Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 7 (Final)

Biblical Responses to Initial Questions

I began this message asking a number of questions about the teaching of the Bible with regard to the origin of the universe and whether it can be synchronized with evolutionary theory. Let us review those questions and ensure that we have a Biblical response to each query.

1. Could God have used evolution over long periods of time starting with the simplest forms of life in order to bring about the diversity and complexity of the various species that we see in the world around us today?

Response: No, God could not have used evolution in His creative process. Doing so would be at total odds with the revelation that we see in the Bible with regard to God creating things after their own kind and having them multiply according to those kinds to fill the earth. Furthermore, evolution is predicated on death and removes the connection between sin and death. If death is not the result of sin entering this world through Adam, then we have utterly destroyed the doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ.

2. Has science proven that there are errors in the Bible’s chronology in its account of the origin of the created cosmos—particularly in regard to the book of Genesis?

Response: No, science has in no way disproved any jot or tittle of the Holy Scriptures. In fact, based on the dependence of life on information, science is consistent with the need for an omniscient, omnipotent Creator. In addition to the need for information, we observe in science that there are separate and distinct kinds—not only in the present world, but also in the fossil record.

3. Is it enough to uphold the belief that God is the Creator of the time-space-matter continuum without adhering to a literal interpretation of Genesis?

Response: No, it is insufficient to cling to the position that God is the Creator without also holding to the truth about what God has revealed to us about the manner in which His creation came into being. Rejecting a literal interpretation of Genesis results in an undermining of the authority of God’s Word and places the opinions of men in judgment over what God has written. The Christian needs to be using Scripture as the lens through which we filter everything that we see, hear, and think.

4. What specifically does the Bible teach about the beginning of the created world?

Response: The book of Genesis records for us that God spoke this world into existence through the power of His Holy Word and created everything in six, 24-hour literal days. God made man in His own image (known as Imago Deo), forming him from the dust of the earth, and gave him dominion over all the earth for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to the Almighty.


Knowing that God is the creator of heaven and earth and that His Word can be completely trusted should drive us to our knees in awe of His amazing power and provide us with all the more motivation to carry out the purposes and specific tasks for which He has made us. Our response should be that of the psalmist, who wrote:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (Psalm 8:3-6, KJV)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 6

Theological Implications of the Literal Interpretation of Genesis

Now that we have reviewed many of the key words and phrases in the first chapter of Genesis, there are two significant implications that are worthy of our attention related to a literal interpretation of the creation account.

Unfortunately, the world that God created “very good” has been corrupted by Adam’s original sin. The consequences of this sin have been devastating on all of mankind, bringing death into the human race. Romans 5:12 states: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (KJV). Furthermore, according to the Bible, all of creation was negatively affected by the entrance of sin into the world. According to Romans 8:22: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (KJV)

Praise God that He did not leave us in a state of despair, but stepped into human history to provide us with the gift of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ our Lord. In Romans 5:18, we read the following verse of hope: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (KJV)

However, this justification of life through God’s grace extended to us via the Cross makes no sense if death and suffering have been a part of the world since the beginning of time, as evolution claims. According to evolutionary theory, death plays a key role in the progression of life. Consequently, holding to evolution removes the vital connection made in God’s special revelation between sin and death. Without this link of sin bringing about the death that we see today, the need to be saved from that sin is eroded away. Therefore, one’s view of origins has a direct impact on the earthly mission of Christ and the essential Christian doctrine of salvation.

Another important implication of the literal interpretation of Genesis is related to one’s ultimate source of authority. Each one of us must answer the following question: “What is the final authority in our lives to which we will submit?” Will it be our own autonomous reason, the claims of supposed experts, or the perfect and inerrant Word of God? Anyone who is willing to accept the supposed findings of science over the clear teaching of Scripture is casting their vote for human knowledge rather than for God’s wisdom as their highest court of appeal. Anytime that we place anything in a position of judging the veracity of God’s Word, our thinking is misguided and we need to be calling out to the Lord for the renewing of our minds. For the Christian, the Bible is to be the very foundation of every aspect of our thinking, as well as being the guide for all of life and practice. The Holy Bible is to be our ultimate standard and we are to view everything through the lens of Scripture. In doing so, we will be able to properly discern truth about the world around us and we will be in a position to help lead others into that truth.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 5

God’s Perfect Creation: “It was good”

In Genesis 1, God repeatedly states that what He brought into existence was good. The phrase “and it was good” is recorded 6 separate times and each time, it is given in relation to what God had created. Then, after God formed man in His own image and completed His magnificent creation, He made the pronouncement that “it was very good”. God’s creative work was finished in exactly the form that He desired and each thing that He had made contained all of the attributes that He had intended.

The Biblical text provides some very significant insight into this world that God called “very good”.

First, all living things were vegetarian. In looking at verse 29, we see that God gave man the plants and fruits as a means of their physical sustenance. We read the following:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (KJV)

In addition, the animals were also herbivores as we read in verse 30:

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (KJV)

The phrase “wherein there is life” is a key to understanding this perfect world that God made—for it is necessary to demonstrate that God’s initial design did not contain any death. Someone may question this truth about there being no death in God’s original design since the plants were eaten by all of the animals, as well as by Adam and Eve. While biologically we consider that the plants are living since they grow, the Bible does not refer to them as having “life” (which in the Hebrew is “nephesh”). Thus, there is a distinction between plants that grow and the life that is present in the sea creatures, the winged fowl, the land animals, and man. Recognizing this difference has serious implications—not only to the definition of what God called “very good”, but as we shall later see, to the very doctrine of salvation through Christ.

Second, man was created in the image of God. As a consequence of this truth, we see that man is the very pinnacle of all of God’s creation. The Lord God endowed man with the power to reason, to make ethical decisions, and to commune with his Creator. In addition, God gave man dominion over all the earth. What a great privilege and responsibility God has provided to mankind by allowing him to be over every living creature and over all the earth. As Christians, we should be the greatest caretakers of what God has entrusted to us—not worshipping what God has made, but taking dominion over it for His honor and glory. What a great blessing God has given us through a life of purpose and direction by allowing us to use what He has made in a way that will point others to the character and nature of our Heavenly Father. Whether it is in the area of the arts or the sciences, in education or manufacturing, in medicine or law, our heart’s desire should be to use what God has given to take dominion in His name.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 4

Affirmation Outside of Genesis of Its Literal Interpretation

In the giving of the Ten Commandments, God affirmed a literal interpretation of the days of Genesis when He communicated the law of keeping the Sabbath holy. In Exodus 20:11, we read the following:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (KJV)

The very foundation of our seven day week is based on the time that God took during the days of creation. If the days of creation are not literal, then we do not have a basis for the week that we have now and even more than that, we do not have a basis for following the fourth commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy. To put this problem another way, if the days of creation are just figurative or indefinite periods of time, then how can we be sure that the days that are being referenced in Exodus for working six days and resting one are literal- especially in light of the fact that the Bible itself ties the pattern for our week together with the pattern established during the first week of the earth’s history?

The Importance of Creating “After his kind”

As we read through Genesis 1, we see another important phrase repeated in the text—which is, that God created things after their own kind. In fact, the words “after their kind” or “after his kind” appear 10 times in the creation account given in the first chapter of Genesis.

Let’s look at some of the verses in which we find these words.

In verse 12, we read: “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind.” (KJV)

Verse 21 states: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind:” (KJV)

This phrase has significant implications to how we view the world that God has made.
First, this phrase indicates that God created unique plants and animals separate and distinct from one another. Second, this phrase (coupled with the context of God’s blessing and command to multiply) contains the idea that the kinds that God brought into existence were to reproduce after their own kinds to fill the earth. This Biblical account of how God created all living things differs greatly from the theory of Darwinian evolution which proposes that there is a common ancestor for all of life.

One of the arguments that is used to justify that evolution is consistent with the world that we observe around us is the fact that things change. We do see change in plants through processes such as hybridization and in animals through environmental adaptations and natural selection. However, these changes are not evolution and pose no inconsistency with the Bible’s history given in the pages of Genesis.

Change in and of itself is not evolution and the hypothesis that a series of mutations (or changes in the genetic structure) can lead to the formation of one kind into another kind is simply not borne out in actual observational science. In order for evolution to have occurred from the simpler to the more complex forms of life, two keys would be required: first, a progressive increasing of information leading to the gain of new functions and second, many transitional forms between two unique and distinct kinds. However, in actual observation there is NO known process that increases functional genetic information and information does not come from matter itself. Every single instance of information that we are aware has come from intelligence. With the discovery of DNA, the information that is present in just a single strand of human DNA is incredible— calculated to be the equivalent of 1,000 books of small print, each around 500 pages thick. The incredible amount of information present in the DNA of a person indicates that abundant increases in new information would be required to be commonplace for evolution to have occurred—yet we have observed none.

In addition to the problems with the origin and increase in information that evolution cannot explain, there is also the scientific observation about mutations themselves. Mutations are genetic copying mistakes and result in a loss or a change in existing information. These mistakes are almost always harmful to the creature having experienced them. Thus, we have no scientific basis for mutations serving as the catalyst to bring forth new types of life forms.

The fossil record also presents many difficulties to the evolutionary model. If evolution had been occurring in past history over the supposed millions of years, then the fossil record should be replete with examples of transitional life forms from one kind to another. However, such is not the case as there are NONE for which a solid, watertight argument can be made.

These examples of the problems with the evolutionary claims illustrate that the debate over the origin of the earth and of life, as identified earlier, is not science vs. religion- but instead one religion against another. On the one hand is the belief in the Lord God Almighty as the Maker of heaven and earth and on the other hand is the atheistic belief that all that we see came about by natural processes without any need for supernatural intervention.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 3

The Use of the Word Day

In reading through Genesis chapter 1, we see that there is a very orderly account of the chronology of creation. In this chronology, there appears a very distinct phrase separating the variety of things that were created via God’s omnipotence. That phrase is:

“And the evening and the morning were the _____ day”, where the blank is a different number in sequence of the Creation week.

There has been much debate about the word day. As a result of this debate, there have been various hypotheses that have been proposed for the meaning of this word. There really is a simple way to settle this debate—let us look to the context in which this word is used and determine based on that context, the meaning of the word. After all, it is by the context that we understand ALL words and their meanings. It is certainly true that the same word can be used in a variety of different ways. In English, the word day can take on a number of different meanings based on the context in which it is used. For example, I could say “In my grandfather’s day” referring to the time that my grandfather was alive on this earth. Or I could say “June 21 is the longest day of the year”, where I would then be discussing the portion of daylight that is available on a given calendar date. Or I could say “The first day of the week is Sunday” in which case I would be talking about a specific 24-hour period that begins each of our 52 weeks throughout the year. There is no issue with understanding how I am using the same word “day” to convey a variety of meanings based on the context of the word.

The word “day” in the original Hebrew language is the word “yom”. As we look at Genesis 1 and look at the context of this word, we see the following:

    • First, the word “day” is used in conjunction with the phrase “evening and morning”. This phrase would indicate that the time frame being communicated is indeed an ordinary day—that is a 24-hour period with its normal pattern of light and darkness. In fact, if we look in the rest of the Bible outside of Genesis 1 at the places that evening is used with day, morning is used with day, or both evening and morning are used with day, in EVERY instance it refers to an ordinary day.

    • Second, the word “day” is used with a sequential number preceding it. With this number, we see that there is a very definite sequence identifying the order in which the events of creation occurred, as well as an indication that these were consecutive ordinary days. Again, if we turn to instances apart from Genesis 1 and look for where a number is used with the word day or days, we see that there are 410 cases—and again in EVERY instance it refers to an ordinary 24-hour day.

Based on this context, the conclusion is quite obvious—namely that the use of the word “day” in Genesis 1 is referencing an ordinary day with a duration of 24 hours.

Answering Two Common Objections

At this point, I would like to discuss two common objections that are raised against the days of creation being literal 24-hour days. First, some have claimed that since the sun was not created until day 4 that the first three days of creation could not have been the same length as the days after God placed the sun in the firmament of the heavens. Let’s consider what is necessary to define an actual day. Today we measure a day as the time that is required in order for the earth to complete a total revolution on its axis. As observers on this earth, we can see the marching of time based on the location of the sun from our vantage point—but the sun itself is not required in order to define a day. Only an earth is needed to define an actual day. In looking at the creation account in Genesis, God created the earth on the first day of Creation Week according to Genesis 1:1. Furthermore, even though light is not required in order to define a day, light does serve as a concrete indication of the elapsing of time. On day 1, we see that light is also created by Almighty God and that this light is separated from the darkness. With the earth being all that is needed to define the passage of time and a source of light existing to serve as a point of reference for marking this time’s passing, there should be no question that the components required for defining an ordinary day are present on the very first day.

The second objection comes from a verse that is found in 2 Peter that references that “a day is like a thousand years”. Please turn with me to 2 Peter, chapter 3 because it is absolutely critical that you see the context of this verse in order to determine the validity of the claim that the days found in Genesis 1 are not ordinary days. Allow me to provide some background information on this passage. Peter is recording for us how there will be scoffers in the last days that will not believe in the second coming of Jesus because time continues to progress like normal without the occurrence of this incredible event. Let’s read at 2 Peter 3:7-9:

“By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Based on this context, the message of this passage is that the Lord is patient and His patience cannot be measured by man’s timetable. The continued passing of time is a constant reminder of the grace and mercy of God, giving people the opportunity to come to Him in faith. These verses are in no way providing us any indication that the days on the earth in general or that the days of the account of creation in particular are indefinite periods of time. Anyone attempting to use this passage to justify that the days of creation are longer than 24-hour periods is simply taking the verse out of context. If any of us hear such a rationale, we should gently and firmly point them to the full context of the passage so that they can see what is really meant by the phrase that they are quoting.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 2

God’s Existence

Let’s look at the creation account itself provided in the first chapter of the book of Genesis and see what the Biblical text actually teaches. Genesis 1 starts with “In the beginning God ”. There is no explanation or justification of the existence of God—it is just stated and it is expected that the reader will accept it as truth. God has provided many, many evidences of His existence including the intricate design of the universe around us; the universal and invariant laws of science, logic, and morality; the historical accuracy of the specific peoples, nations, and events recorded in His Holy Word which have been independently verified by extra-biblical history and archaeological findings; and the fulfillment of specific Old Testament prophecies, especially in light of the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah, including His birth, life, death, and resurrection. However, the initial phrase in the book of Genesis does not attempt to provide any details justifying the existence of God—it is simply reported using historical narrative. God exists outside of time and He is the One that created time! The existence of God is the first fact that we see in the opening chapter of the book of beginnings and this truth is central to the proper understanding of the remainder of the creation account given to us in God’s special revelation.

Let us review some of the key words and phrases that are provided in the description of creation to see what insight we can gain about creation.

The Power of God’s Spoken Word

On seven separate occasions, the phrase “God said” occurs in relation to God speaking things into existence. What an incredible demonstration of the power of the Word of the Holy and Perfect Creator God. In Genesis 1, we see that the following was created by the spoken Word of the Almighty:

    • Light (v.3)
    • Firmament (v. 6)
    • Dry land and the gathering together of waters, later called seas (v. 9)
    • Plants (v. 11)
    • Lights in the firmament, including the sun, moon, and stars (v. 14)
    • Sea creatures and fowl of the air (v. 20)
    • Land creatures (v. 24)

Also, God spoke of the intention of creating man in His own image (v.26), who was then fashioned by Jehovah from the dust of the ground.

The authority of the spoken Word of God should cause us to have a great sense of awe and appreciation for the glory and majesty of the God of this world. In addition, the power of God’s Word should drive us to our knees in awe of the gift that the Lord has given to us through the Scriptures as revealed in the Old and New Testaments. As Christians, we are in need of the cleansing power of the Word of God, which serves to purify us. However, in order to receive the great benefits of the washing of the Word, we must be students of the Bible. I encourage you to be reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing the perfect counsel that God has given to us in what He has written in His Word.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight? Part 1

On February 15, through an opportunity provided to me from our pastor, I (David) was privileged to give a sermon titled "The Battle Over Origins: Is It Worth the Fight" looking at what the Bible teaches in regard to God's creation. It was borne out of a heart that was very troubled by the direction of many churches throughout this nation stating that evolutionary theory and the Holy Scriptures are compatible with one another. In fact, there has been a growing endorsement from churches that have come out in support of "The Clergy Letter Project", which makes the following claims:

"... the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children."

While we would agree that there is no contradiction between the facts of science and the truth of God's perfect Word, we stand in opposition to the notion that there is any way that the Word of God can be harmonized with a purely naturalistic interpretation predicated on death and suffering. We will uphold the clear teaching of the Bible that God is the great Creator and that it was sin that brought about the death that we see in the world today.

For this blog, the sermon will be partitioned in numerous sections each a part of their own separate post. Here is the first in this series of posts:


The opening words of the Holy Bible read “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” While most Christians would agree that God is the Creator of the world, many of those same Christians are placing the opinions of men above the truth and authority of God’s Word. The question of origins is not a debate over science versus religion, as many have claimed—but is actually a debate of two very distinct and diametrically opposed worldviews. On the one hand is the worldview that upholds that the Bible is the ultimate authority, being perfect, without error, and the standard by which everything else in the entire universe is to be judged. On the other hand is the worldview that so-called scientific evidence as interpreted by man is able to judge the accuracy of the Word of God. There are even those in the Church who have attempted to blend these two opposing worldviews by claiming that there is no contradiction between evolutionary theory and the Bible through compromising the clear teaching of Scripture to accommodate academia’s popular view of the origin of the world.

As a consequence of the clash of the two opposing worldviews and the confusion that is being spread in the attempt to syncretize these worldviews, there are many questions that need to be answered, including the following:

1. Could God have used evolution over long periods of time starting with the simplest forms of life in order to bring about the diversity and complexity of the various species that we see in the world around us today?

2. Has science proven that there are errors in the Bible’s chronology in its account of the origin of the created cosmos—particularly in regard to the book of Genesis?

3. Is it enough to uphold the belief that God is the Creator of the time-space-matter continuum without adhering to a literal interpretation of Genesis?

4. What specifically does the Bible teach about the beginning of the created world?

In order to answer these questions, we will be looking to the inspired Holy Word of God to ensure that our thinking is set aright and that we are basing our conclusions on God’s truth and not on man’s fallible opinions. We know that God’s Word is always true and that we can stake everything on what is taught in Holy Scripture.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Changing Shape--Month 4

Here is the next installment of "See How She Grows", taken at about 16 weeks. I should have worn something else, as the difference is not quite as noticeable in this outfit. But, there are hardly any of my normal clothes I can get into anymore! I am still planning on sewing a few things.....but at the rate I get stuff like that done, I will be out of everything I own, with nothing that fits to put on. That would put me into quite a quandry! Anyone know of a couple great maternity dress and skirt patterns? I would like pretty, long, and not too difficult to sew--if that is not asking too much! I am willing to guess that Lady Victoria has an idea or two for me, marvel seamstress that she is.

Vicki? :-)


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pajamas for Aidan

To appease the masses who have been hounding me about my braided rug, I will show what I have been up to. It is not the rug, but I have been busy with more important handiwork:

Warm flannel pajamas for my Aidan! Finding pajamas in stores that we can actually approve is a rather daunting task. There is nothing suitable out there. So, Aidan chose these two fabrics (green with lizards, blue with soccer balls) some months ago. They have been sitting in my sewing "stuff" for quite awhile, with me never getting around to making them. I finally got past the overwhelming fatigue of early pregnancy, and then the busyness of Christmas, and could sit down and get them done.
The pattern is from a boys sewing instruction book called Buckles and Bobbins. The pattern is very easy to follow, and since I have made so many of these pajamas (winter and summer versions) for both boys, it went quickly. I did not have to study the instructions for 20 minutes at a time to figure out what on earth they are telling me to do! I have that happen with some patterns!
Am I off the hook for the time-being on the rug? I do have some nightgowns for Amara yet to make, as well as finishing a dress I started for her, and I would also like to sew some maternity dresses (from where?) since they are also impossible to find in a long length. Busy, busy, busy. Poor unfinished rug.