Biblical Authority and the Book of Genesis

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If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:12)

Think about this verse very carefully, as I apply it in a particular way. If you can’t trust the Bible when it talks about geology, biology, and astronomy, then how can you trust the Bible when it talks about morality and salvation? The issues of morality and salvation are dependent upon the history in the Bible being true. God does not separate morality and salvation from geology, biology, and astronomy. However, it’s popular today for liberal scholars to claim that the Bible doesn’t speak about science.

Now if we can’t believe the Bible when it talks about earthly things—the rocks, the trees, and the animals and plants, then how can we believe the heavenly things (i.e., salvation) that are so important?

All of us, myself included, have been what I call evolutionized. You might say that you don’t believe in evolution; bear with me.

When we hear the word evolution, it can mean many different things to many different people. We have to define what we mean by it. Evolution, in an ultimate sense, is more than a mechanism. It’s a whole way of thinking, a philosophy of life that teaches that man, by himself, independent of God, determines truth. It’s very important to understand that. Again, I believe we’ve all been evolutionized. Let me explain why.

We all go back to one man, Adam. We sin like Adam; Paul makes that very clear in Romans 5, for instance. As a result, all of us are going to have the same propensity that Adam had. We would rather listen to the words of fallible man than the Word of God. That’s the bottom line. That was Adam’s sin, wasn’t it?

Now we all have that nature. This leads us to be so easily influenced by the fallible words of sinful men, who don’t know everything, who weren’t there, instead of listening to the Word of the infallible God, who knows everything, who’s always been there.

Fallible men are trying to change the infallible Word of God. What I have come to recognize more and more is that if the Bible is a revelation from God to us, and if God has revealed the truth about the entire universe to enable us to understand who we are, what’s happened, why we’re here . . . then everything that He has revealed in His Word has to be foundational to all our thinking in every area.

The Bible Must Be Our Foundation

Because the Bible is the infallible Word from the Creator God, it must be foundational to all of our thinking.

But you see, we tend to take our ideas to the Bible. Our nature is such that we try to determine truth independently, by ourselves, and then add that to the Bible. But we need to understand that Christianity is founded in history. In fact, I call the Bible the history book of the universe. Christianity is not a pie-in-the-sky religion. Christianity is based in real history. Think about it; if the events of Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and Resurrection didn’t happen in history, how can we be saved? If we all don’t go back to one man in history, a literal man in a literal garden, then who are we? Where did we come from?

As I travel around, sometimes I get so dejected when I talk to Christian leaders. A number of Christian leaders have told me recently, “Genesis is just a metaphor.” I reply that if Genesis is a metaphor, then what about the account of Adam and Eve? Well, “It’s a metaphor,” they answer.

It’s interesting to me that if we look up the genealogies in the Bible (e.g., Luke and Chronicles), something becomes quite clear: all the genealogies show that Jesus Christ was a descendant of Adam. So are we to believe that real people go back to real people . . . all the way back to a metaphor? In Jude, does Scripture say, “Enoch, the seventh from a metaphor”?

When I read my Bible, it has all these real people going back to a real person called Adam. Enoch was seventh from Adam. It’s critical that we believe in the history of the Bible. Psalms tells us, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). If we don’t believe it is real history, then who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we sinners? The history is foundational to understanding what Christianity is all about, and you see the importance of historical reality when you read through the Bible:

  • A perfect creation is marred by sin, and death is a consequence.
  • The catastrophe of Noah’s flood, with geological changes around the globe, and biology on board the Ark.
  • As a result of the confusion at the Tower of Babel, when God gave different languages, the population splits up into different people groups that move out over the earth. This division results in different characteristics of people groups, depending on what collections of genes they have.
  • Jesus Christ becomes a man of flesh and blood, He dies on a cross, and He is raised from the dead.
  • One day there’s going to be a new heaven and a new earth.

Put on Biblical Glasses

Here, then, is what’s happened in history, while we are now waiting for eternity. We have to understand that this biblical history should be like a pair of glasses. As I say to people, when we look at the universe we should always have on our biblical glasses.

In a Time cover story, astronomers speculated on how the universe will end. They begin with evolutionary presuppositions, so the truth is that they really have no idea how the universe will end. Some say it will burn up, others claim it will freeze.

Peter, the apostle, tells us through revelation that even the elements will burn up one day, so that God can refashion the Earth by purging it of its impurities. He will rid everything of the Curse. Time magazine has it wrong.

I suggest that most people, even in our churches, have the wrong glasses on. We’re wearing evolutionized glasses, and we’re trying to add God to our evolutionized understanding, and we wonder why we have all sorts of problems. Let me give a practical example. One of the questions I get asked all the time is this: “How do you fit dinosaurs with the Bible?” Are you ready for a shock? I answer, “You don’t fit dinosaurs with the Bible!”

Now why did I say that?

Well, you don’t take man’s interpretation of the evidence and try to fit dinosaurs into the Bible. Here’s the point: you use the Bible to explain dinosaurs. You use the Bible as history, and put on your biblical glasses. Does the Bible tell us when God made land animals? Absolutely. Does He tell us what they ate before sin? Definitely! Does the Bible tell us anything about their history? Yes, they sailed on an Ark. Where did they end up? In the Middle East. And then what? They came out of the Ark. What happened to the dinosaurs that didn’t get on the Ark? They drowned. What would you expect to find? Dead ones. What do you find today in the fossil record? Dead ones.

So, what happened to the world’s dinosaur population? Well, because of sin and the Curse and the effects of the Flood, things are dying out; extinction is the rule (a number of species of animals become extinct every day). There is a very long list of animals that have become extinct, including dinosaurs. What, then, is the mystery? It’s only a mystery if you take man’s fallible interpretation of the evidence in the present and somehow try to fit it in to the Bible. It is not a mystery if you accept the Bible as history—you already have the right way of thinking with which to understand the evidence.

By the way, the same approach works with the Grand Canyon. How do you fit the Grand Canyon into the Bible? You don’t, but you use the Bible to explain the Grand Canyon. And that is a totally different way of thinking. Consider this: creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, humanists and Christians—do we all study the same world? Of course! Do we have the same animals? Do we have the same fossils? Do we have the same Grand Canyon? The same universe? Do we have the same facts? Yes! The facts are all the same. What is the difference?

How you look at the facts.

In other words, the fight is not about facts—not about the evidence. The battle is about how you interpret evidence, which depends upon the history you believe to begin with. The real battle between Christianity and humanism, between creation and evolution, between Christian and non-Christian, is a battle between two different accounts of history—man’s fallible view of history or God’s infallible revelation of history. That’s the real battle. We’ve got to recognize that the origins issue is really one concerning authority—God’s Word versus man’s word.

I was brought up in the secular education system and it took me years to try to “de-evolutionize” myself. But all of us are evolutionized in some way. People come to me and say, “Look, I’m trying to witness to a non-Christian and he says, ‘Don’t give me that Bible stuff, I don’t believe the Bible. I want evidence; give me some evidence.’” When folks come to me with this dilemma, I say, “Don’t let them set the terms of the debate.” Again, the evidence is all the same. If you go out there and try to give them “evidence,” what you’re actually doing is giving them an interpretation of the evidence, and all they’re going to do is reinterpret the facts. They are wearing a different set of glasses.

You need to set out to fit them with a new pair of glasses (biblical glasses) so that they will understand.

A girl came to me at a conference and said, “What you’re saying makes sense. I go to Penn State University. We talk about ethics concerning using human embryos for research, and I have been telling my professors that it’s wrong. However, I don’t get anywhere with them.” She paused, then continued, “I suddenly realized this morning that it’s the glasses aspect I’m missing.”

By and large, academics have a different foundation, a different set of glasses. We need to explain this to them by saying something like, “I can understand why you think the way you do. If you don’t believe there’s a God and you believe that we’re a result of evolution, you’re looking at the evidence and thinking, What’s wrong with using human embryos? We’re just animals anyway. But I want you to understand my position. I believe the Bible is the Word of God; you might not, but I do. And because of that, I have a particular way of thinking. That’s why I interpret the evidence the way I do.”

Thus, you simply explain where your thinking is coming from. Also, consider Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” and thus:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14–15)

It’s the Word of God that convicts, that is sharper than a two-edged sword. I’m not going to divorce my presuppositions from the way I interpret the evidence. Thus, I can say, “You might not believe the Bible; but I do. And what I want to show you is that, when I build my thinking on the Bible, I can make sense of the world. I can logically defend the Christian faith. I can show you that the statement “in the beginning, God created” is confirmed by science. I can show you that God created distinct kinds of animals and plants, and that this is what we observe in the world. I can show you that a global Flood makes sense of a worldwide fossil record.” I tell them that I can’t prove this explanation to them, because “without faith it’s impossible”—but the more I argue this way, the more I’m showing that the Bible is the best explanation. I then go on to explain that they also need to listen to the rest of the Bible, including the gospel.

Sadly, though, most Christian adults and young people don’t think like this. Let me give you a simple (but often-overlooked) reason why so many believers fail to see the world through biblical glasses.

The church has separated the Bible from the real world. They have been disconnected, if you will. As we’ll see, the church has accepted the world’s teaching, and by doing so it has undermined the authority of the Word.

Do Churches Really Believe the Bible Is the Ultimate Authority?

The statement of faith at most churches reads something like this: The Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of faith and practice. Is there anything wrong with that statement? No, not in itself; I agree with the statement. But there is a problem with it that we’re not seeing. Let’s look at it this way: Where the Bible touches on geology, can we trust it? What about biology, astronomy, and chemistry?

Of course we can trust the Bible because it is the Word of God. The Bible is not just the ultimate authority in all matters of faith and practice. The Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of faith and practice and everything it touches upon (which includes geology, biology, and so on). That’s what I think the Church has missed.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the idea that the earth is millions of years old became very popular. The bulk of the church then basically said, “Okay, we can believe what the world is teaching about geology, biology, and so on, as long as the Bible is recognized as a book that teaches about morality and salvation.” All of a sudden, the Bible was disconnected from the real world. The next short step was that the Bible no longer connects to death and suffering, the Grand Canyon, dinosaurs, and so on. That is why Christians end up asking questions such as, “How do you fit dinosaurs into the Bible?” They no longer understand that the Bible connects to the real world.

This thinking shows up in a big way in our Sunday school materials. In fact, I would say a lot of the Bible curricula that we use in the church today, in many ways, totally miss the mark. Much of it is virtually worthless, because we have put the emphasis on cute animals and colorful packaging.

We teach Bible stories. Now what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Shouldn’t we teach the accounts of Jonah and the great fish, the feeding of the five thousand, Paul’s missionary journeys, Noah and the Ark, Adam and Eve? What’s the problem with that?

Of course I believe all those accounts. The problem, however, is that people grow up looking on the Bible as just a collection of stories. From there it’s a short leap to legend, myth, fairy tales. Not surprisingly, many denominations today teach that the Old Testament in particular was spun from myths and campfire stories. This inevitably leads to a weakening of the faith and outright assaults on the inspiration of the Bible, as seen in the antics of the Jesus Seminar “scholars” who tell us, among other things, that only 18 percent of the words attributed to Jesus actually came from His mouth.

We criticize television networks for inaccurate depictions of Bible figures, but that’s exactly what we do in Sunday school and in our Bible curriculum. We teach our children Bible stories. Now here is what results from this shortsighted teaching method. These young people learn all these Bible stories, and then they go out into the big, “bad” world. Many end up in colleges and universities. They read magazines and books. But what they are taught in the world contradicts the Bible’s history. Our young people are challenged by skeptics who ask questions that challenge the Bible’s integrity. Questions such as:

  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • Where did God come from?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • How did Noah get all the animals on the ark?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • Where did the races of people come from?
  • What about the dinosaurs?
  • How about carbon dating?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • How about continental drift?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • What about natural selection?
  • Where did Cain get his wife?

So it goes. By the way, do you get the idea that Cain’s wife is one of the most-asked questions? Interestingly, Clarence Darrow asked that question of William Jennings Bryan at the famous Scopes trial in 1925. Poor Bryan said that he didn’t know.

Darrow: Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?

Bryan: No, sir; I leave the agnostics to hunt for her.

Darrow: You have never found out?

Bryan: I have never tried to find out.

Darrow: You have never tried to find out?

Bryan: No.

Darrow: The Bible says he got one, doesn’t it? Were there other people on the earth at that time?

Bryan: I cannot say.

Darrow: You cannot say. Did that ever enter your consideration?

Bryan: Never bothered me.

Darrow: There were no others recorded, but Cain got a wife.

Bryan: That is what the Bible says.

Darrow: Where she came from you do not know?1

How can you preach the gospel to someone who asks the question about Cain’s wife but doesn’t get an answer? That question really challenges the Bible’s history. If Christians can’t explain how all people are descendants of Adam and Eve, why will people listen to any other teaching from the Bible? Theologically, if we’re not all descendants of one man, Adam, then we have a major problem. Only descendants of Adam can be saved.

When an opponent of Christianity asks about Cain’s wife, what he’s really doing is challenging the historical accuracy of the Bible: “You believe this Bible? You believe this stuff? It says we start from Adam and Eve. Okay, you defend its history. Where did Cain get his wife?”

Most Christians give the same sort of answer that William Jennings Bryan gave. Your challenger then labels the Christian faith as a “pie-in-the-sky religion.” He continues the assault: “You can talk about that morality stuff and salvation, but this has nothing to do with reality. The Bible is not history.”

Sadly, most churches are not teaching adults or students how to connect the Bible to the real world. By and large, they don’t teach apologetics—how to defend the Christian faith and uphold the authority of the Word of God.

Just a Story?

Consider this: in Sunday school—do we usually teach children about geology, biology, and astronomy? No? Why not? Well, in Sunday school we teach them about Jesus. If I can say this without being misunderstood, therein lies the major problem. The children end up thinking Sunday school and church is just about Jesus. Now this is important, but it comes across in most instances as just a “story.”

You see, the Bible teaches about geology. It states that there was a global Flood. The Bible also teaches about biology. God made distinct kinds of animals and plants. The Bible deals with astronomy. God make the sun, moon, and stars on Day Four for signs and for seasons. Now the Bible doesn’t deal with chemical equations or the laws of physics that helped put man on the moon, but the Bible does give the big picture in geology, biology, and other sciences, to enable people to have the right way of thinking about the universe. The Bible covers topics like the atmosphere and oceans. However we usually teach the Bible as just a collection of stories. Thus, children grow up thinking the Bible is just a book about morality and salvation, but what they learn in the world about geology, biology, and astronomy—that’s what they can trust concerning the history of the universe. Eventually these students become consistent and say, “You know, if you can’t trust the Bible’s history, and you can’t trust its geology, biology, and astronomy, why trust the morality and salvation?” And we lose these students to the world.

Hollywood actor Bruce Willis was interviewed for the USA Weekend magazine, and this is what he said regarding faith and morals:

Organized religion used to hang the whole thing on one hook: if you don’t do these things, if you don’t act morally, you’re going to burn in hell. Unfortunately, with what we know about science, anyone who thinks at all probably doesn’t believe in fire and brimstone anymore. So organized religion has lost that voice to hold up their moral hand.2

Do you realize what he’s saying? Here we are as a church, claiming that abortion and homosexual behavior are wrong. However, the world is saying, “What are you talking about? Science has proved that the Bible can’t be trusted anyway. And here you are holding up your morality based on that book. How can you say abortion and homosexual behavior are wrong, when we know this book can’t even be trusted? Science has disproved the Bible’s account of history.”

Increasingly, the world views Christians as fanatics fighting moral issues, trying to impose Christian morality on the culture. However, most Christians don’t realize that the culture no longer has a foundation that takes the Bible seriously. The church itself, when it compromises with billions of years or evolution, has effectively said, “Well, we don’t really believe the Bible’s history.” Then we wonder why we’ve got problems. We preach from a book that we admit can’t be trusted in its history. We wonder why Christians are considered the “enemy,” more and more, in this nation. And we wonder why Christians are considered to be bigoted, biased, intolerant people. Isn’t that increasingly how we’re viewed? The church is trying to impose a morality on a culture that no longer accepts the foundation of that morality. And if we don’t deal with that foundational problem, Christians will increasingly be seen as the enemy.

Why Should We Take Genesis as History?

At the Answers in Genesis headquarters in Kentucky, we have built the incredible Creation Museum. We had a four-year battle with the humanists over the right to use the property for a museum, but now visitors can walk in and learn how to put on biblical glasses. They tour exhibits that illustrate the whole history of the world, through creation, corruption, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, Christ, the Cross, and consummation. They see how the Bible connects to the real world, learning answers to the questions of the age. We teach the doctrines that are built on the Bible’s history, and we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. With a 2,000-foot frontage on a major interstate, we are shouting to the world, “The Bible is true! We can logically defend the Christian faith. You’re going to be challenged to believe its message.”

Let me give you another practical reason why a facility like this one is needed. Remember the blockbuster films Jurassic Park and Lost World?

You’ll recall that Tyrannosaurus rex had teeth up to six inches long. Let me ask you a question. How would this dinosaur originally have been described? Was the creature a plant eater? A meat eater? Most people say it has always been a meat eater. Because we live in this present world and we observe animals with sharp teeth eating meat, we usually conclude that such creatures were always meat eaters. But if you put on your biblical glasses, you see things differently.

If you take Genesis as history, at face value, as written, Genesis 1:29 makes it very clear that God told Adam and Eve to eat fruit. He told the animals to eat plants. He did not tell the animals to eat other animals. In fact, this is substantiated in Genesis 9:3, where after the Flood, God told Noah he could now, for the first time, eat animals. That substantiates that Genesis 1:29 and 30 is teaching that man and animals were vegetarians—originally.

Now why am I emphasizing this? If you take Genesis to Revelation consistently, interpreting Scripture with Scripture, I believe you can come to no other conclusion than that death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering of man and animals are a consequence of sin. At the end of the sixth day of creation, God said everything was “very good.” Would the world at that time be full of cancer? Do you think God would look on such disease and say, “That’s very good”?

Now, if you believe in millions of years before Adam, you have no option but to accept diseases like cancer, death, bloodshed, violence, thorns, suffering, and extinction, as existing millions of years before man. There are some dinosaur bones in the fossil record (supposedly millions of years old) that show evidence of cancer. But the Bible’s record makes it obvious such diseases are the result of Adam’s sin. There are also thorns in the fossil record, supposedly hundreds of millions of years old, yet God specifically tells us that thorns are a result of the Curse. The stomachs of some animals were fossilized with the remains of other animals in them that they had eaten. If you believe in millions of years, you have to accept death, pain, killing, disease, thorns, struggle, suffering, and extinction before sin. How could God describe all that as very good?

Let us consider the death issue in more detail by looking more closely at the book of Genesis.

How did Jesus interpret Genesis? In Matthew 19, when asked about divorce and marriage, He referred to Genesis as history:

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4–5)

What was Jesus teaching us? Do you want to understand the doctrine of marriage? The doctrine of marriage (and thus the meaning of marriage) is dependent upon its history being true. You become one. Why? It’s based on the principle of “one flesh.” Eve was taken out of Adam. If this event didn’t happen in history, then how can you talk about oneness, as Jesus does in Matthew 19, and Paul in Ephesians 5? The woman couldn’t have come from an ape-woman. To believe this is to destroy the whole basis of marriage. And we know it’s to be a man and a woman and not a man and a man. Why? Because God made a man and a woman in history, not a man and a man. It grieves me, but does not surprise me, that the churches condoning homosexual behavior or ordaining homosexual pastors do not believe in a literal Genesis. If they did, they would realize that marriage could not be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.

Ultimately, the history in Genesis 1–11 is foundational to every single biblical doctrine of theology. Why did Jesus die on the Cross? Why do we wear clothes? Why is there sin? Why is there death? Why is Jesus called the last Adam? Why does man have dominion? Why is there a doctrine of work? Why marriage? Why a seven-day week? All these doctrines are founded in Genesis 1–11.

The history in Genesis 1–11 is foundational to the rest of the Bible. Incidentally, liberal teachers understand the best way to get rid of the Bible. First, get rid of the history (the geology and so on), because once the history’s gone, it’s then just some pie-in-the-sky religion, divorced from its foundation, and ultimately it will collapse. The Bible has been disconnected from the real world and relegated to just a collection of stories. No wonder people are leaving the Church. Since the 1960s, the United Methodist Church has lost millions of members and continues to decline, according to the most recent reports.3 Today, there are more Muslims in America than Episcopalians. The cause of this shift is no mystery!

The church has been destroying its own history by believing in millions of years, taking man’s interpretation of the evidence, and adding it to the Bible. Discussions about Genesis and the whole issue of creation/evolution/millions of years is an issue of authority. Do we take God at His Word or not? Is the Bible the infallible Word of God? And what right do we have to tell God what we think He means, instead of letting Him tell us what He said He did? That’s the issue.

The Age of the Earth Is an Indirect Gospel Issue

Another great controversy today concerning the Genesis history is the length of the creation week. If you don’t believe that God created in six days, as His Word clearly states, then why believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead? Let me explain.

I’ll tell you why I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Because the Bible clearly states that on the third day He rose from the dead. Some people claim we know Jesus rose from the dead because of all the evidence. However, all evidence is circumstantial. It’s all interpreted. Even though the evidence seems to overwhelmingly support the claim that Jesus rose from the dead, ultimately, it is not proof. Ultimately, the proof is what the Word of God states. You know why I believe that God created in six days? Because the Word of God clearly states this. There is a beautiful quote from Charles Spurgeon, given during his last address to his pastor’s college, in London:

Believe in the inspired volume up to the hilt.
Believe it right through; believe it thoroughly;
Believe it with the whole strength of your being . . .
The Scripture is the conclusion of the whole matter.

A call to battle for all of us, even today—especially today. You see, as soon as you question the six days of creation, you have lost the battle, and you may as well give up. Why? Let’s look again at the Scopes trial.

Clarence Darrow persuaded William Jennings Bryan to get on the witness stand, because through Bryan (a dear Christian gentleman), he wanted to show the world that Christianity is a bankrupt religion. Darrow managed to get Bryan, representing Christianity, to be cross-examined concerning his faith, and it’s interesting to read the transcript.

Darrow: Does the statement, “The morning and the evening were the first day,” and “The morning and the evening were the second day,” mean anything to you?

Bryan: I do not think it necessarily means a twenty-four-hour day.

Darrow: You do not?

Bryan: No.

Darrow: Then when the Bible said, for instance, “and God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and morning were the second day,” that does not necessarily mean twenty-four hours?

Bryan: I do not think it necessarily does.

Darrow: Do you think it does or does not?

Bryan: I know a great many that think so.

Darrow: What do you think?

Bryan: I do not think it does.

Darrow: You think those were not literal days?

Bryan: I do not think they were twenty-four hour days.

Darrow: Do you think those were literal days?

Bryan: My impression is they were periods, but I would not attempt to argue as against anybody who wanted to believe in literal days.

Darrow: Have you any idea of the length of the periods?

Bryan: No, I don’t.

Darrow: And they had the evening and the morning before that time for three days or three periods. All right, that settles it. Now, if you call those periods, they may have been a very long time.

Bryan: They might have been.

Darrow: The creation might have been going on for a very long time.

Bryan: It might have continued for millions of years.4

Right then, the Christians lost the Scopes trial in the public mind. They lost the battle. Why? But didn’t John Scopes get fined? Yes, even though it was overturned on a technicality. But I want you to think—that was 1925. Let’s stand back and look at the big picture. Look at the culture. Is the culture today more pervaded by Christian influence or less than back in 1925? We would all agree it is much less Christian today. The Scopes trial was a turning point for Christendom in many ways. Christians lost the battle. Why? Because Clarence Darrow accomplished what he was seeking to do; he wanted the world to see, and the press to see, that when it came down to the bottom line, Christians really didn’t believe what the Bible clearly said, and you can add millions of years to the Bible, thus reinterpreting the days of creation.

Be a “Biblical Creationist” First

Today, there is great debate about the Genesis account of early earth history. Virtually any viewpoint is welcomed into the debating arena, except for the view that the Bible is plain in its language concerning the six literal days and thus a young earth.

However, I also have to say that I dislike the term young-earth creationist. You see, when people use terms like young-earth creationist or old-earth creationist, to me they’re setting up a straw man in a way. To be frank, the priority is not whether you are a young-earth creationist. First and foremost, one needs to be a biblical creationist. For instance, the fact that I don’t believe in billions of years is a consequence of biblical authority. It’s not that I’m a young-earth creationist, and that’s why I look at the Bible the way I do. It’s because I look at the Bible the way I do that I cannot believe in billions of years, and thus I am a young-earth creationist.

Progressive creationist Hugh Ross says that those he labels “young-earth creationists” are putting a stumbling block in people’s way, because they are telling people the world’s not billions of years old when Ross says it is. Thus, Ross claims that if you let people believe in billions of years, that helps lead them to Christ, because it helps them to accept the Bible. But the opposite is true. For instance, the late Dr. Carl Sagan said this:

If God is omnipotent or omniscient, why didn’t He start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way that He wants? Why is He constantly repairing and complaining? There is one thing the Bible makes clear, the biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer; He’s not good at design, He’s not good at execution, He’d be out of business if there was any competition.5

Notice what Sagan was saying. Look at this world out there, all the mistakes, all the mutations, and the death and suffering and disease. Where’s a God of love? Where is your powerful God? I don’t see a powerful God.

Now think about this question: Is this the world as God made it? No. There is some beautiful design in our present world, but that misses the point. Kids are given a false idea in our churches—ah, look at the beautiful world God made.

Beautiful world God made? Go to Australia. It’s a beautiful country, with the world’s most poisonous sea snake, most poisonous snake, most poisonous jellyfish, most poisonous octopus, most poisonous stonefish, and man-eating crocodiles.

Irven Devore, from Harvard University, said this: “I personally cannot discern a shred of evidence for a benign, cosmic presence. I look at evolution; I see indifference and capriciousness. What kind of God works with a 99.9 percent extinction rate?”6

Irven Devore is looking at a fallen world. We know it was once perfect, but that is true only if you believe the history in Genesis. The world now is a broken one. But when a person believes that the world is billions of years old and that the fossil record is millions of years old then such a person is really saying that the death and disease in this present world has been here for millions of years. Thus, God is to blame for all the death and suffering and disease. But the Bible doesn’t blame God. Sinful humans are to blame. The death and disease are the result of our sin.

Who Sets the Rules?

Now think about this. Here is where the rubber meets the road. If Adam’s in your history, then God made you, God owns you, and God sets the rules. But if that history can be reinterpreted on the basis of man’s ideas, then man is the authority. Who then sets the rules? You do. Why not reinterpret the Bible’s morality? Why not reinterpret the Bible’s salvation?

If the Bible’s history is true, then the morality and salvation based on the Bible is true. However, if the geology, biology, and astronomy in the Bible can’t be trusted, then why should one trust any of the Bible? The Christian who believes in millions of years reinterprets the geology in the Bible—then why shouldn’t the rest of the Bible be reinterpreted on the basis of man’s fallible ideas? Why not reinterpret marriage to allow for homosexual “marriage,” for instance?

However, when a Christian accepts that the Bible’s history is true, then marriage is one man for one woman. One’s worldview is built on the Bible because the Bible’s history is true. And when Adam’s in your history, salvation is found in the “last Adam.”

Unfortunately, our culture has replaced biblical history with a different history. When the church has taught millions of years, then it has effectively taught that one doesn’t have to believe the Bible’s history. Thus, a door has been unlocked. Future generations push this door of compromise open even wider. They conclude that if the history in Genesis is not true, why believe the rest of the Bible? Why believe the morality and salvation? Why not write your own rules? Do what you want with sex. Abort babies—get rid of spare cats, get rid of spare kids, what’s the difference? We see in our culture today the collapse of the Christian framework. We see an increase in the humanist philosophy. This is so because the foundation the culture was built upon has changed from one believing that God’s Word is truth to believing that man’s opinions determine truth. The foundation has changed from believing that God created in six days (thus, God’s Word is true) to believing in millions of years (thus, man’s word is true).

Contend for the Faith

Friends, we need to contend for the faith. There is a spiritual battle in this world, and it’s about time Christians were willing to stand up for what we believe, be bold, and deal with these issues. The creation movement is part of a movement that God has started to get people back to the foundation of His Word, beginning with Genesis.

In summary: The humanists are clever—how to try to get rid of Christianity? They know not to aim directly at the Resurrection or the virgin birth. They know to aim at the Bible’s history of the world. Once the history’s gone, the rest goes. And how have they done this? By convincing the church to believe in millions of years and thus to reinterpret God’s Word in Genesis. This unlocks the door to doubt in the authority of the Word, and this doubt spreads like a cancer through the culture and through subsequent generations.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton—how many of them were once Christian? All of them. How many of them are Christian today? None of them. Why? When you look into their history, they started to reject the truth in Genesis. They unlocked the door to further doubt in the Word of God. Subsequent generations pushed that door of doubt open to lead to the unbelief that we see today.

I have a challenge for you, and a plea to ensure that the church stands on the Word of God from the very first verse. If we don’t, the battle is lost. We might win little battles here and there, and we might see some successes with children. However, I wonder if in 100 years we would realize how even more devastating it had been for the church to have allowed that door of compromise to stay open, by accepting millions of years—just as we look back at the devastation wrought by the Scopes trial, nearly 100 years ago. Would we realize that we had a chance to restore the foundations of biblical authority, but we lost it?

While Christians take potshots at the “issues,” the authority of Scripture is unraveling in people’s minds. What do I mean?

We’ve spent millions of dollars fighting abortion. Guess what? It hasn’t gone away. Why? Abortion is not so much the problem in itself; it’s a horrific symptom of the problem. The real problem is the rejection of scriptural authority. This culture was once pervaded by a Christian influence, including prayer and Bible reading in the schools. The Ten Commandments were taught, and most children went to Sunday school and church. When the message of sin was preached in such a culture, people by and large understood. They could understand the message of Christ.

They could even accept that things such as abortion and homosexual behavior were wrong—they were sin—even the non-Christians accepted that.

But we have new generations coming through an education system devoid of the knowledge of God. The Bible’s history is ridiculed. Increasingly, people don’t understand the Christian message. Neither do they accept the morality of the Bible. They have been brainwashed to believe that the Bible’s history is wrong—so its morality and salvation are suspect, also.

What’s the solution? The solution is we need to get out there and preach the authority of the Word of God without compromise. We need to show clearly that the Bible’s history can be trusted. We need to give answers to the world’s attacks on the Bible’s history. The church needs to tell the world that the millions-of-years theory is not true. The world needs to see Christians believing the Bible—not compromising with man’s fallible words. As a result of this new vigor in the church, we may see many saved and won to the Lord Jesus Christ. I think that too many people in American churches think that we need to go out there and change the culture. I disagree with them in one sense. I think we need to preach God’s authoritative Word and proclaim that it is true history, so that people’s lives and hearts and minds will be changed as they recognize their sin and their need of salvation. Then they’ll change the culture.

Footnotes

  1. The World’s Most Famous Court Trial, Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee, 1990, 302.
  2. USA Weekend magazine, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 11–13, 2000, 7.
  3. Alexander Griswold, “Another Year of Decline for U.S. United Methodists,” Juicy Ecumenism (blog), Institute on Religion and Democracy, September 24, 2014, http://juicyecumenism.com/2014/09/24/another-year-of-decline-for-u-s-united-methodists/.
  4. The World’s Most Famous Court Trial, 302–303.
  5. Carl Sagan, Contact (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc., Pocket Books, 1985), 285.
  6. Irven DeVore, “Astronomy Might Be Refashioning Images of God,” Times-News Weekender, May 1, 1999, Religion Section, 9A.

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