Sunshine 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.
New Leipzig, North Dakota
Shedding 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.
Hendersonville, 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.
Revelation 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.
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
Pray 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.