Why Can’t They Just Believe The Bible?

Following are a few samples of comments from a recent discussion on the NazNet Forum, a website created by some Nazarenes for topics such as theology and Nazarene teachings.  Yet, I still am amazed at some Christians who just cannot bring themselves to trust what the scriptures say.  The topic was evolution.
(Names have been left out to minimize embarrassment).

One question: Can you be a pastor in our denomination and still believe in evolution? Here is one amazing answer.

“One theory that I rather like is that the species developed and evolved over millions of years and when it finally got to the point when there existed creatures that were basically physiologically, “human,” God stepped in with some kind of special creative act and transformed a pair of the human-like creatures (let’s call them Adam and Eve) into full humans by giving them “the image of God” (free-will, self-awareness, and/or whatever else that phrase means). The bloodlines of the rest of the then current existing species (Adam’s cousins, for example) all died off.”
It’s certainly not a theory I’m married to, but I like it.

This was written by a Nazarene pastor.  (By the way, at least seven persons thought this was a useful post). This is amazing!  So God allowed this gradual evolvement of almost human-like creatures over millions of years, and then at some point decided to make them fully human. I think it is really sad when so many Christians try to re-interpret Genesis to accommodate evolution theories, which really is more like a weak hypothesis and has very no credible evidence that supports it.  The bottom line is this: God’s description of how we were created is incompatible with any kind of evolutionary theory, including the preposterous one submitted by the commentator above.  But many Nazarenes and other Christians seem to succumb to pressure by evolutionists who try to ridicule creationists for believing the Bible.  What a sad state of affairs when man cannot fully trust in God’s word, but instead decides that he will be the arbiter of what is fact or fiction in the Holy Scriptures.

Here’s another comment:

“I take pretty much the entire first 12 chapters of Genesis as a literary way of relating a fundamental understanding of the nature and person of God- a collection of parables, if you will, which tell us about God and God’s relationship to humanity.”

This comment is not a surprise, because I hear similar ones from many emergent or liberal Nazarenes on this site, which has been described as a breeding ground for emergent ideology.  I have no doubt that this forum is primarily a vehicle for those Nazarenes who are going against Nazarene teaching, not supporting it.

One of the reasons for disbelieving the creation account is that there is a lack of proof that it happened that way.  But if we believe that God is a Being who is all-powerful and transcends all of creation, and what He does is done supernaturally, then why do we need any kind of proof before we can believe what He said in Genesis?  The only explanation is that the religion of man takes over, and man has to somehow come up with “logical” explanations of how we came to be, instead of believing in God’s word.  Oh yes, man’s religion, which includes the atheists who will try their best to discredit any and all explanations that defy “man’s wisdom.”  But as the scriptures say, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”  Romans 1:22   “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

2. Another person responded to the question, Are they (our college professors) teaching any evidence of a great flood?

“I never took geology but I have read of evidence for a great regional flood. The Greek, Persian, Mesopotamian and surrounding cultures have stories in their myths of a great flood. Now it comes down to this: How are we to understand the word translated “earth” in the ancient texts? We know that they did not think of the earth as a planet, instead it seems that they thought of “earth” to be the dry land and in certain senses a region (“The Earth Is Not a Planet,” Karen Strand Winslow, Creation Made Free: Open Theology Engaging Science Tom Oord ed. pp. 13-27; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth#Cultural_viewpoint). So maybe just maybe if we are looking in North America for evidence of a global, planetary flood and do not find it we should not be surprised.”

Plain reading of scripture: Gen. 7:18-23  The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.h i 21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. (KJV)

There are also many more biblical references that show that the writers also believed in this global flood, and Jesus Himself referenced it.  Why then is it so hard to believe that it was a global flood that covered the entire earth?  Never mind the great amount of scientific evidence that points to a global flood, such as oceanic fossils found on mountaintops all over the world; great amounts of coal deposits that would have required a very rapid covering of vegetation; and much more evidence.

Some of these Nazarenes, some of them pastors, might even refuse to acknowledge that Adam and Eve were real.  I recall challenging Dr. Thomas Oord last year at a lecture at Eastern Nazarene College, with my answer to the question of how death and sin came to the world.  The answer was rather simple, and I referenced Romans 5:12-14, which says plainly:  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.”
Even Jesus our Lord referenced Adam as a real historical figure, not an allegory.  But Dr. Oord did not agree with “my” explanation, which was actually the biblical explanation.

How sad that we have Nazarene professors and pastors  who not only cannot accept or doubt the biblical account, but who also promote an anti-biblical evolutionary theory, or do not believe God knows the future, or who teach that God is ever learning from man’s activities, and even makes mistakes!  Eastern Nazarene College, my old school, has a professor who believes evolution is compatible with Christianity, and who is an Open Theist and Process theologist.  But he is not the only one, and many others like Dennis Bratcher of Point Loma Nazarene University, are causing great damage by challenging the plain teachings of scripture.

What about your pastor or professor?  Does he believe in the scriptural account of the creation?  Is he grounded in the word of God, and believes in its infallibility in all that it teaches, without compromise?  Does he leave open the possibility that man evolved over millions of years, thereby contradicting the biblical account of God’s creation?  Does he “lord it over you” with his “learned ways” when you dare to oppose his belief that God does not know everything?  If so, he may very well be a victim of the post-modern way of thinking, or the damaging liberal philosophies of the New Evangelicalism which has welcomed and held hands with just about any thought or ideology, all for the sake of “getting along.” Beware, for such are the “pied pipers’ of the emergent church and other “religions of men”, leading the gullible and spiritually immature down towards the cliff and into the deep waters of unbelief and distrust.

What about you?  What do you believe: God’s account, or man’s “wisdom?”

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13 responses to “Why Can’t They Just Believe The Bible?

  1. You mentioned ENC and PLNU, but as far as I know, every one of our Nazarene universities has professors in it who believe that evolution is compatible with Christianity. I know Olivet (my alma mater) does.

    When asked, these professors reply that they DO believe the Bible. And they also believe that the earth is old and that God may have used evolutionary processes as his method of creation, because this is what they find evidence of when they look at what God has created.

    This is not a new phenomenon. It goes all the way back to the earliest days of the church. Origen, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Clement, Augustine — we find in their writings evidence that they did not interpret Genesis 1 in the same way that Young Earth Creationists do today. I’m not saying these guys got everything right. But they are representative of what Christians of the time were thinking, how they understood Scripture and lived out their faith. The idea that God did not create the universe in 6 literal, 24-hour days has been with us from the beginning of the church.

    As for me, I believe that God has communicated to us both in his Word and in the World he created. If we see a conflict between the two, then we’re either misunderstanding his Word, misunderstanding his World, or both.

    So I definitely believe the Bible. And I’m also open to what science discovers about the world God created. When there appears to be conflict between the two… well, that’s when we have to figure out if we’re misreading the Word or the World… or both.

  2. There are some on Naznet who believe in a 6 day creation and also young earth. There also are some that have attended Nazarene Unversities and are discussing with those that believe in Theistic evolution or that Genesis is a mythical story. Catch phrases like “You’ve asking the wrong question” and an attitude that we are in the minority as Christians who believe this way are said time and time again. If you do not agree with them you should at least join Naznet and give your viewpoint.

  3. rich,
    i do not think that manny is saying they don’t believe in the Bible in terms of them not know what the Bible says. it seems it is more of difference in how the Bible is read. there are nazarene professors who read the Bible and interpret it , usually through the quadralateral. Manny leans more towards a literal approach to scripture with the stance that if you do anything but look at what the Word says and believe it literally, than you are tampering with it by means of “mans wisdom”. i believe that is the heart of his post here. the arguement does not really lie in who believes in the Bible or even evolution, but the differences in how we read the Bible.

  4. Ash,
    You pretty much described my position on this. There is nothing that tells me I should abandon what God says regarding the creation, and come up with other ideas on how it “really” happened.

    Julie, I personally am appalled that pastors do not believe what the bible says about how we were created. And I do understand that there are young earth folks on NazNet. I do try to stay away from naznet if I can, it’s not good for me usually.

    Rich,
    It seems as if those professors might SAY they believe the Bible, but then go on and continue with their theories that contradict the Bible!

    Also, an idea that is very old does not mean it is right.

    I choose to believe what the Bible says. I also believe Adam and Eve were real and were created by God as related in Genesis, AND were the first actual humans- not humans that evolved out of something that was around for millions of years. If you don’t agree with the Bible’s account, fine. I trust what it actually says.

  5. Like I said, Manny, the Word and World don’t contradict each other. If there’s a conflict, then we’re either misreading the Word or misreading the World. You believe we are misreading the World if we see that it appears to be millions or billions of years old. Others (including those professors I mentioned) believe that we are misreading the Word if we see it as teaching that God created everything in 6 literal 24-hour days.

    The conflict between these readings of the Word and the World is real, and it has to be resolved somehow. You’ve made your choice as to where you think the misreading lies. Others believe the misreading lies elsewhere.

    In past discussions, I’ve brought up the Galileo incident. Back in his day, when the Word and World seemed to conflict, the church resolved the conflict by saying that Galileo was misreading the World when he saw evidence that the Earth revolved around the Sun with the other planets. Their reading of the Word told them that “the world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” Today, from our perspective, we can see that it was their reading of the Word that was mistaken, not Galileo’s reading of the World. I think our current conversation about Genesis and evolution is remarkably similar.

  6. It amazes me that people don’t want to simply accept what the Bible says. They want to twist Genesis 1-11 into alagory or they want to read into it various theories such as the “Gap Theory” (held by the likes of Scofield or J. Vernon McGee) into the creation account.

    As for me, I believe that God is not limited in His power. He can merely speak and things happen such as healings or creation itself. God could have made the world in millions of years but He has revealed to us in Genesis 1-2 that He made it in 24 hours. Could He not do this? Why should we bow our knees to science who’s god is time itself? Why not accept that the Bible is true and what it says is truthful?

    Good post and thank you for standing for the authority of the Bible.

  7. Rich,
    Do you believe that Adam and Eve were real created beings or just allegory? Or do you doubt that they were real as Dr. Oord did that night I quoted scripture to him? The pastor who postulated that theory in my post, do you even think that he has a good point with his idea?

    And what is your “interpretation” of the scripture below that I gave him, as an answer to the question of how death came into the world?

    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
    Romans 5:12-14

    You see, Jesus also referred to Adam as a historical figure. Did Jesus deceive us by referring to Adam, and others, as real people? Or were most of them allegorical figures only? Where do we come to the conclusion that certain things in the Bible are not what they plainly say, and then other times we decide that what it says is really what it says?

  8. Gen 1: 1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Col. 1: 16-17 confirms God’s creation as being created. It would humble those who think themselves wiser than God to read Job chapters thirty-eight through forty-one where God asked Job a series of questions that only a person who was present at that moment of creation could answer. God in His wisdom knew there was no way Job could answer Him after hearing the questions and could only bring about the confession of fallibility or limitation of knowledge concerning the matter.
    The Hebrew word for the book of creation is “Sefer Maaseh Bereshith.” It is better known as Genesis which is unique because it declares God as creator of all things that exists. There are two important thoughts in Jewish teaching that amplifies how we see God in nature and His relations to mankind. They are expressed in the two Hebrew words “Elohim and Adonay.” These two names are expressed in the exact nature of the context in Scripture determining the correct meaning as it applies to God.

    In Jewish thought certain passages carry parallel truths. Example, Gen. 1:3 “Then God said,” carries the same truth as “God willed.” Meaning all creation was intentional as planned and could not have happened by chance. In Gen 1:4 “That is was good,” acknowledges the will of God was fulfilled in His creation. This is repeated five times in the creation story
    Elohim is the traditional Jewish teaching of the Hebrew word to describe God in His creative role. It speaks volumes about a meticulous God who cares about perfection in what He does and what He provides for all His creation.

    In Gen. 1: 5,8,&13 separates the creation events described as one day each. The first three days of creation are not ordinary days as the days of man. This is seen in the second account of creation that specifically parallels the first account Gen. 2: 4 According to Jewish teachings earthly or human calculations of time do not apply to the first three days of creation because the stars, moon, and sun was not yet in existence. These were not created until the fourth day. The first three days are considered days expressing a span or period of time belonging to God and God alone. Psalms 90: 2,4 “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past.”
    The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians Church warned against those who passed themselves off as the enlightened ones with special wisdom, knowledge, or consciousness. He warned them that God is wiser than men, and that the weakness of God is stronger than men. This can be found in greater detail in I Cor. 1: 18-25.

    It has been said that in Corinth you could meet self taught sagacious men who mimicked their favorite philosopher (copycat syndrome) by echoing philosophic discussions on any number of topics portraying themselves as learned or leading authorities in their field of study.
    This so-called special ability was not available to the ordinary man and was usually contrary to the Word of God. This newfound recognition or enlightenment has no doubt immersed itself into today’s church culture. Have we reached a point in our academia where man’s teaching has now become superior to God’s and being touted as truth while God’s truth has now become suspect or inferior to man’s by denying the validity of God’s Word?
    A warning to those who seek their (Emergent) so-called wisdom of Gold will soon discover it is only fool’s Gold they have panned for. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” If we are to live by His Word, then it must mean we will be judged by His Word as well.

    The danger of embracing the ideology of those mentioned in the article “Why can’t they just believe the Bible” is described by our Lord Himself in Matt. 23: 5-7, 13-15. Here Jesus describes those in His day as serving God in pretense, who love to be seen by men blocking the truth from others keeping them from entering in. A word to the wise about the finality of the outcome Jesus said; “You make him twice as much a son of hell.”

  9. Manny,

    I’m fine with Adam and Eve being real individuals who walked around in a garden. But if I get to heaven and can’t find Adam and am told that he and Eve were literary constructions used by God to tell us who we are in relation to him, each other, and the rest of creation, will I be disappointed? No. I can understand why people would read it that way. There are multiple hints in the text that lead in that direction. But on the face it, Adam and Eve are certainly depicted as real people in the storyline.

    As for the Romans passage, Paul seems to refer to Adam as both a real person and as a “type” of Christ, a figure that represents much more than just a lone individual. For what it’s worth, I think the whole death-and-sin issue is one of the big ones that theistic evolutionists need to keep wrestling with.

    Could you remind me where Jesus referred to Adam? I’m having trouble finding it.

  10. Oh, I should add that having a real Adam and Eve doesn’t automatically mean that God couldn’t have used evolutionary processes as his method of creating them. Some theistic evolutionists believe this is just what happened.

    Others, whether accepting of evolutionary theories or not, see them as symbols representing all of humanity, etc.

  11. Manny,

    Thanks for the opportunity to add my thoughts on the subject regarding Adam and Eve being real or an allegory. I personally believe that they were real individuals. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground created by God made with a heart, soul, and mind enabling him to be a rational being capable of love having communion with God. Eve on the other hand was not formed as Adam but was created from Adam’s rib. Therefore they could not have evolved given the time-frame to each one’s orgin in that one was formed from the dust and the other made from a rib. When they were created they were fully grown suggesting they were comparable both physically and spiritually. The Scripture makes it clear that they were companionable to each other in their relationship given they gave birth to a child.
    In the Hebrew the word “formed” “wayyitzer” is written with two “yods.” Therefore man was created with a “Yetzer Tob and a Yetzer Ra.” meaning capable of doing both good and evil. The animals were created with only one “yod.” This is why animals can prey on each other without a conscience of doing wrong.
    When God made Adam in His likeness all three The Fathr, Son and Holy Spirit were present and witness to the creation process. Surely all three persons of the God-head would not make up such a tall tale. In John 16: 7-15, Jesus says in part “When the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” Only the Holy Spirit can do this without error.

  12. Thanks for your thoughts and explanation of the Hebrew words, Lige. I could not agree more- there is only one way to “interpret” the biblical account of creation- to take it at its word.

  13. This is very simple folks people who do not believe the Bible just want to try to complicate things. The word yom was used in the Genesis account and a literal meaning of the word yom when they use the word yom with evening and morning it refers to a 24 hour period. Its really that simple of a intrepretation.Folks over at Naz Net simply want to muddy the waters because their pseudo-intellectualism is a huge stumbling block to them.Science itself along with the the proven errors and accuracy of carbon 14 dating has disproved evolution as a valid science. Evolution is actually a false belief system. And you need more faith to believe in evolution than you do to take the Bible literally. Dont listen to guys like Rich and the false teachers and pastors that hang over at Naz Net. That site is just full of false teachers who do not believe in Gods Word as well as immature pastors who have nothing better to do then surf the internet and pat themselves on the back for being wise. But they use the worlds wisdom. If you listen to them compare what they say to scripture. It will always be in conflict.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim Wirth

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