Creation

From the Archives – Materialism: It's Probably Not What You Think

Ask most people to describe materialism and you’ll hear references to big-screen TVs, computers, SUVs, spacious houses, and overpaid CEOs. A few might mention “consumerism” and “greed.” Most would agree with the idea that materialism has been a major obstacle to relieving world poverty. Some would say it’s the cause of that poverty.

Four myths of materialism

But what if materialism isn’t really what most people think? We could fall prey to materialism unawares or reject good ideas we have misidentified as materialism. In seeking to help the poor, we could waste our efforts opposing what really contributes little to the poverty problem.

So what is materialism? I’ll pursue a definition by countering four popular myths.

Myth 1: Material things are not important.

A widespread attitude, especially among Christians, is that materialism involves attaching value and importance to material things—and that these things are not truly important.

But wouldn’t that make God the first materialist?

Consider creation from a before-and-after perspective. Before Genesis 1:1, there was nothing—no material at all. Apparently, God considered this situation and decided that He wanted material to exist. He created matter, energy, time—an entire, mind-bogglingly huge universe of material. Before He created it, He invented it. After He created it, He repeatedly declared it to be “good” (Gen. 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, etc.).

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From the Archives: A Wonderful Creationist Heritage

It is so important that we focus on God’s perspective concerning ultimate origins. Human theories, hypotheses, speculations and opinions come and go. But the God “who cannot lie” (NKJV, Tit. 1:2), who was there when the world began, has written a perfect book—the Bible—which He requires that we read and believe (Rom. 10:17).

Let us think, then, about the vital and blessed heritage that Christians enjoy as we understand the truths of creationism.

The Bible, God’s unique, inerrant, inspired, infallible written revelation, informs us that the world was not the product of some vague designer (to say nothing of time through chance by mindless evolution), but was the creative work of the Second Person of the triune God, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ, the eternal Son of God,

all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers [different ranks of angelic beings]. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [hold together]. (Col. 1:16-17)

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"This week marks the anniversary of the publication of the one of the most influential books on the debate of creationism versus evolutionism."

"Titled The Genesis Flood and authored by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, the apologetic work seeks to argue in favor of a Young Earth Creationism perspective." This Week in Christian History: Joan of Arc, Trinity Broadcasting, Genesis Flood Book

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 9)

From DBSJ. Read the series.

A Critique of Theological Triage

Having given reasons why young earth theology is essential to Christian doctrine as a whole, I now turn to a very popular argument that has been used against raising creationism to such a level. In 2004, Al Mohler wrote an influential article calling for theological triage.30 In that article, Mohler likens the sorting of doctrines according to priority with triage of variously ill patients in a medical emergency room. More serious injuries or illnesses are prioritized for faster response, whereas minor injuries are pushed toward the back of the line. Similarly, a doctrinal prioritization is visible in the historical development of doctrine in church history. Mohler calls for such sorting in today’s debates over doctrine and in the arrangement of churches and fellowships.

As a corrective to overreaction, Mohler wrote this in his article:

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 8)

From DBSJ. Read the series.

Are the Essentials Really Essential?

Up to this point in this essay, I have argued for the importance of each of the nine elements to young earth theology. The collection of these elements and their cohesion together define young earth theology. If any of these are taken away, the view ceases to be a young-earth view.

From this young earther’s perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of leeway in the matter. I cannot imagine a young earth creationist view that doesn’t rest on literal hermeneutics, that doesn’t include supernaturalism, that leaves God out of the creation of some parts of the universe, that takes longer than six days, that dates creation to billions of years ago, that doesn’t posit a literal Adam, that chalks up death to something other than sin, that doesn’t have a global deluge, or even worse that suggests Scripture is insufficient as our rule of faith and practice.

Some of these characteristics can be affirmed by non-YET views of creation. The fact that they are not then “distinguishing characteristics” does not mean that they cannot be “essential characteristics” for the YET view. For instance, someone could affirm belief in comprehensive creation, or in the method of supernatural direct acts of God without affirming belief in full-orbed young earth creationism.

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Essential Elements of Young Earth Creationism and Their Importance to Christian Theology (Part 7)

From DBSJ. This installment discusses the seventh, eighth, and ninth of nine essentials of YEC. Read the series.

(7) Sin as the Cause of Death

Somewhat paradoxically, the evolutionary model makes death an important ingredient for life even though it cannot really explain why death came about or why it was necessary to begin with. Without continued death of the unfit and repeated “experiments” that result in death, life cannot arise or continue. Biblical theology teaches an entirely different idea. The creation was initially perfect, but then sin intruded.

Sin caused the Fall of mankind and death came as a consequence of sin. Thus death came about only after the Fall. We have to believe this if we are to take Romans 5:12 seriously: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death [came into the world] through sin.”25

One of the purposes of the Genesis text is to explain where death comes from. God through Moses is giving to later generations the precise cause of death. Everyone experiences death of loved ones, but apart from the Genesis history of creation, they may wonder why death happens. The plain explanation of Scripture is that death occurs because of sin.

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