Musings on Creation
Pastor C. W. Powell
I do not intend to be bound by a regular schedule or to develop these sermons in logical and regular way. My method, which is my usual method for instruction, is an overlay method; I will keep going over the same things, but from different viewpoints, and will gradually develop the ideas that I believe are so critical for our modern day.
God reveals Himself
We must remember that in the creation of the heaven and the earth, great cosmic and spiritual force is being expended by God that in no way lessened Him in any way. The creative power of His word in no way diminished His being, nor are any of the things that He made endowed with any of the essence of God. The Universe is not an emanation from God, as if God used up something of Himself in order to create it.
Therefore, the universe, though real and possessed of real existence, owes its complete existence to God, and it is upheld by the powerful Word of God. These things help us to understand that in no way can we understand the huge processes and events that took place at the Creation of the world. This teaches us to be humble when we think of such things, for we cannot attain to them. We can push back the horizons of our knowledge, for the universe is a fit object for examination and study by man, but we also must realize that no matter how far back we push the horizon there will be great things that lie beyond: The ways of God are a great ocean to us, as Paul says, ``O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out.'' (Rom. 11:33).
Because God dwells in eternity, his essence is not accessible to us who live in space and time, and we can only know him by his works, in terms of a mediator. The world reflects the glory of God as in a mirror. In it we see displayed the wisdom, and power, and glory of the Creation, and especially in the creation of man.
Thus, metaphor and parable are essential to the revelation of God. There is nothing ``like'' God (Isaiah 40), but all of Creation reveals Him, and we can learn something of Him by the mighty works that He has done.
Yes, It is Hard to Understand
We do not deny that there are problems of understanding, when we come to the creation of the heavens and the earth. The more we study, the more the problems are focused. The simple biblical account seems to indicate a young earth, perhaps no more than ten thousand years. Yet even ancient writers indicate that they recognized that the earth bears the appearance of being very old. Such is the case today, as scientific measurement and analysis advances. There have been many attempts to reconcile the differences.
Christians are not willing to surrender their belief in the Bible, for in Scripture we have found our Lord so clearly displayed, and He has met the needs of our deepest hearts, and there are so many objective verifications of the truth of Scripture, that we are unwilling to yield to the speculations of modern science about things that they cannot know. And I am not willing to do so. My faith in the authority of Scripture is no way shaken by what I read in the scientific literature, for so much that is about origins is nothing but vain speculation and foolish imagination.
So Much Faith in a Wobble!
For instance, on Friday I witnessed a short segment of television honoring two men who have discovered that there are planets orbiting stars many light years distance from our planet and solar system. This means, of course, that there might be many other planets, because there are so many other stars. This ``obviously'' means, that there is life on these planets. If there are so many billions of planets, some of them must be at the right distance from their sun to provide the right conditions for life. There also must be enough of them so that life must have evolved. So it is ``obvious'' that there must be life on other planets, which means that we are not unique in the universe, which ``obviously'' means that we are insignificant, which means that God would not have special care over this planet, which ``obviously'' means that Jesus Christ would not be the Son of God to come and die for us, which means that the Bible isn't true. It's "obvious.''
And what is the foundation for all this tremendous and shattering discovery? A couple of stars seem to wobble, indicated by the light that comes to us from them. Now, dearly beloved, we are accused of prejudice and bias for believing the Bible on MUCH MORE SOLID evidence, than wobbling stars and probability theory. Why don't they want to enter into the room of creation in their studies? If you saw a person expending so much energy and giving so many feeble excuses not to enter some room, you would be justified in thinking that there is some very strong reason why he would not want to go in there.
Why So Sad?
The greatest scientific news this week was the probe that was sent into the surface clouds of Jupiter. I watched some high mucky-muck of the Space Program being interviewed late in the week. His disappointment was obvious. He was acutely disappointed that (1) they had discovered very little water in the clouds of Jupiter and (2) there was no lightning, or very little. Why was this a disappointment? Because money is being spent even while we sit to attempt to create life by zapping a stew of inorganic material with electrical discharges, in the hope that simple amino acids might form, which are the building blocks of life, or so these people think. If there is no water, no lightning, then conditions could not exist on Jupiter for the evolution of life, and we have been wasting taxpayer's money. That is why the discovery of wobbling stars is so important; we can go on and on and on in the infinity of space until we find a planet with water and lightning.
But we can't in our lifetime because it is too far away; and present taxpayers will be long dead before our sham is discovered. Why are they so frightened to go into the room of creation? Because God is there. And He is the God of judgment. He is the God who will bring every thought and deed into scrutiny and judgment.
A Religious Dream
But there is more here. The bottom line of man's rejection of the Bible account is moral, not scientific. Yesterday, as I was coming home, I heard a song on the radio; the station was 1300, and some program was just signing off. I do not know what the program was, but I guess that it was Murphy's Law or some such thing. The song went something like this:
The world is my home
Doing good is my religion
No prophet no priest
No Bible I own.
My mind is my own truth,
This is all we need to have peace on earth.
In other words, this dream is the formula for a higher morality with great benefits for mankind. We have a greater morality, and we are better than those superstitious folk who hold to some authority in religion and look down on others.
The day before, I turned on TV to get the news, and Phil Donahue was just finishing up. He was going on and on about something like this: I think it was about strife in Middle East or Bosnia or something: “But these people have a book: a bible, or the Koran, or something. They think they have the Word of God. They KNOW what God says. They have a direct word from him. And this is the bottom line: THEY THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN YOU, because they have the word!! And so they feel justified in doing the most horrible things to you.''
What Phil didn't realize is that he was guilty of the same thing he was accusing Christians and Muslims of: He was trying to make his audience look down upon Christians and Muslims, and consider Phil Donahue a superior moral being because he isn't bound by such a debased view. Phil represented exactly what Romans 2 says, ``Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judges, for you that judge do the same things.'' Phil will glorify and accept every perversion, every debased and corrupt thing, and exalt them on his show, but he never treats with respect those who hold to absolutes in religion, for they condemn his own absolutes. Hate the haters has been the slogan all my life of those who are trying to replace the biblical faith of this country with their own self-glorified humanistic morality. They are still trying to defend their world view. It goes something like this.
1. The trouble in the world is because people hate each other.
2. The source of the hatred is dogmatism in religion. People think that their religion is right, and this leads them to hate others. Their view of morality springs from their view of religion, and they then despise those who behave in a way they think improper. One of the marks of mental illness is to believe that your religion is the only right one, given by God.
3. The religions of the world must be replaced with an enlightened humanism, which accepts all religions, as long as they are emptied of their theological content, and made to serve the humanistic dream, and peace on earth.
4. Therefore those who cling to their religious faith, and resist the attempt to redefine their religions in terms of humanism, must be branded as haters. This is true by definition, because clinging to their dogmatism causes them to despise others, which brings wars, etc.
5. This ignores the fundamental fact, that the hundreds of millions of people who have been slaughtered in this century were slaughtered by atheistic evolutionists. Two world wars; the horrors of Cambodia; the hundreds of millions sacrificed by communism. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and their followers by no means confessed any faith in the transcendent God of Christianity, or even of Mohammed or Israel. But the device is as old as the world: blame your crimes on your enemies, shift the blame; take the high moral ground, and condemn others. It is as old as Cain: ``Am I my brother's keeper? My punishment is greater than I can bear, '' is a whine of the criminal to try to seize the moral high ground, even if it means condemning God himself.
It is the whine of the serpent in the Garden: ``God doth know that in the day you eat, you will become as God's, knowing good and evil.'' The serpent tried to seize the high ground of morality, by saying that he had the true and best concerns of Adam and Eve in mind, and God was just being selfish, and didn't really look out for them. Listen to me, the Serpent said, and you will know what is really best for you.
Do not ever be deceived. The humanists of our day are proud and arrogant and self-righteous people. They are better than Christians because they are truly concerned about the environment, cruelty to animals, racism, and peace on earth. Christianity is an obstacle to their goodness that must be swept away, or at least made irrelevant. They are better, and wise, and more spiritual than you.
This is ultimately the reason why the first chapters of Genesis must be swept away. I would answer:
Yes, a great many horrible things have been done in the name of religion. Jesus said that the wolves would come in sheep's clothing. No one denies that. Horrible things have been done in the name of Christianity.
We are not afraid to look that demon in the face and exorcise it by confession and faith in the blood of Christ. It was wonderful to hear that the Southern Baptist Convention has apologized for their history of racism. As Christians we recognize that if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged.
But these slippery snakes of humanism do not judge themselves. Instead, they are experts at blame shifting. The totalitarian European racists regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, as well and hundreds of lesser lights in this century built their philosophies and power on evolutionary thinking. They advanced their thinking by trampling under the precepts of morality taught by Christ. They could not have been successful had they not stood upon the carcasses of Christian churches who had been stripped of their dignity, their theology, their faith in Christ, and their faith in the uniqueness of man, created in the image of God and redeemed by the blood of Christ.
The things indicated in the passage I read, refutes the superior moral pretenses of modern man.
1. God made the living things on the earth. He made them. They are His creatures, and He created them all good.
2. God made all things to be under the dominion of man. vs. 27,28. I can hear the humanists screaming at this idea; they have been screaming ever since I can remember. Man is to live at peace with nature; not in dominion over it. This is another example of blame shifting. It wasn't Bible Christians who raped the land and wasted it in this country. It was robber industrialists, social Darwinists, under the influence of theistic evolution that raped, and pillaged and destroyed.
3. Before the fall, both man and beast were vegetarian. After the fall a great change came in both man and beast. Flesh was given for man to eat, and was confirmed by the decree of God after the Flood: Gen. 9:1-6.
Also, explicitly, the murder of man was forbidden, although it was wicked from the beginning. (Cain and Abel) We will speak of this more later; a great deal of error enters the mind of man when he rejects man's fall and the judgment of God. Man cannot go back to paradise; he cannot gain God's favor by his work; he cannot remove the curse from creation; he cannot save himself.
The unbeliever comes in sheep's clothing. He wears the sheepskin, and when his rapine and pillage is exposed, he sheds his skin, and blames it on the sheep. John D. Rockefeller was not a Bible Christian; he was an evolutionist who justified his business practices in terms of evolution. Christianity was not the dominate religion of America in the 19th century. Harvard T. S. was founded in 1801 as the place where liberal ministers would be trained and with Union T. S. soon gained preeminence in theological education.
Theistic evolution has been the dominant theological system in America for well over one hundred years.
Evolution and the perfectibility of humanity have dominated American Theology. But when its weaknesses and sins are exposed, it is Christianity that gets blamed. The social system that nears bankruptcy and ruin in our day, the huge deficit spending programs, the social engineering, the huge sums expended on education, have not been spent in terms of a Christian philosophy, but in terms of humanism and evolutionary progress.
It is evolutionary humanism that has wasted our resources, bankrupted our governmental entities, destroyed our families, and left ruin and misery in our inner cities, promoted abortion and single parenthood, and transferred huge amounts of wealth from producers into the hands of groups favored by these humanists.
But when payday comes, somehow it is the Christians who are blamed, for being haters and greedy. While Rome burns, there is always a Nero to fiddle and blame it on the Christians.
The Salt of the Earth
``Ye are the salt of the earth,'' are the words of our Lord. This is the hope and the burden of Christianity. Our errors of theology are reflected in the secular society. The evolutionary and social agenda of humanism could never have been enacted without the compliance of professed Christian ministers and wealthy laymen who refused to resist pseudo-scientific theories, but incorporated them into their theology in order to be relevant and up to date.
Jesus didn't say, ``Ye ought to be the salt of the earth.'' He is declaring a fact, ordained by Him. The theological strengths and weakness of the church at large are reflected in the community. It has always been, and it will continue to be so. This is our hope, and this is our burden. The confession we make is not in vain.
Even one person, who is faithful in his witness, can make a difference. A tiny church, faithful in its witness, can make a difference, for the battle is the Lord's.
The Lord bless you. From this rambling discourse, I trust that there is a gem or two that you can use for the glory of God.
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant Church
6050 Del Paz Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918