You Must Believe Moses
Jesus clearly told the Jews in Jerusalum...
You Must Believe Moses to Believe Jesus
Jesus clearly told the Jews in Jerusalem that to believe His words, they first must believe Moses, when He said in John 5:46-47:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words.
Thus making no other conclusion available, i.e., the words, statements and concepts taught by Moses beginning in Genesis are basic to the teaching of Jesus Christ. To alter them for any reason in any way carries a significant penalty; notwithstanding, it also weakens or even negates the authority of Jesus Christ! Why is this so?
In the first place, Moses, himself, told Israel that they must not "add to" or "take away" anything he had commanded them (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32). Moreover, Solomon positively said:
Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6—emphasis added—also see Revelation 22:18).
The reason for this severe warning is simply to protect the integrity and authority of God’s word. In the case of John 5:46-47, to disbelieve Moses in Genesis is to also disbelieve the Creator’s own account of origins. People may quibble here, but this application of this passage is definitely a part of Christ’s warning to the Jews.
Bible Teaching and Accountability
The teaching of God’s word is a seriously important task, and must not be done for personal need, acceptance or human credibility. The true Bible teacher must simply lead students to the obvious verses throughout the holy text that provides explanation to the more obscure verses without contradiction or confusion. For God is not the author of confusion, as we all know, and neither is the sacred scripture available to private interpretation (I Corinthians 14:33; II Peter 1:20).
There are certain passages of scripture upon which other passages—even doctrines—depend. Thus their literal application is obligatory! This is obviously what Paul meant in I Corinthians 3:10-14:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (Emphasis added)
The reason Paul made this highly exclusive statement about Jesus Christ is because he knew Christ alone was the Creator. His Creatorship demands His ownership of all things. Most conspicuous of all is His ownership of TRUTH! Therefore, any vacillation regarding the accuracy of the Bible’s account of Creation carries in its wake grave consequences to the authority of Christ and the Bible. If real science, therefore, has actually proven the earth to be billions of years old and Noah’s Flood to be only a local event then Paul’s one FOUNDATION is cracked and faulty!
Genesis: The Bible’s Foundation
It is without dispute that all essential Bible doctrines are inveterately founded upon the truth and reality of Genesis 1-11. These eleven chapters form the bedrock for all of scripture, therefore, to allegorize, mythologize, or more dangerously—to harmonize these fundamental passages with evolutionary scientism—is all the same as a rejection of Moses’ account of creation, and their replacement with the opinion of secular scientists. But what does this do? It openly removes all of our conclusions and opinions from Christ as our foundation— beginning in Genesis—and shifts them to modern scientism. At that point, you willfully accept the faulty knowledge of man over the omniscience of God. Anytime you alter the clear statements of Genesis, these are the consequences!
The devil knows this and all of his disciples know this as well. Listen to G. Richard Bozarth, a self-proclaimed atheist:
"Christianity has fought, still fights and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ early life was supposedly made necessary . . . If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing . . .
What all this means is that Christianity cannot lose the Genesis account of creation like it could lose the doctrine of geocentrism and get along. The battle must be waged, for Christianity is fighting for its very life." (Emphasis added)
Bozarth understands what very few preachers and theologians understand. Even though true Biblical faith has never fought real science, nor has Biblical faith ever supported geocentrism, nevertheless, Bozarth does see the foundational value of Genesis One to the Biblical message of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
What About the Gap Theory?
This brings me to the point of this article. This past July 26, 2000, about 5:00 p.m., I was in our TV room flipping through the channels (I’ve got the rapid channel changing disease like most other men I know), however, as a religious program came into focus, the "speaker" (the Reverend Benny Hinn) was saying, in effect, "Let’s look at Genesis chapter one." I am always interested when someone is commenting on Genesis, so I paused the channel changing routine and listened to what he was saying.
I was not prepared for what I was about to hear. I sat shocked for forty minutes as this religious TV personality completely destroyed the literal words, phrases and concepts of Genesis One. The sad reality to all of this is hundreds of thousands of people follow and adhere to the teaching of this man. As a result, I must respond to his words and positions, because whether he intended to or not, he harmonized the Genesis account of creation with evolutionary philosophy.
To facilitate this paper I will, hereinafter, refer to the two men in the above mentioned TV program as the "teacher" (Rev. Bennie Hinn) and the "host" (Mr. Paul Crouch). I do not want anyone to think I am engaging in a personality assault, this is a matter of scriptural integrity—that only—because if I cannot trust the plain words of Genesis One, I really can’t trust the words of Jesus!
Why Harmonize the Bible at All?
The "teacher," I am sure is sincere and well meaning, and would not deliberately mislead anyone, especially regarding the scripture. However his attempted reconciliation of evolutionary chronology with Genesis is, nonetheless, devastating to Biblical reality for many reasons. Some might argue that this "teacher" was not trying to harmonize evolutionary time with the Genesis record, but rather he was just presenting the recognizable meaning of Genesis One (or at least his opinion of Genesis).
I could accept that as a possible motive for his unusual commentary except for two obvious reasons. First, the "teacher" turned to the "host" early on in his explanation, and said with emphasis, "The earth is billions of years old and this is proven by science." The conclusion being since this is proven by science, we must also prove it with scripture—at whatever cost! For a Bible believer the opposite approach must always be the case, that is since an idea is proven by scripture, science, to be correct, must follow its Creator. Second, he made all of his points as absolute truth, leaving no options. He approached this subject with great forcefulness, as if by some special revelation he had received this insight . . . And everybody knows that the gap theory has a traceable history. There is absolutely no historical accounting for this view before 1814. It was developed by Thomas Chalmers, embellished by C. I. Scofield and vindicated by Arthur C. Custance.
Nevertheless, the so-called long age affirmation of science was the only stated reason, in my opinion, for the entirety of this strange exposition. Without the immense evolutionary time frame he was attempting to legitimize in Genesis, all the rest of his corollaries would be totally unnecessary. In the first place, real science has not proven the age of the earth to be any particular value, and can’t! They say they have, but when carefully checked, the published "long ages" vanish. As a matter of fact, I recently heard Dr. Harold Slusher, a geophysicist from the University of Texas at El Paso, say, that the age of the earth has doubled every fifteen years for the last hundred and fifty years. Moreover, the central, tormenting theme to all alternative views of origins (including the day/age theory, the gap theory, the theistic evolutionary theory and the progressive creation theory), is the problem with evolutionary time. If the proponents of these extra biblical views had not been so convinced by the secular scientific community that the Bible could not be trusted to present an accurate chronology of the earth, the philosophical extremes to which they go in their commentary would be totally needless.
We need to ask: Can we not trust God to say exactly what He means? Did God really send Charles Darwin and his illustrious horde to explain Genesis to His body? Did Paul not say, " . . . Indeed, let God be true and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4)? Is there really an intermediate gap of time between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis
One that lasted for billions of years (especially, with absolutely no scriptural support or explanation)? Is there really a global flood mentioned in the Bible other than Noah’s Flood?
The conspicuous answers are: Yes, God said exactly what He meant! NO, God did not send Charles Darwin or anyone else to instruct His body—the Holy Spirit will do that if we will let Him. YES, Paul did say God must be true and every man a liar. NO, there is not a gap between verse 1 and 2 of Genesis One! NO, there is only one global flood mentioned in scripture—it is generally referred to as Noah’s flood (Genesis 7-8).
Faulty Reasoning Based on Evolutionary Time
Why, then did this "teacher" allege that Genesis One is the record of creation in verse 1 and the record of destruction in verse 2? He openly said, when you get to Genesis 1:2 everything is "a complete mess." He explained that all of this global destruction was the result of Satan being thrown out of heaven after his rebellion. Further, he said the earth became totally inundated by water, and then he added a twist I’ve never heard before, he said the water became completely "frozen," thus the first creation was thoroughly destroyed.
He further alleged that during of all this judgement in verse 2, billions of years elapsed. To complicate the matter, he said dinosaurs lived before the judgement, as well as a pre-adamic race of human-like creatures. He said this pre-adamic race became the demons of today (I’ve never heard that before either). Thus, he concluded, that between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3 there were billions of years, the original creation was destroyed with its dinosaurs and its pre-adamic inhabitants, and that Genesis 1:3-31 is merely the record of the re-creation or restoration of the earth. All of this, it seems to me, would not be necessary if this "teacher" simply accepted the Biblical chronology instead of the evolutionary notions about the age of the earth.
And the Earth Was With Form and Void
To justify this awkward abandonment from the literal words of Genesis 1:1-2, the "teacher" made a major stretch based on verse 2. First, he said the verb "was" (and the earth was without form and void . . . ), should be translated "became’, thus showing the "formless void" of the earth in verse 2, to be caused by some chaotic event, and not as the text intimates, a circumstance of the initial creation of the space/mass/time universe. It certainly seems obvious to me that the word "was" is the proper translation, and this view is the view of all standard lexical scholarship.2 Furthermore, only a casual overview of the major English versions of this verse reveal that they all use the word "was" and not "became" in the translation of this verse (compare KJV, NKJV, NIV, NEB, NAS, LXX, Moffatt and Amplified). Finally, the clear and lucid testimony of all major lexicons and grammars of Hebrew make the gap theory assertion on Genesis 1:1-2 grammatically impossible! Ultimately all major disputes in scripture are solved from two sources, the internal explanation within the scripture itself (i.e., interpreting scripture with scripture), and the lexical and grammatical rules that govern the original languages of scripture. To this end, there’s not a thread of scriptural support for this notion or any of its implications. Further, all major grammarians agree that the first clause of Genesis 1:2 (And the earth was without form and void . . . ), "is an explanatory, circumstantial noun-clause, describing a state contemporaneous with the main verb [which is the verb "created" in verse 1]."3 In other words, the only way the gap idea can be salvaged, is to force upon the scripture a grammatical pattern that the text simply does not support! This is a further testimony to the danger of harmonization of the Bible with outside ideas, especially ideas from secular scientists whose agenda is, in the first place, the rejection of God and His authority. All three clauses of verse 2 are descriptors of verse 1. In this light, Genesis 1:1-2 actually says:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and earth was formless and empty..."
It (the earth) was simply awaiting the remainder of the six creative days, at which time it became perfectly formed and habitable. Much ado about nothing!
Today, because the creation science community has successfully challenged the long age theories and their so-called support by radiometric schemes, the conclusions of uniformitarian geology have been thoroughly debunked! As a result, those who have attempted to reconcile Genesis with the geological age system of evolutionary scientism find themselves stranded on a rocky island without a bridge, compass or boat. We must always remember science is always changing, and the Bible will never change!
The remainder of the "teacher’s" commentary, because it rises or falls on the gap theorist’s view of Genesis 1:2, needs very little treatment. However, there are a couple passages that I must expound. The first of these is Jeremiah 4:23-26:
I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void: And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger.
The "teacher" used this passage out of Jeremiah to forcefully defend the following ideas (all of these notions are standard deductions of the gap theory):
From Verse 23
That the original earth (Genesis 1:1) was created without form and void, i.e., it was created complete in verse 1, and became chaotic in verse 2, and was recreated in verses 3-31 of Genesis.
From Verse 25
That a pre-adamic race and animals existed including dinosaurs which were also destroyed in Genesis 1:2.
From Verse 26
That the original earth was covered with plant life and the earth was widely populated. Their proof: the mention that cities (plural) existed and were all destroyed in Genesis 1:2.
This is the most remarkable example of "wresting" the scripture, I have ever observed (II Peter 3:16). When one takes a verse or passage of scripture out of context, it becomes a mere pretext! To understand what this passage means, all one needs to do, is read the entire chapter, especially the next verse (27). While the Holy Spirit used the same Hebrew words (without form and void) found in Genesis 1:2, it is unambiguously clear that verses 24-26 are not in reference to Creation, but rather are referring to the state of Judah and Jerusalem after the coming judgement that God had been describing to Jeremiah. Nothing more needs to be said!
In this passage creation is the subject, and because it is, it will need a little more explanation. The verse says:
For thus says the Lord, Who created (bara) the heavens, Who is God, Who formed (yetzar) the earth and made (asa) it, Who has established it, Who did not create (bara) it in vain, Who formed (yetzar) it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other.
This verse is essentially straight forward, and simply parallels the plain statements of Genesis One. The whole dispute is fomented around a quibble over the meaning and usage of the words "made" and "formed." The traditional gapists are bound by their explanation of Genesis One to make the word "created" (bara) mean original creation (verse 1), and the words "make" or "made" and "formed" to only mean re-creation or restoration (what they contend God did in Genesis 1:3-31). However, because they make this assertion on the words of Genesis, they have created an exegetical nightmare for themselves. In the first place, this idea is refuted right in Genesis One with the creation of man and woman. Note both terms are used interchangeably in Genesis 1:26-27:
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
In verse 26, "God said Let us make (asa) man." In verse 27,". . . God created (bara) man in His own image..." Then in Genesis 2:7". . . the Lord God formed (yetzar) man of the dust of the ground. . ." It is overwhelmingly clear—that is, if you have not deliberately put on evolutionary blinders—to make was to create both male and female. God formed man from dust, and He then took from man a "rib" (2:22) and "made" woman. The act of "making" and "forming" are both called in Genesis 1:27 to create (bara)! Moreover, when Genesis One is compared to Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6, the gap explanation of the words make, formed and create becomes hopelessly entangled in meaninglessness!
For your convenience I have included these two passages below:
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, The heaven of Heavens, with all their host, The earth and all things on it, The seas and all that is in them, And you preserve them all. The host of heaven worships you.
Some general facts about these verses are first that Exodus 20:11 is the fourth commandment, and was not only inspired into the mind of Moses by God, but was also written by God’s hand on a stone tablet, given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. With this in mind, read this commandment and compare it to what Jesus said in John 5:4647, and it becomes obvious that what Moses wrote in this verse, as well as in Genesis 1-11 is not the corrupt rambling of finite man, but is instead the inspired Word of the infinite Creator of everything, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So to take this commandment as a myth, as fiction, or as unscientific rhetoric, not only denies the entire Bible as being the inspired Word of God, but makes the ten commandments a laughing stock and more importantly strips all authority from Jesus Christ! Secondly these verses include the reality that God made the heavens, even the heaven of heavens, their hosts (all the stars), the earth and everything on it, the sea and everything in it, all in six days! Now if the gapist contention is true, and the word "made/make" refers only to a re-creation performed in Genesis 1:3-31, then you have the spectacle of the entire universe being destroyed by a catastrophe so huge that it obliterated everything. Yet the gap theory contends that the dinosaur fossils we find today are due to this event. This is simply not possible! A catastrophe of that magnitude would have left nothing–not even fossils!
What’s the Solution? Just read the Bible and believe it, just as it is!
Genesis 1:1-31 is the record of the creation of all things pertaining to life on the earth. Real history in real time begins in verse 1 of Genesis One and continues, nonstop, to the present, except for Joshua 10-:12 and II Kings 20:0-11. The entire work of creation was completed in six literal days, and Moses describes these events as wonderful acts of God’s creation and of His making and forming! Furthermore, it must never be forgotten that any death on the earth before Adam sinned (and the gap theory requires death before Adam’s sin), would hopelessly refute Romans 5:12 and I Corinthians 15:21-22.
We, therefore, need not to be dismayed at the strange looks of secular scientists, nor do we need to homogenize our thoughts with theirs. Let God be true and every man a lair!
G. Thomas Sharp Ph.D.