"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS" Walking In Truth And Holiness (4:17-32) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

                 Walking In Truth And Holiness (4:17-32)


1. In the previous lesson, we saw where Paul began to describe our
   "duty" to "walk worthy of the calling with which you were called"
   - Ep 4:1

2. In doing so, he first called us to "walk together in unity" by 
   admonishing us to...
   a. Display the "attitudes" crucial for maintaining unity - Ep 4:2-3
   b. Understand the "basis" of the unity we have in Christ - Ep 4:4-6
   c. Utilize the "gifts" given by Christ to His church that serves to 
      keep the body of Christ together and growing - Ep 4:7-16

3. In the last half of chapter four (Ep 4:17-32), Paul continues to 
   describe the sort of "walk" that is worthy of our calling, especially
   as "a holy temple in the Lord" (cf. Ep 2:21-22)
   a. Whereas the first half emphasized "Walking Together In Unity"
   b. This section emphasizes "Walking In Truth And Holiness"

[We begin, then, in verse 17 with...]


      1. They walk "in the futility of their mind" - How so?
         a. It starts with the "hardening of their heart" 
         b. Which leads to "ignorance that is in them"
         c. Because of such ignorance they are "alienated from the life
            of God"
         d. And that results "having their understanding darkened"
         -- Notice where Jesus describes this same process - cf. Mt 13:
      2. Their walk is "past feeling" - as indicated by the fact they...
         a. "have given themselves over to licentiousness" (i.e., 
            unbridled lust, excess)
         b. "work all uncleanness with greediness"
         -- Desensitized, they seek after ever-increasing forms moral 
            depravity - cf. Ro 1:18-32
      1. This is how you learned Christ
         a. As you heard Him and were taught by Him (through His 
            apostles, of course - cf. Mt 28:19-20)
         b. In Whom is the truth - cf. Jn 8:31-31; 14:6
      2. For you were taught to "put off" the "old man"
         a. That is, your "former conduct", how you behaved before you 
            were saved - cf. Col 3:5-9
         b. Putting off the old man is needed because it is never 
            content, but "grows corrupt according to the deceitful 
            lusts" (like addictive drugs, you always need more)
      3. And to "be renewed in the spirit of your mind"
         a. Which is the key to true "transformation" - cf. Ro 12:1-2
         b. You "renew" your mind only as you "set your mind on things 
            above" - cf. Col 3:1-2
      4. And to "put on the new man"
         a. A new man "which was created according to God" 
            - cf. Col 3:10
         b. A new man, "in righteousness and true holiness" 
            - cf. Col 3:12-17

[In giving the admonition "No longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles",
Paul has made it clear that it involves both a "putting off" and a 
"putting on".  I.e., our "Walking In Truth And Holiness" is not just a
bunch of "Thou Shalt Not's", there are also some "Thou Shalt's".

To illustrate further the difference between the "old man" (how the rest
of the Gentiles walk) and the "new man" (how Christians are to walk), we
find Paul making...]


   A. CASE IN POINT:  LYING... (25)
      1. The "old man" thinks nothing of lying
      2. The "new man" puts away lying, and in its place speaks truth 
         with his neighbor (especially to those who members of the same 

   B. CASE IN POINT:  ANGER... (26-27)
      1. The "old man" gets angry and lets it linger, or get out of 
      2. The "new man" may get angry, but does not...
         a. Let it linger ("do not let the sun go down on your wrath"
         b. Allow it to prompt sinful behavior ("nor give place to the

      1. The "old man" is willing to steal
      2. The "new man" not only stops stealing, but works so he can help
         others in need!

      1. The "old man" doesn't worry or care what comes out of his mouth
      2. The "new man" not only avoids "corrupt communication", but
         seeks to speak that which is uplifting to those who hear

   E. SUMMARY... (30-32)
      1. Why be concerned about putting off the "old man" and putting on
         the "new man"?
         a. When Christians act like the "old man", it grieves the Holy 
         b. By the Holy Spirit we were sealed for the day of redemption 
            - cf. Ep 1:13-14
      2. Therefore, we ought to put away those things befitting the "old
         man" (bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, malice)
      3. And in it's place we need to put on those things befitting the
         "new man" (being kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another 
         just as God forgives us in Christ)


1. What a contrast there would be if all those in the church truly 
   carried out the admonition to "Walk In Truth And Holiness"!
   a. The church would stand out like "a city that is set on a hill"! 
      - cf. Mt 5:14-16
   b. And the world, though it now has "their understanding darkened", 
      might be more likely to come to see the truth that is in Jesus
   c. But what hope is there if the church is more like the world than 
      the "holy temple" it is to be?

2. Brethren, are we "grieving the Holy Spirit of God"?
   a. While the increasing worldliness in our society naturally concerns
   b. Let's be careful not to react with attitudes that are more in
      keeping with the "old man"
   c. But having been "sealed for the day of redemption", let's be sure
      to react in "righteousness and true holiness"

In our next lesson, we will see that "walking worthy of our calling"
also involves "Walking In Love, Light, And Wisdom"...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Genesis: Myth or History? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Genesis: Myth or History?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

What do we mean by “myth”? German theologian Rudolf Bultmann popularized the notion that the New Testament must be stripped of its mythical elements, specifically, its supernatural features (e.g., Jesus Christ and Mythology, 1958). “Myth,” therefore, in theological circles refers to a traditional, non-literal story in a particular culture that manifests that culture’s world view. The story serves as a vehicle to convey a truth, without necessarily being historically true. The Bible’s depictions of heaven, hell, demons, evil spirits, and Satan are viewed as symbols for deeper meanings rather than being literally existent. Many theologians, and now many Americans, insist that the Bible is a pre-scientific document that is riddled with the errors that accompanied early man’s quest for knowledge.
Along with the onset of modern scientific discovery and understanding has come a widespread tendency to compromise the biblical text of Genesis 1-11. Otherwise conservative thinking Christians have not been immune to this deadly cancer that ultimately undermines the entire Bible and one’s ability to arrive at the truth. In the 1980s, it was discovered that evolution was being taught by two Abilene Christian University professors. One of the biology professors provided his class with a handout that included a photocopy of the first page of Genesis. In the margin he scrawled the words, “Hymn, myth” (Thompson, 1986, p. 16). The university mobilized in an attempt to discredit the charge and sweep it under the proverbial carpet, but the evidence was decisive, as acknowledged even by objective outsiders (see Morris, 1987, 16[5]:4). The fact is that evolution has been taught on other Christian college campuses as well. The lack of outcry testifies to the fact that even Christians and their children have been adversely influenced by secular education.
It is amazing, even shocking, to see the extent to which the authority of the biblical text in general, and the book of Genesis in particular, has been undermined in the minds of the average American, especially in the last half century. In virtually every corner of our country, relaxed and compromised views of the Bible prevail—even among otherwise conservative Americans and those who profess to be Christian. Before leaving office, President Bush (“W”) was interviewed by Cynthia McFadden on ABC’s “Nightline.” When asked if he believed the Bible to be literally true, he responded: “You know. Probably not.… No, I’m not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament for example is…has got… You know, the important lesson is ‘God sent a son’” (“Bush Says…,” 2008). When asked about creation and evolution, Bush said:
I think you can have both. I think evolution can—you’re getting me way out of my lane here. I’m just a simple president. But it’s, I think that God created the earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an Almighty and I don’t think it’s incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution (“Bush Says…”).
Myriad instances could be cited in which Americans manifest the degrading effects of skepticism, atheism, evolution, and liberal theology.
What a far cry from most of America’s history. It is hard to believe that—up until the 1960s—American education was thoroughly saturated with the biblical account of Creation (e.g., New England Primer, 1805, pp. 31-32; Webster’s The Elementary Spelling Book, 1857, p. 29). The book of Genesis was taken as a straight-forward account of the formation of the Universe and the beginning of human history. People took God at His word. Though liberal theology swept through Europe in the late 19th century, which included attacks on the verbal, inerrant inspiration of the Scriptures, and though the Creation account began to be openly challenged at the 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, still, the majority of Americans continued to accept the biblical account right on up to World War II. Since then, however, sinister forces have been chipping away at belief in the inspiration and integrity of the Bible. They have succeeded in eroding confidence in its trustworthiness and authority.
But there are no excuses. The evidence is available, and it is overwhelming. No one can stand before God at the end of time and justify themselves for their rejection of Genesis as a straightforward record of literal history. Failure to take Genesis at face value can easily result in acceptance of views and/or practices that will jeopardize one’s standing with God.


If we had no other means by which to determine whether Genesis is myth or history, the New Testament alone is ample proof. Depending on how one calculates the material, the New Testament has at least 60 allusions to Genesis 1–11, with over 100 allusions to the entire book (Cosner, 2010). Jesus and the writers of the New Testament consistently treated Genesis as literal history. As a matter of fact, every New Testament author refers to Genesis, and nearly every New Testament book does as well. Their handling of the Genesis text demonstrates that they considered the events to have actually occurred, rather than being mythical or legendary folklore that merely contained useful lessons.


Consider a sampling of allusions made by Jesus:
  • He indicated the foundation of the marriage institution, quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 as historical precedent and proof that carte blanche divorce is unacceptable to God (Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-8). Did He mean to ground marriage on fairytales?
  • Jesus mentioned Abel as a real person whose blood was shed on account of his righteous behavior, just like other historical personages in human history (Matthew 23:35). If Abel was not an actual person who lived on Earth, neither was Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom Jesus said the Jews “murdered between the temple and the altar”—an actual physical location.
  • Jesus declared Satan to be a “murderer from the beginning” and the father of lies—referring to the Fall (John 8:44; Genesis 3:4,19; cf. Romans 5:12; 1 John 3:8).
  • Jesus referenced Moses’ writings as genuine representations of history (John 5:46-47).
  • Jesus spoke of the “days of Noah” and the Flood as an actual historical event that has many parallels to the future coming of the Son of Man in terms of what people will be doing with their time (Matthew 24:37-39).
  • Jesus compared Capernaum to Sodom, saying, “for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:23-24). Sodom would have had to have been an actual city for it to “have remained until this day” and for it to fare more tolerably in the Day of Judgment (cf. 10:15).
  • The genealogical lists of Jesus’ physical lineage identify actual historical persons in the first century all the way back to persons originally named in Genesis, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Tamar (Matthew 1:1-2), as well as Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Noah (Luke 3:36-37).


Paul, likewise, treated persons, places, and incidents in Genesis as if historically real. Here is a sampling of some of his allusions:
  • He quoted Genesis 1:3 to note how God caused light to shine out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6).
  • Quoting Genesis 2:7, Paul said Adam was the first human being on Earth (1 Corinthians 15:45).
  • He claimed that Adam was made from dust (1 Corinthians 15:47)—as Genesis records.
  • He noted how the woman is “from” (ek—out of) man (1 Corinthians 11:8,12), referring to the fact that Eve was literally taken out of Adam’s body.
  • Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 to verify how a man and woman “become one flesh” (1 Corinthians 6:16), comparing marriage to the church (Ephesians 5:31).
  • Adam was as historically real as Christ and Moses, having introduced sin into the world, causing death to reign during the historical interval “from Adam to Moses” (Romans 5:14-15).
  • Paul identified Adam and Eve by name, noting that Adam was created before the woman was created, and also noting the deception to which Eve succumbed (1 Timothy 2:13-14), which occurred via the “serpent” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
  • Paul claimed that God’s deity and attributes have been evident “since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20).
  • Paul said that Jesus fulfilled the promises that had been made to “the fathers,” i.e., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Romans 15:8).
  • Paul quoted the promise God made to Abraham concerning Sarah giving birth to Isaac (Romans 9:9), and also mentions Jacob, Esau, and Rebecca by name (vss. 9-10).


Peter, too, endorsed the historicity of Genesis:
  • He alluded to the watery mass at Creation from Genesis 1:12,6-7,9 (2 Peter 3:5).
  • He regarded the Flood as an actual historical event, mentioning Noah by name and specifying the number of survivors as eight, and the Flood’s extent being global (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:6).
  • Peter believed in the historical personage of Lot and that God actually turned “the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes” to make them “an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.” The incident also serves the purpose of demonstrating how God “knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Peter 2:6-9). If the incident was not historical, it would serve no legitimate parallel purpose.
  • Peter also noted the actual, historical relationship sustained by Sarah and Abraham (1 Peter 3:6).


The writer of the Hebrews letter bases his entire argument on the historicity of Genesis and the Old Testament system:
  • His quotation of Psalm 102 includes the fact that even as God created the heavens and the Earth, so they will perish (1:10). Both circumstances require literal historicity.  
  • Alluding to the fact that God “finished” His creative activities—a direct allusion to Genesis 2:1—he then quotes Genesis 2:2 to call attention to the literal cessation of God’s actions on the seventh day of the week (4:3-4; cf. vs. 10—“as God did from His”).
  • The comparison of Christ to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) in contrast with Aaron demands that both of these figures were actual historical personages (5:1-10; 6:20; 7:1-21).
  • God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:17 was a literal promise to a literal person (6:13-14).
  • God’s creation of the Universe was by His “word” (11:3)—even as the Genesis record indicates that God spoke the created order into existence (“God said…”).
  • Hebrews chapter 11 is a veritable “Who’s Who” of historical personalities from Genesis whose historicity is assumed: Cain and Abel (vs. 4), Enoch (vs. 5), Noah (vs. 7), Abraham (vss. 8-10), Sarah (vs. 11-12, who literally produced a multitude of descendents), Isaac (vss. 17-20), Jacob (vss. 20-21), and Joseph (vs. 22).
  • Esau sold his birthright for food (12:16).
  • Abel’s shed blood is as historically real as Christ’s (12:24).

Other N.T. Writers

The other writers show the same respect for bona fide history portrayed in Genesis. James refers to Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (2:21). Jude mentions Cain, Enoch, and Sodom and Gomorrah (vss. 7,11,14). John notes that Cain murdered his brother because of his own sinful actions (1 John 3:12). Even the book of Revelation, though highly figurative, nevertheless contains numerous allusions to Genesis that indicate an historical understanding of the book (e.g., 5:5; 10:6; 20:2; 22:2). To suggest that the book of Genesis is actually a compilation of interesting fables, myths, folklore, popular anecdotes, and stories, rather than actual history, is to suggest that the doctrines of Christianity are rooted in and dependent on fairytales and imaginary stories. Indeed, if the events of Genesis did not historically occur, the New Testament writers—and Jesus Himself—were either in error or flat out liars, since they unquestionably referred to the events of Genesis as being historically true.


In addition to the New Testament’s inspired treatment of Genesis as an actual account of history, one could also simply examine the literary genre of Genesis. Many in our day insist that Genesis should not be read as literal history because it is written in poetic form and is not a literal description of actual events. But such a claim is, itself, linguistic gobbledygook. Written language, whether from man or God, can be deciphered in terms of its genre. One can identify the author’s use of linguistic elements and extract intended meaning from the words that are used. In other words, though the 50 chapters of Genesis contain figurative language—as does the entire Bible—nevertheless, one can easily distinguish between the literal and the figurative.
Entire volumes have been written on human communication, how human language functions, and how to derive meaning from written language. Many books have been produced that expound the discipline of hermeneutics—the process of interpreting language. These volumes provide self-evident, easily discernible rules and procedures for detecting figurative language. D.R. Dungan’s classic work, Hermeneutics, written in 1888, contains chapters on “Figurative Language,” “The Various Figures of the Bible,” and “Figures of Thought” (pp. 195-369). Clinton Lockhart’s 1901 volume Principles of Interpretation contains chapters on “Figurative Language,” “Poetry,” and “Types” (pp. 156-197,222-228). Christendom has produced many books that demonstrate the means by which biblical language may be understood, including Bernard Ramm’s Hermeneuticsand Milton Terry’s 1883 volume Biblical Hermeneutics. Ascertaining whether Genesis and, specifically, the Creation account are “poetic,” “hymn,” or “myth” is not a matter of confusion or uncertainty—except for those who have an agenda and wish to concoct an elaborate smokescreen to avoid the obvious import of God’s Word.
Does Genesis 1 contain any figurative language? Certainly. But not anything that makes the chapter non-literal in its basic import. For example, the term “face” in Genesis 1:2, which is actually plural in the Hebrew (pah-neem—“faces”), is an idiomatic instance of pleonasm, a form of amplificatio, in which more words are used than the grammar requires: “And darkness was upon the faces of the deep.” The noun “deep” (which, itself, is a figurative term for the sea or ocean) is enhanced or emphasized by means of a second, redundant noun “faces.” Instead of simply saying, “darkness was upon the deep,” adding “faces” makes the statement “much more forcible and emphatic” (Bullinger, 1898, p. 406). The use of “saw” in Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25 is the figure of speech known asanthropopatheia in which human attributes are ascribed to God, specifically in this text, human actions (Bullinger, p. 888). The expression in 1:9,10, “Let the dry appear,” is the figure of speech known as antimereia, the exchange of one part of speech for another, in this case, an adjective for a noun. “Dry” in the verses refers to the “land” (see Bullinger, p. 495). Genesis 1:11 uses polyptoton in which the same part of speech is repeated in a different inflection, specifically, the verb “seeding” is repeated by means of its cognate noun “seed”: “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,” literally, “seeding seed” (see Bullinger, p. 275). In other words, vegetation was created by God in a state of bearing seed, and not vice versa—which militates against the notion of evolution and underscores the instantaneous nature of the Creation. Indeed, this figurative language testifies to the literal nature of the Creation week!
So, yes, Genesis 1 (and perhaps every other chapter in the Bible) contains figurative language, as does our everyday language. But that language is detectable, discernible, and decipherable—and does not necessarily imply that the overall message being conveyed is not to be taken literally. None of the language of Genesis 1 even hints that the events described were imaginary as opposed to being actual historical occurrences. In fact, simply take your Bible and turn to Genesis chapter 1 and notice how many terms are used that have an obvious, undisputable literal import, including “earth,” “darkness,” “Spirit of God,” “waters,” “light,” “day,” “night,” “evening,” “morning,” “first,” “seas,” “grass,” “herb,” “seed,” “fruit,” “tree,” “seasons,” “years,” “stars,” “fowl,” “fish,” “cattle,” etc. Distinguishing between figurative and literal language is not that difficult! [As a side note, Steven Boyd conducted a statistical analysis using logistic regression, in order to ascertain whether Genesis 1:1-2:3 is Hebrew poetry or historical narrative. He concluded: “The biblical creation account clearly is not poetry but instead is a literal description in real time of supernatural events” (2005, p. 168).]


If the events described in the book of Genesis were not intended to be understood as literal history, one would expect the rest of the Bible to give some indication of that fact. Yet, on the contrary, several passages scattered from the Old Testament to the New Testament allude to the events in such a way that their historicity is assumed. Take, for example, specific verses regarding the creation of the Universe by God. The distinct impression is given in Genesis chapter 1 that God orally spoke everything into existence, rather than using some naturalistic, time-laden process. In what is obviously an actual historical setting, reported to us in a literal context of Scripture, Moses informs the Israelites situated at the base of Mt. Sinai—
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work…. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11, emp. added).
No Israelite listening to this declaration would have ever conceived the notion that God created everything in the Universe over a period of millions and billions of years. The correlation between the days of Genesis 1 and the six-day work week enjoined upon people under the Law of Moses would have been unmistakable and could have been understood in no other way but literally.
Another example is seen in Psalm 33—which is certainly written in standard Hebrew metrical verse—but poetry that conveys literal truth. Speaking of God’s creative powers, David declared:
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6-9, emp. added).
The figurative elements of this poetic passage are seen in the notions of “breath” and “mouth”—physical attributes that would not literally, physically characterize God Who is “spirit” (John 4:24; cf. Luke 24:39). But the oral aspect of God speaking the physical realm into existence is literal, even as God literally and audibly spoke to people throughout history (e.g., Genesis 12:1ff.; 22:12; Exodus 3:4ff.; Matthew 3:17; 17:5).
Still another example is seen in the psalmist’s call for praise by inanimate creation:
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens! (Psalm 148:1-4).
Here is an excellent instance of figurative language. Obviously, the Sun, Moon, stars, and waters cannot literally, audibly praise God. Yet, having been created by God, they reflect their Maker. They manifest attributes that demonstrate their divine origin (cf. Psalm 19:1ff.). Hence, the next verse declares: “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created” (vs. 5). Here is yet another forthright indication that the impression projected by the Genesis account, that God literally spoke the Universe into existence, is an accurate impression, in spite of the fact that this truth is couched in figurative language.
We must ever remember that the Bible is unlike any other book on the planet. It reflects its own divine origin by the attributes that it possesses. It does not divulge its divine message in a sterile vacuum in which a writer expounds lofty ideals, or by means of a listing of ethical “do’s and don’ts.” Rather, by means of the Bible, God conveys His message to mankind in history (cf. Wharton, 1977). We are introduced to the beginning of the Universe, the beginning of the human race, and thereafter we are treated to a sequential, historical narrative that guides us through 4,000 years of human history, climaxing with God’s own personal visit to the Earth. This is all history! And it is clearly intended to be understood literally.


The book of Genesis explains the Creation of the Universe, the corruption of humanity by sin, the catastrophe of the global Flood, and the confusion at Babel. Amazingly, it provides the foundation for anthropology, biology, astronomy, geology, and a host of other disciplines. Critical doctrines that impact all of humanity are rooted in the events described in Genesis, including the necessity of clothing—human modesty—and why we organize our lives in terms of a seven day week. More crucial doctrines that pertain to eternity are also approached early on, including why humans sin, why humans die, and why Jesus would have to die on the cross. The very meaning of human existence is clarified by examining the book of Genesis.
Listen carefully to Charles Darwin’s autobiographical statement regarding the shift that occurred in his thinking that led to his belief in evolution: “I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian” (pp. 85-86). The integrity of the entire Bible is seriously undermined when anyone compromises the literal, historical nature of the book of Genesis, with its critical teaching on origins. Obstinately clinging to evolution, theistic or otherwise, and stubbornly insisting on a relaxed, devalued interpretation of Genesis, can only end in a diluted religion.
May we love God. May we love His Word. May we defend it against all efforts to destroy its integrity and message. May we pore over its contents—as if our lives, the lives of our family, and the lives of those we influence depend upon it. For, indeed, they do.


Barlow, Nora, ed. (1959), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882 with Original Omissions Restored (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World).
Boyd, Stephen (2005), “A Proper Reading of Genesis 1:1-2:3,” in Don DeYoung, Thousands…Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Bullinger, E.W. (1898), Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968 reprint).
Bultmann, Rudolf (1958), Jesus Christ and Mythology (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).
“Bush Says Creation ‘Not Incompatible’ With Evolution” (2008), Fox News, December 9, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/09/bush-says-creation-incompatible-evolution#ixzz1OWvPq9Ma.
Cosner, Lita (2010), “The Use of Genesis in the New Testament,” Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/genesis-new-testament.
Dungan, D.R. (1888), Hermeneutics (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Jackson, Wayne (1986), “The Teaching of Evolution at Abilene Christian University,” Christian Courier, 21[9]:33-35, January.
Lockhart, Clinton (1915), Principles of Interpretation (Delight, AR: Gospel Light), revised edition.
Morris, Henry, ed. (1987), “Abilene Christian University Sponsors Seminar on Creation and Age of the Earth,” Acts & Facts, 16[5]:4, May.
New England Primer(1805), http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/his341/nep1805contents.html.
Ramm, Bernard, et al. (1987), Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Terry, Milton (no date), Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), reprint.
Thompson, Bert (1986), Is Genesis Myth? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Webster, Noah (1857), The Elementary Spelling Book (New York, NY: American Book Company).
Wharton, Ed (1977), Christianity: A Clear Case of History! (West Monroe, LA: Howard Book House).

Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life? by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


Have Synthetic Biologists Created Life From Non-Life?

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

You may have heard of the field of science known as synthetic biology. In this highly advanced area of science, engineers utilize their understanding of biology to “create” new life forms not found in nature. According to SyntheticBiology.org, synthetic biology involves “the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems” and “the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes” (“Synthetic Biology,” 2012). Perhaps this conjures up in your mind, as it does in the minds of many others, images of Dr. Frankenstein sewing pieces of dead tissue together into a monster on his laboratory table and bringing it to life. Is this what goes on in synthetic biology? Can scientists create life?
In a word: no. Life cannot come from non-life without supernatural help (cf. Miller, 2012). God alone “gives to all life” (Acts 17:25). Notice that a careful reading of what synthetic biology involves reveals that these engineers are designing and constructing new biological parts, not life; re-designing existing biological systems, not bringing systems to life. Earlier this year, The New York Times ran an article highlighting the remarkable work of Craig Venter, a synthetic biologist who is working on a project involving designing custom bugs. According to the article,
Each of the bugs will have a mission. Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA (Hylton, 2012).
There is no doubt that such feats of engineering would be worth high accolades and recognition from the scientific community but, again, Venter is not creating life itself.
Though the authors might wish to “accidentally” convey that idea, since such a feat would certainly attract more attention to the article, a careful reading of the fairly lengthy story reveals the truth. Venter’s methods involve manufacturing DNA and injecting it into a host cell. “It means taking four bottles of chemicals—the adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine that make up DNA—and linking them into a daisy chain at least half a million units long, then inserting that molecule into a host cell” that they hope will be able to reproduce. “[T]he DNA was modeled on a natural organism and was inserted into a natural cell.” So a cell is already alive and in existence, and the man-made (i.e, man-mixed) DNA is injected into the living cell. Venter, himself, notes that his team is constructing the DNA, not the cell. “It is just the DNA. You have to have the cell there to read it” (Hylton).
Notice also that the life forms being developed are not completely new designs. According to the article, “the DNA was modeled on a natural organism” (Hylton). Nobel laureate David Baltimore, commenting on Venter’s work, said, “He has not created life, only mimicked it” (Hylton). In other words, this is another example of biomimicry—an act of plagiarism, in a sense, when carried out by atheists.
So, life has not been created. The cell is already alive when it is manipulated by engineers using their DNA designs. A new life form is being designed, but life itself has not been created from non-life. The Law of Biogenesis stands. In nature, life comes only from life of its kind. God is needed in the recipe in order to arrive at life from non-life. [NOTE: For more on Venter and synthetic biology, see Deweese, 2010]


Deweese, Joe (2010), “Has Life Been Made From Scratch?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=3597.
Hylton, Wil S. (2012), “Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World,” The New York Times, May 30, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/magazine/craig-venters-bugs-might-save-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.
“Synthetic Biology” (2012), OpenWetWare, http://syntheticbiology.org/.

Who was Guided into all Truth? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Who was Guided into all Truth?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Just before Jesus was betrayed and killed by the hands of lawless men, He informed His apostles that there were many things that He did not have the opportunity to teach them before His death. Because the apostles could not “bear” those teachings at that time, Jesus promised them that the Spirit of truth would come after His departure. Concerning the Spirit, Jesus said: “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” Some have read this verse, and assumed that all people who become Christians, and who have the Holy Spirit living in them (1 John 3:24), will be guided into all truth. A closer look at the situation, however, shows that the promise to be “guided into all truth” was given only to the apostles, and not to all Christians in general.
Consider, first, that in the context of John 16, the Lord was addressing the apostles exclusively. In John 16:32, Jesus informed them, saying, “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone”—an exact prediction of what the apostles did in Gethsemane the night of the betrayal. This verse can be closely connected to Mark 13:11, where Jesus spoke to the apostles, saying, “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” Here, Jesus detailed the process by which the apostles would be inspired to preach God’s Word without having prepared a sermon or researched their topic.
In the New Testament books following the gospel accounts, we read about how Jesus’ promise to the apostles came true. Acts 2 informs us that the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and gave them miraculous powers, thereby inspiring them to preach the Word. Acts 2:42 explains that the converts continued in the “apostle’s doctrine,” which would be the case because that doctrine was given to them by the Holy Spirit. Paul, in writing to the brethren at Ephesus, described the Gospel of Christ, “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men,” as having “now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:5). And just a few verses prior to this statement, he told the Ephesian brethren that they were members of the “household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20). The apostle Peter wrote to remind his readers of “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2). In writing to the Thessalonians, Paul rejoiced that the brethren received his words “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). He also reminded the Christians in Corinth: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37).
After the ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, and brought to their minds all the things that Jesus had said (John 14:26), in addition to further revelations that entailed “all truth.” When the apostles was brought before rulers or councils, they did not have to premeditate their speech, because the Holy Spirit provided the substance of it for them. The inspired apostles and prophets recorded those inspired thoughts in the various books of the Bible. The revelation recorded in the Bible was so complete that the apostle Peter wrote to his readers that God “has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Jude recorded that the faith (meaning the body of teaching) was “once and for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). And the apostle Paul wrote that even if an angel of heaven preached another Gospel than that which was delivered by the apostles, that angel was to be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
The apostles were led into all truth, which was recorded in the Bible and faithfully passed down to us. The promise of being guided into “all truth” was never intended for every Christian, and it is clear that it does not apply to Christians today. If any Christian wants to speak the Word of God, he or she cannot refuse to study God’s Word, and simply assume that the Holy Spirit will directly put God’s Word on his or her heart. In fact, Christians today, instead of being promised a miraculous knowledge endowed by the Holy Spirit without thought on their part, are commanded “to study” or “be diligent” to know God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), and to “give attention to reading” the Word of God (1 Timothy 4:13). There is no truth pertinent to the salvation of the lost that the apostles did not receive. We, therefore, can conclude that Jesus’ promise that the apostles would be guided into all truth was fulfilled. We further can conclude that no one living today has been given that promise, and that God’s Word has been definitively delivered to the saints once and for all.

Did Moses Make a Scientific Mistake? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Did Moses Make a Scientific Mistake?

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


The Bible speaks of two animals, the coney and the hare, as “chewing the cud.” Isn't the Bible mistaken on this point? These animals do not actually chew the cud, do they?


An infidel once wrote: “Something that has long perplexed me is the way that inerrancy proponents can so easily find ‘scientific foreknowledge’ in obscurely worded Bible passages but seem completely unable to see scientific error in statements that were rather plainly written.” This skeptic then cited Leviticus 11:5-6, where the coney and the hare are said to chew the cud, and boasted that since these animals do not have compartmentalized stomachs like those in ruminants (e.g., the cow), Moses clearly made a mistake. What shall we say to this charge?
First, no scientific mistake can be attributed to the Bible unless all of the facts are fully known. In such an alleged case, the biblical assertion must be unambiguous. The scientific information must be factual. And an indisputable conflict must prevent any harmonization of the two. Do these criteria obtain in this matter? They do not.
Second, we must note that the words “coney” (Hebrew shaphan) and “hare” (arnebeth) are rare and difficult words in the Old Testament. The former is found but four times, and the latter only twice. The etymology of the terms is obscure. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament), shaphan is rendered by dasupoda, meaning “rough foot,” and arnebethbecomes choirogrullion, literally, “swine-pig.” Hence, identification becomes a factor. It is commonly believed, however, that the arnebeth is some species of hare, and that shaphandenotes the Syrian hyrax.
But, so it is claimed, neither of these chews the cud. A number of scholars have noted that both of these animals, even when at rest, masticate, much like the cow or sheep, and that Moses thus employed phenomenal language (i.e., describing something as it appears), for the purpose of ready identification, inasmuch as these creatures were ceremonially unclean and thus prohibited for use as food (Archer, 1982, p. 126).
That is not an impossible solution. Bats, for example, are listed along with birds in Leviticus 11, not because both are mammals, but simply because both fly. The Scriptures do not necessarily follow the arbitrary classification systems of man. When Christ said that the mustard seed is “less than all seeds,” (Matthew 13:33), He was speaking from the vantage point of the Palestinian citizen—not that of a modern botanist. We today employ phenomenal jargon when we speak of the Sun “rising and setting.” Technically, it is not correct to refer to a woman’s amniotic fluid as “water,” and yet doctors employ this language frequently. Why do we not allow the biblical writers as much literary license as we ourselves employ? The bias of agnosticism is utterly incredible.
There is, however, another factor that must be taken into consideration. Rumination does not necessarily involve a compartmentalized stomach system. One definition of “ruminate” is simply “to chew again that which has been swallowed” (Webster’s Dictionary). And oddly enough, that is precisely what the hare does. Though the hare does not have a multi-chambered stomach—which is characteristic of most ruminants—it does chew its food a second time. It has been learned rather recently that hares pass two types of fecal material.
In addition to normal waste, they pass a second type of pellet known as a caecotroph. The very instant the caecotroph is passed, it is grabbed and chewed again.... As soon as the caecotroph is chewed thoroughly and swallowed, it aggregates in the cardiac region of the stomach where it undergoes a second digestion (Morton, 1978, pp. 179-181).
This complicated process provides the rabbit with 100% more riboflavin, 80% more niacin, 160% more pantothenic acid, and a little in excess of 40% more vitamin B12 (Harrison, 1980, p. 121). In a comparative study of cows and rabbits, Jules Carles concluded that rumination should not be defined from an anatomical point of view (e.g., the presence of a four-part stomach); rather, it should be viewed from the standpoint of a mechanism for breeding bacteria to improve food. Cows and rabbits are similar in that both possess a fermentation chamber with microorganisms that digest otherwise indigestible plant material, converting it into nutrients. Some of the microorganisms in these two animals are the same, or very similar. Carles has stated that on this basis “it is difficult to deny that rabbits are ruminants” (as quoted in Brand, 1977, p. 104). Dr. Bernard Grzimek, Director of the Frankfurt Zoological Gardens in Germany, likewise has classified the hare as a ruminant (1975, pp. 421-422).
On the other hand, the hyrax also is considered by some to be a ruminant, based upon the fact that it has a multiple digestive process.
The hyrax has a very long protrusion, a caecum, and two additional caeca near the colon. At least one of these protrusions participates in decomposition of cellulose. It contributes certain enzymes necessary for breakdown of the cellulose (Morton, 1978, p. 184).
Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia (1975) considers the hyrax as a ruminant. Professor Joseph Fischel of the University of California has suggested that the biblical allusion to the coney as a cud-chewer probably was due “to the structure of its digestive system, the protuberances in its large stomach together with its appendix and maw possibly being regarded as analogous to a ruminant’s four stomachs” (1971, p. 1144). In his significant study of the intestinal microflora in herbivores, scientist Richard McBee observed that the hyrax has a fermentation chamber for the digestion of grass by microorganisms (as quoted in Brand, 1977, p. 103).
Finally, the precise meaning of gerah, rendered “chewing the cud” in most versions, is uncertain. Many orthodox Jews consider it simply to mean a second mastication, or the semblance of chewing. Samuel Clark stated that the meaning of gerah “became expanded, and the rodents and pachyderms, which have a habit of grinding with their jaws, were familiarly spoken of as ruminating animals” (1981, 1:546).
In view of the foregoing facts, it is extremely presumptuous to suggest that the Mosaic account contains an error relative to these creatures. A sensible interpretive procedure and/or an acquaintance with accurate information would have eliminated such a rash and unwarranted conclusion.


Archer, Gleason (1982), Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Brand, Leonard R. (1977), “Do Rabbits Chew the Cud?,” Origins, 4(2):102-104.
Clark, Samuel (1981), “Leviticus,” The Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Fischel, Joseph W. (1971), “Hyrax,” Encyclopedia Judaica (New York: Macmillan).
Grzimek, Bernard, ed. (1975), Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold).
Harrison, R.K. (1980), Leviticus (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Morton, Jean Sloat (1978), Science in the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody).

Common Sense, Miracles, and the Apparent Age of the Earth by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Common Sense, Miracles, and the Apparent Age of the Earth

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

To many people, the Earth looks extremely old—not hundreds or thousands of years old, but millions or billions of years old. When these individuals hear a creationist talk about a “young Earth” that is only a few thousand years old, they may wonder how someone could hold such a view. “How can anyone look at Earth and think it was created less than 10,000 years ago?” Aside from their reliance on faulty (and often contradictory) assumption-based radiometric dating methods, evolutionists simply believe the Earth looks exceedingly old. The Earth’s rocks, hills, canyons, and mountains leave them with the impression that the Earth has been around for billions of years.


One must first recognize that evolutionary theory demands an old Earth. As evolutionist Michael Le Page acknowledged in 2008: “A young Earth would…be a problem for evolution, since evolution by natural selection requires vast stretches of time—‘deep time’—as Darwin realized” (198[2652]:26, emp. added). He went on to admit forthrightly that one of the main “sorts of findings…that could have falsified evolution…is a young Earth” (p. 26). If it is the case that a young Earth would be a lethal blow to evolutionary theory, it should come as no surprise that evolutionists cannot help but see the Earth as being billions of years old. Even if they did not always have “old-Earth impressions,” the man-made theory of evolution demands such an interpretation of our planet, else the entire theory of evolution would have to be abandoned. [NOTE: Evolution should be abandoned anyway since it is impossible—whether the Earth is young or old. What’s more, many dating methods exist that point to a young Earth (see Humphreys, 2005).]


How does anyone actually know what a billion-year-old Earth looks like? Older humans can be identified accurately as “old” (1) because their actual birthdates can be known (i.e, people witnessed their births and gave them birth certificates), and (2) possibly because their appearance can be compared to both older and younger people. The same can be said for animals and plants. People can know exactly when various animals were born or when a tree was planted. But what about the Earth as a whole? No one was alive when this or any other planet was “born.” No one was present on Earth to see the first rock formed, hill raised, or canyon created. How can anyone reasonably say, “The Earth looks billions of years old”? Old compared to what?


People who contend that the Earth appears billions of years old must also discount the very real possibility that one or more great catastrophes could have occurred in the past to drastically change the appearance of the Earth. Many have witnessed how earthquakes, local floods, volcanoes, etc. have radically altered the looks of certain places on Earth (e.g., Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake). Consider how a tree that has been struck by lightning or damaged during a flood might appear much older than it is. Newly formed igneous rocks from volcanoes often appear old. A person in his twenties who is badly burned may appear as if he is much older—perhaps two or three times his real age. In truth, Christians rightly interpret the Earth based upon the fact that only a few thousand years ago, God supernaturally altered the Earth’s appearance forever by causing “all the fountains of the great deep” to break up and the “windows of heaven” to open, bringing rain “on the Earth for forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11-12; cf. Psalm 104:6-8). Most of the oil, coal beds, fossil graveyards, etc. in the Earth, which many contend are evidence of an old Earth, can be easily and rationally explained as a result of the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-8; see Whitcomb and Morris, 1961). In short, even if it could be proven that “the Earth looks very old,” evolutionists cannot rationally deny that such apparent age could be the result of one or more great catastrophes.


The fact that the Earth appeared older than it actually was at Creation is perfectly logical in light of the nature of God’s miracles. When Jesus miraculously turned water to wine, He did not plant a vine, wait for the grapes to grow over the course of several years, and then harvest them. He supernaturally by-passed this normal, time-laden process and instantaneously made an extremely tasty drink (John 2:1-10). When Jesus fed several thousand men, women, and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21), He did not make the large amounts of bread needed to feed this many people after planting a crop of wheat, waiting months for it to grow, and then harvesting, threshing, grinding, and baking it. Again, Jesus by-passed a lengthy, natural process and miraculously created bread. Similarly, God made the creation full-grown. He made “the fruit tree” (Genesis 1:11), not just a seed that would eventually grow into a fruit-bearing tree. He created “every winged bird” (Genesis 1:21), not eggs from which birds would hatch months later. He created a grown man capable of walking, talking, working, and procreating (Genesis 1:26-2:25). God miraculously made a mature Creation.


Certainly one of the most amazing, time-defying, mature miracles of God’s Creation was the creation of the heavenly bodies on day four. God had previously made light (intrinsic light) on day one of Creation; on day four He made the generators of light. [NOTE: Keep in mind that “the Father of lights” (James 1:17), Who is “light” (1 John 1:5), could easily create light without first having to create the Sun. Just as God could produce a fruit-bearing tree on day three without a seed, He could produce light supernaturally on day one without the “usual” light bearers.] Since light travels nearly six trillion miles per year, and since some stars are an estimated 15 billion light years away, evolutionists assume that the Universe must be at least 15 billion years old. Otherwise, how could we see the light from stars that are so far away?
Once again, the answer (or at least a major part of the answer) to this supposed conundrum goes back to the fact that God worked an amazing miracle at Creation. When God created the heavenly bodies (the generators of light) on day four of Creation, He simultaneously (and supernaturally!) made their light to appear on Earth. Light that might naturally take long amounts of time to reach Earth, miraculously reached Earth in an instant. Just as God had said on day one, “‘Let there be light’…and there was light” (Genesis 1:3), on day four He said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens…. And it was so” (1:14,15). These lights were created to “give light on the earth” (1:15,17) and to “divide the day from the night” (1:14,18). God also “set them in the firmament of the heavens…for signs and seasons, and for days and years” (1:17,14, emp. added). God had a purpose for creating the heavenly bodies, and He made them so that man benefitted from them without having to wait long periods of time for their light to reach Earth.
Starlight did not have to travel for 15 billion years before reaching Earth. When God made Adam and Eve two days after His creation of the heavenly bodies, the first couple immediately profited from God’s miraculous creation of starlight. The first couple did not sleep under starless skies for years waiting for light from distant stars to reach Earth. God spoke the stars and their light raysinto existence. Similar to how God created full-grown trees in one day (which if cut down may have had dozens or hundreds of visible tree rings), God made light from far-away stars appear instantly. Indeed, considering the nature of God’s miracles at Creation, a star that might “appear” to be extremely old, is actually only a few thousand years old. [NOTE: It is beyond the purview of this article to answer every quibble about starlight and time. Plausible, creation-friendly explanations regarding fluctuations in light from stars, the formation of supernovas, etc. have been offered by various scientists (see Norman and Setterfield, 1987; Humphreys, 1994). Evolutionary physicist João Magueijo (2003) has even proposed that the speed of light is not a constant.]


The fact that the Earth and Universe may appear much older than it is in no way bolsters the case for evolution. In truth, Scripture reveals that both the miracle of a mature Creation and the cataclysmic Flood are adequate explanations for a perceived “old Earth.”


Humphreys, Russell (1994), Starlight and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: Master Books).
Humphreys, Russell (2005), “Evidence for a Young World,” Institute for Creation Research, http://www.icr.org/article/evidence-for-young-world/.
Le Page, Michael (2008), “Evolution: The Ultimate Guide to a Beautiful Theory,” New Scientist, 198[2652]:24-33, April 19.
Magueijo, João (2003), Faster Than the Speed of Light (New York: Perseus).
Norman, Trevor and Barry Setterfield (1987), The Atomic Constants, Light, and Time, Technical Report (Menlo Park, CA: Stanford Research Institute International).
Whitcomb, John and Henry Morris (1961), The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).