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plan b 2Recently a Scripturosity reader asked me to comment on an article published by Answers in Genesis dealing with the cross and original design. The following is my response to the article entitled “Was the Cross Plan B?

I appreciate you sharing Steve Ham’s article with me. I know that each of us has a high regard for the authenticity and accuracy of Scripture and agree that the Gospel is the message of primacy in our increasingly secular world (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”). It is amazing to me, however, that AIG does not see the flaw in his reason – especially from their hard-line, historical Genesis perspective.

Was the Cross “Plan B?” Of course the Cross was not necessitated as “a result of God’s best-laid plans gone wrong” as he queries in the opening. No, “human sin did not take God by surprise.” There was no “emergency plan B forced upon the Creator…after the Fall.” In the context of the omniscient foreknowledge of God, original sin in nature’s perfection was not “an unforeseen tragedy.”

But the questions with which he frames his article present an inaccurate (or at least incomplete) either/or scenario.

I propose that the prospect of a sin-cursed detour (Plan B, if you will) eventuating to its original track sometime in the future, as prophesied in Isaiah’s description of the ecosystem of the new earth (11:6-9) or as detailed in John’s vision of fellowship in the consummation of all things (Rev. 21:3), does not harm or threaten the concept of divine “predetermined purpose.”

The issue is the character and Word of a Creator who looked upon His completed work on Day 6 and appraised it “very good (lit. exceedingly excellent).” Would an assessment of exceeding excellence on Day 6 be an honest and accurate description of Creation – particularly in view of the climatic conclusion of His image bearer – in the context of a requisite rebellion and fall from purpose?

We, young-earth creationists, argue that an evolutionary model of biology (necessitating suffering, and disease, and death) is inconsistent with the character of God. Similarly, creating with the anticipation of nature’s cursing in order to facilitate its redemption suggests a course of events that does not square either. Many struggle with the reality of suffering in the context of a loving, superintending God. To tell the skeptic or the seeker that this was God’s plan has no appeal and does nothing to defend the character of God. But to explain that this is not the way God intended things to be gives perfect frame for the Gospel (see Scripturosity article “Innocent Suffering and a Loving God – Part 1”). Knowledge of and intent toward are two very different things.

On Day 6, the glory of Christ was exhibited in the power and genius of His Creation. After the rebellion, Christ’s glory included the sovereign fulfillment of His passion – restoration of fellowship.

When Adam sinned, everything changed. God was forced, by His character, to disassociate with this debase intrusion that defined humanity’s new reality. God’s response to sin testified further of his favor toward mankind with an ingenious plan (obviously foreseen in His eternal omniscience) of restoration that would preserve every detailed facet of and satisfy every intricate demand of His glorious character. We are currently living in a sovereign detour necessitated by the Creator’s intolerance of sin, but initiated because of His desire to bring Eden’s fellowship full circle.

Original purpose and sovereign foreknowledge are not mutually exclusive, divine concepts. The need for a sin-cursed, millennial side-track following the Fall of man, does not mean that God’s character was compromised or that He missed this not-so-minute detail in the eternal scheme. Neither did God intend for fellowship to be broken as a result of man’s Garden rebellion so He could wind up the plan of restoration and Christ’s cross.

facebook 6

Scripturosity is my vehicle for sharing the beautiful compatibility of world discovery and experience with the ancient record preserved in the Bible (reference “About” tab). My wife has used her savvy in the communication medium of Facebook to serve up my articles to her growing community of “friends” as well as various “pages” whose name suggests a potential interest in or objection to my newly published topic. From time to time, a “comment” dialogue will be generated from an article that is so profound that it is worth reviving for the benefit of the readers. Such is the case now.

After promoting my recent article, “Evidence of God,” to her friends and usual list of pages-with-a-cause, Sheila decided to post it on a couple of pages identified as atheistic. A remarkable dialogue erupted that aptly represents the shameful information deficit left by our esteemed institutions of learning and worship.

The first to respond was Brandon. Brandon is what I would regard as a true seeker – a seeker that is the product of respected, academic influences and a painfully anemic church. As you will see from his testimony, he was drawn away from the church and converted to atheism.

Brandon – “The problem with the arguments being made by people like the good pastor (he assumed that I was a member of the clergy) in the article is that they rely heavily on scripture from the bible to underline their premise. That presents a problem because the bible is the claim of god (sic), not the evidence of god. In other words, the pastor’s argument presumes the existence of an entity that has not been proven to exist at all. The argument is based on faith and personal incredulity, not any type of evidence that can be observed, tested, and verified by anyone that wishes to see such evidence.

The pastor makes reference to other works as well, but those works are also heavily faith-based and presume an existence that hasn’t been proven to exist in reality. It would be a good argument if it didn’t rely so heavily on disputed claims and presumptions.

I was a devout Christian for over 20 years. You will find that most people that are atheist have similar stories to mine. Many of us grew up with the church, worshipped God, followed the teachings of Jesus, and lived our lives in service to him (sic). I was that way for a long time. There was a time when anyone that had the audacity to question the existence of God was considered a ‘malignant fool’ by me, because nothing could be possible without God.

But, then I began looking at the world around me and all over and questions started sneaking into my head. I looked to the bible for answers, but mostly what I found was either obsolete or extremely vague. So, I started asking my pastor and other pastors and various other people of the cloth my questions. And the answers I received were either also vague or left me more confused than I was before I asked the questions. So, I decided to do research myself.

The more I researched my questions, the more doubt crept into my mind. I went, in a matter of weeks, from being rock solid in my faith, to incredibly shaky in my faith. With continued research and reflection, I came to the realization that god wasn’t an actual entity, but a manifestation of something that had been drilled into me from the time I was born. I realized that god didn’t create man; man created God. Man created God to be a catchall for explanations that weren’t understood at the time. God didn’t center around eternal life, but mortal death.

It’s all an illusion. It’s all a fairy tale. It’s complete and total fiction. And I bought it hook, line, and sinker for years. Christianity is just as big of a hoax as every other religion.

That being said, if I were asked if I thought there could be some powerful entity somewhere that could possess qualities that humans would consider “god-like,” I would have to say, I don’t know. I think it’s likely there are other species in the universe and some of them may be more advanced than us, I don’t know. But, I do not believe that the Christian God exists, the Muslim God exists, the Jewish God exists, or any other man-made construction of religion has merit to propose the existence of any God of scripture from a position of faith.”

The next contributor was Kyle. Kyle was converted to Christianity from a churchless upbringing. The following is his response and testimony to Brandon.

Kyle – “Brandon, I respect your experience. I think what is a shame is when there are people of faith who criticize those who don’t have faith in what they believe. That, to me, is the biggest crime or falling-out of our generation. You and I have had two different experiences on this soil. You mentioned that you were brought up in the church and were brainwashed. I didn’t go to a church service until I was 19 years old. I didn’t meet God in church. I actually met him (sic) or had my first interaction with God right after my 6th brain surgery in my early teens. I understand that it’s hard to believe what I am saying is true since it was my experience and from my view.  If anyone has reason to second-guess the existence of God, I think I would be one of those people.

I have witnessed so many make statements like, ‘If God exists, why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?’ I was one of those good people that bad things were happening to. I even grew bitter for a time. I didn’t understand why God would allow such suffering to come to me like he did. I can tell you that I fully understand your statement about being shaky in your faith. I questioned a lot of things much like Job did. In fact, I often feel like Job from the old testament (sic). Now, as far as my experience, I felt God was pursuing me through my trials. He was using my challenges to gain my attention. For me, it wasn’t the afterlife; it was more about this life. The future I had wanted couldn’t be accomplished now. My plans were changing and I never asked them to change. If he really cared, he would have kept me from going through what I was going through (15 brain surgeries in 3 years and subsequent PTSD).

The only reason, when the storms of life hit me, I was able to stand and not fall away or give up was because of the engagement I had with Jesus, the Christ – “this Christian God.”

But, let me tell you something that I do respect about you. Many people are so determined to make you see things their way; they don’t care about their approach. So, my hat is off to you. Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the best, my friend.”

When Sheila told me that there was some chatter on one of the atheist, Facebook pages in response to my article, I asked her to copy and email the dialogue to me (I don’t have a Fb page). After reading in amazement, I sent her a response to post back. The following is that reply and the subsequent volley.

Marc @ Scripturosity – “Kyle and Brandon, this is the kind of civility that is often lacking in the debate of worldviews. I want to commend both of you for an intellectual and productive exchange of ideas and experience.

Brandon, keep in mind that Scripturosity makes no apologies for its philosophical axiom (hence the name). You may also be interested to know that I am not a pastor, but an executive at an oil and gas exploration company. We have to rely heavily on science, particularly geology, in our various exploration and production endeavors. Approaching the evidence from an historical perspective that aligns with the ancient narrative of Genesis has no effect on our observational conclusions or practical successes. There is no intellectual deficit or practical disadvantage to a biblical worldview.

Sure, I am a man of faith. But so are you. Predisposition biases both of us.  If you take my article to the conclusion, you will see my explanation of this claim (see Scripturosity article “Evidence of God”).

Your testimony is quite profound, but not uncommon. The difficulty that many good people have reconciling the world around us with the preserved Revelation is primarily because of a misinterpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. Because of your background, let me challenge you re-evaluate your worldview in light of an historical Genesis rather than the allegorical designation often assigned to its detail of early earth events. Take some time to read my 5 part article series entitled “Where Did the Billions of Years Come From” (Part 1,  2,  3,  4,  5).

My only point is there may be another way to look at this thing and it just happens to reconcile beautifully with purpose and redemption.

Kyle, your journey has been remarkable. I appreciate your candor regarding thoughts of innocent suffering and a good God. I have a 3 part article series in Scripturosity entitled “Innocent Suffering and a Loving God.” Let me encourage you to check it out and feel free to share with me your thoughts in the blog comments (Part 1,  2,  3).

Brandon – “Marc, I read your article on the “billions of years.” Let me say that I respect your position and that your article is well written and certainly thought provoking to be sure. Thank you for showing it to me.

I still remain unconvinced. However, I will give your position additional consideration, particularly as it pertains to Genesis as I find that aspect of your premise fascinating. I have not considered Genesis from that perspective and in the course of due diligence, I should attempt to understand where you are coming from instead of just dismissing your position out of hand.

I shall give you another opinion soon.”

Marc – “Thanks Brandon. I admire your spirit of honest inquiry.

Risking information overload – you may find my articles “Who Wrote Genesis” (Parts 1  &  2) and “How to Read Genesis” (Parts 1  &  2) helpful in your research.”

Kyle – “Brandon, in regards to seeing things through your point of view (even though I haven’t walked in your shoes), I have been on the other side or on the side of believing, at one point, some things that I can no longer validate to be true. Again, my experience and research led me to change my point of view and adopt faith in my life. I, like Marc, am a logical thinker. So, that is why I have respect for others who use logic.”

At this point another atheist entered the conversation. But unlike Brandon, Josh was an unreserved scoffer.

Josh – “Kyle, I’d like to ask what non-ad hawk (sic) logic do you use to believe in god. It’s simple. If you erased your memory (and this is impossible) to try on the world with a blank, logical approach, without any argument, you would more likely be an atheist. Unless you can somehow say logically how you can come to the conclusion of god, I find it hard to believe that you are being logical. Marc, why are people allowed to have different interpretations of the bible? Why would god make people who have the freewill to interpret the bible as they deem fitting? It’s an illusion because of preference.”

Kyle – “Josh, you have no idea what you say. It appears to me that you are more interested in arguing than you are in a real debate where two people come together to share their opinions and show mutual respect. As for memory (after 18 brain surgeries), in some aspects of my working memory or short-term memory, it is a blank slate for me each day. Josh, you are young and engaged and for that I commend you. However, if you are really seeking the truth, do it with respect for others.”

Marc – “Josh, interestingly, you accuse Kyle of ad hoc logic and then make an ad hoc claim yourself regarding the worldview tendency of a blank cultural and moral slate. In fact, I make the point in the Scripturosity article that kicked off this discussion (“Evidence of God”), that there is a “candle” inherent to humanity that gives everyone a nudge toward the Divine. One must suppress or snuff this light to peacefully coexist with a conscience apart from God. The proof is there. Only you can settle this with yourself. If you are satisfied, in the quiet of your pillow-pondering, that your intellect has honestly and adequately reconciled with your conscience, then stay on your present path. But if the spark still flickers, seek on.

Concerning your observation of biblical interpretation, sadly there is a lot of truth to that. Some seekers approach Scripture for the purpose of rationalizing a philosophical or practical predisposition. We should all leave our biases at the binding. Just as science is dependent on sound methodological principle, so is literary interpretation based on a sound hermeneutic.”

I know this piece was longer than is recommended for the blogosphere, but I thought it was important to demonstrate the real-world importance of coming to grips with an historical Genesis (see Scripturosity article series “An Historical Genesis – Why Does It Matter” Parts 1,  2,  3). Brandon promised to reconsider the faith of his youth because of it; Kyle can assign context to his suffering from it; and with it Josh can be reasonably challenged that he may have settled too quickly.

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breath of life 2

Atheists are having a field day with a recent Youtube video-clip from a debate between Eric Hovind (creationist) and Bernie Dehler (secular humanist) at Portland State University. The highlight is a question posed by Bernie’s son, a sixth grader, who asked for Eric to produce evidence for God. “How do you know that God exists” was essentially the question. Eric responded with an appeal to logic suggesting that unless you know everything you cannot be sure of anything. Therefore it is irrational to discount the presence of God. After watching the clip and witnessing the difficulty Eric had making his point, I began to wonder how I would answer the same question.

The answer, I believe, is quite simple though intensely contemplative and personal. The best place to start is a review of the 3 endowments at Creation’s finale – The Image, The Breath, and The Mandate. In these we can begin to appreciate our purpose in and sense the anticipation of the great cosmic symphony.

In the 5 days and several hours preceding man’s entrance, the creative episodes were initiated with impersonal mandates such as “Let there be…Let the waters be gathered…let the dry land appear…Let the waters bring forth…and Let the earth bring forth.”

Then, for the first time, creation gets personal. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Genesis 1:26a).” This endowment signals the Creator’s original intent for man.

John MacArthur expounds on the significance of divine image in his book The Battle for the Beginning.

“Above all, the image of God can be summed up by the word personhood. We are persons. Our lives involve relationships. We are capable of fellowship…We know what it is to share thoughts, convey and discern attitudes, give and take friendship, perceive a sense of brotherhood, communicate ideas, and participate in experiences with others.”

I think Henry Morris gives the best defense of human purpose in his book Many Infallible Truths.

“Communication and fellowship between man and God not only are possible but must actually have been a part of God’s very purpose in creation…since this is the ultimate consummation toward which time is moving, then there can be no doubt that this was God’s primeval purpose when time began. He created men for fellowship with Himself.”

The inevitable result of the obvious compatibility was fellowship.

Another unique endowment was The Mandate from the Creator to fill and subdue (1:28). Sometimes referred to as the Dominion Mandate, this declaration clearly establishes mankind as Creation’s superior.

The Bible presents man as the epicenter of God’s creative power and genius, charged with its mastery. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet (Psalm 8:6).”

This is by no means a license to abuse the earth and its creatures, but rather a sanction for careful responsibility in management.

Henry Morris addresses our sovereign assignment this way in his commentary The Genesis Record.

“The cultural mandate, as some have called it, is clearly a very expressive figure of speech for, first, intense study of the earth (with all of its intricate processes and complex systems) and, the, utilization of this knowledge for the benefit of earth’s inhabitants, both animal and human. Here is the primeval commission to man authorizing both science and technology as man’s most basic enterprises relative to the earth.”

It is the endowment of The Breath, however, that is key to evidential witness of the Divine. In my attempt to rationalize the uniqueness of The Breath, I originally posed that it must have been the particular exercise that made man eternal giving him the ability to navigate concepts beyond his time-space-matter existence (see Scripturosity article “Mankind – Favored Not Fortunate”).

But there was a flaw in that supposition. If death had not yet intruded the Creation (Romans 5:12), then all creatures would have had eternal intent in the beginning. What, then, did the breath of God uniquely signify of man in the “very good” Creation?

Genesis 2:7 chronicles that “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

There are two Hebrew words in this verse that warrant definitive clarity. The first is nephesh translated “living soul” here. This is the same word used to describe the compatibility of all creatures with earth’s biosphere. It has also been explained as consciousness. By biblical comparison and cross-referencing, it is technically referring to that which bleeds and breathes (see Scripturosity article “Plant-ing Seeds of Doubt”). The other word is neshamah which is translated “breath of life.” While all conscious creatures “brought forth” from the impersonal creative mandates processed oxygen from their environment for functionality, none of them received the neshamah – the breath from God. This was given only to man. One commentator referred to it as the Divine spark.

Could this blast of pure Spirit, while initiating the nephesh or conscious elements of his existence, also been the primordial endowment of man’s conscience – his unique co-knowledge with God?

Proverbs 20:27 articulates that “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

The young philosopher, Elihu defended his qualification to intervene by telling Job, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration (neshamah) of the Almighty giveth them understanding (Job 32:8).”

In the context of “the beginning,” John the Apostle wrote, “In Him (God the Son) was life; and the life was the light of men…That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:4,9).”

The great Apostle Paul wrote of a specific human reality that makes all men accountable before the holy Judge of heaven despite excuses of ignorance. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead: so they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).”

I propose that it was The Breath of God that enlivened man’s essence with the innate ability, yea necessity, to connect with the Divine. While man has a free will to act in harmony with or resistance to this conscience, God has, nevertheless, given every child of Adam’s race a divine nudge toward Himself. This is why all men are “without excuse (Rom. 1:20).” It is this internal “candle” or spirit-connectedness with the Creator that shines on the natural world and it’s First Cause.

My answer to the skeptic or seeker appealing to sense or reason in the pursuit or denial of God’s presence is that the evidence is within them. Every individual is endowed with a compass that points the way to true North – a candle to dispel the shadows of error.

The best evidence to the atheist that there is a God is the intellectual and emotional energy consumed in snuffing this inherent light. Be honest with yourself in a moment of sincere introspection and retrace your steps toward naturalism. How did you get here? Did you have to deny any premonition of purpose along the way? Did your intellect eventually overcome your conscience at the feet of academia (see Scripturosity article “Conscience and Intellect”)? Are you satisfied that you have not been influenced by agenda-driven zealots (see Scripturosity article “Intellectual Invention”)? Have you ever given yourself the intellectual latitude to observe and consider the evidence from a paradigm that invites the supernatural and aligns with your essence (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”)?

What it boils down to is the direction of one’s faith. Faith is not exclusive to proponents of the supernatural. Faith is requisite to a naturalistic cosmogony as well (see Scripturosity article “Answering Skeptics – Part 5”). The worldview disparity is not in the evidence, but rather in the axiom – the philosophical starting point from which the evidence is observed (see Scripturosity article “Fact and Theory”). Creationists presuppose the history of earth and humanity as chronicled in the book of Genesis; while evolutionists regard every observation through the notion of deep time and the doctrine of geologic uniformity (see Scripturosity article series “Deep Time Warp” – Part 1 & Part 2). These initial assumptions shape the direction of every interpretation. To decry faith is either open ignorance or pure hypocrisy.

Before one can reject a Creator or a redeeming Sovereign, he must first deny the very essence of his own humanity. Does God exist? Perhaps the better question is – Should anyone really have to ask?

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Sandy Hook

People all over this country and the world paused and looked on in horror as the details of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting began breaking across the air-waves just over a week ago. Unfortunately, when it comes to philosophically processing violent acts within the human family we are too well rehearsed, but this one was different – even for a school shooting.

In the course of a life or even a generation, there are influences, of the most profound nature, that cause us to reassess what we know and who we are. Nationally, we can point to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. But while these certainly live in our memories as days “in infamy,” they are easily contextualized as acts of war in the struggle over ideals and supremacy in the global theater. Events such as these do change life as it was previously known. We rally. We legislate. We awaken faith. The response is clear and unanimous. God is central to our restoration and healing.

Happenings such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary and our collective attempt to make sense of them are painfully distinct from other tragedies. The two glaring elements that set these apart from the others are the irrational depths of human depravity and our inability to deflect suffering from the most innocent among us. As with other tragedies, the bowed will not be broken. America will embrace its suffering. Washington will evaluate its role in a remedy. But unlike most, faith is cross-examined and God is subpoenaed.

An Associated Press article entitled “Questions of Why and How Fill Pews in Connecticut Town” represented the collective cry of the “postcard-perfect New England town” and the wonder of a nation: “How could a merciful and just God allow something like (this)?”

The media has reached out to clergy and religious leaders for answers, but the offered resolutions in this culture of correctness have been tremendously disappointing, philosophically unsatisfying, and biblically anemic. The AP article quotes Rabbi Shaul Praver who offered, “This is not an act of God. This is an act of a crazy man.” While I agree with the statement completely, it gets no one any closer to a right context of the brutality or the suffering. In fact, his answer can also be technically satisfying to the atheist. In the same article, Reverend Kathleen Adams-Shepherd counseled with a quote, “Not to give simple solutions to life’s tragedies like the school massacre. It is inexplicable in human terms.”

Why is it inexplicable? Why must seekers be left without clarity?

Answers like these are the unfortunate, yet predictable, destination of a theology that has compromised the primordial veracity of history’s premier text for credibility among conceptually “enlightened” dissidents. If the early chapters of Genesis are reduced to an allegory, then human nature, innocent suffering, and destiny become starkly incomprehensible.

But if we read Genesis as the historical narrative that it is (see Scripturosity article “How to Read Genesis” – Part 1), we understand that these present conditions in which we live were not God’s architectural intent (see Scripturosity article series “Innocent Suffering and a Loving God” – Part 1,   Part 2,   Part 3). The clearly favored pinnacle of the Creation Week, mankind, failed in his opportunity to reciprocate love to the Creator when he used his free-will to defy sovereign standard (see Scripturosity article “In the Beginning…Love”). Since then, the earth and its inhabitants have been navigating a detour of separation from primordial perfection known as the Curse (see Scripturosity article “The Curse of Eden – Part 3”). At the time of the sentencing following Adam’s offense, God engaged a plan to restore the intended fellowship and destroy the intruded evil – interestingly involving the “seed” of humanity (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”).

This prophesied “seed” was manifest when God entered our world as a baby in “the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4).” The angels declared to the shepherds that his coming would bring “peace” to the earth (Luke 2:14). We celebrate His coming this week at Christmas.

But if the “Seed-remedy” has come, then where is the peace?

First, the embodiment of peace did come to earth at that moment in history when Jesus was born. The prophet Isaiah forecast His coming calling Him “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).” For a moment, the collective “groan” of Creation was silenced in anticipation of immediate restoration. But as time moved forward, it was obvious that the grand renovation would have to wait. Peace was embodied on earth, but its perfected “increase” was still to come.

Secondly, His peace was not imposed with force from a palace without; it was to be instilled with faith from each person within. Christ explained to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you (John 14:27).” The world around us can rage in utter chaos as we live in perfect peace. This is why the great Apostle Paul was able to write of a “peace…which passeth all understanding” while imprisoned in Rome (Phil. 4:7).

Finally, total world peace is coming. At the consummation of all things, when the sin-cursed detour has run its course, the Creator’s original intent of symphonic symbiosis in nature (Isaiah 11:6-9) and perfect fellowship with mankind (Rev. 21:3) will be realized only a few mere millennia from His “very good” appraisal of the first earth. The Apostle John was given a vision of God’s ambition and wrote from Patmos, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new (Rev. 21:1,5).”

The unimaginable horror in Newtown is a stark reminder that nothing in the human condition has changed since Cain slew his brother Abel in the shadow of Eden. Today, just as then, humanity’s intrinsically fallen state is amplified and the need for a Deliverer confirmed. We can find context and direction from this history as so eloquently stated by the brilliant commentator Matthew Henry. “O that our hearts were deeply affected by this record! For we are all nearly concerned in it; let it not be to us as a tale that is told.”

Also see Reasons for Hope article “Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering,” written by Shari Abbott, Communications Director and author of the new book “Why the Butterfly?

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So far we’ve been able to identify a meaningful alignment with the most significant events recorded in the annals of earth and human history – Creation (Part 1), the Fall and the Curse (Part 2), the Flood (Part 3), and the post-Flood era (Part 4). The last of these is the world-wide Dispersion.

In the beginning, God blessed the first inhabitants in order that they might fill and discover His glory and provision throughout the perfect primordial landmass (Gen.1:28-31). After Creation’s canvas had been purged by the Flood, God similarly blessed Noah. The purpose of Noah’s replenish commission was to facilitate the reconciliation through the “Seed Remedy” (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”) and the restoration of Edenic fellowship. The command to “replenish” the earth was to ensure that the promised seed would be far less vulnerable to the certain assaults that would come from heaven’s archenemy and nemesis of mankind – Satan (see Scripturosity article “The Dark Cherub”).

When a vast majority of the growing populous chose (or were perhaps forced, in some cases) to follow Nimrod (see Scripturosity article “The Tyrant of Babel”) in defiance of God’s order, the Judge of heaven took preemptive action by confusing the languages at Babel and forcing the smaller language groups to strike out on their own in search of new and suited regions for settlement (see Scripturosity article “Human Diversity” – Part 1 & Part 2).

Notice in one of Job’s answers, a reasonably inferred reference to the Babel Dispersion (12:17-25). Job seemed to be aware of a divinely directed judgment that overturned the purposes of the powerful and influential through a language and understanding barrier (v.20). “He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man (v.25).” Try to picture the scene in and around the rising Babel Empire when God introduced the tongues.

It is worth noting that a number of the tribal names mentioned in Job are first encountered in the Genesis Table of Nations.

Uz (Genesis 10:23 w/ Job 1:1)

Sheba (Genesis 10:7,28 w/ Job 6:19)

Ophir (Genesis 10:29 w/ Job 28:16)

Ethiopia (same as Cush; Genesis 10:6 w/ Job 28:19)

Seba (same as Sabaeans; Genesis 10:7 w/ Job 1:15)

Another interesting association is in the mention of the hostile tribe from Chaldea in Job 1:17. In Genesis 11 (vv.28,31) Abraham’s childhood is connected to a place called Ur of the Chaldees. Some scholars speculate that Ur may be the satellite kingdom of Nimrod – Uruk called Erech in Genesis 10:10.

Concerning the limited mention or absence of some of the family tribes historically beyond the Table of Nations, Henry Morris gives this speculative assessment (The Remarkable Record of Job; p.32).

“In addition to the tribes and nations named in the early chapters of Genesis and those known from ancient secular history, many, for some reason (perhaps lack of ability or industry, degenerate habits, or disease), could not compete successfully and eventually died out. These most likely included ‘cave men’ and others now identified only by fragmentary fossils and crude artifacts and often mistakenly classed as evolving hominids or ape-men.”

While we will commit article content to the topic of cave men and the anthropological interpretations of evolving hominids at a later time, it is relevant to our introductory overview (and particularly the Dispersion) to note that Job makes mention of nomadic, and sometimes degenerate, cave dwellers during a couple of his responses.

“He (God) taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way (12:24).”

“They were driven forth from among men…To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in the caves of the earth, and in the rocks (30:5,6).”

Indeed, when we start with Scripture and assign the proper historical designation to discovery, the mysteries of science and nature are drawn more clearly into focus.

The evolutionary history of humanity is told as a fortunate yet unspectacular blip on our 4 billion year old earth. Jared Diamond, professor of geography at UCLA and acclaimed author, constructs such a context in his book The Third Chimpanzee.

“To place human evolution in a time perspective, recall that life originated on Earth several billion years ago, and that dinosaurs became extinct around sixty-five million years ago. It was only between six and ten million years ago that our ancestors finally became distinct from the ancestors of chimps and gorillas. Hence human history constitutes only an insignificant portion of the history of life.”

The author of a July 2006 National Geographic article entitled “The Downside of Upright,” Jenifer Ackerman, depicts the rise of mankind this way.

“Scientists are the first to admit that much work needs to be done before we fully understand the origins of bipedalism. But whatever drove human ancestors to get upright in the first place – reaching for fruit or traveling farther in search of it, scanning the horizon for predators or transporting food to family – the habit stuck. They eventually evolved the ability to walk and run long distances. They learned to hunt and scavenge meat. They created and manipulated a diverse array of tools. These were the essential steps in evolving a big brain and a human intelligence, one that could make poetry and music and mathematics, assist in difficult childbirth, develop sophisticated technology, and consider the roots of its own quirky and imperfect upright being.”

The Bible represents a far different history of humanity; one that has reflected a clear favor from the beginning. It is a detailed history of primal intelligence and development with a record of immediate communication, sovereign delegation, and absolute volition at the start (Genesis 2:15-17). The record is one of exponential inventive development from discoveries of first causation. The survivors of the Flood had the benefit of starting civilization afresh with this learned and applied knowledge from the lost world.

400 years later, Job offers some insights that reflect the advanced scientific appreciation of the world in which they lived. Interestingly and counter to secular anthropology, this was during a time when some men were still choosing to live in caves and whose remains have been misinterpreted as pre-human.

The evolutionary narrative requires that the cave dwellers of European and Middle Eastern paleoanthropological fame (aka Neanderthal) were a hominid convergent species that evolved separately from the modern humans arising from Africa (see Scripturosity article “Out of Africa”). Just as Johannes Kepler embraced a heliocentric model of earth’s movement because of the simplicity of motion and beautiful order, so is the biblical model human history superior to evolution’s tortuous tale of impossible probability. You really have to admire the faith of its proponents who insist, beyond reason, that a disregard of the sacred chronicles is somehow necessary for their intellectual credibility.

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge (The Creator – Job 38:2)?”

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  “Earth’s Age of Ice”

The next phenomenon referenced in Job that reflects on the earliest record of earth history as relayed in Genesis is the meteorological changes in the Post-Flood era.

The Flood not only rearranged the landmass with a massive redistribution of sediments, but it also tremendously altered the atmosphere and the way that the earth was affected by the sun.

In previous articles we detailed the evidences that suggest a time in earth history that point to a dramatically different atmosphere than the one we experience today (see Scripturosity article “The Longevity of the Ancients – Part 3”). The assumed mechanism for the optimal atmosphere comes from a study of the Day 2 expanse or “firmament” and the upper portion of its divided “waters.”

Dr. Henry Morris uses his scientific expertise in the field of hydrology (the science of the properties of earth’s water) to give some speculative insight into the antediluvian atmosphere in his book The Genesis Record

“Separated by this firmament, or atmosphere, the two bodies of water henceforth were ready for their essential functions in sustaining future life on earth. The actual process of separation was possibly implemented by converting a portion of the liquid water into the vapor state, perhaps through application of divine heat energy. The reactions so induced on the watery suspension also released the other gaseous components of the atmosphere, which became the ‘firmament’ holding up the lighter water vapor above…

A vapor canopywould have to be transparent in order for the heavenly bodies to ‘give light upon the earth’ and to ‘be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years’ (Genesis 1:14, 15). Water vapor, even in vast amounts, is invisible, whereas clouds, fog, and so forth, are composed of minute droplets of liquid water and are opaque (impenetrable to light).

Furthermore, a vapor canopy could be more easily maintained aloft and would serve much more effectively as a marvelous sustainer of vigorous life conditions on earth.”

Dr. Morris, professor of hydrology, mentions several implied, post-Flood environmental changes that would distinguish and define the new reality (The Genesis Flood, p. 211) – two of which are applicable to our current topic.

Following the Flood:

1) “The thermal blanket had been dissipated, so that strong temperature differentials were inaugurated, leading to a … buildup of snow and ice in the polar latitudes, rendering much of the extreme northern and southern land surfaces… essentially uninhabitable.”

2) “Tremendous glaciers, rivers, and lakes existed for a time, with the world gradually approaching its present state of semiaridity.”

Meteorologist Michael Oard encapsulates the relationship between the great Flood of Noah and the irrefutable evidence for an Ice age in his book entitled An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood (p.188).

The Genesis Flood provides the initial conditions for the ice age. Since the Flood was associated with extensive volcanism, a vast shroud of volcanic dust and aerosols would have remained in the atmosphere for several years afterwards (see Scripturosity article “Is Earth’s Fire Responsible for its Ice?”). Water for the Flood erupted from below the ground, in the “fountains of the great deep.” The hot water from the deep would mix with the pre-Flood ocean, which itself probably was relatively warm compared to today. The tremendous earth upheavals associated with the fountains of the deep, and the draining of the Flood waters, would have mixed the ocean water. Consequently, the ocean would likely have been universally warm from pole to pole, and from top to bottom, at the end of the Flood.

Cooling mechanisms caused by the Flood, in combination with a universally warm ocean, would result in a snowblitz, or a rapid ice age. Volcanic dust and aerosols would provide the main summer cooling over the mid and high-latitude continents, by reflecting a relatively large percentage of the summer sunshine back to space…Storm after storm would develop and drop most of its moisture over the colder land…

Due to the unique post-Flood climate, glacial maximum is reached very rapidly – in about 500 years. This figure is based on the length of time the controlling conditions likely operated. The main variable determining this time span is the ocean warmth, which made copious moisture available. Once the ocean cooled to some threshold temperature, the supply of moisture would critically decline, and deglaciation would begin…

The evidence for multiple ice ages can be adequately explained by one dynamic ice age. Just like modern glaciers, one ice sheet would advance, retreat, and surge, in accord with variations in climate (see reference to the Gamburtsev Mountain Range as evidence against multiple Ice Ages in Scripturosity article “Noah’s New World – Part 2”).”

This credible, scientific model is presented to offer context to the following passages.

Elihu apparently had some knowledge (perhaps experiential) of wintery weather when He attributed, “God thundereth marvelously with His voice; great things doeth He, which we cannot comprehend. For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth…Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given…(37:5-10).”

When God saw fit to end the dialogue of human reasoning with His own voice, He began with a series of questions designed to humble the listener and introduce His sovereign perspective and privilege. Twice He mentions conditions and phenomena that are associated with extensive atmospheric cooling.

“Hast thou entered the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail (38:22)?” The word “treasures” intimates a place of stored assets or a storehouse. In this case, the Lord may be asking Job if he had seen the massive ice sheets that were blanketing the regions to their north. Or His question may have been more toward his comprehension of the meteorological generation of such wintery features.

Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen (38:29,30).”

Concerning the Lord’s use of these cold weather references, it is reasonable to conclude that Job had personal access to the features described. This aligns chronologically with Michael Oard’s model of glacial maximum in 500 years. Isn’t it remarkable how the evidence finds harmonious context in the history documented in the Bible? To many, the perceived incompatibility is a tremendous obstacle to faith (see Scripturosity article series “Part 1-The Testimony of Christ” ;  Part 2 – “Confessions of Doubt”;   and   Part 3 – “The Integrity of the Whole”.

Believer, share your hope with confidence. Seeker, recognize that there is a legitimate, phenomenal axiom that can both appeal to your intellect and address your purpose (see Scripturosity article “The Gospel Message”).

“Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope (Psalm 119:116).”

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        The Flood

Not only do we find distinct references to Creation, the Fall, and the Curse, but the book of Job continues to amaze with specifics about The Flood of Noah’s day.

Keeping in mind the Genesis record of human debauchery and continual evil in the days preceding the Great Purge (see Scripturosity article series “Who were the Giants of Noah’s Day?” Parts 1,  2,  3), notice the following reflection in the third discourse of Eliphaz (22:15-18). “Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: Which said unto God, Depart from us…Yet He filled their houses with good things…”

Not only was knowledge of the Flood fresh, but it was established that the trigger was divine and that man’s wickedness was the reason.

How could Eliphaz be so emphatic about that?

Do you recall the setting that we established earlier (see Scripturosity article “Understanding the Book of Job” – Part 2)? The chronology places the events in the book of Job at or around 2,000 BC, which would be 300-400 years following the Flood. Noah lived 350 years after the Flood. Shem lived 502 years after disembarking outliving Abraham and dying when Isaac was 130 years old. The survivors from the lost world were undoubtedly revered (or loathed) figures in the rebounding population with tremendous respect and consideration given to their words.

It is easy to see how the Flood account could be so vivid.

Job, in particular, had an acute sense of the historicity of the Flood. We can make that claim based on his multiple references.

“He (God) is wise in heart and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains (intimating that mountains were a part of the created, antediluvian landscape), and they know not: which overturneth them in His anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place (intimating a different axial attitude), and the pillars thereof tremble (9:4-6).”

In this passage (vv.1-10) Job acknowledges both God’s creative exploits and His destructive force. It is His world; He can break it if He chooses to. “Who will say unto Him, what doest thou (v.12)?”

“Behold, He breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: He shutteth up a man (in this hydrologic, judgment context, this man must be Noah; Gen. 7:16), and there can be no opening. Behold, He withholdeth the waters (atmospheric and subterranean) and they dry up: also He sendeth them (the waters) out, and He overturneth the earth (12:14,15).”

Job’s point to his “friends” was that God has, in the past, chosen to set one man apart, uniquely, for the purpose of accomplishing that which is unprecedented. He did it with Noah; now God was doing it again with him.

He recognized that the post-Flood landscape was dramatically different from the topography of the early earth as a result of judgment at God’s hand.

“…by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (2 Pet.3:5,6).”

“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again…through the scent of water it will bud…As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not…If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come (14:7-14).”

Job uses the phenomenal retreat of the Flood waters and subsequent ecological rebirth to express his faith in a hope beyond the grave.

“He (God) hath compassed (determined the extent of) the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end (26:10).”

Job reflects on God’s promise kept since the time of Noah’s altar and takes comfort in His faithful maintenance on earth. “…And the Lord said in His heart, I will not…again smite any more every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (see Scripturosity article “Noah’s New World” – Part 1).”

 Job continues in his answer to Bildad (26:11-14) exposing the egotism and ignorance of the friends by highlighting the power necessary for Creation and the authority requisite for global judgment as merely “parts of His ways.” Simply put, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. He mocked their folly in claiming to be His worthy delegates (v.2-4). The sovereign dynamic that formed the mountain ranges and towering peaks has the right to demand humility of the creatures that inhabit them (v.12).

“He (God) putteth forth His hand upon the rock; He overturneth the mountains by the roots. He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; His eye seeth every precious thing (28:9,10).”

Job seems to have been aware of or conceptualized “run-away” or catastrophic plate tectonics as well as appreciated the destructive hydrologic flows that cut the deep, stratified canyons during the Flood-water retreat (see Scripturosity article “Noah’s New World” – Part 2). To Job, every phenomenon of nature was a signpost pointing the observer to the Creator/Redeemer.

With regard to the Flood and its signature left all over the earth, Henry Morris offers the following (The Remarkable Record of Job, p.28).

“The Noahic flood marked a great discontinuity (break from the established sequence), both in the course of human history and in the normal operation of the natural processes that God established supernaturally in the beginning. The rates of most geological processes (such as erosion, sedimentation, tectonism, and volcanism) were vastly accelerated during the year after the Flood. God finally allowed the Flood to run its course, after which all these rates gradually slowed, though much “residual catastrophism” persists even to the present day.”

The earthquakes and volcanoes that we experience today are reminders of when the Creator judged His earth “with the earth (Gen.6:13).” These are only remnant tremors and eruptions compared by magnitudes to the geologic events that continued to shake the earth beyond the retreat of the waters (see Scripturosity article “Is Earth’s Fire Responsible for its Ice?”).

When God finally breaks heaven’s silence in the discourse, He amplifies His authority in Job’s life by taking credit for an intimate management of the Flood; from its initiation to its cessation. “…Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb…and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hither to shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed (38:8-11)?”

His message to Job (and all that come across this record) was, “I am the God of the Flood; I’ve got a pretty good grasp of your situation.”

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