- The Bible as authoritative source of information: The entire Bible
bears witness that we are dealing with a source of truth authored
by God. The Old Testament (OT) prophets took this position
(e.g., Isa. 1:10; Jer. 7:1; and Hos. 4:6) as well as the New Testament
(NT) apostles (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16; and 2 Pet. 1:21). H.W.
Beck concludes from archaeological researches [B1, p. 39]: “The
hypothesis of a long oral tradition and of a long evolution of
literary developmental processes is really not probable.” The
apostles not only knew the Scriptures exceedingly well, but
the deeper meanings were also disclosed to them by the Holy
Spirit. Jesus Christ revealed certain information to Paul, as a
chosen instrument of God (Gal. 1:12), and Paul confessed
I believe everything that . . . is written” (Acts 24:14). Peter affirmed that he did not follow cleverly invented stories, but was an eyewitness (2 Pet. 1:16). The special key to understanding Scripture is given by God’s Son himself. Jesus states that His words will never pass away (Matt. 24:35). He guarantees that everything that has been written will be fulfilled (Luke 18:31). He authorized all the meaningful elements of the text of the Bible (e.g., Luke 16:17) and confirmed that all biblical accounts described real historical events, for example the creation of the first human couple (Matt. 19:4–5), the universality of the Flood and the destruction of all air-breathing creatures (Matt. 24:38–39), and the history of Jonah (Matt. 12:40–41). The present author discusses the authority of the Bible more fully in [G6].
- The relation between the Old and the New Testament: Many
statements of the OT are quoted in the NT, but the latter is
much more than merely a commentary on the OT. It is the
fulfillment of the OT: “
These[the people of the OT]
were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us” (Heb. 11:39–40). Everything was consummated in Christ. The OT is the indispensable “ramp” leading up to the NT, as in the case of a motor freeway. Jesus says of the OT, “
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). The NT reveals many things for the first time; it is new. The OT can only really be understood from the NT, because the former refers to Christ. This principle was disclosed by Jesus to the disciples on their way to Emmaus. The OT is regarded as authoritative, right up to the requirements of the Law fulfilled by Christ (Heb. 9:10) and the practices around sacrifices (Heb. 10:1, 4).
- The creation account—literal or poetic: It is often said that
we cannot really understand God’s creative acts. This sounds
humble and, at first sight, even commendable. It is, however,
false, since it contradicts God’s will that we must accept His
Word in real earnest (Jer. 22:29; John 8:47; 2 Tim. 1:13). We
should rather be thankful for all the information given to us
in Genesis and numerous other passages. The reasons given
below should make it clear that the biblical creation account
should not be regarded as a myth, neither as a parable nor
allegorically, but as a report:
- Biological, astronomical, and anthropological facts are given in a didactical form.
- As is customary for present-day measuring techniques, the appropriate methods for measuring the physical time units “day” and “year” are given (Gen. 1:14).
- In the Ten Commandments, God bases the six working days and one day of rest on the same time span as that described in the creation account (Exod. 20:8–11).
- In the NT, Jesus frequently refers to facts of creation (e.g., Matt. 19:4–5).
- Nowhere in the Bible are there any indications that the creation account should be understood in any other way than as a factual report.
The doctrine of theistic evolution vehemently tries to undermine this basic way of reading the Bible as vouched for by Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles. Events reported in the Bible are reduced to mythical imagery, and an understanding of the message of the Bible as being true in word and meaning is scorned and regarded as superstitious. H. von Ditfurth writes in the same vein [D3, p. 295–296]:
The literal meaning of the mythical imagery with which theologians proclaim their message bears no relation to the contents of the message. They were not even valid 2,000 years ago, when these images came into existence as expression of a living faith. . . . That was two millennia ago, so it doesn’t hold for us any more. The semantic “overtones” of the cultural matrix at the time of Christ’s birth have long since been forgotten. At that time the mythical formulas were impressed on the philosophy and customs of the Judaic-Roman world. . . . Today we only have the skeleton, the bare framework of words and sentences, which fills us with respect and awe as an echo of the time when they originated. The real meanings and significance they once had have long since been lost. . . . Where mythical statements are reduced to their bare literal meaning, it becomes superstition.
Supporters of theistic evolution are found among critical theologians and philosophers (e.g., C. Westermann, G. Altner, C.F. von Weizsäcker, T. de Chardin) and even some evangelical authors (J. Illies, H. Rohrbach). Views based on a direct understanding of the Bible are scornfully regarded as “fundamentalistic” (e.g., J. Illies [I3, p. 43], H. von Ditfurth [D3, p. 306]). Adherence to the views of theistic evolution leads to the abandonment of central biblical teachings, and thus to disobedience toward God. The Bible warns against this:
1 Samuel 15:23: “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you.”
Acts 13:46: “Since you reject it [the word of God] and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life.”