Is Genesis History?

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Last night there was a nationwide one-night-only release of the movie, Is Genesis History. My family went to watch, and the theater was packed. In fact, it appeared that they oversold the movie, because several people stood along the walls and sat on the floor. This tells me that there is a market for such movies. In fact, as I was researching their website this morning for this post, there will be a second one-night-only release of the movie on March 2nd. So, if you missed last night’s showing, grab a friend, and see if the question gets conclusively answered.

“Is Genesis History” is a documentary in which Dr. Del Tackett travels the world trying to answer the question of whether the conventional paradigm (cosmic evolution, geological evolution, and The Grand Theory of Evolution) or the Genesis paradigm best accounts for the evidence that is seen in today’s world. He defined a paradigm as the framework in which evidence in interpreted. So in this question, do purely naturalistic forces best account for the evidence that is observed today or does the narrative of Genesis give us insight into earth’s history.

***** SPOILER ALERT!!! The conclusive answer to the question of whether Genesis is indeed history is revealed below. ******

I won’t give away all of the spoilers in the movie, as there were over a dozen scientists weighing in on the evidence, but I do want to hit a couple of the highlights.

  1. This blog addresses whether God’s Word is the authority, so let’s start with the imminent Biblical scholar, Steve Boyd PhD, and what he had to say about Genesis. When questioner, Dr. Tackett asked Dr. Boyd about whether Genesis claims and/or appears to be historical, Dr. Boyd replied unequivocally that the author of Genesis intended his audience to understand the text as having actually happened in history. The Hebrew people were God’s chosen people, and Genesis reveals the history of God’s interaction with their patriarchs in a smooth genealogical line. A paraphrase of  one particular interaction with Tackett, Dr. Boyd says, someone would have to bring their own alien interpretation into the Genesis text to claim that the Bible can accommodate billions of years by redefining the Hebrew word for day. It is clear from the text, that the Hebrew word for day in this context is not plastic enough to mean billions of years as some groups would have us believe. So, from this interview, the question is answered with the affirmative: Genesis is history.
  2. Dr. Tackett also interviewed Dr. Paul Nelson. They met in a computer museum and talked about the history of information. One particular interaction caught my attention. They discussed how biological evolution claims to be plausible by building from a single celled organism to all of the diversity of life by compiling more and more cells over millions of years. In the same way, do we get complicated computer operating systems and programs by adding zeros and ones (which is the foundation of computer language) randomly over years and years? Both ideas are equally ridiculous according to their interview. This interview also affirmed that Genesis is history.
  3. The last point I wanted to make in this post wasn’t drawn out in great detail, but the idea of the Eye Witness was brought up. When discussing issues of history, an eye witness has value. As an analogy, consider a crime that is being investigated by a local police station and the FBI. Both offices employ a forensics team to help determine the culprit, however, the FBI has an eye witness that was at the scene of the crime. Now consider that this eye witness was a justice on the supreme court…someone who is very familiar with evidence, law, and judgement. Would the local police office, who employed ONLY a forensic team in their investigation be able to build as solid a case that accounted for all of the information as the FBI, who employed a forensic team and had an eye witness? The Genesis narrative is written as history from the perspective of the Supreme Judge, and his eye witness account is not lightly dismissed.

 

I highly recommend the movie. There’s no action, no CGI, and no plot twist, but the information is fantastic, the experts well-spoken, and the conclusion is important.

Since we can trust what God has revealed about history, we can trust Him with our future.

Euthyphro Dilemma…It is a problem?

What in the world is the Euthyphro Dilemma?

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In debates between Christians and Materialists, sometimes Christians will bring up the apologetic that since there is an objective morality, then there must be a God. Materialists have countered using the Euthyphro Dilemma. In short, this dilemma was a story told by Plato describing a fictional encounter between Socrates and Euthyphro. In it Socrates asks, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods.”

To transliterate this parable to modern thinking and applying it to the monotheistic God:

“Does God define what is right, or does good define God?”

The dilemma then, for Christians, would be if they answered affirmative to the first part of the question, “Yes, God defines what is right”, then the materialist can say that God has the ability to be arbitrary or capricious. God could essentially change his mind on what He defines as right and wrong.

Were the Christian to answer the second part of the question with the affirmative, “Yes, Since something is good then God commands we do that,” then God is unnecessary since there is a standard greater than God to which he must submit. If there is something greater than God, then that greater something is what should be worshiped.

Neither answer is palatable for the Christian, and that is why it is so important that Christians study their Bible. With correct Bible study, we see that this is a false dilemma.

Isaiah 45:19 says “I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.”

Does this spring the materialist’s trap into saying that God can arbitrarily decide right from wrong? It might, unless we take further notes from his eternal Word.

Hebrews 13:3 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change.”

So, God both defines what is right, and He never changes. God’s very nature is good. “For the LORD is good. His steadfast love endures forever.” Since God’s very nature is good, then He defines for us what he expects and how we should reflect his image by our actions. We were created in God’s image, and to be excellent reflections of his image, it is imperative that humans follow his commands…and thus, fulfill our purpose.

In part 2 of this post, I want to go deeper into this discussion to see if we as Christians can answer this question of absolute morals, how it is communicated, and what is our purpose.

If you’re interested in further research on how philosophers discuss the Euthyphro Dilemma, you can look here.

Study Your Bible

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Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

In a technologically modern world, we have become so accustomed to having things instantaneously. The latest fad is to purchase external Siri, Alexa, Google boxes that answer your voice questions and perform simple online tasks. Today’s window of focus is 140 characters or seven second Vines.

We can be easily tempted to let someone else read, study, pray over, and digest God’s Word – so that they can summarize the message for us. But as a citizen in the eternal Kingdom, don’t let that temptation manifest itself in your life as your primary intake of the Word. Study your Bible. Besides the benefit of enjoying a nourishing time with the Creator and pondering the Words of life, there’s a danger in only letting someone else tell you their thoughts about God’s Word.

In my most previous two posts, I pointed out the exegetical flaws of some men, who have metastasized their peculiar interpretation of scripture. So that they can accommodate their belief in billions of years, they are forced to claim that the flood of Noah’s day was a local flood. It has been shown over and over again how this teaching is false, but in my personal Bible study this week, I came across yet another scripture that refutes their teachings.

Isaiah 54:9 says, “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So, now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.”

Hugh Ross assumes that Psalm 104:9 is talking ONLY about the creation week, so that the waters of creation could not cover the earth again in Noah’s day. But Isaiah clearly teaches that the waters DID completely cover the earth during Noah’s day, so Ross’s assumption that Psalm 104 is solely about creation week is false.

Another reason why we know that Psalm 104 is not solely about creation week but also includes post-fall timeframe is because of verse 21: “The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.”

Genesis 1:30 tells us that carnivorous activity was not part of God’s original creation. “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food.”

If lions are stalking prey in the poetry of Psalm 104, then it must be, at the very earliest, after sin’s curse affected the universe, but is even more likely talking about the post flood world in which the author of the Psalm lived.

Studying God’s word for yourself is a blessing in so many ways, not the least of which is being able to identify false teachings.

Since we can trust God about what He has revealed about the past, we can trust Him with our future!

 

Old Earthism Fail – Part 2

Earlier this week I reviewed at debate between Biblical creationists and old earth creationists. I pointed out the clear problem that old earthers have with Bible exegesis.

Today, I want to bring light to a major problem that they continue to propagate. The old earther, Hugh Ross, continues to claim that the Bible teaches that the flood of Noah’s day was a local flood. There are a number of biblical problems with the claim that the flood of Noah’s day was simply a local flood. We’ll discuss a few of them here.

Hugh Ross struggles to make his point using Psalm 104 as his primary text. In fact, the only place in the Bible that he can bend the words to his liking is verse 9 of Psalm 104.

You (God) set a boundary they (the waters) cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.

This poetic passage includes phrases like:

“O LORD…you are clothed…”
“He wraps Himself in light”
“He stretches out the heavens like a tent”
“He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the winds”
“He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants”
“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved”

This passage is clearly a passage of poetry. Why build one’s doctrine on poetry at the expense of historical revelations from God?

So, Ross’s assumption is that the entire passage of Psalm 104 is a commentary about only the creation week, and he claims that (rather than Genesis’ historical account) this poetry is a solid foundation upon which to establish his untenable position. In his belief that the entire Psalm 104 passage is about creation, Ross says that the flood of Noah’s day could not have covered the earth since verse 9 says that the water will never again cover the earth. Since the creation account talks about how the earth was brought forth from water, Ross thinks that his sandy foundation in the Psalms absolves him from proper exegesis. It is important for us a Christians to interpret the Bible according to its genre and within the context of the whole of scripture. I’ll show below how the rest of scripture does not allow a local flood.

For a biblical creationist, the resolution is simple. Psalm 104 is a poetic account of both creation, the flood, and post flood world as a way to bring glory to the Almighty.

So, let’s look at some of the other reasons why the local flood advocated by Ross is contradicted by God’s Word.

  1. At the end of the worldwide flood in Genesis 9:11, God promised to never flood the earth again. His covenant was memorialized with God placing the rainbow in the sky. If Noah’s flood was a local flood, then God would have broken his word by allowing local floods all over the earth.
  2. From Genesis 6:17 – Genesis 7:23 God reveals in his Word 20 superlatives describing his utter destruction of the earth and all air-breathing animals with a flood. The old earthers have got to overcome or dismiss each usage of these 20 superlatives to accommodate their local flood story.
  3. Genesis 7:19 says “They (the waters) rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.” It cannot be a local flood because all the high mountains under heaven were covered with water.
  4. Genesis 8:4 specifically mentions the mountains of Ararat. Today Ararat measures almost 17,000 feet high. It’s likely that this peak was taller in the past since it has lost height from multiple eruptions. The only mountain specifically mentioned in the Biblical account was Ararat. So, we know that the flood would have had to at least cover this mountain. There is no basin deep enough to contain the amount of water necessary to cover Mt. Ararat. Therefore, the flood of Noah’s day could not be a local flood according to the Bible.
  5. Matthew 24:38-39 are the words of Jesus. “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood took them all away.” Another superlative. All were washed away in the flood. Everywhere on earth, all were washed away according to Jesus, and if they are all washed away, it must have been a worldwide flood.
  6. 1 Peter 3:20 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
  7. 1 Peter 3:21 The worldwide covering of the earth by water symbolizes baptism. If the flood was a local flood, does baptism just need to be partial covering of water. The symbolism of Jesus’ death (which was complete) and the complete covering of the earth by water, is strongly recognized in the complete submersion by water in baptism.
  8. 2 Peter 2:5 Only 8 people in all of the earth were saved from the worldwide flood.
  9. 2 Peter 3:6 The world was deluged and destroyed. There’s no room here for a local flood.

The old earthers have to dismiss or re-interpret each of these revelations from God in order to make their localized flood fit.

There’s no need to build doctrine on the poetry of Psalm 104 at the expense of the historical account in Genesis as well as the other passages in scripture that clearly teach God’s judgment on the sin of mankind with a worldwide flood.

Thankfully, there is hope. God has a plan of redemption that those who confess their sin and rely on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus will not only be spared from God’s wrath but be joint heirs with Him in the eternal kingdom.

Old Earthism Fail

Justin Brierley hosts a weekly podcast called Unbelievable. Combing through his archives I found and listened to a debate about whether the earth was young or old. He moderated a debate between the Biblical Creationists (Andy McIntosh/Stephen Lloyd) and old earth creationists (Hugh Ross/Ken Samples).

There were several problems with the old earther’s positions. Ken Samples ridiculously claimed that the young earth position was peculiar, and that since a day can mean more than just 24 hours, then the proper interpretation for Genesis 1 is that the word day should conform to his meaning of millions (or billions) of years. He also wrongly claimed that days 1-3 couldn’t be real days because the sun and moon were not created until day 4. Projecting his own injection of poor scripture interpretation onto the biblical creationists, he called the youth earth model unbiblical.

Let’s analyze Samples’ claims using God’s Word and some common sense.

Genesis 1:14-15,19 says

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from he night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so…And there was evening and there was morning-the fourth day.

So, the Hebrew word for day is yom or yowm. And it can mean a 24 hour period, the hours when the sun shines, or a passage of time. In verse 14, the first use of the word “day” clearly means the hours of light in the daily cycle. The second use of the word “yom” needs no interpretation to understand that it is a 24 hour period, which is synonymous to the earlier meaning of identifying the light/dark cycle. But Sample’s peculiar and radical interpretation is to cram 14 billion years into the meaning of “yom” in verse 19. Samples re-interprets the final “yom” (in verse 19) to fit his preconceived notions rather than letting the same paragraph of scripture clearly speak as to the limits of the day in the context. In the same passage, the word yom means the daily cycle, but Samples wants his billions of years to be included in scripture, so he stretches the meaning of the word to accommodate his model.

Samples also ignores the passages in Exodus 20:9-11 and Exodus 31:17 that says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” So, God’s command was for the Hebrews to work for six days as He worked and then rest on the Sabbath as He did. Using Sample’s radical re-interpretation, the Hebrews would have needed to work for 14 billion years before finding rest. I prefer to stick with scripture rather than the old earth model.

Regarding Sample’s problem understanding how days 1-3 could be literal days before the sun existed, it’s really quite simple. What did Genesis tell us was the first purpose of the lights in the heavens? Time keeper. So, Samples is telling us that there could not have been time before the time keeper. Or put another way, prior to the invention of the stop watch, seconds didn’t exist, because we couldn’t measure seconds. I’m sure Kenny is a nice fellow, but his logic and Biblical interpretation are deeply flawed.

This is a problem because God revealed himself in scripture, and it clearly teaches that death is a penalty for sin. Jesus came to pay the price for mankind’s sin by dying in our place. If death is something that God created as part of his “very good” creation (Gen 1:31), then is brings into serious question why Jesus had to come at all. If death, disease, and suffering were just part of creation as Ross and Samples teach, then the coming of the Messiah to restore peace and defeat death (I Cor 15:26) are brought into question.

We can trust God’s revelation about the past, and that gives us hope that we can trust him with our future.

 

Give Thanks, Prevent Foolishness

Happy Thanksgiving! On a day when we are more aware of all of our many blessings, I thought I’d post yet another reason why it is so important to be thankful to the Creator.

Romans 1 tell us:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

Don’t give thanks to God as the undeniable Creator and you risk foolishness.

Paul continues in Philippians 4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

[Note: Emphasis is my addition]

Being thankful to the all-loving God is spiritually medicinal. With thankful hearts, we are healthy in our thoughts and can give sacrificially as Jesus gave (and continues to give).

Worldviews Matter

Everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. If you find evidence that might somehow seem to conflict with reality, one is forced to come up with a rescuing device to protect their worldview. People are usually more concerned with protecting a worldview than knowing the truth.

Here’s an example: Humans were not supposed to have started working with aluminum until about 200 years ago (materialist worldview), so aliens must have visited earth 250,000 years ago (rescuing device).

So, instead of the Biblical worldview, which states that mankind was working with metal just 7 generations after Adam (Genesis 4:22) , someone, who has a naturalistic worldview will need to fabricate stories about aliens bringing complex metal workings from other galaxies as a rescuing device.

Don’t let an atheist tell you that they have evidence and a Christian has only faith. Everyone has the same evidence. We all interpret evidence according to our worldview. Here’s another example:

DNA has verified half-life of 512 years. The extrapolated maximum time that DNA is readable under perfectly preserved conditions is less than 1 million years. So, if DNA is found in a dinosaur bone then there are at least two options when interpreting the evidence.

  1. The creationist says, ‘Since we know how long DNA can last, and we found DNA in dinosaur bones, then the dinosaur bone is MUCH younger than 65 million years. This fits well with a biblical time frame.” The worldview is defined by the Bible.
  2. The atheist says, ‘Since we know dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago, and we found DNA in dinosaur bones, then there must be some unknown mechanism that preserves DNA MUCH longer than we expected.” The worldview is defined by deep time.

Same evidence…but because of different worldviews, then different conclusions are reached.

In the original case above, the atheists use aliens as a rescue device for their worldview since they do not believe the biblical account that humans have been smart from the beginning.

Therefore, evidence alone does not determine truth. One must evaluate the mechanism for interpreting the evidence (worldview) to see if the worldview can withstand scrutiny. The Christian worldview can make sense of

  • Preconditions for intelligibility
  • Universal-unchanging-immaterial laws (laws of logic, physical laws…)
  • Absolute morals
  • Beauty, Truth, Love, Purpose

The atheistic worldview is deficient in its ability to accommodate these self-existent properties.

 

The 8 C’s of History

So, I’ll be teaching a new class at our church starting tomorrow called the 8 C’s of History. For some of you, the title will look vaguely familiar as I took the general idea from Answers in Genesis and expanded on it. They developed a curriculum called the 7 C’s of History. I’ve not read their curriculum, but it spurred the idea for my class. “The 7 and 8 C’s of History” confirm how the significant themes of the Bible are historically accurate. Their seven C’s are:

  • Creation
  • Corruption
  • Catastrophe
  • Confusion
  • Christ
  • Crucifixion
  • Consummation

For the purpose of my class, I added “Covenant” between Confusion and Christ…I mean, for Heaven’s sake! That’s almost 2200 years of time that God was working with his chosen people in the form of the Covenant. So, Answers In Genesis SHOULD have included “Covenant” as one of their C’s, but maybe they were on a budget.

It should be noted that I’m not getting any money from this endeavor, and I am giving credit for the general idea to AIG ministries. Ultimately, it is God who receives the glory and it is because of Him that we live and breath and have our being. All of the pictures in the slideshow are linked images and suitably credited. So, no lawsuits please!

I’ve created Google Slide presentations that I will post here for people to keep up. Feel free to share the links or use the material to spread the Good News of God’s redemptive plan as revealed in his word!

  1. Creation
  2. Corruption
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Confusion
  5. Covenant
  6. Christ
  7. Crucifixion
  8. Consummation

 

Here is a timeline that I constructed as supplemental material for the class. Enjoy!

God’s Existence is Self-Evident

I was recently asked to give the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral. As I was preparing the words to say, I wanted to speak openly about the importance of worldview questions at at a time when people ask questions about mortality and purpose and afterlife.

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In the past when I have talked about BIG worldview-type questions, I have used these questions:

  • How did we get here?
  • What is the purpose to life?
  • What happens when I die?
  • Is there right and wrong? How can I know right from wrong?
  • Is there a God?

But as I was preparing the eulogy, the last question really stuck in my throat. As I’ve come to understand my Bible better through the teachings of several apologists, it is plain that God’s existence is self-evident. There is no question as to the Creator God’s revelation through nature, his written word, and his Son Jesus.

So, I’ve changed that question to be: Who or what will I worship?

Everyone worships something. People will either worship the Creator God who is worthy of all praise, or they will worship something lesser. These lesser things most often include themselves, but can also include money, security, fame, or something else in creation. To do this, one has to suppress their knowledge of God as revealed in Romans 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;

There is a danger in not recognizing God as Creator and worshiping him. As Romans 1 continues:

21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

Be thankful to the Creator God and worship him or face the prospect of futile, foolish, and darkened thinking.

The question of God’s existence isn’t in question; just your object of worship.

The Continual Failure of Evolution…

The Grand Theory of Evolution continues to fail as a predictive model when scientists are actually allowed to use data rather than assumptions and extrapolations.

Dennis Venema is professor of biology at Trinity Western University, and he has written some articles that claim evolution to be verified by the data.

Interesting, because when the research is analyzed, what it shows is the exact opposite.

So that you don’t have to read the entire article, here are a few snippets from the researchers:

If the evidence can confirm evolution, then it also can disconfirm evolution.

What does it say? …for it seems that what the science shows is that Venema’s claim, that the genetic evidence confirms evolutionary predictions, is inaccurate.

For starters, phylogenetic incongruence is rampant in evolutionary studies. Genetic sequence data do not fall into the expected evolutionary pattern. Conflicts exist at all levels of the evolutionary tree and throughout both morphological and molecular traits. This paper reports on incongruent gene trees in bats. That is one example of many.

In fact one evolutionist, who has studied thousands of microRNA genes, explained that he has not found “a single example that would support the traditional [evolutionary] tree.” It is, another evolutionist admitted, “a very serious incongruence.”

It is not unusual for similar species to have significant differences in their genome. These results have surprised evolutionists and there does not seem to be any let up as new genomes are deciphered.

The prediction that the mouse and rat genomes would be highly similar made sense according to evolution. But it was dramatically wrong.

In other words, out of the 1,071 trees, there were zero matches. It was “a bit shocking” for evolutionists, as one explained: “We are trying to figure out the phylogenetic relationships of 1.8 million species and can’t even sort out 20 yeast.”

And although evolutionists thought that more data would solve their problems, the opposite has occurred. With the ever increasing volumes of data (particularly molecular data), incongruence between trees “has become pervasive.”

If the pattern fits the evolutionary tree, then it is explained as common evolutionary history. If not, then it is explained as common evolutionary forces.

With all of this contradictory evidence, even evolutionists have realized in recent years that the traditional evolutionary tree model is failing. As one evolutionist explained, “The tree of life is being politely buried.”

 

So, with all of this contradictory evidence, will people be persuaded to believe in a Creator instead? Probably not. Just more epicycles and sub-hypothesis are created to extend the evolutionary story.

Romans 1 tells us that there is sufficient evidence to believe that the Creator God is evident from what he has created, and there’s enough evidence to pass judgement on the unbeliever.

We can trust God’s Word in what it has revealed about our past, and we can therefore trust Him about our future.