Posted in creator of the universe, end time, God, hubble, prophecy

Ode to Hubble?

By Elizabeth Prata

With the Hubble Telescope’s 30-year anniversary back in the news I thought I’d reshare my thoughts from April 2010 on the same subject

First, new thoughts on Saturn. Thanks to Hubble, scientists are still perplexed that some of their theories of how the universe was created don’t flesh out when confronted with the physical reality of it- CNN Continue reading “Ode to Hubble?”

Posted in creation, discernment, God, paul, southern lights

What do Aurora Australis, Romans 1, and Apostle Paul have in common?

By Elizabeth Prata*

In Romans 1, the famous passage in which Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit describes the pagans’ reaction to experiencing the God of Creation, begins in verse 18.

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)

How does this play out, exactly? How are His invisible attributes seen and known? How is it that what can be known about God is made plain to people whose minds are darkened?

I was watching a very excellent documentary called “Antarctica: A Year On Ice”. It follows the people who live and work through a year’s cycle at the various scientific stations on the most remote and brutal continent on the planet. The continent is staffed with about 1100 people at various international stations up and down the Antarctic coast. The largest is the United States’ McMurdo Station. In most documentaries, they show the scientists working. Penguins, climate change, volcanic action, geology…but this documentary features the people who staff the stations in support of the scientists’ work. The regular folks.

The documentary further features the many hundreds of regular people who both work there during the summer, and who “winter over.” They man the store, staff the fire station, fix tractors, cook the meals, wash the dishes, take inventory of all the equipment, etc. When the last plane out at the end of summer leaves, they stay. Thus, the wintering over experience is unique to only a few individuals each year, as the full swell of 1100 during summer dwindles to only about 200 souls spread out among 30 scientific stations during winter in the Antarctic.

Living where there is no hope of departure for 6 months, in brutally cold and windy conditions, in darkness as the sun disappears below the horizon, with only a few dozen people around you…is something that only a few are allowed to experience.

Screen shot from “Antarctica: A Year On Ice”. Aurora Australis

Interestingly most of the people who “winter over” in the Antarctic love it. The landscape under the moon has a stark and glowing beauty. There is an astounding resplendence in the sky that only a few people are privileged ever to see. The stars, planets, Milky Way, moon, and of course the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) dance across the sky in majestic processions, all the time, for there is no sun to hide their glories.

Now here comes the Romans 1 passage lived out among a Gentile. One of the workers described her experience seeing all this for the first time. Here is what she said:

I was out on the sea ice, and all of a sudden comes rolling these waves and waves of green like fairy dust. Giant curtains of fairy dust, just kind of undulating over me. It filled the whole sky and moved in waves across the sky. And I thought this is either what it looks like when aliens are about to abduct you…lol, because this is the green stuff coming down and you feel like you can reach up and touch it. Or if you are a person who believes in heaven, maybe this is what you see in heaven. I’m not sure.

 

But it was really an emotional, life-changing experience for me. I found myself, not believing I’d done it, when I’d figured out where my body position was, I was actually on my knees crying. That’s how beautiful it was to me.

She sounds like every other person who had an encounter with the Living God. She didn’t directly meet the Living God like John, Paul, Isaiah, or Ezekiel did, but she experienced His power through His creation. When you do, you grope for words. You fall on your face. She had a mental reaction and a physical reaction.

First, you notice she described her experience in supernatural terms. It was either aliens, and in context it was clear she was joking, or it was God (“heaven”). Here she was more serious. The blinded mind does see and know of the Living God when they perceive His qualities through His creation, and her description was exhibit A in this process.

She lives and works with scientists in a place that only exists to perpetuate science and to discover scientific reasons for the way the planet is and how it works. All her conversations with people on McMurdo are founded from that basis. That is why they are there in the first place. Yet when she encountered the creation power of the Living God, her first thought was heaven. She did not say “Wow the Big Bang all those billions of years ago manifested itself in perfectly organized ions that traveled over millions of miles in a beautiful display!” She said “heaven” … and who lives in heaven? God.

Secondly, you notice her physical reaction. She was so overwhelmed with glory of His creative power she became insensate. She didn’t know if she was ‘in the body or out of her body’. She had to ‘come to’ and when she did, noticed she had fallen to her knees. Do we fall on our knees when we detect a scientific principle at work? Are we so awed by the process of pasteurization that we cry tears of joy on our knees? Maybe Louis Pasteur did, but anyone else? No.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.  (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:28b)

screen shot from the documentary. McMurdo station under southern lights

In the Bible men and women fell down when they experienced the direct glory and power of the LORD. Peter fell to his knees when Jesus brought all the fish to the boat, for example. Isaiah fell down in his vision seeing the heavenly throne room. However, people also fell down when they encountered the near-glory of God, experiencing the things sent from heaven. John fell down at the angel’s feet. Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet. Saul Saul, he fell down when the light from heaven shone around him. The difference as the Romans verse reminds us, is that we are not to worship the creation, not angels nor light nor other men, which are all created. We are not to worship southern lights or the sun or birds of the air nor creeping things.

But those who encounter a direct power from God through the creation react. This reaction is from a conscience which knows what they are seeing is from God and that He exists. This is what the Romans verses mean.

When Apostle Paul witnessed, he always began in the synagogue when giving the Gospel to Jews, reasoning from the scriptures. (Acts 17:2-3). With the Gentiles though, he always started with creation. He did this with the Lycaonians (Acts 14:6, 15) and the Greeks (Acts 17:22–31). Paul started with Creation and God’s attribute as Creator, and he exhorted Gentile listeners to see what can be seen in nature as the evidence for this.

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry. (Romans 11:13)

That is because they know the truth. They know God has created all, but they suppress it. Knowing but suppressing, understanding but denying, is an ongoing mental and emotional struggle inside each and every Gentile. It takes energy to suppress the truth that manifests itself in unwanted forms, such as falling to one’s knees, becoming insensate, or crying. The question is, what will they do with the information afterwards?

That’s where we as Christians can bring some more pressure to bear on their internal emotional and physical tension. We are witnesses to the God of creation. Before I was saved I lived unplugged close to the land and on the sea, experiencing the natural world in many ways. It became obvious to me that there IS a God. Nothing of what I was seeing in His creation could have come about through haphazard bangs and solar wind and evolution. So, I knew God is real because I was seeing His invisible attributes. But that is where I became stuck. What now? What does it mean? Who is this God and what does He want from me?

That is where we can be effective in sharing the next step for the questioning pagan. That next step is sharing knowledge of Jesus, sin, and judgment. Paul used but switched their concept of the God of creation to the God of intimate, loving involvement in their lives, a God who demands holiness but provided the way to achieve what we could not.

This essay first appeared on The End Time in 2015

 

Posted in bible, forgiveness, God, joseph, sovereign

Blame Game

Do you blame others? Try to dodge responsibility for your actions by blaming others? Are you full of excuses? I spent four decades on the planet as an unsaved person, I had honed blame-shifting to near perfection. I could rationalize away the worst sins. “What you did caused me to…” or “Despite what YOU did, I rose above…”

The mark of a spiritually mature person is one who not only accepts responsibility without excuses but seeks to give God glory and thinks of the other person first. Let’s look at three examples from the Bible.

The immediate blame-game that comes to mind are Adam and Eve. It’s disappointing that their first response was one of blaming each other. So much for Adam being a leader, he threw Eve under the bus at the first obstacle. God is asking Adam and Eve what they have done, since they knew they were naked and were hiding from God.

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:11-13)

Neither of them were spiritually mature. But perhaps we can give them a slight break, neither of them had encountered sin before.

Let’s look at Cain and Abel. Cain worked the ground, and Abel was a shepherd (the first one in the Bible?). We know that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s.

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. (Genesis 4:4-5)

Cain killed his brother Abel. When God asked Cain about it, Cain deflected his responsibility and denied knowing anything of Abel’s whereabouts. Eve had to be talking into her sin, but Cain couldn’t be talked out of it. Not even by God. Cain remained angry and surly towards God. (Genesis 4:9).

Joseph is the third example. You remember, he was the youngest at the time of Jacob’s sons, and the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph’s older brothers were jealous of Joseph, and conspired to kill Joseph, but then at the last minute decided to profit from their scheme and sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt. That was the last the brothers saw of Joseph until they were facing death in a very severe famine, and traveled to Egypt to buy grain. After a period of time and testing, Joseph revealed who he was to his brothers.

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:4-5).

Of anyone who had reason to blame, it was Joseph. He had been an innocent party of his brother’s sins, and Joseph had suffered terribly for it. Adam, Eve, and Cain were overtly choosing wrong, and blamed others for their acts. Joseph chose right, and ever blamed anyone. Abandoned by his brothers, betrayed by them at a horrific level, (conspiracy of fratricide), falsely accused, being put in jail, attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph had reason more than practically anyone in the Bible to blame his brothers.

He could have said,

“Look what you did, and God is repaying you, but I will forgive you!”
“You mocked me when I dreamed of you bowing down to me, and yet here you are, bowing down to me!”
“Don’t you know I hold your life in my hands?”

But Joseph didn’t. First of all Joseph praised God for His providential hand. Recognizing God’s sovereignty is always the best place to start. Then Joseph reassured the brothers, saying they should not be distressed by their act. Joseph sought their good, and removed opportunity for self-blame by emphatically showing he did not blame them. He was seeking the brothers’ good.

That’s what spiritually mature people do. They seek the good of the other person and ignore opportunities to lord it over them.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26″It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, (Matthew 20:25)

In this great text, Jesus was teaching the disciples that the style of greatness and leadership for believers is different. Gentile leaders dominate in dictatorial fashion, using carnal power and authority, Believers are to do the opposite, they lead by being servants and giving themselves away for others, as Jesus did.

A mark of spiritual authority is to accept responsibility for our sins, and if we are the innocent party, to love the sinner and seek their good without lording it over.

I pray the Lord continues His work of reforming me from the inside out, growing me in maturity and to have the strength to humbly repent when I’m wrong; and to love others with a servant attitude who may have harmed me, always pointing to Christ as the one who is sovereign over all.

Posted in faith, garden of eden, God, repentance

What does it mean to "Walk with God"?

Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24).

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9)

And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. (Zechariah and Elizabeth, Luke 1:6)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, (Ephesians 4:1)

Our pastor gave this explanation and example last Sunday in his sermon,

What does it mean to walk with God? I’m sure it means many things. If you think of it this way, walking with each step, back and forth, the two footsteps that we use as we walk with God are the footsteps of repentance and faith. Repentance means that we own the fact that we sin. I’ve acted incorrectly, I’ve acted wrongly. And I put that forward, I confess who I am. And then, I put faith in what Christ has done. … Repentance and faith are the feet that we walk with as we walk with God. It means we continually admit who we are [sinners] and our need; and we continually admit that Christ has met that need.  

Walking with God does not mean perfection. Job is said to be blameless and yet we see Job make mistakes. In the New Testament in Luke we’re told Elizabeth and Zechariah the mother and father of John the Baptist, called “blameless and righteous walking in all the commandments of the Lord” and yet before the chapter is over, Zechariah sins. Does blameless and righteous mean that you’re sinless? No it does not. It means the general direction of your life is toward Jesus.

Pastor teaches High School Bible at a Christian Academy. In discussing being blameless and righteous, one of his students had asked, “Doesn’t blameless mean without blame? How can they not be perfect if they’re called blameless?” Pastor used the example of cross-country running, which is popular at his school.
The trails go through the woods, up muddy hills, over a creek, through fields. Some of the terrain is level and some is difficult. He said picture two runners who start out. However after a while one stumbles and falls down the embankment and into a ditch. The other runner also stumbles and falls in the woods. He said the runner who fell into a ditch got up and angry and frustrated, decided to quit the race and go back to the car. Angrily tearing off his number, he threw that into the ditch.
The second runner is also tired, angry and frustrated. The hills are hard and the race is long. However when he fell, he did not stay down. He did not stomp off the path. He said, “I’m tired but I’m going to keep running. I’m going to run the race.” And he does, finishing at last.
Is there a difference between the two runners? Yes. Did both of the stumble? Yes. We all stumble in many ways. (James 3:2). Did both of them get back up and keep going on the path? No. This is the difference between someone who is walking blamelessly in all the statutes and commandments of God and someone who is not. It is not describing a perfect person.
He gave a good example there and it’s comforting to hear the James verse. Isn’t God good to us in allowing our crazed and mournful hearts to be salved in knowing that He knows we stumble? And in many ways, at that? At least, I know it is true for me. I do stumble in many ways. Is the life trajectory of my walk with God persevering and upward and sanctifying? I believe so. I certainly hope so.
There are only two paths and there are only two guides, one for each path. Jesus guides us on our way on the narrow path. Satan leads us along our way on the broad path.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3, KJV)

Gill: And to a spiritual walk with God, and communion with him, agreement is requisite. 

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
The moment Adam and Eve were in disagreement with God, they did not walk with Him. 
Agreement with God…walking with Him in all His commands requires repentance and faith. May God bless your walk and my walk with Jesus as we traverse this wonderful, difficult, muddy, beautiful trail through life’s race, until we reach the Celestial City.
Posted in God, love, valentine's day

True love isn’t candy or flowers or valentines

Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday so greeting card, candy, and flower companies can get money.

EPrata photo

One famous quote from Billie Holiday says

“Love is like a faucet, it turns off and on.” 

The world does not know love. It expresses kindness and sensitivity and something approximating love, but without Christ, we don’t know what love is. To Billie Holiday and others, love is something that can come on of its own volition, and it can go away again.

God’s love is eternal. This is because God IS love. His love is perfect, pure, holy, eternal, and thorough. He loves His people with a devotion saturated with timelessness and emanates from living waters that flow forever. No faucet in sight, just an everlastingly flowing fountain of perfect love.

In our economy, love is a fleeting feeling based on a deceitful human heart. In God’s economy, love is a permanent state of being.

Wouldn’t you like to know this kind of love? God loves us so much that,

EPrata photo

In return, we love God with all we’ve got in us. And when that isn’t strong enough or faithful enough, in His sanctifying work the Holy Spirit enlivens our soul and pricks our conscience and burns off what hinders us from loving Him as we should and we love Him all the more. Loving Jesus is not romantic. As Bob Dewaay says in his review of romanticist Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts,

The Bible speaks of the church as the Bride of Christ but does not describe the universal call of the gospel in sensual terms of a lover pursuing His love interest (who may have no interest in return). God is commanding sinners to repent. The gospel calls for repentance and faith, not romantic feelings looking for satisfaction. … When Peter urged Christians to grow in their faith and in Christian virtues, he did not point to a higher order experience based on romantic feelings—he called them to remember:

Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, (2 Peter 1:12, 13)

Instead it is a knowledgeable, singular, focused, pursuing kind of love. There is no room for anything else if we love Him with all our soul, heart, mind, and strength.

EPrata photo

Love God with your everything. Then the love you give to other people will be purer, stronger, and more faithful. And that is way better than a paper heart or a sloppy sentiment or a box of consumable candy. Your faucet will never turn off; because the love of God never stops.

Posted in encouragement, God, praise, prayer

Join your voice to the mighty song

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the 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,

11“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 4:8-11)

From my Devotional this morning:

“As you pray this passage, consider that you are joining your voice to the voices of the mighty heavenly beings. You are taking up the words to the songs of heaven. Bless God in union with these spiritual powers.”

Did you ever stop to consider that when you pray in worship to God you are joining your voice to a mighty, heavenly throng in heaven? Jesus said He would not leave us alone, and He sent the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit. When you pray, you are not alone, either, but part of a chorus of beings and peoples who are doing the same, blessing God for Himself and Who He is.

Whether on earth or in heaven, praise to the Lord God Almighty is constant. Join your voice today to the song of praise for our Blessed Savior.

Posted in creation, encouragement, God, universe

How big is the universe? How small is the smallest known object?

A friend sent me a link to a video where the scale of the universe is compared. We start with human size and drill down to the smallest known length/size, which is a string of String Theory.

NOVA – Official Website | A Sense of Scale: String Theory says of a string,

The strings of string theory are unimaginably small. Your average string, if it exists, is about 10-33 centimeters long. That’s a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. If an atom were magnified to the size of the solar system, a string would be the size of a tree.

Then the scale increases to compare larger objects, and ends with both the known universe’s size and the estimated universe’s size.

It is estimated that the diameter of the observable universe is about 28.5 gigaparsecs (93 billion light-years, 8.8×1026 metres or 5.5×1023 miles), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46.5 billion light-years away. (Source)

God is bigger than all that.

The reason the video is fascinating is because of the comparison. It makes more sense to compare objects to determine relative size. If I’d have written “The observable universe is 28.5 gigaparsecs” you’d have gone, “hunh?!” But seeing the sizes of known things and pondering their sizes is easier and more productive when you have a known to latch an unknown onto.

Now, when I was a non-saved person, I’d have eagerly learned these facts about the scale of the universe. It is mystifying and wondrous to see the sizes of these things, a string to a neutrino to a DNA strand to a molecule to… and so on. But just knowing the facts for the sake of knowing them is self-glorifying.

The key for the saved person is making the comparison. God is not only bigger than all that, He MADE all that. In six days. There’s the difference.

When we compare everything to Christ things begin to assume a supernatural element which awes and fascinates.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles, he always began with creation. Gentiles didn’t know or care about the Hebrew scriptures, but every Gentile who walked the earth knew that an earth existed. Who made it? In Acts 14:14-15, the Gentiles thought Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul told them in Lystra:

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 

In Athens, Paul said,

For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:23-25)

It is so sweet to meditate on creation balanced against the immensity of the fact that our God made it. And His attributes are just as immense, infinite, actually. His love and mercy and omniscience and power and grace…

Posted in creator, earth, encouragement, God

He hung the earth: Our Artistic Creator God

NASA Releases a Spectacular Earthrise Image Captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Reminds me of Job 26:7, “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.”

We live on a beautiful planet. We’re a generation that has been blessed to see actual photos of other planets from the space Voyager missions and the Hubble telescope. Though other planets such as Mars have a stark beauty, none have the lush, eye-pleasing beauty that Earth does.

Have you ever considered the creation verse in Genesis 2?

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. (Genesis 2:9)

Beauty was mentioned before utility. It was beautiful, and by the way, it was also food. God could have made this and all the planets black and white. But He didn’t. God as Creator is an engineer, creating animals and humans with deft precision. He is also an artist, creating things that are not only functional, but beautiful.

After the Flood, when there were only 8 people remaining who remembered what Earth looked like before. He could have remade things as utilitarian only. But once again, the earth sprung up with beautiful sights to behold. And fast, too. Consider this verse from Genesis 8:9-11,

But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.

Waters had been on the earth for 278 days. For at least 128 days, the earth and all its life had been entirely submerged. According to the verse though, between the time the dove found no place to put her foot and when she returned with a fresh leaf, was only 7 days.

The LORD made a full grown tree with a full grown leaf in that time! He is amazing. I bet the leaf was pretty, too.

God’s artistry is evident in viewing photos of galaxies, flowers, shells, landforms such as the Grand Canyon. Though the earth’s ground has been cursed and it is polluted with sin, which is the root cause of all natural disasters, cataclysms, and destruction, it is still beautiful. So just imagine the beauty of the dazzling New Jerusalem! And His abode, heaven. Paul said it is inexpressible, and John groped for words. I can’t wait to see God’s full artistry on display through glorified eyes. And we shall behold Him, the most beautiful of all, Jesus Christ.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

——————————

Further Reading

Did the Flood last 40 days and 40 nights?

Posted in christmas, encouragement, God, incarnation

The Remarkable Exclusivity of the Babe

As a student who was blessed with a classic education, I studied the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. The entire genealogy of gods and goddesses in the Greek and Roman mythology are hard to keep track of. However, one thing that is not hard to discern is their character. As The British Museum puts it:

The ancient Greeks believed there were a great number of gods and goddesses. These gods had control over many different aspects of life on earth. In many ways they were very human. They could be kind or mean, angry or pleasant, cruel or loving. They fell in love with each other, argued with each other and even stole from each other.

They were always angry at something or other. For example, there was Eris, goddess of discord.

ERIS was the goddess or spirit (daimona) of strife, discord, contention and rivalry. She was often represented specifically as the daimon of the strife of war, who haunted the battlefield and delighted in human bloodshed. Because of Eris’ disagreeable nature she was the only goddess not to be invited to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis (parents of Achilles). When she turned up anyway, she was refused admittance and, in a rage, threw a golden apple amongst the goddesses inscribed “To the fairest.” Three goddesses laid claim it, and in their rivalry brought about the events which led to the Trojan War. (source)

Hm, ‘the golden apple of discord’. Sounds familiar. Anyway, one would have thought that a goddess possessing great powers and knowledge would have had a bit more self-control. I guess not.

Then there’s the story of poor Arachne. Ovid wrote-

Arachne was a shepherd’s daughter who began weaving at an early age. She became a great weaver, boasted that her skill was greater than that of Athena, and refused to acknowledge that her skill came, in part at least, from the goddess. Athena took offense and set up a contest between them. Presenting herself as an old lady, she approached the boasting girl and warned: “You can never compare to any of the gods. Plead for forgiveness and Athena might spare your soul.”

“Ha, I only speak the truth and if Athena thinks otherwise then let her come down and challenge me herself,” Arachne replied. Athena removed her disguise and appeared in shimmering glory, clad in a sparkling white chiton. The two began weaving straight away. Athena’s weaving represented four separate contests between mortals and the gods in which the gods punished mortals for setting themselves as equals of the gods. Arachne’s weaving depicted ways that the gods had misled and abused mortals, particularly Zeus, tricking and seducing many women. When Athena saw that Arachne had not only insulted the gods, but done so with a work far more beautiful than Athena’s own, she was enraged. She ripped Arachne’s work into shreds, and sprinkled her with Hecate’s potion, turning her into a spider and cursing her and her descendants to weave for all time. This showed how goddesses punished those human for wanting to be equals. (source)

It’s where we get the word for the class of spiders, arachnids. The gods were always either seducing someone or their wives the goddesses were always changing someone into something for being seduced. The Titans were the first set of gods, and like all others that followed, were subject to succumbing to human sins and passions. Though the premier gods, the Titans couldn’t even hold onto their power, and were usurped by their children, the twelve Olympians. I guess they weren’t so Titanic after all.

I used to wonder, what made them gods? Why did they seem like such humans? It is the same with Hindu gods, Native American gods, Chinese gods…decidedly not…god-like.

Of course we know that this is because these gods are made-up. Because their origin came from the mind of man, they are like man. These gods either were distant and removed from the petty squabbles of mankind, or were directly involved but not usually to humankind’s good.

Preceding all these was Yahweh. After Cain wandered away from God and the faith, departing in blood after killing his brother, he founded cities and these cities held people who also were not believers in God. So they made up their own. Lots of them. Some of these false gods were mentioned in the Bible- ancient gods like Amon, Asherah, Baal, desert gods like Dagon, Roman gods like Zeus and Hermes, Artemis, Castor and Pollux. Of course, since none of these gods were real, they were all a #fail and were constantly disappointing the people who foolishly believed in them.

Since these fake gods were like man, when man looked at these gods, they felt comfortable. Looking into a mirror of mercurial, petty gods was like looking at themselves, and all was well. I can understand a god like me, goes the thinking, I can handle a god with problems.

God has always been a God of perfection, holiness, goodness, justice. If He says it, it shall be done. (Ezekiel 12:28, Psalm 33:4, & etc.) In Him there is no shadow of turning at all. He is not changeable, mercurial, petulant, angry without reason (like changing people into spiders). Man could not conceive of a God as perfect and just as our God. Man cannot look upon His holiness and live. He is decidedly a God that mans sinful man uncomfortable.

Who is like God?

Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you– majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? (Psalm 89:6)

Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, (Psalm 113:5)

And then came the Incarnation. Our God, seeing the lost state of humanity and our need to be redeemed from sin’s bondage, sent His Son to be birthed into this terrible, dark world. He is King, who emptied Himself and became a baby, then an obedient boy, then a servant of men, then a sacrifice unto death. Who is like our God! Who is like Jesus, the firstborn of all creation!

Many babies grew to be kings. No king has ever become a baby. Yet God promised a Redeeeer from the beginning, and so it came to be. He is a God of promises kept.

The supremacy of our Jesus is unparalleled. His time on earth as God-man is an event which split history, reverberated through earth, heaven, and eternity, and broke sin’s bondage. Who is like our God!

No other petulant god, no other angry idol, no other petty deity exists. Only the perfection encapsulated in a baby born on earth, to the glory of God and to the praises of angels and shepherds.

Christ is born. And there is no other.