home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > August 4th> All in All

ALL IN ALL, A THEOLOGY FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:24

church-religiousWhen it comes to things that concern God we might think that all He really only cares about our religious devotion like church attendance, Bible reading and prayer-times. We rarely think that God is interested in such earthy and tedious things like cooking, travelling, shopping, our mundane work, or even school-work. After all, what interest would God have in such things as algebra, cartesian graphs, geometry, integers, wood-work, biology, chemistry, statistics, probability, recipes, grammar, history or geography? Well, as it turns out, each of these very secular matters are vitally important to God because each of them reveals an aspect of His character and a window into His glory! Although it has largely been forgotten by the Academy, it is why Theology was long considered the “Queen of the Sciences”.

 

MATHEMATICS AND GOD’S GLORY

Physicists like Professor Paul Davies, who is not a believer, have long marvelled at the universe in which we live because it is highly and precisely mathematically ordered. Philosophers take this pondering one step further and wonder why is it that we live in a universe where mathematics actually works at all? These philosophers are quick to point out that we also live in a world where we take for granted the reality of numbers. But would numbers exist if there was nothing to count? The answer to this philosophical question regarding the foundation of mathematics reveals an amazing truth about God including- not every reality is material. Mathematics works because there is a God who has ordered the universe He has created. And like mathematics, He has made the universe to be understandable.

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name:
Jeremiah 31:35

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 987 65
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321
1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

Do I not fill heaven and earth?
Jer. 23:34.

There is no part of this universe that God does not fill. This includes the material (made of molecules) and the conceptual (such as morality, numbers, memories, emotions) aspects of the universe. Every bit of this universe is God’s!  Every academic subject that can be studied was authored by God and is available to us so that we can explore His glory! Jesus Christ is not just a great Saviour, He’s a great Mathematician.

 “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!”" Abraham Kuyper

Mathematics is made up of immaterial concepts such as numbers, but even these immaterial concepts can be thought of in other even more highly symbolic concepts: letters (x+5=9, x must therefore be 4). Thus, every time someone does an algebraic equation they are validating the Biblical revelation that: (i) the universe is comprised of both material and immaterial realities, (ii) mankind is uniquely created in the image of a God who communicates in symbols (words, numbers, text, objects) and He has created mankind in His image as the only species who shares this trait, (iii) the universe is largely comprised of objective realities (objectively, 2 + 2 = 4, this is not subject to opinion, preference, or change).

Maths is an insight into the heart and mind of our CreatorThus, to study mathematics is to delve into an aspect of the mind and heart of God. Consider that we use mathematics to (generally) solve problems. Mathematics reveals a grand Theological truth about God: He has designed a Universe where redemption is possible. Not only is redemption (solving a problem) possible in this world, the Saviour of all mankind has solved the greatest problem in the universe – a problem so great, mankind was unable to solve it by ourselves. Jesus Christ not resolved the problem of mankind’s universal arrogance, guilt and shame caused by sin (which not only blinds and deceives all people to see our true condition) it eternally separates us from God, He also redeemed mankind to become sons and daughters of God by adoption, if they will turn to Him. Every time you do a math’ problem, you should remember this.

 

GRAMMAR AND GOD’S GLORY 

God uses human language to convey eternal truth. Our ability to decipher, translate, and interpret symbols into rational ideas and messages culminates in the written language. God has ordained that eternal destiny of every human soul depends upon this ability. He has enabled mankind to develop meaningful language and convey that language in a precise written form. If we have the privilege of being taught how to read, we are so graced by God that we might explore His glory in His Word, His ways and His will. This is why the elements of language really matter – because they Sovereignly ordained by God as a primary means for communicating with mankind. The elements of written language include vocabulary and grammar.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

Grammar-Matters-were_godsThe wonder of God’s Word is that it can be translated into any language and still be irreducibly the divinely-inspired, inerrant, Word of God. But it is also why translators go to great pains to ensure that they translate the sacred text with grammatical precision. Thus, when we study English (in our instance) and gain an appreciation for vocabulary precision (being able to use the right word for the right occasion) and grammatical nuances (such as when and where to use a comma or an apostrophe), we are opening up our minds, and therefore our hearts, to be able to develop a greater understanding of who God is and the wonders of His ineffable glory. God indeed fills every part of the universe – including the English teacher’s whiteboard! He has ordained that mankind can read and write in order that people might be saved from eternal damnation and brought into the freedom that can only come from knowing Him. God has chosen to reveal Himself as The Word by The Word.

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
Second Peter 3:15-16

SOLI DEO GLORIA

Andrew Corbett teaching at Launceston CollegeThe prophets foretold of a time when God’s glory would cover the earth as the waters cover the seas (Hab. 2:14). In that day, everything shall be seen as revealing the glory of God (Zech. 14:20-21). Even mundane pots and pans will declare, “Holy to the Lord”, they declared.  If you are a school teacher, you are fulfilling a very high calling in the eyes of God. You are not merely “baby-sitting”, or, “child-minding”, or “keeping kids off the streets” – you are cultivating young hearts and minds to encounter the glory of God!

When I am teaching kids to play tennis, I introduce them to basic skills, stroke technique, scoring, and rules of the game. After they understand these seemingly mundane things I will often point out the parallels between playing tennis and successfully living life (the need for rules, the blessing of boundaries, the value of competition, and so on). When I watch a movie I often see a worldview dependent on God’s existence for it to make any sense – truth, justice, fairness, love, sacrifice for others – only make sense in a world created and ruled by God. Every subject a teacher must teach is only teachable because it is made possible by God and therefore reveals an aspect of His glory. Otherwise teachers would not be able to implement First Corinthians 10:31!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
First Corinthians 10:31

Yes, God most certainly does fill heaven and earth!

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 

I AM WHO I AM BUT I AM NOT WHO I USED TO BE BUT I AM NOT YET WHO I WILL BE

One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.

WHO DOES THIS EPHESIANS FELLA THINK HE IS?!

It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

THE LORD IS MY ROCK

Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

WHO BUILDS A CITY ON A HILL?

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...

5 INDISPENSABLE GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARENTS

This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR ATHEIST & MAGICIAN PENN JILLETTE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?

I’ve been praying for Penn Jillette for some time now. It began when I first heard him ridicule the Bible and Christianity. My fascination with Penn (and Teller), and other world-class magicians, has been due to my pursuit to develop my craft of preaching. There are a lot of similarities between preachers and magicians (just as there is also a lot similarities between solo musicians and preachers). I seek to learn from magicians about how to keep an audience’s attention, how to tell a story, and how to make a point by employing the element of surprise. But there are some significant differences between what magicians do and what preachers do though. A magician is deliberately deceptive. A preacher is striving to uphold truth in an honest way.