Why would I believe in a young earth?

2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 15:4, and 2 Peter 1:20-21 give no allowance for a "somewhat useful" Scripture. I must decide either 1) every word of the Word is true or 2) God is a liar or 3) people have made God up.

If the God of the Bible is perfect, His guidebook is perfect.  The Word is not just an authored book, the Word is a manifestation of the Author (see John 1:1-5).

For me to believe the God of the Bible is who He says He is, I must believe His Word is perfect.  The Word sets up an incredible claim: either every word God inspired specially chosen people through the ages to write is infallible, or the entire message is lost in imperfection.

I believe, with everything I am, that the Word is infallible.  I could not think otherwise because God has opened my eyes to read and my ears to hear the language of God, set down perfectly and immovably in the 66 books of Scripture.

This foundation is much broader than only a belief in a young earth.  This foundation is the starting point for why I accept every claim in Scripture [1].

There are Christians who genuinely believe the Word of God is infallible, but they believe God used millions or billions of years to create the Universe rather than the 6 days the Bible clearly outlines in Genesis 1.

To harmonize these two beliefs, they have to add time in between days of before the first day or believe the days as symbolic.  They also must believe the order of events is symbolic if they believe in the Big Bang.

Unless the Christian believes God used millions or billions of years for some processes but created Adam from dust[2], Adam is believed to be an evolved ape-like creature who God “finished” or merely “adopted and breathed into” rather than created from dust as Scripture says.

Outside the Garden of Eden, the world was already full of the skeletons of animals who have struggled to survive and failed.  To harmonize this with the Bible would have to mean death of animals is

very good (Genesis 1:31).

Ape-like creatures, who would one day become human, also suffered and died.  But God did not show care or concern for them until one day He “adopted” two [3]?

If instead of being the first two humans, Adam and Eve were two of many apes-like creatures evolving (as some progressive creationists now believe), why did the curse fall on all of humanity?  And what is the consequence of sin if there was already suffering and death[4]?

But most deadly of all, if the first Adam was symbolic . . . why do we believe the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, is an actual Person?  To believe in a symbolic Christ is to destroy the entire Bible, the purpose of faith, the atoning power of Jesus, and to condemn us all–every single one of us—to the sinner’s Hell where we belong.

Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47, NLT)

Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death resulted from sin, therefore everyone dies, because everyone has sinned.  Certainly sin was in the world before the law was given, but no record of sin is kept when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death ruled from the time of Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the same way Adam did when he disobeyed.  He is a foreshadowing of the one who would come.

But God’s free gift is not like Adam’s offense.  For if many people died as the result of one man’s offense, how much more have God’s grace and the free gift given through the kindness of one man, Jesus the Messiah, been showered on many people!  Nor can the free gift be compared to what came through the man who sinned.  For the sentence that followed one man’s offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift brought justification, even after many offenses.  For if, through one man, death ruled because of that man’s offense, how much more will those who receive such overflowing grace and the gift of righteousness rule in life because of one man, Jesus the Messiah! (Romans 5:12-17, ISV)

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17, NLT)

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[1] I am ashamed to even use the word “claim” to describe the Truth.  God has given us the freedom to choose to accept His Word or not, and this is what I am trying to express.  The reality is that whether or not I accept the claims of Scripture, they will always be truth.  Regardless of whether I accept the claim of gravity, if I jump off a cliff it’s not going to go well for me.  To an infinitely greater extent, what I conclude about God’s Word has no impact on its validity but instead on the state of my soul.

[2] This doesn’t satisfy the evolutionist, who insists man came from ape-like creatures, or explain why God would describe each day as a day but only day 6 (or certain days) to be literal.

[3] If Adam and Eve evolved from ape-like creatures, then Eve’s creation must be symbolic as well, for she could hardly have been made from Adam’s rib if evolution is true.

[4] If the only consequence of Adam’s sin was Hell, then the rest of creation did not actually suffer any more than it already was.  But Romans 8:22 says,

We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.

Romans 8:18-23 is a crystal-clear explanation of the connection between the fall of creation, suffering, death, and our sin.  My prayer is you will take the time to read this passage, and explore what the Bible says about the curse (e.g., Genesis 3) for yourself.  Biblecc.com and Biblegateway.com are easy ways to look up Scripture.

Photograph by Savio Sebastian, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/savioseb/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

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It’s not fair! Adam and Eve shouldn’t be allowed to make my choices for me!

Have you ever been in a situation where one person ruined something for everybody?

I was at an amusement park with my friends one time, and they were about to get on this spinning, spinning, spinning ride.  I knew one millisecond on that and I would want to get off.

But my friends stood in the long line.  When they were close to the front, sure to be on the ride next, one of the teenage kids getting off the ride messed with some kind of control.  He probably didn’t really “do” anything, but the whole ride had to be shut down and go through a process of safety testing before it could be reopened.  I believe it was going to be like a 45 minute process.  My friends got out of line, and everybody was pretty mad at the kid who messed with the control.

Was it “fair” for the ride operators to shut the ride down, when the people waiting in line had done nothing to deserve not getting on the ride?  Well, it was fair, because the operators weren’t going to put people on a ride that might, by some remote chance, end up killing someone.  Safety is nothing to mess with.

Sin is nothing to mess with either.  When Adam and Eve sinned, their soul changed hands from belonging to God to belonging to Satan.  Their DNA began the break down from perfection and eternal sustainability to deterioration and death.  God forced them to leave the garden of perfection because they weren’t perfect anymore.  It wouldn’t be wise to let imperfect people live in a world that had changed from paradise to purgatory. 

I can complain about the Eden kick-out until I think about what would have happened if God hadn’t kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden.  Everyone would have to live on this broken world until its destruction if we ate from the tree of life each day.  That would mean prisoners of wars would be endlessly tortured for thousands of years, never dying.  That would mean that people sold into slavery in unthinkable circumstances would be forced to live like that for thousands of years.  And if God hadn’t shut Adam and Eve out of Eden–if He had allowed them to eat from the tree of life–then His promise that they would die if they ate of the fruit would have been broken (Genesis 2:16), making God a liar–and God never lies (for example, see 1 Samuel 15:29, Titus 1:2).

Every time Eve conceived a child, that child would be fallen.  We now know that DNA is copied with mistakes, and this results in the birth impairments we see present in every creature on earth.  But more than just a physical change, every child was born with a sin nature: a disposition towards sin.  Adam and Eve had, without knowing it, sold their children into slavery!

Who would buy them back?

God would!

I’ve thought before that God was unfair to continue the human race after Adam and Eve sinned, thinking, “Why didn’t He just destroy the whole earth right then, if He knew there was going to be all kinds of suffering and death brought about because of sin?”

But keeping them alive is by the very grace of God!

God knew all the children who would ever be conceived as a result of Adam and Eve.  He wanted them to have the opportunity to know Him!  He couldn’t do that if they never came into existence.  And so He allows the world to continue, until His last child is brought into this world and has had an opportunity to know and believe in Him.  (How does God know who His children are?  Because He knows what people will choose.  This doesn’t mean He makes people choose something.  God chooses everyone to be in His kingdom who will receive Him (John 1:12), but not everyone will respond to the invitation.  See, for example, the parable of the Dinner Banquet in Luke 14.)

Did Adam and Eve mess everything up for all their children?  Yes! But there’s a second story going on here . . . and that is that their children actively participated in messing it up.  We all know in our heart that we have done wrong during our lives—that we have sometimes been the person messing things up for everybody else.

So we need redemption not only because of our ancestors Adam and Eve, but also because of our personal sin.  The bad news is we can’t get into Heaven the way we are.  The good news is we can get into Heaven through Jesus Christ.  The question is whether or not we want Him to bring us in by His sacrifice, His total payment of our sins.

I know I do.

God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ. This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all people are the same: Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift.  They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.  God sent him to die in our place to take away our sins.  We receive forgiveness through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death.  This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. And God gave Jesus to show today that he does what is right.  God did this so he could judge rightly and so he could make right any person who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26, NCV)

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Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What is Redemption?

In many epic stories that have been written since the time of Christ, redemption has been the theme.

In the classic literature A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Darnay is in a prison cell awaiting the death penalty.  Long-time enemy Sidney Carton decides to save Darnay’s life by drugging him and having him carried out of prison, while he stays on to pose as Darnay.  Darnay then dies, with the famous line, “It is a far, far better thing that I do; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

In the first movie of the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring, Arwen the immortal elf carries the severely wounded ringbearer, Frodo, to the land of the elves.  Just as they have made it into elven protection, Frodo’s breath becomes gasping rattles.  Arwen takes him in her arms and says, “Whatever grace has been given to me . . . let it pass to him.[1]”

Time and time again, in stories around the world, we see inklings the everlasting effects of Christ’s stay here on earth.  Even in people who don’t know Him, the resonating quakes of His mercy have changed the way they think about things.

Christ is the first to ever offer redemption to anyone.  The first time is with Adam and Eve, when He sews clothes to cover the sinful nakedness they chose for themselves by disobeying Him.  This was a foreshadowing of the ultimate redemption, when Christ would lay down His Life for His people to cover their sin.

The #1 definition of redeem on dictionary.com is “to buy or pay off; clear by payment”.

Redemption is ultimately about cost and gift.  The cost of something that needs to be bought back . . . and the gift of buying it back.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-9 (NIV)

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[1] The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  New Line Cinema.  Screenwrite by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson.  Based on the book by the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954.

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