When Sin Overflows

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 31, 2016 0 comments


by Bill Seng

“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’” ~Genesis 15:12-16

We should be encouraged to know that all things work for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28). But things don’t always look the way we would like them to be. In these situations it is very easy to think that God has forgotten you. What is more, when wicked people seem to be prospering while you struggle in all things, it’s hard to believe that God has remembered you. The reign of the Amorites may have been such a case in the days of Abram.

The father of the Amorites was Canaan, the one who was cursed by Noah. Although the people who descended from Canaan seemed to be prosperous and powerful, they were all wicked and idolatrous. In the book of Genesis, Abram (later to be renamed Abraham), lived in the same region where the Amorites dwelt. No doubt, Abram was surrounded by all sorts of evil. Abram fell asleep while God was confirming his promise to him and it was while he was sleeping that God revealed the future. Apparently, the sins of the Amorites were linked in some way to Israel’s departure to Egypt and their return to the Promised Land.

It is never quite explained what the sin of the Amorites was. More than likely it was probably along the lines of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Many people would say that homosexuality was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, but their sin ran far deeper than that. Romans 1:24-27 reveals that the sins that we know as sodomy and bestiality (the latter of which was not mentioned of the Sodomites) are an indication that a culture has not only defied the natural order of things, but God’s righteous decree. This means that the sins of a nation are more than just condoning of one wicked act, but a multitude.

In the United States, we tend to think that, say, abortion will be the sin by which we are condemned. The reality is that abortion is a symptom of the wickedness of our country. In reality, the greatest sin America has committed is the rejection of the Word of God. Without a foundation in God’s Word, all other sins will inevitably follow. Today, many of us feel like maybe Abram did back in the days before God fulfilled his promise to him. Perhaps we will also have the opportunity to rejoice over the conquering of sin through God’s Holy Spirit and a nationwide revival. There is no telling what God has in store for us.

Nonetheless, God revealed that it would be 400 years until the sin of the Amorites would reach its peak! At the same time, the Israelites would be suffering in Egypt. Talk about discouragement!

Throughout the book of Judges, it is important to know who the Amorites are. For a good portion of the book they appear as a major enemy of the Israelites. Even after 400 years of the Amorites reigning in wickedness, the Israelites would still have to battle them in order to take their land. Ultimately, God would give them victory after Israel repented from her sins.

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.

READ MORE

Who Are the Amorites?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 30, 2016 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We’re in week three of our series on looking at other nations referred to in the Bible, and this week we’re looking at the Amorites. You can read about the Canaanites here, and the Amalekites here.

The Amorites were the descendants of one of the sons of Canaan (Genesis 10:15-18). We see them first mentioned in context in Genesis 14:7 where they were conquered, but not destroyed. In Genesis 14:13, we note that Abram (later known as Abraham) was an ally with Mamre, an Ammonite. Abram helped Mamre get his kingdom back, but later on the Amorites became enemies of Israel.

In Joshua 10:5-10 we read that the 5 kings of the Amorites were defeated by Joshua, and they were again defeated in Joshua 11 “until no survivors were left” (verse 8).

We read a little more about the Amorites in Judges 1:34-36. There we learn that they had trapped the weaker Israeli tribe of Dan, but then the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) were able to overpower them. In the time of Solomon in 1 Kings 9:20-21, we see that the Amorites were still around, and they were made to be slave labor to the Israelites.

So wait - the Amorites were all destroyed in Joshua 11, but then we’re still hearing about them in Judges and 1 Kings, which came later chronologically? What’s the deal with that? Well, the name Amorite is often used synonymously with the name Canaanite, and the Canaanites were a nation for a lot longer than these first Amorites we read about. It’s like saying I’m an Ohioan and an American; both are correct, but one is a little more specific. There were lots of Canaanites, and the Amorites were one specific group of them, and somewhere in history the two names got mingled together and mixed up until they essentially meant the same people.

The Amorites occupied the land of Syria, including Palestine. They were warlike mountaineers. The Egyptians represented them in their hieroglyphics as people with fair skin, light hair, blue eyes, and pointed beards. The Amorites controlled the land of Babylon from 2000-1595 B.C. The most famous Amorite (who you still may not have heard of) was Hammurabi. Hammurabi wrote a code of laws, which was his version of how people should live. Hammurabi’s code is sometimes compared with the Ten Commandments, since they are similar in nature of being ancient rules for living; however, the Ten Commandments were given by God, and Hammurabi was a regular man, though an important one in his day.

The Amorites are one example of how names can get confused over the course of history. Archaeologists and historians do their best to piece together who’s who and what happened in history, and the Bible is a valuable resource in tracking some of these ancient nations.

[Note: Much of this material was taken from the Easton Dictionary of the Bible and the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

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.

READ MORE

Rollercoaster Ride

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 29, 2016 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

Most of us have enjoyed trips to the amusement park. There is always a “King of all Kings” rollercoaster with long winding lines we wait in to experience the thrill of the ride. In our group of friends, we always have people who are willing to stand in line and experience the ride and some that sit on the park bench holding everyone else’s stuff. Even if you fall into the riding the rollercoaster crowd you still may be apprehensive, thinking things like:
“I hope the seatbelt holds.”
“I wonder where my will is?”
“I wish I hadn’t eaten that funnel cake.”

However, the people in this group still enjoy the ride, in spite of their fears. And after the short ride is over they are ready to go again.

Let’s consider the park goers who choose to stay safely seated on the park bench. Their thoughts might be more along these lines:
“What if the seatbelt breaks?”
“What if the car goes off of the track?”
“What if I fall to my death?”

These people are paralyzed by the “what ifs.” They are so afraid of what could happen that they never leave the park bench.

We were born to LIVE!!

This is just an analogy, but the “what ifs” and fear can paralyze us from living the life God intends for us to live. Taking steps out of our comfort zone is never easy, but when taken with Jesus as our pilot, it is so worth the ride.

If you find yourself feeling like you are merely living day to day, just surviving, I would like to encourage you to try something new. If God is leading you to a new ministry or area of service, and the “what ifs” or fear are the only things standing in your way, take that step of faith and trust Jesus with the process.

Don’t let life slip by as you sit safely on the sidelines. Face your fears and enjoy the ride.

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.

READ MORE

Eternity in Their Hearts - A Review

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 27, 2016 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

People who have missions experience or are interested in the lives of missionaries may have read Peace Child by Don Richardson. He wrote another book in 1983 that I just finished reading: Eternity in Their Hearts. This book is as old as I am and typically only the generation before me knows about it. This is very unfortunate, because what I saw in this book is very important for anyone who is trying to defend their faith in Christ.

Don Richardson wrote Eternity in Their Hearts with a mission perspective. He wrote the book to show how the world is already prepared for the Gospel and how the Gospel was prepared to go out into the world. But when I read it, while I understand the mission-driven point of view, I saw the worldview side of it. This post is a review of this book and I am going to say this is a MUST have for any Christian apologist.

The topic: Eternity in Their Hearts covers the stories and legends of 25 different tribes and people groups around the world from the Greeks, to the Canaanites, to the Inca, to tribes in India, China, Korea, Burma and more. Each of these tribes have things woven deep into their culture that strike an incredible resemblance to the Bible’s teachings, particularly Genesis 1-11. What kind of things?

Richardson’s first chapter covers different tribes, many of whom were polytheistic, who had a concept and idea of an ultimate supreme being who was above any of the other gods the people worshipped. The first story Richardson addresses is about Epimenides, a “prophet” who was aware of an unknown god without a name the Greeks had not appeased. He proposed a sacrifice of a “clean” animal quite similar to how the Jews did it, and offered it to the nameless god. This is the account Paul used in Acts 17 when addressing Mars Hill. He knew of the story and revealed the name of this unknown God to the Greeks.

Pachacuti was the king of the Inca shortly before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. To the Inca, the sun god was the chief of the gods. However, Pachacuti realized that the sun could be covered by a mere cloud and was only visible half the time. He discovered there was a single omnipotent God who was above and beyond all the others. Unfortunately the Incas had no one who brought the Gospel to them before the Conquistadors wiped them out.

My favorite account in the book was of the Santal of India. When missionaries Lars Skresfrud and Hans Borreson arrived, they heard of the stories of their history. The Santal has an account of Thakur Jiu, the Supreme God, interacting with an “Adam and Eve” who listened to “Lita” by making rice beer, getting drunk, and waking up realizing they were naked. Then the people then the people had to flee to Mount Harata to escape a flood. Those people settled in a plain, Sasan Beda, before Thakur Jiu scattered them. If you are remotely familiar with Genesis 1-11, this is quite spot on. The Santal tried to cross the mountains (likely Himilayan) and began to serve other gods to pass through and knowledge of Thakur Jiu was lost to legend but always stuck around.

I would go on and on, but one thing Richardson kept pointing out was how all these tribes had within their culture the things that pointed to God. These peoples were lost, but many of them longed for and sought the answer that was promised. Some were known to be waiting for “the book from God.” Others had very strange cultural practices that just so happened to be similar to those of the Hebrews. The Asmat of Netherlands New Guinea had a “scapegoat” tradition AND a “re-birthing” tradition. There was no need to try to explain what being born again meant to the Asmat because they already knew it. Richardson makes explicitly clear that all these legends and traditions were not “gospel truth,” but mere pictures of what God had in store for them, shadows of what Christ was to do. It is actually little different than what the Hebrews had. They had numerous pictures of what Christ was to do, while the picture itself was not the fulfilling promise. The difference between the general revelations of the different tribes and the special revelation of the Hebrews was that God had a direct hand in giving the Word to the Hebrews and validated it in numerous way that I do not have the space to get into here.

Richardson then also shows how through the entire Bible, God shows that the intention of giving the Hebrews his Word and his standards was not to make them “special” but so they could be the instruments to take it to the whole world. And through most of the Bible, we see a heavy reluctance in doing that.

Missions is Richardson’s driving point in this book. His goal and purpose was to encourage people to get out of their comfort zones and fulfill the “bottom line” of the original promise to Abraham (to bless all nations). However, what I see in this book is how the Biblical Worldview shows to be true. If the accounts of Genesis 1-11 are true, we should expect to see the different people’s tribes to have stories of the global events of Creation, Sin, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel dispersion. And we do. Richardson actually takes a whole chapter to address how the worldview issue has been attacked.

He addresses Edward Tylor who used Darwinian thinking (and the predecessor theories) to suggest a complete different history than what is actually there. Tylor suggests that monotheism came from polytheism which was just an invention to explain the soul and emotion. This theory also suggests that all peoples are “running a race” and the most advanced people group (Europeans at this time) had the right to dictate the standards for everyone else. Instead reality shows each people group is running a “different race.” Tylor theory was complete debunked but it has numerous “children” which are rampant today. The modern history textbooks, Evolution, and general secular humanism are all fruits of what Tylor compiled together and all of it has a specific purpose - the blind the eyes of the next generation from the actual history - which all points to Genesis 1-11.

Eternity in Their Hearts rang a lot of bells with me. With each section that lightbulb of awe lit up. I now know how to address how these people groups could be saved without hearing the Gospel: by looking forward to the coming of the Message, the same way the Jews before Christ were saved. This book is one I strongly recommend. Richardson is well-read and well-researched, and what he reveals matches precisely what we should expect if we take the Bible as truth. If it is not in your library, add it.

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.

READ MORE

Enemies for a Reason

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 24, 2016 0 comments


by Bill Seng

A former pastor at the church where I attend wanted to make it clear to us that there are always going to be people in our lives that will give us a hard time. Instead of looking at these people as obstacles, he encouraged us to look at them as opportunities. God puts all people in our lives for the sake of our personal growth. When somebody is a pain in my neck, my responsibility is to learn what God is trying to teach me through them. The Amalekites were one of those groups of people who were destined to try the faith of the Israelites.

In the book of Judges, the Amalekites are one of the groups of people hired to fight against the Israelites. The prophetess, Deborah, informed Barak that God was calling him to fight against and defeat the assembly of armies that the Amalekites would be a part of. With God on their side, Israel easily triumphed over them. Within the context of this story, the Amalekites are merely a side note, but it is interesting to learn where they came from. To understand who they are, you must understand the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

Isaac was the only son born of Abraham through his wife Sarah. He was the child that God had promised to Abraham, through whom God would create many nations. After Isaac married his wife, Rebekah, they were dismayed to find out that she was barren. As an answer to prayer, God “blessed” Rebekah by allowing her to carry twins. God said of them, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23).

The twins were named Jacob, who would later be renamed as Israel, and Esau. Esau was considered the older of the two children, thus he would be the servant of Israel. If you read the story of Jacob, it’s difficult find the correlation between the prophecy and these children. It was, however, Jacob who received the greatest blessings. On the other hand, Jacob’s other name, Israel, would become a metaphor for the relationship his descendants would have with God. Israel means “to wrestle with God.” Because of Israel’s strained relationship with God, people would be put in their path who would force them to turn back to him.

I participated in a club wrestling team when I was in middle school. It was in addition to the practices I would attend at Glenwood Middle School, and sometimes wrestlers from rival schools would attend these practices. One day, an ambitious and stern young wrestler came up from Donnell Middle School. We avoided each other until the end of practice when we had to compete against each other. Without divulging too much, we both left that practice not very happy with each other. A few years later, we were placed in the awkward position of having to wrestle on the same team and attend some of the same classes. We got to know each other better and even started to become friends. Eventually, he had a huge impact on my faith walk, and I would like to think that I had an influence on his as well. It’s been nearly 20 years since we first met as enemies and today we are best friends.

In terms of Israel and the Amalekites, the relationship was never healed. The Amalekites became one of the Arab people groups and to this day, they are at odds with the Israelites. But Jacob and his brother Esau had a happy ending. Esau forgave and showed forgiveness toward his brother and Jacob experienced the hand of God at work in healing his relationship with Esau. You never know what purpose people might serve within the course of your life. In the end, we must be open to what God might teach us through them and what God might teach them through us.

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.

READ MORE

Who Are the Amalekites?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 23, 2016 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

This week we’re continuing our series of looking into other people groups from the Bible. Last week we looked at the Canaanites, and today we’ll look into the Amalekites.

Where did the Amalekites come from? It would be easy to assume that they’re the descendents of Amalek (Genesis 36:12), but that’s not the case. Amalek was the grandson of Esau, who was the grandson of Abraham. We see them in Genesis 14:7, which is during Abraham’s time - 4 generations before Amalek was even both. However, we don’t know exactly where the Amalekites descended from before this first mention.

The Amalekites were a nomadic tribe, meaning they didn’t settle in one place but wandered the land as needed. They lived between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, and it is believed that they migrated there from the Persian Gulf area.

The Amalekites often tried to stop Israel, when Israel would be passing through their territory. We see a reference in Numbers 24:20 that the Amalekites were one of the first nations to attack the people of Israel after they left Egypt. Another battle with them is in Exodus 17:8-13. This is the battle where as long as Moses kept his hands up, Israel kept winning; if he lowered his hands, they started losing. Israel overcame the Amalekites in that battle, but they weren’t fully wiped out. Later in Deuteronomy 25:17-19, we see God reminding Israel about how the Amalekites had attacked them, and telling them that eventually they’ll blot out that tribe.

This prophecy came true when the Amalekites were finally defeated once and for all by King Saul in 1 Samuel 14:48. Later, in 1 Samuel 30:18-20, King David recovered all of the Amalekites’ treasures.

We don’t know much more about the Amalekites, since they were completely wiped out. Very little archaeological evidence has been found from them because of their relatively short existence as a people. The Amalekites are one more nation that God used to either bless or curse Israel, depending on their obedience (or lack thereof) to Him.

[Note: Much of this material was taken from the Easton Dictionary of the Bible and the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.]

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.

READ MORE

Three Positions: Below Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 20, 2016 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

In the last two weeks, I have discussed issues with people who are above Scripture and those who consider themselves equal to Scripture. Today I wrap up this mini-series with the place we should put ourselves: below Scripture.

To truly get what God intended to say, we need to consider ourselves not above Scripture, not equal to Scripture, but below Scripture. We look up to Scripture. We let it interpret itself. When it gives commands we listen to it, and we mold ourselves to fit around what it says. Bible scholars like to throw around big terms like “exegesis” and “eisegesis” in regards to reading Scripture. Exegesis is the proper way to read any document, especially Scripture, and one is not capable of reading with exegesis without putting themselves below Scripture. How can we carry this out?

First, we take the plain meaning of the text. How would you read any other document? It’s the same concept. If anything is confusing or seems weird, then you look around the document for clues on how to work it out. Stay within the context. The vast majority of Scripture is easily understood this way.

If we are below Scripture, we will not take outside ideas and examine Scripture with them as our guidelines. One of my peeves about Old Earth Creation, the Emergent Church theology, and the Homosexual “Christian” movements is that they take what our culture currently dictates and makes the Bible conform to what the culture says. In Christianity, however, we are to take the Bible and use its principles to guide and shape the culture. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the moral of society.”

If we are below Scripture, we will allow the thermostat of God’s standards determine the atmosphere of our lives. If we are above Scripture, God’s standards can do nothing more than measure the temperature. Where are we? Are we above Scripture, dictating to it what it should say? Are we equal to it, being friendly with it, but not listening to what it has to say if we don’t want to? Or are we below Scripture, where we let it dictate to us what we should do?

Today, nobody like the idea of someone else having control over us. That is a big part of why so few want to put themselves below Scripture. However, it is very clear we are a slave to someone, a slave to Christ or a slave to self. Those who refuse to submit to Christ are slaves to their sinful-self-seeking self. They think they are free, but are they? What the world says will free you, the Bible says will enslave you. What the world says will enslave you, the Bible says will free you. Who do you believe? The world, or the Bible? I love how Paul Washer describes it: “The freest man on the face of the earth is the one who makes himself a slave to a perfect master.” (10:47 mark). When we put ourselves below Scripture, we allow God’s Word to tell us how to live, and it is liberating. We live by a higher law that is above that of the world. We live with a greater freedom than the world can offer. We live in a greater dimension than the world has to offer. The Christian literally thinks in more dimensions than anyone in the world, because we have access to the spiritual side of things. Satan can offer spiritual insight, but he thinks as the world thinks. Jesus overcame the world. People like to follow the strong, and there is none stronger than Jesus. There is none wiser, and none can escape his rule.

People tell me that they do follow Jesus, but the Bible is below him. They are saying, “I believe Jesus, but I do not believe the book that reveals who he is.” Jesus repeatedly said that the Scriptures (the Old Testament at that time) pointed to him. He even said that Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) spoke of Jesus. Every part of the Bible points to Jesus. It is the Word of God. But, Jesus is also the Word of God. How is that possible? The Bible is the revealed Word of God put down in text form. So we have a written record of what God has revealed. Jesus is the revealed Word of God made flesh. If you took everything that the Bible talks about and personified it in one singular person, it would be Jesus. Jesus was not merely the one the Bible is talking about. He is also the full personal enunciation of it. He is the living, breathing Word of God. So anytime someone says to me, “I follow Jesus, but not the Bible,” they are diminishing who Jesus is. The Christ those people worship is not the risen Savior, but another Christ of their own making.

Do we listen to God’s commands? Do we submit to the authority of Scripture? Do we place the Bible as the ultimate authority upon which all other authorities must be judged? We can all use different standards. Science has one standard. Our governments have another. Our families have another. But no standard can be considered true unless it measures to the one TRUE standard: the Bible. Any ruler we use can be used, but unless it matches the standard definition of a foot, yard, meter, it is a faulty ruler. Can we still use it? Yes. But it’s not a true ruler, because it does not match. The Bible is the standard upon which all other standards must be measured. That includes our own judgement on different issues. We must judge with righteous judgement, by Biblical standards. Not by our own standards.

When we put ourselves below Scripture, we allow Scripture to mold us, shape us, and form us. That is what Christianity is all about: being conformed into the image of Christ. God will take us as we are, that is true. But he will not leave us as we are. If we are not wanting to be changed, we have not submitted to Christ and the legitimacy of our salvation should be examined. Put yourself below Scripture. Let it have the first and final say on all matters. And when it says something, believe it and obey it. Let it determine what it says and if you disagree with it, change yourself to make yourself agree with it. That is the true mentality of a born again believer as he/she studies the Bible. If you are not below Scripture, find out where you are putting yourself above it or equal to it and, in humility, confesses that arrogance and ask the Lord to be the ruler of your life in that area. That goes for me as much as anyone else. This is the position I aspire to have. I don’t always take it and when I don’t I am wrong. But that is the mentality I seek to have. I hope that you will too.

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.

READ MORE

What Did Jesus Say

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 19, 2016 0 comments


by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

This week we will be answering two questions in the series responding to a theistic evolutionist’s blog post called “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer.” This will conclude answering the questions, although a wrap up post will soon follow. I’ll be answering 2 questions because I already answered the first unknowingly already. Question number 9: Why is incest wrong? I answered this question in December and you can read it here: God must be crazy. I’ll just make a couple notes here and we’ll move on to question 10.

This theistic evolutionist, again, makes an assault on the Biblical narrative. He’ll claim he’s attacking those of us who actually believe it rather than the Bible itself, but I think we’re all smart enough to see through that fairly easily. He makes the claim that “...this is problematic because, biblically, incest is repeatedly and consistently described as a sin.” As I noted in the blog post linked above, not only is incest NOT described as a sin early on in the Bible, it was the ONLY means of procreation. In fact, the father of our faith—Abraham—was married to his half-sister, and the father of the theistic evolutionists’ faith—Charles Darwin—was also married to a close relative. Isaac and Jacob were as well, and Moses was the result of such a relationship. Tyler is unable to critically analyze a different culture from a very different time without using his 21st century lenses to view it. Taking things in context is not a strong point for theistic evolutionists. He also claims it’s inserting something extra-biblical to interpret the Word in this fashion. I’m not sure how else we can read the accounts in question, but he seems illiterate when it comes to the Bible as it is. Let’s move on to question 10. I hope you don’t feel I cheated on number 9.

Question 10: If it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally? I’ve seen this question a number of times from theistic evolutionists and even old earth creationists. They feel it’s a good question—almost a stumper. But the truth is it’s a very superficial question that, again, fails to understand things outside a 21st century mindset. Why didn’t Jesus command, “Thou shalt take Genesis literally”? Because that would be like Jesus commanding us to eat when we’re hungry. The rational, intelligent, consistent, and simplest way to view Genesis is to read it naturally. Those in the crowds that followed Jesus likely had no reason to be told to do something they never thought about not doing. Does that make sense?

It’s true that over the centuries some have come and gone who suggested perhaps that the creation account was not an historical one. Very few did so since Christ’s time until the 1700’s, but they did exist. Some went the opposite direction as the deep time advocates do and suggested the creation account broke down for us what God did instantaneously. St. Augustine was actually pointed to by the author of “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer” as an example of someone that believed as he does. That’s dishonest or a total misunderstanding—it must be one or the other. Augustine believed the creation was an instantaneous act of God. This is the exact opposite of Tyler’s beliefs that God really had little if anything to do with creation as He allowed natural processes (to date completely unknown processes that defy all observational data) to do all of the creating. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that skepticism began to emerge which led to an all-out assault on the Bible, championed by Lyell and Darwin as well as others. Now the narrative commonly told by deep time proponents is that “young-earth creationism” is a new thing only recently developed in the 1800’s. This is totally nonsense and contrary to the facts as I outlined here. But the short of the answer to this question is nearly everyone at the time read the account as historical and believed that God created the earth several thousand years earlier with the power of His Word. This is confirmed by Josephus. Why would Jesus need to emphasize to them something they already knew fundamentally as part of their faith? Hopefully, those who deny the clearly presented creation account will remove their blinders. Let’s note a couple other things here.

Tyler here says “Genesis.” This makes me wonder if any part of Genesis is historical to him. It seems like the entire foundation of the Bible is put up here as a fable that, although it has no truthful, factual information, teaches us something. He didn’t say “creation” or “Genesis 1 and 2” or even “Genesis 1-11.” He said Genesis. I have asked several times of old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists that if Genesis is an allegory—a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning—at what point does it stop being an allegory? Is it after the creation account? Is it after Noah? Is it after Babel? Is it after chapter 50 meaning when Exodus begins? I’ve asked this several times and I get a bunch of “hooey” (sorry for the technical term) in return. The question is rarely even acknowledged let alone addressed. This should tell you something about the integrity and validity of the movements we call OEC and TE.

Tyler also uses the word “literally.” This is what we call a strawman argument and it’s possible he is unaware it’s a strawman. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. No one claims that Genesis should be taken “literally.” Some creationists may use that term in discussions, but it’s rarely the proper word. Most generally, the term “natural” reading rather than “literal” reading is better. In other words, read the text and allow it to mean what it says. If something seems like a figure of speech, allow it to be that. If something is written as an historical account and uses a fairly normal structure as such, allow it to be that. If something is written in the style of a parable (or, as is frequently the case, if it’s introduced as though it’s a parable) let it be taken as a parable. Often times, someone you are having a discussion with will falsely represent your position in order to make it easier to argue against. This is what we call a strawman. A strawman is built up to be knocked down. Another example would be if a skeptic tells you there is no way the Ark could have held 7 million species of animals. This is true. The Ark likely could not hold 7 million species of animals. That’s why the Bible doesn’t say anything like this. The Ark likely had somewhere around 20,000 animals (many of which were likely small). In this series, I have identified numerous strawmen that theistic evolutionists frequently employ. I hope you’ll be better equipped to identify this tactic in the future so you can deal with it appropriately.

I feel this is frequently a tactic because it’s difficult to argue against the truth. It’s obvious that Biblical creationists may be incorrect on some things—details—that we simply can’t know and make guesses about. This is true regardless of what position you hold to. Everyone has some sort of “We can’t say for sure but...” issues in their beliefs. But the gist of the matter is the truth of the creation account followed by the Flood and embedded with genealogies with time frames attached make a fairly clear case from the Bible for a more recent creation that occurred in just under a week’s time. This was followed by a massive Flood that destroyed and rearranged the planet’s surface and killed all living animals not on the Ark. As a result of disobedience and pride, man was later dispersed at the Tower of Babel. This eventually led to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who are the founders of the Judeo-Christian faith. I can’t find a decent place to insert a break there from fable to historical.

Not only did Jesus not need to tell us we had to take “Genesis literally,” He actually did seem to indicate that He took it as such. He talked about “From the beginning of creation...” and referenced a male and a female (Adam and Eve). Jesus also said that if we fail to accept what Moses wrote, we could not accept what Jesus said. This is a clear warning against changing the natural and obvious meaning of the text in Genesis. Some have argued that perhaps Moses didn’t write Genesis. That’s fine. Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 both indicate God created the heavens and earth (that is, He created everything) in six days. Not many argue Moses didn’t write the book of Exodus. Jesus also talks about Abel, the son of Adam and Eve, as though He believed He was a real person martyred for his faithfulness. Not only that, but He introduced the list of the righteous killed for the faith with the phrase “from the foundation of the world.” There are many other Old Testament miraculous events Jesus seemed to think actually happened. Do theistic evolutionists believe these things occurred? Jesus talked about the Flood. Did He not think it was a real event that destroyed the surface of the earth? Seems like He did. I won’t belabor this by getting into how Jesus is the Word and the Word states repeatedly that God created the earth in 6 days. We’re running out of space in this blog post.

Jesus quite obviously, as well as all the Jews of the time Christ walked the earth, believes in a six-day creation that occurred about 6,000 years ago. This fact is very clear in Scripture. The integrity of the Bible is critical and the fact that the Bible is set apart from other religious works because of its historical accuracy tells me reducing the history to a fable sets up a terrible precedent that can easily lead to its logical conclusion—nothing in the Bible actually happened. But if we read it as historical rather than as an allegory, myth, or fable, we understand the authenticity of its message because the events recorded did happen.

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.

READ MORE

Canaan Son of Ham

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 17, 2016 0 comments


by Bill Seng

“Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” ~Genesis 9:25

James Laurinaitis always dreamed of playing football for The Ohio State Buckeyes. In 2004 his dream was all but certain to come true. He was named Defensive Mr. Football in the state of Minnesota, capturing 193 tackles and 5 sacks in his 2004 season. At The Ohio State University, his career garnered so much success that he went on to play professional football for the New Orleans Saints. But if you knew his family legacy, you might be less likely to be surprised.

His father was a rough character. He took an early interest in power lifting. At 6’2” and in the ball park of 300lbs, he was quite a sight to behold. Although he started his working life as a bouncer, you would be more familiar with him for what he did later in life. He was half of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (formerly World Wrestling Federation) Tag-Team, the Legion of Doom. His name is Joe Laurinaitis, but you may know him better as Animal. He and his tag-team partner Hawk wore big, scarlet, spikey football shoulder pads for their entrance attire. It was almost as though his son James was destined to be a Buckeye.

Family legacies can be either good or bad. In the days before the great flood of Genesis, Noah’s wife bore 3 sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood had subsided, Ham decided to humiliate his father, who found himself in a humiliating situation. Ham’s other brothers aided their father to prevent him from being ashamed, but when Noah realized what had happened, he cursed Ham and his descendants (Genesis 9:20-25). At the time, Ham had a son named Canaan who would suffer from the effects of the curse. Canaan would establish a land/nation that would be named after him in the Middle East. As much of a blessing as this might sound, it was solely through sinful idolatry that this nation would be established.

Canaan had a son that he named Cush. Cush is not that important compared to his son (grandson of Canaan), Nimrod. Nimrod is credited for having established many great nations in Assyria, the greatest of which was Babylon (Genesis 10:11). It is suspected that Nimrod was the mythologized Babylonian god, Marduk. Marduk was famed for slaying an angry deity known as Tiamat, which some speculate may really have been a ferocious beast of some sort (Nimrod was a famed hunter according to Genesis 10:9). Upon the defeat of Tiamat, Marduk built the city of Babylon. This city was littered with all sorts of temples dedicated to false gods. If Jerusalem could be called God’s capital on earth, Babylon would have been the devil’s. Nimrod’s legacy in the region lasted a long while as he founded other nations after the dispersion of Babel/Babylon. In Judges, we see the Israelites battling against various kings of Canaan. The Canaanites had always been a thorn in the region in which they dwelt.

We must consider what sort of legacy we leave our children and future descendants. Did Ham have to allow his children to become as rebellious as himself? Probably not. It is through pride and an unrepentant heart that parents pass bad habits down to their children. All people are given the opportunity to repent. No matter what sort of legacy your family has left for you, God always allows another chance for repentance.

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.

READ MORE

Who Are the Canaanites?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 16, 2016 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

We have been writing through the first few chapters of the book of Judges for most of the last month and a half, but we’re taking a little break from that now to go into some history of some of the people groups we see in Judges and elsewhere in the Bible. We at Worldview Warriors always stress how important the context is to interpreting any passage of the Bible, and part of the context is knowing the people in that passage.

We read a lot in the Bible about the people of Israel as God’s chosen people. But what about all the other people groups we read about? Where did they come from? Where are they today? For the next few weeks, we’ll be covering various Old Testament people groups. Today, we’re looking at the Canaanites.

So where did the Canaanites come from? Well, we know that every person on earth at the time was wiped out by the Flood (Genesis 6:13), except for Noah and his three sons and all their wives. Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and we see in Genesis 10:6 that Ham had a son named Canaan. If we continue reading Genesis 10:6-20, we see that the sons of Canaan became the Canaanites, and they scattered and took up a large geographic area.

A little bit later in history, we see Canaanites living near the sea and the Jordan River in Numbers 13:29. This was the Promised Land that God had promised to give to Israel, but Israel couldn’t live there if the Canaanites were living there. We see in Exodus 23:23 that God will wipe out the Canaanites for them, and in Deuteronomy 20:16-17 God commands Israel to kill all of them, not leaving anything that breathes alive. Either way, Israel was supposed to take over the land of the Canaanites completely. The details of all of the battles that took place for this are in the book of Joshua.

The Canaanites did not worship the one true God. Even though they descended from Noah, somewhere along the line they developed their own pagan god, whom they named Baal. The name Baal is actually a Hebrew word meaning master or lord. We see a “showdown” between Baal and God with the prophet Elijah on Mt Carmel in 1 Kings 18, where Baal is clearly proven to be a false god.

So where are the Canaanites today? They were never fully wiped out by Israel, and they were later called the Phoenicians by the Greeks. The Canaanites / Phoenicians were famous as merchants, seamen, and artists, and they lived along the coastline of what is now Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Syria.

The next time you see something about Canaan in the Bible, you’ll know a bit more about those people and who they were. This knowledge will hopefully help you have a better understanding of the Bible as a whole, which is important for growing in our faith and knowledge of God and His plan.

[Note: Much of this material was taken from the Easton Dictionary of the Bible.]

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.

READ MORE

Glimpses of You

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 15, 2016 0 comments


by Ami Samuels

“As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for God.” (Psalm 42:1)

Have you ever felt like God was distant from you, and you’re crying out, “God, where are you?”

Several years ago my family and I had moved to a new city and I remember feeling much like David did in Psalm 42. Only my exact words were, “God, I need to see glimpses of you, somewhere.” I was going to church, involved in Bible study, volunteering, and serving, yet I felt distant from God. There are several reasons this can happen. Sin and disobedience separate us from God.

In this particular season of my life, I would say that it was my disobedience that was causing this distance from God. I was busy doing what I thought I should do, rather than listening to God. I thought I had it all figured out.

In Luke 10:38 we find Jesus as a guest in the home of a woman named Martha. Martha was distracted and busy with all of the preparations that had to be made for their guest. Her sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to him. Martha became upset and asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus responded in Luke 10:41, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary had chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Like Martha, there are plenty of “good things” that we can busy ourselves with, but Jesus said, that Mary had chosen what was best, sitting at His feet listening.

God was telling me to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10). My argument was, “’Be still?!’ You can’t possibly mean ‘Be still!’ I have all day to serve you while my husband is at work and my kids are in school.” He never left me – He was just silent, patiently waiting on me to quiet my Spirit, listen, and obey Him.

If you feel like God is silent and you are longing to hear his voice, I would encourage you to read through the Psalms, spend time in prayer, and examine your life. Ask God to show you if there is any unconfessed sin or disobedience in your life that is hindering you from hearing His voice.

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.

READ MORE

The Bee, Lightning, the Snake, and a Goat

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 14, 2016 0 comments


by Nathan Buck

No, this is not a “bee” rated blog, with some campy story about a bee being struck by lightning. While that may be a curious sci-fi plot, it’s not the buzz of the passage we are talking about this week. (Ok, puns over. ;-) )

Take a moment and read Judges chapter 4. It’s important to understand the movement of the story before I explain a few things.

In this chapter we are introduced to Deborah and Barak. Deborah is serving as judge of Israel during this time. Remember, the judges were the God-appointed leaders who served to keep Israel on track with God’s teachings and ensured the nation represented God’s character and nature to the world. Judges were not in a political office, and they had no power or authority apart from God’s leadership. They were not kings or presidents, they were servants of the one true King - God. Barak is commander over Israel’s fighting men, and he is charged with protecting and defending Israel.

Deborah and Barak are serving during a time when Israel has again chosen evil and has been handed over to the king of Canaan - Jabin. For 20 years Israel is oppressed by Jabin, who rules with an iron fist. The general over Jabin’s armies is named Sisera.

All of that may seem straight forward, and as you follow the story most of what happens is pretty obviously seen. But, let me add some context to deepen its impact on us as we read.

Deborah’s name means “honeybee.”
Barak’s name means “lightning.”
Sisera’s name means “snake.”
Jael’s name means “mountain goat”

If you read carefully through Judges 4 again, you will see that Deborah/Honeybee is making decisive judgements about Israel under a date palm tree/”Honey tree.” She summons the soldier and defender of Israel, Barak/Lightning to “go” and take on Sisera/Snake based on God’s promise to deliver Sisera/Snake into Barak’s hand. Biblically speaking, when God sends lightning, it is supposed to strike by His command and according to His promise and purpose. Barak, however, hesitates and says he will only go if Deborah goes with him.

We should recognize the irony here, that ‘Lightning’ will not go as commanded, but wants ‘Honeybee’ to go with him. Barak appears to not be living opposite of his name, and that is confirmed by how God revises His promise regarding Sisera. Through Deborah, God speaks again that Sisera/Snake will be handed over, but it will be a woman who gets the honor and glory for his defeat. At the end of the chapter, we find out it was Jael/Mountain Goat who would get the honor, because she never left her loyalty to God, even though her husband had become an ally of the evil King Jabin. But look more closely at Sisera’s demise. Jael crushed Sisera/Snake’s head. Does that remind you of another promise God made in the Garden of Eden… to another ‘snake’?

Look at who leads and takes action through the whole passage. It’s not Barak/Lightning, who by name and definition as commander should have taken decisive action, trusting God’s promise. It’s God Himself who draws out Sisera and orchestrates every aspect of his defeat and capture. This calls out Barak’s lack of trust and obedience to God, specifically as something we should notice.

Then look again at the women honored in these events around Sisera and Jabin’s defeat. Look at the women who are servants to bring justice, rescue, and peace to Israel. It’s ‘Honeybee’ and ‘Mountain Goat’ who act to restore peace to the promised land that God said would flow with milk and honey.

I suppose we can also see that God is not above using a pun as an object lesson for us. Yet, after all that, we are left with a more personal question - who will we be like? Will we be someone who is a servant of God in name only? Or will we serve Him and trust Him regardless of what our place or position in life may be?

It would be easier to believe that lightning could kill a snake, instead of a honeybee or a goat. But it’s God who promised to crush the head of the snake (Satan, the enemy), and He can use whomever He chooses. He will use and give glory to those who trust Him with their lives. (And just to call this out more specifically – women of God, be encouraged, you are heroes in God’s story as much as anyone else.)

So, what about you and me today? Are we going to step boldly into the next part of our journey, trusting God’s plans and letting Him use us to crush the lies and schemes of the enemy? Will we be those who act to defend the oppressed, rescue the wandering, correct the rebellious, and bring the light of Truth to those who have been deceived? Will we take action to cut off the head of Satan’s accusations and temptations, as God draws them into the light? Or will we shrink back and hesitate?

God will accomplish His promises, whether we choose to be a part of them or not. Barak is an object lesson meant to challenge us. Are you a true “Bee-liever,” trusting God fully with your life? Or are you a “Christian” - in “name” only?

(There is so much symbolic and literary excellence in this chapter that I cannot unpack it in one blog post. It really is worth looking deeper, and here is an article you can dive into for more study.)

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.

READ MORE

Three Positions: Equal to Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 13, 2016 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about people who like to pride themselves above Scripture. They like to look down upon it with an “educated” critiquing gaze so they can figure out what they think Scripture says. It is a dangerous place to be because those that do this do not believe the Bible, nor its author, but themselves. Today, we’ll look at another almost more dangerous position: equal to Scripture.

If you are equal to Scripture, you are not above it, nor are you below it. This is where most Christians today, by practice, stand. If you are equal to Scripture, you are buddies with Scripture. You are friendly with it. You like it. You get along with it. You go play with it. You hang out together. However, you don’t submit to it. You don’t heeds its commands or warnings. You still do your own thing, even if you don’t lord yourself over it.

Equal to Scripture is like an acquaintance-type friend. Not your close, best friend who you can trust to tell you to fix things in your life, but like most childhood friends. You hang out during school. You go play together in the summer days. You have sleep overs. You go to parties. But when you are done, you go home and go your separate ways. You may greatly look forward to the next time you get together, but when they are not around you don’t think too much about them.

Being equal to Scripture is like having a favorite toy you played with as a child. You loved receiving the gift, or buying it yourself. You get it out and play with it. You take care of it. You keep it clean, you love it, you treat it kindly, and you don’t let others mess with it. But when you are done with it, you put it up on the shelf and move on.

Being equal to Scripture also means that your opinion has just as much weight as what the Bible says. If you are above Scripture, your opinions mean more than Scripture, and Scripture must bow to your intellect. If you are equal to Scripture, Scripture’s take on things does have value but you are able to put your own opinions on the table and both must be considered evenly.

Does this behavior look familiar? I know it has been in my life. I write constantly about the authority of Scripture and holding it as our primary source of truth, but how often in my own life do I treat myself as being equal to Scripture? I enjoy my Bible reading times at night and love talking about the Lord, and what he is doing, but I don’t buckle down and start applying the Bible’s teachings in my life. I’m guilty.

Or how many of us have our favorite Scripture verses and that is all we actually know of the Bible? Many of us can quote John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, or Psalm 23 without a problem. I have asked this question many times. Who knows what the context is of Jeremiah 29:11? Who was it written to? What was the situation? The response in the groups I have spoken at nearly show unanimous no clue of the context. Here it is. The people were to be sent into captivity, the ultimate low point of Jewish history in the Bible. The entire book of Lamentations is about this incident. Jeremiah told the people that they were going to be there for a long time, so build homes, have families, and bless their captors. This is not exactly a pleasant and good time, and nowhere close to what people quote the singular verse are saying.

Those who put themselves equal to Scripture tend to cherry-pick the verses they like and dismiss the passages they don’t like. Augustine of Hippo once said: “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” Jesus also said: “You cannot serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other.” People who are equal to Scripture are serving two masters: God and themselves. Jesus was talking about money in that quote, but the same concept applies across the board. These people love to receive the Bible’s take, but then they insert their own.

One thing I want to make very clear here is that very few people are capable of actually holding this position. They can do so for a time, but all who do this and claim this end up putting themselves above Scripture, especially at the point where the Bible says something they don’t like.

Progressive Creationist Hugh Ross is noted for saying that science is the 67th book of the Bible, that science completes the understanding of the Bible. He tries to put science equal to the Bible, but if you watch what he actually does, he never does hold them on the same authoritative tier. He always puts science above the Bible in all practice. He likes the Bible. He reads it. He gets it out and he studies it. But he does not submit to it. He thinks he is buddy-buddy with Scripture, that secular science can be friends with it. However, the philosophy of naturalism, like the Bible, demands top-billing, the top tier. I don’t remember who originally said this, but it fits: “If Jesus is not Lord OF all, he is not Lord AT all.”

Do we put ourselves equal to Scripture? Do we think we can have a fun time with God, but put him away when we have had enough? Do we think we can be friends with God without having to submit ourselves to him? If so, we need to re-examine ourselves. Many claim to be Christians with this attitude, and if we have it, we should examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith. Romans 10:9 says we need to declare with our mouth that Jesus Christ is LORD. That he is the ruler over our lives. How can he be the boss, if we only let him be a buddy? Too many want Jesus as Savior, as a friend, not as Lord, not as the ruler of their lives. I must warn you: Jesus will not have anything to do with that kind of relationship. Jesus said, “You must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Do we do that?

Next week, I wrap up this mini-series with the only place a Christian should take in regards to Scripture: below it. Do we lay it all down and submit ourselves to Christ and his teachings through Scripture? Do we try to mold Scripture to our understanding, or do we mold ourselves to what God teaches? Stay tuned for that.

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.

READ MORE

Revisiting a Certain Point of View

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 12, 2016 0 comments


by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next one is here.]

"Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Truly, I used that quote in March of last year to demonstrate that two different interpretations of the same facts are possible. This week we apply that, sort of, to the Genesis creation account. This blog post will consider a question a theistic evolutionist has posed as an “unanswerable” question in the realms of theology for a Bible-believing young earth creationist. Interestingly, as most of the things he’s called theological are not theological, this is not really a theological question either. It’s a question of understanding language, context, and purpose. The question this evolutionist is asking is in regard to the general creation account in Genesis 1 and the specific creation account found in Genesis 2. The question: Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict? The obvious and simplest answer is: they do not. But I’m sure that won’t satisfy him, so let’s explain it.

Let’s first point out that not only is this NOT an unanswerable question, it is in fact a question that has been answered for a very very long time by a great number of people. He talks about “young-earth” creationists having an issue here when, in reality, it was simply “Christians” who had the problem to deal with for a long time—until the religion of Darwinism reared its unscientific head actually. There is literally no reason to buy into Darwinian evolution and certainly even less reason to try to combine it with the Bible to get some sort of two headed monster that is heaped with contradiction and nonsense.

We have been looking at Tyler Francke’s blog post titled, “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer,” and this is question number 8. Question 8 is only a problem if you want it to be. It clearly isn’t a contradictory account from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2 if we actually look at the descriptions and what they intend to bring out. Yes, we can be sure the stories appear to have different details, but they are only surface deep and fit well into place once we see what’s happening.

Tyler says, “If these two stories are meant to be theological allegory, as I believe they are, then there’s no issue.” Not so. A story, whether an actual account or not, should be consistent, correct? It’s the same issue for him as it is for anyone else. But since he has no respect or regard for the written Word of God, he’s using a common atheist argument against the authority and accuracy of Scripture. I’m always skeptical of a Christian that joins with atheists to bad mouth the Bible or other believers. But to be sure, whether the account is fictional or actual, it still must be consistent. He has the exact same problem he believes the Biblical creationist has.

The question stems from the wrong assumption that the second chapter of Genesis is just a different account of creation to that in chapter 1. It should be evident that chapter 2 is not just ‘another’ account of creation because chapter 2 says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere, the seas, the land, the sun, the stars, the moon, the sea creatures, etc. Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them. Chapter 1 may be understood as creation from God’s perspective; it is ‘the big picture,’ an overview of the whole. Chapter 2 views the more important aspects from man’s perspective.

Josh McDowell (whose testimony I highly recommend you become familiar with) puts it this way: “The material dealing with the creation in the first two chapters of Genesis should be treated as a unit for a correct understanding of the creation and its theological teachings. The second account is complementary to the first, dealing more fully with the creation of our first ancestors, while the initial account gives a description of the world which was being fashioned for Adam and Eve to occupy.” Rather than looking at this as two separate accounts of the same event, which they are not, we should consider, I think, that these two accounts complement one another. Genesis 1 is a broad look at the creation week. Its focus is more on the physical creation of matter, energy, plants, animals, astronomical bodies, etc. Genesis 2 is a more detailed account of the spiritual creation—creating man and his partner to tend to the Garden and commune with God. In other words, it seems that Genesis 1 is the account of creation, preparing it for mankind to live while Genesis 2 is dealing more with the creation of man specifically and his authoritative role over the earth—he has dominion.

Tyler mentions the fact that if we understand Hebrew and how it should be translated, much of the “contradictions” in question dissolve immediately. He, however, incorrectly follows this up with “…the only reason to do so is to serve the translator’s underlying theological presuppositions.” So he's admitting here that the issue is not a “young earth creationist” issue but a Christian issue and has been dealt with for a long time. We also see that his assessment of the nature of the issue is actually false. The “only reason to” translate a text correctly is because we enjoy not doctoring the account to fit our presuppositions. The text clearly indicates that events happened in the past and were being brought up in the text later. This is found in relation to the animals in the Garden. The tense of a verb in Hebrew is generally understood by context as well as some clues within the text itself—how it’s written. According to Katie Erickson, the Worldview Warriors’ Greek/Hebrew egghead, “The verb there is an imperfect (present/future) but it has a vav consecutive, so it's translated like a perfect (past). Yes, they had all been formed at some point in the past, but whether that point is in the near past or far past is not clear from the verb itself. The form of the imperfect with the vav consecutive is often used in narrative style such as this.” This agrees with what Creation.com has to say on the subject: “It is clear from chapter 1 that the beasts and birds were created before Adam, so Jewish scholars would have understood the verb ‘formed’ in Genesis 2:19 to mean ‘had formed’ or ‘having formed.’ If we translate verse 19 as follows, ‘Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field …’, the apparent disagreement with Genesis 1 disappears completely.” They claim “it is clear” because “…in Hebrew the precise tense of a verb is determined by the context.” So, in reality here, Tyler is mocking the translation because it’s consistent, while he’s claiming it is inconsistent. This is the core of theistic evolutionist thinking.

Even Hugh Ross, who I believe has a lot of good material in spite of the fact that he is an old earth creationist (an old earth creationist generally will accept the creation account but will insert very long ages either between certain verses of Scripture or claim the account occurred a great number of millions or billions of years ago), agrees that the two accounts found in Genesis 1 and 2 are easily interpreted with no contradictions if we enjoy simply looking at the whole picture. He says, “Careful attention to verb tenses and to the purpose of each account eliminates any supposed contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. Plants, rain, man, animals, and woman are subjects of discussion in Genesis 2, but creation chronology is not the issue. The man (Adam) simply interacts first with the plants, then with the animals, and last of all, with the woman (Eve). His role with respect to each is delineated.” I don't generally quote old earth creationists, but this very readily shows the issue is not with the Bible but with the theistic evolutionist's desire to find fault in the historical account.

In other words, the two accounts are not two accounts but are to be read as a whole—one general and one specific with different subjects at their cores. Theistic evolutionists will ask why the two accounts have so many contradictions or differences when, in reality, because theistic evolutionists want there to be a problem, they refuse to accept the logical, historically held position that these two chapters are to be read as a whole—one being a detailed look at something specific rather than a retelling of the entire week of creation. This, like so many other “problems” Tyler Francke has with the Bible can easily be remedied if he actually desired them to be. But he has, like all other evolutionists, has accepted first the humanist story of our origins. He then is trying, very unsuccessfully, to marry humanism and Christianity—claiming the clear meaning of Scripture is in error only because we, as humans that the message was intended for, are incapable of understanding it as it's written. We need to force it to say something else or say it doesn't really mean what it says because man was too ignorant at the time of its writing to understand. In reality, science quite effortlessly supports a natural reading of the Genesis creation account.

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.

READ MORE

Chariots of Water

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, May 10, 2016 0 comments


by Bill Seng

“At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot.” ~Judges 4:15

Remember in Judges chapter 1 how God was with the men of Judah but they were ultimately unable to conquer the people of the plains who had iron chariots? This chapter is where God’s plan starts to take shape in relation to this detail. Sometimes we don’t understand why, when we are faithful to God, that we might fail to accomplish something. For whatever reason, it might be that God has not yet allowed it, so that he might secure more glory through your victory in the future.

Barak was afraid to take on these people because of their reputation. Sisera occupied the plain with 900 iron chariots. This means that these chariots had at least one horse and one rider, possibly more. The very sight would be horrifying. And yet, Deborah the prophetess assured Barak that God would give him success.

Verse 15 specifically says that the Lord routed Sisera. Although in chapter 1 God was with the men of Judah, the men of Judah may have been susceptible to receive praise for defeating such a force, thus diminishing the victory for the Lord’s sake. When we come across passages like this, we might wonder what such a route looked like. In chapter 5 we are told that the river flooded (v21).

The flooding of the river would have made it difficult for Sisera to carry out his typical military strategy. Men were swept away by the water, but their chariots were also rendered useless. The ground would have become muddy. The wheels of the chariots would have gotten stuck in the mud, rendering them useless. This is also evidenced by the fact that Sisera had to get off of his chariot and run.

When we acknowledge our own inadequacy, we can do so with confidence. When God calls us to do something, he knows full well of our inadequacies. He has planned those inadequacies into his plan to bring him even more glory. The lesson of the story is that Barak was right to fear Sisera according to human standards. His mistake was that he did not immediately trust the Word of the Lord. God made it so easy for the men of Israel to triumph, all they had to do was mop up the mess afterwards. God allowed a woman who was totally uninvolved in the war, Jael, to capture and kill Sisera. When we wait for God’s timing, his glory is made known and we will bask in his glory.

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.

READ MORE

Judges 4

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 9, 2016 0 comments


by Katie Erickson

The chapter of Judges 4 is too long to quote here, so please go read it here before continuing on, so this blog post will make more sense.

With all of the “gender issues” that have been in the news recently, it’s interesting that gender can be perceived as a significant thing in this passage. One way to look at it is, “Wow - Israel had a female judge? That’s pretty cool!” Another interpretation is, “Wow, Deborah was a great judge! Oh yeah, I guess she was female too.” A lot of people turn the story of Deborah into one in which gender is the main focus, especially in today’s culture where gender is often a hotly debated issue, whether it’s the issue of women pastors, a possible female president, transgender issues, or a variety of others. It’s true that Deborah was the only recorded female judge of Israel, but her actions are significant regardless of her gender.

I must admit that I have a personal connection to the story of Deborah. I’m a woman working in the predominantly male field of engineering, and I also often serve in a pastoral role as well in various churches. So I’m used to being a female in a world of males. Not only that, but my parents actually named me Deborah when I was born. (Nobody ever really called me that though, and I legally changed my name when I was 21 years old… but that’s a long story.)

So what’s the story of Deborah all about? Deborah was the judge, and she followed the Lord in appointing a man named Barak to command 10,000 men in fighting this battle (verse 6). Barak, however, wouldn’t go to battle without Deborah (verse 8)! This seems unusual, right - a man not wanting to be brave and courageous and go into battle without taking a woman? That shows the type of confidence and authority that Deborah had as the judge of Israel.

Deborah tells Barak that she’ll go along, but because he wouldn’t go without her, he won’t receive the glory for the win. Verse 9 implies that Deborah will receive the glory instead, but stay tuned!

The enemy they were fighting against was a man named Sisera and his army. Sisera had a large army, complete with iron chariots, which definitely gave them an advantage over Israel. God was with Israel, so Sisera’s entire army was slaughtered - verse 16 tells us that not a man was left! Sisera survived the battle and fled on foot. Sisera’s family had an alliance with a family nearby, that of Heber the Kenite, so that’s where he headed. And that’s where we see the other woman in this story - Jael.

Jael was the wife of Heber the Kenite, and she met Sisera at her tent. She pretends to be protecting him, but then the tables are turned - she kills him, with a tent peg! Barak comes by, and Jael shows him Sisera’s dead body.

So who got the glory? Barak’s army won the battle, but Jael actually received the glory for killing Sisera, their opponent’s commander.

Both Deborah and Jael are significant in this story, not just because they’re female, but because they were obedient to what God wanted them to do, whether big things or small things. Deborah had the big job of being the leader over all of Israel, and she was obedient to God because Israel had God’s favor in winning the battle. Jael ended up with a small job of killing Sisera, and she was obedient to God in that.

Regardless of your gender, how are you being obedient to God? Are you doing what He asks you to, even if it seems crazy? We as followers of Christ are all called to hear God’s voice and obey it.

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.

READ MORE

Why Should I Follow the Rules of Christianity?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, May 7, 2016 2 comments


by Nathan Buck

This week we are taking a break from our Judges series to address questions that we have received from listeners and readers across our blog and radio broadcasts. The question is, “Why should I follow the rules of Christianity?”

A very simple answer would be, “You don’t HAVE to,” especially if you are not considering yourself a follower of Jesus Christ. And if the question just means the religious rules observed in some groups, then the answer is doubly true, because many religious rules are human-made to preserve order, organization, or promote respect.

But if the question is aimed at what the Bible teaches as “right and wrong,” then there is more to the answer. If someone wants to live a moral life, there is a need to consider where the definition of moral behavior starts. Is it subjective and relative to a person’s culture and experience? Or is morality objective and transcendent of our culture and experience? (Transcendent meaning beyond culture and applying to/defining/shaping culture from an unbiased, eternal, objective point of view.)

Subjective morality is problematic at best. To put the adjective “subjective” before the word morality is to raise the priority of subjectivity over any moral value. Therefore, any moral value or law will be compromised by subjectivity, no matter how much a society or group may hold that law as necessary/sacred. It is not a matter of “if,” it is a matter of “when.” This is why ‘subjective morality’ has problems. It is also why secular humanism has issues. Whenever integrity, morality, law, justice, etc. are defined from a limited perspective, they have already been compromised and will only remain in effect until the strongest person or group can no longer maintain power or control. Ethically, this becomes tyranny and oppression, philosophically it is unsustainable, and logically it is a circle repetitively broken.

A moral standard must come from one who is objective and not compromised by limited perspective, in order to be ethically, philosophically, and logically sound. By rejecting God, or by assuming certain biased aspects of God, a person commits ethical, philosophical, and logical suicide - especially in regard to morality.

Those who embrace and study God’s relationship and work with humanity begin to see a God who has always loved and validated His worth in us, no matter what condition or moral compromise He finds us in. But He has never allowed us to stay there because He sees where that road will take us.

I was recently asked the question: “Why couldn’t we have a consensus/intersubjective/ objective morality? ‘True facts’ on which to base laws?” It’s not that we can’t, it’s just that it’s not reasonable or sustainable. For example, we could agree that murder is wrong. How long until the definition, circumstances, etc. under which ‘killing’ is considered ‘murder’ are called into question? And at that point, how many subjective perspectives about application and consequence can be accommodated before the law is compromised? Subjective morality suffers from the same issues as subjective religious behavior, it is unsustainable.

Human-created religions are useless. A morality based on an imagined god would be equally useless and only an exercise in ‘ghost power’ in order to maintain laws. Most religious texts originate in the imagination of humanity. So, most religions and mysticisms struggle with morality (either in regard to relativism or oppression). They do not alleviate the challenge of objective morality.

Let me share my reason for trusting the Bible, and why I believe it establishes moral objectivity, and proof of God. Hang in there, this is list, not a rant.

The Bible is the only text that documents an author greater than human imagination and honestly portrays the struggle of God’s love redeeming us from our selfish and rebellious ways. It also passes the standard of the rules of evidence, in regard to legally binding, documented, eyewitness accounts. And it has been substantiated by archeological, historical, and biological evidences. Beyond all of that, the chief evidence is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If we ignore this and evidences around Him, then of course we can ignore and cast this religion in the same light as any other religion of human origin. However, if Jesus is proof, then he not only validates the existence and involvement of God in relationship to us, but He also exposes the uselessness of subjective morality even where it creeps into Judeo/Christian beliefs. He exposes every place where humanity twisted God’s commands into something self-serving, and at the same time validates the integrity of God’s objective moral standards. Further, because of His sacrifice on our behalf, He mitigates completely our rebellion against those standards (a.k.a. sin). He also shows that God’s standards do not, and do not need to, ‘evolve.’ (Those who think God’s Word must evolve have misunderstood the context, or application of His standards and teachings.) Jesus affirms and demonstrates the validity and necessity of God’s corrective and redemptive presence hundreds of years after the initial standard is given, and ratifies God’s promise to help us live out that standard for the benefit of all creation.

In regard to other scientific evidence, I offer the fact of irreducible complexity. If matter, energy, and biology have in their essence an irreducibly complex structure, then it could not have come to be as a result of random combination. It must, by definition have come into existence with the complexity of its current state. This has been documented in scientific study, and is a place of considerable angst and debate for evolutionists. However, I submit it to you on the basis of considering intelligent design. Because, if there is a design, there is a designer, and if there is a designer, then that creator is the only one who knows the principle standards of health, life, existence, and sustainability for the created.

So, if Jesus, intelligent design, and God’s existence are all true, how should this impact our life, our understanding of existence, and our foundation for any moral lifestyle?

Let me offer one more thing to consider, especially if you think you are a Christian but pick and choose what teachings from the Bible you trust. Read 2 Timothy 2-3. The Apostle Paul explains to Timothy using three examples (military, sports, and agriculture) to get the beginning of his point across. He reminds Timothy of why boundaries and rules are useful, how to keep from being distracted by meaningless arguments, and reaffirms why the Word of God is trustworthy.

I encourage you, take some time to read these two brief chapters of the Bible and reflect on what Paul writes to Timothy. Then you decide: Is God’s way wise and good? And are God’s objective moral standards trustworthy and true? If yes, then the Bible is what you need to study (in its context), and the way of living God revealed through His Word and Jesus Christ are what you need to follow.

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.

READ MORE

Three Positions: Above Scripture

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 6, 2016 0 comments


by Charlie Wolcott

It is quite interesting when God hammers a point. On Sunday, April 24, my pastor preached on how to read the Bible. The very next day, I started a series in my Monday night Bible study on the canonization of the Bible (where it came from), how to read it, and how we can trust it. Then completely unintentionally with the timing, I am starting a series here about where you put yourself in relation to Scripture. I honestly did not plan to speak about this during my Bible study and write on it with Worldview Warriors at the same time. And I know, when this happens, we need to pay attention, because God is speaking.

Katie Erickson has written about fancy terms “Exegesis” and “Eisegesis”: that is, taking the clear meaning of a passage and getting your understanding from it alone, or taking your own experiences and worldview and reading that into the text. These two methods of reading and interpreting actually stem from a bigger issue: Where do you place yourself in regard to Scripture? Do you put yourself above Scripture? Equal to Scripture? Or below Scripture?

There are a lot of people that put themselves above Scripture. They roost high over it, looking down upon it, with the look of a coroner preparing to examine a body. Someone who is above Scripture considers his or her opinion to be of more importance than Scripture and is of the position that they have the right to determine what Scripture says. They often see it as an old ‘archaic’ text that really isn’t even alive anymore. Does that mentality seem familiar to you? It does to me. How often do you hear, “That’s your opinion, but not everyone interprets Scripture that way”? How often do you hear, “You are using your modern thinking to interpret Scripture for you,” when actually you aren’t, and they are?

The person who sits above Scripture believes they can work out what they think Scripture says and give it a meaning that makes “sense” to them. That they can take ‘this’ meaning from this verse, but not ‘that’ meaning from another one. These people are very often those who treat Scripture like a buffet where you have the whole set of options and can pick and choose which parts you want and which parts you don’t. These people look for what Scripture says that they can fit to their current model as they desire. In this position, Scripture is molded to fit an image or an idea.

Many of these people will actually look down compassionately towards Scripture with this line of thinking: “This book has been abused and misused for many generations and now it is no longer understood in today’s world. So I think God needs my help to get his message across.” None of them will actually say this, but this is the mentality they take. There are several groups of people that come to mind who hold this position: the Bible Skeptic, the Old Earth Creationist, the Homosexual “Christian,” and the Emergent Church mentality. Let’s take a look at not only what they preach, but what they practice.

The Bible Skeptic is not merely someone who seeks an honest examination of Scripture with doubts of its validity. It is someone who often tries to disprove the Bible. Bart Ehrman is the biggest name that comes to mind. He is a scholar, very educated, and well-researched. But he places himself above Scripture. He is the one making popular all the supposed contradictions in the Bible. By putting himself above Scripture, he gets to make the decisions about what it actually says and if he thinks there is a contradiction, there must be a contradiction.

The Old Earth Creationist, which Bill Seng, Steve Risner, and I have written often about, also holds this position. They take their understanding of modern science (which is really not science, but a philosophy of deep time) and try to make Scripture fit the model. They will never say they are doing this, but you will find that they never get an understanding of deep time from Scripture. It comes from outside Scripture, from a separate philosophy. And like the Bible Skeptic, they love their credentials more than they love Scripture, more than Christ.

I wrote a ten-post series about Matthew Vines and the supposed 10 reasons why the Bible “supports” homosexuality (it starts with this post). I am not going to rehash the whole series, but this position is exactly what Matthew Vines used in his analysis. He did not search for the true deeper meaning of Scripture. He searched for a way to try to manipulate Scripture to fit his ideals. He challenges us to look deeper into Scripture. I did, and he would not like the results (James White and others have addressed him as well).

Then there is the Emergent Church. These are the people that think truth is “springy,” that truth bends and molds around the culture. These are often the people that love to quote some Scriptures, but they take them out of context, to make them fit what they want it to say. Prosperity Gospel preachers fit in this category.

Something that is very key to note in all these approaches is the focus on “self.” All of these positions and those that put themselves above Scripture take a position where God, the Bible, and everything needs to cater to them. Scripture needs to fit what I want it to say. God is all for me and will help me and make me prosperous, even if I am living in complete defiance of his standards. If God loves me just as I am, then I don’t have to change because he loves me. It does not matter what I believe because God’s love is so great that I will go to heaven anyway.

How many of us have heard this mindset? Or worse, how many of us CARRY this mindset? If we do, we need to discard such a mindset, repent, and turn it around. Who made us so smart that we can determine what God said? Who made us so educated that we can tell God what he meant to say? What gives our intellect and research skills (or lack thereof) precedence over what God makes clear? To be honest, if God was not concerned about how we live, if he did not care about whether we change or not, 3/4 of the Bible would be non-existent. So much of the Bible speaks very honestly about whether the people followed him or not. The Bible is not going to mold around our desires, around our culture of our time. The laws of science do not bend and change according to our sensibilities. I’m sure many of us would love to shut off gravity at will. But we can’t. So why do so many of us think we can do that with the Bible?

In the next two weeks, I will explore two other positions we can hold: equal to the Bible, which is where most Christians are today, and below the Bible, where we all should be.

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.

READ MORE