pleasure to spend two days with a group of teens at dNous Academy camp at Seminari Teologi Malaysia, Seremban discussing the Christian worldview (scripts/slides below). The informal conversations with the youths were most stimulating and challenging (I must say!)... It's moments like these that make all the hours poured into reading and research worthwhile.

Looking back, I wish I could give more time and detail to some of the questions raised and that I had been more prepared as well (i.e. on the question of sex selection). So here is an opportunity for me to provide some possible resources for anyone who is interested to explore more.

1) For those keen on cultural stuffs, check out Damaris Culture watch which provides a Christian perspective on the latest movie, song, book etc


2) The issue of homosexuality is 'hot'... students want to know how should Christians respond and whether it is genetically determined ("born that way"? "hard to control/suppress"?). I highlighted Real Love Ministry and Pursuing Liberty under Christ in Malaysia that provides practical support to gays with compassion and hope as examples of how Christians could respond. Below are two helpful articles from Bethinking.org

Why do Christians Hate Homosexuals?

Determined Homosexuality?

3) Another group of popular questions revolve around bioethics - 'what about sex selection of babies?'  Did some Google and found this article from Probe.org to be quite balanced yet cautious


4) Relationship between faith and science is also a hot topic. Is Big Bang a problem for Christian faith? On the contrary, I think it could be understood as supporting the Christian belief in a finite universe.

The article below is a bit technical on the science side of things, but try jumping to the last few paragraphs where the conclusions are.

God And Big Bang Models

Bethinking also has balanced articles from both sides of the debate on evolution. Check it out here



5) I also wished I had more time to discuss biblical passages on the 'new heaven and new earth' (Revelation 21) so here is a good summary of a book called "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. It also answers common questions like "Will dogs go to heaven?" You can download free chapters of the book here

Basically, the earth as it is now will not remain forever but will pass away.

The passage in 2 Peter 3:6-13 seem to imply that the present world will be subjected to judgment by fire but would ultimately result in the new heaven and the new earth. John Piper writes, “When Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:10 say that the present earth and heavens will ‘pass away,’ it does not have to mean that they go out of existence, but may mean that there will be such a change in them that their present condition passes away. We might say, ‘The caterpillar passes away, and the butterfly emerges.’ There is a real passing away, and there is a real continuity, a real connection.”

Through fire, the present universe will be refined, restored, renewed and transformed into the new one. Just as the old world was destroyed by the Flood and the present world arose out of it, so also would the present world be dissolved by fire to give rise to a purified new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:5-7).

God did not create the physical world only to annihilate or abandon it. Rather, He will completely transform and rescue the present fallen universe. "We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth" (2 Peter ). There are two Greek words for the word "new": Neos means “new in time or origin” while kainos means “new in nature or quality”.

Here Peter uses kainos to denote that the present heaven and earth will be changed in its nature. We see the same meaning in 2 Corinthians , “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new (kainos) creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (kainos).” It means that the same person who is regenerated will be radically transformed, rather than being replaced by someone else.

When many people think of the resurrection, they also think of those popular cartoon sketches of people floating around in fluffy clouds, wearing white gowns with a harp in their hand and a halo on their head. The idea is to escape as a ghost-like spirit from this physical world. It creates a mentality where we withdraw from life and passively wait for the afterlife.  
But the Christian hope of eternal life is not about running away from reality. We look forward to a resurrection just like Jesus’ where we will be raised to life in a glorified body. What God has done in Christ on Easter morning, He would do on a cosmic scale for the entire creation, including us! In the meantime, we are to live today as if the future is already present. The way we live should point forward to what God’s reign in its future fullness would look like. Therefore we have every reason and motivation to care for creation today!

“As God may gather the scattered DNA and atoms and molecules of our bodies, he will regather all he needs of the scorched and disfigured Earth. As our old bodies will be raised to new bodies, so the old Earth will be raised to become the New Earth. So, will the earth be destroyed or renewed? The answer is both—but the “destruction” will be temporal and partial, whereas the renewal will be eternal and complete.” (Randy Alcorn, “Heaven”)


2 comments:

Hannah said...

wow thanks so much! a dna student here and i'm glad that you are helping us follow up and research on the questions we raised. keep on inspiring! =)

The Hedonese said...

A joy to meet you all, Hannah :)
Thanks for visiting the blog, and your comment