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A Relevant Gospel In A Scientific Age


by Paul A. Bartz
Can the Word of God be relevant in our scientific age? Atheists and skeptics maintain that the Biblical world view can now be considered an outdated mythology because of the conclusions of modern science which have ruled out the involvement of God in our real world, Religious liberals have taken a very similar position, following the lead of the liberal German theologian, Rudolph Bultmann, As a result, those who would accept the Bible's teachings as the revealed Word of God, living their lives based on a view of the world that God is personally and individually involved in human lives, are portrayed, even in liberal churches, as a dying breed who will soon be replaced. The contrast is so sharp that there are truly two religions operating under the name "Christian" whose beliefs on nearly every point are nearly opposite. The Christian faithful throughout the ages have accepted that God is the Author of the Bible. As the revealed Word of God, though actually written down by human writers, (2 Peter 1:20, 21), the Bible is always true in everything that it touches because it comes from God Who is Truth. In Mark 13:31 Jesus says that even though heaven and earth shall pass away, His Word will never pass away - It cannot be broken (John 10:35). Here we have God's own claim that the Bible is relevant for every age. It cannot ever be outdated.

Yet in a recent letter to Lutheran Church in America pastors, presiding Bishop (President) Herbert Chilstrom called the Bible an impediment to the Gospel. He said that the Bible is an impediment because people tend to understand it in a literalistic way - the Bible should not be "the center of all things." Seminaries of this church body use Bultmann's materials, as well as those of his followers, in their training of pastors. Bultmann and his followers taught, contrary to the claims of Scripture, that modern man could not identify with the worldview of Scripture. In a day and age when electricity performs such miracles - albeit according to well-understood laws - the Biblical miracles pale, and even become unrealistic. In a world where we know that naturalism reigns, the church loses credibility by talking about miracles. Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, recently typified the Bulmanian attitude when he called the Resurrection of Christ a "conjuring trick with bones" saying, "I am not clear that God maneuvers physical things." It is easy to show (and has been shown many times) that the faith of Bultmann and his followers is a radical departure from the teachings of the Apostles and the faith of believers through the ages. But here we want to explore another question. Is the Bultmanian assumption about science and modern man actually realistic - or is it good old-fashioned unbelief, masquerading as a new savior for the church? At the International Conference on Biblical Inerrancy held in Minneapolis in the fall of 1984, J.I. Packer related how, after one presentation of his views, Bultmann was confronted

12. Close with a prayerful reading of Psalm 119:8.

Enlightening resources on this topic:

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Micah's story. What evolutionary principle does Judges 18:25 remind you of?

How is the sociologist's use of "peer pressure" as justification for an action just another application of "survival of the fittest"?

during the question and answer period by a physicist. The physicist pointed out to Bultmann that his major premise was very wrong. Scientists had not, he said, pinned down reality so neatly that miracles could be excluded. In fact, he said, as the frontiers of physics were being expanded, it was becoming more and more clear that miracles could not be ruled out of reality. It appears that Bultmann never took this evaluation from the viewpoint he claimed to represent very seriously - and neither do those who follow his tradition. John Warwick Montgomery, who has long defended the doctrine of Scripture against liberal skepticism, made the same point in the citation in this month's FIVE MINUTES text: "For us, unlike the people of the Newtonian epoch, the universe is no longer a tight, safe, predictable playing field in which we know all the rules." The problem is not that there are no rules on the playing field, but rather that we are not nearly so smart as we pretend to be. David Ben-Gurion put it this way, "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist."

10. How is the world's claim that creationism is not good Christianity because "most Christians" don't accept a literal reading of Genesis really another form of the "survival of the fittest" principle?

In what other ways is this same argument used to promote relativism in spiritual things?

11. What can we do to combat relativism in our lives including our churches? See Job 28:28, Hosea 14:9, and 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

Religious liberals as well as atheists are, in fact, attempting to live in a fictional world of their own making - one in which a supposed naturalism which does not exist reigns as dictator. And it is a curse of God upon the visible church that He has allowed it to be taken captive by unbelieving theologians into this strange and unreal land of naturalism. And His chastisement extends to the man in the pew because the average Christian has left Bible study to others. In every deception there is a kernel of truth. The kernel of truth in the deception of religious liberalism is that the

traditional message of the Church is not having the impact that it should on people. The erroneous conclusion from this is that therefore the message needs to be re-interpreted. However, the real problem is that Christians have not followed the Apostolic example in witnessing the Gospel. The Apostles began with a preaching of sin and repentance, both of which assume a God Who is involved in His creation and holds men accountable, with the Jews, who already accepted this God. They looked for His promised salvation. But they did not begin with the message of sin and repentance with the Greeks and the Romans, who were steeped in the naturalism of Aristotle and Lucretius. The distinction is expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:23, and the actual practice of this distinction can be seen in Acts 17:22-34 and Acts 14:15-18. Although some of these people believed in gods of some sort, these were not real gods who were our powerful creators and who held us responsible for our lives (sin). These gods, in fact, were nearly as subject to impersonal naturalism as we are. To such as these the Apostles began by addressing their hearers where they were in their beliefs, showing how there is a true, powerful, wise God who is intimately involved with His creation. It was for this reason that He became so involved with us in Christ Jesus - it is for this reason that He wants a restored relationship with individuals through the forgiveness of sins. As long as the visible church speaks its message only to the "Jews" (those who at least believe that there is a personal God Who cares about individual lives), it will be frustrated in communicating the Gospel to the larger population of the West which is "Greek" (who believe that there might be a

religion or denomination is to be considered any better than any other get translated into doctrinal relativism within churches?

Isn't this relativistic attitude what allowed Micah, as well as the Levite, to worship God as well as idols? In such a situation as this, is God really worshiped?

8. Compare the conclusion of this story with today's church scene. In Judges 18:14-26 we read about what happened to Micah and his Levite. What motivation do we see in Judges 18:19-20? How was that motivation also seen in Judges 17?

Compare this with Isaiah 56:10-12, Philippians 3:18-19, and Romans 16:17-18. What additional things do we learn about those who promote relativism within the church from these New Testament passages?

9. It is startling to make the full circle of relationships between doing away with the Creator and the evolutionary ethos in a Scriptural story, but we can find that full circle in

pragmatic. What ultimate good did he see in the arrangement with the Levite? Do people treat religion in the same way today?

God, but if there is He is not personally involved with His creatures on a regular basis). The answer to the church's effectiveness lies not in redefining our message, but in knowing our audience and our message. And the Great Commission, which defines God's desire for man, leaves each Christian no choice but to become an expert in this particular field! Truly the fields are white unto harvest!

5. Identify the elements at work in this story. How are Micah's good intentions indicated in this chapter? How is his religion evident? Were all agreed on the shrine and service to it? In what ways did this situation reflect the religion of Israel?

In what ways did the situation fit right in to the society already living in this area? How many parallels with today's church can you find in this story?

6. Despite offering every detail that people use today to buffer the absolute force of God's Law, which verse in Judges 17 most harshly condemns this action? Does that verse also apply to our own day? Yet, how does today's call to an "authentic morality" turn this virtue into a vice?

7. How does the recognition of our pluralistic society that no

Compromise and the Faith


by Ian Taylor
1. The discovery of the colored peoples by the Caucasian Christian West in the 16th century caused some to doubt that the Genesis Flood had been universal since there was only one family on the Ark who must surely have been Caucasian. Later, at the time of the Industrial Revolution and during the search for coal and minerals, it was realized that rocks appeared in layers or strata, each of different chemical composition from those layers above and below it. It was correctly concluded that these strata had originally been sediment in water and they were thus called "sedimentary rocks." However, it was difficult to believe that one flood, the Genesis Flood, had been responsible for all these different strata. It seemed more reasonable to believe that each strata was the result of a local flood, thus multiple layers indicated multiple local floods. These conclusions had been drawn by Nicolas Steno in 1667 but were developed in the early 19th century. The evidence for multiple floods seemed to be the fact that fossil remains of once-living things could be found almost specifically to each strata. The Greeks had proposed that life had begun on earth in very simple form and had gradually become more complex with time but they had no mechanism that could explain this upward progression. The fossils in the strata seemed to show this progression, very simple sea creatures in the lowest strata and mammals and occasionally man in the upper strata. Thus each local flood had preserved within its sediments the remains of those creatures living at the time. If

What light does verse 6 shed on this situation? It helps to know that household shrines filled with idols like those Micah built were common among the peoples of the Middle East. The idols were usually a personal selection of the popular local gods, and many of these have been found in ancient ruins.

2. It is into this situation that a Levite from Bethlehem comes, looking for a place to live and work. What was the work of the Levite? (See Numbers 1:47-54.)

How do verses 8 and 9 indicate that this Levite might have been desperate for work? What bargain does Micah strike with the Levite in verse 10?

3. Was the Levite faithful in his service to the Lord in serving Micah in this way? What words in verse 11 indicate that the Levite had no conscience problems with this kind of service?

4. Micah himself was not only religious, he was also

A Biblical Look At Spiritual Relativism


by Paul A. Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.

Due largely to man's natural rebellion from God, most people today, including far too many Christians, accept some degree of relativism in spiritual things. There is a disdain for absolute morality and truth. Many Christians read Scripture's claim that in Christ we have been set free from the condemnation of the law of God as saying that Christians no longer need to consider God's law in their lives or that "Christian love" demands that we not insist that there is absolute truth.

the Genesis Flood could have provided this distribution of strata and fossils, the time frame for earth's history could be accommodated within the few thousand years indicated by Biblical genealogies. However the evidence seemed to indicate multiple local floods and these required that the land itself sink and rise a multiple number of times beneath the surface of the ocean for flooding to occur. This was said to take vast spans of time since there was no evidence that continents had actually risen and fallen. Obviously, the sea level could not rise and fall or there would have been a universal flood. Theologians confronted with this kind of data began to compromise with various theories so that both Scripture and geology could both be true. They did not know then that sediments do in fact drop out of flowing water in a very specific order giving rise to the strata precisely as we find them. 2. The Gap or Ruin and Reconstruction Theory. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was evangelical professor of theology at Edinburgh. In 1812 he proposed a gap between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3 of as many millions of years as the geologist may want and for which the Bible was essentially silent. He argued that initially there had been a Pre-Adamic world that had been destroyed by a flood. The strata and fossils found today were the remains of this former world. The earth remained "unformed and unfilled" for millions of years then the Biblical account continues with the restored earth. Often not stated the Genesis Flood was local. The Gap Theory partly depends upon the KJV word "replenish" in Genesis 1:28 but this meant "fill" in 1769 and is correctly given as "fill" in modern translations. The key to the theory is the argument that the use of the Hebrew BARA (to create ex in hilo) and ASA (make from re-existing material) means a re-

1. Read the story recorded in Judges 17. Was Micah religious? Was he faithful to the Word of God? In what ways was he unfaithful?

How about Micah's intentions - were they good intentions?

creation took place. But Gesenius and other scholars point out that the two words are interchangeable in their context. Another proof text was Jeremiah 4:32-25 that uses the Hebrew words, TOHU WO BOHU, translated "without form and void" but the context is the destruction of Jerusalem, not the destruction of the early earth! The Gap Theory was promoted by G. H. Pember, the notes to the Scofield edition of the Bible (from 1909) and more recently by Dr. Arthur Custance and evangelists, Jimmy Swaggart and Benny Hinn. 3. The Day-Age Theory. The Scottish geologist and writer, Hugh Miller (1802-1856), was familiar with the fossils, the rocks and with Scripture. He believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch by revelation when he was on the mountain rather than simply being the editor who had received the carefully preserved documents. In Miller's theory, the days of creation were actually days that Moses spent on the mountain. The theory appealed to Numbers 14:34 and 2 Peter 3:8 but he became confused and in a fit of depression, shot himself on Christmas eve, 1856. His book, Testimony of the Rocks, appeared posthumously the following year. 4. Theistic Evolution. This is the most popular belief among Christians and non-Christians today and essentially says that God used the process of evolution to bring about all living things. Sometimes referred to as the "God of the Gaps Theory" because the gaps in the fossil record are where God is supposed to have stepped in, there is a whole spectrum of beliefs within this category. However throughout, the meaning of Scripture is changed to accommodate the particular version while belief in evolution remains inviolate. Professor of botany, Asa Gray (1810-1888), was a Congregationalist and correspondent of Darwin and openly

scientific creed can be trusted. If it can be shown that there is a sovereign, mighty ruler, transcendent over space, matter and time, who has brought this all to pass and continues to control it for His own good purpose. Then, and then only, is science possible! But the only way we can know this is if He has communicated it to us. We cannot reach Him; He must speak to us. Such a communication comes to us through the Bible. The authority of Christ hangs upon a fact of natural science, the resurrection; and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of all Christian faith. Thus it is that without the Christian faith the scientific method is meaningless and no true science is possible. Man may "learn" much that is useful, but he can never learn anything that is truly true or truly false, truly right or truly wrong. It is time that Christians challenged a groping world with this great fact.

The Answer is Yes Does the Christian faith depend upon scientific fact? The answer is a resounding "YES!" That is precisely what makes it indestructible the scientific fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. An equally cogent question for our time is, "Does scientific fact depend upon the Christian Faith?" To the reigning high priests of atheistic humanism the question is beneath contempt. But to the thoughtful scientist who ponders his scientific method the question is important, and the answer is not far to seek. Every scientist operates on an epistemology of faith. His faith has five articles: (1) I am alive, (2) I am real, (3) I am awake, (4) What I see and measure is really there, and (5) When I turn my back it will not vanish away or change into something else, except according to certain trustworthy laws of nature! These articles are sacrosanct, because to question any one of them in a scientific investigation would destroy the whole. Yet if the whole realm of reality is but the chance combination of blind, purposeless, flying particles, call them what you will, not a single one of these articles can be trusted. The probability that all I see and feel is just a trick being played on me is far greater than the probability of the simplest form of life "evolving" from non-life by sheer chance! There is only one way by which these five articles of the

advised him to advocate theistic evolution because it would be more acceptable to Christians whereas naturalistic evolution would be rejected outrightly. Darwin refused because if God had any kind of guiding hand his theory of Natural Selection that depended upon random chance, would be nullified. Scottish Liberal evangelist Henry Drummond (1851-1897) and evangelists Henry Ward Beecher (18131887) and Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) in the US, vigorously promoted theistic evolution. We are reminded of Paul's warning about the "grievous wolves" entering the Church in Acts 20:29. 5. The Fourth Day Theory. Howard Van Till (1938- ), professor at Calvin College, recognizes that Genesis states that the earth was created on the first day while the sun, moon and stars were created on the fourth day. He claims that the first three days of creation each consisted of billions of years and only became 24-hour days after creation of the sun. His book, The Fourth Day, appeared in 1986. Here he states a universe of 15 billion years, denies a literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis (thus denies the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:11 and John 10:35) and rejects fiat creation; he argues that it would be deceptive on God's part to create Adam with an apparent age. This type of argument is simply the rejection of miracle by naturalism and, to be consistent, he must also reject the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. Not until the reader is two-thirds through the book does Van Till confess to evolution as his belief system. Of course, this means that he can have no real understanding of the Fall of Man since he has millions of years of death and struggle before Adam, denies Romans 5:14, 17-19, and places the responsibility of death on God and thus is not a consequence of Adam's sin. This theory and

the others, deny Exodus 20:11. 6. Progressive Creation. This is the brain-child of Hugh Ross who has a Ph.D. in astronomy. His ministry, Reasons to Believe, is very active among university students and his entire teaching is based upon evolution although he vigorously denies this and rather cunningly avoids using the unwholesome word "evolution" by use of his term "Progressive Creation." His book The Finger of God, appeared in 1989 and he has appeared on most Christian TV talk shows. Ross's message perfectly fits Paul's "grievous wolves" warning and probably represents one of the greatest dangers to the North American Church today. His teaching is based upon the "blind-`em-with-science" and "hide-behindthe-Hebrew-words" technique - he shamelessly bends Hebrew words to his own meaning confident that not one in a thousand will challenge him. When cornered with a real language expert he will pour out scientific data well larded with specialist words from the more arcane avenues of nuclear physics or cosmology. Or, when cornered by a real specialist in cosmology, he resorts to arguments from the Hebrew. Undoubtedly clever, Ross may even be Christian but like others before him is doing harm to the Church of Jesus Christ. His main points of teaching are: 6a. Ross solidly subscribes to the Big Bang Theory and states that the Universe is 15 billion years old. This denies the instant creation described in Psalm 33:6-9. The Big Bang Theory is currently under a cloud of suspicion. 6b. Ross teaches that the sun was created before the earth and argues that the Genesis account is from God's perspective on the surface of the earth under a heavy cloud

Moses, Abraham, Noah, as historical people; and the creation of Adam and Eve as the first human pair, the destruction of the entire earth at the Flood, and the cataclysm upon Sodom and Gomorrah, as historical events. If he knew that these were but picture-people and picturestories (as the new system would have us believe), and yet encouraged His hearers in believing they were historical, then He became party to deceit and ceased being a sinless Savior. (2) No matter how skillful man may be in measuring and observing his world, wherever his conclusions have ethical implications, i.e. wherever they touch upon God's sovereignty, man's corruption and bondage to Satan, and God's plan of salvation, fallen man always comes to false conclusions, his understanding is darkened, and professing himself wise he makes himself a fool. (Rom. 1, I Cor. 1-3, Eph. 4, etc.) (3) Any man who is both a scientist and a Christian must apply to any new finding or theory in the realm of science the following tests: (a) Does it bear upon any clearly identified events or persons or times in the Biblical record? If so, it must conform to what Scripture teaches or be rejected. (b) Does it have ethical implications as to God's sovereignty, man's sinfulness, Christ's Deity. or God's plan of salvation and final judgement? If it does, and it denies Scripture on such points, then it may be expected to reach false conclusions in the natural realm as well!

Before such naked, consistent nihilism many still shudder. They would gloss it over with the forms and semblance of Christianity while still believing in the ultimate infallibility of human wisdom and progress through evolution. Thus have been constructed the now-fashionable ideas examined above: - fashionable because they retain much of the language of Christianity yet are careful never to challenge the great God "science" at any modern point. And being both plausible, respectable and "giving offense to none" many genuine believers are easily ensnared. It is important then to recapitulate the elements of this strange system of doctrine so as to recognize it wherever it appears. Our Christian faith, it says, pertains only to things in the realm of the spirit, whereas science operates only in the realm of the senses. Hence we can be totally indifferent to the truth or falsehood of natural events described in the Bible and we can go along with the "science" of any particular day, no matter how it appears to contradict Scripture, so long as it is supported by human reason and lies in the natural realm. Such a system is by no means new. It has philosophical roots throughout paganism, and it takes little insight to perceive that it leads straight to total relativism, existentialism, and Nietche's "whatever is, is right!" The Christian's Answer The Christian answer is at least three-fold: (1) The denial of an event plainly described in the Bible is not merely contradicting an obscure Bible writer; it is a challenge to the resurrection authority of Christ Himself, as God manifest in human form. He unequivocally endorsed

layer that obscured the sun, moon and stars until day 4. 6c. Ross claims the "days" of creation were really millions of years. What was God doing under the heavy cloud cover all this time? Days of millions of years makes nonsense of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), God's example to us to work six days and rest on the seventh. 6d. Ross teaches that life has increased in complexity over the long history of the earth. However, by wordy argument and equivocation he leaves the reader with the impression that this is not evolution. 6e. Ross acknowledges the special creation of man but not on the sixth day and has man-like creatures without souls roaming the earth before Adam. In Ross's view these became the fossil ape-men. Interestingly, Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling "Creation" scene depicts the moment when the soul of man was implanted into some "higher ape." 6f. Ross has millions of years of death and struggle before the Creation and Fall of man thus making God responsible for death and not Adam. This denies Genesis 3:19, Romans 5:14, 17-19 and Romans 8:20-21. 6g. A local Flood is always found with any kind of theistic evolution. Ross speaks about the Flood as "universal" but upon close questioning, he says it was "only universal in the minds of the local people, the Israelites," he then admits it was geographically local. This not only makes Noah a fool to have built the Ark, but Jesus and Peter equally as foolish to believe the story and it makes God a liar according to His promise given in Genesis 9:11.

6h. According to Ross, Scripture and Nature have equal authority. This idea runs throughout his teaching and he feels perfectly at ease to change the obvious meaning of Scripture to fit the latest cosmological theory. According to Jesus in John 3:12, the heavenly realm has the greater authority. Conclusion: The Greek pagan philosophers living before Christ suggested various naturalistic explanations for the origin of the earth and every one required a very long time. Today, in the light of the Gospel and the good science that supports the creation account, Christians who adopt a naturalistic explanation are more accountable than those early Greeks.

that God even exists and has spoken such precious promises - hinges entirely, as we have seen, upon the scientific fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, if an indisputably correct determination should ever be able to prove that the bones in a certain grave anywhere on earth are those of the man Jesus Christ, then the Bible lies, God is unknown, we are yet in our sins, and the Christian faith becomes faith in a myth. The Christian answer to such a question is that, though the event may be a miracle inexplicable by any natural law, the total body of evidence before us is incontrovertible scientific proof that the resurrection literally occurred. And to dispel the least vestige of doubt, the Christian rightly observes that a resurrection that was anything less than a miracle would be out of character with the God of creation and providence. Rejected by Modern Man But the modern mind, untouched by the saving grace of God, rejects such an answer for it implies a sovereign creator, free and able to enter supernaturally into history as He pleases. Above all, it implies a God who is righteous and holy, to whom we must finally give account. Surely a better answer is to believe that the amazing achievements of the human intellect, by which most of the former mysteries of nature have now been fathomed, will soon fathom the mystery of Jesus' resurrection also. It will be found to have a perfectly natural explanation; Jesus is dead, as we might have known; and the race will press on to new heights of achievement, guided by the only "God" there ever was, the blind impersonal trinity: nature, time and evolution!

theorize, speculate or pile assumption upon airy assumption, as do our modern evolutionists. Instead we find, "By many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3), "whereof we all are witness" (Acts 2:32), "eyewitnesses of His majesty" (11 Peter 1: 16), and the magnificent passage of I John 1-3 quoted at the beginning. Scripture thus comes to us, where it touches the natural realm, in the language of true science, whereas evolution and skepticism must forever fall back upon the language of make-believe and mythology. Christ's Resurrection - A Scientific Fact We look next at the amazing statement: "The faith which the Christian has cannot be destroyed by the results of scientific study, either, since that faith doesn't depend on science." Again we have a clever combination of truth and error, the first half being true but the second half error. The faith of a son that he will inherit the wealth of his father depends upon the scientific fact of his sonship. If scientific study should prove that he is but a waif, switched in the hospital nursery, his faith would clearly be destroyed. The faith of the winning presidential candidate next November 7 that he will succeed to the White House depends entirely upon the scientific determination, say on November 8, that he has a sure majority of electoral votes. But clearly, if further scientific study should make him the loser, his faith would go up in smoke. Likewise the faith of the Christian that God will indeed resurrect him and accept him at the last day - in fact, the faith

Genesis Stands!
by Richard Niessen, Bernard Northrup & David Watson
Is the Gap Theory a Biblical Option? by Richard Niessen The Gap Theory Scenario Briefly, the scenario in the Gap Theory goes something like this: Genesis 1:1 records the special creation of the original heavens and earth, billions of years ago. Upon that earth lived the various species of prehistoric animals and prehistoric man. During that time Lucifer's rebellion in heaven took place (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezk. 28:1-6; Rev. 12:7-9). Lucifer and his fallen angels (currently called Satan, and demons, respectively) were cast down to earth, corrupted the original inhabitants of the earth, and provoked a worldwide judgement known as "Lucifer's Flood," from which there were no survivors. Thus the earth became without form and void (Gen. 1:2) and remained in this desolate condition for billions of years. Genesis 1:3 and following then records the re-creation of the earth, the biosphere, and man as we know them today. Thus it is also called the Ruin-Reconstruction Theory. The Gap Theory received its initial impetus in 1814 by Thomas Chalmers of Scotland, whose primary motivation was to allow the Bible to conform to the vast ages of time

and the so-called "geologic column," both of which are so central to uniformitarian geology. It was enormously popularized by the notes of the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible, and has been promoted by various scholars up to the present. The Gap Theory appeals to Bible-believing Christians for two reasons. First, it is a way of dealing with the major problems associated with the evolutionary scenario - the alleged antiquity of the earth, the geologic column, fossils, dinosaurs, cavemen, etc. The claims and unanswerable problems of "science" are merely shoveled into the "gap" between Genesis 1:1-3 or are relegated to the pre-creation earth. Whereas Day-Age people are generally thoroughgoing evolutionists calling themselves "theistic evolutionists" or "progressive creationists." Gap Theory people are basically creationists who have not yet been informed of the modern scientific evidence for a Young earth, the rapid formation of the geologic column and the fossils it contains, the invalidity of radiometric dating systems, etc. Most Cap Theory people in practice might be called "irrelevant creationists": since the creation took place so long ago, as "science" claims, there is little point in discussing it. Second, it gives the appearance of profound and deep Bible study as it is discovered for the first time that billions of years were ingeniously hidden between two verses of Scripture and this remarkable fact is now revealed for all to use in their battle against the raging forces of evolution. The Alleged Basis for the Gap Theory There are seven main points generally proposed as the basis

was nailed to the cross did not walk out of the tomb three days later, if all this was some monstrous illusion or hoax and therefore unscientific, then either Christ was a fraud, or the Bible is untrustworthy, or both. Conversely, if the resurrection was a historical fact, amply witnessed and faithfully recorded, it follows that Christ is all that the Bible claims Him to be, and more. By that one great act He is proven to be eternal Lord and able Redeemer in the spiritual realm. Equally important, it proves Him to be both Master Witness and Final Authority in every branch and discipline of the natural realm. This means that if Christ were to walk into any classroom, no matter how eminent the professor or how profound the subject, He would be the superior authority. It means that wherever He put His stamp of approval upon events recorded in the Old Testament, His testimony is the scientific testimony of an unimpeachable witness to such events. And it means that where He testifies to the truth of events beyond our ken, such as creation, His testimony is the only scientific evidence; and all human speculations on origins of matter or of life thus become worthless unless they agree with Christ. All this because of the resurrection! Christian faith, then, is faith based upon facts rather than faith based upon fiction. It is an engineer crossing a bridge whose steel he has seen tested, as against a man who jumps from a skyscraper on the strength of a dream that he is a bird - or of a learned calculation that once-in-a-billion his arms will act like wings! The Scripture writers themselves constantly emphasized their testimony as scientific evidence confirmed by the natural senses. Never once do they

nations. Such was the God the apostle Paul introduced to the philosophies of Athens in Acts 17, in scientific terms; and they were not slow to perceive, as men today are, that the whole force of his argument hinged upon not some ethereal idea in the spirit realm, but a scientifically determinable event in the natural realm, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here we must deal with the statement cited earlier: "This faith does not depend on scientific knowledge or theory - one can be a Christian regardless of whether he thinks the earth is round or flat." It is a clever combination of truth and error. Of course, Christian faith does not depend upon "scientific theory" if the two words simply mean the unproven and uninformed idea of one classed as a "scientist." But let an idea, a theory, be substantiated by experiment, observable data and sound correlation, so that it becomes "scientific knowledge." Then the man who says it has no bearing upon Christian faith is dead wrong. When the man born blind silenced the Pharisees with those electric words, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see," what else was it than scientific knowledge? And the Christian faith is grounded in an event just as certain and electrifying, the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Here was a great event in time and place, manifest to the senses and reported by witnesses, and therefore an event in the realm of scientific knowledge. On this event hangs all our Christian faith, and the Bible as well. For if the resurrection of Jesus Christ is false, if the same Jesus who

for the Gap Theory: 1. Science and the geologic column speak of an old (4.5billion- year-old) earth and universe. 2. Hayah could be translated as "became" in Gen. 1:2 instead of "was." The result is that the earth became waste and void and was re-created after an initial creation and destruction. 3. The Hebrew words translated "without form and void" (tohu vabohu) in Gen. 1:2 refer to judgment elsewhere (Isa. 34:11 and Jer. 4:23); therefore this expression refers to the judgment of Lucifer and the inhabitants of the original earth. 4. The word tohu itself is occasionally used in an evil sense elsewhere in the Old Testament (Isaiah 44:9; 59:4). 5. "Darkness" is used elsewhere as representative of evil (John 3:19, Jude 13, etc.); therefore the darkness in Gen. 1:2 refers to the crushing of Lucifer's rebellion. 6. There is a sharp distinction between the Hebrew words for "create" (bara) and "make" ('asah). Bara refers to the original creation ex nihilo in Gen. 1:1, and 'asah refers to the subsequent refashioning of items from already-existing materials. 7. Genesis 1:28 speaks of "replenishing" or "refilling" the earth. That means it was originally "filled" and emptied, and is now being "re-filled." A Refutation of the Gap Theory

1. The geologic column (which is the backbone of the evolutionary scenario) shows every evidence of having been deposited quickly, by Noah's Flood, and not over long periods of time. In fact both the earth and the universe give every indication of having been created only 6-10,000 years ago. Once it is recognized that the earth is not very old, and that many of the evidences appealed to as a part of the evolutionary scenario are actually phenomena produced by the Genesis Flood, the Gap Theory will soon he recognized as superfluous. Once there is no more need to have an old earth, one becomes less vehement about the alleged biblical bases for the theory. It is evident then that the abovementioned points are really biblical "baggage" - the accretions necessary to lend theological respectability to what is essentially an accommodation to science falsely-socalled. 2. In 258 out of 264 occurrences of the word hayah in the Pentateuch, it is unquestionably translated as "was." A direct parallel to Gen. 1:2 is Jonah 3:3 - "Nineveh was (hayah) a great city." Obviously it did not become a great city after Jonah set foot in it. Other grammatical parallels include Gen. 31:5; 41:56; Ex. 1:5, and judges 9:51. The normal way of expressing a change of condition involving hayah would have the next word preceded by a prefix le, "into," so that it should literally have been constructed, "the earth became into formlessness and emptiness..." Such a construction does not appear in Gen. 1:2, therefore the overwhelming weight of passages (98%) affirm the traditional translation of "was," i.e. that the earth was in this condition at the time God created it, mainly because He wasn't finished with the work of creation yet.

western world being the unquestioning faith of a gullible public in the mountainous pretensions of evolutionary theory without a shred of scientific proof, simply because the experts say it is so. Christian Faith Christian faith, on the other hand, is vastly and fundamentally different. It is confidence in specific promises of future action by God, such as resurrection, forgiveness, retribution, based upon and rooted in specific actions by the same God in time past. Furthermore, these actions in time past invariably satisfied five scientific criteria: (1) They were actions which only a sovereign, omnipotent God could perform (2) They were consistent with His holiness and righteousness, unlike blind chance (3) They occurred at specific times and places in the natural world (4) They were manifest to human senses and so reported by credible witnesses (5) The report has been transmitted to us in a document undeniably authentic. In short, Christian faith is rooted in actions by an Almighty God in the realm of natural science that are reported in a Biblical record that satisfies all the canons of scientific evidence. Nor is it faith in just any god, nor even an exalted idea of God, but none less and none else than the LORD God of the Old Testament, Maker of heaven and earth, Father of our living Lord Jesus Christ, actively controlling the universe and ordering all things to bring about the redemption of His people and the sure and certain final judgment of men and

are told, we accept the Bible as God's Word, His message to us. This faith does not depend on scientific knowledge or theory, we are assured, since one can be a Christian whether he thinks the earth is round or flat. This faith doesn't need crutches, since it stands without the need for proof from scientific data, and to cap the argument the author concludes: "The faith which the Christian has cannot be destroyed by the results of scientific study either, since that faith doesn't depend on science. To base our faith on the proposition that a particular scientific theory is true or false is to build it on the wrong foundation. God exists whether the earth is round or flat. Christ alone is an adequate foundation for our faith. This faith also gives the Christian the opportunity to pursue scientific study unafraid. We don't have to choose between the Bible and science because we can use both." The argument is ever-so-plausible because ever-so-subtle. It is absolutely correct if one puts the right definition of "science" at the right places, but it is dead wrong if "science" means what the man in the street accepts. God certainly exists whether the earth is round or flat; but is it so certain if the universe is but the chance combination of matter, energy, space and time; or if the Christ-story is but a historical fraud and Jesus is dead in His grave. So let us examine things further by starting where the above writer started, at Hebrews 11:1. First of all, does the text mean that Christian faith is the assurance of anything hoped for, or the conviction of anything not seen? If so, then there is no difference between this kind of faith and that of the jungle savage in his witchdoctor, or of a child in Santa Claus! This latter kind of "faith in fiction" the world is fun of, the classical example in the

3. The expression tohu vabohu as a couplet occurs only twice in the Old Testament and is used of divine judgment upon both Gentiles and Israel (Isa. 34:11, Jer. 4:23). Remember, however, that we are not dealing with a data base of hundreds or even dozens of references. Two passages, that have nothing whatsoever to do with the creation week, can hardly be used as a solid basis for such a radical interpretation. 4. If tohu always referred to something evil wherever it was used in the Old Testament, this might be an impressive argument for applying that idea in Gen. 1:2. However, a careful study of the usage of the word does not support that meaning. For example, in job 26:7 it states that God "stretches out the north over empty space (tohu), and hangs the earth upon nothing." Here, as in most of the passages in which the word appears in Isaiah, the word is in a position of Hebrew parallelism with "nothing"; there is nothing in the passage to suggest that outer space is evil. Nor is that idea contained in the, passages in which the word refers to the emptiness of the wilderness or desert, where the primary idea is the absence of life (Deut. 32:101; Job 6:18, 12:24, Ps. 107:40). It has the primary idea of "nothing," "emptiness," or "uselessness," and is therefore a morally neutral term. The words tohu vabohu, in the context of Gen. 1:2, are best translated as "unformed and unfilled" or "shapeless and empty." There is no judgment in this context; it is imported only because of outside assumptions. 5. When "darkness" is used as a symbol of evil and "light" is used as a symbol for righteousness, it is clear from the context that these metaphorical interpretations are intended.

In Gen. 1:5 it states that the light was called "day" and the darkness was called "night," the expanse is called "heaven" (v. 8), the dry land is called "earth," and the waters are called "seas" (v. 10). These are not the mystical terms of allegorical interpretation, but are mundane terms pertaining to physical objects in the created order. Notice the morally neutral use of the idea of physical darkness in Psalm 104:19-24 and Psalm 139:12. It is best, therefore, to understand "light" in Genesis 1:2-5 as being symbolic of light and "darkness" as symbolic of darkness. 6. The absolute distinction between bara (to create) and 'asah (to form) cannot be maintained, as they are essentially synonymous in Genesis 1. Notice the following: a) In Gen. 1:16 God made ('asah) the sun, moon, and stars. Obviously they were not made from preexisting matter. b) In Gen. 1:21 it states that God created (bara) great sea monsters, while v. 25 states that God made ('asah) the beasts of the earth. c) In Gen. 1:20 the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures while in v. 21 it is explained to mean that "God created (bara) every living creature that moved, with which the waters swarmed." d) Gen. 2:7 tells us that God formed (yatzar) man, while 1:26 says he was made ('asah) and 1:27 says he was created (bara). e) Genesis 1:1 and 2:4 say that God created (bara), the heavens and the earth, while Exodus 20:11 says that "in six

upward from amoeba to superman! The believer, implanted with a new nature, clings with his heart to his Bible, but to his head keeps coming the question, how could such smart men be so wrong? He forgets, for the moment, to let down the great anchor, "Let God be true and every man a liar!" and instead, soon he hears a soothing voice "Fret not yourself; both sides are right; you can have your Bible and your evolution too!" The argument comes, not from the Bible's enemies, but from men of eminence in both religion and science; and the rationale is very sophisticated. The Bible speaks in the "spiritual" realm, whereas science speaks in the natural, and man lives in both. Since the two realms never intersect, the two can never contradict each other no matter how they may seem to. Thus by a simple bit of mental gymnastics - an "escape from reason" if you like - one can keep God in heaven, carry his Bible, "share" Christ, and keep peace with the reigning king upon earth, human reason! Or so we are being told. If this be so, the Christian is surely under sentence of schizophrenia and either perpetual misery or perpetual idiocy! If it is not so, it is important that he knows why and how. Fashionable Argument Let us examine a typical form of this fashionable argument in a recent publication:* The Christian faith, we are told, is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as "the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen." By this faith, we

Does Christian Faith Depend Upon Scientific Fact?


by Robert L. Whitelaw
(By Robert L. Whitelaw, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg.) "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." (I John 1:1-3) A fashionable notion of our time is that it is possible, at one and the same time, for a Christian to keep his "faith" and accept without question whatever "science" says. A man remembers a Bible that speaks of a personal, holy God, of His supernatural works of creation, providence and judgment, and of a supernatural, risen Christ who testifies to the truth of that record. He also sees a world of unprecedented scientific knowledge and achievement whose high priests assure him there is no such God, and that all things came about over billions or trillions of years by the chance combination of matter and energy. The unbeliever sees no dilemma. The Bible is simply an amusing relic of one tribe long vanished in the struggle

days the Lord made ('asah), the heavens and the earth." Furthermore, Genesis 2:4 itself uses the two words in a parallelism: "when they were created (bara), in the day of their making ('asah)". Whitcomb rightly observes, "'These examples should suffice to show the absurdities to which we are driven by making distinctions which God never intended to make. For the sake of variety and fullness of expression (a basic and extremely helpful characteristic of Hebrew literature), different verbs are used to convey the concept of supernatural creation. It is particularly clear that whatever shade of meaning the rather flexible verb 'made' ('asah) may bear in other contexts of the Old Testament, in the context of Genesis 1 it stands as a synonym for 'created' (bara)." 7. The idea of "refilling" the earth is based upon a King James mistranslation of the Hebrew word male' in Gen. 1:28. It is a broad term which includes either the idea of filling, as in 1:22 and 1:28, or of refilling, as in 9:1. It is therefore inconclusive and cannot be used as a proof one way or the other. 8. The Hebrew letter "w," translated "and," appears nine times in the first five verses in what is known as a "waw conjunctive." Without getting bogged down in the intricacies of Hebrew grammar, suffice it to say here that this means that each statement is chronologically connected to the statements before and after. Each action follows immediately after the action described in the phrase preceding it. Gen. 1:1-5 therefore refers to one single 24-hour day: the beginning is the first day and the first day is the beginning.

9. In the Cap Theory there is a serious theological problem with sin and death before the fall of Adam in Genesis 3. Fossils contain the idea of death, as a fossil by definition is a dead organism. The idea of a rebellion led by Lucifer automatically contains the idea of sin extending to preAdamic man. Yet Romans 5:12 declares that "through one man (i.e. Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin," while Gen. 3:14 and Romans 8: 19-22 state that the effects of Adam's sin extended to the entire created order. There is nothing ambiguous about the verses and they mean exactly what they say: Adam was the first man, and there was neither sin nor death on the earth prior to the Garden of Eden incident recorded in Genesis 3. 10. Exodus 20:11 was mentioned before as a verse which shows the essential interchangeability between bara and 'asah, but there is more. The Gap Theory states that in the beginning (i.e., 5 billion years ago) God created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and a whole biosphere. Billions of years later He reconstructed the earth, using already-existent matter. Ex. 20:11, however, states that "in six days (clearly the six days of the creation week of Gen. 1:1-31) the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them." In other words, everything that is in space, on the surface of the earth, indeed the surface of the earth itself, the oceans, and everything they contain were created within the six days of the creation week. Again, the beginning is the first day and the first day is the beginning. 11. Related to the above is Colossians 1:16: "For by Him (i.e., Christ) were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers - all things

6h. According to Ross, Scripture and Nature have equal authority. This idea runs throughout his teaching and he feels perfectly at ease to change the obvious meaning of Scripture to fit the latest cosmological theory. According to Jesus in John 3:12, the heavenly realm has the greater authority. Conclusion: The Greek pagan philosophers living before Christ suggested various naturalistic explanations for the origin of the earth and every one required a very long time. Today, in the light of the Gospel and the good science that supports the creation account, Christians who adopt a naturalistic explanation are more accountable than those early Greeks.

layer that obscured the sun, moon and stars until day 4. 6c. Ross claims the "days" of creation were really millions of years. What was God doing under the heavy cloud cover all this time? Days of millions of years makes nonsense of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), God's example to us to work six days and rest on the seventh. 6d. Ross teaches that life has increased in complexity over the long history of the earth. However, by wordy argument and equivocation he leaves the reader with the impression that this is not evolution. 6e. Ross acknowledges the special creation of man but not on the sixth day and has man-like creatures without souls roaming the earth before Adam. In Ross's view these became the fossil ape-men. Interestingly, Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling "Creation" scene depicts the moment when the soul of man was implanted into some "higher ape." 6f. Ross has millions of years of death and struggle before the Creation and Fall of man thus making God responsible for death and not Adam. This denies Genesis 3:19, Romans 5:14, 17-19 and Romans 8:20-21. 6g. A local Flood is always found with any kind of theistic evolution. Ross speaks about the Flood as "universal" but upon close questioning, he says it was "only universal in the minds of the local people, the Israelites," he then admits it was geographically local. This not only makes Noah a fool to have built the Ark, but Jesus and Peter equally as foolish to believe the story and it makes God a liar according to His promise given in Genesis 9:11.

were created by Him and for Him." Colossians 1:16-17 is a commentary on Genesis 1 and tells us that every conceivable thing - material or immaterial - was created during the sixday creation week. That includes angels of all kinds and yes, that includes Lucifer also. This is not the place to quibble over whether they were created on the first, the fourth, or the sixth days - and a case could be made for each of the three the point is that angels did not exist from all eternity: they are created beings like you and me, and as such they have their origin within the creation week of Genesis 1. There is a six-fold repetition of the phrase "God saw that it was good" which appears at the conclusion of each major creative act, climaxed with a summation verse in Gen. 1:31: "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good." The following verse (2:1) notes that that includes heaven, earth, and all the host of them. Notice Psalm 148:2 where "host" is set in Hebrew parallelism with "angels." That would have to mean, therefore, that the fall of Lucifer and his demons had not yet taken place. This eliminates one of the major elements in the Gap Theory scenario - the pre-creation creation and fall of the fallen angels. Exactly when they did fall is not precisely identified, but it would have been sometime between Genesis chapters two and three, a period of decades rather than billions of years. 12. There is a remarkable silence in other Scriptures regarding this alleged original destruction of the earth, even though there are several places in which it would be appropriate to the argument. Second Peter 2:4-6 refers to the certainty of God's judgment on three occasions, as does Jude 5-7. Other passages stress the certainty of God's judgment on

pre-Flood people as an illustration of His future judgment upon the world (Matt. 24:37-39), and yet not one ever uses this alleged pre-creation destruction as an example of God's judgment, even though it was more total in its effects and duration than Noah's Flood. The reason they do not refer to it, of course, is because it never happened. 13. Because the geologic column is accepted as a record of (he geologic ages of the pre-creation earth, or of the socalled "Lucifer's Flood," and the fossils are remnants of the pre-Genesis creation, there is a tendency among many gap theorists to diminish the significance, extent, and geological effects of Noah's Flood in Genesis 6-8. Any flood violent enough to completely inundate the earth and cover its highest mountains in 40-150 days, and which lasted a total of 371 days, would have had enough destructive force to break up the earth's crust and thus it would have destroyed the geologic column which, after all, is one of the main reasons for holding to the Gap Theory in the first place. This is why some of the most vociferous advocates of the Gap Theory also argue for a local or tranquil flood in Genesis 6-8. Here is a case where error begets additional error. 14. If there was really a pre-Genesis world that was cursed and destroyed because of sin, it would not be enough to merely destroy it by water or fire. The curse of sin so penetrates and permeates the very fabric of our universe (Rom. 8:21-22) that when God creates the new heavens and earth, He finds it necessary to cancel the nuclear forces holding together every atom of our universe, allow matter to revert back into pure energy, and then re-create an entire new universe of matter as a repetition of Genesis 1:1 (2 Peter 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1). Sin is to the created order as ink is to a

the others, deny Exodus 20:11. 6. Progressive Creation. This is the brain-child of Hugh Ross who has a Ph.D. in astronomy. His ministry, Reasons to Believe, is very active among university students and his entire teaching is based upon evolution although he vigorously denies this and rather cunningly avoids using the unwholesome word "evolution" by use of his term "Progressive Creation." His book The Finger of God, appeared in 1989 and he has appeared on most Christian TV talk shows. Ross's message perfectly fits Paul's "grievous wolves" warning and probably represents one of the greatest dangers to the North American Church today. His teaching is based upon the "blind-`em-with-science" and "hide-behindthe-Hebrew-words" technique - he shamelessly bends Hebrew words to his own meaning confident that not one in a thousand will challenge him. When cornered with a real language expert he will pour out scientific data well larded with specialist words from the more arcane avenues of nuclear physics or cosmology. Or, when cornered by a real specialist in cosmology, he resorts to arguments from the Hebrew. Undoubtedly clever, Ross may even be Christian but like others before him is doing harm to the Church of Jesus Christ. His main points of teaching are: 6a. Ross solidly subscribes to the Big Bang Theory and states that the Universe is 15 billion years old. This denies the instant creation described in Psalm 33:6-9. The Big Bang Theory is currently under a cloud of suspicion. 6b. Ross teaches that the sun was created before the earth and argues that the Genesis account is from God's perspective on the surface of the earth under a heavy cloud

advised him to advocate theistic evolution because it would be more acceptable to Christians whereas naturalistic evolution would be rejected outrightly. Darwin refused because if God had any kind of guiding hand his theory of Natural Selection that depended upon random chance, would be nullified. Scottish Liberal evangelist Henry Drummond (1851-1897) and evangelists Henry Ward Beecher (18131887) and Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) in the US, vigorously promoted theistic evolution. We are reminded of Paul's warning about the "grievous wolves" entering the Church in Acts 20:29. 5. The Fourth Day Theory. Howard Van Till (1938- ), professor at Calvin College, recognizes that Genesis states that the earth was created on the first day while the sun, moon and stars were created on the fourth day. He claims that the first three days of creation each consisted of billions of years and only became 24-hour days after creation of the sun. His book, The Fourth Day, appeared in 1986. Here he states a universe of 15 billion years, denies a literal interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis (thus denies the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:11 and John 10:35) and rejects fiat creation; he argues that it would be deceptive on God's part to create Adam with an apparent age. This type of argument is simply the rejection of miracle by naturalism and, to be consistent, he must also reject the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. Not until the reader is two-thirds through the book does Van Till confess to evolution as his belief system. Of course, this means that he can have no real understanding of the Fall of Man since he has millions of years of death and struggle before Adam, denies Romans 5:14, 17-19, and places the responsibility of death on God and thus is not a consequence of Adam's sin. This theory and

stick of chalk: it cannot be scrubbed from the surface, it must be transformed atomically. 15. If the geologic column contains fossils of a pre-Genesis world, and God recreated all life forms de novo, it seems strange that there is a basic continuity between the fossil record and the spectrum of plants and animals currently alive on the earth. Many fossils are of animals no longer alive (which proves nothing more than that they are no longer alive today for one reason or another), and while they are in some cases larger than their modern counterparts, they are obviously of the same species. If God performed a brand new creation in Genesis 1:2 and following, why did He not start over again with an entirely different set of prototypes? The best explanation for the essential continuity between the current biosphere and the fossil record is that they both contain descendants of the spectrum of life created in Gen. 1:11-31, and that the fossils are actually preserved specimens of plants and animals killed and encapsulated by Noah's Flood of Genesis 6-8. Conclusion The Biblical verses used to support the Gap Theory, as impressive as they may initially appear, are forced, taken out of their contexts, and are actually merely the biblical baggage attached to a theory that was invented primarily to accommodate (i.e., compromise) the Bible to several facets of the evolutionary scenario: the alleged antiquity of the earth and the universe, the geologic column, fossils, etc. The Gap Theory does less violence to the Scriptures as a whole than the Day-Age Theory, and the sincerity of its adherents must be commended in that their motivation is to attempt to

confirm the scientific accuracy of the Bible. But sincerity is not a determinant of truth, as one can be sincerely wrong. The bottom line of this article is that "the beginning" is a part of the first day and the first day is the beginning (Gen. 1:1). Since there is no gap permissible between Gen. 1:1, 2, or 3 either grammatically or contextually, the Gap Theory is unscriptural and is therefore false. ____________________________________ Richard Niessen has taught Bible and apologetics at Moody Bible Institute and Christian Heritage College and is a popular lecturer in creationism and Bible-Science topics. His two Bachelor's degrees are from Northeastern Bible College, his Master's is from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he has done doctoral studies at St. Louis University. ____________________________________

creation took place. But Gesenius and other scholars point out that the two words are interchangeable in their context. Another proof text was Jeremiah 4:32-25 that uses the Hebrew words, TOHU WO BOHU, translated "without form and void" but the context is the destruction of Jerusalem, not the destruction of the early earth! The Gap Theory was promoted by G. H. Pember, the notes to the Scofield edition of the Bible (from 1909) and more recently by Dr. Arthur Custance and evangelists, Jimmy Swaggart and Benny Hinn. 3. The Day-Age Theory. The Scottish geologist and writer, Hugh Miller (1802-1856), was familiar with the fossils, the rocks and with Scripture. He believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch by revelation when he was on the mountain rather than simply being the editor who had received the carefully preserved documents. In Miller's theory, the days of creation were actually days that Moses spent on the mountain. The theory appealed to Numbers 14:34 and 2 Peter 3:8 but he became confused and in a fit of depression, shot himself on Christmas eve, 1856. His book, Testimony of the Rocks, appeared posthumously the following year. 4. Theistic Evolution. This is the most popular belief among Christians and non-Christians today and essentially says that God used the process of evolution to bring about all living things. Sometimes referred to as the "God of the Gaps Theory" because the gaps in the fossil record are where God is supposed to have stepped in, there is a whole spectrum of beliefs within this category. However throughout, the meaning of Scripture is changed to accommodate the particular version while belief in evolution remains inviolate. Professor of botany, Asa Gray (1810-1888), was a Congregationalist and correspondent of Darwin and openly

Creation Contradictions? by Dr. Bernard E. Northrup Man Before Plants? Many have been troubled about the apparent contradiction concerning the order of creation in the accounts of Genesis

the Genesis Flood could have provided this distribution of strata and fossils, the time frame for earth's history could be accommodated within the few thousand years indicated by Biblical genealogies. However the evidence seemed to indicate multiple local floods and these required that the land itself sink and rise a multiple number of times beneath the surface of the ocean for flooding to occur. This was said to take vast spans of time since there was no evidence that continents had actually risen and fallen. Obviously, the sea level could not rise and fall or there would have been a universal flood. Theologians confronted with this kind of data began to compromise with various theories so that both Scripture and geology could both be true. They did not know then that sediments do in fact drop out of flowing water in a very specific order giving rise to the strata precisely as we find them. 2. The Gap or Ruin and Reconstruction Theory. Dr. Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was evangelical professor of theology at Edinburgh. In 1812 he proposed a gap between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3 of as many millions of years as the geologist may want and for which the Bible was essentially silent. He argued that initially there had been a Pre-Adamic world that had been destroyed by a flood. The strata and fossils found today were the remains of this former world. The earth remained "unformed and unfilled" for millions of years then the Biblical account continues with the restored earth. Often not stated the Genesis Flood was local. The Gap Theory partly depends upon the KJV word "replenish" in Genesis 1:28 but this meant "fill" in 1769 and is correctly given as "fill" in modern translations. The key to the theory is the argument that the use of the Hebrew BARA (to create ex in hilo) and ASA (make from re-existing material) means a re-

one and two. There are two texts in chapter two which, in translation, appear to teach contrary to that revealed in chapter one. In both cases, the problem lies in the manner in which the Hebrew text was translated. In Genesis 2:5 a negative particle is twice translated as if it were a preposition. The verse reads in the common translation: "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." The negative in question is underlined. The Hebrew particle terem found here means "not yet." One readily can see that "before" conveys that sense of time with only a slight shade of change of thought. When is the time which is referred to in this way? When had not the shrubs of the field come to be? When had not the field herbs come to sprout forth? The reference clearly is to that time just before the creation of man, "...For the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." It can only refer to the time between the fourth and the sixth days, according to the context of the first chapter. Regrettably, some have used verses 5 and 6 to prove that it never rained between the creation and the Noahic flood. While that may be, it should not be proven by these verses. Their time frame specifically is delineated as preceding the Divine activity which is found in verse 7. Why then does the verse discuss the fact that plant life had not yet sprouted forth (the meaning of the verb translated "grew")? A possible solution follows: In the creation of the plant life which is described as happening on the third day,

the creative act of planting vegetation did not take place all over the world but specifically in the garden. The landmass had just risen out of the sea in that same day (Gen. 1:9-10). The process of draining and drying continued over many days. The moist state of "the field" and of the rest of "the earth" clearly is implied in Genesis 2:5-6. It was still so wet outside of the garden over "the whole face of the ground" that "a mist went up from the earth." Psalm 104 describes this process of the uplift and drainage of the landmass after describing the Lord's initial covering of it "with the deep as with a garment" when "the waters stood above the mountains" (Ps. 104:6) of the newly-created earth (Ps. 104:5). The Psalmist says: "At thy rebuke they (the waters) fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. The mountains went up; the valleys went down unto the place which thou hadst founded for them" (Ps. 104:7-8, literal). Now the water-soaked hills drained. Springs began to flow. "He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills" (Ps. 104:1 0), providing for the needs of the animals as they are created (Ps. 104:1 1-18). Thus the suggestion is that the creative activity of the third day resulted in the placing of plant life in the Garden of Eden in preparation for the habitation of the air with birds, the sea with its swarming creatures, and the land with the animals and man. Genesis 2:5-6 would then be describing the condition of the earth outside of the garden in those days before the creation of man. But does not the text of Genesis 2:8-9 specifically say that the garden was planted after man is formed out of the dust of

Compromise and the Faith


by Ian Taylor
1. The discovery of the colored peoples by the Caucasian Christian West in the 16th century caused some to doubt that the Genesis Flood had been universal since there was only one family on the Ark who must surely have been Caucasian. Later, at the time of the Industrial Revolution and during the search for coal and minerals, it was realized that rocks appeared in layers or strata, each of different chemical composition from those layers above and below it. It was correctly concluded that these strata had originally been sediment in water and they were thus called "sedimentary rocks." However, it was difficult to believe that one flood, the Genesis Flood, had been responsible for all these different strata. It seemed more reasonable to believe that each strata was the result of a local flood, thus multiple layers indicated multiple local floods. These conclusions had been drawn by Nicolas Steno in 1667 but were developed in the early 19th century. The evidence for multiple floods seemed to be the fact that fossil remains of once-living things could be found almost specifically to each strata. The Greeks had proposed that life had begun on earth in very simple form and had gradually become more complex with time but they had no mechanism that could explain this upward progression. The fossils in the strata seemed to show this progression, very simple sea creatures in the lowest strata and mammals and occasionally man in the upper strata. Thus each local flood had preserved within its sediments the remains of those creatures living at the time. If

God, but if there is He is not personally involved with His creatures on a regular basis). The answer to the church's effectiveness lies not in redefining our message, but in knowing our audience and our message. And the Great Commission, which defines God's desire for man, leaves each Christian no choice but to become an expert in this particular field! Truly the fields are white unto harvest!

the earth? The problem of interpretation which allows one to conceive the idea that man was created before plant life (which contradicts Genesis 1:9-31) arises out of the real time relationship of verses 8-9 to verses 6-7. The entire text reads in the King James Version: "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." To the English reader it appears obvious that there is no way of harmonizing this statement that vegetation was created after man with these statements in Genesis one. "And God said, Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, after its kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after its kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day" (Gen. 1:11-13). Man's creation is described as taking place later in the sixth day. "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast

of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them...And the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Gen. 1:24-27, 31). Man Before Animals? This passage in Genesis one is also important in considering the second apparent contradiction which some have thought to find in chapter two: that Adam was created before the animals. The text causing the confusion is Genesis 2:19. After the Lord's comment on Adam's unsatisfactory state in having no mate (v. 18), the Lord God now provided him a mate. "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an helpmeet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Gen. 2:19-22). Thus it sounds as if the animals are created after Adam and before Eve. What is the solution? Is this proof that the Bible is untrustworthy? Or does the answer lie somewhere in the

traditional message of the Church is not having the impact that it should on people. The erroneous conclusion from this is that therefore the message needs to be re-interpreted. However, the real problem is that Christians have not followed the Apostolic example in witnessing the Gospel. The Apostles began with a preaching of sin and repentance, both of which assume a God Who is involved in His creation and holds men accountable, with the Jews, who already accepted this God. They looked for His promised salvation. But they did not begin with the message of sin and repentance with the Greeks and the Romans, who were steeped in the naturalism of Aristotle and Lucretius. The distinction is expressed in 1 Corinthians 1:23, and the actual practice of this distinction can be seen in Acts 17:22-34 and Acts 14:15-18. Although some of these people believed in gods of some sort, these were not real gods who were our powerful creators and who held us responsible for our lives (sin). These gods, in fact, were nearly as subject to impersonal naturalism as we are. To such as these the Apostles began by addressing their hearers where they were in their beliefs, showing how there is a true, powerful, wise God who is intimately involved with His creation. It was for this reason that He became so involved with us in Christ Jesus - it is for this reason that He wants a restored relationship with individuals through the forgiveness of sins. As long as the visible church speaks its message only to the "Jews" (those who at least believe that there is a personal God Who cares about individual lives), it will be frustrated in communicating the Gospel to the larger population of the West which is "Greek" (who believe that there might be a

during the question and answer period by a physicist. The physicist pointed out to Bultmann that his major premise was very wrong. Scientists had not, he said, pinned down reality so neatly that miracles could be excluded. In fact, he said, as the frontiers of physics were being expanded, it was becoming more and more clear that miracles could not be ruled out of reality. It appears that Bultmann never took this evaluation from the viewpoint he claimed to represent very seriously - and neither do those who follow his tradition. John Warwick Montgomery, who has long defended the doctrine of Scripture against liberal skepticism, made the same point in the citation in this month's FIVE MINUTES text: "For us, unlike the people of the Newtonian epoch, the universe is no longer a tight, safe, predictable playing field in which we know all the rules." The problem is not that there are no rules on the playing field, but rather that we are not nearly so smart as we pretend to be. David Ben-Gurion put it this way, "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist." Religious liberals as well as atheists are, in fact, attempting to live in a fictional world of their own making - one in which a supposed naturalism which does not exist reigns as dictator. And it is a curse of God upon the visible church that He has allowed it to be taken captive by unbelieving theologians into this strange and unreal land of naturalism. And His chastisement extends to the man in the pew because the average Christian has left Bible study to others. In every deception there is a kernel of truth. The kernel of truth in the deception of religious liberalism is that the

transition made when the Hebrew original was rendered into the English language? The Linguistic Problem The solution is one which will not satisfy some who will think that any suggestion concerning the original language is an attack upon the integrity of the Word of God. But the writer is one who has diligently studied in and then taught the three original languages of the Bible, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, for nearly 40 years with one goal. That goal is to better understand the intended meaning behind the numerous difficult statements found in our King James translation. These apparent contradictions which appear to be inescapable in our translation simply are examples of a translation problem caused by an inadequate grasp on the part of the translators of certain very important facts about the Hebrew language. Most English readers do not recognize the nature of the task of translating from one language into another with a very different grammatical structure. It could be likened to the difficulty which our American astronauts would have met on attempting to dock with the Russian cosmonauts had there not been some very careful cooperative planning and engineering on the locking ports of both vehicles beforehand. English is a language that conveys a rather precise announcement of the time values which are involved in every statement of its sentences. Hebrew, to the uninitiated English student, is remarkable in that it does not use phonemes in its verb system which signal to the reader such concepts as present, past, future, previous present, previous

past and previous future, subsequent past and subsequent future. These elements are not at all conveyed by the verb system. Rather the writer (and speaker) depended upon context and occasionally an adverb to convey such ideas. It was impossible unequivocably to say with English precision: "I had fallen from the tree before I hit the ground." A Hebrew student would have said: "I fell from the tree before I hit the ground." He would marvel that the English language student would find it beneficial for the speaker to explain any further that the one action preceded the other! Nonetheless, to the English mind, such an explanation is expected since the reader is used to finding these precise time relationships defined in his language. Thus he instinctively places one action before another in his mind when he reads: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country..." (Gen. 12:1). The Hebrew reader sees no such grammatical structure, yet, if alert, immediately recognizes the same time relationship. The Apparent Contradictions Resolved It is this disparity in time structure between the two languages which causes the translation problem and the apparent contradiction to appear on the surface of our English translation of Genesis 2. Oddly enough, the translators of the King James recognized the grammatical principle above by supplying "had" in Genesis 12:1. It is regrettable that "had" was not placed in italics to indicate that there actually is no comparable form in the original text, the normal mode of these translators in supplying an element for the reader's understanding. These men knew from the context that the revelation from God which required Abram's departure from Ur of the Chaldees was given before his

Yet in a recent letter to Lutheran Church in America pastors, presiding Bishop (President) Herbert Chilstrom called the Bible an impediment to the Gospel. He said that the Bible is an impediment because people tend to understand it in a literalistic way - the Bible should not be "the center of all things." Seminaries of this church body use Bultmann's materials, as well as those of his followers, in their training of pastors. Bultmann and his followers taught, contrary to the claims of Scripture, that modern man could not identify with the worldview of Scripture. In a day and age when electricity performs such miracles - albeit according to well-understood laws - the Biblical miracles pale, and even become unrealistic. In a world where we know that naturalism reigns, the church loses credibility by talking about miracles. Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, recently typified the Bulmanian attitude when he called the Resurrection of Christ a "conjuring trick with bones" saying, "I am not clear that God maneuvers physical things." It is easy to show (and has been shown many times) that the faith of Bultmann and his followers is a radical departure from the teachings of the Apostles and the faith of believers through the ages. But here we want to explore another question. Is the Bultmanian assumption about science and modern man actually realistic - or is it good old-fashioned unbelief, masquerading as a new savior for the church? At the International Conference on Biblical Inerrancy held in Minneapolis in the fall of 1984, J.I. Packer related how, after one presentation of his views, Bultmann was confronted

A Relevant Gospel In A Scientific Age


by Paul A. Bartz
Can the Word of God be relevant in our scientific age? Atheists and skeptics maintain that the Biblical world view can now be considered an outdated mythology because of the conclusions of modern science which have ruled out the involvement of God in our real world, Religious liberals have taken a very similar position, following the lead of the liberal German theologian, Rudolph Bultmann, As a result, those who would accept the Bible's teachings as the revealed Word of God, living their lives based on a view of the world that God is personally and individually involved in human lives, are portrayed, even in liberal churches, as a dying breed who will soon be replaced. The contrast is so sharp that there are truly two religions operating under the name "Christian" whose beliefs on nearly every point are nearly opposite. The Christian faithful throughout the ages have accepted that God is the Author of the Bible. As the revealed Word of God, though actually written down by human writers, (2 Peter 1:20, 21), the Bible is always true in everything that it touches because it comes from God Who is Truth. In Mark 13:31 Jesus says that even though heaven and earth shall pass away, His Word will never pass away - It cannot be broken (John 10:35). Here we have God's own claim that the Bible is relevant for every age. It cannot ever be outdated.

departure in obedience to that command. Thus they translated it: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country... So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him..." (Gen. 12:1,4). In the same way these translators recognized in Genesis 3:1 that the creation of the beasts of the field had taken place before the demonstration of the subtlety of the serpent. Thus they have translated: "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made." This practice of supplying helping verb forms in the English language was carried on by the King James translators with fair regularity as context demanded it. Genesis 2:8-9 contains an example of it in the phrase "...there he put the man whom he had formed." But herein lies the crux of the problem. There are two other verb forms in these two verses where context should have required the supplying of the previous past helper, "had". The context of chapter one should have required the verses to be translated: "Now the LORD God had planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God had made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Recognition of the fact that chapter one places these creative activities in the third day of creation would have totally eliminated the difficulty which some doubters have when they come to read this "apparent contradiction" in the Word of God. The second apparent contradiction found in Genesis 2 seems to require the placing of the creation of man before the

creation of the animals (Gen. 2:18-20). By now the reader should suspect the problem which causes the English reader the difficulty. Yes, again it is the failure of the translators to acknowledge the government of prior revelation upon the way that they translated these verses. The following is a suggested partially expanded translation of these verses which completely resolves the apparent contradiction by following the very principles followed elsewhere by the King James translators. "And the LORD God said, 'Man's being alone is not good. I will make for him an helper as his counterpart. Now the LORD God had formed from the ground every living creature of the field and every fowl of the heavens and he had brought (them) unto the man to see what he would call each one. And whatsoever the man had called each living creature, that (became) its name. And the man had given names to every cattle and to the fowl of the heavens and to every living creature of the field, but for man there had not been found a helper as his counterpart. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and he proceeded to sleep. And he took one from his ribs and he closed up the flesh in its place. And the LORD God built the rib which he had taken from the man into a woman, and he brought her unto the man." Now it can be readily seen that the specific purpose of Adam's newly-appointed task of naming the animals and birds was to prepare him psychologically to recognize his need of a wife! By the time the young bachelor had reviewed all of, creation's pairs, there had fallen a heaviness over his spirit. He had recognized that he alone of all God's created beings did not have a counterpart! He now was prepared for

God is lying in Genesis 1:14-19. There are many more problems for the gap theory which have been pointed out. If you are interested in exploring this topic further, we suggest that you see Professor Richard Niessen's article, "Is the Gap Theory a Biblical Option?" in the September, 1982 NEWSLETTER. Acceptance of the gap theory is based on a perceived need to make Scripture harmonize with the millions of years of earth history claimed by evolutionists. Since, if you assume that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, it will be easy to find support for it elsewhere, even if that support is only circumstantial, the best way to convince a person who accepts the gap theory that he needs to re-evaluate his understanding of Scripture is to first show him that there is no scientific need to explain earth's history in terms of millions of years. There is no scientific evidence which requires that millions of years be accounted for. At the same time, such an understanding of Scripture causes problems with other more clear Scriptural texts which have nothing "hidden" in them. Neither the rules of grammar, nor the context of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, allow a gap to be placed at that point in the text. Science certainly does not demand that the earth is millions of years old.

only occurs in two other places in the Old Testament (Isaiah 34:11, and Jeremiah 4:23), and while it does refer to the description of the results of judgment in both of these cases, the individual words of the phrase, like void, are found in other places in Scripture, referring to the features of creation rather than destruction (see Job 26:7; Deuteronomy 32:10; Job 6:18; 12:24; and Psalm 107:40; for example). We conclude that the sampling upon which the gap theorist's rule of interpretation is built is much too small to establish such a rule. Another argument used by gap theorists is based on the King James translation of Genesis 1:28. Here the gap theorist cites the word "replenish" (which is simply translated "fill" in the NASB). The idea again is that the earth was once filled, and now must be re-filled. But again, this understanding is not supported by the text of Scripture. First, a theological position should not be based on a translation, but rather on the original text. The word in the original Hebrew is translated in 53 different ways in the KJV, including "replenish," "fill" (for the first time), "to be satisfied," "to accomplish," and "to furnish." The Hebrew word here has a broad meaning, and therefore cannot become the basis of a rule for the narrower meaning. Genesis 1:3 presents another problem for the gap theorist. Here we read that God created light. Either the first world of the gap theorist had no light, or the flood which destroyed the world, also destroyed all the light in the universe. Scientifically, this is a much more incredible claim than the claim that the earth is young. Scofield tried to get around this by saying that the sun, moon and stars were created in the very beginning, but this must be rejected because, if true,

the crowning act of creation and for the presentation of his wife to him as he awoke from the first surgical operation. He knew that he needed a wife and gladly received her as such from the hand of the Creator. Now it also can be seen that the imagined contradictions found in Genesis 2 simply are the result of inconsistent application of perfectly normal translation principles and that there really is not any contradiction here at all. As revealed, God's word is fully and completely inspired and accurate even to the very words chosen. It is trustworthy and authoritative for our lives as we seek to serve the One who gave it through holy men of old (2 Pet. 1:21).

_________________________________ Dr. Bernard E. Northrup is the associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Redding, California and a member of the BSA Board of Advisors. _________________________________

Dare We Reinterpret Genesis? by David Watson Editor's note: The October 1982 Christianity Today published an editorial pooh-poohing the literal interpretation

of Genesis I -II. David Watson wrote a reply, which CT has refused to print. This is his response which Christianity Today refused so print. "Tracing the future of the Universe from the present onward is not nearly so hard (as tracing the past): we do not need any new way of looking at the world. All that we really need to plot out our future are a few good measurements." James S. Trefil, Smithsonian Magazine, June, 1983. So runs a recent challenge from the humanist camp. Do you see what has happened? Completely self-assured about the (Big Bang) theory of the world's beginning, they now assert with equal intrepidity their predictions about the world's end. God is not invited or involved - even as spectator! But at least they are logical and consistent: the godless overture is matched with a godless finale. A much stranger phenomenon today is Christians who profess to believe what God says about the end of the world (Last judgment, Heaven, etc.), but at the same time refuse to accept what He has said about its beginning. Historical Precedents Before we take a closer look at the Guideposts article (Christianity Today (CT), October, 1982), it may be well to remind ourselves that reinterpretation of Scripture is an old game. "Full well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your own tradition...you hold the tradition of men ... making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7). We find this attitude of Christ to the Old Testament uniformly consistent throughout His ministry - in His answers to the

the appearance of deep Bible study since it claims to show how millions of years were ingeniously hidden in the pages of Scripture. But the question before us is, is the gap theory really Biblical? Those who accept the gap theory find many passages to support their ideas. But as those who study Scripture have learned by experience, anyone can find support for some idea in Scripture if they assume that the idea is there. The real test is to discover whether the gap theory is really visible in Scripture to those who have not first accepted the idea that the earth must be millions of years old. One argument used to support the gap theory is built on Genesis 1:2 where we read "And the earth was formless and void " (NASB). Gap theorists say that the Hebrew word for was should be translated became. This passage would then suggest that the earth had an earlier creation which was destroyed - it became waste and void. However, most Biblebelieving Hebrew scholars don't accept that the Hebrew word here translated was must be translated became. In the King James, still considered the most accurate translation, the 264 occurrences of this word are translated "was" 97.7% of the time (based on figures provided by Professor Richard Niessen, see the September, 1982 NEWSLETTER). In some cases was is the only thing that will make sense. In Jonah 3:3 we read that "Nineveh was a great city." It didn't become a great city when Jonah set foot in it. Those who support the gap theory also cite the words in Genesis 1:2 which say that the "earth was formless and void...", saying that these words always refer to destruction after a judgment. While this phrase, "formless and void,"

The Gap Theory - Is It Biblical?


by Paul Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.

devil, to enquirers about divorce, about the sabbath, about eternal life, and on a dozen other occasions. He never reinterpreted Scripture. He simply quoted the words as being in themselves perspicuous, intelligible, and meaningful, in the plain sense of common speech. Why did this offend the Pharisees? They were certainly fundamentalists. They believed in an inerrant Book. But they had reinterpreted the words to suit their own life-style. As we move on through the New Testament we find again and again a similar resistance to new truth, or, rather, to old truths rediscovered. "O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" Notice that the Lord did not blame them for failing to understand dark and difficult passages. He did blame them for failing to believe prophecies like (presumably) Isaiah 53, where the sufferings of Christ are clearly foretold. Once again, Bible-believers were blind to Bible truth because of the current philosophy in this case, expectation of a conquering Messiah. We can follow the same theme through Church history. As has often been pointed out, the Pope believed 95 percent of what Martin Luther believed, including the plenary inspiration and authority of the Bible, and "the just shall live by faith." But the schoolmen had reinterpreted Paul's words to fit in with the current medieval philosophy and ecclesiastical system. It was "all a matter of interpretation." So it was in the days of John Wesley. Anglican prelates disapproved of his open-air preaching, in spite of obvious precedents in the Acts of the Apostles. Baptist elders tried to discourage Carey: "God can take care of the heathen without your help, Master William!" - in spite of Mark 16:15. They reinterpreted Christ's command to suit the laissez-faire

The "gap theory" is the idea that Genesis 1:1 records the special creation of the heavens and the earth, billions of years ago. It was on that earth that the prehistoric men and animals were said to have lived. It was also during this time, according to the gap theory, that satan's rebellion took place and he was cast down to earth. He led the earth's inhabitants into complete rebellion against God, which was followed by the judgment of God which destroyed the entire earth with a flood from which there were no survivors. The gap theory is, historically, a new teaching. It was first pushed in scholarly circles in 1814 by Thomas Chalmers who wanted to make the Biblical history fit into the vast ages claimed by uniformitarian geologists. The idea was popularized in the 1917 appearance of the Scofield Reference Bible. Many Christians find the gap theory appealing because it appears to offer a way to deal with the great ages claimed by evolutionists for the earth, while still having a sort of Biblical history. The gap theory also gives

philosophy of 18th century England. When George Muller and Hudson Taylor affirmed that it was possible for Christian work to be supported "by prayer alone to God alone," Christian businessmen laughed them to scorn: "Thinks he can live on thin air!" The promises had always been right there in Matthew 6, but "little faith" had reinterpreted them as being contrary to experience. So we see that pioneers of spiritual truth are often ridiculed in their own generation. Uncomfortable doctrines are jettisoned to prevent their rocking the boat. Outward profession of conformity to Scripture is retained even when practice and teaching differ widely from Scripture's pattern. And not infrequently there is heavy reliance on tradition: "Old So-and-So was a great man of God and he believed this (or acted thus), so it must be OK for us too!" We are reminded of Kipling's brilliant satire, "The Disciple"; He that hath a gospel For all earth to own Though he etch it on the steel, Or carve it on the stone Not to be misdoubted Through the after-days It is his Disciple Shall read it many ways. Yes, the Fourth Commandment was indeed carved on stone; but 20th century disciples have read it many ways. Origins of the Non-Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1-11 Lord Macaulay writes of John Milton: "His attacks were

wholly delusive only when they are shown that their picture of the past is completely chimerical. ______________________________________ David C. C. Watson (M.A., Cambridge, England) was a missionary to India 1947-60, 1966-70, and was co-founder of the Union of Evangelical Students of India in 1953. He is the author of: The Great Brain Robbery (Studies in Evolution), Myths and Miracles (a study-guide to Genesis 111), and Fact or Fantasy? (supporting the authenticity of the Gospels). ______________________________________

Genesis Stands! Is a reprint of three articles which originally appeared in the Bible-Science Newsletter. "Is the Gap Theory a Biblical Option?" first appeared in September, 1982; "Creation Contradictions?" appeared in June, 1986; and "Dare We Interpret Genesis?" appeared in May, 1984.

what He says. An Appeal Finally, a personal appeal to "progressive creationists." "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is good advice. The past twenty years have seen a mighty movement "Back to the Bible," following the exposure of mega-evolution as a mega-lie and the discovery of many new facts supporting creationism. Would it not be wise to admit, now, that the pioneers (Whitcomb and Morris) were right after all? Non-literalist commentaries on Genesis are the laughingstock of the world, and no amount of special pleading or reinterpretation is ever going to persuade ordinary people that Moses did not teach a literal six-day creation, a young earth, and a universal flood. "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold," as did the medieval church, as did William Carey's obstructors and Hudson Taylor's. Martin Luther's challenge of 500 years ago is right up to date: "If I profess with the loudest voice every Bible doctrine except that one truth which Satan is attacking today, I am no soldier of Jesus Christ." You don't have to be a reader of the Smithsonian to know which Bible truths are under special attack today. Noah's flood is a "fairy tale"; Archbishop Ussher is a figure of fun; and six-day creation is a "pre-scientific myth." That is why God is calling for real disciples who will not "amplify distinctions" or "rationalize the claim," but will stand up and tell the world that He means just what He says in Genesis 111. The scientific establishment will never take seriously the Christian doctrine of Last Things until they see that Christians take seriously the Bible doctrine of First Things. Unbelievers will recognize their dreams of the future as

directed against those deeply-seated errors on which almost all abuses are founded: the servile worship of eminent men and the irrational dread of innovation." The author of Guideposts leans heavily on eminent men: Augustine of Hippo, J.I. Packer, and Francis Schaeffer. Let us first study his remarks about Augustine; "...the ancient theologian Augustine argued that the biblical author structured the passage (Genesis One) as a literary device..." The picture here presented to the unwary layman is of a learned Father sitting down to write his Commentary on Genesis just as Calvin and Luther did twelve centuries later, and "arguing" that his own interpretation is correct. This picture is wholly imaginary. In his Confessions Books XI, XII, and XIII, where Augustine deals with Genesis One, he is not arguing with anyone. Rather, he is meditating. In fact the whole passage is an extended prayer to God. In no sense is he setting out his own view as opposed to someone else's. Nor does the word "structure" or the phrase "literary device" appear. What he does is allegorize the whole chapter, discovering esoteric meanings that (perhaps) no one else ever thought of. Consider the following equations: the firmament = (is allegorized into) the Bible waters above the firmament = angels clouds = preachers sea = unbelievers dry land = believers bringing forth fruit = works of mercy stars = saints (in various grades of light) sacraments = fishes miracles = whales

Luther comments. "Augustine resorts to extraordinary trifling in his treatment of the six days," and some of us may be inclined to agree. Also, Augustine knew hardly a word of Hebrew and was no Greek scholar. As an anchorman in the non-literal team, he is hopelessly lightweight. Dr. J.I. Packer is a fine theologian but his theological outlook has been strongly influenced by the British Inter-Varsity Fellowship, who have been theistic evolutionists for upwards of fifty years. Moreover, he is a great admirer of Benjamin Warfield, who in turn relied on W.H. Green of Princeton for his non-literal interpretation of Genesis 5 and 11. Most frequently quoted is Warfield's statement: "The question of the antiquity of man has of itself no theological significance... the Bible does not assign a brief span to human history." This saying has practically become an evangelical tradition over the past hundred years. But is it true? What Green and Warfield seem to have overlooked is that the veracity of God is a matter of profound significance. Theologically speaking, it is a matter of entire indifference whether Christ rose from the dead on the third day or the 33rd or after three years. Even if it were three years, not one word of Paul's letter to the Romans would have to be changed. But God chose to do it on the third (literal) day, and every reference in the Gospels to Christ's resurrection includes the phrase "after three days" or "on the third day," or carefully specifies that only one day, the sabbath, intervened between His death and rising again. Why? Because God knows that we require every possible assurance and reassurance to faith. And details of time and place are what make a story interesting and memorable. Not otherwise is it with the creation history and genealogies. Theologically

carefully constructed by academics in the airless atmosphere and artificial light of a theological library. We need to open the windows and allow a good strong blast of common sense to blow it down. "When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel pursued..." As Norman Macbeth recently said, "It is a time for funerals - of evolutionary hypotheses." The top Philistines know well that their champion (Darwin) is dead. Isn't it time for all truehearted soldiers to join in the pursuit? And what about children? Of all the books in the Bible, Genesis is preeminently the children's book. Who can doubt but that these fascinating stories were designed by God to allure the sweet innocence of childhood and lead us gently to faith in Christ? ("From a babe thou hast known the Holy Scriptures," writes Paul to Timothy.) But now, inevitably, questions will be asked: "Dad, did God really make everything in six days?" "Mom, did the ark really hold every kind of animal?" -- and parents who follow the NLT with one accord begin to make excuse: "Well, no, not really, darling. You see, the scentists say..." In view of Christ's solemn words about causing little ones to stumble, I would not like to stand in the shoes of anyone who teaches a child that in the A-B-C book of religion, God does not mean

Amplify distinctions, Rationalize the claim; Preaching that the Master Would have done the same." On the contrary, we believe that God is the greatest communicator of all time. When He planned His revelation to mankind, He had at His disposal all the words of all the languages of every tribe and nation. How could He have failed to communicate what He really meant - when a pagan poet succeeded? Too Complicated Our final objection to the Non-Literal Theory (NLT) is that it is far too complicated. Every teacher knows that you begin with the simple and move on to the complex. This principle can be clearly seen in the Bible, too. Prose in Samuel and Kings leads on to poetry in the Psalms, philosophy in Ecclesiastes, prophecy in Isaiah, and finally the difficult passages in Ezekiel and Daniel. But the non-literal school would have us believe that right at the beginning of His revelation, God has placed a conundrum as hard to solve as any in the whole Bible. Anyone who has tried to teach the elements of Christianity to primitive or illiterate people will recognize the utter impossibility of explaining to them why God's first words should be "a subtle, highly sophisticated modification of an ancient Mesopotamian literary device" (R. Youngblood), rather than plain statements of fact, easily intelligible in every language to all people -- as the pioneer missionaries believed. The Literary Framework Hypothesis is a house of cards

it may be a matter of no significance whether Adam was created 6000 years ago or six million, whether the universe was made in six days or sixty billion years, but the veracity of God cannot be so easily dismissed - and by all the laws of language it is certain that Genesis tells of a six- day creation some 6000 years ago. There is as little reason to doubt the six days of Genesis as to doubt the three days of the Gospels. We shall now call witnesses to show that this has been the view of the greatest scholars, ancient and modern, for 1900 years. Supporters of the Literal Interpretation Flavius Josephus, a Jew of the 1st century A.D., was reckoned by Scaliger, the great Reformation scholar, to be a better historian than all the Greek and Roman writers put together. He certainly had unequalled opportunities of investigating and understanding the culture and traditions of his own people. How does he handle the early chapters of Genesis? 1) "Moses says that in just six days the world and all that is therein was made... Moreover Moses, after the seventh day was over, begins to talk philosophically..." In other words, Josephus is saying that Chapter Two may be a bit mysterious, but in Chapter One there is no hint of any mystery at all. He obviously takes the days as literal. 2) "The sacred books contain the history of 5000 years..." This is conclusive evidence that the Jews of Josephus' day added up the figures in Genesis 5 and 11 to make a chronology. To make assurance doubly sure, he later states: "...this flood began 2656 years from the first man, Adam."

(Both computations are based on the LXX text). What C.S. Lewis has so trenchantly written about critics of the New Testament surely applies no less to reinterpreters of the Old: "The idea that any man or writer should be opaque to those who lived in the same culture, spoke the same language, shared the same habitual imagery and unconscious assumptions, and yet be transparent to those who have none of these advantages is, in my opinion, preposterous. There is an a priori improbability in it which almost no argument and no evidence could counterbalance. "In other words, it seems unlikely that English-speaking Americans in the 20th century will understand Moses better than a Hebrew-and-Greek-speaking Jew of the 1st century A.D." St. Ambrose (d. 397 A.D.) was no more infallible than any of the Church Fathers, but his treatment of Genesis One is grammatical and Objective: "In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of 'one day,' not 'the first day'...Scripture established a law that 24 hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of 'day' only, as if one were to say that the length of one day is 24 hours in extent." Nobody, I think, disputes that the Reformers accepted Genesis as literal truth, but two brief quotations may be useful. Calvin: "God Himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating His works to the capacity of

over the last 120 years. (We suggest the time has come for CT to review Dillow's impressive book The Waters Above, (Moody, 1981), which reinforces with massive new evidence Whitcomb and Morris's Genesis Flood). There may be problems connected with this Bible history (e.g., how did the marsupials reach Australia?), but these are as nothing compared with the problem of explaining away the physical evidence for a universal flood. It is also fair to say that if Genesis 6-9 had been written in any book other than the Bible, no one would have doubted that the writer meant to convey the idea of a worldwide deluge. For example, compare the Latin poet Ovid's account of the same event: "Wherever old Ocean roars around the earth, I must destroy the race of men..." says Jupiter. "He preferred to destroy the human race beneath the waves... and now the sea and land have no distinction. All is sea, and a sea without a shore... Here (on Mount Parnassus, 8000 feet) Deucalion and his wife had come to land - for the sea had covered all things else." (Deucalion addresses his wife) "O only woman left on earth... we two are the only survivors, the sea holds all the rest." Any scholar who dared to suggest that Ovid did not intend to depict a universal flood would be laughed out of court. Now - the language of Genesis 6-9 is at least as unambiguous and comprehensive as Ovid's, but evangelical concordists have succeeded in throwing an aura of mystery around the Bible story so that "no one can be quite sure what it means." Alas for Christendom! "It is his Disciple Who shall tell us how Much the Master would have scrapped Had he lived till now...

does it take God to plant a garden? Not longer, I think, than the time it has taken you to read the question. How long did God need to create Adam? Five seconds, perhaps? And how many pairs of animals did Adam have to see before he felt his own need of a mate? Ten - twenty - fifty? Surely not more than fifty and one can see fifty pairs of animals in a couple of hours at any fair-sized zoo. Naming them would be no problem for a man with a perfect mind and a God-given language. But what about Eve? Surely that operation took a long time? One pictures - subconsciously - angel nurses scrubbing Adam's chest, white-robed cherubim administering anesthetic, and the long wait that often precedes surgery in a modern hospital. All pure fantasy! Almighty God, we suggest, did not need ten minutes to remove Adam's rib and build it into a woman. As for Adam's "Now - at last!", the expression of joy and surprise is perfectly natural and reasonable when we ponder the fact that he had never seen another human, let alone a beautiful woman. (Luther was so sure of the Sixth Day being completed by the first "Friday" that he confidently assigns the Fall to the first Sabbath). No - the "long-sixth-day" objection is another "deeply- seated error," a desperately weak argument cobbled together to escape the inescapable confrontation of Exodus 20 and 31. "Ye de err, not knowing ... the power of God." The Flood Ignored It is puzzling to find in Guideposts no reference to Noah's flood - puzzling because this is the real point at issue. If the fossils were caused by one colossal deluge, then there never was a need for the Gap Theory or any of the other intellectual contortions devised by evangelical concordists

men." Luther: "We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6000 years ago." Modern Scholars James Barr, Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture in Oxford University, ridicules the non-literal interpretation espoused by the Inter-Varsity Press: "...the biblical material is twisted to fit the various theories that can bring it into accord with science. In fact the only natural exegesis (of Genesis One) is a literal one, in the sense that this is what the author meant...he was deeply interested in chronology and calendar." (our emphasis). Samuel R. Drive, Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University, published his commentary on Genesis in 1904, and it is still a standard work of reference. "There is little doubt that the writer meant 'days' in the literal sense, and that Pearson was right when he inferred from the chapter that the world was represented as created '6000 or, at farthest, 7000 years' from the 17th century A.D." The same interpretation is maintained by Keil and Delitzsch, Gehard von Rad, and (so far as I am aware) by every major commentary on Genesis. In fact we have never heard of any Professor of Hebrew in any of the world's great universities who believes that the original writer did not intend his words to be taken literally. Let the Interpreter's Commentary speak for them all: "There can be no question but that by day the author meant just what we mean - the time required for one revolution of the earth on its axis. Had he meant aeon he would certainly, in view of his fondness for great numbers, have stated the number of millenniums each period embraced."

Finally, Dr. John C. Whitcomb has pointed out that a close parallel to Genesis 1 can be found in Numbers 7. No expositor would dare to affirm that the extended and metaphorical use of "day" in 7:84 negates the literal 24-hour days of vv. 12, 18, 24, etc. No more should any expositor " to maintain that the extended and metaphorical use of "day" in Gen. 2:4 negates the literal days of chapter one. Francis Schaeffer The last of CT's "eminent men" is Dr. Francis Schaeffer. We, too, admire his versatility and outstanding achievements, but as a Hebrew scholar he cannot be compared with Barr and Driver, let alone with Calvin and Luther. Let us glance briefly at his objection to the literal interpretation: "...the Bible never uses them early genealogies as a chronology. It never adds up them numbers for dating." This seems to us a perfect example of begging the question, because the figures are a chronology. Otherwise no conceivable purpose can be adduced for noting the age of each father at the birth of his son (especially in Chapter 11, where the "begetting ages" are quite normal by modern standards, mostly in the 30's). Why should Moses do for us what we can do for ourselves? Similarly Moses does not in Chapter 11 add up the total lifespan of each patriarch, as he did in Chapter 5. Does this mean that, e.g., Shelah did not live to be 433? Obviously he did, but Moses does not waste words telling us the obvious, because the principle of addition had already been established in Chapter 5. Also, Moses does not tell us the age of Jacob at the birth of Joseph, but he very neatly works it into the story (41:46, 45:6, 47:9)

so that by simple addition and subtraction we find it to be 91. We are expected to do the sum for ourselves. There is no reason to doubt that Moses was working on exactly the same principle when he left the totals un-added in Chapters 5 and 11. So we conclude that Dr. Schaeffer's objection is invalid. In the Bible long dates (Exodus 12, 1 Kings 6) are given only when there is no other way of computing the total. Adam 100,000 B.C.? There are, by the way, a number of other problems attached to the 100,000-year theory: 1) God condemned Adam to eat bread, and archaeology tells us that wheat appeared only 6000-7000 years ago. 2) Cain built a city, and archaeology knows nothing of city building before 7000 B.C. 3) What was God doing for 100,000 years while the human race murdered and plundered and raped and tortured and wallowed in every kind of abominable bestiality? It is hard enough to "justify the ways of God to man" on the assumption that He waited 4000 years before sending a Savior. To explain a delay of 100,000 years is, we opine, absolutely impossible. The Length of the Sixth Day Isn't it interesting that no Bible expositor before Darwin had any problems with the sixth day? But now we are told: "Clearly the author is indicating that the sixth day extended over quite a period of time." We beg to differ. How long