Jesus Christ Creator
|1 Creation - Why?
Is a serious study of creation and a careful examination of the Genesis record essential to our Christian faith? Many people tell us that the Christian's responsibility is simply to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. They tell us that the Christian should just try to glorify Him and not become overly concerned with doctrine and certain difficult areas of the Bible. After all, we really don't possess a revelation that tells us how everything came into existence, but one which gives us spiritual guidelines and clarifies our responsibility to proclaim Jesus Christ. With that in mind, they say, why be concerned with creation? Why study creation at all?
An approach to Genesis from such a perspective would seem to lessen the significance of Biblical creation. In addition, Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection, Hugo Devries and his idea of mutation, and other events of the last hundred years, such as the Scopes Trial, have suggested that it is unscientific to believe the Biblical account. Thus many scientists have accepted only the theory of evolution. Finally, certain theologians of our day have yielded to the statements made by these scientists and inform us that the book of Genesis does not give a clear notion as to how God created the heavens and the earth, that it does not tell us when He created them, and that Genesis is not an account we can accept literally. Basically, the first eleven chapters of Genesis impart only suggestion or a "figurative rendition" of a beginning. We are told we cannot receive these chapters as literal truth because, after all, we "know" that the world evolved. Thus science classrooms around the country propagate the theory of evolution. Genesis is deemed the great myth of our time; anyone who believes it must be considered foolish.
What can we do about our dilemma? What defense can be established? Let us address ourselves first of all to the theologian who has thrown out the first eleven chapters of Genesis on the basis that it is non-scientific and cannot be accepted literally. Suppose we grant him that premise for a moment. We will reject the passage in question, labeling it myth and allegory. We will disclaim any statement in the passage regarding science, for we know that evolution is a valid law of science. On the basis of such a premise, however, and in an attempt to be consistent, we must necessarily throw out any references to these eleven chapter that appear in the rest of the Bible. Why? If the first eleven chapters are untrue, then a reference by any other writer to the first eleven chapters would only serve to perpetuate falsehoods.
Turn first to Exodus 20:8-11:
If we eliminate the first eleven chapters of Genesis, then we must throw out this reference to those eleven chapters, for here in the eleventh verse we read, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." Such a statement is foolishness if evolution is true. Note, however, that this little verse appears in the midst of the Ten Commandments - and is the basis for one of the commandments. In effect God is saying, as I, God, created the heavens and the earth in six days, and rested on the seventh, so shall you, man, work six days and rest on the seventh. Remember the seventh day; keep it holy and worship Me. James tells us that if we are guilty of breaking one of the commandments, we are guilty of breaking them all. If we deny the accuracy of verse eleven, we deny a premise upon which one of the Ten Commandments is based. And if Moses is untrustworthy here, we may well doubt is credibility elsewhere.
To dispute the correctness of verse eleven is to conceive that God, who revealed to Moses the writing on stone tablets, revealed something which contained a lie, which is contrary to His nature. If He wrote there with His own hand that He created everything in six days and we have proven scientifically that He could not do it. Then God has lied to us from the tablets of the Law. In addition, an inaccurate Mosaic account, here and throughout the Pentateuch, would bring into disrepute other verses in the Old Testament that deal with the Law, because the entire law is focused upon the Ten Commandments. If the Ten Commandments are wrong, the Law is void.
Many Old Testament writers refer to God's work of creation in terms of the Genesis account. We read in Ecclesiastes 7:29, "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright . . ." The Psalmist says, "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:9); creation of the heavens was "the work of thy [God's] fingers" (Psalm 8:3). In Proverbs and in most of the prophets appear numerous references to God's having created. God's own testimony to the prophet Isaiah clearly specifies the consequences of setting aside the first eleven chapters of Genesis.
After castigating man's idolatrous worship, He continues,
In the following chapter we read,
Disregarding the authenticity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis on the basis that God did not create the heavens and earth requires that we reject the testimony of Isaiah - the testimony of God Himself - and declare that God is telling us a lie.
Now let us turn to the New Testament, still upholding the premise that evolution, as a valid law of science, supplants the first eleven chapters of Genesis. In Matthew 19:3-5 the Pharisees came to Jesus, "tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" He replied, "Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be on flesh?" In this passage verse 4 is taken from chapter 1 of Genesis, verse 5 from chapter 2. If evolution is true - if all things came about by natural causes, the results of such processes as natural selection and mutations, and uniformitarianism - we cannot accept the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, who placed His credence on the testimony of Genesis 1 and 2. Either Jesus did not know that the world evolved, He was deceived by some foolish idea that it was created, or He deliberately deceived us because the people of His day could not understand evolution and thus He patterned His words after ideas that would be acceptable in His day. None of these three choices helps the Bible very much. If we cannot accept His teaching concerning spiritual things, such as heaven and a life hereafter?
If the testimony of Matthew is not credible, we must doubt the gospel of Mark, which concurs with Matthew. The third gospel writer, Luke, in the book of Acts (chapter 17) recounts the experience of the Apostle Paul in Athens. Preaching on Mars Hill, Paul speaks of "the unknown God." He introduces this particular God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the one who "giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." Not only in the book of Acts and the gospel of Luke, but also in the writings of John we find reference to the creation account. In fact, the gospel of John begins, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." He says of this individual who was in the beginning with God, "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." Must we throw out the testimony of John because he begins his book with a faulty premise, the idea of creation? If this were so, we would have to discard the epistles of John and even Revelation. In Revelation 14:7 the angel in he midst of the tribulation period cries out one message, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the foundations of waters." Apparently this angel was not informed that everything evolved.
In the writings of the apostle Paul, beginning in Romans 1, he speaks more than once of creation. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Paul is telling us here that if we are willing to accept the fact of creation and examine things from this point of view, the invisible attributes of God are evidenced by the creation.
If Paul is mistaken in Romans, we may have difficulty accepting his statements in other epistles, but let us focus upon some of his other declarations. In Colossians he affirms, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16,17). The entire passage refers to Jesus Christ. If the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2 is not to be accepted as literal fact, we invalidate this presentation of Jesus Christ as Creator and deny a portion of His nature. We would also have to dismiss the testimony of Paul in I Corinthians 15:39, "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." Here Paul delineates four distinct kinds of flesh, each created separately. Every seed has its own body. If we sow barley, we will reap barley. One never plants wheat and reaps pomegranates. We always reap what we sow because things only reproduce after their kind, which is in accord with Genesis and the law of biogenesis.
Paul also tells us in I Corinthians 11 that
He stresses that the first man was created in the image of God, but the first woman was taken from the side of Adam, created for the man. The first man did not come from a woman. That is impossible if evolution were true, for in evolution the first man would have had to be born of some female ancestor.
The author of Hebrews begins, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:1-2). If the worlds were not made, but evolved, the testimony of this book would become untrustworthy. Later in the book we likewise read, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Hebrews 11:3). This text, incidentally, affords an interesting description of the atom, of which all things consist.
The testimonies of James and Peter coincide with that of Paul. We find in James 1:18, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." God does not have any creatures if He did not create anything. We might add, of course, that if everything evolved, there is no need for a God. The apostle Peter is consistent in confirming the fact of creation. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the father fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Peter comments, "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; Whereby the world that then was being overflowed with water, perished" (II Peter 3:3-6). He is citing here the fact of creation and the fact of the Flood. Note also that he is basing the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ upon these two events - the creation and the Flood. According to Peter, if we cannot verify the creation and the Flood, we have no way of verifying the second coming of Christ. Peter insists that any man who disbelieves those two accounts disbelieves the coming again and is willingly ignorant of the facts. If evolution is true, of course, Peter is willingly ignorant.
We have now disposed of all but one book of the New Testament. However, even the book of Jude presents a few problems, for it mentions Adam and angels, both of whom were created.
If evolution is true, we do not have a New Testament to preach. Jesus Christ is a martyr and a liar, a man who died in vain. If everything evolved, then you are the result of natural processes and possess no sin nature, but are simply the consequence of your animal ancestry. As Freud says, we must work hard to get rid of the beast in man. If evolution is fact, we have no Christian ethic, no morals, no future life. If we throw out the first eleven chapters of Genesis, the Word of God is nothing more than a book. In fact, there would be no Word of God.
To be logical and reasonable, then, since I am not willing to repudiate the opening chapters of Genesis, and because I have personally met the One who wrote them - Jesus Christ, who possesses supreme power and ultimate authority - I must accept what the Scriptures have to say. I will accept literally the first eleven chapters of Genesis, that God created the heavens and the earth in six literal days. I will affirm that creation took place rather recently, that man fell into sin while living in Eden, that there was a worldwide Flood.
Why is creation important? Because without creation there is nothing else. If there is no Creator, then there is no Saviour either. When someone says, "Present the message of Jesus Christ," I heartily concur. But we must present the creative message of Jesus Christ because of who He claimed to be. Picture in your mind the person of Jesus Christ. Do you envision a man with a beard, perhaps rough and rugged, walking upon the earth? Do you see a man talking to children, at the well speaking to the woman, walking on the water, hanging upon a cross? If so, your picture is of Jesus Christ incarnate, in fashion like a man, performing an earthly ministry among men.
The apostle Paul, however, tells who Jesus really is, proclaiming that "we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." He is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature." By Jesus Christ "were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Colossians 1:14-16). Notice the all encompassing creative power of Christ. Everything that exists is either in heaven or in earth, visible or invisible. His power comprehends thrones and dominions, principalities (angels) and powers. All of these things were created by Him and for Him, and by Him all things consist. In other words, He is the power which holds the entire universe together. Thus creation is important because of its relationship to the One who created.
We have a tendency at times to be excessively concerned with what man has to say. When some professor tells us that evolution is a proven fact, or when we take the Bible off its inspired plane and attempt to make it coincide with man's theories, we begin to have problems. The Bible instructs us to be "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (I Peter 3:15). This certainly includes the realm of scientific knowledge.
A fable is told of a small monkey who lived in the wilds of the jungle. He began to wonder why he and his friends did not go down to the river in the cool of the evening. After all, they went down after lunch in the warmth of the day to do a little skinny dipping. It would be equally delightful to go for a moonlight swim. He asked some of the other monkeys, but no one really seemed to know. Finally he came to his uncle, the wisest of all the monkeys in the clan. "Uncle, why don't we go down to the river in the cool of the evening?"
His uncle replied, "We don't go down there because the crocodiles come out. Crocodiles like to eat small monkeys."
That bothered the small monkey a little bit, but he had never seen a crocodile. His friends likewise had never seen a crocodile. So he queried, "Uncle, have you ever seen a crocodile? How do you know crocodiles exist?"
"This information has been passed down to us from generation to generation. It is a well-known fact. If we could write, it would probably be recorded in the Dead Monkey Scrolls someplace."
"What does a crocodile look like?"
"It is reported that crocodiles are long, thin animals with bumps on their bodies. They float down the river like logs. They have two beady eyes, sharp teeth, terrible breath - and they enjoy eating monkeys for dinner."
That was rather frightening to small monkey, but he continues his questioning of other monkeys and could not find anyone who had ever seen a crocodile. Ultimately, he was convinced that crocodiles simply did not exist, so he set out one evening to prove his new-found wisdom. It was a beautiful evening, the perfect time to get rid of that old wives' tale and superstition passed on by monkeys' uncles. So ecstatic was he in his new-found wisdom that he did not even notice a log floating down the river. He wasn't a bit perturbed when he heard a rustling in the brush behind him, when he felt hot breath down his back. Small monkey soon became crocodile's dinner. The monkey had said that he refused to believe in crocodiles, but the old crocodile just chuckled, "O foolish monkey, to have said in your heart, there are no crocodiles."
Man today considers it foolish to believe in God. He will ridicule you and call you a fool. But God replies, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 14:1). Man today with his new-found wisdom worships the creature, paying homage to his own knowledge and intellect. God warns, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22). Peter says that the man who denies creation, the Flood, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ is willfully ignorant of the facts. Personally, I would rather be called a fool by man because I believed in the wisdom of God than to be called a fool by God because I heeded the vain babblings and teachings of man. Just because man denies God and His law does not make God's law null and void. I can deny the law of gravity all day, but the moment I step off a thirty story building, I fall in one direction. I can deny it all the way down, but my denial does not mean that I am not bound by its restraints. Man today, in denying God and His law, is still bound by the restraints of God's law.