Wednesday, February 17, 2021

After Question Evolution Day — The Narrow Path to Creation

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

February 12 was the 10th annual Question Evolution Day, an event in which almost anyone can participate. People may object, thinking that origins is an academic issue. Some even think that there is a message of hope in evolution, but that is the opposite of the truth.

People get excited and make commitments, but then grow cold. Creation science enthusiasm and the Parable of the Sower are considered.
Image for the 10th annual Question Evolution Day by Why?Outreach
Seekers after the truth become excited after attending seminars, reading articles and books, watching videos, and so forth about how recent creation affirms the Bible and refutes evolution. Then many lose their enthusiasm. Indeed, people were excited about QED and promised to get involved, but failed to keep their promises (there were some, however, that did their part, and even more. I am grateful to them.) There are parallels in the Bible to consider.

What Kind of Soil?

While the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15) is about people who hear and receive the word of the Kingdom, similarities between enthusiasm for Question Evolution Day and the creation message can be seen. People listen to the truth, but the devil snatches it away from them. There are others who are excited to share the biblical creation science message, but have no root and fall away when challenged by seemingly reasonable evolutionary claims. Another group will hear the message but are more concerned with other things, so they do not learn and grow in this area. The last group is excited, perseveres, learns the material, and the people grow in it. Like the Christian life itself, learning and standing up for the truth of creation requires dedication, perseverance, and obtaining solid teaching. Biblical creation science upholds good theology.

Biblical History

Rejecting observed truth goes all the way back to Adam. Both Adam and Eve were perfect and had not only seen the glory of the original creation, but had also spoken with God as well (Gen. 2:16). Even so, they listened to the serpent and rebelled against the truth that they already knew (Gen. 3:1-13).

Moving forward, the Israelis had prospered in Egypt until they were enslaved. God heard their cries for deliverance and sent Moses. Israel was delivered out of Egypt, led by the Lord with a pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke (Ex. 13:21-22). They saw the miraculous parting of the sea (Ex. 14:21-22) and the drowning of the pursuing Egyptian army (Ex. 14:28). Even after these experiences, the Israelis "got up to play" by indulging in immorality and idolatry (Ex. 32:1, 6) — while Moses was still on the mountain talking with the Lord! Sometime afterward, they were punished for their disobedience, Korah had the notion to rebel against Moses and Aaron (God's appointed leaders). It did not go well (Num. 16:31-35).

In the New Testament, many disciples who had seen and experienced the feeding of the 5,000 were offended at the words of Jesus and turned away (John 6:66). Indeed, the Twelve had seen and participated in miracles and the teachings of Christ, but Judas betrayed Him (Luke 22:47-48), Peter denied Him (Matt. 26:75), and the rest ran away (Matt. 26:56).

Later, we read that false teachers would arise and deceive Christians. Jesus warned that false teachers would come (Luke 22:8). In Jude 1:7-11, Jude hearkens back to the rebellion of Israel and likens false teachers to the rebellion of Korah. Peter spent a great deal of time warning against false teachers (such as in 2 Peter 2:1-3 and following). Much of the epistle of 1 John is written as a warning against Gnostic heresies.

Applications for Today

Question Evolution Day was something that I initiated and put a great deal of time, effort, and heart into. It was intended to take off by its lonesome, but I've helped it along for all this time. If it dies out, it's not from lack of effort. One major reason is apathy on the part of Christians.

In case someone wants to assert that we claim that belief in recent creation is a requirement to be saved, well, that is the opposite of the truth. Remember, we are considering how some people get excited and then wander away for various reasons.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt. 7:13-14, NASB)
Using the narrow path as well as the Parable of the Sower, the similarities become quite clear. To be blunt, spiritual things are not exciting or entertaining to fleshly desires. In addition, the study of origins is not entirely about evidence. (If it were, then Darwinism would have been plopped alongside the dusty trail decades ago.) Instead, the study of origins is a spiritual matter — very important one.

Many believers in dust-to-Darwin evolution have been conditioned in what to think, knowing naturalistic paradigms. Add to this the facts that the god of this world has blinded the eyes of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4) and they are unable to understand deeper spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2:14). These problems are compounded by the drift away from not only biblical authority, but from truth and reality in postmodernism (Phil Johnson has an MP3 titled, "A Beginner's Guide to Postmodernism" linked at the bottom of this post.). Christians on the narrow path are to uphold the truth. We must not treat unbelievers poorly, but remember that presenting biblical creation in the right way is honoring to God.

I have to remind myself of these things after the apparent failure of what I had hoped would be the biggest Question Evolution Day yet. I had thought that being a nobody was an advantage, that people could make things happen at a grass-roots level, but apparently this needed creationist celebrity support. Broken promises and apathy on the part of Christians are distressing. Not just because of QED, but I have seen indications that there is far too much country club Christianity. That is, there carnal Christians as well as CINOs (Christians In Name Only) who may not even know the Lord and need to examine their faith. These types of professing Christians are in a dangerous place.

One major problem is that modern society and social media contribute to short attention spans. Captioned pictures do not equip people to defend the gospel or refute evolution, pilgrim. It is necessary to become rooted, first and foremost in the Word of God, and also in biblical creation teachings. That way, people can be knowledgeable as well as enthusiastic when sharing material.

If someone sees flaws in my theology, I want to know. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Augustine Did Not Support Old-Earth Views

There are professing Christians who falsely claim that the church fathers believed that the earth was far older than Scripture indicates, and that biblical (young age) creationists are wrong. It would be a mighty big help if they did their homework on people like Augustine.

Professing Christians who claim that Augustine and other church fathers should do their homework. They dishonestly claim that those were old-earthers.
St. Augustine in his Study, Sandro Botticelli, 1490
It is important to note that Augustine did not consider his writings to be sacred writ, his views changed in some areas, and he freely admitted that his understanding was imperfect. It did not help matters much that he was unskilled in Hebrew and Greek, and he had access to weak Bible translations. He believed that everything was created in an instant (he should have consulted Exodus 20:11, 31:17). Old-earthers must reject the global Flood as well. While Augustine was in no wise a young-earth creationist as we understand the term, claims that he believed like the pagans that Earth was far older are disingenuous.
Old-earthers claim Augustine as support for figurative interpretations of Genesis 1. But what did Augustine really say? In the video series The Great Debate (watch | buy), AiG’s Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, debate astronomer Hugh Ross (of Reasons to Believe) and Bible scholar Walter Kaiser (of Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary). Both of the latter are Christians who believe that the creation is billions of years old. The debate series was hosted by old-earth proponent John Ankerberg on his television show in early 2006.

On AiG’s DVD release of the debate, AiG historian of geology Terry Mortenson offered extensive commentary from a young-earth creationist perspective. The following article is rooted in Dr. Mortenson’s commentary on Ross’s and Kaiser’s appeal to Augustine in defending old-earth ideas.

This may seem like a study for academics, but it is both interesting and relevant. To finish reading, see "Augustine on the Days of Creation". 


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Trusting God in Apologetics

There are Christians who are excited about using apologetics to defend and present the faith, and there are others who think that is a job for experts. All Christians are commanded to present the faith (2 Cor. 10:5, Col. 4:5-6, 1 Peter 3:15, Acts 17:22-31), but some are called to be more intense with it. And "tense" can apply to many of us.

While all Christians are called to do apologetics, we can lose sight of the fact that God is our Father. We do our part, relax and trust in him.
Mostly made at The Keep-Calm-O-Matic using an image from NASA
(Usage of images does not imply endorsement of site contents by anyone)
It is indeed unfortunate that some are intent on winning arguments rather than helping the lost come to Christ. Similarly, we can expend mental energy trying to analyze (and sometimes rehash) situations so we can give the most devastating arguments. Yes, by all means, do the best you can. Sometimes we may feel that we botched it. That happens. However, convicting of sin and saving people is the work of the Holy Spirit; we do not do the saving.

It is not up to our brilliance (1 Cor. 2:1-5), which can lead to pride. I was associated with someone who became full of pride, and it seemed like he was constantly promoting himself and seeking his glory (a problem we must constantly guard against), hawking his self-published apologetics booklet.

We need to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), and remember that God is our Father. We have a relationship with him, not a high-power position in a cutthroat business. We need to trust God in all things. You savvy? I hope this article will minister to all of us.
Apologetics is a broad and deep subject. Since it has such deep spiritual ramifications, its easy to understand how the study of apologetics can become an all-consuming endeavor for some. However, this is not without its potential pitfalls. An example my pastor gave in a sermon recently really struck a chord with me, and I want to relate it for you (my own paraphrase, not my pastor’s):

Read the rest of this short but helpful article at "Apologetics—a steppingstone, not a crutch".

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Distinguishing Between "Make" and "Create" in Genesis 1

There are some professing Christians who insist on finding ways of adding long ages into the Bible, but they ignore the context. While the context is frequently the surrounding verses, it can also mean culture, languages, and more. We look now at make and create.

Credit: Freeimages / Fernanda Ferrari
Those owlhoots have attempted to bushwhack the plain meaning of Scripture by saying that they are different aspects of creation, and that make means using material that was already created. Their eisegesis becomes heinous when their alleged distinction is used to give them license to add millions of years. Some even try to shove evolution into the picture. It won't work, especially when the greater context includes the New Testament.
Many people who have written on Genesis 1 have attempted to make a very significant distinction between two Hebrew words found there: bara (בָּרָא, to create) and asah (עָשָׂה, to make or do). Theistic evolutionists (TEs) and old-earth creationists (OECs) both accept the millions of years advocated by the scientific establishment (although the OECs do not accept neo-Darwinian evolution while TEs do). They sometimes try to defend the acceptance of millions of years by saying that bara refers to supernatural creation ex nihilo (Latin for “out of nothing”) but that asah means to make out of pre-existing material and therefore allows for creation over a long period of time.

This article should prove helpful when encountering people who use these words for long ages. To read the rest (you may want to bookmark it), head on over to "Understanding Genesis 1 Hebrew: Create (bara) & Make (asah)".

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Secularists Using Dinosaurs to Indoctrinate Children

Now there is a provocative title! Believers in an old Earth, evolution, and similar things are probably clutching their pearls while expressing their outrage. Secularists (and many professing Christians, unfortunately) insist that deep time is a scientific fact. We must teach children real science, right?

Evolutionists are skilled in using dinosaurs as propaganda tools to indoctrinate children in evolutionism. We can use dinosaurs for the truth.
Credit: Flickr / Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)

What is actually happening is that children (as well as the rest of us) are being given stories based on naturalistic interpretations about the past; there is no actual empirical evidence that obliges us to believe that the earth is billions of years old.

Children have been enamored with dinosaurs for many years, and this has been increasing in recent years. It is not surprising to find a youngster who can rattle off the names, secular dates, locations, and more of those terrible lizards.

Movies and merchandising helped fuel the interest of many people. (I wonder how many were annoyed when the Jurassic Park movies made the Velociraptors much larger than real: the size of turkeys?) Those dinosaurs bring along evolutionary tall tales, opinions taught as facts.

With such concentration and repetition of evolutionary propaganda, plus being confined for many hours a day over several years in secular indoctrination centers operated by the Ministry of Truth, no wonder children are rejecting the truth of the Bible. Especially the creation account, since they are brainwashed into accepting the latest secular religions myths of origins.

Atheists and evolutionists hypocritically say that Christian parents are the ones doing the brainwashing because we teach biblical truth. Or should be doing so! In fact, dinosaurs can be a starting point to teach the truth of creation, essentially making dinosaurs into missionary lizards.

I know that children love dinosaurs because of the great demand for dinosaur books, posters, toys, costumes, DVDs, movies, character memorabilia etc. If you were to search the internet under the category “books” for the topic “dinosaurs” you would find that over 53,000 titles (at last count) are available. A statistical sampling of the contents of those 53,000 titles result in the conclusion that nearly all of these titles were written with atheistic presuppositions and within the secular worldview that is founded on the ideas of naturalism (evolution and millions of years).

Let me remind you of the atheistic presuppositions in play here:

Let me remind you that you can see the full article at "Children & Dinosaurs".

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Category of Evolved Religion

While categorizing and labeling can be helpful points of reference, it can also be very misleading. Misotheists often say that they hate "religion", but commit the hasty generalization fallacy to justify their own rebellion against God. Categorizing in this manner is disingenuous and harmful.

Secularists often use hasty generalization to claim all religion is bad. They neglect many unique aspects to Christianity, especially in creation.
Background image: Pixabay / Ro Ma, modified with Clker Clipart
If you slip on your wading boots and trudge through the slough of an atheist social media location, you are likely to find fringe religious people (usually professing to be Christians) singled out to confirm their biases that everything in the "religion" category is bad; the exception is not the rule. Ironically, they have apoplectic fits when it is pointed out that atheism itself is a religion, and evolutionism is like it.

Each religion is different. I'll allow that many have some things in common, but categorizing based on superficialities and exceptions is foolish. Also, there are people who claim to be members of a religion but do not actually follow its tenets. That said, biblical Christianity — with creation as the foundation — has teachings that are unique and beneficial to humanity. Also, ours is supported by evidence. That's what happens when God gives us his written Word.

Atheists commit a common fallacy. They claim to oppose “religion,” then proceed to lump Christianity in with Molech worship, Egyptian sun worship, and Greco-Roman idolatries that worshipped Zeus, Aphrodite, Bacchus, and Dionysus. Anything that can be labeled “religion” gets stirred into a pot of poison stew that spoils the whole lot. . . . The same lumpers also conveniently define religion to exclude atheism, when the word religion is best used to describe systems of belief that individuals “rely” on to answer the big questions. . .

You can read the entire article at "Why Religion Is a Meaningless Category". Be sure to come back because we have another interesting article for your edification.

Materialists presuppose evolution, so they typically denigrate the category of religion as something that evolved as well. We know that Christianity is very different from others. An important starting point is — well, the starting point. God is our Creator and Redeemer, and believers in universal common descent evolution cannot evosplain away the uniqueness of the Bible, and especially Jesus, our resurrected Creator and Kinsman-Redeemer.

When secular experts talk about the evolution of religion, they make gods of themselves.

It’s one thing to study the history of religions and to compare their similarities and differences; that’s a matter of scholarly research using historical materials. It’s a totally different thing to speak of religions emerging and evolving over time, as if religion emerged in our hominid past and has been evolving on a line of progress. Scholars who do that are donning the Yoda Complex costume and pretending to be gods themselves, knowing good and evil.

The rest of this article can be found at "Creation: The Missing Ingredient in Religious Studies".

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Darwinism and the United Methodist Church

My father was a pastor in the Untied Methodist Church (misspelling intentional) for fifty years, but for some reason, he never accepted evolutionism to my knowledge. He had liberal theology and some old-earth views, but some owlhoots in the denomination were far too liberal for his standards.

Compromise on creation leads to rejection of the authority of Scripture. The United Methodist Church is very liberal and promotes Darwinism.
Original image before modification: Wikimedia Commons / San906 (CC0 1.0)

The UMC states that it has 12 million members, so it is not surprising that members have a variety of views. (One adult Sunday School class I attended was conducted by someone who was not even a member of that church, and was thought to be an agnostic. Good church decision making there, huh?) One of the first observed problems with compromise on creation is rejection of the authority of Scripture.

Years ago, I was giving creation science presentations to churches, and one of them was a UMC. That pastor believed in biblical creation, but one old boy refused to shake my hand or even look at me after the service. While the denomination is infested with Darwinism and liberalism, it is so large that many member believe in creation. Most of those in power, however, do not.

The United Methodist Church’s opposition to both creationism and intelligent design was reviewed. It was concluded that the membership is generally in support of the creation worldview, but the high-level leadership, especially the bishops, in general, support the Darwinian worldview and oppose the creation worldview. According to its website, the church’s official policy is that all life, including humans, evolved from a common ancestor by the accumulation of mutations selected by the survival-of-the-fittest mechanism called natural selection.

 To read the rest of this paper, see "A history of the United Methodist Church’s opposition to creationism and intelligent design".

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