In the beginning was the Word

Two books of the Bible start with the phrase “In the Beginning” – The first of course is Genesis and the second is the Gospel of John.
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” verse 14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

The Word Became Flesh

In Genesis we learn that God created the Heavens and the Earth by speaking it into existence, in the Gospel of John we learn that God created with and through Jesus. It was with a word that God created the universe and it was through Jesus all things where made; As we remember Christ’s birth John 1 reminds of what He has done for us. Jesus did not come into existence at his birth, but was at God’s right hand from the beginning. How amazing that the creator of the Universe, the one who made us all became flesh and was born into a lowly family, the King, the one who holds all things together humbly came and left the riches of heaven for a manger, for a humble life knowing it was to end in much pain and an agonising death.

Mary & Joseph travel to Bethlehem

At Christmas we can get caught up in the worldly things such as presents, our traditional Christmas dinner and family time and forget just what was accomplished in the birth of Jesus. When Simeon saw Jesus this what he said (Luke 2:29-32) “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Our saviour was born. What a gift from God that was. The best and most wonderful gift you could receive this Christmas is the one that that was bought at the highest cost, but offered freely through Jesus, eternal life.

 

Why a Crown of Thorns?

Genesis 3:16-19

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of the wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Crown of Thorns

With all the array of punishments laid upon mankind after Adam and Eve’s original sin doesn’t it seem strange that thorns are specifically mentioned here in Genesis? Of course, nothing is random in the Bible, nothing is written without significance; and again we find that this is the case. There are several references to thorns throughout the Bible each one reminding us of original sin and the curse. A fairly comprehensive list can be found at http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/thorns/.

There are a few reasons why thorns are specifically mentioned as part of the curse on the world as a result of mankind’s original sin. Firstly, as believers in Genesis as literal history we would point out that thorns pose a problem for any Christian who does not hold to this view, that is, if the Earth took millions of years of slow and gradual processes to reach its current form then we would conclude that the thorns found in the fossil record are also millions of years old; and must have come BEFORE original sin which is obviously a big problem as you would have to reinterpret the plain reading of this text to allow for this. This is not a problem for Biblical Creationists as we believe the majority of the fossil record came about as a result of Noah’s flood which destroyed the earth as it then was. This was AFTER the original sin so we would expect to find fossil thorns in this case.

Thorns are listed throughout the Bible in a negative way or as an obstacle which is a reminder of Sin, for example, “Thorns in your sides” (Numbers 33:55 & Judges 8:7) and another well known example would be in Matthew 13:3-8 (the Parable of the Sower) some seed “fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:”. However the example most relevant is the crown of thorns that the governor’s soldiers put on Jesus head in order to mock him as the King of the Jews.
(Matthew 27:29) “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put [it] upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!”
We don’t know if the soldiers realised the significance that they made the crown from thorns, one of the curses specifically mentioned in the Genesis account. However, we do know that it was hugely significant, it is a symbol of the original sin and all subsequent sin including our very own, a reminder to us of why Jesus went to the cross; it was to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins so that the curse laid upon this earth can one day be removed for those that believe in him.

Psalms 8

1 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set they 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Genesis 1:3-5, The First Day

Genesis 1
3
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Some wonder how light (Day 1) was created before the Sun (Day 4) but of course all light does not come from the Sun as ‘light’ is an entity in itself as it is a form of energy more fundamental than light givers. Light exists separate from the Sun and Stars (lamps, torches, fire) and is often used as a description of God’s glory, God has no need of the Sun to shine light upon the Earth as he himself is light which I believe is a mirror to Revelation 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Genesis 1:6-8, The Second Day

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

 

Romans 1:20

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Regardless of what upbringing or education you have had. No-one has any excuse for not believing in God as we can see his power and character by understanding his creation. The unbelievable design found in creation from the vastness of space to the amazing precision found within genes even down to the smallest living cells show God’s eternal power.

Job 38:4

4: Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

God answers Job with a series of rhetorical questions still relevant today (chapters 38-41). Thus showing Job his lack of understanding and the folly of trying to make sense of things when he was not there to witness them.
Today we try and make sense of the things we see and the things we learn from science, however, God was the only one present when he laid the foundations of the earth. Therefore, we must start with the the details found in the Bible and then learn from science within this context. When we start with a scientific view and then try to fit the Bible around it this verse reminds us that we were not there, we do not know all the details apart from what God has graciously left for us in his Word.

Faith in the Creationism Debate

The Collins Dictionary defines Faith as a ‘strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence’ and most would agree that Faith is a belief held despite a lack of solid proof and even where apparent contradictory evidence exists. This however, does not mean that the person holding a Faith Based Belief is irrational or unintelligent as of course many respected scientists believed many things that have since been disproven and many areas of science today are dealing with things that cannot currently be proven or disproven with today’s technology. This doesn’t mean that those who hold to a particular view without absolute proof are unintelligent; even though they believe something that is not current proven fact. Indeed, many highly respected scientists today disagree on certain aspects and theories so logically while holding conflicting views they cannot all be correct despite being intelligent people in possession of all the facts available.

So therefore, people shouldn’t be ridiculed for believing things that cannot be proven; 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t”. Faith based belief isn’t a sign of a lack of intelligence, but shows courage in the believer as they are holding to a principle that is not a proven fact which leaves them open to criticism and open to the possibility that they may be wrong. According to the Oxford English dictionary a fact is “A thing that is known or proved to be true:’ I think most people would say that they have many beliefs that are outside the realm of proven facts.

As someone who believes in the creation account as written in Genesis I am the first to admit that there are many facets of my beliefs that are faith based, in general terms they are not proven facts in purely scientific terms; Of course this does not mean that my beliefs are without evidence as there is much scientific and historical data that support the Biblical account and there is a huge difference between saying a particular belief isn’t proven fact and saying it is without evidence.

That moves us on to other faith based beliefs; in mainstream media evolution is often spoke of as scientific fact and indeed, it is taught in most schools (specifically Europe and USA) as fact. Is it a fact? That is, “A thing that is known or proved to be true”?
NewScientist.com article entitled ‘Introduction: Evolution’ says “Evolution has several facets. The first is the theory that all living species are the modified descendents of earlier species, and that we all share a common ancestor in the distant past. All species are therefore related via a vast tree of life. The second is that this evolution is driven by a process of natural selection or the – survival of the fittest.”
This is the crux of the problem, ‘Evolution’ cannot be said to be fact as it is not one particular thing that can be tested. As suggested in the above quote, ‘evolution’ has several facets; one of which being that all living things are descended from a single common ancestor, another being that over time and through generations species change through natural selection (and other natural processes such as genetic drift 1).

Using some of these evolutionary facets as examples; we can ask are they proven, unprovable or disproven? The latter example in the article mentioned is Natural Selection; in terms of producing directed change in a species, we can see this happening in many species today. In its simplest terms an animal with defects will likely not survive to bare its own offspring whereas the ‘fittest’ of the generation is likely to bare the most offspring which in theory will be ‘fitter’ than if all in that generation bared the same number of young. This therefore, is testable to a degree (we can witness it happening today) and therefore I would argue that this is proven to happen and therefore is a proven fact as it is testable, is observed and is repeatable.

The problem is that people are shown one or a number of evolutionary facets and then given the belief that ‘evolution’ as a whole, is proven fact. As another example, the first facet suggested is that ‘all living species are the modified descendents of earlier species’. Can this be proven, or even tested? Obviously we can only test things in the present, so therefore no, I believe this cannot be tested and there are no historical books or writings to substantiate this belief. Another aspect is the evolution of man. In order to come from an ‘Ape-like ancestor’ 1 we would have to conclude that man is (or was) on an upward path from this ape towards a more intelligent being. Do we have evidence for this? Fossil evidence of all types of humans (and apes) has of course been found all around the world but how do we conclude that these ‘beings’ are more primitive? I believe we can’t; evidence normally related to intelligence can include paintings and tools found but really this only tells us a subset of what these people were doing at the time with the technology available rather than bearing any relation to their intelligence. Man has developed technology through the passing on of information throughout generations as people build on other people’s ideas and develop existing ideas and concepts; computers wouldn’t exist had electricity not first been harnessed, yet several generations later the computing power on our mobile phones is many times more powerful than the early incarnations of personal computers. Yet are the people working on this technology today more intelligent that those originally discovering and harnessing electricity? I believe they aren’t, they just have vast amount of information available to them via the storing and passing on of information like never before. The Bible speaks of increasing knowledge where toward the end times knowledge will multiply Daniel 12:4 ‘But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.’ How true this is today as knowledge is at our fingertips at all times but yet we can gain knowledge without learning it ourselves by research and experiment. Therefore I believe there is no evidence that earlier generations of people were less intelligent, this is an evolutionary concept based on a belief.

The last aspect I’d like to mention is the origin of life; it is not strictly included in evolution as to where the first living cell came from but if we are to follow the evolutionary path then this raises the question as to how life started. In the evolutionary scheme how did life first come from non-life if non-living matter was all that existed? There have been attempts to answer this question most notably the Miller-Urey experiment which did manage to ‘create’ some amino acids but did not manage to create living cells from non-living2. Louis Pasteur in the mid 1800s disproved the theory of spontaneous generation proving that life only comes from life by a series of experiments, one of the most famous being sterilising beef broth then sealing it to contaminants and observing that it remained sterile while the container was sealed 3, nothing could grow without living cells (Bacteria) being introduced via contamination.

We’re often told that Evolution is fact while Creationism is just a belief. However when we look at evolution more closely (and I would recommend you research in much more detail than in this article) we find that both views have many facets that are not fact but are faith based and therefore an Evolutionist has faith in evolution the same way a Creationist has belief in creation. The scientific evidence for both sides has to be interpreted. For example, a fossilised Dinosaur skull is evidence that a Dinosaur existed and died. We can test the physical aspects of the skull to find out the facts of the skull; size, density, what it’s made of etc but in order to find how and when this skull came to be we must interpret these facts to come up with a hypothesis. We either interpret the evidence based on Uniformitarianism (if you’re an Evolutionist) or based on Creation/Flood geology (if you are a Creationist). The same evidence interpreted according to your worldview will come up with vastly different answers as to how it got there. Therefore we need to be careful what we categorise as fact and what we categorise as interpretation.

The creation/evolution debate has faith on both sides, not all facets of Creationism are true the same way not all facets of Evolutionism are true. Those facets that are proven fact such as natural selection are shared by both worldviews so the debate is not one of fact versus faith; it’s worldview versus worldview, Theistic thought versus Atheistic though and ultimately it comes down to belief in the Bible as truth versus belief that the Bible is false. In general terms both views are faith based as both views have facets which are unproven. Creationism however is backed and at its core has a historical document that was written near the time of creation and is inspired by the one that was there at the time as the witness of creation.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

 

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIDGeneticdrift.shtml

2 https://answersingenesis.org/origin-of-life/can-natural-processes-explain-the-origin-of-life/

3 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/445964/Louis-Pasteur/281415/Spontaneous-generation

 

How to deal with testing questions

Many times we find people will try and test us. They will ask questions they think we won’t have an answer to, not looking for an answer but trying to trip us up. The Bible gives us some great advice on how to deal with this.
Proverbs 26:4 “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.”
Proverbs 26:5 “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.”
At first glance these two verses seem to conflict, but the fact that one immediately follows the other tells its own story. It’s a “don’t do this IF ‘x’ is true, but do this IF ‘y’ is true”. A simple pair of statements with precondition and different advice for different situations.
It could be read as “Don’t answer a fool because this will bring you to his level where his question is foolish to the point it doesn’t deserve an answer or an attempt to answer would cause you to look foolish, but answer a fool where not answering would mean he would believe he was right because of your (perceived) inability to answer” (lest he be wise in his own conceit).
The Life Application Study Bible commentary sums this up
“These two verses seem to contradict, but they actually are purposely demonstrating the contradiction between reason and folly. A fool remains a fool whether he is answered or not. The wise person has a choice to make depending on what he or she sees is the greatest need of the fool. Some fools don’t deserve an answer because they are clearly not in a mood to listen, and those who try to answer them will simply stoop to their level. There are other situations where common sense says to answer the fool in order to expose his or her pride and folly.”
The following webpage shows a modern day application of the teachings of these two verses.
http://wallacegsmith.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/answer-or-dont-answer-a-fool-according-to-his-online-folly/

The one who states his case first

Proverbs 18:17 (ESV)
“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

In today’s world, many people just accept what secular scientists have to say on the origins of the world but Proverbs 18:17 teaches us a valuable lesson regarding questioning beliefs. Throughout history theories, hypotheses and beliefs have been put forward  as correct only to be disproven later.
In Proverbs 18 we also read (verse 2) “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (ESV). We see this happening daily as atheists and evolutionists use many media outlets to push their opinions and they seem right; because people don’t examine what they say to see what is proven fact and what is unproven opinion.

They are looking at the world from a different perspective than a Bible believing Christian. Firstly they believe that the universe is billions of years old. Why do they believe this? Evolutionary thinking was around long before Charles Darwin but wasn’t credible because scientists at the time realised they could not see evolution happening so it must happen so slowly that it can’t be observed, step forward Charles Lyell (1797-1875) whose book ‘Principles of Geology’ popularised James Hutton’s ideas of Uniformitarianism (the idea that everything was shaped by the geological processes still in operation today). This gave Darwin and others the long ages they needed to hide Evolutionary processes.
They suppress the truth of the creator God, as Charles Lyell said in a letter released after his death “my aim is to free science from Moses”, he did this by creating the belief in long ages which allowed Darwin and others to promote evolutionism as fact.
The sad thing is that many Christians feel that they have to fit the evolution story into the Bible, this doesn’t work and only creates problems. If we add evolution into the Bible we see death and disease before the fall; How can a perfect God call what he made, “very good”, if it included death and suffering? Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day”

We hear from the media about new discoveries, we hear lots on dinosaurs; The BBC did a documentary ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ to show how the world was over 65 million years ago (the secular timescale of the Dinosaurs). Many believe these types of programs are based on good science but for example Dr David Norman of Cambridge University told USA Today that the program “purports to be factual, but actually it fudges the truth… its blending of fact and fiction goes too far”
Angela Milner, a Palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London told Time magazine: “I fear that fact and fiction will get mixed up… we really don’t know whether some of the behaviour is correct.”
We can examine various theories and ideas about all these things; but we will find that with the Bible as our starting point God created everything in six days, around 6000 years ago and much of what we see today is God’s creation but not as it was originally as it was destroyed by a catastrophic global flood.

Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, or God created all land animals on day 6. Which is true?
As an example argument, Carbon 14 can only last a few thousand years (estimated around 50,000 years) but yet has been found in dinosaur fossils (http://kgov.com/carbon-14-and-dinosaur-bones) . This is a good example of the need for the verse in question. Secular scientists stating that dinosaurs are millions of years old seems correct if it’s the first thing you’ve heard but under examination there is evidence to the contrary.
Fossil records show that dinosaurs died quickly and were buried rapidly. Fossils have been found which show the dinosaurs fighting and even eating as they were buried. If we are to believe in uniformitarianism and no flood we would believe that most fossils take time to form, animals and plants die then slowly sediment covers the animal for several months. How can this be true if fossils have been found eating and fighting? All this points to a global flood. Dinosaur fossils have been found to have blood and soft tissue still evident; Evolutionary scientist Dr Mary Schweitzer discovered this and through observational science concluded that no collagen should survive anywhere near as long as the long ages they give dinosaurs. However, many evolutionists will still believe that the fossil is 80 Million years old, but will reason that as collagen can’t last that long there must have been some other way that it was preserved as the fossil is 80 Million years old so rather than take the obvious conclusion of the evidence they will come up with other theories of how it could have survived for millions of years because of their bias toward evolutionary theory.

If we as Christians are to examine everything as Proverbs 18 says we should remember 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”

God’s word is true and has been proven time and time again to be true. So why do Christians feel they need to abandon the Bible and believe in secular reasoning? The Bible is God’s word and we should take God at his word and avoid being sucked into the teachings of fallible men “
1 Timothy 6:20 “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge”
2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”

2 Peter 3:3-6

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

magnifying-glass-450690_1280

Modern day beliefs and attitudes in the Bible

Is there reference to today’s beliefs regarding Creation in the Bible? In this passage we see reference to things that closely match the way Christians are treated today for their beliefs. “Scoffers, walking after their own lusts”, these days we would probably say that these ‘scoffers’ are ‘out for their own gain’, or ‘to justify their own deeds’ as they lead their lives however they please and scoff at or ridicule those who uphold Biblical teaching.

“Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”

They believe that geological processes are happening today at the same rate as they always have been (known as uniformitarianism i), if this is the case rock layers, for example, would have taken a long time to build up as it’s very difficult if not impossible to ‘see’ rock layers forming today. So therefore, evolutionists, atheists and others who scoff at the Biblical account of creation assume that this must have taken eons of time to form new layers.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

As they believe in Uniformitarianism, they do not believe in the “the earth standing out of the water and in the water” and “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” (the global flood of Noah’s day) as this is a global geologic event that doesn’t fit with uniformitarianism. One word stands out for me in this verse, “Willingly”. This brings us back to verse 3 were we see the reason why people ignore the flood in order to;

“[walk] after their own lusts” (KJV) & (ASV)

“[follow] their own evil desires” (NIV)

If you wish to do your own thing and ignore God, you have to be willingly ignorant of the flood and the evidence for the flood that is all around us, in order to ignore this evidence, you have to come up with a different hypothesis as to how the earths geology came to being, that is, uniformitarianism. Which is described quite succinctly in this verse as the belief that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation”. This belief allows you to dismiss the thought of God and Jesus, where the scoffers are asking “Where is the promise of his coming?”, without God, people are then free to make up their own rules, live their lives as they please and “[walk] after their own lusts”

I was amazed when I first read and understood this passage as it spoke to me so clearly about people in the world today. So many will scoff at Christians and mock us for our beliefs, this passage shows us the reason that they scoff and mock us, that is, in order to continue their lives separate from God as they have to willinglyii disbelieve God otherwise they will come to realise that they are sinners and are in need of salvation.

i  The belief in uniformitarianism was started by James Hutton and popularised by Charles Lyell’s book, Principles of Geology in 1830

ii  Romans 1:20 gives a clue as to why they have to ‘willingly’ disbelieve as God is seen all around in his creation.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

Intelligent Design: Not for Intelligent People?

IDinaWatch

Atheists and Evolutionists often claim intelligence over those who believe in God. This happens daily in creationist forums on the web where evolutionists try their utmost to turn away people from creationist beliefs. The creationists are described as irrational, unscientific and illogical with no evidence to back up their position. It is becoming popular opinion that atheists strive for truth and creationists have a belief in the Bible that cannot be backed up by scientific evidence.
Unfortunately this belief has spread to Christians and even creationist Christians in some cases feel they cannot fully back up their beliefs using science and reason. However, as the world accepts the big bang and evolution as the intellectual and rational interpretation of the origins of the world in which we live, Biblical creationists are reminded of the verse in Romans 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” and if this is read in context (verse 21-23) it becomes even more appropriate as the people had diluted God from an all-powerful creator and sustainer of life and began to worship idols of nature (verse 23: And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things).
How relevant this is to evolution today where people are worshipping nature and it’s abilities rather than the one who created it. The theory of evolution is an attempt to remove God from the process and those that choose to believe evolution rather than creation as written in Genesis are choosing to place their faith in man and nature, that is, mans ideas of how nature could “create” from itself. This means either excluding God completely or reducing Him from God the creator into a god that simply oversees the wonder of nature at work.

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