Prayer of Confession – Day 5

prayer3Today is the fifth day of our week of prayer. If you have not read the previous four blogs on prayer, I encourage you to do so. Today, we will focus on prayers of confession.

King David prayed, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” What do you think about that prayer? I have used the whole fifty-first chapter of Psalms in my prayer life, taking the words of the Psalmist and making them my own, on numerous occasions. Here’s something we should consider about this verse. It was written in about 1050 BC, which was over a thousand years before the death and resurrection of Jesus. David’s perspective on sin and forgiveness is different than ours. He was praying this prayer before Christ’s atoning sacrifice. The cross changed everything! Once we are a Christian, we are not asking God to wash away all of our iniquities, because they were washed away at our salvation. Consider this. If you are a Christian, you received Christ into your life, confessing your sin and asking for forgiveness, and Jesus forgave you of all of your sin. Romans 4:25 says, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” This passage says that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven and we are justified. To be justified means to be made “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned: justified. Since the resurrection, believers stand before God clean and forgiven. The fact is, you were cleansed from your sin the moment you became a Christian.

How does this truth affect our prayer of repentance now? God still wants us to confess our sin, and we should repent of our sin. The difference between us and King David is that the permanent sacrifice for sin has now been made through Jesus, and Christ’s blood has cleansed us from our sin. When we go before God to confess our sin now, we are not really asking God to “forgive us of our sin,” because He already has. We are acknowledging our need for the cross, agreeing with Him on how wrong our sin was, and thanking Him for our redemption in Christ. We are reminding ourselves that it was for that particular sin that Jesus died. It is because of this truth that God says in Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

This is a wonderful truth. We do not cower before God asking for forgiveness as if He may not forgive. We should be broken before God over our sin, but grateful for the forgiveness that is ours through Christ. This means when Satan tries to wear us down with accusations and shame, we remind him that we are justified through Christ and not condemned. When we pray David’s prayer of Psalm 51, maybe we should add the words “thank you” to the beginning: “Thank you for washing away all my iniquity and for cleansing me from my sin.” Confess your sin to God today with the full knowledge that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Thank Him for the cross and for the privilege of being His child.

Sing A New Song

sing a new song 1I considered it a joy and a privilege to write the book Songs from the Heart: Meeting with God in the Psalms. It has been encouraging to see how God has used the book thus far to encourage people in their personal spiritual journeys. I recently received a letter from someone who had been encouraged and challenged by the chapter on Psalm 33 from my book. Psalm 33:3 states, “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” I challenged readers to consider singing a song to the Lord as an act of worship, though this song would be a “new song.” Basically, it was a challenge to just sing from your heart to God. I sought out the writer of the letter and asked for permission to share her thoughts on my blog, and I was granted permission.

Dr. Tim,

 I decided to take your challenge of singing a new song to God. I am not a musical person. I can’t carry a tune, read music, or play an instrument.

 I sat on my patio and started singing a song to a tune I did not know and words that flowed perfectly, even as the tune changed. It was an amazing experience, and yet I cannot remember any of the words nor the tune. So thank you for your guidance. With your encouragement and the Holy Spirit’s help, I was able to meet my God in a way I never thought possible.

God wants to meet with you too. You may have this encounter simply through reading the Bible, praying, or listening to worship songs. You might have a meaningful experience with God by singing a “new song” to the Lord that overflows from a heart filled with love and gratitude. Why not give it a try? God is longing to hear from you.

Lawlessness Points to the Return of Christ

Evil_EyesSomething is terribly wrong! I recently read of an unbelievable crime that took place last week in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This crime did not happen downtown in a large city like Atlanta or Chicago. Waukesha is a small town with a population of less than 9,000 people. This was not gang related or even connected to drugs. The crime involved an attempted murder on a twelve-year-old girl by two of her friends. The victim was stabbed nineteen times by her friends as the perpetrators sought to impress a fictional, ghoulish character on the internet who appears in horror stories. Both suspects had a fascination with stories about death and horror and planned this assault on their friend in an attempt to act out their fantasy.

The Bible teaches that the last days will be a time of incredible lawlessness. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says that this lawlessness must happen before the return of Christ: “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” While this passage is speaking specifically of a time called the Great Tribulation Period, we know that the days leading up to the beginning of this seven-year period will be times of great spiritual darkness. The “man of lawlessness” will be a chosen leader during the Tribulation Period, but I believe it also means that he will be alive and well before the Tribulation starts and before the Rapture of the Church takes place. I also believe that Satan is working to create an environment where the “man of lawlessness” will be accepted. This is happening now. The story of this attempted murder in Wisconsin sends chills down my back as it seems to be nothing less than demonic. Satan is working to lead people, and even children, to do the unthinkable. The darkness around us is growing as the stage is being set for a spiritual conflict unlike any conflict ever experienced in history.

I have no doubt that the last days are upon us. Jesus told us to be alert and to be on watch. He is coming again. Let’s be diligent and faithful as we await His return.

The Midnight Hour

Have you heard the story of the Missouri principal who angered atheists with his comments about God in a graduation speech? You can view a news report online or read an article about the incident. The principal reminded people at the graduation ceremony that even though the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is on U.S. currency and “God is reflected in the very fabric” of the nation, it is inappropriate to mention God at a secular ceremony. Being that prayer is not politically correct, he gave the crowd an opportunity for a moment of silence. After the silence, he told the people that “in case you’re interested, during my moment of silence, I gave thanks to God for these great students, their parents, their teachers and for this community.”

 As you can imagine, there has been a backlash from atheists and the P.C. police, who feel called to make snuffing out religion and its free exercise their mission in life. I can’t help but feel that our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. George Washington would have been banned from the podium with this comment, “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” If John Adams were still alive, I suppose he would never be asked to speak at a graduation ceremony if he included this quote from a letter he wrote to his wife: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival

It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.” Patrick Henry is remembered most for his “give me liberty or give me death” quote, but here’s another one that would stir up the p.c. police: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Last_Days_ClockI could go on with so many quotes from founding fathers pointing to our religious heritage, but my purpose is to emphasize that we have drifted far away from the original moorings of our nation. You could look at this from a number of angles, but consider the fact that a moral and religious decline is prophesied in the Scripture. The Bible says that this kind of deterioration will happen before the return of Christ. Is it possible that the hands of God’s clock are ticking ever closer to the midnight hour? Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:9-12: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” Paul was led by God’s Spirit to write these words in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.”

 I think by reading these words, you can see that we must move into a time where Christianity becomes a small voice in society. Should we be surprised that principals are being threatened if they use God’s name in a graduation address? This is just a small step to lead to a Matthew 24 or 2 Timothy 3 kind of world. Jesus is coming again. I believe we are in the last days. The Church must stand strong and be obedient to God’s call.

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah ends tomorrow. I’m not Jewish, but as a Christian, Jewish holidays have significance for me. At first thought, Hanukkah may have less significance than other Jewish holidays, but after some contemplation, maybe its implication for my faith increases. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the cleansing of the Jewish temple. The Jewish people lost their independence in 586 B.C. when they were taken captive by the Babylonians. Though their subservience changed throughout the following years, they continued to be under another nations’ rule until Jerusalem fell in 70 A. D., and the Jewish nation ceased to exist. They became a nation once again on May 14, 1948 when the United Nations recognized Israel’s sovereignty. Even though the Jews were controlled by other countries after the exiles returned to Israel, their practices were often respected, but in 167 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanies, of the Seleucid Empire, erected a statue to Zeus in the Jewish temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar. A Jewish priest, named Mattathias, and his five sons let a revolt against Antiochus and led Israel into a period of peace. In 165 B.C. the temple was restored to the Jewish people, it was cleansed, and rededicated to God. Though the Jews really had not won their complete independence, they were able to remain fairly unmolested until the Roman Empire asserted their control and authority over Israel. Hanukkah is a celebration of the cleansing of the temple in 165 B.C., and in a sense is a celebration of Jewish independence and freedom. It is not an Old Testament festival, such as Passover, but rather it is a celebration of an event in Jewish history. It is called the “Festival of Lights” because there is a story connected to this cleansing that says when the priest went to light the menorah, he only had enough oil to last for a day. The story goes that the candles burned for eight days, therefore the festival is now celebrated for eight days.

 Here’s the implication of Hanukkah for me, as a Christian.  It is interesting that Hanukkah is celebrated at the beginning of the Christmas season. While the brief remission of domination for the Hebrew people is important to me, the greater importance is the freedom from tyranny and domination of sin offered through Christ’s redemption of humanity. The “Festival of Lights” is strategically placed around the beginning of December, and I can connect it to celebrating the real light Who came into the world, Jesus Christ. The Apostle John wrote of Christ, the Light, in the opening words to his gospel: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.”

 To my Jewish friends: Happy Hanukkah. For Christians around the world, we have a wonderful reason to celebrate as well. The greatest Light, Jesus Christ, has come into the world offering hope and forgiveness to mankind.

Gratitude

Gratitude is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. One dictionary calls it a “state of being” while Psychology Today calls it “an emotion,” There’s really a pretty big difference between a “state of being” and an “emotion.” Emotions come and go based upon circumstances whereas a “state of being” describes one’s core or center. I realize, however, that gratitude can be either a state of being or an emotion. It really depends upon us. I can have a feeling of gratitude in response to someone’s kind action, but then the circumstance passes, and I return to being selfishly driven, oblivious to the kind actions of those around me. Or, I can wake up every morning and acknowledge that I am the beneficiary of many things and expressions I do not deserve – first and foremost God’s kind expression of grace through Jesus Christ. This daily attitude develops in me a “state of being” that affects all of my actions and attitudes all day long. I want gratitude to be a “state of being” for me. This will require several things to take place in my life and mind.

  • First, I must daily admit my desperate need for God. If I live a life of self-sufficiency, I will never become a grateful person. I would live as if the only person I should be grateful to would be myself. When I recognize that I am lost without God, hopeless without Christ, and clueless without His Spirit working in my life, I become more cognizant of God’s activity in and around my life. Not only am I aware of my need, but I am relieved and grateful as I constantly see ways in which God is working on my behalf.
  • Secondly, I must acknowledge that there are people around me every day who are doing things that benefit my life. Sometimes they do these things from a selfless motivation desiring to serve me and make my life better. Other times, they do it out of obligation because of job requirements, but nevertheless, they are still serving me in a way that benefits my life. We have a tendency to more readily recognize service from the first group of people, the selfless people, allowing gratitude to swell within us. If we really want gratitude to be a state of being, it means that we consciously look for things and ways we are benefiting from the service of others. This might lead us to notice the garbage man picking up our stinky trash, the police officer driving slowly through our neighborhood, or the co-worker who gets his work done on time. Regardless of one’s motivation, we should go out of our way to express gratitude. I have found that when I thank people for their service, the act alone causes me to be even more grateful. I heard a conversation the other day where a young man met an older man who had served in the army sometime in the past. I loved it when I heard the young guy thank his new friend for his service to his country.
  • Thirdly, the state of being grateful is accentuated when we give ourselves in selfless service of others. Hopefully, as we become more aware of God’s blessings on our lives and others who are serving us, we have a desire to serve others grow within us. I do think that service to others is a natural byproduct of gratitude. We realize how much we have benefited from others, and we in turn want to bless those around us. I really have found that the more I serve others, the more grateful I become.

 

Thanksgiving is upon us, and it offers us a time to stop and reflect upon those who have blessed our lives. God should obviously be at the top of the list. I encourage you to take some time out in the next week and make a list of things God has done and thank Him. Also make a list of ways you have benefited from the service of others, and figure out a way to communicate your gratitude – it could be an e-mail, a note, a phone call, or a visit. It could be a tangible gift or a kind word of thanks. If we do these things, we will find our state being shaped by these actions and discover gratitude to be ingrained in our core.

Sermon 7 questions – Part 2 on Forgiveness

Here are my final thoughts in response to Sunday’s questions:

Is unforgiveness sin?

Yes. We are commanded over and over in the scripture to forgive others. Consider Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

How do you handle a friend who is divorced and in a relationship with another person who is also divorced but they are not married and having sex?

Sex outside of marriage is sin. It really is that simple. If we have a friend committing any sin, the loving thing to do is to confront that friend about their sin. We don’t confront out of pride or arrogance, but rather out of brokenness. We don’t confront to condemn but rather we confront to correct. Many adults in relationships are drawn into intimate experiences, but that does not make it right. When two people are dating who have been previously divorced, it seems to me the temptations for sex would be even greater than that experienced by two teenagers who have never had sex. It requires a real commitment to Christ and moral purity by both parties. When a friend is struggling in the spiritual life, we can step in to encourage them and help them by praying for them and talking with them about their spiritual commitment. We might could offer to help our friend do the right thing by agreeing to hold them accountable. The problem is that in our culture, many people do not see anything wrong with sex outside of marriage. We might should have a heart to heart talk with our friend to help them see how important it is to follow God’s plan outlined in the Bible.

When I forgive, am I condoning sin?

No. When you don’t forgive, you are practicing sin. When you do forgive, you are being like Jesus. Forgiving does not mean overlooking sin or not requiring change or accountability. All of those are different things. God has forgiven you, and He certainly doesn’t condone sin.

Does God really “forget” our sins since he’s all knowing?

The Bible states in Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins,” and in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Finally Hebrews 10:17 says,. “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Consider this definition of forget: “to treat with inattention, overlook, or to disregard … intentionally or unintentionally.” If you consider the definition of remember, the opposite of forget, it means pulling something up to the front of your mind that has lain dormant in a memory data bank. It doesn’t mean the data is not there, but it does mean that you have not thought on it. It could be retrievable, but you have not retrieved it. So, God forgetting our sin does not mean He is not omniscient (knows everything), but it does mean he chooses not to pull up your sins and dwell on them because they have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

Sermon Questions on forgiveness (Part 1)

This past Sunday I preached the seventh message in this series, “God, I Have A Question.” I addressed the topic “Does it really matter to God how we treat each other?” Most of the questions submitted through our website were related to the topic of forgiveness. My message Sunday focused on why and how to forgive others. During the message, additional questions were submitted by text. While I answered some of the questions at the end of my message, I would like to respond to some additional questions now.

Jesus said to forgive 70×7 , does he mean to forgive 490 times?

I believe Jesus was using a figure of speech indicating our forgiveness should be complete and unlimited. I do not think He is saying to keep a record and once we hit 491 times, we are free to hold a grudge. The rest of scripture gives a picture of God’s unlimited and unmerited grace along with the admonition to forgive and release those who offend us. It might be like us saying “I’d ride the Batman ride at Six Flags a thousand times.” It’s not that when we get to 1001 we would stop. We would just be saying we would do it as many times as possible.

Should Satan be forgiven?

The only approach I can take toward this question is a biblical one. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to forgive Satan. We are told to be alert in regard to his deception and destruction (1 Peter 5:8), to fight against him (Eph 6:12), and to resist him (James 4:7). We are never told to forgive him. Satan is not a human and is not a part of God’s redemption plan. Also consider that God sees the end at the same time He sees the beginning. He knows Satan will continue to be the enemy and will not repent. I do not believe our relationship with Satan is anything like our relationship with other human beings (whom we should forgive). Since the Bible doesn’t tell us to forgive Satan, I’m going to answer this question wit h “no.”

Should truly all be forgiven, even the ones who commit terrors, hate, and evil?

Yes. I believe the Bible teaches that we are to forgive everyone. Romans 12:17-21 says that vengeance belongs to God, not us. Matthew 5:44 says that we are supposed to love our enemies, and Luke 6:27 goes a little further by saying we are supposed to do good to those who hate us. Also remember that while the one who has committed the offense can benefit from our forgiveness, the one offended benefits the most when we forgive those who have sinned against us. This is a very difficult thing to do, and really requires the supernatural grace of God in us. I believe there are some people in my life I can forgive only as I surrender my will totally to Jesus Christ, and I allow Him to forgive through me.

What if the person being forgiven doesn’t believe that wrong was ever done?

The Bible teaches that we are supposed to go to a person who has offended us and tell them about the offense. There are many times we are offended when the other person has no clue anything wrong has been done. Hopefully this kind of confrontation can end in repentance and forgiveness. In the event the other person does not repent and does not even admit that wrong has been done, we still must forgive in our hearts. The reason is because unforgiveness leads to bitterness and bitterness will destroy you. One reason God commands you to forgive others is so you will live in peace and joy.

How can I be forgiving without getting taken advantage of?

I really like this C. S. Lewis quote from The Four Loves: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” I think his point is that no matter what we do, someone is going to take advantage of us. The choice we have to make is to either be cold, hard, and unbreakable or to be soft, warm, pliable, sometimes hurt/broken. The second option is the one where we find joy and peace. We find meaningful relationships and opportunities to share Christ’s love and grace with others. With that said, I do not believe God wants us to be gullible. Forgiveness does not mean stupid. From every circumstance of our lives, we can learn and grow. Whenever we are hurt by others, we can learn and grow from it. We learn to pick up on signs that more pain is coming our way, and we may be able to stop it. It is possible we can even help our friend or loved one stop before he or she inflicts the pain. I do believe we should always ask God for wisdom in regard to all the circumstances of our lives so we will know how to act and respond. Will we sometimes get taken advantage of? Probably. Should we forgive anyway? Yes.

What is the responsibility of the one being forgiven? Where does restitution come in to play and how important is it? Should we expect it?

The offender should take ownership of what he or she has done. Our tendency is to try to excuse ourselves or justify our actions. An important step to personal wholeness is taking ownership of our actions. So, first the offender should take ownership of what they did and ask for forgiveness. This will open the door for the process of restoration to begin. Note that I said it is a process. Restoration may take some time. A part of restoration may very well be restitution. If it is possible for something to be returned to the one offended, then certainly that should happen. When I was a teenager, I took my brother’s car without his permission. My friend and I had a wreck. My brother forgave me for doing this, but I still worked for months and paid him for his car. If someone really repents, then restitution should happen. Yes, we should expect it. With that said, whether restitution ever comes, we should still forgive. Remember (though I’ve said it a number of times), we are the beneficiaries of forgiveness.

Sermon 6 Questions – Creation/Evolution (Part 2)

Two Sunday’s ago I sought to answer the question – How did God create the earth? The topic came from a variety of questions about evolution. During the message I had additional questions texted in to me, and I addressed a few of those already. Here’s the final questions and answers for this topic.

Archeological remains indicate millions of years of existence of creation.  How long ago was Adam created and when did the dinosaur age happen?

We do not know for sure about this. There is much debate and little resolution about the carbon dating process along with other means by which scientists determine the age of the earth. I will say that the liberal media and the scientific establishment represented in many places of higher learning are biased toward evolution, regardless of the evidence, those who control media and education will always lean toward anything that supports evolution. I know this sounds like I believe it is all a conspiracy, but there is something to it. We have numerous examples of scientists who hold to anything but creationism even when the evidence supporting their theory crumbles. For example, Dr. Francis Crick, one of the scientist who discovered structure of the DNA molecule, made this statement, “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” Because Crick believes there is no way life could have evolved on the earth because of the intricacies of his discoveries, he believes there has to be some other explanation for human life. He called it “almost a miracle,” but instead of taking the next logical step saying God created it all, he now says life had to come from another planet. It seems that scientists who refuse to believe in God will go to any length to avoid the obvious: incredible design requires an incredible designer. There are numerous interesting facts that would support a young earth. For example, scientist discovered through tests, etc. that DNA would break down after 10,000 years and not survive. The significance of this is that they were saying one would not find DNA molecules in ancient bones, etc. The problem with this declaration, from an old earth perspective, is that ancient DNA started turning up. Ancient dinosaur bones and foliage that was preserved somehow in strata that was said to be 17 million years old somehow had DNA. Scientists said DNA could not exist past 10,000 years. One could then deduce that the dinosaurs and the magnolia leaf, among other things, had to be 10,000 years old or less because of the existence of DNA. Instead of accepting this based upon valid tests, scientist jumped on another not proven hypothesis that these discoveries must have been preserved in something that halted the disintegration of the DNA. This is an example of the tail wagging the dog. Because these scientist are bent on the fact that the earth is old, when they discover something contrary to this theory, that must alter the discovery instead of change their theory. With all that said, I am comfortable saying we really do not know how old the earth is. I do not always trust scientific discoveries because many of them seem to have an agenda beyond science. At the same time, I do not think creation is dependent upon a young earth. The Bible, nor does science, support evolution, so regardless of whether God created the earth in a literal 6 days or in 6 epochs, He still created the earth. I personally believe in a literal 6 days which would make the earth 6,000 – 10,000 years old. Obviously dinosaurs became extinct in some way. It probably happened either before the flood, or immediately after the flood when the earth did not provide enough nourishment for them (I lean toward before the flood). We should not have such a hard time with an animal becoming extinct and dying out. It happens! You might enjoy reading this article and others on the Answers in Genesis website: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/why-christians-shouldnt-accept-millions

If Genesis says sin came into the world thru Adam, and death entered into the world due to sin…then does alternative creation theories that imply death in the world before Adam negate “original sin”?

If you mean alternative creation theories stating other human beings were made other than Adam, then yes, those theories would discount the biblical doctrine of original sin. I do not believe in alternative creation theories involving other people being created because the Bible is clear that Adam was the first man and sin came through him (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:45).

Where did God come from?

The Bible says God is eternal – having no beginning or ending. Revelation 1:8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Consider Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Frankly, this concept is difficult for us to grasp because from our perspective, everything has a beginning and an ending. I just accept the fact that God does not because the Bible says so.

 

Sunday’s Questions – Creation (Part 1)

This past Sunday I preached a sermon in our “God, I have a question” series on how did God make the world. Obviously the theme brings up the debate between creationists and evolutionists. You can hear the whole sermon by going to our church website. During the message, additional questions were submitted. I will begin answering them to the best of my ability:

If God created the world “by the word of His mouth” can we expect that same power in our daily life through His Word?

There’s really two key things we must consider when looking at the work of God. The will of God and the word of God. We cannot just take his word and apply it to any situation as if it is a magic formula. Many people think they can manipulate God with faith or scripture. This is not so. God does not bend to our will. With that said, God is the same today as he was 2000 years ago. God will act and move in our world and in our lives with the same power he had during and before the bible days. When we apply to the truth of God to the will of God, we will see the power of God!

Your key passage in Gen 1 says God created light.  Did God also create darkness, or is darkness simply the absence of light?

Yes, I believe that would be true. Genesis 1:2 says “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…”

At the end of Genesis 1 God created man in His image and allowed them to be fruitful and multiply. In the beginning of Genesis 2 God created Adam and Eve. Aren’t there already people everywhere multiplying according to the end of Genesis 1? How are we all from Adam and Eve if there are people already created on earth?

I believe, along with many (if not most) bible scholars, that Genesis 2 is a passage giving us more detail into how God created mankind on day 6. I do not believe that Adam and Eve were secondary to other human beings created on day 6. If this were so, sin would not have passed down to all humanity through Adam. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” The New Testament confirms that Adam was the first man in 1 Corinthians 15:45: “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being…”

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

The chicken

Where do dinosaurs fit into creationism?

I believe they were created on the 5th (water/birds) and 6th (animals) day. They died out just like many species have. I think they died out before the flood, but there is no proof as to exactly when this happened.

Were Adam and Eve cavemen

The bible does not use the word “caveman” to describe anyone. Even the concept of prehistoric could not apply because “prehistoric” means “before recorded history.” Obviously the bible records history before the world began. It is possible that Adam and Eve lived in a cave after the fall. Frankly, had I been around in that time, a cave may have been a cozy place to live. The concept of caveman leads one to think of man evolving, and evolution does not agree with the teaching of scripture. For that matter, the evolution of man does not agree with the findings of science. Consider these facts about supposed prehistoric men:

–          The Nebraska Man – The Nebraska Man was a fabrication created in the creativity of  a scientist who worked hard to turn a tooth, found in 1922, into a prehistoric family. Scientist applied their imagination and created a jawbone, skull, skeleton, body & fur and created the “Nebraska Man” all from one tooth. By the time the London Newspaper got it, there was also a picture of a “Nebraska mom.” Sometime after this discovery, an identical tooth was found attached to a skull and body of a wild pig. One writer said, “Ironically, while scientists were attempting to make a monkey out of a pig, the pig made a monkey out of the scientists.”

–          The Java Man was found on the East Indian island of Java in 1891, and the find only consisted of a skullcap, femur (thigh bone), & three teeth. The femur was actually found fifty feet from the skullcap a full year after the skullcap had been discovered. Worse than this, Eugene Dubois also found 2 fully intact human skulls in close proximity to his original finds, but these facts were not reported at the time.

–          Henry Gee,  Chief science writer for Nature:, summarized: “Consequently, human evolution is a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices. To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story – amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”

Where did Cain & Abel’s wives come from?

As I said Sunday, Cain never had the privilege of taking a wife. We do know the bible does not give us details of all of Adam and Eve’s children. Genesis 5:4 says, “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.” Cain’s wife may be the most talked about wife in history. William Jennings Bryan, the prosecutor in the Scopes trial in 1929 was asked this question, and he could not give an adequate answer. There is no indication how old Cain was when he married, so it is possible he could have been 50 and married a 25 year old sister. He could have been 100 and married a 50 year old niece. The only conclusion is that Cain married his sister or another relative. Cain’s wife suddenly appears in Genesis 4:17, but there is no indication exactly how much time has passed at this point. Evolutionists, like the famed Scopes Trial ACLU lawyer Clarence Darrow, seem to think this is a big deal that supports the possibility of other people evolving. The fact is that God gave us some detail about some births (Cain and Abel) while leaving out a lot of other detail (like Cain’s sister and following relatives).

If God created the heavens and the earth why did he not create life outside of earth?

He could have. I really do not believe that life in another galaxy would disqualify any of the teachings of the scripture. I don’t think He did, but I could be wrong. Obviously the Bible doesn’t give any indication He did.

Where did the water come from Genesis  in Genesis 1:2.

If you look carefully at Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. When he began this process on day one, water was a part of that creation. We know that water is made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. God created the water as a part of the beginning of the creation process.  The scripture doesn’t go into great detail, it just indicates it was a part of the “earth creation.”