Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Wisdom of Solomon

I just finished reading the the books by Solomon and only when viewing it as a whole that I could, with the help of the Holy spirit understand the wisdom of Solomon. He answers one of the greatest question in life. Why are we on earth and how do we fulfill that purpose. But the greatest thing is that his answer is theologically and logically sound, very satisfying to our human desire and amazingly simple. No wonder he is called wise. I suppose, at some point, things could be too obvious that only a genius could notice.
The answer is cliché. We exist to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Even in this fallen world, that remains true on a pragmatic level. We shall enjoy God through his creations such as comfort food, strong drinks, passionate sex and using our talents.
The bible is very plain about these things. Through numerous occasions and imagery, food and wine are entertainments that God create for us to relish. This is hard to fathom in our age given media portrayal of these where the sweet and savory become diabetic, cancerous and an open invitation to cardiovascular diseases. It seems that eating is like walking on a thin rope between obesity and anorexia. Even worse, we are made to believe that indulging in gourmet dishes shall come with a price of guilt, as if it is a sin. A similar narrative is also told about alcohol and other substances. There is a black and white thinking where it is either a teetotaler or a party animal. Whoever in between is just having a transient detour to the extremes.
These views are not biblical. A quick naive reading of even these books of the bible will show that. More importantly, it is logical. Why would God makes enjoyable things enjoyable if they are not meant to be enjoyed.
The same apply to sex and work. We are made for these pleasurable things. They are not necessary evils. Instead, God in his infinite creativity, design these with the zenith of pleasure in mind. Both of these are so important, a whole book is dedicated for each of them: song of songs and ecclesiastes. The first so unabashedly details courtship,  marriage, foreplay, oral sex, defloration and love making in the most graphic, romantic, beautiful, poetic, sensual and holy way ever imaginable. According to the bible, sex is to be celebrated and lusting passion to be titillated. It is not a taboo.
And to work is not a curse. In fact, dream and practice of retirement and abstinence from toil and labour is a sin. The work that God has in mind is not slaving for a day job, rather an actualization of the talents that he has blesses us with, through discipline, diligence and expert mastery of our arts and crafts. The curse is that the earth won't reciprocate our sweats. That's why we rely on the common grace.
But most importantly is the book of proverbs that tells us how to enjoy these things. True satisfaction and God glorification goes hand in hand - one cannot exist without the other - for that's God design. We shall relish in the comfort of food but we shall not be a glutton. We shall find merriment in wine but not be drunk which is sinful. We shall enjoy sex only through our one married differently gendered spouse and nothing else. We shall enjoy fruits our labor, knowing fully well that it is by grace and not through our work.
From what I understand, this is the wisdom of the wisest man. Eat, drink, fuck, and work. That way, you manifest your destiny to enjoy and glorify God. Logical and theological rigor, with hedonistic seal of approval that everyone could understand. The true display of godly wisdom.
P.s. yes there are many things that I don't mention like the issue of wealth and also fasting which is also good and ordained. Yet there is just one point that I want to make and an end that I have to reach. Otherwise, if I want to make a perfect blog post, I could just copy paste the entire bible here and be just technically correct.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Simulation of Exponential Growth and Decay of Population of Lilies in a Pond

The following link simulates the population growth and decay of three organisms. Try to make a system where all three organisms could live in a harmony without interference.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Life, a progress game

Extra Credits - Idle Games - How Games Scratch Yo…:

There is this game called idle games, but it is also known by another name, which I prefer: progress game. I came to know this game from a coworker of mine and I found the idea hilarious and amusing. Months passes by without such game cross my consciousness. Then comes this extra credit episode, one of the YouTube channel I'm subscribed to. In the mean time, I have been mediating the book of Solomon called Ecclesiastes.

Through all these I came to a conclusion. The same conclusion of many that Solomon reached. But I would phrase it in way that resonate more to me than the archaic phrase 'chasing after the wind'. Life is a progress game.

We are just hardwired to see numbers go up. We just came up with more sophisticated bar. Success, money, honor, glory, sex, offspring, power, love, fame. For some reason, I looked down at those metrics and told my self. I'm beyond that. My metrics are more sophisticated. My bars are less easily quantifiable, and less likely to be recognized as goals. I derived haught and snob from my sense of uniqueness and exclusivity. I value legacy. For legacy are stories, which I value too, written with my life as a pen and my decisions as it's ink. How profound I though to myself. But it is, like any other thing, just a bar.

So life is just a progress game. We live our life to see some obscure set of quantities goes up. But that's just it. We just like to see numbers go up. But if one had the slightest illusion like mine, that a legacy could remain, an impact might last, consider the words of the teacher: "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun." NIV

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I took this picture in a sharehouse where I live during the weekdays. In the guest few weeks, it escaped me. Then I realized, there is a hole on the left side of the sink. Only after few seconds I realized. It is meant for a hot water tap.
Now put this in context. This happens in Indonesia, a place with only two seasons: wet summer and dry summer. Hot water system is not a necessity. Even middle up houses lack that. When a house have the luxury of heated water, most often it is only installed as an isolated system attached only to showers and nothing else. There is only an infinitesimal amount of reason to have a heated tap, which then begs the question: How could this basin be installed here in the first place?
It takes a very long series of unlikeliness, from having such item being chosen for purchase, up until the availability of it in stores in the first place. It is these oddities that never cease to amuse me in this country of mine.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Revelation, the act.

There are many ways that God uses to reveal himself to us. I would like to extend the meaning of the verb reveal here; more than just information, for me, to reveal is to manifest one's existence.

First and foremost, God revealed himself to the creation, through his creation, the act, the design, among many other things. The psalmist wrote: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1 NIV). In accordance, an apostle also wrote: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." (Romans 1:20 NIV)

After the creation, God might have spoken to us face to face as implied in the Genesis chapter three narrative, depending on interpretation. Regardless, there was a significant degree of directness never experienced by living humans after the fall, save Jesus. So in the garden in Eden, God revealed himself to us, as in to disclose, in all his holiness, majesty and glory. However, that mode of revelation is not applicable to us anymore. Instead, God spoke to select few humans, closely resembling prophetic manners:

  • Cain (Genesis 4:3)
  • Noah (Genesis 6:13)
  • The Patriarch, beginning with Abram. (Genesis 12:1)
  • Moses, Ballaam, Samuel and the prophets.
  • Aaron, Eli and the priests
  • The apostles
(God indeed spoke to Jesus, more than just in prophetic manner though he is a prophet. But the list only contain creations.)

All these things, and others, are recorded in the bible. Beyond creation and prophecy, God also reveals through visions (Genesis 15:1), dreams (Genesis 20:3), conscience (Romans 2:15) and other personal experiences. Nevertheless, the bible is special in its place as a form of revelation. It is inerrant, infallible and even parts of it is sufficient for salvation (Acts 8:26-40).

When it comes to the sufficiency of the scripture, I always ask, sufficient for what? Sufficient for salvation, definitely. Sufficient for our curiosity, definitely not. As often coined, the bible is neither a science book nor a history book. Most importantly, it never claimed itself as either.

Through all the mean above and combined with gifts such as reason, more things could be revealed to us, just like how it has been done to the church fathers: Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin and hopefully, Michael Patton. Their writings, just like the bible, just like all other revelations, are valid and useful. And yet, they are not sufficient source of revelation, not inerrant, not infallible, cannot contradict the scripture, they have limited authority and are not to be the ultimate source of revelation.

I believe that is what sola scriptura means.


The post could be found at:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Chapter 6: Doubting the bible

19 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow.

1 Samuel 6:19 Most Hebrew manuscripts struck of the people seventy men, fifty thousand men.

Intrigued by the footnote, I checked various commentaries, including the interlinear Bible, regarding the numbers. What I then discovered was a great debate with conflicting and irreconcilable views. It is obvious to both sides that the number seventy, fifty thousand, is an amount too great to be left without any explanations. However, scholars throughout the ages faces this issue in varying ways.

Most modern translation, like the one quoted above, simply brush the number fifty thousand aside as another copy error. Yet there are others who insist on the correctness of the number fifty thousand and provides differing explanations. However, to me, there is a greater question mind: is it possible that the Bible I am currently capable of accessing, aggregated through many non-primary sources and translated, contains fundamental, non-trivial, theological errors? Although I do believe sincerely that the Bible is infallible, I don't respect Bible translations and the current version of the Bible that we have now to the same degree.

After some pondering, I remembered a passage from the Bible:

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8 NIV

For those who have never read Isaiah, it is one of the obscure book of the Bible that gets quoted often, but never finished by casual reader. And this is a time when even no book of the new testament is even written yet. But yet, he was saved through that obscure passage with the help of Philippi.

Now I would like to argue this way. Whatever pieces of the Bible we have at our hand, be it incomplete, full of errors and inaccurately translated, it will be made sufficient. With bountiful grace, God will send his spirits, his people, for all the knowledge and understanding you need, not only for your own salvation, but also for your evangelism.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Jubilee is a prophecy

And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. (Leviticus 25:10 ESV)

Most of modern people live off their salaries. They have a job and they earn their living from their employment. In ancient Israel however, most Israelis have lands and they earned their living from what they grow on it. Every once in a while, some might get poor and forced to sell their lands. Once they are without land, they don't have any means to make any good amount of money for themselves in the long run. It is like someone without education and working experience in today's world.

Now, every fifty year, in the year of Jubilee, all Israelites are to return all lands to their original owner. According to leviticus, there is no such thing as land purchase in Israel (with few exceptions). Only renting until Jubilee. The same case also apply to all Israelite bondman and slaves. They are all to be released in Jubilee and leviticus advised that prices are calculated with Jubilee in mind.

At first, I could make no sense behind this weird economic system. Only after a while I realized that the big idea is to embed social justice in the law. And for quite a while, that is all I could think about.

Suddenly, it struck me. Jubilee, like all the laws regarding sacrifices and burnt offering, are an object lesson. They are a shadow of things to come, a prophecy. Just like it is written in a letter for the Hebrews: "1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrew 10  ESV)

The Jubilee are more than just a way for God to attest his ownership over the land of Israel and the Israelites whom he brought out of Egypt. Just like sacrifices are reminder of sins, this Jubilee were a reminder for the Israelites that there will be a true Jubilee when all of your their debts. Not the one towards their brothers and neighbours, but their debts to God upon their life from their sins, will be annulled and they be indebted no more. That the their true home, not the mere land of Canaan, but the former garden of Eden, the new Jerusalem on Zion, will be theirs once more. They can go home because they are not slaves of sins and death.