Saturday, September 20, 2008
7 C's of History - 1st C: Creation
Scripture passages: Psalm 8:1-9:
1 O LORD, our LORD, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens! 2 Out of the mouth of babes & nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen even the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our LORD, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!
& Psalm 19:1-6:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. 6 Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Exactly 3 years ago this week, my family and I had the privilege of hearing Biblical Creationist speaker, Ken Ham, of the Answers In Genesis ministry, in person. And, going back even father that that, Julia and the children and I have also enjoyed opportunities to see, hear and meet other Creationist speakers; such as John Morris and Thomas Sharp, as they spoke on the subjects of the trustworthiness of the Bible in this age of Scientific skepticism. These God-ordained opportunities lit a fire in the hearts of Joel, Abby & Caleb and the rest; a fire of holy desire to help folks like us and others that, we all may meet, to come to trust, believe and have confidence in - not only what this Book has to say about salvation and morality - but also to trust in and have confidence in what this Book has to say about history, geography, science and other things. Perhaps, my friends, you don't realize it, or perhaps you don't think it has any impact on your life, but listen, we are (as Bible believing Christians), engaged in a war. No, not a war where bombs, guns, tanks and hum-vees are used. But one where opposing views of the world, the truth and of what matters most, are in conflicts with one another. The back side of this sheet - inserted in the worship bulletin this morning - summarizes in chart fashion the essence of that opposing view point, secular humanism, as it touches and transforms what people believe about truth and reality and what matters most. Compare that view truth about truth and reality and what matters most, in all these different areas of importance, with what this Book teaches. Believe me, the divide (the gulf separating the two) is great; really, really wide. And, here's the deal, by and large through our public education institutions, through the media, through the government (the courts, the legislatures, etc.), and yes even through many churches, the opposing view (the worldview the places man in the center of everything and removes God, which is anti-Christian, anti-Bible) is being taught, promoted, glamorized and even legislated!
Why would such a thing as Biblical Apologetics in a day and time like this even be necessary and helpful? Because we need answers! Because we need to be equipped and prepared to be able to answer the questions others may ask us about what we believe and why we believe it.
1 Peter 3:15, make note of it, memorize it as a significant theme passage for the sake of what we are going to learn about today. The apostle Peter writes, "Sanctify the LORD God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense (to provide a well-reasoned answer) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you..." (NKJV, emphasis added) And do it how? "With meekness and fear (with gentleness and reverence, with humility and respect), having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who relive your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed." (NKJV, emphasis added)
How many of you believe, if all you had was a nutshell to contain it, as I do, that the essence of this Book's message is something like "Trust God, Trust Christ and be saved"? You know, something like what is encapsulated in the words of John 3:16? "Trust God, Trust Christ and be saved", in a nutshell, is the main theme of the Bible. But, listen, what if the very Book that supplied the details about that salvation message (Jesus death on the cross, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension and His second coming, etc.), was wrong or even out and out false (lying) about such things as: how everyone came into existence, how death and suffering entered into this world, how it is that the dinosaurs and other species disappeared and how different languages and cultures and skin colors came into being? What would, knowing that this Book was wrong about these things, make you think about the salvation message part of the book? Beloved, do you see the dilemma? Do you understand the potential difficulty that I am depicting for you here? Let me state it plainly, one more time. If the Bible's history of the origin of the universe, the origin of man-kind and the origin of suffering and death; if its explanations regarding such things as the disappearance of dinosaurs and the formation of different national and cultural groups, is wrong or even false, and therefore untrustworthy, then what? Then what? Then who's going to trust the salvation, the trusting in Jesus part of it?! Right? Much more, who's going to obey the "you-must-live-this-way" part?
But listen, my loved ones, listen. I don't believe that what we have here is a Book full of cute, little 'make-believe' Sunday School stories about serpents and trees and gardens, about boats and animals and floods, and about a tower built toward heaven: 'make-believe stories', that have no basis in real history. All of which then is attached (connected) to the gospel message we hold so clear, and all of which we then have to kind of shut our eyes to, and hope nobody asks us about it, so that we an still cling to the salvation message. No, I don't believe that, my friends! Rather, what I believe we have here - in this Book - is a record of the truth. The way these events really happened. The truth regarding all of these things; which, if you study them out, you will find them to be confirmed, validated by such academic areas as archaeology, geology, astronomy, biology, genetics and so on...
The Seven C's of History, what are they? Creation, that's Genesis 1 and 2. Corruption, Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden and the effects of that disobedience on all the rest of the created realm...and, on all the rest of mankind, including you and me. Corruption, that's Genesis chapter 3. 'C' number 3 is Catastrophe. What is the Bibles answer to the massive amounts of fossils. And yes, even dinosaur fossils found high and low all over the earth? A world-wide catastrophe. That's the answer: a world-wide catastrophe, and the lingering, transforming, climatic effects of that catastrophe for years to come. A globe-covering flood. What would you expect such an incredible amount of water to do to any plant or animal or dinosaur or person in its way? Billions - I mean billions of dead things (fossils) formed suddenly and rapidly, buried in rock layers laid down by water - water? That's what a flood is all about, isn't it? Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth! The world-wide flood of Noah's day, that globe covering catastrophe, that's 'C' number 3, and that's the answer to what happened to the dinosaurs. Then there's 'C' number 4: Confusion. How is it that there are differences in the skin color, bone structure, eye shape, (etc.) from one group of people, one tribe or nation to another? Are some lower on the evolutionary chain of development than others? And, how did they end up being scattered all across the face of the earth? What's the answer - the correct answer to these questions? The evolution answer with it's built in racial prejudice? Or, the Genesis chapter eleven answer. The Bible's answer, no, not some 'make-believe' Sunday School Story, but that which can be validated and confirmed through the proper study of such academic disciplines as anthropology and genetics and archaeology. The Bible's answer to the differences in skin color and racial prejudice and all that goes into it, is 'C' number 4. Genesis chapter 11. The confusion of the language and the scattering of the people groups from a real place and a real tower called Babel. The 7 C's of history, you can read through the remaining 3 for your self. But think with me, will you? 'C' number one, rooted in the words of Genesis one, verse one, how does that first 'C' (Creation) and that very first verse of all the Bible, differ in their presentation of the origin of all things, as compared to the secular humanist view as presented on the back side of the bulletin insert?? Pull out the sheet and think one more time through it with me please!
Beloved, this is not just some preacher's rhetorical hype. No! Rather, the question: where did everything come from? and, with it: where did you and I come from? literally everything else hinges on the answer to these key questions! "Where did everything come from?" And, "where did you and I come from?" I know it's hard to get our limited finite minds around it, beloved; but listen, the answers to those two, important and related questions, bring us back to still another question, that if we can answer it, we will be well on our way to answering practically every other question we might ever ask. Here's the question: what is eternal? What is eternal? Is there anything present and in existence now, today, that has always bee present and existent.
Listen, the secular humanist worldview, the 'genesis 1:1' of the secular humanist worldview; what would it state with respect to this question about what is eternal, what has always been there? Well, there isn't a secular humanist "bible", per se, and therefore no secular humanist 'genesis 1:1'; but, if there was, can't you just imagine it stating something like this: "If there is anything that is eternal, it is that which is material (physical), not spiritual or mete-physical in nature." Matter is eternal stuff that has always been there! That's what the secular humanist viewpoint teaches and believes; "In the beginning was matter, stuff..." But, what does the Genesis 1:1 of this Book declare? How does it answer what may very well be the most basic of man's questions, the question related to origin?
Genesis one, verse one. God is eternal, a powerful, uncreated, self-existent, in-dependent, supreme & personal being. He has always existed, and He is the ultimate source for all that is, and yes, He is our ultimate source! Capital 'C' number one, Creation, requires, demands that there must be a capital 'C': Creator. He is the One from whom we call came! But, what difference does that make? John Dewey (there's a name you may not be familiar with), the father of modern Public Education in America and a signer of the original Humanist Manifesto, like every other "good" Secular Humanist, taught that there is no reason for religion; no purpose behind Christianity, because there is no God, because man has no soul, because man is nothing more than a highly evolved animal; and because death is man's end, his final destination! What version of Genesis 1:1 do you think John Dewey was using?
Creation and the Creator, the first 'C' of history, and the reasons this Genesis 1:1 (the Bible's Genesis 1:1) makes all the difference are these:
As a special creation of the Almighty Creator, your life, my life, is precious and so is every other human life; born or unborn, young or old, strong or weak, well-formed or mal-formed, in some way! Amen? Amen! Because this Book starts with the words: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (NKJV, emphasis added), your life, my life, every life is precious!
Second, you and I owe our lives to Him! He made us, the Psalmist says, "fearfully and wonderfully", (Psalm 139:14, KJV) and therefore, He owns us! We belong to Him!
And, listen, if we belong to Him - if He owns us my right of Creation - then what? The, number 3, He has a right to rule in our lives! Or, to put it another way, our lives are - and are to be - all about Him! Not all about us!
We began with Genesis one, verse one; now let's end with a verse from the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Revelation four, verse eleven: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (KJV, emphasis added)