Pope Francis connected the new gender ideology, according to which children can choose their own gender, to economic exploitation, colonialism, and the destruction of the environment. What they have in common is the rejection of Creation, both of nature and of human beings made in God’s image. [Read more…]
In our Bible class, we were studying stewardship. I know, not the most exciting of topics, but this one was really interesting, beginning with the Creation and making the point that God is the true owner of all things, which, He, however, gives to us to manage. We looked at Genesis 2:9 and were asked what were the two purposes that God had for the trees in Eden:
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)
“Good for food” I knew. But I had never noticed the other quality: The trees were to be “pleasant to the sight.” That is to say, God made the trees to be beautiful. Thus beauty and aesthetic considerations are part of God’s design in His creation. [Read more…]
More from Oswald Bayer, who shows the connection between justification and creation, as underscored in Luther’s Small Catechism:
The world was called into being without any worldly condition, in pure freedom and pure goodness. Creation out of nothing means that everything that is exists out of sheer gratuity, out of pure goodness. “All this is done out of pure, fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all!” That is how Luther puts it when explaining the first article of the creed in the Small Catechism. The terms “merit” and “worthiness” both belong directly to the language of the theology of justification. Yet they do not occur in the exposition of the second and third articles of the creed, only in the exposition of the first. This is a striking feature, and it indicates the breadth and depth of the justifying Word. This Word concerns not just my history but world history and the history of nature. It concerns all things.
Those who live in the dispute of “justifications,” asking about the ground of their own lives within this world, are told that everything is groundless and gratuitous, and they need not ground or justify themselves; it is grounded and justified only by God’s free and ungrounded Word of love. Under no obligation and without any condition, God promises communion, communion through and beyond death. The justification of the ungodly, the resurrection of the dead, and creation out of nothing all happen through this promise and pledge alone. The promise of God lets us live by faith. (Living by Faith , Chapter 6)
When we no longer have to justify ourselves, observes Bayer, but know the “passive righteousness” of faith that comes from being justified by Christ, we are reconciled to ourselves (no longer having to justify ourselves); we are reconciled to God (no longer having to justify Him); we are reconciled to others (no longer having to justify them); and we are reconciled to the world (no longer having to justify existence). This latter point is because, he says with great Lutheranness, God uses the physical world of His creation to bring to us our justification: water, bread, wine, language, pastors.
In last Sunday’s sermon on the dialog between Nicodemus and Jesus (John 3), our pastor drew parallels between the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters at the creation (Genesis 1:2) and what Jesus told Nicodemus about the role of water and the Spirit in the new creation (John 3:5). [Read more…]