In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth . . .
[and] there was not a man to till the face of the ground.
The doe paused on the edge of the glade, frozen between hunger and caution. Her normal sense of self-preservation was amplified by her awareness (dim but real) of another life growing in her womb. She would save her own life if she could, but she would preserve the fawn inside her at any cost.
The hunger was making that increasingly difficult. Most that was green was now covered by the deep snowpack. Branches of trees had been browsed as high as a deer could reach. The frozen bark that she gnawed from the trunks put little nourishment in her belly. Stored tallow had once made her form sleek, but it had long since been absorbed into her starvation-wracked frame. Her skin hung in folds from her flanks. If she could survive for another month she would have food enough—but could she?
The glade was open enough for grass but sheltered by tall trees. Her instincts told her that she might be able to paw through the ice and snow to reach a few blades of withered grass. These would not fill her stomach, but they might prolong her wretched existence for a few more hours.
She was afraid. At the beginning of the winter she had easily outrun the wolves on a couple of occasions. But she was weaker. The snow was deeper. Her pregnancy was weighing her down. She might be able to dodge a single wolf, but she doubted that she could escape the pack now.
So she stood at the edge of the glade, staring into the semi-light and testing the air with her nose. She could not afford a mistake, but she also could not afford to neglect any possible source of food. Finally hunger won, and with wary steps she began to make her way into the glade.
Pawing the snow, she lowered her muzzle to search for the frozen vegetation that she hoped would be there. As she did, the corner of her eye caught a flash of movement. Her head snapped toward the motion as she stared through the twilight. Nothing.
As she began to lower her head again, she glimpsed movement in another direction. This time her head did not go down, but she continued to gaze in the new direction. She was now convinced that something was wrong, and she began to taste the panic in the back of her mouth.
There! Just the slightest twitch, but enough to betray the presence of a pointed ear, which led to a snout framed by grey whiskers. Just beyond the edge of the clearing a wolf was stalking her. In the instant she recognized the predator, it sprang.
The doe twisted to bolt in the opposite direction, trying to reach the opposite edge of the glade in a single bound. But her weakness and pregnancy betrayed her, and the snow clung to her legs like mud. More than that, she was met in mid-bound by the rest of the pack as they leaped toward their prey.
One great wolf tried to close its jaws around her throat. Her momentum carried her past him, but his teeth tore at her flesh and sinew. Other wolves closed in on her flanks, trying to bite through her tendons and cripple her. Still others went directly for her belly, and now more were closing in on her throat.
She was carried to the ground by the sheer weight of the pack. She could feel their teeth tearing into her body, especially her tendons. Within moments they had lamed her and she lay helpless in the snow. They did not need to kill her. They had her at their mercy, and they would not pause before beginning their feast.
Pain shot through her spine and flanks as the wolves tore into her flesh. But she had come down on her belly, and she tried to shelter the little mass that huddled under her. She would save the fawn at any cost.
The wolves, however, knew what they were doing. She bleated, very much like a lamb, as they pulled her backward and exposed her underside. Then the pitiless carnivores tore into the skin of her abdomen, ripping and shredding until the form of the little fawn was exposed. This was what they really wanted. Tearing the fetus from its mother’s womb, they feasted on its steaming carcass.
The wolves left her alive. She would survive a few hours longer, and they would return to consume the fresh meat from her bones. As she suffered through those hours, carrion birds arrived to pluck at her eyes and her steaming entrails. The only mercy in her death was that the pain and blind exhaustion finally overcame her and she lapsed into unconsciousness. She never awoke, not even when the wolves returned to finish their meal in the red snow.
And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold,
it was very good.
Signs and Wonders? The Pentecostalization of Global Christianity
In Acts 2 Peter declares that God’s Spirit will be poured out on all people in the last days so that they prophesy, perform miracles, and have visions. Contemporary Pentecostals claim to practice these and other related miraculous gifts of the Spirit, and the influence of this movement is increasing greatly throughout the world, predominantly in the Global South.
Central Seminary professor Dr. Jeff Straub has written and taught widely on the history and present condition of Pentecostalism. His travels addressing this topic have taken him to Africa, India, and China. During Central Seminary’s MacDonald Lecture Series on February 10, Dr. Straub will trace the history of Pentecostalism, describe its current state, and make a case for the cessation of miraculous gifts from the Scriptures.
We invite you to join us for this one-day conference on the campus of Central Seminary.
This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.
from Paradise Lost
John Milton (1608–1674)
The Sixt, and of Creation last arose
With Eevning Harps and Mattin, when God said,
Let th’ Earth bring forth Foul living in her kinde,
Cattel and Creeping things, and Beast of the Earth,
Each in their kinde. The Earth obey’d, and strait
Op’ning her fertile Woomb teem’d at a Birth
Innumerous living Creatures, perfet formes,
Limb’d and full grown: out of the ground up rose
As from his Laire the wilde Beast where he wonns
In Forrest wilde, in Thicket, Brake, or Den;
Among the Trees in Pairs they rose, they walk’d:
The Cattel in the Fields and Meddowes green:
Those rare and solitarie, these in flocks
Pasturing at once, and in broad Herds upsprung.
The grassie Clods now Calv’d, now half appeer’d
The Tawnie Lion, pawing to get free
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from Bonds,
And Rampant shakes his Brinded main; the Ounce,
The Libbard, and the Tyger, as the Moale
Rising, the crumbl’d Earth above them threw
In Hillocks; the swift Stag from under ground
Bore up his branching head: scarse from his mould
Behemoth biggest born of Earth upheav’d
His vastness: Fleec’t the Flocks and bleating rose,
As Plants: ambiguous between Sea and Land
The River Horse and scalie Crocodile.