Posts Tagged ‘Divine Revelation’

You don’t have to look very hard in the New Testament to find the word ‘faith’—it’s literally everywhere.  In fact, we are assured in Hebrews 11:6 that, without it, it is impossible to please God, which means that it is obviously very important.  However, it has been my experience that Christians often fail to understand the true nature of the faith that God requires of us.  Consider the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1:  A young boy wakes up on a cold winter morning in a small South Dakota town.  Excitedly, he pulls back the curtains of his bedroom window to reveal a winter wonderland outside, with the first snowfall of the year having blanketed everything in sight.  He throws on his boots, trousers, coat, and scarf and then grabs his bobsled as he makes his way to the freshly frozen lake out behind his house.  He approaches the lake at a full sprint and, without a second thought, throws his sled down onto the ice and jumps, outstretched, on top of it with a squeal of delight.

Scenario 2:  The same young boy awakes on the same snowy morning.  He dons his winter wear, and grabs his sled.  As he approaches the freshly frozen lake behind his house, he notices the tire tracks from his dad’s 2.5 ton pickup truck stretching from the driveway of their home all the way out across the frozen lake to the other side, where his father is gathering a load of fresh firewood for their home.  With confidence, he gleefully runs out onto the ice and begins his fun-filled day of bobsledding.

Now, in both scenarios, the boy had faith in the ice on the lake and its ability to hold him and his sled.  The difference is, the faith exercised in the first scenario was an unjustified or blind faith, as there was no rational reason for the boy to trust that the ice could hold him.  Sure, he believed that it would, but there was no real justification for his belief. However, in the second scenario, the boy was exercising justifiable faith.  That is, he had a very good reason for believing that the ice would hold him and for subsequently acting upon that belief by stepping out onto it.  The tracks, indicating that his father’s much larger and heavier vehicle had successfully been supported by the ice, gave him a logical justification for his assumption that it would also hold him.  That is the same type of faith that God calls us to exercise with regards to trusting Him and His Word.  Consider Romans 1:18-20:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

According to these verses, God has clearly revealed Himself to all mankind such that we are without excuse for denying Him. That is, the ‘tracks’ He has left for us via both His natural and special revelation, not only justify our faith in Him, they demand it.  As such, Christianity is not a blind leap into the dark unknown, but rather, it is a confident step onto a sure foundation of Truth that has been established and revealed by God in such a way that we can know with certainty who He is and that His Word is true.  This is why the Apostle Paul could confidently declare in 2 Timothy 2:12—

 ……nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

The foundation of God is indeed a sure one. It is not shameful to trust in Him—it is shameful not to. May God help us to trust Him more and to build up ourselves on our most holy faith!

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It’s no secret that the foundational truths of the Christian Faith are under intense attack today, with the primary target being the credibility and authority of the very Word of God.  Nowhere is this more evident than with regards to the very first book of the Bible–Genesis.  Due to widespread acceptance of evolution as a proven fact (which it is not), many Christians have been made to believe that it is necessary to reinterpret Genesis 1:1-2 in a myriad of different ways to allow for millions or billions of years in the Creation account.  What most do not realize, however, is that, in doing so, they are unwittingly abandoning the authority and truth of the Bible in favor of the opinions and ideas of fallible man (yes, scientists are human too and are not unbiased in their reasoning about these issues!) in the process.

This compromise leads to a whole host of problems, as once the door is opened, the opening never gets smaller—only larger. After all, if Genesis can be reinterpreted to fit the beliefs of man, why not reinterpret other areas of Scripture as well (such as those which forbid homosexuality, for instance) if that’s what people want to do to fit their personal preferences, lifestyles, or individual bias?  The results of abandoning God’s Word as one’s Ultimate Authority are devastating, as we are witnessing in our culture today.  Remove the foundation of any structure, and you can be sure that it will ultimately collapse.  This is the reason that there is such pressure today from the world to force these secular philosophies (or dare I say, religions?) upon people in general, and especially Christians.  Once an evolutionary mindset is adopted (even inadvertently), one must forsake a straightforward, literal approach to the Scriptures and the game begins of trying to make the Word of God fit our beliefs, rather than adjusting our beliefs to fit the revealed Words of Almighty God.  This is the same tactic satan introduced in the garden of Eden (also in Genesis….!), when he subtly said to Eve: “Yea, hath God said…?“.   Once we lay aside God’s Word as our final Authority, we (like Adam and Eve) become highly susceptible to the pervasive lies and deceptions that permeate the world today.  Consider the very relevant question posed by the psalmist in Psalms 11:3.  He asks:

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

Our only hope is to unapologetically return to the Romans 3 verse 4 mentality of ‘let God be true, but every man a liar’.  That is, letting God’s Word have the final say in all areas of our lives including how we interpret the world around us.  I’d like to show you what that looks like.  A while back, I came across an article on a Christian website which was authored by a well-meaning, professing Christian named Brandon.  In his article, he argues for the position that the earth is indeed billions of years old and even cited several Biblical references (out of context ) to support his position that a large gap of time should be inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 (commonly referred to as the ‘gap theory’), in order to make the Bible harmonize with ‘scientific’ (read: evolutionary) theory.  I posted a response to him back then in hopes of gently exposing and correcting the error of this line of reasoning.  I am reposting that response here in hopes that this may also serve to aid others as they prayerfully consider and think through this crucial issue.  Here is my response to Brandon (with minor alterations for better readability):


Hi Brandon! I am new to this site and just ran across your article. You have certainly done a lot of work and research in compiling the information you have posted. I commend you for your desire for truth, as that is the mark of a Christian and is something that should grow more intense in us as we grow in the Lord. With that said, I am a born again Christian who happens to hold to the position that the earth is indeed around 6,000 years old based upon God’s revelation of the Creation account in Genesis and elsewhere in the Bible. For many years, I believed and even taught that the earth was millions/billions of years old based upon my erroneous understanding of the Scriptures which resulted from attempting to force my own (and others’) preconceived notions about this subject on various texts (including many of the same ones that you listed above) to make them fit my belief, rather than allowing the Bible to dictate to me what my belief(s) should be regarding this issue. I have come to realize that this is a terrible mistake to make, as doing so only results in the compromising of the Authority of Scripture (often inadvertently) in the process. Please consider the following:

1)  In your article, you cite 2 Peter 3:6 as evidence of an old earth, and the existence of a race of humans prior to Adam and Eve, due to Peter’s usage of the phrase ‘the world that then was’. However, just before this in 2 Peter 2:5, we see that Peter’s reference to an ‘old world’ (same meaning) directly alludes to that which was destroyed at the time of Noah’s flood and we are told that God ‘spared’ it not (i.e. he destroyed it), but saved Noah. There is no logical (or Biblical) basis for attempting to force a different meaning upon the phrase ‘the world that then was’ in 2 Peter 3:6, as this is simply a reiteration of what Peter was just speaking about (i.e. the race of humans and the societal structure destroyed by Noah’s flood) a few verses before, with the fact that Noah and his family survived being a given.  

2)  Exodus 20:11 plainly tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas, ‘and all that in them is’ in 6 literal days. We know the days were literal days, because each day consisted of a morning and an evening (Genesis Chapter 1). I am aware of the arguments which try to make the Hebrew word for day (i.e. yom) mean ‘an indefinite amount of time’. However, those arguments are easily refuted in that Adam was created on day 6 and lived through the remainder of that day and then all of day 7 (and beyond). If the word ‘yom’ means millions or billions of years here, then Adam would have to have been muuuuuuuch older when he died than the 930 years of age the Bible tells us he was.  Also, it is inconsistent to try to force this meaning upon the word ‘yom’ in Genesis, but then interpret the same word to mean a literal day elsewhere in the Bible (such as in the book of Joshua when we are told that Israel marched around the city of Jericho for 7 ‘yoms’). No one interprets this to mean anything other than literal days, yet many do so with the passages in Genesis describing the days of creation in order to ‘make’ it mean something different than what it says due to their presuppositions (i.e. already held beliefs) about the age of the earth.  

3)  Your arguments using Jeremiah Chapter 4 would be invalidated by Exodus 20:11, since we know that ALL of creation took place in just 6 days, with no ‘Gap’ in between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 to allow for a separate ‘age’ or race of humans prior to Adam and Eve. When Jeremiah speaks of there being no man present, it is a description of what one would have seen during Noah’s flood. At this point, it is already understood and is taken for granted (based upon earlier revelation) that Noah and his family survived IN the ark, but the rest of humanity was completely destroyed OUTSIDE of the ark, which is clearly what is being described here (if we take the text at face value).  Jeremiah’s vision is entirely consistent with the promised and fulfilled aftermath of Noah’s flood described in Genesis 6:13, 6:17, 7:4, & 7:22-23, as these verses repeatedly use the imagery of total destruction in their description of that event.  

4)  In order for there to have existed cities before Adam and Eve, there would have also had to have existed people before them as well. This means that death would have also existed prior to Adam and Eve if God destroyed the ‘first world’ and everyone in it. This is contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches about the existence of death and its origin through Adam (Rom. 5:12-17, 1 Cor. 15:21-22). There is no Biblical basis whatsoever for assuming that death existed before Adam sinned and brought God’s curse upon the earth and humanity.  

5) You said in your article: “In closing, I hope it has become apparent to you that the earth is not merely 6,000 years old, but that it is billions of years old as science tells us.”

This is a very telling statement, and is really the crux of the issue at hand. One of the primary reasons that I have seen for people teaching an ‘old’ earth is to somehow try to make the Bible conform to what scientists tell us about the age of the earth. In other words, the word of scientists is held above the authority of Scripture, which is reinterpreted (again, often inadvertently) to fit man’s opinion of what happened in the unobserved and unobservable past, rather than taking the text at face value as an eyewitness account from the One who was there—God. This is very dangerous, as many of those scientists who advocate an old earth do so due to their presuppositions that God’s Word is not true and that God doesn’t exist. Instead, they begin with a purely naturalistic/ evolutionary worldview and then interpret all evidence via that worldview, which leads them to faulty conclusions based upon faulty assumptions (e.g. no global flood ever happened during the time of Noah, etc.). These faulty assumptions are also present in many of the dating methods (i.e. radiometric and Carbon-14 dating) used to ‘prove’ that the earth is very old. Since the data is interpreted through faulty assumptions, the conclusions about the data are also faulty.

You see, if we should reinterpret the Creation account in Genesis based upon the word of fallible scientists and their beliefs about the past, then should we also reinterpret the resurrection account of Jesus as well, since these same people would also tell us that men do not rise from the dead after three days and then walk through walls? What about the other accounts in the Bible which they would reject, such as Balaam’s talking donkey, the floating ax head, the parting of the Red Sea, the talking serpent, etc.–should we reinterpret those texts as well to mean something different than what they say if the consensus is that they are impossible due to the naturalistic worldview held by certain scientists? Of course not!

When we begin with the Word of God as our ultimate authority and base our interpretation of evidence and our subsequent conclusions about the world around us solely on the revealed truths of Scripture, we find that there is overwhelming evidence to support a young earth (especially in light of the knowledge of a global flood during Noah’s day which caused drastic change to the face of the earth via rapid erosion and geological processes in just a short amount of time). Brandon, I understand the extreme pressures to conform to the majority’s way of thinking on these issues so that we can avoid potential ridicule for holding to what amounts to a highly unpopular position (mostly because of the widespread acceptance of evolution as a proven fact, which it is not), but we must remember that Christianity itself is an unpopular position in the world. Jesus told us that we can expect the world to hate us because of our allegiance to Him and to the Word of God as our ultimate authority. In other words, we shouldn’t be expecting to win any popularity contests when we stand for Christ and the truth of the Bible.

I encourage you to give these issues some serious thought and to realize that, as Christians, we need not compromise the Word of God based upon the opinions and erroneous thinking of man. Instead, the Word of God must have the final say in every area of our lives, with regards to our thinking, and how we view the world around us (Rom. 3:4). When we begin with God’s Word as our sole foundation, we will always be on the side of truth and need not be concerned about being in the minority. There are numerous resources available that you can take a look at if you’d like. I for one have found the Answers in Genesis website to be extremely informative and helpful in thinking through these issues. Take care and God Bless!

I was recently engaged in a very lively debate, regarding the validity of the Christian worldview vs. non-Christian worldviews, over at Debate.org.  Believe it or not, a very simple challenge, put forth to those who hold to worldviews which deny the God of the Bible, turned into a discussion thread of over 800 comments (well above the norm)!  I have included the link to the discussion for anyone who is interested in seeing how non-Christians fared when asked to account for the most basic, fundamental concepts (i.e. logic, truth, knowledge, the foundation of the scientific method, etc.), required for making sense of the world around us, in their worldview.  Warning: it ain’t pretty!

http://www.debate.org/forums/Religion/topic/55783/

NOTE: What you’ll notice in these types of discussions is that those who deny God and the truth of the Bible will always ultimately be reduced to ‘vain and foolish’ reasoning, just like Scripture states (Romans 1:18-22, I Corinthians 1:19-20).  In particular, notice how the unbelievers’ positions are always shown to be based upon nothing more than blind-faith and mere opinion, having no logical foundation whatsoever upon which to rest.  As I always enjoy pointing out, that is the very definition of an irrational (and, therefore, untrue) position.  The more familiar Christians become with these arguments, the easier it is to then (hopefully gently) expose the errors in the unbeliever’s reasoning and to pull down the ‘intellectual strongholds’ that prevent them from considering and, subsequently, receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Remember, no one will receive with their heart what their mind rejects as false, making the mandate of 2 Corinthians 10:5 especially relevant to us today:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I welcome your thoughts.

For anyone who’s interested, here are the links to a few recent online discussions/debates I’ve had with professing atheists that you may find informative (WARNING:  A few instances of profanity and rude language from the atheists):

http://amusingnonsense.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/this-is-awkward/#comments

 

http://hessianwithteeth.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/why-christians-need-to-stop-telling-atheists-to-read-the-bible/#comments

 

http://hessianwithteeth.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/why-i-cant-agree-with-the-bible-leviticus-part-2/#comments

 

https://christianammunition.com/2014/06/25/how-to-be-an-atheist/#comments

 

https://christianammunition.com/2014/05/07/questions-for-the-evolutionist/#comments

 

http://agnophilo.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/questions-for-the-evolutionist/#comments

 

It is truly astounding to know that the God of heaven and earth has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind such that we can know for certain who He is.  One of the ways that He has done this is through the special revelation of His inspired Word–the Bible.  Without a doubt, the Bible is unlike any other book ever written and it is important for us to not only understand THAT it is different, but also WHY it is different.  First of all, the Bible is unique among other so-called ‘holy books’, as it alone meets the criteria of a true objective Revelation in that it can be freely examined by all, corresponds with reality, makes sense of the necessary preconditions of human intelligibility (such as knowledge, truth, logic, morality, and the uniformity of nature), and is internally consistent (i.e. doesn’t contradict itself).  The very fact that God used fallible people to produce an infallible work is, itself, a feat worthy of awe, especially when we consider the fact that the Bible was written over a period of about 1,500 years, by approximately 40 different authors, yet their writings agree in perfect harmony!  To put into perspective just how miraculous this is, consider the following story:

One Friday night, four teenagers went out for a ride around their town.  They had so much fun that they lost track of time and accidentally kept one of the teens out past his curfew.  Afraid that he would get in trouble, they decided that they would simply tell the boy’s dad that they had had a flat tire and that was the reason why they were late getting him home; problem solved!  Thick as thieves, they all went in to face the boy’s father together as the teen meticulously recited the concocted story to his dad.  When asked if it was true, the other three enthusiastically affirmed that it was.  “Well,” said the dad, “I guess that settles it, then.”  The boys all breathed a sigh of relief.  “One more thing, though,” they heard the dad say as he handed each of them a pen and a scrap of paper, “I want each of you to write down WHICH tire was flat.”

Now, what do you suppose the odds are that all four boys will write down the exact same thing, on the very first try (without any prior discussion of this detail)?  Yet, that’s exactly what we find with the Bible:  God got it right the first time!  He has delivered His message completely intact via those forty or so inspired individuals (many of whom never met or spoke to one another) who lived at different times in history, resided in different geographical regions, and were from varying social and economic backgrounds.  In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, it’s as if this entire book was written by the hand of the same author; because ultimately it was—God’s!

In addition, we find that the Bible is also historically, scientifically, and prophetically accurate, which is exactly what one would expect from an omniscient, omnipotent God.  Let’s elaborate:

Historically Accurate:  The Bible provides factual, verifiable historical records of real people, places, and events.  Because of its precise and detailed accounts, it is relied upon more than any other book in antiquity to aid in locating artifacts and relics from ancient civilizations.  Even among secular archeologists, the general consensus is that if the Bible says something is at a particular location, it’s there.  This is something that time has only served to confirm again and again as new archeological finds constantly serve to validate the truth of the Bible.

Scientifically Accurate:  As we would expect, the Bible is not only scientifically accurate, it also contains many scientific facts that were revealed by God long before they were ever discovered by man.  Here are a few:

  • At a time when most people (including the scientific community of the day) were convinced that the earth was flat, the Bible declares, in Isaiah 40:22, that God sits upon the ‘circle (sphere) of the earth’ about 3,000 years BEFORE Columbus made his famous voyage around the world.
  • Thousands of years before NASA successfully sent man into orbit around our planet, the Bible alludes to the earth’s free float in outer space, with no visible means of support.  In Job  26:7 we are told that God hangs the earth on NOTHING.
  • Long before the modern telescope gave man true insight to the vastness of the universe, the Bible reveals in Genesis 15:5 and Hebrews 11:12 that the stars of the heavens are innumerable, at a time when only about 1,100 stars could be seen with the naked eye.
  • Inspired by the phrase ‘paths of the seas’ in Psalms 8:8,  famous oceanographer, Matthew Maury, began to study old ships’ logs.  From his studies, he compiled data of ocean-wind and sea currents and was later able to develop this data into charts of the ocean currents—the ‘paths’ of the seas—which greatly aided the science of marine navigation.
  • Only in recent times has washing one’s hands in running water and the quarantine of the sick become a standard practice for those in the medical profession.  Untold lives could have been saved over the years had people only read their Bibles, as these practices are specifically advocated all the way back in Leviticus.

Prophetically Accurate:  Not surprisingly, one of the ways in which God demonstrates the authenticity of His Word is through the accurate foretelling of future events.  Since only God knows the future, fulfilled prophecy is powerful proof of Divine Inspiration.  However, we should also remember God’s standard of accuracy for prophecy is 100%.  Anything less and we can be assured that what was spoken did not come from God, and that the person who made the prediction is a false prophet.   The Bible contains some 2,500 prophecies, about 2000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter with no errors, while  the remaining 500 or so reach into the future and may be seen unfolding as days go by.  Here are but a few of the fulfilled prophecies we find in the Bible:

  • Some time before 500 B.C. the prophet Daniel proclaimed that Israel’s long-awaited Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25-26). He further predicted that the Messiah would be “cut off,” killed, and that this event would take place prior to a second destruction of Jerusalem. Abundant documentation shows that these prophecies were perfectly fulfilled in the life (and crucifixion) of Jesus Christ
  • In approximately 700 B.C. the prophet Micah named the tiny village of Bethlehem as the birthplace of Israel’s Messiah (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Christ is one of the most widely known and widely celebrated facts in history.
  • In the fifth century B.C. a prophet named Zechariah declared that the Messiah would be betrayed for the price of a slave—thirty pieces of silver, according to Jewish law-and also that this money would be used to buy a burial ground for Jerusalem’s poor foreigners (Zechariah 11:12-13). Bible writers and secular historians both record thirty pieces of silver as the sum paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus, and they indicate that the money went to purchase a “potter’s field,” used—just as predicted—for the burial of poor aliens (Matthew 27:3-10).
  • Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10).

Countless other examples of detailed, fulfilled Biblical prophecies could be provided here, including those pertaining to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his predicted lineage from the tribe of Judah as a descendant of David, and other specific details of the events surrounding His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead.  By contrast, the Muslim Koran contains NO fulfilled prophecies and the Book of Mormon even contains false prophecies (such as citing Jerusalem as the birth place of Jesus instead of Bethlehem, along with other contradictory claims and accounts).   As the Word of God, the Bible stands alone as the only source of Divinely revealed Truth in the universe.  It is, therefore, no surprise that it has been the object of ongoing satanic attack over the years to attempt to destroy and discredit it.  However, those who have voiced even the most vehement opposition to the Bible in ages past are now lying silent in their graves, while the irrefutable truth of God’s Word still speaks and its mighty power lives on.  John Clifford’s poem, ‘The Anvil of God’s Word’,  is a fitting tribute to that fact:

“Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door, And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;

Then looking in, I saw upon the floor, Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“‘How many anvils have you had,’ said I, ‘To wear and batter all these hammers so?’

‘Just one,’ said he, and then with twinkling eye, ‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.’

“And so, I thought, the Anvil of God’s Word For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard, The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever… 1 Peter 1:25