Tribulation Saint

Historic Christianity in the Twenty First Century

Category: Apologetics

WITHOUT HOPE AND WITHOUT GOD

 

 

 

 

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893

One of the most tragic comments ever written about a group of people is found in Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  There, writing to a church made up largely of Gentile converts, Paul reminded them “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12; NKJV).  It is a vivid description of the world without Christ.

It must be remembered that before the coming of the gospel this was the condition in which most of the human race found itself.  God’s dealings with the human race were largely confined to one small group of people – the nation of Israel.  Thus Israel was uniquely in a position to know something about God and about His purposes in history.  He had made a promise to their ancestor Abraham, and that promise gave them hope – hope for a better tomorrow.

But where did that leave the rest of the human race?  They were “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”  The “covenants of promise” refers to the various covenants that God had made to Abraham and his descendants the Israelites.  The covenants included promises from God, and the promises gave Israel hope – the confident expectation that God would make things better in the future.  But the Gentiles had none of this.  Theirs was a dark and unpromising world, filled with toil and hardship, strife and conflict, with no hope for a better future.  What you so was pretty much what you got.

Moreover, the Gentiles were “without God in the world.”  They worshipped gods, of course; they were polytheistic.  But their “gods” were very much like themselves – only they lived longer.  What the pagan Gentiles had no concept of was a single, all-powerful Supreme Being, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  And this affected them psychologically.  Without God it is nearly impossible to find meaning and purpose in life.  We simply exist as an accident of nature, left to struggle to survive on our own.  For a while we might convince ourselves that we are doing well – we have jobs and houses and cars and boats.  But does anyone else really care about us?  Does it really matter in the long run?  And what happens when things turn bad?  What do we have then?  We are left with nothing.

You can see it on people’s faces.  Some look sad and depressed; some look bitter and cynical; others are just plain angry.  Few smile and few look happy.  They have eaten the bitter herbs of life without God.

As human beings we can find meaning and purpose, happiness and fulfillment, only by returning to our Creator.  We were created by Him for His purposes, and life was meant to function a certain way – His way.

Our sins stand as a barrier between us and God, and we must find forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s atoning death on the cross.  We must go to God in repentance and faith, and then we can find a meaningful relationship with our Creator.  In his letter to the Ephesians could go on to refer to Isa. 57:19: “And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near”; and went on to say, “For through Him [i.e., Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:17,18).

Does the Christian experience difficulties in life?  He most certainly does.  But he takes his burdens to God in prayer; he comes in complete submission to the Father’s will, and he trusts in God’s unfailing providence.  He finds fulfillment in life by serving God and helping others.  And in the end he dies in the hope of eternal life.  It is a hope worth living for.

THE SHACK: The Book and the Movie

 

Review:

The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity

Wm. Paul Young

Windblown Media, 2007

248 pp., pb.

 

Currently there is playing in movie theaters around the country the motion picture version of The Shack, a novel by Wm. Paul Young.  The book is largely a treatise on theology set in the form of a novel.  It has stirred controversy largely because the theology is unorthodox, to say the least.

The central figure in the book is Mackenzie Allen Phillips, or “Mack” as he is more generally known.  Mack experiences an unbearable tragedy when his youngest daughter Missy is murdered by a serial killer while on a camping trip.  Mack is overcome with grief and bitterness, until one day he receives a mysterious note in the mail inviting him to return to the shack in the woods near the place where Missy disappeared.  There he has an encounter with God, although not in the sense in which we would normally think of it.  And this is where the theological problems begin.

What Mack encounters in the shack are the members of the Trinity.  But God the Father is presented as an African American woman, generally referred to in the book as “Papa,” while the Holy Spirit is represented as a woman of Asian descent.  Jesus, however, is more accurately portrayed as a Middle Eastern male.

Strictly speaking, of course, God is neither male nor female.  But the Second Commandment’s prohibition against graven images is intended to prevent just such an attempt to portrait God in human form (Dt. 4:15-19,23,24).  Young, however, makes the various members of the Trinity out to be all too human – they are a bunch of chummy pals instead of an exalted Deity.

Much of what Young goes on to say in the book is a justifiable reaction against dead orthodoxy.  Church membership is a poor substitute for a real relationship with Christ, and knowing theology is not the same thing as knowing God himself.  But Young does not just reject dead orthodoxy; he rejects orthodoxy itself.  And instead of taking a fresh look at what the Bible actually says, he pretty much ignores the Bible altogether.  Young characterizes conservative theology as saying that “God’s voice had been reduced to paper, and even that paper had to be moderated and deciphered by the proper authorities and intellects” (pp. 65-66).

The main theme of the book is the age old question of how a good and loving God can allow evil into the universe.  To answer this question Young has recourse to the idea of human free will.  God is a God of love.  Love does not force or coerce anyone.  Evil is the result of man’s free will decisions.  At one point “Papa” tells Mack, “All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice.  If I were simply to revoke all choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning.  This world is not a playground where I keep all my children free from evil . . . If I take away the consequences of people’s choices, I destroy the possibility of love.  Love that is forced is not love at all” (p. 190).

Young insists that God calls us to have a personal relationship with Himself, and of course he is quite right on that.  But the basic flaw in Young’s argument is the assumption that love precludes the exercise of authority.  Young has Jesus telling Mack, “Have you noticed that even though you call me Lord and King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you? . . .To force my will on you . . .is exactly what love does not do . . .” (p. 145).  At another point Young has “Papa” telling Mack, “I am good, and I desire only what is best for you.  You cannot find that through guilt or condemnation or coercion, only through a relationship of love.  And I do love you” (p. 126).   “True love never forces” (p. 190).

This, in turn, leads Young to two patently unbiblical conclusions.  The first is that God has already forgiven the entire human race.  At one point in the book “Papa” tells Mack that through the death and resurrection of Christ “I am now fully reconciled to the world.”  Mack asks in disbelief, “The whole world?  You mean those that believe in you, right?”  Papa replies, “The whole world . . .I have done my part, totally, completely, finally.  It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way” (p. 192).  At another point in the book Christ is pictured as saying that those who love Him come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but “I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).  But the apostle John, who certainly knew the historical Jesus better than Wm. Young, said that personal faith in Christ was a necessary condition of salvation.  “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36; NKJV).  And faith in Christ ordinarily requires that we publicly identify ourselves with Him in baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; I Pet. 3:21).

The other major problem with Young’s theology is his conclusion that in a genuine relationship with Christ there are no rules which one must obey.  Young has the Holy Spirit telling Mack, “The Bible doesn’t teach you to follow rules” (p. 197).  “There is no mercy or grace in rules, not even for one mistake.  That’s why Jesus fulfilled all of it for you – so that it no longer has jurisdiction over you” (p. 202).  “In Jesus you are not under any law.  All things are lawful” (p. 203).  Then “Papa” adds, “Honey, I’ve never placed an expectation on you or anyone else” (p. 206).  But the real Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15; cf. vv. 21,23,24; 15:10).

A film adaption of a book, of course, will focus on action as opposed to dialogue, and as a result the film version of The Shack only briefly touches on the more controversial points of theology.  The film comes across as a deeply moving story of tragedy, love and redemption.  But beneath the surface are the more disturbing implications that are explicit in the book.

In the final analysis Young has left us with a universe in which there is no final justice – in the end God punishes no one and forgives everyone, regardless of what they have done.  We are to forgive and not to judge because God forgives and does not judge.  Evil is an unavoidable consequence of man’s free will.  But the apostle Paul tells us that we are not to retaliate against those who have done us wrong precisely because God will judge.  “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give placed to wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19; quoting Dt. 32:35).

Young pretty much sets aside practically everything that the Bible says about God’s transcendence, sovereignty, holiness, justice and wrath, not to mention the Last Judgment and eternal punishment.  Yet our theology must be based on what the Bible actually says.  While we may be able to infer certain things about God from His creation, and while we possess within ourselves a certain knowledge of right and wrong, the only way we can really know about God is through the written revelation which He has given us.  He himself must tell us what He is like and what He expects from us.  We have no other way of knowing about His attributes or His will, let alone the plan of salvation.  Hence our theology must be based on a careful study of Scripture.  Anything else is pure fantasy and self-delusion.

Yes, it is certainly true that a genuine relationship with God is a relationship of love.  God loves us, and we are called upon to love Him with all our heart, soul and might.  And at the practical level salvation involves the Holy Spirit living within our hearts and transforming us from the inside out.  But it also remains true that in a genuine relationship with Christ He is our Lord and Master and we are His servants.  And to that end the Bible is filled with commandments and exhortations to obey God.

It is easy to see why so many people find The Shack appealing.  It comes across as an invitation to a warm, loving and forgiving relationship with God.  But it is a siren call into the mire of false teaching, and should be avoided by anyone desiring a genuine relationship with Christ.

 

 

AMERICA’S PROBLEM IS SPIRITUAL – I

173

Paul at Athens

          Currently there is a great deal of hand-wringing going on over the thoroughly unpalatable choices the two major parties have given us this election cycle.  The Democrats, of course, have done what everyone expected them to do – nominate a more or less secular liberal.  What is shocking is what the Republicans have done – nominated someone who is not particularly conservative, has no prior government experience, and whose personal moral life is far from exemplary.  Nevertheless, the argument is being made in some quarters that Christians have a moral obligation to vote for Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton must be kept out of the White House at all costs.

But Hillary Clinton is not the problem.  Both she and Trump are symptoms of a much deeper problem, the spiritual and moral decay of American society.  In a democracy politicians merely reflect public opinion.  The real question is, what has brought public opinion to the point at which both major parties have nominated candidates who have serious ethical problems?

The problem starts with secularism.  In Romans chapter 1 the apostle Paul gives us a vivid picture of a morally decadent society.  And, as he makes it clear, the process of decline begins with secularism.  Paul says that “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God . . .” (v. 21; NKJV).  Paul is undoubtedly describing Graeco-Roman society as he saw it in his day.  It was pagan and polytheistic.  But how can it be said that “they knew God”?

The answer is that the knowledge of the existence of God is available to every human being.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (v. 20); or, as we might better translate it, “From the creation of the world . . . are perceived in the things that are made, being understood . . .”  Proof for the existence of God is literally as plain as the nose on one’s face – look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself one basic question: why is your face symmetrical?    The order and structure of nature could not have happened by accident, through a blind, impersonal, purposeless natural process, and the Darwinists would have us to suppose.  There has to be an intelligent Supreme Being behind it all.

Why, then, are there so many people who deny it?  Why were there so many polytheists in Paul’s day?  So many secularists and even atheists today?  Paul says they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18).  They “became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (v. 21).  They do this “in unrighteousness” – there is something in the human personality that does not want to acknowledge God or act righteously.  And so a process of rationalization sets in – we construct whole philosophical systems to explain away the truth.  And probably in modern life the turning point came with the publication of The Origen of Species in 1859, an attempt to explain nature apart from God.  This has become the foundation of modern secularism.  And the basic premise of secular education is that we can understand reality apart from God.  We can study creation and completely ignore the Creator.

The result?  “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (v. 24).  Perhaps no more terrifying words are found in Scripture: “God gave them up . . .”  God has abandoned us to our vices.  We are living in gross spiritual darkness.  The word “uncleanness” is commonly used in the New Testament to refer to sexual immorality.  It is perhaps no accident that that the Supreme Court’s decision on prayer and Bible reading in the public schools was followed by “the Sexual Revolution.”  We have separated sex from love and as a result find ourselves unable to sustain stable relationships with the opposite sex.  We now have a whole generation of young people who do not know what a stable home life is, and they are paying a terrible toll personally and emotionally.

And why has this come upon us?  Because they “exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen” (v. 25).  In other words, there is an element of willful rebellion in all of this.  Why do we concoct patently false explanations of reality?  Because we don’t want to acknowledge God.  When confronted with the evidence for the existence of God, we deny it.  And thus secular society lies under the judgment of God.

Thus our root problem is a spiritual one.  What we are witnessing today is the result of decades of secularism and materialism.  Public morality has eroded and our family structure has collapsed.  Democrats have been morally lost for several generations now What is shocking about the present state of affairs is that now the Republicans are prepared to join them.

WHICH RESTROOM?

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Here we are, in the midst of a presidential election cycle, and what should become one of the most hotly debated issues of the day, but who should be allowed to use which restroom?  The State of North Carolina recently passed a law requiring individuals to use the public restroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates.  The Obama administration responded by threatening to cut off all federal aid to North Carolina.  At the same time the administration sent out a directive to school districts all over the country on how to avoid discrimination against transgender people.

It should be noted that the policy adopted by North Carolina is perfectly reasonable.  If we understand things correctly, individuals in North Carolina who undergo sex reassignment surgery can have their birth certificates changed to reflect their new gender identities.  And in the case of a public restroom there has to be a means of identifying a person’s gender.  To allow anyone to use any restroom he pleases is to defeat the whole purpose of having separate restrooms.  It especially puts women at risk of becoming victims of voyeurism.

Contrary to the way the issue is often portrayed in the press, it is not a simple matter of some people identifying with one gender or the other.  Gender Identity Disorder is just one in a whole range of sexual behaviors.  Some people are homosexuals; some are bisexual.  Some are transvestites; some engage in sadomasochism.  There are even some persons who identify as “trans” who are still attracted to the opposite biological sex.  How, then, does one identify a person as one gender or the other?  Where does one draw the line?

There is, of course, a formal psychological definition of “Gender Identity Disorder.”  But once the diagnosis has been made what is the most appropriate treatment?  Logically one could go either one of two ways: either change the body to conform to the mind or change the mind to conform to the body.  The approach favored by the LGBT community is the former: undergo hormone treatment or even sex reassignment surgery to make the body conform more closely to the person’s psychological identity.  But surgery cannot make the person a perfect specimen of the opposite sex: some of the old features are bound to remain.  This puts the transgender person in an even more awkward position: he does not conform entirely to either gender.  He is neither truly male nor female.

But an even deeper problem remains: what caused the gender identity disorder in the first place?  There is no hard evidence that the underlying cause is biological or hereditary.  Rather the available evidence seems to suggest problems in early childhood socialization.  And if that is the case surgery is unlikely to cure the underlying problem, and will leave the “trans” as frustrated as ever.  Is this really a wise or humane way to handle the situation?

Why, then, would we attempt surgery?  Part of the problem is that modern secular psychology does not have a clearly defined value system, and thus has difficulty defining social norms.  Psychiatrists are inclined to think in terms of the patient’s own inward sense of well-being.  Since most people do not want to change the way they think, the therapists tries to find a way to change or cope with circumstances.  In the case of a “trans” person that means transitioning to the opposite sex, enabling the person to live out his fantasy.

But most likely there is a philosophical agenda here as well – the idea, borrowed from Existentialism, that we exist as autonomous individuals and that we should be free to define our own “essence” or identity (“existence precedes essence”).  Seen from that perspective social norms are artificial and oppressive.  This perspective was taken up by the Feminist movement and from there spread to the LGBT community.  It is no longer a matter of “fitting in”; rather it is a matter of “being accepted.”  Hence the calls for “diversity” and “inclusiveness.”

The underlying premise is atheism – that there is no such thing as Intelligent Design, that we live in a meaningless, purposeless universe, and thus are free to define ourselves any way we please.  But this creates a huge problem for society as a whole.  If each individual is free to define himself any way he wishes, and should not be required to any particular gender role, who will assume the duties and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood?  Marriage, by its very nature, is confining and demands self-sacrifice.  And marriage is the very foundation of society.  Without it there is no stable environment in which children can grow and mature.  Human society as a whole depends on the interaction between the sexes, and society simply cannot function in the absence of standards and norms of some kind.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27; NKJV).  We do not, in fact, live in a meaningless, purposeless universe – it was created by an intelligent Supreme Being.  Try as we might we cannot escape God’s created order.  We ignore God and His purposes for us at our own peril.

Are we witnessing the collapse of Western civilization?

THE MESSAGE OF GENESIS 1

4.2.7

Albert Bierstadt, Yosemite Valley

 

The Bible opens with a direct challenge to the thinking of sinful, rebellious man: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; NKJV).  Fallen humanity tries to deny this basic fact, for fallen man does not want to see himself accountable to a single, all-powerful Supreme Being.  And yet the only way to make sense of reality is to see it for what it really is: the result of intelligent design, the creation of God.

This point cannot be emphasized too strongly.  It is the whole difference between secular and Christian thought.  The creation narrative in Gen. 1:1-2:3 pictures God as systematically structuring reality so that it functions as a harmonious whole.  Human civilization depends on our discerning the rationale that is behind it all.  Science, government and the arts all presuppose a rational order in the universe, a logical structure to reality.  But where does this structure and order originate?  The ancient Greeks struggled with this question; but the revelation vouchsafed to ancient Israel was clear and unequivocal: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  It is this alone that makes human life possible and purposeful.

As we work our way through the narrative we see God systematically ordering creation.  At each step of the way we are told, “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 4,10,12,18,21,25), and in the end it says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (v. 31).  The universe was not created in a haphazard, helter-skelter sort of way – it was purposefully structured to function harmoniously.  The practical implication of this is far-reaching.  Everything in life has purpose and meaning – it was designed to function a certain way, and can achieve fulfillment only as it functions the way it was intended.  This carries with it moral implications as well.  We have mandate to make things work the way they are supposed to work, which means that it is morally wrong to misuse or abuse, to hurt or to harm others.

The culmination of creation is man himself.  Once the environment has been carefully structured and prepared, God created man to inhabit it.  And since man’s relationship with God is the central theme of the Bible, our text goes into some detail about what is expected of humans.

First of all, we are told that man was created “in the image of God’ (vv. 26,27).  This is what sets man apart from all the rest of creation – this is what makes him unique among all created things.  Only man has the mental and moral capacity to create civilization, and no theory of evolution can account for this.  In the Bible there is a fundamental difference between man and beast.

Moreover we are told that “male and female He created them” (v. 27), and “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply . . .’” (v. 28).  In other words, gender differences are God-ordained.  The text does not elaborate on what these differences may be, and it is very easy to fall into stereotypes.  Nevertheless there are undeniably physical and psychological differences between the sexes, and they were largely put there by God Himself.  Human society was meant to function on a male / female dynamic, and we only create problems for ourselves when we attempt to ignore or override it.

And then God says, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (v. 28).  This is what is sometimes referred to as “the cultural mandate” – the idea that man is not just simply to live a hunter / gatherer existence, but to engage in agriculture and industry.  God created us to be workers and managers, to make improvements on our environment, and to create prosperity for our communities while preserving our resources for our posterity.

Here then is the difference between the Bible and both ancient pagan thought and modern secular thought.  According to the Bible the universe was created by God, and as a result everything has meaning and purpose.  Our goal in life should be to fulfill God’s purpose for us, to live our lives the way He intended us to.  Modern man, however, wants to declare His independence, to live his life his own way, to decide for himself what is the best course of action to take.  But try as he might to ignore God’s will he must still live in a universe created by Him.  When we begin denying the existence of moral absolutes and even of universal truths, we have destroyed the foundations of civilization itself.  To deny God is to render human society dysfunctional.  In the end reality is inescapable, and we only hurt ourselves when we refuse to do things God’s way.

A YOUNG EARTH?

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Chemung Formation, Rte 287, near Tioga, PA

How old is the earth?  Generations of Christians have looked at their King James Bibles and seen 4004 B.C. as the date of creation.  That figure was arrived at by Archbishop Ussher, who determined it largely by adding up the numbers in the genealogies.

Doubts, however, began to arise with the advent of modern geology.  In the early 19th Century the French naturalist Georges Cuvier arrived at the conclusion that the different levels of sedimentary rocks indicated successive periods of geological time, and that the earth’s history was marked by a number of catastrophes.  His theories were further developed by other geologists.  Today the most commonly accepted scientific view is that the oldest rocks are at least 500 million years old.

So which is right?  Does science conflict with Scripture?  If God is the author of both Scripture and nature, the two, when interpreted correctly, cannot disagree.  That being the case there are two fundamental questions that must be answered: 1) What can science really prove?, and 2) What does the Bible actually say?

On the first question it must be stated unequivocally that the science cannot prove the Theory of Evolution.  Science is based on observation and experiment.  But it is impossible for the human observer to go back hundreds of millions of years to see fish evolving into reptiles, or apes into humans.  The presence of different forms of life at different times does not prove that the one evolved from the other.

Moreover, when we look at what we can actually observe today, it is apparent the evolution does not take place.  What we see today is that all living things occur in scientifically identifiable species, and that these species reproduce according to well defined laws of heredity and genetics.  While gene mutations certainly do occur, in order for them to be beneficial they would have to occur within the context of the evolution of an entire organic system.  A change in the eye is useless unless it is accompanied by a corresponding change in the central nervous system.  Thus the process of natural selection acts as an inhibiter of evolution, not a facilitator.  And evolution from a lower form of life to a higher one would be virtually impossible – it would have to involve the creation of whole new genes and chromosomes.

Thus evolution is a “scientific fact” that has never been directly observed, and has never been reduplicated in a laboratory.  At best the evidence for it is both circumstantial and fragmentary.

But with geology it is a little different.  Here where I sit in northern Pennsylvania there lies, 5,000 feet beneath my chair, the celebrated Marcellus Shale formation.  And the whole reason natural gas can be extracted from the shale is because it was originally formed from organic material.  At some places in the county there are up to 15,000 feet of sedimentary rock.  This simply cannot be accounted for by a single geological catastrophe.

While the interpretation of much of the geological evidence is certainly open to debate, a few things seem fairly obvious.  When we look at the fossil record and later bone deposits it becomes evident that the dinosaurs lived prior to the Ice Age, and that the Ice Age mammals after the dinosaurs had become extinct.  Moreover human beings were alive during the Ice Age, but not before.  Thus there had to have been successive geological ages, with plant and animal life in existence before the appearance of man upon the earth.

So what, then, does the Bible say?  Several different approaches have been taken to understand the creation account in Genesis 1 in the light of the geological record.  One approach is to challenge the findings of modern science, and to argue that the earth really was created only 10,000 years ago or so.  This generally takes the form of Young Earth Creationism.  The opposite approach is to argue that while Genesis 1 may be describing the creation of the earth, the six days of creation should not be taken as a literal sequence of events, but rather a poetic description of moral truths.  This is sometimes called “The Literary Framework Hypothesis.”

Among those who take the Bible literally two other approaches have been taken.  One is the “Day / Age Theory,” in which each of the six days of creation is taken to mean a geological age.  And then there is what is generally known as the “Gap Theory,” which postulates the existence of an unspecified length of time between Gen. 1:1 and 1:3, thereby allowing for long geological ages in between.

So what does Genesis 1 actually say?  First of all probably most conservative, biblically orthodox scholars would argue that the Bible does not purport to be a scientific textbook on geology.  It is primarily concerned about man and his relationship with God.  Descriptions of nature are mostly incidental and take the form of the perception of the ordinary observer on the ground.  Thus when the Bible says that the earth stands still (Ps. 93:1; 96:10; 104:5) and that the sun moves across the sky (Ps. 19:4-6), this is not meant to be taken as a literal statement in favor of a geocentric view of the solar system.  Thus the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy noted that “The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of . .  phenomenal descriptions of nature” (Article XIII and Exposition).  This does not mean, however, that Genesis 1 does not describe real, historical events.  Man’s relationship with God takes place in space and time, and therefore the Bible relates real facts of history.

Gen. 1:1, then, states that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (NKJV).  The word translated “created” (bara’) is only used in the Bible of God’s activity and signifies creation out of nothing.  The phrase “the heavens and the earth” is a comprehensive term signifying the universe as a whole, and thus the phrase “in the beginning” would refer to the very beginning of the universe itself.

Verse 2 then states, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of the God was hovering over the face of the waters.”   The word translated “without form” has probably been mistranslated in our English versions.  The Hebrew word (tohu) is a noun, used here as a kind of emphatic adjective.  In passages such as Isa. 40:17,23 and 49:4 it is used in parallel with words that mean “non-existence” or “nothingness.”  In Jer. 4:23 the exact same phrase as is used in Gen. 1:2 (tohu vevohu) is used to describe the situation on the land following God’s judgment, and there it obviously does not mean a formless mass.  And in Isa. 45:18 the word tohu is used on contrast with a word that means “for a habitation.”  The correct translation of Gen. 1:2, then, should probably be “and the earth was emptiness and waste,” which is the way that it is translated in both the Latin and German versions.  What the phrase does not mean, is that God began by created a formless chaos, but rather that the earth was an uninhabitable waste.  The text then goes on to say that “darkness was on the face of the deep” and that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Significantly, though, the text does not tell us how these conditions came to be or how long they lasted.  Did God create it that way initially?  Or did it come to be that way as the result of a disaster or controversy?  The text does not say.

The text then proceeds with a description of the six days of creation.  That these “days” cannot mean long geological ages is established by the fact that the word “day” is defined in the text itself: “So the evening and the morning were the first day” (v. 5).  The statement occurs right after God separates “day” and “night,” and verses 14-18 describe the sun and moon as “ruling over” day and night.  Thus what is clear here are “days” that closely approximate our 24 hour days, thus ruling out the “Day / Age” theory.

Our conclusion, then, is that the Gap Theory does the most justice to the text of Scripture and the geological evidence.  Interestingly recent geological discoveries have put the whole question in a new light.  It is now widely recognized that what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was a comet or asteroid that crashed into the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  It is estimated that the impactor was six miles in diameter, burrowed into the ground in less than a second, and displaced 48,000 cubic miles of sediment!  Shockwaves would have triggered earthquakes and volcanic eruptions around the globe, and a giant megatsunami would have inundated what is now the U.S. Gulf Coast.  Dust particles in the atmosphere would have blocked out sunlight for up to a year.  Might not Gen. 1:2 be describing the scene immediately following the impact?  It would also explain why light would have appeared in the First Day of creation, but the sun not until the Fourth.  The sky was blacked out, light gradually appeared as the dust settled, and finally the sun and moon became visible.

We conclude, then, that the “Gap Theory” is the most plausible explanation of Genesis 1.

Related posts:

Velikovsky’s Case for Catastrophism

Morris and Whitcomb Fifty Years Later

A QUESTION OF DIVINE JUDGMENT

Jonathan Cahn on site

Jonathan Cahn on site

Review:

The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds

the Secret of America’s Future

Jonathan Cahn

FrontLine, 2011

253 pp., pb.

Is America tottering on the brink of disaster? Author Jonathan Cahn thinks so, and in this thought-provoking book he presents disturbing evidence that America is, indeed, ripe for divine judgment.

Originally from a Jewish background, Cahn leads a mixed congregation of both Jews and Gentiles in Wayne, NJ. Thus it is perhaps only natural that he would be struck by the similarity between the events of 9/11 and Old Testament prophecy. As a result he has given us a fascinating and intriguing read.

The book reads like a Dan Brown novel, but Cahn insists that what he says in it about America is literally true. (I found the book in the Christian fiction section of our local Barnes & Noble.) His argument runs along three major lines. First, he notes the strong parallels between the events of 9/11 and an obscure prophecy found in Isaiah 9:10. The ancient (northern) kingdom of Israel, sometimes also known by the name of its capital city, Samaria, had long since fallen into religious apostasy and moral decay. Finally, around 733 B.C. it was invaded from the north by the powerful Assyrian army, which captured several districts around the Sea of Galilee. The Israelites apparently reacted to the situation in a spirit of defiance, and Isa. 9:10 summarizes their attitude this way:

“The bricks have fallen down,

But we will rebuild with hewn stones;

The sycamores are cut down,

But we will replace them with cedars.” (NKJV).

The northern kingdom of Israel was finally carried off into captivity in 722 B.C., and disappeared from the stage of history.

Cahn goes through this verse, word by word in the Hebrew original, and points out the astonishing similarities with the events of 9/11. Among other things it turns out that there actually was a sycamore tree at Ground Zero, which was subsequently moved and replaced by a conifer tree on the same site. (Cahn tells us that the Hebrew word ‘erez, usually translated “cedar” in our English versions, could refer to any member of the pine family, although this is debatable.)

More remarkably, however, on at least two occasions leading public officials actually quoted Isa. 9:10 as an expression of America’s own determination to rebuild. The day after 9/11 the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Tom Daschle, quoted the verse on the Senate floor. Three years later, on the anniversary of 9/11, vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, speaking to a Congressional caucus, quoted the same verse again. Apparently neither man was aware that the verse, taken in its context, was actually a rebuke for the attitude thus represented!

The second line of evidence explored by Cahn has to do with the concept of “shemitah,” a Hebrew word that means “remission” or “release.” Under Old Testament law every seventh year was to be kept as a “Sabbath year,” in which the land was allowed to lie fallow. On the last day of the Sabbath year there was supposed to be a “shemitah,” a release of debts in which all the debts of poor people would be forgiven. The Hebrew calendar runs on a different system than our Gregorian calendar and the last day of the Hebrew year would, of course, be the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah generally falls sometime in September or early October on our calendar. As it happens, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack there was a major stock market crash on Sept. 17, 2001, which just happened to be the last day of the year on the Jewish calendar. Then, seven years later, on Sept. 28, 2008, which was the last day of the Jewish calendar for that year, the stock market crashed again, ushering in the Great Recession. On both days fortunes were lost. Was it just a coincidence?

The third line of evidence cited by Cahn involves the inauguration of George Washington as President, which took place in Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan on April 30, 1789. In his Inaugural Address Washington invoked the blessing of God on the newly formed government. Then, having delivered his speech, the newly sworn-in president led a procession to nearby St. Paul’s Chapel for an Episcopal prayer service. The chapel is, in fact, located adjacent to what is now Ground Zero. Cahn compares this to the ancient temple in Jerusalem, the focal point of worship in Israel, which was destroyed and rebuilt several times during its history.

Cahn does not presume to tell us what exactly will happen next, nor does he set dates. His main concern is to warn us that all the signs point to our being a nation under God’s judgement. He ends the book with an evangelistic appeal. Considering the fact that the book has already sold over 2 million copies and was on the New York Times best seller list, we certainly hope that it will make an impact.

Cahn has certainly given us something to think about, but I think that he may have overstated his case a bit. While the similarities between ancient Israel and modern America are striking, there are nonetheless important differences. Chief among them is the fact that America does not have the kind of formal covenant relationship with God that ancient Israel had (unless the language of the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence be construed as an implied covenant). Under the New Covenant, the people of God is the sum total of born-again believers, not a given nation-state. Likewise there is no covenantal obligation for America to practice “shemitah,” although there is a general moral obligation for every human society to relieve the distress of the poor among them. Moreover there is no state church here in the U.S., and hence to central shrine that serves as the focus for national worship. Thus, while the similarities with the shemitah and the temple are interesting, it is hard to know exactly what they prove.

And yet, having said that, there are several things that undoubtedly are true. God is in sovereign control of the universe, and nothing happens by accident. He is holy and righteous, and holds all men accountable for their actions, Jew and Gentile alike. God once destroyed the entire world with a flood because He “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’ (Gen. 6:5). On another occasion He rained down fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. Were not the San Francisco earthquake of 1984 and Hurricane Katrina (Aug. 29, 2005) awesome demonstrations of God’s power and judgment?

The fact of the matter is that we are a nation under God’s judgment, and we would do well to take the warning signs seriously. For that reason we can thank Jonathan Cahn for at least getting the conversation started.

“MERE” CHRISTIANITY

cs-lewis-ecrire[1]

C.S. Lewis

Review:

Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis

Macmillan, 1960

190 pp., pb.

When dealing with a writer like C.S. Lewis one is always confronted with the question of whether the proverbial glass is half-full or half-empty. There is much to commend Lewis as a writer: he is intelligent, thoughtful and articulate. Lewis was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University and the author of the children’s stories The Chronicles of Narnia. As a former atheist who became a professing Christian, he is especially effective at pointing out all of the flaws in modern secular thinking.   But when he turns his attention to theology his work has serious problems of its own. As it turns out, his strength as an apologist is his weakness as a theologian.

His book Mere Christianity began as a series of radio addresses which were then published as three separate books between 1943 and 1945. The final printed version is divided into four parts: “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe,” “What Christians Believe,” “Christian Behaviour” (we retain Lewis’ British spelling here, even if Spellcheck doesn’t like it!), and “Beyond Personality.”

In the first part (“Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe”) we see Lewis at his best. Here he lays out the apologetical argument for belief in Christianity. He appeals to the innate human sense of right and wrong, and argues from that that there really must be an external, objective standard of morality; and that this, in turn, can be accounted for only if there is a Supreme Being. Lewis demonstrates convincingly that there is no adequate secular alternative. It is either God or nothing.

It is in the second part (“What Christians Believe”) that Lewis gets into trouble, and the chief flaw is contained right within the title of the book. He is seeking to defend “mere” Christianity, which he defines as “what Christians believe.” The problem here is that he is defining Christianity so broadly that it includes the Roman Catholic and Easter Orthodox churches, as well as Protestantism (he himself was a member of the Church of England). This means that instead of going to Scripture and expounding it, he is merely content to state what all the branches of professing Christendom hold in common. Unfortunately this means that he is hopelessly vague on the most important doctrine of all, the nature of salvation.

Lewis tells us that he does not want to commit himself to any particular theory of the atonement, but he is particularly dismissive of the one that is the most biblically orthodox, what is generally called the Penal Satisfaction theory. Biblically orthodox theologians, end even Roman Catholic ones, for that matter, have argues that Christ died as a substitute for those who would believe on Him, and effectively paid the penalty for their sins. All that Lewis will say, however, is that “Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start” (p. 57). “We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself” (p. 58). And that is as far as Lewis is willing to go.

And probably because he is so vague on the nature of the atonement Lewis was also vague on how we receive its benefits. He tells us that there are three means by which we receive the life of Christ: baptism, faith, and Holy Communion, but he will not tell us how the three relate to each other. “. . . I am not saying anything about which of these three things is the most essential” (p. 63). But the Bible itself is quite clear on the matter: we are “justified” (i.e., made righteous in the sight of God) by faith (Rom. 3:28; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:24). Baptism and the Lord’s Table are signs and seals of that faith, the formal, outward means by which we publically express our faith and make a formal commitment to Christ. But what actually saves us (what theologians call “the instrument of justification”) is our personal faith in Christ alone as our Savior. (Note: there is no direct command and no clear example anywhere in the New Testament for baptizing anyone who cannot personally make a public profession of faith in Christ. Infant baptism makes about as much sense as a label on an empty bottle!).

Unfortunately Lewis even goes so far as to suggest that a person could be saved who had never heard of Christ at all. “We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him” (p. 65). At this point Lewis has quite taken leave of his senses.

The third part of the book is entitled “Christian Behaviour,” and here again he does not take a strictly biblical approach, but is content simply to lay out “what Christians believe.” Thus at one point he delineates the “seven virtues” – the four “cardinal virtues” (prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude) and the three “theological virtues” (faith, hope and love). These distinctions he borrowed from Roman Catholic teaching, and the Catholic Church, in turn, borrowed the “cardinal virtues” from Greek philosophy. But it is nothing less than astonishing to see Lewis, and the Roman Catholic Church, reaching to non-biblical, and even non-Christian sources, for guidance on morality! Sadly, however, it has to be admitted that modern evangelical Protestantism has tended to avoid the subject of Christian ethics altogether, and Lewis does have some helpful insights on the subject.

The fourth section of the book, “Beyond Personality,” entails a rather abstruse discussion about the nature of the Trinity, and here Lewis is not alone in philosophizing about the metaphysical distinctions within the Godhead. Lewis then concludes that section with a discussion about how to live the Christian life. But here it is hard to discern what role, if any, that the Holy Spirit plays in conversion and sanctification. At points Lewis seems to be saying that God uses natural means to change us – if we let Him – and that it is a slow, gradual process that lasts over a lifetime. Lewis concludes his book with a speculative discussion about what the future evolution of the human race might look like.

Part of the problem with Lewis’ approach to “mere Christianity” may stem from the fact that he was a member of the Church of England, a church which has typically tried to be all things to all men, and has sometimes tried to straddle the fence between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. But if a church is not soundly biblical in its theology, and especially if it is not clear on the issue of salvation, in the end it has nothing to offer a perishing humanity. The most valuable thing that the church can give the world is the truth, the truth about its predicament and salvation. If we genuinely care about our fellow human beings we will give them the gospel, and we will do this both lovingly and faithfully. Anything else is nothing less than criminal – it leaves men and women to perish in their sins.

Lewis has performed a valuable service to the church as an apologist. As a former atheist who converted to Christianity he was forced to think through the issues and arrive at some firm conclusions, and as a result he can present the case for Christianity very convincingly. We can only wish that he had done a better job of explaining Christian doctrine – as it has been revealed to us in Scripture!

IS MONOTHEISM INTOLERANT?

 

Jeffrey Tayler, in his salon.com article, “The left has Islam all wrong,” argues that Islam is inherently repressive and intolerant. But he goes further than that and tries to argue that all monotheistic religion is intolerant. He says that the God of the Israelites was “jealous and vengeful, capricious and megalomaniacal.” He then claims that the First Commandment (“You shall have no other gods before Me”) is “an absolutist order implicitly justifying violence against those who haven’t gotten the memo.” He then blames Christianity for the Medieval crusades, and Jesus for teaching eternal punishment.

Tayler’s argument raises two basic and distinct questions. 1) Is monotheism inherently intolerant? And 2) Does Christianity sanction violence against unbelievers?

On the first question there is a sense in which monotheism is intolerant: it will not countenance the idea of any other gods besides the one, true and living God. But any system that claims to represent truth will oppose contrary systems as not representing truth. The only way around it is for all of us not to claim to know truth at all. We could then all live in blissful ignorance! And in the case of monotheism the denial of other gods is simply a recognition of the fact that God alone is the Creator. The universe was designed by a single, intelligent Supreme Being. It is this fact that gives the universe its rational structure and logical coherence. Thus everything besides God owes its existence to Him, and it is only proper and fitting that we acknowledge our dependence upon Him and pledge Him our allegiance. Anything else would represent a misplaced loyalty.

Psalm 100 in the Bible explains it this way. The whole earth is exhorted to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord’ (v. 1). (Note: not mumble our way through a couple of hymns and then struggle to stay awake during the sermon!) We are to worship the Lord “with gladness” and “with singing” (v. 2). Our worship is not to be a formal, half-hearted performance, but a genuine expression of joy and gladness.

But why?  “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (v. 3). We are to worship only Him because only He is worthy of our worship. He alone is the Creator. We did not bring ourselves into existence, and everything we are, and everything we have, we owe to Him. Hence it is only proper and fitting for us to acknowledge Him as the source of all our blessings. For us not to do so is the height of ingratitude.

But does this mean that God is a “Despot on High” who is “jealous and vengeful, capricious and megalomaniacal,” as Tayler would have us to believe? Not in the slightest. For the psalm goes on to say, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations” (vv. 4,5). Just because God is the all-powerful Creator, it does not follow that He is a cruel tyrant. That is a little bit like saying that President Obama is a cruel tyrant just because he believes that he alone is currently President of the United States! (Of course God doesn’t have to deal with Congress!). Indeed, God’s very position as Creator and source of all of our blessings points to His infinite wisdom, goodness and faithfulness. Verse 5 uses three terms to describe His character. God is “good,” i.e., favorably disposed to do us good; and He has “mercy,” or lovingkindness, as the word is sometimes translated; and He has “truth,” or faithfulness as it might better be translated. If God has blessed us with health and life, with food and clothing, and with human companionship, then those very facts point to the goodness of His character. And if He would send His own Son into the world to redeem a lost and sinful human race, then that speaks even more eloquently of His character. A benevolent Despot, yes; a cruel Tyrant, no.

Does this mean that Christianity is intolerant? Yes, but in the same sense that science is intolerant. Neither one will admit of more than one version of the truth (just ask a secular scientist what he thinks of creationism!). Christianity and science both operate on the premise that there is such a thing as ultimate truth. Does that make Christians, or scientists, bigots? Can we afford to be indifferent to truth?

This, in turn, brings us to the second question, does Christianity sanction violence against non-believers? The answer is most definitely “no.” Christ instructed His disciples to preach the gospel; He did not tell them to cut people’s heads off.

To understand why, it is important to understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. Jesus did, in fact, claim to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, but what does that entail? To many Jews it meant that the Messiah would restore the kingdom of David – essentially establishing an earthly, political state, complete with civil laws and political structure to enforce them. Thus when Jesus was arrested and brought before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, Pilate was definitely interested in the political implications of Jesus’ message. He asked Jesus flat-out, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33; NKJV). What Jesus told him was this: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (v. 36). Pilate pressed Him for clarification: (Are You a king then?” Jesus’ answer was, that He came into the world to bear witness to the truth, and that those who are of the truth will hear His voice (v. 37). In other words, we make disciples through argument and persuasion, not violence. The sword can produce a multitude of hypocrites, but not true believers. Only the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts and souls of individuals can create genuine saving faith.

Yes, Christianity is intolerant – it will admit of no rivals. But it does not follow from this that Christianity is violent. Truth can be discerned only through free inquiry. And ultimately God must reveal Himself to the individual soul. Only then can true faith arise.

SCIENCE AND RACISM

    When Sam Harris published his best-selling book The Moral Landscape in 2010, he subtitled the book “How Science Can Determine Human Values.” His basic argument is that science can define human well-being, and therefore can provide a basis for “human values.” But how well does this claim hold up in actual practice? The record suggests something quite different. Science, it turns out, can be held accountable for some of the most egregious human rights abuses of modern times. Science, in fact, is almost directly responsible for racism.

    The plain fact of the matter is that “race” originated as a scientific concept. The biblical view is that “He [i.e., God] has made from one blood every nation of men . . .” (Acts 17:26; NKJV). In other words, all human beings share a common ancestry, and thus we are all basically alike. We are all sinners and therefore we all need salvation.

    However, as westerners came into contact with different peoples around the world, they could not help but be struck by the differences between peoples, both physical and cultural. And thus some began seriously to question the biblical premise. The physical differences between Europeans, Asians and Africans were so great it was hard to see how they could share a common ancestry. There soon developed a debate among scientists over “monogenism,” the idea that we all descended from the same pair of ancestors, and “polygenism,” the idea that the races each had a different ancestry and thus were not related to each other. Some of the leading figures of the 18th Century “Enlighenment,” such as Voltaire, were convinced polygenists. Soon there were elaborate schemes to classify the different varieties of humans, led by the famous Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus.

Carolus Linnaeus

Carolus Linnaeus


    However it was the attempt to understand the cultural differences scientifically that led to outright racism. The problem is that science, by its very nature, must understand reality in terms of natural causes. There is no room for such a thing as a human soul, let alone a role for divine providence. The working assumption of science is that there must be an underlying natural cause for human behavior. And the two most common “scientific” explanations for human behavior are biology and economics.

    It is the biological explanation that concerns us here. It was almost inevitable that scientists would try to link cultural differences to biological ones. Linnaeus himself identified five different “varieties” of human beings, and associated each with distinct personality traits. He then ranked the varieties in order. Likewise Georges Cuvier tied culture to race. Before long scientists were taking careful measurements of skull capacity in order to determine relative intelligence. In the U.S. Samuel George Morton amassed a huge collection of skulls upon which he took careful measurements, and rated each race according to intelligence, with Caucasians on the top and Negroes on the bottom. By the 1850’s authors such as Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau in France and Josiah C. Nott in America were writing books on race that were used to provide a scientific justification for slavery, among other things.

    Charles Darwin added a new twist to the discussion. On the one hand he argued that all human beings share a common ancestry. On the other hand he asserted that the races were all evolving, and he introduced the idea of natural selection. This suggested that some adaptations may have been more successful than others, and that some races might even be doomed to extinction.

    Whatever Darwin’s intentions may have been, his theory soon inspired Social Darwinism and Eugenics. One of the leading proponents of the former was Darwin’s contemporary and admirer, Herbert Spencer; while a leading advocate of the latter was Darwin’s own cousin Francis Galton.

    By the late 19th Century the “social sciences” such as anthropology, sociology and psychology proliferated. It was also the heyday of western imperialism. A growing number of writers in both Europe and America began asserting that even among Europeans there was an “Aryan race” that had a special gift for government and military conquest. In Germany the prominent naturalist Ernst Haeckel was an ardent Social Darwinist, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an Englishman who emigrated to Germany (he married Richard Wagner’s daughter) became an outspoken advocate of Aryan superiority. Thus when the Nazis came to power in 1933 they could look back on a century and a half of “scientific” research to justify their claims to racial superiority.

    Paradoxically it was a U.S. Southern Presbyterian theologian and defender of slavery, James H. Thornwell, who saw through all this scientific pretense. Speaking in 1850 at the dedication of a church building in Charleston, SC for the use of black people, Thornwell declared: “It is a public testimony to our faith, that the Negro is of one blood with ourselves, that he has sinned as we have, and that he has an equal interest with us in the great redemption. Science, falsely so called, may attempt to exclude him from the brotherhood of humanity. Men may be seeking eminence and distinction by arguments which link him with the brute; but the instinctive impulses of nature, combined with the plainest declarations of the Word of God, lead us to recognize in his form and lineaments, in his moral, religious and intellectual nature, the same humanity in which we glory as the image of God. We are not ashamed to call him our brother.” (Collected Writings, Vol. IV, p. 403).

    What this whole affair demonstrates are the limitations of science. Science is based on observation and experiment, and when it comes to the physical sciences, such as chemistry and physics, the scientific method works just fine. We are all indebted to science for the many physical comforts we enjoy. But when it comes to the so-called “historical sciences,” historical geology and historical biology, we run into a problem. The scientist cannot go back in time hundreds of millions of years and directly observe what happened. The best he can do is formulate a hypothesis based on the bare physical evidence that exists today. But even if he can demonstrate that a given scenario is hypothetically possible, he can never prove that that is what actually happened. No one has ever observed evolution take place, nor has anyone reduplicated it in a laboratory. Therefore it is hard to see how evolution can be considered “science” in the truest sense of the word.

    When we come to the “social sciences” we encounter more problems. Here we are dealing with intangibles. One cannot put human thoughts and emotions under the microscope. Has anyone ever observed an “id” or a “superego”? And as noted earlier, science is compelled to look for naturalistic explanations for phenomena. But when it comes to human behavior the scientist is forced to make a critical assumption, viz., that the human personality is a function of brain activity. But if personality is a function of brain activity then it is inevitably tied to race. And since the races are different from each other, then so must also be the human capabilities of each. This is why science fell into the trap of racism.

    Science can only look at what it can see, but it cannot see a human soul. It cannot see the full human potential. It can see what people have been in the past; but it cannot typically see what they might become in the future. Nor can science make moral judgments. Thus the attempt to understand human beings scientifically led to the disastrous results of the 20th Century.Adolf Hitler-Der Fuehrer-34

    The universe is far greater than what the human intellect can comprehend. We are ultimately dependent upon a source outside of ourselves for information about the meaning and purpose of life, the difference between right and wrong, and whether or not there is life after death. Science is helpless in the face of infinity. After many centuries of scientific endeavor we have barely scratched the surface. Our Creator must tell us who we are, how we got here, and where we are ultimately headed. That is why we have the Bible.