Difficulty 10: Age of the earth, 4 thousand or 4 billion?

The difficulty of creation vs evolution: relating to th earth’s age

  • So God created the world in 6 days, and then rested
  • Yet science boldly proclaims the earth is millions of years old

Which one is right? Just maybe, both are right, but how?

1)      Let’s take a look at the first 6 days

In Genesis 1:11-13

“Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit . . .13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

How do plants and trees produce seeds and fruits (like the one Adam and Eve ate) in less than 24 hours?

This tends to show that either the days in Genesis 1 were longer than 24 hours, or that during that time, God created a “grown-up” universe (one that appears much older than it truly is). After all, God created Adam and Eve and ALL the animals in an adult life form (otherwise how would they survive without parents to care for them?). Why couldn’t earth, in its original state then, also be created “mature” and appear millions of years old to scientists?

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:27-28

2)      Let’s consider the flood.

It is widely known and accepted by scientists that pressure and heat affect the properties of all natural items. Therefore, when the flood occurred, it could have affected the geological properties of items, causing carbon dating to be incorrect. Yet, carbon dating does not account for this known scientific effect.

3)      Let’s consider the word “day”

Throughout the Bible, we find the word “day” to be used as a period of time, not necessarily 24 hours.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. – Genesis 2:1

Notice anything missing from this day, that was included in days 1-6? There is no “evening and morning.” It is purely possible that God continues to rest today, as part of the 7th day, because we never are told that evening has come. Hmmmm….

 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. – 2 Peter 3:8

So, if the Lord’s days are not equivalent to our days, then….?

SUMMARY: While we don’t know the answer or the true explanation of these things, we can do some comparative analysis. We know the Bible provides us with genealogies (some incomplete or with known gaps). These genealogies and analysis show the earth to be less than 10,000 years old. Science maintains the earth around 4.5 billion years old. So how do we explain the apparent difficulty here? Simple, either the earth was created old (like animals and Adam and Eve were as described in the Bible), or the days were longer than 24 hours long (also evident in Bible). Either of these is plausible, and yet, there may be yet another explanation that man has yet to discover.

Difficulty 9: age of accountability

This one is especially difficult for parents of young children.

The Bible tells us in Romans 5:14 that sin reigns in all people because of Adam. It almost seems unfair that generations of people are cursed because of what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. However, this is how imputed sin works. David in Psalm 51:5 reinforced this saying “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

We also know that Jesus clearly stated that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Therefore EACH person MUST make a choice of Salvation.

How then do we grasp the concept for babies who don’t know Christ and seem innocent by nature? Are they Saved? Will we see babies who passed on in Heaven?

Intellectually, we know that babies, and toddlers to some age, don’t understand the need for Salvation, and therefore cannot accept Christ as their Lord. However, we also know that God is a Loving God. Therefore, He must provide a way for them.

For most, God does this through the Holy Spirit. For Christians, we have experienced the Holy Spirit on our day of Salvation, when we were convicted, and understood the need for God. We then made a choice. Christians, by definition, have accepted God. Others, whether agnostic, atheist or some other religion, have denied God after hearing the Good news.

For babies, however, they have not yet been introduced or understood the need to accept God. God gives everyone a choice to accept Him at an age that is appropriate for each person. For some, it may happen as early as age 7, or 6 or even 5. For many it happens sometime during elementary school. For others, this choice doesn’t come until adulthood.

God created us each uniquely, and comes to each of us at different times in our lives for a decision. The age of accountability is never outlined in the Bible, but because of God’s grace, we can be confident that He has a plan for all people.

In 2 Samuel 12:23, David reinforces this notion when his baby died. David was a Christian; he stated that “I shall go to him” meaning that someday he would join his baby in Heaven.

Difficulty 8b: evil and Free Will

A world without free will is not a world that I want to live in! The alternative then, is a world with free will; a world where humans have the right to be immoral, unjust, and evil.

By why would anyone want to live in a world with evil? And WHY would God allow this to happen?

Interestingly, evil makes good things better. Let’s take first a simple cup of water. In the deep south in August, an outdoor heatwave (unjust weather perhaps?, but not necessarily evil) makes a simple cold drink of ice water REALLY GOOD! A fateful flood where a baby is drowning (evil?) allows a simple human’s act of intuition, to save the baby, show bravery and heroism (an innate good that is brought to light only in a bad situation). Inherent evils allow “good” to rise triumphantly.

But what is evil anyway? We’ll actually discover that evil is a relative term (no NOT a “relative,” but a relative term, even though we probably all have evil relatives).

Is a lazy dad evil? Is he immoral? In our society, we would probably just say he’s lazy and a moocher. But let’s change the scenario, let’s populate a deserted island with just one family. The family goes around minding their own business creating a place to live. But the dad decides he’s going to rest. And not just today, but everyday. He never does anything but eat, sleep, and watch TV (assuming Charter has cable there :-). Is he just lazy, or now malicious because he takes and never gives? Does he now become a symbol of evil on the island?

We now start to see that evil becomes evil only when compared against “good.” Therefore evil truly doesn’t exist without good as the root. (Ooh, that’s scary!) But God designed us as good people (look into Genesis when what God created was “good”).

So, did God create evil? Or did He create good, and that which wasn’t from God, …that which was influenced by the Devil became less than good, and labeled evil? And as evil progresses without Godly influences, it continues to become more evil.

For a more in-depth analysis of “The Problem of Evil” see my research into evil at this link.

Difficulty 8a: Evil

If God is the creator of everything and the source of love, how could He allow evil into our world?

A not so famous person once wrote: “If God is sovereign and in control of everything, God is responsible for evil, therefore God is evil.”*  This is the stance that many atheists take, leading them to yet a final conclusion that God can’t exist. However, their thought process is flawed, because if we reverse their thinking: 1) God doesn’t exist, 2) God is evil, 3) God is responsible for evil, 3) God is in control…. Notice anything wrong? If God doesn’t exist, how could He be evil, or responsible for anything?

Another process to consider then is:

1)      God is in control [sovereign]

2)      God knows what will happen (both good and evil) [omniscient]

3)      God allows both good and evil to occur (even though He is in control)

4)      God is therefore responsible for good and evil

Why then does God allow evil if He can prevent it?

The answer may just lie in Scripture. Take the story of Job, for example. Job was a righteous man; yet God allowed terrible things to happen to Him. In the end Job’s faith was stronger than ever. Was God responsible for the evil? Or did He just allow it to happen?

The answer can be found in Free Will. If God had not given us Free Will, He would not allow us to sin. There would have been no need for a Savior, no reason for us to love God. In fact, God would have made us all love Him. However, that type of love is shallow. It is a one-way relationship that is not mutual, but forced through design. A mutual relationship is one where love can grow strong, and praise and worship are sincere.

A world without free will would be like shopping for a TV Provider: “You can use any provider you want, as long as it’s Charter Cable.” That’s right, no Satellite, no U-verse, just Charter. Doesn’t that make you feel happy? Oh, yeah, and you get to choose either the “Premium” package or the “Premium” package….that’ll be $300/month. Don’t need internet, too bad, that comes with it, another $75/month!

. . . blog to be continued tomorrow . . .

* source to be acknowledged in tomorrow’s blog

Difficulty 7: When do you go to Heaven?

This question first implies that the person we are talking about is a Christian.

Jesus told us in John 14:6 that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Assuming that one believes and trusts in Jesus, then the question of when we go to Heaven is valid.

Does a person go straight to judgment and Heaven or do they “fall asleep?”

Let’s first look at Scripture to understand the text:

  1. 13 …we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. – 1 Thesallonians 4:13-17
  2. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.– 2 Corinthians 5:8
  3. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment – Hebrews 9:27
  4. Jesus said to the thief on the cross beside Him: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:43
  5. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; – Philippians 1:23

These verses appear very contradictory. Some would claim that the first verse says that once our bodies die, we remain in the ground until the Lord returns.

However, the second verse implies that when we die, we become “absent” from the body and go immediately to Heaven.

The third simply implies that at some point after death, all people will face judgment.

The fourth statement, addressed to the thief, may be understood as a personalized fact dealing solely with that one individual, or a universal truth about everyone.

The fifth statement returns to the implication that once we leave earth (depart) we are with Christ.

Based on these, many experts believe that our spirits will depart our bodies immediately upon death, and go to Heaven (or Hell). When Jesus returns, our bodies will be resurrected, our spirits will join the new bodies, and we all (including those in Hell) will face judgment for eternal sentencing.

I used to be a large proponent of soul sleep. Now I realize that I could have been wrong. I’m not admitting a mistake, just acknowledging that I don’t know for sure. But it might not be the only doctrinal thought I’m wrong on. However…

We don’t need to know the timing of when our spirit faces Jesus or even when our body is resurrected, we just need to know that Jesus is the one who can and will make it happen. I’m leaving the “how” and “when” up to Him. After all, I still don’t know how it’s possible that God just spoke and the world was created, but I know it happened. Thankfully I don’t have to rely on my intelligence to figure it all out.

Think about this, even Jesus does not know what day He will return, only the Father in Heaven, but . . .  Jesus knows He’s coming back.

And the good news for those who are unhappy with their current bodies? 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 summarized states that our bodies will be raised imperishable—that is, a perfect body, one without disease, decay, or death. In this life our bodies wear out and die. With resurrected bodies, we will be perfected in Christ and imperishable. That’s right, no more diets! 🙂

The epitaph of Benjamin Franklin when he was young summarizes what we need to remember – it’s not about the details or even the timing, but all about the Author and His plan:

The Body of B. Franklin
Printer;
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author.

Difficulty 6: You can’t see God?

Has anyone really ever seen God?

This one has stumped me in the past, so hopefully we can shed some light on this today.

Throughout the Bible, we know there are passages that say people have seen God, and yet other passages clearly state people have not seen Him. So which is it?

  • Passages supporting people seeing God
  • When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. –Genesis 17:1
  • The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. – Genesis 18:1
  •  God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them. – Exodus 6:2-3
  •   Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.Exodus 24:9-11
  • To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. – Acts 7:2
  • Scripture denying that anyone can see God
  • But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” –  Exodus 33:20
  • No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.  – John 1:18
  • And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,  – John 5:37
  • No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.John 6:46

So, we have Scriptures both supporting and denying the possibility of seeing God. Isn’t this a contradiction? First, we know that “all Scripture is God-inspired” 2 Timothy 3:16.

So, if God inspired the Scripture, there can’t be any mistakes. Under this proposition then, we must assume that people have both seen God, and that yet it is impossible to see God. How is this possible?

I think it revolves around our understanding (or lack thereof) how God works. Remember that there is ONE God, but that God is in three forms: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Therefore it is possible to see God in one form, but not in all three.

If Scripture says that Abraham saw God Almighty (Genesis 17:1), then He did. However, if Jesus mentioned in John 6:46 that no one has seen the Father, then no one has seen the Father. This would imply then that Abraham saw either the Holy Spirit or Jesus prior to His incarnation.

This explanation further validates the belief and understanding of the truth of the Trinity. If Abraham saw God Almighty, but we have concluded he had to have seen Jesus (or the Holy Spirit), since no one has seen the Father, then Jesus is God Almighty also.

Furthermore, we can look at additional Scriptures, such as those below to understand that others who have testified as seeing “God,” really saw a representation of God or symbolic image of Him:

  • 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . ..  28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” – Genesis 32:24-30
  • There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.. . . .“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. – Exodus 3:2-6

  • 18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”  . . . 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground . . ..  22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”– Judges 13:18-22

One more passage showing a representation was Jesus in John 14:9 when He said “whoever has seen me has seen the father.” This passage further supports that God the Father has not been seen firsthand, but that representations of God the Father have been seen by people.

Difficulty 5: Jesus’ cross . . .

Let’s talk about the cross today: Did Jesus carry it as shown on many illustrations, or did Simon carry it as other paintings show because Jesus was too weak after being flogged?

As always, let’s first look at the Scriptural evidence:

16 Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). – John 19:16-17

31 After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify him. 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). – Matthew 27:31-33

20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify him.21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). – Mark 15:20-22

26 As the soldiers led Him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26

So is John wrong, since Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report this differently?

NO . . . .  The answer is simply in a matter of details. Let’s look at these passages chronologically:

1)      Jesus was sentenced to crucifixion and flogged (Matthew 27:26-30, Mark 15:15-20, Luke 23:24-25, John 19:16)

2)      He was led out (Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20, Luke 23:26a)

3)      He carried his cross out (John 19:17)

4)      It is then implied that Jesus was too weak to carry His cross (from the flogging), and they were passing Simon (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26b)

5)      Simon carries Jesus’ cross to Golgatha (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22)
It is very clear in this story that the gospels (together) tell the full story, only when brought together.

As noted by many people, the Gospels have “different” accounts of the stories of Jesus, but only “different” in the terms of each eye witness saw something, and documented what they say.  It has been proven that two different people seeing the same thing will document the events only from their only perspective.

In this case, John saw Jesus carry his cross out. The other authors noted seeing the soldiers demand that Simon carry the cross the remaining distance to Golgatha.  Neither account is incorrect, just incomplete in terms of details.  Together will all four gospels, we have a more complete and detailed picture of all of the events.

 

 

 

 

Difficulty 4: Does God Sleep?

This question assumes that God is somewhat human and requires sleep. Some will dispute that even from the days of creation that God had to rest after 6 days of creating earth, which therefore “proves” he must take time off.

However, if we read

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. – Genesis 2:2

There is no evidence that God needed to rest, only that He did rest. Other people point to:

for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17b

Here, again, there is only evidence that suggests that rest was involved following creation, but not that it was necessary for God. Rest implies that God stopped, took a break. The Scripture also states that God was refreshed, but refreshed could be translated as “energized” or “invigorated” meaning that God felt great upon seeing His creation.

Isaiah 40:28 clearly tells us:

The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom. – Isaiah 40:28b

So, if you think God is taking the day off, I would assume you are wrong. God doesn’t take vacation; He watches at all times!

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;The Lord watches over you—Psalm 121: 3, 5

DIfficulty 3: Is God evil?

Some people declare that God is cruel…

I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’” – Jeremiah13:14

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.Nahum 1:2

6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”  – Genesis 6:6-7

So how does this fit in with our perception of God as loving?

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. – 1 John 4:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

How then do we reconcile this?  Simple, the previous verses, as well as others throughout the Bible speak of God’s judgment, not evil. God has granted each of us free will.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17

Even Jesus said:

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Mark 8:34

God allows each of us to make choices in our lives. For those that choose righteous paths, God has blessings for you. However, for those that choose lives of sin, He will judge as evidenced by many Scriptures already noted, as well as numerous others throughout the Bible.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.Deuteronomy 32:4

27 “‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. –Leviticus 26:27-28

Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t see these blessings and judgments immediately.  After all, look at the lives of many non-righteous people we know.  But…

Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered. – Proverbs 11:21

God’s promise to all righteous and Saved people is a place in Heaven for eternity. The wicked, in turn, will be punished in hell forever. Where would you rather spend eternity?

Is God evil?  No!  Is He just and fair, YES!

 

 

 

But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them. – 1 Samuel 6:19

Difficulty 2: Prayer (Part C)

Why pray if God already knows what we need?PRAY

We can approach this answer from a variety of directions.

Let’s first look back to the definition.  Prayer is a relationship dialogue with God. How many of you have a relationship with someone where only one party talks?

I think that’s the first thing to remember. Prayer is a communication where both sides are to be heard and influence the outcome.

Too many times in our lives we use prayer as a means of just asking for what we need (or want), but prayer is more than that!

One way to remember prayer is to “PRAY.”

  • P – Praise God: worship, adore and thank Him
  • R – Repent of your sins: confess your failures
  • A – Ask for your needs: make your requests for healing, help, etc.
  • Y – Yield to God: “Not my will, but Thy will be done”

If we look at Biblical examples,

  • Jesus frequently turned to God in prayer (as discussed in previous blogs)
  • The disciples, whom Jesus spent more time developing spiritually than anyone else, after Jesus ascended

They returned to Jerusalem…to an upper room” and “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:12-14).

  • David,  “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), wrote almost half of the Psalms in which many he was speaking to God, asking for his desires and struggling when answers didn’t come his way.

Secondly, prayer is something we are instructed to do!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” – Philippians 4:6

And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; – Luke 18:1

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? – Matthew 7:11

 

It is wrong to think that prayer is simply asking God for something. Our prayers should include praise, and repentance. They should involve us asking God, but also yielding to Him.

Just because God knows what you need doesn’t mean He doesn’t want to have a prayer (relationship) with him.