How the Twenty-first century man is too sophisticated for the Bible
There is no other chapter in the entire Bible that so eloquently and succinctly defines and illustrates the nature of saving faith as does Hebrews 11. The opening verses define the nature of faith in two words “substance” and “evidence” that focus on the origin of the universe, which is the foundation for trust by those whose lives are recounted in the remaining chapter. We are further told that without faith it is impossible to please God, so that faith becomes an absolute necessity, it is not a negotiable characteristic, something that we can do without, but an absolute essential ingredient in the life of a person who is pleasing to God.
Saving faith first brings us back to Genesis 1 to believe God that all things were created out of nothing by the sheer power of His spoken word. This truth about faith is understood from the words,
“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
The person of faith trusts in what he does not see or we believe what God has said in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We do no harm to the text of scripture to take it one step further and understand that all God created was not made from something visible. God created all living things as we know them to be right now. A rock is a rat is a pig is a boy is just not true. Chance did not make a man from a monkey but God made a man as it is written, “so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” The material universe did not create itself; neither did it advance God’s cause by developing that which did not already exist. Many are the commentators that agree with this analysis, here are just a few.
C H Spurgeon
“There was no pre-existent matter, the world was made by God’s word, so that prior to the things which are seen, there existed that which is not seen. We, dear friends, when we are trusting in the unseen God, are going back to first principles; we are getting to that which is the essence and the source of all. The next verse illustrates the worship of faith.
It is only by believing the inspired record that we can obtain a true understanding of the wondrous work of creation. Science and reason are of little or no avail here, but the opening words of divine revelation explain the great mystery: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
They were not evolved out of something else that existed before; evolution is a rank lie against revelation. The worlds were not made, not one of them was made, out of something pre-existent; but they were framed by the Word of God, and the things which are seen were not made of things which are seen.
That is one of the earliest lessons of faith. We do not discover the secrets of Creation by mere reason, or the teachings of science; it is only by revelation that the marvelous story can reach us. Faith accepts the inspired declaration that God made all things, and that the things that are seen were made out of things that are not seen, so that, after all, the foundation of everything is that which is not seen. The visible is but a dream; the things which are round about us are the transient things that shall all pass away. The things that are not seen are eternal, and shall abide forever. The things which are seen were made out of the invisible, not out of things which are seen.
Things that we see were not made out of things that we see. They were brought out of the unseen by the word of God; so that, really, the word of God is the foundation of everything that has been formed by him; and, after all, things material—created and seen—are not truly substantial. They are but shadows; the real substance is that which never can be seen, even the ever-blessed God, whose voice—whose word—created the heavens and the earth.
The facts about creation must be the subject of faith. It is true that they can be substantiated, by the argument from design, and in other ways; still, for a wise purpose as I believe, God has not made even that matter of the creation of the universe perfectly clear to human reason, so there is room for the exercise of faith. Men like to have everything laid down according to the rules of mathematical precision, but God desires them to exercise faith; and, therefore, he has not acted according to their wishes.
By faith, we know more about the creation of the world than philosophy can ever teach us, it has invented the most remarkable and ridiculous theories of how the worlds were made and men produced. We have the truth here; the worlds were framed by the word of God, not made of things which existed previously, but spoken out of nothing by the voice of the Almighty.”
The Expositors Bible says,
“Had the visible world been formed out of materials which were subject to human observation, there would have been no room for faith. Science could have traced it back to its origin. Evolution only pushes the statement a stage back. There is still an unseen force that does not submit itself to experimental science, and this is the object of faith.”
Steven Cole writes…
“You can only understand that by faith, because no one was there to observe it. The prevailing current worldview, that matter always existed and that the current universe, including man, happened by sheer chance over billions of years, is based on blind faith, because there is no evidence to support it. The biblical view, that the eternal God spoke it into existence, is based on faith, but not on blind faith. There is abundant evidence that an incredibly intelligent Designer created everything, especially human life. You would think that a discovery such as human DNA, which shows amazing design, would cause all scientists to fall down in worship before God. But as Paul explains (Ro 1:18, 19, 20, 21, 22), sinful men sup-press the truth in unrighteousness. They become futile in their speculations, their foolish hearts are darkened, and professing to be wise, they become fools.”
J Ligon Duncan
“Aristotle had taught them that the world had always been, because nothing from nothing comes. So, since there is something there now, there must have always been something. So, the Greeks believed in the eternity of matter, by and large. They wouldn’t have looked out at the world and said, “You know, the fact that the world is here testifies to us that there must have been some Supreme Being apart from the world and distinct from the world that brought this world into being. The author of Hebrews says, “You know it is by faith that you know, it is by faith that you understand when you look out at this world, that God did, in fact, bring it into being.”
Look at the language. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” So in one sentence, it tells us that faith understands this world has not just always been. This is a repudiation of Carl Sagan 2,000 years ahead of time. When Carl Sagan said the cosmos is all there is and all there ever was and all there ever will be, the author of Hebrews is waiting there to say, “No, by faith, we understand that the world has not just always been the way it is now.” It did not generate itself, but rather, it was created out of nothing by God speaking it into being. And faith is the instrument which keeps you from looking at the world like a naturalistic pagan. Faith enables you to see something that you might miss if you are looking at it with the eyes of a man who wants to stand apart from God and judging His creation.”
Dr Martin Lloyd Jones
‘We accept the biblical teaching with regard to creation and do not base our position upon theories of evolution, whichever particular theory people may choose to advocate. We must assert that we believe in the being of one first man called Adam, and one first woman called Eve. We reject the notion of pre-Adamic man because it is contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.
‘Now someone may ask, “Why do you care about this? Is this essential to your doctrine of salvation? Are you not falling into the very error of over-particularization against which you warned us at the beginning?” I suggest that I am not, and for these reasons. If we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must say that about the whole of the Bible, and when the Bible presents itself to us as history, we must accept it as history. I would contend that the early chapters of Genesis, the first three chapters of Genesis, are given to us as history. We know that there are pictures and symbols in the Bible, and when the Bible uses symbol and parable it indicates that it is doing so, but when it presents something to us in the form of history, it requires us to accept it as history.
‘We must therefore hold to the vital principle, to which I have referred earlier, of the wholeness and the close interrelationship of every part of the biblical message. The Bible does not merely make statements about salvation. It is a complete whole: it tells you about the origin of the world and of man; it tells you what has happened to him, how he fell and the need of salvation arose, it then tells how God provided this salvation and how He began to reveal it in parts and portions. Nothing is as amazing about the Bible as its wholeness, the perfect interrelationship of all the parts.’
‘Therefore these early chapters of Genesis with their history play a vital part in the whole doctrine of salvation. Take for instance the argument of the apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans 5:12-21. Paul’s whole case is based upon that one man Adam and his one sin, and the contrast with the other one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His one great act. You have exactly the same thing in I Corinthians 15; the apostle’s whole argument rests upon the historicity. Indeed, it seems to me that one of the things we have got to assert, these days in particular—and it should always have been asserted—is that our Gospel, our faith, is not a teaching; it is not a philosophy; it is primarily a history.
‘The apostles, you remember, on the day of Pentecost, filled with the Holy Spirit, were talking about the wonderful works of God. The works of salvation are God’s acts! The Bible is a record of God’s activity. Salvation is not an idea; it is something that results from actions which have taken place on the concrete plain of history. Historicity is a very vital matter. As I say, it is the very key to understanding the apostle Paul’s elaboration of his doctrine of salvation.’
D.M. Lloyd-Jones, What is an Evangelical? Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh (91 pp.), 1992. ISBN 0-85151-626-2. This article only excerpts small parts of the book that is highly recommended reading.
Who do We Believe
Some have decided that unsaved scientists could not be blinded by sin regarding origins, so that God must be behind evolution. In this case some deny evolution and creation at the same time. Hebrews 11:3 does not say God was overseeing the evolutionary process whereby all things evolved over many ages as species rose higher and higher until they arrived at man. Rather it says that God created all things so that they DID NOT arise out of what is seen.
God is not honored when we give evolution the credit for creation of the complexity of the universe, from the smallest microcosm to the largest macrocosm of creation. God is honored and glorified when we give Him full credit for it all. There is no evolution in John 1:3, "All things came into being by Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Clearly stated nothing is in existence that He did not create. Procreation and evolution are two contrary means of sustaining the created order. Procreation is breeding from the same kind of animal or person to the same kind, and by that means it furthers the created but does not change specific kinds of creatures. Evolution, however is just that, a means of changing what already exists.
In Hebrews 11 we are told, "By faith… we understand…” not by empirical analysis but by faith; in other words, we have to believe the Bible. Paul tells us in Colossians 1,
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, 1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.” Vs. 15-16
What does God mean by all? "In the heavens" that would be everything that exists in the universe, "And on the earth" is everything in our little microcosm of a planet. He said "Visible and invisible" we can see a mountain which means He made that, and we cannot see the wind, which means He made that too. We can see an ocean, which means He made it, and we cannot see a virus going through the air, which means He made that too. Visible and invisible and that include angelic beings called thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities, all things have been created by Him and for Him. All things did not evolved but were created by Him.
Many biblical interpreters have attempted to avoid the obvious conflict between a straightforward reading of the text of Genesis and opposing naturalist theories of origins. They have done so by suggesting that Genesis chapters 1 through 11 and especially the first three chapters are poetic writings rather than chronological history. This position is surprisingly common among people who generally hold to a high view of scriptural authority. Henry Morris summarizes the New Testament usage of the Old in this way. He says,
"The New Testament is, if anything, even more dependent on Genesis than the Old. There are at least 165 passages in Genesis that are either directly quoted or clearly referred to in the New Testament. Many of them are alluded to more than once so that there are at least 200 quotations or reference to Genesis in the New Testament. It is significant that the portion of Genesis which has been the object of the greatest attacks of skepticism and unbelief, the first eleven chapters, is the portion which had the greatest influence on the New Testament. There exist over 100 quotations or direct references to Genesis 1 through 11 in the New Testament. Furthermore, every one of those eleven chapters is alluded to somewhere in the New Testament, and every one of the New Testament authors refers somewhere in his writings to Genesis 1 to 11."
"Furthermore, in not one of these many instances where the Old or New Testament refers to Genesis is there the slightest evidence that the writers regarded the events or personages as myths or allegories. To the contrary, they all viewed Genesis as absolutely historical true and authoritative,"
Thank you, Henry, that’s good stuff. Walter Brown lists some 71 New Testament references to the early chapters of Genesis and concludes,
"Every New Testament writer refers to the early chapters of Genesis, everyone. Jesus Christ referred to each of the first seven chapters of Genesis. All New Testament books except Galatians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 2 & 3 John refer to Genesis 1 to 11. Every chapter of Genesis 1 to 11 except chapter 8 is referred to specifically somewhere in the New Testament. Every New Testament writer apparently accepted those early chapters as historically accurate."
Now if you go back to the book of Genesis for a moment, the outline of Genesis further supports the historicity of the first chapters. We can outline the book of Genesis as follows, primitive history chapters 1 to 11, and patriarchal history chapters 12 to 50; it is very well divided. Genesis 1-11 or primitive history or the account of creation, the fall, the flood, and the dispersion, then 12 to 50 patriarchal history Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Nobody will argue that 12 to 50 is history, why do they argue that 1 to 11 is history? They really don’t want to argue that the Flood was not history because there are so many evidences of it. They don’t necessarily want to argue that the dispersion, Tower of Babel and the nations and the language is not history either. There has to be some explanation for the diversity of languages and nations. What they really want to argue with has to do with the first three chapters of Genesis and what they are most concerned to argue with is creation. They think that science has made its point and debunked the Bible, but Genesis is history.
In fact, a fast lesson in Genesis, at chapter 5 the word "generation" is "genealogy," or history. Chapter 5 verse 1, "This is the book of the genealogy of Adam." Chapter 6 verse 9, "These are the records of the genealogy of Noah." Chapter 10 verse 1, "These are the records of the genealogy of Shem, Ham and Japheth." Chapter 11 verse 10, "These are the records of the generations of Shem." Verse 27, "These are the records of the generations of Terah." Chapter 25 and verse 12, "These are the records of the generations of Ishmael" Verse 19 "These are the records of the generations of Isaac." And so it goes. You can just divide this entire book into historical records. That is what it is. If you go backwards you go from the history of Joseph to Jacob to Esau to Isaac to Ishmael to Abraham to Terah to Shem, Ham, Japheth, Noah, Adam, and God. It is history! It’s ludicrous when there are so many clear-cut statements in the Bible that Genesis is history to make it something else like poetry.
IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN I AM GLAD YOU ARE READING THIS BLOG AND I WANT TO TELL YOU THE BIBLE IS GOD’S HOLY WORD, THAT IT IS TRUE ON EVERY PAGE AND ACCURATE IN EVERY WORD. YOU CAN BELIEVE IT TO THE SAVING OF YOUR SOUL. FURTHERMORE, UNDERSTAND THAT SCIENCE PROVES NOTHING THAT DISCREDITS GOD’S WORD. THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY BOOK THAT ADEQUATELY DESCRIBES THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, AND IT IS THE ONLY BOOK THAT IS REASONABLE ABOUT HOW ALL THINGS CAME INTO BEING FROM NOTHING – GOD DID IT. GOD’S WORD IS TRUE ABOUT CREATION, SIN, SALVATION, CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION, AND JUDGMENT TO COME.
DON’T AVOID JUDGMENT BY BELIEVING THE LIE THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE AND THE BIBLE HAS BEEN DEBUNKED. RATHER, BELIEVE THE ONLY REASONABLE TRUTH THAT GOD IS GOING TO JUDGE THE WORLD FOR SIN; HOWEVER, JUDGMENT FELL ON CHRIST TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO, BELIEVE HE DID THAT FOR YOU! FLEE THE WRATH TO COME BY BELIEVING IN THE ONLY INFALLIBLE BOOK IN THE WORLD – THE BIBLE.