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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Does this Sound Like America?

Does This Sound Like America?
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


For those who are willing to learn from God, His Word provides insight on the ebb and flow of human civilization throughout world history. It records an uncanny pattern of the rise and fall of nations. Consider two passages of Holy Writ that sound eerily like America’s current condition. Both spoken to another nation, the first was written over three millennia ago:


For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you (Deuteronomy 8:7-10).

Here is an excellent overview of the history of America and the circumstances enjoyed by Americans—from the Pilgrims in the 1600s, to the Founders in the 1700s, to the American populace for the first two centuries. But with the social ferment since the 1960s, the rest of the passage is now ominously apropos:

Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God...—then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.... Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them... (Deuteronomy 8:11-19a, emp. added).

This section also describes America’s current physical, moral, and spiritual direction. Large numbers of Americans are forgetting God, neglecting His commands and laws, even rejecting Him with a prideful attitude. This rejection is occurring even as the nation has enjoyed unparalleled financial prosperity—comfortable homes, clothes, cars, and an unbelievable variety of foods. How many Americans recognize the nation’s abundance as the gift of God? And what’s more, as the nation jettisons the moral and spiritual principles of the Bible, they are embracing other philosophies, ideologies, and religions. Consequently, the passage forthrightly declares what must come next:

I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:19b-20, emp. added).

A second passage from God’s inspired Word, written to Israel some 2,500 years ago, also images America’s condition:

You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess. So the people went in and possessed the land; You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished. And they took strong cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all goods, cisterns already dug, vineyards, olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and grew fat, and delighted themselves in Your great goodness (Nehemiah 9:23-25, emp. added).

What better description of the history of America, beginning with the Pilgrims, who came to these shores largely to evade religious persecution that challenged their right to practice the Christian religion in accordance with their own interpretation of the Scriptures? For 200 years, America prospered and “grew fat” from prosperity and progress. Not all has been perfect (e.g., slavery, mistreatment of native Americans, etc.), but many Americans, until the 1960s, in general terms “delighted themselves in [God’s] great goodness.” But now what is happening?

Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; And they worked great provocations (Nehemiah 9:26, emp. added).

Observe: in the 1960s, the baby-boomer generation not only rebelled against the Christian teaching and Christian morality embodied in their World War II-generation parents, they commenced a relentless, intense assault on all who oppose them. Evolutionists, atheists, and humanists, who work feverishly to expel God from the country, vilify as ignoramuses and dimwits the Christians who resist them; those who work to enact sexual anarchy in the land by promoting same-sex marriage, denounce as homophobic hatemongers the Christians who resist them. The growing number of welfare recipients, who embrace the unchristian belief that their fellow citizens owe them a living, label their gainsayers as unloving, selfish, and lacking compassion. And the list goes on.... So what will be the end result? The passage continues:

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them (Nehemiah 9:27, emp. added).

It is obvious that America is following the same road to destruction that other nations in the past have followed. The question is: “Will Americans wake up and see their digression before it is too late?” The only hope of America is for a sizeable percentage of its citizenry to turn to God with a contrite heart and restore the Christian orientation that once characterized American civilization. As the passage points out: “And in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; And according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies” (Nehemiah 9:27). In the words of the psalmist: “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit’” (Isaiah 57:15).

Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2, emp. added).

Sadly, “they shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear” (Nehemiah 9:29). What will Americans do?



This item is available on the Apologetics Press Web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240019

Religion and Evolution

The Influence of Evolution Upon Religion
by Wayne Jackson, M.A.

When Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species issued from the presses (November 24, 1859), it marked a history-changing event. The world has not been the same since—unfortunately.
The theory of evolution has wielded its malevolent influence over the past century and a half in a host of ways. “There is not a single field of scientific and academic study which has not been greatly modified by the concept of evolution. It provided a new approach to astronomy, geology, philosophy, ethics, religion, and the history of social institutions” (Bewkes, et al., 1940, p. 549).

In this article, I will survey briefly some of the ways evolutionary theory has affected the way many people view the Bible.

First, it is alleged that just as biological organisms have evolved across the ages, even so religious ideas have evolved. It is common to assert, for example, that man’s initial religious impulses were polytheistic personifications of nature’s forces. Later (c. eighth century B.C.), it is alleged, Israel evolved the concept of a personal God. This notion is without support. It contradicts basic Bible information, and is at variance with the historical and archaeological research of men like Max Mueller and Sir William Ramsay.

Second, it has been argued that ethical and theological concepts have developed progressively across the centuries of biblical literature. Fosdick contended that every idea in the Bible “started from primitive and childlike origins” (1924, p. 11). In terms of ethics, for instance, it is alleged that humans initially “mated” like animals, with marriage evolving only later. The Bible is supposed to have endorsed polygamy early on, before monogamy became the norm. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Though polygamy was tolerated during the era of the Old Testament, Christ taught that it never was the divine ideal. The marriage arrangement of the Christian system is, in fact, a restoration of that which was initiated by God in Eden (Matthew 19:8-9; cf. Vincent, 1972, p. 65).

Liberal theologians, highly influenced by evolutionary concepts, claim that human sacrifice, common among primitive peoples, is at the root of the New Testament doctrine of the atoning work of Christ. Again, the theory has no basis in fact. The Old Testament condemned human sacrifice (Deuteronomy 18:10). Moreover, the vicarious death of Jesus was in the mind of God long before there were paganistic sacrificial rites (Genesis 3:15; cf. 1 Peter 1:19-20).

Third, in the latter half of the eighteenth century a philosophy of destructive criticism became voguish, and the so-called Documentary Hypothesis was born. Based upon the notion that Israel’s religion had evolved, the various books of the Old Testament were supposed to have resulted from a variety of literary sources. These sources were dated in accordance with the “development” theory (see Allis, 1974, pp. 259-269). For example, it is argued that Moses did not author the Pentateuch; instead, there were four primary sources, known as J, E, P, and D. We cannot enumerate the fallacies of this theory here, but simply will observe the following with professor Kitchen of the University of Liverpool: “...even the most ardent advocate of the documentary theory must admit that we have as yet no single scrap of external, objective (i.e., tangible) evidence for either the existence or the history of ‘J,’ ‘E,’ or any other alleged source-document” (1966, p. 23, emp. in orig.).

Finally, we must mention that the assertion that vast ages of “time” are needed to accommodate evolutionary development has certainly influenced the way many view the chronology of the Bible. Rather than accepting the statements of Scripture that humanity has existed since the beginning of the creation (cf. Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20), the biblical text is manipulated to facilitate eons of time. This is seen in the promulgation of such notions as: (a) the Gap Theory—billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; (b) the Multi-Gap Theory—long ages between the days of the creation week; and (c) the Day-Age Theory—each “day” of the initial week representing millions of years.

These concepts are false. Some, however, who have accepted them—in part or whole—are perhaps unaware of the influences that spawned them.

REFERENCES

Allis, Oswald T. (1974), The Five Books of Moses (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed).

Bewkes, E.G., H.B. Jefferson, E.T. Adams, and H.A. Brautigam (1940), Experience, Reason and Faith (New York: Harper Brothers).

Fosdick, Harry Emerson (1924), The Modern Use of the Bible (New York: Macmillan).

Kitchen, K.A. (1966), Ancient Orient and Old Testament (London: Tyndale).

Vincent, M.R. (1972 reprint), Word Studies in the New Testament (Wilmington, DE: Associated Publishers and Authors).

This item is available on the Apologetics Press Web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240019