The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
October 26, 2014


1) Do They Give Us A Clue? (Harry Osborne)
2) Change (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes


Do They Give Us A Clue
by Harry Osborne

The biblical account of creation is initially set forth in simple narrative form in Genesis 1-2. The account shows every sign of being an historical narrative to be understood in its literal and obvious sense. Dealing fairly with the text itself demands one acknowledge that the first readers would have concluded a simple truth: God created the world and all things in it, including man, over a period of six literal, consecutive days at the beginning of time. However, this article will seek to address the view of the creation presented in other passages of Scripture as the inspired writers look back on the Genesis account of creation. In this way, we can see the divine commentary given to us to aid in properly interpreting this important and fundamental text.  

Genesis 5:1-3

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth..." (ASV).  

The fact that Adam and Eve were created on the same day is here affirmed. Two measures of time, a day and years, are used in the same context. Consistency demands the same rule apply to interpreting both. Was the day actually a long epoch or a literal day? Were the years a period of approximately 365 literal days or a collection of many epochs? Obviously, the literal sense of both "day" and "years" best fits the context.  

Exodus 20:9-11; 31:14-17

Each passage views the six days of creation and following day of rest as analogous to the Jews' six days of work and following day of rest, the Sabbath. The days are analogous in length, order, and function. If they are not meant to suggest such likeness, there would appear no legitimate purpose for the parallel made between them.  

Psalm 33:6-9

By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: He layeth up the deeps in store-houses. Let all the earth fear Jehovah: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (ASV).  

God's power as manifest in creation is the focus of this passage. When God spoke, it was done and stood fast. How could this passage be harmonized with an interpretation of the creation account which holds that God spoke to begin a process that took millions or billions of years to "stabilize" into the form ultimately reached? There is no way to harmonize the two for Psalm 33 is diametrically opposed to such views. Yet, our progressive creationists tell us that when God spoke into existence the heavens and the earth, he actually caused the big bang to take place 15 to 20 billion years ago which finally resulted in the earth forming some 4.5 billion years ago. They tell us that when God spoke light into existence on a first day, it took millions of years for enough cooling and clearing of the atmosphere to take place so that the sun, moon and stars could be seen to have already been made when he spoke to make them on a fourth day. Such interpretations may sprout from a fertile imagination, but they wither away when examined in the light of the plain teaching of Psalm 33.  

Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4-6

In answering a question asked by the Pharisees about divorce, Jesus referred them back to the origin of marriage with Adam and Eve. Jesus affirmed, "He which made them at the beginning made them male and female" (Matt. 19:4, KJV). The progressive creationist might respond that this refers to the beginning of marriage which may have come millions or billions of years after the beginning of creation. However, the parallel account of Mark 10:6 takes care of that quibble by saying, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." If the progressive creationists are correct, man and woman were brought on the scene much closer to our end of time than the beginning. Again, the interpretation forced on the Bible by Progressive Creationism does not harmonize with other biblical references back to creation. Bert Thompson made the following point in commenting on the same passage:

"In this context, there is additional information that should be considered as well. For example, concerning Adam and Eve, Jesus declared: 'But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them' (Mark 10:6; cf. Matthew 19:4). Christ thus dates the first humans from the creation week. The Greek word for 'beginning' is arche, and is used of 'absolute, denoting the beginning of the world and of its history, the beginning of creation.' The word in the Greek for 'creation' is ktiseos, and denotes 'the sum-total of what God has created' (Cremer, Biblico-Theological Dictionary of New Testament Greek, 1962, 113, 114, 381, emp. in orig.). Unquestionably, then, Jesus placed the first humans at the dawn of creation. To reject this truth, one must contend that: (a) Christ knew the Universe was in existence billions of years before man, but, accommodating Himself to the ignorance of His age, deliberately misrepresented the situation; or (b) The Lord, living in pre-scientific times, was uninformed about the matter (despite the fact that He was there as Creator -- Colossians 1:16). Either of these allegations is blasphemous" (Thompson, Creation Compromises 1995, 179).  

Other passages could be addressed regarding the issue as well. However, these are sufficient to show that the biblical writers looking back on the creation account took it as a literal statement that God created heaven, earth and all therein in six literal, consecutive days with man's creation taking place in that beginning of the creation week. Any conclusion to the contrary needs to deal with these passages as well as Genesis 1 and 2 in order to show from the contexts that such a conclusion is sustained by proper exegesis.  

-- Via Truth Magazine, October 21, 1999, Volume XLIII, No. 20


by Greg Gwin

We hear a lot about 'change.'  Politicians frequently talk about changing things in government.  Educators discuss changing our schools.  Societal trends and technological advances have powerfully changed things in our daily lives.  We now hear of 'personal trainers' who try to help people modify their living habits and routines.  So, with all this talk about 'change,' what about 'change' when it comes to religious matters?

First, we should observe that some things should not be changed.  God has clearly revealed His will for our lives in the inspired Word.  What He has taught us -- the things the Scriptures command and authorize (Colossians 3:17) -- should NOT be altered (Revelation 22:18).  Men have imagined that they can change such things, and they have proceeded to do so with abandon.  At their whim, via a 'church council,' or by a human vote, they make revisions to the 'perfect law of liberty' (James 1:25).  Do they really think that they can improve on God's plan?  Apparently so!  This is wrong, and these 'changes' must be avoided.

Second, some things absolutely should be changed.  Here we have in mind any sinful things that exist in our personal lives or in our collective endeavors.  It is never too soon to rid ourselves of evil.  John the Baptist urged his hearers to 'bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance' (Luke 3:8).  We should do the same, and we ought to do it NOW.  Such change is not only good, it is commanded and necessary.

Finally, some change is neither inherently good nor bad.  Some things are judgment matters.  When this is the case, we can be flexible.  We should 'be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility' (1 Peter 5:5).  It does not have to be 'my way.'  I can and should yield to others.  This type of change may help to advance the kingdom and do much good.  In such cases we must be careful about stubbornly resisting 'change.'

-- Via The Beacon, September 16, 2014

"Our LORD and our God, you are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector. You are the rock where I am safe. You are my shield, my powerful weapon, and my place of shelter. You rescue me and keep me from being hurt. I praise you, our LORD! I prayed to you, and you rescued me from my enemies" (2 Sam. 22:2-4, Contemporary English Version).


News & Notes

Let us who are Christians be mindful of the following when we go to our Father in prayer:

Virginia Fontenot has now been on hospice care for a few weeks. Her appetite has been poor, and she is in pain every day.  Please also remember her daughter (Linda Blevins) who has been with her mother 24 hours a day, having taken an early retirement from the medical field (about a year and a half ago) to be able to help her mother.

Steve Wolfgang writes concerning his wife: "Bette and I are humbly grateful for all the prayers and expressions of concern from SO MANY of you, as well as those expressed in other ways. She is resting at home and recovering well. The bruising from the surgery (incision, IVs, blood draws, etc.) caused by the industrial-strength blood thinners are healing, and she is recovering strength day by day. She was able to attend one night of our meeting, and hopes to do so tonight. Thanks again to one and all!"

Let us also continue to include on our prayer list the following for their health: Marie Turner, Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Danielle Howard, Ronnie Davis, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jewel Wilson, Mary Vandevander, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Sue Wooten, Dexter Roberts, and Colleen Henson.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)     
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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