For an intriguing online interaction that had taken place between an advocate of evolution and young earth creationists, check out ICR’s Articles / News / UCSD scientist discusses evolution, presents no new defenses – Institute for Creation Research: “University of California, San Diego biologist Steve Kay recently discussed evolution in an online chat forum hosted by The San Diego Union-Tribune in which ICR biochemistry professor Dr. Duane Gish and ICR science editor Frank Sherwin participated.”
Archive for December, 2007
“2007 was a remarkable year for the modern creationist movement, and it was not just because AiG’s Creation Museum has opened to largely rave reviews by the media (some reluctantly offered) and drawn an unexpected attendance of over 290,000 visitors since opening in late May.” For a concise summary of the media attention that AIG’s Creation Museum has received in 2007, read “The media year in review—the Creation Museum 2007 – Answers in Genesis.” In addition, I recommend that you also read about the history of Answers in Genesis.
The above picture of my three granddaughters was taken in January 2005 (the oldest is Briana, the next in age is Maryn, and the youngest Peyton). From a grandfather’s perspective, I think my granddaughters are adorable and innocent-looking. The picture below of our family, taken in 1981 when I was at Grace Theological Seminary, has two of my granddaughters’ parents (Amy is the oldest [Briana’s mother], Bob is the middle child [Maryn’s & Peyton’s dad], and Joshua the youngest). As you look at three generations of our family, you can see that our family has certain physical similarities. While our family members share a few physical features, each one shares a more disadvantageous bond. This bond that our family members share is that each one was born with a humanly incurable and fatal corruption: total depravity.
With my two previous posts about “Total Depravity,” I defined total depravity as teaching that every person since the Fall who is conceived through procreation has an inborn moral and spiritual corruption that permeates his entire being. In my post “Total Depravity,” on 12/16/07, I defined what I mean by total depravity. Genesis 6:5 summarizes my point: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” To clarify my point about how pervasive this corruption extends in a person’s makeup, let me provide further details about the Bible’s teaching on this subject.Man’s mind is presented in Romans 8:7-8 as being hostile to God: “The mind set on the flesh [sinful nature] is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh [sinful nature] cannot please God.” Paul further describes man’s mind as “being darkened” in “understanding,” “excluded from the life of God,” having a “hardness” of heart and being callous; and this results in man giving himself “over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Eph 4:17-19). Further, Paul describes the man outside of Christ as having a defiled mind and conscience: “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Tit 1:5). Paul personally testified about the extent of his depravity with this: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh [sinful nature]” (Rom 7:18). In light of these passages, the explicit teaching of Scripture about depravity is that it continuously pervades man’s mind, emotions and desires, will, and conscience. In these passages, the term heart is used to reflect various internal processes, such as thinking, desiring, resolving. In these passages, man’s heart, as well as his other inner faculties are described as being “evil,” “deceitful,” “sick,” “hardened,” “excluded from the life of God,” “callous,” “darkened,” “defiled,” and even as “hostile to God.” The various writers of Scripture describe depravity in the most hideous terms. In the final analysis, the focus of all these passages is that total depravity pervades man’s inner being and that this life-long condition is described as being hostilely antithetical to God. In short, depravity is total because it pervades man, extending to the very core of his being.While the writers of Scripture present man’s total depravity with horrendous expressions, there is one item that Paul includes in Romans 8:8 that is crucially decisive in picturing man in the bleakest condition: “Those who are in the flesh [sinful nature] cannot please God.” To be “in the flesh” is to be controlled by sinful nature, as the NIV renders it: “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” In other words, there is nothing within man’s internal framework that makes him capable of pleasing God. In light of Paul’s assertion, the biblical picture of total depravity must be further qualified as including the concept of man’s total inability. Total inability means that man is incapable of changing his sinful character or acting in a way that is inconsistent with his pervasive depravity. As Jeremiah said in 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (NIV). Total inability argues that man never desires to please God and that he is incapable of pleasing God. In Ephesians 2:1, Paul described fallen humanity as being “dead in trespasses and sin.” Paul further describes total depravity as a condition of slavery in Titus 3:3: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” Sinful man is so enslaved to sin he has no internal capability to turn his life over to God. In short, total depravity means that man is “dead in trespasses and sin,” “enslaved” to his sinful character, and unable to “please God.”If total depravity means that all people are dead in trespasses and sin and if this death renders them entirely unable and unwilling from the very core of their being to positively respond to God, then fallen man is left with a pervasive internal problem that he cannot correct in any conceivable way. In this theological scenario, the inescapable conclusion is that only through the Spirit’s life-giving work in fallen man is he enabled to come to God. Because man’s total depravity is antagonistically antithetical to God’s nature, the doctrine of total depravity helps define what the Spirit must renew in his life-giving ministry: the core of one’s being, one’s direction and outlook in life.As such, the nature of man’s depravity demands that God must do something to change the depraved sinner’s nature if a person is to have any hope of redemption. Without the Spirit’s work in regeneration, a person is helplessly condemned to an eternal condemnation. The hope that sinners have is in the new birth, regeneration. Jesus describes to Nicodemus in John 3:3 the significance of the new birth: “Unless one is born again [or more preferably, "born from above"] he cannot psee the kingdom of God” (for a discussion of John 3:5, see my article “The Meaning of ‘Born of Water and the Spirit’ in John 3:5“). He further states in John 3:6-8: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” These verses in John 3 describe the Spirit’s monergistic work in regeneration. Theologically speaking, regeneration is the impartation of spiritual life, the new nature, to a totally depraved sinner with the inevitable result that the quickened sinner repents of his sin and trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ (for a solid exegetical and theological defense of this view of regeneration, see Mark Snoeberger’s article “The Logical Priority of Regeneration and to Saving Faith in a Theological Ordo Salutis“; for other helpful sources, see J. I. Packer’s “Regeneration: The Christian Is Born Again, Robert Reymond’s chapter “Regeneration,” and R. C. Sproul’s ““Regeneration Precedes Faith.” For helpful sermonic material on regeneration preceding faith, you should listen to the following sermons by John Piper: “You Must Be Born Again: Why This Series and Where Are We Going?,” “What Happens in the New Birth?” “What Happens in the New Birth? Part 2″,” “Why Do We Need to Be Born Again? Part 1,” “Why Do We Need to Be Born Again? Part 2.” May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear.
A couple of days back, Answers in Genesis posted on the web an informative article by Dr. Jason Lisle, “The Stars of the Heaven Confirm Biblical Creation.” Dr. Lisle introduces his article by noting “Most universities teach that stars formed from collapsing clouds of hydrogen gas billions of years ago and that stars continue to form today. Most people are unaware that there are serious scientific problems with such notions. A careful examination of the evidence confirms that stars are not billions of years old. The properties of stars do not suggest an evolutionary origin; rather, they reveal the power and majesty of the Lord” (this article initially appeared in volume 2, number 4 of the Answers Magazine).
In this brief article, Dr. Lisle discusses on a semi-technical level some of the basic properties of stars (such as their basic composition of hydrogen and helium, heat, brightness, etc.), problems for stars forming spontaneously under routine circumstances, and what the Bible says about the stars. After his helpful survey, he concludes: “The properties of stars confirm that biblical history is true. Stars differ in glory, just as the Bible teaches. Secular models of star formation are riddled with theoretical difficulties, and we have yet to see a star form spontaneously. Blue stars cannot last billions of years, yet they are common in spiral galaxies, confirming that these galaxies are young. Stars are a heavenly reminder that the universe was supernaturally created, just as the Bible declares!” To read this helpful article, go to “The Stars of Heaven Confirm Biblical Creation – Answers in Genesis.”
Check out Dr. Jerry Bergmans’s article Does gene duplication provide the engine for evolution?: He concludes his article this way: “It also is clear that the evidence for gene duplication at present is totally inferential, and not empirical or experimental. Chromosome duplication can produce useable variety—but only within what are most likely created kinds—in plants and invertebrates, and single gene duplication appears to do likewise in rare cases in vertebrates, but otherwise gene duplication generally causes disease and deformity. The existing experimental evidence does not support gene duplication as a source of new genes for at least populations of fewer than one billion.30 According to Hughes, ‘Everything we’ve looked at [fails to] support the hypothesis.’39 Darwinists promote gene duplication as an important means of evolution, not because of the evidence, but because they see no other viable mechanism to produce the required large number of new functional genes to turn a microbe into a microbiologist. In other words, evolution by gene-duplication is yet another example of just-so story-telling.”
With the modern assault on the marriage covenant, it is good to check out Adrian Bates’ “Handling the barrage of homosexual half-truths“
The innocent looking baby in the above picture is my granddaughter Maryn, taken about 4 years ago when she was 11 months old. Because she looks so innocent with her big blue eyes, some might think that she was not totally depraved at birth. In contrast to this type of understanding, the Bible provides abundant evidence that every person in the fallen line of Adam is totally depraved. On December 9th, I posted a brief note entitled “Total Depravity Includes Inability.” Though my post mentions that human inability is only one aspect of our sinfulness, I gave an incomplete presentation of total depravity. In order to clarify my understanding of total depravity, I plan to post two more concise articles that outline the biblical material about fallen humanity’s corrupt state (for more biblical support, see "Total Depravity (Inability) Verse List)".
According to this doctrine, every person since the Fall who is conceived through the normal procreation process is so pervasively polluted with his internal corruption “that every aspect of his being and personality is affected by it” (Storms, Chosen for Life, p. 4). Man’s incurable condition began with Adam and Eve in the pristine glory of the Garden of Eden. When Adam ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were eternally condemned and were internally changed into a state of total depravity, including the loss of their original state of unconfirmed creature holiness. In keeping with the Pauline analogy in Romans 5:12–21, comparing the representative roles of Adam and Christ (1 Cor 15:21–22), God imputed to those whom Adam represented, the human race, both Adam’s guilt and his corruption (for a definitive defense of the immediate imputation view, see Murray’s The Imputation of Adam’s Sin and Reymond’s Systematic Theology, pp. 434–39). According to v. 12, sin entered the world through Adam: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The “all” who “sinned” were connected with Adam as their representative when he initiated sin into the world through his act of disobedience and this connection resulted in death for all men (S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., “Romans 5:12—an Exercise in Exegesis and Theology,” in New Dimensions in New Testament Study, pp. 312–14). The comparative conjunction, “just as,” that introduces verse 12 indicates that this verse is a protasis; however, its apodosis is not found until vv. 18–19, with vv. 13–17 functioning as a theological parenthesis (for a discussion of the grammatical construction found in these verses, see Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 318–29 and Schreiner, Romans, pp. 271–72). The apodosis in vv. 18–19 summarizes Paul’s argument in this section and stresses that the imputation of Adam’s guilt resulted in eternal condemnation, in an analogous way to Christ’s triumphant act of righteousness being imputed to us: “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” The expression “made sinners,” like “made righteous,” reflects a forensic aspect of Adam’s transgression. This act of disobedience also had the result of making his posterity totally depraved.
The word depravity refers to moral and spiritual corruption, the disposition towards evil and against good. All the descendants of Adam through normal procreation inherit a totally depraved nature at conception and are alienated from God. David stated it like this in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." Romans 5:12–21 provides a theological basis for Paul’s discussion of hamartiology in Romans 1:18–3:23. Because of humanity’s connection with Adam, sin has been transmitted to all people. And the sin transmitted from Adam is so pervasive in man’s being that he has no desire to seek after God. Paul makes this very point in Romans 3:10–12: “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.’” He further describes, in vv. 13–18, how sin permeates a person’s being: body and spirit. Man’s problem is systemic: “by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3). Man’s nature is so hopelessly corrupt that Paul describes it as being “dead” in “trespasses and sin” (2:1). As such, man’s inner being by nature is enslaved to his pervasive corruption and this corruption goes back to his conception and birth.
The adjective total is used to qualify depravity in order to communicate that this corruption pervades the whole of a person’s being, extending to the core of his being. Depravity pervades man’s mind, emotions and desires, heart, will, and conscience. In Scripture, the evil intentions of man’s heart are pictured in Genesis 6:5 as continuously evil: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The perversity of man’s heart extends back to his youth, according to Genesis 8:21: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.’” The author of Ecclesiastes affirmed in 9:3 that the hearts of men are “full of evil and insanity…throughout their lives.” According to Jeremiah 17:9, man’s heart is “more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” The answer to Jeremiah’s question is that no man can understand the depth of man’s depravity. In Mark 7:21–23 Jesus described man’s radical corruption as the source that produces all types of evil activities: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” This post provides some basic information about depravity. However, Scripture has more to say about this subject. But this is for a subsequent post.
“According to a new study on global warming, climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia found that the climate change models based on human influence do not match observed warming.” To continue reading this article, hit this link “Sun, Not Man, Main Cause of Climate Change, New Study Says — 12/11/2007.”
An argument used by some proponents of an old earth relates to distant starlight. Advocates of the big bang hypothesis use this argument to prove that the earth is billions of years old. What value does the argument have in supporting an old earth? In part 2 of Dr. Jason Lisle’s lecture “Distant Starlight,” he continues to argue that distant starlight does not prove that the universe is old. To listen to part 2 of his lecture, go to AIG’s video on demand link and click this week’s link “Distant Starlight part 2.” For the first part of Dr. Lisle’s lecture scroll down the page to the December 4 and click “Distant Starlight part 1.” Since I have already listened to the video, I can confidently recommend listening to it.
The doctrine of total depravity teaches that every person since the Fall is conceived with an inborn moral and spiritual corruption that permeates his entire being. According to this doctrine, a person is so pervasively polluted with his internal corruption “that every aspect of his being and personality is affected by it” (Storms, Chosen for Life, p. 4). In order to show how radically corrupt a person is, I think we should include the term inability. Man is totally unable to please God. Paul stated it like this in Romans 8:6-8: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” We should note that Paul says our unregnerate minds are so hostile to God that we are unable to please God. Only the monergistic work of the Spirit in regeneration can enable anyone to embrace the Gospel in repentance and faith. Understanding man’s total inability clarifies aspects of total depravity. Along this line, take a moment to read Charles Spurgeon’s concise and helpful insight on Human Inability.