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Monday, July 25, 2011

"Failure to uphold any part of the Bible ultimately undermines trust in the whole."

I've been sorting through old papers and came across a special insert in one of the Answers in Genesis Answers magazines from last year. (Can't recall which issue. I removed the insert for future reference.)

The insert is titled "The Descent of Man" and suggests that Martin Luther held a pure view of Scripture: we are to "accept all of God's Word." Since Luther, however, men like Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Thomas Chalmers (1760-1847), and Hugh Miller (1802-1856) compromised their interpretations of various parts of the Bible so that, today, many "deny all of God's Word."

And the alleged steps in this descent of man?
  • Francis Bacon . . . "argued that the Bible is not needed to understand the world."
  • Galileo Galilei . . . "argued that one can interpret the Bible based on science."
  • Thomas Chalmers . . . "popularized the gap theory (millions of years passed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2)."
  • Hugh Miller . . . "popularized the day-age view of 'days' in Genesis 1.
As a result of these men's "compromise," the document urges,
Charles Templeton (1915-2001), once an evangelist alongside Billy Graham, later embraced evolutionary history over millions of years while attending Princeton Seminary; he died in unbelief.
And so, as the subtitle of the document declares, "Failure to uphold any part of the Bible ultimately undermines trust in the whole."

"Who are we to question God's account of creation?" asks the front cover of the document. "'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,' God says in Job 38:4."

And then, on the back cover: "Does God's Word trump man's ideas? -or- Do man's ideas trump God's Word? When faced with questions about current science models, many Christians place their faith in man's ideas above God's Word. Yet the search for understanding must always begin with God's Word. 'The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge' (Proverbs 1:7)."

Question: Do attempts to align what we might call "secular knowledge" with what we might call "spiritual" (or Scriptural) knowledge necessarily and unavoidably imply compromise?

Question: Suppose we "understand something wrong." Does that unavoidably imply that we are headed down the slope to unbelief?

Question (as asked before): Is Answers in Genesis itself compromised with unbelief, having permitted modern science to shape its understanding of what, prior to Galileo, was the incontrovertibly clear statement of Joshua 10? On what ground can they pretend they are not on the "slippery slope" to unbelief as Gerardus Bouw urges?

Question: The back cover says the search for understanding must always begin with God's Word. Must it end there as well? (Based on what else is said on the back cover, it sounds as if Answers in Genesis wants us to believe--and act on the belief--that the search for understanding must, indeed, end with God's Word as well. There is no room for scientific input into our understanding of Scripture. Indeed, from the AiG website itself: "Scripture interprets Scripture. . . . Scripture itself is our best theology professor in helping us understand and apply Scripture. . . . What to pray: seek repentance in your life for times when the words of men--even good men--have become more important to you than the Word of God."