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Monday, August 29, 2016

THE MATHEMATICS OF POWER COUPLES. blogging Geneisis 1:23-25

23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:23-25)


During Sunday school, my 14 year old son explained the origin of the term soulmate to the adult Sunday school.  Why did a Sunday school lesson on Romans 12 require this explanation? Well, it involves a question about how much Christian culture attributes ideas to the Bible that actually don’t come from the Bible, a few points about neo-Platonism and first century Jewish theology, and a Bible teacher (me) who’s philosophy is “Embrace the tangents.”

So anyway, as the junior Anderson explained: According to Greek mythology, the first human beings had 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 hearts, etc.  Zeus, king of the Gods, fearing the power of these creatures,  split each human in half and scattered the halves across the earth.  Thus every person searches for the missing half of his/her self, the matching person who will make them whole again: their soul-mate. (Apparently my son learned all of Greek mythology in the 8th grade .)

When a Christian calls his wife “my better half,” or tells her boyfriend, “You complete me,” or says that marriage is 50-50, the Christian is referencing the polytheistic theology of ancient Greek paganism.

Let the church say, “Amen.”

Adam and Eve were not two halves of a whole.  They were complete ones who each separately and sinlessly reflected the image of God.   This brings up some interesting mathematics, because Adam declared that the 2 were meant to become 1.

1 + 1 doesn’t equal 1.
1 – 1 doesn’t equal 1.
½ + ½ makes 1, but if you’ve ever seen a halfway man and a halfway woman together you know that usually comes out as one total mess.
You can get 1 with division, but that would violate the instructions.  After God made them male and female, He instructed man and woman to “be fruitful and MULTIPLY.”
1 x 1 = ONE

God didn’t ordain marriage to fix what’s wrong.  He designed marriage to make what’s right better.

My wife and I are not matching halves of a single soul.  We are each complete individuals who make a single powerful unit that is qualitatively greater than the sum of our individuality.  Her love and groundedness exponentially increases the impact of my ADHD fueled multi-tasking.  My unsophisticated country boy ethics gives her the security to pursue career goals.  We have individual issues, but we’re a formidable team.

You don’t need someone to complete you.  You don’t need an opposite to attract you.  You don’t need someone who’s just like you.  You don’t need someone who is lost without you or without whom you are lost.  You need the ONE, the one whole and complete other with whom you are both more and better than either of you is alone. 


Eve was the one for Adam.  When God brought them together, neither of them held anything back.  They were naked and unashamed --- open, honest, and completely vulnerable. 

This is the hard part in the math of modern marriage.  Culture and trauma condition us to hold back a piece of who we are, to give 50% to the union just in case we need the other half to make an exit.  We enter marriage naked under an inch of emotional armor, and that is partly why so many marriages fail. 

.50(of you) x 1.00(of them) = ½(of what ya’ll could be)

The other one isn’t getting all of your one, so instead of being fruitful and MULTIPLYING, you become a house DIVIDED, and that math won’t stand (Mark 3:25).

Get the math right and get the marriage right, and that’s how dynasties are made.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064

Sunday, August 28, 2016

NOW THAT THE LIGHTS ARE ON

In this closing message from John chapter 12 we connect the Old Testament prophesies of Isaiah, the closing Words of Jesus’ Palm Sunday sermon, and an allegory from an ancient Greek philosopher.  The message explores why we find it hard to see what God is clearly showing.

The title of the sermon is: NOW THAT THE LIGHTS ARE ON.


Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132

Fairfield, Al 35064

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BREATH ON THE MIRROR. Blogging Genesis (Genesis 2:15-23)

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. . . .15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.  (Genesis 2:15-23)



In the beginning, God spoke life out of the sea, Earth, and sky.  “Let there be,” God said, and there was.

But God didn’t speak humanity into existence. The Creator dug down in the dust, mining the surface for water, salts, carbon, and all the offerings of asteroids and stars.  He laid a double-helixed frame and forged the elements on it, forming man of the dust of the ground.

Later, the Lord declared, “It is not good that man should be alone,” which is an interesting conclusion since Adam was doing just fine all by himself.  He had two jobs: tending the garden of Eden required physical exertion (Genesis 1:15); naming the animals required intellectual discernment (Genesis 1:19).  By God’s account, Adam performed both tasks flawlessly.  Still, God saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. 

Adam needed Eve because God’s plan was for people to be social creature, to fulfill the calling to dominion and blessing as a herd, a pack, a world-wide family.

Just because you do what you do well doesn’t mean that’s all there is to what you do.

A human had succeeded alone.  God wanted humanity to succeed together.

So God anesthetized Adam, made an incision in his torso, extracted a tissue sample from his rib cage, and formed the rib into a human female.  Today we call it cloning.   (Yeah, God did that first, too.)

The female was made from the perfect, sinless flesh of a  perfect, sinless man under perfect, sinless conditions by infinitely perfect and sinless God Himself.   She wasn’t inferior.  He wasn’t a failed first draft.  They had been individually handcrafted by the inventor of the universe.  The first Man and Woman were both perfectly what God wanted them to be.

He wanted them to be more than everything prior to them had been.  The Lord didn’t just give humanity form and life, He gave us a portion of His spirit.  He breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. 

“It is,” as Jesus said, “the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63)

The imago dei is not (or not simply) in our opposable thumbs and upright gait.  We bear the image of God in and by our spirit.  The soul that animates every man and woman is a breath on the mirror from the mouth of God.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064



Sunday, August 21, 2016

COMING TO CHURCH BUT LOOKING FOR JESUS (audio of sermon)

Worship is simple, but the ways we do worship are complicated, so complicated that sometimes visitors need finding God in the midst of all the Sunday morning activity.  It isn’t a new problem.  It happened even when Jesus Himself was the preacher in charge. 

The story is in the 12th chapter of John.  The message is called: COMING TO CHURCH BUT LOOKING FOR JESUS.


Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132

Fairfield, Al 35064

Friday, August 19, 2016

BACK IN THE DAY: Blogging Genesis 2:4-17

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2: 1-7)

A old man was lamenting how easy these kids today have it.  “Back in my day,“ the old man began.
“Which day, Grandpa?” his young grandson interrupted.
“My day,” Grandpa replied beginning his story again, “We had to . . .”
“Monday?” his grandson asked.
“What?  No.”
“Tuesday?” Now the kid was in full sing-song mode.
“Wednesday?  Thursday? Friday? . . . “ the child chanted, swaying from side to side, until he’d finished all the days of week and ad-libbed a chorus. 
Grandpa laughed.  “They all used to be my day, son.  Now they’re all yours.”

When Genesis 2:4 references “the history of the heavens and the earth,” Scripture is talking about what happened way, way back “in the day,” when the climate was different and plants hadn’t been domesticated into crops.   

“Back in those days,” God said, “I didn’t even have rain.  Clouds couldn’t get high enough off the ground.  I just had fog—wet, wet fog.
            “And another thing, you couldn’t go down to the farmer’s market and pick out tomatoes all willy-nilly.  There were no farms.  I had to invent farming.  Built My own garden.  Called it Eden. 
“And I didn’t have a landscaper or ‘garden guy’ to take care of it for Me.  I had to invent one of them, too.  Called him Adam.

7And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.(Genesis 2:7-8)

“Oh, you should’ve seen it, son.  Every fruit and vegetable you can imagine, and some that ya’ll don’t even have anymore. And right there in the middle of the rows, I planted two trees.” 

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

“I built an irrigation system, cause you know we didn’t have rain, and Adam had to carry fog water to the plants, uphill --- both ways.
            “But this was old school, son.  I didn’t have no fancy-schmancy hoses running this way and that, spraying water all over the place.  No, son.  I cut a river,  a whole river down by the garden so Adam didn’t have so far to walk, even though it was still uphill --- both ways.”

10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. (Genesis 2:10-14)

“Those was good times then, son.  No politics, no disease, no war, none of this drama ya’ll have about everything.
            “As long as Adam kept up my garden, he could do just about anything he wanted.  I only gave him one rule.  Just ONE rule.”

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

“Yeah, Moses,” God said, “I tell you.  Those were the days.”

And Moses nodded.  Then he said, “Maybe I should write all this down.”

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132

Fairfield, Al 35064

Monday, August 15, 2016

THE WEEKEND: (Blogging through Genesis)




1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.  (Genesis 2: 1-3)

Friday, at 5 P.M., I posted a grant application, acknowledged a confirmation text, and closed my laptop.  The rest of my weekend was dedicated to moving my daughter into her dorm room to begin her first year as a college student. You could say that “I ended the work which I had done, and rested from my work which I had done.”

As I write this post it’s Sunday evening and my daughter’s all moved in.  Monday, bright and early, I’ll be back in the office doing the same work which I’d ceased from doing for the weekend.  I mean, just because I stopped working for the weekend doesn’t mean I quit my job.

In the 6 days of Genesis chapter 1, God showed Moses how He had created the heavens, the earth, and the earliest forms of terrestrial life. Then for a single one-day weekend God rested.  No new building projects for 24 hours.   But, God taking a weekend off doesn’t mean He quit creating.

Since that first weekend, God has made the trees at  the edge of my yard, the clouds in the sky today, the earthworms burrowing under the foundation of wherever your wifi hotspot is connected,  you, me, and all the species of plant, animal, and microbe that did not exist when the first human beings walked around naked, munching on nuts, and berries, and “every green herb for food” (Genesis 1:30).   Bright and early everyday God is busy in the Creating business.

With so much work yet to do, why did God take a day off?  Same reason the owner or CEO at our jobs takes a day off:  He wanted to.

God wasn’t physically exhausted.

“ Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord,the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” (Isaiah 40:28a)

He wasn’t out of ideas.

 “His understanding is unsearchable.”

And, God didn’t rest on the 7th day because day #7 was holy.  He set apart the 7th day because that happened to be the day He’d rested.  Wine and bread aren’t objectively holier than any other drink-carbohydrate combination.  When wine and bread are consecrated, they become holy communion.  When the end of the week was sanctified, it became the Sabbath. The Sabbath is holy, but the number 7 isn’t special. 

No. No, it isn’t. 

God simply chose to spend a day experiencing and enjoying His creative work cause He felt like it, and it’s O.K., for God to rejoice and enjoy Himself, too.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

And, though He didn’t say so, God clearly thought the way He spent the day was good because “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” 

The benefits of a weekly day of rest are so good, so very good for us that the Lord made it mandatory.  As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). 

So, the day after God invented humanity, God invented the Sabbath for the benefit of humanity. 

Even on His day off, God was taking care of us.

Take a day this week, and every week to think about that. 

Do what God did.  Take a break from pursuing wealth, influence, attention, or whatever it is we spend the rest of the week doing to rest and reflect on how good, how very good God is.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A PORTRAIT OF THE 6TH DAY (Blogging Genesis)

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
. . .
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1: 24-31)



Fingerprints of the Artist
Have you ever been in a working artist’s studio?  It’s pretty cool.  Painting and prints in varying stages of completion are set on easels and stacked on pallets.  Step back and scan the room.  The faces on the canvasses are different, but there’s sameness to all of them.  Depictions of building and babies, of landscapes and dreamscapes differ in content and color, but if you zoom in each unique image emerges from the same brushstrokes from the same creative hand.

On the 6th day, God created the ancestral forms of land-based animals, including social animal groups which Genesis generically calls cattle.  Herds, colonies, flocks, packs, etc.  God drew color from the existing materials on the earth, developed biological themes He’d used in earlier days, and formed unique creatures which, when we zoom in, closely bear the same genetic brushstrokes of a single creative hand.

Then God created us.  Humans.  Social creatures who live in herds called families and packs called nations.  A little bit prey, a whole lot predator.  Same Artist, same Earthy palette, but a fresh, new theme. 

Imago Dei
Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.

All previous creatures, plant and animal, God made after their kind.  They are defined by their biology and instincts.  Being  animal means being the same kind of thing as the rest of their species.  God didn’t make people after their kind.  A person is greater than the sum of his/her evolutionary biology.  To be human is to be defined by choices that arise from mind, will, and spirit.  Human be-ing means how we reflect or distort the nature of God. God made people after His kind.

Humanity is God’s self-portrait, but the image is so complex that He created the picture in two parts. 

. . . in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

That’s unusually gender specific for the Old Testament.  Usually Scripture will say man or mankind to encompass both genders, but in the very first reference to humanity in the Bible, the Holy Spirit inspired the male, patriarchal author of Genesis to very specifically impress the point that men and women are both, each, and equally made in the image of God (the imago dei). 

Notice in the Creation  that God never blessed a singular him or her.  He only blessed them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

After Eve, none of the women for the next several chapters of the Bible are named, but God reiterated His point about valuing both genders equally in chapter 5.  He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. (Genesis 5:2)

Men are not a rough draft of God’s image which God perfected in women.  Women are not an afterthought built only to make men’s lives easier.    Male and female were both part of God’s intended Creative plan, which is why God declared that “it is not good that man [male] should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).    We love, provide, birth, show mercy, build, organize, communicate, and do justice for other people.  We most perfectly reflect the imago dei in community.  We need each other to fully realize our God-given purposes.


Dominion vs. Domination
God said to THEM, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…”
God gave animals and people the same basic blessing, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill” the earth (Genesis 1:22, 28).  But for people, the Lord added the command to subdue and have dominion.  Humans and animals share a primal drive to consume resources so we can perpetuate our genetic material, fill the earth with our offspring.  When we fail at dominion, all we have is that primal drive, and we become like animals.
Dominion, as commanded in Genesis 1:28, was assigned to THEM, not to him. Dominion is cooperative, self-less, and focused on the Biblically-defined good of all (persons, places, and things) under human authority.  The God-ordained dominion of humanity over the planet is fulfilled when the god-ness of women works together with the god-ness of men by for the glory of God. Since Genesis 1, time and sin have skewed our course from dominion to domination.

Domination is the selfish, self-seeking pursuit of profit for the benefit of the few most dominant humans, regardless of the consequences on persons, places, and things under their sway. Predation, pollution, misogyny, misandry (look it up), corruption, hoarding, and the diverse and creative menu of systemic injustices are all acts of domination.  Domination makes us look like animals, which makes God look like less than who He is.

That’s not the look God was going for on the 6th day.  We’ve painted a counterfeit imago dei and sold it to ourselves.

We need to be re-painted.  In 2 Corinthians 3:15-18, Paul lays out the Artist’s process in 2 Corinthians 3: 15-18:
But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

We go back to the studio and turn to the Jesus so He can remove the screen of domination. Then, being led by the Holy Spirit, we read the Creation with clear eyes, and “unveiled face.”  We look into the mirror of God’s Word and see ourselves as we are, a marred portrait overlayed with the image of God which we are meant to be.  We sit for a new portrait, not as the subject, but as the canvas.  It may take a while, but the God who curated all of Creation into a 6 day exhibit will “transform [us] into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Then we’ll be, as the original picture was, “very good.”

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves  #Awordtothewise 

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064



Monday, August 1, 2016

Days 4& 5, Blogging Genesis: PAINT THE SKY


Genesis 1: 14  Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
  15      and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
  16      God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
  17      God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
  18      and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
  19      There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

In Genesis 1:3, on the 1st Creation day, God speaks forth light (day and night), but He doesn’t create the stars, sun, or moon until the fourth day, verse 14.  How could there be light without the sources of light?  It doesn’t make sense; except that it does.

No human body witnessed Creation in real time.  The first chapters of the Bible, like the last chapters of the Bible, had to be delivered by supernatural revelation.  God showed the original author of Genesis a vision.

By the 3rd day, the author of Genesis (traditionally considered to be Moses) could see vegetation spreading, sea creatures, birds, and birdlike creatures, not to mention the unseen microbes all breathed. The respiration of billions of living beings ascended into the firmament and transformed the sky. 

Oxygen and carbon dioxide displaced other elements in the air.  Water vapor exchanged between sky and sea, pushed back the prehistoric haze.  From evening to morning on the 4th day, the sky became clearer and clearer.  Stars appeared in the dark expanse of night.  The larger light of the now clearly visible moon ruled the night.  The Earth turned, the firmament lit, and the sun rose. 

On the 1st day of the Creation vision, Moses saw light coalesce in space and watched night vaguely shift to day under the thick canopy of Earth’s early atmosphere.  On the 4th day, Moses saw what the lights in space looked like when the firmament above was clear enough to refract their light through an oxygen rich atmosphere filled with water vapor.

Scripture doesn’t provide properly technical explanations of oxygenation, atmospheric optics, or light refraction.  In the Biblical text, Moses didn’t distinguish between the astronomical movements of the sun as an independent star in space and the optical illusion of the sun’s progress across the sky created by the rotation of the Earth in orbit.  Apparently God didn’t explain that to him in 1352? B.C. 

I don’t fault Moses for that.  Nobody explained it to me until 1979 A.D.

The “evolution” of light in Genesis isn’t a contradiction.  It’s the accurate testimony of a witness by vision who did what every scholar has ever done, what scholars today still do:  Moses used the words he knew to accurately describe the world God showed him.

Life yet to come would enjoy sunsets, sunrises, starry nights, and moonlit skies because on the 4th day, the breath of life painted the sky.

Oh, yeah.  That was good.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

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