A Red Letter Bible and My Dad

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KJV Bible

But where do I begin?  I found that the red letters began in the third chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.  Jesus met with John the Baptist and wanted John to baptize him.  That is exactly what my teacher told me.  “Bobby, after you profess Jesus as your savior, you should follow Jesus’ example by being baptized.”  I continued reading the fourth chapter and
found that Jesus was tempted of Satan three times in a wilderness.  And each time Jesus was victorious over the
Tempter.

This was so exciting.  All the stories that I had heard in Sunday School and from my parents were right there in my own Bible.  In rapid succession I read about Jesus calling his first followers by saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Peter, James, John and Andrew left their work and followed Jesus as his disciple.  Oh this was so thrilling until I turned the page and found that the next few pages in my Bible were all written with words in red ink.  I thought that maybe there was a mistake and took my Bible to my dad.   I said, “Dad, there must be something wrong with my Bible”.  “Why do you say that?” he responded.  “Well I have found that there are just a few words written in red on some of the pages, but all of a sudden there are page after page full of red letters.”  I remember my dad was pleased with my question.   He took the time and said, “This is one of Jesus famous teachings.  It is called the Sermon on the Mount.”  Then my dad painted the most amazing and beautiful image about the scene of Jesus teaching on the mountain side that I will never forget.

Father’s Day is June 19th.  My dad has been with the Lord since 1984 but I still fondly remember that first Bible study with my dad.  Each year when Father’s Day rolls around I journey back in my mind and joyfully remember the study of the “words written in red” with my dad.

Atheism, Polytheism, Materialism, Evolution and Creation. Which concept is correct for the Christian?

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Mountains of Creation

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For the follower of Jehovah or Jesus Christ, the theological message of the first book of the Bible is, there is a God and God is responsible for all creation.  Beginning from the first verse of the Genesis we find the evidence of a supreme being that is the creator of all things; including the much debated creation of man.  Genesis 1:1 clearly encapsulates the whole of scripture; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  In this very simplistic but all-inclusive verse, we are presented with the evidence of one God for all to see.  God exists.  There is an implied absolute beginning and the God of the Bible brought all creation into existence.  “In the beginning God…”  The clarity of God being “in the beginning” sets the foundational stone that God was at the beginning.  Therefore God was before the beginning for He was the Creator. It is a stated fact

The Bible introduces us to God in Genesis chapter one.  The Hebrew word ‘God’ as used in verse one and thirty-one times in the first chapter of Genesis is Elohim.  Elohim is used over 2,500 times in the Old Testament.  Elohim emphasizes one supreme God stressing His power and quite often used when in the context of the Supreme Being in the act of creation.

Chapter one of Genesis is one of the most hotly debated chapters in the Bible.  Satan’s attack on the infallibility, inspired Word of God begins at the first verse.  Those against special creation, in six twenty-four hour days, form the battle lines between the forces of evil and of God.  If Satan can focus man’s attention away from creation, then he can also cause doubt on every other doctrine in scripture; atheism, polytheism, evolution, materialism and sin.  Is there a God?  Were the worlds created?  If Satan can cause uncertainty at this very fundamental point, Satan can cause doubt for every other fundamental doctrine in scripture.

Throughout the whole of scripture there is a consistent declaration of the creation and that God was the Creator.  (Exodus 20:11, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 90:2, 96:5, 148:5, Isaiah 45:18, John 1:3, Hebrews 11:3)

It is my intent to discuss the various theologies that are located in chapter one of Genesis.

The first will be the idea of atheism.  Atheism, according to its definition and etymology, declares a denial of the being of God.  Atheism, affirms the nonexistence of God.  An atheist is someone who rejects belief in any form of deity, not just the traditional Judeo/Christian God.  It is also interesting that there seems to be no consensus on the definition of atheism.  The atheistic theology is denounced in the very first verse of Genesis.  “In the beginning, God.”  There is no room for debate or even discussion in the Bible concerning whether there is a God or not.  The statement carries with it the most profound and yet simple statement ever made there is a God. So therefore atheism is opposed.  In Psalm14:1, the psalmist David declares, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God…”

In every aspect of our life, there is a Cause and an Effect.  The one argument the atheist cannot answer is where the first ‘cause’, creation, came from.  The ‘effect’ is the solar system, animals, plants and man.  Who was the first Cause?  Genesis tells us it was God who started all creation when He spoke and said;

“Let there be light”

“Let there be a firmament”

“Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind”

“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;”

“Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven

“Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”

Atheism does not present a viable solution in lieu of creation; therefore it is not a viable theology as God created the heavens and earth.

Another theology to explore is polytheism.  Polytheism by its very entomology means – poly – many and theism – god.  It is the belief of numerous personal deities, called gods or goddesses.  These gods are finite as they had a beginning as the result of sexual union or created from natural forces.  Each deity has its own belief system and rituals.  Their rule is normally over a particular domain such as the earth, sky, sea, love, etc.   Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but can center their belief and worship of one particular deity.  Other polytheists can worship different deities at different times according to their need.

Polytheism then is in direct contradiction to the scriptures, particularly in Genesis chapter one.  Over and over again we see that Elohim was the creator and the only God.

The next point to discuss is materialism.  Materialism is a human philosophical invention.  Materialism is the belief system that matter is the only reality.  The main tenet of the materialist is that matter, left to itself, produced all things.  The universe was randomly formed by the organizing of materials already in the cosmos.  Life was eventually formed by purely natural means.  Materialism continues that since matter produced all things that includes man and his brain.  Over time this brain then imagined the idea of things supernatural, which includes the idea of the spiritual realm, of God, gods, of eternal life, and so forth.

Materialism is unavoidably atheistic.  The theory of materialism is its own enemy and is fatalistically flawed because it denies any purpose; everything is reduced in importance to mere chance.  The only source for understanding materialism is human thought.  Therefore materialism is only defined by the brain which was formed by random materials.

The final point of discussion is evolution.  Evolution is defined from the Latin term evolution meaning “unfolding”.  Evolution first appeared about 900 BC so it is a late theory.  There are many different fields of evolution, but in considering evolution in light of Genesis, this discussion is centered on biological evolution.  From the evolutionist point of view life came from the non-living (materialism).  Life was not there then suddenly all materials came together and life appeared.  That is called spontaneous generation.  The evolutionist will not define where the materials originally came from, just that it did and it became an accepted fact.  This is the point of beginning for the evolutionist.  Life just started and then began evolving.  In order to have an evolving species life must have begun.  There is no stake in the sand, just the idea that life happened by natural means not through a supreme being.

Evolution and Genesis are in direct opposition to each other.  On the one hand the evolutionist believes life came from non-life materials that were already in the cosmos.  The creation account in Genesis chapter one defines that God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing.  No materials floating around for God to use.  God spoke the worlds into space and time.  God spoke and plants, animals and man were created, ex nihilo.  Creation says there is a supreme being that created.  Evolution says there was no creator, just material.

Conclusion

In the first verse of the first Book of the Bible we have the confirmation of God.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  This first verse rebuts atheism because it explains the existence of God.  It rebuts polytheism as it explains that there is one God.  It rebuts materialism, for it shows that God created the materials in creation.  And finally it rebuts evolution as God created the animals and man.  God did not leave it to chance.

Should we take the six days of creation literally as twenty-four hour days?

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There are several theological and scientific views concerning the creation of all things; cosmos, earth, animals and man.  The two foundational stones in each of these theories centers on; (1) the time it took for creation; billions of years to six literal days, and (2) who or what was the force behind creation.

Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam (1512) is ...

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The point of the argument is this; “Does God really mean what He says?”  A “face value” reading of Genesis chapter one, in context and without any preconceived external ideologies, would lead the reader to believe that God created all things, including the first two human beings in six literal days.  Each day is defined with the phrase “and the evening and a morning were the (first, second, etc.) day”.  Moses, the author of Genesis, was writing in the language of his day to be understood, most importantly through the inspiration of God, and concluded that each day of creation was an “evening and morning”.  Six days of creating and then one day of resting.  By accepting the six literal days of creation, the earth then is not billions of years old, but instead just thousands or a young earth compared to an old earth.  There is no need to insert time gaps into the creation model unless it is to force another theory into Genesis chapter one.

The word “day” can have many meanings and uses.  A day can mean “a period of time”, or “daylight hours”, or “a twenty-four hour period”.  It is important to understand how the word is being used in Genesis One, in context, just as it would to be for someone today to understand when they said, “Back in my dad’s day” or “let’s meet one day next week” or “two days from now”.  Each use of the word “day” has a specific meaning that can only be truly understood when used in the context of the sentence.  The Hebrew word for day is “yom” and like the English word “day”, according to a typical concordance, has many different meanings including;   a specific point of time, a period of light as contrasted to darkness (Genesis 1:5; 14-16, 18), a 24-hour period, a chronology, a year or an indefinite period of time (Psalms 90:10.

Considering the different uses of “yom”, the only way to correctly define what God meant when he signified “evening and morning were the (first, second, etc.) day” is to look at the context and structure of the sentence.  In hermeneutics there is a statement that says; “A text without context is pretext.”  In other words if we take the text out of the context in which it is written leads one to have a pretext of the meaning outside of the meaning of the writer.

In each instance of the days of creation (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), the phrase “evening and morning” are used with the number of the creation day.  If we look at the other uses of “yom” outside of the creation of Genesis chapter one, there are over three hundred times where a number and “yom” are used that mean a literal twenty-four hour period.  Looking at the phrase “evening and morning” with “yom”, there are over sixty times they are used together and each time is an ordinary day.  Why would the usage of “yom” in Genesis chapter one be different than all these other verses?

Therefore on this one point, in the usage of the words of our language, in the context they were written and their definitions, without having outside influences, the word for “day” as used in Geneses One as used with a number, must mean an ordinary day of about twenty-four hours.

Theistic Evolution and the Day-Age Theory

Evolution and Theistic Evolution requires two crucial elements; long periods of time and life out of no life (materialism).  Atheists and evolutionary theists generally agree on these two elements, but go about it differently.  The atheists do not believe in God, so there is no special creation in six days but taking six billion years for creation.  Theistic evolutionists profess a certain belief in the Scriptures and attempt to harmonize the biblical account of creation in Genesis, while inserting the evolutionary scenario into the mix.  The theistic evolutionist therefore, does not believe in special creation in six days, but that through six periods of time, God moved on matter and the creation took place.  Their definition of the term “day” is allegorical and represents the definition of “day” that is a period of time instead of a single solar day of twenty-four hours.  The theistic evolutionist’s model is the “Day-Age” theory which says that each day of creation was an age (period of time).  In this way they attempt to harmonize “Special Creation” and “Evolution” into one theory.

Theistic evolutionists will give one of their proof texts as 2 Peter 3:8 where Peter, referring to Psalms 90:4, says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  Of course this verse is taken out of context.  Peter was trying to illustrate that in the last days there would be those who would say that since Jesus had not returned yet, He was not coming back at all.  Peter focuses their attention to the flood and to those who scoffed at Noah.  Peter then pens the words of the eighth verse which was never intended to be a mathematical formula, but that God is the creator of everything including the universe and time itself.  Peter’s point was not that a day equals one thousand years as a standard of time for man to use in understanding God’s time, but that God is above time itself.  The LORD defines time, not man (Hebrews 1:2)

There are many problems with this theory.  One is that they take special creation of Genesis One out of the mix.  Instead their premise is that God got everything started then let nature take over.  They also work so hard on proving their point about the definition of “day”, that they totally disregard the use of “evening and morning”.  The “Day Age” theory would be rendered “and ‘thousands/millions/billions’ of evenings and mornings” are the first day.  To prescribe to this theory would be analogous to saying that when Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights that he was actually in the fish for three thousand years until he was vomited out on dry land.  A greater miracle than the creation of the world in six days would be that Jonah and the fish would live for thousands of years.  The word in Jonah 1:17 for the number of days in the belly of the fish is the same day as used in Genesis 1:5, 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; “yom”.

There are those that say that a literal twenty-four hour day could not have been until day number four when the sun, moon and stars were created.  Genesis 1:14  says; “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” (emphasis mine).  This point is not convincing one way or another.  God could have created in the first three days of creation, by design, twenty four hour days into the solar system.  When the “lights in the firmament of heaven” were made on the fourth day, they could have been in sync with the definition of “time” that God had originally intended.

Those are my thoughts.  What are yours?

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