It is generally recognised that to build anything successfully, you need a good foundation, whether it be a building, relationship, philosophy or even a religion. The foundation of the scripture rests in the first 11 chapters of Genesis, which are the basis for three of the world's largest religious groups, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
This morning I wish briefly to look at two of the major items in these first 11 chapters, namely the Fall and the Flood. Many people who call themselves Christian have built a religion where they deny these two happenings; it is difficult to engage in meaningful discussion with them, as without the Bible we have no common grounds for our common faith.
I wish to look at them as the Bible presents them; as historical events, and endeavour to show what effect these two events would have today, if they were taken literally. For detailed scientific arguments you would need to look in the scientific press. I am trying to write as a layperson for a layperson to understand and hopefully to go away and study these things in more depth, to be able to defend their faith in the Bible and the God of the Bible.
Like last week there is a scientific dimension to these items, but first we need to consider the fundamental difference again between the science that puts people on the moon, airplanes into the air, and that which tells us about the past. There is minimal differences between scientists in those areas where the experimental method can be used to verify each, over and over again, however a fossil does not come jumping out of the ground with a label telling is all about it, we have to infer lots of things from our view of the world and our assumptions. It's a bit like a forensic scientist finding a body lying in the middle of a floor and trying to ascertain what happened. The only witnesses, the dead person, and the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime are all unable to help, one is dead, the others hoping they will never be found out. The forensic scientists can often astound us by their deduction of what they have found and the perpetrator(s) are often caught.
We too cannot go back pre-fall or pre-flood; all our evidence is in today's world. But what would we expect to find in the world today if the fall, as the Bible describes it, had taken place? What are the basic Christian doctrines of the fall, what tests can we do to see if the biblical model is valid, do these things mark mankind and the world around us today?
In the evolutionary worldview, we have the thought of red tooth and claw, or blind pitiless indifference, however that model of origins still has no answer to moral matters, or even how life originated in the first place, or how one piece of information can be added to an organism in the long slow climb up from one small speck to man.
A very young child is marked in its innocence by being self centred, look at me, see what I'm doing, their love for their mother or father is a selfish love, based on the centre of the universe being the child itself. You never have to teach a child to be naughty, steal, lie etc, these things all come naturally. The fall calls this to be born in sin, inheriting the sinful nature of its parents. These things do not generally effect the animal kingdom, where is it rarer for an animal to kill another animal other than as a food source. Sometimes selective breeding has been used to select these kinds of traits, but it is only man where it is endemic. Even pain in childbirth is a specific punishment from God, and is only naturally found in Homo sapiens. It is quite normal for an animal to continue eating whilst giving birth. I am not saying animals can't suffer in childbirth, but that it is not the usual norm.
I can tell a lie successfully and can be very pleased with myself if I get off with it. My thoughts and actions are self-centred, however I am not too pleased if someone lies to me, I feel offended. What right have I to feel offended, if there is no moral right or wrong in the universe? When Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he offered them elevation, you shall be as God! He was partially correct; God says later in the same chapter, The Man has become as one of us, knowing both good and evil. The fall had empowered man to know what was good and what was evil, but it had not given him the power to refuse the evil and do the good, simply the reverse, it had given him the power to do evil but not the power to refuse to do evil and very quickly, unrestrained temper, murder and lying follow in the divine record, showing man's inability to always restrain this new evil nature he had. You shall be as gods, also sheds a lot of light on our view of ourselves, how we look down on others, elevate ourselves, sometimes at great expense to others, view the world as to how it will affect us, make decisions which are centred on our own view of things.
Being in total opposition to God now as sinners, is only understood when we have knowledge of the Bible, to see what God wants and how far our thoughts differ from God's. The Garden of Eden gives at least one example. Eve was created as a compliment for Adam, it was not good for him to be alone, he lacked something, which Eve supplied. However God had given Adam the place of leadership, what do we see when Satan comes along and speaks to Eve, Adam is silent. Note it says, "She gave to Adam who was with her," she didn't have to search the garden to find him! A simple word from Adam to both Eve and Satan, No! Eve we are not eating of that tree, God has forbidden it, would have sufficed, and honoured God, but no, Adam is silent, just like many men since who have not taken the loving place of head of the house and allowed their wives to lead, not always in a wrong way, but contrary to what God has said. Our contrariness comes out in many ways, our prides, our lies, our lifestyles, all contrary to a holy righteous God.
Some have said, she only took a small piece of fruit, hardly a terrible sin, what a fuss to make over a small misdemeanour! But look where it led, it's not long in the story of the history of man when we get jealousy, murder, bigamy etc, all the outcome of a small bit of disobedience. The same is true when we bring up children; they will try to get us to waver on a small point, but before long the small points become larger points and sometimes all attempts at control of the sinful nature of the child are given up. The saying is true, from little acorns, bit oak trees grow. Within a few short millennia God had to look down and say that the end of all life is come before Him, wickedness has taken over the earth. Can we not say that today, that extreme wickedness has become our expectation in society? One has even said if God does not judge the present evil world, He will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah.
It is well worth sitting down and comparing what the Bible says the outcome of sin will be and what we see in the world today, do they agree?
The Bible says "that dying we shall die" as the punishment for sin. The moment we are born we begin to die. Mankind has made great steps in hygiene, medicine, education, surgery, drugs and many other areas, but still the average lifespan of mankind is very close to the "three score and ten" 70 years of scripture. Romans 1:20. However the bible also says that God has put the thought of eternity in our hearts; most cultures and people do not believe that death is the end of a person, and many religions have a story of the afterlife, all we believe corruptions of the Genesis record. Mankind generally buries their dead with elaborate ceremony, no other creature does this. This again takes us back to the fall where we were told that we were made from dust, and to dust we would return. Genesis 3:19
In the original creation all creatures were plant eating, including man. (Genesis 1:29-30) We are taught that some animals are designed for meat eating or have developed over many millennia for meat eating, yet there are animals with teeth that the evolutionist would say are designed for tearing meat, yet they are plant eating. The Bible tells us, that when God intervenes once again in His creation it will be to remove the effects of the fall and the Lion will once again lie down with the lamb. (Isaiah 65:25) The Bible tells us the whole creation groans because of the fall, not just mankind. (Romans 8:22)
The whole creation groans: when we think of the way bacteria and viruses can both help and harm us, we see that in the creation model, every area of creation has suffered because of the fall. In a man-is-God centred philosophy, the most important thing is that we should live out our span and be happy, healthy and have a long life. The Lord Jesus could say that repentance towards God is the most important thing, what a striking difference; our thoughts too are completely different. (Luke 13:4) The Lord relates about how a tower collapsed and fell on 18 innocent persons who lost their lives. We too feel tragedies like this, and often feel that young people should not die, but the Lord was much more interested in eternity, when he said, that if we didn't repent we would all perish.
When we come to the flood, there is agreement among scientists that there have been significant floods in the past, but there is reluctance among non-Bible believing scientists to accept the Bible based version of events. As Christians or believers we ask the question, does the world around us display characteristics that are consistent with a worldwide flood and its aftermath?
Let us look at Noah's flood in a few different ways, firstly what does the Bible say? It says it was global, everything that breathes shall die. If it had been local all Noah and the animals had to do was move a few hundred miles away. The Bible says it rained solidly for 40 days. (Genesis 17:4) Where did all that water come from? The Bible would have us to believe that the pre-flood earth had a huge vapour canopy. The earth was watered by water rising up, rather than by rain, hence the mocking Noah must have had obeying God, when he was so far away from the sea, when it had probably never rained before. There were no rainbows before the flood. The presence of this canopy would shelter early man from many of the harmful rays coming from outer space, which would contribute to the longer lifetimes of those who lived pre-flood. However this massive canopy emptied itself onto the earth during these 40 days and nights. Also it says the great fountains of the deep were fractured and released. (Genesis 7:11) There were huge earth movements that completely altered the shape of the earth. The likes of Everest and the big mountains are believed to have been formed post flood as the earth was reconstructed by massive drainage of water off the land and many other geological events. When geologists look at the huge areas of deposits of water borne sediment, it is hard to explain other than on the basis of a huge flood. One example is the way rocks have folded back over themselves to form very tight bends. How could this have happened unless the whole layer was still very pliable? If the rocks had had time to harden and form over millions of years before folding, there would have been massive cracks, however the smooth transitions seem to show that these layers were laid down in a short period of time, not a very long one, also that the earth was very geologically active at this time, as there are significant areas where layers seem to have been pushed up and over one another.
When we look at the biblical ark, it is very different to that which is portrayed in storybooks where you see a small vessel teeming with animals hanging over the side. However what kind of vessel does the bible portray? It was a very large vessel. It was not till around 1884 when the Italian liner Etunia was launched, that man was able to design and build a ship larger than the Ark. The Ark was a very stable design. It was around 6 times longer than it was wide and about 10 times longer than its height. The vessel was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, it had three decks. (Genesis 6:5) It has been calculated that around 16,000 different species or Biblical kinds would need to be provided for on the Ark. Only one pair of dogs would be needed, from which all our dogs would descend, either by natural selection or selective breeding. The Bible also tells us that God who created all these animals, that he sent them to the ark; Noah did not have to collect them, 2 of every kind of animal, not used for food or sacrifice and 7 of every clean animal. God knew exactly what kinds of animals to provide, as the designer and creator of all things. He would also probably have sent younger animals, which would be ready to breed post flood, rather than fully-grown mature animals. It should also be recognised that, for example, dinosaurs on average were no bigger than a pig or a sheep, so young immature animals would not take up the space of fully developed mature animals. When you calculate all the food necessary for the voyage, for both the animals and Noah and his family, there is plenty of room for many more people to have been saved, if they had believed God's message through Noah and come onto the ark. The flood did kill many sea creatures as the fossil record shows, but there was no need to preserve either plant or sea creatures in the ark, as enough would survive the disaster.
Some scientists would tell us that man was not developed enough to have made the ark, a structure of such a large size, and yet when we consider some of the feats of the ancient engineers, like the pyramids, we find that techniques were available to them which as yet we don't fully understand. I remember my brother telling me of an ancient temple to Ramses II, which had to be moved to make way for a new Aswan dam. The story goes something like this, using the powerful computers of the day; calculations were done to site the temple away from the dam such that its most prominent feature could be retained. It had been originally designed such that the sun on two particular days would shine down a tunnel and illuminate some images at the bottom. However using the latest technology our modern mathematicians happened to be one day out! How did the ancients manage without all our sophistication? Archeology would teach us not to maybe sneer at the abilities of men so long ago. Even if the story is a fabrication, many of these ancient monuments, like the city of Petra show us how clever these engineers were, without all the modern helps we have today.
If you have never considered seriously the creation model based on the Scriptures of Truth, you will find abundant documentation from the Christian scientific community to argue that the way rocks have been laid down is consistent with large volumes of water, consistent with a flood of Noah's size. For example things like the Grand Canyon could have maybe been made over a long period by small amounts of water, or conversely when the rock was still soft, by large volumes of water over a shorter period. The documented and video records of the Mount St Helen's volcano eruption are a wonderful study of how large volumes of rock layers can be laid down in a matter of minutes, which on evolutionary time scales look as if they took millennia to form, but we know they were formed in about 20 or so minutes. (DVD Mount St Helens - Explosive Evidence for Catastrophe - ISBN 978-0932766717)
Having maybe listened to both these short standalone talks, I would like to ask you, how confident would you be to answer the many questions raised by the secular, humanist, atheistic, evolutionary society in which we live? The teachings of these 4, often conjoined viewpoints, colour many subjects that are being built into our society, the sanctity of life raising issues like, abortion and euthanasia, millions of years of red tooth and claw, as an explanation for man's cruelty to his fellow man, the list is endless. If you would like to have a list of Internet resources or publications which would help you to research the creation model of origins and how it can scientifically explain the world around us, without giving up one verse of scripture, please get in touch for transcripts of these broadcasts which contains many references, or email us for the list.
The main problem as believers that we face today is the matter of final authority. Our society says, Man is the final authority, his developing and changing views are the ultimate authority we have. As believers we need to be aware of this subtle and sometimes not so subtle change in direction. Many who would call themselves believers or Christians are gradually giving up a belief in the final authority of the Word of God. It is little wonder that the professing church finds itself in great difficulty over so many issues. Having accepted that the Bible is not the final authority, we are only left with man's changing viewpoints. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
In closing may I challenge each one of us who are believers in the Lord Jesus to arm ourselves with the Word of God, let us be able to give an answer to everyone who challenges our faith from the Word of God and be able to show that it is not intellectual suicide to do so. There are many able scientific believers who have developed scientific answers, based on scripture that we believe are much better answers to the world we see around us, than the evolutionary models.
If you have access to the web, Creation Ministries International - http://creation.com/other-helpful-websites gives a significant list of resources for those interested in Creation.
Other websites include: [All these links will open a new window]