Evolution has been popularized and presented as scientific truth, and many Christians have added evolutionary belief to their biblical belief in God as Creator. Thus, while many Christians acknowledge that God created, they believe He used the process of evolution to bring all things into being. This is usually called “theistic evolution.” Widespread confusion has resulted, causing many to question the plain statements of the Bible. Christians are no longer sure of what is truth and what is not. Too many Christians have not realized the foundational importance of the creation/evolution issue.
As already indicated, there is a connection between origins and issues affecting society such as marriage, clothing, abortion, sexual deviancy, parental authority, etc. How do we know what our beliefs should be in relation to these matters? Christians need to look deeply into the reasons why they believe as they do.
To begin to understand this, we must first consider the relevance of creation in Genesis. In John 5:46–47 we read of Jesus’ word, “
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” Then in Luke, Jesus quotes Abraham as saying, “
If they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
Both references underline the paramount importance placed on the writings of Moses, beginning with Genesis. In Luke 24:44 Jesus referred to the “Law of Moses” in an obvious reference to the five books of the Law (the Pentateuch), which includes Genesis, accepting Moses as author. In Acts 28:23, we read that Paul, in Rome, preached unto them Jesus from Moses and the prophets. These are all references to the writings of Moses. And, there is one book of Moses that is referred to more often in the rest of the Bible than any other book. That book is Genesis. But in theological and Bible colleges, in Christian and non-Christian circles, which book of the Bible is the most attacked, mocked, scoffed at, thrown out, allegorized and mythologized? The Book of Genesis! The very writings that are quoted from more than any other are the ones most attacked, disbelieved, or ignored. Why is that so?
Psalm 11:3 asks, “
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
It is important to understand the relationship that the Psalmist is making. Society depends on moral foundations. By a mutual agreement which has sometimes been called a “social contract,” man, in an ordered and civilized society, sets limits to his own conduct. However, when such obligations are repudiated and the law collapses along with the order it brings, what option has the man who seeks peace? The Psalmist is looking at the fact that whenever the foundations of society are undermined, then what have good and righteous men done to prevent its impending collapse?
Some quite correctly quoted scriptures in saying that Jesus Christ is the foundation and He cannot be destroyed. In the context in which this verse from Psalm 11 is used, we are talking about the foundational knowledge upon which our moral framework is built. The foundational knowledge of Jesus Christ as Creator can be removed in people’s thinking, whether they are from Australia, America, England, or any other society. This action does not mean that Jesus Christ is not Creator, nor does it mean that He has been dethroned. However, it does mean that in those nations that abandon this foundational basis, the whole fabric of society will suffer the consequences.
If you want to destroy any building, you are guaranteed early success if you destroy the foundations.
If you destroy the foundations of anything, the structure will collapse. If you want to destroy any building, you are guaranteed early success if you destroy the foundations.
Likewise, if one wants to destroy Christianity, then destroy the foundations established in the Book of Genesis. Is it any wonder that Satan is attacking Genesis more than any other book?
The biblical doctrine of origins, as contained in the Book of Genesis, is foundational to all other doctrines of Scripture. Refute or undermine in any way the biblical doctrine of origins, and the rest of the Bible is compromised. Every single biblical doctrine of theology, directly or indirectly, ultimately has its basis in the Book of Genesis.
Therefore, if you do not have a believing understanding of that book, you cannot hope to attain full comprehension of what Christianity is all about. If we want to understand the meaning of anything, we must understand its origins—its basis.
Genesis is the only book that provides an account of the origin of all the basic entities of life and the universe: the origin of life, of man, of government, of marriage, of culture, of nations, of death, of the chosen people, of sin, of diet and clothes, of the solar system … the list is almost endless. The meaning of all these things is dependent on their origin. In the same way, the meaning and purpose of the Christian gospel depends on the origin of the problem for which the Saviour’s death was, and is, the solution.
How would you answer the following questions? Imagine someone coming up to you and saying, “Hey, Christian, do you believe in marriage? Do you believe it means one man for one woman for life? If so, why?” Now, the average Christian would say that he or she believes in marriage because it is somewhere in the Bible, Paul said something about it, that adultery is sin and there are some laws laid down about it.
If you are not a Christian, consider these questions: Are you married? Why? Why not just live with someone without bothering to marry? Do you believe marriage is one man for one woman for life? Why not six wives? Or six husbands? What happens if your son comes home and says, “Dad, I am going to marry Bill tomorrow.”
Would you say, “You can’t do that, son! It’s just not done!”
What if your son replied, “Yes it is, Dad. There are even churches that will marry us.” If you are not a Christian, what will you say to your son? Can you have any basis, any justification, for insisting that he should not have a homosexual lifestyle if he wants to?
When attempting to justify why they do or do not have a particular belief, many people today often have many opinions rather than reasons. It is sometimes interesting to watch interviews on television news programs. I recall one program on Australian television in which people were interviewed and asked to express their opinions concerning a government department’s ruling to grant homosexual couples benefits similar to those received by married heterosexual couples. Many of the opinions expressed went like this: “It’s not right.” “It goes against my grain.” “It’s wrong.” “It’s not normal.” “It’s bad.” “It shouldn’t happen.” “It’s not good.” It shouldn’t be allowed.” “Why shouldn’t they?” “People can do what they like!” And many other similar expressions were stated.
After I had spoken on creation at one public school, a student said to me, “ I want to write my own rules about life and decide what I want to do.”
I said, “You can do that if you like, son, but in that case, why can’t I shoot you?”
He replied, “You can’t do that!”
“Because it’s not right,” he said.
I said to him, “Why is it not right?”
“Because it is wrong.”
“Why is it wrong?”
He looked perplexed and said to me, “Because it is not right!”
This student had a problem. On what basis could he decide that something was right or wrong? He had started the conversation by indicating that he wanted to write his own rules. He was told that if he wanted to write his own rules, then surely I could write my rules. He certainly agreed with this. If that was so, and I could convince enough people to agree with me that characters like him were dangerous, then why should we not eliminate him from society? He then started to say to me again, “It’s not right—it’s wrong—it’s not right.” If he had no basis in an absolute authority that sets the rules, it was really a battle of his opinion versus my opinion. Perhaps the strongest or the cleverest would win. He got the point.
Many people have the opinion that a homosexual lifestyle is wrong. However, if it is just an opinion, then surely the view that homosexuality is acceptable is just as valid as any other view. The point is, it is not a matter of one’s opinion. It is really a matter of what does the One who is Creator, who owns us, give us as a basis for the principles governing this area of life? What does God say in His Word concerning this issue?
Christians have standards of right and wrong because they accept that there is a Creator, and as Creator, He has direct ownership over His creation. He owns us not only because He created us but because as the Scriptures say, “
Know ye not that … ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). God created everything; therefore, He has absolute authority. Because humans are created beings, they are under total obligation to the One who has absolute authority over them. Our absolute authority has a right to set the rules. It is in our own best interest to obey because He is Creator. Thus, what is right and what is wrong is not a matter of anyone’s opinion, but must be in accord with the principles found in the Word of God, who has authority over us. Just as a car designer provides a manual for correct maintenance of what he has designed and made, so too does our Creator supply His creation with all the instructions that are necessary to live a full, free, and abundant life. God has provided His set of instructions, not out of some spiteful or killjoy design, but because He loves us and knows what is best for us.
We often hear comments from parents that their children have rebelled against the Christian ethic, asking why they should obey their parents’ rules. One major reason for this is that many Christian parents have not instructed their children from foundational perspectives concerning what they should or should not do. If children see rules as no more than parents’ opinions, then why should they obey them? It does make an enormous difference when children are taught from the earliest age that God is Creator and that He has determined what is right and wrong. The rules come from God and, therefore, they must be obeyed. It is impossible to build any structure without a foundation, but that is what many parents are trying to do in the training of their children. The results of such attempts are all around us—a generation with increasing numbers rejecting God and the absolutes of Christianity.
At one church, a very sad father came to me and said, “My sons rebelled against Christianity. I remember their coming to me and saying, ‘Why should we obey your rules?’ I had never thought to tell them that they weren’t my rules. I only realized this morning how I should have given them the foundations of God as Creator and explained that He sets the rules. I have the responsibility before Him as head of my house to see that they are carried through. They only saw the Christian doctrines I was conveying to them as my opinions, or the church’s opinions. Now they won’t have anything to do with the church. They are doing what is right in their own eyes—not God’s.”
This is so typical of today’s Christian society, and it is very much related to this issue of foundations. Many parents do not realize they are not laying the proper foundation at home by placing the emphasis on God as Creator. When their children go to school, they are given another foundation: God is not Creator and we are simply products of chance. No wonder so many children rebel. One cannot build a house from the roof down. We must start from the foundation and build upon this. Sadly, many parents have built a structure for the next generation which does not have the foundational understanding that Jesus Christ is the Creator.
Students in most of our schools are given a totally anti-biblical foundation: the foundation of evolution. This foundation, of course, will not allow the Christian structure to stand. A structure of a different type—humanism—is the one built on this foreign foundation.
So many parents have said it was when their children went to high school or college that they drifted away from Christianity. Many rejected Christianity entirely. If there was never an emphasis on constructing the right foundation at home, it is little wonder the Christian structure collapsed. Regrettably, from my experience I have found that many Christian schools and colleges also teach evolution—so one should not assume that his children are necessarily safe because they are sent to a Christian school. The school may claim that it teaches creation, but on a detailed investigation it is often found that they teach that God used evolution in creation.
This same problem of a structure without a foundation is also reflected in another way. Many Christians may be against abortion, sexual deviancy, and other moral problems in society, yet they cannot give proper justification for their opposition. Most Christians have an idea of what is wrong and what is right, but they do not understand why. This lack of reasons for our position is seen by others as just “opinions.” And why should our opinion be any more valid than that of someone else?
All these issues relate to an understanding of what the Bible is all about. It is not just a guidebook for life. It is the very basis upon which all of our thinking must be built. Unless we understand that book, we will not have proper understanding of God and His relationship to man, and thus what a Christian world view is all about. That is why Jesus said in John 5:47 that we must believe the writings of Moses.
For instance, to understand why living as a homosexual is wrong, one has to understand that the basis for marriage comes from Genesis. It is here we read that God ordained marriage and declared it to be one man for one woman for life. God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Bruce! One primary importance for marriage as stated in Malachi 2:15, is that God created two to be “one” so that they could produce “a godly seed” (i.e., godly offspring). When one understands that there are specific roles which God ordained for men and women, one has reasons for standing against any legislation that weakens or destroys the family.
A homosexual lifestyle is anti-God, and so it is wrong, not because it is our opinion, but because God, the absolute authority, says so.
Thus, a homosexual lifestyle is anti-God, and so it is wrong, not because it is our opinion, but because God, the absolute authority, says so. (Note particularly Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24, 26-27; and Genesis 2:23–24.)
We must reinforce in our own thinking, and in that of our Christian churches, that the Bible is the Word of God and that God has absolute authority over our lives. We must listen to what He says in relation to the principles to live by in every area of life, regardless of what anyone’s opinion is. This human-based, opinion-oriented argument permeates the Church in many ways. Consider the issue of abortion.
I have been to Bible studies where groups are discussing abortion. Many of the members give their opinion about what they think, but they give no reference to the Bible. They say such things as: “What if their daughter were raped,” or “if the baby were going to be deformed,” or “if somebody wouldn’t be able to cope with looking after the child,” then perhaps abortion would be acceptable. This is where our churches are falling by the wayside. The idea that everyone can have an opinion devoid of a basis in biblical principles has crept into our churches and is one of the main reasons why we have so many problems sorting out doctrine and determining what we should believe. It is not a matter of autonomous human opinion about what is developing in a mother’s womb, it is a matter of what God says in His Word concerning the principles that must govern our thinking. Psalm 139, Psalm 51, Jeremiah 1, and many other passages of Scripture make it quite plain that, at the point of conception, we are human beings. Therefore, abortion in all instances must be viewed as killing a human being. That is the only way of looking at the matter. It is time we woke up. When it comes to such issues, we must take God’s view, not man’s!
If we were less nervous about doing this, a lot of the problems we have in churches today would obviously be more easily solved. A large conference of one particular Protestant denomination was discussing whether or not the church should ordain women as pastors. It was interesting to see what happened. Someone jumped to his feet and said we should ordain women as pastors because they are just as bright as men. Another commented that we have women doctors and women lawyers, so why shouldn’t we have women pastors? Somebody else said women are equal to men and, therefore, they should be pastors. But at this and other such conferences, how many people do we hear stating, “God made man; God made woman. He has given them their special roles in this world. The only way we could ever attempt to come to the right conclusion about this issue is to start from what He says concerning the roles of men and women.” The trouble is, everyone wants to have his or her own opinion without reference to God’s opinion.
At one meeting, a lady responded in a rather irate tone to what I had said about the roles of men and women. She said that she should not be submissive to her husband until he was as perfect as Christ. I then asked her where this was stated in the Bible. She said it was obvious that the Bible taught this. Therefore, she did not have to be in submission to her husband. I repeated my question to her, insisting she show me where in the Bible it made such a statement or gave a principle whereby one could come to that conclusion logically. She could not show me, but still insisted that if her husband could not be as perfect as Christ she didn’t have to be submissive to him. It was obvious to everyone present that she wanted her own opinion regardless of what the Scripture stated. She did not want to be submissive to her husband, and she did not want to obey the Scriptures.
Another place where we often hear people’s opinions expressed in all sorts of ways is at members’ meetings in churches. I have been at meetings where they were electing deacons. Someone would suggest a certain person to be a deacon because he was such a good man. When somebody else suggested that the qualifications for a deacon as given in the Scriptures should be applied, some objected, saying that you could not rule out a person from being a deacon just because he did not measure up to the qualifications given in Scripture. In other words, people’s opinions, according to some, were above Scripture.
There are many ways in which we see this whole philosophy permeating our Christian society. The principal of a Christian school was telling me that he has a number of parents objecting to his strict discipline, which is based upon biblical principles. Their objections usually took the form of comparison with other schools, or saying that their children were not as bad as other children around the neighborhood. Instead of comparing the standards with God’s Word, they compared them with other people. For instance, some parents insisted that because there were other students in the school who had not been caught doing wrong things, their children should not be punished. The principal pointed out that if this was applied in society there would be enormous problems. For example, does this mean that police should not prosecute a driver they happen to catch with a high alcohol content in his blood just because many other drivers who also have a high alcohol content were not caught? These parents were upset because of the standard the principal applied—a standard based upon the authority of God’s Word.
Paul says, “
Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Do we stand fast, or do we waver? What we are seeing in our society is an outward expression, in more and more of its naked ferocity, of the rejection of God and His absolutes, and the growing belief that only human opinions matter.
The reason for much of the conflict throughout the church at the present time is that people are fighting over their opinions. It is not a matter of opinion, yours or mine. It is what God says that matters. The basis for our thinking should be the principles from His Word. They must determine our actions. To understand this, we must also appreciate that Genesis is foundational to the entire Christian philosophy. One major difficulty in our churches is that many people do not trust Genesis. Consequently, they do not know what else in the Bible to trust. They treat the Bible as an interesting book containing some vague sort of religious truth. This view is destroying the Church and our society, and it is time religious leaders wake up to the fact. Not to take Genesis 1 through 11 literally is to do violence to the rest of Scripture.
As Professor James Barr, a renowned Hebrew scholar and Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oxford University, said in a personal letter on April 23, 1984, “So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1 through 11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story; (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be worldwide and extinguished all human and animal life except for those in the ark.”
Please note that many, if not most of these “world-class” scholars do not believe in the Bible or Christianity anyway, so they are not interested in “wresting” the Scriptures to somehow try to make their religion fit with evolution. They are just expressing their opinion on the plain meaning of the text. Disbelieve it if you wish, but it is impossible to make out that it is saying anything other than what it does say. We can see now that those who say that the clear teaching of Genesis is not what it actually means are not doing so on the basis of literary or linguistic scholarship, but because of partial surrender to the pressure of evolutionary thinking.