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Sunday, April 04, 2010 | Comments (55)

Evolution was introduced as an atheistic alternative to the biblical view of creation. According to evolution, man created God rather than vice versa. The evolutionists' ultimate agenda is to eliminate faith in God altogether and thereby do away with moral accountability.

Intuition suggests a series of questions to the human mind when we contemplate our origin: Who is in control of the universe? Is there Someone who is sovereign—a Lawgiver? Is there a universal Judge? Is there a transcendent moral standard to live by? Is there Someone to whom we will be accountable? Will there be a final assessment of how we live our lives? Will there be any final judgment?

Those are the very questions evolution was invented to avoid.

Evolution was devised to explain away the God of the Bible—not because evolutionists really believed a Creator was unnecessary to explain how things began, but because they did not want the God of Scripture as their Judge. Marvin L. Lubenow writes,

The real issue in the creation/evolution debate is not the existence of God. The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are responsible to him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of sinful humans. For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable. (Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, 188-89).

To put it simply, evolution was invented in order to eliminate the God of Genesis and thereby to oust the Lawgiver and obliterate the inviolability of His law. Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences.

It's important to remember that evolutionary theories (e.g., favorable mutation, millions of years) did not arise from honest scientific inquiry—evolution is science with an agenda. Evolution began and continues in rebellion against the Creator, ignoring the Lawgiver and dethroning the Judge. Even its science is afloat on a sea of irrationality, supported only by the murky depths of contradiction and speculation.

Many professing and influential Christians are ignoring that evidence these days—i.e., the origins of evolution—when they encourage us to harmonize evolutionary theory with the Bible. Why surrender the ground to unlawful rebels? Why dialogue with the enemy about this? Why give the interloper a voice?

There are far too many who claim Christ's name but are not delighted with His law; they are not content to meditate on God's Word day and night. Rather, they are intimidated by the counsel of the wicked (evolutionary theory), are attracted to the way of sinners (desire for relevance and academic credibility), and are longing for the seat of scoffers (positions of respect and influence). Try as they may, there's no dethroning the Judge; they'll meet Him one day.


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#1  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Sunday, April 04, 2010at 2:34 PM

Amen and amen. Thank you for making that important distinction by identifying them as “professing” Christians and those who claim Christ’s name. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not…’ “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:22, 23). Notice that they emphatically called Him Lord. Notice also that our Master did not say that there would be a few or some but that He said many.

If anyone does not love the Lord let him be accursed (1 Corinthians 16:22). Love and obedience to our Master is not optional. We love because He first loved us 1 John 4:19. We obey Him because He has taken away our heart of stone and has given us a heart of flesh and causes us to walk in His statutes and makes us careful to observe His ordinances (Ezekiel 11:19, 20, and Ezekiel 36:26, 27). “Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1) “…but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews12:10b). Let us worship our Lord in the beauty of Holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29 KJV) for He is worthy. He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Oh, what a glorious Master and Savior He is. Amen? -His Unworthy Slave

#2  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, April 04, 2010at 8:58 PM

“For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable. … To put it simply, evolution was invented in order to eliminate the God of Genesis and thereby to oust the Lawgiver and obliterate the inviolability of His law.”How true! I read these blogs & keep thinking about Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” FEAR OF THE LORD! Recent GTY blogs have discussed some of the current integrity problems facing Christians, issues with Fellowship, Doctrine, the definition of true believers & faithful doctrine, the cause of moral decline,… and it seems to boil down to this: DO WE REALLY FEAR GOD? So I ask, do these people - those Christian educators who embrace evolution, those preachers & evangelical leaders who signed the Manhattan Declaration & accept & preach watered-down theology, etc. - do they REALLY FEAR GOD? Do they seriously think they can justify to Him WHY they have rejected His absolute word & instead accepted something less? I just know I would not want to be in their shoes on Judgment Day! I read Job & see how God silence him by simply declaring all of His power & creative accomplishments, and asked, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) And “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (Job 40:2) Certainly it is UNCOMFORTABLE to FEAR GOD. And for some, it is UNCOMFORTABLE to accept something as fact without fully understanding it, but we also know that “Without FAITH it is impossible to please God.” It is a requirement in the equation of our relationship to God: FEAR + FAITH. Remember how satan deceived Eve in the Garden? Did he not cause her to doubt God’s word? To doubt God’s Authority? To remove her FEAR OF GOD & His CONSEQUENCE/JUDGMENT of death for disobedience? The Judge pronounces Judgment. Removing God from the equation, removes the FEAR of GOD from the equation, which removes the fear of the consequences. And satan delights in hiding the consequences from us.

#3  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, April 05, 2010at 5:54 AM

We agree people want to deny the existence of God…because they want to eliminate the Author & Judge of ALL! If God is the Creator & Author of ALL, then He & He ALONE has the right to dictate law & implement judgment. (Sovereignty) But how many people deny the existence of satan? Many, including some who call themselves Christians! To what end? They deny satan because….?

· To believe there is an adversary to God would also mean there is punishment, which they just can’t face? Too many people don’t want to be punished. Just like too many people who call themselves Christians because they don’t want to go to hell – so they “accept” Jesus as their Savior, however, they are unwilling to “accept” Him as their Lord.

· They don’t want to believe anyone else is directing their ways? They want to be fully in control of their lives (this is satan-like, NOT Christ-like!)

· They feel they are “good” in & of themselves, enough to “please God” & be accepted by Him?

· They deny there is an inner struggle taking place between the Holy Spirit drawing us toward God & teaching us to be like Christ, while the evil adversary is drawing us away from God, leading us astray at every turn?

Why does this debate keep going back to Genesis & why is it so important? Because it establishes the foundations of existence: there is a Creator & Author of Life Who is therefore the justified Lawgiver & Judge. Also, Genesis exposes God’s nemesis who seeks to undermine God’s authority. I don’t wish to give satan more attention than is due him, but to deny his existence is also detrimental to our sanctifying walk with God! We are at war, daily. To deny that is to wear blinders, which is what the evolutionists choose to do.

#4  Posted by Mary Downey  |  Monday, April 05, 2010at 11:59 AM

Thank you at getting at the REAL issues of evolution and atheism. Since the beginning man and Satan have wanted to be their own god. Problem is we are unable to. God does such a good job and I have tons of joy when I see him working in my life in many ways. Living His way is the best way.

#5  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Monday, April 05, 2010at 1:10 PM

Though evolutionary theory is recent, this straying from God in the pursuit of human advancement is not new (Jeremiah 2:1-13). But, the result is the same. God's people, which used to be closely tied to Him, no longer ask or think in His direction. When we stop relying on Him, He will cause our alliances to fail. If this is inevitable, the WISE thing to do is to take Him at His word - to give God all the credit, all the glory (John 11:40).

#6  Posted by Paterson Thomas  |  Monday, April 05, 2010at 2:09 PM

Evolution is idolatry which is a violation of the First Commandment. The bible declares, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalms 9:17

#7  Posted by Michael Epp  |  Monday, April 05, 2010at 7:52 PM

It is true that the things that we believe and the things that we cling to reveal what is at the bottom of our hearts. If we seek the truth, it is evidence that we desire to have God speak about us that, "they want Me to be the Lord over them", but for those who embrace what the world thinks and the embraces that corruption in the world because of evil desire, and the doctrines like evolution and the teachings of Nietchze, then it is evidence that down in the deeps of thier hearts they say, "we do not want God to be the Lord".

#8  Posted by John Joseph  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 4:58 AM

I think it is important to also recognize the indoctrinational effects of evolution. Watching Ray Comfort witness to folks while asking them how evolution occured, and in turn noting their uninformed, and incoherent answers that are spattered with "i don't know's" it is obvious that tons and tons of people don't even understand the lie they have been fed. While it is appropriate to say that many of these have turned their backs on God, we also must continue to witness and feed information to those who believe in evolution. If you take a typical 22-year old who believes in evolution they have been taught secular science in public schools since they were in 3rd grade! So while they have turned their backs on God and are due the punishment we need to constantly feed them information, they aren't going to change their minds overnight. If you are talking to someone about creation v. evolution and they don't change their mind right away please don't sit back and quote Romans 1:18-32, or any such verse. Give them time and continue to work with them and talk to them and trust that the Lord will work also. This is a lie that runs very deep, and so needs much work to overcome.

#9  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 7:48 AM

John Joseph...be careful. Those same people who can't explain evolution don't know who George Washington was, or what was significant about the battle of Gettysburg...etc. The average Joe in this day and age, sad to say, is pretty ignorant because they choose to be.

The problem is, evolution is the Bible-believers tin can they can kick down the road easily...The stars, in my opinion, are a lot harder to kick. The fact is if we have ANY ability to measure things in this universe, the Andromeda galaxy is 2 million light years away...How did this happen??? Even Answers in Genesis etc accept this to be the case...This leads the "apparent age" problem of the universe. It looks old. Some hand wave and say, "well, Adam was an adult when he was made", but that simply skirts the issue. A LOT of science can be done by looking at the light that is coming from distant galaxies and stars, etc...it is not just that God filled in the space with photons of light, etc...Something IS happening out there that challenges a lot of our traditional assumptions...

To me this challenge works both ways. Creationists too often want to ignore science and say it all has to match up with THEIR intepretation of the Genesis creation. Theological evolutionists put too much trust in science, and the agnostic/atheist is simply deceived and blind.

#10  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 10:52 AM

Dear Mark (#9),

Your argument would be more persuasive if you used Scripture. I don't believe you can harmonize YOUR interpretation without it.

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 11:09 AM

Mark,

"but that simply skirts the issue", "it is not just that God filled in the space with photons of light"

Can you explain how the supernatural miraculous activity by God in Genesis 1 "skirts the issue"? Either you accept that what happened in creation was a miracle with no natural explanation, or you deny that it was a miracle.

If you met the man with the formerly-withered-hand and studied his now normal hand to figure out how Jesus restored it, would you consider it "skirting the issue" if Jesus said, "Hey, I did that by my creative power... there is no natural explanation"?

Science does in fact challenge traditional assumptions. Science challenges the supernatural work of God because it can't accept the miraculous. You either accept God's power and His explanation, or you accept science. You either assume God can do what He said He did, or you assume he can't or didn't. Science challenges the traditionally assumed reliability of God's word and God's work.

To the scientist, any entrance of God into the equation "skirts the issue".

I have appreciated your previous posts and participation, and I am interested to read your response.

#12  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 11:09 AM

Randy, what is the problem? That Andromeda galaxy is 2 million light years away? That is merely an observation...If you deny that, then you reject our ability as humans to measure distances...

Here is what I mean. If you say that God created the universe already large, and put Andromeda galaxy 2 million light years away, and then created a stream of photons to travel the 2 million light years distance, then you NO LONGER CAN USE OBSERVATION IN ANY WAY TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE...that is the consequence of that particular belief.

You'll notice the physicists at AiG and CRI etc reject this notion of a stream of photons idea, and try to come up with scientific explanations of an expanding universe or decaying speed of light, etc...

As for scripture, God chose to not reveal how large the universe is in the Bible...He just said He made it in 6 days...When then EXTRAPOLATE a POSSIBLE age...

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 11:14 AM

"NO LONGER CAN USE OBSERVATION IN ANY WAY TO SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE"

Really? Does a mature created universe make it impossible to determine the distance between objects, the expansion, how many planets there are, what they are made of, etc., etc., etc? I'm not sure how that's the case. What it does deny the scientist is the ability to determine the age of the universe. Right or wrong?

 

#14  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 11:36 AM

Gabriel, I perhaps OVERSTATED some. I think parallax measurements would still be valid, or any luminosity measurement out to the age of the universe in light years...

Here is why. We measure the distance to very far objects like Andromeda galaxy by looking at the light output of a special class of stars called Cepheid variables. These are stars that cycle in brightness on a regular pattern that relates VERY WELL to the absolute luminosity (or brightness) of the star. Now, if we know exactly how much light an object puts off, and measure how bright it appears to us, then we can infer how far away it is ( the brightness decreases with the square of the distance).

If God "monkeyed" with the light to make the Universe appear older than it "appears", then this measurement is no longer valid. The assumptions are all wrong. Why would the light necessarily match up with what it should be??? The light did NOT travel 2 million light years to get to us...so how do I know how far away Andromeda galaxy is? I no longer can tell from luminosity measurements...

In the tree ring analogy, we know trees since creation lay down rings. So rings tell us the age of a tree, but it works ONLY on trees born SINCE day 3. Trees made on day 3 had rings implanted in them that DO NOT CONNECT with age (right...if the standard young earth model is accepted). So rings only work to tell us about tree age for post-creation trees...Likewise, light from stars would be unreliable to tell us about distance, since that light we see DIDN'T travel 2 million years to get to us from Andromeda galaxy...I then wonder JUST HOW FAR AWAY ANDROMEDA IS since I no longer have a distance measurement...

#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 11:58 AM

Thanks for that explanation, Mark. If I may, let me ask a question and I'm hoping it'll take us down a productive path of discussion.

Your explanation about determining the distance of the stars included factors such as brightness (luminosity and appearance), pulsing brightness of special stars. Then you concluded saying that if it isn't as old as it looks, then the distance is wrong. Can you explain how the age of the galaxy factors into the distance? Because your paragraph explaining how we determine the distance didn't mention the age factor.

#16  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:09 PM

If I read your question right, you are aking how distance relates to age...

Well, if from the brightness of a variable star I think it is 2 million light years away, then in standard astrophysics I say the light traveled 2 million years from source to me. The option you propose (in a mature universe model) is God somehow created the Andromeda galaxy far away, and then created a stream of photons to me so that I can see it even though it is farther away than light from Andromeda can get to me since creation about 6000 years ago...The problem is the light I see is not connected to the actual distance...my assumption of apparent brightness compared to absolute brightness is no longer valid, like the assumption of tree rings telling me age for ~6000 year old trees...

#17  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:12 PM

"my assumption of apparent brightness compared to absolute brightness is no longer valid"

Wait... so there is assumption involved? Or is there a way to know for certain what the absolute brightness is?

#18  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:14 PM

Plus you get into the problem that IF God created light to make apparent stars or galaxies, then for stars farther away than the age of the young universe, this light is "fake"...it doesn't represent light from the real object. It is instead a cartoon...The universe is then a fancy, detailed cartoon...is that rational?

#19  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:16 PM

"is that rational?"

I don't know... is creation of everthing from nothing rational? Is eternity rational? Is God's omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience rational?

#20  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:18 PM

Well, using standard astrophysics, and tying distances to things like parallax (which works for closer stars), then we can track a connection between absolute brightness and pulsation in Cepheid variables. We do this for close Cepheid variables to get the relationship, and then apply it to farther ones to use as a farther distance ladder.

If you think the universe is only < 10,000 years old, then all of this starts to breakdown because the light you see for a star 20,000 light years away isn' the "real" light...That is what I meant by assumption...

#21  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:19 PM

OK..Gabriel. We have arrived at my point...we CANNOT then determine distance from observation in your model...QED.

#22  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:36 PM

Ok, I think I get it. Correct me if I understand incorrectly. If the universe is older than 20,000 years, it is rational to accept that an object is 20,000 light years away because there was enough time for the light to reach us. However, if the universe is less than that, then it is irrational to accept that an object is that far away because the light didn't have enough time to travel here.

Furthermore, if we accept the YEC view, then light that represents 20,000 years isn't real light because it didn't really take 20,000 years to reach earth.

I guess I would respond with a series of questions regarding that last point. Was Adam real since he represented a grown man but he wasn't really a grown man? Was the bread and fish that Jesus distributed in John 6 real bread and fish since it hadn't been grown, harvested, and prepared? Was the wine Jesus made in Cana real wine since it hadn't grown on the vine?

I think you get my point. Everything God created in six days was real. The light from the stars was as real as the light you see from the sun today. This is as rational as God's existence (which I think is quite rational compared to the alternative).

If that is the case (that 6,000-15,000 year old light looks 20,000 years old), does that disable us from knowing the distance? If it does, then maybe the scientist should reconsider his assumptions and procedures, rather than question God's revelation.

#23  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 12:47 PM

"My problem", Mark, is that God is His own Interpreter. After all, it is His truth, whether in the natural or supernatural realm. Why is He excluded from participating in the interpretation?

I'm not trying to rile you up, but I wanted to know how you were approaching things.

#24  Posted by Bebe Atto  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 1:50 PM

Evolution theory is the "Emperor's clothes". If you seek to be accepted and thought of as smart and "cool" you would accept it…for the unregenerate they would accept any fable or any silly irrational philosophy as long as it replaces the Truth of God, their reprobate mind is ready to embrace any thing given, that it doesn't demand moral accountability to the God of the Bible. Dr. R. C. Sproul had it right in the following quotation:" Men and women who refuse to acknowledge God's existence do so, in the final analysis, because it is contrary to their manner of living. They do not want to bow to the moral claims of a holy God on their lives".

#25  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 2:18 PM

Gabriel, I think you have the basic idea, though I only point out to you what I did so you could see the consequence of YEC in the "static" model you suggested. The problem then is astronomy and cosmology are pointless endeavors because there is no direct connection between apparent brightness, red-shift, etc, and distance. If an object "appears" 2 million light years away, how then do I know that it is that far away??

If that is the way God did things, so be it. But why then bother giving some people inquisitive minds?

People are pretty dogmatic about "their" interpretation of Genesis 1-3. I think a literal interpretation of the 6 day creation is solid...but a question I have always had, but never really researched satisfactorally, is how long did Adam live in the garden before the Fall? I think people assume it was a short time, perhaps one day...Why not a billion years? Any ideas?

#26  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 2:26 PM

I think all this argument is silly. The number one reason is, a lot of evidence points TOWARD God (read books like The Case for the Creator, Darwin on Trial, Darwin's Black Box, and about a dozen others whose reference you can find in the first book I mentioned) and despite what most modern scientists think, we don't know enough. Perhaps the nature of light doesn't work exactly how we think. I've heard one theory that light across the universe can actually travel faster because of the "bending" of the universe...indeed if you look at a photo of a galaxy, starlight can appear bent as if through a lens. Perhaps there is more than one kind of light.

In other words, MAN DOES NOT KNOW NEARLY AS MUCH AS HE THINKS HE DOES.

#27  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 2:48 PM

Stacey, thanks for calling my profession silly...that really helps.

#28  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 3:03 PM

Having inquisitive minds doesn't mean we'll be able to answer every question. Sometimes I wonder how a rock formed a certain way... but no amount of research will tell me how rock was formed into the exact shape it is. We know generally how rocks change shape, but not specifically. We can wonder why God chose to save us, and not others, but that is in the mind of God. We can wonder why God created the light before the sources of light, but that is not for us to know. The scientist and the theologian, perhaps more than most people, must remember Deuteronomy 29:29.

The goal of our inquisitive minds is not to answer every question. The goal is to worship God for what we do know, and worship Him for what we don't know.

With regard to Adam, there is no way to know how long exactly he and Eve lived inside the garden. BUT we do know that he lived 100 years before Eve gave birth to Seth (Genesis 5:3). We also know that they had Cain, Abel, and other children (at least one daughter who was Cain's wife) before Seth. Cain and Abel had to be at least teens in Genesis 4, and we don't know how much time passed between the killing of Abel and the birth of Seth. Extrapolating from that data Cain was born no later than when Adam was 70-80 years old (give or take). Of course Cain could have been born when Adam was 9 months old (no earlier for obvious reasons). So the best we can do is say that Adam and Eve lived in the garden anywhere from 2 days to 80 years (2 days because they were created on the 6th day and God rested on the 7th, so they probably would not have sinned until at least the 8th day... though that is highly unlikely).

 

#29  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 3:06 PM

The Bible is it's own interpreter. The problem is, am I reading it right? Pastors and theologians study languages, history, Scripture, etc to know what the Bible says and what it does NOT say.

Where the Bible is silent, we can have opinion, but we need to be careful to be exclusively dogmatic.

So, that leaves room for people to study the way nature, which God created, behaves...and we can learn a lot from it. I don't know about you, but I like fiberoptics, lasers, mp3 players, quantum mechanics so we can build transistors, satellites for weather and communication and the list goes on...

#30  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 3:10 PM

Gabriel, of course. I temporarily forgot that...

Actually, in the "evil" big bang cosmology, there is light before stars...oops, how did that get in there...those wacky scientists.

#31  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 4:27 PM

Mark, then tell the Psalmist in Psalms 119 he had it all wrong! I can refute "the Bible is its own interpreter" from other passages as well, but I will leave you room to do your own study, to find out what the Bible really says and what it does NOT say.

#32  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 5:07 PM

Randy, then send the email to John MacArthur. I took the phrase "the Bible is it's own interpreter" from him. The point is if we are confused about the meaning of a passage, the Bible later on might explain what that passage means. Or, it will perhaps discuss that topic later on in other scripture...no conspiracy here.

#34  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 7:14 PM

I will NOT let the phrase "the Bible is its own interpreter" go unchallenged. The ONLY way that statement can be true is if the Spirit of God is living in the one to whom it is addressed. Since it cannot be true without the Spirit of God, then God has to be His own interpreter. The Bible is a closed book to the unbeliever because the Spirit of God is not in them. (1 Corinthians 2)

Interpretations belong to God.

#35  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 07, 2010at 7:22 PM

Randy,

Unless you are God or you claim infallibility you have just disqualified yourself from interpreting Scripture (based on the statement "Interpretations belong to God").

It is true that infallibility and innerrancy belong to God, but as fallible human beings we must work to interpret Scripture with the aid of the Spirit. And one of the best ways we interpret Scripture is to use Scripture; hence the phrase "the Bible is its own interpreter".

When we say that the Bible is its own interpreter we mean that we can use Exodus 20:11 to interpret Genesis 1. We can use Jesus' affirmation of Old Testament history to interpret the Old Testament literally. When Scripture comments on other portions of Scripture, we must abide by that interpretation, rather than ignoring it and coming up with our own. That's all that is being said.

#36  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Thursday, April 08, 2010at 1:21 AM

No, there is no claim of infallibility, but I do have a guide (John 16:13). I do agree that God makes us work to interpret Scripture, but without the Spirit there is no true understanding no matter how many verses you compare. How else could the Bible say that spiritual things are foolishness to the one who does not have the Spirit of God?

The phrase "interpretations belong to God" is not mine. It came from the testimony of Joseph and Daniel.

#37  Posted by Rick White  |  Thursday, April 08, 2010at 5:14 AM

Mark,

Adam couldn't have lived in the garden for a billion years. Genesis 5:5 says he lived a total of 930 years.

#39  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, April 08, 2010at 8:54 AM

Randy, since you are using Joseph and Daniel to use the phrase "interpretations belong to God," you should note what Joseph and Daniel were referring to, namely, not Scripture.

#40  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Thursday, April 08, 2010at 3:39 PM

Hi Mark...

I didn't call your profession silly at all. I personally think bantering back and forth and missing the point of Scripture is pointless...I very much value science, but we cannot let it overtake our faith at the same time. Scientists in my experience, and I'm not pointing at you, believe they have much more control and knowledge of their universe than they really do. I enjoy this sort of thing myself...but if it means never getting the point of Scripture or letting it get in the way of my faith I let it go because quite frankly none of us knows enough. We just don't. You can't agree with me on that point?

#41  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, April 08, 2010at 4:24 PM

# 39 - Gabriel, good point.

I do believe that the Bible can be understood by properly studying it, and that it explains itself.

E.

#42  Posted by Russell Carroll  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 4:45 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#43  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 6:51 AM

The Holy Spirit as Interpreter

One final point concerning interpretation remains to be made. Scripture tells us that if we are to understand Scripture we need, over and above right rules, personal insight into spiritual things. Scripture sets before us spiritual truths—truths, that is, about God, and about created things in relation to God; and to grasp spiritual truths requires spiritual receptiveness. But no man has this by nature. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (10) The habit of mind which enslaves the natural man, Paul tells us, is to set up his own “wisdom” and make it ultimate, and so he is compelled to dismiss as foolishness all that does not accord with it. Without spiritual enlightenment, he will never be able to see the foolishness of his own wisdom, nor the wisdom of the “foolishness of God” (11) proclaimed in the gospel; hence he will never forsake the one for the other. Our Lord confirms this view of man. His repeated diagnosis of the unbelieving Pharisees was that they were blind, lacking the capacity to perceive spiritual realities; (12) and He regarded spiritual perception, where He found it, as a supernatural gift from God. (13)

I'm going with Packer on this one simply because it is biblical.

#44  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 7:09 AM

Perhaps this article from Packer will help you.

http://www.bible-researcher.com/packer1.html

#45  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 7:23 AM

Gabe, have you read the article? Go back and read my posts. It's just simple subtraction. Subtract the Holy Spirit and what do you have?

Again, WHO holds the key to unlocking the meaning of Scripture?

#46  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 7:47 AM

Gabriel, you should also know that I agree with Packer that God holds the key to unlocking the meaning of ANY revelation, general or special. If so, why exclude God from the interpretation? This is the point of the argument I was having. I cannot make such an assertion without establishing that God holds the key to unlocking His truth.

#47  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 8:26 AM

Stacey, I was having a conversation with Gabriel on the impact of certain scientific interpretations of Genesis 1-3. If that is bantering, I apologize. All we know from Scripture is that God created the universe in 6 days, and that God created mankind...After that we observe nature to see how it works. Perhaps we have misinterpreted our reading of the Bible and THINK we know more than we do about how God created the world and operates it...

What certainly IS bantering, is our friend Randy here. I make an innocent comment about the Bible being its own interpreter, and now he has both barrels blazing...

#48  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 9:24 AM

Russel, #42. I appreciate your post. You say "former" scientist. Did you retire or "reject" science. Just curious.

What I have written here is to try to get believers to think a little about the relationship between science and their faith. What the implications are, etc... People TOO OFTEN speak authoritatively about "what the Bible says" when it SAYS NO SUCH THING. They HAVE INTERPRETED it to say something that they now believe.

An example is present star formation. On an earlier thread a person questioned whether stars are at present being formed, or whether they were all made on day 4 and none since then. OK, a person can believe what they want, but the Bible says NOTHING about whether stars are at present being made. In fact, just as trees were made on day 3 and ARE PRESENTLY being born as well, I would argue that stars are LIKELY being formed at present...If you go to "creation science" websites like AiG and ICR they even challenge present day star formation...

So, that is merely an example of where people take what they THINK and project it onto "the Bible" and turn it into a doctrine almost.

I suppose another example is over 100 years ago, Christians INSISTED God made every single animal or life form in its exact form that does not change...Since then rapidly changing simple lifeforms like bacteria have revealed that they DO change and adapt to their environment. I suspect if you dropped off two red foxes at the north pole, in a few generations you would have white foxes...Now, it is a stretch to say this is ANYTHING but adaptation, but it is certainly adaptation.

In the end, we need to stand WHERE THE BIBLE STANDS, and be more graceful where it doesn't.

#49  Posted by Russell Carroll  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 10:52 AM

Hi again Mark,

I left the field of Astrophysics and Space Science to pursue a career in private industry. My field of research was contact binary stars in the X-ray, as well as optical and Ultra Violet. Your description of Cepheids made me pine for a photometer! I was an Atheist/Agnostic during my career in science and came to the Lord afterwards. I don't reject science, and I'm sure you are aware that many of the pillars of science were Christian, although that is probably shrinking today. I do believe that it is beyond our ability and instruction to reconcile the observable universe with the Bible. "I don't know" has become a concept I have grown comfortable with over time as a Christian, and my view of both science and creation have changed somewhat.

Scientists are great at measuring, modeling, and predicting phenomena in the known observable universe. We can describe the effects of something like gravity very accurately, but can we give a true reason as for its very existence? Even more, science is far worse at extrapolation, particularly over enormous spans of time. God is bound by none of it anyway, but we are and the pursuit of scientific knowledge is indeed a worthwhile activity.

I think you are an important voice here and point out very well the dangers of "crosstalk" between the spiritual and the natural world. The God of the Bible is not subject to the forces of nature as we understand them.

I totally agree that it is easy to read into scripture that which is not there, and that we can hurt the cause of Christ when we do so. The Bible is amazingly silent on scientific insight. It is no accident that Jesus defied the "laws" of physics during His ministry, as opposed to advancing them. How many diseases could He have left remedies for if He had thought it important? Imagine the advancements in every field of science He could have made during His days walking amongst His people. Alas, science was of no consequence to Him in His mission to defeat sin once and for all.

I'm a huge fan of science and a committed Christian who loves the Lord. At this stage of my life, I enjoy the beauty of God's universe and can see his hand everywhere, even though I can't necessarily bridge the gap between the two satisfactorily. This is not a copout but a concession that is biblical, in that a sheep can't mine the true depths of the mind and heart of the Shepherd.

#50  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 11:01 AM

banter - to speak to or address in a witty and teasing manner

Really? Then this is a perfect example of why you listen to John MacArthur on Sundays and read books by Packer, etc., and not me. I have definitely given people the wrong impression. My motivation is simply that I love God's truth. For the sake of grace and peace, I have left this discussion.

#51  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 11:11 AM

Randy, I don't know if you are talking to me...I just meant that you turned a small statement of mine into a theological discussion...

#52  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 11:17 AM

Randy,

I apologizing for not responding earlier. I had a busy evening yesterday and woke up sick, so I just got back to the blog.

I'm not going to take the time to read that article because, quite frankly, I'm not disagreeing with you regarding the necessity of the role of the Spirit in interpretation.

I don't recall anyone claiming that the Spirit wasn't necessary or that anyone on their own with the Bible has the full ability to interpret Scripture. Not at all.

What started this little back-and-forth was that someone used the phrase "the Bible is its own interpreter." I think you took that to mean that the Bible is exclusively its own interpreter and nothing else is needed. I really don't think that is what the person meant, and it certainly isn't what I took it to mean. Rather using Scripture to interpret Scripture is a solid fundamental principle of hermeneutics (rules of interpretation). We could state the principle this way: use clearer passages to interpret more difficult passages. It is one of the fundamental principles. Another, just as important is the necessity of the indwelling Spirit.

That's all that was being said.

So, unless you are proposing that a person can get direct revelation from the Spirit as to the interpretation of a passage (which I don't think you are), then I don't see any disagreement.

#53  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 2:18 PM

From the sidelines here I could see that you guys were not in disagreement, but where looking at the same thing from a different perspective, that's all.

I understand Randy's point, and I don't think he was talking about special revelation, and of course we all agree that we need the Spirit to understand the bible. I think it was all a misunderstanding (the examples of Joseph and Daniel were not about interpretation of Scripture).

God bless,

E.

#54  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 2:23 PM

# 49 - Russell:

"a sheep can't mine the true depths of the mind and heart of the Shepherd." so true!

E.

#55  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 7:17 PM

#48 Mark

Please clarify ADAPTATION for those of us still in science kindergarten. My understanding (which may be wrong) of adaptation is that living things CHANGE (structurally?) in order TO ADAPT to their surroundings. Using your example of the red foxes turning white within a few generations at the North Pole to ADAPT to their surroundings is not what I would call CHANGE or ADAPTATION. A red fox is NOT CHANGING INTO a white fox. I was taught that a recessive “white” gene - defect or mutation (not sure if that’s the same thing) in the RED Fox would produce some WHITE offspring. These white foxes would be more difficult to spot by predators at the North Pole, while the red foxes would be easier to spot & thus more likely hunted by the predators. That would decrease the red fox population while leaving more white foxes to mate, reproducing more white foxes, and sort of “weeding out” the red fox gene. Isn’t that why we have albino tigers? Of course the zoos ensure the white tigers only mate with other white tigers, restricting the gene pool. That is not what I consider to be ADAPTATION.

I’m fair-skinned, I COULD NOT live in a sunny climate comfortably, so I don’t live in the south. If more fair-skinned people lived up north – like me/due to comfort - then it would be more likely that in the north, one fair-skinned person would meet & marry another fair-skinned person, reproducing more fair-skinned offspring, thus keeping the gene pool thin with regard to darker skin. I didn’t ADAPT to the northern climate, but have lived where I’m more comfortable. If I ADAPTED or CHANGED, an example would be that I moved to the south & I (not future generations) would stop burning when out in the hot sun. Do I make sense? I don’t see those as being the same thing.

Also, I’ve HEARD the same argument made for resistant strains of bacteria. Not that the bacteria CHANGED TO ADAPT, but that ONLY those bacteria ALREADY resistant (predisposed) survived, thus weeding out the non-resistant bacteria & thus increasing the resistant strains as they reproduced. Again, I’m weak on science (only took a couple astronomy classes in college, a long time ago!) but am really enjoying the science lessons presented on these blogs & am only a student, (perhaps with stupid questions, but none the less,) seeking to better understand God's creation & the natural world around me. Thanks in advance for any clarification.

#56  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Friday, April 09, 2010at 8:00 PM

Mark wrote:

I suppose another example is over 100 years ago, Christians INSISTED God made every single animal or life form in its exact form that does not change...Since then rapidly changing simple lifeforms like bacteria have revealed that they DO change and adapt to their environment. I suspect if you dropped off two red foxes at the north pole, in a few generations you would have white foxes...Now, it is a stretch to say this is ANYTHING but adaptation, but it is certainly adaptation..

Sorry Mark, I'm throwing down the 'false premise' or 'straw man argument' flag on the above play :) Whether you realize it or not, you are using the same tactics that evolutionists use to try and discredit creationists. And because you're entering into a realm of science familiar to me - 'life sciences' - I can't let this slide. For a better explanation of what I'm talking about read Chapter 3: The True Origin of the Species, Proper Interpretation of the Evidence (begin paragraph 5) http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/dp/true-origin-of-species

Now, about those "Christians of over "100 years ago". They are not entirely guilty of the ignorance you suggest. Variations within a "kind" is observable and that's really what you're talking about. It's been known - perhaps not by our modern terms, but nonetheless - for thousands of years. (Consider the animal husbandry practiced by Jacob and Laban on their respective flocks of sheep and goats in Genesis 30, for example.) What is impossible, is one "kind" adapting and changing into another "kind". Therefore, those "Christians" of which you speak rightly believed God's Word. Animals reproduce after their own kind; sheep can't adapt and change to become camels.

The major issue most had - and still have - with Darwin was not with his idea of 'natural selection'. It was with the idea that natural selection causes evolution into new kinds.

Those bacteria to which you refer did not 'change' or 'adapt' to become viruses. No new genetic information was added. Here's another article from AIG's which may interest you. It's by Kevin L. Anderson, PhD and Georgia Purdom, PhD - "A Creationist Perspective of Beneficial Mutations in Bacteria": http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v4/n1/beneficial-mutations-in-bacteria

#57  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, April 10, 2010at 9:07 AM

According to this article: http://creation.com/darwin-brave-new-world-2 ,it was a creationist named Edward Blythe that discovered "natural selection" and wrote about it several years before Darwin. So to say that creationists were behind science in this understanding just doesn't hold water.