Captain Marvel, The Bible, and The New Mythology

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Gallup says that the percentage of adults who believe the Bible’s account of creation is at an all time low.

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so — the strict creationist view — has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution — either God-guided or not — saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.

As the Bible, in general, and the creation story, in particular, has waned in the collective consciousness of our culture, a new mythology has emerged. Some would say had to emerge. It seems a culture, a pop culture, must have an origin story to give meaning to the chaos. Myth comes from a heart longing for meaning and casts a shadow of hope that we can pull ourselves out of this maelstrom with the help of super heroes and beneficent gods.

The New Mythology

The New Mythology involves super heroes fighting the forces of evil on our behalf. It is no coincidence that Hollywood has evolved from the simple exploits of ordinary super heroes to convoluted origin stories of complicated, hybrid super heroes. There have been 78 DC and Marvel super hero movies since 1978 making billions upon billions of dollars. In the latest Marvel movie coming out in March, Captain Marvel, the heroine, Carol Danvers, has “cosmological” powers and it tells of her “origins”. As a side note, there is a GoFundMe fundraiser to buy Captain Marvel movie tickets for girls. It is that important.

Myth is central to culture and meaning. Bulfinch’s Mythology highlights the gods of Greek and Rome and shows us the spiritual foundation of ancient religions. The gods of ancient mythology demonstrate laudable deeds giving an example and moral order to a culture. The lesson here is that what starts out as a myth has the possibility of becoming a religion after a while.

Creation Matters

The creation story of the Bible has fallen under the label “myth” for many in our culture. There has been a constant attack on the Bible’s account of creation for the last 200 years. The 19th century higher criticism scholars majored on undermining creationism and the onslaught hasn’t abated. Popular culture ridicules all who would suggest creationism should be in the discussion of origins of the world.

Christianity Today published an article recently entitled, “Ten Theses on Creation and Evolution That (Most) Evangelicals Can Support” that lays the framework for discussing creation and suggests that as long as we believe that creation was “God-guided” we’re okay. In other words, literal creation or God-guided evolution are both orthodox and acceptable for Bible believing Christians. Sounds reasonable, even, progressive, until you realize that “God-guided evolution” contradicts Jesus’ interpretation of the creation story.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3 NIV)

The Creator

Jesus is Creator and should know how it all went down “In the beginning”. Jesus believed the creation account of the Bible and affirmed it with word-for-word quotes from Genesis when he answered the Pharisee’s question about marriage,

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4,5)

Jesus explained the creation account as a historical fact with an unqualified quote about what took place at the time of creation, “… at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’”. He didn’t hesitate to affirm the creation of men and women fully formed or “in their present form”. He didn’t hint that it took millions of years for them to be formed from a primal pool of slime. He should know, he was there. If the creation story is not historical fact, then Jesus Christ becomes either an imposter or a fool. He is neither.

M.R. De Haan puts it this way, “The attack on the veracity of the historical account of creation as given in Genesis, even though disguised as a sincere search for the truth, is more than an attempt to discredit the written record, it is in reality an undermining of the incarnate Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.” (M.R. De Haan, Portraits of Christ in Genesis, author’s emphasis, p.16)

Every culture throughout history has had its own mythology but there is only one based on historical fact. The Bible tells us plainly how it happened and Jesus confirmed it. The super hero movies are all fun and games and are known for their humor. We don’t get the humor all the time but we know super hero movies are obsessed with speculating about what happened at the beginning, how we came to be, and why we are here.

Why are we here? Good question.

Blessings – René and Gloria

”Amen!”

img_20190102_142632752_burst001-011142328414.jpeg“Amen!” is a traditional gospel song made popular by the 1963 movie Lilies of the Field starring Sidney Poitier. It is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head much to your regret after a while. The song was recorded by many through the years including The Impressions, Elvis Presley, and Otis Redding. We have The Staple Singers version on vinyl (great album by the way).

“Amen” is a Hebrew word transliterated throughout the Bible generally meaning “So be it” or “I agree with you.” The New Testament often translates the word “truly” as when Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3 “Truly, truly I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (ESV). The King James translates it as “Verily, verily” but it could be translated “Amen, amen I say to you …” The double emphasis by Jesus tells the hearer to listen up because what he is about to tell you is extremely important.

So Be It!

These days we use the word as a customary closing to a prayer like “… in Jesus’ name. Amen.” Originally, the word is tied to truth which is why the word is translated “Truly”. For example, when you hear truth like “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12 ESV) and the Holy Spirit quickens your spirit with this truth and your heart gets strangely warmed then the natural, or supernatural, reaction is to declare “So be it to me!” Or “Amen!”

The Holy Spirit, in effect, is asking you the question, “Do you want this truth in your life?” Your response “Amen!” seals the truth in your heart and glorifies the One who is able to fulfill the truth. “Amen” then is really a declaration of faith in the One who is faithful and an affirmation of truth as opposed to the lies that surround us. So the next time the preacher declares a truth that resonates in your heart shout “Amen!” and agree with God that his Word is Truth declaring “I agree with you, God! So be it in my life!”

Agree with God

This also happens when you are reading a book and the author reveals a truth that warms your heart. We encourage you to say “Amen” and agree with God. We get many testimonials from readers excited about the truth we are sharing in our books and blog. They read the truth and they know in their hearts that this is God’s truth about marital intimacy. In effect, they are saying “Amen!” with their testimonials.

Jesus said to his followers, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b,32) Say “Amen” to God’s truth and agree with God. Freedom is something to shout about.

Remember “Amen” is more than an add-on at the end of a prayer.

Happy New Year!

Blessings – Rene and Gloria

No Shortcuts

man watering the plant during daytime

I (Rene) just spent two hours in a chat session with a Google customer service rep trying to get a Google Home Mini device to work. The type of device you talk to and it does your bidding. We received the Mini as a gift so I thought we would use it to bring our home technology up a notch. It came with a “smart light bulb”. Gloria and I are debating where to put the “smart” light bulb. I’m not convinced it’s going to be easier to tell Google to turn on the light or to just turn on the light the old-fashioned way with our fingers pressing the switch.

The Shortcut

We’re under the impression that technology provides a shortcut to an easier life and sometimes it does – writing our books on a computer is easier than writing them on a typewriter! Coincidentally, the subject of our books, marital intimacy, has no shortcut. There’s no app that will help build intimacy in marriage like a microwave oven. Marital intimacy takes a lifetime of effort, patience, love, and prayer.

We’ve Come a Long Way

We’ve come a long way as they say. Our fathers would get up early in the morning and consume a hearty breakfast before they milked the cows. They would work the rest of the day tending sheep, cultivating fields, repairing equipment and a myriad of other chores. The wives would work hard in the barns, fields, gardens, and kitchens keeping the family clothed and fed. The family would clean up before dinner, eat dinner around a dining room table, then sit around the wood stove reading their Bibles often by kerosene lamps after dinner. They would converse about the next day and perhaps future dreams. The would read a story to the children, probably from the Bible, and send them off to bed before the parents retired for the night. More often than not, for the parents, the primary comfort of the day would be in the marriage bed entangled in each other’s arms before drifting off into a satisfying sleep.

The Rhythm of Life

They would get up the next day and repeat. There were no days off except Sunday when they would gather the children together into the old pickup and head off to church to sing praise to Jesus their Savior who provided them with eternal life forever and an abundant life now. The rhythm of life gave them a purpose and sustained them in times of trouble. They pondered the birth-death-birth cycle of life and they hoped in a rebirth of their own one day in heaven where there would be no more toil, tears, pain, or sadness.

Romanticized? Perhaps but not too long ago I experienced this farming rhythm each summer as us city folk would go the Northern Vermont and help with the haying on my uncle’s farm. Reggie and Germain Beliveau lived this life and I don’t think I ever saw a happier couple. They knew the value of hard work, strong faith, and patient love. Their 11 children received the benefits of life on the farm.

We have come a long way. We do not romanticize the hard scrabble life on a Northern Vermont farm in the 1950’s – think a very short growing season – but on the other hand there’s something to be said for a life with hands in the dirt and hearts toward heaven.

Now if we can just get this Google Home Mini to turn on our light bulb!

Blessings – Rene and Gloria