Who is the rightful owner?
Posted on homepage: 9 May 2008 (GMT+10)
Occasionally, as I recall, a teacher at my school would announce an item of lost property to the assembly. Something had been handed in: a leather coat, a tennis racquet, or a purse perhaps.
The announcement would go something like this: ‘If you have lost a purse, please report to the office and claim it.’
When the owner arrived at the office, the secretary would ask them to describe the purse.
Why ask for a description if they already had the purse? It was to establish that the claimant was indeed the rightful owner. She knew that people often make false claims.
‘It is a small, green vinyl purse with a gold zipper and a tab at one end. It contains a bus ticket and some money, including a $20 note.’ Because they were able to describe it accurately, without seeing it, the secretary could be confident she had the lawful owner.
If the claimant had described a large, black, leather purse containing $100, the secretary could boldly tell them, ‘Sorry, but I don’t have your purse.’
Imagine if, after being asked to describe the purse, the claimant said, ‘What is that to you? The purse is mine so give it to me.’ Is the secretary likely to believe them and hand it over?
Many people today are claiming ownership of this world. Muslims say that their god Allah made it, and that we must submit to Islam. Others tell us that a large snake made the land, and that it belongs to them. Others say that an alien from another planet created it all. The secularist tells us that this universe made itself—no-one made it so no-one owns it; you can do what you like with your life.
Christians say that the triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—created the universe. He is the rightful owner, and He will require an account from each one of us for what we have done with the life He gave us. Who is telling the truth? Who is the rightful owner?
This is why the Bible’s first book, Genesis, is so important. The Bible claims to be a revelation from the One who created the universe. Genesis has an account, written in historical narrative style, of the origin of the basic entities of life, the earth, and the universe.
The Bible does not make a frivolous claim, but describes in detail what God did, when he did it, and the subsequent events of world history.
So, just like the secretary with the purse, we can check the Bible’s claim against the description it gives. If the description matches what we can check independently, then we can know that the biblical claim is genuine. But if the description does not match, we can legitimately conclude that the Bible’s claim is bogus.
When we examine Genesis (interpreting the evidence by assuming that the Bible is true, and then seeing how it compares to the facts) we see that the Bible’s claims check out with reality. For example:
- The biology matches—life only comes from life and living things only reproduce after their kind, as the Bible indicates.
- The paleontology matches—fossils overwhelmingly fall into separate kinds. The handful of ‘transitional’ fossils claimed are all disputable.
- The geology matches—the rocks display abundant evidence consistent with a global flood catastrophe, just as the Bible describes.
- The anthropology matches—all people belong to one race—the human race—as the Bible explains.
Each of the other ‘claimants’ to the world’s ownership has to make far more excuses to ‘explain away’ the poor fit of the facts to their story.
The rightful owner of the purse was able to describe it accurately and establish their title. Genesis accurately describes the history of this world, and matches what we see. The Bible’s claims are authentic; the Creator God of the Bible is the God who made this world. He is the lawful owner, and we must give him what is rightfully His.