How many days did it take for God to create the earth?

June 15, 2009

1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Skip to verses 3 and 4.

“3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

Right from the very start we see that a day consisted of a period of light and darkness, a day as we understand it. Keep this in mind. It is relevant in the coming paragraphs. I’d also like to point out that the sun was not created until day four. Don’t get caught up in this. Light as a mechanism, property or whatever quantum mechanics defines it as today, was created on day one. The period of time did not change after day four when the sun and moon came into being. The same word is used for all six days of creation and the seventh day of rest.

I don’t want to go into all of the scholarly language theories of this, but the basic point is that the Hebrew word for day, “yom”, refers to a literal twenty four hour day. This is the word used to in Genesis to describe the days of creation. God created the earth and everything on it in six literal days.

I have heard many Christians ask, “How do we know what a day is to God?” And then they go on to quote a verse that says a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. This is from 2 Peter 3:8 and is not referring to how God defines time. Rather Peter is telling the church that just because scoffers mock us by asking where Jesus is in his return, we shouldn’t lose faith. What is it to God if he waits a thousand years for Jesus’s return? It’s going to happen because he said it would. This is why proof-texting is a bad idea. Every verse must be taken in context. In this case, simply put, the passage is telling us that God does things on his schedule regardless of our whims.

Another thing to consider, and this is purely a logical argument, is that God knows how to communicate to us. What kind of pathetic God wouldn’t be able to communicate with his creation? Certainly, that is not the God of scripture. Our God knows what words to use so that we understand him. It is obvious from the passge in 2 Peter above that 1st century individuals understood the concept of a thousand years. We know that ancient Egyptians understood the concept of millenia and Moses was raised in the house of Pharoah (Moses being the writer of Genesis). The point is that God could have explained the creation of the earth over vast amounts of time if he had indeed done so and they could have understood it. The fact that he chose a specific word that means a literal twenty four hour period speaks volumes. The gap or day/age theory doesn’t make sense in light of the context of scripture and what it reveals to us about the God we worship.

To rebut the carbon dating method or other radiometric systems that are used to date the earth (their inherent flaws aside), you need only consider that the earth was created with the appearance of age. God made a tree and then it was given the ability to reproduce after its own kind. The chicken came first and then the egg. There is no reason to believe that Adam started out as a baby and then grew to manhood. The earth as it was created was full of all the variety of geographical features. Mountains, valleys, and rivers were all brought about in the same instance as if they were there forever. It doesn’t take an artist years to create a mountain river scene with a brush and paint. Why would it take an all powerful God thousands of years to create a planet with the word of his mouth?

Some interesting things to think about.

Adam and Eve:

  • probably didn’t have a belly button
  • were never awkward teenagers.
  • didn’t go through puberty.
  • never had to find a date.

It makes you wonder how they were able to parent at all. I guess like us they relied on the grace of God.

The Warning Bell of Judgement

June 1, 2009

My fellow Christians, the warning bell sounded long ago and either we did not heed it or we were powerless to stop the wave of moral decay that has finally flooded the United States. It no longer matters if it happened because we were complacent or just overrun. The fact is that the iniquities are almost ripe and when sin is brought to full fruition God will judge it.

Our founders understood this very well. Far from being the deists that modern historians try to portray them as, our early leaders knew well that God is personally involved with the world and blesses or judges according to his Word. Thomas Jefferson feared God’s wrath upon the US because of slavery.

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!”

We paid a heavy price for slavery and to some extent we are still paying for it in the form of racial strife. The sins of today are great as well.

Abortion has become a sacrament of liberal philosophy and is exercised under the guise of freedom of choice when it is actually a sacrifice to the god of convenience in an effort to find absolution for ill advised activities. We have a President who as a state senator endorsed infanticide by voting for a law to mandate that when a woman chooses abortion the child must die even when the baby lives through the initial horror.

Sexaul promiscuity has infiltrated every facet of American life through increasing amounts of soft and hardcore pornography shown on TV and the internet. We’ve given sex education and passed out condoms until our children have been blinded to the responsibilities and dangers of sexual activity, thinking that their knowledge and a pill/patch or latex will make the experience free of consequences. Homosexuality is being pushed as mainstream normal.

Sloth has permeated our culture and fostered jealousy of those who work and produce the most. Those who refuse to work have ceded their liberties to the state, which is all too eager to take control, and made it their god. We who were charged with caring for our fellow man have either through apathy or forced removal not taken care of the poor as we should have. and our light that should shine brightly before men has been dimmed. The culture is losing its savor from a lack of salt.

Hatred for Christianity is on the rise. Increasingly, religious values are scorned and purged from society. Christianity has been labelled foolish and out of date. Bible studies are shut down using the arm of government even though it is a clear violation of 1st amendment rights such as the case from San Diego just last week where a Pastor and his wife hold a Bible study in their home, but were told to cease unless a permit was obtained. Let me say that we do not need to a permit to worship. Government is limited and does not have the right to deny free assembly or free religious exercise.

Our country has plunged headlong into a morally decadent culture of death, deviancy and once again slavery under the burden of a massive state that seeks to control every aspect of our lives which is equally as repugnant because it strips the human spirit of its power to enjoy the God given liberties under which our nation was founded.

So what are we to do? The future looks bleak and we seem powerless to influence the culture any further. I submit to you that we must persevere. The mistakes of the past cannot be undone, but we must humble ourselves before God Almighty and pray for strength in the coming days. Through prayer and bible study we must strengthen ourselves to engage the culture with the truth of the gospel. Whether judgement comes to the US or mercy abounds, we must persevere. Whether our liberties are stricken or a revitalization of the Judeo/Christian ethic bursts forth, we must persevere by holding fast to the promises of God through his Son Jesus Christ.

What’s the difference between a ghost hunter and a spirtual medium?

May 22, 2009

The answer is that there is no difference at all in terms of the main goal, talking to ghosts. One uses a crystal ball and the other uses modern technology, but the outcome is the same. Admittedly this is an over simplification. Spiritualists channel specific spirits for their paying customer and ghost hunters get paid to record and talk to ghosts for publicity.

In all seriousness, though, there is a reason that messing around with the paranormal is forbidden by God (insert reference) and just an all around bad idea. First of all, ghosts and spirits are not what most people think they are. Ghosts are not the souls of departed humans. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that “to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord”. At death our soul is instantly transported to the presence of God. I have heard the argument that maybe some souls have unfinished business or just aren’t ready to “go into the light”, but this goes against scripture. Likewise, those who die without a relationship with Jesus Christ, open up there eyes in hell just as Jesus says in Luke 16. Now whether  believe that the saved and lost are instantly ushered into final glory/judgement or held in Abraham’s bosoom/hades, the fact remains that the soul does not have the choice to hang around and haunt the living.

Ruling out departed human souls leaves only so many options for the paranormal activity we perceive. They are either unintended effects from taking a picture, spooky sounds created by natural phenomona like a creaky door opened by wind or in the imagination of those who want to separate you from your money with a promise speaking to a dead loved one. There is one more possible cause, demons.

We know that there is an unseen world inhabited by spiritual beings, angels and demons. As the bible says, angels are the messengers of God and are sometimes sent to protect us even though we aren’t aware. Demons, however, are the fallen angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God. Satan roams the earth as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour and often appears as an angel of light to deceive us. This type of haunting, caused by demons, is real and presents a spiritual threat to those that seek it out. Demons are liars and will twist you around until you don’t know which way is up. They can impersonate anyone they wish and their goal is to keep you from God.

The more you hunt the paranormal the more you ensare yourself in things you cannot possibly understand. What do you hope to learn from ghosts? Do you want proof of an afterlife? Do you want to find answers to spiritual questions? Or are you merely curious? All of these paths lead to spiritual danger as you travel further down an occultist’s path and away from the Holy Spirit of God.

If you are a saved individual under the blood of Christ, ask yourself if your time is better spent talking to demons whose only goal in the short time they have is to deceive you or in prayerful reading of God’s word that keeps you in His will.

This warning against ghost hunting also applies to astrology and horoscopes, tarot cards, ouija boards. None of these things have power in and of themselves, but they are an open invitation to Satan to deceive you and a breaking of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. Only God is qualified to guide your future. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are destruction”.  Do not let yourself be deceived.

Did Jesus want us to be against our parents and children?

May 21, 2009


34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

We have to take everything in context. The context of this chapter is Jesus telling his disciples that they will suffer persecution. In light of this he says that he has not come to offer peace but a sword or a divider and love for him must super-cede love for family and friends. In the US this is sometimes hard to understand because our culture was built on Judeo christian ethics, but think of a muslim who converts to Christianity. His family may very well hate him for it, maybe even cut him off, or worse, persecute him. Is this a reason not to follow Christ? What if the whole community turns against him, should he deny Christ then?

Jesus is stating that we cannot let family and friends keep us from Him. Of course we are to honor our father and mother as well as love our neighbor as ourselves, but this is never to be taken to the point of disobeying God. Therefore, we must be willing to give up associations that lead us away from Jesus.

Now this isn’t to be taken to the extreme either. You don’t cut yourself off from your family as if you were joining a cult. Rather Jesus is saying that because you follow him some people, even those closest to you, might deride or persecute you and we have to be willing to endure it for his sake.

“A servant is not greater than his master” John 15:20. He was persecuted and so will his disciples. If we truly love him we will endure.

Elijah the Tishbite Destroys Prophets of Baal

April 28, 2009

Prophet’s Name: Elijah the Tishbite
Miracles performed: Stopping the rain, raising a boy from the dead, Prophecy
Most Noted for: Defeating the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.
Era Served: Reign of Ahab and Ahazia (Ahab’s son) in the northern kingdom of Israel.

Elijah was easily the most prolific prophet since Moses, in term of national prominence and miracles performed. He appeared out of nowhere and directly challenged the wickedness of King Ahab and his Baal worshipping wife, Jezebel (yes, this is where the pejorative use of the name comes from).

How wicked were Ahab and Jezebel?

1 Kings 16:30-33 – Ahab worshipped Baal (a fertility god to which sexual and human sacrificial rites were performed) and did more evil in the sight of God than all the kings before him.

Kings 21:5-16 – Jezebel killed Naboth so that she could give his vineyard to Ahab and imprisoned or killed as many prophets of the Lord as she could. (1 Kings 18:4)

As the story goes, God sent Elijah to Ahab to tell him that because of his wckedness, it would not rain until Elijah gave the word. He didn’t give the word for three years and it culminated in one of the most dramatic displays of God’s sovereignty.

Elijah requests that Ahab gather all the people and the prophets of Baal on Mt.Carmel for a contest (1 Kings 18:19). The terms were simple: whichever god consumed a sacrifice laid upon an altar would win and be worshipped as God. It was God and Elijah vs. Baal and 450 prophets for the souls of Israel. Elijah let the 45 pray first. The bible says that they cried out for Baal to consume the meat laid upon the altar but there was no answer. They danced and cut themselves. All the while Elijah mocked their foolishness from morning until the evening when he finally put a stop to their vain attempts and declared it was his turn.

Elijah repaired the altar of God which had broken from neglect. He poured 12 barrels of water on it. He also filled a trench that surrounded the altar with water and then he prayed.

1 Kings 18:37-39 “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou are the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

Afterwards Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed.

This was a great victory, but Elijah soon found himself running for his life as Jezebel sought to kill him. He felt alone and isolated. It was at this low point that God told him of the seven thousand that he had reserved for Himself who had not bowed a knee to Baal.

Often after great victories we find ourselves in low, dark places, but take heart. God is sovereign and He is still in control.

Jesus Saved Me From Even 23 Minutes In Hell

April 1, 2009

 I recently came across a book about a man’s vision of hell and claims of being trapped there for 23 minutes, just so he could come back and tell us of its dangers. His account is sensational and tantalizing. Could it be that he is a modern day prophet appointed by God? After all God can and does still work miracles. Why couldn’t this man’s claims be true? It was at least worth a look.

I believe that miracles still happen today, but the Bible says in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Let’s put this spirit to the test with the scriptures.

There are many scriptures that cast doubt on Bill Weise’s claim to have to been forsaken by God, allowed to experience hell and return to reveal to us the danger, but Jesus said it best in Luke 16:19-31.  

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. [6] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers [7]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Basic point – If they do not believe Moses, the prophets, or Jesus – then they won’t believe Bill Weise. The issue is settled. There is no need for anyone to rise from hell to tell us it exists. Jesus has already revealed it to us and even if someone was allowed no one else would believe them if they didn’t already believe Jesus and the Bible to begin with.

If you want to know what one can expect in hell, read the Bible. If you want to escape it (keep in mind that it is the penalty of for breaking even one of the ten commandments), give your life to Jesus Christ. He paid the ransom with his own life to keep you from it and he arose on the third day to give you new life and an eternity in heaven.

Nathan – The Kinder, Gentler Prophet

March 25, 2009

Prophet’s Name: Nathan
Miracles Performed: None Recorded
Most Noted For: Coining the phrase, “You’re the man.”
Era Served: Reign of David and early years of Solomon 

 Most prophets in the Old Testament were fiery preachers warning of God’s coming wrath if the people did not repent. Prophets demonstrated Israel’s depravity and called the nation or an individual back to God using tactics ranging from lying in cow dung to slaying hundreds of cultists, usually accompanied by a miracle or two. Nathan, however, liked to let people down easy, at least that’s what he did with King David.

David’s adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11) was evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Samuel 12:9), and so the Lord sent Nathan to give him the message. Now Nathan was a long time confidant of David and it is always hard to be the bearer of bad news to those you love, so before Nathan told David of the Lord’s judgement (the death of the child carried by Bathsheba, the rebellion of his own children and constant war throughout his reign as king, 2 Samuel 12:10-12) he told the story of a rich man who stole a poor man’s only lamb (see 2 Samuel 12:1-4). David was so enraged by the rich man’s actions that he demanded he pay fourfold and said that he deserved to die. To which Nathan simply replied to David, “You are the man.”

In the end, David repented and lived out the consequences of his actions.

A lesson learned from Nathan’s encounter with David:

It is sometimes necessary to rebuke those with whom we are close, and when done with a loving attitude they may see the error of their ways and repent.

Although David still had to live with the consequences of his actions, because of Nathan’s allegorical story of his sin, he repented. The bible records that because of his repentance, David was not put to death and today we know David as a man after God’s own heart. That’s high praise for an adulterer and a murderer, but it shows the love of God towards all sinners and his willingness to “put away [our] sin” when we repent.

Where did Cain find a wife?

March 18, 2009

Cain is the first born of the first humans, Adam and Eve. His story is familiar to most. He offers an unworthy sacrifice to God and is chastised, while his brother Abel offers an acceptable one and is praised. In a jealous rage Cain murdered his brother. As a consequence he was punished by God, sent away and “knew” (had sex with) his wife.

There have been all sorts of crazy theories about where Cain’s wife came from, and most of them come from an improper reading of the scripture. Genesis 4:16 states that after Cain was punished by God, he left and dwelt in the land of Nod and there the Bible states in Genesis 4:17 that Cain “knew” his wife and she bore a son named Enoch. The assumption that most people make is that there were only 3 people on the earth at that time, Adam, Eve, and Cain, but this may not be the case at all.

According to Genesis 5:4 Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters and it does not specify when these children were born. Obviously the most logical answer from scripture is that Cain’s wife was one of his sisters or one of his sisters or a niece. As weird as that sounds to us now, keep in mind that God did not pronounce that as sin until the time of Moses. Genetic flaws began to bring about severe birth defects when the parents are too closely related. There are other reasons as well, but I won’t get into those here. The fact of the matter is that for humans to have continued as a species inter-marriage with close relatives was necessary.

In closing, to add to a previous point, the Bible does not say that Cain found a wife, only that he had sex with the wife he already had, who must have been a descendant of Adam and Eve.

Jews and Gentiles – Where do they come from?

March 5, 2009

This is one of those questions a new Christian might be afraid to ask when surrounded by those of us who have been well churched. Like me some believers did not attend sunday school at an early age much less receive a Christian education. In most cultures older individuals are generally considered to have more knowledge, but when it comes to spiritual matters age has little to do with it, and so I think that it is easy for believers and congregations to forget that newcomers may not have as great a handle on the basics that we do even though they are middle aged. Now to the question at hand. Where did Jews and Gentiles come from?

From Adam to Abraham there were no Jews. They are the direct descendants of Abraham and Sarah, his wife. God brought Abraham out of a city called Ur and promised to make a great nation out of him with children numbering more than the stars in the sky (I’ll get to that in a minute).  As the story goes, Abraham and Sarah were both well beyond child bearing years, but God miraculously helped them conceive a son, Isaac. Now Isaac had a son named Jacob, who was also known as Israel, and he had twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of Israel. So, Jews came from Abraham. Gentiles are everyone else who is not a direct descendant of Abraham. The question is why did God purposefully create a new nation from Abraham?

The simple answer is that he set aside a specific group of people for himself through which and for the purpose of bringing forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ. I mentioned earlier that Abraham was promised more children than there are stars in the sky. All those who believe in Jesus Christ are in fact the spiritual children of Abraham because of the faith we share in God. As the bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”. Followers of Jesus, a descendant of Abraham through the flesh, believe he is the savior and so righteousness is counted to us as well, though most of us are still gentiles.

One more interesting note. Abraham had a son previous to Isaac through a servant given to him by his wife. Ancient cultures were weird that way. That son, Ishmael, eventually gave rise to Mohammed and the faith of Islam. We don’t sin in a vacuum. Sinning does affect those around us. Abraham’s indiscretion still causes problems today between Jews and Arabs.

In conclusion, Jews are from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Gentiles are from everyone else, but all those who have believed upon the name of Jesus are members of the family of God.

Which Bible Should I Read?

February 9, 2009


If you visit the local Christian bookstore or other book retailer you are likely to find several different translations of the Bible. The most popular are the KJV (King James Version), NKJV (New King James Version), and the NIV (New International Version). Others include the ASV (American Standard Version), RSV (Revised Standard Version),  and somewhat newer in this same line of translations, the ESV (English Standard Version). So which one do you choose?

First, let me say that all of the translations above are valuable in my opinion. None of them are heretical and the same is true for some other versions not mentioned above, so don’t freak out if yours wasn’t mentioned. The test for any good translation is does it faithfully translate from the original languages: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. I know that some of you reading this are well versed in one or more of these languages and could find fault with any or all of the versions I have mentioned, but for those that aren’t you should know that those versions are widely used by very conservative theologians and you can trust them too. The variations between them are mostly instances of either using the word “boat” or “ship”. This isn’t to say that there aren’t bad versions out there because there are, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the above.

The KJV is by far the most popular and wide spread, but sadly it is also the most intimidating to read. Seventeenth century British English is not the easiest to read for most people and although there are many Christians and churches who fear a modern English version and claim that the KJV is somehow blessed beyond others ignore the fact that it is only a translation written six centuries after the fact. If we really wanted to be a stickler for absolute authority we’d all have to learn at least three ancient languages and even then we would fall short because we don’t have an original letter inked by Paul, just copies. I will give the KJV some credit in spite of its archaic language and admittedly poor translations at times (unicorn – look it up). It is the most beautiful to memorize.

The NIV came around in the 70s and does a pretty good job. You just have to realize that it translates using a method called dynamic equivalency. It translates the originals idea for idea and not quite literal word for word, which means that it interprets as it goes. Still, as I said, it isn’t awful or filled with heresy.

The “standard” versions, ASV, RSV and ESV are written in modern English and are very easy to read. For my personal devotions and study, I use the ESV. The precedent for reading the Bible in the current language comes from Jesus himself, who often quoted the septuagint, a Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament.

Within each version there are numerous types, such as devotional, study, men’s, women’s. These attributes merely reflect the extra bottom or side margin commentaries. The best advice I can give is find something you are comfortable with and read it.