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The Bible and the Natural World

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

This parable is unique to Mark (Mk.4:26ff.). What does it mean?

Sincerely,

Response #1:

It's similar in nature to the other "growth" parables (as with the mustard seed and the leaven in the flour). The meaning is, whether we look at one individual believer or the entire Church, that the power of God and His truth causes growth in ways we cannot see or anticipate or properly quantify or document using human means; but just as "growth happens" in the case of a seed – even though we may not be watching – so "growth happens" in the case of believers, individually and collectively, when they respond to the truth. This also demonstrates that "church history" is not what the secular world thinks it is; the true history of the Church of Jesus Christ is written on the hearts of all believers since Eden who have responded to the truth, lived their lives for the Father and the Son, and produced a good "crop" as a result.

Keep growing, keep progressing, keep producing for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hi Bob,

Most people today aren't farmers, but my parents grew up in a heavily agricultural society. Nearly every farmer will tell you that the black mustard plant is perhaps one of the nastiest weeds in existence, because once it is planted, it is nearly impossible to uproot, because every uprooting disperses its small seeds across the field.

What Christ is saying is that nobody is going to remove the kingdom of heaven, and that every attempt at persecution will only seed it's future growth.

Response #2:

It's an interesting observation. I'll be sure to include it the next time the topic comes up.

For what I have posted about it, see the link: "Parable of the Mustard Seed"

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #3:

What do you think of this quote?

"The day before, Jesus had put a curse on a barren fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19), causing it to wither. This was a prophetic sign that God would set aside Israel because of their refusal to accept Jesus as their Messiah. The fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel (Hosea 9:10; Jeremiah 24:1-10; Joel 1:7; Luke 13:6-9). The next day, Jesus calls the fig tree to mind and says, "Watch it. When it blossoms, all these things will happen.""

Is Jesus referring to the same fig tree in the gospels?

Response #3:

They are different (one literal one figurative). When our Lord gives the fig tree analogy, it is clearly meant to instruct us that the signs of the second advent will be clear. But applying the other analogy, I think it is also true that this figure envisions the blossoming of Israel again during the Tribulation, a sure sign that the Great Tribulation is right around the corner.

Who's the quote from?

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:

How do you view the grafting in Romans 11? Is the olive tree Israel or is it the promise of the blessing to Abraham, Jesus Christ?

Response #4:

Good to make your acquaintance. In verses 11-15 of Romans chapter eleven, leading up to the olive tree analogy, Paul is directly contrasting Israel to the gentiles. When the tree comes into the discussion, the gentiles are still being addressed and are directly contrasted to the group broken out of the tree. So it seems to me very clear from the context that Israel is the tree into which the gentiles are grafted, with those branches "broken off" representing the unbelieving Jews of Paul's day.

I can understand, however, why some would wish to go to rather great lengths to avoid the obvious teaching here inasmuch there is a general misunderstanding abroad in evangelicaldom today which makes an incorrect distinction between "Israel versus the Church". In fact, since all who are saved from Adam and Eve to the last person to believe before the resurrection are raised collectively as the "Body of Christ", all of us are "the Church".

Israel, however, has a special place in the plan of God with the result that those of us who are not of the physical seed of Abraham are "grafted in" as opposed to being naturally a part of the family of God. This priority of place given to believing Israel is perhaps most vividly evident in the description of the New Jerusalem, our eternal home, wherein we see the twelve gates / neighborhoods of the eternal city identified with the twelve tribes, and there is good reason to accept that this represents/reflects the eternal organization of Christ's Church.

The above is a brief pcis of some rather involved issues, so I invite you visit the links below for more details:

Israel: God's Perfect Standard (in SR 5)

Dispensations and the Composition of the Church

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II

Israelology, Anti-Semitism, the Remnant, Gentiles, Lost Tribes, and Jewish Myths

The Gates of the New Jerusalem

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

Did the ancient Israelites believe that the Earth was flat? It is common among professional historians to assume that prior to the Greeks that every civilization in the ancient Mediterranean world believed that the earth possessed the topology of a flat disk, but I am not convinced, for instance, that the mathematically sophisticated Neo-Babylonian empire would have no clue whatsoever that the Earth had a circumference.

Also, while we're on the subject of ancient Israelites, apologist and analytical philosopher Randal Rauser shared his experience reading a book about the Pentateuch and the history of Israel, and concluded that the history of Israel, while bloody and quite violent, is the greatest epic ever told, far passing that of Homer.

Sincerely

Response #5:

The picture of the Old Testament is that of a round earth (where the issue comes up), but it is important to add that the Bible is not a scientific textbook. Here's a link on this point:

Does the Bible Ever Describe the Earth as Being Round?

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2016, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi, Dr. Luginbill

I don't know if you've heard of this, so I wanted to tell you about it and hear your thoughts.

In high school, I was taught that the zodiac, the constellations, the stars tell the story of the life of Christ. I was taught that the constellation "Leo" represents the lion of the tribe of Judah, Orion represents Christ; Pleaides, the group of 7 stars, represents the 7 churches in Revelation; "Virgo" is the Virgin. I can't find anymore information about connecting zodiac/constellations with Christ, other than what I was taught. My teacher said that this is because they've been fulfilled; which is also why mankind no longer looks to the stars for guidance, as they did in ancient times. He did tell us that Josephus wrote that the prophecy written in the stars was passed down from Adam, but I haven't looked into this.

My teacher told us he got his information from his mentor, Dr. Ernest Martin. I used my notes from my teacher's class, as well as information from Dr. Martin's book http://www.askelm.com/books/book003.asp which can be found on this website http://www.askelm.com/star/star003.htm.

I believe that what I have been taught is correct. This is from Dr. Martin's book The Star that Astonished the World:

"In the Book of Revelation we find four living creatures that surround the heavenly throne (see also Ezekiel 1:4–28). Scholars recognize that the faces of these creatures (like that of a lion, an eagle, a man and a bull) denote the four main seasons of the zodiacal year. These are equated with Leo the Lion, Scorpio (an eagle with a snake in its talons), Aquarius (a man bearing water) and Taurus the Bull. 19 The tribes of Israel were positioned the same way around the tabernacle in the wilderness. 20 Leo, representing Judah, was directly east of the entrance to the temple and it was the beginning sign for the Hebrew Zodiac. The other three principal tribes were located 90 degrees from each other in a circle around the sanctuary forming a zodiacal design. And besides that, in another section of the Book of Revelation, the apostle John saw a sign in heaven of a woman ready to give birth to a manchild who was to rule the earth with a rod of iron. 21 This woman had the Sun clothing her and the Moon under her feet. There can be no doubt that this was an astronomical symbol showing the time of Jesus’ birth. 22 When the apostle John said he saw a "sign in heaven," the word "sign" in Greek is the precise word used in ordinary Greek literature to refer to a zodiacal sign."

Scripture References to the Stars and Constellations:

It is clearly stated in Scripture that God put the stars in place to be used as signs

Genesis 1:14. 14
And God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,

Your translation of Psalm 19:1-4 makes this astoundingly clear.

(1) The heavens recount the glory of God, and the firmament tells of the work of His hands. (2) One day after another pours forth [His] words, and one night after another declares [His] knowledge. (3) There is no tongue or culture that cannot understand their voice (i.e., of the heavens/firmament). (4) Their design has gone out into (i.e., "is visible throughout") the entire earth, and their words to the end of the world.

My teacher told us that this passage is usually used as evidence of natural revelation. Not only does it support this, but it also seems to be saying that the stars themselves are communicating a message. They directly and indirectly "pour forth His words" and "declare His knowledge." They "have a voice," which I think you also wrote, but I can't seem to find your exact wording.

There is nowhere on earth where the stars can't be seen; the story of the Messiah is "visible throughout" and able to be understood by all.

It is evident from scripture that the stars have names, which God gave them

Isaiah 40: 25, 26.
25 "To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Psalm 147:4
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

Direct references to the constellations which God named

Job 9:9
He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.

Job 38:31
"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?

Amos 5:8a
He who made the Pleiades and Orion,

Dr. Martin wrote that in this passage, Joseph is comparing the 12 constellations of the zodiac to himself and his brothers:

Genesis 37:9-10
9 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me." 10 So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?"

Christ's Birth: a Sacred Time Marked by Celestial Activity Prophecy of the star seen at Christ's birth

Numbers 24:17a
"I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob;
a scepter will rise out of Israel.

The Magi saw a clear indication of the Messiah in the heavens

This is a short video of the astronomical events which may have gotten the attention of the Magi:

http://www.askelm.com/video/real/xmas_star.htm

Matthew 2:2
and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

Thus, the Jews were without excuse when they didn't acknowledge Christ as the Messiah, for his star and the constellations were evident throughout the earth.

Romans 10:17-18,
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

Thus, rather than the zodiac foretelling our future, it tells the story of the Messiah. From the very beginning of creation, the life of the Messiah was written in the stars.

More information about the Star of Bethlehem can be found here

http://www.bethlehemstar.net/setting-the-stage/why-are-we-hearing-this-now/.

I pray for you when I think of you! Be gentle in reproaching me, as our Lord would be. I mean no harm! And I don't believe my teacher did either, for he is one of the reasons why I seek the truth so earnestly. I hope you're doing well.

In His name,

Response #6:

Good to hear from you. I hope you are enjoying a well-deserved rest after a long college year of studying.

As you have correctly discerned from your visits to Ichthys, astrology (in any form) is something I can't recommend or accept in any way. I always start with the Bible and let the Bible lead. While I rejoice whenever Christ is preached even wrongly (Phil.1:18), this particular approach is inductive rather than deductive; that is to say, it starts with premises and then looks to the Bible to support them (rather than allowing truth to flow from scripture). If a person takes that approach, it becomes not impossible to prove almost anything with the Bible (at least in one's own mind). So while I am happy to explain, rebut, or otherwise elucidate in future any of the examples you include here, I'll consider just the last one for purposes of illustration.

The star of the Magi cannot possibly have anything to do with the physical stars we see in the heavens at night. That is because it when it moved it did not do so according to any pattern of celestial mechanics (and all astrology is based upon predictable movements of planets and stars, from our earthly perspective). The Magi who saw this prominent star hanging low in the sky over Israel knew immediately that it was absolutely different from any actual "star" for that reason, so that therefore it had to be the sign of the Messiah. Also, the star actually led them directly to Bethlehem and to the very inn where Jesus had been born. Now no actual "star" can behave in that way. This was a miracle fulfilling a prophecy; it wasn't anything that could have been predicted or understood or explained through astrology (or astronomy). For more on this, please see the link:  The Star of the Magi (in BB 4A)

So the "times and seasons" that the constellations help us to track are just that: we navigate by the stars and we chart the seasons by them. But they do not contain any secret information. Scripture says nothing about that at all (and there is nothing substantive to be derived from the fact that stars and constellations had names in ancient times so that the Bible is aware of and repeats some of these names); so in my humble opinion, while this may seem an innocuous interpretation, it might be very dangerous in leading anyone who finds value in it deeper into the practice of trying to find specific messages in natural phenomena. As Paul says about such practices:

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, (Gr. ta stoicheia, a term which includes the stars) whose slaves you want to be once more?
Galatians 4:19 NASB

Gnosticism and related Jewish mystery cults put great stock in the stars, and it led many to perdition. It is true that natural revelation is an important thing; God has clearly put the stars in place to show us that there is a Creator who has organized all things according to a precise plan . . . so that men might seek Him out and be saved through Jesus Christ (Acts 17:24-29). But as to specific details or predictions along the lines of the things astrology "preaches", that is, anything beyond the revelatory knowledge of Him, His existence as the Creator and His just and all powerful nature, there is nothing to be had from the stars (and it could be very dangerous to seek such things out).

I hope you will receive this message in the spirit of love in which it has been conceived. As I say, I'm very happy to talk specifics if you wish. I'm only looking out for your spiritual welfare.

Thanks you so much for your prayers! I'm keeping you in mine day by day as well.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Thank you for responding so quickly!

I don't think the stars have any greater meaning or power than God's word (I don't look to the stars for answers), but I was convinced that He might have used them in this way. I won't let this teaching lead me astray. But can we talk specifics? 'Cause at first I thought my teacher was crazy, but Psalm 19:1-4 really convinced me that he was right about the stars.

Thank you for such a kind response

Response #7:

You're most welcome. As to your further question, Psalm 19 is indeed a wonderful passage for demonstrating natural revelation, the fact that basic truths about God, His existence and His power and His perfect character, are clearly evident from the creation He has made. Here is how I translate the first four verses you ask about:

(1) The heavens recount the glory of God, and the firmament tells of the work of His hands. (2) One day after another pours forth [His] words, and one night after another declares [His] knowledge (i.e., knowledge about Him). (3) There is no tongue or culture that cannot understand their voice (i.e., of the heavens/firmament). (4) Their design has gone out into (i.e., "is visible throughout") the entire earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4a

This is completely consistent with what we find Paul saying in the book of Romans:

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Romans 1:18-21

So the question is, what is the "message" that the heavens "pour forth" for all mankind? The answer, as the Roman's passage makes clear, is the existence and nature of God, "His eternal power and His divinity". Psalm 19:1-4ff. does not say anything about the gospel, nor does it say anything about the specifics of the "message". The "message" is one that no reasonable person can deny, namely, that the wonders of the physical universe, their magnitude and their organization, prove beyond any doubt the existence of an all-powerful Creator, One who is so completely concerned with every detail of His Creation that He must be absolutely just as well. This is what unbelievers need to know. Life teaches us that we will die, that we are sinful, and, with the benefit of the natural revelation which Psalm 19:1-4ff. describes, that we will face this just God when we depart life. That is powerful motivation to make our number one priority in this life seeking Him out, if perchance He might have a way for us to be saved from the death and judgment that otherwise obviously hang over us all.

(24) The God who made the world and everything in it, He is Lord of heaven and earth. He does not dwell in man-made temples, (25) nor is he waited on by human hands, as if He needed anything from us. He is the One who gives us all life and breath and everything else. (26) From one man he created all the nations of mankind – that they should come to inhabit the whole face of the earth. He fixed and determined the specific times and extent of their habitations, (27) to the end that they should seek out this God, that they might go in search of Him and so might find Him – for His is not far off from any one of us.
Acts 17:24-27

But being "not far" does not mean that He has already given us the gospel in the stars (or anything else beyond the natural revelation of His existence and fundamental essence). After all, Paul, after saying this, works his way around to the resurrection. He is concerned with sharing with his audience (who realized what he says here is correct) the gospel of Jesus Christ – without accepting which specific truth (the Person and work of Jesus Christ) – no one can be saved.

If you would like to know more about all this, I do recommend the section in BB 4B Soteriology about "natural revelation" (please see the link).

So I'm not finding fault with you – it seems to me obvious that you have approached this subject with a reasonable amount of care. My concern is to head off the evil one using this (in your case) minor chink in the armor for exploitation (we all have chinks in the armor from time to time). I'm also not suggesting that you disrespect or argue with your teacher about this; I just believe that it is a very dangerous road to go down, and one which is most definitely not encouraged by scripture in any way (the key passages concerned being rightly understood).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Thank you again for your kind response. I wish I could be as helpful to you as you are to me. I know the Lord can bless you in better ways than I could possibly imagine; and isn't that encouraging! Before I understood that, I used to be afraid of heaven 'cause I didn't know what to expect. But Matthew 7:11 really helped. And now I just think, "What a silly thing to be afraid of..." Unbelievers know how to give their children good gifts; how infinitely greater our heavenly Father's gifts will be!

On a completely (but not entirely) unrelated note, how come the star seen at Christ's birth couldn't have been an actual star? I'm resisting the urge to send you a list of roughly ten thousand questions 1) because I don't want to burden you even more and 2) they seem to be answering themselves after reading the Bible. I'm still not entirely convinced that the stars weren't put in place to tell the Messiah's story. When I was a child, I was taught the names of the constellations, and I wondered why and how they got their names. I didn't think much about them since, until my teacher taught us what he believed about them. I think the passages in the Bible makes it clear that God marked them out and gave them their names. I think it's such a grand and beautiful idea to think that God set the giant clock that is the stars to declare His glory and the coming of the Messiah. And I don't want to say that this "seems like something He would do," 'cause that seems like such a human thing to say (as if I understood God). But if anything, this would not be used by the devil to weaken me. I'm taking this "with a grain of salt" I suppose (am I using that phrase correctly?)

I hope you get some well-deserved rest from the One who has given us the greatest Gift of all!

In His name,

Response #8:

You are very welcome, and please feel free to write me any time.

As to the question of the star of Bethlehem, it is true that the ancients regarded any celestial body which could be seen (and was neither the sun nor the moon) as a "star". But this particular star was seen to be hovering over a certain place, and then moved to another place low enough in the sky that it could be tracked to that particular place with the naked eye. We can call it a "star" since the Bible does – and I certainly didn't mean to imply that it wasn't one – but it was significantly different in its behavior and consistency from any other star anyone has ever seen. So it cannot have been something someone without knowledge of the Bible would have known about or would have been able to predict. It was in essence unpredictable and behaved that way as well.

Where do the names of the constellations come from? Not from the Bible. There are a few mentioned in scripture. One finds the "Pleiades" and "Orion" in Job 9:9; 38:31 and Amos 5:8. But these are English translation attempts to figure out what the Hebrew references probably refer to. Important to note here is that the meanings in Hebrew are definitely different from that of the Greeks as reflected in our English translations: e.g., for "Orion", the Hebrew may mean Arcturus, Venus, or may be generic for "bright star" – etymologically it ought to mean "fool" (the only thing certain is that it has nothing to do with the Greek hunter of mythology, Orion). So even in those few places where scripture does refer to known constellations, there is apparently no relationship with the astrological regime of the present day "zodiac" taught by astrology. And if that is true of the basic names, it is certainly true regarding any relationship between the stars and any aspect of human history.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Doesn't Revelation support the concept of environmentalism?

"The nations were angry, but Your wrath has come. The time has come for the dead to be judged and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets, to the saints, and to those who fear Your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:19)

I don't see any reason to take this verse figuratively, or to suggest that the word "earth" does not literally mean "earth."

Response #9:

The "earth" in Revelation 11:18 is the Greek word ge, which in Revelation can mean the land of Israel specifically, or more often "the entire world" (as we would say), as opposed to "the earth". Notice how those two words are quite different in their connotations in English, with "world" referring more to people as the focus, and with "earth" tending more towards the physical planet. It is the former sense in which ge is mostly used in Revelation:

The whole world (i.e., "all people" [ge]) was astonished and followed the beast.
Revelation 13:3 NIV

People, after all, are part of the earth as much as plants and animals and ecosystems are, and from the divine point of view (and the source of this quote you mention is coming from heaven), people – and especially believers – are the most important part of "the world". Destroying the world, therefore, is more than bad environmental policy. Indeed, in the context of the Tribulation the destruction of freedom and the ruination of the world economy is much more significant, with the most significant thing from the divine point of view being the Great Persecution. With the restrictions imposed by antichrist and with the rapid depopulation resulting from the various tribulational trends and judgments, the damage that people do to the environment during that time is likely to be significantly less than it is today, though not as a matter of policy. That said, I greatly suspect that antichrist will be an environmentalist, since that is a wonderful way for him to gain political support in the early going and also to garner more power in the mid term before his control becomes total.

Environmentalism as it exists today in its left-wing political form is a kind of religion which places more value on species which come under its wing or even on inanimate things than it does on human life and well-being. That is a sick notion, biblically speaking, and a sure harbinger of the end times. As a former boy scout in my youth, I have always been a conservationist. The main principle of that creed is to enjoy the outdoors but to make sure that you leave it just as pristine as it was when you arrived. Environmentalism, by contrast, wants to use the force of the state to deprive most of its citizens of the right even to enjoy the outdoors (environmentalist themselves being the exception), and to eradicate any exploitation of natural resources whatsoever regardless of whether or not others who are not as wealthy as the environmentalists will then starve or freeze to death. Right up the beast's alley, no doubt.

Here's what I write about this verse in CT in loc.:

Finally, the vengeance about to fall upon all involved in committing, aiding, or abetting the Great Persecution comes in for special mention. Christ's impending return will result in the literal destruction of "those who are destroying the earth", a phrase with primarily moral and spiritual implications, referring in particular to all who have been responsible for the martyrdom of those who remain faithful to Jesus (rather than referring exclusively to any physical or environmental damage to planet earth proper; cf. in Rev.19:2, the whore Babylon "who was destroying the earth by her excessive prostitution", that is, destroying it in a moral and spiritual sense; cf. Is.14:18; Hab.2:17; Rev.6:7-8). This includes Babylon, the beast, the devil, his angels, the nations and those from the nations who participated in Satan's evil plan to eradicate the faithful and the seed of Israel from the earth. So we see that just as they did prior to the opening of the book with its seven seals representing the beginning of the Tribulation proper (Rev.5:8-10; albeit in this earlier instance they do so in company with the four living creatures), here too the twenty-four elders are performing a special hymn of worship to memorialize the importance of the 7th trumpet, the event which marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation even as it heralds the imminent arrival of the Kingdom and its King who will vindicate His own on the dawning of the Great Day of the Lord.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Genesis 1:29 makes it clear that food were fruit and herbs, a vegetarian world where predators didn't exist and animals weren't afraid of man.

It is obvious that God made the herbivore dinosaurs, but what about the carnivores? One theory is that the Nephilim and fallen angels, in their genetic engineering and attempt at wiping out pure mankind's DNA to prevent the Saviour from coming, also meddled with animals and created all sorts of abominations. T-Rex for example, is a chicken + crocodile.

Response #10:

As to vegetarianism, we know that antichrist will make use of dietary restrictions as part of his false religion (1Tim.4:1-3), but nothing edible should be refused on the grounds that is unholy now that our Lord has cleansed all foods (Mk.7:19).

For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
1st Timothy 4:4-5 NKJV

For comments about the pre-Genesis gap world, please see the links: 

Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs II

Dinosaurs III

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hallo guys,

Hope you doing well. Matter of 2 fishes. According to the one source of my information it was grapes not fishes that were multiplied. Up to 100 years after Messiah's death scripture refer to grapes and was replaced with fishes deliberately. Do you have may be more information regarding this? According to this source we not actually suppose to have any meat although mentioned in Leviticus.

Regards,

Response #11:

Good to hear from you again, my friend. This is a new one on me! I would be interested to know where you heard/read this. What I can tell you is that there is not a sliver of truth here. The story of the feeding of the 5,000 occurs in all four gospels; and in all four gospels we have "two fish" (the synoptics using the word ichthys, from which comes "ichthyology"; John using the word opsarion, from comes which the Modern Greek word for fish). I was unable to find any textual variant for any of these passages. In other words, the text is as sound as any passage in scripture, and the fourfold repetition makes the matter beyond certain. Moreover, "100 years" after Christ's resurrection would have been at least half a century past the conclusion of the canon of scripture – but several centuries before there was anything like a unified church-visible organization along the lines of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. Simply put, there was no way one group or single person at that time, no matter how wealthy or powerful, would have been able to change every manuscript of the gospels, by now distributed around the Mediterranean world and beyond – and already having been translated into a number of other languages. In fact, no one would have had any idea at that point where all these mss. even were. If there had even been an alternative (wrong) view on this, it would have left some evidence (but there is no such evidence, at least not that I could find, and I have been dealing with these issues for going on forty years). If I might speculate, this is probably a very crude attempt to "vegetarianize" the Bible. Not only is that a dangerous sort of thing to do, trying to change scripture for one's personal ends, but it is also a predicted characteristic of the end times (cf. Col.2:16-23; 2Tim.3:5; Heb.13:9):

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1st Timothy 4:1-5 NIV

Whereas the biblical view on this matter is quite clear: 

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
Genesis 9:3 NIV

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1st Timothy 4:4-5 NIV

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.
Hebrews 13:9 NIV

"Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
Mark 7:18-19 NIV

See the links:

Characteristics of antichrist's religion

Vegetarianism and legalism

Meat is fine, but without blood

Feel free to write back on this.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Master,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Thanks for the quick response.

The information was gathered by Pastor Ben Denoon. Him and his wife devoting their life's to correctional usage of scripture. I did made cross reference to one of my very old books and what he had in his possession was the correct one. I also had other copies of that specific book and they don't correspond. Book of Enoch.

I tried to communicate with him, but so far unsuccessful. You guys are the only ones that really does respond. The rest I don't get much from. I am also currently reading about your information on Satan's fall and angels. How do you start studying on your own? Which part in the Word do you start with. I was reading Ezekiel 17 this morning, no clue what that is all about. how do you go about to make sense of the information. This is just an example.

Time is short. We don't know how long information will be available and I want to make use of this opportunity as much as possible. So when things get bad and one get isolated, still can continue.

It's so nice to finally be able to find people that want to help and assist.

Much appreciated and thanks.

Shalom

Response #12:

You're most welcome.

The so-called "Book of Enoch" is a pseudepigraphical work; that is, it is not divinely inspired and should not be taken seriously by Christians. For more on that, please see the links:

The Prophecies of Enoch

Jude and Enoch

Issues of Canonicity: Apocrypha, Enoch, and Inspiration

On the issue of self-study, first, along with prayer and constant daily meditation on the truth (cf. Ps.1:1-2), all Christians should read their Bibles (see the link). However, this is not enough to grow spiritually, make spiritual progress, and prepare to help others do likewise. The Church is a Body composed of members, each of which has its own special role in aiding the growth of the whole. None of us is independent of the other. In order to grow, every Christian needs to access a good, solid, orthodox teaching ministry which provides spiritual "food" in a substantive enough fashion to be able to grow. Ideally, this is what the local church "does"; realistically, in our present Church era of Laodicea, lukewarmness is the rule, so that finding such a ministry based in a local church is a rarity. This is the reason for and the origin of Ichthys.

I certainly don't discourage my fellow believers from acquiring tools, whether personal skills (as in learning Greek) or books or the like (lexicons, Bible dictionaries, etc.); but no matter how many tools a person has, everyone still needs a teacher. Even prospective teachers, that is, those men actually gifted by the Holy Spirit to teach Christ's Church, also need teachers until they themselves acquire all the necessary tools needed to teach as well as the spiritual maturity and experience in the Word required to do so effectively. Once they can feed themselves from the Word, they can start feeding others.

There is a lot about every aspect of these various topics at Ichthys (since this is all very general I invite your perusal of the "Previous Postings" of email Q/A and also the Ichthys "Subjects" index at the links), and stand ready to field your questions about substance or process.

To that end – of spiritual growth, drawing closer to Jesus Christ through His Word and earning the rewards that accrue to spiritual growth, progress and production – you are certainly welcome to all the resources at Ichthys. This ministry is not everyone's "cup of tea", and so I certainly don't mean to imply that it's the only way (I also highly recommend Pastor Teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy [at the link]). But every Christian does need to give primary allegiance to one teaching ministry or another, once said ministry has proven reliable and profitable "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2Tim.3:16 NASB). Only the actual truth actually believed can benefit us and produce growth. Things that are not true (e.g., anything from apocryphal or pseudepigraphical works or anything made up or stemming from incorrect interpretation) and things which are true but not accepted as truth (e.g., anything we personally have a hard time accepting, even though it's true) cannot be used by the Spirit in the process of bringing us to maturity and beyond.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

In 1st Corinthians chapter eight it seems to me that Paul is talking about those who, like Daniel, abstain from all meat because they do not want to risk eating foods sacrificed to idols. I don't know about what were the connotations behind "vegetarianism" in Paul's day, but it seems to me that those behind the modern movement are very different from those in the society wherein Paul was writing those letters.

As a classicist, do you know of any pagan movements contemporaneous with Paul that thought the killing of all sentient life was "not good," or outright sinful? I know Pythagoras thought this, but he was considered to be a bit of a weirdo in his time, not unlike Diogenes (my favorite Greek philosopher!)

Also there is this: "The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel [with the emphasis of callousness toward the emotional state/welfare of their animals]." (Proverbs 12:10) Animals are not more important than humans, but God created them with both emotions and needs, and if someone is motivated to abstain from all animal products in the interest of avoiding preventable suffering, I would take that as a sign of the fear of the Lord being present, not wickedness. There must have been a reason why God did not permit the eating of animal meat in the Garden of Eden, after all.

Response #13:

I think in Daniel's case while that was one issue, there was also the issue of wishing to avoid any possible violation of the dietary code of the Law (hard to know for certain on that one if one is not personally "in the kitchen" inspecting things). I would imagine that the "meat" served in Babylon to the prospective candidates included pork and possibly other non-Kosher things.

There was no meat-eating in Eden, true, but the trees bore everything necessary without effort – and even if there were an outright prohibition, I notice that the one regarding the tree of knowing good and evil didn't stop Adam and Eve. Since Noah (Gen.9:3), there's nothing wrong with eating meat. In order to eat meat, killing animals is of course a necessity, but that also does put an end to their earthly suffering. There will be none such for them on the other side, and I for one think the indications are that all spirits are preserved. Since animals don't have anything to gain or lose from their time in this life, from that point of view the sooner they're out of this world the better. Of course we need them and enjoy them, as useful helpmeets and pets too (not only on the dinner table).

Yes, the Cynics were famous for this. But they also didn't eat beans – because these were in their doctrine the "little heads" of men. One wonders how they got their protein.

Yours in dear Lord and Savior through whose body and blood we have life eternal.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Recently there has been a call among ethicists and philosophers to abstain from killing animals, because, they claim, animals exhibit the same kind of sentience and general cognitive awareness that humans exhibit, with the only difference being degree. More specifically, the only reason anybody would want to kill animals, according to them, is good old fashioned bigotry, either justified by religious dogma or general cultural prejudice.

However, I can think of a good reason to be skeptical about the rather fantastic claim that we discovered a new moral truth about animals. More specifically, the claim that western academics in the 21st century discovered a new moral truth about animals despite having almost zero contact with animals (pets notwithstanding) that somehow previous generations of humans, despite having gritty, day-to-day contact with animals, overlooked.

Which is more likely: that we were able to discover a new moral truth about animals despite the fact that our only interaction with them is through very sentimental (and therefore biased) attachments, or that this philosophical claim is a deduction based on a dubious premise regarding animals, which is entertained only because we can afford for the first time in history to be so distant from animals?

Sincerely,

Response #14:

Good points.

It's a lot of "hooey".

The Bible has no problem with eating meat (e.g., Gen.9:3; Mk.7:18-19; 1Tim.4:4-5; Heb.13:9); on the other hand, antichrist will appeal to this sort of false standard as his stock-in-trade. From CT:

3. False Dietary Regime: Dietary regulations play a significant role in the Mosaic Law for the purpose of "distinguishing between the holy and the profane" (Lev.10:10). That is to say, Israel's separation from the practices of the world in diet were to be representative of their far more important spiritual separation (Rom.4:13). Reversing this relationship, that is, claiming holiness or righteousness on the basis of "keeping the Law" in any of its aspect is, as any reader of the New Testament is well aware, diametrically opposed to the true purpose of the Law and the true meaning of grace. Yet a key feature of antichrist's religion as administered by his high priest, the false prophet, will be to take traditional legalism a step farther, instituting a system of aggressive vegetarianism that will give its practitioners a feeling of "holiness" and "purity" on the basis of diet (i.e., physical, substituting for spiritual, purity), despite whatever truly sinful behavior in which they may be engaged (1Tim.4:1-3; cf. Col.2:16-23; 2Tim.3:5; Heb.13:9). [From part 4 of Coming Tribulation]

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Do animals go to heaven?

Response #15:

I'm optimistic about it. Here are a few links that will give you what I have been able to glean from the Bible on this subject:

The Fate of Animals after Death according to Scripture

Animals after death

Animals and the flood

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:

No past or current dualists can prove that animals necessarily lack the fundamental mental properties or substance. Furthermore, given that none of these theories specify empirical means for detecting the right stuff for consciousness, and indeed most dualist theories cannot do so, they seem forced to rely upon behavioral criteria for deciding the Distribution Question. In adopting such criteria, they have some non-dualist allies. For example, Dennett (1969, 1995, 1997), while rejecting Cartesian dualism, nevertheless denies that animals are conscious in anything like the same sense that humans are, due to what he sees as the thoroughly intertwined aspect of language and human experience (see also Carruthers 1996).

However, based on new scientific observation, animals behave as consciously as humans do. This is confirmation of the Biblical model where animals have souls like humans.

Response #16:

Another great instance of how science would save itself a lot of time and effort just by starting with the proposition that the Bible just might possibly be true (again, I would say "spirit" not "soul": Eccl.3:21). Ichthys link:

The Fate of Animals after Death according to Scripture

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Can you please help me to clarify this verse regarding the "flying" serpent?

The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.
Isaiah 30:6 KJV

Response #17:

The participle here, "flying", is being used in a metaphorical way (as the verb often is elsewhere too of armies, ships, arrows and dreams, which also "fly" but not literally). NIV has "darting" which is a good way to avoid confusion although not exactly literal, but we are clearly dealing with snakes hear which are swift but cannot actually fly in a literal sense (cf. Is.14:29).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Professor can you explain these?

Job 40:15-24; Job 41:1-34

V/r

Response #18:

Good to hear from you my friend. I hope all is well with you.

The Lord is describing the hippopotamus and the crocodile respectively in these passages (Job 40:15-24; Job 41:1-34). See the link for Leviathan, and here is something I've written on this:

Finally, in Job, Leviathan is apparently the crocodile and Behemoth the hippopotamus (they can't be dinosaurs in Job because Job is asked to consider their characteristics so that they had to be around to be observed in his day). Leviathan also occurs at Psalm 74:14 where the name is used symbolically for the Egyptian hordes destroyed by the Lord in the Red Sea. That name also seems to have been used in a more general sense of "great sea creature", for we find it used at Isaiah 27:1 where it refers to the defeat of the devil at Christ's return (and the name is paralleled by tanniyn, a Hebrew word meaning the same and sometimes translated "dragon", albeit erroneously; see the link). Finally, we also find Leviathan at Psalm 104:26 where it also has the generic "large sea creature" meaning. Since even today scientists often find that some variation in species is actually a separate species, it is certainly understandable how the ancients would not necessarily be able to distinguish between denizens of the deep, especially in the case of a non-seafaring mostly land-locked people like the Hebrews who had probably only heard reports of them. The Bible is not for that reason any less "correct"; as in the case of "stars", we have to understand the word "Leviathan" having a more generalized meaning than we would use today in contemporary marine biology.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Dr.,

I hope all is well with you and your family. Praying Christ brings your New Year with more exposure to your ministry.

As you know, I am going through a second helping of all your materials. I have a question about why God chose a ram vs a lamb in place of Isaac. If Christ is the Lamb who was slain for our sins (Jn 1:29, 36), why not a lamb to make the distinction well known?

I know lambs, rams, goats and pigeons were uses in various sacrifice, particular sacrifice for unintentional sin or sin in general, why not use a lamb in Genesis.

I appreciate your response.

In Christ our Lord

Response #19:

I'm not an expert in animal husbandry, and there are many intricacies in the sacrifices of the Law, the symbolism of which is not always absolutely clear to me (apart for the overarching theme of the blood of Christ). I will note, however, that in this instance you ask about, Isaac says to his father, "where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" – using the Hebrew word, seh (שֶׂה), Gen.22:7. Abraham responds "God will provide (lit., "see for Himself") a lamb" – also seh (שֶׂה), Gen.22:8. However, when God stops Abraham from slaughtering Isaac, and when Abraham then looks up, he sees a ram (Heb. 'ayil, אַיִל). Also, in Revelation 5:6, where our Lord appears as "a lamb slain", He has "seven horns" – and I believe I am correct in saying that in English usage only rams have horns. So while occasionally there is a difference between lamb and ram in the sacrifices of the Law (e.g., Num.7:15-75), in Genesis chapter 22 we seem to have no functional distinction – as both are acceptable for the sacrifice, both the lamb (metaphorical since Isaac was to be the "lamb") and the ram (literal but symbolic of our Lord Jesus Christ, who as you correctly point out is "the Lamb of God"; cf. Jn.1:29; 1:36). The key is no doubt that "lamb" under the Law was usually cebhes (כֶּבֶשׂ), not seh, and also that seh is a more generic term for a member of the flock (cf. BDB lexicon on this) – so Darby and the NLT have it right in translating "sheep" here rather than "lamb".

So why a ram instead of a lamb? No doubt to call attention to the majesty of Christ in addition to His humility (as in the scene in Revelation chapter five).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hello Dr,

Bob, is the endless pit (Rev 20:3) spiritual or physical? And was Azazel a demon or Satan or just evil (Lev 16:21-22)?

Yours in Jesus our Lord .

Response #20:

The Abyss is real (see the link).

On the "scapegoat" – the more traditional rendering of the word – some versions even transliterate and (wrongly) make it into a person ("Azazel"). This goat was chosen by lot to escape while the other goat, the goat "for the Lord", is chosen to be sacrificed. The Hebrew word 'azazel is a combination of roots, most likely 'ez meaning "she-goat", and 'azal, meaning "to depart". So the meaning "goat that departs" is perfectly sound. On the other hand, no one has ever heard of any person by the name of "Azazel" in any other context. There are people in the past and contemporaneously who want to make this some sort of demon to which or for which the goat goes, but in fact the term is speaking of the fact of the goat's departure into the wilderness, away from the congregation. Both goats speak prophetically of our Lord's sacrifice for sin. The one sacrificed clearly shows Him bearing our sins on the cross. The one released emphasizes His separation from the community in order to bear its sins. As it says in Hebrews, "so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood" (Heb.13:11 NIV; cf. Heb.13:11-13). And as it also says in that context, "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore" (v.13). So I think it is fair to say that the secondary symbolism of this ritual is that while we were sinners with the iniquity "on our heads", Jesus went to the cross and we went free; we are in the wilderness now, but because of His sacrifice, the day will come when we will no longer be on the outside – when His kingdom comes.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

The language of Exodus 7:12, with the usage of the Hebrew verb hayah, would lead one to suggest that the staffs of Pharaoh became serpents. However, St. Thomas of Aquinas develops a very convincing argument that daemons are not permitted to perform supernatural acts, but are limited to "praeternatural" acts, which consists of very elaborate manipulations of nature, but not the actual suspension/violation of God's laws of the universe (only God is allowed to do that!)

Is this idea what the Bible teaches? Is the semantic scope of hayah broad enough to allow for a very vivid deception of daemons transforming rods into snakes, while not actually being rods transformed into snakes, or does the usage of the verb hayah demand that the rods actually became snakes? Confer 2 Timothy 3:19 usage of the word "folly" in referring to this incidence.

Sincerely,

Response #21:

It's a fair question. However, Aquinas was clearly wrong. After all, the fire that falls from heaven and destroys Job's flocks or the strong wind that brings the house down on his children and kills them don't just seem to be fire and wind – they really are fire and wind, and with dramatic and deadly consequences. Then there is also Genesis chapter six (to note the most dramatic contradiction to Aquinas' supposition).

I suppose it could be argued (although not from the meaning of hayah) that there really was no transformation from staffs to snakes. Perhaps the verse means that this was the way it appeared because of a "trick" (the province of magicians, after all). I'm sure a clever person today could make a hollow telescoping shaft that looked like a staff, hide a snake inside, and with sleight of hand make it seem as if the staff when thrown down turned into a snake. But that would be a tall order even today, let alone in 1440 B.C. And of course the scripture seems to make a point of this actually happening: "the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts" (Ex.7:11 NASB); "each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents" (Ex.7:11 NASB). In the grammar the staffs "become" serpents, and it is hard to see how "did the same" (vey'a'asu . . . chen) could be correct if the one was really a snake and the others weren't, of if in the first instance the staff really had turned into a snake but for the two belonging to the magicians that really wasn't what had happened at all.

The word translated "secret arts" in this context is l'at, and this could mean trickery or black magic equally. However, given the other instances where demons do exert a good deal of control over the material world, it seems best to take these verses at face value. The restriction, pace Aquinas, is not an inherent one but a divinely enforced one: demons can do more than we have any idea, but they can only do what God allows them to do at any given time. At present, they are greatly restricted, but during the Tribulation a good deal of that restriction will be removed in general and in particular cases, for example:

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Revelation 13:11-15 NASB

These "signs" and the talking idol in particular together provide a good parallel with Exodus chapter seven, because here we also have a human being (nephilim) who is making use of demonic powers to do things otherwise impossible. Finally, it is also worth mentioning that in your parallel, 2nd Timothy 3:9, Jannes and Jambres are deliberately introduced by Paul as counterparts to the false prophet (and those in the context who are following that pattern). So this example comes is in the context of Paul's description of behavior during the Tribulation when the false prophet will be engaged in this "folly" – which however does involve the "scientifically" impossible manipulation of the creation through demonic means described above (but never beyond the limits the Lord allows).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

I am having trouble understanding this metaphor:

"[and the crocodile's] eyes are like the eyelids of morning."

Is this a reference to how, in the morning, human eyelids tend to be swollen and enlarged, or something else?

Sincerely,

Response #22:

For Job 41:18, NIV has "its eyes are like the rays of dawn". I think that is spot on. Obviously, while crocodiles do have eyes, the dawn does not have "eyelids". But personifying dawn in poetry is not unusual. This is a beautiful way to say that even the crocodile's eyes are fearsome because they seem to flash forth light, just like the first gleams of the dawn. The Greeks called it "dawn, she of the rosy fingers". It is also possible that the "green flash" is meant, namely, that instant when the rising sun just below the horizon at sea pierces the water with a momentary flash of light.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

I couldn't help but notice that the word for raven in Genesis 8 stems from a root meaning dusk or evening, while immediately after a dove was sent. Given that Genesis 1 uses the evening and the morning to delimit a 24-hour day, could it be possible that the choice of birds is meant to suggest that the waters receded within a day?

Sincerely,

Response #23:

It's an interesting point. But I'm not sure we can draw any interpretive conclusions from it.

This ('arabh) is a very common triliteral root in Hebrew and Semitic languages; so I would be even more cautious than usual about drawing conclusions / building interpretations on etymology (and I am generally very circumspect about doing so in any case). BDB lists five separate roots which share in common the letters ayin/resh/beth. Generally speaking, my predilection is to try and see common themes in ostensibly separate roots (rather than to practice endless division), but in this case the disparity between, say "pledge" and "sweet" and "Arab" is too great not to recognize that we are most likely dealing with a multiplicity of different morphemes which share the same root. That being the case, the chances that Moses would have expected anyone to "catch" this subtle possibility from the root used seem slim. And, after all, a raven is a raven. Also, it seems that seven more days passed before he sent the dove out again (Gen.8:10), and another ten before "the earth was dry" (Gen.8:12).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Could you enlighten me on this passage if you have any history on the matter?

Thank you

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
1 Corinthians 15:32

Response #24:

Most commentators take this to be figurative language, describing the fierce spiritual combat Paul had been enduring at Ephesus while he wrote this letter back to Corinth. They adduce convincing if not perfect parallels from other Greek usage. It is hard to tell for certain since we have only this one passage to go on (there is no mention of any literal fight of this kind either in Acts or in the several catalogs of personal suffering Paul gives elsewhere), and the word itself is a "hapax" (it only occurs one time in the Bible). Still, I'm not entirely convinced. It seems a somewhat strange thing to say merely for the sake of illustration. Either way we may take it that things were "tougher" for Paul in Ephesus than we might suppose by reading Acts. Whether part of this opposition was a literal being thrown to wild animals in the arena (from which he would have had to have been miraculously delivered), or, what may have been actually worse, namely, a daily struggle against men whose opposition was beastly, inspired by the devil, either way we are once again reminded of "how much [Paul] would have to suffer" for the Lord, how much he did suffer, and how blessed we the Church of Christ are for all he was willing to endure for our Savior Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I've heard a popular Creationist say that God used evolution to create man. I notice that even tiny flies have two eyes, a brain, and a body, and yet these tiny insects are created from something non-living. I've seen drain gnats form from organic material, and they have a brain and two eyes. Could Adam have been created the same way, from the ground of the Earth?

God Bless,

Response #25:

God could theoretically have done anything. It's not about what God could do, however, but about what He did do. On that score, Genesis is very clear that God created all life presently seen on earth instantaneously, and also "after its kind" – which means that one "kind" never turns into another "kind". Not that there would be sufficient time for such changes in any case. After all, evolutionist theory requires billions and trillions of years to even seem to be plausible, but life on earth after God's reconstruction of it is only about six thousand years old (according to the Bible – the fossil record reflects the situation before Satan's fall [see the link]).

On flies and gnats, I'm no biologist, but I believe that even these small creatures come from eggs provided by previous generations (so there is no such thing as "spontaneous generation").

I think your creationist should read the Bible. It's very clear what Genesis says. If it doesn't mean what it clearly says, then it would only be a myth – which would mean that the rest of the Bible could be only mythical as well – which would mean that we can believe anything we want – which would mean we have nothing solid in which to believe. That is one reason why caving into evolutionist theory on any level is such a faith-destroying thing.

In Jesus Christ, the very Word of truth Himself.

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Brother I’m sending this to you hoping you could help on this topic. I for one don’t believe in this teaching. The other day it was presented to church we attend. I was disturbed by the fact that the leaders believe this. They come to believe this for the by simple fact they could not explain where did Cain get his wife. I ponder at times if he married one of the women in the generation of Adam. It shows many sons and daughters. And the created races are one of the same Adam and woman which at first they were name Adam in Genesis 5:2. Then I looked up theses scriptures

Created

Deut 4:32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?

Is 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

Is 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Is 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

Ps 102:18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.

Is 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

1 Cor 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Bible Doctrine By Jacob Reiger

Topic Creation of man:

We will now turn our attention to the study of the creation of man. We learn that man was created on the sixth day. Then in chapter 2 of Genesis we learn of Adam. We believe this Adam to be another man distinct from the male and female of the sixth day creation. We believe that the offspring of the sixth day creation perished in the flood of Noah’s time, but the offspring of Adam was saved by the ark. To conveniently identify these diverse races we will call the six day man the First Race but the man formed from the dust of the earth we simply call Adam. We often refer to this Adam race as the Adamic race and his nature as the Adamic nature. This study is important, One important aspect of this study is to answer the Bible skeptic or the evolutionist this inevitable question, Where did Cain get his wife? Our answer is that Cain married a woman of the first race. We doubt the Bible supports the theory that Cain married his sister.

When God punished Cain for the murder of Abel we notice Cain was afraid when he said… every one that findeth me shall slay me. We also recognize God’s notice of this when He put a mark on Cain; And the Lord set a mark upon Cain least any finding him should kill him. Of whom Cain afraid? We think he was afraid of the first race. The record concerning the first race in Genesis 1: 26-30

This record shows four distinct things pertaining strictly to the First race. (1) They were created male and female, (2) They were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, (3) They were given dominion over every living thing, and (4) There was no restriction as to what they should eat.

The record concerning the Adamic race in Genesis 2:7-9, 15-18 and 21-23

The records shows three distinct things pertaining strictly to the Adam race.

(1) Adam was formed from the ground and the woman was formed from Adam’s rib, (2) Adam was restricted to the garden to dress it and (3) Adam was restricted as to food…every tree EXCEPT the tree of knowledge of good and evil…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

A vast field of plant and animal life was waiting for the first race. God gave this race dominion over all this. On the other hand we noticed that after the Sabbath which was 1000 years later, God planted a garden eastward in Eden and within this garden He put special vegetation.

Could you help by breaking it down in scriptures I see to many holes in this teaching.. thank you God bless

Response #26:

I certainly agree with you that the teaching included in your email by this person is wrong and dangerous. Clearly, Adam and Eve are the first two human beings, and, clearly, all human beings came from them. Clearly, "Adam" means Adam (not some other race). And as for Eve, well, this is what the Bible says about her:

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
Genesis 3:20 NIV

If there we were other human beings from other sources, the Bible would be wrong here in saying that everyone after Adam and Eve can trace their physical origin back to Eve (and the Bible is never wrong).

And as for Adam, there is only one, as Paul says, "in Adam, all die" (1Cor.15:22).

It is a very bold (and wrong) position to state that Genesis 1:27 is speaking of many people while in the next chapter the creation of Adam and Eve is something different. In fact, Genesis chapter two is an expansion on the synopsis in chapter one. The details on that can be found at the link: "The Genesis 2:4 Summary"

I'm always amazed at the lengths that people will go to in order to try and remove things from the Bible with which they don't agree for whatever reason. In our day and age, sibling marriage is an abomination, but that was not the case when the entire race had to proceed from the original couple. And, after all, Eve came from Adam, the material from which her body was formed being taken from one of his ribs – so that she was closer to him than a sister physically speaking.

Please do feel free to write back about any of the details.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Thanks for the info one thing these that believe in the other race would simply say they where not a human race but a created race because the scripture says created in chapter 1 and form in chapter 2. In the simplest way how would it be explained. As for me I'm not a educated man at times when I read over some of your notes I don't quite understand. But I don't disregard it i try to read it slowly to see if i can understand. But for the most of it I do understand . Thank you so much for your help and tell you the truth I thank the Lord for coming across you take care and God Bless

Response #27:

No doubt there are many chinks in the armor for these false teachings. In your present email, you suggest that the verb "create" being used as a supposed piece of evidence for some separate "Adamic" race. However, the Hebrew word bara' is often used for the creation of man. Consider, just for example:

Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created (bara') all humanity (literally: "all the sons of Man [Adam - 'adham])!
Psalm 89:47 NIV

Certainly the Psalmist doesn't envision these "sons of man/Adam" who were "created" (same verb as in Genesis chapter one) as a different race from his.

These types of false teachings tend to be very "slippery", so in order to refute them precise statements like the one you include here are the places to investigate and find fault where fault exists.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob!

Regarding Genesis 4:3-5, did Abel submit a slain offering, or a slain burnt offering? If burnt offering, where did the fire come from?

Response #28:

It's always good to hear from you, my friend! As to your questions:

Genesis 4:3-5 uses the word minchah (מִנְחָה) for the offerings of both Cain and Abel. The minchah (KJV "meat [=food] offering") is a gift offering, and it is an offering which is eaten (as opposed to being totally consumed by fire). Since all animal sacrifices which are to be eaten are cooked, fire is a necessary part of the process of the offering, and was so even before the procedures were formalized in the Law of Moses many years later (after all, animal sacrifice as a representation of Christ's spiritual death is abundantly represented in Genesis before the call of Abraham and down to the giving of the Law in Exodus).

Where did the fire come from? They made fire the way we make fire if we don't have matches (friction, flint sparks, capturing naturally occurring fire, etc.). Mostly we may imagine that they kept a fire always burning so that there would always at least be coals so as to avoid the somewhat laborious process of starting from scratch. Aboriginal peoples often carried hollowed out bone cases for this same purpose wherein smoldering coals could last for a relatively long time.

It is often not appreciated how "smart" these original human beings were – much smarter than we are, inasmuch as humanity has been genetically devolving not "evolving" ever since Adam and Eve – as any student of history who looks at the matter objectively ought to be able to see easily enough. Add to their much higher intellect the fact that conditions before the flood, while much more difficult than in Eden, were far superior to those we are experiencing now, so that these early individuals didn't have the same difficulties in struggling to survive that later generations would experience after the flood. Thirdly, and very importantly, they lived much longer than we do. If our life-span were even twice as long as it is now on average with no diminution of health or vigor or mental prowess until we hit 120-140 or so, imagine how much more we would know (or at least could know)! There were cities with the relatively advanced technology of metallurgy even before the flood after all (cf. Gen.4:17; 4:22), and this even in the first generation of humanity.

Keeping you in my prayers day by day, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

 

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