Can we understand the structure of the universe simply from reading scripture? I would say, no, scripture leaves this question wide open.
Exploring these issues in Cosmology and New Testament Theology, Jonathan Pennington observes, "Old Testament writers are not really interested in cosmology for its own sake; one might say that the kind of cosmological reflection we find in the Old Testament is more theological cosmology." In other words, the Prophets were profoundly interested in the significance of life, the universe and everything, but took the structure of it more or less for granted.
From surveying the New Testament as a whole Pennington concludes that, "There is, then, no discernible, fixed background against which the NT sets forth theories about the physical universe. Instead, the texts appear to draw upon a variety of resources and images to articulate fundamentally theological points. If we focus on the theological orientations of the text, real growth in understanding can be made. If the authors are loath to tell us what they think of the precession of the equinoxes, or the number of primal elements, they are not at all shy about setting their theological concerns on the canvas of the cosmos."
Therefore, before reading Genesis 1, or indeed John 1, from our side of twenty first century science, we should observe what the Prophets intended to elaborate on and what they did not.
Imagine the pain. Of the thorns. Of the nails. Of the torn skin from brutal lashes. The crucifixion is nothing to get sentimental about.
I call this "Through the Pain". I have been playing with the idea of using abstract art to, somewhat paradoxically, communicate how the crucifixion of Jesus is no mere theological abstraction. That if we leave the crucifixion in the realms of abstract theology we miss its terrible humanity. Think of that this Easter.
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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
I find it arresting that self control is often listed as a Spiritual virtue in the New Testament. As a new Christian I was often told how important it was to understand the difference between works and faith, between self effort and God's grace. Why, if we are saved by grace, should we be talking about self control. Is that not tied up with works?
Well, yes it is, but there is an important order to things. For works to activate grace would be the tail wagging the dog. It is not the true order of things. We are saved by grace, not by works. But it does not follow that works have no place in the Christian life. Dogs do have tails. If our faith in God's grace is genuine, our actions will reflect it. Following this logic, self control is an outworking of God's grace. As we come to trust God more than the things of this world, their control over us will weaken and we will begin to exercise control over them. The only urge we will have less and less control over is our urge for God and God's call. Look where the dog's eyes are fixed.
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19)