Systematic Theology 5: Pneumatology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 3, 2023 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

The fourth category of doctrines we will examine is called Pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who is either the least discussed or is over-emphasized to a very unhealthy level. There is a reason why the Holy Spirit is often not spoken about much: because one of His primary jobs is to reveal Christ. So, unlike the Father and Christ, the Holy Spirit never points to Himself. Be careful about churches that over emphasize the Holy Spirit. I am not saying never talk about Him, but if the general trend is to talk about the Holy Spirit and NOT talk about what the Holy Spirit does, then you must be careful because something is not right.

One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to reveal Christ as mentioned above. He will showcase who the true Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible is, and one of the ways He does this is by illuminating Scripture. In my previous series, I wrote about how to read and understand the Bible. Above all I wrote in that series, it is the Holy Spirit who makes the Scriptures come alive. It’s not just understanding what the Bible states that gives it power; it is the active work of the Holy Spirit that gives it power. Spurgeon said that he would never think about trying to defend the Bible, because it would be like trying to defend a lion. Why would you? Just turn the lion loose and he’ll defend himself. Likewise, while apologists do make a strong effort to try to defend the Bible and the faith, I have been convicted that this is the totally wrong approach. We don’t need to defend the Bible intellectually. We instead need to turn it loose because the Bible, when used as the weapon of the Holy Spirit, will strike down the false teachings and demonic ideas and forces we face. For too long, I’ve merely relied on my intellect, rather than actually submitting to the Holy Spirit and letting Him do the battle.

One of the other jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of its sin. One thing you can state for sure: if a pastor or ministry refuses to deal with sin, and especially if they boast about not dealing with sin, you can mark that pastor or ministry as having nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. If they refuse to deal with sin, the Holy Spirit will, and they are at war with each other. I am not saying that every sermon has to only be about sin, however, when it shows up (which will be often) it does need to be addressed.

In this series, I am showcasing how each system of theology has to deal with origins, let us examine what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit regarding origins. The Holy Spirit is the second person of the Trinity mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis 1:2, God had created the primitive form of the earth, which was primarily just water and the Holy Spirit hovered over them. The term is more likened to “brooding” than mere “hovering.” And it was in this moment that the creation truly began and the Father said, “Let there be light.”

The Apostle Paul makes a connection between this passage of Genesis 1:1-3 and salvation. In Genesis 1:1-3, God creates the seed form of the earth that was incomplete, and the Holy Spirit “brooded” over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and the creation process began in greater detail. Then Paul states how in the same way God commanded light to come into existence, He also shines light upon our hearts. When God saves someone, we see the same process. The “seed” is planted, the Holy Spirit “broods” over that seed, and then God grants salvation. So even in the first three verses of Genesis, we have the process of salvation in its seed form.

The Holy Spirit didn’t merely enter the picture 2000 years ago at Pentecost. He was there from the start and had an active role in Creation. He was the agent who used the prophets to speak about future events and to reveal what was going on or what needed to happen. He is the one who does the work in plowing, sowing, planting, watering, making the seed grow, and then producing the harvest. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts man of sin, teaches man right from wrong, corrects and trains man in his journey of sanctification, and then protects and preserves man in salvation.

So, this concludes the three big systematic theology categories of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but there are six more to come. We will also be looking at anthropology (the study of man), hamartiology (the study of sin), soteriology (the study of salvation), ecclesiology (the study of the church), angelology (the study of the angelic/demonic), and eschatology (the study of end times). I am still baffled that cosmology (the study of origins) is not an explicit category here; a misunderstanding of origins will lead to a misunderstanding of each of these categories. So even though the study of origins is not formally in the list, I will argue that you don’t have a proper view of the rest of the systems without a proper view of origins. Stay tuned for next week on anthropology.

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Zedekiah, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 30, 2023 2 comments


by Katie Erickson

Well, friends, we have made it – Zedekiah is the last king of Judah, the last king of the divided nation of Israel before Judah was carried off into exile in Babylon. You may recall from last week’s post that the previous king, King Jehoiachin, was taken prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar was the one who put King Zedekiah (who happened to be King Jehoiachin’s uncle) in charge of Judah.

The narrative of King Zedekiah’s reign and the fall of Jerusalem is found in 2 Kings 24:17-25:26 and 2 Chronicles 36:10-23. Clearly, Judah’s demise was imminent, and it was just a matter of time. It’s not a good sign when a foreign king chooses the next king of your land! King Zedekiah did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as many of the kings before him had done. In 2 Kings 24:20, the author reiterates the fact that what was about to happen was clearly because of the Lord’s anger at all of Judah’s disobedience.

So what brought about the actual fall of Judah? It’s in the second half of verse 20: “Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.” Babylon was a very strong nation, and they had already taken the previous king of Judah as a prisoner. This was a very foolish move by King Zedekiah!

Naturally, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon responded immediately and forcefully. King Zedekiah’s rebellion happened in the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah’s reign, and Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem until the 11th year of Zedekiah’s reign! The city was completely cut off from outside resources for more than a year. The people of the city were in a time of famine with no food available.

Finally, the Babylonians broke through the walls of Jerusalem. The entire army that was in Jerusalem fled, but the Babylonian army pursued them and easily overtook them, capturing King Zedekiah. The Babylonians were exceedingly wicked people, and they killed King Zedekiah’s sons while he watched, and then they took out his eyes. The last thing he would remember seeing was the brutal execution of his children.

About a month later, the commander of the Babylonian army arrived in Jerusalem to oversee its total destruction. They set fire to the temple and all of the homes in Jerusalem. Every building was burned down. The army broke down the walls around the city. Any people who remained were carried into exile, except for some of the very poor people who were left behind to work the fields and vineyards. The poor were unlikely to cause any problems, and they could be useful by tending to the land.

Details are provided about what happened to all the specific furnishings of the temple. Generally speaking, it was all carried off as spoils of war back to Babylon. After that, we read a description of what happened to all of the religious, military, and government officials. In short, they were all taken to Babylon and executed.

“So Judah went into captivity, away from her land” (2 Kings 25:21). After that statement of finality, we read some historical notes about the people’s time in exile. A man named Gedaliah was appointed to be in charge of the few people left behind in Judah, and he encouraged the people to basically just give up and serve the king of Babylon. But, a rebel named Ishmael rose up and assassinated Gedaliah and a bunch of people who were with him. After that, all the people fled to Egypt to hide from the Babylonians.

This era in the history of God’s chosen people of Israel began in disobedience to God, and it was that disobedience that caused it to come to an end. The people wanted a king, so God gave them one, even though He knew that was not in their best interest. After the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon, it was during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam that the kingdom split. The 10 northern tribes kept the name Israel, and the 2 southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah took the name Judah.

Israel had all evil kings for their entire existence as the northern kingdom. They were conquered and carried off into exile under King Hoshea. Judah lasted longer, as the nation did have some good kings who honored God, but they, too, were destined for exile due to their continued disobedience to God.

The overarching sin in both kingdoms was idolatry. The people worshiped many gods other than the one true God, despite God’s clear command to worship Him and Him alone (Exodus 20:1-6). God continually gave them grace and took care of His people, and they constantly repaid Him by going against His commandments and worshiping other gods.

What can we learn today from this era in the history of Israel and Judah? The most important lesson is to do what they did not: worship God and God alone. We may feel like we’re doing a pretty good job at that because we don’t have Asherah, Baal, etc. that we worship, but we have so many other little gods in our lives; we have cell phones, social media, celebrities, etc. Anything that we focus on as a higher priority than God in our lives is an idol. Idolatry is the chief sin among people today as well; in fact, breaking every one of the Ten Commandments is based on idolatry. (Learn more in the blog post series beginning with this post by Charlie Wolcott.)

Today, we are just as guilty of idolatry as Israel and Judah. The form of idols we worship may be different, but the idea is the same: we worship so many things that are not of God. Does God forgive us? Yes – when we are truly repentant of those sins, we are covered by the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. But if we continually, habitually, and willfully disobey God and worship these idols, God’s judgment may come for us, too, just as it did for both Israel and Judah.

Learn from the history of the nation of Israel that our focus, both as individuals and as a nation, needs to be on being obedient to God and worshiping Him and Him alone!

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Systematic Theology 4: Christology

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 27, 2023 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Christology is the study of the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. When you hear lectures and read articles about Christology, they typically center around what is called the “hypostatic union,” that Jesus is both full God and fully man at the same time. The studies go through Scripture to showcase the deity of Christ but also showcase how He was also just as any other man simply without the sin nature.

The other angle that many take when studying Christology is in the study of Scripture. When Jesus, after He rose, He caught up with two disciples walking to Emmaus trying to process what happened. He spent the trip explaining from Moses through the Prophets how all Scripture pointed to Him. Spurgeon cited an account of a young preacher and his mentor discussing a sermon the young preacher had just given. The mentor said it was a poor sermon despite all the correct exegesis, despite all the good analogies, and despite all the good practical applications. The mentor said it was a poor sermon because there was no Christ. Why? Even though the text did not specify Jesus, it was the pastor’s job to find Christ in any text and to search and even cut a road to get to the Master.

For this blog post, I want to emphasize on Christ as He relates to origins. A severe problem that people have today in their Christology is that many think that Jesus didn’t actually exist until 2000 years ago when He became a man, born of the virgin Mary. Yet, if we look through the Old Testament, we see Jesus all over the place. The “Angel of the Lord” often shows up in the Old Testament, and those are likely the “pre-incarnate” appearances of Jesus. It could be argued that any physical manifestation that God used to meet His people was Jesus. This is why Abraham could eat with God, Jacob could wrestle with God, Moses could speak with God face-to-face, Gideon had his requests met, and Joshua met the Commander of the Armies of Heaven. These are all very likely pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus.

Jesus existed before all of history began, and He is the reason and purpose for why we exist, for why the earth exists. ALL things were made for Him, by Him, and to Him. Jesus is the point and purpose for why anything exists and why anything happens. The Creation is about Christ. The Fall was about Christ. The Flood was about Christ. The slavery in Egypt was about Christ. The Exodus was about Christ. The list goes on; it is all about Christ. The entire Old Testament was not just to give 300+ prophecies about Jesus here on earth but also to give many examples of how Jesus would behave or what Jesus would overcome. The Exodos crushes Egypt and the conquest crushes Canaan. The Flood crushes all life outside the Flood. “What about all those innocent people?” One, who said they were innocent? Two, Jesus said it plainly: “Unless you repent, you too will perish.” Three, God has a plan for all that takes place, and everything is about fulfilling that plan. And that plan has Jesus at the center, not us. While we are part of that plan, it’s not about us. If our Christology is correct, we will know this. But each of these cases of the Egypt, Canaan, and the Flood showcase God’s wrath against sin and to help us see that we desperately need a Savior.

Jesus is an active agent in this entire plan. The Father made the plan, and the plan is for His Son, but the Son was active in the plan and still is active. God designed the entirety of Creation and He spoke it into existence, but Jesus is that Word that was spoken. Jesus was the creating agent in Creation. So, when we talk about Creation and when we talk about origins, we can zoom in on the specific details of what “day” means or what “whole earth” means; however, we must zoom out and look at the big picture. The big picture is to reveal Christ.

One image I have used when discussing the big picture is that the entirety of Scripture and all of our doctrine is creating a mosaic – a lot of little snapshots of individual pictures that when combined will produce the proper image of Jesus. If we get one of the doctrines wrong, it is going to impact and affect our view of Jesus. One of the reasons I emphasize origins so much is because origins isn’t just tied with the doctrines regarding Christ but to every other doctrine as well. If one believes that this universe came about over natural processes over billions of years old and is consistent with what that requires and what that entails, such a person will one day deny Christ as being Lord and Savior.

Jesus needs to be the center of the study of origins, as He should be with any study. There are two sermons that excellently address this issue: Eric Ludy’s “Christophany” and Voddie Baucham’s “The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Post-Modern Age.” Christ and the gospel need to be center, especially when debating with other believers. While I am an adamant believer that the Bible teaches a “young earth” and I do not waiver on this issue, there is ultimately no point or purpose to believing that, unless it had effect upon the point and person as to why Jesus had to come in the first place. Take note that the Old Earth crowd makes separation of the gospel, and their origins models a centerpiece argument. Their entire game plan is to say, “I can be a Christian and believe this,” as though it was a completely extraneous and irrelevant belief. To which I say, “Why believe that then?” And the answer ultimately boils down to trying not to look stupid before their non-Christian peers, or worse, their already compromised professing Christian peers. But Jesus is never center stage in such approaches. The Old Earthers may profess belief in Christ and some of them may be genuinely born-again, but when discussing the age of the earth, Jesus is never center stage. It’s always a side topic, and He is usually only invoked as a shield to protect their views from scrutiny.

Is Jesus center of our life? Is He center of our academics? There is not ONE of us where that is truly the case – even me. Too many times I battle over origins without making Christ the center. Too many times, I’ll battle over Scripture but not get to what Scripture points to: Christ. Christ must be center; however, one of the biggest problems we have is that so many of us have a false view of Christ and instead have a figment of our imagination. That is why Bibliology must be our foundation; only the Jesus Christ as described in the Bible is the One who saves. If we believe in a false Jesus, we aren’t getting in.

Is Jesus center? If so, that means we are not. It means our intellect is not. It means our emotions are not. It means our dreams are not. It means our pleasures, comforts, or family are not. It may even mean our preferred doctrines are not. It means Christ is. The Christian life is not about making things easy for us; it is about conforming us into the image of Christ and preparing us to be His bride. That requires a process that will cleanse and remove us from sin and false teachings and idols called sanctification. But if Christ is not center, and we put ourselves in the center, then Jesus becomes a means for our end. If Jesus is not center and master and lord over everything, He will not be your savior either. Jesus IS Lord regardless, but if we are not submitted to Him, then we can be sure we have not been born again. Let Christ be center, regardless of how painful it will be, and regardless of how isolated it will make us. Next week, we’ll look at the Holy Spirit.

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John 17:6-12

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, January 24, 2023 0 comments


by Eric Hansen

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” - John 17:6-12

Verses 6 through 12 of John 17 are part of a section headlined as “Jesus Prays for His Disciples.” This whole section (vv. 6-19) ultimately applies not only to the disciples but to all believers, which will be covered in a future post. But for now I wanted to focus on vv. 6-12 specifically as it’s the bulk of Jesus’s prayer to us as believers.

The first 3 verses here essentially speak of how Jesus conducted His ministry while on Earth. He simply spoke the Truth as He needed to, when He needed to. It’s littered throughout the gospels how He conducted Himself in different situations and addressed certain people differently.

For example, when He healed the sick, He mostly just thanked the Father for being able to heal the person. When He met with someone struggling in life (the woman at the well, the paraplegic, etc.), then He was often in the middle of or started sharing some introspectives. He spoke to those individuals on a personal level, and the more “alone time” He had with the person, the more personal the discussion could be so they could understand the Truth. Then there were the religious leaders of the time, of course, with whom He was pretty direct and vulgar (for that time period). How Jesus spoke to them would be like in today’s culture if cancel culture was used for good instead of self.

In these verses, though, the important keywords are “you gave me,” “they have obeyed [your word],” and “they accepted them.” The Father puts people into our lives to minister to in some way, and that doesn’t look the same in all circumstances. He uses us to speak the Truth to others just as He used Jesus to do the same 2,000+ years ago. This is one of the reasons why we are and should be joyous of servitude, because even Jesus (part of the Godhead) was a servant in His first coming. However, it’s also important to remember that it’s not our duty to convert people but to share the Truth. The Holy Spirit works along with the Father to soften their heart so that they, too, may believe. We can hear it all we want, but if we don’t truly accept it and obey it, then it’s dead faith. Obeying is following God even when it’s inconvenient or painful, as we should aim to please God above ourselves, family, friends, career, etc.

Verse 9 strikes hard for me, as it is often taught as we should be praying for the enemies against Christ along with fellow believers. Yet Jesus says He is only praying for the ones the Father has sent Him – the ones brought to the Truth. The context of the passage makes it clear exactly why, but it also goes to show that while we should pray for those who are against God that their hearts will soften, we can’t forget to continuously pray for those already in the body of Christ as well. An analogy to this would be our health. If we focus on the external factors that can impact our health, we can’t neglect our actual health as well.

While I’m not a fan of prayers containing “hedge of [something]” like “hedge of protection,” through verses 10 and 11 Jesus asks the Father for protection over the disciples and other believers. As readers of the events that transpired afterwards, we can understand why this was said, but it’s pretty clear that Jesus was asking for parent-like protection over the children who would be doing nothing but fighting an uphill battle for as long as they remained faithful.

The word “protect” in verse 11 is an active imperative (a command), so Jesus isn’t just saying “Father, if it’s convenient for you to do so,” but He is saying, “Father, I know this is going to be a very difficult, very possibly deadly experience for all, so I need you to watch over them.” There is so much emphasis on these words that it’s almost a demand, but Jesus knows it’s all in the Father’s will. However, He can still express the importance and how much He loves the disciples (and us) by the emphasis. So, let’s rejoice as well in knowing that Jesus loved us so much that He came to the Father for us to protect us, to guard and watch over each of his sons, bought by the blood of Jesus into adopted sonship with the Father.

I’d like to close this out in a consideration of speaking the truth to those around us, and even ourselves. We should always lead with prayer, seeking to put God first in what we say rather than what we believe we should say. This removes us from the equation and lets God drive the conversation where it needs to be for His will. Then we need to remember that no matter the outcome, we have our protector in the Word and in our faith. With those, we have God’s blessing that His will be done not only through us but to us. There may be times we suffer for the truth, but there may also be times we plant that seed God waters to soften the heart and bring sight to the dead.

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Jehoiachin, King of Judah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 23, 2023 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We are nearing the end of the kings of the divided kingdom of Israel. Today we will look at Jehoiachin and what happened during his reign, then next week we’ll look at the last king, Zedekiah, and the fall of Judah into captivity.

Jehoiachin’s narrative can be found in 2 Kings 24:8-17 and 27-30 and in 2 Chronicles 36:8-10. The account in 2 Chronicles is very brief, basically just stating the details of King Jehoiachin’s reign and that King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and took him to Babylon. Fortunately, the account in 2 Kings 24 provides us with greater details of what happened.

There was already a lot of unrest in Judah even before Jehoiachin became the king. In last week’s post, I wrote about how King Jehoahaz had been captured by the king of Egypt, and then King Jehoiakim became a slave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. While Egypt was held at bay, Babylon had already taken territory in the land of Judah. So, Jehoiachin was not stepping into a good place as king!

King Jehoiachin was only 18 years old when he became the king, and he had a very short reign – only 3 months! Just like a few kings before him, Jehoiachin did evil in God’s eyes. He continued in the ways of idolatry just like his father and grandfather before him.

During King Jehoiachin’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked the land of Judah. King Nebuchadnezzar himself was present in that battle and went to Jerusalem personally while his armies were attacking the city. He took hostage King Jehoiachin, his mother, the royal officials, and all who attended to the king. King Jehoiachin of Judah was now a prisoner to the king of Babylon.

The author of 2 Kings reminds the reader that this all happened exactly as God had prophesied that it would. We see that prophecy from Isaiah to King Hezekiah just a few chapters earlier in 2 Kings 20:16-18: “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

We see the fulfillment of that prophecy in 2 Kings 24:13-14: “As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the LORD. He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.” The account then reiterates that King Nebuchadnezzar took everything from Judah – King Jehoiachin, his mother, his wives, all his officials, and everyone prominent in the land. He also took an army of 7000 men with him plus 1000 skilled workers and artisans.

Rather than completely destroy the nation, King Nebuchadnezzar just took everything and everyone that was in power in any way. He just left the poor people and the unskilled workers behind, likely thinking that the nation would then destroy itself with no one with money or skills left to take care of it. But, the land still needed a king since he was taking King Jehoiachin with him. Nebuchadnezzar appointed King Jehoiachin’s uncle (Kings Jehoahaz’s and Jehoiakim’s younger brother) Mattaniah the king and changed his name to Zedekiah, which is how he is referred to in the Scriptures.

Even though King Jehoiachin was no longer reining in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar chose not to kill him but rather to keep him as a hostage. Even though King Zedekiah reigned after him, King Jehoiachin is generally considered the last legitimate king of Judah, so it was important for the nation to record his fate. The last few verses of the book of 2 Kings do just that.

The nation of Judah had been exiled to Babylon for 37 years when King Jehoiachin was released from prison. This happened after King Nebuchadnezzar had died and his son Evil-Merodach had taken over. The new king of Babylon treated King Jehoiachin well, even giving him a seat of honor and providing for his needs with a regular allowance. King Jehoiachin was honored higher than other kings that Babylon had taken hostage.

While this time was one of great despair for the nation of Judah, King Jehoiachin’s life serves as a prophecy for what would happen to the nation. While the nation needed to serve time in exile just as King Jehoiachin was imprisoned, there would be a time when they would be released and able to live a good life once again. While God needed to punish their continued sin of idolatry, His grace would still prevail for His people.

The same is true for us. We often need to experience negative consequences for the times we disobey God, especially if it is habitual and willful disobedience like Judah’s, but God’s grace will always prevail! He will always love us, and when we have faith in Him, He will eventually turn things around so we experience God’s goodness once again in our lives. God is a God of redemption, both in the life of the nation of Judah and in our lives today.

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Systematic Theology 3: Theology Proper

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 20, 2023 1 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Theology Proper focuses on the study of God the Father. One of the things that theologians must be careful about is that when we study God, we are not studying a concept or an idea but a person. God is not a research specimen that fits under our microscope to manage and control. There are two ways we can study God. We can know things about Him, such as knowing about a sports superstar. We can learn all his stats, the games he’s played, how he won championships, etc. We can do the same with God. We can learn and study His attributes and His characteristics. However, unless you know that superstar personally, you only know about him rather than knowing him. Likewise, many people know a lot about God, but few actually know Him.

I have written many blog posts about the attributes of God and the names of God, and I even have a book on the attributes, actions, and character of God in the Psalms available from Worldview Warriors Publishing called The God of the Psalms. I have also written about God as Trinity. The bulk of the teachings on “theology proper” is regarding the attributes of God, so I am not going to spend a lot of time on that here. Instead, I will showcase how our beliefs and our observations that we attribute to God are actually in agreement to these attributes, while also addressing the origins debate.

There are two major competing origins views. One comes from the Bible, that God created everything in six days and roughly only 6000 years have passed since its completion. The other has many different flavors but all involve gradual processes over the span of millions of years, whether some “god” is part of the process or not. The young earth creationists and old earth creationists all proclaim that God created, but we differ in our beliefs of how He created. The question we have to ask is this: Does the model we believe and teach fit with the character of God the Father as revealed in Scripture?

This is a question few people are asking. Some are asking it because some do bring it up. If God created a world in which millions of years of animal death was the norm prior to sin (and that is without mentioning all the human remains and fossils that they say predate any image of Adam), does that reflect God’s character of never making anything with error or flaw? Likewise, if God truly is immutable and He never changes, then therefore His scientific laws should never change, therefore the earth is millions of years old, correct? Those are the two arguments regarding origins and the character of God.

I find the latter to be a categorical error because it compares the creation of God to be akin to the character of God. Yet we know from the Bible that the “laws of nature” are not unchangeable and absolute fact. How do we know that? Because the Bible has miracles, and when the end times comes, God is going to end everything. So, I find that attributing the laws of nature to being immutable is actually an unintentional form of deifying nature. And God is a jealous God; He will not tolerate competition for His glory.

That said, if animals were dying and life was corrupt and broken prior to sin, then that is saying that God is not only inept at creating things, making them flawed, but it also lessens God’s justice upon sin. Why? Because if death was already happening prior to sin, then God threatening death as judgment upon sin has no real weight. If Adam and Eve and the animals were going to die anyway, all that eating the fruit of the Tree did was speed it up. It didn’t change anything.

Lastly on this point, the art is a reflection of the artist. If the creation is corrupt, the creator is corrupt. And the teachings of life over the span of millions of years is not original to the last 200 years. The Gnostics taught it 2000 years ago, citing a corrupt creator, the Demiurge, who created the universe out of the corrupted essence of the “True God” as we see it today. I truly believe that if the teachings of millions of years were carried to their logical conclusion, the resulting models would be all but identical to the Gnostics. What we believe about origins reflects what believe about the Creator. Likewise, how we view the Creator will determine how we view the creation. We need to at least be consistent with our position. When we try to mix and match things because a lot of mainstream people believe something other than what the Bible says, it shows we really only believe what the audience in front of us believes. We as Christians are commanded to not let the fear of man dictate what we do or think.

God the Father is not just some concept out there either. He knows every thought we have about Him and how we treat Him, whether we want to recognize it or not. Every one of us do not, cannot, and will not ever be able to treat God with the honor and respect He deserves. Yet He chooses to love us in our finite, broken, and rebellious state. But He doesn’t ask for much from us: just to believe Him and obey Him. That takes trust – trust He is more than willing to build with us if we let Him. Throughout the Bible, God showcases His character in Israel’s history so that we all know that He is good and trustworthy. Yet we also learn in His dealings that He does not mess around regarding sin. This is why we can’t mess around with the Flood account.

This past November, I taught a session on the theology of the Flood during a Creation Conference I helped host. All I did was showcase the Biblical account of the pre-Flood world, the Flood account, and the post-Flood world according to Scripture and the theological lessons we learn from it. My audience said it was very helpful for them to see the issues involved and that it’s not small matter. The only point from that talk I’ll point out here is that the Flood had to be global in its extent just on the point of the message of the Gospel alone. In the non-global flood models, there would always be an escape for mankind outside the Ark. And that is a severe problem because the Ark has always been understood as a type of Christ, the one means of salvation. Every New Testament author who speaks of this event said only Noah and his family escaped via the Ark. No one else. It is a strike against God the Father to teach a non-global flood because it teaches that God’s judgment is not universal, comprehensive, and complete. Yet if we teach what the Bible does say about the Flood correctly, we’ll get God’s character of righteous judgment and mercy and grace correct as well.

Next week, we’ll examine Christology: the study of Jesus Christ.

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There's Something About Mary Schweitzer, Part 6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 19, 2023 1 comments


by Steve Risner

After a short break, we’re looking back at interviews done by Dr. Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina University, a paleontologist who discovered soft tissue in dinosaur bones. Her findings are consistent with what Biblical creationists believe and have believed all along: that creation of the earth and therefore life forms like dinosaurs happened about 6000 years ago and that dinosaur fossils were likely from the Flood of Noah’s day which was about 4400 years ago or so. Creationists have been attacked for saying such things, but it’s obviously true. We will look at some of the things Dr. Schweitzer, a Christian and former YEC (young-earth creationist), says about her discovery today.

Let’s start with something we’ve often said about how scientists, in their bias, may work in some of these scenarios. Dr. Schweitzer says:

And the danger of thinking you know everything is that it squashes curiosity and discourages further investigation. When I started down this path that I'm on, everybody “knew” organics don't persist in dinosaur bone. The bones are just too old. Organics degrade. You can't get DNA. You can't get cells. You certainly are not going to get cells in tissues. Well, so nobody looks. And if nobody looks...

Everybody “knew” organics don’t persist in dinosaur bones for two reasons: 1) because they believe dinosaur bones are tens of millions of years old and 2) research shows us that soft tissue can only persist for, under the most ideal conditions, for maybe 100,000 years if we’re lucky. Dr. Schweitzer acknowledged this, saying, “So, that leaves us with two alternatives for interpretation: either the dinosaurs aren’t as old as we think they are, or maybe we don’t know exactly how these things get preserved.” In other words, what we believe may be incorrect or what we have studied in the lab and determined fairly conclusively is incorrect. Hmm. It seems a lot of times that scientists don’t want to follow the science, especially if it means they need to abandon preconceived ideas and beliefs that are unverifiable.

Other things Dr. Schweitzer said on this topic of not believing what her evidence was trying to tell her were things like: “…of course everyone knew there cannot be organics in bone this old…” And, after being questioned by someone about what looked like blood cells in the sample, she said, “’What do you think they are?’ And I said, ‘Well, I know they can't be blood cells, but they're in the right place, the right location, the right size, and they're nucleated.’” After another colleague saw the red blood cells, she recalls, “My colleague brought it back and showed me, and I just got goose bumps, because everyone knows these things don't last for 65 million years.” She went so far as to walk on eggshells for a while, even using vague terms to not draw too much attention. “I never called them blood vessels or red blood cells. I said, ‘vessel-like structures,’ ‘cell-like structures.’”

Creationists are often badgered for taking Dr. Schweitzer’s work for what it seems to indicate: that the belief in dinosaur bones being at least 65 million years old is wrong. Many scientists have decided to hold on to this belief and have instead rejected the scientific research telling us soft tissue cannot persist for tens of millions of years. Do you see the problem here? They’ve decided to uphold a belief rather than trust the science. Yet, creationists are ridiculed for such things routinely. In fact, Dr. Jack Horner, Dr. Schweitzer’s mentor, even recategorized the facts of the research to be called “assumptions.” In Discover Magazine, Dr. Horner says that if soft tissue can last 65 million years, “there may be a lot of things out there that we’ve missed because of our assumption of how preservation works.” You see, it’s not factual anymore that research tells us soft tissue cannot last 1/650th of the time frame they require. It’s an assumption. Perhaps it would do the good doctor a little better to realize that claiming the dinosaur fossils are 65 million years old is an assumption—an unprovable one at that. While I can agree our assumptions can cause us to miss things, he’s declared the wrong bit of information an assumption.

With her discovery, her fist instinct, because she “knew” that soft tissue couldn’t be there, was to deny it and then, after she came to grips with it, to hide it. She says in this interview, “And so I sat there and I thought, ‘I'm not telling anybody.’” Obviously, she didn’t stick with that strategy. But, again, creationists are criticized for giving Dr. Schweitzer grief over this find, but the truth is she believed her own colleagues would bad mouth her. And they did. In her words, “The results were not well accepted. I mean, they were very controversial.”

This is one place of several where science can break down in terms of its objectivity. Either fear of ridicule and loss of funding squelch new discoveries or the desire for more funding and notoriety force sensational finds that really might not be so sensational. I believe the discovery of “Lucy” was like this. I wrote a little about that in this blog post called “Lucy’s Split Personality.” Following that link, you can see another famous scientist pointing to the exact same problems with some scientists. Johanson says, “It is hard for me now to admit how tangled in that thicket I was. But the insidious thing about bias is that it does make one deaf to the cries of other evidence.” The “other evidence” in this case would be research I’ve linked to previously that tells us soft tissue cannot remain remotely intact for 65 million (or in some cases a half billion) years.

But this is truly an example of, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve already made up my mind.” Dr. Schweitzer even recognizes the truth in the research, saying, "Everyone knows how soft tissues degrade. If you take a blood sample and you stick it on a shelf, you have nothing recognizable in about a week. So why would there be anything left in dinosaurs?" Jeffrey Bada, an organic geochemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, cannot imagine soft tissue surviving millions of years, says an article on the topic in Discover Magazine.

As I’ve stated often and even in this series, the “unbiased science” that we all want to trust so much comes down to money and publicity. Dr. Schweitzer complains about this, rightly so I would think, saying, “That's the saddest part about doing science in America: You are totally driven by what gets you funding.”

For creationists, truth doesn’t rest on funding. It is based on the Word of God. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” The ultimate source of truth is not found in science or scientists but in the God we serve. There are truths that the world can give us—the weight of a gallon of milk, the speed of the moon rotating about the earth, the conductivity of a certain metal. But there are truths far more important than this that truly give us meaning and purpose. Truth that answers questions like: Where did I come from? What is my purpose? Where am I going? Who am I? These questions are found answered in the Word of God. I hope you’ll join me as I join David as he says in Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.

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