Basic Doctrines: Faith

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 4, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Whenever I get into debates about origins with Old Earth Creationists, they always tend to bring up the fact that the method of creation never was listed as a core teaching of the Gospel, therefore it doesn’t matter how God created. I have major issues with this argument. The same people who say this try to lecture me about “understanding the culture.” Yet, they are the ones who don’t understand it, by preaching that the Bible teaches something it never did.

There are three reasons I will address why the Apostles never mentioned Genesis as a core teaching of Christianity. 1) It wasn’t being attacked at the time, so they saw little need to address it. 2) It was simply assumed as a core teaching already there, and therefore didn’t need to be addressed. 3) It is incorporated into these core teachings. I will expound upon the latter two.

I had an old earther try to cite to me 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 as being the Gospel message. In a nutshell, he said this passage does not include Genesis, therefore you can have any interpretation you want on Genesis (except what it actually states: 6-day creation with only a few thousand years having passed since). In my opinion, this man did not believe this passage as he claimed he did. He rejects the straightforward reading of Genesis, which Paul used to expound upon the summary of the Gospel at the beginning of the chapter and throughout the rest of the chapter. Paul spends six verses simplifying the Gospel into a few statements, then spends ten times that space explaining those first six verses and making frequent ties back to Genesis. Because this person rejects Genesis, he rejects Paul’s explanation of the Gospel. And because he rejects that explanation, he rejects the very passage he cited as the Gospel.

When you mess with foundational issues, you mess with everything else those issues build upon. Creation is such a foundational issue that many theologians have recognized that every core doctrine of Christianity traces directly or indirectly to some foreshadow, foundation, or reason laid out in Genesis, namely chapters 1-11. Every New Testament author refers to Genesis 1-11 at some point, and each of those chapters, except 8, are directly commented upon by the New Testament. It is not up for interpretation.

The Bible doesn’t merely talk about Creation and move on, but it uses Creation and the key events of early world history as a foundation upon which to plant the cross. There is no point or purpose to believing in a 6-day creation that took place just a few thousand years ago unless you take that account from Genesis and follow it through to the cross. The author of Hebrews only makes a couple small mentions of Creation, but that is due to it being an already presumed foundational understanding. In Hebrews 6, the author seeks to move on from basic, core teachings, but cannot because the audience isn’t ready for it. But later in Hebrews 11, we see two references to some key assumptions laid down.

In Hebrews 11:3, by faith we believe the God created the heavens and the earth by the word of His mouth so the visible was made by that which is invisible. Right there, we have a complete refutation of every old earth model that depends upon natural means and natural methods for the origins of the universe and man. But then Hebrews moves on to describe Enoch’s faith and makes this statement: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Pay attention to three things: First, it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is not a blind acceptance of a statement without evidence. The atheists claim that is what faith is and it certainly is the kind of faith they practice, but not us. We trust and believe in the Word of God, the person of God, and that He will do what He said He will do. In verse 3 above, we have faith in the record of a past event to showcase our trust in the one who did said act. We have faith in the Creator because we can trust the record of said creation. The record is what gives us reason to trust the author of the record. How anyone can claim to be a Christian and follower of Christ and not believe the record about Him (even regarding Creation) is beyond me. You cannot please someone if you don’t believe them. Likewise, if you don’t believe God on what He did regarding creation, let alone the cross, you are not pleasing to Him.

Second, you have to believe that God is. This is much more than that God exists, but that He IS. When Moses met God at the Burning Bush, he asked for God’s name and received: “I AM THAT I AM.” This means God is eternal, self-sufficient, the sustenance for life, the purpose for existence, superior, the ultimate authority, the foundation for everything, and the list goes on. Many people are fine with the idea of a creator God, as long as that Creator doesn’t tell them how He created, or that He is not sovereign over the affairs of man. But the God of the Bible is intimately involved in the affairs of man and will judge all of us one day. Unless you embrace that God is the Creator, doing it the way He said He did, then you do not believe that God is. Augustine of Hippo is credited to saying, “If you can pick and choose which parts of the Gospel you accept and which parts you do not, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” And he’s right.

Third, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God does not hide Himself from anyone who honestly wants to find Him. He will hide Himself from those who hate Him and want nothing to do with Him, and ultimately that is His mercy, so that they might live long enough to repent from such foolishness. I have never known God to turn down an honest seeker, and because God faithfully rewards those who diligently seek Him, I know that anyone who claims to have sought God and didn’t find Him did one of two things: they didn’t search, or they quit searching. Either way, they are lying to themselves about having sought the truth of God. No one who seeks God with their whole heart is turned away.

Do we believe God? Do we have faith that He is? I’m hardly scratching the surface here because faith is one of those words and terms that does not have a measurable depth. But I would recommend reading the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 or get ahold of Logan Ames’ book “Heroes of the Faith” where you can read more on what faith truly entails.

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