Thursday, May 30, 2013

Church Ordinances

Baptism and the Lord's Supper, or Communion.  Almost every church and denomination includes these two activities as a part of their life together.  But just how they practice them, and what they mean widely vary across Christianity.

For some, like Baptists, they are ordinances.  We consider an ordinance to be a symbolic act that we do in obedience to Christ's direction.  An ordinance is an act of obedience and worship, but plays no part in my salvation or in imparting God's grace to me.

As ordinances, both of these paint a picture that describe what Christ has done for me and what has happened in my own life.  As I partake, either directly, in my own baptism or in communion, or indirectly through someone elses baptism, I remember what has happened and so am drawn deeper into worship.

For others, most notably Catholics, they are sacraments.  A sacrament is considered to be something that God uses to impart salvation, or some measure of grace, to the person who participates.  And so participation in these activities becomes important to secure, or keep oneself in, right relationship with God.

Baptism

In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus instructs his followers to teach and baptize wherever they go.  And then in the rest of the New Testament you see them doing just that.  In Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12,  Acts 8:38, Acts 10:47-48, Acts 16:33, Acts 18:8Acts 19:5 and 1 Corinthians 1:14-17,  we see baptism closely connected to the expanding reach of the gospel.  Baptism appears to have been practiced by the church from its inception.

While Acts 2:37-38 does appear to express the necessity of baptism for salvation, a very similar question in Acts 16:30-31 makes no mention of baptism.  While we find baptism practiced and directed throughout the New Testament, nowhere else is it linked as a requirement for salvation.  On the other hand we frequently find salvation being an issue of grace and faith alone.  We are baptised, not because we must, but rather to outwardly identify as a follower of Christ and illustrate the change that we have experienced.

The Greek word from which we get baptise was a technical term used by dyers of cloth.  They would prepare a vat of dye and then immerse, or baptise, the cloth into the vat.  This idea of immersion also works well with the symbolic act of baptism: in baptism, the believer demonstrates his death to the old life, his burial as he goes down into the water and then resurrection into a new life as he comes back out.  Other modes of baptism, i.e. sprinkling, are not really able to fully symbolize what has happened in the life of the believer.

Since baptism is an act of obedience on the part of a believer, Baptists do not baptise infants, or anyone else who has not made a profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ and risen Lord.  Rather we limit baptism to those who have chosen to follow Jesus as Lord and want to declare that allegiance to the rest of the world.

While not universally true, most Baptists require that a person be baptised, by immersion and as an act of obedience, in order to become a member of the local church.  While this is not something that is explicitly taught in the New Testament, it is easy to justify.  If a person is not willing to publically declare his commitment to Christ, are they really going to effectively align themselves with a body of believers who have?  Of course there are exceptions to this for people who are physically unable to be immersed, or in places where the church is forced to operate in secret, but it is generally true.

When I watch someone being baptised, I rejoice in their commitment to Christ and their changed life.  But I can also take the opportunity offered by this ordinance to celebrate Jesus death, burial and resurrection.  I can turn every baptism into a mini Easter celebration and worship the one who has made our new life possible.

Lord's Supper

In Matthew 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26 and Luke 22:14-20 we find Jesus, after sharing in the Passover meal with his disciples, introducing a new element to the observance: the cup of his shed blood and the bread of his broken body; symbolic of the new covenant he was establishing.  Later, in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul, in the midst of a correction concerning the observance of the Lord's Supper, passes on what he had been taught; that taking the elements is to be done in remembrance and proclamation of Jesus death.

In a Communion meal there are generally two elements: bread and wine or grape juice.  These elements are taken in remembrance of Jesus death on the cross and all that it means.  It is also a proclamation to the world around us that we believe Jesus died for all who will put their trust in him.

For Baptists, this bread and juice never becomes more than a piece of bread and cup of juice.  They are elements that only help us in remembering Jesus sacrifice.  For others these elements are believed to actually become, or contain, in some way, the flesh and blood of Jesus.  And as the actual body and blood of Christ, these elements introduce some element of grace into the life of the participant.  And so this sacrament, becomes more than just a remembrance of Jesus death.  It becomes a way of sharing more completely in the life of Christ.

The Lord's Supper is most commonly observed as an act of worship while the body is assembled together, although there are those who will also share in the meal in smaller group settings, something that can aid in the development of intimacy within the group.  Most churches will try and limit participation in the meal to believers, since it has no meaning to those who are not 'remembering his death until he comes'.  Some open the meal to all believers, some limit it to those of like faith, and some will limit participation to active members of the local body.

In 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, Paul gives some additional direction concerning the Lord's Supper, direction that is in response to inappropriate behavior at the meal by the Corinthian believers.  It is important, when taking the bread and wine/juice that I recognize the body and blood of Jesus.  At the very least this would mean that during the meal I am focused on Jesus sacrifice.  But it likely goes beyond an intellectual acknowledgement that Jesus died on the cross, and joining myself with him, dying to self and living for him.  What better way to remember his death than to join him, dying to self and living the life he died to bring to me.

Failure to recognize the body and blood of Christ is to eat the elements in an unworthy manner, potentially bringing the Lord's discipline into my life.  Examine your walk with him before eating, and eat remembering what he did for you.  Make your participation in the Lord's table a time of renewal and worship.

Thoughts

  • What is the difference between an ordinance and a sacrament?
  • Based on your understanding of Baptism and the Lord's Supper from the scriptures, are they best considered ordinances or sacraments?
  • When you watch a baptism, or participate in the Lord's Supper, do you do it as an act of worship?
  • When you share in the bread and cup, do you picture Jesus crucifixion in your mind, remembering what he did for you?
  • When you watch a baptism, can you picture the person coming out of a grave rather than the water?
  • How can you make Baptism and the Lord's Supper more meaningful in your own life?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Foot Washing


In the 13th chapter of John is the interesting account of Jesus washing his disciples feet.
1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God. 4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. 5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus answered him, “What I'm doing you don't understand now, but afterward you will know.”
8 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said.
Jesus replied, “If I don't wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
10 “One who has bathed,” Jesus told him, “ doesn't need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
This story seems strange in modern American culture, but would not have been in 1st century Palestine.  Sandals were worn on dusty streets.  A sign of hospitality was to offer a guest the opportunity to wash the dust off their feet, or to have a servant do it for them.  It was no stranger to them than offering a drink is to a visitor in our homes today.

What was strange about this was that instead of having a servant wash their feet, the master did it himself.  And the disciples, Peter in particular, protested this breach of social etiquette.  But Jesus had a lesson he had been unsuccessfully trying to teach them, and this was another attempt is trying to get them to understand that greatness in the Kingdom of God is based on service rather than being served.  And so he takes the very visible step of garbing like a servant and performing a servant's task for his disciples.

And it makes for an interesting story.  Until verse 15 shows up.  And Jesus tells his disciples that they should follow his example.  And that probably includes his disciples from today.  And that includes me.  Washing someone else's stinky feet.  And, maybe even worse.  Letting someone else wash my feet.

Now I have actually had the opportunity a couple of times to wash the feet of a group of believers.  And I do believe it was more difficult for the washee's than for the washer.  Our culture seems to have an aversion to having someone play with your feet.  Assuming of course they can even get to them through the shoes, socks and pantyhose.  And yet Jesus clearly tells us to follow his example.

Maybe, instead of wrestling with people to get their shoes off and feet into the pot of water; or just ignoring the whole thing as an outdated and unrealistic expectation; we should look beyond the specifics of foot washing and deal with the more general principle of servant hood that Jesus is trying to teach.

Do you ever catch yourself thing "That's someone else's job", or "Someone needs to _____" (fill in the blank with sweep / mow / pick up trash / straighten the chairs / clean the toilet / help old Mrs Smith to her seat).  If so, then you may have discovered how you can wash someone else's feet.  Sweep a dirty floor, keep a lawn mowed, pick up any trash you see, help the old lady to her seat, ... .  Adopt a servant's heart, follow Jesus example, and become great in the kingdom.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

2013 Gear List

The 2013 hiking season, for me at least, is now officially underway.  The highlight of this year will be about 600 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in both Northern California and Washington.  This will be preceded by numerous trips into the Olympics to try out gear, get in trail shape, and just to chill out enjoying the creation.

I described last year's gear list in an earlier blog, but things have changed a bit and it's time to update it for the 2013 trip.  While this is still subject to change, up until the time I actually leave, it is at least close enough to share, and will be updated later if anything significant changes.  And, as always, am interested in other ideas and alternatives.

Worn or Carried

Pants0, 10 3/4ExOfficio Bug-off with zip off legs
Shirt0, 9 3/8ExOfficio Bug-off long sleeved Tee
Underwear0, 3Under Armour boxers
Shoes1, 15 1/2Brooks Cascadia trail runners (size 14)
Socks0, 1 1/4Cool Mesh II
Sun Gloves0, 0 7/8OR Chroma
Gaiters0, 1 3/8Dirty Girl 
Hat0, 2 5/8ExOfficio ball cap with short cape
Watch0, 2 1/8Casio Pathfinder
Trekking Poles1, 5 5/8Black Diamond
Total5, 5 1/2

Belly Bag *

Belly Bag0, 4with ID and keys
Maps0, 0 3/4For 1 Green Trails topo in a zip lock bag.  This weight will actually go up for the PCT and the maps will move into a side pocket on the pack.
Compass0, 0 5/8
Reading Glasses0, 1 1/2Small reading glasses in metal case
Nail Clippers0, 0 3/4
Knife0, 0 5/8Tiny Swiss Army Knife
Whistle0, 0 1/8Fox40 Micro
Notebook & Pen0, 4Used for note taking along the way.  Otherwise I'll forget something I want to relate to the wife when I get home.
Chap Stick0, 0 1/4SPF 15
Anti-bacterial hand cleaner0, 1Travel size
Light0, 0 1/4Photon Freedom Micro
Camera0, 10Sony CyberShot w/generic case
Phone0, 5 1/2Droid Bionic
Bible0, 3 3/8NIV New Testament
ID & Cash0, 0 1/4Drivers License, Credit Card and $20
Total1, 11 7/8
* Belly bags seem not to be terribly common on the trail, but I find using one to be very convenient.  My ID, phone, camera and other misc items are always handy; even when I drop my pack and wander away a bit.  It basically serves the purpose of big cargo pockets, without the rubbing against my legs.

Sleeping, Shelter & Pack *

Pack2, 4 3/4ULA Circuit without internal pockets
Dry Bag0, 4OR Medium.  Holds everything in the pack other than food, tarp and coat.
Hammock1, 10 3/8Warbonnet Traveler 1.7 sng with 14' straps, whoopie slings and bug net
Tarp0, 10 1/8Hammock Gear Cuben Fiber Hex Tarp with ridgeline, tie outs. stakes, snake skins and stuff sack
Top Quilt1, 6 1/2JRB No Sniveller
Bottom Quilt1, 0Hammock Gear 20o Phoenix
Pad0, 9 1/8Closed cell foam 53" x 20" x 3/8".  Used under my feet at night, and under my seat when stopped along the trail or in camp.
Thermal Sheet0, 1 7/84' x 6' mylar sheet inserted between the hammock and the UQ
Pillow0, 4 7/8REI self inflating
Total8, 4
* I realize that using a hammock means I carry 2-3 more pounds than I would with a minimalist ground dweller outfit.  But being able to sleep comfortably at night is well worth the extra weight to me.

Clothing Carried *

Coat0, 12 3/8Westcomb Specter LT Hoody
Long Sleeve Shirt0, 9Light weight fleece
Short Sleeve Shirt0, 4Performance tee
Silk Pants0, 3 3/8REI
Possum Down Socks0, 2 3/4Very warm sleeping socks
Skull Cap0, 1 3/4Smart Wool beanie
Gloves0, 3 3/8Running gloves with mitten covers
Socks0, 2 1/22 pair Cool Mesh II
Stuff Sacks (2)0, 0 3/4Sea to Summit Ultra Mesh 6.5 L
Total2, 8 3/8
* Apart from the coat and Cool Mesh socks, the rest of these clothes are generally just for camp and sleeping use.  I don't like snuggling under a down quilt wearing dirty and sweaty clothes.

Toiletries

Toothbrush and Toothpaste0, 1 3/8Toob - contains a small refillable tube of toothpast in the handle.
TP0, 0 3/4Pulled from a big roll and put in a small zip lock bag
Wet Wipes0, 2Travel Pack
Cortaid0, 1Travel size anti-itch cream
Insect Repellent0, 1 7/8Ultrathon - 34.34% deet
Sun Screen0, 1 1/4Banana Boat SPF 30
Total0, 8 7/8

Food and Water *

Water Filter & Bag0, 4 3/4Sawyer Squeeze filter with 2 qt Evernew bag
Scoop0, 0 3/8Top of a soda bottle
Chlorine Dioxide0, 0 1/810 pills in foil.  For emergency use.
UrSack and OP Sack0, 9
Bowl w/lid0, 1 3/82 cup bowl with screw on lid.  Works well for re-hydrating food while marching along the trail.
Spoon0, 0 1/8Cheap plastic spoon
Gatorade Bottles0, 3 1/22-32 oz bottles.
Total1, 3 1/4
* Does not include the weight of food and water

Other Stuff

SPOT0, 4 7/8Communicator mates with the phone.  Not really necessary but goes along for my wife's benefit.
Spare Batteries0, 3For the phone and SPOT
iPod & earbuds0, 1 1/8iPod Nano
Stuff Sack0, 0 3/81 small bag
Sun Glasses0, 1Cheap sun glasses in a lightweight bag
Headnet0, 0 7/8Sea to Summit Insect Shield
Bandanna0, 118" square cotton
Towel0, 1 3/4MSR Ultralite Packtowl
First Aid Kit0, 5 3/8Tape, cream & bandages in a Medical Kit .5 bag
Tyvek0, 1 1/82 foot square chunk of tyvek 
Soap Leaves0Sea to Summit Pocket Laundry Wash.  As many leaves as the days I am out.  Stick a leaf in one of the emptied quart or gallon ZipLocs from my food,  and some water and dirty socks, and I have a small washing machine.  Dirty soapy water dumped far from a water source of course.
Total1, 4 1/2

Totals

Worn or Carried5, 5 1/2
Belly Bag1, 11 7/8


Sleeping, Shelter & Pack8, 4
Clothes2, 8 3/8
Toiletries0, 8 7/8
Food & Water1, 3 1/4
Other1, 4 1/2


Total Carried in Pack13, 13
Grand Total (Carried & Worn)20, 14 3/8

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Beautiful Tree

I recently spent a night in the backcountry and happened to notice some of the alders that were growing nearby, including one that my hammock was hung from.  Now alders are generally fairly straight trees, with small branches.  A mature alder looks something like a power pole with branches.  And many of them in the neighborhood of my camp did have that look.  But the one I focused on mostly, and hung from, bore little resemblance to a power pole.

This tree has not had an easy time of it.  It appears to have been hit and broken by at least a couple of falling trees.  It has had to compete for light with some larger douglas firs in the near vicinity.  It is covered in places with a thick carpet of moss.  The river has partially undermined it, leaving roots exposed.

But in the end we have here a tree that has endured all the hardship that the forest and river have thrown at it, and has endured.  A tree that has character.  One that got my attention in the midst of a company of straight and tall candidates for power poles.

I really like this tree.  Because in spite of being broken, burdened and undermined, it is beautiful  Of all the alders around my camp, that is the one I would choose to have planted in my yard.

I am sure you have known someone who is very much like this tree.  They may have suffered tragedy in their lives, may be burdened with a heavy load, may have experienced the storms of life.  But in spite of all that, they stand strong.  Every time they get knocked down they get back up again.  No complaints.  No pity parties.  No sulking.  Just continuing to grow and make the most of all that comes along.

I don't know about you, but that is the kind of person I want to have in my life, showing me the way.  And it is the kind of person I want to be.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013 Shakedown Trip to the Dosewallips

With the forecast calling for another couple of nice days, I decided it was time to head out into the Olympics for a night, just to shake off the rust and make sure I still knew how to hang a hammock.  I wasn't looking to go very far so decided to hit the Dosewallips River, hiking from the road washout up to the Ranger Station.

After running some errands Friday morning, I heading for the Olympics and got to the Dose trailhead/washout just before 2PM and started walking.  It's about a 5.5 mile road walk up to the campground at the end of the road, but it has been just a trail for long enough now that some parts of the road actually are no longer anything but a trail.  Much of it is still pretty broad, but it is a pleasant walk and was accomplished in a bit under 2 hours.  The Dose is running hard and loudly now, but the trail/road was pretty dry; only a couple of small wet spots where water was seeping across the road.

I found one Rhododendron blooming along the road, along with a few Dogwoods, a patch of Columbine and a scattering of Strawberry, Dandelion, Paintbrush and a few other small flowers.  Not a great display, but pleasant nonetheless.  The waterfall about 4.5 miles up was really roaring as well; a really pretty sight.

I found one other guy in camp when I arrived.  He invited me to share his fire with him, but I declined.  I really don't have much use for campfires normally.  He ran his that evening and again this morning; and then broke camp and left it still going.  Wish I knew his name so I could report him.

If you have not been to the Dosewallips campground adjacent to the ranger's station, it is a nice destination.  Prior to the winter of 2001/2002 it was a frontcountry campground with about 20 or so sites; each with a fire ring, picnic table and some food storage boxes.  All of that is still there, although the potable water and restrooms, apart from a pit toilet, have been turned off and/or closed.  There are a lot of branches and trees down on the road and sites, but it is still generally clean (unlike Elkhorn closer to the washout), and a great destination.  It also makes a great place to stop when heading out into the backcountry.

A couple hours after getting into camp my hiking buddy, Dwayne, showed up and we had a pleasant evening talking about our kids and the state of the world; watching the river flow by; and watching a pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes and one of Harlequins swimming and diving.

Spent the night in my new Traveler hammock from Warbonnet, swinging between a pair of trees near the river.  The night was pleasant and the sleep was restful; just something about hanging out in the woods near a river.

After breakfast Dwayne broke camp, put out the neighbors fire, and headed back, while I spent a couple more hours watching the river and praying.  Finally, after a second breakfast, I broke camp and headed back to the truck.  On the way out, I passed 28 people, and 3 dogs, on their way in.  About half were day hikers, but it appears like the campground will be hopping tonight.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Creation and the Big Bang

The Big Bang is a fairly well established scientific theory that describes the beginning of the universe.  According to this theory, some 13.8 billion years ago, our universe began to exist, initially as an extremely dense and hot point.  That 'singularity', began to rapidly expand and cool, eventually forming simple atomic elements which gravity clumped into stars and galaxies, ultimately producing the universe we see around us today.  The link above provides a decent description, while this one offers a much simpler overview.

While the Big Bang does have pretty strong scientific support, how compatible is it with the Genesis accounts, and what response should I make to it as a Christian?  Those are questions I struggled with for some time, and I know that many still do.

The Days of Creation

In the Genesis account we see creation divided up into 6 'days', followed by a 7th day where God rests.  How long are these days of creation.  The word used there could mean either a 24 hour day, or a longer period of time.  That the days are numbered, and included the formula "evening and morning" with the first 6 days would indicate the author likely indicated 24 hour days.  However, the 7th day does not mention a start or stop, and Hebrews 4:1-11 can be taken to demonstrate that we are still in the 7th day.  This is sometimes used as proof that the first 6 days should probably be considered as longer periods of time.

Which is right.  Does Genesis have creation occurring in 144 hours?  Or in 6 long periods of time?  There is no way for me to know for sure, but I suspect that the vast majority of people who read this account up until recent times took it to mean 6, 24 hour days.  And there was really no reason for them to believe anything else.  And I also suspect that that was the intent of the original author of the account.

A Literal or Figurative Account

Is the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis a literal account, or is it figurative?  I have heard this debated many times, usually with considerable passion.  One one hand you have those who believe that this account is historically and scientifically accurate; that it all happened exactly the way the account lays it out.  At the other extreme are those who dismiss this account as nothing more than an ancient myth that the Hebrews borrowed and modified.  And in between are any number of different positions that people have taken.

Because of the symmetry of the passage, with the first three days creating the realms of light, water, atmosphere and dry land, and the second set of days populating those realms with the appropriate items whether they be stars, fish, birds or land animals; I have a tendency to view the passage as a non-literal account that is more concerned with ease of memory and magnifying God rather than giving a scientific accounting of creation.

Regardless the original intent, it does appear though that most people, at least during the Christian era, have likely accepted it as being a literal accounting of events.

Are Things As They Appear?

Can I believe that my eyes tell me?  Sometimes, but not always.  My eyes tell me that the sun and moon both are sources of light; but the moon actually is only a reflector of light, not a source.  But when we combine all of our senses, the instrumentation we are able to build, and our intelligence, we are able to know that the moon itself produces no light.  But can we really know that is true, and that we are not being deceived?

While that question may not seem like it has anything to do with creation, for me it was pretty significant.  What do I do with reports from scientists that light from some of the stars I can see overhead has been in transit for millions, and sometimes billions, of years?  If I were to believe that we are truly capable of knowing the creation as it really is, then it would seem like I would need to accept that light has been traveling from some of the more distant stars for billions of years.  Only if I held that we could not truly understand our universe could I explain away the apparent very old age of the universe.  Either that or God has created the light already in transit, only making it appear to have been traveling for millions or billions of years.  But that is really just another version of the argument that we cannot really know our universe as it actually is.

Because I ultimately chose to accept that we could understand and know the creation that God had put us into, I was forced to accept that the universe was roughly 13.8 billion years old, and that the planet we live on was roughly 4.5 billions years old.  I have looked at the considerable amount of evidence supporting those ages and have been able to draw no other reasonable conclusion.

Reconciling the Two

A literal reading of the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis most easily supports a relatively young earth that was created as is.  The Big Bang argues for a very old earth, and even older universe, that took its present shape over billions of years.  I have read many attempts to reconcile the two, and have explored some of them for myself.  But none of those attempts have really satisfied me.  In the end I am left with the belief that the universe is knowable, and that what it says about its origins is best described by the Big Bang Theory.  As for the Genesis account, I still love this account, and the way it glorifies the God of creation.  But I am unable to picture it as an literally accurate accounting of the details of creation.

Inspiration of the Scriptures

One of the arguments some Christians make in rejecting the Big Bang in favor of a literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis is that the Genesis account, like all of the Bible, is inspired by God, and thus could not be wrong.  But take a closer look at the passage that teaches the Bible is inspired by God.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB
Yes, scripture is inspired, or God-breathed.  But notice its purpose.  To fully equip me for every good work, to be a mature believer.  It is not intended to teach me biology, geology, physics, or cosmology.  I believe the Genesis account can be useful to me as a believer, so long as I do not get hung up on its scientific failings.  Just like the account of Jesus temptations in the wilderness in Matthew 4 is useful to me without getting hung up over its claim that all the kingdoms of the earth can be seen from the top of any mountain, no matter how high; an assumption that the earth is flat.

Don't try and make the scripture something that its not.  Allow God to speak to you through it, and equip you in his service.  Don't feel threatened when modern science contradicts some of the ancient science found in the scriptures.  Don't forget that God also chooses to reveal himself in his creation as well.

The Big Bang Revisited

The Big Bang Theory affirms that our universe had a beginning.  How and why it occurred are a mystery to science.  Why the operating parameters of the universe are the way they are, making life possible on earth, are often thought of as a happy coincidence.  But it is neither mystery or coincidence to me.  In the beginning, God!  And God said ... and it was so!  The Big Bang is really not all that incompatible with Genesis, or the rest of the scriptures.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. - Hebrews 11:3 NIV