Thursday, January 12, 2012

Got Questions? - Part 1



This week we began a series that we will do for a few weeks called "Got Questions?".  I had the students submit questions they have about the Bible and we will answer one or two each week.  This can be tough as these students are smart and have submitted some tough questions, but it is good as it challenges us to find answers in the Bible and to stretch our brains.  It hurts our brains but it is good for us!  We began the night with a funny video and a worship set that included:  "So Much", "One Way" (Hillsong United), "I Will Follow" (Micah Watson), "How He Loves" (McMillan/Crowder).


I began the night by sharing a bit about why we are doing this.  The best way to learn is by asking questions.  We should never be ashamed to ask questions.  The disciples were constantly asking Jesus questions in order to learn.  We briefly looked at a few examples of the disciples asking questions in Mark 4:10, Mark 7:17, Mark 9:11, Mark 9:28, Mark 10:10, and Mark 13:3.  As we ask questions, we need to know where to find the answers which of course is the Bible.  I told the students that there may be some questions we look at that we cannot find a 100% definitive answer because it will fall into a gray area.  It is then we must decide what we believe based on the Scripture and not waste time arguing and debating the subject.


Each week we will look at the selected question in 4 areas:  1) "What does the world say?"; 2) "What is our opinion?"; 3) "What does the Bible say?"; and 4) "How does this apply to our lives?".  We use the phrase "knowledge is power" but it only is power if we make use and application of the knowledge.


This week's question that we began with was "Does the Bible say anything about dinosaurs?".  So looking at each question here is what we discussed.
1)  The world says that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago.
2)  Most everyone in our group had the opinion that dinosaurs existed, but was thousands of years ago as the earth is not millions of years old.
3)  So looking at what the Bible says here are the things that I covered.  First of all the word "dinosaur" is not in the Bible.  The Bible was of course not written in English, but the word "dinosaur" was not invented until the 1800's.  The Hebrew word "tanniyn" was used and could be translated "sea monster", "serpent", or "dragon".  When we read the account of Creation, Genesis 1:24-25 tells us that God made animals on Day 6.  This would have included dinosaurs, and dinosaurs are animals.  Then we looked at the two possibilities of dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible, the Behemoth and Leviathan in Job 40:15-41:8.  It has been long debated what these creatures are, if they are dinosaurs, or maybe the behemoth an elephant or hippopotamus, and the leviathan could possibly been a crocodile.  The truth is, we cannot 100% possibly say one way or another if these are dinosaurs or other animals. We were not there to see these creatures ourselves so we cannot say for sure.  Here is what we do know is that in these verses God is showing Job how big He is.  God is showing that even His power is shown in creatures.  However I cannot determine myself what these creatures are.
4)  So how can we apply this to our lives?  I challenged the students to know what truths are spoken in this area, but to never argue about it.  In addition we should not obsess over these subjects.  Why?  Because this has nothing to do with salvation.  A problem I have is that people will be obsessed with this subject and other theological questions, when it has nothing to do with Jesus and salvation.  People waste too much time debating some of these things while people are dying and going to hell.  So my thoughts on how to apply this to our lives is to make a decision and not spend much more time on it and move on.  It is my personal belief that God has placed things like this in the Bible to test us and see if we will waste a lot of time debating what this animal is, or focus on more important matters like reaching the lost.


At the end of the night we drew the question to look at next week which is one that will really stretch our brains:  "Can we change God's mind with our prayers?".

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