Francis Schaeffer analyzes Woody Allen!!

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Annie Hall – The Opening Scene [HD]

Manhattan

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died said if he was talking to a gentleman he was sitting next to on an airplane about Christ he wouldn’t start off quoting Bible verses. Schaeffer asserted:

I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a totally silent universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

According to the Humanist worldview Jacques Monod the universe is silent about values and therefore his good friend Woody Allen demonstrated this very fact so well in his 1989 movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. In other words, if we can’t get our values from the Bible then  the answer is MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!!!!

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The question now becomes do you want to know if there is a God or not? Are you willing to examine the same evidence that I provided to the world’s leading atheistic philosopher in 1994 (Antony Flew)? Here some are links below that examine the subjects that Antony Flew studied before he switched from away from atheism, followed by the sermon by Adrian Rogers that I provided to Antony Flew and he said he enjoyed listening to.

Former atheist Antony Flew: “Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God!

Former atheist Antony Flew said, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY THEOREM!

Why the world’s most famous atheist (Antony Flew) now believes in God by James A. Beverley

BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew –

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

Former atheist Antony Flew pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life and in every other case, information necessarily points to an intelligent source!

 

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Former atheist Antony Flew: “Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God!”

Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011 April 4, 2009 – Craig vs. […]

Former atheist Antony Flew said, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY THEOREM!”

____________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Is Goodness Without God is Good Enough? William Lane Craig vs. Paul Kurtz Published on Jul 29, 2013 Date: October 24, 2001 […]

The argument from design led former atheist Antony Flew to assert: “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason, and it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being!”

  ____________ Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue Published on Apr 7, 2012 http://www.veritas.org/talks – Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join […]

Former atheist Antony Flew pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life and in every other case, information necessarily points to an intelligent source!

______________ Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known spokesperson […]

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

____   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

(BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew –

_____________ Famed atheist sees evidence for God, cites recent discoveries Antony Flew NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew — a prolific author who has argued against the existence of God and the claims of Christianity for […]

Antony Flew in his book THERE IS A GOD talks about his “notoriety” as an atheist! ( also 7 News : Web Extra: Ricky Gervais on God)

  7News : Web Extra: Ricky Gervais on God Published on Mar 23, 2014 He’s not shy about sharing his opinion with 5 million social media followers so Ricky Gervais was happy to clear a few things up for us too. __________________________________ Discussion (2 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Atheist Lawrence Krauss loses debate […]

Was Antony Flew the most prominent atheist of the 20th century?

_________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

Why the world’s most famous atheist (Antony Flew) now believes in God by James A. Beverley

____________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

The Death of a (Former) Atheist — Antony Flew, 1923-2010 Antony Flew’s rejection of atheism is an encouragement, but his rejection of Christianity is a warning. Rejecting atheism is simply not enough, by Al Mohler

Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ______________________ Making Sense of Faith and Science Uploaded on May 16, 2008 Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe […]

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THE QUESTION OF MORALITY (Woody Allen v Francis Schaeffer)

THE QUESTION OF MORALITY

“THE PROBLEM OF MODERN MAN IS A FEELING OF COSMIC ALIENATION, INCLUDING THE AREA OF MORALS.  MAN HAS A FEELING  OF MORAL MOTIONS, YET IN THE UNIVERSE AS IT IS, IT IS COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE WITH WHAT IS THERE.”

– FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

As we consider man’s finiteness and his cruelty, it would certainly seem that these things are not one, but two.  Mankind has always thought of these things as being different.  Man’s finiteness is his smallness; he is not a sufficient reference point to himself.  But his cruelty has always been considered as distinct from his finiteness.  Yet we must notice something.  If we accept the impersonal beginning, finally we will come to the place where man’s finiteness and his cruelty become the same thing.

With an impersonal beginning, everything is finally equal in the area of morals.  With an impersonal beginning, eventually morals is just another form of metaphysics, of being.  Morals disappear and there is only one area rather than two.  Left in this position, we can talk about what is antisocial, or what society does not like, or even what I do not like, but we cannot talk about what is really right and what is really wrong.

Hence, what is left may be worded in many different ways in different cultures, but it is only the relative – that which is sociological, statistical, situational – nothing else.  You have situational, statistical ethics – the standard of averages – but you cannot have morality . . . we are just the little against the big, and nothing that has meaning in right and wrong.

Now let us look at the opposite answer – the personal beginning.  In this answer, there is a possibility of keeping morals and metaphysics separate.  This is a profound thing, though it may sound simple.  Whereas the impersonal beginning leads us to a merging of morals and metaphysics, the personal beginning provides the possibility of keeping them separate.  In other words, man’s finiteness may be separated from his cruelty.  God’s character is the moral absolute of the universe.  Plato was entirely right when he held that unless you have absolutes morals do not exist.

Again, as in the area of metaphysics, we must understand that this is not simply the best answer – it is the only answer in morals for man.  The only answer in the area of morals, as true morals, turns upon the fact of God’s being there.  If God is not there (not just the word “God,” but God himself being there), there is no answer and at all to the problem of evil, and morals.

(These selections are from the book, He is there and he is not silent, Chapter 2, “The Moral Necessity” where this is further discussed.)

“I JUST WANTED TO ILLUSTRATE IN AN ENTERTAINING WAY THAT THERE’S NO GOD, THAT WE’RE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE, AND THAT THERE IS NOBODY OUT THERE TO PUNISH YOU, THAT THERE’S NOT GOING TO BE ANY KIND OF HOLLYWOOD ENDING TO YOUR LIFE IN ANY WAY, AND THAT YOUR MORALITY IS STRICTLY UP TO YOU.”

– WOODY ALLEN, COMMENTING ON THE FILM, “CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS.”

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John MacArthur on fulfilled prophecy from the Bible Part 1

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 2)

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 1)

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The Old Testament is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy by Jim Wallace

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Dr Shirley sermon “Four Fearsome Factors” Romans 1 (Tells of Adrian Rogers NASA story)

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Four Fearsome Factors

Romans 1:16–20

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Is God a righteous God? Is God a just God? Is God fair to let a person die and go to Hell who has never even once heard the name of Jesus? You’ll have to admit that’s a good question, isn’t it?

God is righteous, and God is just. And there is no other way to Heaven apart from Jesus Christ. Don’t get the sentimental idea that all the world religions are somehow connected. Oh, no. Jesus Christ said, in John chapter 14, verse 6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life”—now listen to this—and “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Now, if somebody can come some other way, then what does that make Jesus? That makes Jesus a liar. And, if Jesus Christ is a liar, not only is He not their Savior, He’s not my Savior, because a liar is nobody’s Savior. And, what did the apostles say in Acts chapter 4, verse 12, when they said this: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved?” (Acts 4:12).

This puts us on the horns of a major dilemma. Can a righteous, a good, a loving, a holy God let a man die and go to Hell who never once heard the name of Jesus? How are we going to answer that question? Well, the Apostle Paul is going to answer it for us in Romans chapter 1. So, I pray that you will listen and listen carefully, because we don’t have to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice how Paul begins in verse 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16). And, look up here, and let me give you a good look at a man who also is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I’ve been preaching it now for 20 years. The more I preach it, the more I marvel at it, the more I thank God for it, the more I stand by it, the more I believe in it. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it”—the gospel—“is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;”

Read vv. 17–20

Now, what about those who’ve never heard the gospel, those who are lost, who’ve never heard the gospel? Is God just? Is God righteous? Is God good?

Is God loving if He could let such an one go to hell? I want to write four things upon your heart, this morning. I want to give you four factors that will help you to understand this, and put it all together.

I. The Revelation Factor

Factor number one is the revelation factor. All men have some light.

I want you to imagine that the end of time has come, that time we know as the final judgment, and I want you to see out there what we would call the heathen—those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The accusation is made, the indictment is given: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness … of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). The heathen, the pagans, they say, “Your Honor, not guilty, not guilty! We never heard the gospel, we never knew how to be saved; we are innocent by reason of ignorance. We never heard, we never knew.” And, the Apostle Paul becomes the prosecuting attorney. And, the Apostle Paul says to the Father, “Your Honor, I will prove that they are guilty; I will prove that they are not innocent because of ignorance. I will show that they cannot say they’ve never had a fair and an equal chance. And, I call two witnesses to testify against these who say they never knew, they never heard.

Witness number one: Will you take the stand? Witness number one: Give the court your name.” He says, “My name is Creation.” “Oh, Creation, you’re the witness that God exists?” “Yes, I am the witness that God exists.”

vv. 19-20

Creation testifies to the fact of God. Psalm 19, verse 1 says: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Now, if you have a creation, you have to have a Creator, and the Bible says that the Creator is clearly seen by the things that are made. When I see a piano, here, and it’s finely tuned, I know that somebody crafted it. When I see a watch that runs with precision, I say that somebody crafted that watch. When I see a building put together in symmetry and balance and purpose, I say that there is an architect. And, when I see this mighty universe put together, when I see creation, I say Creator. When I see order and system, I say intelligence. When I see design, I know there’s a Designer!

That’s the reason the Bible says: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Because, witness number one is creation.

But then, Creation steps down from the witness stand, and the Apostle Paul says, “Now I call my second witness. Would you take the stand? Will you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I will.” “Will you give your name?” Witness number two says, “My name is Conscience.” So, there are two witnesses. Number one is Creation; that is, the outward, objective witness. The second is Conscience; that is, the inward, subjective witness.

v. 19

Unto them is Creation, in them is Conscience.

2:14-15    “For when the Gentiles”—now, another word for Gentiles is pagan, or those who’ve never heard the gospel—“For when the Gentiles, who have not the law”—the law here means the Old Testament law—“For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14–15).

So, there are two witnesses that all pagans, all heathen, and all the people on all the face of the Earth have. One is the outward objective witness called Creation. The other is the inward subjective witness called Conscience. There is a built-in knowledge of God. It’s a God shaped void inside of us put in us by our Creator.

ill.–Augustine said the soul of man is restless until it finds its rest in God. God made man to serve him, to know him, and until he does, he’s like a round peg in a square hole, or he is out of fellowship.

Now, what is an atheist? There’s no real intellectual atheist. Atheists are not atheists because of intellectual problems; they’re atheists because of moral problems. “Ah,” you say, “but I know some brilliant people who are atheists.” Well, so what? I know some brilliant people who are not. You say, “Well, I know some foolish people who believe in God.” Well, I know everybody who doesn’t believe is foolish. You see, it’s not a matter of intelligence. The Bible says in v. 22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Why? Because, you see, all of us have a God-consciousness. It is not a matter of intellectualism; it is a matter of morality. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

An atheist is somebody who has the idea of God that makes him uncomfortable, so he says, “If I can get rid of this idea of God, I can get rid of this uncomfortable feeling.” But, he really doesn’t get rid of it, not down deep. He’s like the man who bought a new boomerang and killed himself trying to throw the old one away. The idea of God is still there; and, the more he tries to get rid of it subconsciously, the more he knows that God exists, because down in his heart is that conscience.

“Me thinks thou dost protest too much” wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet.  Have you noticed how adamantly so called atheists make their point.  They harp on it so continuously because they are forever trying to convince themselves…and they are so threatened by the truth that they cannot just drop it and step away. They are very defensive about it. Too much…they give away how deeply plagued they are with it all. It’s like those who blast Sarah Palin day in and day out.  If she’s really the ‘nothing’ that they claim, they should be able to walk away from it after they say their peace.  But they are deeply threatened by what she represents, and they have to fight that battle everyday because it won’t go away in their conscience!

So, what is the first factor? It is the revelation factor. All men have some light.

John 1:9 
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

You can’t get around that. “[Christ is] the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Two witnesses, Creation and Conscience, testify that the heathen, the pagans, no matter who they are or where they are, have some light. I didn’t say all light, just some.

II. The Refusal Factor

Now, here’s the second proposition. The first factor is the revelation factor. The second factor is the refusal factor. And, what is this factor? Light refused increases darkness.

vv. 21-22

“Because, when they knew God”—that is, they know by creation and conscience that God exists—“they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). Darkened. All men have some light. But light refused increases darkness. Now, you see, you cannot just simply take light or truth and put it on ice. You cannot put truth in your pocket and say, “That’s very interesting, I’ll spend it some day if I need it.” No, when God gives you light, when creation and conscience speak to the heart of any pagan or any individual anywhere on the face of this earth, when God gives him some light, if he does not glorify God, if he does not believe in God, if he does not trust God, he does not remain stationary; he begins to regress and he loses even the light that he has. His foolish heart will be darkened.

In the Bible, the opposite of truth is not error; it issin. Now, the error is the baggage that comes with the sin. I’m not saying that a man does not have error if he refuses truth. But, why does he refuse truth? He refuses truth because of the sin that is in his heart.

v. 18        ‘hold the truth in unrighteousness.’

Now, look at the word ‘hold.’ You know what that word hold means? It literally means “who resist the truth, who smother the truth, who hold back the truth.” And, how do they hold back the truth? Not in error, but in unrighteousness. Why does a man not believe in God? Because, to believe in God means that he has to adjust his lifestyle. His lifestyle is his unrighteousness…let’s picture it on his left. Creation and Conscience…here on his right…tell him there’s a God. His lifestyle says, “If I admit that, I’m going to have to change this.” So, he’s in a quandary between the two. If he turns this way, he turns from that; but if he turns this way, he turns from that. So, when he says, “I will resist the truth in unrighteousness,” then, when he turns this way, he gets further from that. And, he goes away into the darkness, and his foolish heart is darkened.

The unbelief is the baggage that comes with his sin. Now, I don’t think it’s more graphically illustrated than in the book of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

        I want you to listen to it. I think it is some of the most terrifying Scripture in all of the Bible. It speaks of the Antichrist who’s coming, and it says: “Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved”—now, listen to verses 11 and 12—“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–11). “Hold it, Pastor, hold it! God doesn’t send anybody delusion.” Well, you’d better go back and read it.  It says that God will send them strong delusion. Well, why on Earth would God send them strong delusion? Well, just continue to read: “That they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). It gets worse, doesn’t it? God sends delusion. And, why does God send delusion? “That they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Well, why would God send a lie? Well, let’s continue to read: “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all might be damned” (2 Thessalonians 2:11–12). Seems to get worse, doesn’t it? God sends delusion; they believe a lie, that they all might be damned. Why? Why would God do that? Well, continue to read: “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth”—they had the truth, they believed not the truth—“but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). They heard the truth; they knew the truth; they turned from the truth; and they had pleasure in their filthy, dirty, rotten sin! And, God says, “All right, that’s what you want. You want your sin, and with that sin, the baggage is delusion, a lie, and damnation.” You understand it?

Maybe I can illustrate it this way: Here’s a man who comes to Grace on Easter, and we’re taking a love offering for Jesus. He goes away and he says, “Ha! Those Baptists! All they ever talk about is money.” And, he goes away all steamed, hot under the collar. “It’s the last time I’m ever going to go down to that church. All they ever talk about is money, money, money.” That’s a lie. We talk about Jesus here, and we talk about giving to Jesus, and we’re glad to do it. But, you see, this man’s problem is not the truth. He doesn’t stop to ask, “Are we preaching the truth?” That’s not his problem at all. He knows, if he’ll open the Bible and listen to the Spirit of God, that the truth is there. But, the problem is his rotten greed—his greed! That’s why he got so upset to begin with. So, he leaves, and he says, “I am never going back to that church again.” Now, his problem, there, is not between truth and error, but between truth and greed. And so, he chooses his greed. Now, what happens? He’s home on a Sunday morning, several months from now. Somebody knocks at the door. He’s sitting there watching television, reading the sports page, got a six-pack of embalming fluid there, by his side, and he’s unshaven—just sitting there, on Sunday morning—wife and kids are off at church. He’s by himself. There’s a knock at the door. He opens the door and it’s two of Jehovah’s False Witnesses. And, he says, “What do you want?” And, to cut to the chase, “we’re here to tell you there is no Hell.” He says, “Come in, come in.” And, he listens to them. They tell him a lie. He believes a lie. He’s damned, and lost, and on the road to the very Hell he says he doesn’t believe in. Why? “[He] received not the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). “[He] had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). “For this cause God shall send [him] strong delusion, that [he] should believe the lie, that [he] might be damned” (2 Thessalonians 2:11–12).

Now, folks, you listen to me. All people have some light. That’s the revelation factor. The refusal factor is: Light refused increases darkness.

By the way, these people who are in darkness, really think that they are in the light—if you would look in verse 22: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). They’re the ones who think we’re the fools. Now, they may have a PhD, but in spiritual things it stands for phenomenal dud. They worship science as a god, rather than worshipping the God of science. They never asked, “How did all of this get here?”  Or they worship themselves, because they don’t want to humble themselves and worship God.

—–

pt. 2

 

III. The Reception Factor

All men have some light. That’s the revelation factor. The refusal factor is: light refused increases darkness, “their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).

The reception factor is this: Light obeyed increases light. But some may say, “Now Pastor, there’s a flaw in what you’ve been saying thus far. You’ve been saying that no man can go to Heaven apart from Jesus, and neither creation nor conscience tells you about Jesus. And so, when you say that all men have some light, that’s still not enough to save them, according to what you’ve said.” And, you’re absolutely right. Creation and conscience only bring us to the fact of God. But, if a man is not interested in the fact of God, he’s certainly not going to be interested in the way to God. And, God is under no obligation to show any man the way to God who’s not even interested in the fact of God.

So, what is the reception factor? The reception factor is that light obeyed increases light. Light refused increases darkness. Light obeyed increases light.

vv. 16-17

How is the righteousness of God revealed? “From faith to faith”. That’s the revelation factor. God gives you truth. You believe that truth, and God gives you more truth. You see, “unto every one who hath shall be given” (Matthew 25:29). The more you obey the light, the more light you get.

Here’s a man—God speaks to him, thru the witnesses of Creation and Conscience. He says, “God, I want to know You, I need to know You, I believe that You exist.” That’s faith, and he goes from faith to faith. God gives him more light. He says, “I believe that,” and he goes from faith to faith, and he goes stepping in the light until he comes to the Lord Jesus Christ. When a man is ready to receive the gospel, God will get the gospel to that man if he has to wreck an airplane and parachute a missionary in. I believe with all of my heart there’s never been a man who ever lived on the face of this Earth, or a woman who died, without some opportunity to have received Christ, had they lived up to the light that God gave them. While all men don’t have enough light to save them, all men have enough light to damn them. Had they lived up to the light that they had, they would’ve received more light.

You can find illustrations of this in the Bible. What about that Ethiopian eunuch in Acts chapter 8? He’d been to Jerusalem, the most religious city on the face of the Earth. Why had he gone there? He had gone there to worship. He had come all the way from northern Africa, from Ethiopia, in that day when there were no airplanes. He’s traveling now by chariot—can you imagine that—all the way to Jerusalem. And, why had he gone? It was the most religious city on the face of the Earth. He was seeking for God. But, the wells of religion were dry. He’s coming back. He’s reading the prophet Isaiah. He’s trying to understand. Do you know what God does for this man who’s living up to the light that he has? God goes down to Samaria. He gets a preacher named Philip who’s in the middle of a big revival campaign. He says, “Son, leave that revival campaign. I want you to go out in the desert. I’ve got one man out there, and I want you to tell him how to be saved.” You remember that story in Acts chapter 8? That Ethiopian eunuch, that “opportunity on wheels,” got saved, and God brought a missionary to that man to tell him how to be saved (Acts 8). And very cool, when done, God whisked him away…he vanished!

There was another man in Acts chapter 10; his name was Cornelius. The Bible says he was a Gentile, he was not of the household of Israel. But, Cornelius, an army officer, had a hunger to know God. He looked up in the starry heavens, one night, perhaps, as a private on sentry duty, and he said, “Oh, that didn’t just happen. O God, whoever You are, wherever You are, whatever You are, I want to know You.” And, God gave Cornelius a vision. And then, God got Simon Peter over here in the house of Simon the tanner, and said, “Simon Peter, I want you to go over there. There’s a man named Cornelius. I have spoken to him in a vision. You go tell him and his house how to be saved.” And God got the two together (Acts 10).

When you obey the light that you have, God will give you more light. Now, I want to say this to all of those of you who are saved: The reason that some of us don’t understand the Bible any more than we do is that we have not been living up to the light that God is already giving us. Why should God show you morein the Word of God until you obey what you already know? Isn’t that a good question? Some have never submitted to believer’s baptism. They know what the Bible teaches. But they say, “Well, I’ve got a forty dollar hairdo I don’t want to mess up.” And then later, they’re reading a passage of Scripture, and they’re saying, “I wonder why I don’t understand this. God show me what this means.” God says, “Why should I show you what that means? You haven’t obeyed what I’ve already showed you?” “Unto every one who hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him” (Matthew 25:29). What I’m trying to say is: Light obeyed increases light. And, if you want to understand the part of the Bible you don’t understand, begin to obey the part you do understand, and you’ll understand what you didn’t understand.

Again, the problem is not in the head; the problem is in the heart. One of the greatest promises in all of the Bible is in John chapter 7, verse 17. They were wondering about Jesus Christ: “Who is Jesus Christ?” The Pharisees were testing Him, taunting Him, picking at Him, and Jesus, said: “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me”—and then, Jesus gave this challenge. He said—“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:16–17). Do you will to do the will of God? Then, you’ll know.

Listen to this story I heard Dr. Adrian Rogers share:

“When I was in the Space Center, down at Merritt Island, I was in my office, one day, and a man came up in a big Cadillac, parked his car, came in, and said, “Mr. Rogers, I need to talk with you.” He was one of the big shots out at the Space Center, helping to put a man on the moon. I said to him, “Well, what do you want to talk about?” He said, “I want to talk about my wife. She wants to commit suicide, and I don’t want her to.” Well, I thought that was nice—he didn’t want her to commit suicide. So, he said, “Would you talk with my wife?” I said, “Well, I will if you’ll come with her.” So, the two of them came and sat down, and I said, “Tell me, lady, what your problems are.” And, her problems were this man! This man was a liar. He was a drunkard. He was an adulterer. He was a gambler. He was a blasphemer. A wife abuser. I mean, he was rotten. And, that’s mildly put. And so, I just stopped talking to her, and I started talking to him. I said, “Sir, I want to ask you a question. Are you a Christian?” He laughed a scornful laugh, and said, “No! I’m not a Christian; I’m an atheist.” I said, “Oh, an atheist.” I said, “An atheist is a man who says there’s no God and he knows there’s no God. Do you know there’s no God?” And, he said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, that’s interesting.” I said, “Of all there is to know, how much do you know? Do you know half of everything there is to know?” He said, “Of course not.” “But, you said you know there’s no God. Wouldn’t you have to admit the possibility that God might exist in that half of the knowledge you don’t have?” “Well,” he said, “okay, you got me. I’m not an atheist, I’m an agnostic.” I didn’t tell him the Latin equivalent of agnostic is ignoramus. It’s the same word in Latin or Greek: agnostic in Greek, Latin ignoramus. It means just, “I don’t know, I’m ignorant.” I said, “That’s just a fancy word for a doubter. Are you a doubter?” He said, “Yes, and a big one.” I said, “I don’t care what size; I want to know what kind.” He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, there are two kinds of doubters: There are honest doubters and dishonest doubters. Which kind are you?” He said, “Well, what’s the difference?” I said, “An honest doubter doesn’t know, but he wants to know, and therefore he investigates. A dishonest doubter doesn’t know because he doesn’t want to know. And, he can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman. Jesus said, ‘They hate the light, and they will not come to the light, because their deeds are evil’” (John 3:20). He said, “Well…” I said, “Sir, would you like to find out whether you’re an honest doubter or a dishonest doubter?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Would you sign this statement: ‘God, I don’t know whether You exist or not. I don’t know whether the Bible is Your Word or not. I don’t know whether Jesus Christ is Your Son or not. I don’t know, but I want to know. And, because I want to know, I will make an honest investigation. And, because it is an honest investigation, I will follow the results of that investigation wherever they lead me, regardless of the cost?’” I said, “Would you sign that statement?” He said, “I’d like to be honest.” I said, “Wonderful!” I gave him an assignment. I said, “I want you to begin to read the gospel of John. He said, “But, I don’t believe.” I said, “That’s all right. You just make an honest investigation. You say to God, ‘God, I don’t know whether this is Your Word or not. If this is Your Word, show me, and I’ll make up my mind before the fact that I will obey You, only if you show me this is Your Word and speak to my heart.’” He said, “That’s fair enough.” What happened? In a few weeks, he came back, said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” got on his knees like a little child and wept his way to the arms of Jesus. That was many, many years ago. I got a letter from him a while back. He’s up in Bangor, Maine now. He has a tape ministry and is teaching the Bible. And, this is what he said to me: He said, “Mr. Rogers, I want to thank you for spending time with this general in the devil’s army.”

Where was that man’s problem? He thought his problem was intellectual. His problem was his will. When a man surrenders his will, God will speak to him. Light obeyed increases light. Live up to the light that you have and God will give you more light.

IV. The Reckoning Factor

When God comes to judge us, what is God going to judge us by? Do you think that God is going to judge us by the sin that we’ve committed? No! God is going to judge us by the light that we’ve rejected.

2:5, 11

He’s just simply saying that God knows how much light you have. Many of us have far more light than other people. Not because you necessarily sought it; you just happen to live in America where there’s a church on every street corner. There are Bibles everywhere. And, it’s not so much because you sought it; it’s just simply by the providence of God that you have more light than others. Now, what is God going to do? God is going to hold you accountable more so than the person who’s never heard.

Luke 12:48 
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

It would be bad enough for the pagan in darkest Africa to die and go to Hell, who never heard the name of Jesus, who refused to live up to the light that even he did have. But, how much more for a person who would sit in an auditorium like this, air-conditioned, with a Bible in their hand, hear a preacher tear his heart out and beg people to be saved, and say “no.” If I had to go to Hell, I’d much rather go to Hell as a pagan never having heard the name of Jesus than to go to Hell from GBC, from a service like this.

Listen to me: The burning question is not, “What is God going to do with the heathen who never heard?” The burning question is, “What is God going to do with you who heard the gospel of Jesus?” You’ve heard the message that Jesus died in agony and blood upon the cross, and you said “no” to the Lord Jesus. Do you know what our Lord said? Our Lord said to a soul winner, “When you go out soul winning, you knock on a door and the people won’t hear you”—He said—“shake the dust off your shoes. Shake the dust off your shoes” (Matthew 10:14). Well, why would He do that? God says, “Because, there’s coming a judgment, and in that day, in that judgment, you may stand before God and say, ‘O God, O God, have mercy. I didn’t have a chance.’” And God can say, “Officer, would you bring the evidence into the court?” “What is that evidence?” “Would you look at that, sir?” “What is that?” “That’s the dust off Jerry’s shoes. Those are the shoes he was wearing when he preached the gospel to you.”

        And, Jesus said to Capernaum, His headquarter city, It would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment than for that city where He preached and taught, and yet, they turned their back on Him and never received Him. All men have some light. Light refused increases darkness. Light obeyed increases light. And, men are judged according to the light that they have.

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The Morality of the West From Bad to Worse Ray Cotton

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The Morality of the West

From Bad to Worse

Ray Cotton


Cheating in the Schools

According to a study by Rutgers University, over 70% of all university students admit they have cheated at least once. And there’s probably a few more who wouldn’t admit it. The most common form of cheating admitted to is plagiarism. Students have always copied from someone else’s paper or stealthily brought forbidden notes into the classroom. But the incidence is rising. Nineteen percent admit they have faked a bibliography, and fourteen percent say they have handed in a computer program written by someone else. {1}

This report highlights the fact that many students today are either unable or unwilling to act in an ethical manner. William Kilpatrick, in his book Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong, brings to light the millions of crimes committed yearly on or near school property. Children go to school scared and intimidated. Many teachers contemplate and actually do leave the profession because of all the discipline and behavior problems.{2} A professor of philosophy at Clark University says:

Students come to college today as moral stutterers. They haven’t been taught much respect for what I call “plain moral facts,” the need for honesty, integrity, responsibility. It doesn’t take a blue-ribbon commission to see this. Students don’t reason morally. They don’t know what that means.{3}

Also, Mr. Michael Josephson, founder and president of the Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics, said “Far too many young people have abandoned traditional ethical values in favor of self- absorbed, win-at-any-cost attitudes that threaten to unravel the moral fabric of American society.”{4} This “self-absorbed” attitude is based on a whole new set of assumptions about how we should adopt our values and the right of individuals to construct their own values.

Where do these ideas come from? Are our young people only now discovering the difference between what their parents have preached to them and what they actually do? Is it simply due to the fact that society is changing? Or is this an ethical vacuum caused by a value system without a solid foundation?

Some have suggested that we have simply discovered more efficient ways of uncovering people’s wrongdoing so it just seems that people are less moral in their dealings. In other words, we are just more aware of the imperfections that were always there. A more interesting question, however is whether the behavior is the result of values being communicated by society? Have the rules changed? and who makes these rules, God or men? The Christian and the theist turn toward the Creator of the Universe. The humanist or atheist turns toward himself. This distinction between theism and humanism is the fundamental division in moral theory.

It appears that we are rapidly approaching a Godless, valueless society in which “power ethics” or the “political rationalism” of humanism is replacing the Judeo-Christian ethical base of traditional morality. The roots of our present dilemma go all the way back to the secular humanism of the fifteenth- and sixteenth- century Renaissance, and the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The idea of the sufficiency of human reason grew stronger during these periods, continually challenging Judeo- Christian values in an increasingly sophisticated way. Humanity was placed at the center of the universe, rather than God.

The Moral Results of Reason Alone

Just as our Lord said that man cannot live by bread alone, so man cannot live by reason alone. If we exclude revelation as a source of direction in discovering who man is and rely solely on our intellect, and our own ideas of how we came to be, then we will naturally slip into a pessimistic and ultimately depressing view of human nature.

The seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke said that all knowledge comes from sensation. In other words, the only reality is what we can see, hear, feel, smell, taste, or measure. Not much room for revelation here. Other philosophers have followed up on this idea and have concluded that man is shaped by evolutionary processes and the culture that surrounds us. The notion that man is born with some innate nature has been rejected. Men like Hegel, Darwin, and Marx believed that all living forms and social systems were nothing more than the result of progressive transformations over time. As the influence of the religious community began to wane in the nineteenth century, many began to search for a meaning to life totally apart from God. Man simply no longer believed he had a place in eternity. Therefore all he could do was hope to find his place in the movement of history.{5}

Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species catapulted the abandonment of God and revelation by attempting to show that God was not even necessary in the creation of living things. If God did not create us, then we certainly could not gain our sense of meaning and purpose from a book purportedly written by Him. Frederich Nietzsche purposed to highlight the ethical implications of Darwinism. Nietzsche’s “superman” concept transformed man into the maker of his own destiny. Man was truly the measure of all things. If God is dead, as Nietzsche declared, and nature is all there is, then what is, is right. Human life was therefore stripped of any purpose or goal. The contemporary Harvard professor, E. O. Wilson has stated, “No species, ours included, possesses a purpose beyond the imperatives created by its genetic history.” Elsewhere he declares that our dilemma is that “we have no particular place to go. The species lacks any goal external to its own biological nature.” This will ultimately result in a sense of hopelessness, pessimism, apathy, and absurdity. William Kilpatrick in his book Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong, says “Suicides among young people have risen by 300 percent over the last thirty years.”{6} Next to accidents it is now the second leading cause of death in teenagers. Many of the deaths due to accidents are the result of auto accidents in which alcohol has played a role which can also be traced back to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Young people who may have never heard of Nietzsche are nevertheless living their lives in accordance with his philosophy of living recklessly.

A group of scholars presented the case of biblical authority to a group of students at Princeton University. At the conclusion of their presentation, a student stood and said:

I am surprised that I found myself feeling that you two were right and all of us were wrong, at least insofar as this very basic point: why we stand where we stand makes all the difference in the world. So the weakness of your presentation was that you were arguing on the basis of logic and presuppositions and intellectual integrity with persons who are perfectly ready to dispense with all three.{7}

Our young people are so far removed from a rational discussion of what is right and what is wrong that they are unable to even decide what criterion should be used to make the decision, let alone make the decision itself. This is the inevitable result of the philosophical trend to utilize human reason alone apart from the revelation in Scripture. As our creator, God alone has the authority and knowledge to inform us as to how we are to act. Left to ourselves, we will only be confused.

Why Are Biblical Values No Longer Taught in Schools?

Many students today are so confused that they not only don’t know what ethical system is valid, but they don’t even know how to evaluate them. One might ask, why aren’t the schools teaching the values our children need, values that will work for them rather than against them?

To understand the lack of values being taught in our educational institutions, we need to go back to the biblical critics who were writing in Germany in the nineteenth century. The product of an attempt to operate by human reason alone, this movement placed the claims of religion and particularly the Bible outside the realm of human reason. If the Bible was not reasonable, then the Scriptures lost their foundation in real history. The traditions of the faith were seen as merely that, tradition with no basis in reality. This meant that the events contained in the Bible were to be evaluated on whether they were reasonable within a universe where the supernatural was assumed to be nonexistent or at least not involved in the real world. These scholars, called higher critics, believed that all morality is totally relative to historical time and place. The laws of the Bible were now to be seen as being understood only within the times that the Bible was describing. A Sabbath was only useful to an agrarian and shepherding culture. The same would be true for adultery or taking the Lord’s name in vain.

This approach essentially denies the unity and moral integrity of the entire Bible.{8} The end result is that in people’s minds, their ethics became separated from their faith. This eventually resulted in deism, a view that says that God only provided the necessary input to get the universe started but left it completely on its own after creation. He never intervened in natural or human history again. God is still there, but there is no possibility of any communication between God and His creation. Well, if you can’t communicate with God and He has no influence over your life, why bother with worrying whether God existed at all? The world view of naturalism quickly follows which says that there is no God.

Nietzsche’s “madman” said, “God is dead!”{9} God was now out of the picture. Nietzsche simply took the next step. He tried to force men and women to, “feel the breath of empty space.” If you have been following the train of thought here you are probably beginning to see the connection between Nietzsche’s ideas and the state of our youth today. Many young people feel that there is no grand purpose for their life. Life is empty and cheap. If you believe in some form of a grand purpose, it is really only a grand illusion. All that is left, therefore, is to live for the pleasure of the moment. Gain what pleasure you can in an absurd universe. This will ultimately lead to an attitude of despair. If God is dead, what’s the use of conforming to any rules. If I die as a result of my actions, so what, life is absurd anyway.

Students today often seem to be lost in relativism and are unable to think about or look into their futures. They shrivel up within the confines of their immediate surroundings. There is no longer any hope in eternity or in real justice.

Many of today’s young people wander about their school halls with no hope, no dreams, no optimism about their future. Rock groups such as Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails continually fill their heads with the meaninglessness of a universe in which God is dead and life is absurd. We should be filled with great sadness when we witness the destruction this kind of thinking results in such as the suicide of Nirvana’s heart and soul, Curt Cobain. I believe we should also see such people as Jesus does, as lost sheep. They are a great mission field for which the truth and historical reality of the gospel can find fertile ground.

The Twentieth Century Results of a “God Is Dead” Universe

The Greek philosopher Plato understood that there must be some universal or absolute under which the individual things (the particulars, the details) must fit. Something beyond the everyday must be there to give it all unity and meaning. Even the atheist and existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre, realized that a finite point is absurd if it has no infinite reference point.{10} Sartre chose to believe that this infinite reference point did not exist, therefore, the only thing worth doing is existing and making choices, regardless of what those choices may be. But how can we tell students, our children, that anything is right or wrong if there is no absolute reference point such as the Bible, to base this on?

Existentialism says that we need to make a “leap of faith”{11} and seek to find our meaning without reason. In other words, we just have to find what works for us. And as we go through life, what works will constantly be changing. If we actually try to think about it, if we try to rationalize a meaning, we will only get depressed. According to existentialism, the only way to be happy, is to not think, to be blindly optimistic.

Another perspective is power ethics or “political naturalism.” Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a great voice in the revival of political naturalism in the sixteenth century. In his book The Prince, a ruler who wants to keep his post must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.{12} In other words, do what you need to do to preserve your position and don’t concern yourself with what is ethical. Just preserve your power. Machiavelli’s ethical stance of whatever strengthens the state is right had a great influence on the thinking of Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872). Feuerbach’s claim that God was merely a human invention had a lot to do with the writings of Karl Marx (1819-1883) who took these ideas as validation of his own views. His ideas provided a foundation upon which Lenin and Stalin were able to build a society around the power ethics of political rationalism. Feuerbach and Marx rejoiced in the fact that the loosing grasp of religion had made it possible to create a city of man in an entirely human space.{13} In Russia there was a concerted attempt to root out Christianity and substitute an extremely intolerant and militant form of the religion of the Enlightenment.{14}

Adolph Hitler is another example. So profound was Nietzsche’s philosophy upon Hitler, that it provided the framework for his tireless efforts to obliterate the Jews and the weak of this world.{15} Nietzsche had proclaimed the coming of the Master Race, and a Superman who would unify Germany and perhaps the world.{16} Hitler, in his book Mein Kampf, clearly announced his intent to take Nietzsche’s logic and drive the atheistic world view to its logical conclusion. In Nietzschean terms, atheism will inevitably lead to violence and hedonism.{17} Hitler personally presented a copy of Nietzsche’s works to Benito Mussolini, and Mussolini submitted a thesis on Machiavelli for his doctor’s degree.

When human reason is allowed to be unaccountable it becomes solely a function of power, it legitimatizes the construction of a totalitarian state and in the case of Hitler the end result was the Holocaust. The real legacy of unbridled humanism is terror.{18}

The Purification of Moral Relativism

We construct museums so that we may never forget the horror of the German Holocaust. Russia is trying to recover from a total collapse of a power structure that was based on political rationalism and historical materialism. They had to find out the hard way. The fundamental dogma of the Enlightenment, the natural goodness and/or reasonableness of man, is a myth at best. It was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who related what he overheard two old peasants say during the blood baths of Stalin’s regime, “It is because we have forgotten God. That is why all this is happening to us.” Out of the rubble of a failed system rose a people desperate to reestablish an ethical base that will work for them rather than against them. An article in USA Today illustrates a new hope for values in Russia. It reports that:

Officials say up to 55% of Russian teachers, many of whom were former atheists, have made personal commitments to Christ. Many are using the New Testament in schools. “For ages, (Russia) was a country of believers and morality was very close to the people,” says assistant principal Olga Meinikova, 32, of school No. 788. “For a short period 74 years we lost it all. All Russian teachers should teach this course; Americans too. The Bible is part of normal education.”{19}

Teams of Americans are helping to train Russian teachers how to teach Judeo-Christian morals and values based on a system of biblical ethics. The military has also been retraining their staff in Judeo-Christian morality, ethics, and values. Russia reached the bottom of a Godless society and is making an effort to rebuild its ethical base.

We face a dilemma in Western culture. We can continue along the line of thinking that “reason” is our only hope and trust in the natural goodness and/or reasonableness of man. Another extreme is to throw out reason altogether and embrace the philosophy and religion of the new age. The biblical view is to return to the concept of the fallen nature of mankind and rebuild on the traditional base of historic Christianity, which puts reason under the authority of Scripture. This is the traditional basis for ethical teaching in Western culture. It applies to all our institutions of training, including churches and ministries. The ethics modeled by too many Christian leaders is at best a utilitarian form of ethics. At worst, it is a pragmatic form of ethics that serves the self-centered goals of the individual or institution.

In conclusion, ethics based on Enlightenment thinking is not the answer. Crane Brinton, in his book A History of Western Morals says, “the religion of the Enlightenment has a long and unpredictable way to go before it can face the facts of life as effectively as does Christianity.”{20} We appear to have an implosion of values in a society. Many are seeking to teach our children that there is no God and no afterlife, but if you live an ethical life it will pay off. It is a standard without a foundation, floating in mid air. Society must re-evaluate its commitment to Enlightenment ethics and thinking. Until it does, we will see a continuing loss of values and respect for humanity.

© 1996 Probe Ministries

Notes

1. “College A Cheating Haven,” Parents of Teenagers, Feb/Mar 1992, p. 5. 2. Kilpatrick, William. Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992, p. 14.
3. Marquand, Robert. “Moral Education.” Ethics, Easier Said Than Done. Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1988, p. 34.
4. “U.S. Youths’ Ethics Alarming, Study Says.” The Dallas Morning News, 15 November 1992, p. 5A.
5. Kern, Stephen. The Culture of Time & Space 1880-1918. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1983, p. 51.
6. Kilpatrick, 14.
7. Update, International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, Spring 1979. 8. North, Gary. The Hoax of Higher Criticism. Tyler, Tex.: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989, p. 33.
9. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. London: Penguin Books, 1969, p. 41.
10. Schaeffer, Francis A. How Should We Then Live? Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1976, p. 145.
11. Schacht, Richard. Hegel and After: Studies in Continental Philosophy Between Kant and Sartre. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975, p. 5.
12. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1977, p. 44.
13. Kern, 178.
14. Brinton, Crane. A History of Western Morals. New York: Paragon House, 1990, p. 472.
15. Zacharias, Ravi. A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1990, p. 17.
16. Lutzer, Erwin W. Hitler’s Cross. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995, p. 27.
17. Zacharias, 26.
18. Levin, David Michael. The Opening of Vision: Nihilism and the Postmodern Situation. New York: Routledge, Capman & Hall, 1988, p. 4.
19. USA Today, Tuesday, 18 May 1993, 9A.
20. Brinton, 462.

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Answers to Critics on Science and the Bible

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Let me quote from my former pastor Adrian Rogers:

Skeptics seem to think that the Bible is full of scientific errors. However, before an individual can make that assertion, they had better make sure they know both science and Scripture. You see, I have heard unbelievers state that the Bible is not a book of science, but a book of religion, which is basically true. It is not written to teach us about science, but to teach us about God. But the God of salvation and the God of creation are the same. Science doesn’t take God by surprise. A close look at Scripture reveals that it is scientifically accurate.

Every now and then science may disagree with the Bible, but usually science just needs time to catch up. For example, in 1861 a French scientific academy printed a brochure offering 51 incontrovertible facts that proved the Bible in error. Today there is not a single reputable scientist who would support those supposed “facts,” because modern science has disproved them all!

The ancients believed the earth was held up by Atlas, or resting on pillars, or even seated on the backs of elephants. But today we know the earth is suspended in space, a fact the Word of God records in Job 26:7: “He . . . hangeth the earth upon nothing.” God revealed the facts of cosmology long before man had any idea of the truth.

For centuries man believed the earth was flat, but now we know the earth is a globe. The prophet Isaiah, writing 750 years before the birth of Christ, revealed that “God sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word translated here as “circle” was more commonly translated “sphere.” In other words, Isaiah explained that the earth was a globe centuries before science discovered it.

When Ptolemy charted the heavens, he counted 1026 stars in the sky. But with the invention of the telescope man discovered millions and millions of stars, something that Jeremiah 33:22 revealed nearly three thousand years ago: “The host of heaven cannot be numbered.” How did these men of God know the truth of science long before the rest of the world discovered it? They were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the truth. God’s Word is not filled with errors. It is filled with facts, even scientific facts.

When the black plague was killing one quarter of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century, it was the church, not science, that helped overcome the dread disease. The leaders in the church noticed the instructions given by the Lord to Moses in Leviticus 13:46: “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” These early believers did not know microbiology or understand what germs were, but they could understand a clear teaching to quarantine someone who was sick. So they followed the Biblical dictum, quarantined those sick with the plague, and stopped it from spreading. The Bible had its science correct even before man discovered the truth! Don’t accept the charge that the Bible is filled with scientific errors. Modern science seems determined to explain God away, and refuses to acknowledge any evidence of the supernatural. But the science of Scripture is one reason to accept the Bible as God’s word. 

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John MacArthur on the Bible and Science (Part 2)

I have posted many of the sermons by John MacArthur. He is a great bible teacher and this sermon below is another great message. His series on the Book of Proverbs was outstanding too.  I also have posted several of the visits MacArthur made to Larry King’s Show. One of two most popular posts I have ever done are posts from John MacArthur. One is on what the Bible has to say about alcohol and then what the Bible says concerning the prophecy of the city of Tyre.

Biblical Inspiration Validated By Science, Part 2 (Selected Scriptures) John MacArthur

We are examining the great doctrine of biblical inspiration. We are looking at the reality that God wrote the Bible and the question always comes up…How do we know God wrote the Bible? There are a number of ways to answer that question. One way to answer it is to look at what the Bible says about the scientific world. To put it simply, whoever designed the universe understands it. Whoever created everything understands His creation, from the microcosm of the minute world of atomic energy, to the macrocosm of limitless space. Whoever created it all understands it because He conceived it and he made it and He sustains it. And whoever is intelligent enough to create this universe with its astonishing and immeasurable complexity is certainly capable of writing a book explaining the way things really are in a simple enough fashion so as to leave His stamp on that book as the divine author. And the fact of the matter is, communication is not something difficult for the creator, He is a communication genius beyond all comprehension. God is the source of all the information that exists and He has appropriately spread it throughout His universe as He deemed necessary to accomplish His purpose.

Post-modernists philosopher Richard Rorty admits that the idea of truth is coherent only in the context of a Christian world view. He said this, “The suggestion that truth is out there, objective and universal, is a legacy of an age in which the world was seen as the creation of a being who had a language of his own, a non-human language which he wrote into the cosmos.” Now he depreciates that view but that is precisely the biblical view and that is precisely what Christians believe, that God is there…as Francis Schaeffer says…and He is not silent. He has spoken, He has spoken throughout His creation sometimes in the written Word of God and sometimes with a language of His own that is non-human. But the Creator speaks and science is more and more month by month year by year discovering what He has said.

For example, the discovery of DNA, the coded instruction that is in every cell of every living thing means that at the heart of all life is language, a message, information. In other words, the organic world is really a book, it is a repository of complex biological information. And not only the organic world, information has become the key for interpreting the physical universe as well. Everything in creation operates on information that has been transmitted to it in a language from the creator. Scientific American journal said recently, “Ask anybody what the physical world is made of and you are likely to be told matter and energy. Yet if we have learned anything from engineering, biology and physics, information is just as crucial an ingredient. Indeed, some physicists now regard the physical world as made of information with energy and matter as incidentals.” And where does information come from? “In all human experience.” I’ll say that again, “In all human experience, information comes from an intelligent source.” Never is it generated by blind material forces, chance or coincidence. In all human experience information comes only by an intelligent agent, an intelligent agent who can assemble that information and communicate effectively that information to another intelligent agent or to an another receptor of that information that then can function on the basis of that information.

If you look at the microcosm of the world, it is loaded with information. Think of the genetic code. Scientists have now discovered that the genetic code is digital, it’s not analogous to a digital code, it is digital. It is exactly as a digitized computer code. It is not like it, it is in reality a digital code of information. More than a hundred years ago when Darwin came up with his theory, his idea was that a cell was extremely simple, just a bubble of protoplasm, a bubble of jelly. Over the past few decades, however, new technology like electron microscopes have produced a revolution in molecular biology, we now know that the cell is not just simple jelly, simple protoplasm, it is a high-tech molecular machine far more complex than any machine ever built by a human being, and I’m talking about every single cell. Scientists tell us now that every cell is like a miniature factory town. Every single cell hums with power plants, automated factories and recycling centers. In the nucleus is a cellular library of every cell, housing blueprints and plans that are copied and transported to the factories in the cell, each of which is filled with molecular machines that function like computerized motors. These manufacture the immense array of products needed within the cell with the processes all regulated by enzymes that function as stop watches to ensure that everything is perfectly timed. And all things are assembled, gathered, transported and delivered in exactly the required moment. It was Francis Crick of DNA fame who said, “The cell is thus a minute factory bristling with rapid organized chemical activity.” Even the outside of the cell, the surface, the membrane is studded with censors, gates, pumps and identification markers to regulate traffic coming in and out of that cell. Today biologists can not even describe the cell without using the language of machines and engineering.
It was Michael Behe who wrote the blockbuster Darwin’s Black Box in which he posited the obvious truth of intelligent design behind creation, rather than random chance. And Behee describes a cell like this. “Each cell has an automated rapid transit system in which certain molecules function as tiny monorail trains running along tracks to whisk cargo around from one part of the cell to the other. Other molecules act as loading machines, filling up the train cars and attaching address labels. When the train reaches the right address in another part of the cell, it is met by other molecules that act as docking machines, opening them up and removing the supplies. To frame a mental image of the cell, picture it as a large and complex model train layout with tracks crisscrossing everywhere. Its switches and signals perfectly timed so that no trains collide and the cargo reaches its destination precisely when needed.” And Behee goes on to say, and here’s his main point, “This is a level of complexity that Darwin never dreamed of and his theory utterly fails to account for. Why? Because a system of coordinated interlocking parts like this can only operate after all the pieces are in place, which means they must all appear simultaneously, not by any gradual piece by piece process.” Therefore, Behee coined the term “Irreducible complexity.” “To refer to the minimum level of complexity, it must be present before such a highly integrated system can function at all. It cannot evolve piece by piece, it must appear simultaneously in the very same moment. Irreducibly complex systems don’t have any function without this minimum number of parts in place, which means they can’t occur by natural selection.”

As another illustration of this, consider the tiny string-like flagellum attached like a tail to some bacteria. Have you ever seen in a microscope a bacteria with a little tail? As the bacterium swims around in its environment, the flagellum whips around like a propellor and from a diagram if you were to see it, you would consider it to be a kind of motorized machine like you would have in an outboard motor. It is a microscopic rotary motor that comes equipped, scientists tell us, with a hook joint, a drive shaft, o rings, a starter and a bidirectional acid power motor that can hum along at up to…are you ready for this?…one hundred thousand revolutions per minute. Structures like these require dozens of precisely tailored, intricately interacting parts which could not emerge by any gradual process. Instead the coordinated parts must somehow appear on the scene all at the same time, combined and perfectly coordinated in the right patterns for the molecular machine to function at all. And all of this is dependent upon information, operational manuals in every part of the organic world.

This has to come from intelligence. It has to come from the Creator who is communicating this information to His creation. If you go from the micro world to the macro world, it’s the same thing. In fact, I am fascinated, and always have been, by the macro world…stars, space. And science is continuing to discover the complexity of our cosmology. This universe, as we know it, is intricately balanced as if on an edge of a knife. Take, for example, just the force of gravity. If it were only slightly weaker, all stars would be red dwarfs, too cold to support life in the universe. If it were only slightly stronger, all stars would be blue giants burning too briefly for life to develop. The margin of error in the universe expansion rate is only one part in ten to the sixtieth power. Cosmologists speaks of cosmic coincidences, meaning that the fundamental forces of the universe just happen to have the exact numerical value required to make life possible. The slightest change would yield a universe inhospitable to life.
What makes the question so puzzling is that there is no physical cause explaining this fine tuned complexity. George Greenstein(?), writes, “Nothing in all of physics explains why its fundamental principles should conform themselves so precisely to life’s requirement.” In other words, there is no physical explanation for why the universe is the way it is. To make it even more clear, perhaps, imagine that you found a huge universe-creating machine, okay? And it had thousands of dials on this machine representing the gravitational constant and the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force and the ratio of the mass of the protein and the electron and all the rest of the complexity of matter, and imagine that each dial has hundreds of possible settings and you can spin them and twirl them around at your will. Nothing is preset to any particular value. What you discover is, however, that the infinite number of dials just happen to be set exactly at the right value everywhere in the entire complexity of the universe so that it all operates perfectly when even the slightest tweak of one of the cosmic knobs would produce a universe where life was impossible. As a science reporter puts it, “They are like the knobs on God’s console counsel and they seem almost miraculously tuned to allow life.” And so they are. They are not constrained by any natural law, that’s what Einstein couldn’t find, that’s what scientists can’t find today. And yet scientists are reluctant to acknowledge a creator. Astronomer Heinz Oberhummer  says, “I am not a religious person, but I could say this universe is designed very well.” Well you ought to be a religious person if you can say that. How about astronomer Fred Hoyle, he said this, it’s a famous quote, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics.” Who is that super-intellect? Hoyle says, “An alien mind from another universe,” which just moves his problem somewhere else.

All of that to say that the Creator is the master of information, the master of information in the microcosm, the master of information in the macrocosm. So the Creator knows His creation and the Creator knows the complexity of His creation and He knows the simplicity of His creation and He knows what scientists are going to find out. And He has to write a book that when time goes on and centuries go on and millennia goes on and science digs deeper and deeper and deeper into the matter and the organic life of the universe, nothing that He has said is going to be wrong. And so He speaks in His Word and since He is the Creator, what He says in His Word is absolutely accurate, absolutely right. His Word does not speak about the complexity of the atomic world or the world of cellular structure in the organic realm and the world of complex atomic structure in the inorganic world. It doesn’t speak about that which is only observable to a high-tech far-advanced society. It speaks to those things which are observable by everyone and have always been observable to one degree or another, but it speaks also of things that were not discovered at the time that they were basically written in the Word of God. In fact, they were contrary to common belief at that time. And yet as time has gone on, they have proven to be exactly accurate.

Let’s take some simple categories and look at them. First of all, hydrology…hydrology. This deals with the subject of water…of water, the waters of the earth. You can get all the way in to the seventeenth century, the sixteen hundreds, and you will find scientists puzzled about the source of water, talking about subterranean reservoirs where water is held down in the belly of the earth and comes up from there. But in the seventeenth century, scientists such as Edmé Mariotte, Pierre Perrault, and Edmond Halley, all three in the seventeenth century, opened up the modern understanding of hydrological motion, or the hydrological cycle, how there is only an original mass of water. It is always the same, it always has been the same, it always will be the same. This is the first law of thermodynamics. This same mass of water, this same cycle of the combination of H2O moves continually through a process of evaporation, transportation, precipitation and irrigation, and then run off back to start the process all over again. The Bible is absolutely accurate in the way it presents the hydrological cycle.
Listen to the language of Isaiah 55 and verse 10. “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout and furnish seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I said it.” Now the point of that statement by the prophet is to show that the Word of God always accomplishes its purposes as God sends it forth. But the analogy, and the Bible isn’t a book trying to teach you science, but when it uses a scientific analogy it is an accurate one. It’s as the rain comes down from heaven and returns there but only after its watered the earth that you see the hydrological cycle.

If you turn with me for a moment to Ecclesiastes chapter 1, you find again a reference to this. In verse 6 it talks about how the sun rises, the sun sets, hastening to its place. It rises there again, blowing toward the south and turning toward the north. The wind continues swirling along. Talks about wind currents as well. And on its circular courses the wind returns, the wind runs in circles. This is before they knew the earth was a circle. But the wind is running the circle of the earth. You have in verse 7 hydrology, all the rivers flow into the sea yet the sea is not full, or the sea does not overflow. Why? Because when all the water flows into the sea, it evaporates back out of the sea up to the heavens where it is retained in the clouds and then deposited again on the earth and runs the same cycle again and again.

In Job, perhaps the first book ever written, talking about the same time as the Pentateuch would be written, you have this in Job 36 verses 27 and 28, “For He draws up the drops of water, He draws them up, they distill rain from the midst which the clouds pour down. They drip upon man abundantly.” Now it’s starting to put together the rain and the snow come out of the sky, they come down, they irrigate the earth, they go into the rivers and the streams, they flow into the sea, the sea never overflows because the water is drawn up and distilled in the clouds. The clouds move over the land and they drip upon man abundantly and the cycle goes on. Psalm 135:7, “He causes the vapors to ascend to the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings for the rain.” There you have all of those elements of evaporation, transportation, precipitation, irrigation and run off and the cycle goes on again.

And Scripture speaks about this not infrequently, but quite frequently. Just a couple of other passages that show this. The twenty-sixth chapter of Job verse 8, “He wraps up the waters in His clouds and the cloud does not burst under them.” God collects the evaporated water in the clouds and the clouds as…as thin as they are, as seemingly weak as they are…hold the water. They hold massive, massive amounts of water as we well know who have lived through severe storms when those clouds bring that water, collecting it off the sea as they go and bursting upon the land even to the degree of hurricanes and their horrific deluges.

There is in Psalm 33:7, and I don’t want to go to every passage, I’ll skip a few. Psalm 33:7, “He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap.” This pictures the great ocean reservoir. “He lays up the deeps in storehouses.” God’s storehouse for the water is the deep, is the ocean.
In Job 38:22 it says, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail?” That is to say, have you ever ascended into heaven and gone into a cloud?

Water is an amazing thing. I was reading this week about a mole…m-o-l-e…. It is a collection of molecules and in one mole of water which is 18 grams of water, you have six-hundred-billion-trillion molecules. It is a staggering amount of material in one mole of water. And this massive amount of water moves in this continual cycle that God has designed and simply explained in Scripture not as a scientific explanation but almost in each case either to show the ignorance of man and the inability of man to ascend into the place where God dwells, or to use as an illustration of some spiritual truth.

Going beyond that, let’s talk about astronomy. The most amazing fact of modern astronomy is the essentially infinite size of the universe and the infinite variety of the physical components of that universe, including the stars. And after years and years, there’s universal agreement on the nature of space and all that occupies it.

To show you something of the Scripture’s understanding of this, go to Psalm 103…Psalm 103. Remember now, whoever wrote this book understood this perfectly at a time when no one else did because He is the Creator. In Psalm 103 and verse 11 we read this, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.” Now again we find God making statements that are a true indication of cosmology, a true indication true science and a true understanding of the universe, but not for the sake of the science but for the sake of the illustration. And he is trying to express the infinite nature of His loving kindness and he parallels it to the height of the heavens, as high as the heavens are above the earth, that is how great is the loving kindness of God toward those who fear Him. And just how great is it? It is equal to the distance between the east and the west. Now try to figure that out. How far is east from west? It’s impossible because it’s an infinite line…it’s an infinite line. And there is that point being made. That’s how far He’s removed our transgressions from us. He has removed them infinitely from us as far as east is from west because His loving kindness is infinite, it is as far up as this universe will go. And so we find that God speaks of His infinite loving kindness and His infinite forgiveness by describing the infinity of what we now know is an infinite universe.

In Job 22:12 we read, “Is not God in the height of heaven? Look also at the distant stars, how high they are.”

And Jeremiah 31 verses 35 to 37 is another very straightforward and accurate statement with regard to astronomy. Jeremiah 31:35, “Thus says the Lord who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night.” We now know that they all move in a fixed order in orbits, in motions that are fixed and permanently controlled and varying. This is our God and this is His creation and He knows how it operates.

Go down to verse 37, “Thus says the Lord, if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel.” Meaning, you cannot measure the height of the heavens and you cannot discern what holds the earth in its place, anymore than I will cast off the offspring of Israel. Pretty important statement eschatologically, too, isn’t it?

In the third chapter of Jeremiah and verse 22, a very interesting statement. “As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David.” Here the Bible says you can’t count the stars and you can’t count the sand on the seashores of the world. That we would agree would be utterly impossible.

However, before the seventeenth century, Hipparchus said there one-thousand and twenty-two stars. Ptolemy said there are one-thousand-fifty-six. Kepler said there are one-thousand and fifty-five. And today scientists tell us there are over one-hundred-billion in our galaxy and billions and billions of uncounted galaxies. Scientists have also discovered in recent centuries that stars are different sizes, different temperatures, various kinds of stars, different varieties. And they are busy cataloging the numerous types of stars.

Listen to 1 Corinthians 15:41, “There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon.” The moon is not like the sun. “Another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory.” This is to illustrate that in the resurrection we will have a different kind of body. And the Bible is right. There are all kinds of stars and they differ one from another. Science has also charted the absolute patterns of orbits which do not vary. The consistency of these bodies in motion, the great astronomer Kepler had predicted mathematically that on December 6, 1631 the planet Venus would pass in front of the sun. He predicted that based upon the fixed orbit of the planet Venus. He didn’t live to see it but a Frenchman, Pierre Gassendi, prepared to see it occur and it did so as predicted. According to Kepler, a transit again would occur over a hundred years later. But there was an English school boy who calculated orbits and found it should occur frankly in two years…to years after the original one calculated by Kepler, it should happen on December 4 in 1639 and it did.

How can you predict that? Because the orbits are fixed and unwavering. And that’s exactly what we’ve just read. The Lord sets things in their place in fixed orbits. Listen to Jeremiah 31:35 and 36, “Thus says the Lord who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night. If this fixed order departs from before Me, then the offspring of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”
Look at Psalm 19 for just a moment, in the sixth verse of Psalm 19 a statement is made that science used to laugh at and use it to debunk the accuracy of the Bible. It says in verse 6, speaking of the sun, that the sun is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, rejoices as a strong man to run his course, its rising is from one end of the heavens and its circuit to the other end of them and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” And here the psalmist says that the sun moves from one end of heaven to the other. There were people up until the seventeenth century who thought the sun didn’t move at all. But the psalmist tells us it does move, we now know that the sun is in constant motion, it is in orbit dragging our entire solar system with it and the sun is moving through space at 72 thousand miles per hour in a gigantic orbit that takes two million centuries to complete, based upon that speed. Not many years ago scientists taught that the moon was a great luminous globe like the sun even though 25 centuries ago Job said, “Look to the moon, it does not shine,” Job 25:5. It has no light of its own, it is merely a reflector of the sun.

When you look at the Bible and you look for hydrology and you look for astronomy, the scientific facts are correct. How about geology, the science of the earth? There are a lot of geological things that we could talk about, and I confess that I am not a scientist, but I can read like anybody else and find the things that science is interested in and compare them with the Word of God which is basically what I’ve endeavored to do. But in the realm of geology there is a science called isostasy…isostasy. It is the study of the balance of the earth. It really didn’t come into prominence until around 1959 and it deals with the landmass the mountains, the seas, and how those things all effect the weight of the earth. That is the foundation of what are called geo…what is called geophysics. And the Bible acknowledges this whole matter of isostasy..weight. Isaiah 40 and verse 12, “Behold the Lord God who has measured the waters in the hallow of His hand and marked off the heavens by a span and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure and weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales.”

God knows who much everything weight…weighs. It is in perfect harmony. You have all taken a basketball that was not round and have rolled it, right? And seen it go like that….and that’s what we would be doing every so often, bouncing a little if the earth did not move in a balanced fashion. Psalm 104 verses 5 through 8, “He established the earth upon its foundations so that it will not totter. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which Thou didst establish for them.” The right height of the mountains, the right depth of the valleys, the right weight of the water, the right weight of the dirt and the dust and it all is in perfect balance.

Geology has another sub-science called geodesy, dealing with the shape of the earth. The shape of the earth, we know what it is, it is round. It is spherical. The ancients taught that it was flat, as you well know, and they thought even up to Columbus’ time that if you just kept sailing, you’d fall off the edge. In fact, they used to think that if you sailed through the gates of Pericles, that was the ancient name of Gibralter, if you passed the land mass North Africa and Spain, that was the end and you would fall into nothingness.
But the Bible was crystal-clear about that. Long before that, Isaiah 40 verse 22. “It is He who sits on the circle of the earth.” Circle is a Hebrew word meaning sphere, meaning sphere. The earth is a circle. The Bible says that. And it even goes further than that. In Job 22 verse 14 it talks about the circle of heaven. And in Proverbs 8 and verse 27, that might be a verse just to point to you, Proverbs 8:27, “When He established the heavens, I was there when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep.” What’s that? That’s the one place where you and I can see the circular character of the earth standing on the beach looking at the circle on the horizon across the edge of the deep. The Bible is crystal clear that this is a sphere, that it is a circle and that it is visible on the horizon.

Even more. Job 38, two verses in Job 38, verses 13 and 14. And again remember, these are usually in the context of making a spiritual point or indicating what it is that God knows that we don’t know unless He reveals it to us. But in Job 38 verse 13 it talks about taking hold of the ends of the earth. What in the world does that mean, taking hold of the ends of the earth? If you go to verse 14 you find out. It is turned…the Hebrew says it is turned like clay under the seal, or clay to the seal. You will notice that under is added. It is rotated like clay to the seal. You take a hold of the ends of the earth and you rotate it like clay to the seal.

Here’s what happened. When in ancient times you wanted to write something, you wrote it in clay before paper. In Job’s time you would have written it in soft clay, like God wrote His Law. And then you would have sealed it so everyone had a seal with his name on it. And you took the soft clay and you rolled the seal of your name across the clay which imprinted your signature. That’s how printing is done even today on a cylinder, it’s rolled across. And Job…God is telling Job that the earth, you take the ends of it and you turn it like you turn that clay signature across soft clay to make an imprint. It is rotated on an axis, you take two ends and the earth rotates on the axis around those two ends, one at the north and one at the south. And we saw even in Job, the oldest book, the understanding that the earth is a sphere, that it is a circle and that it rotates on an axis.

It was the seventeenth century when Newton discovered gravity. That was big. Gravity had always been around, he just identified it for what it was. But it was Job chapter 26 verse 7, “He hangs the earth on nothing. He hangs the earth on nothing.” And gravity is even indicated, go to Job 38 for a minute, verses 31 and 32…Job 38:31 and 32. The Lord’s talking again and He’s giving Job a very important lesson about Job’s ignorance. And He says, “You must think you’re something, Job, so let me give you a few things to think about,” verse 31, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?” What’s He talking about there? He’s talking about gravity. All those stars that move in space in those constellations are held together by divine chains, by divine cords. Who do you think you are? “Do you think you can hold the constellations together? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season? Can you move it through space? Can you guide the bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens and…or fix their rule over the earth?” Who do you think you are?

There is knowledge…if you go back to the fourteenth chapter of Job of another element of geology…in Job 14 and verse 18, “But the falling mountain crumbles away and the rock moves from its place, water wears away stones. Its torrents wash away the dust of the earth.” This is erosion. This is rock erosion. People didn’t live their life long enough to see it. Post-flood, they…they…they would never have known this. No one is around long enough to see that really take place.

In the thirty-eighth chapter, go back again to Job 38 verses 29 and 30, “From whose womb has come the ice and the frost of heaven? Who has given it birth?” Where does the frost come from? The dew. Where does the ice come from? Water becomes hard like stone and the surface of the deep is imprisoned. What’s that? That’s a glacier. You even have here an understanding of the hardness, the dense hardness of glaciers.

So whether you’re talking about hydrology, whether you’re talking about astronomy, whether you’re talking about geology, the Bible shows the designer and the creator’s understanding of all these things in simple enough expressions for everyone to understand. Let’s talk about meteorology for a minute. This is the circulation of the atmosphere, and I already read you how the wind moves in cycles and in circles because it circles the circle of the earth. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that Galileo discovered that wind had circuits. We read that in Ecclesiastes 1:6. And no scientist before Galileo knew or believed that the air had weight…that it had weight. But Job 28:25 says God imparted weight to the wind…weight to the air.

Let’s talk about physiology briefly…physiology. It wasn’t until 1628 and this was a huge change in the world, that William Harvey discovered the circulation of blood was the key to life. Prior to that, if you got sick, what did they do? Took your blood away. They bled you, stuck leeches on you, cut you open and let you bleed. Not until 1628 did they know what is in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” That is scientifically correct. It was about the 1950’s when medicine began to look in psychosomatic illnesses. And there was a book that came out called Personality Manifestations in Psycho…Psychosomatic Illnessand it began for the first time to understand how emotions cause changes in the body, they cause physiology to change. The Bible completely understood this. Psalm 32, David understood it so well, “How blessed,” he starts in Psalm 32, “is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man whom the Lord does not impute iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” It’s wonderful…he says…to be forgiven, what a blessing it is to be delivered from guilt.
On the other hand, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away.” It had physiological effects. “Through my groaning all day long.” What he means is, I was weakened by my guilt, it affected my strength, it sapped me of my energy. He said, “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me, my life juices…literally…my life juices…in the Hebrew…drained away as in the fever heat of summer.” It was like…it was like having…being dehydrated, all my life’s juices disappeared. What are life juices? Well the fluids in your body…blood, secretions of the glands, saliva. The emotional experience of this kind of guilt produced changing amount of blood flow. That’s why when people get angry their face gets red…or when people get frightened their face gets white…or when people lie their mouth gets dry. Excess thyroxin produced by emotion and poured into the blood stream can produce all kinds of things, even fatal heart disease. Also changes muscle tension. In Proverbs 16:24 we read this, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Pleasant words make you feel better, right? It’s like Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Happiness produces a self of well-being, you feel better. The Bible is accurate about everything, even down to these physiological realities.

Well, that’s only an introduction to the vastness of this wonderful subject. But let’s close by looking at Proverbs 30…Proverbs 30. And this is a good place to bring our thoughts to a conclusion. “The words of Agur, the son of Jakeh, the oracle. The man declares to Ithiel, to Ithiel and Ucal.” Listen to what he says. “Surely I am more stupid than any man and I do not have the understanding of a man, neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.” On my own I am stupid, I don’t know anything. Verse 4, “Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, or His Son’s name? Surely you know.” We do? How do we know? Verse 5, “Because every word of God is…what?…is pure, proven, tested.” You know the Holy One, you know that He came from heaven. You know He created the wind and the waters and the ends of the earth and you know His name, and by the way, you know His Son’s name, through His revelation. “And you know that He’s a shield to those who take refuge in Him and do not add to His words, lest He reprove you and you be proved a liar.” What that is saying is simply this, God has spoken and what He said is here. Don’t add to it. And whether it talks about spiritual things, or whether it talks about material things, it is the truth because it is written by the creator who knows. Pray with me.

Father, we are so stunned in one sense to look into the passages of Scripture from ancient books, way back at the beginning, millennia ago, long before man was ever able to develop the skill and the equipment to understand these things, but was all laid out accurately. And herein is the evidence that this book comes from the creator who knows. There is no way that the writers could have known. Moses who wrote the Pentateuch couldn’t have known, apart from revelation all these things, nor could Isaiah the prophet, nor could the writer of Job, or the psalmist or even the Apostles of the New Testament who talked about the differing character of the sun, the moon and the variety of stars. It’s all reflective of one single author who is himself the creator. And how wonderful it is that the one who made all this is none other than the one who came incarnate, for in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. But the Word also became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And as many as received Him, to them He gave the right, the authority and the power to be called the sons of God. We thank You that we can know You, the true and living God. You are the One who made this universe, You are the One who came down to provide spiritual life, eternal life to all who would put their trust in You. And all that You desire to say to us spiritually and to confirm that You indeed are the Creator, you have placed in Your Word. Increase our confidence in it, our love for it, our devotion to it, to know it and thereby to know You, to proclaim it, to defend it to the glory that You deserve as its author and the final object of its purpose which is to redeem sinners for Your eternal glory. We thank You again for the power of the Word in Christ’s name. Amen.

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The Naturalist Dilemma and Why Christianity Supports a Better Science

Peter Blair

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The works of thinkers like prominent evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins have fueled widespread belief in the incompatibility of science and religion. In The Devil’s Chaplain, Dawkins comments,

Are science and religion converging? No. There are modern scientists whose words sound religious but whose beliefs, on close examination, turn out to be identical to those of other scientists who straightforwardly call themselves atheists…To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham.1

In The God Delusion, Dawkins supports his claim by citing a 1998 study showing that only seven percent of the scientists in the National Academy of Sciences believe in a personal God.2According to Dawkins, the evidence indicates that naturalism is the only acceptable and consistent worldview for a scientist to have.The philosophical underpinnings of theistic and naturalistic worldviews, however, indicate that the true conflict is not between science and religion, but rather between science and naturalism. A naturalist (also known as a materialist) is Somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles.3 For the naturalist, there is no afterlife, no soul and no supernatural being. As scientist Carl Sagan put it, naturalism is the belief that The Cosmos is all there is, has ever been or ever will be.Many people would argue that such an idea is a critical component of the scientific worldview.

Contrary to that popular belief, naturalism actually undermines scientific inquiry. If naturalism is true, then rational thought is the product of purely nonrational processes. According to a strictly naturalistic worldview, our beliefs and thoughts come solely from physical reactions in our brain. Alvin Plantinga, a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University, puts it this way:

According to materialists, beliefs, along with the rest of mental life, are caused or determined by neurophysiology, by what goes on in the brain and nervous system. Neurophysiology, furthermore, also causes behavior. According to the usual story, electrical signals proceed via afferent nerves from the sense organs to the brain; there some processing goes on; then electrical impulses go via efferent nerves from the brain to other organs including muscles; in response to these signals, certain muscles contract, thus causing movement and behavior…Now this same neurophysiology, according to the materialist, also causes belief.5

If reason is the product of nonrational forces, why should we treat its dictates as reliable? We would not, in any other area, associate physical processes with rationality or meaning; in fact, we typically consider beliefs that arise from nonrational causes to be unreliable. Consider tasseography, the process of divining the future from the patterns formed by tea-leaves at the bottom of a cup. Although tea-leaves settle in the bottom of the cup according to physical constants, we do not consider information thus divined to be reliable, because the physical process, which determines the pattern, is nonrational. From the naturalistic perspective, all of our beliefs are formed through the same type of physical, nonrational processes that create seemingly meaningful patterns for the tasseographer. Hormones and electricity are merely settling in our brains to form patterns that we then interpret to create meaning.
Therefore, in naturalist thought or any other worldview that explains reasoning in terms of nonrational causes, reason is potentially unreliable. Paradoxically, like any other philosophical system naturalism is a product of reason. Therefore, by demonstrating that human reason is not necessarily reliable, naturalism undermines itself. Furthermore, scientific theory depends upon the reliability of our observations and our ability to draw logical conclusions from those observations, so naturalism undermines science as well.

Some philosophers and evolutionary scientists have responded to this argument by suggesting that evolution makes naturalism compatible with science because human beings’ cognitive faculties would have evolved to be reliable. They hypothesize that the ability to use reason to draw correct conclusions about reality helps mankind to survive, so natural selection favors reliable cognitive faculties and disfavors unreliable ones. For example, the philosopher William Ramsey argues:

A cognitive system that generates the belief that tigers are large, cuddly pussycats or the belief that the best way to get near something is to run away from it…will, down the road, get you into trouble. If your cognitive system is prone to these sorts of errors, then you aren’t going to be around for long.6

Therefore, because true belief helps our survival and false belief hurts it, our mental faculties would have evolved to enable us to reach true conclusions about reality. And indeed, this response is superficially compelling. It is advantageous for our survival to believe in, for example, the existence of the external world and in certain scientific laws like gravity, and there is good reason to think these beliefs are true.The question becomes “Have our cognitive faculties produced any beliefs about reality that, while false, help us to survive?” According to the naturalist, the belief in God is necessarily false. Yet historically, the majority of people have believed in the existence of at least one god. How would a naturalist account for this phenomenon? One might say that people have historically believed in God not because God exists, but rather because that belief helped them to survive. Evolutionist David Sloan Wilson has written that the belief in God is so widespread because it makes people happier and more unselfish, enabling them to get better mates and helping their families to survive longer.7 Similarly, Richard Dawkins has argued that we believe in God because certain traits that promote survival also tend to cause one to believe in agents and actors that don’t actually exist.8

The argument that evolution produces false beliefs to aid in survival directly contradicts the argument that evolution produces reliable cognitive faculties. In the service of survival, evolution has no regard for the truth or falsity of a statement. Philosopher Patricia Churchland writes:

The principle chore of [the brain] is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing [the world] is advantageous so long as it…enhances the organism’s chances for survival. Truth, whatever it is, takes the hindmost.9

If evolution cares only to promote that which helps an organism survive, and potentially false beliefs like religious faith can do this, then evolution will favor a mental system that produces both true and false beliefs. In other words, it would produce untrustworthy cognitive faculties. Charles Darwin himself, recognizing this problem, wrote to a friend The horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.10 Evolution does not provide an answer to the initial problem. Naturalism, even evolutionary naturalism, still undermines our rational trust in the reliability of our cognitive faculties and consequently in any disciplines, including science, that depend on that reliability.Christianity on the other hand, far from conflicting with science, actually provides both a motivation and a solid epistemological basis for scientific endeavors. Christianity holds that God created everything, including our reason, our senses and the natural laws that govern the universe.11 Therefore a Christian can look at science as an attempt to learn more about God and His works.12 This viewpoint endows scientific endeavors with great significance and purpose; it consecrates and dignifies intellectual life.

Furthermore, the Christian worldview teaches that God is not deceptive, and therefore Christianity provides all scientists with a reason to trust their cognitive faculties on a general basis. Christianity asserts that the world is fundamentally rational and meaningful, and that our thoughts are not just the product of nonrational processes. Christians believe there is purpose in life and there is knowable truth which, when fully grasped and understood, brings people closer to God.13 For these reasons, a Christian can be motivated to study science and justify doing so.

The history of Western science is partially the story of faith’s enriching influence. Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer writes:

The rise of modern science did not conflict with what the Bible teaches; indeed, at a crucial point the Scientific Revolution rested upon what the Bible teaches…because the early scientists believed that the world was created by a reasonable God, they were not surprised to discover that people could find out something true about nature and the universe on the basis of reason…scientists could move with confidence, expecting to be able to find out about the world by observation and experimentation…without this foundation, Western modern science would not have been born.14

Schaeffer goes on to discuss the major scientists of the Western tradition and their relationship to the Christian faith. Francis Bacon,The major prophet of the Scientific Revolution, Johannes Kepler, the man who showed that the planets’ orbits are elliptical, Sir Isaac Newton, a scientist who later in life wrote more about the Bible than he wrote about science, Blaise Pascal, maker of the first successful barometer and Michael Faraday, discoverer of the induction of electric current were all practicing Christians, as were the majority of early members in the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.15

These men believed Christianity justified their scientific work. Francis Bacon wrote:

Let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or in ill applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word [the Bible] or the book of God’s works [nature].16

Bacon thought science was important precisely because of his Christian faith; he believed that the study of nature was the study of God. Schaeffer points out, furthermore, that even those few founders of modern science who were not Christians Were living within the thought forms brought forth by Christianity, especially the belief that God as the Creator and Lawgiver has implanted laws in his creation which man can discover.17C.S. Lewis gives a beautiful summary of Christianity’s foundational and illuminative power: I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.18 Naturalism, because it leads us to doubt our cognitive faculties and our ability to reason, darkens and obscures science. Christianity, however, succeeds where naturalism fails. Illuminated by the Christian worldview, science makes sense. Through Christianity, we are able to see science in its proper and natural place as a valuable pursuit with a solid foundation.

1 Richard Dawkins, The Devil’s Chaplain (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 146.2 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 84.3 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 14.4 Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), 1.5 Evolution vs. Naturalism, Books and Culture. July/August 2008.6 Beilby, James (ed.), Naturalism Defeated? Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, (New York: Cornell University Press, 2002), 21.7 Timothy Keller, The Reason for God (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 136.8 Ibid.9 Ibid, 137.10 Ibid, 138.11 Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth12 Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.13 As Romans 1:20 states.14 Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (Illinois: Crossway Books, 2005), 132-134.15 Ibid, 134-138.16 Ibid, 142.17 Ibid, 138.18 C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry? The Weight of Glory and other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1980), 140.Staff writer Peter Blair ’12 is from Newton Square, Pennsylvania. He is a Government and Philosophy double major.

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You Can Trust the Bible Psalm 19:7-9 P10 John MacArthur

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You Can Trust the Bible

John MacArthur

You Can Trust the BibleWe live in a world that, for the most part, has no absolute standard for life and behavior. We are under a system of morality by majority vote—in other words, whatever feels right sets the standard for behavior.

That philosophy, however, runs contrary to everything we know about our world. For example, in science there are absolutes. Our entire universe is built on fixed laws. We can send satellites and other spacecraft into space and accurately predict their behavior. Science—whether biology, botany, physiology, astronomy, mathematics, or engineering—is controlled by unalterable and inviolable laws.

Yet in the moral world many people want to live without laws or absolutes. They try to determine their points of reference from their own minds. However, that is impossible. When we move from the physical to the spiritual realm, fixed laws still exist. We cannot exist without laws in the moral and spiritual dimensions of life any more than we can do so in the physical dimension. Our Creator built morality into life. Just as there are physical laws, so there are spiritual laws. Let me give you an example.

People have asked me whether I believe that AIDS is the judgment of God. My response is that AIDS is the judgment of God in the same sense that cirrhosis of the liver is the judgment of God or that emphysema is the judgment of God. If you drink alcohol, you’re liable to get cirrhosis of the liver. If you smoke, you’re liable to get emphysema or heart disease. And if you choose to violate God’s standards for morality, you’re likely to contract venereal disease—even AIDS. It is a law that the Bible describes in terms of sowing and reaping.

We can explain this principle in another illustration. Gravity is a fixed law. You may choose not to believe in gravity, but regardless of what you choose to believe, if you jump off a building you’ll fall to the ground. You don’t have an option. It’s not a question of what you believe; it’s a question of law. The law will go into effect when you put it to the test. That is true in any other area of physical law.

The same thing is true in the moral and spiritual dimension. To segment life into a physical dimension in which fixed laws cannot be violated and a moral or spiritual dimension in which laws can be violated is an impossible dichotomization. The same God who controls the physical world by fixed laws controls the moral and spiritual world.

Where, then, do you find the laws of morality? How do you determine what is right and what is wrong? Has our Creator revealed such standards to mankind in a way we can understand?

The Bible claims to be the revelation of God to man. Although I have spent many years of my life studying the Bible, I wasn’t always committed to it. That commitment developed after my freshman year in col lege, when I came to grips with my life and future and wanted to know the source of truth. I discovered several compelling reasons for believing that the Bible is God’s Word. Five basic areas, which go from the lesser to the greater, help prove its authenticity.

The Authenticity of the Bible

Experience

First, the Bible is true because it gives us the experience it claims it will. For example, the Bible says God will forgive our sin (1 John 1:9). I believe that, and I can truly say that I have a sense of freedom from guilt. The Bible also says that “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). That’s what happened to me when I came to Jesus Christ. The Bible changes lives. Someone has said that a Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t. That’s true because the Bible can put lives together. Millions of people all over the world are living proof that that is true. Maybe you know one or two of them. They’ve experienced the Bible’s power.

That’s an acceptable argument in one sense, but it’s weak in another. If you base everything you believe on experience, you’re going to run into trouble. Followers of Muhammad, Buddha, and Hare Krishna can point to various experiences as the basis for their beliefs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their beliefs are correct. So although experience can help validate the power and authority of the Bible, we will need more evidence.

Science

The Bible also presents a most plausible, objective understanding of the universe and the existence of life. It presents a God who creates. That makes more sense than believing that everything came out of nothing, which is essentially what the theory of evolution says. I have an easier time assuming that someone produced everything. And the Bible tells me who that someone is: God.

The study of creation helps explain how the earth’s geology became the way it is. The Bible tells of a supernatural creation that took place in six days and of a catastrophic worldwide flood. These two events help explain many geological and other scientific questions, some of which we will soon explore.

You will find that the Bible is accurate when it intersects with modern scientific concepts. For example, Isaiah 40:26 says it is God who creates the universe. He holds the stars together by His power and not one of them is ever missing. In this way the Bible suggests the first law of thermodynamics—that ultimately nothing is ever destroyed.

We read in Ecclesiastes 1:10: “Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’?” The answer immediately follows: “Already it has existed for ages which were before us.” Ancient writers of the Bible, thousands of years before the laws of thermodynamics had been categorically stated, were affirming the conservation of mass and energy.

The second law of thermodynamics states that although mass and energy are always conserved, they nevertheless are breaking down and going from order to disorder, from cosmos to chaos, from system to non-system. The Bible, contrary to the theory of evolution, affirms that. As matter breaks down and energy dissipates, ultimately the world and universe as we know it will become dead. It will be unable to reproduce itself. Romans 8 says that all creation groans because of its curse, which is described at the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 3). That curse—and God’s plan to reverse the curse—is reflected throughout biblical teaching.

The science of hydrology studies the cycle of water, which consists of three major phases: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Clouds move over the land and drop water through precipitation. The rain runs into creeks, the creeks run into streams, the streams run into the sea, and the evaporation process takes place all the way along the path. That same process is described in Scripture. Ecclesiastes 1 and Isaiah 55 present the entire water cycle: “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7). “For . . . the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth” (Isaiah 55:10). Also, Job 36:27-28 speaks of evaporation and condensation—centuries prior to any scientific discovery of the process: “He [God] draws up the drops of water, they distill rain from the mist, which the clouds pour down, they drip upon man abundantly.”

In the 1500s, when Copernicus first presented the idea that the earth was in motion, people were astounded. They previously believed that the earth was a flat disc and that if you went through the Pillars of Hercules at the Rock of Gibraltar you’d fall off the edge. In the seventeenth century, men like Kepler and Galileo gave birth to modern astronomy. Prior to that, the universe was generally thought to contain only about one thousand stars, which was the number that had been counted.

However, in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the number of the stars of heaven is equated with the number of grains of sand on the seashore. God told Abraham, “I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore” ( 22:17 ). Jeremiah 33:22says that the stars can’t be counted. Again God is speaking: “As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David.” Today several million stars have been cataloged, though hundreds of millions remain unlisted.

The oldest book in the Bible, the Book of Job, pre-dates Christ by about two thousand years. YetJob 26:7 says, “He hangs the earth on nothing.” In the sacred books of other religions you may read that the earth is on the backs of elephants that produce earthquakes when they shake. The cosmogony of Greek mythology is at about the same level of sophistication. But the Bible is in a completely different class. It says, “He . . . hangs the earth on nothing” (emphasis added).

Job also says that the earth is “turned like the clay to the seal” (38:14, KJV*). In those days, soft clay was used for writing and a seal was used for applying one’s signature. One kind of seal was a hollow cylinder of hardened clay with a signature raised on it. A stick went through it so that it could be rolled like a rolling pin. The writer could, therefore, roll his signature across the soft clay and in that way sign his name. In saying the earth is turned like the clay to the seal, Job may have implied that it rotates on its axis. The Hebrew word translated “earth” (hug) refers to a sphere.

It’s also interesting to note that the earth maintains a perfect balance. If you’ve ever seen a basketball that’s out of balance, you know that it rotates unevenly. You can imagine what would happen if the earth were like that. The earth is a perfect sphere, and it is perfectly balanced. The depths of the sea have to be balanced with the height of the mountains. The branch of science that studies that balance is called isostasy. In Isaiah 40:12, centuries before science even conceived of this phenomenon, Isaiah said that God “has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales.”

English philosopher Herbert Spencer, who died in 1903, was famous for applying scientific discoveries to philosophy. He listed five knowable categories in the natural sciences: time, force, motion, space, and matter. However, Genesis 1:1, the first verse in the Bible, says, “In the beginning [time] God [force] created [motion] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter].” God laid it all out in the very first verse of Scripture.

The Bible truly is the revelation of God to mankind. He wants us to know about Him and the world He created. Although the Bible does not contain scientific terminology, it is amazingly accurate whenever it happens to refer to scientific truth. But someone might say, “Wait a minute. The Old Testament says that the sun once stood still, and if that happened, the sun didn’t really stand still; the earth stopped revolving.” Yes, but that statement is based on the perception of someone on earth. When you got up this morning, you didn’t look east and say, “What a lovely earth rotation!” From your perspective, you saw a sunrise. And because you permit yourself to do that, you must permit Scripture to do that as well.

Miracles

A third evidence for the authenticity of the Bible is its miracles. We would expect to read of those in a revelation from God Himself, who by definition is supernatural. Miracles are a supernatural alteration of the natural world—a great way to get man’s attention.

The Bible includes supportive information to establish the credibility of the miracles it records. For example, Scripture says that after Jesus had risen from the dead more than five hundred people saw Him alive (1 Corinthians 15:6). That would be enough witnesses to convince any jury. The miraculous nature of the Bible demonstrates the involvement of God. But to believe the miracles, we must take the Bible at its word. So to further validate its authenticity we must take another step and consider its incredible ability to predict the future.

Prophecy

There is no way to explain the Bible’s ability to predict the future unless we see God as its Author. For example, the Old Testament contains more than three hundred references to the Messiah of Israel that were preciselyfulfilled by JesusChrist (Christ isthe Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah).

Peter Stoner, a scientist in the area of mathematical probabilities, said in his book Science Speaks that if we take just eight of the Old Testament prophecies Christ fulfilled, we find that the probability of their coming to pass is one in 1017. He illustrates that staggering amount this way:

We take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas . They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. . . . Blindfold a man and tell him he must pick up one silver dollar. . . . What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them come true in any one man. ([ Chicago : Moody, 1963], 100-107)

And Jesus fulfilled hundreds more than just eight prophecies!

The Bible includes many other prophecies as well. For example, the Bible predicted that a man named Cyrus would be born, would rise to power in the Middle East, and would release the Jewish people from captivity (Isaiah 44:28—45:7). Approximately 150 years later, Cyrus the Great became king of Persia and released the Jews. No man could have known that would happen; only God could.

In Ezekiel 26 God says through the prophet that the Phoenician city of Tyre would be destroyed, specifying that a conqueror would come in and wipe out the city. He said that the city would be scraped clean and that the rubble left on the city’s surface would be thrown into the ocean. The prophecy ended by saying that men would dry their fishnets there and that the city would never be rebuilt.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege to Tyre three years after the prophecy was given. When he broke down the gates, he found the city almost empty. The Phoenicians were navigators and colonizers of the ancient world; they had taken their boats and sailed to an island a half mile offshore. They had reestablished their city on the island during the years of siege. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city on the mainland, but since he didn’t have a navy, he was unable to do anything about the island city of Tyre . This left the prophecy partially unfulfilled.

About 250 years later Alexander the Great came into the area of Tyre needing supplies for his eastern campaign. He sent word to the residents of the island city, but they refused his request. They believed they were safe from attack on the island. Alexander was so infuriated at their response that he and his army picked up the rubble that was left from Nebuchadnezzar’s devastation of the mainland city and threw it into the sea. They used it to build a causeway, which allowed them to march to the island and destroy the city. That exactly fulfilled what Ezekiel had predicted hundreds of years previously.

If you travel to the site of Tyre today, you’ll see fishermen there drying their nets. The city was never rebuilt. Peter Stoner said that the probability of all the details of that prophecy happening by chance is one in 75million.

The Assyrian city of Nineveh is another example. It was one of the most formidable ancient cities, which reached its apex during the seventh century b.c. Yet the prophet Nahum predicted that it would soon be wiped out. He said an overflowing river would crush the gates and that the city would be destroyed (Nahum 1:8; 2:6).

In those days when people walled in their cities, they tended to build gates down into the rivers nearby. The water could flow through the bars of the gates and keep out intruders. In the case of Nineveh , a great storm came and flooded the river, carrying away a vital part of the city walls. That permitted besieging Medes and Babylonians to enter the city and destroy it, just as the prophet predicted.

The Life of Christ

Additional evidence for the authenticity of the Bible is Christ Himself. As we have already seen, He fulfilled many detailed prophecies and did many miracles. It is important to note that He also believed in the authority of the Bible. In Matthew 5:18 He says, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”

If you would like to read more about the life of Christ and other evidences for the Bible’s reliability, try Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell (Here’s Life Publishers).

The Power of the Bible

The Bible is an amazing book. It’s amazing in that it stands up to many tests of authenticity. But beyond that, it’s particularly amazing when looked at from a spiritual and moral perspective.

The Bible claims to be alive and powerful. That’s a tremendous statement. I have never read any other living book. There are some books that change your thinking, but this is the only book that can change your nature. This is the only book that can totally transform you from the inside out.

There’s a section in Psalm 19 that is Scripture’s own testimony to itself. This is what it says:

  • The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
  • The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
  • The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
  • The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
  • The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
  • The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. (vv. 7-9)

Let’s look at each aspect separately.

The Bible Is “Perfect”

First, “the law of the Lord” is a Hebrew term used to define Scripture. Psalm 19 specifies that it is “perfect”—a comprehensive treatment of truth that is able to transform the soul. The Hebrew word translated “soul”(nepesh) refers to the total person. It meansthe real you—not your body but what is inside. So the truths in Scripture can totally transform a person.

You may say, “I’m not interested in being transformed.” Then you probably aren’t interested in the Bible. The Bible is for people who have some sense of desperation about where they are. It is for people who don’t have the purpose in their lives they wish they had. They’re not sure where they are, where they came from, or where they’re going. There are things in their lives they wish they could change. They wish they weren’t driven by passions they can’t control; that they weren’t victims of circumstance; that they didn’t have so much pain in life; that their relationships were all they ought to be; that they could think more clearly about things that matter in their lives. That’s who this book is for: people who don’t have all the answers and who want something better.

The Bible says that the key to this transformation is the Lord Jesus Christ. God came into the world in the form of Christ. He died on a cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine, and rose again to conquer death. He now lives and comes into the lives of those who acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior, transforming them into the people God means for them to be. If you’re content with the way you are, you’re not going to look to the Word of God for a way to change. But if you’re aware of your guilt, if you want to get rid of your anxiety and the patterns of life that desperately need to be changed, if you have some emptiness in your heart, if there’s some longing that has never been satisfied, and if there are some answers you just can’t seem to find, then you’re just the person who needs to look into the Word of God to determine if it can do what it says it can. It can transform you completely through the power of Christ, the One who died and rose again for you.

The Bible Is “Sure”

Second, Psalm 19 says that the Scripture is “sure”—absolute, trustworthy, reliable—”making wise the simple.” The Hebrew word translated “simple” comes from a root that speaks of an open door. Ancient Jewish people described a person with a simple mind as someone with a head like an open door: everything comes in; everything goes out. He doesn’t know what to keep out and what to keep in. He’s indiscriminate, totally naive, and unable to evaluate truth. He doesn’t have any standards by which to make a judgment.

The Bible says it is able to make such a person wise. Wisdom to the Jew was the skill of daily living. To the Greek it was sheer sophistry—an abstraction. So when the Hebrew text says it can make a simple person wise, it means it can take the uninitiated, naive, uninstructed, undiscerning person and make him skilled in every aspect of daily living.

The Bible touches every area of life, including relationships, marriage, the work ethic, and factors of the human mind and motivation. It tells you about attitudes, reactions, responses, how to treat people, how you’re to be treated by people, how to cultivate virtue in your life—every aspect of living is covered in the pages of the Bible.

How does the Bible transform one’s life? It does so when you read it and Commit your life to Jesus Christ, the Teacher and the Author of Scripture. He comes to live in you and applies the truth of the Word to your life.

The Bible Is “Right”

Third, the Word of God—called “the precepts of the Lord—is right. In Hebrew, that means it sets out a right path or lays out a right track. And the result is joy to the heart.

I look back at times in my own life when I didn’t know what direction to go, what my future was, or what my career ought to be. Then I began to study God’s Word and submit myself to His Spirit. Then God laid out the path for me. As I’ve walked in that path, I’ve experienced joy, happiness, and blessing. In fact, I find so much satisfaction in life that people sometimes believe something’s wrong with me. Even difficulty brings satisfaction, because it creates a way in which God can show Himself faithful. Even unhappiness is a source of happiness. In John 16, Jesus compares the disciples’ sorrow at His leaving to the pain of a woman having a baby. There’s joy through any circumstance. I know you want a happy life. I know you want peace, joy, meaning, and purpose. I know you want the fullness of life that everybody seeks. The Bible says, “[Happy] are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). Why? Because God blesses their faithfulness and obedience. You can have a happy life without sin, without sex outside of marriage, without drugs, and without alcohol. God is not a cosmic killjoy. He made you. He knows how you operate best. And He knows what makes you happy. The happiness He gives doesn’t stop when the party’s over. It lasts because it comes from deep within.

The Bible Is “Pure”

Fourth, the psalmist says the Word of God is pure, enlightening the eyes. The simplest Christian knows a lot of things that many scholarly people don’t know. Because I know the Bible, some things are clear to me that aren’t clear to others.

The autobiography of English philosopher Bertrand Russell, written near the end of his life, implies that philosophy was something of a washout to him. That’s shocking. He spent his life musing on reality, but was not able to define it. I don’t believe I’m Russell’s equal intellectually, but I do know the Word of God. Scripture enlightens the eyes, particularly concerning the dark things of life, such as death, disease, tragic events, and the devastation of the world. Scripture deals with the tough issues of life.

I can go to a Christian who is facing death and see joy in his heart. My grandmother died when she was ninety-three years old. She was lying in bed, and the nurse told her it was time to get up. My grandmother said, “No, I’m not getting up today.” When the nurse asked why, my grandmother said, “I love Jesus, and I’m going to heaven today, so don’t bother me.” Then she smiled and went to heaven.

Do you have that kind of hope?

When I was a boy I used to go to Christ Church in Philadelphia and read epitaphs written about Americans who have had a great impact on our country. Benjamin Franklin wrote his own epitaph:

The body of
Benjamin Franklin, printer,
(Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents worn out
And stript of its lettering and gilding)
Lies here, food for worms!
Yet the work itself shall not be lost,
For it will, as he believed, appear once more
In a new
And more beautiful edition,
Corrected and amended
By its Author!

Can you look death in the eye and say, “This is not the end; it is but the beginning for me”? What can you say to someone who loses a child? What can you say to someone who loses a spouse to cancer or heart disease? Are you roaming around in the confusion in which many people find themselves? Where do you go for the dark things to be made clear? I go to the Word of God, and I find clarity there.

The Bible Is “Clean”

Further, Psalm 19:1 says that the Word of God is “clean, enduring forever.” The only things that last forever are things untouched by the devastation of evil—another word for sin. The word of God is clean. It describes and uncovers sin, but it is untouched by evil. And even though it is an ancient document, every person in every situation in every society can find timeless truth in this book. Here’s a book that never needs another edition because it’s never out of date or obsolete. It speaks to us as pointedly and directly as it ever has to anyone in history. It’s so pure that it lasts forever.

When I was in college I studied philosophy. Almost every philosophy I studied was long dead. I also studied psychology. Almost every form of psychotherapy I read about is now obsolete or has been replaced by more progressive thinking.

But there’s one thing that never changes, and that is the eternal Word of God. It is always relevant.

The Bible Is “True”

Finally, and most pointedly, Psalm 19:9 says that the Word of God is true. Today it seems there’s no longer a premium on truth. But that was true even in Jesus’ day. Pilate, when he sent Jesus to the cross, said, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The context makes clear that he was being cynical.

I remember meeting a young man on drugs who was living in an overturned refrigerator box by a stream in the mountains of northern California . I was hiking through the area and asked if I could introduce myself. We talked a little while. It turned out he was a graduate of Boston University . He said, “I’ve escaped.” I asked, “Have you found the answers?” “No,” he said, “but at least I’ve gotten myself into a situation where I don’t ask the questions.” That’s the despair of not knowing the truth.

Scripture describes some people as “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). That’s not referring to intellectual truth; it’s referring to the truth of life, death, God, man, sin, right, wrong, heaven, hell, hope, joy, and peace. People can’t find it on their own.


What Is Truth?

To look at things philosophically, we live in a time-space box we can’t get out of. We cannot go into a phone booth and come out Superman—we cannot transcend the natural world. We are locked into a time-space continuum.

And we bounce around in our little box trying to figure out God. We invent religions, but they’re self-contained. The only way we’ll ever know what is beyond us is if what is on the outside comes in. And that’s exactly what the Bible claims. It’s a supernatural revelation from God, who has invaded our box. And He invaded it not only through the written word, but also in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel Nausea lays out an existential view of life. Its main character, Antoine Roquentin, is horrified by his own existence. He tries to find meaning in life through sex, humanitarianism, and other avenues but is left with a nauseating feeling of meaninglessness, never really finding genuine answers.

Where do you find truth that eluded Roquentin? I believe it is in the Word of God, the Bible. Consider its attributes.

The Attributes of the Bible

The Bible Is Infallible and Inerrant

The Bible, in its entirety, has no mistakes. It is flawless because God wrote it—and He is flawless. It is not only infallible in total, but also inerrant in its parts. Proverbs 30:5-6 says, “Every word of God is tested. . . . Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” Every word of God is pure and true. The Bible is the only book that never makes a mistake—everything it says is the truth.

The Bible Is Complete

Nothing needs to be added to the Bible. It is complete. Some today say the Bible is incomplete and simply a product of its time—a comment on man’s spiritual experience in history—and that we now need something else. Some believe that preachers who say, “The Lord told me this or that,” are equally inspired, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, or any of the other prophets. That is essentially to say that the Bible is not complete. However, the last book of the Bible, Revelation, warns, “If anyone adds to [the words of this book], God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (22: 18-19).

The Bible Is Authoritative

Since the Bible is perfect and complete, it is the last Word—the final authority. Isaiah 1:2 says, “Listen, Oh heavens, and hear, Oh earth; for the Lord speaks.” When God speaks, we should listen, because He is the final authority. The Bible demands obedience.

John 8:30-31 reports that many of the people Jesus preached to came to believe in Him. Jesus said to them, “If you continue in My word, then are you are truly disciples of Mine.” In other words, He demanded a response to His word. It is authoritative. Galatians 3:10 says, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” That’s a tremendous claim to absolute authority. In James 2:10 we read, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” To violate the Bible at one point is to break God’s entire law. That’s because the Bible is authoritative in every part.

The Bible Is Sufficient

The Bible is sufficient for a number of essentials:

Salvation . Jesus said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Salvation is the greatest reality in the universe—and the Bible reveals the source of that salvation. Acts 4:12 says regarding Jesus, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Instruction . Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” The Bible can take those who don’t know God and introduce them to Him. Then it will teach them, reprove them when they do wrong, point them to what is right, and show them how to walk in that right path.

Hope . Romans 15:4 says “Whatever was written in earlier times [a reference to the Old Testament] was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The Bible is a source of encouragement, giving us hope now and forever.

Happiness . James 1:25 reveals the key to happiness: “One who looks intently at [Scripture], and abides by it . . . this man will be [happy] in what he does.” Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible, devotes all 176 verses to describing the Word of God. It begins, “How [happy] are those who walk in the law of the Lord.”

How Will You Respond?

Your response to the Bible determines the course of your life and your eternal destiny. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (NIV). Man could never conceive of all that God has to offer on his own!

Every time we pick up the Bible, we pick up the truth. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word . . . you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). What did He mean by that? Think of the person who is working diligently on a math problem. As soon as he finds the answer—he’s free. Or consider the scientist in the lab pouring different solutions into test tubes. He stays with it until he says, “Eureka, I found it!”—then he’s free. Man will search and struggle and grapple and grope for the truth until he finds it. Only then is he free. The Bible is our source of truth—about God, man, life, death, men, women, children, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, and enemies. It shows us how to live. The Bible is the source of everything you need to know about life on earth and the life to come. You can trust the Bible. It is God’s living Word.


Copyright 1988 by John MacArthur. All rights reserved. All Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1977 by The Lockman Foundation, and are used by permission. Adapted from How to Study the Bible, by John MacArthur (Moody Press, 1982).

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First Chapter of “He is there and He is not silent” by Francis Schaeffer

______________

This book will deal with the philosophic necessity of God’s being
there and not being silent, in the areas of metaphysics, morals, and
epistemology.
We should understand first of all that the three basic areas of
philosophic thought are what they have always been. The first of
them is the area of metaphysics, of “being.” This is the area of what
is—the problem of existence. This includes the existence of man,
but we must realize that the existence of man is no greater problem
as such than is the fact that anything exists at all. No one has said it
better than Jean-Paul Sartre, who has said that the basic philo-
sophic question is that something is there rather than that nothing
is there. Nothing that is worth calling a philosophy can sidestep the
question of the fact that things do exist and that they exist in their
present form and complexity. This is what we define, then, as the
problem of metaphysics, the existence of being.
The second area of philosophical thought is that of man and
the dilemma of man. Man is personal and yet he is finite, and so he
is not a sufficient integration point for himself. We might remem-
ber another profound statement from Sartre that no finite point
has any meaning unless it has an infinite reference point. The
Christian would agree that he is right in this statement.
Man is finite, so he is not sufficient integration point for him-
self, yet man is different from non-man. Man is personal in con-
trast to that which is impersonal, or, to use a phrase which I have
used in my books, man has his “mannishness.”
Now behaviorism, and all forms of determinism, would say
that man is not personal—that he is not intrinsically different from
the impersonal. But the difficulty with this is that it denies the obser-
vation man has made of himself for forty thousand years, if we
accept the modern dating system; and second, there is no determin-
ist or behaviorist who really lives consistently on the basis of his
determinism or his behavioristic psychology—saying, that is, that
man is only a machine. This is true of Francis Crick, who reduces
man to the mere chemical and physical properties of the DNA tem-
plate. The interesting thing, however, is that Crick clearly shows that
he cannot live with his own determinism. In one of his books,
Of Molecules and Men,
he soon begins to speak of nature as “her,” and
in a smaller, more profound book,The Origin of the Genetic Code,
he begins to spell nature with a capital N.
B. F. Skinner, the author of
Beyond Freedom and Dignity,
shows the same tension. So there are
these two difficulties with the acceptance of modern determinism
and behaviorism, which say there is no intrinsic difference between
man and non-man: first, one has to deny man’s own observation of
himself through all the years, back to the cave paintings and beyond;
and second, no chemical determinist or psychological determinist is
ever able to live as though he is the same as non-man.
THE METAPHYSICAL NECESSITY
Another question in the dilemma of man is man’s nobility.
Perhaps you do not like the word “nobility,” but whatever word you
choose, there is something great about man. I want to add here that
evangelicals have made a horrible mistake by often equating the fact
that man is lost and under God’s judgment with the idea that man is
nothing—a zero. This is not what the Bible says. There is something
great about man, and we have lost perhaps our greatest opportunity
of evangelism in our generation by not insisting that it is the Bible
that explains why man is great.
However, man is not only noble (or whatever word you want
to substitute), but man is also cruel. So we have a dilemma. The
first dilemma is that man is finite and yet he is personal; the second
dilemma is the contrast between man’s nobility and man’s cruelty.
Or one can express it in a modern way: the alienation of man from
himself and from all other men in the area of morals. So now we
have two areas of philosophic thought: first, metaphysics, dealing
with being, with existence; second, the area of morals.
The third area of this study is that of epistemology—the
problem of knowing.
Now, let me make two general observations. First, philoso-
phy and religion deal with the same basic questions. Christians,
and especially evangelical Christians, have tended to forget this.
Philosophy and religion do not deal with different questions,
though they give different answers and in different terms. The
basic questions of both philosophy and religion (and I mean reli-
gion here in the wide sense, including Christianity) are the ques-
tions of being: that is, what exists; man and his dilemma—that is,
morals; and of how man knows. Philosophy deals with these
points, but so does religion, including orthodox evangelical Chris-
tianity.
The second general observation concerns the two meanings
of the word “philosophy,” which must be kept absolutely separate
if we are to avoid confusion. The first meaning is a discipline, an
academic subject. That is what we usually think of as philosophy: a
highly technical study which few people pursue. In this sense, few
people are philosophers. But there is a second meaning that we
must not miss if we are going to understand the problem of
preaching the gospel in the twentieth-century world. For philoso-
phy also means a man’s worldview. In this sense, all men are phi-
losophers, for all men have a worldview. This is just as true of the
man digging a ditch as it is of the philosopher in the university.
Christians have tended to despise the concept of philosophy.
This has been one of the weaknesses of evangelical, orthodox
Christianity—we have been proud in despising philosophy, and
we have been exceedingly proud in despising the intellectual. Our
theological seminaries hardly ever relate their theology to philoso-
phy, and specifically to the current philosophy. Thus, men go out
from the theological seminaries not knowing how to relate it. It is
not that they do not know the answers, but my observation is that
most men graduating from our theological seminaries do not
know the questions.
In fact, philosophy is universal in scope. No man can live
without a worldview; therefore, there is no man who is not a phi-
losopher.
There are not many possibilities in answer to the three basic
areas of philosophic thought, but there is a great deal of possible
detail surrounding the basic answers. It will help us tremen-
dously—whether we are studying philosophy at university and feel
buffeted to death, or whether we are trying to be ministers of the
gospel, speaking to people with a worldview—if we realize that
although there are many possible details, the possible answers—in
their basic concepts—are exceedingly few.
There are two classes of answers given to these questions.
1. The first class of answer is that there is no logical, rational
answer. This is rather a phenomenon of our own generation. The
question has come under “the line of despair.” I am not saying that
nobody in the past had these views, but they were not the domi-
nant view. Today it is much more dominant than it has ever been.
This is true not only among philosophers in their discussions, but
it is equally true of discussions on the street corner, at the cafe, at
the university dining room, or at the filling station. The solution
commonly proposed is that there is no logical, rational
answer—all is finally chaotic, irrational, and absurd. This view is
expressed with great finesse in the existential world of thinking,
and in the theater of the absurd. This is the philosophy, or
worldview, of many people today. It is a part of the warp and woof
of the thinking of our day that there are no answers, that every-
thing is irrational and absurd.
If a man held that everything is meaningless, nothing has
answers, and there is no cause-and-effect relationship, and if he
really held this position with any consistency, it would be very hard
to refute. But in fact, no one can hold consistently that everything
is chaotic and irrational and that there are no basic answers. It can
be held theoretically, but it cannot be held in practice that every-
thing is absolute chaos.
The first reason the irrational position cannot be held consis-
tently in practice is the fact that the external world is there and it
has form and order. It is not a chaotic world. If it were true that all
is chaotic, unrelated, and absurd, science, as well as general life,
would come to an end. To live at all is not possible except in the
understanding that the universe that is there—the external uni-
verse—has a certain form, a certain order, and that man conforms
to that order and so he can live within it.
Perhaps you remember one of Godard’s movies, Pierrot le Fou,
in which he has people going out through the windows,
instead of through the doors. But the interesting thing is that they
do not go out through the solid wall. Godard is really saying that
although he has no answer, yet at the same time he cannot go out
through that solid wall. This is merely his expression of the diffi-
culty of holding that there is a totally chaotic universe while the
external world has form and order.
Sometimes people try to bring in a little bit of order, but as
soon as you bring in a little bit of order, the first class of
answer—that everything is meaningless, everything is irrational—is
no longer self-consistent, and falls to the ground.
The view that everything is chaotic and there are no ultimate
answers is held by many thinking people today, but in my experi-
ence they always hold it very selectively. Almost without exception
(actually, I have never found an exception), they discuss rationally
until they are losing the discussion and then they try to slip over into
the answer of irrationality. But as soon as the one we are discussing
with does that, we must point out to him that as soon as he becomes
selective in his argument of irrationality, he makes his whole argu-
ment suspect. Theoretically, the position of irrationalism can be
held, but no one lives with it in regard either to the external world or
the categories of his thought world and discussion. As a matter of
fact, if this position were argued properly, all discussion would come
to an end. Communication would end. We would have only a series
of meaningless sounds—blah, blah, blah. The theater of the absurd
has said this, but it fails, because if you read and listen carefully to the
theater of the absurd, it is always trying to communicate its view that
one cannot communicate. There is always a communication about
the statement that there is no communication. It is always selective,
with pockets of order brought in somewhere along the line. Thus we
see that this class of answer—that all things are irrational—is not an
answer.
2. The second class of answer is that there is an answer that
can be rationally and logically considered, which can be communi-
cated to oneself in one’s thought world and communicated with
others externally. In this chapter we will deal with metaphysics in
the area of answers that can be discussed; later, we will deal with
man in his dilemma, the area of morals, in relation to answers that
can be discussed. So now, we are to consider such answers in the
area of being, of existence.
I have already said that there are not many basic answers,
although there are variances of details within the answers. Now,
curiously enough, there are only three possible basic answers to
this question that would be open to rational consideration. The
basic answers are very, very few indeed.
We are considering existence, the fact that something is
there. Remember Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement that the basic philo-
sophic question is that something is there, rather than that nothing
is there. The first basic answer is that everything that exists has
come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with
nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It
must be what I call nothing-nothing. It cannot be noth-
ing-something or something-nothing. If one is going to accept this
answer, it must be nothing-nothing, which means there must be
no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.
My description of nothing-nothing runs like this. Suppose
we had a very black blackboard that had never been used. On this
blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was every –
thing that was—and there was nothing within the circle. Then we
erase the circle. This is nothing-nothing. You must not let anybody
say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really
begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That
would be something, and something is not nothing.
The truth is, I have never heard this argument sustained, for
it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing.
But theoretically, that is the first possible answer.
The second possible answer in the area of existence is that all
that now is had an impersonal beginning. This impersonality may be
mass, energy, or motion, but they are all impersonal, and all equally
impersonal. So it makes no basic philosophic difference which of
them you begin with. Many modern men have implied that because
they are beginning with energy particles, rather than old-fashioned
mass, they have a better answer. SALVADOR DALI did this as he moved
from his surrealistic period into his new mysticism. But such men
do not have a better answer. It is still impersonal. Energy is just as
impersonal as mass or motion. As soon as you accept the impersonal
beginning of all things, you are faced with some form of
reductionism. Reductionism argues that everything there is now,
from the stars to man himself, is finally to be understood by reduc-
ing it to the original, impersonal factor or factors.
The great problem with beginning with the impersonal is to
find any meaning for the particulars. A particular is any individual
factor, any individual thing—the separate parts of the whole. A
drop of water is a particular, and so is a man. If we begin with the
impersonal, then how do any of the particulars that now exist—
including man—have any meaning and significance? Nobody has
given us an answer to that. In all the history of philosophical
thought, whether from the East or the West, no one has given us an answer.
Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man,
must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus
chance. Do not let anyone divert your mind at this point. There are
no other factors in the formula, because there are no other factors
that exist. If we begin with an impersonal, we cannot then have
some form of teleological concept. No one has ever demonstrated
how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal, can produce
the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of
man. No one has given us a clue to this.
Often this answer—of beginning with the impersonal—is
called pantheism.
The new mystical thought in the underground
newspapers is almost always some form of pantheism—and
almost all the modern liberal theology is pantheistic as well. Often
this beginning with the impersonal is called pantheism, but really
this is a semantic trick, because by using the root theism
a connota-tion of the personal is brought in, when by definition the imper-
sonal is meant. In my discussions I never let anybody talk
unthinkingly about pantheism. Somewhere along the way I try to
make the point that it is not really pantheism, with its semantic
illusion of personality, but paneverythingism.
The ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the modern mysticism, the
new pantheistic theology, are not truly pantheism. It is merely a
semantic solution that is being offered. Theism is being used as a connotation word. In
The God Who Is There, I have emphasized the fact that the modern solutions are usually semantic mystic-isms and this is one of them.
But whatever form paneverythingism takes, including the
modern scientific form which reduces everything to energy parti-
cles, it always has the same problem: in all of them, the end is the
impersonal.
There are two problems that always exist—the need for unity
and the need for diversity. Paneverythingism gives an answer for
the need of unity, but it gives none for the needed diversity. Begin –
ning with the impersonal, there is no meaning or significance to
diversity. We can think of the old Hindu pantheism, which begins
everything with om. In reality, everything ought to have ended
with om on a single note, with no variance, because there is no rea-
son for significance in variance. And even if paneverythingism
gave an answer for form, it gives no meaning for freedom. Cycles
are usually introduced as though waves were being tossed up out of
the sea, but this gives no final solution to any of these problems.
Morals, under every form of pantheism, have no meaning as mor-
als, for everything in paneverythingism is finally equal. Modern
theology must move toward situational ethics because there is no
such thing as morals in this cycle. The word “morals” is used, but it
is really only a word. This is the dilemma of the second answer,
which is the one that most hold today. Naturalistic science holds it,
beginning everything with energy particles. Many university stu-
dents hold some form of paneverythingism. Liberal theological
books today are almost uniformly pantheist. But beginning with
an impersonal, as the pantheist must do, there are no true answers
in regard to existence with its complexity, or the personality—the

mannishness—of man.Some might say there is another possibility—some form of dualism, that is, two opposites

existing simultaneously as co-equal and co-eternal. For example, mind (or ideals or ideas)

and matter; or in morals, good and evil. However, if in morals one holds this position, then

there is no ultimate reason to call one good and one evil_the words and choice are purely

subjective if there is not something above them. And if there is something above them it is no

longer a true dualism. In metaphysics, the dilemma is that no one finally rests with dualism.

Back of Yin and Yang there is placed a shadowy Tao; back of Zoroastrianism there is placed

an intangible thing or figure. The simple fact is that in any form of dualism we are left with

some form of imbalance or tension and there is a motion back to a monism.

Either men try to find a unity over the two; or in the case of the concept of a parallelism (for

example, ideals or ideas and material) there is a need to find a relationship, a correlation or

contact between the two, or we are left with a concept of the two keeping step with no unity

to cause them to do so. Thus in an attempted parrellism there has been a constant tendency

for one side to be subordinated to the other, or for one side to become an illusion.

Further, if the elements of the dualism are impersonal, we are left with the same problem

in both being and morals as in the case of a more simple form of a final impersonal. Thus, for

me, dualism is not the same kind of basic answer as the three I deal with in this book.

Perhaps it would be well to point out that in both existence and morals, Christianity gives a

unique and sufficient answer in regard to a present dualism yet original monism. In exis-

tence, God is spirit_this is as true of the Father as of the Holy Spirit, and equally true of the

Son, prior to the incarnation. Thus, we begin with a monism, but with a creation by the infinite

God of the material universe out of nothing, a dualism now exists. It should be noted that

while God thus created something which did not exist before, it is not a beginning out of nothing nothing, because he was there (as the infinite-personal God) to will.

The third possible answer is to begin with a personal beginning.
With this we have exhausted the possible basic answers in regard to
existence. It may sound simplistic, but it is true. That is not to
saythere are no details that one can discuss, no variances, subhead-
ings, or subschools—but these are the only basic schools of thought
that are possible. Somebody once brilliantly said that when you get
done with any basic questions, there are not many people in the
room. By this he meant that the farther you go in depth in any basic
question, finally the choices to be made are rather simple and clear.
There are not many basic answers to any of the great questions of
life.
So now let us think what it means to begin with that which is
personal. That is, that which is personal began everything else,
the very opposite of beginning with the impersonal. In this case,
man, being personal, does have meaning. This is not abstract.
Many of the people who come to L’Abri would not become Chris-
tians if we did not discuss in this area. Hundreds of them would
have turned away, saying, “You don’t know the questions.” These
things are not abstract, but have to do with communicating the
Christian gospel in the midst of the twentieth century.
I get tired of being asked why I don’t just preach the “simple
gospel.” You have to preach the simple gospel so that it is simple to
the person to whom you are talking, or it is no longer simple. The
dilemma of modern man is simple: he does not know why man has
any meaning. He is lost. Man remains a zero. This is the damnation
of our generation, the heart of modern man’s problem. But if we
begin with a personal beginning and this is the origin of all else,
then the personal does have meaning, and man and his aspirations
are not meaningless. Man’s aspirations of the reality of personality
are in line with what was originally there and what has always
intrinsically been.
It is the Christian who has the answer at this point—a titanic
answer! So why have we gone on saying the great truths in all the
ways that nobody understands? Why do we keep talking to our
-selves, if men are lost and we say we love them? Man’s damnation
today is that he can find no meaning for man, but if we begin with
the personal beginning we have an absolutely opposite situation.
We have the reality of the fact that personality does have meaning
because it is not alienated from what has always been, and what is,
and what always will be. This is our answer, and with this we have a
solution not only to the problem of existence—of bare being and
its complexity—but also for man’s being different, with a person-
ality which distinguishes him from non-man.
We may use an illustration of two valleys. Often in the Swiss
Alps there is a valley filled with water and an adjacent valley without
water. Surprisingly enough, sometimes the mountains spring leaks,
and suddenly the second valley begins to fill up with water. As long
as the level of water in the second valley does not rise higher than the
level of the water in the first valley, everyone concludes that there is a
real possibility that the second lake came from the first. However, if
the water in the second valley goes thirty feet higher than the water
in the first valley, nobody gives that answer. If we begin with a per-
sonal beginning to all things, then we can understand that man’s
aspiration for personality has a possible answer.
If we begin with less than personality, we must finally reduce
personality to the impersonal. The modern scientific world does this
in its reductionism, in which the word “personality” is only the
impersonal plus complexity. In the naturalistic scientific world,
whether social, psychological, or natural science, a man is reduced to
the impersonal plus complexity. There is no real, intrinsic differ-
ence.
But once we consider a personal beginning, we have yet
another choice to make. This is the next step: are we going to
choose the answer of God or gods? The difficulty with gods instead
of God is that limited gods are not big enough. To have an ade-
quate answer of a personal beginning, we need two things. We
need a personal-infinite God (or an infinite-personal God) and we need a personal unity and diversity in God.
Let us consider the first choice—a personal-infinite God.
Only a personal-infinite God is big enough. Plato understood that
you have to have absolutes or nothing has meaning. But the diffi-
culty facing Plato was the fact that his gods were not big enough to
meet the need. So although he knew the need, the need fell to the
ground because his gods were not big enough to be the point of ref-
erence or place of residence for his absolutes, for his ideals. In
Greek literature the Fates sometimes seem to be behind and con-
trolling the gods, and sometimes the gods seem to be controlling
the Fates. Why the confusion? Because everything fails in this
thinking at this point—because their limited gods are not big
enough. That is why we need a personal-infinite God. That is first.
Second, we need a personal unity and diversity in God—not
just an abstract concept of unity and diversity, because we have
seen we need a personal God. We need a personal unity and diver-
sity. Without this we have no answer.
What we are talking about is the philosophic necessity, in the
area of being and existence, of the fact that God is there. That is
what it is all about:He is there.
There is no other sufficient philosophical answer than the
one I have outlined. You can search through university philoso-
phy, underground philosophy, filling station philosophy—it does
not matter which—there is no other sufficient philosophical
answer to existence, to being, than the one I have outlined. There is
only one philosophy, one religion, that fills this need in all the
world’s thought, whether the East, the West, the ancient, the mod-
ern, the new, the old. Only one fills the philosophical need of exis-
tence, of being, and it is the Judeo-Christian God—not just an
abstract concept, but rather that this God is really there. He really
exists. There is no other answer, and orthodox Christians ought to
be ashamed of having been defensive for so long. It is not a time to
be defensive. There is no other answer.
Let us notice that no word is as meaningless as is the word
“god.” Of itself it means nothing. Like any other word, it is only a
linguistic symbol—g-o-d—until content is put into it. This is espe-
cially so for the word “god,” because no other word has been used to
convey such absolutely opposite meanings. The mere use of the
word “god” proves nothing. You must put content into it. The word
“god” as such is no answer to the philosophic problem of existence,
but the Judeo-Christian content to the word “God” as given in the
Old and New Testaments does meet the need of what exists—the
existence of the universe in its complexity and of man as man. And
what is that content? It relates to an infinite-personal God, who is
personal unity in diversity on the high order of trinity.
Every once in a while in my discussions someone asks how I
can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same. I would
still be an agnostic if there were no Trinity, because there would be
no answers. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity
as given in the Trinity,there are no answers.
Let us return again to the personal-infinite. On the side of
God’s infinity, there is a complete chasm between God on one side
and man, the animal, the flower, and the machine on the other. On
the side of God’s infinity, he stands alone. He is the absolute other.
He is, in his infinity, contrary to all else. He is differentiated from
all else because only he is infinite. He is the Creator; all else was cre-
ated. He is infinite; all else in finite. All else is brought forth by cre-
ation, so all else is dependent and only he is independent. This is
absolute on the side of his infinity. Therefore, concerning God’s
infinity, man is as separated from God as is the atom or any other
machine-portion of the universe.
But on the side of God being personal, the chasm is between
man and the animal, the planet, and the machine. Why? Because
man was made in the image of God. This is not just doctrine. It is
not dogma that needs just to be repeated linearly, as McLuhan
would say. This is really down in the warp and woof of the whole
problem. Man is made in the image of God; therefore, on the side
of the fact that God is a personal God, the chasm stands not
between God and man, but between man and all else. But on the
side of God’s infinity, man is as separated from God as the atom or
any other finite of the universe. So we have the answer to man’s
being finite and yet personal.
It is not that this is the best answer to existence; it is the only
answer. That is why we may hold our Christianity with intellectual
integrity. The only answer for what exists is that God, the
infinite-personal God, really is there.
Now we must develop the second part a bit further—per-
sonal unity and diversity on the high order of trinity. Einstein
taught that the whole material world may be reduced to electro-
magnetism and gravity. At the end of his life he was seeking a unity
above these two, something that would unite electromagnetism
and gravity, but he never found it. But what if he had found it? It
would only be unity in diversity in relationship to the material
world, and as such it would only be child’s play. Nothing would
really have been settled because the needed unity and diversity in
regard to personality would not have been touched. If he had been
able to bring electromagnetism and gravity together, he would not
have explained the need of personal unity and diversity.
In contrast, let us think of the Nicene Creed—three persons,
one God. Rejoice that they chose the word “person.” Whether you
realize it or not, that catapulted the Nicene Creed right into our
century and its discussions: three Persons in existence, loving each
other, and in communication with each other, before all else was.
If this were not so, we would have had a God who needed to
create in order to love and communicate. In such a case, God
would have needed the universe as much as the universe needed
God. But God did not need to create; God does not need the uni-
verse as the universe needs him. Why? Because we have a full and
true Trinity. The persons of the Trinity communicated with each
other and loved each other before the creation of the world.
This is not only an answer to the acute philosophic need of
unity in diversity, but of personal unity and diversity. The unity
and diversity cannot exist before God or be behind God, because
whatever is farthest back is God. But with the doctrine of the Trin-
ity, unity and diversity is God himself—three persons, yet one
God. That is what the Trinity is, and nothing less than this.
We must appreciate that our Christian forefathers under-
stood this very well in A.D.325, when they stressed the three per-
sons in the Trinity, as the Bible had clearly set this forth. Let us
notice that it is not that they invented the Trinity in order to give an
answer to the philosophical questions which the Greeks of that
time understood very dynamically. It is quite the contrary. The
unity and diversity problem was there, and they realized that in the
Trinity, as it had been taught in the Bible, they had an answer that
no one else had. They did not invent the Trinity to meet the need;
the Trinity was already there and it met the need. They realized that
in the Trinity we have what all these people are arguing about and
defining but for which they have no answer.
Let us notice again that this is not the best answer; it is the only
answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given us an answer
for unity and diversity. So when people ask whether we are embar-
rassed intellectually by the Trinity, I always switch it over into their
own terminology—unity and diversity. Every philosophy has this
problem and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have
an answer in the existence of the Trinity. The only answer to what
exists is that he, the triune God, is there.
So we have said two things. The only answer to the metaphys-
ical problem of existence is that the infinite-personal God is there,
and the only answer to the metaphysical problem of existence is
that he, the Trinity, is there—the triune God.
Now, surely by this time we will have become convinced that
philosophy and religion are indeed dealing with the same ques-
tions. Notice that in the basic concept of existence, of being, it is
the Christian answer or nothing. It will change your life if you
understand this, no matter how evangelical and orthodox you are.
Let me add something, in passing. I find that many people
who are evangelical and orthodox want truth just to be true to the
dogmas, or to be true to what the Bible says. Nobody stands more
for the full inspiration of Scripture than I, but this is not the end of
truth as Christianity is presented, as the Bible presents itself.The
truth of Christianity is that it is true to what is there.You can go to
the end of the world and you never need be afraid, like the ancients,
that you will fall off the end and the dragons will eat you up. You
can carry out your intellectual discussion to the end of the game,
because Christianity is not only true to the dogmas, it is not only
true to what God has said in the Bible, but it is also true to what is
there, and you will never fall off the end of the world! It is not just
an approximate model; it really is true to what is there. When the
evangelical catches that—when evangelicalism catches that—we
may have our revolution. We will begin to have something beauti-
ful and alive, something which will have force in our poor, lost
world. That is what truth is from the Christian viewpoint and as
God sets it forth in Scripture. But if we are going to have this
answer, notice that we must have the full biblical
answer, and not reduce Christianity to either the paneverythingism of the East or
the paneverythingism of modern liberal theology, whether
Protestant or Roman Catholic. We must not
allow a theological pantheism to begin to creep in, and we must not reduce Christian-
ity to the modern existential, upper-story theology. If we are going
to have these great, titanic answers, Christianity must be the full
biblical answer. We need the full biblical position to have the
answer to the basic philosophical problem of the existence of what
is. We need the full biblical content concerning God: that he is the
infinite-personal God and the triune God.
Now let me express this in a couple of other ways. One way to
say it is that without the infinite-personal God, the God of personal
unity and diversity, there is no answer to the existence of what
exists. We can say it in another way, however, and that is that the
infinite-personal God, the God who is Trinity, has spoken. He is
there, and he is not silent. There is no use having a silent God. We
would not know anything about him. He has spoken and told us
what he is and that he existed before all else, and so we have the
answer to the existence of what is.
He is not silent. The reason we have the answer is because the
infinite-personal God, the full trinitarian God, has not been silent.
He has told us who he is. Couch your concept of inspiration and
revelation in these terms, and you will se how it cuts down into the
warp and woof of modern thinking.He is not silent.
That is the reason we know. It is because he has spoken. What has he told us? Has
he told us only about other things? No, he has told us true truth
about himself, and because he has told us true truth about him-
self—that he is the infinite-personal, triune God—we have the
answer to existence. Or we may put it this way: at the point of
metaphysics—of being, of existence—general and special revela-
tion speak with one voice. All these ways of saying it are really
expressing the same thing from slightly different viewpoints.
In conclusion, man, beginning with himself, can define the
philosophical problem of existence, but he cannot generate from
himself the answer to the problem. The answer to the problem of
existence is that the infinite-personal, triune God is there, and that
the infinite-personal, triune God is not silent

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Adrian Rogers: Who is Jesus?

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Adrian Rogers: Who is Jesus?

Sermon shared by Adrian Rogers

Sermon:

This Sermon From Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection
Used By Permission © 2010 http://www.ARLC.orgNow, I want to talk to you today about Jesus. And, be finding Colossians chapter 1;
and, when you’ve found it, look up here, and let me speak to you—Colossians chapter 1.
Sometime ago, you watched, as I watched, the program hosted by Peter Jennings, “The Search for Jesus.” As a matter of fact, I watched for a while, and then could not take it any longer. And, I turned it off, and walked out of the room. I had just as soon watch a group of men with a bag over their head in a cave with a jar full of lightning bugs trying to find the noonday sun, as to watch these people talk about their search for Jesus. The reason they never really came down with anything definitive is they were looking in the wrong place. He is there to be found, if you want the authentic, the real, the genuine, the very Son of God.Bryant Gumbel was interviewing Larry King on CNN, and Bryant Gumbel asked Larry King this question: “If you could ask God only one question, Larry, what would it be?” Larry King said, “I would ask Him if He had a Son.” Very interesting. Great question. Answer: “Yes, He does, and His name is Jesus.”John Blanchard has estimated that, of all of the people who have ever lived since the dawn of civilization, there have been about 60 billion people that have walked Planet Earth. Of those 60 billion people who have walked Planet Earth, only a handful have made any real, lasting impression, have actually changed the world. And, in that handful of people, there is One who stands head and shoulders above all of the others—and His name is Jesus. More attention has been given to Him; more devotion has been given to Him; more criticism has been given to Him; more adoration has been given to Him; more opposition has been given to this one person than all of the others. Every recorded word that He said has been more sifted, analyzed, scrutinized, debated— every word—than all of the historians and the philosophers and the scientists put together. Yet, He was here 2,000 years ago. And, after 2,000 years, there is never one minute on this earth that millions are not studying what He said. Think about it—think about it: Here’s a person who lived in a minuscule, tiny little land two millenniums ago; and yet, His birth divides the centuries—AD, BC; Before Christ and Anno Domini, the year of our Lord.He never wrote a book that we know of; and yet, library after library could be filled with the volumes, the multiplied millions of volumes, that have been written about the Lord Jesus. He never painted a picture, so far as we know; and yet, the world’s greatest art, the world’s greatest dramas, the world’s greatest music, the world’s greatest literature has Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, as its source. Jesus never raised an army, so far as we know; yet multiplied millions have died for Him. He never traveled very far from His birthplace; and yet, His testimony has gone around, and around, and around the world. He only had a handful of little followers that followed Him there, in His ministry; and yet, today, over 30% of the world’s population names His name—the largest such grouping on Earth today—Jesus of Nazareth. A ministry of only three short years—public ministry; and yet, here we are, 2,000 years later, saying, “Jesus, Your name is wonderful,” because His name is. He had no formal education. He didn’t attend the university or seminary; and yet, thousands of universities, and seminaries, colleges, and schools are built in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. And, in my estimation, in my humble but correct opinion, no one can call himself, herself, educated who does not understand Jesus Christ.

The great historian Kenneth Scott Latourette said this—listen to this quote: “Jesus has had more effect on the history of mankind than any other of His race who ever existed.” That’s not a Baptist preacher speaking that. To explain Jesus Christ is impossible; to ignore Jesus Christ is disastrous; to reject Him is fatal. Understand who Jesus Christ is: To know Him is to love Him; to love Him is to trust Him; to trust Him is to be radically, dramatically, and eternally changed, to be transformed. I’m talking about who is Jesus. Human speech is too limited to describe Him. The human mind— too small to comprehend Him; and, the human heart can never really, completely, totally absorb who Jesus Christ is.

Let’s read Colossians 1, and I want to begin reading. We’re going to have to break in; let’s break into verse 12: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet”—or “fitting”—“to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:”—now, folks, that’s talking about you. He’s talking about your inheritance. If somebody wealthy left you a legacy, would you not be interested? Then pay attention—“who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:12–13). Larry King, there’s your answer. God does have a Son, and God said, “He is my dear Son.” And, He has a Kingdom.
Now, let’s talk about the inheritance that we have: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;”—and, here’s the key to it all—“that in all things he”—Jesus—“might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him”—that is, in His Son—“should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him”—by Jesus—“to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:14–21).

We’re going to talk a little bit now about the Lord Jesus Christ, that in all things He might have pre-eminence. He doesn’t want a place in your life. He doesn’t wish for prominence in your life. He deserves and demands pre-eminence. Three reasons I want to give—they’re right here before us:

I. Jesus Reveals the Father

Reason number one: Jesus reveals the Father—Jesus reveals the Father. Look, in verse 15: Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). God is Spirit— invisible, unfathomable, unapproachable. How are we going to know God? Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” The visible Jesus makes the invisible God known. The word image is the word eikon. We’re going to talk about that, in a moment. How are you going to know God? Not by reason. How are you going to know God? Not by religion. How are you going to know God? Not by ritual. You’re going to know God only by revelation, and Jesus Christ has come to reveal God to you. You can never fully know God the Father apart from God the Son.

Now, look again at verse 15—look at it: “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15). Put those two words down; lock your mind on those two words: image and firstborn—Colossians 1:15—image and firstborn. The word image is the Greek word eikon. If you have a computer, you have icons on your computer. It means a “a representation.” Now, Jesus is the icon of God. The Greek word means “the exact representation.” Jesus is the express image of the invisible God. He is the eikon of God. And, go to Colossians chapter 2 and verse 9. See how Paul sums it up there: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). All of God was in Bethlehem’s stable. He is the eikon—the express image—of God.

You want to know God? Friend, Jesus Christ has cornered the market. He has a monopoly on revealing the Father. That’s the only way you’re going to know God. Let me give you a verse—put it in your margin: Matthew chapter 11 and verse 27. Here’s what Jesus Christ Himself said: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27).

Now, either that’s true, or it’s not true. I believe it’s true. He says, “Nobody knows My Father but Myself, and you can’t know Him unless I introduce Him to you.” That’s a big statement. Why? Because, Jesus is the express image of God. You’re never going to figure God out. How can the finite understand the infinite? Not by reason, but by revelation. Any other god that you worship is the god of your guesses, and that’s a form of idolatry. You don’t conjure up some god to worship him. Jesus came to reveal the Father.

You say, “Well, Pastor Rogers, that’s narrow-minded.” Well, you could be so broad-minded that your mind gets thin in the middle, be so open-minded that your brains may fall out.

I want my doctor to be narrow-minded. I don’t want him to say, “Well, you’re sick. Here are 10 bottles of medicine. Let’s just take one of them and see what happens.” I want my airplane pilot to be narrow-minded, and not try to land with the landing gear up. I want my banker to be narrow-minded. But, in the thing that matters the most, my eternal destiny, I think I’m not ignorant to want a little certitude, a certainty.

Yes, you can’t know the Father apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t say, “I’m a way”; He said, “I am the way.” He didn’t say, “I am a light”; He said, “I am the light. I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). You see, God was manifest in the flesh.

My pastor friend, Jerry Vines, imagines Jesus Christ going into the temple and having a conversation with the teachers, when he was a 12-year-old boy. And, one of the learned doctors there strokes his beard, and says, “Son, how old are You?” “Well,” He says, “On My mother’s side, I’m 12-years-old, but on My Father’s side, I’m older than My mother and as old as My Father.” You see, He was both God and man. Now, on His mother’s side, He got thirsty; on His Father’s side, He said, “I am the water of life.” On His mother’s side, He got hungry; on His Father’s side, He took a little lad’s lunch and fed 5,000. On His mother’s side, He was homeless, and didn’t have a place to lay His head; on His Father’s side, He owned the cattle on a thousand hills. On His mother’s side, He wept at the grave of Lazarus; on His Father’s side, He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and raised him from the dead. He was God in human flesh. That’s the word image.

Look at the word firstborn there, in verse 15. Now, don’t get the idea that firstborn implies a beginning. Jesus never had a beginning. There never was a time when Jesus was not. Jesus said, over there, in the Gospel of John, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Not, “I was”—“I am.” He is the great “I AM.” He never had a beginning. He has always existed in a state, never a start. He didn’t have His beginning at Bethlehem.

What does the word firstborn mean? Now, the Jehovah’s Witnesses tell us that there was a time when Jesus was not, that He was created; and, this is one of the verses that they try to use, but they mishandle the word firstborn altogether. The word firstborn speaks of honor and privilege, as God said of David, in Psalm 89, verse 27: “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27). Firstborn speaks of His exalted position. Look, in verse 17: “And he”—Jesus—“is before all things” (Colossians 1:17). He could not be created. Why? Because, all things were created by Him. It is obvious that whether there are things in Heaven, things on Earth— everything was made by Jesus, and for Jesus.

And so, you want to know God the Father? Would you like to know what the great, invisible God is like—who He is? Would you like to know His heart? Friend, Jesus reveals the Father. Thank God for that. Second point: Not only does Jesus reveal the Father; He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn, the highest of all creation and above all creation.

II. Jesus Rules the Future

But secondly, Jesus rules the future—Jesus rules the future. Begin now, in verse 16:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him”—now, watch this—“to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:16–20).

Now, what is this taking about? It’s talking about One who rules the universes, One who not only has this whole world in His hands, but He has the past, the present, the future in His hands. People ask, “What is the world coming to?” Answer: “It’s coming to Jesus—it is coming to Jesus.” All things were created by Him, and for Him, and it will all climax in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A. Jesus is the Power of Creation

Now, let me point this out just a little bit. First of all, he says, Jesus is the power of creation. Look, if you will, in verse 16. Jesus is the power of creation. “For by him were all things created; (Colossians 1:16). He is the power of creation. The little baby in Matthew 1 is the mighty God of Genesis 1. There was nothing made without Him. John tells us, “All things were made by him” (John 1:3).

“Adrian, don’t you believe in evolution?” Not for a skinny minute. No, I don’t believe in evolution. After I studied it, I wouldn’t believe in evolution, even if I weren’t a Christian. It’s the next best guess of those who do not know the Word of God.

Now, if evolution is true, you have problems with the Scripture. If the Bible can’t tell me from whence I have come, how can it tell me where I’m headed? You have trouble with salvation. If there’s no creation, no Adam and Eve, no Garden of Eden, there was no fall into sin. And, if there’s no fall into sin, there’s no need for a new birth. Man is just progressing onward and upward. But, Jesus said, in John 3: “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). If Genesis 3 is a myth, John 3 is a farce. You have a problem with salvation. I’ll tell you something else: If you believe in evolution, you’re going to have problems in society, and that’s why we have so many. As we’ve often said, you teach the boys and girls they come from animals—it ought not to surprise us that they begin to act like animals. Listen. It was all made by Jesus.

Do you think all of this just happened? Do you think it’s just by some random chance—it all came out of some sort of primordial ooze that came out of lifeless matter? In your own body, there are 300 trillion cells in the human body—all of them incredibly complex.

There’s a book out you need to read called Darwin’s Black Box. You know, all scientists, and inventors, and pseudo-scientists selling snake oil or whatever—they have a little black box, and they say, “Well, you can’t look in there. That’s my trade secret.” Well, Michael Behe just kind of pried open Darwin’s black box, and I don’t want to get too complicated, but he talks about irreducible complexity. You take life and just reduce it back until you can’t reduce it any simpler. And, when you look at the simplest part, it is so complex that there’s no way possible that just one cell could have come about by evolution, because all of the components of that one cell are interdependent. It takes one for the other to be there. One could not have come out of the other.
I want to say again that you have in your human body 300 trillion cells. Now, in that one cell, you have rods known as chromosomes. And, in these chromosomes, you have genes, or your genetic makeup. And, that’s determined by something today that we call DNA. And, they look now at the DNA, and they say, “There’s a mind there. There’s intelligence there. There’s design there. There’s not randomness there.

” In the DNA, in one cell—one cell, there is enough information printed in books, it would take 600,000 books to write down the code of the DNA that is in one of the trillions of cells in your body that determines your intellect, the color of your hair, your personality—all of those things, encoded right in there. Who did all of that? Jesus. “All things were made by him” (John 1:3). He, friend, is the power of creation.

B. Jesus is the Preserver of Creation

I’ll tell you something else: He is the preserver of creation. Look, in verse 17 of this same chapter: “He is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). Do you know what the word consist means? They stick together. Jesus Christ is the glue of the galaxies. What is it that keeps it all from falling apart or coming apart? Jesus.

Jesus is the One who feeds the sun with its fuel. Jesus is the One who guides the planets in their orbit around the sun. Jesus is the One who has set out all of the stars. Talk about natural law—there’s no natural law. They’re the laws of Jesus that nature obeys. It is by Jesus that all things consist (Colossians 1:17).

I was looking recently at Isaiah chapter 40 and verse 26. Listen to it—a great verse: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things…”—sometime, take time on a dark night to go out, and look up. That’s what he says—“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things,”—do you think that everything came out of nothing? You say, “I can’t believe in an eternal God.” You believe in eternal, inanimate matter? Now, listen to this—“[he] bringeth out their host by number:”—he’s talking about the stars—“he calleth them all by names” (Isaiah 40:26).

I was listening to radio the other day, and they said, “You want to give a Christmas present? We’ll name a star after you. You choose somebody, and we will name a star for that person, and we’ll put it in a book.” Friend, too late! Too late. Every one of the billions, and billions, and billions, and billions, and billions, and billions, and billions, and billions—and I could go on until the service ends—Jesus has named every one of them. He is the preserver of creation. He guides it all.

Light travels at 186,282 miles per second. How fast is that? All right, let’s hijack a light beam and travel around the earth—been around the earth 7 1/2 times right there, around the circumference. You want to go to the sun? The sun’s 93 million miles away. You can get there in 8 1/2 minutes, traveling on a light beam. You want to go to the nearest star? It would take you 4 1/2 years, traveling at 186,282 miles per second, to get to the nearest star. Friend, that’s 27 trillion miles away. And, that’s the closest one! There are more than 100 billion stars in our galaxy. To go from side to side, rim to rim, in our galaxy, would take you 100,000 light years, traveling at 186,282 miles per second. Who did that? His name is Jesus—His name is Jesus. He’s the One by whom all things consist. He is the power of creation. And, friend, He is the preserver of creation.

C. Jesus is the Purpose of Creation

And, He is the purpose of creation. Look, if you will now, in verse 16—look at it: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him,”—now, watch it—“and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Why all of this? Did you think it was for you? No, it’s for the Lord Jesus Christ.

For is a preposition that speaks of direction. It’s the Greek word eis—“moving in the direction.” Now, we, in America, have been invaded by Eastern religions. Eastern religions are circular. Everything goes ’round, and ’round, and ’round, and ’round. That’s the reason they believe in reincarnation. I’ve always thought reincarnation was putting the milk back in the can. You’ll get that later. They believe in reincarnation. That is, everything is circular. And so, you have to live with good karma. And, if your karma is not good, then, in your next life, you may come back as a roach. But, if you’ve been good, you might come back as a cow. That’s the reason they don’t eat meat. You might be eating your grandmother.

Now, they believe that it’s all circular; but it’s not circular, it is all headed in a direction. The Bible is linear. We’re moving to the time when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ. That’s the reason He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth, even as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). I can hardly wait!

And, by the way, think of what’s going on today in history. Let me give you a verse my wife pointed out to me yesterday; I’ve been living on it—Isaiah chapter 33, verse 22: “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king;”—got it? Judge, lawgiver, and king. What are the three parts of our government? The judiciary— the judge; the legislative—the lawgiver; and the executive—the king. Did you know Jesus is all three? You talk about a balance of power—He doesn’t need any balance of power. He is the power! The Lord—He is the judge; He is the lawgiver; He is the king. And then, it says—and this is Isaiah 33, verse 22—“he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

Friend, it is all headed to Jesus. It was all—it is all—for Him, for the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the key to the mystery of history.

I’m told that a young man was taking a philosophy course. He’d studied, and studied, and studied, and he came to the final exam, and the philosophy professor had a little bit of a sense of humor. He wanted to see how much philosophy these young people knew, how well they could think. The final examination was one word: “Why?” A student thought for a while, wrote one word down, and walked out: “Because!” I would add two more words: “because of Jesus—because of Jesus, because of Jesus.”

He is the mystery of history. Why is it all me? “All things were created by him, and for him…and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16–17). And, history has a date with Deity.

III. Jesus Reconciles the Fallen

Last thing of these three things I want to lay on your heart: Not only does Jesus reveal the Father, not only does Jesus rule the future, but Jesus, thank God, reconciles the fallen. That’s why He came. Look, in verse 18 now—look at it: “And he”—Jesus—“is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulless dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:18–21). That’s so wonderful! This Jesus, who declared the Father; this Jesus, who dominates the future; this is Jesus, who delivers the fallen, reconciles God and man.

You see, Christians are not just nicer people. They’re not just people who give intellectual assent to certain doctrinal things. But, you have to see the contrast. I mean, what is Paul saying? Paul is saying, “Look, He is the One who made everything. He made it all; it all belongs to Him. And yet, He hung naked on a cross.”

Think of it. God, the mighty Maker, died for man, the creature’s, Sin. You have to get it in its context. You have to understand what he’s talking about. He’s set you up. He’s telling you how great, how awesome, how mighty is Jesus. And then, he speaks of the blood of His cross. He died on a cross.

The One who made every seed, every limb, every tree—He dies on a tree. The One who made the oceans, and the fountains, and the rivers, and the streams, said, “I thirst.” The One who flung that sun out into space is the One who’s blistered by the noonday sun. He is dying. His death and His deity are put together. Other people have died; but friend, it’s His deity that makes His death meaningful. And, it is His death that makes His deity knowable. The two are together.

When Jesus created the universe, He did it with His Word. He said, “Let it be,” and it was; and, universes sprang from His fingertip. But, when He saved us, it took every drop of His blood. He didn’t have to do that. Larry King, He does have a Son. He died for you. Peter Jennings, He’s not the Jesus of some finger-thumping philosopher; He’s the Son of God, revealed in the pages of His Holy Word. He’s the One that took my sin—your sin, our sin—to the cross; and, there, made peace with the blood of His cross. And, on His cross, He took sinful man with one hand, holy God with the other hand, and reconciled God and man.

A woman was dying. They didn’t know who she was. She was in a hospital, apart from friends and family. They said, “Get a minister.” The minister came in, bent down, and whispered in her ear, “They say you’re dying. Have you made peace with God?” She shook her head. They huddled a while and came back. And the minister, wanting to press the point, said, “Dear lady, you’re dying. Don’t you think you need to make peace with God?” She shook her head again in the negative. The third time, they said, “You need to make peace with God.” She said, “No, I don’t. I am resting in the peace that Jesus has already made. I cannot make peace with God. Jesus made peace with the blood of His cross.” And, what we need to do is to enter into that peace by faith and trust the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion

Now, I’ve come to the end of the message. What is the bottom line? Listen to it—don’t miss it: “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Question to you: Does He have pre-eminence in your life?

Ellis A. Fuller was one of our great preachers of yesterday. Ellis Fuller had a girl that he loved very much and wanted to marry her. Let me tell you how he proposed to her: He said to her, “Would you be willing to take second place in my life?” Jesus is, and always will be, number one. Joyce knows she’s not number one in my life. She knows she’s number two; and, she’d much rather have it that way, because she knows that I can love her in a way that I never could love her, if she were number one.

Does Jesus Christ have the pre-eminence in your life? If not, what right do you have to call yourself a Christian? “That in all things”—everything—“he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Who is Jesus? Friend, He is the Jesus of this Book.

Would you bow your heads in prayer? How many of you can say, “Pastor Rogers, I know that I know if I died today, I know on the authority of the Word of God—because I have repented of my sin, trusted Christ, and God’s Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I’m a child of God—I know that, if I died today, I’d go straight to Heaven”? Would you just lift your hand up, and hold it up, for a moment? Thank you. Take it down.

Now, I asked you to do that, because I wanted you to consider it. If you could not lift your hand, I want to guide you in a prayer. And, in this prayer today, if you will sincerely pray it, and mean it, Jesus Christ will save you: “Dear God. I’m a sinner, and I’m lost; and, I need to be saved. I need to be reconciled by the blood of Jesus to You. I open my heart. By faith, I embrace Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Save me, Jesus.”

Did you ask Him? Thank Him: “Thank You for saving me, Jesus. I receive it by faith. And now, I will not be ashamed of You. I will make it public, if You will give me the strength, and I know You will. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

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THE SCOPES TRIAL by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1997. 96 pages,

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THE SCOPES TRIAL by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 1997. 96 pages, bibliography, illustrations, index. Hardcover; $16.95.

Nardo has written over seventy books; his works include biographies of Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, and H. G. Wells. The Scopes Trial gives the reader a glance at the overall trial and it includes annotated bibliographies, a thorough list of works consulted, and a comprehensive index. Moreover, the purpose of this book is to give the big picture of the trial and to provide sources for further research.

Even though The Scopes Trial is only 96 pages in length, it gives many of the little known details of the trial. For instance, the prosecution team included a local attorney named Sue Hicks (the original Boy named Sue of the Johnny Cash hit song) who had been named for his mother (p. 29). The trial was the first to be broadcast on radio, and Judge Raulston declared, My gavel will be heard around the world (p. 43). Loudspeakers were set up on the courthouse lawn Afor the crowds who were unable to squeeze into the courtroom (p. 46). Ironically, when the jurors were asked to step out of the courthouse, they still heard the testimony (p. 46). Just before William Jennings Bryan took the stand, cracks appeared in the ceiling of the courthouse; as a result, court reconvened on the front lawn (pp. 66-7).

After reading The Scopes Trial, I felt like I had actually been there in Dayton in 1925. This was due in part to Nardo’s excellent choice of over 40 pictures and his discussion of the events of the trial. Nardo writes:

Under Darrow’s relentless and skillful stream of questions, Bryan had revealed his nearly complete ignorance of world history. After more than an hour on the stand, Bryan showed not only that he was ignorant of history, but that he knew practically nothing of the established and universally accepted facts of archaeology, geology, astronomy, and other scholarly disciplines. The man who had so vigorously advocated limiting the teaching of science in the schools had just demonstrated that he had not the foggiest notion of what science was all about (p. 74).

The Scopes Trial does have a weakness though. Nardo fails to mention that much of the evidence presented by the scientists at the trial was later proven faulty. Judge Raulston ruled that all testimony bearing on the meaning of evolution or its truth or falsity had nothing to do with whether John Scopes had broken the law and should therefore be excluded from the trial (p. 59). But the Judge did allow the defense to read some of the expert testimony into the record while the jury was excused (p. 66). Part of that testimony read into the record included the two popular biological arguments for evolution embryonic recapitulation and vestigial structures. Medical science has since disproved both of these views. Furthermore, the evolution of the horse was called conclusive and the Piltdown fossils were said to be supporting evidence for evolution. Needless to say, these two pieces of evolution are no longer presented by evolutionists. In fact, evidence surfaced recently that indicates who the Piltdown hoaxer was (Henry Gee, Box of Bones `Clinches’ Identity of Piltdown Paleontology Hoaxer, Nature, 381 [1996]: 261-2).

On the other hand, creationists too have been guilty Of mistakes. John George, the author of They Never Said It!, pointed out that many creationists have mistakenly attributed these words to Clarence Darrow: “For God’s sake, let the children have their minds kept open! Close no doors to their knowledge; shut no door to them. Let them have both evolution and creation! The truth will win out in the end.” Actually it was Darrow’s co-counsel, Dudley Field Malone, who was the speaker. And what Malone said was rather different: “Make the distinction between theology and science. Let them both be taught.” Nardo states, The speech was so eloquent and passionate that the audience, even including many of the fundamentalists who supported Bryan, gave Malone a long and respectful ovation (p. 63).

In sum, The Scopes Trial is well researched and well written. I highly recommend it to the readers of PSCF.

Reviewed by Everette Hatcher III, P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221.

From PSCF 49 (December 1997): 269.

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