Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wisdom and Reason

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 10-30-2016, mostly to change images

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
(1 Cor. 1:20-23,HCSB)

For the longest time, my approach to apologetics (ἀπολογία) was based almost entirely in evidentialism. The basis for this was something like, "Here we are, two reasonable people on neutral ground discussing the existence for God, the reliability of the Bible, evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead (and so forth). Then, you'll see that Christianity is entirely reasonable, repent, surrender to the risen Savior so your life will be more abundant and you'll have eternal life".

Oh, really? One obvious problem with this scenario is that it is strictly naturalistic, leaving out the spiritual realm and hindering the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is to be the basis of our thinking in every area.
Image credit: Freeimages / John evans
The Bible has some things to say about the "natural" (unsaved) man and human wisdom:
  • Foolish when compared to God's wisdom (1Cor. 1:20-23, 1 Cor. 3.19-20)
  • It will perish (Isaiah 29.14 NASB)
  • True wisdom comes from God (Psalm 111.10 NIV, Prov. 1.7 NKJV)
  • The heart of man is deceitful (Jer. 17.9)
  • People really do not want to know God (Rom. 3.11-12, 18)
  • Cannot understand spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2.14)
  • They are fools (Psalm 14.1) Note that "fool" is a spiritual and moral condition, not because God became moody and wanted to insult the intelligence of unbelievers

Ray Comfort has a very strong point that he makes in the "School of Biblical Evangelism" and in other places: We can spend a great deal of time in apologetics and offering evidence, but if we leave out the Word of God, we may get an intellectual "convert" but the soul is still lost.

Some presuppositionalists rattled my cage. Although I am unable to understand much of what they are saying, I have been impacted. "Presuppositional apologetics" is not a unified approach, as is seen in the differences between Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, John Frame, Greg Bahnsen and so on; I understand that Francis Schaeffer had a mix of methods, and was not exclusively presuppositionalist. So, I do not feel so badly about my gradational understanding.

“In other words, they decided right from the start that there's no God, and they're setting out to try to prove that there's no God, ... That's their bias to start with.”
“It’s a matter of which bias is the best bias to be biased with.” 
— Ken Ham
Evolutionists and atheists are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves! You can offer evidence all day long, one after another, and constantly be rejected because the other person has a "rescuing device" to escape or deny the evidence because it does not fit into his or her worldview.

Ken Ham made an impact on me many years ago when he pointed out that nobody is unbiased. Some evolutionists foolishly proclaim that fossils are proof of evolution. No, a fossil is a fossil. In their worldview, they see something that is the result of uniformitarian processes that took millions of years. 

Dr. Jason Lisle wrote a book and gave some lectures on The Ultimate Proof of Creation and similar topics. He pointed out in no uncertain terms that there is no "neutral ground"! (Nobody is unbiased... no neutral ground... I think I see a pattern emerging here.) I am unwilling to discard God's Word in the name of "neutrality", because the Bible says there is no neutrality (Romans 8.7, Matthew 12.30, James 4.4), you are either gathering or scattering. If we claim to be neutral, we say that the Bible is wrong and we are not being neutral!
Dr. Jason Lisle:
"There are two things to remember when people ask  you to be neutral:
1. They're not.
2. You shouldn't be."
Edit: I learned that he was quoting Dr. Greg Bahnsen.

When someone wants to meet on "neutral ground", they are having you give up your beliefs and presuppositions in order to acknowledge their naturalistic presuppositions; you concede defeat by discarding God's Word.

Do not misunderstand me, I am never opposed to answering honest questions and providing evidence (or referring people to sources of good evidence). But I will not toss aside the Word of God to play on someone else's field, with his rules, with his conditions, conceding victory at the onset. When someone says, "Give me your theory, give me your explanation, but leave God out of it", I'm being a fool and contradicting God's Word.

Christians need to remember that we should not do apologetics and defend the gospel out of ego, pride, the desire to play intellectual games and win arguments. At the Judgement, the Lord is not going to be asking you how many arguments you won. Rather, he is more interested that you knew him, knew his Word, used his Word (Heb. 4.12) and led souls to Christ (Matt. 28.18-20).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's Wrong with Theistic Evolution?

Many years ago, I wondered why I can't simply assume that God used evolution in his creation process. But back then, I had no idea what I was doing to God's Word.
Find Jesus in Evolution
In this Weblog, I have puzzled, pleaded, ranted, explained, reasoned and so forth in an effort to understand why people want to add to the plain reading of the Scriptures. Is it to appear smarter, to appease the evolution crowd by not really believing (and standing up for) what the Bible says? Is it ignorance of the domino effect of compromising from our foundations? I should not be so puzzled. After all, this is an age where people compromise the Word all over the place, listening instead to the Rev. Dr. Feelgood and his associate, E.R. Tickler. Believing in a literal six-day creation and global flood? Long forgotten!

The fact is, theistic evolution does significant violence to the gospel.

The atheistic formula for evolution is:
Evolution = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods.
In the theistic evolutionary view, God is added:
Theistic evolution = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods + God.
In this system God is not the omnipotent Lord of all things, whose Word has to be taken seriously by all men, but He is integrated into the evolutionary philosophy. This leads to 10 dangers for Christians.
You can read the rest of "Ten Dangers of Theistic Evolution" here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This Should Be Creation Sunday

For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together.
(Col. 1:16-17, World English Bible)
While secularists and apostate churches are proclaiming evolution on Darwin's birthday, those of us who believe the Bible should reflect on the Creator. To be blunt, to say that God used evolution in his method of creation is an offense to him.

Keep in mind that Jesus is the Creator. (No, I am not going modalist on you, I believe in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit; one God in three distinct persons.)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and apart from him not one thing came into being that has come into being. In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
John 1:1-5, Lexham English Bible)
Think about this, that our Creator who died on the cross and rose again for our redemption (1 Cor. 15.3-5 NASB) also said that he came to tell us the truth (John 8.45-46 NIV). The Creator himself said, when he was discussing marriage, that from the beginning God made them male and female (Mark 10.6-9); there is no room for evolution. For that matter, people who want to believe that they can "harmonize" evolution and creation overlook one fact: The order of creation does not occur in a time frame that is required by evolutionism.
To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
(Isaiah 40:25-26, RSV)
Let us give glory to God our creator, who really does not need to give us any thought at all (Psalm 8.4-9)!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Resource: Evolution Sunday?

As I mentioned in yesterday's brief episode (the one with the ninety seconds long audio clip), churches are sliding so far downhill that pastors are using material from atheists to promote evolution from the pulpit!

I feel that Christians who actually believe the word of God should not only be having "Creation Sunday" in their churches, but actively promoting "Question Evolution Day" (and questioning evolution every day with Scripture and science). One of the purposes of this Weblog is to encourage Christians to grow in the Word (2 Peter 3.18) and be able to stand for the truth (Jude 1.3, 2 Peter 3.15). Saying that Genesis is "just allegory" and compatible with evolution is not being truthful. (Quick example, the order of creation in Genesis has nothing to do with the sequence expected in evolutionism philosophies.) In fact, it is destructive to the gospel to compromise.

Here is today's resource. It is from "Crosstalk", "VCY America. I strongly urge you to listen to the interview with Ken Ham, as well as the calls from listeners afterward (I am particularly fond of a couple of the calls). There is a "Listen" section with several options (right-click to download), but this appears before the show's description. I am also attempting to link here, so you can listen:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pastors Supporting EVOLUTION?

Since Mohammedans do not believe that their god can have a son, some weak Christians are compromising to coddle them with an Islam-Friendly Bible. "Chrislam" is nothing but compromise. Can you believe that this is happening?

Maybe it shouldn't be such a surprise, since we have been compromising on the foundations of the Word as found in Genesis. If we do not have strong foundations, what good are we (Psalm 11.3)? More of this compromise involves an atheist promoting evolution in churches. Christian leaders supporting evolution are joining him. Spend a minute and a half with Ken Ham as he discusses this. (Click here if the embedded player fails.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Creation: Science and Theology

Also posted at "Stormbringer's Thunder" and at "Evolutionary Truth by Piltdown Superman".

This is a different kind of article for me, because it was a new experience. I pestered Chris Date to let me be on his "Theopologetics" podcast to talk about creation science. He was interested, and said he had someone else in mind so that all three of us could do the podcast. This would be great in the lead-up to "Question Evolution Day".

It was scheduled several weeks away. We got the outline of questions he was going to ask, and shared it online to create our responses. Finally, the evening of February 7, 2012 arrived. This was my first conference call on Skype, and only about the fifth time I've used it at all, so I was a bit awkward with it.

Chris is experienced not only with technological things, but able to develop the interview questions to bring out the strengths of his guests. He is also serious about theology itself, and takes the Bible very seriously (I recall asking him if he tends to over-think some things), so I knew we were in good hands.

After e-mail communications and sharing the outline online, I finally "met" Nathan Schumaker. I quickly learned that he takes his subject and studies seriously as well, and is quite knowledgeable. Some of what he presented, I had known from previous years (pretty sure I was the oldest guy there), but he also taught me a few things.

Chris projected a session time of two hours. Wrong-o! Three and a half hours. It was time well spent, however.

Frankly (mind if I call you Frank?), I wasn't all that thrilled with my part of the discussion. Chris was able to edit out things like connection drop-outs and restarts, but also those annoying times when I was talking and the dry air in this place got to my throat; I had to mute Skype, cough, take a swallow of water and come back. Those kinds of things are to be expected. I think my main problem was that I was trying to do too much, as if I'd never have another podcast experience or something. Since I had time to prepare the extensive notes, I kept going back and adding golden thought nuggets. Some of those were repetitious. Also, since I had so much that I thought was oh-so-vital to say, I did some tangential things. And I got lost in the notes on occasion.

When I gave live talks in churches, I did reasonably well, but this was different. Still, I don't give myself failing grades. This was a learning experience. I expect to do better next time, whenever that is.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I kiddingly wrote to Chris, "Hope you took all my stupid stuff out!" He kidded back, "Nope, I left your stupid stuff in :-)".

"So, what do we have, Cowboy Bob?"

We have a podcast in three parts that was recorded in one evening. It has science for creation, including the age of the Earth and the days of Genesis (Nathan Schumacher will give you quite a bit to ponder). Also, theology and a defense for the days of Genesis. I was able to spend some time discussing logical fallacies, as well as the way people use them outright to lie.

At this writing, only the first part is available for download or listening on the site.

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Creation Sunday

This is a re-working of last year's "On The Origin of Respectability". Most of it is the same, but I have included some updates.
In the beginning God created the heauen and the earth. And the earth was without forme and voide, and darkenesse was vpon the deepe, and the Spirit of God moued vpon ye waters. Then God saide, Let there be light: And there was light. And God sawe the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkenes. And God called the light, Day, and the darkenes, he called Night. So the euening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis 1.1-5 (Geneva)

Or, to say it another way: בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהֹום וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּֽיִם׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אֹור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור׃ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאֹור כִּי־טֹוב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים בֵּין הָאֹור וּבֵין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים ׀ לָאֹור יֹום וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹקֶר יֹום אֶחָֽד׃ פ

February 12 is failed theology student Charles Darwin's birthday. It is also "Question Evolution Day" and "Academic Freedom Day". (Actually, every day is "Question Evolution Day", but February 12 is given special notice.) It should be Creation Sunday as well, where Christians stand up for the truth of creation and refuse to compromise. Instead, many churches will disgrace themselves by promoting evolutionism from the pulpit. This is counterproductive, to say the least. What kind of message are we sending? "The Bible is true, we can trust it for our salvation and our doctrine. Genesis? No, that's allegory and not history." No wonder people have trouble believing in God and staying in the church!

Since the primary thrust of this Weblog is theological and not scientific, I will let you check some resources on your own. But I will give you some suggestions: Piltdown Superman, Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International. If those are not enough, I have many more apologetics links here. What, you're bothered because I am not giving equal time to evolution? We are constantly exposed to biases, skewed reports, tendentious interpretations of the facts and outright ridicule of our viewpoints. This is equal time!

There are church people who simply do not believe that the Bible is true (including having historical value), so they have no problem giving the appearance of scientific respectability to their churches. Some people believe in "theistic evolution", where God used evolution to cause his creation. Or they have God start the whole works and then he stepped back and let nature take its course. Some believe in "Progressive Creation", where God stepped in on occasion and did some more creating activity. These things require extreme eisegesis, making the Bible say what people want it to say.

Naturally, there are compromisers who do not want to take a stand or who have not bothered to examine the evidence for Creation. Nor have they examined the implications of their compromise with evolutionism. However, there are honest, intelligent people who have looked at some of the evidence and insist that the Earth is ancient, disagreeing with creationism. 

I want to give you a few things to think about, from the perspective of someone who believes that the Bible is true, evidence for an ancient Earth is dubious, and that evolution is false knowledge:
  • Which of the gradually evolving primates was Adam, and which was Eve?
  • When did Adam and Eve sin?
  • If they are simply stories or archetypes, we are being lied to throughout the Bible because Adam is spoken of as a real man. This becomes much worse because Adam is in the lineage of Jesus (Luke 3.28), Jesus referred to Adam and Eve as real created people (Matt. 19.4). Paul refers to Adam as a literal person, by whom sin entered the world (Rom. 5.12-14). Paul also referred to Jesus as "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15.45). Jude referred to Enoch and Adam as real people (Jude 1.14).
  • As I have said before, the word יוֹם translated "day" means "indefinite period of time" (as well as assorted other meanings, like part of a day, the darkness part of a day and so on), or as an indefinite period of time, but Genesis has strong qualifiers to make it a literal day: "Evening and morning, the (number) day". Also, this is the way it works throughout the Old Testament. Why should the early chapters of Genesis be the exceptions?
  • People will refer to Psalm 90.4 and 2 Peter 3.8, taking "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" to support their belief that the days of Genesis were not literal. How about a logical extension, then? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy." (Exodus 20:8-11, WEB) Look at the text again. God worked for six days and rested for one day as an example for us to follow in the Fourth Commandment. Those who compromise with the Bible have two problems here: Did God work for six thousand years and then rest for one thousand years? Or did he work for six indefinite periods of time and rest for an indefinite period of time?
  • If God used evolution, then why do we need God at all?
  • If Genesis is not true, how do we know we can trust the rest of the Bible?
As for me, I am not willing to let science interpret Scripture. After all, science is man-made. God's Word is eternal (Isaiah 40.8 NASB). If we changed our understanding of God and the Bible with every scientific "discovery", we would be a mess and Christianity itself would have collapsed long ago.

With all of the compromise and strange doctrines running rampant in the church today, I should not be surprised and disappointed that churches are not willing to stand up for our very foundations.

I am not going to go the other way, however, and say that we must hold to our views no matter what all science reveals. Perhaps our understandings of Scripture need to be adjusted on occasion. But carefully, with the bigger picture in mind.