The Stamp Is Real

August 31, 2014 — 8 Comments

IMG_20140831_110903When my daughter brought this stamp to me earlier today, I couldn’t shake these four words.

The. Stamp. Is. Real.

Yesterday she was blessed with a collection of stamps from my step-father, who is himself an avid stamp collector. He seemed pretty keen to pass down some decent stamps to her from his own collection.

I’d never seen this stamp before and so I was curious about it.

Despite the obvious absence of the word ‘created’, the theological statement printed on it still speaks volumes. I also think that the absence of the word ‘created’ only intensifies the inference of meaning that the image projects.

It doesn’t point to some idea of a  ‘moral’ golden era; or an epoch of ignorance and anxiety about scientific contributions to how we understand the world around us. With the exemption of the unity (not necessarily a unity free of conflict) and freedom that Christianity has undergirded in the West for centuries, it’s debatable about whether any such eras existed anyway.

The statement on the stamp is simple.

Whether we consider creation to be word-instant or evolution-distant, it doesn’t dampen the significance of ‘In the beginning God…’ 

It may be too bold to suggest it, but there is a possible interchange, although not without some degree of caution, between Darwin’s  ‘Power of Selection’ and the ‘Power of the Holy Spirit’, which would potentially still allow room for Darwin’s original observations, whilst not endorsing natural theology {more my Pentecostal tendencies perhaps…? Either way, don’t shoot me on this, it’s a work in progress. I’ll let you know where I land}.

What the image does do is stamp onto us a point of reference outside ourselves; a point of being where we are raised beyond our ability to raise ourselves. Freely raised by God towards the goal (telos) of fellowship with Him.

When we say ‘the stamp is real’ we are saying in a round about way that something like righteousness or goodness cannot easily be dismissed as a social construct.

For this reason:goodness resides outside humanity and is only present in humanity because of God’s merciful “yes” and just “no” to us. The change in our being presupposes the power to change our being and it rests on a dynamic summons to genuine freedom. It is sealed on our hearts, in our minds and upon our souls by the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:30).

It’s not, but it might seem like a cheap pun to say that this stamp reminds us of God’s stamp-of-approval; his “Yes” in Christ as the ‘beginning’ of restoration for all creation. His words breathing life into dust – whispering purpose to us. His love grounding you and me in the person of Jesus Christ, worked out in our lives through the promise and power of the Holy Spirit (2. Peter.1:3-7).

For:

‘In Christ you were chosen before the foundation of the world.
In him you have redemption.
In him you have forgiveness.
In him you have wisdom and insight.
In him we are united.
In him we have obtained an inheritance.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance..’
(Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV)

The stamp is real folks.

August 22_2014 NASA Instagram

August 22_2014 NASA Instagram

8 responses to The Stamp Is Real

  1. 

    Beautiful thoughts. I did want to touch on this

    “Either way, don’t shoot me on this, it’s a work in progress. I’ll let you know where I land}.”

    I, myself, believe that there is room in faith to include scientific discovery. Science can teach us a lot about our wonderful creator and it doesn’t have to contradict faith. Here is an article I read some time ago that has helped me sort out my thoughts on Darwin. I hope you don’t mind it being from a Catholic perspective. I think it’s a well balanced article about joining scientific knowledge and theology. In other words, it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision..

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/humanity/evolutn.txt

    Mrs. C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 

      Thanks for the link. I especially liked his statement: ‘Fossil evidence does not speak for itself; it must be interpreted, and this task requires imagination. Scientists at the turn of the century took greater liberties in describing ancient man than their counterparts today would.’ What I’ve found is that there needs to be a separation between social Darwinism and Darwinian evolutionary theory. James B. Stenson seems back that up.

      Like

  2. 

    I still have a sheet or so of theese stamps and still use them on special occasions. The crew of Apollow 8 (first trip to the moon) read from Genesis 1 on Christmas eve, 1969 while in lunar orbit.

    Like

    • 

      Hi Michael. I appreciate the link and the extra information. looking back on the history of space exploration I think there is a great deal to be thankful for. I’d emphasise “special” on those stamps mate – awesome stuff!

      Like

  3. 

    I remember when that stamp was issued. That was a different era in the United States. The decline of America’s values, in a single generation, is shocking.

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    • 

      The decline is the centre of much discussion – I’ve tried to cover some of that on this blog. If your interested in the subject I highly recommend Jean B. Elshtain’s ‘Sovereignty’ or ‘Democracy on Trial’.

      Like

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