Archive for the ‘Creation’ Category

On the 24 Hour Days "Argument" in Genesis

February 10, 2014

Arguing 24 hour days in Genesis is hardly necessary – the text doesn’t just say day – it specifies the kind of day – the kind with evening and morning. It’s not so much a question of arguing as just basic reading comprehension.

I posted the above on Facebook recently, and got some objections.  I’ve posted the objections with my responses.  I’ve tried to use some color coding to help highlight what words came from the objectors, although I’ve taken a little bit of liberty in terms of simplify, rewording, or omitting portions of the objections. I have not named the objectors, but would be happy to do so, if either of them wants to be named.

An objector might respond that the text specifies the pattern of the day but uses the evening and morning pattern, not the hour by hour pattern.

The value of this objection is low.  If the objector’s point is that a day could have been 25 hours or 23.5 hours – and didn’t have to be precisely 24 hours – fine.  But if the point is that “day” could have meant a billion years – that’s an entirely different thing.  Such a meaning for “day” is totally unreasonable.

The objector may respond that the argument is overstated in the sense that there is no way one can prove the 24hr day theory from the text.

Nevertheless, the text says day.  Moreover, the text specifies the morning/evening kind of day.  That kind of day is approximately 24 hours long.  It’s hard to see what could possibly be missing in that proof.

The objector may respond “That kind of day is approximately 24 hours long” is a scientific assumption you are reading back into the text. It assumes that the days as we observe today are exactly the same as the days of Genesis.

But no, it is not a “scientific” assumption.  Instead, it is the plain meaning of “evening/morning” to the Israelites to whom God through Moses wrote the text. In other words, the only way to try to poke a hole in the argument is to throw out grammatical/historical hermeneutics.

Another objector might respond that the method I just mentioned is exactly what I am suggesting we do with our current Scientific understandings.

Instead, I am just suggesting that the assumption of indefinite uniformity in the past is unjustified.

In response to “No, it’s not a “scientific” assumption – it’s the plain meaning of “evening/morning”” the first objector may respond that this is exactly the same prima facie proofing dispensationalists use for their eschatological theories. No one reads scripture in the sense of a strict grammarian, there are more factors that are involved in reading the text.

First, the only reason for not reading it according to the plain meaning is a desire to harmonize it with some ideas the objector got outside the text.  Furthermore, there is no need to falsely associate my objector’s view with someone else to point out that error.

Now, regarding dispensationalists and some of their interpretations – typically those errors the objector is pointing out arise in the context of trying interpret prophecy: statements about future events. That’s a different genre from history. IF(!) dispesnationalists apply the same kind of interpretation to prophetic passages as to historical passages, it is no surprise that they have errors.

The objector may respond that he is just pointing out the methodological approaches to reading scripture. Appeals to a “plain sense” reading are similar to the arguments heard from dispensationalists. It doesn’t mean the argument is invalid, it just means that particular methodology needs to be avoided.

Of course, the fact that people who come to wrong conclusions (let’s just assume they do, to avoid turning this into an eschatology discussion) sometimes use a specific form of argument does not make that argument wrong or suggest that the form of argument should be avoided.

Still, the objector may ask about “The plain sense of x”: What do you mean “plain sense”?

What I mean is not some secret meaning, like in a parable or prophecy; nor some specialized technical meaning, like in some detailed discussions of theology or other technical writing.  It’s the ordinary meaning people normally associate with the word.

So, for example, when God says he made Eve from Adam’s rib, rib means one of those bones around Adam’s lungs: it is not a code word for something else. On the other hand, when God speaks of the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” that’s a prophetic reference to Jesus. Different genres, different ways of looking at words.

The objector may then ask: would you argue that because Genesis 1-3 is describing events that are historical, that there are no other literary elements at work? The text is giving us a history, but it isn’t doing just that, nor is it doing it strictly chronological (more emphasis on the word strictly). It is providing us a theological understanding of the beginning of the universe, the world, and mankind.

You can have multiple literary elements at work in a single writing. For example, the gospels and Acts are historical accounts, but they are also providing a theological understanding of redemption, of Christology, and so on. We don’t hold the third day resurrection as being somehow doubtful, just because there are other purposes to the gospels than just to provide history. So, we also shouldn’t hold the sixth day Creation of man to be doubtful just because the purpose of Genesis is not just to provide history.

Now, if your point is that Genesis 1-3 is not “strictly” chronological, because after Genesis 1 describes the 6th day closing, Genesis 2 then provides more detail about the 6th day, ok. Likewise, if you are pointing out that God says first that “in the beginning” God created the heavens and the earth, before then explaining the day-by-day events of that, ok. In both cases, that’s a departure from strict chronology. But Genesis 1 does present a sequence of events that are described as occurring chronologically, with explicit relative and absolute chronological references.

And recall that while much of the Pentateuch was Moses writing under inspiration, there is a section where God himself wrote the text, in his own hand, in stone. There he wrote: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is … .”

The objector may respond that Ken Ham demonstrates that YECers rely on scientific models, so it’s a bit odd to attribute that conclusion to OEC speculation.

They rely on scientific models in different ways, as Ken Ham also explained during the debate. For example, scientific models are sometimes offered to hypothesize how people lived such enormous lengths of time before the flood, or how the animals dispersed to places like Antarctica, South America, and Australia.

The objector may respond that it’s quite a stretch to absolve Ham from placing how he reads on his scientific understandings, it would be a double standard. It all comes down to “Well since I agree with YEC, then Ham gets off the hook”.

Maybe the objector thinks it is a stretch because he has overlooked that Ham’s starting point is the text of Scripture, whereas for others the starting point is backwards extrapolation with a variety of assumptions, especially the assumption of indefinite uniformity.

The objector may respond that Ham asserts that his starting point is the text of scripture, but that’s a verbal fiat. It doesn’t carry over into all of his argumentation consistently.

He does, in fact, start with the text of Scripture. Now, if you are saying that at some points in his arguments he loses track of that starting point – ok – but that doesn’t change his starting point, it just leaves room for improvement in his argument.

– TurretinFan

The Age of the World, a Quick Historical Note

August 28, 2013

The British Cyclopaedia (1838), Volume 3, Literature, Geography, and History, in the epoch entry, includes the following among other things:

The Creation has been adopted as an epoch by Christian and Jewish writers, and would have been found very convenient, by doing away with the difficulty and ambiguity of counting before and after any particular date, as is necessary when the era begins at a later period. But, unfortunately, writers are not agreed as to the precise time of commencing. We consider the creation as taking place 4004 years B.C.; but there are about 140 different variations in this respect. The following are those that have been most generally used :—

The Era of Constantinople. In this era the creation is placed 5508 years B.C. It was used by the Russians until the time of Peter the Great, and is still used in the Greek church. The civil year begins the 1st of September, and the ecclesiastical towards the end of March; the day is not exactly determined. To reduce it to our era, subtract 5508 years from January to August, and 5509 from September to the end.
Era of Antioch, and Era of Alexandria. We place these together, because, although they differed at their formation by ten years, they afterwards coincided. They were both much in use by the early Christian writers attached to the churches of Antioch and Alexandria. In the computation of Alexandria, the creation was considered to be 5502 years before Christ, and, in consequence, the year 1 A.D. was equal to 5503. This computation continued to the year 284 A.D., which was called 5786. In the next year (285 A.D.), which should have been 5787, ten years were discarded, and the date became 5777. This is still used by the Abyssinians. The era of Antioch considered the creation to be 5492 years before Christ, and, therefore, the year 285 A.D. was 5777. As this was equal to the date of Alexandria, the two eras, from this time, were considered as one. Dates of the Alexandrian era are reduced to the Christian era by subtracting 5502 until the year 5786, and after that time by subtracting 5492. In the era of Antioch, 5492 are always subtracted.

The Abyssinian Era. The Abyssinians reckon their years from the creation, which they place in the 5493rd year before our era, on the 29th of August, old style; and their dates will consequently exceed ours by 5492 years, and 125 days; they have 12 months of 30 days each, and 5 days added to the end, called pagomen,from the Greek word παγωμενα(added). Another day is added at the end of every fourth year. To know which year is leap year, divide the date by 4, and if 3 remain, the year will be leap year. It always precedes the Julian leap year by 1 year and 4 months. To reduce Abyssinian time to the Julian year, subtract 5492 years and 125 days. The Abyssinians also use the era of Martyrs, or Diocletian, with the same months as in the above.

The Jewish Era. The Jews usually employed the era of the Seleucides, until the fifteenth century, when a new mode of computing was adopted by them. Some insist strongly on the antiquity of their present era; but it is generally believed not to be more ancient than the century above named. They date from the creation, which they consider to have been 3760 years and 3 months before the commencement of our era. Their year is luni-solari consisting either of 12 or 18 months each, and each month of 29 or 30 days. The civil year commences with or immediately after the new moon following the equinox of autumn. The average length of the year of 12 months is 354 days; but, by varying the length of the months Marchesvan and Chisleu, it may consist of 353 or 355 days also. In the same manner, the year of 13 months may contain 883, 384, or 885 days. In 19 years, 12 years have 12 months each, and 7 years 18 months.

One reason that this dating system is important to fans of textual criticism is that numerous medieval manuscripts can be dated by the above-described technique (see p. xiv here, for example).

That was long before Ken Ham (1951 – present) or Archbishop James Ussher (1581 – 1656) were ever a twinkle in their fathers’ eyes. For those hopelessly stupid, deluded, or deceived (is there some other option?) people who insist that assigning a young age to the Earth was an invention of the Seventh Day Adventists, keep in mind that these manuscripts go back well before the SDA movement started in 1863 or Ellen G. White (1827 – 1915).


Special Creation is a Key Part of the Gospel – not a "Taint"

March 29, 2013

Special Creation is a Key Part of the Gospel – not a “Taint” (to build on my previous post). Special creation is something frequently mentioned by both apostolic-era preachers and apostolic era-books.

Stephen’s Sermon
Acts 7:48-51
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Judged by the standard of short-term pragmatism, one might argue that Stephen’s sermon was not very effective (he was killed at the end of the sermon). Then again, Paul (then Saul of Tarsus) apparently was there witnessing it and was later converted.

And Paul himself made special creation a prominent part of his messages:

Paul’s Sermon in Lycaonia
Acts 14:15
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

Paul’s Sermon on Mars’ Hill
Acts 17:24-26
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

And Paul did not hesitate to mention it in his letter to the Corinthians:

Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians
1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Moreover, the doctrine gets top billing in both John’s Gospel and the book of Hebrews:

Book of John
John 1:3
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Book of Hebrews
Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 11:3
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.


Some of the Counsel of God is a "Taint" to the Rest?

March 29, 2013

Michael Patton seems to be continuing his downward spiral. In a new post, he writes:

The historic message of the Bible needs to take precedence over the theological nature of the Bible. And here is where I feel we Evangelicals, in our zeal and love for the Bible, taint the Gospel with unnecessary additions. These additions, more often than not, drag us down rabbit trails where we can end up losing Jesus altogether as we defend against thousands of claims of Bible contradictions.

This is really unbelievable. The theological nature of the Bible, outside some core represents a “taint” that risks “losing Jesus”? Contrast that with:

Acts 20:27
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Deuteronomy 8:3
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Psalm 119:160
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Luke 24:27
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

And what do the Scripture teach about Jesus?

Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Much more could be added, but inspiration and special creation are two of the things that Scripture teaches us about Jesus Christ. So, Patton should not consider these theological points either “unnecessary additions” or a “taint.”


Douglas Wilson vs. Andrew Sullivan on "Gay Marriage"

February 28, 2013

Doug Wilson has posted the gist of his prepared remarks from a debate with Andrew Sullivan on the topic of so-called “gay marriage.” (link to remarks) In general, I would agree with what Wilson said – although I cannot confirm his positive comments on Sullivan’s behavior (as I did not witness the debate).

Wilson has a great way with words, a gift I would love to obtain. For example:

As Dan Phillips has aptly noted, the most offensive verse in the Bible is not to be found in Leviticus or Deuteronomy with laws concerning homosexuals. It is not to be found in the New Testament when Paul tells wives to be submissive to their own husbands. It is not to be found in the places commanding the Amalekites to be smitten. The most offensive verse in the Bible is the very first one—in the beginning God created the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:1). This means that there are only two ways to go. We can work to discover the meaning of the world around us, a meaning embedded there by God. Or we can rebel against that meaning, and try to roll our own. Once we have rolled it, we usually try to smoke it.

This observation is really central to most of the interaction with non-Christianity – from Atheism/Agnosticism to Roman Catholicism. Our understanding of the world needs to proceed from the revelation God has provided, and if we don’t do that we end up victims of our own foolishness.


The Christian Doctrine of the Sabbath

February 14, 2013

The sabbath is a day of celebrating creation and redemption through rest from our ordinary work and worship of God.

Creation and Redemption can respectively be seen in the two versions of the fourth commandment:

Exodus 20:11
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Deuteronomy 5:15
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

However, Christ Jesus did a new work of Creation and Redemption and completed that on the first day of the week, when he arose from grave. Accordingly, since that time, believers have fathered for worship on the first of the seven, rather than on the seventh of the seven.

We see this is in the positive example of the apostles:

John 20:19
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Acts 20:7
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

1 Corinthians 16:2
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

We also see this in the negative example of the apostles, namely that they did outreach to the Jews on the Jewish Sabbath:

Acts 13:14
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Acts 13:42
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Acts 16:13
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 18:4
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

In general, the sabbath day is a day of rest. However, the sabbath does not absolutely prohibit all work. For example works of necessity and mercy are lawful on the sabbath:

Matthew 12:1-14
At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.”
But he said unto them, “Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.”
And he said unto them, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” Then saith he to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.” And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

Mark 2:23-28
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, “Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?”
And he said unto them, “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?” And he said unto them, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

Luke 6:1-11
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, “Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?”
And Jesus answering them said, “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?” And he said unto them, that the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst.” And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, “I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, “Stretch forth thy hand.” And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

John 5:5-16
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”
The impotent man answered him, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
Jesus saith unto him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, “It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”
He answered them, “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.”
Then asked they him, “What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?”
And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 7:21-24
Jesus answered and said unto them, “I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 9:14-16
And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, “He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.”
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.”
Others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?”
And there was a division among them.

The kind of work that is not appropriate for a day of rest is illustrated in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the post-exilic administration:

Exodus 16:22-25
And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

Exodus 35:2-3
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Numbers 15:32-36
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Nehemiah 10:31
And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

Nehemiah 13:15-21
In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, “What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.”
And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
Then I testified against them, and said unto them, “Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.

Jeremiah 17:20-25
And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

Nevertheless, these prohibitions should be understood contextually and as a restraint on work, not as fetters. Thus, for example, the Pharisees (and some modern Jews) overly rigidly interpreted the prohibition mentioned in Jeremiah, such as they considered the man carrying his bed to be sinning.

The sabbath rest we have is just a shadow and type of the rest that is to come.

Genesis 2:2-3
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Hebrews 3:11
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:18
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 4:3-11
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, “And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.”[Genesis 2:3] And in this place again, “If they shall enter into my rest.” [Psalm 95:11] Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, “To day,” after so long a time; as it is said, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” [Psalm 95:7] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

By contrast, those who do not follow God will not have this rest, but will instead have eternal torment:

Revelation 14:11
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

So let us seek to enter into the ultimate Sabbath, the Lord’s Day.

Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”


Finally, I can Agree with Peter Enns about Something

April 5, 2012

“You and I Have a Different God, I think,” is the title of Enns’ post, and he goes on to state that “I think we have a different God.” In that much, I think he’s right.

He claims:

And the Gospel certainly does not teach me that God is up there, at a distance, guiding the production of a diverse and rich biblical canon that nevertheless contains a single finely-tuned system of theology that he expects his people to be obsessed with “getting right” (and lash out at those who don’t agree).

But my God declares, by the mouth of Jude: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3)

I don’t adopts Enns’ caricature of our position, but even his caricature highlights the difference between us.  Enns does not think that the history of Genesis 1 is true history.  He does not believe that God created the world in six days.  If he does not believe what is plainly stated, should we be surprised that he doesn’t appreciate debate over fine points of theology?


Why Does the Universe Look So Old?

February 9, 2012

In human terms, of course, the universe is old.  It’s thousands of years old, much older than any living human, and maybe two orders of magnitude older than a typical retiree.  It’s old.  It is not, however, as old as people who adopt the presupposition of naturalism think it is.

These days they are telling us that the universe is between 13-14 Billion years old.  Even the Earth itself is between 4-5 Billion years old, they tell us.  Perhaps, on the presupposition of naturalism, that’s the “right” approximate age.

That presupposition of naturalism, however, is wrong.  The Earth only appears to be as old as naturalism would suggest it is.

But why then does the Earth look so “old.”  Is God lying to us by dressing the world in old clothes to deceive us about its true age?

First, God can hardly be accused of deceiving us about the world’s age, when he gives us such detailed information in Genesis and Exodus that allows us to generate an approximate age of the universe.

Second, what would a “young” universe look like?  On naturalism, a 6000 year old universe would be one that is totally inhospitable to life – the same for a 6000 year old Earth.  So, one obvious answer for the reason that the Earth and Universe don’t look “young” is that the Earth and Universe are here to support life.

Third, as David Gadbois has noted (see here) any conceivable universe that has the laws of conversation of mass and energy would look older than it is, because the existence of matter and/or energy would imply the indefinite past existence of matter and energy.

Fourth, this “apparent age” is subjective.  Sure, I know that “scientists” use various objective measures and perform calculations, but the notion of appearance is itself inherently subjective.  We see this subjectivity in the “increasing age of the universe” phenomenon.  Nineteenth century scientists evidently estimated the age of the world in the tens of millions to hundreds of millions of years range.  By contrast, the age of the earth is now estimated to be the billions of years, range – with no real guarantee that new theories won’t bring new revisions.

In short, given propositional divine revelation, any appearance of age of the universe is hardly problematic.  Moreover, since naturalism cannot account for fully formed worlds springing into being in a moment, it is unsurprising that the universe “appears” older than it is.  When the universe had just been formed, every possible naturalistic judgment of the earth’s age would necessarily suggest it was older than it actually is.  That is especially the case for an habitable world, given that both new universes and new earths (as described by the scientific theories du jour) would be completely inhospitable to human life.


Why An Old-Looking Earth? Five Possible Answers

October 10, 2011

In a comment box at Triablogue, Alex B. wrote:

Care to actually answer the question as to why your god would create a universe that looked old if he know that it would lead people from him?

I answer:

Alex didn’t explain why he wants this question answered.  First, however, let’s consider a few possible answers:

1) God did so, because he wanted it to lead people from him.
2) God did so, despite the fact that it would lead people from him because of a greater good.
3) God did so, despite the fact that it would lead people from him because of an equal good.
4) God did not do so, the premise that it leads people from him is wrong.
5) God did not do so, the premise that the universe looked old when God created it is wrong.

Second, let’s place an important caveat on this discussion.  Alex’s question may not be directly answered by Scripture.  Not every question has an answer in Scripture, even if it is a question that vexes the mind of a person who does not want to believe that his Creator exists.

Third, let’s consider the options.

First, possibly God specifically made the world to look old so that many people would not believe in God.  This contradicts the unspoken premise that God’s main purpose in life is to win over as many people as possible.  Nevertheless, surely it is obvious that God isn’t trying to do that.  So, the contradiction of that unspoken premise is hardly of much significance.

Second, possibly God specifically made the world to look old for some greater good.  Perhaps an old-looking universe is more comfortable to live in than a new-looking universe.  After all, a new-looking universe would be extremely hot, using contemporary scientific models for what constitutes appearance of youth in universes.

Third, possibly God specifically made the world to look old for some equal good.  After all, God could have made people more heat resistant and still made the universe look younger.  But then again, perhaps in this scenario, the heat resistance would have led an equal number of people from God.  This is all just speculation, of course – but since the question calls for speculation, why not speculate?

Fourth, there isn’t really any evidence that what leads people away from God is the appearance of age of the universe.  After all, people turned away from God even before modern cosmologies began claiming that the world was 13 billion years old.  So, the apparent age of the Earth may simply be an excuse of contemporary atheists and agnostics rather than the actual reason.

Fifth, the idea that the world “looks” old is largely subjective.  It depends on the presuppositions that one brings to the table.  21st century naturalistic assumptions lead one to conclude 13 billion years or so as the age of the universe.  Yet God has not left us to make assumptions.  Genesis provides a cosmology.  Using that cosmology as one’s starting point, the world doesn’t “look” 13 billion years old.


By the way, Fred Butler has provided his own thoughts relevant to the question.

Squid Lighting System – Clearly Designed

October 25, 2010

I don’t support the group that put on this presentation, and their purpose is not to show intelligent design of biological systems. Nevertheless, the following video provides some interesting insights. The video is mostly about the communication that bacteria use to communicate both within and among species of bacteria. The video also explains, however, a very special system in a certain variety of squid that relies on bacteria to help the squid operate in a sort of stealth mode. It is really quite fascinating:

It seems self-evident to me that the squid and the bacteria are designed, not simply the result of chance. I realize that people will disagree, but I don’t think it’s because the evidence is not clear enough.

– TurretinFan

Hat tip to Dr. James White for bringing this to my attention.

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