Monday, April 30, 2012

In Defense of Genesis


All Scripture is given by inspiration of God... (2 Timothy 3:16)

Genesis is a book that draws fire (as one might expect) from atheists and evolutionists; but unexpectedly, it also draws “friendly fire” from the Christian camp.  The atheists and evolutionists (typically one and the same) are, for all practical purposes, a lost cause.  They reject Genesis because they choose to; no amount of “evidence” will change their minds.  They simply do not want to believe; but the Christian compromise on Genesis is troubling.  This is the battle ground that creationists must conquer.

Although the term “compromiser” carries a negative connotation, I choose to use that term to identify Christians who will not accept the message of Genesis literally.  I do not mean to imply that these compromisers are unsaved or that they purposefully want to discredit God’s word; but in attempting make God’s Word more palatable to an unbelieving world, and to deflect the fiery missiles hurled against the book of Genesis as being unscientific, they unwittingly diminish the power of God to perform the mighty acts that Genesis describes.

Compromisers attempt to soften the impact of Genesis by claiming that it is only an allegory written to acknowledge God as Creator.  They will claim that the book is poetry, and that it is not intended to be historically or scientifically accurate.  The purpose of Genesis, they say, is to teach “who” created, but not “how” things were created.  The “how” can only be answered by science, or so they have been told, and so they say.

As for the claim that Genesis is allegory or poetry, expert scholars in Old Testament and Hebrew will attest to the fact that Genesis is written in narrative form, and as such it attempts to present these acts as facts.  Dr. John Morris wrote in an article entitled “Does Genesis Address the Time of Creation, or just the Fact of Creation?”  In it he emphasizes this point:

Hypothetically, consider a person fluent in Biblical languages who knows nothing of either Scripture or the various claims regarding the age of things, but who can read, carefully analyze, and understand a written document. Given the Bible for the first time, such a reader would certainly understand Genesis 1-11 to teach that creation occurred only thousands of years ago, not millions or billions, and he would cite several reasons.

He would note that the word "day" (Hebrew, yom) in Genesis 1 is best understood as a literal day (either a 24-hour day or the daylight portion of a day). While this common word can mean an indefinite time period, it almost always means a literal day and is so defined the first time it is used in Genesis 1:4-5.  Furthermore, it always means a literal day when modified by a number (i.e., 2nd day) or evening and/or morning, as it is in Genesis 1.  To cap it off, it always means a literal day when used in the plural form (i.e., six days of creation, Exodus 20:11).

Next, he would note the narrative character of those early chapters. They are telling a story, and there is no indication that it is figurative. He would find the poetic portions are no less "historic" than the prose portions. It all appears to be chronological, with each event followed by another.[1]

So the argument that Genesis cannot be taken literally because it is allegorical is based on a false premise.  In fact, even atheists would defend against that point.

In regard to the historical and scientific accuracy of Genesis, one only need look at the rest of the Bible for support.  If Genesis is not historically and scientifically accurate, then how can the rest of the Bible be trusted?  In the first place, God vouches for the integrity of His Word, which happens to include Genesis:  Psalm 119:89, 152, 160; Psalm148:4-6; Isaiah 40:8; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25, etc.  Jesus cited Genesis as factual (Matthew19:4-6; Luke 17:26).  If the events recorded in Genesis are merely poetic allegory, then the deity of Christ is severely compromised because He presented it as historical fact.  Other writers of both the Old and New Testaments also regarded the Genesis account as fact.  To devalue the historical accuracy of Genesis is to cast doubt upon the whole of Scripture.

The Bible, however, has in all areas of scrutiny been proven true.  Modern archeologists use the Bible to locate ancient historical sites.  Even in those areas where the Bible was thought to be in error, e.g., the existence of the Hittite nation, or the reign of Belshazzar as recorded in the book of Daniel, archeology has proven the Bible to be accurate.

In all the instances where the Bible speaks to science, it is consistently found to be true.  Even in the accurate calculation of Pi (π) rounded to a whole number (2 Chronicles 4:2), the Bible is accurate.  So, if the rest of the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate, then it is unreasonable to doubt the accuracy of Genesis.
The “how” of creation is not addressed in Genesis nor can it be answered by science.  Surely the mind of man cannot approach the knowledge and understanding of God in order to fathom the “how” of His creation.  According to Genesis, God created out of nothing, and all that He created, He spoke into existence.  As incredible as this may sound to mortal beings such as ourselves, to doubt it in the least is to deny God His omnipotence and omniscience.  This is what compromisers must understand.
Science has no factual answers to the “how” of creation.  They propose theories, and their theories, especially with today’s technology, are continually proven false, and so the theories have to be continuously modified.  Science demands observation.  Creation cannot be and has never been observed.  Evolution from one “kind” into another has never been observed, and there is no evidence in the fossil record that it has ever occurred.  Science demands experimentation with repeatable results.  All attempts to “evolve” something in the laboratory have failed miserably.  Science has no answers for the “how,” and our compromisers need to understand that.

“Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  Genesis is the Word of God.  It is true; it is historically and scientifically accurate.  To doubt its veracity, is to cast doubt on all of Scripture.  There is no room for compromise.

[1]  Morris, John D., “Does Genesis Address the Time of Creation, or just the Fact of Creation?” (

Tuesday, April 24, 2012



But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

“All you have to do is believe.”  It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  People believe or put their trust in many different things only to become disappointed or disillusioned.  One may place their trust in a person to whom they commit their lives only to end up betrayed and abandoned.  Others may put their faith and trust in their investments only to see them squandered away by unscrupulous investors.  Christians invite the unsaved to place their faith and trust in Christ and are ridiculed for promoting a “blind faith.”  But does God demand a “blind faith?”

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for [eternal life with Christ], the evidence of things not seen [heaven]” (Hebrews11:1).  “Substance; evidence?” There is nothing invisible about these nouns.  The Greek word translated “substance” is the compound word hupóstasis: “hupó” is a preposition meaning “under” or “underneath” and “stasis” means “to stand.”  Together they carry the sense of something that will stand firmly supported by a strong foundation underneath.  “Evidence” simply means “proof” – something that can be shown.  So God does not demand “blind faith,” yet “without faith, it is impossible to please him.”

“Abraham believed [had faith in] God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6).  One might argue, “That was easy for Abraham; God spoke to him directly.”  But Abraham believed God enough to obey God in self-circumcision.  He still had to wait another 25 years to see the promised heir, and he never saw the promised nation fulfilled.  Yet God’s Word was sufficient and substantial for him.  

So what about us?  “But now the righteousness of God … is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (Romans 3:21).  “The law and the prophets” is nothing other than the Word of God.  The Bible has been tested and tried, and it has never failed.  It is substance and evidence so that our faith need not be blind.  Paul reminds us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  That faith, that substance, that evidence is a gift of God.  It is nothing that we ourselves work up; God has already provided it for us.  All we need to do is act on the faith that He has already provided.  “And Jesus said unto them, … for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).  Great faith is not required, only that you act on the faith you have been given.  Now go on – move mountains!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Subject to the Higher Powers


Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (Romans 13:1)

Recently, my youngest son, who is a budding conservative politician of the Libertarian persuasion, posted a link on his social media page to an article about a female entrepreneur who was denied her “right” to operate a nude maid service in Lubbock, Texas.[1]  It is my understanding of the Libertarian mindset that the government should keep hands off of ALL personal “liberties.”  The thinking being that the “free market” will determine what enterprises fail or succeed.  In this case, it is assumed that if people in Lubbock do not support this kind of business, it will fail on its own without the need for government intervention.  Hence, Libertarians are in favor of legalizing all “vices” and allowing the market to determine what is acceptable and what is not.  I believe the assumption is that vice is attractive only because it is denied, and that once the restrictions are removed, “good” people will naturally lose all interest in it, and it will go away on its own.  Obviously, they have a higher estimation of man than God does.  For example, consider the following:  “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).  “…the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)  “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3).  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  If there were any goodness in humanity, evil would not survive.  On the contrary, it not only survives, but flourishes; therefore, the “free market” is impotent to eliminate vice.

In responding to my son, I pointed out that, unlike the Federal Government’s incursion into personal affairs, this “local” community, Lubbock, Texas, had deemed sexually oriented businesses as illegal in their community.  It is perfectly legal and reasonable for local communities to institute such ordinances.  Residents can vote for or against such ordinances or, in the case of established local laws, they can work through their system to strike down such laws.  Those who disagree with what the community as a whole has approved, are always free to leave and find a community whose views are in keeping with their own.

Those who disapprove of any government intrusion into our personal lives are either unknowingly ignorant or willfully ignorant of God’s design for government.  (Either way, they are ignorant.)  Government is God’s idea; He initiated it just after the flood.  Responsibility for executing capital punishment in the case of murder was given into the hands of man.  “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:5-6).  As an aside, note that capital punishment for the shedding of man’s blood applies to animals equally: “at the hand of every beast will I require it.” 

These laws and many more were reiterated in the Law of Moses.  There are many today that protest Government’s intrusion into “the bedroom.”  Any sexual perversion between “consenting adults” is permissible in the privacy of one’s own bedroom they say.  Well, is that so!  There is no “privacy” where God is concerned.  Consider the words of the psalmist: 

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. (Psalm 139:7-12)

Keeping this in mind, consider that God gave laws concerning sexual conduct.  “If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife” (Exodus 22:16).  So, who would be responsible for enforcing this law?  Or how about this one: “Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 22:19).  Who’s to know!  It is doubtful that the “beast” will have anything to say about it!  Upon whom does it become incumbent to ensure that these laws are not violated?  Obviously, the responsibility falls upon the people, the community, i.e., the government.

Of course, God’s laws cover more than just sexual behavior (and if one wants to be well informed of God’s law, one should seriously study the first five books of the Old Testament).  The only reason for having taken this tack is the case of the Nude Maid Service, which initiated this conversation.  There are at least three issues involved here.  First of all, such a “service” is in violation of God’s law (Leviticus 18, esp. v. 19).  Secondly, it is violation of man’s law which is synchronous with God’s law – in this case allowing maids to do their jobs in the buff.  And thirdly, the local community has been authorized by God to make and enforce such laws that benefit the community (Romans 13).

My son informed me that he had read Romans 13 and was unable to make much sense of it, so to that end I will devote the remainder of this article.

To begin with, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers” (v. 1a).  “Every soul” is all-inclusive and allows no place for an elite ruling class.  More on this later.  The Greek word translated “subject” is hupotasso and it literally means to be under (hupo) obedience or under authority.  So, every soul is to be under the authority or “higher powers.”  “Powers” is the Greek word exousia which refers to governmental force or authority.  “Higher” is the Greek word huperecho meaning to “hold oneself above” (huper), or superior; thus, superiority.  So the “higher powers” are those who are in a position of authority over us.  Sentence construction in the Greek is unlike English (e.g., subject, verb, direct object).  Instead, words are placed at the beginning of sentences to give emphasis or to stress those words.  Literally translated, this sentence reads:  “Every soul unto powers higher let be subject.”  Note that “every soul” is foremost emphasizing the all-inclusiveness of the sentence.  “Powers” follows emphasizing the “force” behind those in authority who are our superiors under whose authority we should submit.  So, back to our nude maid – she may not like the law, but she is obligated (at least biblically) to submit to it.

So, from where does this authority come?  “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God (v. 1b).  “Ordained” is the Greek word tasso and it literally means to set things in order or to arrange in an orderly manner.  Our Greek word above for “subject” was hupotasso which is a compound word combining “under” (hupo) and “order” (tasso) – “under order.”  Our God is a God of order.  Paul in writing to the Corinthians says:  “God is not the author of confusionLet all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).  This has always been the case; God has always taken credit for setting up and tearing down kings and kingdoms beginning with His promise to Abraham.  “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee” (Genesis 17:6).  God is not just saying that kings and nations shall descend from Abraham, but that He, God, will “make nations” as well as their kings.

Nebuchadnezzar learned this when he was troubled by a dream in which he saw a great statue with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet of a mixture of iron and clay (Daniel 2:32-33).  In his interpretation of the dream, Daniel told the king, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory” (Daniel 2:37).  Nebuchadnezzar soon forgot this point and erected a 90 foot statue of himself and demanded that his subjects worship the statue (Daniel 3:1, 5).  However, three faithful Jews defied the king’s decree and were sentenced to death by being burned alive in a brick kiln (Daniel 3:13-23).  To the amazement of the king (and everyone else) the men survived through providential intervention without so much as the smell of smoke on their clothing.  Upon seeing this, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to admit:  “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God” (Daniel 3:28).  Furthermore he said, “I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort” (Daniel 3:29).  One might think that a declaration of this sort shows a true change of heart.  However, it was not long until God gave Nebuchadnezzar another lesson by hard knocks, but not without first giving him a warning.  In a dream he was warned of what was to come and advice was given by Daniel, but not heeded (Daniel 4:1-27).  Instead, “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?  While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.” (Daniel 4:30-31)  For the next seven years, Nebuchadnezzar was demoted to the level of a wild animal spending his time out in the wilderness sleeping in the open air.  After his seven years, God restored him to his throne (v. 36), and he gained a new perspective: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (v. 37).

Scripture is filled with many such examples.  For instance, about 250 years before the fact, Isaiah names the Persian king, Cyrus and says this:  “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:1-3).  Please take note that Cyrus was an idol-worshipping, pagan king that considered Yahweh just another god in the pantheon, and yet God set him up in his place of power.  One may wonder why it is that God sets up godless kings to do His bidding.  Proverbs tells us “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).  A clear example of this is given to us in the book of Exodus where Pharaoh refused to set the Israelites free.  After the final and deadly plague of death upon the firstborn of Egypt, Pharaoh finally let the people go.  “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel” (Exodus 14:8).  God used this event to show the children of Israel that He could protect them from human enemies and even open a dry path through the middle of the sea.  So, “there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1b).

With all that in mind, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:2).  This seems pretty straightforward.  Anyone – and keep in mind that “anyone” is all-inclusive.  In a nation of laws, this applies equally to those who have been given power by the will of the people – anyone who resists the power (in our case, the law) resists the diatage (the arrangement, institution or instrumentality) of God.  In other words, when you are bucking the system, you are in effect bucking God (a losing proposition at best).  Those who do, bring “damnation” upon themselves – case in point:  the nude maid.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” (v. 3a).  Those who follow the law have no need to fear the law.  Only lawbreakers live in fear of the law.  The question could be raised: what about unjust laws?  Well there certainly some of those, but the principle still applies.  If one complies with an unjust law, there is no need to fear, but if one rebels against an unjust law, that one will have to pay the consequences of that action.  Keep in mind that at the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, Nero was emperor, and he was not exactly a benevolent monarch.  Surely there were many unjust laws with which to contend.  To those who would mount their high horse and refuse to obey an unjust law Paul says, “Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?” (v. 3b).  If you are not, you should be.  Instead Paul advises, “do that which is good [i.e., obey the law], and thou shalt have praise of the same” (v. 3c).  “For he is a minister of God to thee for good” (v. 4a).  The Greek word translated “minister” is diákonos from which we get our word “deacon.”  It means one who serves, an attendant.  Again Greek word order comes to play here.  Strictly translated this sentence reads: “God’s servant he is to you for good,” emphasizing God’s dominance in this hierarchy with the citizen being the beneficiary of “the good,” the government agent or intermediary of the good, and God being the benefactor.  “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain” (v. 4b).  If you break the law there is reason to fear, because the government maintains the right to use deadly force.  This power for evil against evil is also derived from God. “For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (v. 4c).  Note the phrase: “he is the minister of God.”  It is the same construct as the phrase at the beginning of verse 4.  This time, however, the government agent mediates punishment against the lawbreaker, but the authority still comes from God.

For this reason, Paul advises we comply with the governing authorities.  “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (v. 5).  When we comply with the laws, we have no fear of the authorities.  Moreover, our consciences are clear and we are at peace.  “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing” (v. 6).  Yes, and there are taxes to be paid for the maintenance of the common good:  a police force for maintaining law and order, fire and rescue workers for our safety and protection, a military to provide for the common defense, building and maintenance of infrastructure, etc.  So, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (v. 7).  Paul concludes this section with this advice:  “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law” (v. 8).  “Owe no man anything” is great advice especially in this economy.  Get out of debt and stay out!  But this means more than that.  We should never be beholden for anything to anyone.  That includes “favors” that someone does for you that they can later “hold over your head.” This is probably one of the greatest failings of our politicians – they accept “campaign contributions” from large contributors and once they get elected into office, those large contributors never let them forget the “favor.”  The only thing you should owe to anyone is to love them.  Jesus said the same thing:  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyselfOn these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).  “The law and the prophets” refers to the whole of Scripture, and one who can keep this law will not violate any man-made law.

Then you say, “That’s all well and good in a perfect world, but the world we live in is not perfect.”   Well, this is true.  God, for now, has left governance in the hands of man, and man is corrupt, but as I have shown from Scripture, God is ultimately in charge, and He has not left us without hope.  He does have a plan, and He has laid out that plan in His Word to give us the hope to carry on even in an imperfect world.  As bad as government can be, it is better than none at all.  Let the Libertarian consider the closing words of the book of Judges:  “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).  Believe me; these are not words of commendation!  “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).  One might substitute “vision” with “leadership”:  “Where there is no leadership, the people perish.”

In closing, I would just like to interject my personal perspective on the fading greatness of our nation, the United States of America.  Our nation was birthed on the Word of God regardless of what the detractors of our history say.  As such, it is unique among all of the nations of the world.  There is no other nation like ours.  Our system of laws is based on the Bible, and our founders intended that the law would rule supreme and would be equally applicable to all citizens including those that are placed in a position of trust to see that those laws are protected and carried out.  But our nation has turned her back on the Author and Source of those laws.  Those who have been entrusted to protect and defend those laws feel restrained by them and are fervently working to cast them aside.  They wish to be above the law.  Moreover, they wish to be the lawgivers who subject the masses to their will, but yet insulate themselves against their own regulations.  Our nation was designed so that the rule came from the governed in accordance with the Constitution, but the governed have abdicated that authority through apathy.  It may already be too late to restore our nation to her former greatness, and soon, we will be a nation like all others in the world – nothing special.  What shall we do then in light of Romans 13?  We will submit to the “powers that be.”  And if the powers that be would force us to break the laws of God, it will be incumbent upon us to rebel.  Just keep in mind that rebellion will come at a price, and that too is in accordance with Scripture:  “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). 

[1]  “Cops May Throw Wet Blanket on Nude Maid Service” Accessed April 15, 2012. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Heavens Declare


The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament sheweth his handy-work.  (Psalm 19:1)

Skeptics demand proof of God’s existence.  They want to see and touch and feel the evidence for God when ironically they are surrounded with evidence.  Having eyes they do not see, and having ears they do not hear (Mark 8:18) the clear message of creation “because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” (Romans 1:19).  Indeed, as our text indicates, creation “proclaims” God’s existence.  Note the verbs used in Psalm 19:1-3: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy-work.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (emphasis added).

Creation is perfectly ordered.  So perfectly is the universe synchronized that engineers can accurately predict the positioning of heavenly objects at any given time so that deep space probes can be safely dispatched along their desired trajectory with confidence.  No “big bang” can produce such order and precision as any pyrotechnician can testify.  Instead, the universe shouts: “handy-work; knowledge!”  From the furthest galaxies to the smallest cells to the invisible atoms, all things exist in perfect order.  “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (v.4).  As an architect lays down a line on a blueprint, so God has aligned all of creation in one harmonious orchestration.

This evidence is the Word of God for “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard” (v. 3).  Silence, critic who would self-righteously judge God as unfair for castigating the unlearned and ignorant heathen!  “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 – emphasis added).  “[T]he judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).  If this is true for the ignorant and uncivilized, how much greater the guilt of those who have the written Word and ignore it!  “The heavens declare the glory of God … by them thy servant is warned” (Psalm 19:1, 11).  Listen to the message of creation!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reported Until This Day


And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (Matthew 28:4)

One of the greatest apologetics for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the empty tomb.  Around the modern city of Jerusalem there are at least seven tombs that supposedly held the body of Jesus.  The most famous is the Garden Tomb, but all of these tombs have one thing in common – they are all empty. Muhammad is buried in the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet) in the city of Medina.  Buddha’s body was cremated and his remains are divided up among several Buddhist temples.  The grave of Confucius is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China.  But there is no burial site on earth that holds the remains of Jesus.

Skeptics offer many explanations for this.  Some suggest that Jesus swooned and the coolness of the tomb revived Him, and He walked out under His own strength.  Others say that the women in their grief forgot where the body was placed and mistook an empty tomb for the tomb of the Lord.  Still others tenaciously hold to the story recorded by Matthew, i.e., “His disciples came by night and stole him away” (v. 13) while the soldiers slept, “and this saying is commonly reported … until this day” (v. 15).

A close examination of Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection will readily debunk this story.  The disciples could not have stolen the body for several reasons.  First of all, they feared for their lives: “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).  Secondly, the tomb was guarded by professional soldiers (Matthew 27:65).  Peter had a short sword (Matthew 26:51; John 18:10), but he was no match for trained soldiers.  Thirdly, the tomb was secured with the seal of Rome (Matthew 27:66) that carried the death penalty for unauthorized tampering.  Finally, the soldiers were under penalty of death for falling asleep while on watch, but they willingly admitted to this infraction knowing that their lie would be covered up by the priests (v. 14).

The truth is that Jesus left the tomb unbeknownst to the soldiers.  In the meantime, a single angel rolled away the stone that would have taken several men to move (v. 2).  The sight of such a display of power accompanied by the radiance of his appearance melted the hearts of these battle hardened soldiers so that they “did shake, and became as dead men” (v. 4).  When the soldiers reported back, the chief priests “gave large money unto them saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept” (vv.12-13), “and this saying is commonly reported … until this day” (v. 15).  For those who refuse to believe, no amount of evidence will convince them; for those who believe, no evidence is required.  “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).