"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" Is God Your Father? (8:42) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                       Is God Your Father? (8:42)


1. We often hear people speak of the "Fatherhood of God"...
   a. Suggesting that all people are the children of God
   b. There is some truth to that, for we are all the offspring of God - cf. Ac 17:28-29

2. Yet in one sense, not everyone has God as their Father...
   a. Jesus identified some who did not have God as their Father - Jn 8:42
   b. He even said their father was the devil! - Jn 8:44

3. Who is your Father?  God or the devil...?
   a. If God is your Father, you will love Jesus - cf. Jn 8:42
   b. Love of the Son is proof that we have God as our Father

[Do we love the Son?  How does love for Jesus express itself?  We prove
that God is our Father when we love the Son in at least seven ways.  For example...]


      1. Between husband and wife?
      2. Between friends?

      1. He asks us to trust Him - cf. Jn 14:1
      2. How can we say that we love Him, if we don't trust Him?

      1. To be the way, the truth, the life (enough to put our souls in His hands)? - Jn 14:6
      2. To be the provider of our daily needs (enough to put the kingdom first)? - Mt 6:33

[If we trust Jesus in this way, we must surely love Him - and thus God
is our Father!  But we also show our love for Jesus...]


      1. As Jesus made clear, time and again - Jn 14:15,21,23,24; 15:10
      2. Can anything be more clear?
         a. Yet some might accuse us of "legalism" because we stress keeping His commands
         b. If keeping His commandments is legalism, then I plead guilty, because:
            1) I love Him and want to abide in His love
            2) Don't you?

      1. He said to repent (Mk 1:14-15) - but many don't, while
         professing to love Him
      2. He said to be baptized and observe all that He commanded 
          (Mk 16:16; Mt 28:19-20) - yet many say baptism is not a
         necessary command

[Jesus said it best in Lk 6:46...why bother to call Him Lord if we don't
do what He says?  If God is our Father, we will obey Jesus Him gladly
because we love Him.  We also show love for Jesus...]


      1. E.g., friends, loved ones
      2. Can you imagine someone loving Jesus, but not wanting to be with Him?

      1. Demonstrated by their disregard for His Word revealed by the Spirit - Jn 16:12-14
         a. They don't make the effort to read it
         b. They don't take advantage of opportunities to study it
      2. Demonstrated by their lack of prayer which Jesus is willing to answer 
          - cf. Jn 14:13-14
         a. They don't pray as they should privately
         b. They don't appreciate the blessing of congregational prayer
      3. Demonstrated by their sporadic attendance - cf. Mt 18:20
         a. Where Jesus has promised to be present
         b. Where many seem to pass by opportunities to assemble

      1. For those new in faith, it is likely ignorance
      2. For others, Satan and sin has hardened them into complacency - cf. He 3:12-14

[If we love Jesus, we will love the opportunities to be in His company.
We will also show our love...]


      1. "Let me tell you about my grandchildren!"
      2. "You want to see the latest pictures?"

      1. E.g., the apostles - Ac 5:41,42
      2. E.g., those scattered abroad by persecution - Ac 8:1,4

      1. How can we be the children of God, if we are ashamed to speak of His Son?
      2. Imagine treating your family that way

[We should always be ready to speak about Jesus (cf. 1Pe 3:15).  We also show our love...]


      1. Parents give up much to be able to have and support children
      2. People are willing to jeopardize their lives for loved ones
      3. Even a dog will risk his life to save his master

      1. Especially when we receive salvation through His suffering? - He 5:7-9
      2. Paul called Timothy to join in suffering with him for Christ - cf. 2Ti 1:7-12
      3. Peter likewise enjoins all to suffer willingly if need be - cf.1Pe 2:19-21; 4:1

[Another way to express our love for Jesus, and thereby prove that God is our Father...]


      1. By adapting mannerisms of the parents they love
      2. Some good, some not (such as bad habits)

      1. Especially when imitating Jesus is the goal of Christian doctrine?
      2. Note Col 3:9-11; Ga 2:20

[Finally, we show love for Jesus...]


      1. What man or woman won't go out of their way to please the one they love?
      2. They'll change clothes, mannerisms, hobbies, etc.

      1. For we are a pure virgin betrothed to Christ - cf. 2Co 11:2
      2. Because of His love for us, we should live for Him - 2Co 5:14-15
      3. Do you have a compelling desire to please Christ?
      4. You do if you truly love Him!


1. If one does not love the Lord Jesus, they are accursed - cf. 1Co 16:22
   a. Why?  Because if you do not love Jesus then God is not your Father, Satan is!
   b. If God is your Father, then you will love the Son and demonstrate
      in these various ways!

2. How does one initially become a child of God? - cf. Ga 3:26-27
   a. It involves faith, and putting Christ on in baptism
   b. This demonstrates our love for Christ as well
   c. For we are willing to become one with Him, just as two in marriage
      become one out of love

Is God your Father?  Do you love Jesus enough to obey Him and become a child of God?

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Truth Shall Make You Free (8:31-36) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                The Truth Shall Make You Free (8:31-36)


1. One of the better known statements of Jesus is this:  "And you shall
   know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn 8:32)

2. Today this popular statement is often used in a political context...
   a. Referring to freedom from political oppression
   b. Extolling the value of the free press, and freedom of expression

3. While such are notable virtues, Jesus had something else in mind...
   a. Freedom from something more serious than political oppression
   b. Truth that comes from only one source

[Let's examine the context in which Jesus' statement is found (i.e., Jn
8:31-36).  From a careful reading of it we first note...]


      1. The Jews misconstrued Jesus - Jn 8:33
         a. They claimed to have never been in bondage (i.e., political oppression)
         b. An odd claim in view of the present Roman occupation, and
            past Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian captivities!
      2. Jesus explains the context of His statement - Jn 8:34-36
         a. He is talking about the slavery of sin
         b. He offers freedom from the bondage of sin

      1. There is the guilt of sin
         a. A guilt shared by everyone - Ro 3:23; 1Jn 1:8
         b. Even if one has committed only one sin (if such were possible!) - Jm 2:10-11
      2. There is the power of sin
         a. Jesus describes how committing sin makes one a slave to sin  - Jn 8:34
         b. Paul illustrated the dilemma of one in bondage to the power of sin - Ro 7:14-24

[More oppressive than any kind physical slavery is the spiritual slavery
that comes from being a sinner!  While man may legislate political
freedom, only Jesus provides freedom from the bondage of sin.  How He
does this can be seen as we now examine...]


      1. The truth of which Jesus speaks is His own word or doctrine - Jn 8:31-32
      2. Which offers freedom from the bondage of sin
         a. From the guilt of sin through the blood of Christ - cf. Mt 26:28; Ep 1:7
         b. From the power of sin through the Spirit of God - cf. Ro 8: 1-2,12-13

      1. To be His disciples indeed - Jn 8:31; cf. Lk 6:46
      2. To be set free from sin - Ro 6:17-18; cf. He 5:9

      1. In which we are crucified with Christ - Ro 6:3-4a,6a
      2. In which we die to sin, thus freed from sin - Ro 6:6b,7,11a
         a. Its guilt removed by the blood of Jesus - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. Its power weakened by the gift of the Holy Spirit - Ac 2:38; Ep 3:16
      3. In which we rise to newness of life, free now to serve God 
          - Ro 6:4c,11b-14,17-18
         a. With the aid of the continual cleansing of Jesus' blood
            - 1Jn 1:9
         b. With the aid of the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of
            the body - Ro 8:12-13

      1. As stated by Jesus - Jn 8:31
      2. As reiterated by John - 2Jn 9


1. Perhaps we can now better appreciate the significance of the Great
   a. To make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19
   b. To make disciples by teaching them to observe all that Christ
      commanded them - Mt 28:20

2. For in carrying out the Great Commission into all the world...
   a. We offer the truth that really makes one free!
   b. Freedom from sin, the burden which truly oppresses mankind!

Are you under the heavy burden of sin, both it's guilt and it's power?
Then respond to the Savior's tender invitation:

   "Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
   give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am
   gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
   For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt 11:28-30)

Accept His call to discipleship ("take My yoke...learn from Me"),
remembering His promise in our text:

   "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
                                                      (Jn 8:36)
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

Controversial Orthodox Jews Call for Renewal of Sacrifices by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Controversial Orthodox Jews Call for Renewal of Sacrifices

by  Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Judaism, as a modern religion, exists in four general forms: Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, and Messianic (Ridenour, 2001, p. 67). An Orthodox Jew is one who claims the Mosaic code of the Old Testament, along with certain non-biblical Jewish documents, as his religious authority. At February’s end, CNN reported that certain “extremist rabbis” (Orthodox Jewish leaders) in Jerusalem wanted to “resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice” despite the absence of the Levitical priesthood (“Extremist...,” 2007). Since the Romans destroyed Herod’s temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the ritual of animal sacrifice has ceased there (see Ridenour, p. 67). Now, a new group that calls itself the “Re-established Sanhedrin” is trying to reinstitute the practice at the Temple Mount (“Extremist...”).
Some Jews are against restoring animal sacrifices. Doniel Hartman, of the Shalom Institute in Jerusalem, said of the A.D. 70 destruction: “Around that time, animal sacrifice, as a mode of religious worship, stopped.... Moving back in that direction is not progress” (quoted in “Extremist...”). Muslims also are protesting the move to renew animal sacrifices. Jerusalem’s senior Islamic cleric, Mohommed Hussein, said: “Regrettably, there are many extremist Israeli groups who want to carry out their plans.... Let them say what they want, Al Aqsa [formerly the site of Herod’s temple—CC] is a Muslim mosque” (quoted in “Extremist...”). Jewish leaders have conceded that the sacrifices will not be renewed anytime soon.
The Sanhedrin was “[t]he Jewish court in Jerusalem from the Persian through the Roman period; it had both religious and political powers and comprised the elite (both priestly and lay) of society” (Moulder, 1988, p. 331, parenthetical in orig.). Though the Sanhedrin was a manmade institution, absent any divine mandate, these modern Jews are reviving it to add perceived authority and significance to their movement.
Of course, the Bible plainly teaches that the Old Covenant between God and Israel was removed and replaced when Christ provided the single, perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Consider these biblical passages:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt...” (Hebrews 8:7-9; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34).
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6).
[H]aving wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:2-11).
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace... (Ephesians 2:14-15; cf. Galatians 4:21-31).
The prophets foretold the coming of a new covenant, and the Lord established it in the New Testament age; the theme of the entire Bible centers around God’s plan to redeem mankind through His Son and the church that Christ would establish. So, persisting in the Jewish faith in the Christian age is out of harmony with both Old and New Testaments.
However, consistency demands that modern Jews keep Old Testament sacrificial policy. As it stands now, the only religious rite on which all Jews seem to agree is the observation of the Sabbath (Korobkin, 2004; Ridenour, 2001, p. 68). While the Bible makes it plain that Christians must not observe the Sabbath as a holy day (Colossians 2:16; see Wright, 1977), it seems unthinkable that any religionists would adhere to one portion of Mosaic legislation and dismiss hundreds of other regulations as being non-binding for those alive today. The Seventh-Day Adventists are eager to develop this dichotomy, but the Bible makes no such distinction (“Fundamental Beliefs,” 2007; see Lyons, 2001).
Non-orthodox Jews have attempted to justify their piecemeal application of the Old Covenant by arguing that that God “has no delight in sacrifices, and that the sacrifice He has chosen is a contrite spirit” (e.g., Morris, 1984, 7[1]:170; see Psalms 34:18; 51:17; etc.). While the Bible certainly teaches that the follower of God must be contrite, he also must keep God’s commandments. To teach otherwise is to ignore multiple Old Testament passages that reflect how God insisted that Israel keep every statute of the Covenant.
But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise my statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break my covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.... I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies.... And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins (Leviticus 26:14-18, emp. added; cf. 19:37; Deuteronomy 5:29; etc.).
And you shall have a tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God (Numbers 15:39-40, emp. added).
We could list many similar passages from the Mosaic law. We may never understand fully why some Jews are trying to revive sacrificial practices, or for that matter, any portion of the Old Testament. Perhaps is it largely because of what Ahlstrom noted: “In addition to these domestic confrontations, secularization, increased social mobility, and the decline of anti-Semitism tended to erode the Jewish sense of particularity” (1973, p. 984). It could be that modern Jews feel a need to authenticate, bolster, and/or justify their religion by restoring ancient practices, starting with animal sacrifices and ultimately, logically culminating in a rebuilt temple (see “Extremist...”).
Because modern Jewish faith is based squarely on a rejection of the best-attested historical fact in antiquity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, one might expect the Jewish religion to exhibit striking confusion and contradiction (see Butt and Lyons, 2006, pp. 135-168). Those of us at Apologetics Press will continue to stress that the evidence proves that “we have found the Messiah,” the only Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 1:41; see Butt, 2002). Man gains access to the Father only through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6-7).


Ahlstrom, Sydney E. (1973), A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).
Butt, Kyle (2002), “What Did You Expect?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1780.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Extremist Rabbis Call for Return of Animal Sacrifice” (2007), The Associated Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/02/28/israel.animal.ap/index.html.
“Fundamental Beliefs” (2007), Seventh-Day Adventist Church, [On-line], URL: http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html.
Korobkin, Daniel N. (2004), “Lost in Translation: Parshat Beher-Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34),” [On-line], URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/searchview.php?id=12238.
Lyons, Eric (2001), “Which Law Was Abolished?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1659.
Morris, Joseph (1894), “Note by the Author of ‘The Ideal in Judaism’,” The Jewish Quarterly Review, 7[1]:169-172, October.
Moulder, W. J. (1988), “Sanhedrin,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Ridenour, Fritz (2001), So What’s the Difference? (Ventura, CA: Regal).
Wright, Gerald N. (1977), Sabbatarian: Concordance and Commentary (Fort Worth, TX: Star Bible Publications).

The Flood and Mosaic Authorship by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Flood and Mosaic Authorship

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In a special 2004 collector’s edition of U.S. News and World Report concerning “Mysteries of the Bible,” freelance writer Michelle Andrews penned an article titled “Author, Author?,” in which she attempted to enlighten her readers on who did not write the Pentateuch. For those familiar with the Documentary Hypothesis (the theory that the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy were not penned by Moses, but by multiple authors centuries later), Andrews’ material is nothing new. As she rightly pointed out, the theory (which she supports) has been actively taught by various Bible critics and “scholars” for more than 150 years. Her purpose, it seems, was simply to ensure that U.S. News’ readership was educated on this matter. Apparently, we can't have Americans in the twenty-first century still thinking that the Pentateuch was written by a man named Moses in 1500 B.C. (regardless of what Jesus taught; see John 5:46-47).
What compelling evidence did Ms. Andrews cite as proof that numerous authors wrote these books hundreds, or perhaps even one thousand, years after Moses lived? Her most explosive “proof,” and the “evidence" on which she spent more time than anything else, is the fact that… “there are two versions of the story of Noah and the flood” (2004a, p. 28). Allegedly,
In one version, God tells Noah to bring seven pairs of clean animals (meaning suitable for sacrifice) and one pair of unclean animals, while in the other he tells Noah to bring just one pair of each type of animal….
In one story, Noah releases a raven to search for land; in the other, he releases a dove. The flood lasts for 40 days and 40 nights in one version, but for a whopping 370 days and nights in the other. The two versions are cleverly interwoven in Genesis so that they appear as one story, albeit with a few contradictions (pp. 28-29).
Sadly, a large number of Americans turn to secular major news magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report for their “daily devotionals,” rather than to the Bible, where they could read the real, unadulterated message from God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The fact is, Michelle Andrews incorrectly represented God’s Word (which is nothing new for anti-Christian news outlets in twenty-first-century America). In all three of the examples she cited from Genesis 6-8 regarding the Noahic Flood, Andrews failed to realize that supplementation is an acceptable, reasonable explanation to the alleged difficulties and contradictions she assumes are present.
First, the statements concerning how many animals were to be taken on the ark are neither contradictory nor proof that two or more authors wrote the book of Genesis. There is no reason why God could not have told Noah to take two of every kind of animal on the ark (Genesis 6:19-20), and then supplement this command only four verses later by telling him to take “seven each of every clean animal” (Genesis 7:2-3). If a farmer told his son to take two of every kind of animal on his farm to the state fair, and then instructed him to take several extra chickens and two extra pigs for a barbecue, would anyone accuse the farmer of contradicting himself? Certainly not! In the book of Genesis, God merely supplemented His original instruction, informing Noah in a more detailed manner to take more of the clean animals. It was necessary for Noah to take additional clean animals because, upon his departure from the ark after the Flood, he “built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the alter” (Genesis 8:20, emp. added). If Noah had taken only two clean animals from which to choose when sacrificing to God after departing the ark, then he would have driven the various kinds of clean beasts and birds into extinction by sacrificing one of each pair. Thus, after God told Noah to take two of every kind of animal into the ark, He then instructed him to take extras of the clean animals. Similar to how Genesis 2 supplements Genesis 1 by giving a more detailed account of the Creation, the first portion of Genesis 7 merely supplements the end of the preceding chapter, “containing several particulars of a minute description which were not embraced in the general directions first given to Noah” (Jamieson, et al., 1997).
Michelle Andrews’ second criticism of the Flood account, concerning whether Noah sent out a raven or a dove from the ark, is answered just as easily as her first proposed difficulty. This example is neither proof that two authors wrote the account, nor that the account is contradictory. Rather, Noah did just what the text said that he did: he sent out a raven, first (Genesis 8:7), and then, on three different occasions, he sent out a dove (Genesis 8:8-12).
Andrews’ final alleged proof that the Flood account is really “two versions…cleverly interwoven in Genesis so that they appear as one story, albeit with a few contradictions” (pp. 28-29) centers on the duration of the Flood. Supposedly, “[t]he flood lasts for 40 days and 40 nights in one version, but for a whopping 370 days and nights in the other” (p. 28). What is the answer? The elementary explanation to this alleged conundrum, which Andrews had the audacity to set before her readers without telling them the true story, is that God caused it “to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:4), but the land was still covered with water, and Noah was not allowed out of the ark, for another 331 days (Genesis 7:24; 8:5-16). There is a difference between how long it rained on the Earth, and how long the floodwaters actually remained upon the Earth.
It is sad that writers such as Michelle Andrews are more concerned about propagating an old, worn-out theory (using false statements and deception) than they are about honestly presenting the truths of the Bible. It seems that a person cannot be considered a “Bible scholar” in the twenty-first century unless he or she is willing and able to twist the Scriptures so that they say, not the obvious, but the ridiculous. Even my four-year-old son can understand the difference between it raining on the Earth for forty days, and the floodwaters being on the Earth for a much longer time than that. People like Michelle Andrews, a freelance writer who specializes in health care, should stick to writing about things like “The Secret to Great Arms” (n.d.) or “Staking Out Safe Entrees” (2004b), and leave the Bible alone—at least until she is willing to look at it with an open mind.


Andrews, Michelle (no date), “The Secret to Great Arms,” [On-line], URL: http://www.lifetimetv.com/reallife/df/features/arms.html.
Andrews, Michelle (2004a), “Author, Author?” U.S. News & World Report—Special Collector’s Edition, released in the fall of 2004, pp. 28-29.
Andrews, Michelle (2004b), “Staking Out Safe Entrees,” U.S. News & World Report, February 2, pp. 57-58.
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Taking Cues from Nature’s Designer by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Taking Cues from Nature’s Designer

by  Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The field of biomimicry (copying biological systems) is beginning to see an influx in funds and research as scientists across the globe recognize its potential. In a recent article titled “Scientists Taking Cues From Nature,” Associated Press writer, Greg Bluestein, noted that many scientists are beginning to look to biomimicry to help them solve perplexing technological problems, such as helping bipedal robots to walk more fluidly and less robotically.
In the course of the article, Bluestein interviewed Marc Weissburg, the co-director of the new Georgia Tech’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design. In his comments, Weissburg suggested that evolution is responsible for the amazing abilities we find in the natural world. He stated: “If you think of organisms as products, all the bad ones have been recalled. Those that have survived evolved over millions of years” (Bluestein, 2006).
Weissburg also commented on the superior abilities that biological systems maintain compared to many of the ones humans have made. He said: “It really captures the imagination to show how much better organisms are at doing things. The natural world doesn’t waste energy, accumulate a large amount of toxins or produce more materials than it uses” (Bluestein, 2006).
But is seems that Weissburg, like many of his evolutionary colleagues, has missed the implication that follows from his line of work. If brilliant scientists spend decades of their lives attempting to identify and mimic superior design found in the natural world, then a conscious intellect—the Designer of nature—must maintain a superior intellect than the scientists who are attempting to mimic His systems.
Ironically, the very last sentence of Bluestein’s article is a quote from Weissburg saying: “Every organism is designed to solve a problem.” How can a person make such a statement and miss the fact that if every organism is “designed,” then that design demands a Designer? Weissburg is exactly right, every organism was designed to solve a problem. One of the main purposes for the intricate, complex organisms Weissburg and his fellow scientists are studying is to prove to such men that a superior Intellect does exist. All those who fail to make the proper connection between the magnificent world of nature and the Designer’s hand in the process will ultimately be “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).


Bluestein, Greg (2006), “Scientists Taking Cues From Nature,” [On-line], URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060619/ap_on_hi_te/nurturing_nature;_ylt= AtCpSxfCdFaFLwCMytY1XoGs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3cjE0b2MwBHNlYwM3Mzg-.

Is the Book of Mormon from God? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Is the Book of Mormon from God?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

How may a person distinguish between truth and error? Can a person know which religion is right? Must a person rely on subjective inner inclinations and feelings? Or is religious truth ascertainable and knowable based on objective assessment? Most religions (e.g., Buddhism and Hinduism) base their credibility on some mystical or transcendental experience. Even some “Christian” groups (e.g., Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, et al.) claim that their credibility and authenticity may be established on the basis of the Holy Spirit Whom, they say, gives them their assurance. But when the Bible is examined, no such role is assigned to the Holy Spirit. Mystical religions have always existed, and have insisted that they were the recipients of leading and guidance from superior forces that are “better felt than told.” The God of the Bible, on the other hand, always offered evidence—proof—of the divine origin of the message before He expected people to believe (e.g., John 10:37-38; 20:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
The nature of truth is such that it does not depend upon subjective human experience for its veracity. Rather, God created human beings with minds that were designed to function rationally. We humans have the capability, if we maintain an honest heart free from bias, to consider and weigh evidence, and to draw correct conclusions. As Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The truthfulness of religious claims is verifiable on the basis of evidence and rational thought. Humans can reason logically, and distinguish between truth and falsehood.


The nature of truth is such that it does not contradict itself. After literally centuries of scrutiny by hostile skeptics and unbelieving critics, the Bible has been found to be completely consistent with the nature of truth, logic, and the laws of thought. On the other hand, uninspired documents cannot stand up to such scrutiny. The Book of Mormon is one such document. It lacks the marks of inspiration that characterize the Bible. In an official publication of the LDS (Latter-day Saints), 31 conditions are identified as necessary in order to produce an inspired book. Condition #9 says, “You must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements” (see “The Challenge...,” 1990, p. 1). This affirmation is a self-evident truth. Yet, the Book of Mormon is guilty of violating this very criterion.
In the first place, much of the King James Version of the Bible has been reproduced verbatim in the Book of Mormon—at least 25,000 words. For example, Mosiah 14 is a reproduction of Isaiah 53. 3 Nephi 13:1-23 is simply Matthew 6:1-23. Moroni 7:45 is copied from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Moroni 7:48 is 1 John 3:2. Moroni 10:8-17 is taken from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Alma 5:52 is Matthew 3:10. 2 Nephi 14:1-3 is Isaiah 4:1-3. The author of the Book of Mormon obviously had before him a copy of the King James Bible, and simply copied many sections directly from it. But this is only half of the problem on this point. The KJV is an uninspired translation of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into the English language of the turn of the seventeenth century, completed in 1611. But God gave the Old Testament to the Israelites in their native language (Hebrew), and He gave the New Testament in the first century in the common language of that day (Greek).Question: why in the world would God give His Word to Joseph Smith in nineteenth-century America (1830), not in American English, but in the British language of seventeenth century England? The obvious answer to the question is that God would not do so. This absurdity is inconsistent with the nature of God.
The reproduction of so much of the KJV in the Book of Mormon raises four additional concerns. First, Mormons frequently attempt to establish the superiority of the Book of Mormon over the Bible by insisting that the Bible has been corrupted through the centuries in the process of translation (a contention similar to Islam’s defense of the Quran). But if the Bible has been so adversely affected, why does the Book of Mormon quote so much of the King James Version? Apparently, at least those portions of the Bible are to be considered accurate!
Second, all textual critics (those who study the original manuscript evidence that attests to the text of the New Testament) know that textual variants exist in the extant manuscript evidence. The vast majority of these discordant readings are resolved when all of the textual evidence is considered (e.g., Metzger, 1968, p. 185). If the Book of Mormon were inspired, not only would it refrain from incorporating the King James Version within its pages, it also would not include in those sections the manuscript errors that have crept into the text. Here was the perfect opportunity in 1830 for God to correct the mistakes that had accumulated during the previous 200 years (as well as the 1,500 years prior to the KJV). Instead, the mistakes were perpetuated!
For example, several textual variants occur in Matthew 6—a chapter that was reproduced in 3 Nephi 13. In Matthew 6:4, the Textus Receptus (the Greek text upon which the KJV was based) contained the words “himself” and “openly.” These insertions were perpetuated by the author of the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 13:4, as was the word “openly” in verses 8 and 16 of Matthew 6 (and 3 Nephi 13). Likewise, the Trinitarian ascription in 3 Nephi 13:13 and Matthew 6:13 in the KJV (“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”) is not supported by the earliest and most important manuscript witnesses to the text of the New Testament. Subsequent translations, including the ASV, omit the sentence altogether, or, in the case of the NASB, place it in brackets. The manuscript evidence simply does not support these additions as being in the original, inspired autograph authored by Matthew. Many additional instances of the same type of faux pas can be cited. The one who was responsible for producing the Book of Mormon in these cases unquestionably (1) relied on the KJV and (2) demonstrated his ignorance of textual criticism.
Third, in addition to errors that are due to textual variants, the KJV also made grammatical and stylistic errors that were naively copied by the Book of Mormon. For example, in Hebrew, singular masculine nouns are changed to plural by appending “im” (pronounced “eem”)—the equivalent of “s” or “es” in English. The Hebrew words “cherub” and “seraph” are singular nouns. The plural forms of these words are “cherubim” and “seraphim.” The KJV translators mistakenly added an “s” to these terms to denote a plural form (e.g., Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18,19,20,22; Isaiah 6:2,6; Hebrews 9:5). Alluding to cherubim, Clarke explained: “[T]o add an s to this when we introduce such words into English, is very improper; therefore the word should be written cherubim, not cherubims” (n.d., 1:56, italics in orig.; cf. Lewis, 1991, p. 59). Yet the original 1830 Book of Mormon reproduced the same mistake as the KJV in this regard (Alma 12:21; 42:2,3; 2 Nephi 16:2,6), though corrections were made in later editions. The unbiased observer is forced to conclude: God knows Hebrew; the author of the Book of Mormon obviously did not.
Another sample of stylistic error is the use of the expression “it came to pass.” This expression is a Semitism, or Hebraism, i.e., an idiomatic oddity or peculiarity of the Hebrew language that has no corresponding equivalent in English. Newer translations either drop it completely or render it with an approximate English equivalent like “it came about” or “it happened.” The KJV simply transferred the Semitism directly into English and, under its influence, has caused the expression to be naturalized into English religious usage. Nevertheless, it is not an idiom that is native to English. The Book of Mormon is literally inundated with the expression—as if the author was deliberately attempting to make his writing sound biblically or divinely authentic. In reality, he was unwittingly making it sound Semitic in seventeenth-century English! But God would not have communicated with Americans in 1830 through the convoluted pathway of Hebrew, to seventeenth-century British English, to nineteenth-century American English. Likewise, the peoples of the specific historical periods that the Book of Mormon claims to be depicting (e.g., the Nephites) would have had no earthly reason to have spoken in Hebrew themselves, nor to have their history reported in Hebrew phraseology and Semitic idiom. Apparently, later Mormon authorities, unable to completely eradicate this stylistic feature due to its extensive occurrence, were nevertheless so uncomfortable with the overuse of the phrase that they have deleted some of its occurrences when so many were used in close proximity with each other. For example, in Alma 14:7, the original Book of Mormon had three occurrences of “it came to pass”—in the same verse! Current editions have only one.
Fourth, in 3 Nephi 20:23-26, Jesus is represented as the speaker, and He applies to Himself the prophecy that Moses made in Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19. Yet, the author of the Book of Mormon unquestionably was relying on Acts 3:22-26, where Peter paraphrased the Deuteronomy passage, and then added his own comments. The Book of Mormon mistakenly has Jesus including Peter’s appended comments as if they were part of Moses’ words in Deuteronomy.
In addition to the absurdities and contradictions that exist within the Book of Mormon in its close reliance on the KJV, contradictions also exist within and between the Mormon scriptures themselves. Consider, for example, the serious contradiction in the promulgation of polygamy. The Book of Mormon condemns the practice of plural marriages in no uncertain terms:
But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.... Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Jacob 2:23-24,26-28; cf., 1:15; Ether 10:5; Doctrine and Covenants 49:16).
These referenced verses from the Book of Mormon enjoin monogamy with uncompromising vigor. Yet the Doctrine and Covenants flatly contradicts the Book of Mormon on this point:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.... David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife (132:1-4,38-39, emp. added).
Two serious contradictions are evident. First, the Book of Mormon clearly condemned plural marriage as one of the “grosser crimes” and “whoredom”—at least among the Nephites. It specifically singled out the plural marriages of David and Solomon, denouncing them as an “abomination.” Yet Doctrine and Covenants insisted that David and Solomon were completely justified, and committed no sin in having multiple wives and concubines. If the author of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (allegedly Joseph Smith) had worded it differently, saying that God enjoined plural marriages at one point in history, but chose not to enjoin the practice at another point in history, or if he had said plural marriages were to be practiced by some people early in history but not by others later in history, then no contradiction would exist. For example, God enjoined animal sacrifice in the Old Testament, and then forbade its use in the New Testament. But this is not what Joseph Smith did! He specifically identified the polygamy of David and Solomon, and then made the mistake of both approving and condemning it! This constitutes a flat contradiction. Two statements are contradictory when they cannot both be true (cf. McGarvey, 1974, 3:31). [NOTE: Yet another indication of Joseph Smith’s uninspired status was his allusion in the above quotation (Jacob 2:27) to a man being permitted only one wife, but “concubines he shall have none.” This reference betrays an ignorance of the use of biblical terminology. A “concubine” in antiquity was a wife—not a mistress (unmarried sexual partner)—despite popular misconception (cf. Victor P. Hamilton’s article, “pilegesh,” 1980, 2:724)].
Second, Doctrine and Covenants stated that the practice of plural marriage in this life is an everlasting covenant. The term “eternal” or “everlasting” as used in the Bible can sometimes be abbreviated to refer to a period of time of limited duration (e.g., Jonah 2:6). However, when additional terminology is employed that reinforces the primary meaning of “forever,” an abbreviated period is excluded. Terminology used in the Book of Mormon shows that “everlasting,” as applied to the covenant of plural marriage, was intended in its ordinary meaning of forever. Its application included one’s entire earthly sojourn, since the text says Solomon, Moses, and many others had practiced it “from the beginning of creation until this time.” Other references confirm this understanding: “both as well for time and for all eternity” (D&C 132:7); “in the world” (D&C 132:15); “on the earth” (D&C 132:46,48). Even Joseph Smith’s wife, Emma, was commanded to accept the additional wives given by God to her husband (D&C 132:52). Section 132 of Doctrine and Covenants claims to have been revealed to Joseph Smith in 1843. Yet 47 years later, on September 24, 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued an official declaration on the matter:
We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice.... There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy.... And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land” (“Official Declaration1” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1981, pp. 291-292).
In excerpts from three addresses that he delivered regarding this manifesto, Woodruff explained that if they continued to practice plural marriage, temples would be confiscated by the civil authorities, and the First Presidency and Twelve, and family heads, would be imprisoned. If, on the other hand, they ceased the practice, in order to abide by the law of the land, they would be able to continue the duties and ordinances of the church (including baptism for the dead). Question: Why would God refer to plural marriage as a perpetual practice that would bring damnation upon those who fail to practice it, and then call for Latter-day Saints to refrain from such marriages? God is timeless, and would have known ahead of time that the American government would reach a point at which it would call the Mormon practice of plural marriage to account. Therefore, He would not have enjoined the requirement as “everlasting” if He later intended to cease the practice. Nor would God have withdrawn one of His “everlasting commandments” simply because the law of the land by a pagan government made the commandment illegal and implemented persecution! When in all of human history has God ever bowed to civil government in its opposition to His will?


Another legitimate affirmation listed in “The Challenge” is condition #10: “When you finish in 60 days, you must make no changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever” (p. 1, emp. added). “Houston, we have a problem.” Informed students of the Bible are well aware that no original autographs of the Bible are extant. We are completely dependent upon copies of copies of copies. Not so with the Book of Mormon. The original 1830 first printed edition of the Book of Mormon exists! In the words of Latter-day Saints President Wilford C. Wood in 1958: “I do testify that the uncut sheets of the complete First Edition of the Book of Mormon have been reproduced in its original unchanged condition; that this is a correct and perfect restoration of the First Edition of the Book of Mormon as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and printed in Palmyra, New York in 1830” (prefatory material). Latter-day Saint authorities have repeatedly affirmed that the original Book of Mormon contained no errors. In 1883, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, George Reynolds, stated: “It was done by divine aid” (p. 71). Reynolds refers to the eyewitness account of Martin Harris—one of the scribes who participated with Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Mormon (p. 91). Joseph Smith claimed to have found gold plates that he translated into English using an instrument known as the “Urim and Thummim”—two white stones fastened together by a casing of silver, comparable to spectacles. Smith would hold the stones between himself and the gold plates. In 1881, the sixth president of the Mormon Church, Joseph F. Smith, explained the translation process (as reported by Oliver Huntington):
The Lord caused each word spelled as it is in the Book to appear on the stones in short sentences or words, and when Joseph had uttered the sentence or word before him and the scribe had written it properly, that sentence would disappear and another appear. And if there was a word wrongly written or even a letter incorrect the writing on the stones would remain there. Then Joseph would require the scribe to spell the reading of the last spoken and thus find the mistake and when corrected the sentence or word would disappear as usual (n.d., p. 168).
This procedure, that guaranteed complete accuracy of transcription, was further verified by David Whitmer. Whitmer, who continues to be listed in currently circulating copies of the Book of Mormon as one of the trio that constitute “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses,” described the process of translation in the following words:
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man (Whitmer, 1887, emp. added).
In view of the specific procedures by which the gold plates were translated, the Book of Mormon ought to be perfect. Yet, when one compares the original Book of Mormon with a currently circulating edition, one observes that many changes have been made in the Book of Mormon since the original 1830 edition. This circumstance is completely unlike manmade translations of the Bible. All translators of the Bible are uninspired in their translating efforts. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, claimed to have been supernaturally guided in the process of translating the Book of Mormon, and preserved from making any errors. One official explanation as to why the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon was filled with grammatical mistakes and content blunders is—“printer’s errors.” This claim, of course, contradicts the above claim of President Wilford, who vouched for the authenticity of the existing 1830 edition and even included in his reproduction of it a “memorandum” by one of the original printer’s associates—John Gilbert. The memorandum recounts the care given to insuring accuracy in the printing of the manuscript that was brought to the printer by Hyrum Smith (Joseph’s brother), who, along with Martin Harris, supervised the project. Hence, the claim that “printer’s errors” are responsible for the errors in the original 1830 edition would be a suitable explanation if it fit the facts, but it simply cannot account for the types of mistakes contained in the Book of Mormonthe types of mistakes printers do not make.
Consider a few of the estimated 4,000+ grammatical mistakes that have been corrected in subsequent editions. The original 1830 Book of Mormon in Jacob 7:24 read, “but it all were vain.” Alma 48:25 read, “for the promise of the Lord were…” Alma 53:5 read, “it were easy to guard them.” 1 Nephi 5:11 read, “Adam and Eve, which was our first parents.” All of these errors have been corrected in more recent editions.
Consider also a few of the many changes that have been made that correct content mistakes. In Mosiah 21:28, “Benjamin” has been changed to “Mosiah” (since king Benjamin was already dead at this point in the narrative—Mosiah 6:4-5). In Alma 37:21, “directors” has been changed to “interpreters.” In 1 Nephi 13:32, “woundedness” has been changed to “state of blindness.” In Mosiah 27:29, “wrecked” has been changed to “racked.” In Alma 13:20 and 41:1, “arrest” has been changed to “wrest.” In Alma 17:13, “arriven” has been changed to “arrived.” The original 1830 title page listed Joseph Smith as “Author and Proprietor.” Now he is simply “translator.” In 1 Nephi 20:1, the phrase “or out of the waters of baptism” has been inserted. It was not in the original 1830 edition.
Printers occasionally transpose letters or garble a word or insert the same line twice or omit a word or two, perhaps a line here and there. But the above changes are not the kinds of errors that printers make.
An honest and humble appraisal of these discrepancies should create great concern in the heart of one who believes Mormon documents to be inspired. Many criticisms have been leveled against the Bible over the centuries, yet have been answered decisively. If the Book of Mormon were from God, it, too, could be defended and its divine authenticity substantiated. However, the lack of adequate explanations to clarify such problems compel the honest individual to conclude that the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are not from God.


Book of Mormon (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
The Challenge the Book of Mormon Makes to the World (1990), (Euless, TX: Texas Fort Worth Mission).
Clarke, Adam (no date), Clarke’s Commentary: Genesis-Deuteronomy (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury).
Doctrine and Covenants (1981 reprint), (Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Hamilton, Victor P. (1980), “pilegesh,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer Jr., and Bruce Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Huntington, Oliver B. (no date), Oliver Boardman Huntington Journals, 1842-1900 (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Historical Society).
Lewis, Jack P. (1991), The English Bible From KJV to NIV (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), second edition.
McGarvey, J. W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press).
Reynolds, George (1883), The Myth of the “Manuscript Found,” (Salt Lake City, UT: Juvenile Instructor Office).
Whitmer, David (1887), An Address to All Believers in Christ, [On-line], URL: http://www.irr.org/mit/address1.html.
Wood, Wilford C. (1958), Joseph Smith Begins His Work (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Press).

Did Jesus Christ Exist in the Form of God While on Earth? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Did Jesus Christ Exist in the Form of God While on Earth?

by  Wayne Jackson, M.A.

Some conservative writers have attempted to defend the idea that the second Person of the Godhead, at the time of the “incarnation” (i.e., when “the Word became flesh”—John 1:14), laid aside “the form of God.” They contend that the concept of an infinite God being clothed within a human body is illogical. Though these authors undoubtedly mean well, their position is quite erroneous as to the nature of the incarnate Christ.
Several arguments have been employed in attempting to buttress this position. For example, it has been argued: (a) God cannot be tempted (James 1:13); but (b) Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 2:18). The conclusion is thus supposed to be: Jesus did not exist in the form of God.
The logical consequence of this position is that Jesus Christ was not deity in the flesh. Advocates of this view usually do not mean to affirm explicitly that conclusion, but that is where such reasoning leads. What these writers have failed to realize, with reference to James 1:13, is that God the Father—not Christ the Son—is in view in that context. James was not discussing the nature and/or role of Christ. Thus, it is improper to generalize regarding the nature of the Lord from this brief reference.
The text commonly appealed to as proof that Jesus did not exist on Earth in “the form of God” is Philippians 2:6. Here is the full context of what Paul wrote:
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8, ASV).
But the position advocated is incorrect for the following reasons.
In Philippians 2:6, Paul spoke of Christ as “existing in the form of God.” The term “existing” is not a past tense form. It translates the Greek term huparchon, a present tense participle. The present tense reveals that the Savior’s existence, in the “form of God,” is a sustained mode of being, not one that was interrupted by the incarnation. A.T. Robertson called attention to the difference between the present tense, huparchon (denoting “eternal existence in the morphe [form] of God”), and the Lord’s “becoming” (aorist tense) in the likeness of man (1931, 4:445). There was a time when the second Person of the Godhead did not exist as man; there never has been a time when He was not in “the form of God.”
W.E. Vine commented that this grammatical form denotes “an existence or condition both previous to the circumstances mentioned and continuing after it” (1991, p. 279). Another scholar noted that the word expresses “continuance of an antecedent state or condition” (Abbott-Smith, 1923, p. 457). Hendriksen was quite correct when he asked: “[O]f what did Christ empty himself? Surely not of his existence ‘in the form of God’ ” (1962, p. 106). Wuest amplified the present tense form of the participle by suggesting that Jesus “has always been and at present continues to subsist” in the form of God (1961, p. 462). It is unnecessary to multiply additional examples.
Contrary to the evidence, however, it has been alleged that whereas Christ existed in the form of God prior to the incarnation, He divested himself of that status while on Earth. Finally, according to the theory under review, Jesus resumed the form-of-God nature when He returned to heaven. There is no biblical support for this concept, which violates the explicit testimony of Scripture.
The Greek word for “form” is morphe. This term denotes that which is “indicative of the interior nature” of a thing (Green, 1907, p. 384), or as Kennedy observed, morphe “always signifies a form which truly and fully expresses the being which underlies it” (1956, 3:436). Trench commented that “none could be en morphe theou [in form of God] who was not God” (1890, p. 263). All of this simply means that if Jesus gave up the “form of God” when He became incarnate, then He ceased being God at that time. This is equivalent to the doctrine advocated by Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely, that Christ was “nothing more than a perfect man.” I must say, in the kindest way possible, that the position under review is unrepresentative of the teaching of the New Testament.
But it is alleged that Jesus could not have existed in “the form of God” because the New Testament speaks of the Lord being led of the Spirit, protected by angels, etc. Obviously, therefore, Christ was not “infinite God.”
The thing that seems to be at the root of this misunderstanding is a failure to recognize that the Lord’s earthly limitations were not the consequence of a less-than-God nature; rather, they were the result of a self-imposed submission reflecting the exercise of His sovereign will. Of what did Christ “empty” Himself when He became flesh?
A.H. Strong expressed it well when he noted that, by means of the incarnation, Jesus “resigned not the possession, nor yet entirely the use, but rather the independent exercise, of the divine attributes” (1907, p. 703). To say the same thing in another way, the Lord’s incarnate status involved, not a divestiture of divine form/essence or attributes, but rather a subordination of those attributes to the Father in terms of role function. When Jesus affirmed, “[T]he father is greater than I” (John 14:28), He was not disclaiming divine nature; rather, He was asserting that He had subjected Himself voluntarily to the Father’s will.
Think about this for a moment: How could Christ be void of the divine attributes, and still be divine? A thing is the sum of its attributes. This is an insurmountable difficulty for those who argue that the incarnate Christ was not in the “form of God.”
If Christ was not fully God, i.e., existing in the “form of God,” exactly what was He? Quasi-God? Half-God? Merely appearing to be God (as certain Gnostics held)? Only perfect Man? What?
Moreover, if Jesus did not exist in the “form of God” while He lived on Earth, how could He claim to be “one” (neuter gender, suggesting unity of nature) with the Father (John 10:30)? Why did the Lord allow Thomas to call him “God” (John 20:30)? Why did Jesus accept worship (Matthew 8:2), when He plainly taught that only God is worthy of worship (Matthew 4:10)?
Finally, if it is to be argued that Christ laid aside His status of being in “the form of God” by virtue of His humanness and His subordination to the Father, then one must contend, to be consistent, that Jesus does not possess the “form of God” now, because as our Mediator He is “the man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5), and He still is in subjection to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:27).
Some may feel that this is simply a matter of inconsequential semantics. However, sometimes semantics is quite important. Gospel truth is a message of words, and the Christian teacher needs to be accurate in the language he employs. May the Lord help us to be precise in the expression of biblical truth.


Abbott-Smith, G. (1923), A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark).
Green, Samuel (1907), Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament (London: Religious Tract Society).
Hendriksen, William (1962), Philippians, Colossians, Philemon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Kennedy, H.A.A. (1956), “Philippians,” The Expositor’s Greek Testament, ed. W.R. Nicoll (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Robertson, A.T. (1931), Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman).
Strong, A.H. (1907), Systematic Theology (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell).
Trench, R.C. (1890), Synonyms of the New Testament (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, & Co.).
Vine, W.E. (1991), Amplified Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers).
Wuest, Kenneth (1961), The New Testament—An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part II] by Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.


Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part II]

by  Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part article appeared in the November issue of R&R. As noted preceding that article, A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Dr. Houts holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and serves as the Nuclear Research Manager for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. (The opinions expressed are his own and not necessarily those of NASA.)]
In Part I of this article, numerous examples were given to demonstrate the religious nature of the theory of evolution. In many subject areas the evidence against the theory is overwhelming. When the evidence is understood properly, only the most ardent zealot continues to cling to the theory and the religions it supports. Fundamental tenets of evolution that run contrary to nearly all available evidence include the belief that life arose spontaneously from non-living chemicals, and the belief in random mutations leading to the overwhelming amount of information present in the genome.
In other subject areas, however, the available evidence is a small subset of that required. Objective, quantitative discussion in these areas can be difficult. One such area is the age of the Universe. The current level of data and observations concerning the Universe is perhaps analogous to the level of data and observations concerning life a few centuries ago.
Many Christians view the age of the Universe as an unimportant issue. They correctly note that the odds against evolution are so overwhelming that they would not appreciably change whether the Universe was 10 years old or 10 trillion years old. However, in the early 21st century, “age” is perhaps the subject area where the inerrancy of the Bible is attacked most vigorously. Christians must be willing and able to defend the Bible in all subject areas, including those dealing with the age of the Universe.
While there is some variation in estimates, one secularly accepted age for the Universe is 13.7 billion years. In contrast, a straightforward reading of the Bible indicates that the age of the Universe is measured in thousands of years, not billions of years. Even though some professed believers continue attempts to force billions of years into the Bible record (e.g., Ross, 1995), such attempts do far more harm than good. If the Bible can be interpreted to allow a Creation that is billions of years old, it can be interpreted to say anything a person wants it to say. Attempts to force billions of years into the Bible record also result in numerous irresolvable theological issues. Issues associated with the more publicized compromise positions have been thoroughly addressed in the literature (e.g., Thompson, 2000; Sarfati, 2004; Ham, 2002; Mortenson, 2005).
Also, although limited evidence is currently available, much of the relevant evidence can be measured quite accurately. Isotope ratios in rocks can be determined to within a fraction of a percent, as can the brightness of Cepheid variables, reds shifts, decay constants, and numerous other parameters. The difference between the age of the Universe indicated in the Bible and the age of the Universe accepted by secular scientists is not due to differences in evidence or errors in gathering evidence, but different assumptions applied to interpreting that evidence. As noted in Part I of this article, assumptions can be influenced strongly by one’s religious beliefs.


Two examples from history clarify the point. First, one of the most influential early disciples of Charles Darwin was a German scientist named Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel was highly respected, and became known as “Darwin’s Bulldog on the Continent” and “the Huxley of Germany.” His writings continue to have a significant impact, and many modern biology texts still draw on his research to promote the theory of evolution (Kaskel, et al., 1999, p. 620). Haeckel’s book The History of Creation is a good sample of his teachings. As implied by its title, the book attempts to provide an alternative to the book of Genesis, using evolutionary, atheistic assumptions.
Haeckel realized that, for spontaneous generation to be even remotely possible, life forms unimaginably simpler than those known (then or now) must somehow be viable. Because of his faith in evolution, Haeckel devised such organisms, named them “Monera,” and wrote about them at length. In the book, Haeckel speaks of “Monera” as if their existence were fact. Haeckel’s book includes detailed drawings of “Monera,” with supporting text such as:
During late years we have become acquainted with Monera, organisms which are, in fact, not composed of any organs at all, but consist entirely of shapeless, simple, homogenous matter. The entire body of one of these Monera, during life, is nothing more than a shapeless, mobile, little lump of mucus or slime, consisting of an albuminous combination of carbon. Simpler or more imperfect organisms we cannot possibly conceive (1876, 1:184).
Details of the experimental techniques used to determine (incorrectly) the presence of “Monera” are not given in his book. However, at some point Haeckel must have let his faith-based assumption that Monera exist drive him to the incorrect conclusion that he actually had observed them. Haeckel noted:
The first complete observations on the natural history of a Moneron (Protogenes primordialis) were made by me at Nice, in 1864. Other very remarkable Monera I examined later (1866) in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, and in 1867 in the Straits of Gibraltar. The complete history of one of these Monera, the orange-red Protomyxa aurantiaca, is represented in Plate I, and its explanation is given in the Appendix. I have found some curious Monera also in the North Sea, off the Norwegian coast, near Bergen (1:184).
Some of Haeckel’s scientific contemporaries apparently were convinced by his arguments, because they, too, began “discovering” Monera. For example, Haeckel noted that:
Perhaps the most remarkable of all Monera was discovered by Huxley, the celebrated English zoologist, and called Bathybius Haeckelii. “Bathybius” means, living in the deep. This wonderful organism lives in immense depths of the ocean, which are over 12,000—indeed, in some parts 24,000 ft. below the surface, and which have become known to us within the last ten years, through the laborious investigations made by the English (1:184).
Evidence that observed “Monera” were lifeless, inorganic compounds was available as early as 1875 (Grigg, 1996). In that year it was determined that alleged “Monera” were nothing more than amorphous gypsum, precipitated out of sea-water by alcohol. However, even with clear refutation from true, operational science, “Monera” continued to be presented as fact for over 50 years by atheists seeking to support Darwinian religions.
Two of Haeckel’s greatest allies in writing The History of Creation were the poor scientific understanding and primitive scientific equipment of the 19th century. However, it is important to note that to scientists of that time, crude scientific equipment and limited understanding must have seemed incredibly advanced. The same is true today. While the technology and scientific understanding of the early 21st century is greater than any previously recorded, it very likely will be considered “primitive” within a few decades.
Another interesting historical example is Percival Lowell’s early 20th century “proof” that intelligent life exists on Mars. The “proof” was so widely accepted that at the end of 1907 the Wall Street Journal reported that the most extraordinary event of the past 12 months was the “proof afforded by astronomical observations...that conscious, intelligent human life exists upon the planet Mars” (as quoted by Sheehan and Misch, 2007, p. 20). Lowell’s “proof” came as the result of tremendous financial resources, tremendous dedication, and tremendous creative thinking. His research included shipping a seven-ton telescope and a team of astronomers to Chile’s Atacama Desert to obtain the best possible observations of Mars during its close approach of 1907.
Lowell had previously reported observing canals on Mars, and believed that the canals carried meltwater from Mars’ polar regions to its parched deserts. The year prior to the expedition he had written the book Mars and Its Canals. Lowell’s hope was that the expedition would provide strong evidence in support of his theory, and indeed it did! One of the astronomers (David Peck Todd) described his first view of the planet as follows: “amazed at the wealth of detailed markings that the great reddish disk exhibited. Its clear-cut lines and areas were positively startling in their certainty.... Nearly everybody who went to the eyepiece saw canals” (as quoted by Sheehan and Misch, 2007, p. 22). The expedition was so successful that in 1908 Lowell went on to publish his book Mars as the Abode of Life. Lowell was not alone in his views. For example, Ham and Batten note that: “In 1900 the French Academy offered a prize of 100,000 francs for the first person to make contact with an alien civilization—so long as the alien was not from Mars, because the academy was convinced that Martian civilization was an established fact!” (2002, p. 8).
As with Haeckel, Lowell has long since been proven wrong. However, these historical examples allow for an interesting thought exercise. What would it have been like to be a Christian a century ago, trying to defend the Bible even when it disagreed with accepted “scientific” wisdom? Most Americans at that time did not have a high school education and had not traveled more than a few miles from their place of birth. How could a Christian defend the Bible against some of the greatest scientific minds the world had to offer?
In the 18th century, a faithful Christian armed only with his Bible could have predicted the existence of dinosaurs, and perhaps some did. However, they likely would have been ridiculed, not only by secular “experts,” but also by some fellow Christians. At that time, many Christians had already decided to interpret passages found in Job 40 and elsewhere as referring to creatures currently living, although the descriptions obviously did not fit. However, in the mind of a compromiser, the last thing one should do is acknowledge the Bible contradicts the human wisdom of the day. Of course, with the discovery of dinosaurs in 1822, the faithful Christian would have been vindicated in the minds of compromising believers and non-believers alike.
A century ago many false doctrines were introduced, such as Progressive Creation or the idea that “God used evolution.” These doctrines did not develop due to a study of the Bible, but in response to the overwhelming “scientific” evidence that well-meaning false teachers attempted to accommodate. It is ironic that many of these false doctrines still flourish today, even though the human wisdom that they originally attempted to reconcile has long since been proven wrong. Thus, the first thing Christians should not do is twist or edit the Bible in an attempt to accommodate the so-called “scientific” facts of their day.
A second thing Christians should not do is ignore the problem. It is easy for mature Christians to forget what it is like to be a non-Christian. Individuals who grew up in the church may have an even harder time understanding individuals whose only exposure to Christianity has been through the popular media. Christians may be lulled into feeling that because most of the people with whom they associate believe the Bible, the same is true throughout society. The fact is that only a small fraction of the world’s population acknowledges the Bible as God’s inerrant Word. Individuals who believe science has proven the Bible false are very unlikely to give serious consideration to the Gospel. First Peter 3:14-15 provides guidance on what Christians should do: “And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (NASB).


Ironically, to the atheist or evolutionist, the age of the Universe should not matter. The fact that the Universe had a beginning at all is yet another fatal blow to their religion. While one often hears the argument “anything can happen given billions of years,” that argument quickly dissolves when the odds of the required events are quantified. The astronomical odds against evolution are not noticeably affected by the age of the Universe, be it a microsecond or billions of years.
For example, the difference between a microsecond and the oldest age currently claimed for the Universe is less than a factor of 1024, i.e., a factor of one followed by 24 zeroes. The total number of particles in the Universe (down to the subatomic level) typically is estimated at 10100. While these are incredibly large numbers, they pale in comparison to the odds atheists associate with their own beliefs. The famous atheistic astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated the odds of even just the proteins of an amoeba arising by chance at one in 1040,000, i.e., one in one followed by 40,000 zeroes (Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, 1981, p. 130). Harold Morowitz calculated the odds that a simple, single-celled organism might randomly assemble itself from pre-existing building blocks as one in 10100,000,000,000, i.e., one in one followed by 100 billion zeroes (Morowitz, 1968, p. 98). Carl Sagan and other famous evolutionists have come to similar conclusions (Sagan, et al., 1973, pp. 45-46). Calculations such as these were the basis of Sir Frederick Hoyle’s famous statement that the probability of spontaneous generation “is about the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard could assemble a 747 from the contents therein” (Hoyle, 1981, 294[5837]:105). Given these impossible odds, the complete illogic of placing one’s faith in evolution remains unchallenged for any “age” currently considered.
The fact that an eternal Universe was necessary to diminish (or eliminate) the need for God was recognized long ago, perhaps soon after the beginning of time (or whenever humans had rebelled enough against God to begin devising false religions). In ancient Greece, Aristotle promoted the view that both God and the Universe are eternal (1952a, 8:344-345; 1952b, 8:377). Although opposed by early Christian and Hebrew scholars (based on the Genesis account), the belief in an eternal Universe became accepted as “fact.” Over time, many proponents of Christianity (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) compromised clear Bible teaching and attempted to prove God’s existence starting with the false assumption of an eternal Universe. Ironically, Strobel observed that Aquinas apparently did so because he felt that if he assumed the Universe had a beginning, the task of proving God’s existence would be too easy (2004, pp. 107-108). While intentions may be good, it is never useful or right to compromise God’s Word.
Throughout the 19th century, the “fact” of an eternal Universe was used to support various false religions, including evolution. In the “Great Debate” of June 30, 1860, Anglican Archbishop Samuel Wilberforce debated evolutionist Thomas Huxley. Basing his arguments on belief in an eternal Universe, Huxley argued that given infinite time, infinite ink, and infinite paper, six monkeys would eventually type all of the books in the British Library, including the Bible and the works of Shakespeare (Missler and Eastman, 1996). The desired analogy was that given infinite time, life would eventually develop and evolve into man.
Evolutionists and atheists have long been aware of the danger a non-eternal Universe posed to their religion. David Hume (18th-century Scottish skeptic and naturalist) noted: “I never asserted so absurd a proposition that anything might arise without a cause” (Greig, 1932, 1:187). Much to their chagrin, however, research in the 20th century yielded tremendous evidence that the Universe did, indeed, have a beginning. In 1915, Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity which showed a static Universe was impossible unless an arbitrary, precise fudge factor (a “cosmological constant”) was added to his equations (Goldsmith, 1995, p. 7). Starting in the 1920s, observations by Edwin Hubble (whose name was given to the Hubble space telescope) and others continued building the case for a non-eternal Universe (Sharov and Novikov, 1993, p. 69). It is now almost universally accepted in the scientific community that the Universe had a beginning.
The search for a means to claim an eternal Universe became frantic. In 1948, Sir Frederick Hoyle helped develop the “Steady State” theory of the Universe (Hoyle, 1955, p. 320). Although the theory violated the Laws of Thermodynamics and had no observational basis, it was promoted to soften the theological implications of a non-eternal Universe. In the 1960s, Carl Sagan proposed the Oscillating Model (Sagan, 1979; Sagan, 1980; Gribbin, 1976) which, again, violates known laws of physics, but is occasionally mentioned even today. In the 1970s, the idea of a quantum fluctuation somehow creating the Universe was popularized (Guth, 1997). However, this theory requires a quantum vacuum, which itself is a “sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws” (Craig, 2000). The fact that this theory has been widely publicized (e.g., Lemley, 2002, 23[4]:32-39) shows how desperate the search for atheistic origins has become. The calculated odds against even a single atom forming via a quantum fluctuation are huge, and claiming the entire Universe formed that way goes beyond stretching the imagination. Even more important, the theory still requires the presence of the quantum vacuum, which in itself would have needed to be created. Recently, work by Stephen Hawking has been highly publicized, but to his credit, he admits that his theories still require the Universe to appear out of nothing. Through the use of imaginary numbers, Hawking has developed a mathematical construct that would allow the Universe not to begin at a singularity using current cosmological assumptions. This recent work does not appear to have much bearing on the current discussion (Hawking and Penrose, 1996). [NOTE: An excellent summary of these and other attempts to cling to an eternal Universe is given in Thompson, 2001. For a thorough refutation of the more popular versions of the Big Bang Theory, see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23(5):32-34,36-47.]


A century ago it was easy to promote evolution. Darwin’s theory had been popularized, and vast energy was being poured into interpreting evidence within the Darwinian framework. Our knowledge of biology and living systems was so poor that advocates of evolution could go as far as fabricating evidence in support of the theory with complete impunity (Grigg, 1996, 18[2]:33-36). Ignorance in the field of biology allowed Darwin’s theory of evolution to be blindly promoted well into the 20th century.
In a similar fashion, our ignorance of the Universe today allows virtually any hypothetical assumption related to its origin or age to be accepted, as long as it is atheistic and can be construed to support current, popular beliefs. Theories related to the origin and age of the Universe typically are devised to account for a subset of the observed data, and when other data contradicts the theory, fudge factors are introduced. For example, observational evidence indicates that the visible matter in galaxies is not enough to hold them together given other evolutionary assumptions. Theorists have thus postulated the existence of “dark matter,” matter other than that present in the form of stars, gas, and dust. “Dark matter” is intended to help hold galaxies together, and perhaps to serve other functions as well. In a similar vein, it has recently been observed that the expansion of the Universe appears to be accelerating rather than staying constant or slowing down. To accommodate this observation, theorists have introduced the concept of “dark energy.”
To make the currently favored secular models work, the vast majority of the Universe would need to consist of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin recently asked the value of “discovering that literally 95% of the Universe consists of dark energy or dark matter, terms for things that we as yet know nothing about? But they make up 95% of our Universe” (Griffin, 2007). He went on to write that someday we may learn to harness these “new things.” Griffin is absolutely correct in noting that harnessing “new things” is one of the greatest benefits of operational science. However, it is also important to note that if “95% of the Universe consists of...things that we as yet know nothing about,” it would be foolish to make dogmatic assumptions based on what little we know of the remaining 5%.
For example, in the past five years it has become increasingly accepted in secular science that so-called “fundamental constants” may have changed. Observations of quasars have indicated changes in both the “fine structure constant” (strength of electromagnetic interaction) and “mu” (ratio of proton mass to electron mass). Results have been reported in “Physical Review Letters” and elsewhere (Weiss, 2006, 169[17]:259). One of the researchers, Victor V. Flambaum of the University of New South Wales, observed: “It doesn’t matter that the variation is small. If ‘mu’ varies, we need new theoretical physics and cosmology” (as quoted in Schirber, 2006). Astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge noted: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant. These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are” (as quoted in Schirber, 2006). Changes in fundamental constants could have huge implications, including changes in the speed of light and changes in radioactive decay rates. These effects could greatly change secular estimates of the age of the Universe.
Such observations are consistent with recent research by the “RATE” group which yielded compelling evidence for changes in radioactive decay constants, and other evidence for a relatively young Earth (DeYoung, 2005). One of the findings of the RATE group was excess helium retention in zircons. This finding indicates that based on measured helium diffusion rates, the observed radioactive decay in zircons must have occurred within the past several thousand years. If it had taken longer, the helium generated via alpha decay would have diffused out of the zircons. The group’s observation is that significant radioactive decay has occurred, and it has occurred recently (DeYoung, p. 176).
Another finding of the RATE group was the presence of Carbon-14 in diamonds as well as coal. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, meaning 1/2 of the atoms decay (in this case beta-decay to Nitrogen-14) every 5,730 years. The detectable presence of Carbon-14 in any sample indicates that its age is less (possibly much less) than ~100,000 years (p. 175). Carbon-14 in coal and diamonds strongly contradicts evolutionary theory, which claims both coal and diamonds formed millions of years ago. The “problem” (from an evolutionist’s standpoint) of Carbon-14 in coal also has been reported by Lowe (1989, 31:117-120), Giem (2001, 51:6-30), and others. When reasonable effects of Creation and the Flood are taken into account (which atheists and compromisers typically fail to do), Carbon-14 dating correlates well with what we know about the past few thousand years. [NOTE: An excellent summary of this issue is given in Batten, 2002.]
A third finding of the RATE group is that ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo beta decay tend to be significantly different (younger) than ages estimated using parent isotopes that undergo alpha decay. This could suggest that whatever mechanism God used to change decay rates during Creation week and around the time of the Flood had a different effect on alpha emitters than it did on beta emitters (DeYoung, 2005, p. 121). The RATE group has also performed research related to radiohalos, fission tracks in zircons, and potential mechanisms for alleviating issues (such as high heating rates) introduced by accelerated radioactive decay (pp. 174-183). Among other implications, the observations of the RATE group indicate that assumptions used in radiometric dating may be false, and that ages estimated through use of radiometric dating may be incorrect by several orders of magnitude.
In addition to recent research performed by both Christian and secular scientists alike, other lines of evidence have been known for years that are consistent with a relatively recent creation (Humphreys, 2000). These include the rate at which galaxies “wind up” (too fast for long ages), the amount of mud on the seafloor (too little), the amount of sodium in the sea (too little), the rate at which the Earth’s magnetic field is decaying (too fast), the number of stone age skeletons (too few), the development of agriculture (too recent), and numerous others. Biblically based theories also exist for interpreting what we observe in the Universe, given a relatively recent creation (e.g., Humphreys, 1994; Thompson, 2004). Other biblically consistent interpretations have also been proposed (Williams and Hartnett, 2005, p. 180).
The age of the Earth is discussed in numerous other subject areas. For example, on the subject of the ice age, uniformitarian assumptions have been used to postulate a series of some 30 ice ages occurring throughout the past 2.5 million years. However, Oard notes several fundamental problems with that scenario. First, no adequate uniformitarian cause has been identified for an ice age. The currently favored Milankovitch radiation cycle appears far too weak, and attempts to correlate that cycle with ice cores or other evidence are reminiscent of Huxley discovering Monera (in support of Haeckel) and Todd observing Martian canals (in support of Lowell). According to Oard:
There are also major subsidiary mysteries associated with their model, such as the origin of pluvial lakes in currently semi-arid regions, origin of persistent non-glaciated areas poleward of the edge of glaciation, the mix of warm- and cold-climate plants and animals during the ice age, the lack of glaciation in the lowlands of Siberia and Alaska, and the mass extinction of large mammals and birds at the end of the ice age (2005, p. 35).
Most biblically based ice age models assume the ice age resulted from warm oceans and a dusty atmosphere following the Genesis Flood. The total duration of the ice age would have been approximately 700 years. When coupled with modern climate and weather analysis tools, these models resolve not only the issues listed above, but remain consistent with measured evidence such as oxygen isotope fluctuations and layering in the remaining ice sheets. Oard also notes that biblically based models are more consistent with observed Beryllium-10 peaks and with radio-echo data showing little horizontal movement within the Antarctic ice sheet (pp. 135-137).
Fossils represent another subject area where “age” is often discussed. Although “index fossils” and other circular methods are often used to date fossils, the actual age of a fossil ultimately must be estimated based on some independent dating method. Most of these “independent” dates have been determined through radiometric dating of surrounding rock layers, which is again entirely dependent on the assumptions that are applied. If the assumptions are wrong, the estimated age will be wrong.
Other observations can be used to determine the approximate age of fossils. For example, last month in Reason & Revelation, Eric Lyons noted that soft dinosaur tissue is strong evidence against dinosaur fossils being more than a few thousand years old. The Genesis Flood also provides a near-perfect mechanism for depositing the fossil record we observe (Thompson, 2004, pp. 209-230; Woodmorappe, 1999; Butt and Lyons, 2005, pp. 67-91). The flood model is more consistent than secular models with findings such as polystrate fossils, fossil graveyards, tightly bent strata, injected sandstone, high concentrations of pollen in coal deposits, and others.
The Bible clearly indicates a relatively young age for the Creation, which contradicts currently accepted theories. Instead of compromising, Christians (especially technically-minded Christians) should stand firm and use information in the Bible to God’s glory. Tremendous discoveries have been made in the past and will continue to be made by scientists who use the Bible as the foundation for their research. The important point is that Christians need to put their confidence in the Bible, not in ever-changing human wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20).
True science supports Christianity. Sir Francis Bacon (credited with establishing the scientific method) was a Bible believer. Werner Von Braun (who led the development of the Saturn V moon rocket) was a Bible believer. Sir Isaac Newton, Carl Linnaeus, Louis Pasteur, and James Maxwell were professed Bible believers. So were Faraday, Kelvin, Boyle, Dalton, Ramsay, Ray, Mendel, Virchow, Agassiz, Steno, Woodward, Brewster, Buckland, Cuvier, Copernicus, Kepler, Herschel, Maunder, Pascal, Leibnitz, Euler, and countless others (Lamont, 1995). Christians should not be suspicious of true, operational science just because certain false religions have twisted the term “science” in order to claim it supports their worldview.


Webster’s defines “religion” as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith” (Webster’s Ninth..., 1988, p. 995). Christianity falls into this category. So do the hundreds of false religions that have plagued mankind for millennia. Matthew 7:13-14 indicates that the majority of people will be deceived. Despite the overwhelming evidence God has given us, they will choose to create their own religion, or adhere to a false religion.
Darwin and Haeckel correctly assumed that if evolution were powerful enough to turn single-celled organisms into human beings, it certainly would be powerful enough to have strong effects within a given species. Darwin wrote extensively on differences of race and sex, and Haeckel wrote extensively about race. Some quotes from their more famous books show where their faith in evolution led them. In his book The Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin wrote about his experiences with the Fuegians at Tierra Del Fuego:
Viewing such men, one can hardly make one’s self believe that they are fellow creatures, and inhabitants of the same world. It is a common subject of conjecture what pleasure in life some of the lower animals can enjoy: how much more reasonably the same question may be asked with respect to these barbarians! (Darwin, 1845, p. 218).
Darwin also discussed the Fuegians in his book The Descent of Man:
They possessed hardly any arts, and like wild animals lived on what they could catch.... He who has seen a savage in his native land will not feel much shame, if forced to acknowledge that the blood of some more humble creature flows in his veins (1874, p. 613).
In addition to numerous other statements concerning various “races” and “savages,” Darwin made the following observations in The Descent of Man:
  • The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands (p. 558).
  • [T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman (p. 559).
  • Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman (p. 560).
Darwin’s book also contains considerable discussion on whether different “races” of man should be classified as completely different species, or merely different subspecies.
Ernst Haeckel expressed similar views. For example, in the second volume of his book The History of Creation, Haeckel wrote:
The final result of this comparison is this—that between the most highly developed animal souls, and the lowest developed human souls, there exists only a small quantitative, but no qualitative difference, and that this difference is much less than the difference between the lowest and the highest human souls, or the difference between the highest and lowest animal souls.
In order to be convinced of this important result, it is above all things necessary to study and compare the mental life of wild savages and of children. At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the negro tribes.... All attempts to introduce civilization among these, and many of the other tribes of the lowest human species, have hitherto been of no avail; it is impossible to implant human culture where the requisite soil, namely, the perfecting of the brain, is wanting.... They have barely risen above the lowest stage of transition from man-like apes to ape-like men, a stage which the progenitors of the higher human species had already passed through thousands of years ago (1876, 2:362).
The views of Darwin, Haeckel, and other leading “scientists” were soon incorporated into the American educational system, and presented as scientific fact. Hunter’s A Civic Biology (the book allegedly used by John Scopes in the events leading up to the 1925 Scopes trial), noted:
At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the others in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America” (Hunter, 1914, p. 196).
In The Descent of Man, Darwin also touched briefly on the concept of eugenics (Darwin, 1874, p. 612). However, by the time A Civic Biology was written, eugenics had gained widespread “scientific” acceptance. In discussing the subject, Hunter notes:
If the stock of domesticated animals can be improved, it is not unfair to ask if the health and vigor of the future generations of men and women on the earth might not be improved by applying to them the laws of selection (p. 261).
After a brief discussion of families in which “mental and moral defects were present in one or both of the original parents,” Hunter goes on to say:
Just as certain animals or plants become parasitic on other plants or animals, these families have become parasitic on society.... They are true parasites. If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.... Eugenics show us, on the other hand, in a study of the families in which are brilliant men and women, the fact that the descendants have received the good inheritance from their ancestors (p. 263, italics in orig.).
The philosophies of racism, sexism, and eugenics, promoted under the guise of “science” by Darwin, Haeckel, and others, are wrong. We know they are wrong because the Bible opposes them. Unfortunately, such philosophies are completely consistent with evolution-based religions, and were not immediately defeated by individuals willing to stand firm on the Bible. Instead, it took society decades to recognize the evils associated with racism, sexism, and eugenics, and for those philosophies to be largely rejected, even given their so-called “scientific” support.
The effect that Darwin’s and Haeckel’s teachings had on Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and others has been documented (Wieland, 1998; Grigg, 1996). However, there is little (if any) evidence that Darwin or Haeckel understood that the religion they helped create would be used to justify the atrocities that were committed. Likewise, there is no evidence that when George Hunter wrote in his textbook, “If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off,” he could have anticipated that such statements could be coupled with Darwin’s and Haeckel’s teachings to provide “scientific” justification for Nazism and the extermination of Jews and other individuals the Nazis considered less than human.
The beliefs and “research” of Darwin, Haeckel, and others are still doing damage. For example, Dr. James Watson (winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for his role in discovering the double-helix structure of DNA) recently asserted that there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically. He then went on to make several racist statements implying that black people are not as intelligent as white people. His comments were reported by CNN and other major news sources, resulting in a significant uproar (Van Marsh, 2007).
Thus, Christians need to “care” in the 21st century for the same reasons they needed to care 150 years ago when Darwin’s theories were first being popularized. Psalm 111:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Allowing society’s “wisdom” to be based on false religions and their erroneous assumptions can have unintended and disastrous consequences. Any false teaching can have negative long-term effects, the most serious of which are eternal.


Aristotle (1952a reprint), The Physics, trans. R.P. Hardie and R.K. Gay (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), Great Books of the Western World Series, ed. Robert M. Hutchins, 8:259-358.
Aristotle (1952b reprint), On the Heavens, trans. R.P. Hardie and R.K. Gay (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago), Great Books of the Western World Series, ed. Robert M. Hutchins, 8:359-408.
Batten, Don (2002), “Does Carbon Dating Disprove the Bible?” Answers in Genesis, [On-line], URL: http://www.answersingenesis.org/assets/pdf/media/radio/Carbondating.pdf.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2005), Truth Be Told: Exposing the Myth of Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Craig, William Lane (2000), The Kalam Cosmological Argument (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock).
Darwin, Charles (1845), The Voyage of the Beagle (New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1937 reprint).
Darwin, Charles (1874), The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (Chicago: The Henneberry Company), revised edition.
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AZ: Master Books).
Giem, P. (2001), “Carbon-14 Content of Fossil Carbon,” Origins, 51:6-30.
Goldsmith, (1995), Einstein’s Greatest Blunder?: The Cosmological Constant and Other Fudge Factors in the Physics of the Universe (Cambridge, MA: First Harvard University Press).
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