Tough Questions – Week 2
Last week started our new series on Tough Questions. Because we haven’t gotten too many questions thus far, we’ll be addressing ones asked by the youth, and then we’ll also be taking some FAQ’s from off the internet. We’re doing one of each today and our first question has to do with sacrifice. The question is:
“People in the Bible sacrificed different things. How can we sacrifice now?”
First of all, whoever asked this, if I understand where you’re coming from I really love your heart in asking that, it’s a noble question, but first we should talk about the purpose of sacrifices in the OT. We saw them on the Day of Atonement or during Passover feasts, but what were they really for? In short, they were a temporary covering of sins, a foreshadowing of Jesus’ coming sacrifice. Because these sacrifices needed to accurately convey the depth of sin and the weight of our debt, honestly the sacrifices themselves would have been quite violent. It was the kind of thing that would’ve assaulted all of your senses, and on top of that, would have made you acutely aware of the fact that it was your sin that caused this death, that made this death necessary, that maintains your relationship with God. Perhaps even more frustratingly, you would know that you’d have to do this again and again, because your human nature always led you into sin. Leviticus 5:10 summarizes the goal of sacrifice pretty well: “the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.” So in spite of the guilt one would inevitably feel, imagine the relief that must have come from the priest’s declaration that your sins were forgiven.
Before Jesus, the Israelites were in desperate need of a method to purify and cleanse themselves before God, but fortunately, because Jesus was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice, we no longer have to experience such rituals year in and year out. Because of his perfection the need to sacrifice isn’t a need anymore. To answer your question of how we can sacrifice now, we are no longer commanded to sacrifice. If, on the other hand, you’re wondering how to give as a form of worship, good options would include tithing and really just taking a little extra time and effort to love the people around you and go out of your way to glorify God.
Our second question is:
“Are science and the Bible compatible?”
Prepared and Presented by Marissa Williams and Kristen Archer, Youth Group Student Leaders
This is a question that really requires defined terms. Oftentimes science and the Bible are thought to conflict with each other because the Bible is understood to be the Word of God, while science is simultaneously understood to be a study of the physical and natural world. This is technically correct definition-wise, but it’s often extended to the point of restricting the world to what is material and studyable, and thereby ruling out the very possibility of God. Yet if anything, science only emphasizes certain characteristics of God, like his organization, his creativity, his consistency. So instead of using these definitions, I’d like to define science as a way of knowing and exploring God’s creation. The scientific discoveries we make are just we mere humans discovering the wonders of God’s creation. As one article put it, “Science and Scripture are completely compatible as long as science is understood to be the careful study of God’s works of creation. Science is at risk of being incompatible with Scripture only when naturalistic and materialistic metaphysical philosophies are imported into the definition of science.”
But that’s getting into the philosophy of it, and let’s be real we want something a little more tangible, something with a little more…gravity. Back in Job 26, we read this in verse 7, “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.” That’s a biblical affirmation of the idea of gravity and Job was a really old dude, I mean he was around before Moses. We also have biblical affirmations of the water cycle: Job 26:8 talks about evaporation and Job 36:27-28 talks about precipitation and condensation. Even though the water cycle is pretty common knowledge today, mankind didn’t come to understand the water cycle until about 400 years ago. It’s crazy and super exciting to see how science totally lines up with the Bible because trust me, we can find many more examples of the two coming together.