Pastor Jeremy M. Thomas
Fredericksburg Bible Church
107 East Austin
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 830-997-8834 email@example.com
B0751 – December 30, 2007 – The Interrelatedness Of Creation, Fall & Flood I want to paint the larger picture, because I want you to appreciate that these early events of Scripture shape the whole rest of the Bible. The whole rest of the Bible is really shaped by what’s going on here, and you mess with this part of the Scripture and you’re going to mess with the rest of the Bible, because Jesus, the Apostles, the later writers of the Bible, all go back to these texts so just because we may be intellectually embarrassed about these texts in the last 200-300 years of history, we can’t just sweep them aside and go on and say everything’s cool. It doesn’t work that way, because we shoot ourselves in the foot when we do that. These three events that we’re looking at, the Creation, the Fall and the Flood, almost by themselves encapsulate the gospel, if you think about it. These three events orient us to the correct thinking we need for the rest of the Bible. Creation orients us to the Creator-creation distinction. The creation is the ground of everything else that goes on, including redemption, and that’s why the great creeds of the church do not begin with Jesus. The great creeds of historic Christian faith, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth,”i and why does the church do that? It does that because that’s the starting point. It isn’t redemption that’s the starting point, the starting point is creation, then we have redemption. So creation shapes everything. Creation shapes what you think about God, what you think about man, what you think about nature, and what you think about the relationship of all three of those. It’s all shaped by what happens in creation.
We spent considerable time going to the next event, the Fall, and our whole point in the fall was that it’s distinct from Creation, a very important point, so trivial, so elementary, so obvious to anybody that reads the Bible, but the conclusion that comes out of this is earth shaking because what it says is that for an interval between the Creation and the Fall the universe was good and free of sin, free of death and free of evil. There was an interval of time; creation and the fall were separate. That’s tremendous because it means that the universe and existence as we know it, it’s not necessary to have evil there. Death, sorrow and suffering are not necessary components of existence. You say that sounds so philosophical; please don’t think that because the point is that the Bible and the Bible alone has this interval. Oriental religion doesn’t have that interval, philosophies do not have that interval, no one else outside of the Bible has this story, this story cannot be found any other place, other than the Bible and those rare tribes across the earth that are occasionally discovered that remember these stories from their heritage, going back from father to son, father to son, father to son, all the way back to Noah. But this tells us something that is often overlooked around the world. Around the world there is a tendency to develop what is called dualism, i.e. there is a power of good and there is a power of evil. In fact I’m sure you’ve seen this symbol, the oriental people have taken this symbol for the yin and the yang and it appears on the Korean flag, and that symbol is carried into their cooking, the sweet and sour, etc., they like to think in terms of dualism. It’s fine to have contrast but be careful, there is no dualism in the Bible when it comes to good and evil. No dualism here.
The fall is not equal and opposite to the creation, the fall is only a partial destruction of the creation. The power of evil is not equal and opposite to the power of good in the Bible. God is the Creator and there is no other creator; Satan is not a creator,ii he’s a creature, so evil is always something that is less, far less than God Himself. If we have the Creator-creature distinction evil comes in only at the creature level, not at the Creator level. That’s very important because the only answers that exist to this problem, outside of the Bible, are usually one of these two, either there is a dualism that you’ll find where people believe that good and evil are equal and opposite, both of them powerful, and they’re perpetually fighting with one another, Star Wars is a great example, or you have what we saw in the text that were written back in the time of the Bible by the pagans surrounding Israel, and in those pagan pieces of literature you observe that the gods and goddesses themselves were evil. So the solution is either to have a dualism or to have evil gods, that the universe has always been evil. That’s why we drew the picture of the contrast, that when you start with a pagan idea of an ultimately impersonal universe in which both God and men and goddesses dwell, good and evil go on and are inseparable, and they are a part of normality.
You say again, isn’t this too theoretical. Let me give a modern problem that comes out of this discussion. Right now we have a group of people, they’re not unique because our sin nature always wants to do this so I’m not trying to pick on one group people, but because they make such a convenient target I can’t help it. It’s the gay agenda that’s going on. These people are rich, they’re powerful, and they’re politically connected. And they’ve made vast inroads already into our culture, demanding that we legitimize and normalize the abnormal. But lest we get too picky and look down our noses at them, let’s look at ourselves, because every time we cater to our flesh we’re doing the same thing, we’re trying to normalize the abnormal, and it’s always a tendency of fallen man to do that, because if we don’t do that we’re convicted by our conscience. Think about it, either we’re reminded when we sin that it’s abnormal, that we weren’t created to live this way, then we have to deal with it, but if we don’t want to deal with it, then another possible way of handling it is just to say it’s not really abnormal. It’s like driving down the road and all of a sudden the engine light comes on, and you say I don’t want to stop for the engine light, knock it out, no problem. That’s what goes on here, we try to legitimize and normalize the abnormal. By saying in the Bible that the evil began at a point in time, and ultimately will be separated out, what we have done is say that in the Bible evil is bracketed, that’s what we mean. Evil has a starting point, evil has an ejection point. Evil will be dealt with and it will be dealt with in a permanent way by a cosmic exclusion to the Lake of Fire, which can be viewed as a cosmic garbage dump. It’s not any mistake that the word for “hell” in the Scripture is “Gehenna” which was the garbage dump in Jerusalem. In the ancient world they just threw all the stuff down there because Jerusalem is on a hill, it just rolls down hill, and that was the garbage dump. It’s interesting that the Lord Jesus Christ coined that word, Gehenna, the garbage dump, was His portrait of what hell is. It’s a garbage dump for evil. So evil is discarded from the universe at a point in the future. The challenge is that, that outside of the Scripture nobody handles the problem. Everybody fusses about it but nobody deals with the problem, nobody has an origin of evil, nobody has an end of evil. It is in the Bible and the Bible alone where evil is bracketed. It is never allowed to become dualism, it is never allowed to ascend to the potency of God Almighty. God is supreme over evil.
So, when we think about these three events because as we have Creation and the Fall, so now we have the Flood, and it doesn’t require a doctorate to realize that the New Testament, every time it talks about the Flood, every time, it’s always in the same context, it’s always in the context of the Second Coming of Christ. It’s very interesting. Look up in the concordance, test it for yourself. Every time New Testament authors think of Noah and they think of the climactic flood event they think future to that great event of Christ’s Second Coming. So there’s a pattern to history, the beginning, the origin of evil, and finally the answer to evil. Here we have the Bible’s answer to evil. Everybody is accusing us Bible-believing Christians, “Well, if your God is so great, if your God is so loving, how come He lets all this happen?” For starters, that’s not the way the universe was when it left His hand. Who screwed up? God or man? So let’s get the blame where it belongs to start with, and then finally let’s say that eventually God does deal with the problem, and that’s the theology of what we’re looking at here, three events and those three events give you stories. That’s why I hope you’re reading the text as we go through this because if you’re struggling with this, just in your mind’s eye picture the creation of Adam in your mind’s eye, try to draw it to yourself in your own mind, of God shaping this dust of the earth into a person; try thinking in your mind’s eye what it must have looked like when Eve and Adam ate of the fruit. Try to picture in your mind’s eye Noah building the ark in the flood event. Use the imagination powers of your mind. Satan uses these, when we’re tempted he always uses our imaginations; well, the Holy Spirit can use our imaginations too. So, get the artistic creativity going and think of these things and it will feed your theology and your doctrines so you can get into the human drama of what’s going on and really comprehend it. That’s why the Old Testament is so powerful a vehicle for truth, because the OT gives stories, the it doesn’t just give precepts, it gives a story, a living story, an adventure story that you can remember, a child can remember this. But those stories are so structured that they encapsulate tremendous truth.
We’ve dealt with the Flood event because we wanted to show you that the text of Scripture does in fact teach a universal flood. To go back to the issue, in Gen 6-8 you have the Flood story. The Flood story taken at face value is an obvious contradiction to what is known as modern historical geology, a story which reaches back about 200 years. So if we look at what we’re taught today as geophysical history, and what the Bible teaches in Gen 6-8, we’ve got a big messy conflict going. Undeniable, it’s there. But we have the same problem in Gen 1-2, what the Bible reports happened seems so utterly different from the reconstruction of history. So what we have done during this series is say let’s look at Gen 6-8 like we did with Gen 1-2, and let’s test how we’re going to approach this. We can approach it from the standpoint of Capitulation, that’s one approach to the Bible, the liberals have tried that and that is that the Bible is just a bunch of stories so hey, no problem, just old stories, and discard it, as just interesting drama from the past. That’s Capitulation, and eventually Capitulation costs you because you can’t hold on to the truth if you don’t hold on to the history that shows the truth.
Then you have the Accommodationists, and they’re usually born again people who are frankly just overwhelmed in their faith and in their thinking, they’re so overwhelmed by this problem that they just throw up their hands and say “Well, we’ve got to make Genesis fit historical geology, we’ve got to make Genesis fit whatever the current role of scientific speculation is.” We’ve seen that work for 150 years and fail every time we’ve tried it. So that’s why in the 20 century there are some very stubborn Christians who are what we call the Counter-Attacking type of Christians who are saying wait a minute, we’ve gone 100 years, we’ve played this little Accommodation game long enough, it hasn’t worked, so if there’s a conflict between the Bible and the constructions of history that science gives us, there must be something systematically going wrong in these historic reconstructions of science, not the Bible.
We spent several hours studying this and coming up with several arguments why, even if you disagree with what the word A-L-L means, when it says “all the mountains were covered,” there are still arguments that show the global nature of the flood. One of those was the Depth-Time Argument, in Gen 7:19-20 where it’s a simple deduction that if Noah is reporting a flood in the Mesopotamian Valley, and for one year it covered all the hills, such that a boat with a draft of 22½ feet never ran aground, where on earth do you hold that much water in the Mesopotamian valley for one year while this whole thing is going on, unless you have had a massive problem here. Moreover, if you look at a map, where does the ark wind up after it’s all over? It winds up in eastern Turkey. If this was just a Mesopotamian flood, which way does the water go in a flood? It goes toward the Persian Gulf. The ark should wind up down here. So the ark is going the wrong direction. So the Depth-Time Argument simply says that the data of Scripture doesn’t let you conclude it is a local flood.
In addition to that argument we said there was the argument about the ark itself. The ark had a certain design, it had a size, it was fully sufficient. I mentioned a reference, a long study on the ark of Noah by author John Woodmorappe, he’s a Christian with two degrees, I think one in biology and one in geology, and he’s written a report of a seven year study just on the ark of Noah, and it’s called Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. You can get it from the Institution for Creation Research, same outfit that produces a lot of Christian creationist materials. That report is well worth it. The feasibility study by John Woodmorappe goes through hundreds of argument, he tried to go back through and answer every single objection to Noah’s ark. There have been all kinds of objections, obvious ones like the objection that you can’t fit all the animals in the ark, and he says yes you can, and he has improved on Morris and Whitcomb’s book that they did in 1961, and he shows that only 1/4thth of it was actually occupied by animals, 3/4th of it was empty. If that’s so that raises a theological question about the fact that God had plenty of room in the ark if more people had responded to the preaching of Noah. So the empty ark is actually a tragic reminder theologically of a lost opportunity, that salvation was available for more people than received it. And he goes into things like how did eight people handle all the manure, a little problem, you’ve got a gene pool of the entire land animal kingdom, and unless they hibernated, which is another theory, so their processes slowed down, you still have a little problem. So he goes through that, he has gone to ranchers, to people who work with animals, he’s gotten statistics about what can and can’t be done related to the size, it goes into everything. I suggest when you hear all these “Oh I don’t believe that,” half the people that say that never read the story anyway, but just remember that here’s a good reference volume and you’ll learn more here than you ever wanted to ask.
Let’s go on. The design of the ark, this is interesting, Henry Morris is the first guy to point this out to my knowledge, but it has been pointed out numerous times since, the ark was so big that there was not a naval vessel built in the human race until 1864 or so, that exceeded the size. No where in human history was there ever a boat built this big until the 1860’s. Moreover, if you look at the design, the flatness of this rectangle, and you can do a thought experiment just looking at this picture, but if this is a scale drawing of the ark in scale, think of cutting a piece of wood that long, that wide, of balsa wood or something, and putting it in an aquarium. Then cut out another piece of wood that would be a perfect cube, this is a typical pagan idea of an ark, weird design, and put it in the aquarium, and then do a little slosh experiment with the water in the aquarium, start creating waves, or do it in a bathtub, and watch which wood stabilizes. What’s going to happen to a cube? It’s going to tumble. But what happens to this thing? This thing, Morris has computed, you take the center of gravity, then you take the buoyancy principle, and you see how the center of gravity is relative to the buoyancy force, and you can see how far this boat can rock without tipping over. I’m not sure but I remember the calculations, it can go up to like 60 degrees and still right itself. So we’re talking big stability here. So the ark design shows a cosmic purpose, a universal flood purpose. (Add some work on Strength and Comfort show diagram of the balance of these three)
The third thing that plays a role, and we spent considerable time in 2 Pet 3, because 2 Pet 3 is an apostolic interpretation of Gen 6-8, a very, very important passage. In that passage Peter speaks in terms that even dwarf the original text of Gen 6-8. Peter says the heavens and the earth which were, and the heavens and the earth which are. Now if we’ve read Genesis correctly, what do we know about that word pair, “heaven and earth” when it’s paired together. The first occurrence of this word pair in the Bible is Gen 1:1, and what does “heaven and earth” refer to in Gen 1:1? The universe, not just planet earth, the entire universe. Peter is apparently teaching here that universe number one was before the flood, universe number two is what we live in, and then he points to the third universe, which is the radical recreation, the regenerated universe. We’re talking big, heavy stuff here, big interruption into history. The entire universe was apparently involved in the Flood, according to Peter in this passage. Amazing commentary! I’ve been a student of this for many years and always when I read an Accommodationist or I read somebody that’s trying to waffle on this issue, I go back to the index in the back of the book or article and look up if he’s referred to 2 Pet 3:5-7, and I have never seen an Accommodationist deal with that. Not once. They always gloss over the one crucial New Testament guideline to interpreting Gen 6-8, it’s never discussed, they just go on, try to make it a little local flood, somebody’s bathtub ran over or something.
While we’re in 2 Pet 3 there’s another thing I think is best introduced now, because there’s something in the context that’s very powerful, and we as Christians have to come to grips with this idea. The context is the Second Advent of Christ and what’s going to happen and in verse 4 Peter prefaces this commentary with a remark. 2 Pet. 3:4 is the introduction to that section. Then verse 5 talks about the first universe, in verse 7 the second universe. Packed between those two like meat in a sandwich with two pieces of bread, verse 6 reports that the entire world was destroyed. Prior to that, in verse 4, Peter paraphrases the skeptic. This is one of the finest depictions of the fallacy of pagan thought that I know, encapsulated in one verse. There’s other great things, the book of Ecclesiastes, there’s Romans 1, but if you want one verse in the Bible that tells you the theme of unbelief, here it is. 2 Pet 3:4, “And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” Look at the word “continues” there. When we started this course I made a point about reason, I said that no matter what you do in language, whether it’s math, or anything else you have got to, you have GOT to, you can’t stop breathing and you can’t stop doing this, you have got to have a constant somewhere in the equation. Here’s a simple linear equation, (y=ax+b) it will not work if you do not have ‘a’ and ‘b’ constants. You can’t have an equation of total variables. The other thing you have to have is the rules of reason and logic that control the depiction of that equation. This is math but you can do the same thing with a sentence, a piece of language. In order to have a sentence structure you’ve got to have nouns or pronouns that speak of categories that are going to endure. A dog has to be a dog yesterday, today and tomorrow. It can’t be changing and mutating into a cat, because if it does that my sentence blows away because it’s meaningless. So I have to have categories that are rigid and stable and I have to have rules of grammar. That used to be taught before they taught sex education and replaced it. Rules of grammar are necessary for communication, inference, etc. So you have to have all of these things in order to make language work. Here’s the clinker, you can’t get the constants from inside your head. The Greeks proved that. And you can’t get the constants from piling data upon data. Some people think you can. We showed this chart and all this fuzzy area is human knowledge. The problem with it is it’s always incomplete, because I always get the next piece of data. How do I know the next piece of data isn’t going to invalidate the pile of data I already have. I don’t know what’s constant unless I have what? Total knowledge. Unless I have total knowledge I can’t really be sure my constants are going to hold up. So to have any knowledge at all, because I’ve got to speak about it, I’ve got to compute it, I need constants to do that computing, I need constants to do that talking, I need constants to do that thinking, but my problem is, where do I get those from, I can’t get them from data because my data base is always finite. How do I get a universal infinitely stable, constant, out of a finite data base? You can talk scientific instruments all you want to but after you’ve done it all, it’s still a finite data base and always will be a finite data base. So I can’t think without somehow confessing I have got a universal, I’ve got rules of reason. The trick is where do we get those from? The apostate unbelieving mind wants to get them from something that is safe. The apostate unbelieving fleshly mind wants to protect itself from what it knows very well, that God is there; God is the source, because it’s one of His characteristics, His immutability. That’s where the constant is. What the pagan mind wants to do is erect a substitute constant, idolatry. It wants to have a God that’s safe, that doesn’t interfere, that doesn’t make moral and spiritual demands that I don’t have to be accountable to. So it tries to re-locate the source of these universals.
Now let’s read the verse 4 again, “And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep,” time past, watch the next clause because wrapped into this clause is the doctrine of the autonomous man, it’s so important, I want to take that sentence apart, “all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” Subject: “all.” Verb: “continues” and not just “continues” but “continues as,” there has been no fundamental changes. Do you see what that sentence is saying? “All,” there’s your universal, that’s the universal term in that sentence. And what is the verb? The verb makes the audacious claim that this universal has never changed, it truly is a universal. But wait a minute, how can a person like this say that? How do they know? They are claiming perfect knowledge, at least of the past, and what about the future is implied in this verse? That it’s going to continue just as it was. So here we have the collision, and this is at the heart of the attack upon the Bible. The Bible presents a God, we went through His attributes, that He is sovereign, etc. and one of His attributes is that He is immutable, He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and God will not permit anything else to be absolute point of reference than Himself. If that’s the case, what I construct as a creature is subject to interruption. For example, the laws of physics of bread was interrupted when Jesus fed multiplied the loaves. Something was going on in the molecules, try doing that trick. What happened to the laws of chemistry that controlled yeast? What happened to the chemistry that was going on there? It was interrupted, it was overridden, suddenly my equations that describe the behavior of yeast and bread and the biochemistry, what do you do about that time interval, delta t, in which it was interrupted? You see the problem is, if you don’t want to confess God, and you want to keep God out of the picture… let’s just put our heads in that frame of reference for a minute, let’s say “We don’t want God to interfere. We don’t want any outside reference point.” But now we have an interruption. What does that do to our whole thought process? If we need constants and universals to make our engine go, and we have an interruption, what we have introduced is chaos, and if you look at the thinkers that really oppose Biblical Christianity they’ll all say this in the final analysis. If you read them far enough and they’ll all come to this conclusion, “This Bible is irrational” is one way they say it, what they mean is not that it’s not internally logical, what they mean when they say “The Bible and you Bible fundamentalists you’re irrational people,” what they mean is that you allow these tremendous interruptions and you’ve destroyed the basis of all reasoning. The answer is: “No, we haven’t, we’ve destroyed the basis of apostate reasoning,” but there’s godly reasoning, and the godly reasoning isn’t interrupted by these things because the godly reason depended on God, not these rules. The center of gravity of our thinking is to think God’s thoughts after Him. That’s why the Gospel of John begins “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That word, logos is a code word for the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus. But isn’t it interesting what He’s called, He’s called the logos. What’s the logos? It’s the language, here is where the constant is. Jesus—language. In Gen 1:1 what happens? How does God create? He creates by speaking. Language is the tool of creation. Where’s it coming from? A God who is immutable. Can He think in uninterrupted fashion, with constants? Of course He can. And therefore this makes the entire universe contingent on His Word. If God hiccupped the universe would quiver, if not disappear. We are contingent, and it’s that fear of being totally contingent and dependent upon an interfering God with whom I have to be responsible to that terrifies the non-Christian. That’s why they will never agree, they will never, ever, as long as they’re non-Christians, agree unless the God the Holy Spirit moves in their heart. They will not agree because they are terrified to agree, to admit this is to destroy all confidence in me, in self. I can’t do that, it’s either God or me and I don’t want to deal with Him, so I’m going to build this defense, and I am not going to let you Christians pierce it, because if I let you pierce it I destroy the whole basis of what I’m standing for. So, this verse is just loaded, “all things continue as they were,” let us do our computing, let us do our equation development, let us do our predicting, let us do our extrapolations, let us do our statistics on the assumption that all has continued. And on the basis of that we find no evidence for a flood and Noah, we find no evidence of creation. Of course you don’t, because you set the equations up to destroy that, there was an ethical motive behind your equations, the equations weren’t neutral, they were spiritually and ethically controlled and shaped. Don’t ever forget this, because you get into the science thing here, don’t get blown out of the tub because somebody throws an equation your way. Math is just another language, that’s all it is, and you can curse in a language and you can curse in math. And it looks so neat and so impressive, but you can utter blasphemy with an equation, and if you write any equation that claims that you have an absolute, (y=ax+b) if you claim that those constants are universals that are protected from any divine interference, you’ve blasphemed. That’s an equation of unbelief. And no Christian can ever write a mathematical equation with that in his mind. All our equations are contingent; they are descriptions of His usual mode of operation. But notice what else is in verse 4, it says “the promise of His coming,” now to get a promise what do we have to do? God has to speak a language, so the Bible says, and this is why the flood story is so important, we’re not just speaking of an interruption, we’re speaking of a dynamic end to history, an end which is described by language of God’s own mind. He has said ahead of time I am going to do this, and I am going to do this to every last molecule in this universe, you watch. And unbelief in verse 4, says “Yeah, we’re watching God, and I don’t see it happening, where’s the promise?” Do you see the blasphemy involved in this? So that’s the ground motive behind the flood.
We want to go on in the notes and I want to move on to the last argument, we started it and we want to again show the cosmic nature of the flood and the fact that we’re talking big stuff here, we’re talking a universal change. The radical nature of the Antediluvian World. It was a totally different world. To see this, if you want a thrill, it will only take 10 or 15 minutes, and I know it sounds simple but just try it, get a graph paper, set it up, go through Gen 5 for here, and go through Gen 10-11 and plot the age versus time from the data. Every time somebody dies you’re given the age at death, stick a point in the graph, and here’s what you get. After you have done that, and you’ve seen that you can curve fit and all you engineers will notice that’s a nice exponential decay curve that you see there, when you have this feeling of the sensation of look what this thing is telling me, look at what this data is telling me here, something momentous is happening. You get this sort of a thing in science when a capacitor discharges, you get it when you take a hot water bottle and put cold ice in it and twirl it with a thermometer, all kinds of things. When you go from one steady state to another steady state, that’s when you get those kinds of transitions. Moses didn’t have his TI calculator and work all this out with a log scale, this is real data, and it’s amazing. Do you know what the explanation of this data is from the critical point of view? The usual explanation you run into to try to kiss this whole thing of is: “Well, they must have changed the calendars.” You don’t have to be a mathematician to think, if I change the calendars, is that the kind of curve I’m going to get? No, I’m going to get a step function, when the calendar changes, they must have changed the calendar 100 times between Noah and Abraham, do that curve. So the critics just wallow all over the place, better to just be honest and say I don’t believe it instead of coming up with that stuff. So, our point in the fourth reason behind the global flood is that the differences between these two worlds shows you that it is a cosmic event, we can’t make the flood a small thing, it is the event of all of the Bible that alone is as the great complete picture of Jesus Christ return.
Next time we’ll get into the theological implications of this in the doctrine of salvation. I don’t want you to ever think again of salvation as some kind of weak anemic psychological experience. So we’re starting to examine the doctrines of salvation using the richness of the story of the flood. And I want you to read the Genesis story, Gen 6-8, sit there and let your mind soak, turn on the power of your imagination, turn off the TV for once. Use the mind that God gave you, the TV picture in your head; use that to think about the richness of the story, and the greatness of His salvation.
ii See Can Satan Create Life? The Wound of the Beast in Rev 13. (Pre-Trib Research Center, 2007).
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