- The Christian and World History
The Bible vs. The World?
Genesis 1:1 says
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
But the world says
There is no God. Everything happens by chance
this certainly seems to place the Bible and the World in conflict
and it is true that they are
but where does this conflict lie?
Christian fear of World accuracy
why are Christians afraid of accuracy from the World
we do not want to accept its dating of events
we do not want to accept the age it gives to everything
we want everything to be newer than the World says
we want to interpret the Bible "literally"
so we are "afraid" of anything that adds to the age of the earth
being somehow convinced that it cannot be correct
but not knowing how to refute it
Is there a correct approach?
is this attitude either correct or good?
we should never be so afraid of God's inaccuracy
if we fear the World's accuracy
then we really do fear God's inaccuracy
God cannot make a mistake
we must have faith in him
not fear of his failure
but we can make mistakes
and our interpretation of what God says are not always right
can the planet lie?
can the earth itself "say" anything untrue?
no, but we can misinterpret it
- Taking Things Literally
Bishop Usher's Date
Bishop James Usher (1581-1656)
Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland
by counting backwards from known dates
using the lengths of lives given in the Bible
Usher calculated that creation happened in 4004 BC
some people have extended his count
and actually given it a date
this date was very quickly accepted as "truth"
someone would place it in the King James Bible
in the margin of the reference version
where it was given legitimacy and authority
simply by being there
The Geological Record
Scientists tell us that the planet is some 5 billion years old
and that Man has been roaming it for 100,000 years
in some form or the other
Running away from compromise
Christians don't want this to be true
so they have a tendency to simply ignore these findings
We want to take the Bible literally
but do we really know what this means?
is God really a bird?
so there are no rich men in heaven?
so we also want to understand it figuratively
but have a hard time knowing when to do which
Can Bishop Usher's date be wrong?
it assumes much about genealogies
Biblical genealogies are not just lists of people
they were also used to show perfection and intent
so they can be stylized
showing perfection through number
count the generations from Adam to Noah
count the generations from Noah to Abraham
We have a tendency to apply our standards to others
if we were building a genealogy, it would list everyone
so everyone who writes a genealogy must do it this way
but how accurate is this?
we misunderstand much in the ancient world
because we assume too much
- Give and Take
Where does truth lie?
who is right, Usher or Science?
or are neither correct?
how can one tell?
is there a test to apply or a fact to uncover?
or do we have to rely on faith?
in God or in Science
why do we believe that dates are proof?
why does giving something a date make it "true"?
or do they just let us believe more firmly?
good Scientists know their numbers are open to doubt
they put forward theories
and then try to prove them correct
sometimes they get it wrong
and then a new theory must be found
one which better fits the facts
sometimes it can be hard to give up a cherished theory
especially when the "public" has taken hold of it
and assigned it "truth" status
so Science is not infallible
and has never claimed to be
although some have claimed infallibility for it
Where does interpretation end?
an new breed of literalists has sprung up during the past years
they reject anything but literal interpretation of the Bible
and thus force Usher's date back on us
perforce, they must reject the world's dates
since their interpretation of the Bible does not allow them
but they have not provided much to refute the world
they would have us simply ignore it
but how can they tell?
God creates man (male and female) on the 6th day
as the ultimate creation of that day
much happens after Adam is created and before Eve is
Adam names all the animals
do you think this all happened in 2 or 3 hours?
as would be needed if "the 6th day" was 24 hours long?
what then is "a day"?
and how long were they?
or are they something else?
What do we reject?
we must reject those things which stand in opposition to the Bible
but first we need to be sure they actually do
and too often only our interpretation is wrong
What do we dare not reject?
we must NOT reject God
we must not reject the truth
even if it doesn't fit into our own theory of history
What does the Bible not say?
the Bible is not interested in providing accurate dates
for creation or for judgement
beginning or end
instead it provides an accurate view of God's involvement
and what he did
not a treatise on how he did it
and yet we seem intent on making it this
this is not the battle that needs to be fought
instead we need to understand the real battle
not a battle between Science and God
but a battle about God
- The Need to Deny
the World must deny originality to the Bible
or be forced to accept its God
so it says that the Bible is cobbled together from other sources
stolen from the Babylonians and other sources
the World must deny accuracy to the Bible
or be forced to accept its God
so it tends to look for other explanations for things
preferring them over whatever the Bible says
and the World refuses to accept God
so must find other ways to explain everything
- The Need to Defend
Christians running away
too much of our time is spent running away from the World
in fear that they might just be right
and our faith might just be wrong
Christians standing firm
but this is not and cannot be the case
our God is real
and never mistaken
we need to stand firm
even when it appears that the World has found Biblical mistakes
because they will NOT be borne out
they are NOT there
Time to turn around
it is time to get comfortable with History
because God wrote it