The Law Of Agape January 15, 1999 by: Allan Turner


The Law Of Agape 
January 15, 1999

by: Allan Turner
The Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:8). It tells us His love is great (Ephesians 2:4), infinite (Ephesians 3:18,19), eternal (Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 1:4,5), and dependable (Romans 8:35). If the theme of the Bible is man's redemption, then the central word of the Bible is love. In fact, the Bible tells us that God loved mankind so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son so fallen man could be redeemed (John 3:16; I John 4:9). But, what kind of love would do such a thing? To understand this, we must realize that God's love for mankind is a distinctive kind of love that the New Testament calls agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay). What is agape? Primarily, agape is good will toward others. It is deep, tender, and warm concern for the happiness and well-being of another; it is charity toward those who are in need. When the Bible says, “God loves us,” it means that He really cares about us and always does what is best for us. Agape is different from other kinds of love in that it seeks to give and not to get. It seeks to satisfy not some need of the lover, but rather the need of the one who is loved.
Agape is unique in that it is universal. Going back to Genesis 1, we learn that ever since the creation of the first man and woman, the objects of God's love have been the entire human race. God loves mankind because man, His creature, is made in His image, and although it is true that God hates sinners as sinners, nevertheless, He loves them as His creatures. Actually, the fatherhood of God is grounded in the creation (Malachi 2:10), “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” Consequently, the Father's “goodness” or “lovingkindness” has abounded toward His creatures from the very beginning (Psalm 33:5). (In this connection, notice how verses 6-9 are a summary of God's creative work.)
Agape is unique in that it is unconditional. God's love is not a respecter of persons; it does not favor some above others. The Bible says, “He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). At Lystra the apostle Paul told pagan idol-worshipers that God had not left Himself without witness, “in that He did good, gave [them] rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling [your] hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). In James 1:17, we are informed that every good and perfect gift comes down from the “Father of lights.” Therefore, God's love is not based upon some condition or quality in the one being loved. It has nothing to do with attractiveness or loveliness. It is, instead, a genuine concern for all people, even the unloveliest and meanest. God does not love us because we have done what He has commanded us to do; instead, He loves us in spite of our rebellion: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This sacrifice was not just for “the elect,” as our Calvinist friends believe, but for the “whole world” (I John 2:2).
Agape is unique in that it is more than feelings. It is more than an internal concern for the well-being of another; it is the externalization of that concern into action. God's love is active. He loved sinful mankind so much that He “gave” His only begotten Son, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Consequently, the cross of Christ is the ultimate in self-giving action. It has been said, “Only at the cross does God show His love fully and without ambiguity.” Actually, it is difficult to find a verse in the New Testament that mentions God's love that does not also mention Christ's death on the cross. That God loves us and delivered Himself for us just seem to naturally go together (Galatians 2:20). Almost two thousand years ago the cross of Christ demonstrated the full meaning of agape, and today it continues to teach us what true love really is.
Love And Law
According to the Bible, the greatest commandment of God is, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Love, then, is a commandment. Better yet, love is the law. Not only are we commanded to love God, but verse 31 says, “And the second like it, is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Love, then, is a duty. In fact, it is man's only duty: “Fear [venerate/love] God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Concerning the keeping of these commandments, the apostle Paul wrote, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14), and in another place, “He who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). Love, then, is the essence of the law. The commandments of the law are the instructions we need to put love into action. The law tells us how a loving person acts. What this all means is that love is simply the summary of all God's laws. In other words, there has never been a law against“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).
Without love there would be no fulfilling of the law. Oh, there might be some insignificant keeping of the lesser aspects of the law, but the real important things, like faithfulness, justice, and mercy, would be neglected without true love (cf. Matthew 23:23). New Testament Christianity is truly a “heart-felt” religion. It is a religion that is “obeyed from the heart” (Romans 6:17), and is manifested by keeping the commandments. If we love God and our neighbor, there will be no “evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, evil eye, blasphemy, pride, [or] foolishness” (Mark 7:20-23).
Unfortunately, the notion seems widespread that love and law are mutually exclusive. According to this view, love is gentle, pliable, unconstrained by rules, and completely unconcerned with law; on the other hand, law is, by nature, rigid, harsh, inflexible, and unloving. Those who hold this position believe justice (law) and mercy (love) are incompatible, and that God must choose either one or the other. If He chooses to be just, then He must be unloving; if He chooses to be merciful, then He must be unjust. Therefore, God is caught in a “Catch-22.” Nevertheless, those who hold this position would view God's choice of mercy over justice not as a failure or inconsistency, but as a triumph of love over law.
The Biblical truth that “God is love” has been distorted into a humanistic theology that says, “Love is god.” According to this philosophy, represented by such thinkers as Joseph Fletcher et al., a warm, gentle, flexible, unconstrained by the rules, and totally divorced from law “feeling” has replaced the commandments of God. In fact, Fletcher, in his book, Situation Ethics: The New Morality, states unequivocally that Jesus and Paul replaced the precepts of law with the living principle of love (page 69). All such activity should be seen for the idolatry it really is—the making of God in man's own image (cf. Romans 1:23).
Our Love Is A Response
Our love is always a response to God's love. “We love [God and, in turn, our fellowman] because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). Paganism creates many gods who are admired and feared, but nowhere is there a God to be loved because He first loved us. This is why pagans in India and other places around the world are excited about hearing and obeying the gospel. The fact that the Almighty God of the universe loves them and has proved it by sending His only begotten Son to die in their stead is an absolutely overwhelming realization. What we Westerners seem to nonchalantly take for granted totally enthralls those in the east. In all their many gods there are none like Jehovah. Praise God for His great and magnificent love!
Because our love of God and our fellowman is a response to God's love for us, it does not war against God's law, but delights in being molded by it (Psalm 119:97; cf. Psalm 19:7-11). Our unconditional love for our fellowman, even our enemies, is but a loving response to God's unconditional love for us: “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:35,36). Yes, God's commandment to love Him and our fellowman is a law. As we have already said, it is actually the summary of all God's laws. But, and this is very important, God's love for us is the motivation for keeping His commandments. We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19), and because we love Him, we keep His commandments (John 14:15; I John 5:3).
There must be no mistake about it, the New Testament speaks of being under “law to Christ” (I Corinthians 9:21), as well as mentioning the “law of faith” (Romans 3:27-31), the “law of the Spirit” (Romans 8:2), the “law of liberty” (James 1:25), and the “royal law” (James 2:8,9). Anyone who thinks that law has been eliminated in the Christian system is totally ignorant of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles. Far from being mutually exclusive, both love and law are necessary to truereligion, i.e., “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Because He is love, some are inclined to think that God does not, and will not, become involved with punishment. Punishment, it is believed, is somehow inconsistent with love. We are told that if God were to inflict punishment, He would no longer be a God of love. Those who take this position exhibit their ignorance of both the character of God and the nature of punishment.
The God of the Bible identifies Himself as a God of love (I John 4:8) and a God of wrath, vengeance and punishment (Romans 1:18; II Thessalonians 1:6-9). Now, if God identifies Himself as being both a God of love and wrath, then who are we to argue with Him? Instead of arguing against it, we ought to try to understand how these two attributes coexist.
When God executes wrath, vengeance, and punishment, it is only in a judicial sense that He does so. When God, as lawgiver, executes judgment, justice demands that one be either vindicated or punished, i.e., one receives either a “blessing” or a “curse” (cf. Deuteronomy 11:26-28; James 4:12). In this sense, punishment is retribution (viz., “the wages of sin...,” Romans 6:23) to vindicate Law and satisfy Justice, and is, consequently, an action based upon the principle of Righteousness (“It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,” II Thessalonians 1:6).
Without reward and punishment, there is no justice. Without justice, there is no judgment. Without judgment, there is no law. Without law, there is no lawgiver. Finally, if there is no lawgiver, then there is no God like the one described in the Bible. Consider what the Bible has said on this: “Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31); “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...” (II Corinthians 5:10,11a).
Too often, punishment is thought to be remedial. In other words, many think the primary purpose of punishment is to make one better. Although it is true that correction or reform can be—and in some cases is—a residual effect of punishment, it has as its major objective the vindication of Law and the satisfaction of Justice. If this is not true, then our atonement through Jesus' vicarious death is eliminated. This ought to be obvious. If the punishment the Lord experienced on the cross was actually designed to make those who rightly deserved it better—and not to vindicate Law and satisfy Justice—then there was no way He could have experienced that for us. On the other hand, if punishment was designed to uphold Law and satisfy Justice, then it was possible for Christ to be “the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:10). This is exactly what happened. The vicarious death of Jesus on the cross made it possible for God to give those who actually deserved the punishment a clean slate as a result of their faith in His Son. Because Jesus paid the full price for our redemption, Justice was done (i.e., God remained just) and God was able to justify those who exercise faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25,26).
There is absolutely no reason why man cannot keep God's Law perfectly. The Bible makes no excuse for man's sinfulness. It simply teaches us that although man has the capacity to do so, he has not, does not, and will not keep Law perfectly, i.e., “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (cf. Romans 3:20, 23). Sin, we are taught in the Bible and know in our hearts, is not forced or coerced, but is clearly a voluntary action (James 1:14,15) committed by creatures of free will (Joshua 24:15), who will be judged by a just God Who will vindicate His Law (Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30).
Punishment, then, is “the just recompense of reward” one receives for unrighteousness (Hebrews 2:2). Therefore, those who would make arguments against God's punishment of those who violate His law because such would make Him, in their opinion, less a God of love and more like a vicious ogre, fail not only to understand the character of God and the primary purpose of punishment, but they really fail to appreciate the most magnificent manifestation of God's love ever bestowed upon man-kind—the sacrificial death of His only begotten Son (John 3:16; I John 4:10).
God's love, mercy and grace abounded unto us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. The sacrifice of God's Son was the only means whereby God, Who loved us, could save us from the punishment we all justly deserved. If man would but see his predicament (“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”), he would appreciate what God has done for him (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”), and there would be no misunderstanding of either God's love or His need to vindicate Law and satisfy Justice. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24,25).
How well do we really know the Lord? As we have already learned, true love is caring about the other person, wanting to please him, wanting to make him happy, and not wanting to hurt him. In order to love God we need to know Him. In order to know Him, we need to know not just what makes Him happy, but what hurts Him as well. What hurts God? The Bible tells us that our sins hurt Him. Consequently, if we really love God, we will want to avoid sin. What makes God happy? The Bible says our obedience pleases Him. Therefore, if we really love God, we will do the very best we can to obey His commandments.
Unfortunately, there are too many misconceptions of Jehovah. Much of man's indifference and lack of response to the gospel is because he exaggerates God's love, goodness, and mercy. Do not misunderstand. I am not trying to limit God's love. As we have already pointed out several times in this study, the Bible tells us that “God is love.” In John 3:16,17, we learn of the great love of our Heavenly Father in sending His only begotten Son to live and die for us. But, many have deluded themselves into believing that because of God's magnificent love, goodness, and mercy, He will actually save them in spite of their disobedience to His will. This is a serious mistake!
In Psalm 103:17,18, David said: “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” Although the Bible informs us that the Lord is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9), nowhere has He promised to bestow His mercy upon those who will continue to disregard His law. This should be a sobering fact to all who would rely too heavily upon the Lord's love, goodness, and mercy, while disregarding their obligation to be obedient to His will.
Many seem content with the one-dimensional god (idol) they have created in their own minds. “Because God is love,” they are fond of saying, “He could never punish anyone in hell, He could never exercise His wrath, He could never actually execute vengeance on those who break His commandments. Therefore, in spite of man's disobedience and disregard for His will, God will eventually save all men in the end.” Of course, the question is: Who would serve such a weak and ineffectual god? Who would serve faithfully a god who could make laws but could not enforce them? Such a god would not be the God of the Bible. Instead, he would be nothing more than an idol constructed in the minds of those who do not want to do what is right and good. This circumstance is as old as the ages. Mankind throughout the centuries has “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
It ought to be obvious that the personality that loves can also hate. The characteristic of mercy is exhibited by one who can feel vengeance, wrath, and anger. While relying on the goodness, mercy, and love of God, one also needs to learn that His wrath can be kindled and provoked! In contemplation of this fact, the apostle Paul wrote, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Corinthians 5:11). Although it is true that we do not serve a god of anger, we do serve a God who can and does get angry! Here, now, is wisdom. If we know what makes God angry, not only do we avoid painful penalties, but we come to a better appreciation of the character of God. The better we know Him, the better we will be able to do what pleases Him. And if we really love Him, we will certainly want to please Him. If idolatry angers God, then true worship is pleasing to Him; if broken vows anger Him, then integrity pleases Him; if denying Christ as the Savior of the world draws the wrath of God, then following Jesus as Lord and Savior is the key to pleasing Him. In II Corinthians 5:10, the apostle Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” If we are all one day going to appear before the Lord to give an account, then it is certainly to our advantage to know what both pleases and displeases Him.
To the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God...I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:26,27,31b). Why? Because although he was well acquainted with God's love, mercy, and goodness, he also knew of the “terror of the Lord.” Paul tried to persuade men and women to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ because he knew one day the Lord would come “in flaming fire taking ven-geance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired by all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (II Thessalonians 1:8-10).
The appeal of the gospel is not only to appreciate God's magnificent love, goodness, and mercy, but to respect His anger, wrath, and terror as well. One is saved because of the mercy of God in conjunction with one's obedience to His will. To enjoy the Lord's love and goodness, one must yield submissively to His word. Without love—God's love for man and, in turn, man's love for God—there could be no salvation.

"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Chapter Four by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

                              Chapter Four


1) To consider the importance of prayer, and proper conduct toward
   those who are not Christians

2) To appreciate the value of God's "second string", those workers in
   the kingdom who assisted key players like Paul and contributed so
   much to the spread of the gospel


Paul concludes his section on "The Christian Solution" as an 
alternative to the heresies being proposed at Colosse with exhortations
to prayer and proper conduct.  His desire is that they devote 
themselves to prayer with vigilance and thanksgiving.  A special
request for prayer in his behalf is made, that God might give him an
open door for the word of God, and that he might make the mystery of 
Christ known.  Their own conduct is to be with wisdom toward outsiders,
making good use of their time.  This includes speaking with grace, 
knowing how one ought to answer others (1-6).

Paul then mentions several companions, starting with Tychicus and 
Onesimus who were evidently the bearers of this epistle, and who would
inform them of Paul's circumstances.  Special greetings are also sent 
from brethren with Paul.  These included three Jewish brethren 
(Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus called Justus), a brother who was from 
Colosse (Epaphras), a beloved physician (Luke), and one we know from
another epistle (Demas, cf. 2Ti 4:9) who later forsook Paul (7-14).

Finally, greetings are sent to those in Laodicea and the church meeting
in the home of Nymphas, along with a charge to exchange epistles with
the church in Laodicea.  With a final exhortation for Archippus to 
fulfill his ministry, Paul signs off using his personal signature, 
asking that they remember his chains, and praying for grace on their
behalf (15-18).



      1. Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant with thanksgiving
      2. Pray for ministers of God, like Paul (3-4)
         a. That God would open a door for the Word (3a)
         b. That Paul would make the mystery of Christ manifest (3b-4)

      1. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of your time
      2. Speak with grace, properly answering each one (6)

      1. Tychicus (7-8)
         a. A beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in
            the Lord (8a)
         b. Sent by Paul to inform them of his circumstances, and to 
            comfort their hearts (8b-9)
      2. Onesimus (9)
         a. A faithful and beloved brother, from Colosse (9a)
         b. He also will inform them of Paul's circumstances (9b)

      1. From Aristarchus, a fellow prisoner (10a)
      2. From Mark, a cousin of Barnabas, whom they are to welcome if
         he comes (10b)
      3. From Jesus, called Justus, who together with Aristarchus and
         Mark are Paul's only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who
         are of the circumcision (11)
      4. From Epaphras (12-13)
         a. One of their number at Colosse (12a)
         b. A servant of Christ in their behalf (12b)
            1) Laboring fervently for them in prayers
            2) Praying that they may stand perfect and complete in all
               the will of God
         c. Paul bears witness of his great zeal (13)
            1) For those at Colosse (13a)
            2) For those in Laodicea and Hierapolis (13b)
      5. From Luke, the beloved physician (14a)
      6. From Demas (14b)


      1. Greet the brethren (15)
         a. Those who are in Laodicea (15a)
         b. Nymphas and the church in his house (15b)
      2. Exchange epistles (16)
         a. Once this epistle is read, see that it is read in the 
            church of the Laodiceans (16a)
         b. You also read the epistle from the church in Laodicea (16b)
      3. A charge to Archippus, that he take heed to his ministry
         received from the Lord, and to fulfill it (17)

      1. Salutation written by his own hands (18a)
      2. A plea to remember his chains (18b)
      3. A prayer that grace be with them (18c)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Exhortations to prayer and proper conduct (2-6)
   - Paul's companions (7-14)
   - Concluding remarks (15-18)

2) In calling them to earnest prayer, what four things does Paul ask of
   them? (2-4)
   - That they pray with vigilance
   - That they pray with thanksgiving
   - That they pray for God to provide an open door for the word
   - That they pray for him to be able to make the mystery of Christ

3) How were they to walk? (5)
   - In wisdom toward outsiders, making good use of their time

4) How were they to speak? (6)
   - With grace, knowing how to answer each one

5) How is Tychicus described?  Why was Paul sending him? (7-8)
   - A beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the
   - To inform them of Paul's circumstances and comfort their hearts

6) How is Onesimus describe?  What was Paul sending him? (9)
   - A faithful and beloved brother, one of them
   - To make known the things happening in Rome

7) What three men were Paul's only fellow workers for the kingdom of
   God who were of the circumcision, i.e. Jews? (10-11)
   - Aristarchus, Mark, Justus

8) What is said about Epaphras in relation to the churches in Colosse,
   Laodicea, and Hierapolis? (12-13)
   - Labors fervently for them in prayer, that they might stand perfect
     and complete in all the will of God
   - Has a great zeal for them

9) Who else sends greetings? (14)
   - Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas

10) To what two groups does Paul send greetings? (15)
   - To the brethren in Laodicea
   - To Nymphas and the church in his house

11) What was to be done with the epistle after it had been read to the
    church? (16)
   - It was to be read to the church of the Laodiceans

12) What was to be done with an epistle coming from Laodicea? (16)
   - They were to read it

13) What special charge does Paul tell them to give to Archippus? (17)
   - Take heed to fulfill the ministry received from the Lord

14) How does Paul confirm that this epistle was from him? (18)
   - By writing his name in his own hand

15) What final request does Paul ask of the Colossians? (18)
   - Remember my chains

16) What final prayer does Paul offer in behalf of the brethren? (18)
   - Grace be with you

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS" Chapter Three by Mark Copeland

                    "THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS"

                             Chapter Three


1) To see what Paul offers as the Christian solution in dealing with
   the problem of sin

2) To understand what our responsibilities are as "the elect of God, 
   holy and beloved"


Having warned the brethren of the "Colossian Heresy", and the need to 
be established in the faith of Jesus Christ, Paul now offers a detailed
description of "The Christian Solution" to the problem of sin in their
lives.  Rather than being deceived or swayed by false alternatives,
they need to seek those things above, where Christ is, to set their
minds on things above and not on the earth.  This is because they have 
been raised with Christ (cf. Col 2:12) and their life is now hidden in
Christ, awaiting the day of His coming in which they will appear with 
Him in glory (1-4).

With minds set on Christ, they need to "put to death" those sins in 
which their earthly members engaged, and upon which the wrath of God is
coming.  This is done by "putting off" the old man with his deeds, and 
"putting on" the new man who is being renewed in knowledge after the 
image of Christ.  The deeds of the old man and the characteristics of 
the new man are defined by Paul, followed with exhortations to allow 
the "peace of God" to rule in their hearts and to let the "word of 
Christ" dwell in them richly.  He also charges them to do all things in
the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (5-17).

As so much of their daily lives revolve around the home, Paul also 
addresses the responsibilities of various family members as they serve
the Lord (18-4:1).



      1. Since you were raised with Christ, seek those things above
         a. Where Christ is, seated at God's right hand (1)
         b. Not on the things on the earth (2)
      2. For you have died, one day to appear with Christ in glory
         a. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God (3)
         b. When Christ appears, you will also appear with Him in glory

      1. Put to death the members of your body (5)
         a. Fornication 
         b. Uncleanness
         c. Passion
         d. Evil desire
         e. Covetousness, which is idolatry
         -- For the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of 
            disobedience, and you also once walked in such things (6-7)
      2. Put off the old man with his deeds (8-9)
         a. Anger
         b. Wrath
         c. Malice
         d. Blasphemy
         e. Filthy language
         f. Lying to one another

   C. PUT ON THE NEW MAN (10-17)
      1. In which you are renewed in the image of our Creator, where 
         there is neither:
         a. Greek nor Jew
         b. Circumcised nor uncircumcised
         c. Barbarian, Scythian
         d. Slave nor free
         -- But Christ, who is all and in all (10-11)
      2. As God's elect, put on Christ-like qualities (12-14)
         a. Tender mercies
         b. Kindness
         c. Humbleness of mind
         d. Meekness
         e. Longsuffering
         f. Bearing with one another
         g. Forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you
         h. Above all these things, put on love, the perfect tie that
      3. In addition...
         a. Let God's peace rule in your heart, and be thankful (15)
         b. Let Christ's word dwell in you richly, teaching and 
            admonishing one another with song, singing with grace in 
            your hearts to the Lord (16)
         c. Do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, with 
            thanksgiving to God (17)


      1. Submit to your own husbands
      2. As is fitting in the Lord

      1. Love your wives
      2. Do not be bitter toward them

      1. Obey your parents in all things
      2. This is well pleasing to the Lord

      1. Do not provoke your children
      2. Or they may become discouraged

      1. Obey your earthly masters in all things (22)
         a. Not with eye-service, seeking only to please men
         b. But with sincerity of heart, fearing God
      2. Do your work heartily (23-24)
         a. As to the Lord and not to men (23)
         b. Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance
      3. He who does wrong... (25)
         a. Will be repaid for the wrong he does
         b. There will be no partiality

      1. Give your servants what is just and fair
      2. Knowing that you also have a Master in heaven


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The Christian solution (1-17)
   - Familial responsibilities (18-4:1)

2) What two-fold charge is given to those who have been raised with 
   Christ? (1-2)
   - Seek those things which are above, where Christ is
   - Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth

3) Where is our "life" at the present?  When shall it appear? (3-4)
   - Hidden with Christ in God
   - When Christ appears (i.e., His Second Coming)

4) What sins are we to "put to death"? (5)
   - Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness
     (which is idolatry)

5) Why must we put them to death? (6)
   - Because the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience

6) What other sins must we "put off"? (8,9)
   - Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, lying to one 

7) What have we "put off", and what have we "put on"? (9-10)
   - We have "put off the old man with his deeds"
   - We have "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according
     to the image of Him who created him" (i.e., Christ)

8) As God's elect (chosen), holy and beloved, what are we to "put on"?
   - Tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 
     longsuffering, bearing with one another, forgiving one another as
     Christ forgave us, and love

9) What must we allow the "peace of God" do? (15)
   - Rule in our hearts

10) What must we allow the "word of Christ" do? (16)
   - Dwell in our hearts richly

11) How are we to teach and admonish one another? (16)
   - In psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our
     hearts to the Lord

12) How are we to do all things, whether in word or deed? (17)
   - In the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father 
     through Him

13) What is the duty of wives? (18)
   - To submit to their own husbands

14) What is the duty of husbands? (19)
   - To love their wives and not be bitter toward them

15) What is the duty of children? (20)
   - To obey their parents in all things

16) What is the duty of fathers? (21)
   - Not to provoke their children

17) What is the duty of servants? (22-23)
   - To obey their masters in all things
   - Not with eye-service, as pleasing men, but in sincerity of heart,
     fearing God
   - To do all things heartily, as to the Lord

18) What positive motivation is there for a servant to so act?  What
    negative motivation? (24-25)
   - Serving the Lord Christ, they will receive the reward of the 
   - Those who do wrong will be repaid, with no partiality being shown

19) What is the duty of masters?  What motivation is offered to do 
    this? (4:1)
   - To give their servants what is just and fair
   - They too have a Master, one who is heaven

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Does ISIS Represent True Islam? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Does ISIS Represent True Islam?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A mass beheading of 21 Egyptian/Coptic Christians by ISIS militants is the latest outrage perpetrated by those who claim to represent accurately the teaching of Islam (“Video Purports…,” 2015). Despite insistence from several sources that such atrocities do not represent Islam, the Quran contains a number of passages that clearly advocate violent action against those who reject Islam.
For example, within months of the Hijrah, Muhammad claimed to receive a revelation that amply clarifies the issue (Pickthall’s translation):
Now when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when ye have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lay down its burdens. That (is the ordinance). And if Allah willed He could have punished them (without you) but (thus it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He rendereth not their actions vain (Surah 47:4, emp. added).
In his popular translation of the Quran, Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali offered the following comment on this verse: “When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks), both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves” (1934, p. 1315, parentheses and italics in orig.). ISIS Muslims are simply following the teaching of the Quran regarding both their practice of beheading their enemies as well as their warfare.
In a section dealing with, among other subjects, jihad, the Quran is equally forthright in its sanction and promotion of violence:
Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrongdoers. The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil) (Surah 2:190-194, emp. added).
Later in the same surah, Muhammad is chided by Allah for not fully embracing the necessity of warfare:
Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel his people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can (Surah 2:216-217, emp. added).
These, and several additional verses (see Miller, 2005), from the Quran verify that the ISIS militants are merely following their reading of the Quran. Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi even called upon ISIS followers to unleash “volcanoes of jihad” (Cunningham, 2014). In view of such facts, and in light of the fact that Islamic armies over the centuries conquered nations across North Africa, into Europe, east to India, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia, north to Turkey, and northeast deep into Asia and Russia, one must engage in considerable theological and hermeneutical gymnastics in order to whitewash Islam as a “religion of peace.” [NOTE: We are not implying that everyone who calls himself a Muslim is a terrorist. In reality, there are many kind, peaceful people around the world who consider themselves Muslims. However, peaceful Muslims are not following the Quran faithfully, because the Quran teaches its adherents to take up the sword and fight and kill non-Muslims.]
NOTE: For more on Islam and the Quran, see our DVD titled "Islam, the Quran, and New Testament Christianity" as well as our book titled The Quran Unveiled.


Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1934), The Meaning of the Holy Quran (Beltsville, MD: Amana Publications), 2002 reprint.
Cunningham, Erin (2014), “Islamic State Leader Al-Baghdadi Calls on Followers to Unleash ‘Volcanoes of Jihad,’” The Washington Post, November 13,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/defiant-message-from-islamic-state-leader-but-silence-over-airstrike-injury-reports/2014/11/13/a19f4d9e-6b54-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Violence and the Quran,” Apologetics Press,http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=1491&topic=47.
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
“Video Purports to Show ISIS Militants Beheading Christian Hostages” (2015), Fox News, February 16, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/02/16/video-purports-to-show-isis-militants-beheading-christian-hostages/.

The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

One of the charges of contradiction brought by skeptics against the Bible is the surface appearance of contradiction between Matthew’s genealogical list (1:1-17) and the one provided by Luke (3:23-38). As is always the case, the charge of contradiction is premature and reflects an immature appraisal of the extant evidence. In every case of alleged contradiction, further investigation has yielded additional evidence that exonerates the Bible and further verifies its inerrancy. The alleged discrepancies pertaining to Matthew and Luke’s genealogies were explained and answered long ago (e.g., Haley, 1977, pp. 325-326; McGarvey, 1910, pp. 344-346; McGarvey, 1974, pp. 51-55; cf. Lyons, 2003).
When one places the two genealogical lists side by side, several factors become immediately apparent that combine to dispel the appearance of conflict.
Genealogies Chart
Click for Larger Image (132 Kb)
First, Matthew reported the lineage of Christ only back to Abraham; Luke traced it all the way back to Adam. Second, Matthew used the expression “begat;” Luke used the expression “son of,” which results in his list being a complete reversal of Matthew’s. Third, the two genealogical lines parallel each other from Abraham to David. Fourth, beginning with David, Matthew traced the paternal line of descent through Solomon; Luke traced thematernal line through Solomon’s brother, Nathan.
A fifth factor that must be recognized is that the two lines (paternal and maternal) link together in the intermarriage of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. But the linkage separates again in the two sons of Zerubbabel—Rhesa and Abiud. Sixth, the two lines come together once again for a final time in the marriage of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was the end of the paternal line, while Mary was the last of the maternal line as the daughter of Heli.
The reason Joseph is said to be the “son” of Heli (Mary’s father) brings forth a seventh consideration: the Jewish use of “son.” Hebrews used the word in at least five distinct senses: (1) in the sense used today of a one-generation offspring; (2) in the sense of a descendant, whether a grandson or a more remote descendant many generations previous, e.g., Matthew 1:1; 21:9; 22:42 (“begat” had this same flexibility in application); (3) as a son-in-law (the Jews had no word to express this concept and so just used “son”—e.g., 1 Samuel 24:16; 26:17); (4) in accordance with the Levirate marriage law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cf. Matthew 22:24-26), a deceased man would have a son through a surrogate father who legally married the deceased man’s widow (e.g., Ruth 2:20; 3:9,12; 4:3-5); and (5) in the sense of a step-son who took on the legal status of his step-father—the relationship sustained by Jesus to Joseph (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 6:42).
Notice carefully that Joseph was a direct-line, blood descendant of David and, therefore, of David’s throne. Here is the precise purpose of Matthew’s genealogy: it demonstrated Jesus’ legalright to inherit the throne of David—a necessary prerequisite to authenticating His Messianic claim. However, an equally critical credential was His blood/physical descent from David—a point that could not be established through Joseph since “after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, emp. added). This feature of Christ’s Messiahship was established through His mother Mary, who was also a blood descendant of David (Luke 1:30-32). Both the blood of David and the throne of David were necessary variables to qualify and authenticate Jesus as the Messiah.
Once again, the Bible’s intricate complexities shine forth to dispel the critic’s accusations, while simultaneously demonstrating its own infallible representations. The more one delves into its intricacies and plummets its intriguing depths, the more one is driven to the inescapable conclusion that the Bible is, indeed, the Book of books—the inspired Word of God.


Haley, John W. (1977), Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
McGarvey, J.W. (1910), Biblical Criticism (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).
McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

The Origin of Language and Communication by Dave Miller, Ph.D. Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Brad Harrub, Ph.D.


The Origin of Language and Communication

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.
Bert Thompson, Ph.D.
Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article by our newest staff member, Dr. Dave Miller, who joins us this month as the chairman of our recently established Department of New Testament Studies. Dave’s doctorate is in speech communications, which makes him especially qualified to write on the topic of the origin of language and communication. See my “Note from the Editor” for an introduction to this talented addition to our staff.]
In 1994, an article appeared in Time magazine titled “How Man Began.” Within that article was the following bold assertion: “No single, essential difference separates human beings from other animals” (Lemonick, 143[11]:81). Yet, in what is obviously a contradiction to such a statement, all evolutionists admit that communication via speech is uniquely human—so much so that it often is used as the singular, and most important, dividing line between humans and animals. In his book titled Eve Spoke, evolutionist Philip Lieberman admitted:
Speech is so essential to our concept of intelligence that its possession is virtually equated with being human. Animals who talk are human, because what sets us apart from other animals is the “gift” of speech (1998, p. 5, emp. in orig.).
In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, editors Jones, Martin, and Pilbeam conceded that “[t]here are no non-human languages,” and then went on to observe that “language is an adaptation unique to humans, and yet the nature of its uniqueness and its biological basis are notoriously difficult to define” (1992, p. 128, emp. added). In his book, The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain, Terrance Deacon noted:
In this context, then, consider the case of human language. It is one of the most distinctive behavioral adaptations on the planet. Languages evolved in only one species, in only one way, without precedent, except in the most general sense. And the differences between languages and all other natural modes of communicating are vast (1997, p. 25).
What events transpired that have allowed humans to speak, while animals remain silent? If we are to believe the evolutionary teaching currently taking place in colleges and universities around the world, speech evolved as a natural process over time. Yet no one is quite sure how, and there are no known animals that are in a transition phase from non-speaking to speaking. In fact, in theAtlas of Languages, this remarkable admission can be found: “No languageless community has ever been found” (Matthews, et al., 1996, p. 7). This represents no small problem for evolution.
In fact, the origin of speech and language (along with the development of sex and reproduction) remains one of the most significant hurdles in evolutionary theory, even in the twenty-first century. In fact, many evolutionists simply have stopped discussing the matter completely. Jean Aitchison noted:
In 1866, a ban on the topic was incorporated into the founding statues of the Linguistic Society of Paris, perhaps the foremost academic linguistic institution of the time: “The Society does not accept papers on either the origin of language or the invention of a universal language” (2000, p. 5).
That is an amazing (albeit inadvertent) admission of defeat, especially coming from a group of such eminent scientists, researchers, and scholars.
The truth of the matter is, however, that the origin of human languages can be discerned—but not via the theory of evolution. We invite your attention to the discussion that follows, which demonstrates conclusively that humans were created by God with the unique ability to employ speech for communication.


Many animals are capable of using sounds to communicate. However, there is a colossal difference between the hoot of an owl or the grunt of a pig, and a human standing before an audience reciting Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” This enormous chasm between humans and animals has led to a multiplicity of theories on exactly how man came upon this unequaled capability. But there is a single, common theme that stands out amidst all the theories: “The world’s languages evolved spontaneously. They were not designed” (Deacon, p. 110, emp. added).
Design implies a Designer; thus, evolutionists have conjured up theories that consider language nothing more than a fortuitous chain of events. Most of these theories involve humans growing bigger brains, which then made it physiologically possible for people to develop speech and language. For instance, in the foreword of her book, The Seeds of Speech, Jean Aitchison hypothesized:
Physically, a deprived physical environment led to more meat-eating and, as a result, a bigger brain. The enlarged brain led to the premature birth of humans, and in consequence a protracted childhood, during which mothers cooed and crooned to their offspring. An upright stance altered the shape of the mouth and vocal tract, allowing a range of coherent sounds to be uttered (2000, p. x).
Thus, according to Aitchison, we can thank “a deprived physical environment” for our ability to talk and communicate. Another evolutionist, John McCrone, put it this way:
It all started with an ape that learned to speak. Man’s hominid ancestors were doing well enough, even though the world had slipped into the cold grip of the ice ages. They had solved a few key problems that had held back the other branches of the ape family, such as how to find enough food to feed their rather oversized brains. Then man’s ancestors happened on the trick of language. Suddenly, a whole new mental landscape opened up. Man became self-aware and self-possessed (1991, p. 9).
Question: How (and why) did that first ape learn to speak? It is easy to assert that “it all started with an ape that learned to speak.” But it is much more difficult to describe how this took place, especially in light of our failure to teach apes to speak today. In his book, From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language, Michael Corballis stated:
My own view is that language developed much more gradually, starting with the gestures of apes, then gathering momentum as the bipedal hominins evolved. The appearance of the larger-brained genus Homo some 2 million years ago may have signaled the emergence and later development of syntax, with vocalizations providing a mounting refrain. What may have distinguished Homo sapiens was the final switch from a mixture of gestural and vocal communication to an autonomous vocal language, embellished by gesture but not dependent on it (2002, p. 183).
The truth however, is that evolutionists can only speculate as to the origin of language. Evolutionist Carl Zimmer summed it up well when he wrote:
No one knows the exact chronology of this evolution, because language leaves precious few traces on the human skeleton. The voice box is a flimsy piece of cartilage that rots away. It is suspended from a slender C-shaped bone called a hyoid, but the ravages of time usually destroy the hyoid too (2001, p. 291).
Thus, theories are plentiful—while the evidence to support those theories remains mysteriously unavailable. Add to this the fact that humans acquire the ability to communicate (and even learn some of the basic rules of syntax) by the age of two, and you begin to see why Aitchison admitted:
Of course, holes still remain in our knowledge: in particular, at what stage did language leap from being something new which humans discovered to being something which every newborn human is scheduled to acquire? This is still a puzzle (p. ix).
A “puzzle” indeed!


In a chapter he titled “What, When, and Where did Eve Speak to Adam and He to Her?,” Philip Lieberman commented:
In the five-million-year-long lineage that connects us to the common ancestors of apes and human beings, there have been many Adams and many Eves. In the beginning was the word, but the vocal communications of our most distant hominid ancestors five million years or so ago probably didn’t really differ from those of the ape-hominid ancestor (1998, p. 133).
Using biblical terminology, Lieberman had written a year earlier: “For with speech came a capacity for thought that had never existed before, and that has transformed the world. In the beginning was the word” (1997, p. 27).
When God created the first human beings—Adam and Eve—He created them in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). This likeness unquestionably included the ability to engage in intelligible speech via human language. In fact, God spoke to them from the very beginning of their existence as humans (Genesis 1:28-30). Hence, they possessed the ability to understand verbal communication—and to speak themselves!
God gave very specific instructions to the man before the woman was even created (Genesis 2:15-17). Adam gave names to the animals before the creation of Eve (Genesis 2:19-20). Since both the man and the woman were created on the sixth day, the creation of the man preceded the creation of the woman by only hours. So, Adam had the ability to speak on the very day that he was brought into existence!
That same day, God put Adam to sleep and performed history’s first human surgery. He fashioned the female of the species from a portion of the male’s body. God then presented the woman to the man (no doubt in what we would refer to as the first marriage ceremony). Observe Adam’s response: “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man’ ” (Genesis 2:23). Here is Adam—less than twenty-four hours old—articulating intelligible speech with a well-developed vocabulary and advanced powers of expression. Note also that Eve engaged in intelligent conversation with Satan (Genesis 3:1-5). An unbiased observer is forced to conclude that Adam and Eve were created by God with oral communication capability. Little wonder, then, that God said to Moses: “Who had made man’s mouth?... Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Exodus 4:11-12).
This circumstance should not surprise us, since the rest of the created order also was brought into existence fully formed and operational. Adam’s body was that of a man—not a child. His body possessed reproductive capability (Genesis 1:28). His mind was mentally and psychologically functional on the level of an adult. Likewise, trees and plants were completely operational in their photosynthetic, reproductive, and fruit-bearing capability (Genesis 1:11-12). Animals, too, were created fully functional (Genesis 1:20-25). And, the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars were created instantaneously to provide the services they were intended to provide (Genesis 1:14-18). Once again, the biblical explanation of the beginning of the human race and linguistic functionality is logical, reasonable, and scientifically feasible. The evolutionary model is not.


Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and a sub-language (or dialects within it). But those who have tried to count usually end up around the 5,000 mark (Aitchison, 2000, p. 26).
The Bible’s explanation of the origin of multiple human languages is provided in the Tower of Babel incident recorded in Genesis 11:1-9. Scripture simply and confidently asserts: “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech” (11:1). When Noah and his family stepped off the ark, they spoke a single language that was passed on to their offspring. As the population increased, it apparently remained localized in a single geographical region. Consequently, little or no linguistic variation ensued. But when a generation defiantly rejected God’s instructions to scatter over the planet, God miraculously intervened and initiated the major language groupings of the human race. This action forced the population to proceed with God’s original intention to inhabit the Earth (cf. Isaiah 45:18) by clustering according to shared languages.
This depiction of the origin of languages coincides with the present status of these languages. The available linguistic evidence does not support the model postulated by evolutionary sources for the origin of languages. Evolutionary linguists believe that all human languages have descended from a single, primitive language, which itself evolved from the grunts and noises of the lower animals. The single most influential “hopeful monster” theory of the evolution of human language was proposed by the famous linguist from MIT, Noam Chomsky, and has since been echoed by numerous linguists, philosophers, anthropologists, and psychologists. Chomsky argued that the innate ability of children to acquire the grammar necessary for a language can be explained only if one assumes that all grammars are variations of a single, generic “universal grammar,” and that all human brains come “with a built-in language organ that contains this language blueprint” (Deacon, 1997, p. 35).
Explaining this “innate ability,” a “universal grammar,” and the “built-in language organ” of humans has proven to be, well, impossible! Steven Pinker, the eminent psychologist also ofMIT, candidly lamented this very fact in his best-selling book, How the Mind Works. In addressing the failure of “our species’ ” scientists to solve these types of plaguing, perennial problems, he wrote:
[T]he species’ best minds have flung themselves at the puzzles for millennia but have made no progress in solving them. Another is that they have a different character from even the most challenging problems of science. Problems such as how a child learns language or how a fertilized egg becomes an organism are horrendous in practice and may never be solved completely (1997a, p. 562, emp. added).
However, the existing state of human language nevertheless suggests that the variety of dialects and sub-languages has developed from a relatively few (perhaps even less than twenty) languages. These original “proto-languages”—from which all others allegedly have developed—were distinct within themselves, with no previous ancestral language. Creationist Carl Wieland rightly remarked: “The evidence is wonderfully consistent with the notion that a small number of languages, separately created at Babel, has diversified into the huge variety of languages we have today” (1999, p. 22).


In contemplating how language arose, evolutionists frequently link the development of the brain to the appearance of languages. But when one considers that more than 5,000 languages exist, it is incomprehensible to suggest that the invention of language could be viewed as some sort of simple, clear-cut addition to human physiology made possible by an enlarged brain unique toHomo sapiens. Terrance Deacon commented on the intricacy of evolving a language when he said:
For a language feature to have such an impact on brain evolution that all members of the species come to share it, it must remain invariable across even the most drastic language change possible (p. 329, emp. in orig.).
Broca's and Wernicke's Areas of the Brain
Left hemisphere of human brain with language centers—Brocas’s area and Wernicke’s area— highlighted
The complexity underlying speech first revealed itself in patients who were suffering various communication problems. Researchers began noticing analogous responses among patients with similar injuries. The ancient Greeks noticed that brain damage could cause the loss of the ability to speak (a condition known as aphasia). Centuries later, in 1836, Marc Dax described a group of patients that could not speak normally. Dax reported that all of these patients experienced damage to the left hemisphere of their brain. In 1861, Paul Broca described a patient who could utter only a single word—“tan.” When this patient died, Broca examined his brain and observed significant damage to the left frontal cortex, which has since become known anatomically as “Broca’s area.” While patients with damage to Broca’s area can understand language, they generally are unable to produce speech because words are not formed properly, thus slurring their speech.
In 1876, Carl Wernicke discovered that language problems also could result from damage to another section of the brain. This area, later termed “Wernicke’s area,” is located in the posterior part of the temporal lobe. Damage to Wernicke’s area results in a loss of the ability to understand language. Thus, patients can continue to speak, but the words are put together in such a way that they make no sense. Interestingly, in most people (approximately 97%) both Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are found only in the left hemisphere, which explains the language deficits observed in patients with brain damage to the left side of the brain. Evolutionists freely acknowledge that
[t]he relationship between brain size and language is unclear. Possibly, increased social interaction combined with tactical deception gave the brain an initial impetus. Better nourishment due to meat-eating may also have played a part. Then brain size and language possibly increased together (Aitchison, 2000, p. 85).
However, the human brain is not simply larger. The connections are vastly different as well. As Deacon admitted: “Looking more closely, we will discover that a radical re-engineering of the whole brain has taken place, and on a scale that is unprecedented” (p. 45). In order to speak a word that has been read, information is obtained from the eyes and travels to the visual cortex. From the primary visual cortex, information is transmitted to the posterior speech area (which includes Wernicke’s area). From there, information travels to Broca’s area, and then to the primary motor cortex to provide the necessary muscle contractions to produce the sound. To speak a word that has been heard, we must invoke the primary auditory cortex, not the visualcortex. Deacon commented on this complex neuronal network—which does not occur in animals—when he wrote:
There is, without doubt, something special about human brains that enables us to do with ease what no other species can do even minimally without intense effort and remarkably insightful training. We not only have the ability to create and easily learn simple symbol systems such as the chimps Sherman and Austin struggled to learn, but in learning languages we acquire an immensely complex rule system and a rich vocabulary at a time in our lives when it is otherwise very difficult to learn even elementary arithmetic. Many a treatise on grammatical theory has failed to provide an adequate accounting of the implicit knowledge that even a four-year-old appears to possess about her newly acquired language (p. 103).


The specific mechanics involved in speaking have anatomical requirements that are found only in humans. There is no animal living presently, nor has one been observed in the fossil record, that possesses anything close to the “voice box” (as we commonly call it) present in humans. As information scientist Werner Gitt observed in his fascinating book, The Wonder of Man:
Only man has the gift of speech, a characteristic otherwise only possessed by God. This separates us clearly from the animal kingdom.... In addition to the necessary “software” for speech, we have also been provided with the required “hardware” (1999, p. 101).
Furthermore, the complete lack of any “transitional” animal form (with the requisite speech hardware) in the fossil record poses a significant continuity problem for evolutionists. As Deacon noted:
This lack of precedent makes language a problem for biologists. Evolutionary explanations are about biological continuity, so a lack of continuity limits the use of the comparative method in several important ways. We can’t ask, “What ecological variable correlates with increasing language use in a sample species?” Nor can we investigate the “neurological correlates of increased language complexity.” There is no range of species to include in our analysis (p. 34).
To simplify the anatomy required for human speech by using an analogy, think of a small tube resting inside a larger tube. The inner tube consists of the trachea going down to the lungs, and the larynx (which houses the voice box). At the larynx, the inner tube opens out to the larger tube, which is known as the pharynx. It carries only sound up to the mouth, but it also carries food and water from the mouth down to the stomach. A rather simplistic description of how humans utter sounds in speech can be characterized by the control of air generated by the lungs, flowing through the vocal tract, vibrating over the vocal cord, filtered by facial muscle activity, and released out of the mouth and nose. Just as sound is generated from blowing air across the narrow mouth of a bottle, air is passed over the vocal cords, which can be tightened or relaxed to produce various resonances.
The physiological components necessary can be divided into: (1) supralaryngeal vocal tract; (2) larynx; and (3) subglottal system (see illustration at below). In 1848, Johannes Muller demonstrated that human speech involved the modulation of acoustic energy by the airway above the larynx (referred to as the supralaryngeal tract). Sound energy for speech is generated in the larynx at the vocal folds. The subglottal system—which consists of the lungs, trachea, and their associated muscles—provides the necessary power for speech production. The lungs produce the initial air pressure that is essential for the speech signal; the pharyngeal cavity, oral cavity, and nasal cavity shape the final output sound that is perceived as speech.
Anatomy Used During Speech


Imagine the conundrum in which evolutionists find themselves when it comes to speech and language. The animal that comes closest to producing anything that even vaguely resembles human speech is not another primate, but rather a bird. Deacon observed:
In fact, most birds easily outshine any mammal in vocal skills, and though dogs, cats, horses, and monkeys are remarkably capable learners in many domains, vocalization is not one of them. Our remarkable vocal abilities are not part of a trend, but an exception (pp. 30-31).
For instance, a famous African gray parrot in England named Toto can pronounce words so clearly that he sounds rather human. Like humans, birds can produce fluent, complex sounds. We both share a double-barreled, double-layered system involving tunes and dialects—a system controlled by the left side of our brains. And just like young children, juvenile birds experience a period termed “sub-song” where they twitter in what resembles the babbling of a young child learning to speak. Yet Toto does not have a “language” as humans understand it. Humans use language for many more purposes than birds use song. Consider, too, that it is mostly male birds that sing. Females remain songless unless they are injected with the male hormone testosterone (see Nottebohm, 1980). Also consider that humans frequently communicate intimately between two or three people, while bird communication is a fairly long-distance affair.
One of the big “success” stories in looking at the human-like qualities of non-human primates is a male bonobo chimpanzee known as Kanzi (see Savage-Rumbaugh and Lewin, 1994; Skoyles and Sagan, 2002, pp. 217-220). Kanzi was born October 28, 1990, and began his long journey to learn to “speak” as a result of the training provided for his mother, Matata, via a “talking” keyboard. Matata never did master the keyboard, but Kanzi did. Through many years of intense training and close social contact with humans, this remarkable animal attained the language abilities of an average two-year-old human. By age ten, he had a “spoken” vocabulary (via the keyboard) of some two hundred words. In fact, Kanzi was able to go beyond the mere parroting or “aping” of humans; he actually could communicate his wants and needs, express feelings, and use tools. Inasmuch as Kanzi could accomplish such things, does this prove that chimps are merely hairy, child-like versions of humans?
Hardly. To use the words of the famous American news commentator, Paul Harvey, someone needs to tell “the rest of the story.” For example, in their 2002 volume, Up from Dragons, John Skoyles and Dorion Sagan discussed Kanzi at great length. Among other things, they wrote:
Kanzi shows that while chimps may have the potential to learn language, they require a “gifted” environment to do so. Kanzi was surrounded by intelligent apes with PhDs [i.e., humans—DM/BH/BT] who spoke to him and gave him a stream of rich interactions. They gave Kanzi’s brain a world in which it could play at developing its ability to communicate.... Therefore, as much as in his brain, Kanzi’s skill lies in the environment that helped shape it (pp. 215,216, emp. added).
Kanzi does not possess the anatomical equipment required for speech. Truth be told, no animal does. As Skoyles and Sagan went on to note: “Chimps lack the vocal abilities needed for making speech sounds—speech requires a skilled coordination between breathing and making movements with the larynx that chimps lack” (p. 214). Humans, however, do possess the anatomical equipment required for speech.
But there is more. Regardless of how much instruction such animals receive, there appear to be built-in limits on their progress. On February 15, 1994, the public television program NOVAaired the show titled “Can Chimps Talk?” (for a full transcript of the show go to www.primate.wisc.edu/pin/nova/html). The show began with a “conversation” with Kanzi, who was required to use a talking keyboard to respond to queries from his human counterpart. As the television program demonstrated quite effectively, Kanzi frequently responded incorrectly when asked a question. For instance, one of the humans asked, “Is there any other food you’d like me to bring in the backpack?” Kanzi’s talking keyboard response was: “ball.”
The program then focused on Washoe, a chimpanzee that, in the 1970s, was taught a portion of American Sign Language by Allen and Beatrice Gardner at the University of Nevada. By the time Washoe was five, the trainers reported that she could use 133 signs. Headlines were quick to report that a non-human primate was using human language. This spurred other scientists, such as Herb Terrace, to begin experimenting with animal language. Terrace set out to replicate some of the Gardners’ study by using his own ape, Nim Chimsky (sarcastically named after MITscientist Noam Chomsky, who believes language is confined strictly to humans). The main goal of the project was to determine if a chimpanzee could create a sentence. In the documentary, Terrace stated: “I have concluded that, unfortunately, the answer to that question is no.” Nim’s sign usage could best be interpreted as a series of “conditioned discriminations” similar to behaviors seen in many less-intelligent animals. This work suggested that Nim, like circus animals, was using words only to obtain food rewards. Terrace realized that while Nim seemed to be using a combination of signs, he actually was imitating the trainer. This prompted Terrace to examine some of the Gardners’ films. He decided that Washoe, too, was being led by his teacher and was merely imitating.
As Skoyles and Sagan candidly admitted, Kanzi’s skill was “in the environment that helped shape it.” That is precisely what Terrace discovered. Such an assessment always will be true of “talking animals.” But it is not always true of humans! Consider the following case in point.
As we mentioned earlier, the eminent linguist Noam Chomsky has championed the idea that humans are born with a built-in “universal grammar”—a series of biological switches for complex language that is set in place in the early years of childhood. This, he believes, is why children can grasp elaborate language rules, even at an early age—without adults to teach them. Powerful support for Chomsky’s theory emerged from a decade-long study of 500 deaf children in Managua, Nicaragua, which was reported in the December 1995 issue of Scientific American(Horgan, 1995, 273[6]:18-19). These children started attending special schools in 1979, but none used or was taught a formal sign language. Within a few years, and under no direction from teachers or other adults, they began to develop a basic “pidgin” sign language. This quickly was modified by younger children entering school, with the current version taking on a complex and consistent grammar. If Chomsky is correct, where, then, did humans get their innate ability for language? Chomsky himself will not even hazard a guess. In his opinion, “very few people are concerned with the origin of language because most consider it a hopeless question” (as quoted in Ross, 1991, 264[4]:146). The development of language, he admits, is a “mystery.” The fundamental failing of naturalistic theories is that they are inadequate to explain the origins of something so complex and information-rich as human language, which itself is a gift of God and part of man’s having been created “in His image” (see Lyons and Thompson, 2002).
The fact is, no animal is capable of speaking in the manner in which people can speak. Speech is a peculiarly human trait. Steven Pinker, director of MIT’s Center of Cognitive Neuroscience, stated in The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind:
As you are reading these words, you are taking part in one of the wonders of the natural world. For you and I belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each other’s brains with remarkable precision. I am not referring to telepathy or mind control or the other obsessions of fringe science; even in the depictions of believers, these are blunt instruments compared to an ability that is uncontroversially present in every one of us. That ability is language. Simply by making noises with our mouths, we can reliably cause precise new combinations of ideas to arise in each other’s minds. The ability comes so naturally that we are apt to forget what a miracle it is.... [H]uman language is based on a very different design.... Even the seat of human language in the brain is special... (1997b, pp. 1,365, emp. added).
Without detracting anything from primates like Kanzi and Washoe, fundamental differences between animals and humans nevertheless remain. Unlike human children, animals: (1) do not have a special region in the brain devoted to language; (2) possess a much smaller brain overall; and (3) lack the anatomy to speak the words they may think. In summary, humans have an innate, built-in, hard-wired ability to acquire and communicate complex language from the moment of their birth. Animals do not. Admittedly, animals do possess a measure of understanding. They can learn to respond to commands and signs, and in some instances even can be trained to use minimal portions of human sign language. But even though apes, dogs, and birds can be trained to do certain things, they cannot reason and communicate ideas with others so as to have true mental communion. Why? The intelligence of animals is, quite bluntly, unlike that of humankind. As biologist John N. Moore observed:
Animals can think in several ways...though only on the perceptual, not on the conceptual level. The key difference here is one between conceptual and perceptual thinking. The latter, which is typical of animal thinking, requires the actual or nearly immediate presence of the pertinent objects. Man’s thinking, on the other hand, is independent of the presence of pertinent objects. It is, in fact, independent of objects altogether, as is the case with logical or mathematical exercises. Secondly, the difference between human and animal thinking resides in the fact that, whether or not the object of the mental operation is present, animals cannot make judgments or engage in reasoning. For example, animals are unable to conclude that such and such is or is not the case in a given situation or that if such and such is the case, then so and so is not (1983, p. 344, emp. and ellipses in orig.).
The issue is not “can animals think?,” but rather “can they think the way humans do?” The answer, obviously, is a resounding “No!” Although animal trainers and investigators since the seventeenth century have tried to teach chimpanzees to talk, no chimpanzee has ever managed it. A chimpanzee’s sound-producing anatomy is simply too different from that of humans. Chimpanzees might be able to produce a muffled approximation of human speech—if their brains could plan and execute the necessary articulate maneuvers. But to do this, they would have to have our brains, which they obviously do not (see Lieberman, 1997, p. 27).


No known language in the whole of human history can be considered “primitive” in any sense of the word. In her book, What is Linguistics?, Suzette Elgin wrote:
The most ancient languages for which we have written texts—Sanskrit for example—are often far more intricate and complicated in their grammatical forms than many other contemporary languages (1973, p. 44).
Lewis Thomas, a distinguished physician, scientist, and longtime director and chancellor of the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, acknowledged: “...Language is so incomprehensible a problem that the language we use for discussing the matter is itself becoming incomprehensible” (1980, p. 59). It appears that, from the beginning, human communication wasdesigned with a tremendous amount of complexity and forethought, and has allowed us to communicate not only with one another, but also with the Designer of language.
In a paper titled “Evolution of Universal Grammar” that appeared in the January 2001 issue ofScience, M.A. Nowak and his colleagues attempted to discount the gulf that separates human and animals (Nowak, et al., 2001). This paper, which was a continuation of a 1999 paper titled “The Evolution of Language” (Nowak and Krakauer, 1999), used mathematical calculations in an effort to predict the evolution of grammar and the rules surrounding it. While Nowak and his team inferred that the evolution of universal grammar can occur via natural selection, they freely admitted that “the question concerning why only humans evolved language is hard to answer” (1999, 96:8031, emp. added). Hard to answer indeed! The mathematical models presented in these papers do not tell us anything about the origination of the multitude of languages used in the world today. If man truly did evolve from an ape-like ancestor, how did the phonologic [the branch of linguistics that deals with the sounds of speech and their production] component of our languages become so diverse and variegated? Nowak’s paper also did not clarify the origination of written languages, or describe how the language process was initiated in the first humans, considering we know today that parents teach languages to their offspring.
Nowak and his collaborators believe that the “first step” in the evolution of language was “signal-object associations.” They speculate that common objects, frequently utilized, were given a representative signal or sign (in a manner similar to modern sign language). These researchers also believe that early in evolution, these signals were “likely to have been noisy” and therefore “mistaken for each other.” Nowak suggests that these errors necessitated the formation of words, and describes this step in the evolution of language as going “from an analogue to a digital system.” However, there is no evidence that demonstrates how these “prehistoric” people made the quantum leap from signals to words. The last step Nowak describes is the evolution of basic grammatical rules in an effort to convey even more information than just simple words. While these speculations make a nice, neat, progressive path toward human language, they do little to explain adequately the anatomical differences found in animals and humans. The human supralaryngeal airway differs from that of any other adult mammal, and is essential for speech. While it is true that chimpanzees have been taught to communicate by means of sign language, they cannot speak, and do not appear to use any complex syntax in communication.
Nowak and his colleagues began with the assumption that language “evolved as a means of communicating information between individuals” (1999, 96:8030), and then went on to speculate that natural selection favors the emergence of a universal, rule-based language system. But if it is true that natural selection “favors” a complex language, how do we account for the non-vocal communication observed in animals, and why hasn’t this communication “emerged” into a formal language in those animals? In an effort to explain this embarrassing lack of understanding, Nowak, et al. offered several speculations as to why animals have not evolved a better form of communication. In their explanation, they listed the following:
  • Signal-object associations form only when information transfer is beneficial to both speaker and listener.
  • In the presence of errors, only a very limited communication system describing a small number of objects can evolve by natural selection.
  • Although grammar can be an advantage for small systems, it may be necessary only if the language refers to many events.
  • Thus, animals may not possess the need to describe “many” events.
But such speculations leave gaping holes in regard to potential explanations as to why animals cannot use speech. As Deacon noted:
How could anyone doubt that language complexity is the problem? Languages are indeed complicated things. They are probably orders of magnitude more complicated than the next-most-complicated communication system outside of the human sphere. And they are indeed almost impossibly difficult for other species to acquire (1997, p. 40).
Also, consider that when language first appears on the scene, it already is fully developed and very complex. The late Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson described it this way:
Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. The oldest language that can be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view (1966, p. 477).
Chomsky summed it up well when he stated:
Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.... There is no reason to suppose that the “gaps” are bridgeable. There is no more of a basis for assuming an evolutionary development from breathing to walking (1972, pp. 67-68).


The fact of the matter is that language is quintessentially a human trait. All attempts to shed light on the evolution of human language have failed—due to the lack of knowledge regarding the origin of any language, and due to the lack of an animal that possesses any “transitional” form of communication. This leaves evolutionists with a huge gulf to bridge between humans with their innate communication abilities, and the grunts, barks, or chatterings of animals. Deacon lamented:
So this is the real mystery. Even under these loosened criteria, there are no simple languages used among other species, though there are many other equally or more complicated modes of communication. Why not? And the problem is even more counterintuitive when we consider the almost insurmountable difficulties of teaching language to other species. This is surprising, because there are many clever species. Though researchers report that language-like communication has been taught to nonhuman species, even the best results are not above legitimate challenges, and the fact that it is difficult to prove whether or not some of these efforts have succeeded attests to the rather limited scope of the resulting behaviors, as well as to deep disagreements about what exactly constitutes language-like behavior (p. 41).
Another scholar who recognized this chasm between humans and animals commented:
The very fact...that human animals are ready to engage in a great “garrulity” over the merits and demerits of essentially unprovable hypotheses, is an exciting testimony to the gap between humans and other animals (Holloway, 1976, 280:330).
Gap indeed! Humans are capable of communicating in human language because God created them with the ability to do so! The Bible still offers the only plausible explanation for the origin of human language when it records: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;’...So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).


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