Saturday, September 09, 2006


The well-known blogger from Texas gave me some grief, this week, about not posting for a while. So I told her to name a topic and I'd dream up something to write. One of her choices was dinosaurs ... like, did they exist, etc. That suggestion actually interrupted my train of thought, so I thought I'd address it.

Sort of.

For some years now, I've simply accepted the Bible without question. On occasion, folks will come up with some "evidence" concerning the truth of scripture, and I always ignore it. I won't accept scientific observations to refute what God has said, so it's only fair that I won't accept scientific evidence that the Bible is true, either.

Having said that, I believe God can do anything. We study all He's told us to do, how to go about our part of building His church, how we should live our lives, etc. One danger inherent in the process of obeying and watching Him work is that we can think, subsequently, that His instructions tell us the only way He works. And that's just not true. God can do anything He wants to do. If He wanted to make the earth with dinosaur bones in it, He could do that. If He wanted to make dinosaurs and have the whole dying off/oil-making thing happen, He could. On any timetable He wants.

Ken: refers to Ken Ham, the gent from the Cincinnati area who is building the Creation Museum. He spoke at our church earlier this year, and said some interesting things. Two I recall most particularly.

One was that the church has largely folded to the "world" by saying that perhaps evolution or the big bang is correct, but it's still evidence of "intelligent design". He insists that the Biblical account is correct, even to the timetable which is revealed in various places.

The second is that the Bible says death came by one man ... Adam ... as a result of sin, but they've found fossilized bones with evidence of sickness and disease. That would mandate that the fossilization occurred within the Biblical timetable, or else the Biblical timetable is wrong. Or the statement about death coming via sin, is wrong.

There's only one Biblically logical conclusion.

So ... as to dinosaurs, I have no idea. It seems certain that the bones and stuff indicate that there were dinosaurs, and if that's how we got oil, I'm all happy about that. What Ken Ham said was, if that's how we got oil, then it happened within the parameters of the timeline in the Bible.

C.S. Lewis said a lot of neat stuff in "Mere Christianity". One thing was that there are no "natural laws". There's no law of gravity for example. There's only what we observe happens under certain circumstances. Nobody steps over the edge of a cliff then thinks "Phooey .. I guess I have to fall now .. the law says so". He just falls, and knows that what we call "gravity" is behind it. Well, that logic applies, IMO, to carbon dating and the like. All we know is what we observe under certain conditions, and that certainly cannot override what God says He did, or what we know God can do.

So, we have two possibilities. God made the earth when He made it, accurately portrayed in the Bible, to the extent we need to understand it. Either the oil-making deal happened in that timeline, or God made the earth complete with Barney's ancestors' bones and the oil all ready to go. I vote for the latter.

After all, I figure He made Adam and Eve full-grown, as they seem to have survived without anybody to fix their formula. I guess carbon-dating scientists, back then, would have insisted they must be newborn, and would have put them in diapers and child safety seats.

I don't know which way it was, and frankly don't care. Either way, we still have Barney.

This topic also reawakened all the junk about the days of creation. Were they 24-hour days? Well, I'd always refused to discuss it, as I want to simply accept what the Bible says. Folks would toss around scientific this or that, and I'd just ignore it, as I have always been unwilling to go outside the Bible for proof of anything.

Lo and behold, God smacked me with something one day while perusing Genesis. Follow this:

Day One: He creates this formless "thing-less" creation. He also made light (and it took me 3 weeks to get past that verse the last time I read through Genesis). Then it says "There was evening and there was morning, the first day".

Day Two: He separates the waters up & down and makes the celestial heaven above the earth. Then He said "There was evening and there was morning, the second day".

Day Three: He scrapes the land all together and creates all the plants on it. Then He says "There was evening and there was morning, the third day".

Day Four: He sets out the sun and moon and stars. At that point, the 24-hour cycle of day and night was established.. He then said "There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day".

Now: God is not the author of confusion. If He used the term "day" for the first three days, when there was no sun in the sky, and then the same word for day four, when He'd established the 24-hour day, that would be confusing to folks earnestly desiring to know the truth. And God said He's not the author of confusion.

For me, case closed. The proof for me is all there, and it's in the Bible.

We say scripture is infallible. That it's God's word. It's infinite in depth and meaning. So, to bow in any way to "science", which is necessarily what scientists think happened in the past, is as unthinkable as appealing a US Supreme Court decision to your local traffic court. They simply wouldn't have the authority or the stature.

Nor do we, over God's word.

I used to read Matt Helm books. He was a counterspy. When he was given an assignment with a fake ID, he was given a backstory to tell about himself. He was told he would look people in the eye and stick to his story, no matter how foolish it might look, or how obviously wrong it might be. He was simply not to deviate from it.

I've seen too many people cave in to worldly opinions about, and worldly scorn for, what the Bible says. I, for one, won't cave, no matter how foolish the world may think I am.

In fact, the more, the better.


At 2:24 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob -

My dad's name is Ken. Talk about weirdness when I first read your title.

So I will tell you how my dad explained the dinosaur thing to me. He said this is just one idea of course, but it was how it had been explained to him.

The second verse of the Bible says "and the earth was without form and void, and darkness moved upon the face of the deep."

So the suggestion is that because Satan is already a serpent in the Garden of Eden, the fall of Lucifer and the third of the angels happened prior to the time of man being placed on the earth.

The three angels, Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer were each given their tasks. Lucifer was given dominion over the earth. Therefore there was an earth of ancient times, with dinosaurs, etc. over which Lucifer had caretaking abilities before the fall. At the time of the fall this part of the earth was destroyed because Lucifer had turned evil. This would explain the instant destruction of dinosaurs ... it was connected to Satan's original rebellion against God.

So all this is said to be tied in to that second verse. Earth was without form and void - dinosaurs and everything else destroyed. And darkness moved upon the face of the deep - this being the fallen angels.

So then by the time we get to verse 3 it is actually a recreation of sorts where God is renewing the earth back to square one "fixing" what had gone awry at the fall of Lucifer.

If you agree with this analysis, then it allows for the millions of years to exist within all of Genesis 1:2. And then the seven day creation can still be a literal seven days.

Hey, I don't know if it is a legitimate argument or a bunch of hogwash. But it made a bit of sense from a pure logic standpoint to me. It all hinges on the original languages of verse 2 and what that verse actually means. Why does it say the earth already exists and then later on it says only then is God separating land from water? And what is the darkness that is moving across the deep?

A bunch of questions ... but I wasn't just giving you this topic as a joke. It really intrigues me. I work with kids and they ask about it a lot ... what about the dinosaurs?

- Dorcas

At 2:49 PM, September 10, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Dorcas.

LOL on the name thing.

I didn't take it as a humorous request. I juat always figured that I wasn't done chewing over what God said that affects me every day, so I never spent any time on Barney & friends. I can see where you have a need to deal with it as "cuz God said so" might not satisfy kids.

The words "without form" are a word which means a worthless thing, literally without form, waste, in vain. "Void" is emptiness, or an indistinguishale ruin. So I figure the state then was just sort of an elemental soup with no shape, no "things".

Verse 3 says God created light. That's what stopped me. Why light? He apparently worked ok in the dark til then. Then it hit me that Jesus said HE was the light of the world.

I figured "bingo" ... Jesus shows up! That was "in the beginning", and on day #1 there were no "things". So that meshes with John 1.

That's about as far as I have gotten with it, other than the fact that I kind of rebel at any real or imagined hint that science might somehow alter how we read the Bible.

Very thought provoking, and interesting. In my case, it's liek the proverbial rocking chair. It gives me something to do, but doesn't take me anywhere.

ps: I do intend to do something on vacation places. Am I limited to the US of A?

At 2:52 PM, September 10, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Oh yes ... I don't think verse 1 is chronologically complete, in that the earth was not necessarily finished at the end of that verse. What follows verse one is an explanation. Kind of like "I flew to St. Maarten last January. We went from here to Atlanta..."

At 3:16 PM, September 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob -

I'm going to have to disagree with you slightly on your suggestion that the Bible is indicating when God "made" Jesus. The Bible says that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. God as the Holy Trinity exists (God, Jesus and Holy Spirit) from eternity past through eternity future. There was no point at which God existed and Jesus or the Holy Spirit did not. They are three in one.

Perhaps I misunderstood you. Or perhaps you disagree with my view on the nature of the Trinity. But hey, I'll send your comment string thataway ... a bit more thought provoking than dinosaurs even.

- Dorcas

At 4:14 PM, September 10, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

No disagreement on the Trinity. But what I saw does mesh with John 1, in that it puts Jesus there in the beginning. There is also the possibility that time did not exist before Genesis, when God called it a day.

Ah well. I'm old but not old enough to have been around back then.

I do think that we carry the idea of the Trinity beyond what I've seen the Bible say, sometimes, though. In my teaching I try to stick to what the Bible does say, and teach where it says Jesus is God and the Holy Ghost is God. I want my class members to know where it says it, not just know that someone has said it says it.

At 7:42 AM, September 11, 2006, Blogger Mac McFatter said...

Bob, (and Dorcas)
Let me say first that I believe God could have easily created everything in 144 hours. He could have just as easily done it just a couple of seconds ago and at the same instant have created all we "know and understand", including our memories of the past.
Now let me say that I do not believe he did the latter, but it is possible, isn't it? I marvel at the Genesis account of creation. It is simple enough for ancient mankind to have beleived it, treasured it and kept it sacred for all these years. Yet this account was written in such a way it also describes a complex creation mankind is only just beginning to understand.
I have not been priviledged to study Genesis in a seminary or university setting. My understanding from looking it up in a Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary of the Hebrew word translated into English as DAY (Yowm) is that it can mean a 24 hour time period, or sunrise to sunset, or sunrise to the next sunrise, or any period of time.
The same verses that say DAY also say the 'evening' (sunset, dusk) and the 'morning' (sunrise, dawn). Could the evening be the ending of a span of time (day or era) and the dawn be the beginning of a new span of time (day or era)? Is God limited by man's understanding of ancient languages and/or our abilities to explain creation in our modern language? I think not, but I could be wrong.
Mac McFatter
Mobile, Al

At 8:04 AM, September 11, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Mac. Thanks for stopping in.

When I look at the Bible, my tendency is always to ask which interpretation calls for the greatest faith on my part. It's easy "adapt" what it says to fit with what we want to think.

Jim Cymbala, in one of his "Fresh" books, said we all tend to interpret scripture in light of what we already believe. If we're Baptists, we gloss over any scripture that might hint at sprinkling, while saying "AHA!!!" wherever immersion is hinted at. Ditto for free will vs. predestination, etc.

God is not limited at all. I've not been able to find where Paul said "the sinner's prayer", or was baptized at all. That awakened me to the thought that God tells us how we are to go about Kingdom work, and we consequently think that's the only way HE can work. That's not true, of course.

In the end, I think if it were important for us to know with a certainty, He'd be clear about that. He's sure clear about how to be saved, How we are to act around others. How we are to work for our bosses. Lots of other things. And I suppose it's a leftover trait from Adam that we want to know. We want to control and that requires knowledge. So ... for that reason I accept His description of "days" as 24 hours, reinforced by the thought that He called them all days, and that would be confusing to us if they weren't what we know as days.

For me, that requires the most faith.

At 10:19 PM, September 11, 2006, Blogger Mac McFatter said...

Bob, Faith is certainly the foundation, whether we believe in 144 hours of creation or a longer span of time. My parents taught me from the beginning of my life that it was 6 24 hour days just as you believe. Actually they were adimant with no wiggle room. As my knowledge grew of biology, zoology, geology and observations of science, I began to doubt. The two did not seem to fit together. As an young adult I was assigned the task of presenting this to my SS class by a SS teacher who believed as you do. He was visably upset that I disagreed with 6 days of creation. That week for the first time in years I spent my days driving west Texas roads. I think I made 220+ mile trips four days in a row. I had lots of time to pray, think and listen for answers. Thursday afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that the sequence of creation in Genesis is the same basic sequence science claims. Friday I was able to stay in town. Was it a sign from God? I do not know, but I have been at peace with my faith ever since. To me it takes greater faith to believe in a longer time of creation. I had not considered God prompting Moses to use words to confuse his readers. I had thought it was to expand our knowledge and understanding just a bit when we were ready. Maybe we will find out for sure when this journey is complete.

At 10:36 PM, September 11, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Mac.

Of all the biblical questions in my own mind, this is probably the least important to me, on its own merits. I'll always lean toward accepting what God says when anything in the Bible is in doubt, as it's my firm belief that the Bible says enough.

I hear lots of statements about this or that, which go beyond what the Bible says. Well .. I think it says enough, and in fact I have enough trouble with what everyone agrees it does say.

SO .. back to the rocking chair analogy. It's something to do, but it doesn't get me anywhere.

I had a wonderful 2+hour lunch with Alan Cross today. That's one sharp young man. At his age, I was learning to wave bye-bye, as I recall.


At 8:40 AM, September 12, 2006, Blogger Mac McFatter said...

Bob, You are correct. This is a very unimportant topic, until someone tries to make it important. I have been told on more than one occassion that if I did not believe in literal 6 day creation that I must not believe the rest of the Bible. This leads me to believe this subject can be and has been used by the evil one to turn people away from our precious savior, Jesus. I even had a respected (in that SBC fundamentalist church) SS teacher wave the KJV and claim it is the only true inspired Word of God, all other translations are perversions after I read from my NIV. But that is another story subject.
Love and peace to you.

At 8:49 AM, September 12, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


I heard a story, which sounds accurate, about the KJV. It concerns the word "baptize".

It seems that King James himself had not been immersed, but rather, sprinkled in accordance with the mother church's practice. When translators got to passages about baptism, they could not translate that word, as it means literally to "immerse". 1 Corinthians 12:13 says we were immersed by the Holy Ghost into one body. It's hard to envision being sprinkled into a group, but a natural thought to be immersed into it.

So rather than translate the word, they simply transliterated it, or made a new English word for it.

I don't find anything inspired about that. But I'm no "translation snob" at all. I got turned on to Jesus reading "Good News for Modern Man", which is an awful version.

At 10:47 PM, September 12, 2006, Blogger Mac McFatter said...

Proof indeed that God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. It also proves, to me at least, that the Holy Spirit can use whatever (or whoever?) to do what He pleases. No matter what the BFM2K says.


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