August 26, 2014

September 11, 2014

and Shadow

Regarding Lael Caesar’s article “First Points from Genesis”
(Sept. 11, 2014): In his poetic article Caesar writes that in Eden before sin,
“The sun in the blue dome above them knew only kindly smiles in those days.
Now, because of sin’s disruption, it bears down fiercely upon little children .
. . so that some even faint.”

If the sun was visible in
Eden, it would have had the same blinding properties as it has today. Moreover,
interacting with water vapors in the atmosphere, the sun’s rays would have
generated rainbows. In fact, there were no rainbows in the pre-flood world
(Gen. 9:13-17).

According to the Genesis
account, the Lord put a vapor canopy into the upper atmosphere (Gen. 1:7) likely
dispersing the sunlight. Thus, because the sun was not directly visible, it did
not blind humankind, and there were no shadows anywhere until after the flood.

Leipzig, North Dakota

Light on Statistics

Regarding “Ready to Be Real” (Sept. 11, 2014): I know that the
statistic “one in four Adventist marriages ends in divorce” is
attention-grabbing. And I know that any rate of divorce in the body of Christ—where
love is the underpinning principle—is heartrending. But this statistic is
simply not true.

When I think of married
couples I have known in the church I have attended for the last 28 years, I
intuitively know that one in four of those marriages has not ended in divorce.

This “statistic” comes from confusing
point-in-time statistics with over-a-period-of-time statistics. Having a
certain number of marriages in a year and having one-quarter of that number of
divorces in the same year does not equal a one-in-four divorce rate. The
divorces in that year came from a larger population than the marriages of that
year. The divorces came from the ever-married population that accumulated over
many years, not just the marriages in that year.

A more correct statistic
would be to look at the marriages over a long period of time (say, 30 years)
and note the number of divorces from that population. My guess is that
rate would be about one in 12 or 15, not one in four. My guess is that
even in the secular world the rate is about one in seven or eight, not the oft-quoted
one out of two. This still a sad number, but it is a more honest number.

The article still got my
attention and has stimulated me to consider an extension of our health ministry
at my church into this area that desperately needs addressing. Not all troubled
marriages end in divorce, but they certainly all lead to very unhappy
marriages, which we as a church should address.

North Carolina

Amen! Amen! Amen! What we need in the Review, as well as in our church, is less “philosophy” and more “being
in the trenches with the people.”

Our trenches, as pointed out
in the article, “Ready to be Real,” are the trenches of human behavior:
divorce, unmarried couples living together, dealing with same-sex couples when
they show up either in our churches or otherwise, and much more. In fact, we don’t
like to talk about some things because we don’t want to face the idea that they
are all about us and our world, even in our church.

I agree that Adventist young
people do not know where to go to address these problems, so they are
conditioned to keep quiet by the lack of available information. Once we get
into the trenches with those who have these questions, more young people will
feel they belong and can approach their elders or church leaders with their
queries. They will be stronger in their church because they are getting the
information they need to navigate these trenches for themselves. Then fewer
will find the need to leave.

Thank you for expressing what
some of the rest of us would like to say, but there has been no forum until you
started breaking the ice.


4’s Living Creatures

Regarding “God’s Foursome” by Silvia Scholtus (Sept. 11, 2014):
Thank you for the outstanding narrative of the four animals of Revelation 4.
The picture of their intimate involvement with the challenges facing God’s
people has given me fresh encouragement. I’ll be watching for another article
with similar insights.

—John Carter
Falls, Massachusetts

Without Taking Sides

Thank you for publishing “Adventists Tell of Faith in
Conflict-Hit Ukraine (Aug. 21, 2014), the carefully crafted article by news
editor Andrew McChesney asking Adventists to pray for peace in Ukraine. I am
sure McChesney intentionally avoided asking us to pray that the aggressor will
cease and desist.

The news media in the United
States have minced no words regarding who they believe is to blame. But as a
worldwide church we cannot afford to take sides in any international dispute.
We have believers and churches on both sides. Our position should be to pray
for peace and to care for the thousands of refugees who are fleeing both east
and west.

Wakeham Lee