Bible message – 22 March 2020

Hi everyone! Since we can’t meet together (at least, not in a face-to-face, congregational way), we’re still going to keep providing Bible teaching. While it’s pretty low-tech, we hope these messages help you think about God’s word more.

Grace and peace to you.

An atheistic view of humanity & the world

What do atheists think about the universe and our little race of advanced primates?

Hear them speak:

“The human race is not special.”

– Geoff Dawson, opinion piece, ABC news (Australia)

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-03/global-warming-mass-extinction-psychological-impact/11923370

“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

– Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden

 

“Life on Earth doesn’t arise in fulfillment of a grand scheme, but rather as a byproduct of the increase of entropy in an environment very far from equilibrium.  Our impressive brains don’t develop because life is guided toward greater levels of complexity and intelligence, but from the mechanical interactions between genes, organisms, and their surroundings.

None of which is to say that life is devoid of purpose and meaning. Only that these are things we create, not things we discover out there in the fundamental architecture of the world.”

– Sean Carroll, from a blog post The Pointless Universe

 

“That Man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave. . . . Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

– Bertrand Russell, A Free Man’s Worship (1903)

 

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” 

– Steven Weinberg (Physicist)

 

“When it comes to causal significance, it seems hard to deny that any individual, no matter how important they are in human history, will be insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We only have influence over a microscopically tiny blip of space-time, after all.”

– Nick Hughes

SOURCE: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/does-the-scale-of-the-universe-make-human-life-pointless-1.3235860

 

There you have it, folks.

If God does not exist, and if there are no supernatural realities, don’t worry: nothing ultimately matters. You are here for no particular reason. For no particular purpose. You have no objective value. Your life has no particular end goal in mind. You’re a blip, so create some meaning for yourself until it’s all over.

As the good book says “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32; NIV)

Nothing ultimately means anything. Why?

No reason.

Join us for something different!

This Saturday evening we’re hosting our first ever book launch! Our very own Ben Swift is launching his new book “Beyond Your Fish Sticker“, and you’re welcome to join us.

We’ll hear from Ben, have a Q&A, and share in a delicious supper together. It’s all free, so why not join us?

WHEN: Saturday 29 February, from 6:45pm.

WHERE: Wavell Heights Presbyterian Church. 64 Spence Road, Wavell Heights.

MORE INFO: Contact Pastor Matt Viney on 0411 462 734.

BEYOND FISH STICKER PROMO.jpg

A very helpful overview of Bible translations

This presentation is one of the most helpful explorations of the complexities surrounding Bible translation. It focuses especially on comparing various modern translations, and shows arriving at a ‘word for word’ translation is not only virtually impossible, it’s also not necessary.

Do yourself a favour and take the time to watch this video:

 

Some helpful thoughts on Bible translations

Bible on a Wooden Table

In the church, there are a number of topics that seem to generate varying levels of controversy. Whether it’s the type of music you sing/play, how often you celebrate the Lord’s Supper or your view on creation/evolution, there’s no shortage of topics which garner a range of (often emotional) reactions.

One such topic is what Bible version should be used in the church. When it comes to different kinds of Bibles, options – often expressed as acronyms – abound. Do you like the NASB, NJB, ESV, RSV, NIV, NIrV, GNT, ASV, CSB, CEV, NEB, KJV, NLT, NRSV, NKJV, TLB, NCV, AMP, or “the Message” Bible? There are many options, and the English-speaking world is truly blessed to have so much to choose from.

Many Christians who read their Bible regularly (admittedly, a minority of Christians today) feel a strong attachment to the wording and tone of a particular translation. This means any discussion of what Bible translation is best to use in the church will be caught up in a web of opinions, feelings and experiences. One of the key sticking points is whether you should use a more “literal” (word-for-word) translation or a more free-flowing translation that offers “thought-for-thought” translation. Or should you use something in between these two options?

One impediment to having a clear-thinking, robust discussion about this topic is the fact that almost nobody who holds an opinion about Bible translations actually knows much about the nature and process of translation. The videos below offer some useful information about Bible translation/s. I hope you can spend a little time looking at them.

Here’s a short presentation by Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary, in the U.S.:

Bill Mounce, an expert in Biblical Greek, addresses the word “literal” that comes up all the time in these discussions:

Our church uses the NIV translation, which is carefully translated from the original languages, often seeking to convey the intended meaning of the Greek and Hebrew – particularly where a phrase might be unclear to our modern ears. In our post-Christian Australian context (where Biblical illiteracy is a pandemic), the simplicity and clarity of the NIV is very helpful. In this next video, Bill Mounce addresses the reason why the NIV has been updated over the years:

If you have a little bit more time, watch this video where the NIV’s Committee on Bible Translation answers numerous questions:

Whatever you think about Bible translation our hope is that you read, study, memorise, and believe the translation of your preference! The world and the church need a growing number of Christians who know their Bibles!

Blessings