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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Man: From the Beginning



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The name of the game is intimidation. It is a tragic but true fact that many views are propagated in today’s world simply on the basis of intimidation. The vocal majority frequently bullies the muted minority into an acceptation of their ideas.
And this is precisely what has happened in the case of many professed friends of the Bible.
Evolutionists, by means of “scientific” propaganda, have coerced some religionists into abandoning all confidence in the biblical view of man’s origin.
Others, not willing to forsake the totality of their faith, have sought an alliance between evolutionary and creationist concepts. It’s called “theistic evolution.”

Compromise Over the Age of the Earth

One area of such compromise has been in connection with the geological and anthropological theories of earth and human history.
Evolutionists contend that the earth is approximately 4.543 billion years old. This estimate is not based upon scientific fact, but upon preconceived assumptions grounded in the dire need for vast eras of time with which to accommodate the evolutionary scheme.
So, evolutionists fiercely argue for a very ancient earth.

How Long Has Man Been on the Earth?

But what of man? Where does he fit into evolutionary chronology?
Well, in the words of George Simpson (1902-1984), the famous evolutionary expert from Harvard, man is something of a newcomer, a Johnny-come-lately in comparison to other life-forms and especially compared to the age of the earth.
However, even some Christian writers have capitulated to this notion. John Clayton, a lecturer who travels widely among the churches of Christ and the Christian Churches, and who, in his writings has endorsed the evolutionary geological time-scale, suggests that “man is a very recent newcomer to this planet.” In fact, he argues that man’s history is but a tiny fraction of earth’s history (Clayton).
Such assertions need to be carefully examined to see whether or not they are accurate in light of the inspired Scriptures.
The Bible is right regardless of what certain pseudo-scientists claim. Remember, yesterday’s “science” is frequently tomorrow’s superstition.

Comparing “Science” With the Bible

In recent years, anthropologists have said that “true man” appeared on earth about 3.6 million years ago. Let us look closely at this and see whether or not it has any implications for the Bible believer.
If the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and man has been on earth for 3.6 million years, simple mathematics reveals that man is but 1/1250th of the age of the earth.
If such is the case, he is but a speck on the panorama of geo-history!
Perhaps the following illustration will dramatize the force of this. Suppose we let one day represent the sum of earth’s alleged history.
This means that the supposed 4.5 billion years of earth history are represented by the 86,400 seconds of one day.
Since man’s age is assumed to be only 1/1250th of the earth’s, man, on this one-day scale, would be only slightly more than one minute and nine seconds old!
Look at it another way. If one drew a horizontal line one hundred feet long and at the right end, directly underneath, he drew another line only one inch long, he could vividly see the difference in the alleged respective ages between earth and man, according to the evolutionary dogma.
Accordingly, if the whole of earth’s history is viewed from man’s current vantage point, human existence commenced virtually at the END of history—not at the beginning.
The impact of this needs to be clearly noted. The evolutionary theory (and views related to it) does not allow that man originated at the beginning of creation history.
Anyone, therefore, who accepts the evolutionary chronology of geo-human history cannot possibly believe that man has existed from the beginning of the creation!
Yet, this is what the Bible affirms repeatedly!

Man: From the Beginning

The New Testament phrase “from the beginning” (ap' arches and ex arches) denotes “the first point in time, its occasion being determined from the context” (Silva, 160).
While it is true that the expression can involve some degree of relativity, such obviously must be fairly limited, otherwise, language is meaningless.
In other words, when something is said to be “from the beginning” of a certain period, there must be a reasonable proximity involved.
With this in view, note the following Bible passages.

Isaiah: From the Foundations of the Earth

First, an example is introduced from the Old Testament. When Isaiah was contrasting the greatness of Jehovah with the impotence of idols, he asked:
“Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?” (Isa. 40:21).
Note how the prophet parallels the expressions “from the beginning” and “from the foundations of the earth.” Man had known of God’s nature since that time!
Clearly, human existence extends back to the very beginning of earth history.

Adam and Eve

Concerning Adam and Eve, Jesus declared:
“But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them” (Mk. 10:6).
The word “creation” is the Greek ktiseos and it denotes “the sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, 113; 114; 381). Bloomfield observed that it refers to “the world or universe” (197-198).
Unquestionably, Christ places the first humans at the very dawn of creation.

Since the Creation

In Romans 1:20 Paul writes:
“For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse .... "
The phrase “since the creation of the world” directs attention back to the very beginning of the “sum total of the material universe” (cf. Trench, 215-216).
And note that Paul affirms that evidence for God’s existence has been “perceived” and “seen” since the creation so that man is without excuse for any unbelief!
This passage clearly does not allow for a vast gap of billions of years between the beginning of the creation and man’s ability to perceive upon the face of the earth.
And there is no reason for rejecting the clear testimony of the inspired apostle — unless one is under the spell of evolutionary chronology!
There are several other New Testament passages of a similar thrust:
  • Lk. 11:45-52
  • Mk. 13:19
  • Jn. 8:44
  • 2 Pet. 3:4
Were it not for the speculative assertions of modern evolutionary theorists, there would be absolutely no controversy as to the clear meaning of these historical statements of sacred literature.
But the truth is this — some have allowed the unsupported ideas of current scientism to be the criteria by which they interpret the Bible. Such is a great error indeed.

Three Important Conclusions

When a fair treatment of all the facts are considered, three important conclusions emerge.

Science does not know the age of the earth.

As Dr. Robert Kofahl has noted, “it is not possible to ‘prove’ that the earth is billions of years old” (109).
Even the evolutionary views regarding such are highly unstable. Between 1900 and 1960, the estimated age of the earth increased from 50 million to some 5 billion years!

True science does not demand an ancient earth.

Dr. Donald Chittick declares that
“the idea that the earth is very, very old is not in any way suggested by any studies in science. It arises as a result of rejecting Special Creation” (73).

There are many evidences of a relatively young earth.

Many scientific observations point to an earth inhabited by man from the very beginning (“Our Earth — Young or Old?”).
Let us, therefore, not compromise the biblical record of earth-human history simply for the sake of placating unreasonable, faithless, hopeless infidelity.

References
  • Bloomfield, S. T. 1855. The Greek Testament with English Notes. Vol. I. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.
  • Brown, Colin, ed. 1980. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Vol. I. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
  • Chittick, Donald. 1970. A Symposium on Creation II. Patten, Donald, ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  • Clayton, John. Does God Exist? Course 8. South Bend, IN: Does God Exist?
  • Cremer, Hermann. 1895. Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testment. Edinburgh: T & T Clark.
  • Kofahl, Robert. 1977. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. San Diego: Beta Books.
  • Trench, Robert C. 1894. Synonyms of the New Testament. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co.

Scripture References
Isaiah 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5; Isaiah 40:21; Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20; Luke 11:45-52; Mark 13:19; John 8:44; 2 Peter 3:4

Cite this article
Jackson, Wayne. "Man: From the Beginning." ChristianCourier.com. Access date: February 20, 2018. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1593-man-from-the-beginning

God’s Just Destruction of the Canaanites


by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.


In the 1930s and 40s, the Nazi regime committed state-sponsored genocide of so-called “inferior races.” Of the approximately nine million Jews who lived in Europe at the beginning of the 1930s, some six million of them were exterminated. The Nazis murdered approximately one million Jewish children, two million Jewish women, and three million Jewish men. The Jews were starved, gassed, and experimented on like animals. In addition, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime slaughtered another three million Poles, Soviets, gypsies, and people with disabilities (see “Holocaust,” 2011 for more information). Most sane people, including Christians and many atheists (e.g., Antony Flew, Wallace Matson), have interpreted the Nazis’ actions for what they were—cruel, callous, and nefarious. 

Some 3,400 years before the Holocaust, the God of the Bible commanded the Israelites to “destroy all the inhabitants of the land” of Canaan (Joshua 9:24). They were to conquer, kill, and cast out the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites (Exodus 23:23; Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Joshua 3:10). After crossing the Jordan River, we learn in the book of Joshua that the Israelites “utterly destroyed all that was in the city [of Jericho], both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword…. [T]hey burned the city and all that was in it with fire” (Joshua 6:21,24). They also “utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai” (Joshua 8:26), killing 12,000 men and women and hanging their king (8:25,29). In Makkedah and Libnah, the Israelites “let none remain” (Joshua 10:28,30). They struck Lachish “and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword” (10:32). The Israelites then conquered Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, and Hazor (10:33-39; 11:1-1). “So all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded” (Joshua 11:12). 

God had the Israelites kill countless thousands, perhaps millions, of people throughout the land of Canaan. It was genocide in the sense that it was a planned, systematic, limited extermination of a number of nation states from a relatively small area in the Middle East (cf. “Genocide,” 2000; cf. also “Genocide,” 2012). But, it was not a war against a particular race (from the Greek genos) or ethnic group. Nor were the Israelites commanded to pursue and kill the Canaanite nations if they fled from Israel’s Promised Land. The Israelites were to drive out and dispossess the nations of their land (killing all who resisted the dispossession), but they were not instructed to annihilate a particular race or ethnic group from the face of the Earth.

Still, many find God’s commands to conquer and destroy the Canaanite nation states problematic. How could a loving God instruct one group of people to kill and conquer another group? America’s most well-known critic of Christianity in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Thomas Paine (one of only a handful of America’s Founding Fathers who did not claim to be a Christian), called the God of the Old Testament “the Mars of the Jews, the fighting God of Israel,” Who was “boisterous, contemptible, and vulgar” (Paine, 1807). Two centuries later, Richard Dawkins (arguably the most famous atheist in the world today), published his book The God Delusion, which soon became a New York Times bestseller. One of the most oft-quoted phrases from this work comes from page 31, where Dawkins called God, a “racist, infanticidal, genocidal…capriciously malevolent bully” (2006). According to one search engine, this quote (in part or in whole) is found on-line approximately one million times. The fact is, critics of the God of the Bible are fond of repeating the allegation that, because of His instruction to the Israelites to kill millions of people in their conquest of Canaan, the God of the Bible has (allegedly) shown Himself to be an unruly, shameful, offensive, genocidal, “evil monster” (Dawkins, p. 248; cf. Hitchens, 2007, p. 107).

Was God’s Campaign Against Canaan Immoral?


How could a supremely good (Mark 10:18), all-loving (1 John 4:8), perfectly holy God (Leviticus 11:44-45) order the Israelites to slay with swords myriads of human beings, letting “none remain” in Canaan? Is such a planned, systematic extermination of nations not equivalent to the murderous actions of the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s, as atheists and other critics of Christianity would have us believe? In truth, God’s actions in Israel’s conquest of Canaan were in perfect harmony with His supremely loving, merciful, righteous, just, and holy nature.

Punishing Evildoers is Not Unloving


Similar to how merciful parents, principals, policemen, and judges can justly administer punishment to rule-breakers and evildoers, so too can the all-knowing, all-loving Creator of the Universe. Loving parents and principals have administered corporal punishment appropriately to children for years (cf. Proverbs 13:24). Merciful policemen, who are constantly saving he lives of the innocent, have the authority (both from God and the government—Romans 13:1-4) to kill a wicked person who is murdering others. Just judges have the authority to sentence a depraved child rapist to death. Loving-kindness and corporal or capital punishment are not antithetical. Prior to conquering Canaan, God commanded the Israelites, saying,

You shall not hate your brother in your heart…. You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…. And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:17-18,33-34; cf. Romans 13:9).

The faithful Jew was expected, as are Christians, to “not resist an evil person” (Matthew 5:39) but rather “go the extra mile” (Matthew 5:41) and “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39). “Love,” after all, “is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10; cf. Matthew 22:36-40). Interestingly, however, the Israelite was commanded to punish (even kill) lawbreakers. Just five chapters after commanding the individual Israelite to “not take vengeance,” but “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), God twice said that murderers would receive the death penalty (Leviticus 24:21,17).

The Wickedness of the Inhabitants of Canaan


The Canaanite nations were punished because of their extreme wickedness. God did not cast out the Canaanites for being a particular race or ethnic group. God did not send the Israelites into the land of Canaan to destroy a number of righteous nations. On the contrary, the Canaanite nations were horribly depraved. They practiced “abominable customs” (Leviticus 18:30) and did “detestable things” (Deuteronomy 18:9, NASB). They practiced idolatry, witchcraft, soothsaying, and sorcery. They attempted to cast spells upon people and call up the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

Their “cultic practice was barbarous and thoroughly licentious” (Unger, 1954, p. 175). Their “deities…had no moral character whatever,” which “must have brought out the worst traits in their devotees and entailed many of the most demoralizing practices of the time,” including sensuous nudity, orgiastic nature-worship, snake worship, and even child sacrifice (Unger, p. 175; cf. Albright, 1940, p. 214). As Moses wrote, the inhabitants of Canaan would “burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:30). The Canaanite nations were anything but “innocent.” In truth, “[t]hese Canaanite cults were utterly immoral, decadent, and corrupt, dangerously contaminating and thoroughly justifying the divine command to destroy their devotees” (Unger, 1988). They were so nefarious that God said they defiled the land and the land could stomach them no longer—“the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:25). 

The Longsuffering of God


Unlike the foolish, impulsive, quick-tempered reactions of many men (Proverbs 14:29), the Lord is “slow to anger and great in mercy” (Psalm 145:8). He is “longsuffering…, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Immediately following a reminder to the Christians in Rome that the Old Testament was “written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope,” the apostle Paul referred to God as “the God of patience” (Romans 15:4-5). Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible writers portrayed God as longsuffering.

Though in Noah’s day, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” and “ever intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5), “the Divine longsuffering waited” (1 Peter 3:20). (It seems as though God delayed flooding Earth for 120 years as His Spirit’s message of righteousness was preached to a wicked world—Genesis 6:3; 2 Peter 2:5.) In the days of Abraham, God ultimately decided to spare the iniquitous city of Sodom, not if 50 righteous people were found living therein, but only 10 righteous individuals.

And what about prior to God’s destruction of the Canaanite nations? Did God quickly decide to cast them out of the land? Did He respond to the peoples’ wickedness like an impulsive, reckless mad-man? Or was He, as the Bible repeatedly states and exemplifies, longsuffering? Indeed, God waited. He waited more than four centuries to bring judgment upon the inhabitants of Canaan. Although the Amorites were already a sinful people in Abraham’s day, God delayed in giving the descendants of the patriarch the Promised Land. He would wait until the Israelites had been in Egypt for hundreds of years, because at the time that God spoke with Abraham “the iniquity of the Amorites” was “not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). [NOTE: “The Amorites were so numerous and powerful a tribe in Canaan that they are sometimes named for the whole of the ancient inhabitants, as they are here” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, 1997).] In Abraham’s day, the inhabitants of Canaan were not so degenerate that God would bring judgment upon them. However, by the time of Joshua (more than 400 years later), the Canaanites’ iniquity was full, and God used the army of Israel to destroy them.

Yes, God is longsuffering, but His longsuffering is not an “eternal” suffering. His patience with impenitent sinners eventually ends. It ended for a wicked world in the days of Noah. It ended for Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham. And it eventually ended for the inhabitants of Canaan, whom God justly destroyed.

What About the Innocent Children?


The children of Canaan were not guilty of their parents’ sins (cf. Ezekiel 18:20); they were sinless, innocent, precious human beings (cf. Matthew 18:3-5; see Butt, 2003). So how could God justly take the lives of children, any children, “who have no knowledge of good and evil” (Deuteronomy 1:39)? The fact is, as Dave Miller properly noted, “Including the children in the destruction of such populations actually spared them from a worse condition—that of being reared to be as wicked as their parents and thus face eternal punishment. All persons who die in childhood, according to the Bible, are ushered to Paradise and will ultimately reside in Heaven. Children who have parents who are evil must naturally suffer innocently while on Earth (e.g., Numbers 14:33)” (Miller, 2009). [NOTE: For a superb, extensive discussion on the relationship between (1) the goodness of God, (2) the contradictory, hideousness of atheism, and (3) God bringing about the death of various infants throughout history, see Kyle Butt’s article “Is God Immoral for Killing Innocent Children?” (2009).]

CONCLUSION


Though the enemies of the God of the Bible are frequently heard criticizing Israel’s conquest of Canaan, the fact is, such a conquest was in complete harmony with God’s perfectly loving, holy, and righteous nature. After patiently waiting for hundreds of years, God eventually used the Israelites to bring judgment upon myriads of wicked Canaanites. Simultaneously, He spared their children a fate much worse than physical death—the horror of growing up in a reprehensible culture and becoming like their hedonistic parents—and immediately ushered them into a pain-free, marvelous place called Paradise (Luke 16:19-31; 23:43).

REFERENCES


Albright, William F. (1940), From the Stone Age to Christianity (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins).

Butt, Kyle (2003), “Do Babies Go to Hell When They Die?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1201.

Butt, Kyle (2009), “Is God Immoral for Killing Innocent Children?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=260.

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).

“Genocide” (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

“Genocide” (2012), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genocide.

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), God is Not Great (New York: Twelve).

“Holocaust” (2011), Encyclopedia.com, http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Holocaust.aspx#1.

Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Miller, Dave (2009), “Did God Order the Killing of Babies?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=2810.

Paine, Thomas (1807), “Essay on Dream,” http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/paine/dream.htm.

Unger, Merrill F. (1954), Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

Unger, Merrill F. (1988), “Canaan,” The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).







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