Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Importance of Story Telling

As I researched the topic of story telling for this blog post, I came across a paper, The Importance of Story Telling, on the Homeschool Legal Defense Association site covering the very topic that was on my heart.  It is well written - a student submission to an essay contest - and is worth reading.  I would like to express my thanks to the anonymous author.

The essay asserts that story telling is the most important tradition possessed by mankind.  If true, then perhaps that is why God chose to communicate to human beings through story.  He has given us the narrative histories of the Old Testament, the parables of Christ in the Gospels, the harrowing tales of faith and adventure in the book of Acts, and so many other stories - stories mixed with lessons for our lives, with truth from beyond this universe, and with hope for all mankind.

Here at Ages of Joy, we believe that the stories recorded in the Bible are True Stories.  Not just true, but the truest kind of Truth.  Sure, there are names and places and events from this world's historical past, recorded often by eyewitnesses who gave as accurate an account as humanly possible.  But even more importantly, there is Truth expressed that transcends this world, communicated by God to men and women through many different means.  This Truth is truer than anything in this universe, because it was True before this universe even came into being.  This Truth is so lofty and profound that the means of this world can only barely represent it.  But by the power of God's Holy Spirit, He reaches down into the hearts and minds of mankind, to those who will listen, and reveals these deep Truths.

Some of that Truth speaks of the creation of this universe, because God wants us to know that He made us, that He is our Creator.  God authored this universe and He authored the stories in the Bible about His authoring this universe.  We can learn a great deal about what God made and when God made it from scientific investigation.  But we can only learn why God made mankind and this universe from God Himself.  He chose to reveal that kind of truth in Person.

Mankind has always wondered about Who created us, how we got here, what our purpose in life is.  God has placed within the human heart such a desperate need to know the answers to these questions, that in absence of revelation, we make up answers.  We tell stories - stories meant to fill the void in our hearts and our minds with answers to big questions, like Why am I here? and Where did I come from? Of course for these stories to help us, to satisfy our longing we have to believe them.  To believe them, we have to be told these stories by people we trust - by people who seem to accept the stories as true for themselves.  Often, these stories are handed down from parents to children, other times from teachers to pupils.  Sometimes they are discovered in dusty books or among the broken shards in a ruined city.  The most important stories are handed down for hundreds or thousands of years and are guarded as sacred relics from our ancestors.

But God did not create mankind with a longing to know the answers to the questions of our origins just to give us opportunity for creative expression and community building.  His purpose was not to simply give us a reason for traditions and language.  He intended that our quest for answers would lead us to Himself.  For that to happen, our desire for Truth has to be stronger than our desire to know.  For we can know many things that are not True.  But it is of much greater worth to know a few things are are really True.

A long time ago, mankind began telling stories about gods and goddesses creating the world, and animals, and man.  These stories became the traditions around which religions were built and cultures were formed.  But because they were not true stories, this led to a great deal of harm.  The storytellers became power brokers and used their power for personal gain at the expense of others.  The True Story of God had been lost.  Mankind had mostly forgotten and abandoned the old tale and invented many new ones.

Into this mess, God sent a miracle.  The miracle took the form of story.  In this case, a True Story.  In fact, several True Stories.  And these True Stories are what this blog site is all about.  One of those stories was passed down by a family from the very beginning.  It starts with the first man, Adam; is handed down through his descendants; and finally makes it way to a man named Moses, who captured it into what would become the Bible.  Another True Story was revealed that regards the creation of the world in which we live and of mankind.  This story appears to have been given to a priest for it is written in an elevated style.  That story also made its way to Moses and it too was captured into the Bible.  The priest's story starts with the phrase: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  The Biblical book of Genesis records the priest's story starting with chapter one, verse one and concludes with chapter two, verse three, and then summarizes it in chapter two, verse four.  The story of Adam's family line follows thereafter.  There are other True Stories about creation recorded in the Bible as well, such as the Story of Job.  From all these True Stories, we can have solid answers about why God made us, who God is, and what God intends for us to do.

But how do we know that the stories in the Bible are the True Stories and not just made up stories?  Well, in olden times, God testified to them by miracles.  The people who received the stories knew that the stories were True Stories because God appeared to them.  In the times that followed, the stories were safeguarded and handed down, all the way to us today.  We can trust them because they are True Stories from God.  But in modern times, God has also testified to these stories through scientific discovery.  We can use science to help us weed out which ancient stories were made up, and which ancient stories were truly established by revelation.

Here at Ages of Joy, we believe that science powerfully testifies that the creation stories of the Book of Genesis are True Stories.  Genesis 1:1-2:4 is written in a genre of epic literature as a polemic against false creation stories by encapsulating the true history of God's creative acts in sufficient detail that all other pretenders can be recognized as nonsense while it alone is vindicated by the physical evidence provided by the creation itself.  At Ages of Joy, we want to help readers to see how and why that is a case that can be made and successfully defended.  We recognize that this is not a trivial task.  We see that there is a need to "tell the story" in such a way that the True Story of creation can be recognized as True and the false stories as false.

It is important for our culture, our families, and our Church to be able to weave the tapestry of these stories, stories from the Bible and stories from nature, in to the True Story that our children can receive with trust and in sincerity pass on to their own children and to all the seekers of Truth that they meet.  This does not mean changing the stories in the Bible.  It does entail explaining them and translating them into our time and place in history as all our faithful ancestors before us have done.

Therefore, we must develop this narrative.  We must tell the story.  Reading Genesis 1 does not so much answer questions as it does prompt us to ask the right questions and for the right reasons in order to know the right God in the right way.  God's creation itself testifies about Him and is meant to be studied to answer many questions.  At Ages of Joy we see the value in writing a narrative for parents and teachers and children that bridges some of the gaps and points seekers in the right direction.  We want to point people to the God of the Bible and to the True Story written on tablets of stone by the finger of God and by the chisel of Moses and written in the stones and the bones of the dusty earth and in the biological genes and astronomical scenes witnessed through scopes both micro and macro.

Please keep reading this blog and contribute your thoughts in comments or questions as we prepare this narrative together.










Thursday, June 6, 2019

Updated Chart of Genesis 1 Parallels

Creation Day and EventsGenesis 1:1-2:4 (YLT)Genesis 1 Parallels and Comments
Genesis 2:4 These [are] births of the heavens and of the earth in their being prepared, in the day of Jehovah God's making earth and heavens;Summary statement of the whole work placed at the end in ancient texts. (Toldot theory)
Big Bang

Elements Formed
Genesis 1:1In the beginning
of God's
preparing the heavens and the earth
Multiple generations of stars produce the full array of elements from which the Sun, Earth, and Moon formed.

Formation of all types of galaxies, stars, planets, astroids, comets, moons, quasars, and blackholes.
Solar Ignition of the SunAnd God maketh the two great luminaries, the great luminary2
Moon-forming impact…and the small luminary 
Ongoing star formation-- and the stars —
Hadean

(The Birth of the Deep)
the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters,Light from the new Sun cannot penetrate the thick atmosphere of Earth created by the conditions of the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB).
ConditionsEarth formless, void, darkenedHeavens formed, filled, illumined
Late Heavy Bombardment…and darkness [is] on the face of the deep…
DAY 1

Archean

(The Birth of Day and Night)
[Ordained] `Let light be;’Luminaries light the Deep and the Earthto give Light upon the Earth:’1
and light is. 4 And God seeth the light that [it is] good,to give light upon the earth,…3
[Separated]and God separateth between the light and the darkness,Luminaries separate Day and Nightto make a separation between the day and the night,…1
[Called]
5 and God calleth to the light `Day,' and to the darkness He hath called `Night;'
for the rule of the day, …
for the rule of the night;…
2
and to rule over day and over night,
3
and to make a separation between the light and the darkness;
Oxygenation EventAnd there was evening and there was morning — day one.
DAY 2

Proterozoic

(The Birth of the Protective Firmament)
And God saith,Luminaries Appear in the Expanse
[Ordained] `Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters,…`Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens,…1
and let it be separating between waters and waters.’
[Fulfilled] And God maketh the expanse,and they have been for luminaries in the expanseof the heavens,…2
and it separateth between the waters which [are] under the expanse, and the waters which [are] above the expanse: and it is so.
[Called] And God calleth to the expanse`Heavens;'and God giveth them in the expanse of the heavens3
Snowball EarthAnd there was evening and there was morning — day second.
DAY 3

Paleozoic
Mesozoic

(The Birth of the Continents and Seas and Plants)
And God saith,And God saith,
`Let the waters under the heavens be collected unto one place,`Let the waters teem with the teeming living creature,1
and let the dry land be seen:'and fowl let fly on the earthon the face of the expanse of the heavens.’2
and it is so.
And God calleth to the dry land `Earth,'`Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas,2
and to the collection of the waters He hath called `Seas;'and the fowl let multiply in the earth:'1
and God seeth that [it is] good.
And God saith,And God saith,
`Let the earth yield tender grass,`Let the earth bring forththe living creature after its kind, cattle1
herb sowing seed,and creeping thing,2
fruit-tree (whose seed [is] in itself) making fruit after its kind, on the earth:'and beast of the earth after its kind:'3
and it is so.and it is so.
And the earth bringeth forth tender grass,And God maketh the beast of the earth after its kind,3
herb sowing seed after its kind,and the cattle after their kind,1
and tree making fruit (whose seed [is] in itself) after its kind;and every creeping thing of the ground after its kind,2
and God seeth that [it is] good;and God seeth that [it is] good.
Fruit Trees RadiateAnd there was evening and there was morning — day third.
DAY 4

Upper Cretaceous

(The Birth of Signs, Seasons, Days, and Years)
`Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens,Luminaries appear in the sky on Day 2.1
to make a separation between the day and the night,Luminaries separate day and night on Day 1.1
[to signify signs, seasons, days, years]then they have been for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years,God's providence in creating the luminaries and so ordering them to serve the needs of plant, beast, and man.
and they have been for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens,The expanse of the heavens opened on Day 2, at which time the lumenaries shown forth.2
to give Light upon the Earth:’Refering the light-giving role of the luminaries as fulfilled since Day 1.1
and it is so.Now luminaries also serve as signs.
And God maketh the two great luminaries,
the great luminary
and the small luminary - and the stars -
In the beginning, God filled the heavens with lights.2
The separation of day from night by the luminaries ordained on Day 1.
2
and God giveth them in the expanse of the heavensRepetition highlights the poetic structure and underscores God is the One who did this when He formed the expanse on Day 2.3
to give light upon the earth,Ordained on Day 13
and to rule over day and night,Ordained on Day 1
3
and to make a separation between the light and the darkness;Ordained on Day 1
and God seeth that [it is] good;God's signifies approval. Begun on Day 1, expanded on Day 2, completes on Day 4.
K-T ExtinctionAnd there was evening and there was morning — day fourth.
DAY 5

Paleogene

(The Birth of Modern Fish and Birds)
And God saith,
`Let the waters teem with the teeming living creature,1
and fowl let fly on the earth on the face of the expanse of the heavens.'2
And God prepareth
the great monsters, and every living creature that is creeping, which the waters have teemed with, after their kind, and every fowl with wing, after its kind
and God seeth that [it is] good. And God blesseth them, saying,
`Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas,1
and the fowl let multiply in the earth:'2
E-O ExtinctionAnd there was evening and there was morning — day fifth.
Oligocene

(The Birth of Specially Endowed Plants)
giving of plants for mankind, beasts, birds, and every creeping thing

The sudden appearance of 60 species of grasses, fruit trees, and other plants that utilized effecient C4 photosynthesis fueled the rapid ascendancy of mammals.

DAY 6












Neogene

(The Birth of Cattle, Small Mammals, and Wild Animals)
And God saith,
`Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle1
and creeping thing,2
and beast of the earth after its kind:'3
it is so
And God maketh the beast of the earth after its kind,3
and the cattle after their kind,1
and every creeping thing of the ground after its kind,2
and God seeth that [it is] good.
And God saith,
`Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,
and let them rule (3 dominions)
over fish of thesea,1
and over fowl of theheavens,2
and over cattle,1
and over all the earth,2
and over every creeping thing that is creeping on theearth.'33
27 And God prepareth the man in His image; in the image of God He prepared him, a male and a female He prepared them.
And God blesseth them, and God saith to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (3-fold command)
and subdue it and rule (3 dominions)
over fish of thesea,1
and over fowl of theheavens,2
and over every living thing that is creeping upon theearth.”3
And God saith, `Lo, I have given to you (3 groups of plants; man plus 3 groups of creatures)
every herb sowing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth,1
and every tree in which [is] the fruit of a tree sowing seed,2
Quaternary

(The Birth of the Human Race in Adam and Eve)
to you it is for food;
and to every beast of the earth,1
and to every fowl of the heavens,2
and to every creeping thing on the earth, in which [is] breath of life,3
every green herb [is] for food:’3
and it is so.
31 And God seeth all that He hath done, and lo, very good;
Special creation of Adam and Eve
Toba VolcanoAnd there was evening and there was morning — day the sixth.
DAY 7Anthropozoic

(This Generation)
Genesis 2:1 And the heavens and the earth are completed, and all their host;
2 and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made, and ceaseth by the seventh day from all His work which He hath made.
3 And God blesseth the seventh day, and sanctifieth it, for in it He hath ceased from all His work which God had prepared for making.
4 These [are] births of the heavens and of the earth in their being prepared, in the day of Jehovah God's making earth and heavens;
The Fall
The Flood
Abraham
Christ
The Church
The Harvest at the End of the Age
The Age to Come
The New Heavens and the New Earth
Kingdom of LightOuter Darkness
agesofjoy.blogspot.com© William D Rogers 2018, 2019

The Importance of Story Telling

As I researched the topic of story telling for this blog post, I came across a paper, The Importance of Story Telling , on the Homeschool Le...