Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Bible and God's Continuing Creation

by Robert C. Frank

My wife and I read parts of our Bible each morning when we have our devotions. It seems important for all of us to remember that our Bibles didn’t suddenly pop up on our bookshelves. God, through the Holy Spirit, created the Bible over a long period of time with the assistance of many human beings.

 While none of the original manuscripts written by the Apostles have been found, there are many copies of those writings that still exist. Their authenticity is affirmed by the fact that they agree so well with each other. Since there were so many writings, large groups of people called councils had to gather to decide which were truly inspired by God. Finally, in 397 AD, a group of these writings that were believed to be authentic were chosen to be included. They were called the canon of the Bible.

 However, it wasn’t until about 1450 AD that the first printed Bible was produced by Johannes Gutenberg. In the years since then, many humans, working together and aided by science and technology, developed methods for producing large numbers of Bibles in many languages and forms. Their availability encouraged humans to learn to read. As a result, the Bible has played an important role in the improvement of civilization in the world. 

  While God, through the Holy Spirit, created the Bible over a long period of time with the assistance of humans, it is important to remember that God is still with us. So as Christians it seems we should be exploring other ways that we can assist God in continuing the creation of civilization on earth.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Viewing Christianity Through New Lenses

by Robert C. Frank

Those who have had cataract surgery have witnessed one of the most dramatic miracles God carries out with the aid of science. As human beings become older, they develop cataracts in the lenses of their eyes and as a result their view of the world around them becomes grey and diffuse. With the aid of modern medical science, the lenses with cataracts can be easily replaced with artificial lenses by eye specialists. Then the person’s grey, cloudy view of the world suddenly becomes bright, sharp, colorful, and beautiful again. I know, I had it done in both eyes.

Over a long period of time our view of Christianity has gradually become grey and limited by the enormous number of traditions that have accumulated and dispersed our understanding. As a result, we can no longer see the beauty of the pure fundamentals of Christianity any more. 

When we were younger, my wife and I were invited to attend Roman Catholic Cursillo weekends. I have been a research physicist most of my adult life, so I was reluctant to go, but we both went anyway. I was surprised to find that Cursillo was a three day course in just the fundamentals of Christianity, and it was remarkable how beautiful the weekends were. We were so inspired we helped bring Via de Cristo, the Lutheran version of Cursillo, to our area. 

While the book, Christ’s Team, is not about Cursillo, it is a review of the fundamentals of Christianity and how they are aided by science in our current world. The cataract removal mentioned in the first paragraph is an example of the many ways that Christianity aided by science provides a more bright and beautiful view of the future.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Christ is Risen!

by Robert C. Frank

The spirit of Jesus Christ continues to be present throughout the entire world, providing assurance of God’s forgiveness and teaching everyone to love and care for each other. Christ’s Team, made up of servant leaders like him, is the largest team on earth. They continue to spread the good news worldwide using the superior communication facilities created with the aid of science and technology. 

On the night before he was crucified, Jesus gathered his followers in a room in Jerusalem to share some bread and wine. “While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread and after blessing it, broke it, and gave it to them and said, ‘Take: this is my body.’ Then he took a cup and after giving thanks, gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.(1)’” This event which is now called the Lord’s Supper was his way of alerting them that he was going to be crucified and his body and blood would be sacrificed for the sins of all people.

In our current world, Christian churches reenact this event not only during Holy Week, but on other occasions during the rest of the year. In modern medicine, functional organs are transplanted, and blood is transfused to save the lives of people who are ill. One way of understanding the Lord’s Supper is to think of it as having the spirit of Jesus transplanted into each of us through the consecrated bread and wine. It is thus helpful to remind ourselves afterward that the spirit of Jesus Christ lives within us.

1. Words as recorded in Mk 14:22-24 in the NRSV Bible. Slightly different words are recorded in Mt 26:26-28 and Lk 22:14-23 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE BOOK

by Robert C. Frank

Why should people buy and read Christ’s Team? The book is an explanation of Christianity as it exists in the world today and tells why and how Christians are trying to help all people lead better lives.

Why is science mentioned so often in the book? Science has been an important aid not only for the relief of suffering but for the spread of the gospel. There would be no personal copies of the Bible without the aid of science and technology. With improvements in communication, Christianity has spread over the entire earth.

Christ’s Team isn’t mentioned in the Bible, is it? In the 12th chapter of the Apostle Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, his description of the Body of Christ is an excellent understanding of the teams in our current world. It emphasizes that all members of a team have different views and skills but work together and depend on each other.

The book discusses God’s continuing creation. What is God creating? It is estimated that approximately 360,000 new people are born on earth each day and the lives of most people are continuously improving. It appears that God is creating civilization on earth even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say so.

How are Jesus and the Holy Spirit involved with creation? Jesus taught his followers by example how to become servant leaders and that is one of the requirements for the creation of a peaceful civilization on earth. Through the Bible and weekly worship services, the Holy Spirit is the unifier gathering the members of Christ’s Team together for team meetings.

Is Christ’s Team competing against the teams of other religions? No. There is a section of the last chapter of the book that explores ways that all religions can work together to create better lives for everyone.

See the two slide presentations on the right for more information

Monday, February 25, 2019

Christianity, Science, and Repeatability


by Robert C. Frank

Young research scientists are taught to repeat their experiments many times to see if they get the same results every time, because verification of truth in science is established when anyone and everyone gets the same results. We can take pictures on the surface of the planet Mars because electromagnetic radiation behaves the same way on Mars as it does on Earth.

I believe that Christianity has spread over the entire surface of the earth, not because every event in the Christian literature can be repeated, but because of the consistency in the understanding of the events and teachings. A simple example is the fact that the Ten Commandments and the two summarized by Jesus apply very well to human life in the world today. When obeyed they produce better lives. The death and resurrection of Jesus cannot be repeated today, but the assurance of forgiveness associated with it is vital to successful civilization today.

A famous physicist by the name of Paul E. Sabine once wrote the following in his book, Atoms, Men and God1:“Jesus declaration of a God of love can only command acceptance in so far as it can be verified in the inner experience of men and women and find objective expression in their lives.” A summary of what he is saying is that the validity of what Jesus taught is in the fact that his followers consistently lead better lives. They have problems like everyone else but are better able to cope with their problems. I found that to be true in my life as a scientist and a Christian.

1. Sabine, Paul E., Atoms, Men, and God, Philosophical Library, New York, N.Y. 1953 p. 217

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Taking Another Look at Christianity

by Robert C. Frank

Christianity is based on information contained in the Bible. While the Bible often appears to be a book primarily about “judgement and forgiveness,” it is also a book about “creation,” the continual improvement of human life. In the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments seem to focus on obeying God’s instructions, but they are also about creating better relationships with God and other people. 

On a sports team, members often obey the coach’s instructions because the coach has the authority to remove them from the team, but the coach’s instructions are intended to make the members better players. In the creation view of Christianity, God’s Commandments are obeyed not just because God is the ultimate authority but because it will achieve the goal of better lives for everyone. 

 From the standpoint of creation, the Bible is the story of God’s continual efforts to create an improved civilization on earth and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have fundamental roles in that process. Christians are considered God’s assistants with the creation of civilization and are being aided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, the unifying work of the Holy Spirit and science. Science seems to be a gift from God that made it possible for humans to learn to read, have their own copy of the Bible, and spread the gospel around the world. 

 “Continuing creation” and “judgement and forgiveness” are both part of the teachings in the Bible, but our understanding of God’s plan depends upon where the emphasis is placed. In the early history of the Hebrew people, the emphasis was placed on “judgement and forgiveness.” In the later history of the world, God’s plan seems more understandable if the emphasis is placed on the “continuing creation” of civilization.