In The Beginning

In the past two weeks, the blogosphere was lit up with the discussion of origins. Tim Challies posted his notes from Al Mohler’s talk at the Ligonier conference, entitled Why Does The Earth Look So Old?

Then, Pyromaniacs joined the discussion by challenging the BioLogos group on their attack of John MacArthur here. (MacArthur apparently rebuffed their theistic evolutionist views, which in turn caused them to write a 3 -step article on the subject. In response to BioLogos, MacArthur’s Grace To You blog has been updated with new articles on creation.) Of course the comments are over a 100 on each of these blogposts, and have spurred  3 additional posts on Pyromaniacs so far. (See here, here and here.) Any Christian would be truly educated in reading these articles, as it will certainly help you in defending the faith, (reading the comments, not so much.)

The question really comes down to one issue: “What is your ultimate source of truth?” If you have two different sources that appear to contradict themselves, who do you believe? Do you hold science up as the ultimate authority, then allow those views to interpret the Scriptures for you? This is the way most of us have been raised in the modern world. Public school and universities scoff at the thought of questioning something so true as evolution, or even an earth that’s billions of years old. After all, don’t we have the evidence to back it up?

On the other hand, you could choose as your ultimate authority the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of God. This is the view that all believers should hold. Scripture as the foundation. Scripture above all other evidence.

This does not mean we reject all science. The word science comes from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”.  This was originally what science was all about — the study of the natural world: how it works, what it’s composed of, etc. But in the 1800s science began to take on a religion of its own. It began attempting historical science, as opposed to observational science. No longer were scientists simply studying how things currently work (observational), but they began studying “how it all began” and “how did we get from the big bang to here.” Scientists began coming up with theories on how the world was created and how man evolved from a puddle of goo.

Unfortunately many Christians today hold fast to these false theories. Many in the scientific world today look at Christians as “crazy fundamentalist” for even considering that God created the world in six 24-hour days. Even Christian scholars are swayed towards the theory of a common ground, merging evolution and Christianity. Evidence of this is seen in Bruce Waltke’s recent resignation from Reformed Theological Seminary over his video (produced by the above mentioned BioLogos group) where he stated:

“…if the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult…some odd group that is not really interacting with the world.”

A similar situation occurred at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) over Peter Enn’s statements a few years ago due to his unorthodox views of Genesis (see here). Old Testament scholar Peter Longman also left WTS over similar matters, and now states in a video (BioLogos again!) that he’s not sure if Adam and Eve were real people. This last issue is especially concerning to me as I’m currently reading Longman’s An Introduction to the Old Testament as required for a class I’m taking.

It’s no wonder Christians are confused today. Biblical scholars are jumping ship. Seminaries are becoming more and more liberal. Even many pastors are confused and are indifferent to the debate.

Yet we cannot think for one minute this debate is unimportant. It determines how we view the world. It determines who will interpret the rest of Scripture (after all, Christ and Paul in the New Testament both assume Adam was a real person.) It even determines how we live our lives and what we teach the next generation.

Make sure you have some working knowledge of the argument. Be ready to give a defense as Peter teaches (1 Peter 3:15).

2 comments… add one
  • Great article… great points. I’ve been following these issues and growing more and more concerned. At my home church, John Walton from Wheaton College has been teaching (the only adult class) raising similar concerns (see The Lost World of Genesis 1). As a practical matter, they all seem to focus more on what the Bible (allegedly) doesn’t say than on what it does. In any event, I agree that the foundational question is our source of authority – and confidence in it. To be honest, I’ve never been terribly knotted up about how the creation took place, but I’m increasingly passionate about this issue as I’m seeing more clearly the attack on the authority of Scripture: If we don’t think Genesis 1-3 mean what they clearly seem to say, where do we start thinking it does?

    • drbeck

      I agree Wes. The great thing about this is that it will hopefully get everyone talking about the Scriptures. Unfortunately though, many of the debaters on this issue spend all (or most) of their time arguing with scientific evidence instead of primarily the meaning of the text.

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