by Maurice Hamel
"Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?" - Mark 12:24
Before we can realistically begin to conserve our environment and restore the damage to it, we must have a proper understanding of it. However, most of those involved in these efforts consider the idea of God forming the creation out of nothing to be preposterous. Matter and energy in the universe are theorized to have existed from eternity and extend into eternity. The idea that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1), space and matter, is unworkable to them. Such historic acts of divine intervention cannot be proven or measured with any of the tools that modern man has at his disposal. It requires faith that what God has said is true. Because of this modern science has assumed God does not exist, or at least that he is unable to act in any way to influence the universe.
A theory is only as good as its initial assumptions. If God was an active force in the universe, any theory used to reconstruct what occurred in the past which was limited to only scientific observations of processes we can see today would be questionable. Without that initial assumption there would be no technical basis for saying that nature has always behaved in the manner that we measure it today.
If we assume that what we see today is all that ever existed, we will have a false confidence that we understand more than we actually do. Was the universe "created" in the Big Bang? Is the earth really billions of years old? Is nature progressively advancing or is it in decline from its original advanced state because of the curse? Has "survival of the fittest" always been a part of nature? Have people always lived for less than a century?
Late in the First Century, the Apostle Peter was already warning about such logic. Knowing he was soon to die, he expressed his concern to those who had been under his care as a teacher: "I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them ... I think it is right to refresh your memory ... I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things." (2 Pet. 1:12-15)
What things was he so concerned we would forget? "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses." (2 Pet. 1:16) But in the future when these eyewitnesses are gone: "there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign God ... Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. ... these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up." (2 Pet 2:1-3)
Many people are trying to live a life on the fence. They recognize that God created the world, but rather than accepting God's explanation of how he created it, they accept whatever people tell them and imagine the hand of God was somehow involved in it. What these well-meaning people consider to be merely differences of perspective concerning the origins of man, Peter warned against here with strong language. These are "destructive heresies" that will allow people to "exploit you."
What heresies does he foresee which will be "denying the sovereign God" and undermining belief in "the way of truth"? Peter cautions us that these teachers will tell people that God did not accurately tell Moses the manner that He created the world. Neither will they teach that Jesus will return to judge his creation. Instead these facts would be replaced by imaginative theories about the past. Peter continued: "you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come ... They will say, '... Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed". (2 Pet. 3:3-5)
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter warned that people would voluntarily choose to ignore God's version of how the universe was created. Instead, by using what they can see with their own eyes, men would disregard such a historical record and instead trust their own logic, "scoffing and following their own evil desires." (2 Pet. 3:3)
Here we have Peter, a man who was a handpicked student of Jesus, now writing one last letter to his own students to remind them about the dangers ahead. What single issue does he focus on? He tells them to remember that God created the world just as the Scriptures declare, and to not believe those who will ridicule that point of view. Peter was looking ahead to the mind-set of our day and sending a warning which the Bible has preserved for us.
In their daily lives, people don't act as though they believe in the inspiration and authority of the Bible. This even includes many whose lives have been changed by their belief in the resurrection of Christ. As a people, we generally refuse to believe the testimony of others concerning what God has done to prove himself in the past. We do not want to hear the first-hand accounts that the prophets and apostles have recorded for us. We each want to see the parting of the Red Sea and the wounds in his hands and feet for ourselves before we will trust him. Yet, if we continually demand that God prove himself, then there would be no need for faith. We forget that the Bible repeatedly tells us, "The righteous will live by faith" (Hab. 2:4 & Rom. 1:17) and Jesus said, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
© Maurice Hamel
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