googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: July 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Answering the 10 Theological Questions That No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer: Part 2

3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?

It's questions like this that really alarm me about the theology of theistic evolution. What is Francke saying? That physical death has no part in the punishment for sin? If that were true, then why does the Bible say that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22)? Why does Old Testament Law establish a system of sacrifices? Most importantly, why did Christ have to physically die?

We die physically because we are descended from Adam and we have inherited his body of flesh. God has redeemed us but it is not so that we can live an eternity in these clay vessels. The Bible is clear that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50) so if our spirits are to be delivered, it will not be until we are rid of these cursed bodies. Paul lamented to the Romans, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24). I've written before that I believe God put Adam out of the Garden before he could eat of the Tree of Life precisely so that Adam would not live forever physically in his fallen state. It was an act of mercy and not one of judgment.

Conversely, if sin resulted only in a spiritual death, then why do we die physically? It's not sufficient to simply say, “well, that's just the way it is.” If God used evolution to create, then He would have intended things to die. But why would a loving God create a world where hunger, disease, famine, disaster, violence, and bloodshed are the norm? According to theistic evolution, there have been billions of years of bad, bad, bad, and more bad leading up to God's pronouncement that everything He created was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The idea that God would use evolution to create us makes no sense theologically and, in my opinion, makes God seem very capricious. It makes far more sense to believe that physical death accompanied sin rather than believe there is no connection.

Certainly there is a spiritual consequence to sin, but there is a physical one as well.

4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?

Francke's point here is that, if Eve brought death into the world through her sin, then why did Adam name her Eve because she was the “the mother of all life.” Wouldn't, “the mother of death” be more appropriate?

It's a weak point. First, Eve is ultimately the mother of all the human race so it seems fitting to describe her as the mother of all who have lived. Indeed, that is precisely why she was named Eve. God's command to Adam and Eve was that they should multiply and fill the earth. Obviously, Adam had that in mind when he named her, “Eve.”

But Francke seems to gloss over a critical doctrine; God ultimately holds Adam responsible for the Fall. You will note in Genesis 2 that God commanded Adam to not eat of the Tree before Eve was created and warned that when he did, he would die. There's no record that God repeated the command to Eve. As a matter of fact, Eve misquotes the command to the Serpent adding “neither shall ye touch it,” so she is most likely repeating a command given to her by Adam.

Eve's mistake was that she listened to the Serpent. She believed the lie that nothing bad would come from eating the Forbidden Fruit. She admits to God that she was “beguiled” by the Serpent (Genesis 3:13). There is no record of lying or coaxing before Adam ate. His was a deliberate act of disobedience.

When the three stand before God, they each receive a punishment. However, you will see that God prefaces His judgment on Adam by saying, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it....Genesis 3:17.

It was only to Adam that God gave the command to not eat of the Fruit. When Adam and Eve disobeyed, God held Adam accountable and cursed the entire creation for his sake.

Read the entire series:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Answering the 10 Theological Questions That No Young-earth Creationist Can Answer!

I came across an article online titled, 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer. In the article, the author, Tyler Francke, tries to build a case that many points in young earth creationism are not supported by the Bible.

Headlines like this have always annoyed me. Besides sounding presumptuous, the “questions” asked have usually been answered many times before. What the authors are trying to do is make their argument seem irrefutable merely by claiming their questions can't be answered. It borders on dishonesty. I would rather they used headlines more like, “10 Questions for Creationists.”

As always, I recommend you click the link and read the article for yourself. The author expounds on each question he asks so if you just read the question by itself, you may not appreciate the full scope of what the author means by asking the question.

As he expounds on each point, Francke anticipates what he thinks are the most probable answers from creationists. This is a rather ordinary tactic of most debaters but I don't think Francke is very successful in overcoming the objections he raises. In some cases, his treatment of the criticism is barely more than ridiculing it. Perhaps he is merely attempting to poison the well by raising the possible answers before his critics can.

The questions in this article are somewhat interesting but they're hardly not answerable. I know I always say I'm going to stop writing series but here I am getting ready to start another. I intend to answer the 10 questions. I'm not going to write 10 posts; instead, I'm going to answer 2-3 answers at a time.

I wonder if, when I'm done, the author will retract his headline? Chuckle.

1. What was the point of the tree of life?

Francke's point in asking this question is that, if God had intended people to not die in the original creation, why would He create the Tree of Life whose purpose seems to be granting immortality to anyone who eats from it? In his own words, why, exactly, did God create a magical tree that grants immortality in a world where every living thing was already immortal?”

First off, I believe we always risk sounding foolish when we begin to ask why God does any certain thing. We simply do not know everything God knows. In asking this question, Francke says the purpose of the Tree of Life is “abundantly clear.” I disagree. If the Tree of Life were pointless in the initial creation where there wasn't any death, then Francke should maybe ask why God also puts the Tree of Life in the new creation (Revelation 22:1-2, 14)? After all, the Bible is perfectly clear there will be no more death (Revelation 21:4) so, according to Francke's logic, God has no reason to put a Tree of Life in the new creation. Yet there it is.

What does seem clear from the text is that the Tree of Life does have a role in a world where there is no death. I admit I'm not completely sure of the purpose of the Tree of Life but, unlike Francke, I will grant that God knows what He's doing.

2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?

Let’s recap: young-earth creationists believe all death, even animal death, is a consequence of human sin. Now, ignoring for a moment the fact that the Bible never once actually says animal death is a consequence of human sin

The author dismisses 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, saying it only describes human death. I suspect he would make the same argument about Romans 5:12, even though that verse is a little more compelling. Before I address the animals, I would ask Francke what these verses mean in relation to human death? According to his blog, he believes in a god of evolution which means men have always died. Death was in the world – including death in the supposed homo ancestors – long before there was sin. So while he may claim these verses only describe human death, he doesn't explain exactly how that works in the theistic evolution paradigm.

Of course, we know the Curse wasn't limited to Adam. Genesis 3:17 attests that God cursed even the ground because of Adam's sin. The world would no longer be the paradise He created but that the ground would now bring forth thorns and thistles. Furthermore, Romans 8:22 says, “...the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. So the notion of a very narrow Curse that is limited to death among men but having no change on anything else is contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible.

The crux of the matter, though, is that man is separate from the animals. We alone are created in the image of God and have a spiritual dimension that is not present in animals. The earth and the animals were created to be our dominion and for our service. Christ died to redeem the descendants of Adam; not the animals. So, no. Animals can't be saved.  Don't get me wrong, though. God has a plan for the creation.  He redeemed us by His own blood and He also will restore the creation. 

Animals are described in Genesis 1 as “living” (nephesh) in the same way people have life. Since there was no death in the initial creation, neither would animals have died. Indeed, prior to the Fall, animals were not carnivorous. Genesis 1:30 says,  

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

When the curse has ended, so will death among animals end. Isaiah 11:6 is habitually misquoted as, “The lion shall lay down with the lamb.” The verse actually says,

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

When death began among men, it also began among the animals. When death has ended among men, so will it end among the animals.  The fate of the creation turns upon man's relationship with God. There is no separate salvation for animals.

Read the entire series:
Part 2