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Feedback archive Feedback 2011

The importance of correct history and theology

Published: 18 August 2011(GMT+10)

God’s word is not just historical truth; it is also theological truth

God’s word is not just historical truth; it is also theological truth

This week’s feedback features two correspondents about the importance of theology as well as history, and a skeptic who misunderstands science and philosophy. Shaun Doyle and Dr Don Batten respond.

David B. from Australia writes:

Dear CMI
Your article on The Importance of Foundations is a good article but biblical history is only part of the foundation people need. They also need their foundation to be built on Bible truth as a whole. There are a number of teachings in areas other than creation/evolution floating around the churches which have no biblical basis some of which can have the potential of forcing people away from God rather than drawing them to him. A solid foundation is a complete foundation.

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear David,

Thank you for your feedback.

You are certainly correct, and we in no way wish to communicate the idea that biblical history is the only foundation we need. I don’t think that was the intent of the author either. He cites many foundational biblical doctrines that are vital for a person to believe—he merely shows that without the historical reliability of the Bible they have no grounding. It’s like a body: history is the bones, and theology is the muscle. History forms the scaffolding for the muscles, but the bones don’t go anywhere without the muscle! Both are necessary and dependent on each other, and neither can be reduced to the other.

The integrity of the Gospel is always primary to us, not just as reliable history, but as reliable life-changing doctrine too.

For example, we have many articles arguing for the deity of Christ on our website, which is a theological concept that is biblical and necessary for a Christian to believe to be saved (Romans 10:8–13). However, even Romans 10 doesn’t abandon history. As Romans 10:9–10 declares, commitment to a historical claim (God raised Jesus from the dead) and a theological claim (Jesus is Lord/YHWH) together are necessary and sufficient conditions for salvation. History without theology leads to atheism because it has no guidance or rationality, and theology without history leads to philosophies like Gnosticism (a 2nd century heresy that said matter was evil and spirit is good) because it has no grounding in tangible reality.

However, the reliability of biblical history (especially Genesis 1–11) is CMI’s specific ministry focus. To quote our What we are page:

“Our role is to support the church in proclaiming the truth of the Bible and thus its Gospel message. We provide real-world answers to the most-asked questions in the vital area of creation/evolution, where the Bible is most under attack today—Genesis.”

That is our specific focus as a parachurch (which literally means “with/beside the church”) ministry. We don’t deny that there are other important issues the church needs to address, both inside and outside the fold. We merely limit our focus as a ministry, not as individual Christians, to creation/evolution/Genesis issues because we are limited—we cannot deal with every issue the church faces. And there are many capable ministries and out there who take up the slack (e.g. addressing different religions, or addressing perversions of Christianity such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism) where we have neither the expertise nor the resources to fully deal with the issues. However, our statement of faith also says:

“The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer and Judge.”

The integrity of the Gospel is always primary to us, not just as reliable history, but as reliable life-changing doctrine too.

I hope this helps,

Shaun Doyle
Writer and Editor
Creation Ministries International


Steve M. from the United Kingdom writes in response to the article Secular biology class confirms design, and Dr Don Batten’s comments are interspersed below:

What a silly article! At least science is honest enough to admit we don’t know how the first cell came into being,

While some researchers sometimes admit this, one is hard-pressed to find textbooks that admit it. In fact, they portray the problem as virtually solved by such a trite thing as the Miller and Urey experiment. So where’s the honesty in that? See Origin of life questions and answers.

but then that is what research is about-to find answers-and to replace one theory with a better one (eg Newtonian Physics gave way to relativity).

Actually, Newtonian physics did not ‘give way to relativity’; it is still used every day by engineers. Relativity is only invoked under certain circumstances (e.g. space travel). But yes, experimental science is a wonderful enterprise where one theory can be proven wrong and replaced by another. This involves the experimental method, which cannot be applied to the origin of life or evolution, both of which (supposedly) occurred in the past where no one can do experiments. See ‘It’s not science.

YOU don’t replace or refine anything because in your arrogance you have all the answers and there is only one answer-God did it!

Arrogance? From my perspective it is the ultimate arrogance to thumb one’s nose at God and think you are above respecting your Creator and what the Creator has revealed to humankind (in the Bible). The Bible says no one has any excuse (Romans 1:18–20). I submit myself to the Creator whereas you deny your Creator and disrespect Him. You take God off the throne and put yourself there in place. Which is arrogant?

If you are so clever …

We are not claiming to be clever and I fail to see how you get that from the article unless it is a backhanded compliment that you found the article unsettling to your unbelief.

… then please explain how this infinitely complex God came into existence in the first place.
If God was not created, then it had to evolve! Err-I think we’ve heard that before somewhere?

It seems like you have been reading that silly book by Dawkins; even atheists who know some philosophy have called The God Delusion an embarrassment (Michael Ruse, for example). If God is eternal (that is, had no beginning), then He did not need to be created or evolve. This is the fallacy of false alternatives. See Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation Your question is like asking “To whom is the bachelor married?”

Also, if God did not need a creator and is “self-existent” and given how enormously complex this god must be to do all this amazing stuff …

But think about this: if you found a painted vase in an archaeological dig, would you rule out a human creator for the vase because the human creator had to be more complex than the vase?

More nonsense from Dawkins. Great philosophers of the past concluded, a long time before atheism was made semi-respectable by Darwin, that God, being spirit (non-material) was a simple entity. See the comments of leading philosopher Alvin Plantinga here: Who designed the Designer? The old ‘Who created God?’ canard revisited. But think about this: if you found a painted vase in an archaeological dig, would you rule out a human creator for the vase because the human creator had to be more complex than the vase? This is nonsense of the highest order from Richard Dawkins.

… (including acts of utter barbarity which bring tears to the eyes of a hardened atheist), …

“Acts of utter barbarity”? Please explain, from an atheistic perspective, how anything can be considered barbaric (wrong/evil). Clearly you believe in right and wrong, but how do you arrive at such moral judgments? See Can we be good without God?

… then surely the universe itself, so much less complicated than this unimaginable god, can be self-existent also. That would be the Big Bang, …

Here you have another problem: the big bang has a beginning, which indicates that the universe is not self-existent. What caused the beginning of the universe? To believe that the greatest beginning of all, the universe, had no cause is the height of irrationality. See Who created God?

… which, as I explained earlier, there is hard EVIDENCE for, unlike creation, where there is not.

There are huge problems with big bang theory, problems that are also recognized by non-Christian cosmologists. See: Secular scientists blast the big bang. There is also abundant evidence that things were created. Just one thing is the incredible DNA code: see Lost in translation. Don’t confuse your refusal to see it as the same as it not existing. The Bible says you have no excuse and that you are suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18–23).

With kind regards,

Don Batten

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Readers’ comments
Peter N., Australia, 18 August 2011

Steve M writes:

“YOU don’t replace or refine anything because …”

But that’s simply NOT TRUE, as anyone familiar with the CMI website knows:

CMI DOES refine or replace arguments that prove to be unreliable. For example see “Arguments Creationists Shouldn’t Use”.

Further, CMI lightly holds theories such as those about: Starlight and Time; Catastrophic Plate Tectonics; etc; awaiting their refinement or replacement if that’s what new evidence or research indicates.

Jennifer H., United States, 19 August 2011

*responding to Dr. Batten’s response to Steven M.’s response to the article "Secular biology class confirms design"*

Again, the long suffering patience of God is up for all to see with the gentle yet firm answers CMI writes in their articles, and in their responses to critics. To be able to read such forthright, yet gentle and firm answers online is an incredible blessing. When I am at a loss for words, or simply have lost all patience with the incessant arguments, and want to just push Humpty Dumpty, so to speak, off the wall once and for all, CMI reminds me that the battle is the Lord’s and I need not shove and push like the Hawking-Dawkin evolutionist tag-team bunch does—there is a far better way :) With tremendous thanks for the work you all do for His glory and to equip and strengthen so very many of us.

Andrew H., United Kingdom, 20 August 2011

I think it is interesting that there is a deeply emotional reaction when an intelligent cause is inferred for some natural effect when that intelligence must have been around before any human intelligence.

This is clearly the result of a choice (Romans ch.1 vs.18–23) and the ‘science’ said to require this choice is ‘science’ (gnosis, knowledge, scientia) that is falsely so called. It is similar to the gnosis described in 1 Timothy ch.6 v.20 which apparently denied a future bodily resurrection was in prospect.

A general disdain for, or exclusive and enthusiastic embrace of, this present world follows from not recognising the historicity and recent occurrence of the Curse, Catastrophe and Confusion which resulted from the Fall, Flood and Babel. A real prospect of the imminent reversal of these results in a new Heavens and Earth will follow from taking the warnings of 2 Peter ch.3 without willing ignorance theologically. A sober balance is provided by not distorting the truth.

David G., Australia, 22 August 2011

When I read what noisy atheists say, as this chap has said, I always wonder why they think others should listen to them; after all, on their premise, they are but a random arrangement of dust, and ideas are just a determined outcome of aimless chemical interactions. So, why even bother to start a discussion, let alone think that it has any point?

Joe F., United States, 23 September 2011

Your correspondent would be wise to learn to tune out anytime anyone tells him “There is no evidence for …” We all have the same evidence. We all live in the same universe, on the same planet, etc. The difference lies in the interpretation of the evidence, not in its existence. To say there is no hard evidence for creation is to say that nothing exists. It is an utterly irrational claim.

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