Meditation: Our Father Created All Things in Six Days!

InbegGodThe following meditation is taken from the “daily meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism” feature found on the PRC website. The author is Rev.G.Van Baren (emeritus PRC pastor), who originally wrote this section of meditations for our sister church in Singapore, the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church.

This series of meditations covering the doctrine of creation begins the month of March and explains that part of the “HC” which treats the Apostles’ Creed, specifically its opening article on the sovereign Fatherhood of our God: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”

Following my post from yesterday and in light of the current church (and world) attacks on God’s Fatherhood and His work of creating in the beginning, I believe this meditation and the rest in the series (which you may find at the link above) will guide you truthfully in your faith concerning the Almighty Maker. And may such truth lead us to fall down before Him in humble worship and adoration on this Lord’s Day (for this, you may also read Rev.4).

Read: Hebrews 11

Genesis 1 and 2 present the simple, clear, testimony of the great work of creation by our Almighty Father. In six literal days (each identified as beginning and ending with evening and morning) He fashioned all things within His great universe. It did not take our Father millions or billions of years to finish the work. It was finished in six days. The word “day” almost always refers to a literal day in Scripture. The few exceptions are clearly identified (as in Gen. 2:4). God speaks also of the days of creation in His great law: the Ten Commandments. God said that we are to rest on the seventh day, for “in six days God created the heavens and the earth and rested the seventh day.”

This is an essential truth which can be contradicted only with severe consequences for the interpretation of all of Holy Scripture. Scripture is completely infallible or it is fallible in some or many of its passages. Presbyterian and Reformed Churches which began with a denial of the literal creation days, soon were led into a pattern of denying or “reinterpreting” many other passages of Scripture. Many heresies have been introduced in this way.

The creation account has in it a simple beauty in describing the great work of creation. The beautiful statement is included with the days of creation: “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was (very) good.” There was no sin, no evidence of the curse or of death in all of that which God had made.

There is clearly presented also an order in that creation: God creates a “stage” for his work—especially on the earth. He forms the plants needed to sustain life. Then He created animal life from lower to higher forms. Within each “kind” there could be and would be changes seen over a period of time. But one “kind” did not evolve into other “kinds”.

The climax of this creation was the formation of Adam (means “dust”) from the dust of the earth—and Eve (the first woman) from Adam’s rib. Adam was made the head of creation and all mankind. Gen. 2 points out also that the creation was at the same time the establishment of the marriage relationship. From the beginning, God made one man for one woman as long as they both would live. When questioned about divorce, Jesus insisted, “From the beginning it was not so.”

It is humbling to realize that the Almighty God who did all this, is my Father for Jesus’ sake.

*Note: It may be added here that the PRC website has plenty of other reading material on the creation-evolution debate taking place in the church. Consult, for example, our pamphlet section, or specifically, this pamphlet.

Errors of Adding to God’s Word – Rev.J.Laning

SB-Feb15-2015The latest issue of The Standard Bearer is out (February 15, 2015), and in this issue one of the articles to be read for good instruction is the second installment of “Foundational Principles” written by Rev.James Laning (Hull, IA PRC) under the rubric “God’s Wonderful Works.”

In this article titled “Forbidden to Add to God’s Word”,  Rev.Laning addresses seven errors involving adding to God’s Word in Scripture. As he shows, some of these errors are old and some are new, but they all have this in common that they claim to be equal words from God that have authority for the believer. In fact, however, they undermine and contradict the sole authority of holy Scripture.

Here are two popular ones that Rev.Laning lists:

3. Claiming to receive new revelations from God today

Many in our own day claim that God has spoken to them just as He did to the prophets in the days in which the Scriptures were written. Such individuals are false prophets, since the Bible was completed in the days in which the apostles lived. All that we need to know about the great salvation we have in Christ is found in the Scriptures as we have them today:

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)

The great salvation was proclaimed by Christ and then confirmed unto us by them that heard him. The Old Testament had been completed before Christ came, and the New Testament had been completed when Christ and “them that heard him” were no longer on earth. It is also worthy of note that the warning in the book of Revelation about adding to or subtracting from the Scriptures is found at the very end of the Bible.

4. Claiming that there have been infallible statements since the Scriptures were finished

The Roman Catholic Church has claimed for many years that there are times in which the pope is guided by God to speak infallibly. According to the Romish church, the pope speaks infallibly:

When, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.2

They claim that an example of such an infallible utterance took place in 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as an article of faith. Any infallibly inspired utterance would have the same authority as Scripture itself. To claim that infallibly inspired statements have been made after the time that Scripture was finished is to be guilty of adding to God’s word.

But Laning ends on this positive note for the believer with his Bible:

One of the passages that warn against adding to God’s word says that the word of God is pure, and that those who receive God’s word as it is will experience God to be their shield.

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

Here we have not only another warning about adding to God’s word, but also a comforting statement about the protection experienced by all who receive what God says. Every addition to God’s word will be found to be false. But every word that God has spoken is pure. The true believer comes to know this quite well. He has experienced in his own life that our Lord always does what He says He will do. Every one of His promises are certainly fulfilled. A shield He is for those who walk in His ways, fully protected from every foe. It is those who trust in the Lord, believing all that He says without additions or subtractions, that walk without fear, perfectly shielded by their God and Father.

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Augustine: Preacher, Exegete, Biblical Apologist

SB-Oct15-2014-AugustineSuch is the title of the article penned by Missionary-pastor M.McGeown in the recent special issue of the Standard Bearer (Oct.15, 2014), marking the life, work, and writings of the great church father Agustine (AD 354-430). Last week we called attention to a sermon by Augustine; today we highlight his relation to the Scriptures.

This is part of what Rev.McGeown has to say about Augustine as a biblical preacher and expositor (emphases are mine):

From the beginning of his Christian pilgrimage, when, as a young man, he heard the call, Tolle lege, tolle lege (“Take up and read”), and his eyes lighted on Romans 13:12-14, until the end of his life, when, on his deathbed, he asked that the penitential psalms be written out for him, so that he might read and mediate on them, Augustine loved the Scriptures. As bishop of Hippo, Augustine aimed to preach biblical sermons, and, as a writer, Augustine saturated his treatises and letters with quotations from the Bible.

Augustine was also a churchman, one who loved the church, one who pursued his theological studies in the church and for the sake of the church, and one who revered the tradition of the church, developing that tradition and defending it against heretics, both inside and outside the church.

…There can be no doubt that Augustine the preacher—with the other church fathers—revered Scripture. For Augustine, Scripture was the very Word of God. Quotations could be multiplied, but, in the interests of space, we offer only one. In a letter to Jerome, Augustine writes, “I have learned to do only those books that are called the Holy Scriptures the honor of believing firmly that none of their writers have ever erred. All others I so read as not to hold what they say to be truth unless they prove it to me by Holy Scripture or clear reason.”[1]

 Augustine was not content merely to admire the Bible. He labored to expound the Bible. Marveling at the detail of Augustine’s exegesis in his commentaries and sermons, one scholar writes, “Augustine finds a great deal in his chosen texts—partly because, being thoroughly convinced of their divine authority, he expects to find a great deal in them.”[2]

[1] Cited in A. Skevington Wood, Captive to the Word: Martin Luther, Doctor of Sacred Scripture (Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1969), 125.

[2] Thomas Williams, “Biblical Interpretation” in The Cambridge Companion to Augustine (eds. Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann (Cambridge: [Cambridge Companions Online] Cambridge University Press, 2006), 60.

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