Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley

Thread Season 4 Episode 4: Protecting the Creation

February 11, 2020 Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley Season 4 Episode 4
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 4: Protecting the Creation
Chapters
Thread Bible Podcast with Chuck Quinley
Thread Season 4 Episode 4: Protecting the Creation
Feb 11, 2020 Season 4 Episode 4
Thread with Dr. Chuck Quinley

In this episode, we study Day 2 of the creation narrative. On this day, we're told, God creates "the Firmament."  That's an old-world concept about the atmosphere around our blue planet.  We'll learn the importance of protecting our own infant creations once life begins and of creating a healthy, life-giving atmosphere in our worlds. 

Need more structure in your life? Check out how God uses structure to protect what He creates in this week's episode of Thread.

Music by Ryan Andersen
Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

"Creation Overture": In the Steppes of Central Asia - Alexander Borodin

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we study Day 2 of the creation narrative. On this day, we're told, God creates "the Firmament."  That's an old-world concept about the atmosphere around our blue planet.  We'll learn the importance of protecting our own infant creations once life begins and of creating a healthy, life-giving atmosphere in our worlds. 

Need more structure in your life? Check out how God uses structure to protect what He creates in this week's episode of Thread.

Music by Ryan Andersen
Ryan Andersen is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial License.

"Creation Overture": In the Steppes of Central Asia - Alexander Borodin

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=RL4F28KKJPKWQ)

Hi, I'm Chuck Quinley from the Thread Bible Podcast. Last week, we began exploring the first page of the Bible, the story of our creation. And we saw the beginning of a never ending wrestling match between spiritual darkness, and God's divine light. Before he could create anything, he had to first push back the darkness and create a lighted space where life could grow. In this episode, we learned the importance of protecting the infant creation, once its life begins. Need more structure in your life? Check out how God uses structure to protect what he creates, in this week's episode of Thread. 

Welcome to Thread, God's word tying together all the pieces of our lives through verse by verse study of the Bible. In Season Four, we're exploring the bedrock of the entire Bible, Genesis 1-12. The Thread Bible Podcast is brought to you by MediaLightAsia.com.

At MediaLight, we're creatives on a mission. And as such, we put a lot of emphasis on releasing creativity. I really think there's a special revelation of who God is, as a person,  that we can only discover when we create things. Now, it could be anything, you could create clothing, or cookies, or courses, or buildings, or organizations. It doesn't matter because God introduces himself to the world as a maker. When we put in the energy to become makers ourselves, then I think there's an awareness of God that we can gain in that moment that you just can't get through any other, you know, any other thing that you do. Now, when you make things, there are three distinct phases as a creator. Number one, there's perception. And in perception, you get a concept. You have an idea. Either you work to get it, or you take an existing idea, and you turn it in a new direction, or you find a new use for an old concept. Or those amazing moments where something just pops in your head, and you have no idea where it came from. And it you know, it arrives completely baked. It's amazing. That's the first stage perception. Then the second phase is exploration. And in exploration, we start to learn about that thing. And we start making plans, we, you know, we experiment with concepts. And this is a messy phase, it's a lot of learning goes on a lot of research. And it's like, what if we did this?, what if we did that? And finally, at the end of the exploration phase, you come down to a plan. And once this plan is drawn out, you move to your third phase, and that is production, where you actually make something.

You know, you're not creative, unless you create things. Just because you color your hair pink doesn't make you creative. It just means you like pink hair. Creative means you make things. And if we're going to be creative, we need to make things. And there's a joy in making things. Whether the thing you're making is a family, or a company, or nonprofit, or a song, or a garden outside. But in the making of things, we're missing something and it's really something crucial. If we don't acknowledge how fragile new creations are. It's why we're so tender with babies, you know. How easy new creations are to destroy, especially when they're young and tender. So today, let's learn from the master creator. Because on day one, that's last week's lesson, we get introduced to the idea that creation is first a spiritual struggle. It's a struggle against darkness, and against forces of entropy. That in Hebrew, we said the phrase is Tohu va Bohu, tearing things down until it has no shape, no form, and it's empty. Those are the default states of the universe, and these these powers are fighting against us. And so people who say they want God to leave them alone, they just don't understand the powers that are pressing down at all times that would destroy them. So we learned last week on day one, about darkness and entropy and Rah, you know, the destructive power. And that it's being held back only by the active presence of the Creator and giver of life. And we'll learn later when God outlines mankind's mission on earth that you can't just build and create endlessly. You have to also be attentive to the forces of darkness that are going to work to destroy everything that you buil. This relentless pressure of Tohu va Bohu to reduce all things back to emptiness and formlessness.

There's a book that I just can't recommend enough. It's called the War of Art. And it's written by Steven Pressfield. And he calls this resistance, he says, anyone who's involved in creative enterprises (where you're trying to make something) is enlisted, whether they know it or not, is enlisted on the side of God. He is the Creator, no one else can create. And whenever humans create, we tap into his power. And so we're trying to make the world a more beautiful place, and a more wonderful place. And so as we use art, we will find immediately that we're being pushed back, all these weird things will happen. And some of it is inside our own head. This hesitancy, this insecurity, that will make us want to not even start. But there's also external situations that will just happen. Things that seem like they should be random, except they're organized, and they're orderly, and they just seem trying to stop us. Stop us from starting, stop us from finishing. Well, all of that is the darkness, and Tohu va Bohu. And that is the default state of this universe. So you can't just create, you have to also protect what is created. That's a big life lesson. And it is at the center of Episode Four: Protecting the Creation.

Now, once you've created life, you have to protect it. This is true whether we're talking about gardensm or guitars, or paintings, or plumbing, or roads, or clothing, or cookies. It's true at the national level. It's true on a personal level. It's true in grade school. It's true in church. It's true in government. It's true in business, it's true in marriage. Winning over the darkness, winning over entropy, requires a plan to protect the creation. So now we turn to Genesis chapter 1, verses 6-8, please open your Bibles. And we're going to study now how does God propose to protect his creation? Well, let's read this passage. But even before we read it, we've historically had a hard time translating this passage, because it uses an old word and an old concept that few people understand anymore. The English word is firmament. And I bet you haven't used that in a sentence in a long time. The Hebrew word is raqia. So I'm going to read you two translations. The first one is from the New King James, verses 6-8.

"Then God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' And thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the ferment Heaven. So evening and morning were the second day." Now let me read you another translation. This is the New Century Translation. "Then God said, 'Let there be something to divide the water in two.' -- 'Let there be something to divide the water in two.' So God made the air, and placed some of the water above the air and some below it. And God named the air sky. Evening past and morning came, this was the second day." Okay. The firmament, so you can already see the translators wrestling. I mean, New Century just says "something", they just use that word for fermament or raqia. Well, let's talk about it. Stay tuned.

What is the firmament? What is the raqia? Well, it's a structure. It's a barrier of protection. It is the centerpiece of God's overall global system of firm, protective boundaries, lines, and structure. If you got bogged down and confused about dividing the water, let's just go back and, you know, this was written thousands of years ago. So you see a human, they're standing on a hill. And you look down, and you see the blue ocean, it is below us. And then you look up in the sky, and you see a blue sky and in the blue sky, occasionally, the water falls out of the sky on top of us. And so they're looking at this, and in the concept of how the beginning of Earth was in their mind, it was just a huge water ball. The deep. And so what God is doing here is he is creating, but he's creating by dividing, he's dividing what is from what is not, what should be from anything else that might interfere with it. You know, for example, cells divide, they don't mix. And the raqia is a division within the water ball. And this water ball, in the middle of this -- we're not even a planet yet -- in the middle of this water ball, in the core of it, somewhere buried underneath the deep, there is the earth, the entire Earth is down there somewhere deep in the sea. And so God begins to divide. He divides solid water from vapor water, and he draws, later we'll see him using sand, something as, you know, as thin as sand, to draw a boundary for the solid water and to say, don't come pass that stay in your boundaries. And so he pushes the solid water into seas. And he builds a divider for vapor water and he pushes it above the earth, and more importantly, he's building a barrier between the Earth and all that is around it.

Now later in the story when humans get introduced, and plant life, and animal life, and it's all added to the mix. God's going to give another similar social system that he'll establish lines of authority, boundaries, strength. Why? Because darkness and entropy are relentless. They will never stop pressing against the creation. They will never tire in their quest to extinguish the light, and reduce the life God has planted to become the void of space. And this is the reality of life in our universe. Winning over darkness and entropy requires lines and structure, authority, and raw power. The firmament is like a crib for babies, airbags in cars. A life protecting atmosphere, a defended safe place where life can develop and thrive. And, you know, boundaries are not popular today. There's this cry of well, globalism to start with. To erase all distinctions between nations and peoples. To erase borders between nations. And even to erase the line between humans, that there's no male, there's no female, there's no marriage. There's no singleness, there's no line between embryo and baby, just endless, boundless, sliding options, countless choices, all ideas, relative. Nobody likes to be told no. These days even what a boundary means has shifted in concept. Some people are crying for a wall to keep the chaos out, and others call it evil to even want such a thing as a wall. We have voices today screaming down what qualifies as gender, as history, who's in charge of the story, all of it challenged, all of it, the desire is to keep it all fluid. In short, all standards are now resisted in global culture, all authority is challenged.

There's a book that I often reference called the End of Power, by Moisés Naím. And it's just a fascinating study about power as a thing, and how that we used to have power in silos. They were institutions of society, government, education, military business. And they had power, and it was stacked. And because they had so much power, and they had gatekeepers to the power, they could accomplish amazing things, because they had centralized power. Then democracy came, and with that, generation after generations of people who are raised with a voice and wanting more power, until we've gotten to the stage now that virtually everyone has more power than humans have ever had in their life. But the central authorities have the least power they've ever had, in most countries. You have other nations that have strongly centralized power. What it means is that local government, state government, national government, they struggle to do their jobs. Teachers without authority, policeman without authority. And you just keep doing this until no one's in charge of anything. And relativity rules, and leaders are afraid to even speak specifically about anything.

But Genesis teaches us that boundaries and lines are essential even to creativity. You need structure. You need to rule out some things. You need some restraint on creativity, and it allows you to create. You know. We do lots of creative projects as a group here at our base in Thailand, and it's a way we train students. But if we just say, "oh, make anything you want", they're going to sit there for weeks trying to figure out what to make and the result just won't be all that good. But if we say, "Make a documentary, it can't be more than three minutes long. It's got to be...," and you just lay it out. The tighter the brief is, the more they are free to create, and they make things that are really amazing and even even surprise them. Well, that's how it is with boundaries and lines. We need it even creativity needs it. It allows creation to survive and thrive. Despite the very present threats that surround it. We'll be right back.

Firmament. Well the first purpose of the firmament is protection, like a strong frame in the car that you're driving. The root word of firmament is firm. You need lines, you need a line you can hold, a line you can defend against assault. And amazingly the firmament that God creates to protect the Earth turns out to be oxygen. It's our atmosphere. According to the website of the University of Oregon, 25 million, listen to this, 25 million meteoroids enter our atmosphere every day. Most of them burn up, depositing 2.2 million pounds of dust on Earth's surface every day. 2.2 million pounds of meteorite matter as it comes crashing toward us only to hit our atmosphere and burst into flames, and it becomes vaporized. Our boundary, our raqia keeps us from being obliterated by space objects. Life is fragile enough, but the raqia makes survival possible by protecting us against the threats. So the firmament is our protection, but it has a second purpose. the firmament is a life giving atmosphere. It's a light, oxygen-rich space where life can develop and thrive. The firmament creates the greenhouse of the earth. And that's why it is so important that you create a life giving atmosphere in the world that you manage. The importance of having a value system, of sitting down as a family even and saying, What are the five values of our family? These are the, this is how we will make our decision. If people talk about our family, we want them to say these things about us, what are our values? What are the core principles? What are the systems that we will use to operate? You know, how will we protect? How we protect our our marriage? How will we protect our family? How do we protect our bodies? How do we protect our minds? What systems will we use? You know, we need a life giving atmosphere, we need a healthy space, we need these sanctified areas, creative space, we need right culture in homes, and schools, and businesses, and churches, and nonprofits, and even in whole nations.

And you know, I believe the Christian community is supposed to be a firmament. It's a dome within which lives are being born and reborn, there's creativity, there's creation, birth taking place underneath the firmament. It's a place of new life. It's a place where people can run and find shelter, and find provision under the dome, under the firmament. It's a place of protection, because it has gatekeepers and authorities who serve in love. And that's why the Bible metaphor of the Christian community is shepherd, not CEO, not entertainer, not TED Talk awesome speaker. Shepherd, keeper of the raqia. Using something as soft as love, and as warm as fellowship to keep the demons and the wolves away from people. A life giving atmosphere. You know, you can't produce growth in other people, but you can create an atmosphere, a safe place, a culture of growth, a culture that unlocks people, and unlocks their potential. You know, Tohu va Bohu, entropy, darkness, they're at war with all of us, and they are at war with the Lamb of God. And we all need safe places. We need fellowship, we need family.

So thank God for these structures, because we do have them. We have a physical space above the earth that protects us. But within that dome of the earth, we have all kinds of other structures, social structures, homes to live in. Thank God for the structures, for all the means of protection that he has established on this planet. Support those who are serving. You know, it's such a, in lot of ways, a thankless task to be the gatekeeper, and the authority, and to be a shepherd of a community. And you're trying to build a healthy community. It's a lot of work, and you deal with the complaints and all that, and the relentless attacks from the outside. So support people. Think of something you can do this week for those that you know are behind the firmaments in your life. That are keeping you supported at work, in your church, in your family. Those who are working to keep, you know, makes sure there's no holes, in the atmosphere. And participate in that. Participate in the building of a healthy community. Participate in the protection of the lives of other people, building the garden, you know. Build the community of life that God has placed us here to be part of. And look around and strengthen the boundaries that keep safe your life, your spiritual life, your mind, your attitude, your friendships, your marriage if you're married, your children. Strengthen those boundaries this week. The raqia, the firmament. Well, I've learned a lot, I hope you have to. If you're getting fed by the Thread Podcast, please share this with your friends. The podcast system makes it really easy to share episodes with other people, whether they're on Spotify, or any other place that you might look and find the podcast. Thanks for tuning in. See you next time. Expect God to use you today because you are the light of the world.