Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reasons to be a Biblical Creationist

I reckon the most common term to refer to those of us who believe that the Bible means what it says, and that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are presented as actual history, is young-earth creationists. It is accurate to some extent, but it implies a skewed priority. We don't believe Earth is young and then plug into the Bible. Rather, we believe that Earth is young because the Bible teaches that. I'll allow that the abbreviation YEC is convenient, but I've learned that the more accurate term is biblical creationists.

There are good reasons for Christians to be biblical creationists. Unfortunately, many do not think about how they adversely affect their theology by compromising with atheistic science trends and interpretations.
Image credit: Freeimages / Flavio Takemoto
When professing Christians add "deep time" to the Bible, they immediately begin to use eisegesis instead of exegesis. Scripture is not up for personal opinions or forcing in trends in atheistic science interpretations, old son. God said what he meant. When someone begins compromising to make the Bible more palatable to our science-loving culture, that person actually does violence to the text from Genesis to Revelation. Often without realizing it. Many people add long ages (and often, evolution) to the Bible without giving serious thought to what they are doing to their theology and the gospel message itself.
There are many Christians who think that the issue of how God created the world doesn’t really matter, that this type of intellectual bickering doesn't affect how we live our Christian lives. There may be intellectual arguments that have little effect on our lives, but creation is not one of them. Here are seven wonderfully practical benefits of being a biblical creationist.

Biblical creationists, in particular, can take comfort and joy in these things. And anyone who isn’t or doesn’t think that creation really matters should take the time to seriously consider the seven reasons below.
To find out more, click on "7 Practical Reasons Every Christian Should Be a Biblical Creationist".


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Mysterious Magi

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

It's kind of sad that the manger scenes we have are wrong. Well, not exactly wrong, just...not exactly accurate. I had one of those barn things with figurines and three plastic wise men on camels. When I learned that the magi were not there to see the birth of Jesus and arrived much later (possibly even two years later), I put the figurines away from the manger scene and said, "They're on their way". Kind of difficult to include them in a Christmas celebration if you're going to be a stickler for historical accuracy, but that's just me.


There are many traditions and opinions about the magi (wise men) of Matthew 2, but who were they really? Some historical material may surprise you.
Adoration Of The Magi, Sandro Botticelli, 1500
We know the song about the "three kings of orient are", but who were they, really? There are a passel of traditions and opinions about them. The only reference we have to the magi (wise men) is in Matthew 2:1-12, but we can't justify the tradition of three wise men on camels. Three gifts are mentioned, but no camels (although that's not so far-fetched). 

They were mighty important, too. This was not some guys that said, "Hey, there's the Christ star! Saddle up, Clem, we're burnin' daylight. Better grab some gifts, too!" This was at the time of Herod the Great (he earned his title before he became such a wretch later in life), who was a powerful figure with the approval of the Roman authorities. Do you think some jaspers would have been able to show up at his palace and be allowed to have a chat if they were nobodies (Matt. 2:7)? Nope. They were a powerful and respected group, and most likely had an impressive entourage.

More importantly, they revered God, and were quite possibly descendants of the people that Daniel taught and supervised in Babylon (Daniel 1:20-21, 2:48-49). When the magic saw Jesus, they rejoiced and bowed down (Matt. 2:10-11). These powerful men (who were Gentiles) sought the King of the Jews and humbled themselves before him. There's a lot going on here!

At this point, I'm going to turn you over to Dr. John MacArthur. He has two sermons that have some fascinating historical information on the magi that were the inspiration for this post. They're not short, so maybe you can listen to them when you have some time, or save them for later. "What the Magi Mean to Christmas, Part 1" has download buttons for the video as well as MP3s, or you can listen/watch online. "What the Magi Mean to Christmas, Part 2" doesn't have the video available at this writing, but the audio is there now.

Wishing you and yours a blessed, safe, joyous Christmas celebrating the time that God the Son became a man for our salvation!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yes, the Old Testament Matters

When someone has just given his or her life to Jesus Christ, one of the first things that the evangelist does is give them a New Testament with the recommendation of reading one of the Gospels. Then, keep going and get acquainted with other books in that volume. By all means, that's an excellent start.

While reading the New Testament is important, we cannot stop there. The Old Testament helps us further understand the work of Jesus the Creator.
Image credit: Freeimages / John Harris Pe
Unfortunately, some people stop there. Worse, some people are "Red-Letter Christians", who believe the red letter versions where the words of Jesus are in red, and only read those. The entire Bible is the written Word of God. To gain a fuller understanding of the work of Christ the Creator, we need the Old Testament, which points to him.
It is common today for pastors/ministers to focus mainly on the New Testament in their preaching and ministry while hardly citing the Old Testament. Even worse are superficial slogans such as ‘This is a New Testament church’ or ‘Just preach Jesus’.

Some of this can be due to either uneasiness or embarrassment about plain teachings such as six-day creation and the global Flood. This has become much more prevalent because many theological institutions—even conservative ones—deny, spiritualize or explain away these early chapters of Genesis as allegory or reworked pagan myth.

So it’s easy for a church leader to maintain or even promote the misconception that creation is an ‘Old Testament issue’. Thus it is one to be relegated to a much lower order of importance and priority. But as will be shown, Genesis creation is an important part of the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
To read the rest, click on "The importance of the Old Testament". 

 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Unicorns in the Bible?

When people hear the word unicorn, they typically think of the mythical magical horse with a horn on its head. I'll allow that it's a reasonable assumption, since we only hear about the beasties in fantasy stories. So why did the King James Version of the Bible use the word unicorn?

Mockers complain about the use of the word "unicorn" in the King James Bible. Actually, there's a good reason for that.
Monoceros, Canis Minor, and Atelier Typographique by Sidney Hall, 1825
Let's look at Numbers 23:22 KJV, one of several uses of unicorn. John Wycliffe and associates in the late 1300s rendered this verse, "The Lord God ledde hym out of Egipt, whos strengthe is lijk an vnicorn". The Coverdale Bible of 1535 rendered it, "God hath brought the out of Egipte, his stregth is as of an Vnicorne". In 1587, the Geneva Bible translated this verse as, "God brought them out of Egypt: their strength is as an vnicorne". Several Bibles before the KJV, including non-English translations such as Martin Luther's version, also used unicorn. Many modern versions translate

We're not confined to just the Bible referring to unicorns as real creatures. One of the constellations in the picture above is Monoceros, which is the Greek word for (wait for it...) unicorn. Somewhere around 1612, cartographer Petrus Plancius introduced this and seven other constellations on a celestial globe that was published in Amsterdam.

The fantasy horsie and the historical one-horned creature were concepts that existed at the same time for a long time. Reckon that the historical creature of great strength is extinct now, so that's part of the confusion; the mythical scenario continues. No, God did not use mythical creatures in his Word.
Unicorns mentioned in the Bible—not only in English King James Version but also in other languages—are not the fairy tale creatures many people think of nowadays, but real creatures familiar to the people living in those ancient times.

So what kind of creature was the Bible talking about? If there really was a historical unicorn, when did the word start referring to a creature of fantasy? And why did Bible translators use a word that could dredge up fantasy images in documents intended to reflect genuine history?
To read the entire article, click on "Will the Real Unicorn Please Stand Up?" You may also want to see "Mythical Critters and Scoffers".

Friday, December 2, 2016

Was Adam Real or an Archetype?

Liberal theologians and theistic evolutionists attempt to say that Adam was not a literal person, but an archetype (or "protoplast"). The Bible does indeed use "type and shadow" imagery with real people (such as Joseph as a type of Christ), but that does not excuse saying that Adam was not real.


Some liberal theologians and theistic evolutionists say that Adam was not an actual person, but just an archetype. This compromising view has many serious problems.
Adam and Eve expelled from Eden / Paul Gustave Doré, 1866
Saying that Adam was not real is essentially saying that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and many others in the Bible were wrong or even lying. The motive behind this is to reject the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, and elevates man's opinion above God's Word. Some people compromise with evolutionary ideas without thinking it through, but it leads to further serious compromises all the way through the Bible.

There are some old Earth creationists as well as theistic evolutionists who falsely say that the Church Fathers rejected a literal Adam, or that the ancients did not understand science, so they told stories to make a point. That's chronological snobbery and not how it works, old son. While the Church Fathers did not write the canon, they were closer in time to the apostles, and what they had to say is worthy of consideration.
This paper explores teaching from the early church that relates to the nature and formation of Adam. This is in response to John Walton’s claim that Adam was just an archetype of humanity and not the first-formed man and ancestor of all. Instead of speaking of Adam as an archetype, the Apostle Paul and Church Fathers use the language of protoplast (the first-formed) to define Adam. Where archetype is used by early theologians it is in the context of Christ being the archetype for Adam and humanity as a whole. It can be seen then that those who believe that Adam and Eve were the first couple, and the ancestors of all humanity, are in line with the teaching of Scripture and the traditional understanding of the early church.
I know that Church Fathers and church history do not appeal to everyone, and this article is a bit on the long side. Nonetheless, I hope you'll invest some time in this interesting material. To read the rest, click on "Adam as the protoplast — views from the early church in response to the archetypal view". You may also want to see "Theistic Evolution: Old Heresy Rebooted".