Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Session 3 – Robert Reymond

I must start by making a confession and observation. I had not heard Dr. Reymond speak before, but as this large man grasped the top of the pulpit, pulling himself up the steps to the platform, he turned and looked out at the people, and I understood in that moment what the word gravitas means in a more full way. He looked soberly at the audience and stretched his arms to either side of the podium. He then prayed that he would say only those things God meant to be heard, and that we would be granted those special ears that Jesus talked about, ears to hear, and that we would apply what was said, and consider the consequence of what was to be said.

Dr. Reymond began by saying that this, the Trinity, is the most neglected doctrine as far as the pulpit is concerned. During his entire ministry, he has never heard of even one sermon devoted entirely or specifically to the Trinity (JD – I was shocked to hear that). He then gave an outline:

1. Triune God creates material universe
2. Triune God creates man
3. Why a Triune God creating all this is important

1 – In Six Literal Days

Genesis 1:1 – well ordered
Psalm 19:1 – continually and intensely
Hebrews 11:3 – out of nothing
Psalm 33:6,9
Psalm 8
1 Corinthians 8:6

Son and Spirit co-agents
Son – John 1:1-3 / 1 Corinthians 8:6 / Colossians 1:16-17 / Hebrews 1:2-3
Spirit – Genesis 1:2 / Job 26:13, 33:4 / Psalm 104:30

Even though He spoke the world into existence, even this is not a display of His infinite power; in other words, nothing shows the full display of His power, creation was more than easy. God was not exhausted in the least. Job speaks of this being the outer fringe of His power, a faint whisper of His might. Habakkuk says His power is hidden, even in creation. Creation actually conceals more than it reveals. Dr. Reymond gave quotes by O. Palmer Robertson and Steven Charnock to corroborate this.

As a matter of gaining perspective on the vastness of the universe, imagine if our sun was a ping-pong ball. In this scale the earth would be 1/100th of an inch across, and the sun 10 ft. away. Pluto would be 120 yards away, Alpha Centauri would be 500 miles away, and the Andromeda galaxy would be 350 million miles away from the sun. From our perspective the universe is huge but still only a display, a tiny display of His power. This universe, to us immense, is actually concealing more than revealing His power; it is a dim shadow of His infinitude.

The universe had a beginning, creation was not one fiat but a progression of decrees, “and God said”. We place creation of man in day six of this framework. The idea of creation “ex nihilo”, or out of nothing, is unique in ancient culture. Gordon Clark – it was a Hebraic concept spread by Christianity, which had never been considered before.

2 – 7 Ways Creation Of Man Is Unique

1. Last major event of creation, the climax of creation activity
2. Unique engagement, God’s counsel in man’s creation. Instead of “and God said”, the distinctive was “let us make
3. Nature of man’s endowment, “after our likeness”.
4. Invested with dominion – not on parity, but vice regent of the world
5. Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7) – more than physical life
· Job 32:8 – spiritual comprehension
· Proverbs 20:27 – conscience
6. Capacity of rational speech and scientific investigation
7. God’s covenant with man (Hosea 6) / Romans 5 – Adam as Federal Head

3 – Importance Of Creation

Denial of creation events leads to moral chaos, we are losing our children

When Dr. Reymond was a professor at Covenant Seminary, he was having dinner with Frances Schaffer and other colleagues, ironically, at a place called “the flaming pit” (this was one of several times we laughed during the sessions with Dr Reymond). Schaffer was going to speak at Yale for the Intervarsity Fellowship there. He was asked and asked others about what to teach and preach. Considering the apostasy of the university, someone suggested John 3:16. That wouldn’t do, said Schaffer, he decided on Genesis 1. He said they need to know who they are and whom they are responsible to, and that then John 3:16 would mean something to them.

D.A. Carson – Athens Revisited – 25 years ago (more now, of course – JD) people in America knew more about God, now atheists go strictly after the Christian God, not others. We used to evangelize with talk of sin and grace, but the New American Christian cannot do this, we have lost a generation.

5 reasons we now need to give more info and effort today in evangelism (in America)

1. Immigration, people with no Christian background, religious diversity in world
2. Naturalism, existentialism, mysticism, humanism taught in public schools
3. Internet, average person now his own authority in everything
4. Courts stop religious instruction
5. Evangelical church blindness and lack of counter measures and Christian warriors

Homogenization with the world – Dr. Reymond mentioned a novel by Tom Wolfe, where a woman with a godly upbringing lost her way, which he used to illustrate that the universities are completely corrupt.

Dr. Reymond then went on to discuss the intelligent design movement, mentioning Michael Behe and his book “Darwin’s Black Box”, and the conversion to Deism of Anthony Flew, famous former atheist, who said ID made him a believer in something, a designer, not chance.

Most children and adults today, however, believe in atheism, at least practically. They believe in an impersonal beginning of time and chance. Even then, what Calvin called the ‘sense of deity”, the seed of religion in man cannot be totally suppressed.

Dr. Reymond spoke of Carl Sagan and other scientists who go against their own first law, making a leap of absurdity by asserting that something can come out of nothing. The maxim, “out of nothing, nothing comes” is denied in their practice, showing the futility of evolution and atheism. Everything, at bottom in this system, leads to the conclusion that nothing produced everything. Absolutely preposterous, says Dr. Reymond. Chance is only a concept, and a concept cannot create a material world.

The Triune God created by giving us the universe, the Scriptures, the Incarnation, and saving faith by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

If everything is just energy then we have no moral basis and no meaning. The Triune God gives us rational answers, personal significance, and morals.


Anonymous said...

For me, the whole lack of knowledge or non-acceptance of the Triune "fits" into our Romans study....we "imagine" God in the "image" that suits us.....and....

.....I almost long for the days of "sin and grace evangelism"....I don't think I'm up for all this other stuff!

Even So... said...

I agree...Romans really brings it home to most anything we could talk about in Theology and practice...