Playing the Harlot in Our Scientific Age?

Biblical Authority

by Ken Ham on July 1, 2015; last featured July 31, 2019
Featured in Answers Magazine

The Bible uses strong language to describe any form of compromise with worldly thinking. And it doesn’t just apply to the ancient Israelites.

Hosea 4:12 says, “My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their [wooden] staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.

Hosea used strong language against his fellow Israelites, calling them harlots because they had violated their vows to remain faithful to the one true God. Is it possible that Christians today, and particularly Christian leaders—in their zeal to make Christianity more enticing—are actually “playing the harlot,” too? Here is what I mean.

Born-again Christians who love the Lord, preach the gospel, and insist on the inerrancy of Scriptures are saddened when they read how the Israelites compromised God's Word as they embraced more and more pagan beliefs (including idolatry) from the nations around them. God calls such compromise “harlotry.” Over and over again, Scripture gives clear instructions concerning the worship of the one true God, and it condemns compromise with pagan beliefs as harlotry (Jeremiah 3:6).

Universal Fallen Nature

Because of our sin nature, God knows how we humans are more likely to be influenced by that which is wrong than that which is right. God describes our heart this way: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)).

Despite all the miracles many Israelites saw God do for them, many compromised their worship of God with idolatry and pagan rituals. As we read about this in the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Amos, we shake our heads and say, “How could they do this? How could they play such harlotry, as God describes it?”

But I’m also reminded of the verse, “And there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). You see, ever since Adam sinned, man’s sin-cursed nature hasn’t changed. Certainly, those who are born again, as the Bible defines this, know that their sins are forgiven and they will spend eternity with the Lord. Nonetheless, such Christians still have to deal with their sin nature daily while in these sin-cursed bodies. Even the great apostle Paul had this battle: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:18–19 (NKJV)).

All Christians have feet of clay. All, no matter how dedicated to the Lord and His Word, are susceptible to being drawn into error because of our sin nature. Indeed, we are all guilty of “harlotry” (idolatry) to one degree or another every time we choose sin and love the world rather than loving God and following His rule (1 John 2:15; see also Colossians 3:15).

Commands to Avoid Compromise

Because of man’s fallen nature, God frequently gave instructions to the Israelites such as this: “You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves” (Exodus 20:23 (NKJV)).

In fact, because man is so likely to compromise God’s Word, God gave further instructions: “And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.

Why is that? In Genesis 3 we read that the serpent said to Eve: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5 (NKJV)). Humans want to be their own gods—our nature is that we want to replace the true God with our own god. So God told the Israelites not to use any tool on the stone for an altar. In other words, He did not want them to be tempted to make a god when they carved in stone.

But sadly, the Israelites gave in to this temptation and did adopt the false gods of the pagan nations into their own system of worship. They compromised God’s Word. “My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God” (Hosea 4:12 (NKJV)).

And then we find how God responded:

He has withdrawn Himself from them (Hosea 5:6 (NKJV)).

“I will send a famine on the land . . . of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).

“I will despise your feast days. . . . Offerings, I will not accept them. . . . I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments” (Amos 5:21–23 (NKJV)).

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge . . . . I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6).

Yes, their children rebelled against the Lord—the parents lost their children to the pagan world. As for all their offerings, praise, and worship, God did not hear them or accept them.

Compromise Today

I submit that there “is nothing new under the sun.” The same situation, albeit portrayed in a different way and using different terminology, is happening today. I suggest much of the church today is really no different when we consider this sin of harlotry.

When I debated Bill Nye in February 2014, he was not just defending molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years; he was also defending naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that the whole universe, including the earth and all life, is explained by natural processes. This is Bill Nye’s religion—the religion of the secularists.

The belief in millions of years to explain geology and molecules-to-man evolution is the secularists’ attempt to justify their religion of naturalism. It is really human beings attempting to be god and worshipping matter and time (millions of years). In fact, Neil deGrasse Tyson stated in episode 8 of the recent Cosmos television series: “Our ancestors worshipped the sun. They were far from foolish. It makes good sense to revere the sun and stars because we are their children. The silicon in the rocks, the oxygen in the air, the carbon in our DNA, the iron in our skyscrapers, the silver in our jewelry—were all made in stars, billions of years ago. Our planet, our society, and we ourselves are stardust.”

Christians have mixed belief in millions of years with God's Word.

Sadly, many Christians, including many Christian leaders (pastors, seminary and Bible college professors, Christian college professors, and so on), have adopted evolutionary geology, biology, astronomy, and anthropology, along with belief in millions of years, and they have mixed such beliefs with God’s Word. Because such beliefs are founded on an antibiblical, anti-God worldview, I do humbly submit that such is harlotry no different than that of the Israelites.

Now I also state, as I have many times before, that salvation is conditional upon faith in Christ as the Scriptures teach, and not upon one’s view on the age of the earth or evolutionary ideas. Certainly many born-again Christians have adopted evolutionary beliefs, which doesn’t mean they can’t be saved. But it does not alter the fact they have played harlotry with man’s religion that opposes God’s Word.

I also submit that what happened to the Israelites is happening today. There is a famine of the hearing the Word of the Lord in our Western world, as many church leaders water down the teaching of the Word and adopt the world’s views in regard to marriage, abortion, and so on.

We are losing most of the coming generations from the church—over 60% of those in their twenties right now who were once connected to the church are not connected any longer. Yes, churches all across our Western world have emotion-touching music and well-run programs—but I submit that in many instances God is not hearing them because they have not taken an uncompromising stand on the Bible’s authority.

So I challenge those who do compromise God’s Word in Genesis by adding man’s ideas to contemplate these things. And I end with this challenge that God gave to the Israelites: “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,”’” (Zechariah 1:3).

Ken Ham is the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis–USA. He has edited and authored many books about the authority of God’s Word and the impact of evolutionary thinking on our culture, including Already Compromised and The Lie.

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