11/23/18

Thankful! by EE Healy

http://www.eehealy.com/commentary/Thankful-2.pdf

Thankful!

There is much to be thankful for this and every day; but foremost in my mind is the eternal thankfulness to my God, my Lord, my Saviour, Jesus Christ.  It is He to whom all honor and glory must go for who we are, what we are, and what we have. Each new day is a day to rejoice.  Each new day is a day to meditate upon the Word of God. Here are some thoughts by Leslie Brandt from Psalm 11. My heart is full today. I am so grateful For all that God has done for me. I need but crawl out of my corner Of depression and self‐pity And look around me to see how great my God is. I cannot see Him, But I can see the works of His hands. He is a merciful and loving God. How tenderly He deals with those Whose hearts are open to Him! He is a righteous and faithful God. His promises and precepts are forever. He is a majestic and powerful God. He created me and sustains me day by day. He is a forgiving God. He takes me back to His loving heart When I go astray. He is in this world today. And those who recognize and accept His presence Are building on foundations That are eternally secure. How grateful I am to my God today! EEHealy The Abiding Word www.TheAbidingWord.com

"THE EPISTLE TO TITUS" Sound Doctrine For Older Women (2:3-4)


"THE EPISTLE TO TITUS"

Sound Doctrine For Older Women (2:3-4)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our text, Paul describes "things which are proper for sound
   doctrine" - Tit 2:1
   a. Doctrine that is spiritually healthy, wholesome
   b. In this case, exhortations related to godly conduct

2. We saw that he wanted Titus to tell the older men to be...
   a. Sober, reverent, temperate - 2Ti 2:2
   b. Sound in faith, in love, in patience - 2Ti 2:2

[Now Paul directs his comments to...]

I. CONDUCT BECOMING OLDER WOMEN

   A. REVERENT IN BEHAVIOR...
      1. Reverent (hieroprepes)
         a. As becomes holiness - Strong
         b. Meaning to act like a sacred person - The Complete WordStudy
            Dictionary (TCWD)
      2. In behavior (katastema)
         a. Demeanor, deportment, bearing - Thayer
         b. Manner of life - TCWD
      -- In dress, in speech, in conduct, they are to reflect their holy
         calling

   B. NOT SLANDERERS, NOT GIVEN TO MUCH WINE...
      1. Not slanderers (diabolos)
         a. A false accuser, used for the devil - TCWD
         b. One who falsely accuses and divides people without any
            reason - ibid.
      2. Not given to much wine (douloo polos oinos)
         a. Not enslaved by much wine, not habitual drunkards or
            tipplers - Clarke
         b. Both among the Greeks and Romans old women were generally
            reputed to be fond of much wine - ibid.
      -- They are to guard against what comes out of their mouths, and
         what goes into it

   C. TEACHERS OF GOOD THINGS...
      1. Teachers of good things (kalodidaskolos)
      2. Teaching that which is good, a teacher of goodness - Thayer
      3. Influencing for good the younger women by precept and example - JFB
      4. What they were to teach includes what is described for younger
         women - Tit 2:4-5
      -- The Lord intends for older women to be teachers

   D. ADMONISHING YOUNGER WOMEN...
      1. Admonishing (sophronizo)
      2. To hold one to his (her) duty; to exhort earnestly - Thayer
      3. To correct, teach - TCWD
      -- Older women have a duty to teach and correct the younger women

[Just as older men often think their age is an excuse to slack off in
regards to the service of Christ and His church, sometimes the older
women do also.  Yet God can still use their service.  Consider some...]

II. EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE OLDER WOMEN

   A. SARAH...
      1. Over 65 years old when she left Ur with Abraham - Gen 12:4-5
      2. A beautiful woman in her old age - Gen 12:11,14; 20:2
      3. A woman of faith - He 11:11
      4. Adorned with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet
         spirit - 1Pe 3:3-4
      5. Who trusted in God, and was submissive to her husband - 1 Pe 3:5-6
      -- A woman whose physical beauty was surpassed by her inner beauty

   B. ANNA...
      1. A woman over 100 years old - Lk 2:36
      2. Who served God with fastings and prayers night and day - Lk 2:37
      3. Who did not hesitate to thank God, and tell others the good
         news of God! - Lk 2:38
      -- A woman who used her widowhood to serve God and others

   C. TABITHA (DORCAS)...
      1. Whom Peter restored to life - Ac 9:36-42
      2. Full of good works and charitable deeds - Ac 9:36
      3. Made tunics and garments, likely for the widows who showed them
         - Ac 9:39
      -- Another example of a woman who used her life to serve others

   D. PETER'S WIFE...
      1. Whose mother was healed by Jesus - Mt 8:14-15
      2. Who accompanied her husband on his travels - 1Co 9:5
      3. Who herself was martyred, according to Clement of Alexandria
      -- A woman who left home and family to follow Christ and
         ultimately die for Him

   E. MODERN DAY EXAMPLES...
      1. Older women who continue to teach children and younger women
      2. Older women who have traveled to foreign lands to teach others
      2. Older women who attend despite their frail health and painful
         infirmities
      4. Women who would rather wear out than rust out
      -- Who will God use today?  Aged women who refuse to stop working
         for the Lord!

CONCLUSION

1. Again, it is not enough to be considered "sound" (healthy) just
   because...
   a. We stood for the truth in the past
   b. We served in the church for many years in the past

2. It is not enough to just have older men who are...
   a. Sober, reverent, and temperate
   b. Healthy in faith, love, and patience
   c. Willing to serve as elders if qualified

3. We need older women who are...
   a. Reverent in behavior
   b. Not slanderers, not given to much wine
   c. Teachers of good things
   c. Willing to exhort and admonish the younger women

Are the older women also willing to bear fruit in their old age...? -
cf. Ps 92:12-15

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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The Bible, Science, and the Ages of the Patriarchs by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=681


The Bible, Science, and the Ages of the Patriarchs

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


INTRODUCTION

As one reads through the Bible, on occasion he is confronted with statements, situations, or events that, at first glance, seem to be either impossible or improbable—when viewed from a distinctly modern vantage point. One good example of such an occurrence might be the statements of Scripture regarding the ages of several of the Old Testament patriarchs. Genesis 5 records that prior to the Flood, people typically lived for hundreds of years, with the average age of the antediluvian patriarchs (excluding Enoch, who was taken to his reward without dying) being 912 years. As Leupold observed, “At once we are struck by the longevity of these patriarchs; all except three lived in excess of nine hundred years. It is useless to attempt to evade this fact” (1942, 1:233).
Leupold’s observation that it is “useless to attempt to evade” the clear statements of Scripture regarding the long life spans of the patriarchs is correct, of course, in the sense that no one can deny that the Bible attributes long ages to many of the ancient patriarchs. The Bible specifically states that Adam, for example, lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5), Methuselah lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27), etc. However, as Leupold himself discussed in his two-volume Exposition of Genesis, some have suggested that while the Bible says these old worthies lived to be vast ages, that is not what it means. In other words, while the biblical statements themselves on these matters are clear, their meaning is not.
This is the case, we are told, because it is a matter of record that men today (obviously) do not live to be centuries old. Thus, some have suggested that the biblical record is unacceptable and therefore needs to be “fixed” or “explained” to bring it more into line with modern scientific facts on these matters, and to make its message palatable to people of our day and age. What recourse is available, then, to the person who discovers that there is a disagreement between plain, historical statements of Scripture and modern scientific pronouncements?
First, one might simply acknowledge that the Bible is inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and as such is accurate in its renderings. If such a person has studied the matter(s) at hand, and is assured that his understanding of Scripture is accurate, he will revere the Word of God as just that—the Word of God—and will accept its teachings as trustworthy, in spite of modern-day claims to the contrary. Second, of course, a person might merely dismiss the biblical record as little more than ancient folklore—worthy of about as much admiration and reverence as, say, Aesop’s fables. Such an attitude rejects biblical claims of inspiration, and instead does obeisance to current scientific or philosophical pratings. Third, one might—from all outward appearances—claim to accept the Bible as speaking accurately and truthfully on whatever matters it addresses, all the while in reality compromising its teachings on a variety of subjects. Thus, while such a person pretends to respect the Bible as God’s Word, he instead is sowing seeds of compromise. Generally, this is the person who waits to see what “science” has to say before making any determination on the matter. Then, if science is at odds with the Bible, the Scriptures must be “corrected” to fit the scientific data or interpretations. We never are told that science must correct its view, only the reverse—viz., the biblical record must be altered to fit currently prevailing scientific data.

DOES THE BIBLICAL RECORD OF THE
PATRIARCHS ’AGES NEED TO BE “FIXED”?

It is my intent here to examine and discuss the spirit of compromise exhibited by those in the third group mentioned above. There are a number of notable examples of such compromise, any one of which is illustrative of the attitudes portrayed. Two such examples will suffice.
In 1990, Ronald F. Youngblood edited a book titled The Genesis Debate, in which various areas of Scripture were discussed by disputants on both sides of an issue. Chapter eight of that volume discusses the question, “Did people live to be hundreds of years old before the Flood?” In that chapter, Duane L. Christensen first advocated the view that the biblical record simply cannot be accepted as it is written. He then suggested a number of methods that could be employed to “fix” the text so as to resolve what he considered a serious discrepancy between biblical statements and current scientific knowledge (Christensen, 1990, pp. 166-183). Christensen’s assessment was that these numbers are, to use his words, “excessively large,” scientifically unverifiable, and therefore, quite simply, unacceptable.
In the June 1978 Does God Exist? journal that he edits, John Clayton addressed the patriarchs’ ages in an article on “The Question of Methuselah.” He suggested:
One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive in our lecture series is “How did men live so long during early Biblical times?” The Bible indicates ages of 969, 950, etc., years for early men. From a scientific standpoint we cannot verify this figure. By studying the bones of the oldest men we get ages of ten to thirty-five years usually, and only rarely an age as high as fifty (1978a, 5[6]:11, emp. added).
The point made by both Christensen and Clayton is that from a scientific standpoint, the patriarchs’ ages as given in the Bible cannot be verified. In the September 1978 issue of his journal, Clayton commented:
One final difficulty that this relates to is the attempts made by some to nail down specific historic dates to Biblical events of great antiquity. The ages of men in the past cannot be answered with great accuracy (1978b, 5[9]:9, emp. added).
Why can the ages of men in the past not “be answered with accuracy”? Is it because the Bible is unclear on its statements regarding these men’s ages? No, the biblical statements are both clear and unambiguous. The simple fact of the matter is that neither of these two writers is willing to accept the biblical testimony because allegedly there is no scientific evidence. In an April 20, 1987 letter to a gentleman in Wyoming who had written to ask him about this very point, Mr. Clayton wrote:
It is a fact that there is no scientific evidence that people lived to be hundreds of years old. It may just be that we haven’t found the right bones, but most bones of ancient men turn out to be twenty or thirty years of age and none have [sic] been found, to my knowledge, older than eighty years old. For this reason, I have tried to point out that there are many possible ways in which the extreme age of Methuselah might be explained... (p. 2, emp. added).
The absence of scientific evidence substantiating the Bible’s claims for the ages of the patriarchs is why Clayton cannot bring himself to accept those ages. Think for just a moment how radical this position really is. What “scientific evidence” do we possess that “proves” the virgin birth of Jesus? Since science cannot prove that such an event ever occurred, should an alternate explanation be sought? This line of reasoning could be expanded almost endlessly. Since science cannot “prove” Christ’s bodily resurrection, the parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and hundreds of other such occurrences, then must these events—which remain both scientifically unverified and unverifiable—simply be dismissed in the same way these two authors suggest that the patriarchs’ ages be dismissed?
Furthermore, there is another aspect to this question that needs to be explored. Aging is a metabolic process. Various species appear to be “programmed” for death within a given age range. Fleas, for example, live for about five years. Dogs live for an average of around fifteen years. Humans, on the other hand, can live upwards of seventy, eighty, ninety, or even a hundred years. Fleas never reach such an age; their genetic package will not allow it. In an article titled “Decreased Lifespans: Have We Been Looking in the Right Place?” that he authored for the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal, Carl Wieland commented on this matter as follows:
Barring accidental death, one-celled organisms are potentially “immortal.” A bacterial cell reproduces by dividing into two where there was one, those two then become four, and so on. Why then do multicelled organisms die? Individual human cells in tissue culture divide some fifty times and then stop—some sort of pre-programmed genetic limit is reached. Human tumor cells, on the other hand, can be propagated indefinitely by division—the DNA mechanisms for pre-programmed cessation of division appears to be lacking or damaged in such cancer cells.
In multicellular organisms, once damaged and worn cells can no longer replace themselves, death is only a matter of time as the function of whole organ systems deteriorates. So even without accidents or disease there is a programmed “upper limit” on our age, which appears to be 120 years or so....
I suggest that our ancestors simply possessed genes for greater longevity which caused this “genetic limit” to human ages to be set at a higher level in the past.
Suggestive evidence in support of this is the fact that in some other organisms (for example, fruit flies), it has been shown that changes in average life spans can be bred into or out of populations.…
If this suggestion has merit as the major (if not the sole) cause of great pre-Flood ages, then the obvious question is how some of these longevity genes were lost. The human population went through a severe genetic bottleneck at the time of the Flood—only eight individuals. The phenomenon of “genetic drift” is well known to be able to account for “random,” selectively neutral changes in gene frequencies which may be quite rapid. Also, loss of genes is far more likely in a small population....
It is also likely (if not more so) that genes coding for lesser longevity arose by mutational degeneration, with their frequency of possession rising as time passed. At the moment, too little is known of the exact mechanics of the way in which cells are programmed to die in order to offer more specific suggestions (1994, 8[2]:139-140, emp. added, parenthetical comments in orig.).
What if, in the past, human metabolism was much slower? What would be the end result? Gerald Schroeder, in his book, The Science of God, addressed such questions.
There are terrible mutations that upset the delicate aging process. Progeria speeds up the aging process almost tenfold, causing a teenager to die with the body of an old person. Within the realm of possibilities is the reverse process, slowing aging tenfold. It would be surprising but not inconceivable that manipulation of a flea’s genome might allow it to live ten times longer than normal, thus reaching the age of fifty years. After all, several animals species live even longer than fifty years. The fact that no animals currently reach the long ages associated with pre-Noah biblical persons does not preclude the possibility that this potential exists within our genome.
If human metabolism was slower and life spans were longer during the pre-Noah period, fossils would not indicate this. The slower metabolisms would result in fossils that appear to have formed from younger individuals (1997, pp. 202-203, emp. added).
In a fascinating article published in Science Digest some years back (“How Your Bones Tell Your Age”), Frederic W. Nordsiek observed:
Bone is hard and cannot grow from the inside out as can soft tissues like skin or muscle. Therefore, for example, each of the long bones of the arms and legs at first consists of two bones, with a growing section in between them. After growth is finished, these pairs of bones fuse together.... Human bones continue to fuse together right up to advanced old age (1960, 47[5]:17-18, emp. added).
Consider all of these scientific facts collectively, and you will see how they demolish arguments like those from Christensen and Clayton which suggest that “there is no scientific evidence that people lived to be hundreds of years old.” Observe what happens when the scientific facts of the matter are interpreted properly.
We know—scientifically—that: (1) aging “is a metabolic process”? (2) the process is indeed controlled by a “pre-programmed genetic limit”? and (3) “human bones continue to fuse together right up to advanced old age.” If people at that distant point in human history possessed slower metabolism rates (an extremely reasonable suggestion, considering the condition of the world in which they were living at the time—see Dillow, 1981), and if the human genome contained genes for greater longevity, then the patriarchs could have lived to vast old ages, and the slower metabolisms would result in fossils that appeared to have formed from much younger individuals. In short, scientists actually could be in possession of—could be staring at in their laboratories—bones from people who had lived to ripe old ages, and they never would know it! Thus, the allegation that “most bones of ancient men turn out to be twenty or thirty years of age and none has been found older than eighty years old” (to use Clayton’s exact words) means absolutely nothing in light of the actual scientific facts concerning human aging.
And surely the question must be asked: Why do the great ages of the patriarchs need to be “explained” in the first place? Why not simply accept the biblical record as it is written? In his June 1978 article on Methuselah, John Clayton provided the answer to that question as he discussed several possible ways to “explain” the patriarchs’ ages. He wrote:
The first possibility is that God miraculously changed man’s life expectancy. There is no discussion of such a miracle in the Bible, but many miracles occurred during the creation which are not recorded in Genesis I. This may well be the answer, but since no skeptic would accept it we’ll consider some other possibilities (1978a, 5[9]:11, emp. added).
This is incredible. First we are told that because there is “no scientific evidence,” the great ages of the patriarchs therefore must be “explained.” Second, we are told that since “no skeptic would accept” a particular view on these matters, “other possibilities” need to be explored. What a sad commentary on how Mr. Clayton, and others like him, view God’s inspired Word. It brings to mind the comment of biblical scholar Edward J. Young in his book, Studies in Genesis One:
What strikes one immediately upon reading such a statement is the low estimate of the Bible which it entails. Whenever “science” and the Bible are in conflict, it is always the Bible that, in one manner or another, must give way. We are not told that “science” should correct its answers in the light of Scripture. Always it is the other way around (1964, p. 54).
The question, then, no longer becomes, “Does the Word of God affirm it?” but instead “Can science confirm it?” As Wayne Jackson observed:
Whenever such people read the Scriptures, they do so with an eye cast back over their shoulder to see if science agrees; and whenever science asserts that which is different from what the Bible says, in desperation they are ready to append, delete, stretch, or constrict the sacred narrative to make it conform to the latest notions of the scientific community (1978, 14:14).

SUGGESTED METHODS FOR “FIXING”
THE AGES OF THE PATRIARCHS

Exactly how do Bible critics suggest that the patriarchs’ great ages be “explained”? Several methods have been offered, among which are the following.
Ages Determined by Counting Years as Months
Some have suggested that men’s ages were not determined in ancient times as they are today. For example, John Clayton wrote:
The guess that appeals to this writer is that the methods of measuring age are not the same today as they were when men lived so long.... We also know that many cultures use the moon as a measure of age (such as many American Indian tribes). If Methuselah were measured on such a system his age would be 80 years, plus the time till he became a father. This doesn’t change anything as he would still be phenomenally old—especially for the day in which he lived, but it would give a modern comprehension of how such an age was calculated (1978a, 5[6]:12, parenthetical item in orig.).
Old Testament scholar John J. Davis addressed this suggestion in two of his books. In the first, Biblical Numerology, he observed:
The most common method of escaping the problem connected with these large numbers is to make “year” mean a shorter period such as a month. This view, however, finds no support at all in the Biblical text for the term “year” is never used in this manner in the Old Testament. In addition to this textual weakness, there is a serious chronological problem that is raised by such a view. In Genesis 5:6 we are told that Seth begat Enos when he was 105 years old. If “years” in this text really means “months” then this verse would propose that Seth had a son when he was only about nine years old! (1968, p. 58; see also Borland, 1990, p. 171).
In his second work, Paradise to Prison, Dr. Davis suggested: “There seems to be no reason to regard the names and ages of the individuals in this chapter as other than fully historical.” Why so? The reason is simple. It would be difficult for someone to believe a person (e.g., Seth) could beget a child when he was only nine years old, but, as Davis pointed out, “Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, and Enoch would have been fathers at even younger ages” (1975, p. 106, emp. added). Frederick Filby discussed this solution in his book, The Flood Reconsidered:
This we reject completely, as not only can it be shown to be absolutely wrong, but it makes more difficulties than it solves. Enoch, we are told, had a son, Methuselah, when he was sixty-five. If we divide by twelve he had a son when he was 5.4 years old! (1970, p. 21).
John Clayton has complained that skeptics never would believe that men lived to the vast ages ascribed to them in the Bible. One cannot help but wonder if these same skeptics would find it any easier to believe that Enoch—to use Dr. Filby’s example—produced a child when he himself was barely over five years old!
The Bible itself makes a clear distinction between the length of years and months, thereby eliminating the critics’ suggestion that perhaps men’s ages were counted via “moons” (i.e., months), not years. In Genesis 8:13 it is recorded: “And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month....” Moses apparently understood the difference between a month and year. Why do the Bible’s critics have so much difficulty in distinguishing between the two?
The Bible similarly presents compelling evidence to eliminate the idea that men’s ages should be divided by 12 in order to arrive at an accurate figure for the number of years they actually lived. Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). Divided by 12, this means that the patriarch was just over 7 years of age at the birth of his first child, and Sarah was just under 6 when she first gave birth! Further, Abraham must have died at the “good old age” of a shade over 14 (Genesis 25:7-8)! As it turns out, the critics’ attempts to “fix” the Bible create a worse problem than they sought to solve.
Ages Counted from Birth of First Offspring
Another suggestion offered in response to the patriarchs’ vast ages is that these ages appear larger than normal because “some primitive people measure their age not from the time of their birth, but from the time they produce offspring, or are accepted as an adult in the community in which they live” (Clayton, 1978a, 5[6]:12). In other words, the figures presented in the Bible are too large because they have not yet been “adjusted” (i.e., shortened) to allow for the true age—calculated from the time of the birth of the first offspring, or from the time a person was recognized as an adult.
Two things may be said regarding this idea. First, there is not a scrap of evidence that the ages of the patriarchs were counted only from the time of the birth of their firstborn. It is one thing to speculate on such, but another thing entirely to prove it. Where is the critics’ evidence that the patriarchs’ ages were treated in such a manner? Second, the Bible deals a deathblow to this suggestion when it specifically mentions men’s ages before they produced offspring, eliminating the idea that their ages were not calculated prior to that event. Genesis 12:4 says: “And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran.” Once again, the critics’ attempts to “fix” the inspired text have made their last condition worse than their first.
Ages Represent not Individuals, but Dynasties
In the late 1800s, as opposition to the Bible grew and skepticism in general increased, theologians sought ways to make the Bible conform to the claims of Darwinian evolution and uniformitarian geology. While liberal theologians were working diligently to insert vast ages of geological time into the biblical text, somewhat ironically, they simultaneously were working to remove the vast ages of the patriarchs from that same text.
One novel way to do that was to offer the idea that the names in the genealogical lists (specifically those mentioned in Genesis 5 and 11) were used to refer to entire dynasties, clans, or tribes, and only rarely to actual individuals. Borland has explained what this would accomplish:
This would mean that when the Adam clan had exercised dominion for 130 years, a person was born in the Adam clan who eventually either ruled or was the progenitor of the Seth clan. The Adam clan continued to be powerful for an additional 800 years, and then perhaps the Seth clan took over or perhaps there was a gap before the Seth clan exerted its authority for 912 years (1990, p. 174, emp. added).
There are a number of serious problems with this view. First, advocates of the “dynasty” idea cannot remain consistent, because even they are forced to admit that certain names in the lists cannot represent only a clan, but instead must represent individuals. Noah and his sons must have been real individuals, because they were on board the ark. Abraham must have been an individual, not just a dynasty, because he was the father of the Hebrew nation. If these are recognized as individuals, why should not the others be considered as such?
Second, as Leupold commented: “The attempt to let the personal names represent tribes shatters on the clear statement of how old each father was when he begot a son. A complete generation is not thus brought forth within a tribe” (1942, 1:233). Borland commented: “The notation of the age at which a father begat a particular individual (a son) eliminates the tribe concept...” (pp. 174-175). One does not speak of a “dynasty” producing a son, and then give an age for such an occurrence.
Third, in order for this strained interpretation to be acceptable, one has to read the biblical record with a large dose of imagination and a small dose of common sense. For example, when the text says that Eve bore Cain and Abel, everyone recognizes that it is speaking of individuals because one of them (Cain) slew the other (Abel). Yet, when Eve bore Seth, suddenly a distant dynasty is under discussion. Furthermore, how would an advocate of this strange theory deal with the fact that in many instances in the Old Testament, specific brothers and sisters are mentioned? Dynasties do not have brothers and sisters. Borland addressed this aspect in great detail, and gave numerous biblical examples establishing that individuals, not dynasties, are under discussion (pp. 175-176). The idea that the patriarchs’ ages are so large because their names represent tribes or dynasties is completely without merit, and should be rejected.
It is not uncommon for those who refuse to accept the patriarchs’ ages at face value to suggest that the numbers must have some great “theological meaning” attached to them. Time and again I have heard or seen just such a statement. But, when pressed on exactly what that theological meaning might be, supporters of such an idea are at a total loss to offer any explanation. Christensen was forced to admit:
It is probably not possible to recover the key to the theological meaning of the numbers and ages in Genesis 5 and 11, at least in detail. Nonetheless it seems likely that the numbers are not to be taken as simply historical report (1990, p. 180).
In other words, while he cannot explain what the numbers do mean, he does know what they do notmean. They are not to be taken as literal or historical.
But why not? That is exactly how the Bible writers accepted them. Examine this remarkable statement from Moses’ pen. In Genesis 47:9, Jacob, speaking to Pharaoh, said: “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Notice the point that Jacob was making. He was 130 years old, yet he stated that even at that great age, his days had not reached “the days of the years of the life of my fathers.” If he was 130 years old, and yet he had not reached the age of some of the patriarchs who preceded him, just how old would “his fathers” have been?
Isn’t it remarkable how well the biblical record fits together? And isn’t it wonderful that it can be trusted and accepted, without the kind of “sleight of hand” tricks on which its critics have to rely in order to make their false theories attain some degree of respectability?

REFERENCES

Borland, James A. (1990), “Did People Live to be Hundreds of Years Old Before the Flood?” The Genesis Debate, ed. Ronald F. Youngblood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker). [Borland answers in the affirmative.]
Christensen, Duane L. (1990), “Did People Live to be Hundreds of Years Old Before the Flood?” The Genesis Debate, ed. Ronald F. Youngblood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker). [Christensen answers in the negative.]
Clayton, John N. (1978a), “The Question of Methuselah,” Does God Exist?, 5[6]:11-13, June.
Clayton, John N. (1978b), “The History of Man’s Time Problem,” Does God Exist?, 5[9]:6-10, September.
Clayton, John N. (1987), Personal letter to Mike Christensen of Laramie, Wyoming, pp. 1-2.
Davis, John J. (1968), Biblical Numerology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Davis, John J. (1975), Paradise to Prison—Studies in Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Dillow Joseph (1981), The Waters Above (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Filby, Frederick A. (1970), The Flood Reconsidered (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Jackson, Wayne (1978), “The Age of Methuselah,” Christian Courier, 14:14-16, August.
Leupold, H.C. (1942 reprint), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Nordsiek, Frederic W. (1960), “How Your Bones Tell Your Age,” Science Digest, 47[5]:17-18, May.
Schroeder, Gerald L. (1997), The Science of God (New York: Free Press).
Wieland, Carl (1994), “Decreased Lifespans: Have We Been Looking in the Right Place?,” Creation Ex NihiloTechnical Journal, 8[2]:139-140.
Young, Edward J. (1964), Studies in Genesis One (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed).

The Bible Versus the Book of Mormon by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=863


The Bible Versus the Book of Mormon

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Similar to the insecure person who hangs around the rich and famous for the sole reason of establishing himself, the Book of Mormon has attempted to make a name for itself by “cozying up to” the Bible. The very first line in the “Introduction” to the Mormons’ revered text states: “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” Even the Book of Mormon’s subtitle (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ”—emp. added) lends credibility to the Bible. Obviously, the Mormons have attempted to give credence to their scripture by comparing it to the Bible. Furthermore, a crucial element of the Mormon religion found in their Article of Faith #8 says: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (emp. added). If both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are inspired by God, then reason demands that they must never contradict one another. No book from God’s hand will contain factual mistakes because He does not make mistakes. By definition, He is omniscient and perfect in all His ways (cf. Psalm 139:1-6; 1 John 3:20). The truth is, however, they do contradict one another.
The Book of Mormon contains numerous passages that contradict what the Bible says. The following examples are conspicuous instances of such contradictions.
  • Rather than God confusing “the language of all the earth” at the tower of Babel as the Bible records (Genesis 11:9), the Book of Mormon contends that the language of Jared, his brother, as well as their friends and family members “were not confounded” (Ether 1:33-37).
  • Contrary to the Bible prophecy concerning the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Matthew 2:1, the Book of Mormon reads: “And behold, he (Jesus) shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem” (Alma 7:10, parenthetical comment and emp. added). The writer of the Book of Mormon was simply wrong.
  • The Bible tells us that at the crucifixion of Jesus, darkness covered the land for three hours (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). However, the Book of Mormon states three different times that there was darkness “for the space of three days” (Helaman 14:20,27; 3 Nephi 8:3, emp. added). Of course, this is a big difference.
  • Finally, whereas the Book of Mormon has people wearing the name Christian in about 73 B.C. (Alma 46:13, 15), the Bible clearly reveals that the disciples of Christ “were called Christians firstin Antioch” (Acts 11:26, emp. added). This was in approximately A.D. 40, and thus represents a difference of over 100 years. Which account are people to believe? After all, according to Mormons, both books are inspired.
The fact that there are numerous disagreements between the Bible and the Book of Mormon does not disparage the Bible in any way. In fact, a Bible believer would expect there to be contradictions between the two, since the Bible never gives any legitimacy to the Book of Mormon, but actually condemns it (cf. Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Peter 1:3, and Jude 3). On the other hand, the Book of Mormon easily is exposed as fiction when compared to and contrasted with the Bible, which Mormons claim is “the word of God.”
Simply put, if both the Bible and the Book of Mormon were inspired by God, then they never would contradict each other. However, since they do disagree with one another (in a number of places), the Book of Mormon is obviously a fraud, written by con men, not inspired men.

The Bible is its Own Best Interpreter by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1242


The Bible is its Own Best Interpreter

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Many excellent books have been written that discuss the principles involved in understanding the Bible. Within churches of Christ, for example, several fine volumes have been produced to assist the Christian in comprehending the Bible’s intended meanings (e.g., Dungan, 1888; Lockhart, 1901; Kearley, et al., 1986). One feature of the process of interpreting the Bible is the Bible’s own ability to shed light on its meaning. The Holy Spirit caused the Bible to be written with the specific intention that people would be able to understand its message. Consequently, the Bible shares in common with other books the basic characteristics that one might expect any piece of written communication to possess. It utilizes the same laws of thought and language, and it assumes that the honest, sincere, dedicated student can arrive at the meanings intended by the Author.
Perhaps the greatest deterrent to a proper interpretation of the Bible is the widespread and growing sense of uncertainty in the acquisition of absolute truth. American civilization has been inundated with pluralism, and has been brow-beaten into accepting the notion that one belief is as good as another, and that it really does not matter what one believes. Since so many people hold to so many conflicting beliefs, it is commonly thought that no one should be so intolerant, arrogant, and mean-spirited as to think that he has a corner on truth. One belief is as good as another, so we are told. And the same principle applies to religion, ethics, and virtually every other facet of human existence. Agnosticism (the philosophical posture that insists that one cannot know) has literally come to dominate our society. Perhaps the majority of Americans now feel that one cannot know whether the God of the Bible exists, whether the Bible is the one and only Word of God, whether Christianity is the only true religion, or whether New Testament Christianity is distinguishable from denominationalism.

TRUTH, LOGIC, AND KNOWLEDGE

At the heart of the issue of how the Bible should be interpreted, and whether the Bible is its own best interpreter, lies the deeper question of whether we humans are capable of knowing anything for certain, whether we can use logic to reason correctly, and whether we can arrive at truth. These preconditions for understanding the Bible may seem obvious and self-evident to Christians. But we are living at a time in which most people have been influenced to think that we cannot be certainabout knowing anything. It goes without saying that this viewpoint is self-contradictory. Yet many continue to believe it.
Of course, the Bible is filled with statements that presuppose (and, in fact, absolutely demand) that we reason correctly, weigh evidence, and come to correct conclusions regarding God’s will. Through Isaiah, God beckoned: “Come now, and let us reason together” (1:18), and “State your case, that you may be acquitted” (43:26). The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Paul said he was appointed for “the defense of the gospel” (Philippians 1:17). He insisted that the Thessalonians “test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). He told Timothy to rightly divide the word of truth and to correct those who were in opposition (2 Timothy 2:15,25). Peter urged us to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). John warned: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). And Jude said that we must “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3). Every single one of these verses, and many, many more, demand that the individual engage in a process of assessing facts, investigating circumstances, weighing evidence, diligent thinking, and reasoning, in order to arrive at the truth.
Yet, the magnitude of disagreement that exists in the world is astonishing. It is frustrating, depressing, heart-rending, and mind-boggling. For example, in American politics, a wide range of viewpoints exists with a multiplicity of variations and shades. How can so many politicians adamantly insist that abortion is absolutely right and good, while many other politicians, with equal vigor, insist that abortion is evil and wrong? How can people be so diametrically opposed to each other’s viewpoints? In religion, the diversity and cleavage is incredible. Christendom is hopelessly divided due to differing doctrinal views. The vast majority of those who claim to be following Christ adamantly maintain that water immersion is not necessary to salvation. Millions believe that it is appropriate to sprinkle infants, or to worship God with instruments of music, or that you cannot fall from grace. The religious division that exists in the entire world is even more staggering, since, for example, Islam (representing over a billion people) and Hinduism (representing about a billion people) are in absolute and complete contradiction to each other. By the very nature of their views, they cannot possibly “agree to disagree.” Atheism maintains that all religion is crazy. Karl Marx said that religion is the “opiate of the people.” So to the communist, evolutionist, and atheist, religion is actually harmful and detrimental to society.
With such irreparable, irreversibly deep diversity, no wonder so many have thrown up their hands and concluded that we cannot know for sure who is right and who is wrong (or perhaps more commonly, it really does not matter what is right and wrong). But after surveying the disconcerting, discouraging condition of the world’s lack of interest in ascertaining spiritual reality, one can return once again to the Bible, bring the entire state of affairs back into focus, and make perfect sense of the situation. It has ever been this way! The vast majority of humanity has always chosen to go its own way—for a variety of reasons and motivations. But the truth can be ascertained! Hence, they are all without excuse (cf. Romans 1:20).
The notion that the Bible is its own best interpreter was articulated during the Reformation as a reaction to the Catholic notion that the church was the final interpreter of God’s Word. The reformers took issue with this claim, and insisted instead that “Scripture is its own interpreter” (Scriptura sacra sui ipsius interpres). What they meant was that the totality of the Bible must be allowed to interpret every part of the Bible. Thus, “no part of Scripture can be so interpreted as to deform the teaching of the whole of Scripture” (Ramm, et al., 1987, p. 23). As Milton Terry observed: “God’s written word, taken as a whole, and allowed to speak for itself, will be found to be its own best interpreter” (n.d., p. 162; cf. p. 222).
There is much to be said for the recognition that to really understand the Bible—to really know the Bible—one must study the Bible book by book, giving attention to the contextual variables that characterize each individual book, and grasping the overall argument and line of reasoning inherent in each book. Clinton Lockhart, a Christian who authored a textbook on hermeneutics in 1901 that, by some estimations, surpasses the work of Dungan, pointed out that “no man that reads the Bible merely as a collection of proverbs or disconnected texts can ever understand the real nature of the sacred volume” (p. 233). Indeed, there is no substitute or shortcut to Bible interpretation. One must develop a broad and thorough familiarity with the entire Bible

THE BIBLE:
ITS OWN BEST INTERPRETER ON HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM

The Scriptures contain within them the keys to their own interpretation. Take, for example, the question of Holy Spirit baptism. The charismatic community typically associates the expression “Holy Spirit baptism” with the phenomenon that enables the believer to speak in tongues, heal someone, or work other miracles. In other words, Holy Spirit baptism is simply a generic reference to miraculous empowerment. Anyone who can speak in a tongue or perform any other miraculous action is said to have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. He is said to be “Spirit-filled.” However, the Bible actually alludes to Holy Spirit baptism in a very narrow, specialized, even technical sense (see Miller, 2003). Just because a person could speak in tongues or work miracles did not necessarily mean he or she had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. The principle of the Bible being its own best interpreter is well illustrated in the verses that allude directly to Holy Spirit baptism: Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; and Acts 11:16. In all three verses, Holy Spirit baptism is mentioned by name, and the language that is employed links the three occasions together. Thus, one critical principle involved in allowing the Bible to interpret itself is to recognize and accept the explicit explanations that verses often give on a particular subject.

THE BIBLE:
ITS OWN BEST INTERPRETER ON BAPTISM AS A SYMBOL

Another example where we see the Bible being its own best interpreter pertains to baptism. The Protestant world has insisted that water baptism is a secondary and subsequent action to salvation. Various religionists have maintained that it serves as “an outward sign of an inward grace.” They claim that baptism is a symbol—a visible expression of the forgiveness already received at the point of faith. But the Bible nowhere articulates this provocative, illicit concept. It is the figment of someone’s vivid imagination that has been taken up and repeated so often that it sounds “biblical.” When Ananias prodded Paul to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16), he said nothing about an alleged symbolic cleansing or post-forgiveness washing. He uttered not one word that would lead the unbiased reader to even remotely conclude that Paul’s sins were washed away before he was baptized.
The grammar that the Holy Spirit selected by which to express Himself is very often a key to allowing the Bible to interpret itself. In Acts 22:16, the grammar further militates against the denominational interpretation so often placed on Paul’s baptism. The Holy Spirit utilized two participles and two verbs in verse 16 that clarify His intended meaning:
anastas is an aorist active participle: “having arisen” or “rising”
baptisai is an aorist middle imperative verb: “get yourself baptized”
apolousai is also an aorist middle imperative verb: “get your sins washed away”
epikalesamenos is an aorist middle participle: “you will have been calling”
An adverbial participle is a participle that is used as an adverb to modify the verb. “Calling” is an adverbial participle of manner. It shows the manner in which the main verbs are accomplished. The verbs (“baptized” and “wash away sins”)—joined by the coordinate conjunction “and” (kai)—are “causative middles” (Robertson, 1934, p. 808) in the aorist tense, and so relate to the aorist middle of the participle that follows (“calling”). Hence, a literal translation would be: “Having arisen, get yourself baptized and get your sins washed away, and you will have been calling on the name of the Lord.” In other words, Ananias was telling Paul that the way to accomplish “calling on the Lord” was to be baptized and have his sins washed away. The Holy Spirit deliberately formulated the grammar of every passage in the Bible so that His writing would interpret itself!
But doesn’t the Bible teach that baptism is, in fact, a symbol? Doesn’t baptism have “symbolic” significance? Yes, the Bible assigns symbolic significance to baptism in regard to at least three distinct features. Paul said that water baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He used the terms “likeness” and “form” to pinpoint this symbolism (Romans 6:5,17). He later identified a symbolic link between baptism and Old Testament circumcision—the idea that as skin was cut off by circumcision, so sins are cut off at baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). Peter added a third instance of baptism’s symbolic value. He compared a person passing through the water of baptism in order to be saved (by Christ’s resurrection) with the eight persons who were saved “by,” i.e., through (dia) the water of the Flood of Noah’s day (1 Peter 3:20-21). Notice carefully how the Bible is its own best interpreter: baptism symbolizes: (1) Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; (2) the “cutting off” of circumcision; and (3) the waters of the Flood. How in the world could anyone get out of this that baptism symbolizes past forgiveness that was achieved prior to being baptized?

THE BIBLE:
ITS OWN BEST INTERPRETER ON THE NEW BIRTH

The account of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus has certainly spawned a great deal of resistance to the role of water baptism in God’s scheme of redemption. While the bulk of Christendom for most of the last 2,000 years has recognized that “water” in John 3:5 is an allusion to water baptism (Shepherd, 1894, pp. 320-338), in the last few decades, many have attempted to assign a different meaning to the word—everything from “blood,” “sperm,” and the “Spirit” to the “water” that accompanies the physical birth of a child (i.e., amniotic fluid). However, once again, the Bible is its own best interpreter.
The context yields three useful factors. In the first place, Nicodemus thought being “born again” entailed physical birth (vs. 4). Jesus would not have followed up that misunderstanding by confirming it! If “water” in verse five refers to physical birth, then the flow of thought was that when Nicodemus asked if Jesus was referring to physical birth, Jesus responded that He was: “Do I have to be born physically a second time from my mother’s womb?” “Yes, you must be born of water….” In the second place, Jesus would not have told Nicodemus that one of the prerequisites for getting into the spiritualkingdom is physical birth. That would have Jesus making the redundant and ridiculous statement: “Before you can get into My kingdom, you first have to become a human being.” To frame such a statement would not only make Jesus appear oblivious to the fact that Nicodemus was already a human being, but also would put Jesus in the absurd position of thinking He needed to inform all non-humans (i.e., the animals) that they are not permitted entrance into the kingdom.
In the third place, while multiple occurrences of the same word in the same context can have different meanings, attendant extenuating circumstances would be necessary in order to realize the distinction. No such factors are evident, especially since, eighteen verses later, the writer informs us that John the baptizer “was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23, emp. added). Was John baptizing in that location because there was much amniotic fluid there? Or because there was much blood there? Or because the Holy Spirit was there? The Bible is indeed its own best interpreter!

THE BIBLE:
ITS OWN BEST INTERPRETER ON THE KINGDOM

Premillennialists are fond of calling attention to the concluding prophetic remarks of Amos: “‘On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the Lord who does this thing” (Amos 9:11-12). They insist that the fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future. They say the Temple, which was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans (Matthew 23:37-24:35), will be rebuilt on the Temple platform in Jerusalem (a site currently occupied by the third most holy shrine of Islam—the Dome of the Rock). They say that Jesus will return after the Rapture, the Tribulation, and Armageddon, and set up His millennial kingdom. They say He will reign on a literal throne for a thousand years, and incorporate the Gentiles, in addition to the nation of Israel, into His kingdom. On the face of it, this prophecy certainly possesses terminology that fits the millenarian interpretation placed upon it.
However, two Bible passages dispute this interpretation, and settle the question as to the proper application of Amos’ prophecy. The first is the great Messianic prophecy uttered by the prophet Nathan to King David regarding David’s future lineage and royal dynasty (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Nathan declared that God would establish and sustain the Davidic dynasty. Even though he also noted that a permanent form of the Tabernacle (that God refused to allow David to build [2 Samuel 7:1-7]) would be built by David’s son (i.e., Solomon), God, Himself, would build David a house, i.e., a dynasty, a kingly lineage. It is this lineage to which Amos referred—not a physical temple building.
The second passage that clarifies Amos’ prophecy is the account of the Jerusalem “conference” (Acts 15). Following Peter’s report regarding Gentile inclusion in the kingdom, James offered the following confirmatory comment: “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written” (Acts 15:13-15). James then quoted Amos 9:11-12. In other words, on that most auspicious occasion, James was noting two significant facts that had come to pass precisely as predicted by Amos: (1) after the downfall of the Jewish kingdom, the Davidic dynasty had been reinstated in the person of Christ—the “Son of David” (Matthew 22:42)—Who, at His ascension, had been enthroned in heaven, thereby “rebuilding the tabernacle of David that had fallen down”; and (2) with the conversion of the first Gentiles in Acts 10, as reported on this occasion by Peter, the “residue of men,” or the non-Jewish segment of humanity, was now “seeking the Lord.” I repeat: the Bible is its own best interpreter.
A fitting conclusion to this feature of God’s amazing Word might be the remark made by Peter on the occasion of the establishment of the church of Christ on Earth. You no doubt remember how he and his fellow apostles, empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak foreign languages to the international audience gathered on that occasion were nevertheless accused of being intoxicated. After noting it was too early in the day for such an explanation to be plausible, he prefaced his quotation of Joel with the following words: “This is that….” Much of the effort that we expend in coming to a correct understanding of God’s Word will be directed toward that very goal. Peter was telling his Pentecost audience: the Bible is its own best interpreter.

REFERENCES

Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Kearley, F. Furman, Edward P. Myers, and Timothy D. Hadley, eds. (1986), Biblical Interpretation(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lockhart, Clinton (1915), Principles of Interpretation (Delight, AR: Gospel Light), revised edition.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2572.
Ramm, Bernard, et al. (1987), Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Robertson, A.T. (1934), A Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Shepherd, J.W. (1894), Handbook on Baptism (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 1972 reprint).
Terry, Milton (no date), Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), reprint.

The Bible Explains Itself by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=887

The Bible Explains Itself
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


It often has been said, “The Bible is its own best commentary.” When we read something that we do not understand in one section of the Bible, frequently other passages in the Scriptures will “interpret” the “unclear” sections for us. Someone questioning the identity of the “seed” of Abraham who would be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 22:18; cf. 26:4) can read Galatians 3:16 and learn that the “seed” mentioned in Genesis is Christ. If a person wanted to know what the water baptism Jesus and the apostles commanded involved, he could study Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12, and Acts 8:38, and come to the correct conclusion that New Testament water baptism is a burial in water, and not the mere sprinkling of water on a person. Instead of approaching the Scriptures with the mindset of, “What do I think about…,” or “What do you think about…,” we first need to ask ourselves, “What does the Bible say about itself?” If there is one section of the Scriptures that we do not understand fully, we always should examine other passages in the Bible that deal with the same subject first. Such is the case when we interpret the account of Creation recorded in Genesis 1.
Some who read Genesis 1-2 have suggested, for example, that the Hebrew words translated “create” (bara) and “make” (asah) always mean entirely different things. They believe that bara means “to create,” while asah means “to re-create” or “to make over.” Thus, we are told, “the heavens and earth” were created in the beginning (vss. 1-2; supposedly a time that could have been billions of years ago), and then there was a six-day “make over” (vss. 3-31). The problem with this theory (commonly known as the Gap Theory) is that the “explanatory notes” God has given us throughout the Old Testament concerning the events recorded in Genesis 1 reveal that the words “create” (bara) and “make/made” (asah) are used interchangeably in reference to the creation of the Universe and everything in it.
Consider Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the Lord made [asah] heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.” Gap theorists contend that this verse speaks only of God’s “re-forming” from something already in existence. Yet notice that the verse specifically speaks of the heaven and the earth—the very same things mentioned in Genesis 1:1. Notice also the psalmist’s commentary on Genesis 1:
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created (Psalm 148:1-5, emp. added).
The psalmist indicated that the Sun, Moon, and stars (among other things) were created (bara). However, Genesis 1:16 states: “God made (asah) two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made (asah) the stars also.” When we “couple” Genesis 1:16 with Psalm 148:1-5, the only logical conclusion that we can draw is that “to create” and “to make” are used to refer to the same event—the making of heavenly bodies on the fourth day of creation.
Finally, consider what Nehemiah wrote concerning God’s creation:
You alone are the Lord; You have made [asah] heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You (9:6, emp. added).
When Nehemiah wrote about some of the same events recorded in Psalm 148:1-5 and Genesis 1:1 [in which the word “created” (bara) was used], he employed the word “made” (asah).
What does all of this prove, you may ask? It proves that we can know God created everything in six days—including the heavens and Earth mentioned in Genesis 1:1. The reason that some insist on the Hebrew words bara and asah having two different meanings when referring to God’s creative acts is not because it is the most logical reading of the text (especially in light of other verses in the Bible), but because they are searching to find some way to fit billions of years of alleged Earth history into the Bible in order to accept the evolution-based geologic timetable.