Back to the future
The dangers of messing with history
Published: 31 December 2009 (GMT+10)
How often have you said—“If only I knew then what I know now”? We say this because we know that if we had made a different choice, the outcome would be much better. Or, if history could be changed, then the present would be different!
You may remember the enjoyable 1985 movie Back to the Future with a plot that revolved around time-travel. Michael J. Fox starred as 17-year-old Marty McFly who went back in time in a DeLorean sports car modified into a time-machine by his best friend, Doc, an eccentric scientist. After Doc is murdered (by Libyan terrorists from whom he had stolen plutonium to produce the nuclear power for his time machine), the killers pursue Marty, so he jumps into the DeLorean and speeds away. Upon reaching 88 mph (141 kph), he is transported back to Nov 5th 1955 (the date Doc had entered while showing Marty the time machine, explaining it as the day he conceived the idea of the “flux capacitor” that “makes time travel possible”).
Upon arrival back in 1955, Marty accidentally messes up his young (future) parents’ first meeting. Marty must therefore ensure that his teenage parents-to-be meet and fall in love. If they don’t, he has destroyed his own existence! The story continues with many hysterical twists and turns but all turns out well due to Marty’s “messing with history”!
Even though this story is fictional, we understand it because it is based on the following concept: What actually happened in the past (real history) has a direct and historical (real) connection to the future. Therefore, if we change people’s belief about the past, so that they believe in a false history, we lay the foundation to ruin their concept of reality for today and beyond.
For someone falsely convicted of murder, the jury believed a false version of history, leading to an incorrect verdict. There are numerous recorded instances in which an innocent person has been imprisoned, or in some cases executed! In order for a jury to come to a correct verdict, what the jurists believe about the accused person’s past must be true. One unknown fact, or wrong belief, can drastically alter the entire picture. Change the history—change the outcome!
Messing with history
If you were to arrive at a movie late, allowing you to only see the last half of the story, you would likely be confused about its ultimate meaning due to the unknown ‘facts’. The beginning is foundational to the story and provides the context, setting and circumstances (history), upon which a solid understanding can be built. Confuse the history—confuse the outcome!
Why would a loving God, who operates with consistent principles and laws, fool us with the history about when and how He created the universe? If the “how” is confusing and contradictory, then the “why” becomes meaningless! This again is just like in a court case; if the when and how of the evidence is confusing and contradictory, then this undermines the whole process and no conclusion can be reached.
It would be inconsistent with God’s character to provide a confusing history! Jesus often said (to those who doubted His words), “Haven’t you read … ?” (Matthew 19:4–6; 22:9,31) pointing back to the written history—showing that truth is built on real events! Why would He need to point this out if the Bible is not referring to something that is true and historical? Jesus also said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:12). Jesus is obviously speaking of “real and physical” events when he says “earthly things”.
For those theologians (or Christian leaders) who say the early history of the world (as stated in Genesis 1–11) is not correct or important, I would challenge them to apply this principle to someone falsely accused of murder. Would such an accused person fall for the idea that the jury’s beliefs (regarding their whereabouts and actions in relation to the crime committed) were not important? Truth about the past does matter. Change or confuse the history—change or confuse the outcome!
Those within the church who accept a history other than what is clearly stated in the Bible (6-day, young universe approx 6,000 years), are dumping the true account of history on the rubbish pile. Even if they are silent on the issue, by neglect they are allowing any popular notion on the issue to take hold, therefore undermining what Scripture says in many impressionable minds. When numerous Hebrew experts (both secular and Christian) say that the words in Genesis can only mean “6 days, around 6,000 years ago, with a global flood”, alternative options regarding what God is saying to us diminish rapidly. To believe the words are anything but “historical narrative” makes one wonder when words begin to mean anything at all. Professor Marcus Dods, though not one who believed Genesis as true history, said about Genesis 1–11 that “if, for example, the word ‘day’ in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless”; and that such interpretations “do violence to Scripture [and] foster a style of interpretation by which the text is forced to say whatever the interpreter desires”.
CMI has received many testimonies (including my own) from those who wrestled with the truth of the biblical account on origins after adopting a wrong view (many times from church leaders or seminary lecturers). Many have struggled for years before finding the truth and recommitting themselves. Sadly, too many others have abandoned their faith, never realizing they had been sold a lie. Change the history, change the outcome!
There are professing Christians who oppose CMI and make statements like “faith isn’t logical” or “I don’t need evidence”. I find them ill-prepared to answer any questions from doubters or unbelievers. Such Christians lack a solid understanding of what they believe, so they are unable to give a solid defence for Christianity beyond their own “experience”. “Just have faith”, they say! To an unbeliever this approach would be no different than a child with an imaginary friend refusing to address any evidence to the contrary. With a naïve smile, they continue to indulge in their little fantasy. Reality seems to be unimportant! Their faith is merely a subjective personal belief, just one more opinion, rather than being based on objective truth supported by solid reasoning and tested by history and real-world events.
Sadly, answers cannot be found in most of our theological institutions either, as they are becoming increasingly committed to a philosophy (evolution) which corrodes the very foundation upon which they rest. By messing with history, they are sawing off the branch upon which they sit.
Many reject Christianity because it does not line up with what they believe to be factual (evolutionary theory). The real facts regarding the history of how this wonderful (but fallen) world came into being (Genesis 1-11) have been replaced with the fairy story of evolution. It is then all too easy for people to think that the Bible does not fit these (perceived) ‘scientific facts’, therefore it is not connected with reality—so why bother?
Calvin Smith writes: “As a non-believer growing up, I was not impressed by what I saw as the hypocrisy of Christians wanting me to believe one area of the Bible as plainly written while squirming and re-interpreting other parts. I was an atheist but I wasn’t stupid. Atheists know that without Genesis as history, Christianity will fall. No wonder the opponents of Christianity have applied so much effort to discredit this area of Scripture.”
And here is one last quote from someone who became convinced a different “history” took place to what he was taught at church:
“As were many persons from Alabama, I was a born again Christian. When I was 15, I entered the Southern Baptist Church with great fervor and interest in the fundamentalist religion. I left at 17 when I got to the University of Alabama and heard about evolutionary theory.” (Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson.)
As Marty McFly discovered in Back to the Future, it’s very dangerous to mess with history (facts).
There seems little doubt that the replacement of the biblical account of history with that of “natural” science has been a disaster. We have exchanged a story which tells us who we are and where we are headed, for one that leaves us rootless and directionless. Where we have failed on this issue, let us get on our knees and repent. Let us gently show people (e.g. using CMI materials) that their evolutionary beliefs are not based on science at all, but are an attempt to remove God from the picture! By doing so we may help to change that person’s future for eternity.