Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 2016
Creation vs. Natural Histories
Keeping Faithful to Our Lord in a Growing Hostile Culture
2016 North Stonington Bible Church Labor Day Conference
Central theme of Scripture: Romans 12:1, 2 (KJV), “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Well after those wonderful hymns, theocentric hymns, that’s a good selection in this area of the hymns in that hymnbook, the new one. Well in the second session before I start I want to correct a misimpression. When I said earlier in the first session that I was calling out the slide numbers, some people thought I was calling off the slide numbers in your handout. The handout only has very few slides; it only has the key slides. What I’m doing by calling out the slide numbers is for the people who will be listening on audio track later on the websites where they have access to the PowerPoint, all the PowerPoints, and they’ll want to know what PowerPoint slide are you talking to, so that’s why I’m announcing that, but that’s not the same as the slides you see in your handout, simply because the thing would be twice as long if I put all the slides in the handout. So I hope that clears things up a little bit.
Well we started out in the first session by looking at looking at Romans 12:1–2 so if you go back there I just want to review a small part of that passage. In Romans 12 Paul has gone through a lot of the basic doctrine and at this point he’s going to application. In chapter 12, verse 1 he says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
The section of this verse that we want to look at, that I’m stressing in this conference, is being “not conformed to this world”, the word translated world there is aion, age, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in order that”, purpose clause, that “you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” We can’t manifest the will of God in our lives if we don’t have transformed minds.
We spent a little time in the first session on looking at what happens in secular education, typically in the last 100–150 years. The problem is this, apart from those of you who grew up in Christian homes where there was a lot of education and interaction or whether you had parents who homeschooled you, the rest of us grew up in a secular education environment. We have to understand that those K–12 years, from kindergarten to 12th grade, those are 13 years of our most formative living. During those 13 years, even if we were believers then, but if we were subject to the secular version of courses during those 13 years, if you think about it, every single course you learned from K–12 you learned as though God did not exist, or if He did, He was utterly irrelevant to that subject material.
It means that in your mind’s eye you know your algebra, you know your math, you know some history, you know social studies, you know various other things, art and some of the skills, but the problem is all of those come up here in our minds as though they’re marbles rolling around in a disconnected fashion, and most importantly for Christians, they’re disconnected from God. We just got through singing three or four hymns here talking about God and His attributes and how we worship Him.
So what I want to do in this session, we’re going to take the first major event of the Bible, we’re not going to go through a lot of events in this conference, we don’t have time and space to do it, but we’re going to start in this second session with Creation and I hope that as I work my way through this, that you’ll see that if you don’t believe and think of the creation story that God has told us as history, as something that actually happened, and you substitute instead what you learned in a secular environment, it has a subtle effect on your worship of God Himself. And I hope to show that tonight.
Alright in this passage clearly Paul is arguing not to be conformed to this age but to be transformed. There’s a process that goes on and those of us who grew up in a secular environment, it takes you years to think this through. You don’t become a Christian and five days later you have a transformed mind; it doesn’t work that way. It will take years to undo because you’ll get this trial in your life or that trial in your life and you have to work your way through this and wonder why it is that you have such a problem over here trusting the Lord for this. Then you realize that some of the intellectual and ethical garbage of a secular education is draining out the spiritual content of who God is and we want to look at that.
If you turn to another passage in the New Testament, just for encouragement as we go into this, let’s turn to 1 John 2. I want to show you some passages in 1 John and there’s one in Colossians, but I want to show these because they’re assurances that God has provided for us adequate resources so we’re not facing a situation that we can’t deal with if we follow the Lord.
In 1 John 2:14, John addresses several groups in the churches that he’s written to, and in this case he’s looking at the young men and he says in verse 14 of chapter 2, “… I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
These are believers and they’re in fellowship, there God is abiding in you and you have overcome the wicked one. How did they overcome the wicked one? Because [as the Scripture says], “… you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you.” It’s a spiritual battle that’s going on here, but it has intellectual aspects to it.
If you turn in 1 John 4 this is again his proclamation about Christians living in a pagan culture and what does he say in 1 John 4:4? He says [paraphrased], “You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” That should encourage us that no matter how bad the world may be, no matter how much pressure we may be under, it’s so comforting to know that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
So that’s just an encouragement. Then he goes on if you’ll notice in verse 5, he has the social action that is a result of this, “They are of the world,” and notice what he says after that in the next sentence, “They are of the world: therefore they speak of the world, and the world hears them.”
Then he goes on [paraphrased], “He who is not of God does not hear us.” (1 John 4:6) That’s who is tuned in to the Word of God? They don’t talk in terms of it and when we are educated in that kind of a culture it has consequences and so we have to look at those consequences.
One more passage in the New Testament; turn to Colossians if you will, Colossians 2:8. This epistle, as you study here, I’m sure was directed towards some problems that had come up, some scholars think it was the early gnostic influence, but it was some sort of influence in the culture that Paul was concerned about and he makes a very stunning statement in verses 8 and 9.
We want to look at what he’s saying here and think carefully about the implications of what Paul has said. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit.” Notice the word “deceit;” this is a powerful battle that’s going on between the principle of darkness and God and the Lord Jesus Christ of Light. It’s deceitful, according, he says, to the, “… tradition of men”, according to the basic principles of the world.
The word “principles” is the Greek word, stoicheia. If you look that word up and how Greek authors use that term, here is what they use that term for: when they thought about the universe, they said the universe is made up of basic elements: fire, water, air, that kind of thing. So stoicheia was a term that Greek thought conceived as the nature of the universe.
So their idea of the universe was coloring their Christian life. Paul said, “You watch this, you are being deceived.” He says, “According to the tradition of man,” in other words, that’s passed on in a culture; the tradition of man, “according to the basic principles of the world,” the cosmos, the order, and, “not according to Christ.”
Now here he is deliberately setting Christ against fire, water, solids, and so forth. He’s pitting us, and this is not just a spiritual thing with the Jesus story, his picture here is that if you look and understand who Christ is, that He is the God of the universe incarnate in a human body; material such that Thomas could reach and touch His physical body; He wasn’t in the Spirit after the Resurrection, He was a solid being and yet He could go through walls, He could go through doors; it was some sort of physics that we don’t know of.
But the point is that Paul here is setting Him not just as a spiritual leader, he’s setting Christ against the stoicheia of the world. So how do we figure that? Well he says in the next sentence [paraphrased], “For in Him, in Christ, dwells all the fullness of the Godhead” (Colossians 2:9)—not some of the Godhead, but he says all of the Godhead, bodily, physically, in this world. The planet was visited, in other words, by God walking around. “… the fullness of God bodily. And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).
If you go back a few verses to chapter 2, verse 3, he makes another stunning statement about Jesus. He says in Him, “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). In verse 3 he’s not talking just about religious truths, he’s talking about all truths. He’s talking about, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom, the wisdom of the nature of the universe, the wisdom of the purpose of history, and so on. That’s the big picture we’ve got here.
So Christ, as God incarnate, as the Word of God, the One who reveals God, that revelation, the greatest revelation that’s ever happened, happened at the Incarnation. What he’s saying is that incarnational information that we glean from watching Jesus Christ, and He is the culmination of all the previous revelation, you take that whole package together; he says that’s where you go for your wisdom. You don’t go for these speculations of human tradition.
Over that setting we want to go now to the first event so let’s go to Genesis 1 and we want to look at a few verses. As we go through this framework we’re not going through all the detailed exegesis. We presume that’s been done because were hitting the highlights of these events. We just want to go then to some of the essentials.
In Genesis 1:1 we have one of the most profound statements in the Bible and it separates the men from the boys because we have to decide whether we believe Genesis 1:1. This is a fundamental basic decision. Everything, including mathematics, science, engineering, whatever subject you’re thinking of, whatever skill, whatever priorities in your life, whether it’s business or anything else, everything changes with verse 1.
You only have two choices, and it doesn’t matter how long you think about this, there are only two choices here: either God was the Creator of all things, or He was not, period! As we look out in the world we see that we have these two great traditions, and we won’t go into all of the details, many of you have seen this diagram [slide 11] many times, but if you look over here on the right side where you answer no to the fact that I shall bow my knee to my Creator, we have a stream in history from ancient myths to Eastern religions, Western philosophy, and modern theology, all of whom deny Genesis 1:1.
These are the ideas that dominate education from kindergarten to 12th grade and all through college and university. We have to make decisions here and have to think that if I really believe Genesis 1:1, what are the consequences for me? We come down here, compare it here, this is the tradition that came from ancient monotheism to ancient Israel, the Bible to fundamentalism today.
Then the next level on this chart you’ll see the Creator/creature distinction and the continuity of being; the two different views of the universe. On the left side, when we talk about the Creator/creature distinction, this is what we mean: that in the Bible, the Bible’s insistence, this is God speaking to us, and He says that there are two levels of existence. There is My level, because I am an eternal God, I do not change, I never have changed, I always existed, and I will always exist; that’s deity, that’s the Creator’s distinction, that’s that reality.
Apart and distinct from that is the creation; the creation was not eternal; the creation began in Genesis 1:1. God did not have to create but He did, and so we have slide 11 which talks about the Creator/creature distinction. And of course John in his writings says that Jesus Christ is the One who created the universe. He was the person involved in the creation of this.
The important thing here is down below, always look at the bottom line, and if you look at the bottom on each side, it has a behavioral response because you have to respond to this.
On the right side, the impersonal; if everything is impersonal, and just the nature of raw matter, faith and chance, then every one of us is a victim; every one of us is passive to our situation. It’s like that quote from Russell; we are just the results of random processes, we had no reason, no rhyme to our basic existence.
That’s an awful conclusion and what’s so sad in a day and age when people can’t think through things from one sentence to another, they can’t understand that by denying Genesis 1:1 you have to be in this position; you don’t have any choice. You can pretend all you want but you are winding up in a meaningless existence with no purpose and no function and no value; you’re just a random thing.
On the other hand, there’s another little proviso down at the bottom: if there is a personal, sovereign God over creation, that makes you and it makes me responsible to Him. That makes us have ultimate responsibility. Our ultimate responsibility is not to our husbands or to our wives or to our bosses at work or to the government; our ultimate responsibility is before our Creator.
So this creates a problem because what happens, and this is where we want to go tonight with this is when the Word of God comes to us, let’s think of us before we became Christians, the Word of God comes to us and we kind of blow it off. Something is happening here; the Word of God has an inherent offensive nature to creatures who are fallen.
Why? Because it makes us think about our ultimate responsibility, and we can’t handle that. Let’s think about what happened in the Garden when God came walking in the Garden. What two things happened to Adam and Eve? They made fig leaves and they tried to hide. Now that’s a picture in a fallen world, and we’ll get to the Fall later, but that’s what happens when the revelation of creation comes to someone. You may share it. It comes to someone and it is offensive to somebody who’s trying to hide from God.
They may not be fully conscious of the dynamics of what’s going on, but here are two things that happen, and they are two things that are happening in our culture today. I want to focus on the fact there’s a there’s a fallout, there’s a response to learning about the idea of creation. The Bible, the biblical revelation, the information of the Bible, and as it comes to us, is not just information cranked out by a computer. It’s not a computer message; it is a personal message of God speaking in history and it carries a spiritual force that compels a response.
Historically, at least for the last two centuries, maybe one century I’ll say, we have two responses; we could have a lot of other responses, but I’m going to focus just on two major areas. These are major areas in the molding of our contemporary culture upon us.
The first one as we go to it is fictional, natural history; that should be diagram point number three in your hand out; fictional natural history. What do I mean by fictional natural history? We all study natural history, the history of the universe; natural history. The problem is what we are learning is a fiction, and it’s a fiction, not because somebody sat in the back room and plotted this. It’s a fiction because out of the heart of rebellious man, “I don’t want to learn about a Creator that holds me ultimately responsible and so therefore I will create a substitute story.”
What we deal with now is a fictional type of natural history. If you look at ancient paganism, because they had to deal with the same story, in ancient paganism their world was cyclic, it wasn’t progressive. The idea of progression, as we’ll see later, comes only from the Bible. No pagan ever had an idea that history is progressing anywhere. It was cyclic, it was summer, it was fall, it was winter, it was spring because their economies were all agricultural so they had this cyclic view and it’s obvious when you read them.
However in Israel, Israel had a national calendar that went with the seasons, but attached to that national calendar was a little proviso that said, “I [God] give you blessing or I give you cursing,” and by that little maneuver Yahweh, God, coming to Israel was teaching them, “I am the Lord of the cycles, don’t you believe Baal and go through your little orgies every spring to get fertility. I am the One that can give you fertility and I am the One that can deny you fertility.” So that’s why in the Mosaic Law code you had those provisions about the agricultural economy; it was to break the idea of cycles.
Well now in our day we’ve got another problem. We have several things in this fictional history so I’m going to try to go through some of the ideas that men have created to insulate themselves from a literal Genesis creation. All of you have heard the story in this church and are well enough taught so I don’t have to go review the whole Creation story, but here’s the problem; in order to create a fictional history you have to project backwards and if you look at the chart, and this will be slide number 12 and it’s too detailed to see on the screen so that’s why I put it here in your hand out, we’re not going to go through all the details of it but let me just give you the big picture here of what’s going on and why this diagram is so important.
This diagram is looking at time going this direction but it’s not time like 1-2-3-4-5, it’s talking about the duration of time, the units of time, in other words it goes from very small units over here, seconds and microseconds, up to one second, one hour, one year and the whole period of history; so it’s the dimension of time. On the y-axis here were talking about space; so it’s zero, one centimeter (cm), up here is about man’s height, these are the higher mountains, this is the distance of the sun from the earth, and this is the solar system’s diameter. And going down from 1 cm we go down to the bacteria level and atoms and molecules down in this area; so that’s the size.
Now why is this diagram important? It is because all of our observations, all of our observations, can be plotted on the chart. Every observation, whether it’s a thermometer, whether it’s a telescope, whether it’s a microscope, can be plotted on that chart because you are just simply plotting out how big you are looking at the object against how long it is taking you to do this.
By looking at this, we see a strange thing. If you’ll notice, here is a square that we said is the square that tells you what you can see and experience as a human being; you’re limited, we’re limited. But we can expand our observations by instruments. We can look far, far into the universe with telescopes. We can watch what happens with very fast high-speed filming.
I worked at Aberdeen Proving Ground and they were interested in firing something going 4,000 meters per second hitting armor plating. So you want to see what happens when that round hits that armor plate. When I left, I think they were taking photography at the rate of one-billionth of a second, and they have to get down to this high-speed to understand what’s going on when this round hits the thick tank wall.
That’s high-speed photography and we learn, by using high-speed photography, stuff that we can’t see because our brains don’t work that fast. Then we can come down and we look at microscopes and so on and that expands it.
But the problem and the important thing is this: you can’t go to the right in that diagram because you’re trapped; there is no basis of direct observation beyond the historical period. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how many instruments you have, you simply can’t observe anything in the future and you can’t observe anything beyond what we have records of; human observations of; you can’t do it. So that means we’re cut off on the right side of that chart. What that means is that when we talk about the distant past that we can’t observe, we have to conjecture.
That’s where we want to focus here. To build up a natural history you do not have adequate observational data; you have to substitute conjectures about what must have happened and the usual conjecture is that we project things backwards that we know are currently working today.
So the first thing that we project backwards is we project low-power events; erosion, for example; gradual things that we can observe and see. These are low-power events, meaning power is the amount of work done per unit time. When we say “low-power events” means it takes a long time to get work done.
But that’s because in our experience, that’s what we’re experiencing, we don’t know what happened 8 million years ago. How are you going to measure that? You don’t have any measurements. You’re speculating by projecting the speed backwards. So what this means is that we do not have any direct reference to support natural history outside of human records.
So we go to the next slide, which is slide number 13, and I use this slide because I want to show you, and we don’t have time to go into all the equations, but this is a simple experiment you can do with a high-school kid or a middle-school child; I did it with my oldest granddaughter.
What you do is you take a candle and light the candle without them being in the room and let the candle burn for a little bit and then let them come into the room and see the burning candle and ask them, how long has the candle been burning? The problem is that they can’t tell you unless they know how high it was when you started. They don’t have the initial condition of how tall the candle was so they can’t answer your question, how long was the candle burning? Furthermore, if you had a fan blowing at the candle, what happens to the rate of burn? It burns faster.
So now we have two problems: how long the candle was burning has to assume I know how long [it was when] it started; the starting condition; and I also know whether the room air was calm or whether a fan was blowing on it for all the time it was burning. Those are our starting assumptions and you can write out the equation and I did there and the symbols I got red, you don’t know, you have to guess at that.
Now that’s true of every single dating method. It doesn’t matter what the method is, whether it’s uranium isotopes, whether it’s carbon-14 or whatever it is, you still have to solve the equation and you can’t solve the equation without assuming the initial condition and the rate of change; you’ve got to do that. That’s where we say you’ve got a fictionalized history because you don’t have a basis for doing this and so we come to this problem.
We now know at least two situations that have recently happened in our lifetime where we see high-powered events at work that we never saw before. When Mount St. Helens blew up, and you can go on the creation websites and see this, a strange thing happened. When that mountain blew up the debris on the top of that mountain came down at 90 miles an hour and we know that because people had photography set up, it’s on camera.
This stuff came down at 90 miles an hour and this had never been observed before; in all the history of historical geology nobody had ever seen this. This is called a slurry mix and what it is is debris that somehow mixes with water and it has a strange characteristic; it slides like there’s no friction. And it has another characteristic; after all this debris, junk, matter, and everything else comes zipping down and afterwards you look at it and it’s all stratified by size.
How the heck did that happen? Nobody knows. The guy that’s investigating it, Dr. Steve Austin, is paying $30,000–$40,000 to some mathematicians to see if they can mathematically model what happened because nobody has seen this before. What does this tell you about natural history? This is the first time a high-power event ever was observed. That changes the duration of natural history because now you’ve got a high-power event.
Second event in our time was the tsunami in Japan. When that tsunami hit Japan, the entire archipelago of Japan … remember Japan is made up of islands … that whole archipelago moved 8 inches east in 15 minutes. Now think of the power of that tectonic plate; that took 15 minutes to move 8 inches! Tell me about slow power, a low-power slow event. That wasn’t a slow event, that was a very fast event; a very high-powered event.
If that’s the case and those events can happen that we’ve never observed before, why are we so critical when the Bible says God created in six days, and He rested on the seventh, and there was a universal flood? What’s your problem with that? Your problem is that you keep projecting low-power events that we have observed, that we’re used to, backwards to create this natural history.
It’s a fiction because it’s all assumed. You have no observational evidence and now all of a sudden we’re seeing observational evidence and it’s mathematical; you plug it into the equation; this is just a math problem, that’s all this is. So that’s a warning about how this happens.
We have, for example, young earth clocks. When the science guy, what’s his name? Bill Nye, when he was debating Ken Ham, the first sentence out of his mouth was absolutely incorrect when he said the universe is billions of years old, we know from a dating system like carbon-14. No you can’t! Carbon-14’s half-life is 5000+ years. There is no carbon-14 around after 75–80,000 years. All of it is gone because of the half-life; it’s continuing to decay. There shouldn’t be any carbon-14 around.
Here’s the problem: when the laboratories have tried to have advanced measurements of carbon-14, they have to calibrate their instruments. So they have to look to someplace that doesn’t have any carbon-14. They’ve gone through every rock stratum and they can’t find any rock stratum that doesn’t have carbon-14 in it. What does that say? Well they say that’s carbon-14 that washed down and got absorbed into the soil and so on.
Well the scientists at ICR (Institute for Creation Research, www.icr.org) found diamonds that had carbon-14 in them. How do you get the carbon-14 atoms inside a diamond? The only explanation people, is that it simply isn’t millions of years old because by the math you just do it.
Or if you say you want to defend an old age, you’ve got to change the idea and say that the whole entire rate of change in the carbon-14 was different. Well then okay we can do the same and reverse it the other way. So do you see how arbitrary this is?
And yet in our K-12 experience we read textbooks, we see it on the media; it’s just taken like fact. Nobody ever questions this, nobody ever goes into the math. I’ll bet you college students in geology classes very rarely ever treat the equations that are involved; that you can actually see the mathematical terms where you’re trying to solve the equation; to solve it you’ve got to plug stuff in. So that’s the background of low-power events.
Then we have another problem. [They say] the universe must be billions of years old because look at that starlight. We see things billions and billions of light-years away. This has truly been a problem for young earth people until recently.
Recently, again we have guys that are doing research in the field, and they’ve pointed out, and there are three or four of them now, and I’m going to use slide 14. Here’s Dr. Hartnett; he’s one of three or four guys now who are Creationists and here they point out something: we don’t have a problem with starlight and time if you look at relativity. I’m not trained in relativity; I have to go by what they say here.
There are several of them that debate the tweaking of the models and so on. But here’s what they say, “Since, when we are looking out into the cosmos, we are looking back in time,” because the light has taken time to come to us, “... we are looking back in time, due to the finite speed of light, we are then looking at the events of Day 4 as they are actually happening … We are seeing the after-effects of [the expansion of the universe] … The very rapid acceleration of the cosmos during Day 4 of Creation Week caused Earth clocks to run very slowly compared to cosmic clocks. This, then, provides the massive time dilation needed to allow light to travel the vast distances of the universe, even billions of light-years in a matter of days.”
In other words, the point that we’re saying is that classical physics is limited by relativity, and these men are trained in relativity and they point out that if you think about what happens in creation, what does it say God did? He created the heavens and it says in day 2, day 3, He expanded the universe out from the earth.
Well, it turns out if that’s really the case, if God really is clear in His language, what that means is as the mass of the universe expanded—visualize a sphere, visualize a balloon blowing up—visualize somebody on the edge of the balloon that has a clock, then visualize somebody at the center inside the balloon with a clock. The guy in the center of that expanding balloon spent his time going like this while the guy on the outside of this expanding sphere, his clock is going like this.
The point is time was changed by the act of expanding the universe. So, in effect, what we’re seeing is the actions that God used to create the universe and they confirm this by several passages in the Bible that speak explicitly about God flinging out the universe; expanding it like a big blanket; like a tent.
So we have that and then we have, of course, Darwin. Darwin is in deep trouble today because Darwin didn’t know anything about the complexity of cells. What creationists have found today is so much evidence that you cannot have interminable adaptation of living things. What Darwin tried to argue was, he saw the beaks on the finches in Galapagos Islands and so on, and he saw them changing, which they were; there’s nothing wrong with Darwin’s observations because they were [correct].
But the point was the finches stayed finches; the beaks changed but the finches didn’t change. So what Darwin tried to do was take small changes like the beaks of the finches that varied from season to season because of their eating styles and so on. He tried to take that and say that if we imagine deep time, which is the same thing the geologists are doing, if we imagine enough time, other things would change in the finch so we can explain him changing slowly into another species.
In other words do you see what’s going on? You’re taking a slow process and you’re letting time loaded with millions and millions of years and you’re supposed to get changes. Well that worked for a while until now all of a sudden people looking at the details of the cell and looking deep inside the cell, and it turns out the cell has limitations; it can’t infinitely go on.
So we find that there is an adaptability; in fact the new language of the creationists that are studying this, and I refer you the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society to keep up with what’s going on, they are now saying we were wrong in using this terminology, “natural selection”, and here’s why that’s a wrong term.
Natural selection presumes you are a botanist; you are an animal breeder; a human being making choices to select. Humans select, nature is not a human and nature does not select. What is happening is that God has designed adaptability for various micro-environments. What happened at the Flood is that God had the plants; He had some of the seeds and so on.
He had animals, male and female right? And who chose which animals, say all the dogs, who chose, what does the text say, when the ark was loaded? How did the animals get to Noah? Was Noah going out and hunting them? No, God brought them. Now that was just a little kind of teensy thing in the text, nobody even appreciated it one hundred years ago. We do now because do you know what we’re saying? Those male and female pairs that went onto the ark had to have the right DNA to survive in a completely different earth after the flood, which means the earth after the flood had all kinds of ecological changes; it had seasons; it had cold areas; it had hot areas; these animals had to survive.
So it’s as though God went through the whole herds that were there and He picked out this pair over here because I can see the DNA. We now know that and so the animals come with an engineering adaptability. The polar bear versus the black bear; these animals have this tremendous potential to adapt, but it’s not unlimited, it’s limited to their species.
This is the kind of stuff that we’re learning, this goes on, this exciting story, but I want to end this particular section of fictional history because I want you to think about the fact that one event, what event in the life of Christ can you think of that changes the whole nature of the universe? What happened after the Cross on the third day? He rose from the dead. That was a material change in physics that we know nothing about. Jesus Christ is in a resurrection body of flesh with bones and He eats meals with the disciples and yet He can appear and disappear and go through walls.
Do we know anything about that? We have no understanding of what that is, and how fast did it take, a million years in the grave? No, it took three days; instantaneous change. That is a refutation of the idea of all this extrapolation of stuff [they say], “Well we’re going to interpret history by the stuff we know.” Well the problem is we don’t know enough to extrapolate it.
So we have then three attributes of God, and this is where we want to connect this up to why this is important for worship and prayer. The attribute of God’s eternality is changed if we accept this fictional natural history. God is eternal; it means He has an eternal plan. That eternal nature of God is replaced by deep time in the fictionalized natural history [they say], “Well the earth is billions of years old.” That becomes a substitute for God’s eternality and what it means in our worship and in our praying is that as believers we know that we are part of God’s eternal plan.
For all eternity He had you and He had me in mind. He had a plan; it was organized. This is not some deep-time experiment with random events.
The second attribute of God is His omnipresence; God is omnipresent. That means He’s wholly present at every place in the universe. But if the universe is all there is, there is no person. You have made an impersonal universe and the corollary to that is cosmic loneliness. Cosmic loneliness; we’re desperately looking for other intelligent beings throughout the universe. Why? Because there is a cry in our hearts that we can’t be alone; there must be something greater than that.
Remember the students that are looking for identity; we have destroyed the omnipresence of God by these fictionalized natural histories. We have also destroyed His omnipotence because now nature has the full capability of transforming itself; omnipotence is no longer needed. What then do we do with answers to prayer? What promises do we have that we can be enabled from our flesh to obey the Lord? We have wiped out His omnipresence, we have destroyed His omnipotence, and we have destroyed His eternality. That’s the spiritual price you pay when you start playing games with fictionalized notions of reality.
One other area that we want to cover; if you’ll turn to Genesis 1:26. We turn from a fictionalized natural history to a fictional relationship, and this is on page 3 of your handout, a fictional relationship of man to his physical environment.
We were talking about man and his relationship to the physical environment; environmentalism in other words; what’s going on today. Here again we’ve got a big difference. If you look at Genesis 1:26 and 1:28 it says, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’ ” Doesn’t that set man off from animals? Why is it that in school from K–12 you learn that “man and other animals?” That’s a false sentence; we are not animals; we are made in God’s image, and of course no teachers, including Christian teachers, can bring that up in a classroom without getting disciplined or something by the PC crowd.
But the point is we are different because we’re made in God’s image. That is what creates value for people. “Let them have dominion then,” this is a ripper, this next sentence, today, “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air; over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that is on the earth. Then God blessed them and He said, be fruitful,” and this is another thing that’s aggravating people in the environmental movement, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Come to Genesis 2 and look what God does in the physical environment in Genesis 2; Genesis 2:8–9; what did God plant? He planted a garden eastward in Eden and there He put man whom He had formed. Now if God planted a garden, what does that imply about what was outside Eden? It wasn’t a garden; and what’s the difference between a garden and no garden?
You’ve got chaos; you’ve got the actual environment out there. You’ve got plants growing every which way they want versus the garden where man has changed the soil. He has changed what’s growing in the soil; he has control over that small area.
I submit to you that the very idea of God planting a garden that has not been adequately thought about, that when God planted the garden it’s saying that outside the garden was wilderness; inside the garden there was a garden that Adam and Eve were put into.
I submit to you that the reason that’s in Genesis 2 is it’s an illustration of what God meant when He said, “Subdue the earth.” He’s not talking about raping the environment. He’s not talking about destroying nature. He’s talking about bringing nature to its fruition. Until the garden is planted, plants don’t produce like they could produce if they were taken care of.
The wilderness is not productive; a garden is productive; and that goes for minerals; it goes for mining; it goes for the assets of the world. These are very important passages here in the light of our modern culture. It says then that the Lord took the man and put him in the garden to tend and to keep it. That is dominion; that is what dominion looks like when God has set it up.
Of course, what we have now is we have the environmental movement, and so I’m going to go to slide 15 and we go back to this chart we showed in the first session; these are the broad cultural molds that are going on, and what we want to look at today is the Romantic period that began in the 1800s; that’s where modern environmentalism began and here’s what happened.
The Enlightenment had the idea that the universe is just a machine and people said, “No, it’s more than that.” You have Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond who was basically an unemployed hippie that wrote articles about nature as some sort of an integrated system. He was a smart guy; he wasn’t stupid; he was a good observer.
But the problem was he was a romantic that saw nature as this wonderful thing and man was just a little “thing” of it; man wasn’t created to subdue nature according to Thoreau; man was a part of nature and he’d better leave it alone. The idea is you leave nature in its primitive state and you don’t mess with it. That’s called the idea of a pristine wilderness; just leave it alone. That is anti-biblical.
So you can see there’s tension now between the environmental movement at its core and biblical Christianity, just like there’s tension with natural history. We have now full-fledged nature worship.
Here’s an example: Here is Christiana Figueres who is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she opened with prayer. Here this lady is leading an assembly of political leaders from all over the world worried about climate change. Here’s what she says in her prayer, “Because you are gathered in Cancun, Mexico to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, Ixchel,” she starts bringing up Ixchel; Ixchel was a pagan goddess of Latin America; and Ixchel was the Jaguar moon goddess of breeding, “Ixchel will tell us how we are creating a tapestry.” So she prays before the world leaders to Ixchel. That’s sheer paganism.
We have further evidence that this is turning into a religion. The environmental movement has something called the “Earth Charter,” you can look it up on the Internet. The Earth Charter is encased in an ark that resembles the Ark of Yahweh in the Old Testament. It’s being carried around from country to country where people can say, “This is the charter with the earth; with Mother Gaea.” So now we’re getting back into ancient paganism and this is going all over the place.
Then we have Al Gore who claimed to be a Protestant Baptist in 2002, but he wrote a book called, Earth in the Balance. This is before he even claimed he was a Protestant Baptist. But here’s what he said, listen to his words, “The fate of mankind, as well as of religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future. Armed with such a faith we might find it possible to re-sanctify the Earth.” Now listen to that, “re-sanctify the Earth;” that’s paganism; that’s worship of the earth. That is deliberately and totally in contrast with what we just read in Genesis 1 and 2.
Now to show you this is not just theory, here’s slide number 16: Here are college students in New York worshiping before an image of nature; this is what an $80,000, 4-year college education does for you. But here we are, I think at Fifth Avenue or somewhere in New York City, and here’s the great image of Mother Gaea, of the Earth, and everybody’s bowing down; tell me that’s not religious. This is a deep and profound religious movement involved in the environmental movement.
So we have this this thing, and some of you I noticed got the book by Mark Musser out there and I apologize for only bringing five; Mark Musser was a missionary in the Ukraine and he was studying the history of what happen to get the Nazis so anti-Semitic, what led to that anti-Semitism. Mark’s research, he spent years doing this, he used to take the train over to Berlin to go to the library and talk to the older Germans who were there when they were in the Hitler youth. He has all kinds of evidence in that book and those of you who got copies of it, it’s called, Nazi Oaks.
The reason he says Nazi Oaks is because the symbol of the SS Corp, when they had the swastikas on the SS Corp emblem, it was an oak tree; they were greenies; they had organic gardens outside Auschwitz. Hitler had rules against hunting animals. Hitler in 1941 in his Table Talk said, “The reason we will destroy Eastern Europe is: We will destroy every living Slav to make living room and green parks for our German citizens to get out of the cities.”
But the reason they did that was because it was Jewish money and the Jewish book of Genesis 1 that taught Jews to do two things: It taught them (1) to subdue the earth; industrialization, and it taught Jews to (2) sacrifice animals; and that infuriated them; that they’re not just hunting animals, they’re sacrificing them. Well sacrificing them is a picture of what? What’s the sacrifice in the Old Testament all about? [It’s about] the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Here you have this whole thing going on; this was a profoundly religious movement and that’s why I brought the books in. You can look it up on Amazon, it’s called, Nazi Oaks, and it’s the whole documentation of it; the author is Mark Musser, M-U-S-S-E-R.
Here’s a quote from Mark [slide 17]: He says, “Many modern greens loathe the Judeo-Christian worldview and the western cultural superstructure built on its foundations … [They] believe the biblical command to subdue and fill the earth is the primary reason why the present day planet lies in ecological ruin,” by their word.
You see, there are several commands in Genesis 1 and 2; that’s why I had you go through those. One of them is, “Be fruitful and multiply;” they’re afraid of population growth!
Now just let’s back off here a minute; we heard about the population bomb, you know, written back when all the college kids were reading it, “Oh, it’s too bad but we have to stop having babies because we’re going to run out of resources.” Nonsense! The Scriptures are arguing that there are enough resources to supply the human race until Jesus Christ returns and the reason for those resources is because the mouth comes equipped with a brain. That means we have the technological capabilities of creating new sources of energy and food.
I’ll give you an example: If this Malthusian, Malthus by the way was the guy they all followed; he believed in sustainability, meaning that man never expands himself in ability; but just think of this: How did people light their homes 100–150 years ago? Whale oil: What do you suppose was happening to the whales as more and more people in the population expanded and they were killing whales to get the whale oil so they have light their homes? Well, that would’ve been an ecological catastrophe. What did Thomas Edison do? He invented something called the light bulb. Did anybody use whale oil after Thomas Edison? No. What happened then? It was a man who used his brains; brains that were a part of his imagehood to create new technology sources and we don’t worry about them. Whales are doing fine today because we’re not hunting them.
If it were really true that we’re running out of resources due to overpopulation, what do you think would be happening to the price of commodities? They would be going up, but commodity prices are not going up. For the last 100 years commodity prices have been going down. That price is a measure of supply; if you have short supplies prices go up; if prices are coming down it must mean you have plenty of supply. It doesn’t even meet the common sense test of this business. I’m so thankful that here in this congregation you’re all having babies.
Here’s an example of a point that Lynn White wrote in Science magazine [slide 18]. Look at what he’s saying; these are the men; these are the women who are writing the textbooks. They are the ones that are making the public policy that you and I are paying through our taxes; this is the thinking that they have.
When you think about why we are getting persecuted; even the American Association of the Advancement of Science; they’re a special group now trying to undermine the pulpits of America. I went down to Washington, D.C. and I sat in the meeting; and so they have devoted money to get into seminaries to teach environmentalism to pastors; and the lady that led the seminar, her first, and I was wondering why they are going after us evangelicals, and then she dropped this one in the middle of her lecture: Because evangelicals make up 29% of the vote in America.
Oh, now I understand … follow the money. The reason they’re against us evangelicals is because we’re not going along with what they want us to go along with and we’re voting against it; so we’ve got to be changed; and so they’re doing their best with our young people and in other places to change the culture from their faith.
Here’s what he says, “Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism,” notice the contrast here, see, ancient paganism versus Christianity. What were the kids doing on Fifth Avenue? Pagan worship, “Christianity, in absolute contrast to ancient paganism and Asia’s religions, not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God’s will that man exploit nature for his proper ends.”
Is that what we read in Genesis 2? Is making a garden exploiting nature? No, it isn’t. You see these people don’t even read the Bible before they start criticizing.
So we go down to one of the consequences happening in this environmental policy: They’re rushing through regulations without adequate science. Let me give you some illustrations here about what’s happening.
Rachel Carson, know her? Have you come across that name, Rachel Carson? What is Rachel Carson known for? Getting rid of what? DDT. And thanks to Rachel Carson every year in Africa 4–5 million children die of malaria because we don’t use DDT. You don’t have to spread it over all the whole creation, but for heaven sakes, can’t you use DDT in your house to get rid of mosquitoes? These poor kids are dying. So this is the result of a big environmental movement and we kill 4–5 million babies a year; thank you Rachel Carson, you did a great job.
Then we have the spotted owl farce in Northern California; that we’ve got to save the spotted owl. So we get college students chained to trees to bankrupt the timber industry. Now we wreck the timber industry in Siskiyou County, California; we’ve got high unemployment and drugs because there’s no jobs left now, thank you for that crusade.
Now what’s happening in the forest is the trees are growing very dense; well, the spotted owl has a wingspan of 6 feet so it can’t fly into the forest now to eat the mice and the spotted owl population continues to decline. We just wrecked the whole timber industry because we’re all frantic about the spotted owl; we didn’t think about and study and do experiments before we made the regulation. We just made the regulation and we ruined the industry, threw people out of work, and the spotted owl is still decaying, it’s still going down because it can’t get into the forest to eat the mice, thank you for your work.
So this is the sort of thing and finally, one more thing since I’m involved in the climate situation; look at this one [slide 19]. We’re talking about CO2; bad gas CO2 is; excuse me, CO2 is plant food. Where does the food cycle start on the planet, with animals or plants? It starts with plants. What do you think is feeding the plants? CO2; it’s not a pollutant; it’s a plant food, for heaven’s sake.
As a result of the increase in CO2 this map is a plot in color of the increased vegetation on earth as a result of increased CO2. What do you notice? You notice the fact that over here in Africa you see greening; you never saw greening there before; that’s because the increased CO2 is stimulating plant growth all over the globe, look at it.
Out in the lobby is a paper that I wrote, “Sin, Deception, and the Corruption of Science,” and that was published by some evangelicals and we’re opposing the green movement, and you can get it out in the lobby and that goes into all the details but we won’t go into it right now.
But let me draw this conclusion because our time is out; let me point out that fictional man-nature relationship suppresses two more attributes of God. One of His attributes is that He is sovereign.
What does sovereignty mean? That God is in total control. What we have today is we have the government having regulations over every square inch of your life and the government is trying to act as though it is sovereign. Now we’ve replaced God’s sovereignty with a hyper regulatory environment of civil power; so now we substituted that one.
Then finally, love; there is no love in an impersonal universe and everyone thrives on love. The problem is if you rely on someone else to provide you with love, you’re putting too much weight on that person. They can’t satisfy your need and my need for love, day after day after day; they wear out; they’re like us; we need some receiving besides transmitting. There’s giving and there’s taking. But we have a triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that love each member of the Trinity within themselves for all eternity; They didn’t run out of love.
We have an infinite source of love that triggers our love and we can respond and pass it on to others. That’s why love was known in the Christian faith; where did the Christians get the idea to love? The Romans didn’t; they threw babies out in the street. Who collected the babies? Christians did. Why? Because they loved these children, and where did they get that love from? They got it from the Lord.
In conclusion let me review God’s attributes and I’m going to go through this list very quickly. But think about these: This is what’s happening spiritually by allowing these kinds of ideas to contaminate our thought processes and conform us to the way the world wants us to go.
God’s sovereignty: What does that mean? You and I are not in control. What does that do for your prayer life? The reason we pray is because we’re not in control. Don’t we pray because He is in control and we’re not? We feel that and when you feel the fact that everything is out of control, we pray; it’s a God-given thing. But if nature is all there is, then who do we pray to? Who’s in charge of this thing?
Second, His eternality: As I said, we are placed in His eternal plan; there are no meaningless accidents. A friend of mine’s son is a special forces guy; his son is in special forces and he was driving an armored Humvee in the Philippines against some guerrillas. He had a Christian guy in the driver’s seat of the Humvee and he was up with a gun in the turret and they hit an IED and he tried to help his bleeding driver, his Christian buddy, and the Christian buddy died in his arms. He has this post-traumatic syndrome. But his dad had a very interesting idea: Instead of doing what the VA does of trying to quell the memory of this tragedy in his son’s life, he took the opposite end.
So he, in his typical army way, looked at his son and said, “Son,” his name is Isaac; “Son, God wasn’t on a smoke break when the IED exploded.” Now only an army guy would say that, but that’s tremendous theology, isn’t it? “God wasn’t on a smoke break the second that IED exploded. That means there was a meaning and there was a purpose in it and son you’ve got to understand how this is going to play out in your life.”
That’s helping his son; no drugs; nothing else; dealing with it in a Scriptural fashion. God is eternal, and what that means is every thousandth of a second God has had eternity to look at that second; it happened so fast we don’t even know it. But if God is eternal, He’s had eternity to look at that split second and that gives confidence that there aren’t accidents like this that are beyond His eternal, sovereign control.
His omnipotence: We need to know that He is omnipotent when we pray; that He is capable of answering our prayers. But if nature is all there is, why are we praying, we have no hope?
Omnipresent: He is with us in the details of our life; if He isn’t, then we’re all alone; in a very serious fashion; we are cosmically alone in this vast universe.
Finally, that the idea of His love; that He cares for us; there’s no care for us from the universe; nature does not love us; God loves us. If He is enmeshed in this mess that we are talking about, and that’s all we’ve got, we’re in bad shape.
I hope that in this second session, we tried to show you that creation is a personal revelation from a personal God and it’s repelling if I am not a believer. I don’t want to hear this because if I listen to you and you’re telling me about creation, that makes me ultimately responsible. I don’t want that message so I’m going to fabricate everything I can fabricate in my intelligence to create a counter story to the story you’re telling me and I want that story to obliterate your God out of the picture. The problem is, once I do that I’m in trouble because I’ve done away with these attributes and the God image in my heart is never filled.
“Father, we thank You for Your Word; we thank You for being a loving God to us; of not abandoning us in history; and giving us adequate wisdom, adequate resources; to look critically at the culture going on around us. Not to criticize everybody for doing these things, but to just think spiritually and carefully; are we going to participate in this or should we participate in that; how should we choose to respond to this or to that?
Help us understand to go back to the Word of God that is sufficient unto every good work; and honor You and be faithful to You because we are submitting to Your Word—Your Word, Your personal communication to us, is very, very precious; and we thank You that You are so faithful to stand up to the promises that You’ve made to us; and going over thousands of years, You exquisitely answer every detail that You promised; and we look forward to that grand culmination when all the promises will come true. We thank You now, in our Savior’s name, Amen.”