© Charles A. Clough 1996
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 2: Buried Truths of Origins
Lesson 26 – Review and Summary
02 May 1996
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Tonight we’re going to cover a conclusion to this part of the Framework that we been working on. Next time we will deal with the appendix. There are three appendices that deal with specialized discussions of details with regard to the creation, fall, flood, and covenant history, but tonight I want to cover a summary of the four events that we’ve studied and pull it together.
Last time we ended with a discussion of capital punishment. Punishment by the death sentence is the ultimate authority of the fourth divine institution. God instituted the fourth divine institution of civil authority after the fall. So you want to understand that the first three divine institutions: human responsibility, marriage, and family, were all designed, were all instituted at creation before there was any fall. All three of those divine institutions are what we call essential institutions. They are built into the very structure of human creation, part of human nature, part of human structure.
But when we come to the fourth divine institution, which is civil authority, that institution is a post-fall institution that exists because of the fall and what God had to do in order to save civilization, or to at least maintain it with some semblance of order until the Second Advent of Christ. It is a preservative institution, and that’s something you want to understand: that the divine institution of civil government is not a redemptive institution and we really need to understand that.
People today, because of the idea of secular progressivism, do not understand. They always want to make government into the thing that is going to fix things messed up at the fall. The government isn’t there to fix those things, because the things that are messed up are due to the fall. The solution is God’s redemptive program that begins, not with the law that is external to man, but with regeneration, which is internal to man.
The changes to fix things have to come from inside toward the outside, not from the outside toward the inside. Civil authority, with the fear of capital punishment, is something that was designed to restrain evil and only some forms of evil at that.
Civil government cannot restrain mental attitude sins. Civil government cannot prevent many different kinds of evil behavior. It can only prevent the gross forms of human evil behavior and that’s about it. Government, civil power, is actually very limited.
And it’s ironic that in the unregenerate, unbelieving mind of secular progressivism the thought is that government can fix something and, apart from God’s grace in our personal lives, we would be thinking the same way. The point is that people today think that government can fix these major somethings from the fall—that if we just make it a little bit bigger, if we just put a little more money into it, that will solve the problem.
If you think biblically that is an illusion, it’s a myth. And this has political implications in how you vote, how you think politically. If you take the Word of God seriously, it has political implications.
That’s how we left things with capital punishment and the institution of civil government after the fall, and I just wanted to mention that for those of you who might not have been here last week.
Let’s turn to of a summary of what we’ve covered during the last few months in this series. We’ve looked at four events, the creation, the fall, the flood, and the giving of the Noahic covenant with its associated institution of civil authority.
With this block of four events, with the doctrines that God revealed in each of these events, we have the foundation for the rest of the Bible. What we have looked at is the very structure that supports the rest of the Bible.
People today, who are very loose and sloppy with their handling of Genesis 1 to 11, inevitably wind up having to compromise key sections of the of the rest of the Bible. That’s because throughout the whole Bible, whether it’s Moses, whether it’s David, whether it’s the prophets like Isaiah or Jeremiah, whether it’s John the Baptist, whether is Jesus Christ, whether it’s the apostle Paul, whether it’s the apostle John, they all believe in the cosmogony, that is the structure of reality, that is given in Genesis 1 to 11. There is no debate about that.
What happens today is that liberal critics of the Bible who profess Christianity are trying to have their cake and eat it, too. What they want to have is Christian ethics, but they don’t want the structure that supports those Christian ethics.
Let’s think about some key big questions here from those four events, and then we’ll get into some of the details. If we look at the four events of Genesis, how do you characterize the God of the Scriptures? In other words, if Genesis 1 to 11 is correct then God is the infinite personal Creator of all things in Heaven and earth, material and immaterial.
Do we believe that? Do you believe, do I believe, that God is the source of language and logic? That is a very critical question, and we are going to develop that in a little bit here. But that’s a critical question today: is God the source of language and logic?
Here’s another question: has He designed man and nature in specific ways? If we read Genesis 1, man alone in all of nature has this unique thing called the image-of-God design. No animal has it, no chimpanzee has it, no ape has it. No other component of nature is said to be made in God’s image. Man is qualitatively different from the rest of creation.
That is a fundamental qualitative difference between man and animal. But if you don’t believe the Bible you’re going to believe that’s not really true—man is just part of nature. This is the evolutionary view, that we just live in a materialistic continuum. We differ from the rest of nature only in a quantitative, relativistic sense.
Here’s another basic question to think about. I hope, if you’ll think about these questions, it will make your study of the Bible a lot deeper, a lot more serious, because it will enable you to strengthen your mind, strengthen your heart beliefs. And at the same time thinking of these questions, they can be sewn into everyday conversation. And who knows, the Holy Spirit may use those everyday conversations to lead someone to Jesus Christ.
Here’s another key question. I am thinking again of the four events, do you believe, do I believe that the universe at one time was free of evil, death, and suffering? In other words, is evil, and suffering, and death something that was always there? Or did it start sometime after creation, brought in by a choice of man? This is a fundamental question here; how you handle life’s tragedies, how you handle the heartbreaks of life.
Another question basic to what we’ve done and that is, has there been a cosmic judgment/salvation in past history? The Bible is always talking about catastrophes that accompany the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Has there ever been the precedent for a large judgment in human history prior to our age, in ages past, that could serve as an example of what the Bible promises will happen one day in our future?
Okay, well let me ask one more question. Our social institutions—that is, marriage, family, that sort of thing—are these social institutions something God designed, or are they something that human civilization just sort of developed for convenience? And if it did, then of course they can be changed. But if they are God designed, they are rooted into the very design of humanity. Trying to change them, if that is true, not only will fail. Trying to change them will cause extra pain and suffering.
So those are the questions that are thought questions about what we’ve studied so far.
Let me turn around and show how those questions are looked at, and viewed, and even asked, by the unbelieving culture.
Is modern paganism, and remember, I’m using the word “pagan” as a synonym for unbeliever, for an unbeliever in particular that is biblically ignorant. Biblically ignorant people are pagans and it’s not a term of derision. It is a term of theology. It’s a theological term that denotes a characteristic of their belief system.
There are perfectly good pagans, just like there are bad Christians. There can be good pagans. But those who are good pagans are living inconsistently with their beliefs. As for example bad Christians, out of fellowship, are living in contradiction to their beliefs.
So if we think through modern paganism, is it correct in claiming that Genesis is mythological? Remember, paganism believes in a plurality of deities, gods and goddesses. Those of you who ran across the Greek myths in school, like the story of Hercules and other Greek gods and semi-gods, will remember how the pagan gods and semi-gods would argue and oppose each other.
But the kind of gods that pagans worshipped are gods who themselves are within the unknowable and mysterious universe. They are not over the universe, they’re not transcendent creators absolutely independent of the universe. Rather, they are participants in the universe.
We talked about this: man, if he is not the special creation of a transcendent Creator, must be in some sort of position within the Chain of Being. Remember what we said about the Chain of Being? In the Chain of Being, continuity being the idea that all of reality is on a spectrum ranging from rocks, molecules, and atoms, all the way up to various biological forms—biological forms that range from the so-called simple biological forms which, by the way, modern biological research shows are not so simple as we once thought they were, firms that range from the simple on up to the complex mammals that exist.
All of that—is it just part of a spectrum of being? And therefore, as part of a spectrum, you can guess if you wait a few million years, you can hope that chance is going to bridge across some of those gaps. Life might accidentally form from molecules in the primitive ocean of chemicals, or so-called higher life forms evolving by sheer chance from simple life forms.
When we think back on the big ideas that we’ve looked at in the creation, fall, flood, and covenant, remember all the great Christian creeds. Some of you have come out of liturgical churches and have recited in public these creeds for years: “I believe in God the Father, the Creator of Heaven and earth, maker of Heaven and earth.”
Those are words taken from Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. All those creeds started with a declaration that God was the Creator, and that ought to tip you off, tip me off, to the fact that the nature of God is already determined by our concept of origins.
I am going to go over this in a little more detail in a few minutes, but I’m going over, as a summary, these early chapters of Genesis, because I want you to develop a habit of thinking where you put the world around you, all of the life experiences, the various things that go on in history, the things you observe, the beauty of the flowers, the design that you see in reality around you, the trees and so on.
You need to develop the thought patterns of putting this world that you observe, that surrounds you, within the context of the biblical view of reality. If you don’t, you’re going to put the Bible within the context of the pagan worldview.
It’s all about worldview. Either our worldview dominates or the unbelieving worldview dominates. There aren’t any third positions here. Instead of letting the Word of God lose its force by being absorbed into the framework of unbelief, you ought to be able to absorb unbelief into the framework of the Word of God. That is your objective here.
On the website, on the CDs, and on the DVDs, there is a very useful tool, a set of course notes for every lesson, for every part of the Framework. On the website you can download the course notes as an option under the Bible Framework Course tab. If you have either the CDs or the DVDs you already have these course notes as a PDF file. I want to mention this to you because at the end of the course notes for Part 2, there are some very fine reproductions of the slides and diagrams we have been showing throughout Part 2.
For example, on page 139 of the Part 2 course notes there is the slide that I use over and over, Shall I Bow to My Creator? This slide was originally prepared for a public debate in a Unitarian venue where I wanted to show the starkly different worldviews—the overall worldview of the Bible on one hand and the basic worldview underlying all unbelief on the other hand. On this one slide you’ve got a summary of all the important points in belief and the important points in unbelief.
You can’t just look at what the Bible says without looking at what the Bible doesn’t say. It’s that contrast that causes you to think things through. You’ve got to learn to think about what the Bible says in contrast to what the secularized culture says. This will help you not only to think more deeply about God’s Word, but it will lead you to a greater appreciation of His glory and fallen man’s folly.
I don’t know how many of you have ever seen pictures of the famous statue The Thinker by the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. In 1902 Rodin made it part of a planned exhibit of themes from Dante’s classic book The Divine Comedy. The exhibit was entitled The Gates of Hell. Since it so neatly depicts man thinking, I thought that if we made a slight modification of it, we would have an image not just of man thinking, but thinking as an unbeliever suppressing God’s revelation all around him. So I had an artist friend of mine draw a modified image of The Thinker with his left arm stretched backwards showing his opposition to God’s revelation, and I think that picture is a great illustration of the heart of unbelief. You can see a pencil sketch of The Thinker in this position of rejecting all of God’s revelation—both verbal revelation in His Word and non-verbal revelation in the designs of creation all around us—on the last page of the course notes for Part 2.
It’s not that unbelievers don’t think, it’s that unbelievers think in resistance to the available revelation of God. I want to read to you a very famous quote from many years later in the 20th century. This quote will let you know that intelligent unbelievers are sometimes, and it’s rare, but they will sometimes admit why they’re unbelievers and that they very definitely are rejecting the Bible with clear understanding of what they’re doing and why they are doing it.
The quote was in the New York Review of Books by Harvard population biologist Richard Lewontin, in his review of Carl Sagan’s book, Pale Blue Dot. I think that was the last book that Sagan wrote before he died. Read thoughtfully what this prominent Harvard population biologist, has written. Here we see an intelligent unbeliever laying all the stuff out in the open on the table so we can all see it. This is an honest, thoughtful, unbeliever’s conversation.
“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs. In spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just so stories, because—(and here he shows you the spirit behind it, the motive)—because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept the material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are—now listen to this—we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of the investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.”
And here’s his concluding sentence in this quote section: “Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
Look at that—“We cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
So people, don’t let some sidewalk unbeliever try to intimidate you into thinking that there’s some sort of difference between science and faith. Science involves faith. Faith involves science. You can’t separate the two, and I want to go into some of those details now and I’ll also cite some of the slides in end of those course notes on Part 2. Check out Appendix E on pages 129 to 144.
Let’s go into some of the details. Let’s think about creation for a moment, before we get into anything else. We go back to the first event. We already know that the first event establish the nature of God, establishes the Creator/creature distinction. The Creator is omniscient. We creatures, even though were made in God’s image, we are not omniscient. We are finite and because we are finite we cannot come up with universal truths. Our minds simply aren’t big enough.
If we want universal truths we are either going to have to speculate and create them subjectively in our imagination, or were going to have to search for places, or times, or events, where God has communicated out of His omniscient mind the key ideas that we need in order to function.
The idea is that in order to know nature we have to equip ourselves. I have gone through two graduate schools, and I can tell you after four years of college and eight years of graduate study, I never had any professor deal with the basis of how we know.
At no time do we in the educational system ever deal with the limitations of knowledge. These are fundamental things and you would think they would be taught to us in fourth and fifth grade. But because the secular unbelieving system doesn’t want us to look very carefully at its foundations, it just glosses over this, and hopes we don’t ask questions.
Let’s think for example, what about the laws of logic? In order to support any kind of thinking we have to have laws of logic. We use them every day. Science extensively uses them. The legal profession uses them. But isn’t it striking that the laws of logic aren’t material? They don’t exist so you can smell them and touch them and taste them. They are mental structures. For example, if I think of the number 5 and I write it on a chalkboard, or I write it on a digital pad, or I write it in ink on a piece of paper, it doesn’t make a difference how materially I express it. The concept of 5 remains the same. So the laws of logic are nonmaterial, they exist as concepts.
Think of a calculator. We press all kinds of buttons to calculate and compute things. Why does the calculator work? Think about that.
You and I have to put numbers into it, and then we ask it to multiply, divide, find the square root, find what happens with certain exponents, whatever. What is the calculator doing? It has within itself rules of calculation. And we input, basically our questions, that is the math we want to do, and it comes out with the answer. It comes out with the answer, not because it made things up, all the calculating it’s doing is applying rules that were built into it.
That’s the thing with thinking—thinking uses logical rules. And we, as God’s creatures come born with this, and later we develop skill in using the tools God has given us correctly. That’s what education is supposed to be doing.
So laws of logic are there, and they’re not well explained by unbelieving culture. But now that you know the creation, you are looking at the foundation of the very laws of logic. What are the laws of logic? They are the expressions of God’s handiwork in creation, out of His own mind. God thinks logically, and He’s designed the creation to be thought about in a logical fashion.
On page 131 of Part 2 of the course notes you’ll see the diagram of a calculator and what goes into the calculator and what comes out of the calculator. The calculator just applies a set of logical rules to what we put in it. But the propositions—the concepts—that we put into the calculator come from our worldview and how that worldview affects the interpretation we make about our observations of reality. Our reasoning is thus worldview dependent. That’s why presuppositions about reality are so very powerful, especially when we are unaware of them.
On page 132 you’ll see another very important diagram of what is involved in knowing nature around us. As I said a little bit ago, we simply don’t discuss these fundamental truths at any point in our secular education system. Apparently the reasoning of secular educators is that to delve into this level of discussion gets too religious—too close to stirring our soul’s God-consciousness—to be comfortable. But I am going to discuss it quite openly. After all, we are special creatures made by God to have dominion over the earth—to observe, interpret, and learn about His non-verbal structures all around us.
Observe the diagram on page 132. The vertical axis is the spatial dimension of our observations. This axis is non-linear, that is, the units of distance expand as you go upward. Starting with the tiny dimension of sub-atomic particles at the very bottom at the line, the units of distance expand upward to the dimension of light years of cosmic distances.
The horizontal axis is the temporal dimension of our observations. This axis is also non-linear. The units of time expand as you go from left to right. Starting with the tiny fractions of a second of X-ray pulses at the left (that’s a very small unit or measurement of time), the units of time expand to the right to the age of the universe—from its creation in the past to its end in the future.
Inside that chart, the turquoise-colored box represents the limits of direct empirical knowledge that you and I have, that is, what you and I can observe spatially and temporally within our unaided senses during our whole lifetime. We have limited means to observe very small and very distant objects. We also have limited means to observe very fast events and we certainly cannot observe the future or events occurring before we were born. We can’t experience everything throughout history—only those things we encounter during our lifetime. That’s the turquoise-colored box.
The yellow-colored areas depict the extension of our senses by various measuring instruments. Microscopes and telescopes, for example, expand our observational domain into the very small (downward) and very large (upward) spatial dimensions. High-speed photography expands our ability to observe very fast events. That’s the yellow area to the left. But what is often overlooked is that each such measuring instrument adds another layer of interpretation called measurement theory between the objects being measured and our senses. Weather radar, for example, measures radar energy returning to the radar, which has to be interpreted. Is the resulting signal caused by insects, birds, ice particles, water droplets, or something else? That is an example of why measurement theory of some sort is always needed to interpret the output of whatever measuring device is used.
Now notice something about this diagram on page 132. The small dark blue box, to the right of the turquoise box, represents past history where there were eye-witness observers who either directly observed or measured events and objects and reported their observations/measurements in a trustworthy and accurate fashion. These data now become subject to two layers of interpretation, not one. Not only is there measurement theory, that is if the instruments were used, then there’s also historical assessment of the reliability of those eye-witness observers. Now notice that there is no yellow-colored area or dark blue area to the right of that vertical line. There can be no measurement of future events. Nor can there be observations or measurements of past events that have not been personally observed or measured by eye-witness observers.
So it is not a silly argument that creationists have raised about “deep time”, that is, the idea that the earth is very old, an idea that began to take hold in the West around the beginning of the 19th century with certain geologists. In the absence of direct observations (absent, that is, if you don’t count God’s observations in Genesis 1 and His challenge to Job “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”), if you dispense with this, we can only guess at whatever unobserved and unmeasured processes were going on before human observations became available. When you understand this diagram on the limitations of empirical knowledge, you recognize that the science we are used to that makes repeated observations is not the same kind of science that speculates about the unobserved past. These are two different kinds of science.
Looking then at the laws of logic and at the limitations of knowledge, we have to rethink how we think. If you ever go to the Creation Museum built by Answers in Genesis in northern Kentucky, you will notice that they have exhibits just like every other museum. But they’ve done a very clever thing. You look through the glass of an exhibit, maybe at bones or something like that, and on one side of the exhibit they have a plaque that gives you the evolutionary interpretation of that data. On the other side they give the creationist interpretation of the data.
And what you learn as you think about what’s going on here, the issue between belief and unbelief is not the data. We both have access to the exactly the same data set. The difference comes from the interpretation we place on the data. And our interpretation of the data is determined by our worldview. Few people think deeply enough to understand this process.
Well, so much for creation. Let’s move on to the second event, and that is the fall. This is a profound thing, because the fall controls how we think about God. We are universally depraved. The human race has fallen from its grandeur of creation and that diagram I mentioned to you. It’s that last diagram in the course notes, the diagram of The Thinker, that’s going to set up our view of the fall.
That diagram and that statue show our heart apart from God’s grace. So our perception of reality is warped and distorted by our reluctance to think about God. Unless of course we are a believer and have come to know that He accepts us on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ so our relationship with God can be harmonious and no longer antagonistic.
But if we don’t know that, we know we are on the outs with Him. We’re like Adam and Eve. They were ashamed of themselves. So they got fig leaves and clothed themselves with them, and then they ran off and hid, which is sort of ironic, that human beings who are finite and limited can hide from the omnipresent Creator. That’s an interesting mechanism.
It just shows you how we flee God, we either flee God in fear of Him in acknowledging that we’re on the outs with Him, that our relationship isn’t one that’s pleasurable, or He comes to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ, tells us that He has forgiven us, but that we have to accept how He is going to forgive us: through the finished work of His Son, grace.
Well, what evil and the fall tell us are profound things. Again I refer you to a diagram on page 134 of the Part 2 course notes where you’ll see how I’ve drawn out the difference, the profound difference, between how the Bible and unbelieving society view evil and suffering.
In the Bible we have the first event: creation. Then there’s an interval of time between creation and the fall, and during that interval of time the material universe existed without sin. That is, without any sin. So that distance between the creation and the fall is important to think about because that gets rid of the false notion that the material universe necessarily is full of suffering and heartache. Look at the space in the diagram between the letters “Cr” and the letter “F”. That distance between creation and the fall shows that our present existence after the fall is really an abnormal existence compared to the original, pre-fall existence. Prior to the fall there was neither human sin and evil, nor natural evil—storms, earthquakes, etc.
Here is a major difference between biblical revelation of the creation and fall on one hand and the view of evolution that requires a nature red in tooth and claw on the other hand. Christians who buy into the syncretism of trying to mix evolution and creation together have a very serious problem here. In Genesis 1:31 God declares His creation week work very good, but if He used evolution, He must be calling death and suffering “very good”! Yes, good and evil are mixed together now, after the fall, but this is an abnormal state radically different from the original creation. And it one day will be ended in judgment. See the “J” in the diagram.
By judgment in this diagram I mean all the end-time judgments put together that are mentioned in the Bible. The net result of all of them is that you have a permanent quarantine of evil. That is, good and evil are separated for ever and ever: it’s separation, it’s judicial separation.
So we have good and we have evil and they are never going to mix again. They are set apart for all eternity. We don’t like to talk about the eternal quarantine of evil in the Lake of Fire, but if you don’t have a judgmental separation of good and evil, they remain mixed together forever and ever without any possibility of relief from pain and heartbreak. That’s your choice.
We would be left in the pagan position also shown in the diagram on page 134. Because unbelief has no fall, the corollary, the result is that evil, suffering, and death must be normal parts of existence. That has profound implications. It affects the concept of karma; it affects the concept of personal existence. All kinds of things are affected by this.
You can’t have evil, suffering, and death as the normal if you believe the Bible. They are not normal. They are abnormal because they weren’t there when God created. When His fingertips left creation all was very good. There was no death, there was no suffering, there was no sickness. That all came afterward.
But on the pagan basis you don’t have any introduction of evil. Evil has always been the case. And now the problem is, how do you cope with heart aches? How do you cope with the death of loved ones? How do you cope with these nasty things that life throws at us? You have to think in terms of whether you’re going to believe in a literal fall, as Genesis 1–11 says had happened and you go back to the text and it says it happened, and the introduction of suffering came because of sin. Either you take the position of the Bible or you have to believe and accept that evil has always been there, it always will be, and it’s unavoidable, and this is part of normal life.
How do you cope with suffering and hardship if you believe that evil and suffering are unavoidable? They are always there, the universe has always been this way, it’s never been good, it’s not going to become good, this is just the way it is. You see how depressing that is? You see how that is leading people into suicide just to stop the pain?
The discussion of how unbelief tries to cope with evil and suffering is summarized in the diagram on page 136 in the course notes for Part 2. That diagram is followed with another (second) diagram on page 137 that summarizes how belief can deal with evil and suffering from the biblical point of view. These two diagrams hopefully will help you see the fundamental difference between a pagan mindset and a biblical mindset when they encounter evil and suffering in life.
It’s not that we don’t experience pain as Christians, but at least we know that there’s a time coming when that will go away, when God will wipe tears from our eyes. There’s hope in the Christian position. There is no hope in the pagan position.
Okay, Let’s go to the second event we studied, the flood event. During the flood event I tried to point out why the flood is a revelation of God’s judgment and His salvation—that He does both together. That as He condemned the world and judged the world, He also saved those who looked to Him. That’s the perennial theme in the Bible. Every time God judges He also saves. Every time He saves He also judges, because basically, what redemption is all about is separating good and evil—temporarily now, permanently one day later.
So in the flood, we studied certain features and I want point out here, in the notes—I don’t present a lot of confirmatory scientific evidence, and here’s why. The creation movement today is very, very vibrant. There are men and women who are working, who have their PhDs who are doing significant amounts of research. Month, after month, after month there’s Answers in Genesis, there’s the Institute for Creation Research, there’s the Creation Research Society, and a number of other organizations, and what you need to do instead of looking at a static set of notes that will be obsolete in a few months, I want you to understand that as part of your spiritual growth you need to access materials from those groups that are doing this research. If you’ll keep knowledgeable of that, either AIG (Answers in Genesis), or CRS (Creation Research Society), or ICR (Institute for Creation Research), if you’ll just keep up with one of their newsletters, you will learn all the neat stuff that is being found out. There are some amazing things going on.
So that’s why in the notes, and in these lectures, I show you some examples—just a few.
Remember the Polystrata tree trunk piercing many levels of rock, and those kinds of things. The tree trunk photo is on page 143 of the notes. I showed you the dimensions of the ark and why it was hydro-dynamically stable. Those diagrams are on pages 138 and 139 in the notes. If you’re serious about your faith you need to come into contact with those organizations so you can keep up with what’s going on. So, we’ve talked about the creation, the fall, and the flood.
Finally, we come to that fourth event which is the covenant of Noah. I want you to remember that covenant is a word that means, in essence, a contract. And if you’ll think in terms of a contract, it will help your clarity of thought with regard to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Siniatic Covenant, the Noahic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.
Think about it, when you and I enter into a contract, let’s say with the bank and your credit card. Why do you and the bank agree to a contract? I think the answer is that you and your bank want to firm up your relationship. Contracts depend on relationships. And contracts are there to measure the quality of the relationship.
For example, the bank expects you to pay back a certain amount each month for the money they gave you, a simple credit card, or a mortgage contract, or whatever. What else do you know about something that is a contract? You know that it was written on a piece of paper, usually, that both of you read and both of you signed. That contract was an agreement that when you interpret the text, that contract, are you interpreting it metaphorically, or are you interpreting it literally? The answer of course is obvious. Contracts have to be interpreted literally.
Here’s another question: suppose a contract is going to last for 10 years. It’s a quick mortgage or something. If that’s the case, what is being measured over that 10-year period? Why is the contract extended year after year for 10 years? The answer is that the contract is like a yardstick, it’s there to measure the behavior of both you and your bank. Both of you promised that you would do something for the other person. The contract formalizes your promises and is a record of what your promises were.
So in subsequent years, depending on your behavior, your behavior can be either approved or disapproved by the standards of the contract. Those are the kinds of things you want to think about when you think of a contract.
In the case of the Noahic contract who were the parties to that contract? Well, clearly it was Noah and his family that were one of the parties, but who were other parties? You read the text and it’s very interesting. Every living air-breathing creature, all of these animals were also considered to be heirs or participants to this contract.
Another thing about contracts that will help you in your Bible study is that when you look at contracts they have to remain untouched, that is without formal amendments without legitimate amendments, for the duration of the time the contract is settled to the time it’s expired, when it’s over with. Of course there can be amendments made, but they have to be official—they have to be “mini-contracts” as it were, signed by both parties.
During those years, in the case of this mortgage contract illustration I’m using 10 years, for those 10 years the content of the text had to remain unchanged. That’s because there was a part of an agreement that you made for 10 years, so it’s not going to change for 10 years.
Now, let’s go to the Noahic contract. The contract was made between God on one hand and man and animals on the other. Okay, what did it promise? Well, it promised that there would never be a global flood again. It did not necessarily promise there wouldn’t be some local floods, but surely there would not be a universal flood. That is the heart of that contract.
Noah had a sacrifice and he wound up with a little ceremony at the point of this contract coming into force, but how did God sign the contract. He wasn’t there in theomorphic form for this situation, so what was God’s signature? The answer is the rainbow.
If you take a concordance and look up the rainbow, or bow, you will see that in Ezekiel, when Ezekiel saw his vision of the very throne of God, that throne was surrounded by a bow. So I think it’s a reasonable assertion that when the rainbow exists we are seeing an early version of the kind of glory that we one day will observe in the presence of God forever and ever. It’s really a neat thing, a very, very beautiful thing. And it’s sad that certain people today have taken the rainbow as a symbol of something that is basically unbiblical.
Okay, that’s the story then of these events. What I’m hoping you’ll do with these is that you’ll put them together in your mind so that you can’t think of one without all the others. If you think of the fall you’ve got to think of the creation that preceded the fall. You have to think of the flood that followed after the fall. If you think of the flood you’ll think of judgment salvation, the doctrines of judgment, salvation. But that doctrine should make you also think that back in creation we were made in God’s image, and that there was no sin. And that when sin came in with the fall of man, now we have to deal with judgment salvation.
That’s how to tie it together, and the hope that I have for this series is that you will be strengthened in thinking in big terms about the truths of the Bible. And these terms will grow on you. Your framework will become stronger and stronger as you think more and more, and as you study further. As you do this you should think of your developing spiritual power to absorb things in the world and organize them so they’re interpreted in your life biblically.
You won’t look at life and try to interpret things in the same unbelieving fashion that you used to. But now that you know the Word, you are increasing your knowledge of the Word, you will be able then to glorify God by seeing His perspective that He has revealed to us.
Anyway, that’s all I have for the conclusion. Next week we will start on the appendix. There will be four appendices studying the details of the sessions and notes and the events we’ve done. Tonight I have just given you a quick review the four events, trying to show you that the Framework ties things together. That’s what the Framework is all about, these doctrines and events are all interlocked. You can’t separate them. And you will have a greater sense of how utterly different the Bible is from the thinking of the unbelieving world around us.
Father, we thank You for our time tonight. Thank You that You have preserved Your Scriptures. We thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit Who teaches us these great things. We thank You in Christ’s name. Amen.