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.