Thursday, November 16, 2017

Josephus and Genesis History

Some professing Christians are unaware that the Bible means what it says, all the way back to Genesis. Old Earth believers often claim that biblical creationists are being divisive by insisting on actual solar days of creation instead of treating Genesis as allegorical, mythological, or needing deep time interpretation. Such views are false. In fact, the interlopers are those who add millions of years to Scripture!


Respected Jewish historian Josephus believed that Genesis discussed literal, recent creation
Image of Flavius Josephus obtained from Wikimedia Commons
The church fathers almost universally viewed creation as a recent event, and most accepted literal days of creation. Likewise, the Reformers believed in recent creation. If those sources are insufficient for some owlhoots, how about going way back to a respected Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus? 
Many people who compromise on the plain meaning of Genesis claim that the literal interpretation is a modern invention. Instead, they claim that most commentators in the past took a long-age view.

On the contrary, the vast majority interpreted the days of Genesis 1 as ordinary days. Furthermore, even those who did not, such as Origen and Augustine, vigorously attacked long-age ideas and affirmed that the world was only thousands of years old. Among the Jewish commentators, the first-century historian Flavius Josephus (AD 37–ca. 100) stands out from the rest.
To continue reading, click on "Josephus says, ‘Genesis means what it says!’"


That's a Fact - Creation Days from Institute for Creation Research on Vimeo.
Genesis says that God created the universe in six days.
But some people question what the word “day” means! What is a creation day?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Logical Thinking and the Christian

Sometimes it seems that people are intimidated by the word logic. Perhaps they have images of professors making diagrams that resemble algebraic equations and discussing the laws of logic, and that us reg'lar folk cannot relate. While the academic image is real and fine for those who want to study the fine points of logic, you and I use logic on a daily basis.


God is the source of logic and knowledge, and he wants us to use them
Credit: Pixabay / PIRO4D
The auto mechanic who discovers why your vehicle stalls out at a certain point, the baker following a recipe, computer programmers, playing chess and similar games, doing a jigsaw puzzle — these all require the use of logic. When attempting to solve problems or learn the truth, we attempt to gain as much information as we need and then use our reasoning skills to reach answers. We usually do this without thinking about thinking.

Logic is actually a part of the mind of God. We are made in his image, and he has given us some knowledge as well as senses and skills to acquire more knowledge so we can reason. In addition, the Christian has the mind of Christ, and all knowledge begins with God. (One reason that biblical creationists emphasize logical thinking and spotting errors in reasoning is so that we can honor God.) Do a Bible search on mind and reason, and see that God not only enables us, but makes it possible because logic is the way God thinks.

Consider the fact that many founders of modern science were not only Christians, but biblical creationists as well.  It may startle you, but we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, so it is a moral duty to be as rational as we are able. To think in a worldly way, with it's "wisdom" and materialism, is very limiting and goes contrary to God's will! We can reason from Scripture and see when someone is giving false teaching as well.
Logic is the study of the principles of correct reasoning.  To be logical is to think rightly: to draw reasonable conclusions from the available information.  Correct reasoning helps us to have true beliefs, and acting on true beliefs tends to have a far better outcome than acting on false beliefs.  Clearly, it is to our great advantage to reason correctly.  And while all human beings have some capacity to be logical, we can improve our reasoning by taking a class or reading books or articles on the topic, and by studying the Bible.  A thorough knowledge of logic can be immensely helpful in our own reasoning, or when reasoning with others.  But in addition to any pragmatic advantage, we have a moral obligation to be logical.  Thinking rightly is not optional for the Christian.  It is something God requires of us.
To finish reading, click on "Logic: Our Moral Obligation". Also, I recommend "Is Christianity Irrational?"

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Made in the Image of God

We read in Genesis 1:26 that we are created in God's image. That phrase can be a mite confusing, and one angry atheist used it as a "proof" that the Bible is true because we are physical beings, or some such. A photograph or a painting is also an image of something. If I held up a picture and said, "This is my daughter", a rational person would not conclude that she is flat and fits in a wallet. Also, that image would not negate the existence of the real person.

God our Creator made us in his image and likeness
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ESA / CXC / STScI
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents.)
The rest of verse 26 says that we're created in God's likeness. That adds a bit of depth, too. He's the creator of the universe, gave us life, is our Redeemer — image and likeness? Kind of hard to lasso the concept, I know. Let's dig a little deeper.
This passage shows that man reflects God in some way and represents him.1 The image of God distinguishes mankind from the rest of creation. Mankind reflects and represents God in a way which cannot be said of anything else in God’s creation, but what does this mean? The image of God has significant impact in both theology and ethics, and so it is helpful to understand what it is.

First it is important to note that the image of God does not make men identical with God or the same type of being. Isaiah 43:10 says “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” People are not divine, are not little gods, and cannot become gods. 
To read the entire article, click on "The Image of God".
 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Reformers and the Age of the Earth

Despite the claims of some old-earth compromisers like Hugh Ross, the church fathers believed, for the most part, in a young earth. For that matter, the Genesis Flood, recent creation, and similar matters were largely undisputed and a defense of the position was generally considered unnecessary. The concept of deep time is the new gelding in the theological stable.

Young earth was the view of the Reformers
Credit: Pixabay / strecosa
What about the Reformers? You know, that Protestant Reformation that is considered to have begun back yonder about 500 years ago? Yeah, those guys. Remember, a movement does not usually happen in a moment; there is groundwork and developments until the thing commences to happen. We know that Martin Luther took Genesis seriously, but we may wonder about the other Reformers during that period of years. It's a reasonable question, since liberal theologians and many professing Christians today believe the old earth view — especially since Christians ceded both science and theology to secularists.
All Christians believe that God the Father Almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth. This belief is like a great river that runs through Christian history. It distinguishes Christianity from other forms of spirituality. Yet within this river there have been two streams of thought about how to understand Genesis: the allegorical reading and the literal reading.

The Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries marked a return to the literal reading of Scripture. The Reformers taught that God revealed in Genesis that He created all things in six ordinary days about six thousand years ago.

In this article, I will sketch out these two streams of thought, describe the teachings of the Reformers, and show how these teachings crystallized in their confessions of faith.
To continue reading this interesting article, click on "What Did the Reformers Believe about the Age of the Earth?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Date-Setting Disappointment

Back on October 22, 1844, followers of William Miller (Millerites) expected Jesus to return. This was called the "Great Disappointment" for obvious reasons. People kept going with it, modifying views and such, eventually spawning outfits like the Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses. I guess you could say they evolved from a common ancestor.

Those of us who have a few decades under our belts have experienced several "end of the world" prophesied events. Nothing happened. In 2016, some of us endured the "Super Shemitah" and blood moons business — and it was a business for people like Jim Bakker and others. But, as usual, those sidewinders kept on a-selling to their gullible followers.


At this writing, the latest big thing was supposed to have happened on September 23, 2017. People were interpreting the signs in the heavens, earthquakes, storms, wars and rumors of wars, and so on as indications that the time of Christ's return was near. They also took some proof text Bible verses to throw into the stew. Again, nothing happened. But you can be sure that people will make some adjustments, get new insights, reinterpret, and other things. Maybe the end of the world began but we just don't know it yet, and a specially-blessed prophet will explain it to us. Actually, there will probably be a dozen or so with competing special revelations. Not revelations from God, of course, but from the god of this world.

This child doesn't have a spiritual gift of genius, but something stands out. People who are deceived by false prophets, end-times date-setters, various cults, movements, and so on have something in common: lack of Bible. They do not exhibit knowledge of sound doctrine or discernment. Biblical ignorance is a primary reason people are deceived.

Dr. Danny Faulkner wrote some articles prior to the recent apocalypse folly. He has an excellent follow-up that I strongly recommend. It's not a quick read, so I suggest that you keep it until you're ready to pay attention.
Now that September 23, 2017, has passed with no major incident, it is time to reflect. I’ve waited a month after September 23, until the Hebrew month Ethanim (Tishri) ended, for reasons I will explain shortly. First, let me recap. In the previous 2.5 years, many self-professed Bible prophecy teachers suggested that the Lord likely would return on September 23, 2017. They primarily based this teaching upon a peculiar understanding of Revelation 12:1–2,
To read the rest of the article, click on "Reflections on September 23, 2017".


Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Legacy of Martin Luther

It is October, 2017, the month of the Reformatin's 500th anniversary. The Reformation is considered to have begun when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door — a kind of social media of the time, and not an act of vandalism. He wanted debate, or serious discussion, on some matters that had been troubling him about the Roman Catholic Church, faith, the Bible, and more.

A movement does not typically happen in an instant, and Luther was a priest and a monk who had been pondering some things for a long time, including his own salvation. He learned some things from Scripture that brought problems into focus, and his writings caused him a heap of trouble, and he was investigated for heresies at the Diet of Worms in 1521. We've heard and read about it a great deal lately. It sounds like a California fad eating style, but actually a diet back then was a formal assembly, and this was conducted in the city of Worms. Now the term makes sense, doesn't it? It's interesting to note that the Protestant Reformation made use of modern technology: the printing press. We use our modern technologies extensively, some for good, some for evil, some for silly pictures.

For people who want to dig deeper, read about John Wycliffe, who laid some of the groundwork that influenced the Reformation.


Martin Luther did not intend to start the Protestant Reformation, but he has a tremendous legacy
Luther at the Diet of Worms, Anton von Werner, 1877
There are people who point to some of Luther's character flaws and views, such as his antisemitism. That does not mean that we should reject everything he taught, that would mean remaining Roman Catholic, which is contrary to God's Word.

Something else that we seem to hear about these days is a legacy, how people will be remembered. Martin Luther did not intend to start a world-changing movement, but the Protestant Reformation eventually ran at full gallop, and others joined in. When you hear about "the Reformers", it was not just Luther and a few friend in Germany, but people in other areas as well. This lasted for several years. Luther wanted the truth of Scripture available to people in their language, and translated the Bible into German. He also took the foundational book, Genesis, very seriously. Many other important considerations were brought to the fore as well.

To learn more, I hope you'll read "Luther's Legacy". For some biographical and historical information, I recommend "Martin Luther: the monk who shook the world".

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Martin Luther Took Genesis Seriously

One of the main problems for Christian theology occurred when Christians ceded the proper understanding of Genesis to secular science. Not only did those owlhoots compromise on long ages, but they often included evolution as well. At this time, liberal theologians were stampeding through academia and the churches, causing a great deal of confusion and apostasy. Theologians back then had forgotten the importance of a solid foundation.


"When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are." - Martin Luther
Martin Luther had a different problem than we have: some people
rejected six day creation because it seemed too long!
(Click for larger.)
In the course of events leading to the Reformation, Luther realized the importance of the foundation of Scripture itself. He also held fast to the foundation of the gospel message itself, which begins in Genesis. Our creation reformation requires rejecting compromise on biblical truth, beginning from the very first verse.
Five hundred years ago in Wittenberg, Germany, an unusual scholar changed the course of human history using pen and hammer. Dr. Martin Luther protested unbiblical teachings and practices—especially selling indulgences—sparking the Protestant Reformation. Unsurprisingly, a review of Luther’s treatment of Genesis shows how taking Scripture seriously logically leads to taking creation seriously. In fact, Luther appreciated creation enough to record detailed observations of jackdaws and ravens.
To finish reading, click on "Luther, the Reformation, and Taking Creation Seriously".