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Wednesday, June 02, 2010 | Comments (49)

You’ve probably heard of dissonance. It’s a term normally employed by musicians to describe disharmony and disagreement between sounds. There is another term called cognitive dissonance used to describe similar discord in the world of ideas and beliefs. Maybe that’s a good way to view the debate about origins in Genesis—cognitive dissonance.

The creation account in Genesis 1-3 demands to be taken at face value. Nothing about the text itself suggests it contains anything other than a faithful, literal, historical account of how God spoke the universe into existence—from nothing. That kind of literal hermeneutical approach to Genesis exposes all symbolic, poetic, allegorical, and mythical interpretations for what they really are, foreign ideas forced upon the text—but not without a cost, as discussed below. No honest handling of the biblical text can reconcile these chapters in Genesis with the theory of evolution or any of the other “scientific” theories about origins. The main thrust of the passage simply cannot be reconciled with the idea of naturalism.

Before we begin the discussion, here’s what John had to say about Genesis and naturalism in his book, Battle for the Beginning:

As humanity progresses through the twenty-first century, a frightening prospect looms. The church seems to be losing the will to defend what Scripture teaches about human origins. Many in the church are too intimidated or too embarrassed to affirm the literal truth of the biblical account of creation. They are confused by a chorus of authoritative-sounding voices who insist that it is possible—and even pragmatically necessary—to reconcile Scripture with the latest theories of the naturalists.

Of course, theological liberals have long espoused theistic evolution. They have never been reluctant to deny the literal truth of Scripture on any issue. But this trend is different, comprising evangelicals who contend that it is possible to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with the theories of modern naturalism without doing violence to any essential doctrine of Christianity. They affirm evangelical statements of faith. They teach in evangelical institutions. They insist they believe the Bible is inerrant and authoritative. But they are willing to reinterpret Genesis to accommodate evolutionary theory. They express shock and surprise that anyone would question their approach to Scripture. And they sometimes employ the same sort of ridicule and intimidation religious liberals and atheistic skeptics have always leveled against believers: "You don't seriously think the universe is less than a billion years old, do you?"

The result is that over the past couple of decades, large numbers of evangelicals have shown a surprising willingness to take a completely non-evangelical approach to interpreting the early chapters of Genesis. More and more are embracing the view known as "old-earth creationism," which blends some of the principles of biblical creationism with naturalistic and evolutionary theories, seeking to reconcile two opposing world-views. And in order to accomplish this, old-earth creationists end up explaining away rather than honestly exegeting the biblical creation account.

A handful of scientists who profess Christianity are among those who have led the way in this revisionism—most of them lacking any skill whatsoever in biblical interpretation. But they are setting forth a major reinterpretation of Genesis 1-3 designed specifically to accommodate the current trends of naturalist theory. In their view, the six days of creation in Genesis 1 are long ages, the chronological order of creation is flexible, and most of the details about creation given in Scripture can be written off as poetic or symbolic figures of speech.

Many who should know better—pastors and Christian leaders who defend the faith against false teachings all the time—have been tempted to give up the battle for the opening chapters of Genesis. An evangelical pastor recently approached me after I preached. He was confused and intimidated by several books he had read—all written by ostensibly evangelical authors—yet all arguing that the earth is billions of years old. These authors treat most of the evolutionists' theories as indisputable scientific fact. And in some cases they wield scientific or academic credentials that intimidate readers into thinking their views are the result of superior expertise, rather than naturalistic presuppositions they have brought to the biblical text. This pastor asked if I believed it possible that the first three chapters of Genesis might really be just a series of literary devices—a poetic saga giving the "spiritual" meaning of what actually occurred through billions of years of evolution.

I answered unapologetically: No, I do not. I am convinced that Genesis 1-3 ought to be taken at face value—as the divinely revealed history of creation. Nothing about the Genesis text itself suggests that the biblical creation account is merely symbolic, poetic, allegorical, or mythical. The main thrust of the passage simply cannot be reconciled with the notion that "creation" occurred via natural evolutionary processes over long periods of time. And I don't believe a faithful handling of the biblical text, by any acceptable principles of hermeneutics, can possibly reconcile these chapters with the theory of evolution or any of the other allegedly scientific theories about the origin of the universe.

Furthermore, much like the philosophical and moral chaos that results from naturalism, all sorts of theological mischief ensues when we reject or compromise the literal truth of the biblical account of creation and the fall of Adam.

I realize, of course, that some old-earth creationists do hold to the literal creation of Adam and affirm that Adam was a historical figure. But their decision to accept the creation of Adam as literal involves an arbitrary hermeneutical shift at Genesis 1:26-27 and then again at Genesis 2:7. If everything around these verses is handled allegorically or symbolically, it is unjustifiable to take those verses in a literal and historical sense. Therefore, the old-earth creationists' method of interpreting the Genesis text actually undermines the historicity of Adam. Having already decided to treat the creation account itself as myth or allegory, they have no grounds to insist (suddenly and arbitrarily, it seems) that the creation of Adam is literal history. Their belief in a historical Adam is simply inconsistent with their own exegesis of the rest of the text.

But it is a necessary inconsistency if one is to affirm an old earth and remain evangelical. Because if Adam was not the literal ancestor of the entire human race, then the Bible's explanation of how sin entered the world is impossible to make sense of. Moreover, if we didn't fall in Adam, we cannot be redeemed in Christ, because Christ's position as the Head of the redeemed race exactly parallels Adam's position as the head of the fallen race: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:18-19). "And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45; cf. 1 Timothy 2:13-14; Jude 14).

So in an important sense, everything Scripture says about our salvation through Jesus Christ hinges on the literal truth of what Genesis 1-3 teaches about Adam's creation and fall. There is no more pivotal passage of Scripture.

What "old-earth creationists" (including, to a large degree, even the evangelical ones) are doing with Genesis 1-3 is precisely what religious liberals have always done with all of Scripture—spiritualizing and reinterpreting the text allegorically to make it mean what they want it to mean. It is a dangerous way to handle Scripture. And it involves a perilous and unnecessary capitulation to the religious presuppositions of naturalism—not to mention a serious dishonor to God.

Evangelicals who accept an old-earth interpretation of Genesis have embraced a hermeneutic that is hostile to a high view of Scripture. They are bringing to the opening chapters of Scripture a method of biblical interpretation that has built-in anti-evangelical presuppositions. Those who adopt this approach have already embarked on a process that invariably overthrows faith. Churches and colleges that embrace this view will not remain evangelical long.

Here’s the point: when we reject a literal hermeneutic of the creation account in Genesis, all kinds of theological mischief follows. With that thought in mind, discuss the ramifications of holding a naturalistic interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 as it relates to interpreting and applying the rest of Scripture. Remember, a naturalist is one who assumes the complete absence of supernatural and miraculous activity. Enjoy the thread!


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#1  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 9:11 AM

Hi Folks: Wow, good stuff JM. (Not that you need my approval).

I always wonder about motives and assumptions, which brings me to an assumption that did not occur to me until I read the above. This assumption is that God did NOT interact with ancient believers, i,e, those before Abraham. It is assumed that God kind of stayed away from interacting with man until the covenant with the Jewish People. I say this because of the "accommodation" issue. I don't know about you, but when I read Job, I get the feeling that God had been present in the "nations" working out his will. It is also implied that there were no miraculous acts where God intervened and had close relations with anyone. God is simply thought of as distant from man.

I say this because, if God were to tell me anything about his creation, what reason would I have to say that it did not happen that way? I mean if he told me that the earth was created by chance and over billions of years, why would that cause a problem to me? It would change my view of Gods character and nature, but not of his power and majesty. It is no skin off my nose for him to do it anyway he wants to do it. God can do anything!There simply is no reason not to take God at his word. And truthfully, if we question his statements regarding the creation account, aren't we really questioning his ability to tell the truth? If there was no Adam, and the fall did not occur then not only the creation account is a fabrication. From here we could easily make the "book" solely man authored. Bart Eerdman's assumption that Christ "made a mistake" in Mark's Gospel would be true.

The reason atheistic man has can not believe is because he has never encountered the living God. I know God exist... I KNOW it, I have had his presence in my life. I know that I can trust him to tell me the truth because of his interaction with me. He can tell me anything and I would believe him because I know him. I can say truthfully that I have known him nearly all of my life, it will be at least 53 years at this point. The only one who has foisted on me any reason to doubt God's account of how he created the world is The Adversary, Satan. Unsaved humanity does not understand God or his creative power because they are dead to God, and God is dead to them. They ask the question of origins and come up with a different answer because they don't know Him. We fall into the trap of so called "scientific theory" because we have not yet learned to wholly trust him. And I'm not pointing fingers here, I have had just as much problems with these issues as anyone. I have had to go through the struggles just like everyone else. But God is more then able to say what he means. "Accommodation" in the matter of creation is simply a ruse to cause Christians to allow unsaved man wiggle room to deny God. The first lie that is recorded for us is "Yea hath God said?", Satan is still using that tactic today.

I would like to add this disclaimer- I fail God all the time, and I'm not trying to be judgmental to the folks who for one reason or the other find it difficult to look at creation like I do, many feel as I have felt in the past that I had a duty to be "intellectually honest" with myself. I finally came to the point I am at now because others showed me the premises that evolution was based upon. The foundation of evolution is sand, and the house that they build on it is subject to the elements. Evolutionist are more then willing to lie for their cause, they are willing to jettison anomalies with out questioning them, and are willing to fabricate evidence, theory, etc. Their theory is not subject to questioning. Just a thought

#2  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:42 PM

False dichotomy: A naturalistic interpretation of Genesis does not imply one denies the possibility of miracles. For instance, literal historical belief in the resurrection of Jesus is foundational to evangelical Christianity.

This article makes plenty of assertions that are simply not true for many Christians like If Adam was not the literal ancestor of the entire human race, then the Bible's explanation of how sin entered the world is impossible to make sense of.

This article asserts that not believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis is equal to not trusting God. Really?

"Accommodation" in the matter of creation is simply a ruse to cause Christians to allow unsaved man wiggle room to deny God.

Unsaved man will deny God with or without "Accommodation." I know, I have talked to them.

Whereas accommodation will allow unsaved intellectual/scientists to trust in Christ. How is that Satanic?

#3  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 2:44 PM

Hornspiel (please change this to your real name soon),

How did sin enter the world? Why is humanity inherently sinful?

#4  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 3:00 PM

How did sin enter the world? Why is humanity inherently sinful?

I have no answer but the Scripture. I would certainly not try to explain it away as just a materialistic effect of evolution. I believe the was a historical point at which humanity "fell," which necessitated the sacrificial death of Christ. On the other hand, it does not matter if the Gen 3 is a record of that historical fall for me to believe that it applies to me and to humanity in general. There is certainly mystery involved here but I am willing to live with not knowing the details.

Just for clarification: Why do you insist on real names? I don't know anywhere else that they do.

#5  Posted by Hornspiel N'texas  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 3:03 PM

Claification: It does not matter to me if the Gen 3 is a literal record

#6  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 3:05 PM

It matters whether Genesis 3 was history because that is what God said is history. So either you believe God or your rebel against what He has clearly laid out in historical narrative. Why do you believe that Abraham was a real person? Why do you believe that Paul was a real person? How do you know that George Washington was a real person?

When we are given an authoritative account of history, it matters whether we believe it.

As far as the names, it has to do with integrity. The Internet is full of fake personalities. As Christians discussing eternal issues don't you think integrity should be important? The world doesn't value that, but we do. We believers we should be willing to take responsibility for what we say. That can't happen if you don't use a real name.

#7  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 3:06 PM

"Whereas accommodation will allow unsaved intellectual/scientists to trust in Christ."

That is the angle from Arminian minds who believe that folks can be manipulated into "trusting Christ". However, the Gospel was never intended to be made appealing to skeptics. Jesus Himself declared in John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." Accommodation has zero role in God drawing someone...as the prophet Jonah declared "...Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9)

#8  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 7:23 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#11  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, June 02, 2010at 10:47 PM

"I answered unapologetically: No, I do not. I am convinced that Genesis 1-3 ought to be taken at face value—as the divinely revealed history of creation."

We all agree that the text ought to be taken at face value. Rather than simply saying "I read it literally at face value, but you're just a liberal spiritualizer," (which sounds an awful lot like his critiques of amil eschatology) why don't we debate what the true face value of the text is, testing our presuppositions about the text so we can actually make some progress? This conversation seems to be spinning its wheels!

"by any acceptable principles of hermeneutics, can possibly reconcile these chapters with the theory of evolution or any of the other allegedly scientific theories about the origin of the universe."

Of course it can't. Neither can it be reconciled with modern astronomy, anthropology, geology, etc. (we must not force the text to meet our all of our modern expectations, but rather form our expectations from the text!). Why the double standard? Why reconcile Genesis only with modern findings that we deem comfortable? Not so long ago, geocentrism was seen as antithetical to revealed truth, yet today we don't even blink at reconciling a sun-centered solar system with the bible. Why, on the one hand, does Dr. MacArthur try and find advanced science revealed ahead of time in the bible using creative descriptions (for example, the claim that the bible describes in pre-scientific terms the tilt of the earth) while rejecting OEC and TE for the same reason? How is that taking the text at face value? The face value of Genesis says that the firmament was solid, and that the sun and moon were below it, the stars engraved in it. But this can't be true, because modern science tells us otherwise. How is that not avoiding the face value of the text based on the findings of modern science?

"discuss the ramifications of holding a naturalistic interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 as it relates to interpreting and applying the rest of Scripture. Remember, a naturalist is one who assumes the complete absence of supernatural and miraculous activity."

This is a confused question. I'm not sure who out there interprets the text using a "naturalistic interpretation." As in "The text clearly indicates miracles, but I'll spiritualize them away just like the resurrection since miracles don't happen"? What evangelical actually does that? Even if they did, how would the slippery slope fallacy follow? Genesis 1-3 has genre nuances that prevent a simple allegorization of biblical miracle claims in other books, which have different genres and contexts. The fact is, YECs are not consistent in their supposed literal reading of Genesis 1-3. They accept that Adam was made by miracle from dust, but totally brush aside the hebrew understanding of the structure of the cosmos (hard firmament, waters above it, windows in it, held up by mountains, earth founded on pillars above waters, sun and moon below firmament, earth not rotating on an axis around the sun, the whole world consisting of only greater Mesopotamia, etc.). You can't have your cake and eat it too; either accept all of what the author wrote and believed about the origin and layout of the cosmos or else admit that you do the very thing you falsely accuse "compromisers" (like that OEC spiritualizer John Piper! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4uqstc3_pc&feature=player_embedded) of doing. That is my gauntlet throw down, and I won't be satisfied until YEC's stop bluffing and truly embrace the biblical view of the cosmos. Heed the words of Luther!

"Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters [which, btw, were still thought to exist in Luther's day!]... It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night... We Christians must be different from the philosophers in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding."

#12  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 12:22 AM

Hi Garrett: Thanks for the blog. The relative merit of your suggestion is good, I think. And there is much debate on just that issue. Walter Kaiser from Gordon- Cromwell Seminary and a pretty good Hebrew scholar, also supports theistic evolution. The question of the word "day" is at issue. Your interpretation of that word will probably determine the view you take. You obviously are an OE proponent, at least it seems so from prior statements.

I am not writing this particular blog to agree with you, nor to lam blast you, I have felt some of the same struggles and have, maybe, some idea of what you are going through. I might be wrong, (my wife usually lets me know first, he he), but the issue as I see it falls to what you believe God is able to do. And I would tell you to ask God what he wants you to believe, but I am guessing you have done that. Just keep an open mind and God will give you insight. Just b humble enough to accept it when it comes, (yes, I am trying to do the same.) Just a thought.

#13  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 6:15 AM

"like that OEC spiritualizer John Piper"

Not to speak ill of John Piper personally but his message of an old earth is not, in my opinion, based on the text of Genesis but on the writings of a man (he states this on the video and elsewhere)...in other words, human wisdom, as I see it, is his source for understanding the text of Genesis.

His understanding, based on the video in the link posted above and as I hear him saying it, is not an understanding of the divine revelation found in Genesis via illumination by the Holy Spirit (which must be the Christian standard for obtaining true wisdom...that which comes from God alone) but an understanding of God's revealed truth based on the mind of a man named John Sailhamer (Genesis Unbound). The approach to teaching God's Word based on human wisdom is skewed and should be guarded against by Christians. John Piper makes a profoundly alarming statement on the video something like this...whatever science says it is (the age of the earth) that's what it is...So if science says it it trumps God's Word? Is that what he is saying?

John Piper also states on his web site via his promotion of a Baptist Catechism that salvation can be obtained via baptism and the Lord's Supper (This is a slightly revised version of "The Baptist Catechism" first put forth by Baptists in 1689 in Great Britain. It was adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742 http://www.desiringgod.org/AboutUs/OurDistinctives/ABaptistCatechism/ )...see the following from his site:

Question 98: How do Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effective means of salvation?

Answer: Baptism and the Lord's Supper become effective means of salvation, not from any virtue in them or in him that administers them, but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in those who by faith receive them.

I believe John needs to shed the man-wisdom and stick to God's revealed truth in His Word.

Oh...and no presupposed ideologies on my part. I simply trust God (and that in itself is a gift from God) that He knows how He created and how long it took Him to do it. If He says He did it in six literal days then who am I to question that?

#14  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 6:50 AM

Garrett writes,

The face value of Genesis says that the firmament was solid, and that the sun and moon were below it, the stars engraved in it. But this can't be true, because modern science tells us otherwise. How is that not avoiding the face value of the text based on the findings of modern science?

No. The face value of Genesis does not say anywhere the firmament is solid. The three tiered universe notion promoted by Seely, Walton, and a number of other so-called scholars is urban myth that they have either intentionally or unintentionally lifted from the writings of Enlightenment era skeptics. There is no basis in historical fact that Israel held to such a cosmology. None. In fact, there is good evidence that the ANE societies Seely, Walton, et. al., who claim Israel is mirroring their cosmology in the Genesis record, also did not hold to such a model.

When Seely was shown some problems in his study, he even back tracked and tried to spin his original study on the subject by saying he never meant to imply the Bible says the earth is flat or the firmament a solid dome but God was just helping out dim-witted ancient people. You can see his response and a rebuttal to his response here:

http://creation.com/exchange-is-the-erets-earth-flat

Now you have raised this argument a few occasions under a number of the other articles here at our blog. Myself, Gabe, and a few other people have made repeated attempts to link you to specific articles to demonstrate clearly the language of the text is not saying the firmament is a solid dome. Do you even bother to read those articles or are we wasting our time? Because you keep repeating the same arguments over and over again as if our responses are just going over your head and out the door. I have taken the time to read all the stuff you have linked and watched the videos you have linked and a number of us have offered our opinions and response to those items, but I don't see any take up at your end.

#15  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 7:04 AM

The whole subject reminds me about some sermon series by John MacArthur many years ago about charismatics.

The conclusion then was that when you leave the clear words and teaching of God, and rely on experiences you are in absolute chaos and confusion.

The whole meaning with "faith" is that God is true and trustworthy. A literally approach to Genesis seems not only reasonable, but the evidence from science confirms it. (Example: The Cambrian explosion)

The subject about Genesis doesn’t stand alone, but is connected to the whole counsel of God. The sure word.

#16  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 10:30 AM

Read Job 9:9; 38:1- 42;6. I concur with Job " I know thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from thee, Who is he who hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not... I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. " (JOB 42:1-3,5-6) Notice also Job 26, Jeremiah 10:11-12; Psalm 90 are just a few references to note.

God has given us a little understanding of the creation he has made, that does not mean we understand everything. Modern science proposes that they understand things they can not know. They use "science" as a means to propagate their atheistic views. Dah- how long will it take for us to wake up? Just a thought

#17  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 10:30 AM

Hi Rudi,

You do realize that most of the participants on this blog do not believe the Cambrian explosion was a historical fact, right?

#18  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 11:30 AM

"You do realize that most of the participants on this blog do not believe the Cambrian explosion was a historical fact, right?"

Just to clarify...

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n1/life-explosion

#19  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 11:50 AM

#17 Touché. On second thought - Neither do I. I’ll redraw that. I was just reading about “Haikouella lanceolata”, a little fish from lower Cambrian – in uniformitarian concept – that like everything else, puffs out of nowhere in the bottom of the fossil record, and seems to fit no evolutionary explanation. Fascinating.

#20  Posted by John Adams  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 12:47 PM

Keith B. Miller is an evangelical and a geologist/paleontologist at Kansas State University.

The Precambrian to Cambrian Fossil Record and Transitional Forms - http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1997/PSCF12-97Miller2.html

Taxonomy, Transitional Forms, and the Fossil Record - http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Miller.html

Perspectives on an evolving creation - The "Cambrian Explosition": A Challenge to Evolutionary Theory? - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-5utmq5m7TAC&lpg=PP1&dq=Perspectives%20on%20an%20Evolving%20Creation&pg=SL20-PA82#v=onepage&q&f=false

See also - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yONsNBdY158

http://www.youtube.com/user/JT898#g/c/EDEE7A8839F093F2

#21  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 12:51 PM

#18 Thanks Keith for the link.

I suddenly find myself buried with billions of fossils under several miles of sediment, laid down by worldwide flood-waters, because it takes a very long time to explain exactly what and why I believe about that.

It is not only about the history of the created beings as they appear, but what happened afterwards by the worldwide flood. I agree with the views given by www.icr.org and www.answersingenesis.org. Let gifted men do their jobs in answering that.

#22  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 1:59 PM

#20 Your links is out of date. We are talking about a FISH. You know - vertebrates? Lower Cambrian? Almost like a rabbit in Cambrian?

#23  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, June 03, 2010at 6:00 PM

Not sure if it's ok to post this link here, this is today's Wretched Radio podcast, hosted by Ken Ham:

http://www.wretchedradio.com/podcast.cfm?h=BB92A550680110CE77D062E47DAC1232&page=1

E.

#24  Posted by Tim Boan  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 12:36 AM

Ok, the word of God says in Gen 1 that God created everything. All agree? Now when God's word says it took 6 days, then we take it for what it says. If you think it's an allegory than say so. Then give your reason, BUT stay on that text please. I'm 26 years old, I grew up with evolution in my back pocket, always looking for a way to fit it into the bible; it's impossible. Doesn't fit. God did it in 6 days. Period. Scripture is the final authority, right Christians? Personally all of the OEC's shouldn't publicize their opinions as facts, they're opinions. opinions. Not science. I did science class, in chemistry we had to recreate to observe, recreate to observe, otherwise we failed. Science is that, it must be recreated. Creation has not been re-created, therefore all is speculation and should be called that. Say no to census-science.

J Mac is taking on a lot here. I love the man. He is addressing evolutionist, and Christians in error. Bold, brilliant. I will camp here on young earth. why? On Judgment Day, I don't want God to say " why didn't you take my word for MY WORD" Do you know what i mean? I'd rather trust Him to much than not enough.

Listen I have a question: Is this an essential for salvation? ( either God did create it in 6 days, and He is still God) or ( We can interpret it differently, but he is still God.) Both views hold Him as SUPREME RULER, and CREATOR. Thus non-essential for salvation. But correct me if I am wrong please.

But most importantly I find this: Where do we get the idea that anything fits this text in Genesis? Great teachers have always taught " where do you get that idea from?" Right? well ask yourself blind sheep, where do we get the idea of anything that isn't in the bible, like 6 periods of time? I know, it was from my wonderful biology teacher. But did he, or anybody else prove it? NOPE. Done, right there, they have no foundation. That is what MacArthur was saying right?

At the base of the idea of anything other than Genesis itself, is a bad idea. No truth to it, only an effect that is observed.

What does Piper have anything to do with this? think about it for yourself. It's written simple. God made it. 6 days people. 6 days.

Remember the fish and bread Jesus made, He made it from nothing. Created it. WOW. The fish was ready to eat. it didn't go from conception through life into a net and then sliced and cooked. No, He made it ready to eat. Just like earth, He made ready to live on, which can look very old. Before you question what Genesis is saying, question your man made census-science.

I am open to science verifying what God has already done. But to change what God did isn't science, that is hell-bound lies.

You can't study a miracle anyway...

#25  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 7:39 AM

"Thus non-essential for salvation. But correct me if I am wrong please."

Maybe this will help.

God is eternal. His plan of salvation is from eternity as evidenced by such scriptures as Ephesians 1:4. By all measures God's account of creation must be represented properly, as He directed it to be written (2 Timothy 3:16), in order to be true to the entirety of the Gospel message...else one may embrace a different Gospel (which Paul said there is no other Galatians 1:6-7).

#26  Posted by Tim Boan  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 10:47 AM

To clarify; the gospel doesn't include the account of creation, but creation should be properly explained for correct theology, thus producing proper worship of God for what he really did. Is this what you are saying? The part where you qoute Galatians confuses me, because I thought creation is seperate from the gospel.

#27  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 11:57 AM

Tim:

Although one's view of the creation account in Genesis has serious implications toward his view of original sin, human guilt, and a literal representative for humanity (first Adam, last Adam); it is not something that would consign a person to hell for holding a wrong view. (i.e. old earth vs. young earth)

One may hold a mistaken view of creation and still be a Christian. However, he can't hold a mistaken view of the gospel and be a Christian. That's impossible. Here's why:

Salvation deals with understanding and acknowledging the fact that, as fallen human beings, we are guilty, deceived, corrupt, and consequently under the judgment of God for our sins. It also involves our recognizing the Lord Jesus Christ as the only possible means of being reconciled to God. It involves turning from sin in repentance and embracing the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as a sufficient sacrifice for sin. That presupposes, of course, one understands at some level the claims Christ makes to be Lord as well as counting the cost of following Him. It also assumes one understands God saves by Grace alone, and not through human merit. We make no contribution to God's saving act.

Those things being said, it is interesting that Paul calls believers a "new creation" in 2 Cor. 5:17. I'm glad I didn't evolve into a Christian. I'm certainly being sanctified, but my justification was like the creation in Genesis--instantaneous!

Thanks for the question Tim.

#29  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 3:11 PM

"The part where you qoute Galatians confuses me, because I thought creation is seperate from the gospel."

I suppose it depends on what message one understands as being the gospel. Paul, when he approached the intelligencia at Athens, used the following approach to preach "the gospel" from Acts 17 (note specifically starting in verse 24 where Paul begins the gospel that he "had been preaching" (this was not a new message obviously) with the account of creation and the fall. If Paul thought it vital to the gospel to include the creation account (as recorded in Genesis) to be true to the gospel then should we not also view the creation account in the same manner?:

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean." 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

32 When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." 33 At that, Paul left the Council. 34 A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.

#30  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 3:16 PM

Keith,

I'm sorry but I think you are reading way too much into the text. It records Paul's words were, "The God who made the world and everything in it..."

It is possibly true that Paul said more than that (though not necessarily), but it would be highly imaginative and complete speculation to say that Paul explained the creation account in any detail. Therefore we should not conclude that 6-day creation is part of the gospel on the basis of speculation of what Paul may have said.

#31  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 3:20 PM

Additionally, "what message one understands as being the gospel" has eternal significance, as anyone here would agree. We would also agree that the gospel is clearly portrayed and explained in multiple locations (particularly summarized in 1 Cor. 15). Nowhere in the NT are the details of creation even remotely presented as part of the gospel.

#32  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 3:36 PM

Below is an article from AIG. Ken Ham details in the article just how intricately woven the gospel message is with the account in Genesis.

One must see the gospel message as originating in eternity not several thousand years after the creation account. The problem with sin, the necessity of a savior, the giving of the law to demonstrate to man his incapabilities in terms of saving himself or reconciling his rebellion against God...all of these issues stream from creation, sin, the fall, death, and the required penalty for reconciliation (which can be understood in the atonement).

If we distort Genesis we erode the foundation of the very gospel itself...that is what this entire blog series is about!!

http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/wwtl/chapter10.asp

Here is another good article from AIG dealing with why scholars are embracing evolution/old earth theories.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/05/31/why-dont-many-christian-leaders-and-scholars

#33  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 4:11 PM

Keith,

Obviously I would agree that the gospel is founded upon a literal interpretation of Genesis. But that does not mean that Old Earth believers can't be inconsistent--they can and they are.

Truely saved people will not deny the gospel and will make amazing efforts to "save" the gospel without creation, but obviously they fail to do so. They can still believe the gospel, but I honestly think they couldn't explain the reason for the gospel.

Seriously, apart from literal account in Genesis and the subsequent references to it throughout Scripture, we are left completely unaware of why we need saving. Where is sin come from? Are people sinful because they sin or do they sin because they are sinful? Why do people die? Why do we have to work? Why is childbirth so painful? Where is marriage come from? All these and more cannot be explained apart from a literal creation account (unless a person holds to Genesis 2-3 being literal, but not 1, which some do).

So my point is people who reject Genesis 1-3 have serious issues and raise more questions than they can answer, BUT that does not mean that in their own mind they cannot still believe that Christ died on the cross for sin and we are only saved by grace through faith.

I hope this analogy doesn't get us off track, but I personally believe that Arminiansm does great damage to people's understanding of the gospel, but I also believe that an Arminian can still believe in the true gospel, however inconsistent they may be.

Furthermore, I think it is probably true that most Christians who accept evolution haven't thought through it enough to understand the implications. Unfortunately most modern Christians have thought through anything very much, and that is exacerbated by so much weak teaching in churches. Those who have thought it through understand the implications so they have to reinterpret and come up with new answers that satisfy their conscience.

#34  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 4:15 PM

Keith:

Here's the point. If someone were to ask you, "What must I do to be saved?" Hopefully, you wouldn't respond with "Tell me, what's your view of creation? Old earth, young earth, theistic evolution?" Of course not. You would explain to them the character of God, the sinfulness of man, the identity of Christ, and the hope of the gospel. Those are the non negotiable principles of the Christian gospel message. That's the point Gabe is making.

The context of Paul's message is pagan idolatrous gentiles who embrace a system of polytheism. Paul is correcting their sinful view of God, and since God is, first of all, Creator, the Genesis account enters the sermon. The point of Paul's sermon is in vs. 30, "God commands all men everywhere to repent."

Thanks for the links you provided. Those are great articles.

#36  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 8:38 PM

"Here's the point. If someone were to ask you, "What must I do to be saved?" Hopefully, you wouldn't respond with "Tell me, what's your view of creation? Old earth, young earth, theistic evolution?"

I fully get what you guys are saying.

The point I am making is that Paul understood his audience. Paul was a scholar. He was certainly keen on the ideologies that the philosophers of Athens represented. The two parties named in the cited text from Acts 17, Epicureans and Stoics, were at different ends of the spectrum in terms of belief systems. While the stoics may have fit the ideaolgy that embraced polytheism as suggested the Epicureans were very much like the evolutionists of today who proposed chance as a causal agent (along with determinism and autonomous agent).

Paul did not begin his message with what may be deemed a normal gospel presentation, as stated above in eloquently condensed terms by Tommy, he rather started where their disconnect was...creation and the God who created. He first corrected their twisted view of creation before he presented the reason they needed to repent and in whom forgiveness was to be found...Christ alone.

#37  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, June 04, 2010at 11:06 PM

Hi Folks: I think that considering how long this discussion has been going on it might do well to consider a scripture which may have some bearing on the issue at hand. In 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 God is choosing something... that something is a mode of operation.(I have not seen anyone proclaiming to be an unbeliever on this site, so I feel so freedom here.) The mode which God says he operate in is chosen to give himself Glory. We often forget that God has chosen a way to do things that is consistent with the Gospel. The scriptures say that we were chosen "in him" before the foundation of the world. Wouldn't it be odd for him to go to all that trouble and then send a confusing message regarding how he created the universe? Just a thought

#38  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, June 05, 2010at 5:48 AM

According to Matthew 28:19, we are to both preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations.

Doing so, we have to equip the disciples to be a faithful and useful witness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are sent and speak with all the authority of Jesus. Therefore we have to know exactly what we are doing and preaching. That is obvious for everyone.

Now there are these serious problems: Contradicting teachings about how the creation originated, the age of the whole creation and the processes of speciation/variation afterwards and so on.

It is a very serious matter, because we must speak the one and only truth with authority, and people are applying these words to their lives, forming a view of God and their purpose and role in the creation.

The obvious logic conclusion must be that someone is teaching false doctrines, leading to divisions, false views of God, and leads people away from the one and only truth, and by doing so makes God a liar. Even if it is not about salvation, are we not to deal with that, and take a firm stand once and for all? Or are we to embrace the difficulties with love?

What do you think about that?

#40  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, June 05, 2010at 6:11 PM

I think I understand your concern that God receive the praise He so richly deserves as Creator. However, I don’t think that concern warrants our making the creation account central in a presentation of the gospel; or further, some kind of test to ensure the authenticity of one’s conversion.

In order for sinners to be justified, they must believe the gospel, period. To be unclear on that point is to send mixed signals to sinners—a problem with much greater consequences than believing in theistic evolution or an old earth.

Maybe I could say it this way. Apologetics are defensive, but the gospel is offensive. If you’ll carefully read through the accounts where Paul (and others) bring the creation account into an evangelistic discussion, I think you’ll be able to note the clear distinction between Whom sinners are called to believe upon and what false religions they are called to abandon. I won’t kick a dead horse. I don’t think anyone has said otherwise in this comment thread, but those points need to be clear in our thinking as we evangelize.

Bottom line: The gospel is God’s answer to human sin, not creation. And we’re safe to major on the things God majors on in proclaiming the hope of the gospel of Christ to a fallen world.

#41  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Saturday, June 05, 2010at 7:51 PM

"Here's the point. If someone were to ask you, "What must I do to be saved?" Hopefully, you wouldn't respond with "Tell me, what's your view of creation? Old earth, young earth, theistic evolution?"

In the case of the Philippian jailer Paul responded “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved…” Don’t miss the context though. “And trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas” Acts 16: 29-30. Salvation is a miraculous event. It is no less miraculous than speaking into existence everything which is now visible and invisible. Becoming a new creation in Christ reveals a far greater glory than the creation itself. Regeneration, being born again, and being born from above are biblical terms which refer to this miracle. There are several aspects associated with this event. First there is faith. Not just any faith will do though, see James 2:14. God gives that person that biblical saving faith see Ephesians 2:8. According to Christ, there are several characteristics associated with this event. First, the sinner must deny himself and submit to the authority of Christ (as a person who carried a cross demonstrated his submission to the authority of the Roman government) see Matthew 16:24.

Christ also revealed that a person who is a new creation in Christ will have become as a little child. He did this when He declared “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:2. Ask yourself, what are the characteristics of little children? Children are totally dependant on others. They do not rely on their own wisdom do they? Biblical saving faith relies only on the One who alone is wise. It has renounced self hasn’t it? Christ also revealed that a person who is a new creation in Christ has several other characteristics, namely those listed in Matthew 5:3-12. They entered the kingdom as cowering beggars seeking mercy in Christ, Matthew 5:3. They also have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely just as the prophets who were before them. Why do they have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely? For one thing they tremble at His word see Isaiah 66:2 (For those who are faithful see Isaiah 66:5 for encouragement). Unlike the false prophets of old who spoke peace, peace to those who mixed worldly reasoning’s and ways with their worship of God (but they were judged right along with the others see Ezekiel 13:9-11), they spoke God’s word and warned of judgments to come. A disciple of Christ contends for the Word. They will not stand by and idly allow His word to be perverted. The Great Commission included teaching others to “observe” all that He commanded, see Matthew 28:30. It means literally “to guard”. That is another reason they have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely. Most people have a “Christianity” which has cost them nothing. You can be certain of this though; a “Christianity” which costs you nothing, will benefit you nothing. True Christianity is very “costly”, but know this, the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory which will one day be revealed to those (and only those) who have suffered with Christ, see Romans 8:17 for the exclusiveness of this glory.

None of these characteristics are “works” which can be accomplishes by the sinner. They are characteristics of the new birth which is a work of God alone and not the work of man. Know this for certain; God will not be robbed of His glory. Soli Deo Gloria. His Unworthy Slave

#42  Posted by Tim Boan  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 12:04 AM

I really appreciate douglas' comment. That's a side note. So I asked a few people what they think genesis 1 means. Most people think it's 6 literal days, because that's what the book says. It seems that the people who struggle with evolutionary creation are the ones who have been told this by teachers and preachers. Its the people that start to think about it that are troubled. They reason evolution into it.

All reason when applied says it is not anything other than 6 days. It seems the timeless principle here is that we people do not let go of everything at once and trust God alone. I personally tried to fit more time into 6 days, but eventually returned to what God said in the first place. I even went to the extent of thinking God made time, so maybe time was slower back then. If that were the case God would say so.But no reason to believe anything other than what God says. If science doesn't match with the word and cannot be scientifically proven it is not truth.

I really like that douglas points out that we are to stand on the word, we will be persecuted for it and we have comfort and rest in that God's will is being done.I qoute- "The Great Commission included teaching others to 'observe' all that He commanded, see Matthew 28:30. It means literally 'to guard'. That is another reason they have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely. Most people have a 'Christianity' which has cost them nothing. You can be certain of this though; a 'Christianity' which costs you nothing, will benefit you nothing. True Christianity is very 'costly', but know this, the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory which will one day be revealed to those (and only those) who have suffered with Christ, see Romans 8:17 for the exclusiveness of this glory." Thank you for the scripture there. ( If this posts with error I blame it on my blackberry lol )

#43  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 2:10 AM

Thanks for your replys.

My point is not salvation, but the glory of our Savior.

#41 I liked what you said: "They will not stand by and idly allow His word to be perverted". That's what burdens my heart, and calls for tears. It is obvious with contradicting teachings, that someone is perverting the truth and that is not giving God His due praise?

#44  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 2:05 PM

"In order for sinners to be justified, they must believe the gospel, period."

This is partially true...if not for the "period" statement at the end.

The statement you have given leaves much on the table, in my opinion, and perhaps is one of the ideologies that has given rise to ministries that focus only on the positive aspect of the gospel. My contention is that you have left out a major portion of the equation...one that cannot be left out...repentance.

A quick search of various NT passages dealing with salvation will reveal that the gospel deals in both the negative and positive. Our SINS are imputed to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us upon our regeneration, repentance, and acceptance by faith of His finished work at Calvary. In order to be justified one must repent of his/her sins AND believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (which is all wrapped up in the new birth).

"Bottom line: The gospel is God’s answer to human sin, not creation."

This is also, in my opinion, a misrepresentation of the gospel. The gospel is not God's answer to a problem that arose in time as if He were caught off guard by the rebellion of mankind. Rather, the gospel is God's divine plan from before the world was created. If we discount the creation account as non-essential we do grave disjustice to the entirety of the gospel message.

Now I agree that our evangelism may not always have the need of starting at Genesis 1. However, when we are dealing with atheists, evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, old earth creationists, et al we must be absolutely firm in our defense of the gospel in terms of how, when, and why man was created; and how, when, why he fell which is the very reason he needs redemption at all. Otherwise, we relegate Genesis to a secondary rank in the big picture and that is a mistake.

Here is Ken Ham describing in his own words the very neccesity of Genesis 1-11 as the very foundation of all of our important doctrines:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbkv69htIhA

#45  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 2:52 PM

Keith,

There is a part of me that wants to agree with you because I am completely devoted to the accuracy of Genesis 1-11. I've been debating over at BioLogos with a number of different people from different theological perspectives. In fact yesterday's BioLogos blog post explicitly denied the inerrancy of Scripture, which clearly demonstrates how "Christian" BioLogos is (or isn't).

Nevertheless I am also committed to not overloading the gospel proper with issues that are critically important, but are not the gospel per se. It is similar to the doctrines of grace. Many of us would agree that the doctrines of grace are critical to the gospel. But I don't think any of us would dogmatically declare that people who believe in popular Arminianism are unsaved.

For my part, I want to keep the gospel as clearly biblical as possible. And we have plenty of explanations and expositions of the gospel throughout the NT. But none of them ellaborate the 6-day creation as part and parcel to the gospel itself.

Yes, we agree, there are massive implications to denying 6-day creation (the reason for all these blog posts!). But we are not at the same time saying that to deny a 6-day creation is to deny the gospel.

Further, when you look back in history there have been other interpretations by faithful men other than the 6-day creation. One of the main ones was an instantaneous creation. Were people who believed in an instantaneous creation saved? As long as they believed the gospel, I think so.

From that Ken Ham video, I took all the questions he listed that Genesis 1-11 answer and posted them in a comment at BioLogos. The one person who responded to it said he could explain a bunch of those things scientifically. Whether or not he actually could isn't my point here. My point is that a true believer will understand the implications of denying creation and will come up with some other way to maintain the gospel. Obviously those alternative explanations are legion because each interpreter's imagination is the final arbiter, but they still try. Even at BioLogos there are numerous intepretations of Genesis because they have no ground for agreement since they left the literal meaning of the text.

We also need to remember, as you stated, the different kinds of evolutionists there are. Those who are old earth creationists don't have the same problems as a theistic evolutionist. We must remember that.

Last thing: As Christians, our goal is not to convert people to 6-day creationism. Our goal is to convert people to Christ. After people are converted to Christ we should work to disciple them to understand God's revelation from beginning to end. But we are all in the process of sanctification and we all struggle with different areas of our lives. So if a true believer believes in evolution, it only demonstrates that they, like us, are still in process.

#46  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 3:16 PM

I’m not doing you guy’s justice with my reply. Your answers are of very excellent spirit, and right to the core regarding Salvation.

When saved, we need to learn sound doctrines. That’s the framework to learn what the bible says, and to live as a Christian.

But to Glorify God, is not about some emotions and living by some principles, but living according to His will. This is not choosing among some “hats” that fits you. It is a deep understanding of how all the creation is in perfect harmony, when the one and only truth in every matter is believed and applied. That sounds like a totalitarian regime, but when it truly is love, what a difference that makes. You guys already know that.

This is not something we do to get saved, but the reaction from that redeemed living heart - by the indwelling Holy Spirit given at salvation.

But God looks at the heart trough all the life. He is always looking for that loving response and understanding. But we fail and stumble. That’s why you have to test yourself. Is the faith still there, and is your heart right before God.

Do you really love me Simon?

With that in mind, try doing a little exercise, and look from Gods point of view. Look trough the answers in the last couple of blog topics. I’m not trying to knock somebody down, but can’t you see all these truly loving God-honoring Spirits, defending the word of God? Who is on the throne in the lives of these writers? Who is given the credit? God? or “professors” or “human philosophers”? or “(Put in the blanks)”?

The early Christians were greeting each other with: “Christ is Lord”, and replied with: “Yes, Christ is Lord”.

Brethren let’s reason together, and Glorify the Lord. With a new heart and a new mind.

#47  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 6:33 PM

I'd also like to thank Douglas Grogg (#41) for yet another insightful post, well-grounded in Scripture.

~With regards to "cognitive dissonance" and "...the ramifications of holding a naturalistic interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 as it relates to interpreting and applying the rest of Scripture...":

Thomas Huxley's essay, "The Lights of the Church and the Light of Science (1890)", addresses this very issue. (Source - http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE4/Lights.html)

(In 1995, Ken Ham of AIG wrote a good review of this Huxley essay:

'A child may see the folly of it'

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i2/child.asp

I highly recommend reading the whole of "The Lights..." essay.)

Huxley dissected the 'cognitive dissonance' of Christian contemporaries whom today would be labeled "theistic evolutionists". In his essay (also partially quoted in Ham's article) he opined:

"...I confess I soon lose my way when I try to follow those who walk delicately among "types" and allegories. A certain passion for clearness forces me to ask, bluntly, whether the writer means to say that Jesus did not believe the stories in question, or that he did? When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that "the Flood came and destroyed them all," did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not?

...Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God's methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of "Wolf" when there is no wolf?...

...If divine authority is not here claimed for the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of [236] Genesis, what is the value of language? And again, I ask, if one may play fast and loose with the story of the Fall as a "type" or "allegory," what becomes of the foundation of Pauline theology?..."

~How was it this ardent supporter of Darwin, the theory of evolution - and an avowed humanist - could clearly understand the "folly", the "cognitive dissonance", of theistic evolutionism while those Christians who hold to this compromise seemingly could not/cannot?

#48  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 8:04 PM

Gabriel,

I don't think that we are very far apart on our views. I simply view the entirety of scripture as God's recorded plan of redemption. Starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation we see it all unfold. I don't view the plan of redemption as developing somewhere in time, which itself is a creation of God's, but that it is a part of God's sovereign plan which originated in eternity and emanates from His very throne of grace.

Ephesians 1:10 says: with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Here is one commentarty about the Greek terminology used there...perhaps it will sum up my big picture perspective:

"Paul uses oikonomia to describe God's sovereign order of salvation. Salvation is not a divine afterthought but on the contrary, salvation history derives from God’s eternal “plan” or oikonomia of salvation “to unite all things” in Christ." http://www.preceptaustin.org/ephesians_19-10.htm

You mentioned Arminianism but I'll leave that alone...no need to derail the topic at hand with such a twisted false gospel...perhaps another series of blogs on GTY regarding the doctrines of grace?

#49  Posted by Garrett League  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 9:33 PM

Paul Tucker #12: "Walter Kaiser from Gordon- Cromwell Seminary and a pretty good Hebrew scholar, also supports theistic evolution. The question of the word "day" is at issue. Your interpretation of that word will probably determine the view you take"

Walt does not take the days as 24hrs long, as I do. The difference between us is that he and Ross are concordists, while I take an accommodationist perspective.

Keith Farmer #13: "John Piper also states on his web site via his promotion of a Baptist Catechism that salvation can be obtained via baptism and the Lord's Supper"

Um, aside from the fact that this is a bit of a red herring, here is Piper refuting baptismal regeneration: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1997/997_What_is_Baptism_and_Does_it_Save/

Fred #14: "No. The face value of Genesis does not say anywhere the firmament is solid. The three tiered universe notion promoted by Seely, Walton, and a number of other so-called scholars is urban myth that they have either intentionally or unintentionally lifted from the writings of Enlightenment era skeptics."

An urban myth, OR, what lots of ancient people actually believed and what the bible clearly assumes and lays out. And they aren't "so-called" scholars. They're scholar scholars, agree or not with their conclusions (which you arrive at not based on the face value of the text, but due to your view that inerrancy requires harmonizing all "scientific" statements in the bible with modern science).

"There is no basis in historical fact that Israel held to such a cosmology."

Aside from the bible...It says there was a firmament with windows in it and when it opened, waters above it fell through, hence it rained. YOU may reject that because it's unscientific, but they clearly believed that, just as their neighbors did, and that's exactly what the bible says. It's an accomodation to an ancient understanding of the cosmos, no matter how you will try to make the language equivocal so you can read modern concepts into it that the original authors never would have intended. You do exactly what Hugh Ross does with the days in genesis. You use wiggle room in the words to read into them modern concepts.

"When Seely was shown some problems in his study, he even back tracked and tried to spin his original study on the subject by saying he never meant to imply the Bible says the earth is flat or the firmament a solid dome but God was just helping out dim-witted ancient people. You can see his response and a rebuttal to his response here:"

I read it. Seely wasn't making a concession, unless by concession you mean clarifying what he and other accomodationists meant all along. The bible doesn't teach as an absolute scientific fact that "the earth is flat and there's a solid dome up there with water above it." Rather, they are both instances of accomodation (concessions as Seely calls them), like when the bible refers to the innards as the thinking organ (most ancient people placed no special importance on the brain) or when Jesus said that the mustard seed was the smallest. Even you would admit that the bible includes "adaptation to human finitude" as Holding calls it.

"Now you have raised this argument a few occasions under a number of the other articles here at our blog."

That's because I think it still stands. You are clearly reading modern concepts into ancient words that didn't mean to the original audience what you say they must mean in light of modern science. If you want to do that because you think the language is loose enough, fine, but don't criticize other concordists when they do the same thing with the days of genesis, and don't tell me the original audience thought of the firmament as merely an expanse, since firmament, to Israel and it's neighbors including lots of other ancient people, was a solid dome/vault. If God chooses to use that word to convey air and gas and it was not understood fully until modern audiences read it (using ancient terms to convey modern concepts, like Ross claims the bible does with the big bang), then he would not have gotten his message across for 1000s of years, since without any clarification, Israel knew right away what firmament referred to. Since the bible doesn't say otherwise, we must assume they understood it as everyone else around them did since they would have no way of knowing better unless God revealed it to them, and he clearly did not. Your argument fails for the same reason Ross's do; you explain away what the authors meant because of modern concepts. Two sides of the same coin. It is exactly what this article does: http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v13/i2/firmament.asp#f12

"Myself, Gabe, and a few other people have made repeated attempts to link you to specific articles to demonstrate clearly the language of the text is not saying the firmament is a solid dome. Do you even bother to read those articles or are we wasting our time? Because you keep repeating the same arguments over and over again as if our responses are just going over your head and out the door. I have taken the time to read all the stuff you have linked and watched the videos you have linked and a number of us have offered our opinions and response to those items, but I don't see any take up at your end."

Sorry if I seem like a broken record. I've read the articles and have found them unsatisfying for the reasons listed above. You won't allow the text to say something it clearly says because of modern concepts. It uses a word that referred to a solid dome, and that's how the Israelites would have understood it. It's what the author intended. Do you think THEY understood it as an expanse of atmosphere, unlike everyone else in the ancient world? Do you think they thought of the world as spherical? They didn't. Do you think they thought the brain was the thinking organ? They didn't. They also referred to the ANE as the whole world. It isn't. They said the Queen of Sheba ventured from the ends of the earth. She didn't (well, the ends of the earth as they understood them). Are you going to try and harmonize all of that with modern science, or just read it in context at face value?

#50  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 5:53 AM

"Um, aside from the fact that this is a bit of a red herring, here is Piper refuting baptismal regeneration:"

Given the distinct variation in the views I would expect that once the obvious oversight on the website is made known to the folks at Desiring God they will correct it?

Problem is that I brought my issue with their website content of not only baptism being "an effective means of salvation" but also the Lord's Supper being the same to the attention of DG staff and have yet to receive a response...perhaps they have not read my email from two months ago...(by the way...the um leading into your sentence is a bit snarky, but at least you researched the issue. Did you contact DG about the contradiction?).

Red Herring? Really? I think it shows inconsistency on multiple fronts...that is the reason for the reference.

#51  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 11:09 AM

Keith:

I won’t draw swords over something I’m sure we’re in agreement on. You can read my # 27 post in this thread for a fuller explanation of my view of the gospel. However, I would invite you as one who appears to strive for theological precision to consider how the term justification—the very term I used in the comment you quoted—is used in the New Testament alongside the term faith. My conviction stands: a sinner is justified by believing in the gospel (faith alone) period. That doesn’t exclude repentance, but neither does it necessitate a full and unabridged qualification every time the word “gospel,” “faith,” or “justification” is used.

I understand both the necessity and urgency of repentance for a sinner to be converted. Faith and repentance have rightly been described as 2 sides of the same coin. However, we are never told in Scripture repentance justified us, and I’m not uncomfortable in the least making the kind of statement I did. So I’ll rest comfortably on the shoulders of the apostles.

Romans 4:5 “And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

Galatians 2:16 “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christy and not by works of the law.”

Regarding your other concern that I misrepresent the gospel with the phrase, “Bottom line: The gospel is God’s answer to human sin, not creation.” . . .

Again, I think you are looking for theological qualifications I’m not willing to provide for every statement about God’s decrees intersecting with and being carried out in time. My point was simply that God entered the world of fallen sinners through the incarnation and addressed the problem of our sin.

I have no problem stating the drama of redemption in such terms because Paul had no problem stating it in those terms.

I love the explanation Martyn Lloyd Jones provides for the Cross. He goes to Ephesians 2:4, a verse beginning with these words, “But God.” Jones says these are two of the most powerful words in all of Scripture because they explain how God addressed the problem of human sin. That verse follows a terrible description of man’s plight. He is dead, blind, taken captive by Satan, and hopelessly lost in sin . . . “But God . . .”

So again I have no problems with echoing Paul from his letter to the Ephesians—even if others do. It's Scripture. As Calvin once said, God accommodates us in the Scriptures and speaks as a nurse to a child, with a lisp. Humans sinned, and God sent Christ to redeem them.

And further, the “problem” of sin was not actually a problem until Adam’s disobedience transpired (from our vantage point). Of course God was not caught off guard by the fall. No one is disputing that truth. Neither am I disputing the fact that Christ was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world in God’s mind. But from our limited and finite vantage point, the problem became reality when the first Adam disobeyed, and the solution became a reality when the second Adam’s obeyed.

All in all, I think this is a case of preacher meet choir, Keith. And I appreciate your comments. 

#52  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 1:06 PM

Tommy,

Thanks for the following clarification of your previous statements...I somewhat agree.

"My conviction stands: a sinner is justified by believing in the gospel (faith alone) period. That doesn’t exclude repentance, but neither does it necessitate a full and unabridged qualification every time the word “gospel,” “faith,” or “justification” is used."

There are groups, however (very popular groups I might add), that promote a repentless gospel. Without clarification that there are negative and positive aspects of the gospel message (repentance from sin and acceptance of Christ's righteousness as imputed to us by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone...which faith also is a gift from God) one may well seek to promote/embrace the positive righteousness aspect without ever dealing with the sin issue...and that is a false gospel. Forums such as these obviously draw folks from all walks of life...we owe it to the message to be clear...in my opinion.

Jesus preached repentance..."No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5

Peter preached repentance...37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:37-39

Paul preached repentance...

"God overlooked people's ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him." Acts 17:30

and

"but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance." Acts 26:20

While I realize you agree that repentance is essential I did not want to pass up the opportunity to share those few verses for someone who may have questions. Also, giants of the faith have recognized the importance of stipulating repentance when dealing with the Christian life:

Martin Luther spoke of repentance in the following terms in his 95 theses:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent", He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

The word cannot be properly understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, i.e. confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

Yet its meaning is not restricted to repentance in one's heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh.

As long as hatred of self abides (i.e. true inward repentance) the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven.

"as one who appears to strive for theological precision"

Dr MacArthur is partly to blame for this problem :-) If he were not so thorough in his presentations I, like others who use his materials, may be less precise...just sayin'

"All in all, I think this is a case of preacher meet choir, Keith. And I appreciate your comments."

Probably so...and I appreciate your input as well.

#53  Posted by Tim Boan  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:48 AM

keith and tommy's discussion in #51 & #52 made me smile. As I read this: "My conviction stands: a sinner is justified by believing in the gospel (faith alone) period. That doesn’t exclude repentance, but neither does it necessitate a full and unabridged qualification every time the word “gospel,” “faith,” or “justification” is used." I too was already copying this to paste with a request of clarification on it's meaning. But that question was dissolved upon the address to it by Keith.

Tommy, you defense here: "Romans 4:5 'And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.'

Galatians 2:16 'We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law.'"

This is the common argument for Antinominians right?

I say this because one could call repentance a form of works.

The concern most of us have in these public blogs is that a unbeliever could get the wrong idea. Also, we have no idea who the audience is that is reading this, so to those lacking in proper doctrine ask questions please.

The gospel given to a self-righteous person is sometimes heavy on repentance, is it not? And vice versa, a broken prodigal son would have already repented so he would be given grace, while both gospels are given in love.

To play it safe, I wouldn't argue in public blogs that repentance isn't part of the gospel, it could be damaging.

Repentance is necessary for salvation. You cannot serve two masters.

#54  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 1:49 PM

Martyn Lloyd Jones, a man who helped me understand the true nature of repentance, once said something I'll never forget: "If we've never been accused of preaching antinomianism, just like Paul was accused, we probably haven't preached the true gospel in all its scandalous glory." (paraphrased)

And I'll add to that. If we've never been accused of teaching a works based salvation, like John MacArthur was accused, then maybe we haven't preached true repentance.

It's probably a good thing to get accused of both every now and then.

I like what Spurgeon said: "Don't trust in your faith, and don't look to your repentance, as if either could save you. Look to Christ alone."

I think we would agree on that wouldn't we? If not . . . there's a big problem.