The Bible’s First Word – D.Thomas

Our “Word Wednesday” feature today is a bit different, in part because I was struggling for time to post something before it got too late, and then a bit of post-dinner reading led me to this article by Derek Thomas, the title of which appears above. I saw it while browsing Monergism’s latest free e-books. Off to the right side of their latest email newsletter is a list of free articles (pdfs usually) and, as you can imagine, “The Bible’s First Word” caught my eye.

God Adam and You-Phillips-2015Turns out this is a chapter in a new book published by P&R Publishing (copyrighted by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 2015 and containing the speeches given at the 2013 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology) under the title God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied, edited by Richard D. Phillips. Contributors include Joel R. Beeke, Kevin DeYoung, Derek Thomas, Liam Goligher, Richard D.Phillips, and Carl Trueman.

Thomas’ contribution is the opening one, based on Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God” – and is a powerful introduction to this book. So, for our word feature today, we think about the revelation of God to us in these first words of the Bible, as elucidated by Thomas. May we pause to weigh them carefully – along with the “weight” of our Almighty Creator (You will see that there is a special word to learn in this post!).

Here is just one brief section from the chapter; find the entire article at the link above (where the title is given). And, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to get the entire book; it looks to be a fine work dealing with the contemporary attacks on creation and the historicity of Genesis and our first parents.

It is no accident, of course, that the Bible begins with God. God is what the Bible is all about. One of the first lessons that we learn when reading the Bible is the importance of asking the right questions. Today people are prone to ask, “What is this passage saying to me?” We put ourselves in the center hermeneutically. Instead, the first question that we should always ask about any passage of the Bible is, “What is this passage teaching me about God?” For God is first, and he is the center, and he is last.

[In contrast to evolutionism’s “Big Bang” theory] …The Scriptures start, “In the beginning, God . . .” In the beginning was the Lord. In the beginning were the Father and the Son and the Spirit, three persons, one God. There is no express mention here that in the beginning, apart from God, there was nothing. Genesis 1:1 doesn’t actually say that God created out of nothing. But, of course, the very absence of any expression, the very absence of any reference to any material, is in itself suggestive of what Moses wants to tell you. The cause of everything that is, he says, is the creative, powerful, and sovereign hand of almighty God.

…As we think about the doctrine of creation and the importance of it, I want us to see a number of truths that emerge from this opening prologue, this opening statement of Moses.

First, we should notice a very simple thing: that the biblical doctrine of creation exalts God. We live in a culture, and even in a church culture, where God seems to be without weight. The “weightlessness of God” is what David Wells calls it.1 One of the great words in the Old Testament for the glory of God is actually a word that is suggestive of weight, much in the sense that some people use the word heavy today. If something is significant, they say, “Heavy, heavy.” That is, it has weight and depth. God is weighty. God is significant. He is the almighty and sovereign Creator. He is the glorious God who is. Everything that is, the totality of existence—space and time, the vastness of the cosmos, everything from the microcosm to the macrocosm—was made to exalt God.

Interpretive dance: BioLogos and the Promotion of Evolution| Daniel J. Devine | World

WORLD | Interpretive dance | Daniel James Devine | Nov. 29, 2014.

Creation vs evolutionThis is a significant “exposure” article by World magazine and its reporter Daniel J. Devine on how BioLogos – headquartered right here in Grand Rapids, MI – is pushing evolutionism in the name of Christian science on a broad spectrum of Christian institutions (posted today, Nov.29, 2014).

There are some familiar names given here, many of them with ties to Christian colleges well known to us. The issue of the historicity, accuracy, and authority of Genesis 1-3 (especially), God’s “book of beginnings”, continues to generate heated debate in Christian circles.

But it ought not, if we hold to the clarity as well as to the authority of Scripture. Truly Reformed Christianity posits that God’s Word sheds authoritative light on science and determines how we understand the things that we see (and don’t see!) in creation, not the other way around. We need to continue to keep our biblical “glasses” on straight in order to see the world right.

Here’s the opening paragraphs to Devine’s article; find the rest at the link above.

Just a five-minute stroll from the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., sits the brown brick building that is home since last year to BioLogos, a foundation pushing churches and believers to embrace evolution, and in the process change how they read the Bible.

The brainchild of Francis Collins, who now heads the National Institutes of Health, BioLogos has taken in nearly $9 million from the Templeton Foundation and millions more from other donors. BioLogos in turn offers grants to church, parachurch, and academic leaders and organizations that promote “evolutionary creation.”

BioLogos president Deb Haarsma, former chair of Calvin’s physics and astronomy department, says churches that support evolution will be more effective witnesses in a culture that reveres science, and will help college students avoid a crisis of faith when biology professors argue for evolution. The BioLogos website states, “Genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand individuals who lived about 150,000 years ago.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Creation and Evolution | Reformed Bibliophile

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Creation and Evolution | Reformed Bibliophile.

Yesterday on his books and reading blog Eric Young posted this significant quote from the late Dr. D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the historicity of Genesis 1-3 and the importance of this for the rest of Scripture, especially the doctrine of salvation. It certainly does speak to the on-going debate on creation/evolution in Evangelicalism.

I post the first part of the quote here and urge you to read the rest at Eric’s blog. May the “Doctor’s” thoughts also weigh on our hearts and minds and point us to the truth of God’s Word and of the gospel which we must maintain in our day.

DMLloyd-JonesWe accept the biblical teaching with regard to creation and do not base our position upon theories of evolution, whichever particular theory people may choose to advocate. We must assert that we believe in the being of one first man called Adam, and in one first woman called Eve. We reject any notion of a pre- Adamic man because it is contrary to the teaching of the Scripture.

Now someone may ask, Why do you care about this? Is this essential to your doctrine of salvation? Are you not falling into the very error of over-particularization against which you warned us at the beginning? I suggest that I am not, and for these reasons. If we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, we must say that about the whole of the Bible, and when the Bible presents itself to us as history, we must accept it as history. I would contend that the early chapters of Genesis, the first three chapters of Genesis, are given to us as history. We know that there are pictures and symbols in the Bible, and when the Bible uses symbol and parable it indicates that it is doing so, but when it presents something to us in the form of history, it requires us to accept it as history.

We must therefore hold to the vital principle, to which I have referred earlier, of the wholeness and the close interrelationship of every part of the biblical message. The Bible does not merely make statements about salvation. It is a complete whole: it tells you about the origin of the world and of man; it tells you what has happened to him, how he fell and the need of salvation arose, and then it tells you how God provided this salvation and how He began to reveal it in parts and portions. Nothing is so amazing about the Bible as its wholeness, the perfect interrelationship of all the parts. Therefore these early chapters of Genesis with their history play a vital part in the whole doctrine of salvation. Take for instance the argument of the apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans 5:12-21. Paul’s whole case is based upon that one man Adam and his one sin, and the contrast with the other one man, the Lord ]esus Christ, and His one great act. You have exactly the same thing in I Corinthians 15; the apostle’s whole argument rests upon the historicity. Indeed, it seems to me that one of the things we have got to assert, these days in particular -and it should always have been asserted- is that our gospel, our faith, is not a teaching; it is not a philosophy; it is primarily a history. . .

Why I Am a Six-Day Creationist – T.Challies

Why I Am a Six-Day Creationist | Challies Dot Com.

InbegGodBack on October 11,2013 pastor, author,and blogger Tim Challies placed this post on his blog. It was refreshing to hear another prominent Calvinist defend the Bible on creation. Only one matter of weakness: at the end of his post Challies says he does not make this a “mark of orthodoxy”. But the doctrine of creation is, if it is what the Bible plainly teaches and if it is the foundation to the rest of our Christian faith.

So, don’t fall into the trap of the post-modern, relativist while maintaining this truth of God’s Word. Don’t say the doctrine of creation is true – but only for me and maybe a few others. Say it is true for all, and if you don’t believe it, you are not orthodox but heterodox!

Below is a part of what Challies posted; read the rest at the link above.

I spent a couple of days this week speaking at a conference at the Creation Museum—my first time visiting it. Before I arrived I decided to put a little bit of thought into why I am a six-day creationist. I wanted to affirm in my own mind that I was walking into the museum already convinced of a position.

I believe God created the world in six days—six literal twenty-four hour periods. I believe the earth is young—probably less than ten thousand years old. I have always believed this. But why? As I considered this position, I realized there are three main reasons I hold to it.

The first reason I am a six-day creationist is this: I believe it is what the Bible teaches. There have been endless debates about the meaning of the word we translate as “day” in Genesis 1 and so much of the debate stands or falls right here. There have been many attempts, some of them quite compelling and some bordering on the ridiculous, to make it express something other than “day.” But in the end, I believe a natural reading of Scripture, and a natural reading of the author’s intent in the passage, leads to the most natural and obvious conclusion: God created all that exists, from nothing, in six literal days. This is what the author said, because this is what the author meant to convey, because this is what the author believed, because this is exactly how God did it.

“Sensational seeds” –

Sensational seeds.

Seed growthA little over a week ago I was finally able to start sowing my garden and my flower beds. It had been a cold, wet Spring thus far in West Michigan, which led to delayed planting time. But the last few weeks have been warm and dry (until yesterday, that is!), and I was eager to get things in the ground. I always put some greenhouse grown vegetable (tomatoes, peppers) and flower plants (geraniums, snapdragons, etc.) in the ground. But the rest are seeds (sugar peas, carrots, swiss chard, beans, squash, etc.; wild flowers, morning glories, moon flowers, etc.) And every year I am amazed at the wonders of life, growth, plants, beauty, and fruit that come from small (in some cases, tiny!) seeds. Seeds are simply an astounding tribute to the wisdom and power of our sovereign Creator and Father-God.

And so I was delighted to see this fascinating article on seeds at (posted April 30, 2013). I think you too will identify with the truth that God’s seed world is truly “sensational”! Read the full story at the link above – below is a small part of it.

It’s amazing to think how the information and miniature machinery needed to produce an entire plant is compressed into such a small package. There’s a little energy store, too (known as the endosperm), to enable the germinating seed to firstly send down roots that both anchor the seedling into the ground and act as foraging conduits for water and nutrients. And then secondly to erect solar energy panels (the leaves, of course) to power the growing plant once the seed’s store of energy has been depleted. Imagine—the instructions and equipment needed to build and operate a self-maintaining and environmentally-friendly solar energy capturing system (photosynthesis), inside every seed!

For decades now, top solar energy engineers have been striving to mimic the way plants convert sunlight into fuel—but they’ve got a long way to go yet. In fact, scientists have not yet fully described all that happens in photosynthesis, let alone been able to duplicate it.1 So, if such highly intelligent minds are thus challenged, what does it say about the One Who not only designed the incredibly complex chemistry behind photosynthesis, but somehow equipped tiny seeds with their own ready-to-build DIY solar energy kit, complete with instructions for sourcing component parts and ongoing maintenance?

Yet there are those who would deny the hand of the Creator in this, instead proclaiming that “evolution did it”. Really, they have “no excuse” (Romans 1:20) for ignoring the incredible design inherent in every seed. And, as every home gardener with a vegetable patch knows, when you plant peas, you get peas—right in line with God having pre-programmed them that way on Day 3 of Creation Week when He commanded the earth to bring forth vegetation, i.e. “plants yielding seed each according to its own kind” (Genesis 1:11–12). When the wheat seeds sown by farmers today at planting time subsequently sprout and grow they give rise to wheat—not lilies or thistles or poison ivy. If wheat didn’t reproduce “according to its kind” the wheat farmers would soon be out of business! Thankfully our God is a God of order, not of confusion or disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33a), as we can witness for ourselves every seedtime and harvest.

Milky Way arching over La Silla, Chile – EarthSky

Milky Way arching over La Silla, Chile | Today’s Image | EarthSky.

Last week (April 5-11) was International Dark Sky Week! At the EarthSky website (one I discovered recently and for whose daily emailings I signed up) you will find many beautiful pictures of the night sky, including this one. The glories of our Father-Creator are evident all around us, including high above us. Don’t forget to “read” (I.e., properly, through the lens of Scripture, such as Psalms 8 and 19) this most elegant book too! And to think that our God knows all these stars by name (Isaiah 40:26).

Milky Way Galaxy arching over ESO in La Silla, Chile.