In the Beginning…

This excerpt is from Everyone’s A Theologian by R.C. Sproul

The first sentence of sacred Scripture sets forth the affirmation upon which everything else is established: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Three fundamental points are affirmed in that first sentence of Scripture: (1) there was a beginning; (2) there is a God; and, (3) there is a creation. One would think that if the first point can be established firmly, the other two would follow by logical necessity. In other words, if there was indeed a beginning to the universe, then there must be something or someone responsible for that beginning; and if there was a beginning, there must be some kind of creation.

For the most part, although not universally, those who adopt secularism acknowledge that the universe had a beginning in time. Advocates of the big bang theory, for example, say that fifteen to eighteen billion years ago, the universe began as a result of a gigantic explosion. However, if the universe exploded into being, what did it explode out of? Did it explode from nonbeing? That is an absurd idea. It is ironic that most secularists grant that the universe had a beginning yet reject the idea of creation and the existence of God.

Virtually all agree that there is such a thing as a universe. Some may plead the case that the universe or external reality—even our self-consciousness—is nothing but an illusion, yet only the most recalcitrant solipsist tries to argue that nothing exists. One must exist in order to make the argument that nothing exists. Given the truth that something exists and that there is a universe, philosophers and theologians historically have asked, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” That is perhaps the oldest of all philosophical questions. Those who have sought to answer it have realized that there are only three basic options to explain reality as we encounter it in our lives.

The first option is that the universe is self-existent and eternal. We have already noted that the overwhelming majority of secularists believe that the universe did have a beginning and is not eternal. The second option is that the material world is self-existent and eternal, and there are those who, in the past and even today, have made this argument. These options have one important common element: both argue that something is self-existent and eternal.

The third option is that the universe was self-created. Those who hold to this option believe that the universe came into being suddenly and dramatically by its own power, although proponents of this view do not use the language of self-creation because they understand that this concept is a logical absurdity. In order for anything to create itself, it must be its own creator, which means that it would have to exist before it was, which means it would have to be and not be at the same time and in the same relationship. That violates the most fundamental law of reason—the law of noncontradiction. Therefore, the concept of self-creation is manifestly absurd, contradictory, and irrational. To hold to such a view is bad theology and equally bad philosophy and science, because both philosophy and science rest upon the ironclad laws of reason.

One of the main aspects of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment was the assumption that “the God hypothesis” had become an unnecessary way to explain the presence of the external universe. Up until that time, the church had enjoyed respect in the philosophical realm. Throughout the Middle Ages, philosophers had not been able to gainsay the rational necessity of an eternal first cause, but by the time of the Enlightenment, science had advanced to such a degree that an alternative explanation could be used to explain the presence of the universe without an appeal to a transcendent, self-existent, eternal first cause or to God.

The theory was spontaneous generation—the idea that the world popped into existence on its own. There is no difference between this and the self-contradictory language of self-creation, however, so when spontaneous generation was reduced to absurdity in the scientific world, alternative concepts arose. An essay by a Nobel Prize–winning physicist acknowledged that while spontaneous generation is a philosophical impossibility, that is not the case with gradual spontaneous generation. He theorized that given enough time, nothingness can somehow work up the power to bring something into being.

The term usually used in place of self-creation is chance creation, and here another logical fallacy is brought into play—the fallacy of equivocation. The fallacy of equivocation happens when, sometimes very subtly, the key words in an argument change their meaning. This happened with the word chance. The term chance is useful in scientific investigations because it describes mathematical possibilities. If there are fifty thousand flies in a closed room, statistical odds can be used to show the likelihood of a certain number of flies being in any given square inch of that room at any given time. So in the effort to predict things scientifically, working out complex equations of possibility quotients is an important and legitimate vocation.

However, it is one thing to use the term chance to describe a mathematical possibility and quite another to shift the usage of the term to refer to something that has actual creative power. For chance to have any effect on anything in the world, it would have to be a thing that possesses power, but chance is not a thing. Chance is simply an intellectual concept that describes mathematical possibilities. Since it has no being, it has no power. Therefore, to say that the universe came into being by chance—that chance exercised some power to bring the universe into being—merely takes us back to the idea of self-creation, because chance is nothing.

If we can eliminate this concept altogether, and reason demands that we do so, then we are left with one of the first two options: that the universe is self-existent and eternal or that the material world is self-existent and eternal. Both of those options, as we mentioned, agree that if anything exists now, then something somewhere must be self-existent. If that were not the case, nothing could exist at the present time. An absolute law of science is ex nihilo nihil fit, which means “out of nothing, nothing comes.” If all we have is nothing, that is all we will ever have, because nothing cannot produce something. If there ever was a time when there was absolutely nothing, then we could be absolutely certain that today, at this very moment, there would still be absolutely nothing. Something has to be self-existent; something must have the power of being within it for anything to exist at all.

Both of these options pose many problems. As we have noted, nearly everyone agrees that the universe has not existed eternally, so the first option is not viable. Likewise, since virtually everything we examine in the material world manifests contingency and mutation, philosophers are loath to assert that this aspect of the universe is self-existent and eternal, because that which is self-existent and eternal is not given to mutation or change. So the argument is made that somewhere in the depths of the universe lies a hidden, pulsating core or power supply that is self-existent and eternal, and everything else in the universe owes its origin to that thing. At this point, materialists argue that there is no need for a transcendent God to explain the material universe because the eternal, pulsating core of existence can be found inside the universe rather than out there in the great beyond.

That is the point at which a linguistic error is made. When the Bible speaks of God as transcendent, it is not describing God’s location. It is not saying that God lives “up there” or “out there” somewhere. When we say that God is above and beyond the universe, we are saying that He is above and beyond the universe in terms of His being. He is ontologically transcendent. Anything that has the power of being within itself and is self-existent must be distinguished from anything that is derived and dependent. So if there is something self-existent at the core of the universe, it transcends everything else by its very nature. We do not care where God lives. We are concerned about His nature, His eternal being, and the dependence of everything else in the universe upon Him.

The classical Christian view of creation is that God created the world ex nihilo, “out of nothing,” which seems to contradict the absolute law of ex nihilo nihil fit, “out of nothing, nothing comes.” People have argued against creation ex nihilo on those very grounds. However, when Christian theologians say that God created the world ex nihilo, it is not the same as saying that once there was nothing and then, out of that nothing, something came. The Christian view is, “In the beginning, God…” God is not nothing. God is something. God is self-existent and eternal in His being, and He alone has the ability to create things out of nothing. God can call worlds into existence. This is the power of creativity in its absolute sense, and only God has it. He alone has the ability to create matter, not merely reshape it from some preexisting material.

An artist can take a square block of marble and form it into a beautiful statue or take a plain canvas and transform it by arranging paint pigments into a beautiful pattern, but that is not how God created the universe. God called the world into being, and His creation was absolute in the sense that He did not simply reshape things that already existed. Scripture gives us only the briefest description of how He did it. We find therein the “divine imperative” or the “divine fiat,” whereby God created by the power and authority of His command. God said, “Let there be…,” and there was. That is the divine imperative. Nothing can resist the command of God, who brought the world and everything in it into being.

Is there any Evidence for a Global Flood?

The book of Genesis describes a catastrophic worldwide Flood. Is there any evidence that floodwaters covered the entire Earth?

That's a Fact – Global Flood from Institute for Creation Research on Vimeo.

Email Question: Why do you talk so much about the global flood? Why does it matter?

Russ Miller: The global flood is of paramount importance to true Christianity. The flood explains the rapid formation of the earth’s rock strata. Since all old-earth beliefs are based on the strata forming slowly, the flood eliminates all old-earth-based beliefs. These include all eastern religions; the new-age movement; atheistic evolution; theistic evolution; progressive creation; gap theory and the belief aliens dropped us off! In fact, a global flood leaves Christianity and Judaism as the only viable options, bringing the world to one question: Is Jesus the promised Messiah? The prophecies answer that question well.

More from Russ Miller at www.CreationMinistries.Org

A Hypothetical…

MacArthurExcerpt from a sermon by John MacArthur “The Eyewitness Account of Creation.” (original source here)

We’ll create a hypothetical – whoever created the universe and everything that is in it understands it. Would you agree? Whoever created it understands it. Whoever has the wisdom, understands every minute aspect of it, and is not waiting for man to advance scientifically to explain to Him what happened.

Since the Creator designed it and created it and sustains it, He understands it. He knows that the earth is spherical, not flat; that it turns on an axis, is not static; that it is suspended on nothing; that it sweeps through space in a fixed rotation and a fixed orbit in its own solar system, and at the same time is dragged by the center of this solar system, the sun, through the entire space as the whole orbiting set of planets and sun that we know has an orbit of its own that runs from one end of heaven to the other. Whoever made this knows that, and that’s why He says in Psalm 19 that the sun has an orbit from one end of heaven to the other.

Whoever made the world as we know it and the universe knows the galaxies. He knows the staggering reaches of space and the countless stars and galaxies. He knows them all; made every one of them, so He knows them. He knows their components. He knows their location. He knows their movement.

Whoever made this planet knows the cycles of air and water. He knows the facts of chemistry and biology, physiology. He understands atomic structure. So we would assume that whoever made this, if He were to give us a description that we could understand of His creative act would get it right. And that’s exactly what you have in Genesis 1, and expanded upon in Genesis 2. What the Creator tells you about creation is exactly what happened. He is the Creator, after all, He knows.

And by the way, whoever – hypothetically still – is intelligent enough and powerful enough to design, create, and then sustain the incalculable complexity of the universe and all life that is in it is certainly intelligent enough to do the relatively simple task of authoring an accurate account of His creation. If the Creator wrote down His creation and how it was done it would be reality. And if the Creator always spoke the truth, if the Creator is truth and cannot lie, then all the more are we to trust what He says. And only the Creator could give us this information, and no one could know if it was accurate or not by any observable means or any repeatable means, therefore any scientific endeavor. No one was alive until the sixth day. The only account we have is the one by the author of Scripture, who is the Creator.

And, oh, by the way, whoever created the universe would not say the moon is 50,000 leagues higher than the sun and has its own light. He would not say the earth is flat and triangular, composed of seven stages: one of honey, one of sugar, one of butter, and one of wine. Nor would He say that the earth sits on the heads of countless elephants who produce earthquakes when they shake. That’s what the Hindu holy book says. So we know the Creator didn’t write that book. Hinduism offers us a ridiculous lie.

And, oh, by the way, the Hindu Upanishad says, “The sun is the source of all energy in the universe.” We know that’s not true. The Creator would never say there are only thirteen members of the body through which death can come, but that’s what the Taoist holy book says; so we know whoever wrote that is not the Creator. The Creator would never say that earthquakes are caused by wind moving water and water moving the land, but that’s what the Buddhist holy book says; so we know the Creator didn’t write that book.

And, oh, by the way, the Creator would never say that Adam fell that men might come into existence, and that they might have joy; but that’s what it says in 2 Nephi, chapter 2, in the book of Mormon; so we know God didn’t write that book. Also says in the book of Mormon, Alma 7:10, that Jesus would be born in Jerusalem. The Creator would never write that, He would know Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem.

Whoever created the universe would not say, “Man is not made up of matter. He is not a composite of brain and blood and bones and other material elements. And man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death.” That’s what is in the science and health and key to the Scriptures in the Christian science holy book, which is neither Christian or science. It is like Grape Nuts, they aren’t grapes and they aren’t nuts. So that’s enough to make the point; we know that the Creator didn’t write any of those books. If we have a divine Creator – and we do – and He is a communication genius, and He is holy and true, then we assume that when He says this is the account of creation that we can take Him at His word.

So interesting to me that Genesis 1 is not muddled, it’s not confusing, it’s crystal clear, because the true Creator is infinitely intelligent, but He can reduce His intelligence down to logical, clear information and communicate it. He can do that all the way down to the nucleus of a cell, which operates because it is encoded with communication. This communication in the macrocosm is what causes all the bodies in the universe to move inexorably on a defined orbit. The whole universe and all that exists in the universe depends on the information from this divine information genius. We would expect then if information is His thing and He’s absolutely true that He would give us true information about creation and not say absolutely absurd and ridiculous, if not idiotic, things. And so when we come to origins and want to understand creation, we can only go to the account that He has given us in Genesis 1. And if you want a summary of Genesis 1, try Exodus 20:11 which says in six days He made everything, in six days He made everything. And to let you know; they were days, they are numbered and even identified as a morning and an evening.

Scripture opens in fact, if you go back to Genesis 1:1, with a really astounding statement. On the surface it’s very simple: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But, again, this is an illustration of God’s communication genius and how He can say everything that needs to be said with an economy of words that is just stunning.

It was 1903 when Herbert Spencer, a well-known scientist, died; and he had been hailed for his discovery of categories. He had come up with, “What are the categories of the knowable?” He said there are five categories of the knowable. In other words, everything that exists fits into one of these categories: time, force, action, space, and matter. Everything that exists is within those categories: time, force, action, space, and matter. Discovery of Herbert Spencer.

Look at Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning – ” that’s time “ – God – ” that’s force “ – created – ” that’s action “ – the heavens – ” that’s space “ – and the earth – ” that’s matter. All categories of the knowable are in the very first statement of Scripture. The Bible says that God created everything that exists out of nothing in six days, out of nothing. So nobody gets past the first verse of the Bible without facing the test of submission to God, submission to His word, submission to His authority. This is where we start worshiping Him, right, as Creator. And we don’t need to muddy the waters by introducing into this chapter some things that confound its directness and steal worship from our God.

How Can the Chinese Dynasties Extend Back Many Thousands of Years?

How Can the Chinese Dynasties Extend Back Many Thousands of Years? by John D. Morris, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20)

I was lecturing on the Biblical and scientific evidence for recent creation to a university audience in Hong Kong, China, when a scholar raised the objection: “The Chinese have a documented history going back many thousands of years, much earlier than your dates for creation and the Flood. We have known dynasties and named rulers. The Bible must be wrong.”

The solution lies in an examination of the earliest Chinese dynasties. Actually, precisely documented dynasties go back only to about 2000 B.C. The first true dynasty was founded about 4000 years ago by a leader remembered for having “sweetened the waters,” making the land habitable after wide-spread flooding. The ten listed dynasties before that, however, were of a different sort, with very long lives and questionable details attributed to them. From a Biblical viewpoint, as did all of humanity, the Chinese descended from Adam, then Noah through the Tower of Babel incident. The amazing “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10, which chronicles the language groups and their destinations, mentions the “Sinite people” in verse 17, which probably became the Asian groups.The Asian people descended from language groups migrating away from the Tower of Babel after God confounded their languages. In all likelihood, the well-documented dynasties date to that event, while the prior ones were faded memories of pre-Flood patriarchs, preserved as legends.

Doesn’t this “Back to Genesis” history have the ring of truth about it? Biblical chronologies place the Babel incident at 4200 or so years ago. Many of the expelled groups took with them technological knowledge which they put to use in their new homelands. History documents the fact that several major cultures sprang into existence seemingly from nowhere at about the same time—the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Phoenicians, the Indians, as well as the Chinese—and each possessed a curious mixture of truth and pagan thought, as would be expected from peoples only briefly separated from Noah and his teachings as well as the star worshipping/pyramid building heresy of Nimrod at Babel.

Interestingly, each group mentioned above lists 10 patriarchs in their pre-history, just as does Genesis. Individual leaders would guide their growing language groups to a new land, bringing both technology and a history with them. Each had personal knowledge of the Flood and pre-Flood days, having learned from Noah, his sons, or their early descendants. The Asian leader evidently gained prominence when he engineered the draining of swampy land left saturated by leftover flood waters. His following dynasty commenced about the time of Abraham, about 2000 B.C., and the memories of long-lived patriarchs of pre-Flood days became early dynasties.

Details in ancient history are necessarily scarce, and proposed origins must be considered tentative. But the fact is, Biblical history is correct. All peoples descended from Adam, then Noah through the Tower of Babel incident. We shouldn’t be surprised when we find cultural and historical memories of the “Back to Genesis” truth.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 2001. How Can the Chinese Dynasties Extend Back Many Thousands of Years?. Acts & Facts. 30 (2).

What Was God Doing Before Creation?

TimeAn article by Ken Ham (original source a man approached me and said, “But it makes no sense to believe in a young universe. After all, what was God doing all that time before He created?”

I answered, “What time do you mean?”

The person answered, “Well, it doesn’t make sense to say that God has always existed, and yet He didn’t create the universe until just six thousand years ago.” Apparently, he was worried that God once had a lot of time on His hands with nothing to do.

I then went on to explain that because God has always existed, then it is meaningless to ask, “What was God doing all that time before He created?” No matter how far you were to go back in time, you would still have an infinite amount of time before He created! So even if the universe were billions or trillions or quadrillions of years old, you could still ask the same question.

Time Was Created with the Universe
I then answered, “But you are missing the fact that there was no time before God created.”

Time is actually a created entity. The first verse of the Bible reads: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emphasis added).

A study of this verse reveals that God created time, space, and matter on the first day of Creation Week. No one of these can have a meaningful existence without the others. God created the space-mass-time universe. Space and matter must exist in time, and time requires space and matter. Time is only meaningful if physical entities exist and events transpire during time.

“In the beginning . . .” is when time began! There was no time before time was created!

God Is Separate from Both Time and the Universe
When I’m teaching children, I like to explain it this way. There was no “before” God created. There was not even “nothing”! There was God existing in eternity.

This is something humans, as finite created beings, can never really understand. That’s why the Bible makes it clear there is always a “faith” aspect to our understanding of God. Now, biblical faith is not against reason, but such things go beyond our understanding.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

In Psalm 90:2 we read: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

So what was “before” creation? God existing from everlasting to everlasting—God existing in eternity.

Do you remember what God said to Moses when he asked God who he should say sent him to lead his people out of Egypt’s oppression?

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:14).

God is the great “I AM.” He exists in eternity. He was not created.

In Revelation 1:8 we read, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Isaiah 43:10 records these words from God: “‘You are My witnesses,’ says the Lord, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.’”

In other words, it’s a mistake to talk about what God was doing “before creation” because the concept of time (before, during, and after) did not come to be until Day One of Creation Week. God exists—He is—He is the eternal self-existent One. He is outside of time.

All Creation Sings God’s Praise

Louie Giglio Mashup of Stars and Whales Singing God’s Praise

Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!

2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!

4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the LORD!
For he commanded and they were created.

6 And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,

8 fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!

10 Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!

12 Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the LORD!

Jesus’ View of Creation

time2In an article entitled “Jesus Devastates an Old Earth” a man quickly came up to me (from his booth), the first thing out of his mouth was something akin to, “Is Answers in Genesis here at the conference? Well, I guess I am going to have to find your booth and set you straight about the age of the earth!”

Perhaps you are thinking, “I’m glad I wasn’t in that situation.” Well, I don’t like those situations either! But for some reason, I tend to be in the middle of debates way too often. What ran through my head was, “How did I get myself into this situation? I was only walking through the conference halls!” But I realized there was crowd of people staring as this man began his diatribe, so there I was, blindsided and thrust into a debate.

Needless to say, 2 Timothy 2:24–25 and 1 Peter 3:15 say to always be prepared to give an answer and be ready in season and out of season to rebuke and correct with gentleness and patience. I realized this “out of season” debate was going to occur, but I still need to do it with gentleness, while being bold.

My Response
I asked this man, “In the context of the first marriage between Adam and Eve, do you think Jesus was wrong in Mark 10:6 when He said that God made them male and female at the beginning of creation? Or do you believe that the creation has been around for 13 billion years and marriage first came about at the end of creation a few thousand years ago with Adam and Eve?”1

For the reader, allow me to explain why I asked the question this way. If you start with the Bible, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation. So Adam and Eve were created about five days after the initial creation event on Day One. Then if you add up the genealogies from Adam to Jesus you get a few thousand years (about 4,000 years). Most chronologists agree on this point.

But all Christians who have bought into an old earth have much more than 4,000 years between creation and Christ. They insert about 13.7 billion years between the creation event that they call the big bang and the marriage between the first human male and female. They further state that Adam and Eve only showed up a matter of thousands of years ago. So all old earth scenarios have marriage (between a human male and female, which first began with Adam and Eve) about 13 billion years after creation, which is the end of creation, nowhere near the beginning of creation.

Returning to questioner, it was apparent that he was not ready for that question. What I did was contrast his stated position against what Christ had said. And this man knew it right off the bat. So did the crowd watching. They wanted to hear his answer, and so did I.

Realizing he was trapped in a “catch-22,” this man immediately changed the subject to talk about what secular scientists believe about the age of the earth. I wasn’t going to let him do that. He needed to address what Jesus said.

So I again kindly asked, “Was Jesus wrong in your view?” This man, who was so confident and aggressive, began to squirm right where he stood. And he responded, “I don’t want to deal with that.”

At this point, I concluded our conversation by saying, “That is the crux of the issue: either you trust God’s Word, or you don’t.” Hopefully, it was apparent to the crowd that this man was not standing on what Christ said in His Word but was clinging to outside influences and did not want to address what Christ had said. Frankly, I was nervous, but I was being bold and seeking to be kind and gracious.

Why Is Mark 10:6 So Powerful?
Jesus said the following in the context of marriage and divorce: Continue reading

Ken Ham and the Darleks

No, biblical stand on Genesis. In this episode he shares an exciting update regarding the life-size reconstruction of Noah’s ark and its significance as an outreach tool to engage the popular culture around us. Oh, and it turns out that Ken Ham is a fan of Doctor Who. You will have to watch the episode to learn about darleks. 🙂