Genesis and heavenly things1
Published: 8 October 2013 (GMT+10)
Speaking with Nicodemus, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 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 3:11–12 NIV).
The words translated “I tell you the truth” occur twenty-five times in John’s Gospel and literally mean “Amen, amen.” Other Bible versions translate this, “Verily verily” (KJV) or “Truly, truly” (ESV, NAS). It might be freely translated, “Most solemnly do I say to you.”2 Jesus had no doubt that He possessed the truth; indeed, He claimed to be the truth (John 14:6). He had been given the Spirit without limit (John 3:34) and spoke the words of God. To look upon Jesus was to look upon the Father (Hebrews 1:3) and to listen to Jesus’ words was to listen to the words of the Father. Jesus Himself testified, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father … The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father living in me, who is doing His work” (John 14:9–10).
Jesus—a fallible man?
Despite this, there are professing evangelical Christians who argue that, on some matters, Jesus was wrong. For example, when He spoke of Adam and Eve being present “at the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6), they say He was mistaken, based upon their acceptance that science has shown that the earth existed for billions of years before human life appeared. Similarly, they allege that Jesus was wrong when He spoke of the Noahic Flood, because secular geologists say there never was a global flood. They claim that the fossils in the rocks are not the aftermath of the Genesis Flood, but a record of millions of years of evolution. Prominent among those who express such views is the BioLogos Foundation3 which claims to be a group of evangelical Christians who celebrate “the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith” (but see here).4
Such people often argue that Jesus was a man of His time and, being unaware of modern science, simply accepted the prevailing views of His peers. But where does this lead? Ironically, the answer is given on the BioLogos Forum itself:
“If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John [sic] wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.”5
So, the words of Jesus, His prophets and apostles, they say, are sometimes wrong, and cannot be trusted. But is it really conceivable that the One who was the Word of God could have taught falsehood?
Growing in heavenly knowledge
In His discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus earnestly wanted to share the things of God—what He referred to as “heavenly things”. But He couldn’t, because Nicodemus had not yet moved on beyond earthly things. Only once hearts are prepared will people become able to accept heavenly truths and grow to worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). If people are not taught to trust Christ in earthly things, such as creation and the history of mankind, how will they learn to trust Him in greater things? If they are not taught to discern truth in earthly matters, how will they learn to discern truth in spiritual matters?
Creation not confusion
Compromised biblical teaching brings confusion into the church, because it denies the Bible’s message to the lost. In Psalm 14:1 we read that “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Why? The apostle Paul gives us the answer: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what been made” (Romans 1:20). But if natural processes (evolution) can ‘create’ the natural world, then there’s no need for a Creator God, and the Creation provides no evidence for there being a God. Perhaps the saddest aspect of all this is that the evidence for Creation and the biblical account of Earth history is far, far stronger than the evidence for evolution anyway—as numerous articles on our website make clear.
At Creation Ministries International, we seek to help people build a sound, defensible, biblical worldview. We show how Christian doctrine is built upon the foundation of the historical events recorded in Genesis, and how these are supported, rather than undermined, by the facts of science. Confident in this, Christians may then grow in an assured faith, maturing beyond earthly things, and begin to learn those heavenly things, which Christ so yearns that the church should understand.
References and notes
- First published in CMI–UK’s Prayer News, April 2013. Return to text.
- Henriksen, W., John, Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, 1987, vol. 1, p. 110, 111. Return to text.
- See Creation.com/biologos. Return to text.
- biologos.org/about Return to text.
- Sparks, K., After Inerrancy: Evangelicals and the Bible in the Postmodern Age; biologos.org. Return to text.
Those who reject Jesus' authoritative statements on creation are rejecting His authority period. If Jesus is not Lord of creation, then He's not Lord of anything. Sadly, many call themselves by his name (Christian) and reject His Lordship but, if He's not their Lord, then neither is He mighty enough to save them. Isn't Unsaved Christian an oxymoron?
Creation Ministries is doing a great work, however I was shocked to learn from this article that professing Evangelicals are doubting our Lords statements. It seems these individuals have strayed from the Truth-period! Unfortunately for them they are bewitched and they should refer back seriously to Paul's letter to the Galatians to start with. I have learned and observed in my years of discipleship to the Lord Jesus to note that many claim to be members of a certain Christian denomination but really they are NOT due to their actions and the sour fruits produced.As an Evangelical Christian, the word of God as presented in the Holy Bible is infallible, correct and truthful even though I find it difficult at times to comprehend fully various writings with my finite mind !! As much as Jesus proved Himself to be above the laws of gravity, sicknesses and all sorts of physical ailments, death and His witnessed resurrection, so by faith I accept the contents of His Word! Finally as an Evangelical of the Reformed Churches I disassociate myself from 'so called' evangelicals who err seriously by doubting the words of the Lord of all Creation and thus sowing seeds of confusion about the infallibility of Christ who is the exact image of God Almighty. May God have mercy on them because they know not what they do.( or maybe they know!?)
One of the great misconceptions evolutionists have is that this whole concept of evolution started with Charles Darwin. Yeah, yeah, Jesus was "a man of his times" but those were basically the same times when early church leaders faced the same arguments from the Greek philosophical crowd. Origen, Lactantius, Tertullian, Dionysius - all wrote concerning those who did not believe in creation but rather the irrational belief, or so it seemed to them, that the complexity of creation happened by chance. When Solomon wrote that "there is nothing new under the sun" he was spot on. "Christian evolutionists", an oxymoron if I've ever heard one, are not only bad in science, they really have no grip on history either.
I would like to ask so-called "Christian believers" such as Biologos, who deny some parts of the Bible, where they get ANY Christian doctrine of which they can be sure. If they claim the Bible is their source, what is the authority for such doctrine when they deny the Godly inspiration of the parts they won't believe? Yet, what other source can there be?
BioLogos places the authority of "science" on an equal footing with scripture. Where there appears to be a conflict it is the teachings of science that prevail. They also are deliberately and aggressively re-interpreting scripture to try and make it fit their evolutionary paradigm. All the while they are boldly claiming they are "trying to be true to the text" and "...the Bible is the inspired and authoritive word of God...." In my opinion, they have clearly established themselves as a "cult" and should be regarded as such, as they accept and teach the "authority" of ever-changing science over the Bible. They also set up a "straw man" inferring that most orthodox Christians hold to "the premise that science and faith are irreconcilable", when actually, we use the "heavenly revelation of the Bible as our starting place and measuring stick for the scientific investigation of God's creation.
"...we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.”
They freely admit that they rely on their own wisdom based on assumptions, but of course the Holy Spirit foresaw this:
Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools
Now more than ever, we need to stand fast on the Rock, the Word of God.
Revelation 1:5 states "... Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth."
Since Christ is the faithful witness, everyone disagreeing with Him is an unfaithful witness of God and of truth. Period.
It seems to me that BioLogos are the ones 'express(ing) themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.'
I have read several pieces on this website that argue against what scientists say but I want to point out a basic problem in the argumentation methodology itself. You and others on this site use scientific evidence to disprove scientific claims. Using science to disprove science means you implicitly accept its validity and accuracy just like the Bible. But when science is used by evolutionists to disprove things in the Bible (eg Noah's Flood or the Joshua-stopping-the-sun story), you are quick to claim it is a miracle. Noah's Flood is impossible for many logical reasons, eg:
Where did the water come from? If the water was already in the earth, where has it gone, since the amount of water presently on earth cannot flood the earth to reach mount Everest? What did the creatures eat all those months? The food required is many times the mass and volume of the creatures. How did the Koala bears cross the Indian Ocean to get to the Middle East? When Amazon jungle creatures got to Israel, what did they eat? Penguins and Polar Bears are not likely to survive the hot Middle Eastern temperatures. After coming out of the ark, what did the carnivores eat? They would have killed off every herbivore in a few days or died of starvation and be extinct by now. The Joshua story is even more unbelievable because it entailed the earth stopping spinning in its axis which would have messed up many things (eg the earth's magnetic field). The friction from whatever force was needed to stop the earth would have fatally heated up the earth due to friction with land and water.
If you accept the validity of science, you have to accept that it disproves many Biblical stories. The Bible must be critiqued just like science.
P/S - Genesis 6 was clearly lifted from "The Epic of Gilgamesh".
Many of the points you raise are answered on our website and in the Creation Answers Book.
We do not "use science to disprove science". Instead we distinguish between two types of science: operational science and historical/forensic science. See here.
Regarding the Flood, see http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter10.pdf. There would have been enough room on the Ark for all the animals and their food (see here). We understand that creatures such as polar bears became adapted to cold environments in the centuries following the Flood. The 'bear kind' from which polar bears are descended would have carried all the genetic information required to produce all the different bear species found today and the original 'bear kind' would have been quite comfortable in a warm climate. The animals that disembarked the Ark that went on to become carnivores would have eaten plants originally. (See here.)
The God that made the universe could have easily stopping the Earth spinning without adverse consequences.
The account of the Flood in Genesis is far more likely to be the original Flood account than the Epic of Gilgamesh. In Genesis, the dimensions of the Ark describe a vessel that would be particularly stable in rough seas. The Gilgamesh account describes a cube, would be be particularly unstable. See here.
So true! Evangelicals? Their authority is human reason and pseudoscience not the Word of God.
Well done Dominic.
Shakespeare's Brutus has some pertinent words:
"There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures."
At the moment these compromising, so-called evangelicals can choose to take the full-tide of God's revelation, in His word, and go on to spiritual fortune. Or they can spend their lives in the shallows of human reason, with undoubted miseries.
How terrible to look Jesus in the face on that day, and tell him we didn't believe His word, a word faithfully preserved through 6 millennia. A word testified to by countless miracles of healing, of creation and signs, even today.