The Preacher Says....  
  What Dare I Think?  
     
 
Listen

"Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down. He flees as a shadow and continues not." Let me dramatize. The fireflies come in June and in September they are gone. Think of the 6000 years of history as all darkness, blackness, utterly void and suddenly the light is turned on. Thatís your life. And almost instantly the light is turned off again. And in that brief period of time when the light is on - that is when youíre alive - you find yourself in an environment that you had nothing to do with creating. People are having the light turned for that brief instant of life everywhere - Bucharest and Paris and Moscow and Rio de Janeiro and the jungles of Africa. And thereís so much to cope with. Weíve got 6000 years of history and scientific endeavor and lore and truth and falsehood. And we have to learn about it all and deal with it all quickly and then the light goes out. We have to deal with schools, jobs, marriage, surprises like braces on teeth, surprises like being unable to afford braces on teeth, surprises like wooden legs, losing oneís hair in the flower of oneís manhood is no pleasant thing to happen. You have to deal with your passions which are a constant distraction - all the lusts of every kind that beset us. And yet somehow weíre suppose to somehow deal with infinity. We find ourselves in the world - a world. And the title of this talk "What Dare I think" came out of a course I took in summer school one year taught by a biology teacher. The course was called "Man and his World." And it was kind of a revelation to me. It told me about stuff I had never thought much about: Paleontology, Evolution, and Biology and Humanism and all of the scientific and pseudo-scientific solutions to manís problems which had been brought to light at that date. And we all had to make a book report about some related book. And the book I picked was called "What Dare I think?" It was written by one of the Huxley brothers. Julian Huxley, the son of Thomas Huxley who had been the great publicist for Charles Darwin. I didnít pick the book because I was interested in such profound subjects. I picked it because it was the thinnest book on the reading list. But that fella had really done some thinking. He dared to think about a lot of things that I had never thought of before. And it brings me to my next subject. You have a struggle in life to deal with the sudden awakening to the fact that your parents are not infallible and that all that stuff you learned for the first time depending upon how naive you are is open and subject to question. And thatís what this book did. It opened everything - my whole concept of life - up to question. And so you continue to live, appear to be a model child, but inside your head youíre thinking. Do you dare think? I say you think. You think of all kinds of stuff. All of you do. We have, and hopefully it wonít happen to you as Iíve seen it happen to some people that when you get old and are dying of senile dementia all these thoughts that you had come spilling out because all sorts of crazy things start going on in your head. And one of things that you have to think about, it seems to me, is this book. What do you think of this book? Why do you have to think about it? You see God in nature. Is there something in this book that can tell you about natureís God which you perceive in the orderly universe in which you find yourself? This is the book to look at above every other book if you want to learn about Him from books, it seems to me, because this is the only book of which I am aware written by so many authors all of whom claim to have been divinely inspired by God ,--- even though some of them say of themselves as in the case of Moses that he was not eloquent, but slow of speech and tongue, yet mighty in the word of God. Paul says of himself, "I was not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church," but says heís inspired. These men writing over 1600 years prove each other all the time. Over a span of 1600 years. Jesus quotes Daniel and Isaiah. You can find the Old Testament - every book - quoted somewhere in the New Testament. You can find the New Testament authors quoting each other and indicating that they believe the writer is inspired - even rivals. Peter and Paul were rivals. Peter said Paul wrote stuff that was hard to be understood, but he said it was scripture. So these colleagues claim to be inspired, they quote each other and they tell a consistent story. And what is the consistent story they tell?

The book says that God has a purpose with this earth and he has a purpose with man upon the earth.. And that the purpose enunciated at the beginning of the book is still the purpose at the end. Jesus said, "Salvation is of the Jew" 2000 years after it was made clear to Abraham that that was the case. Paul even later said, "For the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain." Let me just, at the risk of repetition for some of you, run quickly through this consistent story. One generation passes away and another generation comes, but the earth abides forever. Blessed be the Lord who laid the foundation of the earth. Abraham is promised the land "to thee will I give it, forever." ďEvil doers shall be cut off, but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth." "The meek shall inherit the earth" . Such as are blessed of him shall inherit the earth. The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord . So is the purpose - the consistent story - to glorify the earth from Genesis to Revelation. And the hope of nations and the hope of individuals is consistent. I wonít repeat the promises made to Abraham, the bedrock of the Truth: the promise made to Abraham and his seed that they would inherit the land forever. We know from Hebrews that they didnít inherit, but they like the other faithful enumerated are waiting to inherit it. We know the promise was made not only to Abraham but also to his seed which is identified in the New Testament as Christ. And that the nations are to be blessed through his seed - through the seed of Abraham - that is to say, Christ. And how are they to be blessed? By setting up a kingdom which is gonna last forever. And way back in Deuteronomy, in the Pentateuch, God said in the 28th chapter speaking to these chosen people - the seed of Abraham , "It will appear that I will destroy you. Iím going to scatter you among all people from one of the earth even unto the other. And thou shalt serve other gods which neither thou nor thou fathers have known, even wood and stone. Among these nations thou shall find no ease, neither shall thy soul or thy foot have rest", and so on. You remember that invocation upon the jews which came true. The Jews have been scattered for 2500 years, but that same writer in the 30th chapter says, "It shall come to pass when all these things have come upon thee the blessing and the curse which I have set before thee and thou shalt call them to mind and shall return unto the Lord thy God and shall obey his voice, then God will turn thy captivity and have compassion upon thee and will return and gather thee from all nations where He hath scattered thee." Ezekiel talking about this same dispersion of the Jews speaking to Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, "Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel whose day has come when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord, remove the diadem, take off the crown. . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn it and it shall be no more until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it him." In the 21st chapter of Luke showing the consistency of all this, Jesus said, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Jesus knew what Moses said in the book of Deuteronomy, and taught the same message. Ezekiel says "Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen and bring them into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel and one king shall be king to them all. The individual hope of natural Israel was to be in that kingdom.

If a man dies shall he live again? Job answers his own question, "I know that my redeemer lives and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God." Isaiah, "They dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing ye that dwell in the dust." Daniel, "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." But thatís just not the Jewish hope. The first book of the New Testament, "The book of genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham". After his resurrection the disciples asked Jesus "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?" He said, "Itís not for you to know the times or seasons which the father hath put in his own power." Paul says to the Galatians, "And the scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith preached before the gospel through Abraham saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed. So then you who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He sayeth not unto seeds as of many but as of one. And to thy seed which is Christ, and if ye be Christ then are ye Abrahamís seed and heirs according to the promise." The Jewish promise is to Abraham and his seed. The seed of Abraham is Christ. We are the seed of Abraham because we are the brothers and sisters of Christ. Thatís not a New Testament gloss, but the fulfillment of a specific Old Testament prophecy. And the metaphor is used of the olive tree - how the wild olive branches are grafted onto the natural stock of Israel. And on and on. Iím only doing these things to say this: Hereís this big dense book, and here we live in this world full of distraction. We have to deal with this business of credibility of our Bible in our general "What dare I thinking" about infinity and the universe and God. And the Bible deserves our consideration. And read some of the books. If you think that with all the distractions you have that you think youíre gonna start with Genesis and make it to Revelation and figure it all out youíll have to enter a convent for 4 or 5 years to do that. But take a book like "The Bible as History" not written by a theologian but a West German journalist, Werner Keller, a wonderful book about the historical accuracy of the Bible. In view of the overwhelming mass of authentic and well-attested evidence now available, as I thought of the skeptical criticism which from the 18th century onward would feign and demolish the Bible altogether, there kept hammering in my brain this one sentence - The Bible is right after all. Read it and see if you agree that the Bible is right after all.