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The Foremost Commandment and The Early History of the Universe

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Part I. Hearing Go

Every church minister categorizes doctrines. This is done for various reasons: to teach and preach first things first; to attain unity in core beliefs within a congregation; allow for diversity of opinions in secondary matters; or, to facilitate cross-denominational relationships.

The purpose of this article is to help the servants of the Lord to see that the classical doctrines of a recent creation, the Fall and the global Flood of Noah are essential Christian doctrines. The acceptance of early biblical history is essential to Christendom because unless we accept it we cannot fully follow the “Foremost Commandment” of the Lord.  A study of the Word of God clearly demonstrates this truth.

 What are the “first,” the “foremost” things that God wants from us? They were summarized by our Lord Jesus:

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel …’” (Mark 12:29)

It is amazing to see how many people start reciting the Foremost Commandment with “… you shall love the LORD your God ....” (Mark 12:30) In doing so, they omit a crucial part of the Commandment, the part which commands us to hear.

With the words “Hear, O Israel” we are charged first of all to pay special attention to the declaration that follows. This command “to hear” implies that we are to hear every word of God.

God speaks to us primarily through the Scriptures. In order to hear everything God wants us to hear, we must believe that His Scriptures are inerrant. Would you want to believe the Bible if you thought it contained errors? Would you want to believe the Bible if you thought it contained even one error? We would not. In our opinion, either the Bible is true from cover to cover, or it holds no merit whatsoever.

An unbiased and straightforward reading of the Bible plainly reveals that the earth and universe were created perfect, whole and complete about 6,000 years ago in six literal 24-hour days. After the creation week, Adam and Eve, the first human beings, disobeyed God; and, as a consequence of human sin, God introduced death and “The Curse” into the universe. In the days of Noah, 1,656 years after creation, God completely destroyed and reworked the surface of the world using a global Flood to accomplish the task.

We are fully persuaded that the first 11 Chapters of the Book of Genesis must be understood in no other way. These chapters are history, not allegory.

The evolutionary version of early earth history generally held by secular society, and unfortunately even by many Christians, is dramatically different. According to the evolutionist’s/theistic evolutionist’s version of history: the earth and universe are supposedly billions of years old; Adam and Eve are fictional characters, or smart apes; and, death has always been common. Accordingly, death was not the consequence of human sin and has been present in the universe since the first living organism came into existence. For them, a global flood is mythological; instead, according to them, there were merely multiple local floods throughout earth’s long history.

Obviously, these two histories cannot both be true at the same time. One of them is false, fundamentally flawed. Any and all attempts to stitch them together will never stand up to close scrutiny.

It should not escape anyone’s attention that the very existence of any alternative evolutionary histories provokes the people of God to consider them. In addition, these alternative scenarios are presumably backed up with scientific arguments, which may appear on the surface to be well-grounded and compelling. Thus, many Christians feel that they must consider, and even endorse, one of these various alternative evolutionary theories as acceptable within a biblical context.

What have many Christians done when faced with what they believe is a necessity to choose between the biblical view of earth history and the evolutionary view of earth history?

Although ill advised, they have decided that the Bible cannot be fully trusted and that they may determine for themselves where the Bible is right and where it is wrong. This is not what the Bible means when we are told “to hear” God. Such positions usurp God’s Word and replace it with human reasoning. They believe that human beings are able to determine what God “really meant” rather than accept what He “really said.” Such positions are idolatrous because instead of worshipping the one true and living God they chose instead to worship human reasoning.

These are people who claim to be believers of the Holy Scriptures, but have been deceived into “finding” nonexistent, imaginary, supposed millions and billions of years in the Bible. This is not hearing God. Using this kind of methodology anyone could “find” anything they wanted to find in the Scriptures, from little green people to King David being a homosexual. In fact, there is a Biblical definition for this method of interpreting the Scriptures. It is described as being used by those: “which corrupt the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17, KJV)

Some people have even turned away from the acceptance of the Christian faith because they found it intellectually impossible to believe a Book which, in their reworked opinion, had started off with fables. Many others have had their faith in the Bible seriously hindered by a similar thought process.

In general, we assert that while God calls His people to hear Him; the acceptance of evolutionary teaching has made them dull of hearing, or even completely deaf to His Word.

The issue of early earth history must not be avoided in churches. The evolutionary version of history effectively destroys the ability of people to hear God. It is the sacred duty of His shepherds to protect their flock:

“… Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth, ...” (1 Samuel 17:34-35)

Part II. Appreciating the Glory of God

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. (Mark 12:29)

After the words “Hear, O Israel” a gem of truth about God is revealed: “The LORD is one.”

Many people have thought that this statement concerned only the triune nature of God; a theological, academic, dry truth that, although being of utter importance, would not particularly stir anyone’s heart. This statement, however, is the first and foremost statement about God being like no one else: He is the one and only, there is no one like Him!

God invites everyone to try to grasp just how awesome He is and who He is in totality. The more we understand God’s greatness and His heart the more our minds and lives will be fashioned in the correct way. We are not to function simply by the knowledge of His correct principles for us, but also by a thorough knowledge of God’s heart.

The concept of God being “One,” that is “the One and only,” is to be found directly within one of His names. This is not readily seen by most people because in most translations of the Bible His name is substituted with the reverential term “LORD.” The word “LORD” stands for the original Hebrew “YHWH,” and is also known as the “Tetragrammaton.” YHWH is most often said to mean “I am Who I am.” Yesterday, today and tomorrow He is the “I AM.” He is outside of time; He is above all problems and obstacles.

God demonstrated to His people what His name, YHWH, actually meant while they were in a desperate situation in Egypt. In Egypt their life had not been easy; but, because their need was greater than ever before, God showed them a greater picture of Himself.

In ancient Eastern cultures names did not simply identify persons or places; they often conveyed specific prophetic information about the bearers of those names. The same is true of God. God revealed Himself to us using many names; each one of them conveyed a certain truth about God’s character, attributes, emotions and nature.

Following this pattern, and at the time of His people’s most bitter and terrible opposition, God revealed to them the meaning of His name YHWH. He did this to assure them that He was greater than all their oppressors and their oppressor’s so-called gods.

God’s name, YHWH, became His guarantee that He was able to do what He had promised them. God’s power was revealed in Egypt to assure His people that He was and is and always will be the all-powerful God, the God above all others, the unchanging God, in other words, that He is YHWH:

“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’” (Exodus 6:6-8)

As an experiment to demonstrate a spiritual truth; insert God’s real name instead of the substitute word “LORD” in Mark 12:29 and it would read: “Hear, O Israel, YHWH our God, YHWH is one …”

This statement is heavily laden with God’s glory! The name YHWH speaks of His indescribable greatness, majesty and glory. It is powerfully reinforced by the solemn claim that God is one, that He is like no other! Thus we may see that the Lord longs for us to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of His greatness.

On the other hand, evolutionary teaching works against such growth. For example, theistic evolutionists within the Church claim that God did not create the universe in six literal 24-hour days, but instead took billions of supposed years to complete the task. If you were to believe in an old creation, would this construct increase your appreciation of God’s power or facilitate your amazement of His abilities? In other words, would it help you see and appreciate His glory more? Hardly! Quite the opposite would be true.

As an illustration, consider paralleling the Genesis account of creation with runners racing around a track. We praise the runner who wins the race. The one who runs the fastest around the track receives the prize and glory. In the same way, the God who creates things quickly is more glorious than a god who creates slowly over imaginary billions of years.

When Dr. McMurtry stopped believing in evolution and concluded that creation in six literal 24-hour days was biblically and scientifically true; people would counter with: “How can you believe that God could create so quickly, in only six days?” After over 37 years of studying the Bible and the science supporting a recent creation; he has come to the point where now he asks the question: “Why did He take so long?”

The God of the Bible did not need to take six days to create the earth and universe. He could easily have created the earth and universe in only a fraction of a microsecond. God created everything in six days to give us a pattern that we are to follow: work six days and rest one day. Let us restate the obvious: the God who creates in six days is far more glorious than a god who would spend billions of years to do the same job.

Evolutionary beliefs deprive God of His glory, which is an intolerable offence against God:

“I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another …” (Isaiah 42:8)

“If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” Says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.” (Malachi 2:2)

Praise and worship teams are a common feature of many contemporary local churches. Creation-science ministries are also “praise and worship teams,” because the teaching of creation from both a biblical and a scientific basis helps people to see God’s glory shining brightly throughout the universe, and therefore ascribe to God the glory that He deserves.

At Creation Worldview Ministries we help people to see what they are looking at:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)

“… Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”  (Isaiah 6:3)

Part III. Loving God with all your mind

“… ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” (Mark12:30)

When we have fellowship with God we can experience a wide variety of emotions, but loving God is not simply having an emotional experience. If we love God then we will attempt to align every aspect of our life with God’s commandments, laws and ordinances: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:21)

To love the Lord with all our mind means to align our thoughts with God’s thoughts as revealed to us in the Bible. All our starting assumptions, thinking processes, conclusions, decisions, etc., should be subject to the supreme authority of His written Word. No area of our intellectual life may be an exception to this general rule, including our science.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of God’s people have had their minds shaped and trained to think independently from the Word of God. Many people did not grow up in believing families, and therefore they have inherited a non-biblical way of thinking. This is the case for the vast majority of Christian believers in the countries of the former Soviet Union. There are also those who have accepted the basic truths of the Gospel and have been saved, but they have never truly “conformed” their minds to the whole counsel of God.

Whatever their exact thought processes may be, what they need is help to get through a process of re-training and re-generating their minds. They need teachers in order to learn and accept the truth of which they have been previously deprived of; and, they need help in order to learn how to operate strictly within the framework of the Word of God.

It is crucially important to understand that science, as any other area of intellectual activity, should be subject to the Word of God. To be more precise, if scientific observations allow for a number of possible interpretations, those interpretations that clearly contradict some obvious Biblical truth should be rejected out of hand. This is called The Berean Method of proof. (Acts 17:11)

For example: all scientists observe that there are sequences of layers of sedimentary rocks in the earth’s crust. They also observe that some of these rock layers contain various fossil organisms. Historically such sequences of fossil bearing rocks have been interpreted in one of several ways: either, as the result of a recent creation followed by a global flood; or, the result of any type of theistic evolution; or, the result of a progressive creation; or, the result of long term naturalistic evolution. Any of the various forms of theistic evolution, progressive creation or naturalistic evolution are flatly contradicted by the Biblical account of a recent creation as recorded in the Book of Genesis; therefore, these three interpretations must automatically be ruled out.

As another example: from time to time evolutionary believing anthropologists find the bones of what they think appear to be human-like organisms. Then, these evolutionists will claim that those bones probably, maybe, might have, belonged to some pre-human, sub-human ancestors of human beings.

The Holy Scriptures reveal that the entire human population of the earth started from a single couple named Adam and Eve. According to Genesis and other passages of the Bible, Adam was not born from a woman but he was hand-assembled by God from the dirt that God had previously spoken into existence. Eve was made from living material that God had removed from inside of Adam. Therefore, on the grounds of Biblical revelation about the origin of human beings, the interpretations that use bones to support the various ape-like-creatures-to-people hypotheses should be discarded. Some people may think that such a position is not intellectually acceptable; nonetheless it appears to us to be the right approach to the scientific endeavor.

Historically, the rejection of the authority of God’s Word has led to the development of secular science in which there is no higher authority than what our eyes see, what our hands touch and what our intellect thinks. Over time this materialistic view of science has grown and enjoyed hearty acceptance. It has matured and become the major support for furthering the rejection of the Word of God.

Yet, the existence of the evolutionary materialistic form of science is not the worst evil being propagated in society. What is worse is that some Christians have been charmed into believing that science should not be subject to the authority of the Holy Scriptures. This false concept is sold inside of various wrappings. For example: some people say that the Bible and science simply talk about different spheres and that they do not overlap; or, that the Bible allegedly talks about purely supernatural truths, while  science talks about purely natural truths. These ideas are espoused by those who believe in a dual revelation of Scripture rather than a single revelation.

In spite of the diversity of such arguments, they all have the underlying assumption that human intellect is able to determine what is true and what is not true without any help from above. This assumption is wrong. This is the same fallacy that led Adam and Eve to the first human sin. As a result of the original sin, the entire universe is suffering degeneration and death. Just think: you are going to die physically (should the Lord tarry) because of this fallacy!

It is not always easy for the people of God to get over this hurdle in their thinking; that science is not an independent or self-sufficient way of determining the truth. What happens when science is wrongly elevated among Christians to become equal to, and even as authoritative as, the Bible?

In modern times, secular materialistic science has become much more than just a sophisticated method used to improve the quality of life. Today, it is claimed to be able to provide answers to the fundamental questions of life. These answers would include: where did people come from; where are they going; why are they here; and, how should they behave while they are here. If secular science alone is believed to be the self-sufficient means of determining the truth about origins, the people of God are going to be severely tempted to compromise the revelations of God with a patchwork of purely human ideas.

The correct determination of the history of the universe is important and this is why there are fierce attacks by materialists, atheists and other “-ists” at the truthfulness of the creation account found in The Book of Genesis. There are few other areas of human endeavor where the contradictions between the Bible and materialistic evolutionary science are so strong and so evident.

If anyone gives mental consent to the abandonment of an inerrant interpretation of the creation account, that God created everything in six literal 24-hours days, then they will enormously devalue the Bible and erroneously exalt materialistic science.

If God’s Word is devalued either individually or corporately, Christians will turn to secular science instead of toward the Bible to find the answers to the many important questions of life; and, they will lock their minds up in a prison of fallible human thoughts. If there is mental assent that the Bible is wrong in such fundamental matters as the origins of the universe, life and man; Christian leaders and teachers will fail in their role to demonstrate why everyone should base all their thinking upon Biblical revelation.

Today there is ample excellent science to demonstrate that the inerrant creation account found in Genesis makes much more sense scientifically than any of the evolutionary scenarios. We believe that an excellent way to help Christians to line up their opinions with God’s opinions would be to study the early history of the universe in churches, from both biblical and scientific perspectives. Creation Worldview Ministries exists to do just that. CWM helps believers in Christ to overcome the allegations of secular materialistic science that contradict the Scriptures. CWM helps them to love the Lord with not a part, but with “all their mind.”

Part IV. Loving Your Neighbor

“... and the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:31)

If Christians really have love for non-Christian people, then they should make every effort to help them to commit their lives to the Lord Jesus. While some people come to believe the Gospel easily, others are hindered by various obstacles to their acceptance of the Gospel. At the top of the list of obstacles to faith in the Gospel is the acceptance of evolution. What should we do about this hindrance? We have to remove it.

“… Prepare the way for the people; Build up, Build up the highway! Take out the stones, Lift up a banner for the peoples!” (Isaiah 62:10)

It is not enough for us to merely lift up a banner. A highway must be built and the stones must be removed. It is not always sufficient for someone to merely hear the Gospel in order to come to faith. What is often required is for Christians to remove the obstacles to faith, the stones that would otherwise cause people to stumble.

Charles Darwin did not invent the many existing theories of evolution. Various theories of evolution had been conceived and debated for thousands of years prior to Darwin. The Christian Church has had to deal with the scientific aspects of an evolutionary worldview for two thousand years. The people of God will have to continue to fight the evolutionary worldview until Jesus returns.

Each generation of believers is instructed to live and serve Him as if He is coming back within their lifetime. Yet, He might tarry, just as He has done until now. We are told to actively occupy until the Lord’s return. If we do nothing to train and equip new generations of Bible believing disciples, scientists and educators, who understand that the foundation of Christianity is the Doctrine of Creation, then evolutionists will continue to enforce their false worldview upon the global society.

Far too many members within the Body of Christ confine their vision to only the here and now. They are unwilling to invest their time, effort and money into something that will not bring them immediate results. Even when people are willing to take the long view, they consider science as something irrelevant to their mission of bringing the nations to the obedience of Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. The correct position is that science is an essential tool in bringing the Nations to Christ.

“... and they will declare My glory among the nations.” Isaiah 66:19 ((NAS95)

The glory of God is seen within the world He created. Using science, coupled with an inerrant Bible, we may clearly demonstrate the glory of the Creator-God. When we neglect science, we are in danger of hiding the glory of Christ from the nations instead of declaring it!

Part V. Loving Your Children

When Jesus answered the question about the foremost commandment, He referred to a passage from Deuteronomy Chapter Six. In the same Chapter right after the words Jesus quoted there is another instruction of ultimate importance:

"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NAS95) [Emphasis added]

Although these words are not directly included within the “Foremost Commandment” their inclusion is implied. The children of Christians have an advantage of growing up in a family of believers. Therefore, it is possible for them to correctly form their worldview from their earliest years. Christian parents have the responsibility and opportunity to teach their children the truth of the Bible and Creation Science, showing them that the former and the latter are perfectly harmonized because they have the same Author.

If Christian parents properly fulfill their role in doing this, their children will not only be protected against falling away from the faith because of materialistic supposedly “scientific” counter-evangelism. They will also be prepared to fulfill within their lives the “Foremost Commandment”!

As an illustration of the truth of this reasoning, let me [Ilya] share a personal experience that made me become very serious about protecting my children.

I have three children. My then two and a half year old son, Lev, and I once played in a nearby church playground. A boy came with a beautiful leather soccer ball. Lev had never seen one like it. A chance to play with a real leather soccer ball made him utterly happy; his eyes were sparkling; and, his mouth was open in adoration.

Lev and I enjoyed playing with the terrific ball for a while, but then suddenly it bounced from my foot directly under a rocking swing with two boys sitting on it. The metal swing must have weighed 40 to 50 pounds.

The next thing that happened was one of the worst moments in my life. Lev stretched out his little hands toward the marvelous ball and rushed toward the swing about 10 feet away. Normally he obeys me when I tell him to stop. Chasing him as fast as I could, I yelled to him, “No, Lev, stop!!!” To my horror, he did not stop. He was so captivated with the ball that he wouldn’t stop. He was already at the ball when the swing came down and hit him on the head.

A thought flashed through my mind that this accident might have killed him. The momentum of the swing caused Lev to be tossed up into the air. He fell under the swing and began screaming. Within a second I had plucked him up from under the swing and laid my hands on his head. I fired off a very short prayer:  “Oh, Lord, in the name of Jesus!” Then I tore off his cap to see what had happened to his head - and saw nothing wrong: no blood, no goose-egg, not even a bruise.

My wife and her parents are medical workers. We knew what symptoms to look for to determine if Lev had suffered any skull or brain damage. It was not possible to take him to a hospital right away, so we decided to watch his condition closely and to call the hospital to send an ambulance only if it were necessary. Lev continued to behave normally, as if nothing had happened. At home he played, had lunch, went to bed and slept for three hours. When he woke up, I decided to carefully examine his head to see if there were any lingering effects from the blow; but, the only effect of the accident was a very small bruise behind his left ear.

I have no explanation to the fact that he survived this accident except that either the Lord Himself, or one of His angels, put a hand between Lev’s head and the swing in the instant that he received that terrible blow. I praise the Lord for having manifested His glory and grace towards our family! Nevertheless, it was three days later when I started recovering from the shock.

This incident caused me to think about why it had happened. On the surface, the reason was quite obvious: it was my fault, because I was the one who had let him play near the rocking swing. However, I came to the realization that the true reason was far more subtle. My primary problem was a false assumption: I had thought that since Lev was the child of believing parents, nothing like this could happen to him. I had wrongly assumed that God would take care of Lev’s safety even if I was negligent about it. I realized that it was because of this incorrect assumption that Lev was playing next to the swing.

I came to realize how wrong I had been. It is true that God in His grace can and often does make up for our mistakes even though we may not realize it at the time. We are not allowed, however, to presumptuously neglect our God given responsibilities. One of our responsibilities is to take loving and watchful care of our children. In fact, we, as parents, are the very instruments that God chose to keep our children safe! So, to hope that God will somehow do a job that He commanded us to do is to hope in vain.

I continued to catalog the additional lessons that I would learn from this event. It did not take long before I understood that there were lots of “rocking swings” that our families face every day. Therefore, I need to warn my children about the hazards that they pose and to teach them so that they would not be injured by any of them.

One of the dangerous “rocking swings” that they will encounter in their lives are the various theories of evolution. Evolution kills! Just as a swing can hit the outside of the head and kill physically, evolutionary teachings can hit the inside of the head and kill spiritually. If I were negligent about keeping my children safe from the theories of evolution; believing that they would never depart from the Christian faith by accepting evolution, that God would not allow it; then I would be putting my children in the gravest of dangers!

This truth applies to pastors, teachers and other ministers within the Church, too. There are many “rocking swings” out there! The shepherds of the Lord’s flock are not to have a gullible hope that Christians, especially recent converts, children or youths would somehow automatically be safe. The acceptance of evolution’s false philosophy takes its deadly toll daily. Every day evolutionary philosophy reaps its harvest of souls, those that were unprepared for combat. Those souls that have not been instructed in their local churches concerning the true early history of the universe, from both a biblical and scientific point of view, are in mortal danger of their eternal future.

Conclusion


Maybe you thought that the message of the first eleven chapters of the Bible, unfolding before us the history of the world from the point of its creation, is of secondary importance. Maybe you thought that science is not the Church’s business. We hope that we have helped you to see that without a belief in, and a proper understanding of, those first key chapters it is impossible to fully obey the First Foremost Commandment that Jesus declared to everyone in Mark 12:28-31.

   
   
         
   
   
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