9/28/15

From Gary... Bible Reading September 28



Bible Reading  

September 28

The World English Bible


Sept. 28
Psalms 112-114

Psa 112:1 Praise Yah! Blessed is the man who fears Yahweh, who delights greatly in his commandments.
Psa 112:2 His seed will be mighty in the land. The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Psa 112:3 Wealth and riches are in his house. His righteousness endures forever.
Psa 112:4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright, gracious, merciful, and righteous.
Psa 112:5 It is well with the man who deals graciously and lends. He will maintain his cause in judgment.
Psa 112:6 For he will never be shaken. The righteous will be remembered forever.
Psa 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil news. His heart is steadfast, trusting in Yahweh.
Psa 112:8 His heart is established. He will not be afraid in the end when he sees his adversaries.
Psa 112:9 He has dispersed, he has given to the poor. His righteousness endures forever. His horn will be exalted with honor.
Psa 112:10 The wicked will see it, and be grieved. He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away. The desire of the wicked will perish.
Psa 113:1 Praise Yah! Praise, you servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh.
Psa 113:2 Blessed be the name of Yahweh, from this time forth and forevermore.
Psa 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, Yahweh's name is to be praised.
Psa 113:4 Yahweh is high above all nations, his glory above the heavens.
Psa 113:5 Who is like Yahweh, our God, who has his seat on high,
Psa 113:6 Who stoops down to see in heaven and in the earth?
Psa 113:7 He raises up the poor out of the dust. Lifts up the needy from the ash heap;
Psa 113:8 that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
Psa 113:9 He settles the barren woman in her home, as a joyful mother of children. Praise Yah!
Psa 114:1 When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign language;
Psa 114:2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
Psa 114:3 The sea saw it, and fled. The Jordan was driven back.
Psa 114:4 The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs.
Psa 114:5 What was it, you sea, that you fled? You Jordan, that you turned back?
Psa 114:6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams; you little hills, like lambs?
Psa 114:7 Tremble, you earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
Psa 114:8 who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of waters.


Sept. 28
2 Corinthians 8

2Co 8:1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia;
2Co 8:2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.
2Co 8:3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord,
2Co 8:4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints.
2Co 8:5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.
2Co 8:6 So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace.
2Co 8:7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace.
2Co 8:8 I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love.
2Co 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich.
2Co 8:10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing.
2Co 8:11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability.
2Co 8:12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don't have.
2Co 8:13 For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed,
2Co 8:14 but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality.
2Co 8:15 As it is written, "He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack."
2Co 8:16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.
2Co 8:17 For he indeed accepted our exhortation, but being himself very earnest, he went out to you of his own accord.
2Co 8:18 We have sent together with him the brother whose praise in the Good News is known through all the assemblies.
2Co 8:19 Not only so, but who was also appointed by the assemblies to travel with us in this grace, which is served by us to the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our readiness.
2Co 8:20 We are avoiding this, that any man should blame us concerning this abundance which is administered by us.
2Co 8:21 Having regard for honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
2Co 8:22 We have sent with them our brother, whom we have many times proved earnest in many things, but now much more earnest, by reason of the great confidence which he has in you.
2Co 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for you. As for our brothers, they are the apostles of the assemblies, the glory of Christ.
2Co 8:24 Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf.

From Jim McGuiggian... Language and Imagery of the Bible

Language and Imagery of the Bible

The Language and Imagery of the Bible by G.B Caird
You can tell right away when an author is writing out of the overflow of wisdom and knowledge (at least we like to think we can); there's a richness and a suggestiveness about what they write.  Some authors are an inch deep and a mile wide while others appear to be going deep but their narrow. In The Language and Imagery of the Bible G.B Caird leads you to believe he has so much more to tell but has to remember he has only 280 pages.
Then there's that saying that goes something like: Give a man a meal and he can eat for a day but give him the tools and the know-how and he'll feed his family for a lifetime. Some books you read once (at most) and others you take down often and have another shot at them. Caird's is like that, a take-down-and-consult-often type work. It helps you to think for yourself, helps enable you to think for yourself and the Bible turns out to be a richer book.
It isn't a "devotional" book and if you aren't patient you're liable to toss it aside as too big a bite to chew but, bless me, if all we ever read is what we already know we're doomed to be spiritual minors all our lives. Unless you're already very experienced you'll find the book a bit demanding but I defy any serious Bible student to give it a good listening to without being a much better and wiser student ever after.  Of course, if you aren't a committed Bible student (and there's no reason to think that everyone should be) then you won't like Caird's book; so save your money for some other good thing.
The volume is what the title says it is: reflections on the language and imagery of the Bible. The table of contents makes it look dry but this is not an introduction to grammar; it's an examination of how the Bible uses words and images. In that respect it's a study of the Bible and how the Bible goes about its business.
It's filled with helpful illustrations, suggestions for a new and different look at many familiar texts and even where you think Caird has missed it you have your eyes opened to an understanding other than your own. (I hate to take issue with people as wise and smart as Caird—but such is life; you can't act with integrity beyond your own perceptions.)
I'd give you some illustrations of how helpful he is but why bother—take the risk and invest a little money.
If you're only a beginner or not very experienced don't buy the book; this notice is not for you.

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

A Question About Muslim Birthrates by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=5217

A Question About Muslim Birthrates

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Q:

 “How significant is birthrate among Muslims to the spread of Islam?”

A:

Studies show that the Muslim population is growing at a faster rate than all other groups combined. In the U.S. alone, Muslims will go from less than 1% of the nation, to 1.7% in 2030—an increase from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million. Though 64.5% of U.S. Muslims today were born outside the United States, that percentage will fall to 55% in 2030 as more Muslims are born in the U.S. (Grossman, 2011; “The Future…,” 2011; cf. “The Future…,” 2015).
The significance of these facts is that the Founders of our great Republic set up the country so that the people govern themselves, i.e., they select their political leaders. The Republic they envisioneddepends on the majority of the people believing in and being self-governed by the moral and spiritual principles of Christianity. [For example, examine the 15 proclamations the Continental Congress issued to the entire country during the Revolutionary War, in which they repeatedly reiterated the essentiality of Christianity to the perpetuation of the Republic, including these remarks given on October 20, 1779, thanking God in that “he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory” and beseeching Him to “grant to his church the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel…and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth;…that he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon our sins and receive us into his favor, and finally, that he would establish the independence of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue” (Miller, 2009, p. 36, emp. added). They insisted that the establishment of American independence as a new nation was based on Christianity.]
Observe that, with the origin of America being dependent on this national foundation, if a non-Christian group were to become sufficiently numerous that they were able to exert political control over the civil and educational institutions of the country, they obviously would alter the country’s way of life—including her religious institutions. In the case of Islamic domination, American constitutional law would be supplanted by Sharia law.
The Founders feared this very scenario, but felt hopeful that Americans would never allow such to happen. Contrary to the claim in recent years that the Founding Fathers of America advocated “pluralism” and equal acceptance of all religions, ideologies, and philosophies, the truth is that they feared for the future of the nation should its Christian foundation ever be compromised. Founding Father and Supreme Court Justice James Iredell, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington, reflected this concern in the debates over the wording of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. He felt reassured that Islam would never be allowed to infiltrate America: “But it is objected that the people of America may perhaps choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices.... But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own” (Elliott, 1836, 4:194).
While America generally has welcomed all nationalities of people to her shores regardless of their personal beliefs, alternative ideologies and religions never were intended to be given credence or encouragement and allowed to transform her into either an irreligious or non-Christian society. Nor was it intended that American civilization be adjusted to accommodate religious principles that contradict the original foundations of the nation. America welcomes people to live in freedom within her borders—as long as they do so peaceably (see Miller, 2013, 33[3]:32). But to adjust social parameters in public life to accommodate divergent religions will weaken, not strengthen, the ability of America to sustain herself.
Founding Father Noah Webster articulated this indisputable fact in a letter to James Madison on October 29, 1829: “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.... and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence” (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253). The “Father of American Geography” Jedidiah Morse succinctly stated: “Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them” (1799, p. 9, emp. added). And Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon declared: “[H]e is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion [i.e., Christianity—James 1:27], and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind” (1777, pp. 16,33, emp. added).
It would seem self-evident that if Muslims succeed in transforming America into an Islamic nation, America will be no different from, and will look exactly like, all the other Islamic nations on Earth. What true-hearted American (or Christian) has a desire to move to such a nation?

REFERENCES

Elliott, Jonathan (1836), The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Elliot).
“The Future of the Global Muslim Population” (2011), Pew Research Center, January 27,http://www.pewforum.org/2011/01/27/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population/.
“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050” (2015), Pew Research Center, April 2, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/.
Grossman, Cathy (2011), “Number of U.S. Muslims to Double,” USA TODAY, January 27,http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-01-27-1Amuslim27_ST_N.htm.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ and the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2013), “Were the Founding Fathers ‘Tolerant’ of Islam? [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 33[3]:26-28,32-35, March.
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford, CT: Hudson and Goodwin),http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America).
Witherspoon, John (1777), The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men (Philadelphia, PA: Town & Country),http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Dominion_of_Providence_Over_the_Pass.html?id=HpRIAAAAYAAJ.

Is Christianity Still Needed In America? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=4831

Is Christianity Still Needed In America?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: We receive many questions at A.P. from inquirers all over the world. We are devoting this issue of R&R to a few of these questions that we think may be of interest to a wider audience.]

Q:

“I agree that the historical proof is there that Christianity was the religion of the vast majority of the Founders and Americans ever since. But in the last half-century, America has changed drastically with the influx of many other worldviews and religious sentiments, and we seem to be doing just fine. So why would you say Christianity is still needed in America?”

A:

For the same reason it was needed at the beginning: it is the only way to sustain the kind of Republic we enjoy. The practice of Christian principles by the majority of the citizens is not necessary in a dictatorship, monarchy, communist or socialist state, atheistic country, Islamic country, etc. In all such ideological settings, the government is coercive and regulates everybody and everything. But to have the kind of freedom we have enjoyed in this country, where everyone is free to pursue moral happiness and exercise freedom of choice with regard to profession, travel, etc., the people must embrace Christian morality. The less of Christianity in the hearts and behavior of the population, the more need for government regulation. The more the people are self-controlled by Christian principles, the fewer laws are needed. Consider these quotes by Founders who articulated this principle plainly:

Patrick Henry:

I am not so much alarmed as at the apprehension of [France] destroying the great pillars of all government and of social life; I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed (as quoted in Henry, 1891, 2:591-592, emp. added).

James McHenry (signer of the Constitution andSecretary of War):

The Holy Scriptures...can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses (as quoted in Steiner, 1921, p. 14, emp. added).

John Adams (signer of Declaration of Independence, Vice-President under George Washington, and second President of the United States):

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our constitution was made only for a moral andreligious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (1854, 9:229).
Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.... The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies (1976-2000, emp. added).

Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration of Independence):

I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat. I believe all power...will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him (as quoted in Ramsay, 1813, p. 103).

John Witherspoon (signer of the Declaration of Independence):

It is the prerogative of God to do what he will with his own; but he often displays his justice itself, by throwing into the furnace those, who, though they may not be visibly worse than others, may yet have more to answer for, as having been favoured with more distinguished privileges, both civil and sacred…. Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners makes a people ripe for destruction.... [W]hen the manners of a nation are pure, when true religion and internal principles maintain their vigour, the attempts of the most powerful enemies to oppress them are commonly baffled and disappointed…. [H]e is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion [Christianity—James 1:27], and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind (1777, pp. 16,33, emp. added).

Noah Webster (Father of American Scholarship and Education):

[T]hose who destroy the influence and authority of the Christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty, and of republican government (1832, pp. 310-311).

Jedidiah Morse (Father of American Geography):

To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism. All efforts to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them (1799, p. 11, emp. added).

Elias Boudinot (President of the Continental Congress):

[O]ur country should be preserved from the dreadful evil of becoming enemies to the religion of the Gospel, which I have no doubt, but would be introductive of the dissolution of government and the bonds of civil society (1801, p. xxii, emp. added).

George Washington (Father of our Country, first President of the United States):

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and moralityare indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? (1796, pp. 22-23, emp. added).
Washington also said only God can protect our nation:
I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that Agency which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them (1792, “Letter to…”).
Observe that these Founders (and many more—see Miller, 2009) insisted that Christianity is necessary to provide the people with proper moral behavior so that the Republic they established might be perpetuated. No other religion—Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or even Atheism—can provide the proper moral framework necessary to perpetuate the civil institutions and way of life created by the Founders and Framers.

The Bible teaches the same thing:

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. The king establishes the land by justice, but he who receives bribes overthrows it (Proverbs 29:2-4). No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy (Psalm 33:16-18).
Further, consider this: If there is a God, and if He is the God of the Bible, and if His Word is expressed in the Bible alone, then according to that Word, (1) He is active in the affairs of nations (Daniel 4:17); (2) He blesses those who look to Him (Psalm 33:12); and (3) He will abandon and even punish the nation that spurns His will and chooses to live sinfully—which is precisely the direction our nation/citizens are swiftly headed. Hence, we should well expect national calamity to come in some form (economic collapse, infiltration by enemies, increase in diseases, natural calamity, etc. [Deuteronomy 28:15ff., et al.]).
To repeat: Systematically banning Christianity from our schools, our government, and the public square will have two results: (1) a massive increase in immorality, crime, and social anarchy, and (2) God’s disfavor and wrath will eventually be unleashed against the nation.

REFERENCES

Adams, John (1854), The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Adams (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company).
Adams, John (1976-2000), Letters of delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Paul Smith (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress), Volume 4, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(dg004210)).
Boudinot, Elias (1801), The Age of Revelation (Philadelphia, PA: Asbury Dickins),http://www.google.com/books?id=XpcPAAAAIAAJ.
Henry, William (1891), Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons), http://www.archive.org/details/pathenrylife01henrrich. See also George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799, Image 1071, “Patrick Henry to Archibald Blair,” January 8, 1799, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw4&fileName=gwpage113.db&recNum=1070.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ & the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Morse, Jedidiah (1799), A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Charlestown, MS: Samuel Etheridge),http://www.archive.org/details/sermonexhibiting00morsrich.
Ramsay, David (1813), An Eulogium Upon Benjamin Rush, M.D. (Philadelphia, PA: Bradford & Inskeep).
Steiner, Bernard (1921), One Hundred and Ten Years of Bible Society Work in Maryland, 1810-1920(Baltimore, MD: The Maryland Bible Society).
Washington, George (1792), “Letter to John Armstrong, March 11, 1792,” Letterbook 18
Image 110 of 359, George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbookshttp://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw2&fileName=gwpage018.db&recNum=109.
Washington, George (1796), Address of George Washington, President of the United States...Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore, MD: George & Henry Keating).
Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).
Witherspoon, John (1777), The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men (Philadelphia, PA: Town & Country),http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Dominion_of_Providence_Over_the_Pass.html?id=HpRIAAAAYAAJ.

Did Death Occur on Earth Prior to Man's Sin? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=677

Did Death Occur on Earth Prior to Man's Sin?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Through the years, various theories have been set forth which suggest that prior to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, death and decay nevertheless had been widespread on the Earth amidst a “previous creation” that included pre-Adamic people. In his book, Earth’s Earliest Ages, George H. Pember suggested that the fossil record was clear and compelling evidence of death, disease, ferocity, and even sin—all of which had occurred before Adam and Eve existed. He wrote:
Since, then, the fossil remains are those of creatures anterior to Adam, and yet show evident token of disease, death, and mutual destruction, they must have belonged to another world, and have a sin-stained history of their own (1876, p. 35).
In making such a statement, however, Pember has leveled a serious charge against the Word of God—a charge that deserves intense scrutiny.
The idea that the death of humankind occurred prior to Adam’s sin contradicts New Testament teaching that indicates the death of humankind entered this world as a result of Adam’s sin (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 8:20-22; Romans 5:12). The apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:45 that Adam was “the first man.” Yet long before Adam—if Pember is correct—there existed a pre-Adamic race of men and women with “a sin-stained history of their own.” But how could Paul, by inspiration of God, have written that Adam was the first man if, in fact, men had lived, sinned, and died before him? The apostle Paul and George Pember cannot both be correct.
A word of caution is in order here, however. Allow me to explain. As certain creationists have opposed both organic evolution and its religiously based cousins, theistic evolution and progressive creation, they have pointed out (correctly) that evolution not only is by definition a purely natural process, but also one that works via natural selection and survival of the fittest in a world where (to quote the famous British poet Lord Tennyson) “nature is red in tooth and claw.” Those responsible for defining and defending the General Theory of Evolution have admitted as much. Harvard University’s late, eminent evolutionist, George Gaylord Simpson, wrote: “Evolution is a fully natural process, inherent in the physical properties of the universe, by which life arose in the first place, and by which all living things, past or present, have since developed, divergently and progressively” (1960, 131:969, emp. added). The renowned evolutionary philosopher of science, David Hull, observed that the evolutionary process is “rife with happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain and horror” (1991, 352:486).
Creationists have noted (again, correctly) that God’s creative acts were not those of happenstance, contingency, and incredible waste. Rather, they were acts of deliberate, purposeful, intelligent design on the part of an omnipotent Creator. But in their attempts to oppose evolution and to make the case for the biblical account of origins, some creationists (who no doubt are well intentioned) have misinterpreted, and thus misapplied, the teachings of two important New Testament passages. The first of those passages is Romans 5:12-14.
Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.
The second passage is 1 Corinthians 15:20-22:
But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
The portions of these two verses (shown in bold type) that are emphasized by certain creationists stress the fact that death only entered the world because of man. The argument set forth, therefore, is as follows. Evolution suggests that there were billions of years of “happenstance, contingency, incredible waste, death, pain, and horror” (to use Dr. Hull’s exact words). Contrariwise, the Bible states quite specifically that death did not exist until Adam and Eve sinned against God. The evolutionary scenario, therefore, is apodictically impossible—regardless of whether the evolution being advocated is that found in atheistic (organic) evolution, theistic evolution, or progressive creation. Each requires vast eons of time, during which, so we are told, nature was viciously and uncaringly culling out evolutionary dead-ends and witnessing extinctions that resulted from the deaths of untold thousands of species of plants, animals, and “hominoids.” In addressing this point, creationist Henry M. Morris wrote:
Perhaps the most serious problem is theological. If we accept the geological ages at all, in effect we are saying that God used the methods and processes which exist in the present world to finally bring into the world the goal and culmination of His creative activity—man. This means, therefore, that at least a billion years of struggle, suffering, disorder, disease, storm, convulsions of all kinds, and, above all, death troubled the world before man ever entered the world and before any sin appeared in the world. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches quite emphatically that there was no suffering or death in the world until after sin came in. Romans 5:12 declares, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Death by sin—there was no death in the world until sin was introduced. The present groaning, struggling creation of which we read in Romans dates Biblically from the time of the great curse God put on creation because of Adam’s sin. So the whole creation now is under the bondage of corruption and decay and death because of man’s sin. But if the concept of the geological ages is correct, there were geological ages and over a billion years of death in the world before any sin entered the world. Therefore, God must have used the principle of decay, suffering, and disorder. This is not the God revealed in the Bible—a merciful God, a gracious God, a God of order and power, not a God of confusion, random change and chance (1973, 3:72-73, emp. added).
In his book, Man: Ape or Image—The Christian’s Dilemma, Rendle-Short wrote:
Sin entered the world through one man, Adam. Death also entered the world through Adam. There had been no sin or death previously.... It may even be argued that the plants did not die before Adam. Eating the fruit or foliage of plants does not kill them.... [T]he death of a plant is of a different order from death of an animal.... [P]lants are on a par with the basic earth, of lesser worth than animals.... [P]lants are not “living” and so cannot die as an animal does. That they were eaten by animals and man before the Fall is quite consistent with the statement that there was no death.... Death and dying are always against nature, the God-given order of things. Especially would this have been so before the Fall, at a time when God declared everything to be ”very good” (1984, pp. 139,148,149, first emp. added, last emp. in orig.).
Another well-known creationist, Ken Ham, devoted a section of his 1987 book, The Lie: Evolution, to “No Death Before Adam’s Fall.” He wrote:
The Bible clearly teaches that death, particularly the physical and spiritual death of man, entered the world only after the first man Adam sinned.... But what about the animals? Was death a part of the created animal world? There are a number of reasons why I believe animal death as well as human death did not occur before the Fall.... Before sin came into the world, death wasn’t even a question—God had total control of the creation and sustained it 100 percent. There was no corruption or decay. Hence, death wasn’t even a possibility.... Death and bloodshed came into the world as a judgment from God for man’s rebellion. But at the same time death was the very means by which man was redeemed. So bloodshed could not have existed before man’s fall. There was no bloodshed before Adam sinned: everything was perfect and death was not a part of animal existence (pp. 137-138,139, emp. added).
Thirteen years later, in his book, Did Adam Have a Bellybutton?, Mr. Ham repeated the same sentiments (2000, pp. 16-17,24,88-89,91,149).
Are the conclusions of these creationist authors—that there was absolutely no death of any kindprior to Adam and Eve’s sin—correct? And even more important, are they scriptural? The answers are “No” and “No.” To say that there was no human death prior to the Fall of man is to make a perfectly biblical statement. The passages in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 make that crystal clear. However, using those same scriptures to suggest that not even plants or animals could die ignores the specific context of each of the passages and is a serious abuse of the texts under consideration.
Paul’s presentation in Romans 5:12-14 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 had nothing whatsoever to do with the death of either plants or animals. Rather, an examination of the passages reveals that, in the context, he was discussing only the death of humans—which resulted from the tragic events that occurred in the Garden of Eden. Notice his specific phraseology, not only in Romans chapter 5, but even continuing into chapter 6. The inspired apostle spoke of: (a) “if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many” (5:15); (b) “much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ” (5:17); (c) “as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men” (5:18); (d) “as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous” (5: 19); (e) “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” (6:1-2); (f) “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof” (6:12); and (g) “I speak after the manner of men;... ye were servants of sin,...but now being made free from sin and become servants to God” (6:19-20,22).
Notice the terms (in bold type) that Paul used in his discussion of the fact of, punishment for, and salvation from sin. He spoke of “the many,” “they,” “all men,” mankind’s “mortal body,” and “after the manner of men.” Who, exactly, is represented by such terms? Surely, words and phrases such as these cannot have reference to plants and animals, but must instead refer solely to human beings. Furthermore, neither plants nor animals can sin; only humans are capable of committing such a travesty by revolting against their Maker. Only humans are recipients of the “gift by the grace of...Jesus Christ” (5:15). Only of humans may it be said that “the many shall be made righteous” (5:19).
Sin and death came on man by man (notice especially Paul’s comment in Romans 5:12 that “death passed unto all men“). Anthropologist Arthur C. Custance correctly observed: “[I]t seems clearly intended by the record in Genesis that death was in no sense inevitable for Adam” (1976, pp 145-146, emp. added). But, why was it not inevitable? The simple fact is that the suspension of man’s demise was provided by his continually having access to the tree of life that stood in the midst of the Garden (Genesis 2:9; 3:22). However, as Custance went on to remark: “Adam surrendered his potential immortality...” (p. 146). Thus Paul was constrained to say: “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). Yet it must not be overlooked that the fateful promise of imminent death that resulted from having violated God’s law was made to Adam and Eve, not to the rest of the creation (Genesis 2:17). Custance therefore lamented: “[I]n the very day that he ate, that day the process of dying began. Thenceforth it was merely a question of time” (p. 150)—which explains why we read in Genesis 5:5 that “all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.”
When, then, did death and decay begin to occur in the natural (i.e., non-human) world? In an article titled “Was There Death Before Adam?,” Trevor Major addressed this point.
This is difficult to answer from Scripture because its special concern is for the fate of man—the only being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Perhaps plants and animals began to die from the moment of their creation. There is every suggestion that grass, fruit trees, birds, sea creatures, cattle, insects, and other organisms functioned quite normally even in the creation week. In this period they began to grow and to reproduce, so why could they not also begin to die and decay, as is the fate of all living things? (1990, 2[7]:2).
In his book, God’s Time Records in Ancient Sediments, Dan Wonderly agreed when he suggested:
We of course agree that both spiritual and physical death in the human race originated with the tragic event of Adam’s sin. But the beginning of death in the animal and plant kingdoms is simply not mentioned in any of the Scripture passages having to do with man’s sin; nor is the time of the beginning of such death given in any other place in the Bible....Man was given the privilege of eating the fruits of the garden, and we certainly must assume that the “beasts of the field” and the “fowls” likewise supplied themselves with food from the garden. Thus we are led to the conclusion that the supply of the biological needs of animals and of man was basically the same in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man as it is today (1977, pp. 236,237). [NOTE: While I wholeheartedly agree with Wonderly’s conclusion that plant and animal death occurred prior to the Fall, I strongly disagree with the position he takes in his book that the Earth itself is ancient, with an age measured in billions of years rather than thousands (see Thompson, 1999).]
Some might object, however, that Genesis 1:31 records that “God saw everything He had made, and, behold it was very good.” As Rendle-Short opined: “Death and dying are always against nature, the God-given order of things. Especially would this have been so before the Fall, at a time when God declared everything to be “very good” (1984, p. 149, emp. in orig.). The question then becomes: “How could something be ‘very good’ if there was death and decay in the natural world?” This seeming problem is solved quite easily, however, if we recognize that, at times, what we prefer to label as “good” is not necessarily what God considers good. [Recall God’s statement via the prophet Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).] As Clifford Wilson put it: “If it were not for the principle in nature of life continuing through death, all life would soon be extinct.... Sometimes we must reassess our ideas on the basis of newly discovered facts. Is it ‘good’ to kill a mosquito, a spider, a snake?.... Remember, too, the Lord said to Peter, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat’ (Acts 10:13)” [1975, p. 34, emp. in orig.]. Wonderly went on to observe:
Actually, we should not be surprised that the regular death of even complex organisms was included in the “way of life” before the fall of man. God created the whole animal kingdom, and much of the plant kingdom, with dependence upon the intake of food for the production of energy; and that food is always organic material produced by cells. In nearly all cases these cells which provide food for man and other organisms must die, either before being eaten or soon afterwards, as they are digested. Even most of the fungi and bacteria are dependent upon cellular organisms which have died, to provide their food for energy and growth. In fact, some kinds of fungi and bacteria are equipped with mechanisms to produce strong enzymes which digest the living cells of plants and animals which are their food. Thus if death were not a part of the original world of living organisms, then the entire basis of their lives would have had to be different from any principle known on the earth today. But, as we have seen, such a difference is not in keeping with the Genesis account of life in the Garden of Eden (1977, p. 237, emp. in orig.).
If God has established something as the “natural order of things,” then: (a) by definition it qualifies as “good”? and (b) who are we to suggest otherwise? Furthermore, if we ask, “How could something be good if it involves death and decay?” this begs the question by assuming that the normal operation of the natural world, including death and decay, is not “good.”
Consider also the indefensible position in which a person finds himself when he asserts that there was absolutely no death of any kind prior to the Fall. As Major concluded:
[T]o insist that neither death nor decay existed in the non-human world before the sin of man, is to ask for special pleading. What of bacteria, adult butterflies, and other creatures that measure their longevity in terms of hours or days? What of the luckless ant that is trodden on by an elephant, or the fly which wanders into a spider’s web? These creatures lived in a world governed by natural laws instituted by God during His creation. It is unnecessary to propose that God acted during this time like a machine, constantly intervening at every level to ensure the eternal preservation of all creatures until that terrible day when sin came into the world (1990, 2[7]:2).
Each of us should remember the adage that “a text removed from its context becomes little more than a pretext.” Especially is this true when Scripture is involved. Paul’s statements in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 about sin having entered the human race deal with exactly that in their original context—the entrance of sin among humans. While God’s statement to Adam that “cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17) informs us that man’s sin ushered in certain drastic disadvantages for the animal and plant kingdoms, the statement, in and of itself, neither says nor implies that simultaneously this was the beginning of death among nature’s non-human inhabitants. Wonderly properly summarized the problem associated with taking the position that there was no death prior to Adam and Eve’s sin.
The fact of the eating of plant materials in the Garden of Eden is readily admitted by all. Since plants are living organisms, with living cells similar to those of animals, there is no question but that the terms “life” and “death” are appropriate in speaking of them. Thus when man, the beasts, and the birds ate and digested plant materials, they were bringing about the death of living organisms. This fact is intensified when we realize that seeds contain young, living embryos; so when Adam and Eve ate nuts and seeds they were killing the young embryos within those seeds.... It is not possible for us as finite human beings to say that death in the animal world was not in the original, good plan of God, but that death in the plant world was in his plan. Who are we to say that plants and animals are less “alive” than animals? Plants can carry out some activities which animals cannot. Their cells are highly complex; and many plants produce motile reproductive cells—and even some motile non-reproductive cells—which swim about by means of flagella just as actively flagellated protozoans of the animal world.
Also, the death of small animals must have been a regular occurrence in the Garden of Eden. It is difficult to conceive of the hoofed mammals roaming the fields day after day without crushing beetles and worms with their hoofs. And how could any sheep or cow pluck grass from the earth without eating the microscopic sized insects and mites which live on the blades and upper roots of the plants? Beyond this, how could such animals drink large quantities of water from streams and pools without ingesting many tiny aquatic arthropod animals? It should also be remembered that such tiny insects and mites are not insignificant specks, but that there is only one phylum of animals which is more complex than they, namely, the phylum which contains the vertebrates. Each such tiny insect is equipped with a complex nervous system, well-developed eyes, an elaborate respiratory system, a chemically efficient excretory system, etc....
The same wisdom of God which led Him to ordain that plant life would serve as food for certain organisms could certainly have ordained that certain animals would also serve as food. For example, when God created the kinds of whales which live on microscopic organisms (as the blue whale), He surely foresaw that as they dashed through the water scooping up planktonic organisms their diet would include many kinds of tiny crustaceans which are very complex animals. Crustaceans belong to the same phylum as insects and have a degree of organization very similar to that of insects. Even if we might say that these whales may have originally eaten seaweed, we would have to remember that a vast number of these tiny crustaceans are found in among and clinging to the branches of the seaweed (1977, pp. 236-237,238, emp. in orig.).
Wilson was correct when he stated simply but emphatically: “Only for man was death the direct result of his fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden” (1975, p. 33).
But some will ask: “What about obviously carnivorous animals? Were they carnivorous from the beginning, or did they become carnivorous after the sin and subsequent curse of man?” There can be no doubt that all animals were created by God initially to be herbivorous. Early in the book of Genesis we read:
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food.” And it was so (1:29-30, emp. added).
Later, however, after the Fall of man, there are indicators that not only were animals killed by man—at first for clothing (Genesis 3:21) and later for sacrifice (Genesis 4:4)—but that the animals themselves had become carnivorous. When God surveyed the situation immediately prior to the Great Flood, the text indicates that “God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, ‘The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence’ ” (Genesis 6:12-13, emp. added). Some conservative Bible scholars have suggested the commentary that “all flesh had corrupted their way” so that the Earth was “filled with violence” may well signify that animals already had become carnivorous by the time God sent the Flood. [Of course, after the Flood God gave humans permission to eat meat as well (Genesis 9:3), but noted that “the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the heavens” (9:2), indicating a permanent change in man’s relationship to the Earth’s animals.]
The issue also has been raised about how animals that, at present, seem well equipped only for a carnivorous existence might have survived in the pre-Flood world at a time when they were forced to exist solely as vegetarians (a concept plainly taught in Genesis 1:29-30). Wonderly has responded to such an inquiry as follows:
There is, however, one problem which seems to be particularly bothersome to us, concerning the existence of violence and death in the animal world. This is the pattern of behavior and way of life of the carnivorous mammals. The seemingly ruthless capturing of other mammals, and even of human beings by carnivores appears to be—and perhaps is—contrary to what we believe concerning God’s original creation. So we are quite willing to say that the carnivorous mammals may have begun their ruthless hunting of other animals only after the fall of man.... If the specialized flesh-tearing teeth of the carnivores make us wonder if they did not possess an instinct for ruthless hunting as soon as they were created, we should consider the possibility that in earlier times their diet was restricted to invertebrate animals (insects and sea-shore animals), and to fruits and other plant materials which their teeth could handle. After all, many carnivores even now eat large amounts of such foods. For example, cats eat grasshoppers; bears often eat fruit and honey; and raccoons eat corn, nuts, and other fruits, and even leaves and grasses (1977, 239-240, parenthetical item in orig.).
Rendle-Short wrote in agreement:
I readily agree it is difficult to see how certain creatures could ever have been solely vegetarian. Their whole anatomy and mode of life now seems adapted for catching prey. My reply must be, firstly, as biologists study the problem it becomes obvious that many so-called carnivores can easily live on a purely vegetarian diet—the domestic dog or cat for example. Teeth apparently designed to tear prey can also be used to tear tough vegetable fibre (1984, p. 147).
Furthermore, at times the “specialized” traits and characteristics that we think, at first glance, make animals better adapted to a certain activity, climate, or habitat turn out not to inure such an advantage after all. Joseph Dillow acknowledged this problem in discussing the giant, woolly mammoths whose frozen remains have been found in the Arctic regions.
The mammoth was endowed with a fur coat and a wooly overcoat 25 cm. long. This is generally taken as proof that the mammoth was well adapted to cold. However, the presence of fur or hair is not necessarily an indication of protection against cold. Consider, for example, the hairy mountain Malaysian elephant that inhabits a tropical region today. The Sumatran elephant from Burma, R. lasiotis, has a thick hair covering on its belly and legs, a hairy tail, and bristles at the end of its ears. In fact, thick fur means nothing, as many animals of the equatorial jungles, such as tigers, have thick fur (1981, p. 338).
Whereas one would think that a tiger’s thick fur would equip it to live in an area of the world where the average temperature is low, quite the opposite is the case. Although in possession of an impressive, thick fur coat, it nevertheless lives quite comfortably in the tropical to subtropical regions of the Middle East. Other examples could be cited at length. For generations, we were taught that Arctic animals enjoyed protection from the frigid temperatures and waters of their icy environments as a result of thick, subcutaneous layers of fat that endowed them with remarkable survival skills. But, once again, what at first glance appeared to be the case turned out not to actually be the case. In a scholarly treatise on the body insulation of a variety of Arctic mammals and birds, Scholander and co-authors wrote:
Except for a thermally insignificant localized fat pad on the rump of the reindeer and caribou, none of the mammals (except the seals) has any significant layer of subcutaneous fat or blubber. Subcutaneous fat is a heavy and poor insulator compared to fur and does not seem to play any role at all in the insulation of terrestrial arctic animals (1950, p. 226, parenthetical item in orig.; see also Krause, 1978, p. 92).
Thus, even though certain animals possess traits (e.g., razor-sharp teeth and powerful claws) thatappear to be best suited for carnivorous pursuits, the exact opposite may well be the case. The characteristics that we thought equipped them for one activity actually may have equipped them for something quite different.
Last, but certainly not least, what about Paul’s statement in Romans 8:20-22: “For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (emp. added). Some have suggested that this particular passage from the pen of the apostle teaches that no creatures died before the Fall of Adam and Eve. But is that what the passage is saying? No, it is not.
There are two important areas of this passage that must be explored. First, we must examine the context within which the apostle placed his comments. Second, we must study to ascertain the meaning of the phrase “the whole creation.” The context of the passage is this. Paul affirms that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward” (8:18). In verses 19-23, he then continues by acknowledging that while the creation once was subjected to vanity, it now is waiting for “the revealing of the sons of God,” at which time that creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (8:21). The apostle concluded by reminding Christians, who possess the “first-fruits of the Spirit,...groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (8:23).
While the passage certainly is brimming with eternal comfort, it also contains some admittedly difficult material, not the least of which is Paul’s reference to the fact that “the whole creation” anxiously awaits deliverance from the “bondage of corruption.” What does he mean by his phrase, “the whole creation”? Various writers have documented the reasons why the phrase “the whole creation” cannot apply to such things as, for example, unredeemed humanity or some kind of alleged millennial material/physical realm (see Jackson, 1990, 26:25). But what, then, does Paul mean by his use of this intriguing phrase? In investigating this matter, Trevor Major responded as follows:
What does Paul mean by “creation?” This word is translated from the Greek noun ktisis—a term meaning the act of creation, or the product of that creative act. For example, Jesus referred to the act when He used the phrase “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6; 13:19), and Paul referred to the product when he wrote that the Gentiles “served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). However, the product of creation does not always encompass every single part of the creation, whether human, plant, animal, or non-living matter. In Mark 16:15, Jesus instructed His disciples to “preach the gospel to the whole creation.” No one would suggest that Jesus wanted the Gospel taken to human and non-human inhabitants of the world alike. Rather, “the whole creation” in Mark is equivalent to Matthew’s “all the nations” (28:19), and refers to all people everywhere in the world. Hence, could not “the whole creation” in Romans 8:22 apply solely to man?
Further, note the way in which the word “creation” is used in the verses preceding Romans 8:22. Verse 19 states that the creation waits “for the revealing of the sons of God,” and verse 21 says that the creation “itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” On the one hand, the creation has suffered at the whims of men. His selfishness and greed have despoiled the Earth, and his unrepentant sin brought a destructive flood on the land and its creatures. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine how Christians would receive any comfort knowing that plants and animals would be delivered from their “bondage” into the same “liberty of glory of the children of God.” Nonetheless, it seems more consistent to equate this “whole creation” with intelligent beings because, as Peter writes in his second epistle, the physical creation must itself look forward to obliteration by fervent heat and with great noise (3:10). The world of plants, animals, and inanimate matter is not included in the plan of redemption. Only in a metaphorical sense can it look forward to the deliverance of the children of God (1990, 2[7]:1).
It thus seems that Romans 8:19ff. is referring not to the inanimate creation or merely to members of the animal and/or plant kingdoms, but rather to intelligent beings who were suffering for their faith and who, as children of God, could look forward to their resurrection and glorification. Paul’s discussion of “the creation” in this passage and in others of a similar import (e.g., Romans 1:20-21), offers evidence aplenty of the fact that God’s concern over His handiwork never wanes. The psalmist recorded His testimony to that effect when he wrote:
Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify unto thee: I am God, even thy God.... Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine...the world is mine, and the fulness thereof (Psalm 50:7-12).
Perhaps it was such heart-rending passages as Psalm 50 and Romans 8 that caused British theologian D. Martin Lloyd-Jones to write:
Many people seem to think that the sole theme of the Bible is man’s personal relationship with God.... This is a central theme...but it is not the only theme.... Ultimately the main message of the Bible concerns the condition of the world and its final destiny; you and I as individuals are part of a larger whole. That is why the Bible starts with the creation of the world, rather than that of man (1953, p. 5, emp. in orig.).
An in-depth study of God’s Word, and of God’s world, makes for a terribly fascinating human enterprise. As we study, however, we must make sure never to impose our wants and wishes upon the text, but rather to let the text speak to us instead. It is admirable that certain Bible believers are desirous of defending the biblical account of creation and opposing the concept of organic evolution and its theistic cousins. But to suggest that Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach that nothing died prior to the Fall of man weakens the creationists’ case and inflicts serious damage on the actual meaning of these pristine biblical passages. The biblical account of creation does need to be defended. And the theory of evolution does need to be opposed. But not via a misinterpretation and misapplication of God’s Word. Two wrongs do not make a right.
God has placed the defense of His Word into the hands of men and women who have been instructed to teach it so that all who hear it might have the opportunity to obey it and be saved. Paul commented on this when he wrote: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7). The thrust of the apostle’s statement was that the responsibility of taking the Word of God to a lost and dying world ultimately has been given to mortal men. But the power is not in the men; rather, it is in the message! This, no doubt, accounts for the instructions Paul sent to Timothy in his second epistle when he urged the young evangelist to “give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, emp. added).
Considering the fact that we, as God’s “earthen vessels,” have been made the instruments through which God offers to a lost and dying world reconciliation through His Son (John 3:16), the apostle’s admonition is well taken. Surely it behooves us to “handle aright” so precious a commodity as the Word of God. The salvation of our own souls, and the souls of those we instruct, depends on the accuracy of the message.

REFERENCES

Custance, Arthur C. (1976), The Virgin Birth and the Incarnation [Volume V of The Doorway Papers] (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Dillow Joseph (1981), The Waters Above (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Ham, Ken (1987), The Lie: Evolution (EI Cajon, CA: Master Books).
Ham, Ken (2000), Did Adam Have a Bellybutton? (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Hull, David (1991), “The God of the Galapagos,” Nature, 352:486, August 8. [Dr. Hull, of the philosophy department at Northwestern University, was reviewing Philip Johnson’s 1991 book, Darwin on Trial (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway).]
Jackson, Wayne (1990), “When the Creation is Delivered,” Christian Courier, 26:25, November.
Krause, Hans (1978), The Mammoth—In Ice and Snow? (Stuttgart, Germany: Im Selbstverlag).
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martin (1953), From Fear to Faith (London: InterVarsity Press).
Major, Trevor (1990), “Was There Death Before Adam?,” Reasoning from Revelation, 2[7]:1-2, July.
Morris, Henry M. (1973), “The Day-Age Theory,” And God Created, ed. Kelly L. Segraves (San Diego, CA: Creation-Science Research Center).
Pember, George H. (1876), Earth’s Earliest Ages (New York: Revell).
Rendle-Short, John (1984), Man: Ape or Image—The Christian’s Dilemma (San Diego, CA: Master Books).
Scholander, P.F., et al. (1953), “Body Insulation of Some Arctic and Tropical Mammals and Birds,”Biological Bulletin 99.
Simpson, George Gaylord (1960), “The World into Which Darwin Led Us,” Science, 131:966-969, April 1.
Thompson, Bert (1999), The Bible and the Age of the Earth (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Wilson, Clifford (1975), In the Beginning God... (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Wonderly, Dan (1977), God ‘s Time Records in Ancient Sediments (Flint, MI: Crystal Press).