Tuesday 26 July 2016

The Importance of a right doctrine of Creation in the church

What may seem obvious is not as obvious as one would hope. This is true regarding a right doctrine of Creation. There are many inroads from many directions, one's that seek to undermine a sound biblical doctrine of Creation. Genesis 1:1-5 frames the theme of the whole of the Bible.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

There are several points to reaffirm at the outset.

1. The universe did not begin with an unknown and unexplained or even random "big bang", but indeed God the Creator of the heaven and earth is the founder, architect and Creator of the whole created order.

2. The opening line of Genesis frames our whole theology, one that a God-centred one; this should be true whether we are discussing salvation, the church, worship, evangelism or whatever. In the beginning God ... Is that your opinion also? That is that all things must be God-centred.

3. The first day ended with evening and morning and light existed before the sun or suns were created. An important question concerns the length of days of Creation. A plain reading of Scripture, along with the comparison of other plain Scriptures make it clear that these six days were, six literal, 24 hour days. In some circles in the Evangelical and Reformed world there are surprising attempts to suggest that these days could be an allegory to explain Creation or a Framework hypothesis to define a creation model of days of undefined length.

However, why are such suggestions made and do they stand the weight of the Biblical evidence?

4. Comparing Scripture with Scripture in order to come to the single correct line of interpretation is necessary and essential to come to the true and right doctrine of Creation. While it may be true that that there are different ideas on Creation, one's that exclude theistic evolution, it is not correct that all ideas are correct and true. The Westminster Confession (1:9) most helpfully teaches that:
"The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly".

Therefore, only one possible view is permitted and this is that the Creation was completed in six, 24 hour days. Hear the words of Scripture from Exodus.

Exodus 20:8-11 clarifies that the length of days in Creation were 6, 24 hour days.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy".

Such a straightforward acceptance of the length of days as taught in Genesis chapter 1 and Exodus 20, excludes any notion of evolution, it excludes any ideas then, that Adam is anything other than the first created man and it excludes the idea of man-like hominids pre-existing Adam; something not found anywhere in the biblical record. We must be clear and the church must give clear testimony to the biblical record. To fail to do so is to open the door to agnosticism (do not know what you believe) or atheism (to deny God as existing and as the Creator). Our position in the church should be one of clear and consistent faith.

After many years of contemplation on these matters, I have resolved that it is essential for the church to confess the Triune God to be the Creator of all things, and that so in 6 literal, 24 hour days, whereby he rested on the seventh day. This day of rest is now to be honoured by worship and rest as the Lord's Day, on the first day of the week, since the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Monday 18 July 2016

The Victory of the Lamb by Frederick S. Leahy

Reading good books can really help your spiritual progress. This summer I have been enjoying a small but punchy book by Professor Leahy. The author is now with the Lord, but his writings are here for our profit and this book is one of a number written by him which are worthwhile reading.

I think that there is a present general deficiency in the presentation of the gospel. What is that deficiency? Generally speaking the atonement secured by the Lord Jesus is one that is primarily seen by many as only the victory of Jesus over sin. However, Fred Leahy rightly explains that actually it is the victory of Jesus over "sin, death and Satan". Is this how you understand the atonement? This little book is well worth reading and I commend it to Christians, elders and ministers. Its message will expand your vision of the victory of Christ and equip the church to stand firm (Ephesians 6).

Revelation 20:10-15: "And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire".

These are verses that we should all meditate upon and contemplate. It is my joy to urge Christians to read good books. There are so many books that sometimes carry the name Christian, but one wonders at times what type of Christianity do they represent? This book by Fred Leahy represents Christianity of the first order. A gospel of power and victory but of reality in this fallen world. Read it, enjoy it and recommend it to others.