Answers in Genesis Conference 2014

Dr. Tommy Mitchell of Answers in Genesis teaches a series of six messages defending the biblical text of Genesis:

(1) “Are You Intimidated?”

(2) “Genesis and Biblical Authority”

(3) “Why Can’t a Day Mean a Day?”

(4) “Noah’s Ark and the Global Flood”

(5) “Jurassic Prank: A Dinosaur Tale”

(6) “Worshipping the Creator God”

The Sons of God

Article by Dr. R. C. Sproul (original source here)

In the twentieth century, the German biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann gave a massive critique of the Scriptures, arguing that the Bible is filled with mythological references that must be removed if it is to have any significant application to our day. Bultmann’s major concern was with the New Testament narratives, particularly those that included records of miracles, which he deemed impossible. Other scholars, however, have claimed that there are mythological elements in the Old Testament as well. Exhibit A for this argument is usually a narrative that some believe parallels the ancient Greek and Roman myths about gods and goddesses occasionally mating with human beings.

In Genesis 6, we read this account: “When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose… . The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (vv. 1–4).

This narrative is basically a preface to the account of the flood God sent to eradicate all people from the earth, except for the family of Noah. Of course, the flood narrative itself is often regarded as mythological, but this preparatory section, where we read of the intermarriage of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man,” is seen as blatant myth.

The assumption in this interpretation of Genesis 6 is that “the sons of God” refers to angelic beings. Why do some biblical interpreters make this assumption? The simple answer is that the Scriptures sometimes refer to angels as sons of God, and it is assumed that the reference in Genesis 6 means the same. This is certainly a possible inference that could be drawn, but is it a necessary inference? I would answer no; I do not believe this text necessarily teaches the idea of sexual relations between angels and human beings.

To understand this difficult passage, we have to look at the broader application of the phrase “sons of God.” Pre-eminently, it is used for Jesus Himself; He is the Son of God. As noted, it is sometimes used to refer to angels (Job 1:6; 21:1; Ps. 29:1). Also, it is sometimes used to speak of followers of Christ (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 8:14; Gal. 3:26). So, the concept of divine sonship in the Scriptures is not always linked to a biological or ontological relationship (relationship of being). Rather, it is chiefly used to set forth a relationship of obedience. This means Genesis 6 could simply be speaking about the intermarriage of those who manifested a pattern of obedience to God in their lives and those who were pagans in their orientation. In other words, this text likely describes marriages between believers and unbelievers. The immediate context of Genesis 6 supports this conclusion. Continue reading

Genesis 1:1 The Most Offensive Verse

genesis1_1Dan Phillips Lists “Twenty-Six Reasons Why Genesis 1:1 Is the Most Offensive Verse in the Bible” (original source not as a conclusion reached at the end of a syllogism or evidence chain. We don’t get to stack the deck by massaging a preselected set of facts to adorn our predetermined conclusion. (It isn’t our deck to stack.)

2. Genesis 1:1 presents God alone as sovereign and self-sufficient. We like to reserve those adjectives for ourselves.

3. It was counter-cultural when Moses wrote it, and it is counter-cultural today. Attempts to argue the contrary have been shelled to ruins.

4. It explains why actual science can even be done. Many erstwhile scientists hate this fact, twisting themselves into pretzels in an effort to erect a contrary. Continue reading

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

The Significance of Genesis 3:15

no verse in the Bible is more crucial and definitive than Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” As Alec Motyer writes, “The whole of Scripture is not packed into every scripture, but we may allowably expect every scripture to prepare and make room for the whole. This is what happens in Genesis 3:15” (Look to the Rock, IVP, p. 34). Several important issues emerge all at once:

First, it establishes a principle that runs throughout the Old Testament, creating an expectation of a Redeemer who would be a descendent (a “seed”) of Adam and Eve. Prematurely and horribly wrong, Eve thus thought her firstborn son, Cain, was its fulfillment (Gen. 4:1). Equally, in a deliberate echo of this line of thought God’s covenant with the patriarch Abraham sounds the note of a “seed” that rings like a tolling church bell (Gen. 12:7; 13:15–16; 15:3, 13, 18; 17:7–10, 12, 19; 21:12; 22:17–18; and so on). No one reading the Bible can miss the connecting threads: God is doing something in the history of Israel that has its genesis in a promise given in Eden. When Mary discovers that she is expecting a baby, Gabriel announces to her concerning her future son: “He will be great” (Luke 1:32), clearly picking up a phrase already made to both Abraham and David (Gen. 12:2; 2 Sam. 7:9). The “He” is Jesus, of course. The Latin Vulgate rendered it “she” implying that it was Mary, but this was exegesis in the interests of dogma. It is not the woman who conquers but her seed.

Second, it establishes the parameters by which God will redeem His people from their sin. From the earliest times, Genesis 3:15 has been called the proto-evangelium because it is the first note of God’s redemptive intention following the fall in the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve failed to obey the terms of the covenant of works (Gen. 3:6), God did not destroy them (which would have served justice), but instead revealed His covenant of grace to them by promising a Savior (Gen. 3:15), one who would restore the kingdom that had latterly been destroyed. God’s method of grace is costly: the heel of the Savior will be bruised. Clearly, this is a metaphor that in the context is to be contrasted with the blow the serpent receives (the crushing of his head), but it is immediately apparent what this involves—the shedding of substitutionary blood. That seems to be what lies behind the provision of animal skins as a covering for Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21. Blood needs to be shed for sin to be forgiven, something that accounts for why it is that Abel’s offering (the firstborn of his flock) is accepted but Cain’s (the fruits of the soil) is not (Gen. 4:3–5). The way is now clear: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22).

Third, this verse establishes a cosmic explanation for the disorder of the world: Satan is at work. True, there is no mention of Satan here, only a serpent. Adam and Eve are responsible for their actions and are punished accordingly, but their actions are inextricably entwined with the serpent’s malevolence. There is more by way of explanation for sin than “free will.” The serpent is a part of that which “the Lord God had made” (Gen. 3:1), but he is no longer in the condition the Lord had made. Genesis draws a veil over the origins and nature of this rebellion (sin existed before the fall in Eden), and is only partially unveiled elsewhere (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1–2; Zech. 3:1–2; and especially 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Eve’s sin was more than something internal; it came from outside, Genesis 3:1 seems to say. Did the serpent actually speak? Why not? But look at how he grows in the Bible to be the great red dragon of Revelation 12! The serpent is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44), as well as a deceiver (2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:11).

Fourth, the principle of the victory of the kingdom of God over the kingdom of darkness is established from the beginning. It is echoed by Jesus at Caesarea Philippi: the “gates of hell” are resolutely set against the church of Jesus Christ, but Jesus assures His disciples that the church will be victorious (Matt. 16:18). The work of redemption unfolds in enemy occupied territory of deadly and tireless opposition by Satan and his minions. The enmity is one of unimaginable meanness and cruelty, which we ignore at our peril. The story of redemption is not in one sense a cliff-hanger to the very end, a tale the outcome of which is uncertain until the last page is turned. The precise nature of the serpent’s destiny as the lake of fire is not disclosed until the end (Rev. 20:10), but from the outset his doom is sealed. Christian discipleship is to be worked out within the context of the assurance of victory rather than the prospect of defeat. We are to be equipped and ready for battle, but with the certainty that the decisive battle with the enemy has already taken place and has been won!

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

The Bible and Science

Science confirms the Bible (1:30:13):

The Top 10 Questions about Genesis (58:45):

Do you believe in the Bible? Then what about carbon dating? Do you believe in the Global Flood? Then how did Noah get all of the animals on the Ark? Are you a Christian–then what do you do about all of the ‘Ape Men?’ In this fast-paced video lecture, Ken Ham gives answers to these and other commonly asked questions that skeptics lodge concerning Genesis and Creation, such as ‘Where did Cain get his wife’ and ‘Where did all of the races originate?’