Revelational Foundations Series Lesson 1
Genesis – Creation
16 January 2022
© 2022, Charles A. Clough
“Father, we pray this morning that as we sang that hymn “How Great Thou Art” that we would reflect upon what You have revealed to us in history, that You are great and that Your greatness is all around us all the time to every person on Earth. We pray that You would open our hearts and our eyes to Your greatness as You’ve shown it down through the corridors of time. We ask this in our Savior’s name. Amen.”
I might start by just introducing a way I have of looking at the Bible that I’ve found useful. This is not a substitute for verse-by-verse teaching. It’s not a substitute for reading through our Bibles each year. But it is a way of using the content of Scripture. When I was in college and was part of a small group of guys who became Christians all in our freshman year. We were in a pretty academically hostile environment to the Christian faith. One of the things that one of the Christian professors told us one time … It’s like you have these moments when somebody tells you something that lasts.
He said, “You men are going to experience every assault on the Christian faith the next four years. You better be prepared to handle that. You’ve got to be able to think through the Bible quickly because these attacks come from all directions. You’ve got to be able to think through the basics of Scripture.”
So, over the years I’ve tried to help college students by concentrating on certain events. Again, this is not verse-by-verse teaching. If you think of Creation and you think of the Fall and so on, I’ll show you in a moment. That’s what I call when I use the word “Framework”.
The second time I had a professor tell me something that has stayed with me the rest of life, it was a biblical archeologist at Johns Hopkins many years ago at the turn of the century. He had written a book, and we were discussing the book in our training. It was called The Old Testament Against its Environment. The point of the book was that when we read the Scriptures, we are reading the Scriptures in a fallen world. Those Scriptures have been assaulted from the very first day they were recorded.
What we need to do—and it sharpens your understanding of what we’re reading when we read the text of Scripture. If you’ll think about how this particular passage is opposed by the culture around us because when you think of something—this is true, this is false—it sharpens your ability to see what is true. So, I hope that what we’ll do this morning we’ll start to show that in the early chapters of Genesis.
This is a timeline of the events. This is what I am talking about, being able to think through the basic events. We start out with the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham. It’s visualizing these were real events. This is not poetry. This is not a proverb. This is a record of actual events.
Here’s the advantage it gives you. Every one of these events is a step forward in time as you go from the right side to the left side of that diagram. It’s the progress of God’s revelation. So, God has given that revelation sequentially. We’ll see why God is so wise in how He does this. God is the perfect teacher. He doesn’t overload at one point. He gives us increments and pieces.
The other thing is it’s not just chronology. It’s not just a time sequence of events. It’s something else. That is that each event in that sequence is a step to understand the next one. If we start, we have to start with Creation.
That sets up certain things that we’ll talk about this morning. Those things it sets up, those truths it sets up, undergird the whole rest of the Bible. So, every other event builds on that event. Then after Creation, we have the Fall, the introduction of evil, sorrow, death, and obviously the need for redemption.
So that lasts throughout the whole … That’s the basis of why Jesus Christ had to come. So, we have the Creation. Then on top of that, we have the Fall. So now we understand the universe is God’s handiwork disrupted by sin. Then we come to Abraham and the program for Israel and so forth.
Another way of thinking of this, and I found this helpful too, is that we all have our imaginations. So, when we read something, we can use our imagination and think about it. Each of these events, if we look at the event itself—like the Creation, Fall, and Flood, visualize what you would have thought were you there when this event happened. It’s an exercise. But we have the imagination. We have the tools available so we can project ourselves by our imagination into that event.
Then when we do that, we see the great truths revealed in that event. We can visualize what would it have been if we were there five minutes after Adam and Eve were created. We would walk through the Garden of Eden. We would have a question—how old were Adam and Eve when they would probably look about 30 but were only five minutes old? It would be a strange place for us to be there a few moments after their creation. It would be an environment like nothing we’ve seen because it was pre-Fall. So sequentially thinking of this, it’s just a road map through the Scriptures to be able to think of these things in that sense.
What we want to do now is we want to take the first two verses. Now right away we are in big, big opposition. We have:
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
That’s the total universe. God created the entire universe. This is very important as we’ll see before we finish today.
Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form, and void;”
It means it was uninhabited. It was the mass of the total universe actually.
“... and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
So now we have a little bit of understanding. The Trinity is slightly available here. God is creating. His Spirit is working. This is the setup for what will become very clear in the New Testament.
Now we say that biblical events are always challenged by the cultural environment. So, what we want to think about is—why is it that up until the late 1700s there wasn’t one Roman Catholic theologian, there wasn’t one Protestant theologian, there was not one Anabaptist theologian, that believed in an old Earth? All of them accepted a young earth—that history has not gone on for millions of years. History is short, far shorter than we’ve been taught in our schools.
It was this verse early on about the late 1700s that people began to say, “You know, the earth is old. We have the geological strata and so on. Where is that in the Bible?”
There were two men in particular that made a big change in the way, particularly Western Civilization thought. One was James Hutton in 1785. Notice the date. Just notice the date, 1785. Hutton said in a book called The Theory of the Earth … He was a deist. He had no need, he said, to reconcile the Scripture. He’s thinking up what is the long age of the Earth, but he’s not trying to match it with the Scriptures.
Then, we have a man in 1830, between the years of 1830 and 1833, Charles Lyell. Here’s what Lyell is doing. He is also a deist. Neither of these men are Christians. Deists do not believe that God verbally revealed Himself in history.
Here are some quotes. I tried to pick these quotes out because they show you what he’s thinking. He’s talking here about a journal. He did a very clever thing. It’s still being done today between science and politics. He organized a journal, a scientific organization; and he was able to dominate the culture of his time. So “Old Fleming … [this was a man who was involved with one of these journals who was involved with Christian clergy].
He says, “Old Fleming is frightened and thinks the age will not stand my anti-Mosaic conclusions.” This is his advice to him. He’s advising this man who has connections within the ministries. He says, “If you don’t triumph over them but compliment their liberality and candor of the present age, the bishops and enlightened saints will join us.”
Notice the last sentence—they will join us if we treat them nicely.
Then his declaration about the rise of historical geology. These men were all amateur geologists. Geology wasn’t a science back then. They were men who were the first guys to start looking at strata. He says, “The physical part of geologic inquiry ought to be conducted as if Scripture was not in existence.”
So, what happened here? Lyell wasn’t alone. There were other men equally capable, equally acquainted with the strata in the field. They were Flood geologists. In other words, they looked at the strata and said, “This is not strata that formed over millions of years. This is strata that is first of all deposited by water, and it was deposited rapidly.”
The problem was Lyell outsmarted them. This is a lesson we Christians need to think about. Lyell started a group. The flood geologists were all independents. There was a guy here and a guy here and a guy here. They did not have the capability of writing a journal. Lyell was a lawyer. He had a lot of money, so he was able to finance the journal.
The lesson we learn right here between the Scripture and the culture against it is we need to work together. The flood geologists did not work together. Now they had evidence. One of the key evidences the flood geologists kept pointing to and Lyell totally ignored was things like this.
How do you explain this as a slow process of millions of years? There is a tree trunk in this stratum. Did it sit there for a million years while the rocks slowly built up around it? Obviously not. The tree trunk there was rapidly buried by various strata. The flood geologists said, “This is a sign not of slow erosion and sedimentation. This is a sign of rapid deposition.”
Of course, we know now we’ve had a lot more experience with this. We’ve had at least two events in our recent time of rapid geological events happening. If we take the idea of work divided by time, that’s power in physics class. If work is done quickly, it’s a high-power event. If the same work is done slowly, it’s a low-power event.
The whole idea of Lyell was the Earth is explained as he had a doctrine called uniformitarianism where the processes we observe today are the same processes that went on for millions of years and the processes are at the same rate. So, for example, erosion today is slow except in times of a tsunami or something. So, he said, “It’s always been slow.”
You can understand why it’s attractive to do this. The lesson besides the fact that the flood geologists didn’t get together as Christians and think through and then help each other work through this was a disaster. It wasn’t until later in time, which I’ll show you in a moment, that we actually had a situation where creationists got together.
This is a diagram I’ve shown here before. Don’t worry about all the details on it. The idea behind this diagram is the X-axis is time and the vertical axis is distance. The idea of that square in the middle is our lifetime and it is the limit on what we can see and what we can experience. The gray area is our own personal information, our own personal experience. It’s capped obviously between the time we are born and the time we die. We can extend our understanding of the universe. We can extend it in distance by telescope. It’s a tool to see in distance. We can extend our eyesight down into the smaller and smaller things with a microscope.
We can extend our knowledge of fast events by high-speed photography. Over at Aberdeen Proving Ground, when I worked there, they had high-speed cameras that are looking at a shell going through tank armor. It happens so fast they’ve got to take millions of frames of pictures to see—how do we design a round that will penetrate the enemy’s armor. You can’t do that if you can’t see what’s happening. So, we can do that.
But you’ll notice there is a problem. There is nothing going to the right. The reason is because if you go to the right, that’s time that we can’t experience. It’s the future; but it’s also the past—the future and the past. The future, we can try to predict it; but it’s not experienced. We don’t have personal experience of the future because it hasn’t happened yet. But also, we don’t have personal experience, observations, or measurements of the past if there was no one there to do the measuring.
So, I am going to ask Josh. If you’ll take the cord there. And Brooks, if you’ll get it. I’ve got a fishline here going from one side of the auditorium to the other. That distance, our pastor paced off. It’s 81 feet. It’s 972 inches. That’s the length of the fish line. Now if that fish line represents 2.9 million years of human existence on the planet, the amount of measurements we have is only two inches. So now how confident can we be about past history if we only have observations and measurements of 2 inches out of 81 feet?
Then, if we say, “Okay, let’s think about if the universe is 4 billion years old, then how many observations and measurements do we have on this string that would correspond to it—1/1000th of an inch?” I hope this kind of shows you how much is speculation and how much is actually measured science.
The point here is that there are two kinds of science. There’s a bait and switch that has been going on for about 200 years. We’re all impressed with the accomplishments of science. We sent a person to the moon. We do all sorts of research in the genome. So, we know and respect scientific research. And that’s correct. That’s one of God’s gifts to the human race—part of the naming.
However, when you discuss what goes to the right of that diagram, you’re talking about the future or you’re talking the past that is not measured. You have no observations. That’s different. That’s a forensic issue. We call that historical science.
What happens in our educational system is we talk science, science, and science. Then there’s a bait and switch that happens. We talk about measured science. We do experiments and so on and so on. Then suddenly we start talking about the ancient past millions of years with no measurements or anything else. That’s not measured science.
So, there are two kinds of science here. There’s operational everyday laboratory science that we are all acquainted with. Then there is historical science which has to be conjecture. So that’s the problem with uniformitarianism and Lyell. They postulated uniformitarianism that the same processes at the same rates are going on. Thankfully the Lord has worked so that we have two great illustrations among many thousands. In fact, it was two days ago we had that explosion that was captured on the satellites in the South Pacific.
In 1979, there was a violent explosion at Mount St. Helens in Washington state. When that volcano exploded, thankfully, they knew that it was going to do something, so they positioned video cameras. So now we have a violent event that was filmed. Now we’ve got measurements and we’ve got video and so on.
The debris that came off that mountain was a mix of chaotic rocks, dirt, and water. The professionals call it a slurry mix. The mathematics of a slurry mix are still being investigated because we don’t understand what happened. It came down up to 90 miles an hour sliding down in total chaos on the side of Mount St. Helens.
But here is the amazing thing. It all settled out and there’s a mini-Grand Canyon that was formed. It hardened up over two or three years. You take a photograph of that thing and you would swear you are looking at the Grand Canyon. It’s all nice and organized, all level. How the heck did a slurry mix coming down at 90 miles per hour chaotically all of a sudden get perfectly stratified, looking like it settled there very gently? It’s not known.
The fellow that’s investigating it told me he’s trying to raise $30,000 to talk to a fluid dynamicist to figure out what is going on in that thing. So that’s one illustration of a non-uniformitarian explosion that happened at a high-powered event that was videoed and was measured.
The second one that I’m going to cite is the Japanese tsunami. Remember the one that you saw pictures of with that water just sweeping across cars, sweeping across buildings, wrecked one of the nuclear power plants in Japan? Well, that particular event, what caused it?
Thankfully the geologists that are doing measuring work know about what’s called tectonic plates. These are on top of the Earth’s mantle, and they undergird our continents. What happened was one of the plates in the Pacific Ocean is trying to slide west and the plate underneath the whole Japanese archipelago is trying to slide east. Instead of slipping, every once in a while, they get caught and get tangled. Then they suddenly let go. In 15 minutes, the islands of Japan moved 8 feet! That was when the tectonic plate underneath slipped.
Today the Creation-Flood geologists are saying that’s probably one of the mechanisms God used in the Great Flood. So, there we have a non-uniformitarian event.
So, the point here is—did Lyell ever see one of these? Apparently not or he wouldn’t have come up with the doctrine of uniformitarianism. The point we’re trying to say is that we have no measurements. I know some of you are going to think about, “Well yes, we do have measurements, don’t we? Don’t we have radioactive decay?”
Well, I brought a little demonstration here. I tried this. This is for the people concerned about fire. This is an electrical simulation. I waited until my oldest granddaughter got first-year algebra so she could understand what’s going on here. I asked her, “Look, go to your bedroom. I’m going to be out here in the dining room. We’re going to light a candle. I’m not going to tell you when I lighted it. You are going to stay in your room 15 or 20 minutes. Then I’ll call you out. What I want you to do is figure out how tall was this candle when it was first ignited; and secondly, how long has it been burning.
“You can figure this out. There’s a candle and there’s what you have to figure. You have the starting length. You’ve got to know what the starting length is. You’ve got to know what the burn rate is. You’ve got to know the burn duration to measure what it is now.” Well, we know what it is now. That’s why it’s black. We know the time in this case so that’s black. But we have two unknowns. We do not know the starting length of the candle, nor do we know the rate of burn.
“Well, you can measure the rate of burn.”
I said, “How do you know I didn’t blow a fan on this?” The rate of burn is not necessarily constant. The only way you can solve that is you’ve got to speculate on what the initial condition was, and you have to guess what the rate was. That’s the thing that plagues all radioactive measurements.
For example, people went to the moon and brought back samples from the moon’s surface and dated by different methods. One method yielded 2 million years for the dust from the moon. The other measurement was 2 billion years for the dust of the moon. So now we’ve got two different ways of measuring, but the measurements don’t coalesce.
Then we have the case of Mount St. Helens. When they measured the debris by radioactive dating, it came out 2.8 billion years. Well, it wasn’t 2.8 billion years. It was 1979. So, the problem here is the math that goes into radioactive dating is very similar to what we just did here. This is very simplified, but it is the same math.
I’m showing you all this because we’ve all been snookered into thinking that when people say very confidently, like Sagan said in his famous TV series the Cosmos, is that we know the universe is 4 or 5 billion years old. Well, no we don’t. We don’t know it by the same kind of science, and we weren’t there; and we didn’t have any photography, and we didn’t have any measurements. So, let’s get a little more humble.
Now what I want to show you (and this is part of the insert in the bulletin)—is Christians developed a strategy here. We want to learn a lesson. Remember I kept saying the flood geologists didn’t stick together. They didn’t help one another, and they lost the battle. The first time when historical geology started early on, you see the date there—between 1700 and 1800—that’s when higher criticism of the Bible started. Basically, what they did is they completely threw out the authenticity of the Scriptures.
Wait a minute. Just wait a minute here. What is the Bible? You know we’ve said it over and over. The Bible is not a book. The Bible is a library of literature. It is unique literature. In all the world you will not find a library like the Bible. The Bible was written by 40 different people, 66 different literary creations of these 40 people. They wrote in three different languages over 1,500 years.
Show me a library of that many people written that long a time with internal consistency detailing prophecies like predicting when the Messiah would be born and where He would be born. What library do you know that has those qualities?
So, anyway, the point was higher critics—usually in Germany where they elevated science above the Bible. That’s why the lady that built this little diagram put the green science on top of the black Bible. That was one way—I call that the surrender strategy. That’s where we completely surrendered the authenticity and applications to Scripture.
Then about 1800, we had people saying, “Well, maybe we can pack the age of the Bible inside Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.” The problem that we have with that is you are saying all the geology is explained between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; but what do you do with the Flood? If you pack all the stuff there back in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, you’ve got nothing for Genesis 6, 7, and 8. So Genesis 6, 7, and 8 are very clear that it’s one Flood there.
So, the accommodation strategy—this involved putting the ages inside Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 or sometimes saying instead of seven days it was seven ages. These were all approaches done between 1804 and 1823. Remember the dates of Lyell. That was exactly the time that he was going on. Here Christians and even conservatives said we have to accommodate the Bible to historical geology. My contention is they misunderstood what historical geology is telling them.
Finally, it wasn’t until 1960 when two men, one a theologian (who taught Old Testament at Grace Seminary) and one a hydrodynamicist scientist, Henry Morris, took ten years to challenge these whole strategies. The book that they did—I brought these two in so you could see them. This is the book, The Genesis Flood. This was such a bombshell of a book in 1960 that no dispensational conservative publisher would dare publish it.
Interestingly, it was a post-millennial covenant theologian by the name of Rousas Rushdoony who said when he read the manuscript, “This has got to be published.” So, he called up Sam Craig, who owned Presbyterian Reform Publishing Company in Philadelphia. He said, “Sam, publish the book.” That’s why to this day when you open it up, you’ll see the copyright is with Presbyterian Reform Publishing Company. They’re not the ones who are super conservative. Anyway, that’s The Genesis Flood.
Thankfully that launched a creationist movement. That was in 1960. We’re 2022. So, from 1960—that’s 40 years to 2000—and 22, so 62 years we’ve had time for creationist scientists to get together and help one another and do good science work. The funny thing is that it’s been Christian guys and gals who are conservative, and they believe the Bible, and they’re saying the Bible is going to give me a way of looking at God’s creation.
Here’s a quote. Here’s why by the way the accommodation strategy failed. It’s global judgment in Genesis 1:2, then the Noahic Flood must have been local. Geological strata are similar all over the world showing it’s one coherent record. 2 Peter 3, 1 Peter 3, are all talking about the Noahic Flood—not two floods—one flood.
Henry Morris, the author of that book that I just showed, I knew him because I wrote my thesis on his book and the response it had. So, I got to know him quite well. “It has long seemed anomalous to me, as a professional scientist and non-professional Bible reader, that the modern revival of literal biblical creationism has been led mostly by scientists rather than theologians.
“It is true there are many good scientific evidences pointing to special creation, a young earth, and the global Flood. But the compelling and definitive evidences are biblical, not scientific. Science and the scientific method so support Creation, but could never prove [absolutely] creation or disprove [absolutely] evolution.” Nor can it prove the age of the Earth or a worldwide deluge in the sense of a perfectly tight proof.
But “the Bible is explicitly clear on these issues, however. There is not even a hint of evolution or the long ages implied by evolution in the Bible. Neither is there any biblical intimation that the Genesis Flood was a local flood. … One does not have to be a theologian or a Bible scholar to see this. It is quite evident to anyone who simply reads the Bible and believes it to be the inerrant Word of God.”
As a result of that, there has been some tremendous developments in creation science. One fundamental is that this is probably the most expensive financed apologetics research project that was done in the history of the Christian church. It’s the radioactive age of the Earth [book name is Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth]. It’s all kinds of stuff in here that are valuable things. I show this. This is a sample. Work is continuing. They’ve done work. This was mostly in geology and radioactive dating.
They’ve also now done work on the genome. You’ve heard it said that chimpanzees have a genome very close to us—like it’s 95%. Well, it’s true they have arms; and they look a little bit like us. But after they checked the facts and began to go down and do a map of the genome, that’s not true. It’s only like 80% like man. But you see what happens is we are so taken up with science is autonomous. We don’t need the Scriptures and so forth and so on. We don’t even look at what’s going on.
Example: medicine. Think about what happened … When I was growing up in the 1940s, the fear we all had when we went to school was to see the iron lungs with kids sitting inside an iron lung because of polio. Well, that was the same generation that doctors said, “Take out the tonsils.” Guess what. After the vaccine comes out, “Ooo.” The tonsils are the place where the antibodies for polio were growing.
The same thing with the appendix. Organs in our body like tonsils and appendix are looked on if you’re an evolutionist as just vestigial organs. They’ve just been there, accumulated in our bodies. They have accumulated all kinds of stuff over 4 or 5 million years in random evolution. But if we’re creationists, we can’t accept that view of the human body. The human body is an engineered system. It’s got engineering fine points to it.
The appendix is part of our immune system. It’s not a vestigial organ. Tonsils are not vestigial organs. They are part of your immune system. So, we discovered that later in spite of the wrong kind of thinking. Medically if you think of the human body as just accumulated random events happened by chance then you’ll have one view of medicine. If you believe as a Christian that God created man as a special creation, then you are going to have a totally different view of the Bible.
Now we go to the rest of Genesis. We can go quickly through … The six days from Genesis 1:3 to Genesis 1:31 have a pattern to them. If you’ll notice the pattern is God says let there be a separation and so on, the domain of light and darkness. Then He fills it on day four with pieces of creation. Then He has the oceans formed, and then He populates the ocean and the atmosphere with fish and birds. Then the last one, He creates land. Then we have animals and man. So, there’s a pattern to how God created. If it were literal days … How do we know it’s literal days? Because what does Exodus say? How many days do we work? Six, and we rest on the seventh.
Did you ever ask the question of how come every civilization and every nation has a seven-day week? It was communists under Stalin that said, “We want to get rid of the silly idea of one in seven resting. We want to have one in ten.” They tried a ten-day week under communism. It didn’t work. People were fatigued and all kinds of things. We’re not made to live that way. God told us how to live—six days and one day.
Carol and I were amused when we were raising our kids. We had one son that we really believed that he would rest six days and work one. It turns out he is a professional now and working hard. So anyhow, the last verse, 31, in this Genesis passage, what does God say? He saw everything He had made and it was very good. Do you know what that means? No death, no sorrow, no suffering. We’ll get into this in the second, third time we talk. When God finished His work, His craftsmanship, and it left His hands, He took his hands off. He said, “This is very good.”
I think the reason we have communism and some of the Marxists … We have Fascism. We have the Roman Empire, and the Tower of Babel. I think even in our sin humanity … I don’t know whether you can say we remember Eden, but we have a passion that this world is not what it should be, and we want to improve it. There’s a utopian thrust to folks. When it’s not disciplined by the Scriptures, we resort to human work. Basically, it’s human works on a global scale.
Now we have the diagram in the bulletin of the implications. We want to go to the implications. We won’t bother with the right side of this chart because we’ll cover that later on. But on the left side, if we go through it, I want to just touch on a few things. On the top part of the chart, we have “Shall I Bow to My Creator?” We have ancient monotheism, ancient Israel, the Bible, and fundamentalism. That’s a history. That is the sequence of history of people that accept the Bible. The first one is ancient monotheism. Now for a long time, people believed that monotheism evolved from polytheism. It was just a slow process.
However, some Roman Catholic conservatives did work in the 1920s. This is one of them I brought in, Origin and Growth of Religion by Wilhelm Schmidt. He concluded … This is research that they did on what they called primitive cultures. But they’re not primitive cultures. They’re isolated cultures. He deliberately wanted to go to isolated cultures so that he could see what would have happened before we mixed with modern civilization.
So, the idea was let’s look at these isolated cultures to see what early in history these people knew religiously. Well, it's amazing what they discovered. He says North American primitives ... Some of these people don’t even exist anymore because civilization has mixed with them. Here’s what he found.
“Here we find the Supreme Being moving on an astonishingly high plane. He appears among the three groups of primitives whose cultures related to the arctic regions for all of whom we have data in many ways remarkedly good. In particular, the idea of creative activity is enforced here in its highest form amounting even to definite creation from nothing.”
Now, where did that idea [come from]? These people have not lost everything that we possessed after the Flood. All the people had back then was the Noahic Bible. It shows you that people that do the work, people that do the research and are open to these things, discover things. Of course, biblically we know what happened as ancient Israel, the call of Abraham, the first Jew. Who did Abraham get blessed by? Think of the Book of Hebrews. Melchizedek. Melchizedek was a Gentile monotheist. He was handing the baton to Abraham. So, monotheism lasted after the Flood for centuries. Then we have Israel in the Bible.
Then we come to the last name there in that list—fundamentalism. I know you probably think of it as kind of a bad thing because of the publicity. But I want to clue you in to what real fundamentalists were. These were men you and I can thank for the existence of this church building. We wouldn’t be here had these people, the men and women, took a hard line that we accept the authority of Scripture in the era of World War I. Higher criticism had swept the world and swept many denominations and there was a fight going on.
Here’s a quote. Here’s Kirsopp Lake, an English New Testament scholar. Kirsopp Lake was a liberal. Kirsopp Lake did not accept the full authority of Scripture. But here’s what he warns his scholars. He says:
“It is a mistake often made by educated persons who happened to have but little knowledge of historical theology, to suppose that fundamentalism is a new and strange form of thought.”
Look down at the date, 1926. So, in your mind think about this is post-World War I and the fundamentalist-modernist debate is on.
“It is nothing of the kind; [fundamentalism] is the partial and uneducated survival of a theology …”
Look at this language.
“… which was once held universally held by the Church. … The fundamentalist may be wrong—I think he is—but it is we who have departed from the tradition, not he, and I am sorry for anyone who tries to argue with a fundamentalist on the basis of authority.”
Then his last sentence.
“The Bible and the corpus theologicum of the Church is on the fundamentalist side.”
So here is an honest liberal scholar saying we have departed. Of course, he has a little jab in there about the uneducated survival.
Well, here are four books. These are four volumes. They were published right around this time, the 1920s or so. As you go through these you realized these men were not uneducated. The man who wrote the Old Testament section and defends the authority of the Old Testament Scriptures was Dr. Robert Dick Wilson.
Robert Dick Wilson, when he was a young man, said, “I’m going to divide my life as an adult into three 15-year segments. In the first 15 years, I am going to learn every single Ancient Near Eastern language that the liberals are using to critique the Bible. In my second 15 years, I am going to go and check every one of the sources that now exists of all those ancient languages.” It’s something like 26 languages he became fluent in. I try to be fluent in one. Here he is reading this ancient literature. He’s going into the source material of the liberal attacks on the Bible. Then in the last 15 years of his life, he wrote things like these. So, it wasn’t uneducated survival.
But I do want to show you that last sentence. “The Bible and the corpus theologicum of the church is on the fundamentalist side.” We have not divided the church. They have divided the church.
One more passage. Here is a 1924 [quote] … Notice the dates.
“Christianity according to Fundamentalism is one religion. Christianity according to Modernism is another religion. Which is the true religion is the question that is to be settled in all probability by our generation for future generations.
“The God of the Fundamentalist is one God; the God of the modernist is another. The Christ of the Fundamentalist is one Christ; the Christ of Modernism is another. The Bible … the Church, the Kingdom, the Salvation, the Consummation of all things—these are one thing to Fundamentalists and another thing to Modernists.”
So, this split every major denomination. Every major denomination split over this issue except maybe the Southern Baptists. The Presbyterian Church went through an awful time splitting and throwing out … J. Gresham Machen, the scholar of the New Testament who was in charge of the Presbyterian Mission Board, was fired, defrocked, and thrown out of the Presbyterian Church because he wrote one book called Christianity and Liberalism. Obviously, by the title, you can tell what he was.
So, these are the uneducated people that were called fundamentalists. So just keep that in mind when you hear some derogatory terms about the fundamentalists.
Now finally we want to deal with a few more implications here. The next thing down is the Creator/creature distinction. We don’t get anything out of this morning except this, you’ve got the key. With Genesis 1:1 you have two existences. You have the eternal existence of the Creator, and you have the limited existence of creatures. We are not creators. We are creatures.
That means like the hymn we sang, the idea of God of wonders. In that song that we sang, remember the theme about I hear the rolling thunder, and so on. It’s a case where we are around His handiwork. God is sovereign. God is the controller. God sets the pace. Now sometimes later, what the modernists tried to do is defect and keep their ethics.
I thought it was fascinating when I read Nietzsche. Nietzsche was an outstanding atheist in the 1800s. The modern men who are writing these little atheistic books now are just angry men that have a gripe with God. But they’re not thinking through anything original. But people like Nietzsche did. Here’s his response to a culture that tried to keep Christian morality after they denied the Christian faith. Devastating critique he has here.
“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from one’s feet. … Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothming necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what is evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism …; it has truth only if God is the truth—it stands or falls with faith in God.”
So, this is something else in your conversations with people if somebody is making some moral judgment. Just ask them, “What is your basis for making that judgment? As a Christian, I have a basis. What’s your basis for saying something is right or wrong? So, we have that.
Another thing that we have as a result is besides the division between God, the divine council, angels, man, and nature—those are everlasting distinctions. Do you know why that’s important? Think about what we’ve got now with transgenderism.
What is transgenderism? It’s a blurring of the boundary between male and female. The Bible doesn’t allow that. The Bible says these are created categories. When God says to Adam, “Go name the animals,” we use nouns. Every language has a noun. Nouns classify things. That’s what nouns do.
So how do you have nouns any longer, which we are seeing [bringing] total chaos in the language. Look at some of the legislation. The noun male means male. Female means female. It doesn’t mean something in between and some 32 different genders. It is all a result of our creation. It is a result of Genesis 1.
Finally, I want talk about one incident here. I want to show the Declaration of Independence. We read the Declaration, but we forget that the men who wrote this knew very well the Bible. Dr. Lutz, who taught history for years and years at the University of Houston, for five years assigned every graduate student to read every document they could find of Founding Fathers in all the world’s libraries. Five years later he concluded from over 10,000 different readings—what were the Founding Fathers quoting between 1780 and 1790? Do you know that 31% of the citations and source materials the Founding Fathers had were directly from the Bible? These people aren’t stupid. They were smart and well-read. So, in the Declaration notice the connection with Genesis 1.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, …
Created not evolved.
“… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, …
Why are they unalienable? Because God has given it to them. If the government gives us rights, the government can take back those rights.
But God has given unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, according to Locke. So there’s the Declaration. There’s an obvious case of borrowing from the Bible.
I want to end with this passage from Romans. I have one more passage. Romans 1:19–20 that we are quite familiar with because we’ve read Romans. Notice what it says here.
“What can be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes …
Aoratos in the Greek
“… attributes are clearly seen, …
Kathorao. I mention that because when you put kata in front of a Greek verb, it intensifies the meaning. Paul is emphasizing “clearly seen.”
“… being understood from the things that are made, even His eternal power and divine nature, so that they are without excuse.”
The point here is that the Bible tells us that we all deep down have a sense of deity. That goes for people maybe in your family that you’ve witnessed to for decades. We’ve had a person in our family, Carol and I have prayed 30 or 40 or more, maybe 60 years. “I have an impenetrable barrier.” Well, they may have an impenetrable barrier. God can penetrate the barrier. We know that in spite of what you say, you know you have a sense of God. In fact, this is why you have an impenetrable barrier. You are trying to protect from that gnawing sense that “I know I am responsible to God”.
One of the things that has come out of this recently in Acts and Facts which is a publication of the ICR. Randy Guliuzza, who is the head of it now, makes an amazing statement. He says if you look at this verb “clearly seen being understood from the things that are made.” That word is used only one other time in all the Bible. Do you know where the other time that that expression is used, “things that are made”? It’s in Ephesians 2. It’s talking about and translated workmanship.
What he’s saying is that’s the clue that we have when we look out at creation, as in the hymn we sang this morning. We look because we intuitively recognize that we are crafted. We know craftsmanship. When you have that idea, it makes science exciting. “The rolling thunder” in that first stanza of the hymn—“I hear the rolling thunder.”
When I was at Aberdeen, we were trying to figure out what power is in the lightning span. Lightening and ammunition don’t go too well together. So, we want to be safe when we use it. When a lightning bolt strikes from a cloud to ground, that’s between 4 and 5 million volts. The amperage for those of you who are electricians, the amperage of a lightning bolt is between 25,000 and 30,000 amps. So that gives you some idea of the power if you could capture that for power. It goes through.
We saw in the hymn that we sang. It talked about “when I hear the whistling birds in the trees”. Think of the birds. Have we mastered how a bird navigates?
There’s one bird that comes here in Bel Air and he’s been coming here for ten years to the place where they do banding. They call him the moon bird. Do you know why they call this little bird the moon bird? Because he has a thing on his leg so they identify the guy. He flies something like 50,000 miles or something from the north to south hemisphere. How does he understand how much fuel he needs? How does he navigate? We don’t know. They call him the moon bird because they figure out over ten years that birdie has flown 250,000 miles. That’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon. So, they call him the moon bird. We don’t know. There are mysteries all around us.
I want to conclude with a promise that we all use, 1 Peter 5:7. We like to quote “casting all our cares upon Him.” It’s a wonderful precious promise that we use in our Christian life. A Greek scholar friend of mine said, “You better watch the sentence. “Casting all your cares on Him” is a participial clause. Participial clauses are amplifying the main verb. The main verb in that sentence is not casting all your cares. The main verb is “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”
That’s our Creator. How does the creature respond to the Creator? We humble ourselves. And how do we do that? We show it by casting all our cares upon Him. That’s the fortification of that precious promise that God has given us.
So, I hope this has been encouraging to you. The Bible is to be believed. It is used in life. It has answers to all kinds of things. We don’t have to revert to bait and switch. We don’t have to go into these areas. We want to study them and come up with a scripturally coherent understanding. But God is God and He has revealed it to us.
“So, Father, we thank You for our time together. We ask that Your Holy Spirit encourage our life together with Your Word that we will cast our care on You as our Creator. We pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”