How To Be Inconsistent
An astonishing number of Christian now accept that the universe was formed 15 billion years ago as a result of the Big Bang. (See article “Churches Accept Evolution at The Peril of Their Own Existence”) These Christians often argue that insisting that the Bible only allows for a young universe and earth not only puts Christianity at odds with accepted science but also places unnecessary difficulty in the path of potential Christians who have already accepted the Big Bang as fact. Unfortunately, what these Christians fail to see is that in striving to maintain consistency with secular science, by reinterpreting the opening chapters of Genesis to support a 15 billion year old universe, they not only put themselves at odds with the rest of the Bible, but incredibly with Jesus Himself.
Christians who accept the secular timeline also necessarily tie themselves to its assertion that humanity in its current form is a relatively recent event, showing up only about 200,000 years ago. If the earth is in fact 15 billion years old then that means 99.9987% of the universe’s existence passed before humans showed up. And that’s a problem.
How To Distrust Jesus?
Here’s why, because Jesus by His own words clearly and knowingly contradicts this and teaches the exact opposite. Consider His words in the following verses.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.
So that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world… from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.
Notice that in both verses when Jesus speaks of the creation events of Genesis 1 & 2, calling them “the beginning of creation” and “the foundation of the world”, He is takes as given the simultaneous creation or existence of humanity as part of those events. This is the exact opposite of the Big Bang / evolutionary account which places humanity’s appearance essentially at the very end of the universe’s creation.
How To Beat Jesus In An Argument
In light of these scriptures you may wonder “how could any well-educated Christian leader possibly defend their position that the universe is approximately 15 billion years old?”
Dr. Carl Wieland co-founder of “Answers in Genesis” gives an example while describing an encounter he once had with a highly influential professor of science, who advocated that Genesis be interpreted in light of secular science. Dr. Wieland presented these same two verses and explained how they unequivocally demonstrate that Jesus believed, and taught, that Genesis 1 & 2 described literal, relatively recent events. He then asked,
“Isn’t it clear that Jesus taught and believed that the world was young?”
He was surprised when with no argument on this point, the professor agreed. “Well, how do you deal with that, then?” Dr. Wieland responded. The professor’s answer was absolutely astonishing!
“Jesus didn’t know as much science as we do today.”
As surprising as this response may be, it is in fact a totally unavoidable one for Christians who accept the secular timeline. Whereas the Bible presents Jesus not only as God, but also as the very agent of the creation, the belief that the universe is billions of years old requires that you accept a diminished view of Jesus who is not only less than fully God, but also capable of being wrong. This is how this professor and countless others like him believe they can overcome the clear teachings of Jesus on the age of the earth and the universe.
How To Become A Heretic
Although it may seem like a very modern idea to argue that Jesus could be wrong, it is in fact a very old one. In the 4th century this same idea was used by adherents of a heretical sect of Christianity known as Arianism. They also needed Jesus to be less than God to support their beliefs. Then, as well as now, the one verse used more than any other to support this idea has been Philippians 2:7 where the entire argument hinges on an errant interpretation of the word “emptied”.
Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, 8 and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
As the underlying Greek word for “emptied” here is “kenosis” this miss-interpretation of scripture has come to be known as the “Kenotic Heresy”. Theopedia, an online theological encyclopedia, provides the following brief description.
“The question regarding the kenosis comes to this — What does it mean when Scripture says Christ “emptied” Himself? Did Jesus cease to be God during His earthly ministry? Certainly not… Christianity maintains that Jesus did not “empty” himself of any of his divinity in the incarnation… [instead] His divine attributes were veiled. When the Kenosis theory concludes that Jesus is or was less than God.. , it is regarded as heresy.”
And Heresy is the inescapable consequence that Christians using this argument must face. This is particularly unfortunate since a plain reading of Philippians 2:7 and the context of its immediately surrounding verses make it abundantly clear that Paul is in no way saying that Jesus emptied Himself of any of His divine attributes. Quite to the contrary, he is explicit that the “emptying” in verse 7 has nothing to do with Jesus losing anything, but instead with His taking something on, and in the very next verse he explains that this was His humanity. Although fully God, Jesus so fully took on humanity that he even became “obedient to the point of death”, and as Paul adds “even death on a cross.”
This subtraction by addition argument is a device that Paul uses on multiple occasions, in each case using the word “kenosis” to signify that something is obscured by the addition of something else. In 1 Corinthians 1:17 its adding human wisdom to the Gospel that results in it’s being emptied of it’s power, and again in Romans 4:14 Paul uses this form to show how adding the law to the promise of salvation results in an emptying of its power as well. Same person, same word, same conclusion: when we try to add anything to God or to His word it we don’t diminish it but we do obscure it. And in like manner Paul uses this construction to show that in taking on humanity Jesus obscured, or veiled, His divinity. So much so, that He even became subject to death.
How To Be Crippled Heretic
Reasoning that Jesus somehow emptied Himself of His understanding on these topics in an attempt to maintain harmony with the rest of the Bible, rather than solving that problem, only ends up creating a much bigger one. In rejecting the testimony of Jesus regarding a young earth, these Christians not only reject His testimony the entire testimony of scripture. All of it! And Here’s why. The Bible plainly states that throughout His ministry here on Earth, everything Jesus said and did was given to Him by God the Father.
John 8:28 (ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
John 12:49–50 (ESV)
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
If the teachings of Jesus came directly from God the Father and Jesus was wrong, then God in heaven, obviously knowing the real truth, misled Jesus, or even worse… never led Him in the first place. And what then of the apostles? And what of 2 Timothy 3:16 which says “All Scripture is inspired by God”?
If even Jesus’ words in Scripture can’t be trusted on some issues, how are we supposed to trust anything in the Bible at all?
One thing is very clear from all this. Namely, that the erroneous belief that ‘science’ insists that evolution and long ages are ‘fact’ is the most serious challenge to biblical authority, and thus to the faith in general, that Christendom has ever faced. If even Jesus’ words in Scripture can’t be trusted on some issues, how are we supposed to trust anything in the Bible at all?
How To Be Saved
Every Christian should have an appreciation for the laws that God has appointed to govern the physical world we live in, as well as for the fact that God has given us the mental faculties to discover and understand them. But we place our faith in grave danger when profess to believe in an all-powerful, omnipotent, omniscient Creator God who has revealed Himself through His Word but then subjugate our interpretation of that word to ideas of a secular world that presumes He’s no more real than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. We are now at a point in history where there many very good scientific explanations for the world around us that are logically sound and affirming of the testimony of the Bible. But when our questions about the physical world falls short of our ability to provide answers we should lean on our faith while our understanding catches up. If you are a Christian it is the only safe path.