Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Determining the Original Intent

When reading a document, it is important to understand the original intent of the authors. The goat rodeo hearings for the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh showed the lengths that some politicians will go to attain prominence for their own political viewpoints. Kavanaugh is an originalist, which means that he considers the original intent of the US Constitution when making his decisions. An interesting parallel can be made with interpreting the Bible.

An interesting comparison can be made between examining the original intent of the Bible and the US Constitution. Inserting liberal ideas have profound consequences.
Credits: Left image, Freeimages / Robert Owen-Wahl;
Right image: US National Archives and Records Administration
It seems reasonable to determine the intent of the authors. Obviously, there are some marked differences because the Bible was written by several people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Constitution was written by fallible men with good intentions. 

When the original meanings are abandoned, all sorts of bad judgments ensue. In the case of the Constitution, we had the Dred Scott decision and that unborn children are not legally protected as persons. When activist judges and other people believe that the Constitution is a living and evolving document, it can be made to say just about anything. Similarly, liberal religious leaders shy away from the original meaning of Scripture, torturing the text until it confesses to just about anything they desire.

The languages of both the Bible and the Constitution are important factors. The Constitution was ratified in 1788, so we have English language differences between then and now to consider. The Bible is much older and written in different languages, and the usage at the time is often a factor. For example, the word translated star (aster, ἀστήρ) has a broader meaning in the Bible than we use today.

Modern theologians bushwhack Genesis, conveniently ignoring the plain reading, valid exegesis, the historical-grammatical approach, and logical thinking so they can compromise with long ages and evolution. We also see the same violence applied to other passages in the Bible. A great deal of confusion and bad decisions could be avoided through commitment to the original intent.
In the recent Supreme Court nomination furor, Evangelicals were often named by the media as supporters of the originalist nominee. The reason for this is obvious as to hold on to biblical mores and values, a fidelity to the culturally Christian context within which the constitution was framed is essential. It is therefore a bitter irony that many of these same evangelicals do not take an originalist position on our own ‘founding document’ as Christians, the Bible—particularly the ‘preamble’ to the Bible, the opening chapters of Genesis. Many (in fact most) evangelical leaders today have abandoned the fundamental principle of a historical-grammatical approach to their interpretation of the scriptures when it comes to origins. This approach basically entails the idea that the original meaning of the words and the intentions of the authors are essential in rightly understanding and interpreting the Bible. The scriptures are divinely inspired and therefore stand on their own authority.
There can be no doubt as to the intent of the original writers of Genesis. In a well-known quote the Oxford Hebrew scholar James Barr, himself hostile to the Genesis account of creation a few thousand years ago, nevertheless asserts,
To read the article in its entirety, click on "Scriptural originalism — Searching for the meaning of Scripture". Also, you may be interested in a podcast or transcript by Dr. Albert Mohler. Follow this link and look for "As both sides attempt to read the tea leaves on abortion, the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is called into question".


Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Gospel of Isaiah

When reading the prophets in the Old Testament, it is easy to feel a mite lost without a guidebook or a pastor telling you what's going on. If I want expository preaching on, say, Zechariah, I can listen to Dr. John MacArthur. He also preaches on Isaiah, but I don't feel quite as lost along the trail when reading Isaiah. The prophets talked about time and events that are baffling to this child, what with kingdoms and people that are mostly lost to history.


The prophet Isaiah tells us a great deal about Immanuel.
Prophet Isaiah predicts the return of the Jews from exile, Maarten van Heemskerck, 1560-1565
A reader of Isaiah who is also familiar with the rest of the Bible can see some important things happening. Several times, Isaiah reminds Israel and Judah (and us) that God is the Creator. There are places in his lengthy book where he talks about Immanuel (or Emmanuel). We learn about God the Son, the Creator, and his birth, death, glory, and the restoration of all things at the end. In fact, I thought there were some echoes of Isaiah when I was reading the Revelation. God foretold (I don't cotton to the word "predicts", many people can do that) many things about Jesus through Isaiah and other prophets, and much of the gospel message is found in his book.
Isaiah is often seen as one of the most theologically rich books of the Old Testament. Living in a time of rampant idolatry and apostasy, Isaiah prophesied against Israel to the north and Judah to the south, foretelling the exile and return to the land of promise. Judgment and restoration of Israel, Judah, the nations, and the earth is a huge theme, as well as the destruction and humiliation of the false gods and idols. The judgment is something that is justly deserved because of the sins of humanity, but the restoration is only possible through a remarkable figure prophesied in Isaiah; Immanuel. Isaiah gives the fullest revelation about the Messiah in the Old Testament, and in fact it is possible to preach the whole Gospel from Isaiah.

While Immanuel is clearly Jesus, it can be useful to look at what we know about Immanuel from Isaiah alone, before reading the text through the lens of New Testament revelation.
To read the rest, click on "Immanuel: The Gospel according to Isaiah". You may also be interested in "Archaeological Evidence for Prophet Isaiah".



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

William Lane Craig and Other Genesis Deniers

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Wisdom itself beings with God (Prov. 1:7), and the Bible is to be the foundation for the Christian's thinking in all areas (Psalm 119:105, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Rom. 11:33). As we have seen in several articles here and on other biblical creation sites, Genesis is the source of all major Christian doctrines. Some professing Christians as well as atheists, old earth proponents, and other anti-creationists reject the authority of the Bible and attack not only the truth of God's Word, but also the people who take their stand on it.


There are people who reject the authority and plain teaching of God's Word, especially about creation. William Lane Craig is great at defeating atheism, but he mocks biblical creationists.
Credit: Pixabay / Jeff Jacobs

The Wisdom of the World

The Christian's faith is established in God, not in the ever-changing whims of man-made science philosophies. For example, some have joyously stated that proof of the Big Bang validates the Bible, only to have the evidence pulled out from under them. If someone's faith is based entirely on secular interpretations of science, they have little to support their beliefs when scientists change their minds. The wisdom and ways of God are far above those of man (1 Cor. 1:18-25, 2 Cor. 10:4-5 ESV).

The first line of offense for anti-creationists is to attack the person with ad hominem remarks and ridicule. If you read comments on posts, forums, and so forth, the hatred is palpable. They also blatantly misrepresent Scripture and creationists. Although denying the Bible, some (like this tinhorn) pretend to understand it and use it to demonize creationists. I do not say this lightly: such people are evil, seeking to destroy under the pretense of defending "science". Only their narrow, rigid views are to be tolerated, and the views of people who disagree are to be silenced. This silencing is often attempted through the aforementioned ridicule and misrepresentation.


Unequally Yoked

A frequent admonition for Christians who are considering marrying unbelievers is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14. The most common translation is that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, and some render it mismatched, bound together or similar expressions. It is also used in counsel regarding business partnerships with unbelievers. Christians should also avoid other alliances with those in rebellion against God.

Some professing Christians are willing to ride with atheists for the anti-creationist brand and ridicule not only biblical creation science, but the people who proclaim it as well — and many do it with fervor, giving aid and comfort to enemies of God. I reckon John 13:35 has been blotted out of their Bibles, as well as other verses about showing love for Christian brethren and for God's Word. This makes me wonder if they've actually read the New Testament.

I have seen some misotheists say they can accept some "moderate" Christians as long as they reject recent creation and the Genesis Flood. As regular readers have seen or a search of the site will reveal, denying the Flood is required by old earth and theistic evolutionary views but essentially calls Jesus, Peter, Paul and other who affirm the Flood to be liars! That is not "moderate" by any means.

Teaming up with unbelievers to ridicule believers really takes the rag off the bush. They are elevating atheistic interpretations of science to the magisterial position above God's Word as the final authority, which opposes the Bible that they claim to believe. It's who they are and what they do. God meant what he said about creation, and he said it plainly, old son.

People in rebellion against God hate Bible-believing Christians because rebels hate Jesus (John 15:18, 2 Tim. 3:12). Why does the world hate him? Because he testifies of it (John 7:6-7) and people will stand before him at the Judgement (Jude 1:14-15, Rev. 20:12-13). If you profess to follow Christ but join with unbelievers, I strongly recommend that you examine yourself to see if you are indeed in the faith. Also, are these folks with such venomous ejecta the kind you really want to associate with?

William Lane Craig Denies Recent Creation

Dr. Craig has openly mocked biblical creationists. He does not perform proper exegesis, preferring philosophy to biblical authority. Yes, he devastates atheism and affirms theism, but incompletely because he does not present the true God of the Bible.

Now I'm going to recommend an article by Dr. Jason Lisle. He expands on some of the things I mentioned earlier, and he shows how Craig's thinking is confused and is loaded with bad theology.
Our critic this week is Dr. William Lane Craig, a philosophy professor and Christian apologist.  Although Craig defends Scripture in some areas, he adamantly denies literal (6-day) creation in favor of the big bang and secular timescale.  Last week [November 18, 2018] he responded to a question posted on his blog.  His response seems to indicate a lack of faith in the clarity and authority of God’s Word, and a misplaced confidence in the opinions of fallible men.  This highlights the difference between classical/evidential apologists like Craig, and those apologists who embrace biblical authority as the ultimate presupposition by which all experience is made intelligible.
To read the rest of this important article, click on "William Lane Craig on Genesis". Also, I recommend a video message by Adrian Rogers, "Your Friendly Enemy". Edit: I added a very short video below, just above the music.



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Reliability of the Chronicle of Adam

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

It is easy to wonder about the accuracy and reliability of biblical history, what with the events happening such a long time ago and all. People disagree about events in much more recent history such as the World War II, for example. How do we know that the oldest narrative it correct?


People may wonder how Moses knew the events of Genesis so he could write them accurately.
Credit: RGBStock / Billy Frank Alexander
Yes, I'll allow that it's been a mighty long time between then and now, and things are very different. People may think of those games where one person tells another down the line, then it turns out that the last person hears something very different from the original story. Well, isn't that how we received the biblical texts? They had oral transmission until someone got the notion to invent writing, so mayhaps the Eden account was a bit fouled up before Moses commenced to setting down the events? That's a fair question.

Hold up a minute there, Hoss. 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV tells us that Scripture is God-breathed. (Many translations are less direct, using the word inspired.) Even if writing did not exist until long after the events of Genesis, we can still trust God that God has given us the truth.

The idea that writing did not exist until after humans had existed for a few hundred thousand years is based on Darwinist presuppositions. Even people who reject evolution may also accept the notion that there was no writing from the beginning.

Biblical creationists have made a compelling case that writing (as well as language and intelligence) existed from the beginning — Adam and Eve were created with everything they needed to survive in the newly-minted world, including the ability to write.  Dr. Ben Scripture had a podcast where he affirmed that he also believes that Adam (and later authors) write some materials which were preserved until Moses edited them. He also had some other interesting things to say. I hope you'll spare 13-1/2 minutes and give it a listen.