As My Master, and to My Master I Will Submit

2009 November 23

Filed in:

Both Feet Firmly on the Ground (Cosmology)


So YES.  I have recently affirmed publicly now that I am indeed a 6 day creationist.  This is a recent development and I want to explain why I felt constrained to making this move.  The posting of this thought began in THIS [Click Here] post, and continues in the current post as installment 3:


What Kind of Literature is Genesis?

As I am an Old Testament teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching Genesis every year.  Mind you, I have always dearly loved the Bible and the God who wrote it.  I haven’t been a godless secularist waiting to destroy Jesus.  I have been an evangelistic, child rearing, wife honoring, church serving Christian living under the incredible burden of a nagging scientism and a hermeneutic of doubt.

Back to Genesis, I read and memorize bits of Gen 1 every year.  We memorize Gen 1.1-5, and 1.26-28 (*the first day of creation and *the cultural mandate).

For years I have assumed that Gen 1-11 (Primeval History) was allegorical and that Gen 12-50 was historical.  Please notice:

I have never doubted the existence and necessity of miracles, but I felt at that time that

  • Adam-Babel was obviously a different form of literature than what we would rely on for history, and that
  • Miracle is always literarily highlighted as miracle rather than taken for granted.


A Seamless Garment

In truth, there are NO markers in the text indicating a transition from mythic to historical material.  In fact, it looks to me a lot like these are all definitely intended to be read in unity.

Example 1

  • Adam made as God’s son, is made to fall into a deep sleep, his flesh is divided, and a covenant of marriage is created: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother”. (Gen 2)
  • Abraham, made into God’s son (inheritance), is made to fall into a deep sleep next to divided flesh and a covenant of adoption is created: “Go out from your father” (Gen 12, 15).

Example 2

  • Darkness and Watery Chaos, Spirit of God (Ruach) blows over the water, evening and morning, the waters are divided from the waters, dry land is created (Gen 1)
  • Watery chaos, Wind of God (Ruach) blows over the Water, 40 days and 40 nights, the water is driven back, dry land is found (Gen 7-8)
  • Reed Sea, Wind of God (Ruach) blows over the water, water is driven back, waters are divided from the waters, dry land is found (Ex 14)

Example 3

  • People refuse to be scattered abroad, they try to make a name for themselves, they are cursed (Gen 11)
  • Abraham goes forth willingly to fulfill Gen 1.26-28 from his father’s house, God will make his name great, he is blessed (Gen 12)


What’s in a Name?

Another reason that I had a hard time with Gen 1-11 was that I thought that the narratives seemed overly contrived.  The names especially couldn’t be real.

Adam is humanity, Eve is Life, Noah is heard.

What was I thinking?!  It goes on just like that after Gen 12 begins.

Abraham means Father of Multitudes, Sarah means princess, Isaac is his mother’s laughter, Jacob grabs at his brother’s heel, but Israel wrestles with God.

The only options, based on THESE criteria, are to accept Genesis 1-11, or doubt ALL of Genesis.

I don’t doubt all of Genesis, so I now accept Gen 1-11 as my master, and to my master I will submit.

I remember someplace that Abram believed the LORD.  Me too.


Sweet, Sweet, Comfortable Confidence

2009 November 21

Filed in:

Both Feet Firmly on the Ground (Cosmology)

If It’s Good Enough for Paul, It’s Good Enough for Me (Paul)


So YES.  I have recently affirmed publicly now that I am indeed a 6 day creationist.  This is a recent development and I want to explain why I felt constrained to making this move.  The posting of this thought began in THIS [Click Here] post, and continues in the current post as installment 2:


I think I find that for many people who have always been young earth/6-day people, it is very hard to see how someone could be old earth and a consistent Christian.  But I will try to explain the struggle that I had in my head over the last 10 years.

Allegory?  Parable?

Again, I have always had an absolute commitment to the Bible, but I also felt like the old earth, and process of evolution were basically demonstrable, and scientifically hard to get around.  I thought Gen 1-11 was figurative, or parabolic.  True, yet non-historical, in the way that a parable has a true lesson, but not a factual history.

I also assumed that humanity “became” humanity at some point in an evolutionary process.  So I was able to affirm that at some point we became sinful and human, but it wasn’t necessarily in a pristine garden.

Sounds Like Myth

I also thought that Gen 1-3 was too stylistically symbolic to be real.  I thought that with names like:

Adam – “Humanity”

and Eve  – “Life”

and a talking snake and a magic fruit…. come on!

But my mind has changed, and I now welcome these literary frills as BOTH highly symbolic AND historical.

But how did it all go down?

The Beginning of the Breakdown

One day in my New Testament class, I was reading the speech Paul gave at the Aereopagus, and one of the verses struck me like a brick.  I actually gasped for air when I read it, quietly, but there was really was a breath – Acts 17.26:

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…

Paul is preaching to the Gentiles at Mars Hill (the Ἄρειον Πάγον).  One of the things always pointed out about this situations is the difference in how he preaches to the Jews and the Gentiles.  The Jews have a whole canon of knowledge behind their hearing of sermons.  The Greeks likely know nothing of the Old Testament so they have to be told anything that it’s necessary to know.  They are also repenting from outside the Law, and not from under it.

The outline of Paul’s sermon:

  • there is ONE Lord of heaven and earth (v.24)
  • and he is not in need of man (vv.24-5)
  • he is not an idol of human crafting since (v.25)
  • he is the ONE source of all life (v.25)
  • all humanity is responsible to him since (vv.26-27)
  • he made all nations from ONE man (v.26)
  • he is not far from us since (v.27)
  • he made us and he sustains us (v.28)
  • again, he isn’t an idol since (v.29)
  • we are made in his image (v.29)
  • he has been patient with your sin (v.30)
  • but he is going to bring judgement by ONE man who has been raised from the dead already to vindicate this fact (v.31)
  • so REPENT (v.30)

The passage doesn’t use the word “one” over and over, but it isn’t absent in idea, and it DOES use the word “one” in verse 26.

The simple version is that there is ONE God and ONE Man, and we are RELATED.  The one God is both OUR JUDGE (by fact of creation), and NOT  AN IDOL (by correlation to us).  The fact that the Judge is near us and the judgment is upon us both are proven by the Resurrection of ONE MAN.

The “one man” thing seems to be pretty important – even theologically necessary.

Calm down!  I know about Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15.  I will deal with them later.  At that point, I had worked around these monster passages, but Acts 17.26 was the “little leaven” to leaven the whole lump.

Now, we have to talk about the Greek.

ἐξ ἑνὸς – is the Greek behind “one man” from v.26

That phrase can mean “one man.”  In fact, it should do so if there is no other reason to translate it other wise.  And there isn’t any other factor to change it.  So the substantival masculine adjective “one” (henos) becomes the noun “one man.”

However the word (anthropos) is not used here, but it is not use for Jesus either – he is an (aner): “a male”.  Some later texts insert the word “blood.”  Regardless, the point of the verse is a single source for all humanity, which is used as a proof that we are all unified in responsibility to the one creator.  So no way around the single source of humanity.

You could say that even with evolution and a large source of humanity we are still responsible to God, but you can’t say it without implying that Paul was either wrong or lying.

The Beginning of the End of the End of the Beginning

This verse not only began my downfall into sweet, sweet, comfortable confidence by making me think “Paul thinks Adamic origin is important,” but it also made me formulate a litmus question:

“How does the rest of the bible treat Gen 1-11 and Jonah or any other questioned literature.”

That, my friends, is how we will proceed.

[Go to post # 3 in this series – Click Here]

Joseph – the Stone that the Builders Rejected

2009 October 14

Filed In:

The Bible is a Book of Tales (Narrative Theology)

Joseph (Gen 37-50) is not in the LINE to David, but he is very Davidic.

He is rejected by his brothers, but later comes to rule them.

As David’s story is remembered: “The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.” (Ps 118.22)

Of course, both men prefigure Jesus.

But there is another similarity between the three.  All three have a story where they are mistreated unjustly, 1) Joseph by Potiphar’s wife, 2) David by Saul and Nabal, and 3) Jesus by “his own people”

In all three cases, there is a “remember me, when you come into your Kingdom” line:

  • 13In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. 14Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. (gen 40.13-14)
  • the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, …And when the LORD has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31…And when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”” (1 Sam 25.28-31)
  • And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23.41-43)

The three of them are also shepherds:

  • “Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers” (Gen 37.2)
  • 7I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. 8Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.'” (1 Sam 25.7-8)
  • I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10.11)


David’s Feast in the Wilderness

Compare David’s feast to Moses’ now:

8″Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.”… 14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them….”Nabal, …was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. …and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38And about ten days later the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.

Nabal is Pharaoh who refuses a feast for the Son of God in the wildreness – the Lord hardened his heart.


Joseph is a Judge of Israel like Jesus

Consider two passages in this cross connection:

“Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father.” (Gen 37.2)

“And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.” (Mark 15.9-10)

Jacob the Serpent, Israel the Seed of the Woman

2009 October 13

Filed In:

The Bible is a Book of Tales (Narrative Theology)


Jacob is portrayed in the narrative position of Satan – the ultimate Usurper.

Remember that Satan grabs at the heel in Gen 3.15, and that Jacob is a heel grabber too.

Listen first to the narrative similarities here:

Jacob is a grabber at his brother’s heel, a usurper, one who cheats to take the place of the “right” man.  Jacob hides his identity and steals a blessing.

Jacob has a tricky wrestling match with God.  God cheats to beat Jacob.  God grabs at Jacob’s hip.  God hides his identity from Jacob, revealing it in Jacob’s fearful realization later.  God blesses Jacob with a blessing that he demanded.

And God changes Jacob’s name.  Jacob leaves the place of being the grabber at his brother’s heel, and becomes the one whose hip was grabbed by God.  Jacob sinned in taking his brother’s place.  Jacob is atoned for when God takes his place.

Jacob is cast in the story as Satan, and becomes in the story the Seed of the Woman.


This started when I noticed that the Serpent/Heel Connection is made both in Genesis 3, and in Genesis 49:

“The LORD God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.
”  (Gen 3.14-15)


16 “Dan shall judge his people

as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels

so that his rider falls backward.
18I wait for your salvation, O LORD.

19 “Raiders shall raid Gad,
but he shall raid at their heels.” (Gen 49.16-19)

In looking at these, I remembered that Jacob’s name means something like”he grabs at the heel.”

In saying this, he is cast as the serpent, the heel bruiser.

But the serpent is crushed by the “Seed of the Woman” in Gen 3.15.

  • Jacob uses food to tempt, and to bring about the usurpation (25.31)

It is this same Jacob who becomes a new man, becomes that very “Seed of the Woman”

  • To Rebekah: “Blessed be your offspring” 24.60
  • “Rebekah loved Jacob” 25.28

Creation, Covenant, Judgment

2009 September 17

Filed in:

The Bible is a Book of Tales (Narrative Theology)

The following is a schema I am working for filtering Creation, Covenant and Judgment in the Torah

The schema:

  • God Creates
  • God Judges (Pronounces to be Good or Bad)
  • God Divides
  • God Names

They are not always in the same order.

We find the pattern over and over in Genesis 1’s creation narrative, here’s a sample:

Creation Before Man

  • Creates: “And God said Let there be light, and there was light.”
  • Judges: “And God saw that the light was good.”
  • Divides: “And God separated the light from the darkness.”
  • Names: “God called the light, day, and the darkness he called night.”

Now we want to take a tour through some other passages to see how it aids us

Creation of Man

  • Creates:
    • “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground”
  • Judges:
    • “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
    • “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  • Divides:
    • “male and female he created them.”
    • “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”
    • “A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.”
    • “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.”
  • Names: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  (Names him “Adam”/”man” or names him “picture of me”)

Example In Adam’s Work:

  • Creation/Work:
    • “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”
    • “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
    • “Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.”
  • Division:
    • Between animals and woman,
    • “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”
  • Naming:
    • “whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name”
    • “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man”
    • “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
  • Judgment/Declaration:
    • “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”

Cutting the Covenant and Cutting Off

Judgement, in a positive sense, is justification, and in a normal sense is a dividing between that which is vindicated and that which is condemned.

Water cleans the hands but washes OFF dirt.  The hands are blessed, the dirt is damned.

Amputation cleans the body of the disease, but cuts OFF the rot.

Circumcision is legal amputation.

It is my contention that in each “division” we see judgment – a making of a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians, as it were.

However the division is also equally the cutting of covenant FOR the blessed, and it serves to CREATE it makes family, it makes unity, it makes righteous.

We will see judgment in covenant passages, and covenant in judgment passages.  Covenant in judgment is necessarily “new creation.”

The covenant is made by cutting but is a symbol of binding.

Binding and Loosing.

Engrafting and Breaking Off.


Union, that is, covenant bond, is seen in the division of Adam’s flesh into man and woman – which is done for marriage.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

The division of flesh makes a union of flesh.  The cutting creates a covenant and a family.

People are cut OFF from their parents, and cut a covenant with their spouse.

God cuts a deal with Abraham.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s houseto the land that I will show you

“So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man

deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him.”

Divided flesh: “and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.”

Divided flesh: “And he brought him all these [animals], cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other.”

In ABRAM’s cutting there is a bond, THE BOND of all the world’s blessing, created.  God adopts abraham.

More Cutting

In this light, the SIGN of this covenant is a cutting (ch 17), which also cuts OFF those who are not faithful (17.14)


Peter Leithart’s recent blog comment is a concise way of illustrating the Noah connection (much more could be said:

In Genesis 9:11, Yahweh promises not to “cut off flesh” by water.  That is the covenant with Noah.

A few chapters later, Yahweh tells Abram that he must cut off the flesh of all male children of Israel, not by water but by a knife.


Back to the Schema:

  • Creation:
    • Of Israel
  • Division:
    • Abraham leaves his father, and cleaves to God and the Land promise (12.1-3)
    • Cutting Animals for the covenant ceremony (15)
    • Circumcision (17)
  • Naming:
    • “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing”
    • “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.”
    • Preview: “he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
  • Judgment:
    • “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
    • “walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly”

The creation of a blessed covenant community, with a great name, divided from those who are cursed.

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Talking to Children About Death

2007 November 26

We have two living children at home, one of whom is old enough to have lots and lots of conversation (2.5 years old).

How and when do you talk to your children about death? Feel free to respond, I will probably post any reply.

We have had four deaths in our family in the last 2 years (two in our house). So I will share a very brief bit about what we have found in our experience.

Our Response We have found that it is EASIER not harder to talk to young children about death than we expect it would be if we waited. I don’t think that most people ignore it, but because we are Christians, we feel obligated to discuss death as soon as possible with children.

A few (amongst MANY) reasons Christians cannot avoid talking about death:

  1. The fall as a theological prinicpal is meaningless without death. (Gen 1-3)
  2. The flood (as a pattern for Exodus) and the Exodus, and the Judgement and conquest of Canaan all involve death to purify the earth: God must have the right over his creatures, and the obligation to himself to  act against his enemies. Those who fight against God’s glory die.
  3. This brings up the problem of the universal enmity with God. All are enemies (as in the fall), therefore, all die. Is there a solution?
  4. The death of Jesus is CRUCIAL (pun intended) to the salvation of men.
  5. The resurrection of Jesus, proving the Lordship of Jesus over all things, is the object of our faith in the gospel (Rom 1.1-4, 10.9; 2 Tim 2.8); without death, resurrection means nothing. [See the Footnote Below for verses, or click above verse link].
  6. Our resurrection is based on Jesus’ resurrection (Rom 8.10-11, 1 Cor 15.45-49, 55-57.)

Our discussion: We have explained, as all our deaths have been inside God’s covenant family, that Jesus lives in heaven after his resurrection, and that our relatives have gone to Jesus and they too will be resurrected on the last day, and we will be with them again forever. We HAVE also explained the resurrection of judgment for those who do not worship the Triune God through Jesus.


Romans 1.1-4: 1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit[a] of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10.9: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

2 Timothy 2.8: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel

Waiting for God to Answer [3]

2007 November 24

This is the 3rd entry in a Series that walks through my Sermon preparation for this Sunday (2007/11/25). If you want to read them in another order choose one of the following:

Entry 1

Entry 2

Entry 4

So we have come to the thought that God had a promise for Sarah and Abraham: Sarah will have a child in her old age. Let’s actually look through the texts of the OT lesson and see what we can glean. (click on the lesson link to see the passages at BibleGateway).


The Old Testament Lesson: Gen 12.1-3; 15.1-6; 18.10-15; 21.1-7

Instead of trying to break the whole thing down verse by verse into a complicated exegetical structure, I think it is best just to get the flow of the narrative.

narrative overview

  • God chooses Abram and makes a covenant (family bond) with him.
  • The covenant includes promises from God
    • to give Abram land
    • to make him the father of nations
    • to ensure that blessing goes with Abram and his family and curse goes with all who oppose the annointed (chosen) of the Lord
    • if anyone wants to be blessed, they must come through Abram to the blessing
  • Abram has no son to fulfill the covenant (God’s responsibility)
  • God promises to give a natural descendant, in fact, as many as the stars
  • Abram believed God’s promise.
  • In contrast – Abram/ now Abraham’s barren and old wife Sarai/now Sarah does NOT believe.
  • The Lord confronts her unbelief.
  • To Abraham and Sarah’s surprise and delight, the Lord did exactly what he had promised to do.
  • The result was pleasure for his people.

In the process, I noted that there was extraneous material in what I was working on above. In the first few points, I did not need the material about land and blessing and curse. This is great stuff, but has nothing to do with my sermon. I underlined the part that had to do with the birth of the son, and the prophecy of families descending.

In the last section we paraphrased the story. Now, it is time to look at instances of small themes through out the literature with pinpointed verse numbers. I will ignore themes that I mentioned – land and blessing/curse.

versified closer look

12.1 Abram loses his family

12.2 Abram is promised a new family

15.2-3 Abram is still childless

15.4-5 God reiterates the promise and makes it more specific:

—–It will be your OWN son

—–He will give you MANY nations of descent

15.6 The faith of Abram is noted as the right response to God’s promise

18.11-12 The barren Sarah disbelieves and LAUGHS at God

18.14 There is an appointed time – God has already planned when he will come to fix it

18.15 God knows our unbelief

21.1-2 God does what he said he would do

21.3 Isaac is the name that turns unbelief and despair into surprise and joy.

21.6-7 God uses our “waiting” to teach others what HE is capable of doing.

21.6-7 God uses our “waiting” to teach others to wait with hope.

**********AT THIS POINT **********

If I were to pick out from immediate glancing over these verses, I would give you these guesses at where I am going with the sermon; some of this is intuitive and some of it may be based on my intention in choosing the verses in the first place. Note, I am NOT trying at this point to make statements of equal value in outlining the final product, only the most important things I see:

  1. God’s promises come to pass in his appointed timing
  2. Waiting displays God’s power
  3. Waiting gives others hope
  4. Receiving the Promise makes the wait worth it
    1. sudden thought (“beauty for ashes…laughter for mourning”, “they who sow in tears shall reap in joy,” “blessed are they who…-mourn, for they shall laugh” – look for other beatitudes that may be useful.

I had hoped to get away from this OT post without going to a full outline, but I am seeing such an easy one from the list immediately above. So I will put down a preliminary outline. Frequently, when I do – the final product looks nothing like what I think is going to be AWESOME in the beginning. Sometimes I end up grappling over 4 different and all very good outlines. Here goes:

I. We must wait for God’s time because it is the perfect time.

A. It may seem like a terribly long time, even TOO long.

B. The time is already appointed according to God’s plan, for God’s visitation.

II. We must wait for God’s time because it is a powerful message.

A. God’s power is glorified (people see what only God can do).

B. God’s power is trusted (people put faith in what they have seen).

III. We must wait for God’s time because it is a pleasant surprise.

A. God knows our unbelief

B. God still turns our unbelief into surprise and joy.


In the process of reviewing each section I am going to keep carrying this bottom margin over to each review. This contains thoughts I need for later that I have to jot down somewhere. As you can see, I already have some application points below.

Accumulated Sidenotes

What trusting God for the future does NOT mean –

  • Claiming any ideal thing that you want and expecting that if you pray it will work out.
  • Listening to someone else promise you what God is going to do. They MIGHT be right, but you don’t know that.


  • Reiterate that we do have a promise