One of the innate limitations of every intelligence test is that the test is forced to conflate the measurable aspects of intelligence with a general definition of intelligence. What can't be quantified is ignored. And what can be easily quantified is privileged. The end result is a woefully distorted view of learning, g, and education. Programs like No Child Left Behind only exacerbate this trend, since they turn K-12 education into one long test. Good teaching is confused with successful measurement.
Occasionally, we get depressing glimpses of what this "rigorous" view of education is leaving out. Take art education. Teaching a kid how to draw, or look at a painting, or appreciate a sculpture, won't generate great test results. In fact, these skills aren't particularly amenable to testing in the first place. Nobody wants to rank ten year olds on their ability to draw a flower. As a result, cash strapped school districts have been steadily cutting "arts time" from their curriculum, so that there's more time for academic areas that will show up on the standardized tests.
But when we cut out this sort of "subjective education" from the classroom, we end up denying kids a crucial set of life tools. A team of Boston researchers recently spent a year observing some lucky kids who got a few hours of arts education every week:
In a recent study of several art classes in Boston-area schools, we found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum - and that far from being irrelevant in a test-driven education system, arts education is becoming even more important as standardized tests like the MCAS exert a narrowing influence over what schools teach.
The implications are broad, not just for schools but for society. As schools cut time for the arts, they may be losing their ability to produce not just the artistic creators of the future, but innovative leaders who improve the world they inherit. And by continuing to focus on the arts' dubious links to improved test scores, arts advocates are losing their most powerful weapon: a real grasp of what arts bring to education.
It is well established that intelligence and thinking ability are far more complex than what we choose to measure on standardized tests. The high-stakes exams we use in our schools, almost exclusively focused on verbal and quantitative skills, reward children who have a knack for language and math and who can absorb and regurgitate information. They reveal little about a student's intellectual depth or desire to learn, and are poor predictors of eventual success and satisfaction in life.
For students living in a rapidly changing world, the arts teach vital modes of seeing, imagining, inventing, and thinking. If our primary demand of students is that they recall established facts, the children we educate today will find themselves ill-equipped to deal with problems like global warming, terrorism, and pandemics.
Those who have learned the lessons of the arts, however - how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions - are the ones likely to come up with the novel answers needed most for the future.
Read the whole thing.
Teaching a kid how to draw, or look at a painting, or appreciate a sculpture, won't generate great test results. In fact, these skills aren't particularly amenable to testing in the first place. Nobody wants to rank ten year olds on their ability to draw a flower. As a result, cash strapped school districts have been steadily cutting "arts time" from their curriculum, so that there's more time for academic areas that will show up on the standardized tests.
I don't think it's a question of being able to so much as being wiling to. We CAN grade 10 yr olds on their ability to draw a flower and if we were taking art as seriously as math, we would be.
The study in the article looks at a couple of the very rare (at below the college level) dedicated art schools that do take it seriously. 3-4 hrs a day seriously. They're actually teaching the kids how to think like artists rather than just having telling them to make a pinch pot or draw a flower and giving everybody who actually did it a good grade. This kind of specialized education is normally reserved for college, where it is commonly said one learns to think like an engineer/artist/economist/chemist/jouralist/etc.
But not all kids can benefit from this. Some kids obviously won't take to the arts and for them an intensive arts education would be useless. The samples at these schools are selected for kids who do take to the arts, and they, unsuprisingly, probably get more out of it than the normal broadly spread superficial treatment of a variety of subjects that is the norm in American education. Some other kids would benefit from similar intensive treatment of subjects they have a talent for.
However, most children aren't precocious specialists. So should we place a greater emphasis on art in education for the median student? I'd say no. Science, math, and English are all much more broadly applicable, and are useful on a day to day basis for even the dabbler. Art, on the other hand, is useful almost exclusively for art. Being able to appreciate the composition of a painting is nice, but being able to write a coherent paragraph or calculate interest is essential for surviving in the modern world and the education system fails to instill the later skills to often to afford more time for the former.
To the extent that there is a case for change here, it is not for keeping art on the long list of superficially treated subjects that every student is subjected to, but for a return to more and earlier specialization. We should re-examine both the factory-style education structure imposed by the uniformity of public school content and the "liberal arts" assumption that a broad rather than a specialized education leads to better analytical thinking. The apprenticeship system of the past, where one learned a single discipline by via real life involvement under the guidance of an accomplished professional (and generally had pretty good career placement prospects as a result) looks increasingly attractive compared to the nothing-about-everything approach of the public school era.
It does seem to me that there should be some logical, specific reason why we teach and test the things we do. I don't believe that we as a country consistently do this, however, and I think that we should re-think what it is that we teach and what we test.
Take history, for example. Presume for a moment that the guiding principle behind teaching history to our students is that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.
To take that one step further, the most relevant history is most likely also the most recent- so, for example, it's more important for a child in a 2007 classroom to understand the historic forces behind we got into the war in Iraq than it is to understand why we got into a war with Mexico in 1846.
But recent history is not the focus. Astonishingly, even the history of the last 100 years is not the focus.
Presume that in a perfect world, most students would be able to pass the U.S. History advanced placement exam. What are we teaching and testing? Approximately half of the test (45%) covers the years 1790 through 1914, and another 20 percent covers the period to 1790. So 65 percent of what we're teaching and testing covers a period that was that is not in the past 100 years.
Why? We need to re-evaluate our priorities in the subjects we teach and test.
Here are a few things off the top of my head that arts education teaches-- if taught well. I will be the first to to say that a lot of arts education in K-12 focuses whay too much on something nebulously called "self-expression" and way too little on cultural knowledge and critical thinking.
1. The ability to express an opinion on a subjective matter in front of a group of peers. One can learn this in other subjects, but not nearly as intensely as when one has to respond to a group of peers telling you your work, yur self-expression, the revelation of your soul, is crap. Since most of us work in offices of some kind, and most of what happens in offices constitues something called "meetings", this skill is rather broadly applicable. This includes the ability to tell someone that their work is crap without offending them too much.
2. The ability to solve problems in an environment where there are no "right" or "wrong" answers, only more and less interesting responses. This is fundamentally different than what one does in math and science at the K-12 level. As I recall from high school chemistry, my frustration and boredom came from the fact that the answers to our lab session were already pre-determined, and the lab sessions were largely an exercise in proper measurement, and in fudging the numbers on the lab sheets so our answers came out within the margin of error. How far up the ladder in the sciences does one need to get before the questions one works on are questions to which no other human on earth knows the answer? Pretty far. The arts allow a person to swim in those waters in a very small way at an early age, and become comfortable wading into areas of inquiry where the answers aren't in the back of the book or on the internet somewhere.
3. Self-discipline and self-reflection. The ability to evaluate what one has done, its merits and disappointments, independently of, and in light of, what others think. Without this skill, people lack the ability to move their lives, thier careers, their work projects, forward in a meaningful manner without tangible external power and guidance structures. I pointed this out to my scientist girlfriend yesterday, that the difference between the people who succeed at her biotech firm and those that don't is self-discipline and self-reflection-- the ability to evaluate one's own progress and make course adjustments in circumstances where guidance is absent. Nowhere is this skill learned more quickly than in practicing a musical instrument, or learning how to paint.
So really what the arts do is create critically-minded problem solvers who can articulate their solutions and their pros and cons, and who can discipline and improve themselves without outside systems of rewards and punishments. Some people argue that all this can be learned in other subject areas. To which I mostly say fine, then why are most people so bad at these things, and why are artists so good at them? To me it is no surprise that so many really great scientists and mathematicians also practice an art form of some kind or another.
IN THE BIBLE GOOD MAN GO TO HELL
Mr dawkins and his arrogance on the subject of God's moral standards are very naive yet subtle , and his advocates do not fall far from the tree.
Dawkins later talks to Reverend Michael Bray, who speaks out in defence of his friend Paul Hill, who was sentenced to death after murdering an abortion doctor and his bodyguard. Although Bray was actually quite articulate and in some ways more serious and intellectual in defence of his beliefs, he was still blinded by his faith, which leads him directly to the justification of murder.
And Bray doesnt stop there; heres Bray, who Dawkins describes as fighting to reverse centuries of human progress, talking to Dawkins about adultery:Bray: I think that execution for adultery is not rejected
Dawkins: Not rejected by whom, by you?
Bray: No, by the New TestamentDawkins: But what about you, do you favour execution for adultery?
Bray: I think its fair to say that its still a proper punishment that the state ought to prosecute.
Who wants to put their hands up and agree, and say that this biblical inspired morality is one youd like to sign up to? Religion doesnt seem to doing much good in a moral sense, especially among those that take it really seriously. But what about the message in the printed book? Doesnt that say whats right, and provide a map for a moral life?
Is the bible, not religion , that does not have as a subject moral standards, neither good ethics, or holiness. Is higher than theese.
Please before you judge God and the bible on the grounds of morality, think before you speak or at the least read what you call the text book.
Please read the this:
This portion of the Bible is a parable told by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said that two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, one of the best of persons, and the other was a tax collector, one of the worst of persons. The Lord Jesus said that as a result of their prayers, the wicked tax collector was justified and the good Pharisee was not justified. What does "to be justified" mean? To be justified is to be declared innocent in a law court. To not be justified is to be declared guilty and to receive punishment. "Justified" is what believers usually mean by "saved." Making it more plain, "to be justified" is to go to heaven. To not be justified is to perish and go to hell. The Lord Jesus said that a good person goes to hell and a wicked person goes to heaven. A good man goes to hell! And a wicked man goes to heaven! Yes, this is what the Lord Jesus said.We all think that the good person should go to heaven and the wicked to hell, but the Lord Jesus said that the good person would go to hell and the wicked person to heaven. Do not be surprised and think that this is new or strange. If any person is going to heaven, he must be a sinner. In heaven you cannot find a good person. In heaven everyone is a sinner! What about hell? There are plenty of good people in hell! Do not think that you will not go to hell because you are good. Let me say that there are plenty of people in hell just like you! Some are even better than you! By themselves, those who are both wicked and good should go to hell. By believing in the Lord Jesus, however, good men can go to heaven and wicked men also can go to heaven. In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ told a story of a good man going to hell and a wicked man going to heaven. Those who label themselves as a righteous person and think of themselves as an excellent man among men, please listen to the Lord Jesus' words: good men may go to hell! Those who humble themselves and confess that they are sinners, judging themselves not worthy to be saved, should not be discouraged because wicked men may go to heaven!We need to consider the good man, whom the Lord talked about, who was perishing. We want to see how good he was, and if he was a good man, why he would still go to hell.Verse 10 says that he was a Pharisee. Very often we think that Pharisees were hypocrites, the worst people. But this was not always true; they had many good qualities. Pharisees zealously kept the law (Phil. 3:5). They were not like the modernists, the Sadducee's, who did not believe this or that. They believed in God's Word and kept God's law and dared not doubt one word. Even so, the Lord Jesus said this Pharisee perished!Christians, when coming to revival conferences and walking on the street, often feel shameful when they are seen carrying a big heavy Bible. We would rather leave it at home and come to the meeting without a Bible or with a small New Testament to avoid men's eyes. We are afraid that people will call us superstitious. We are afraid of being ridiculed. But it was not so with the Pharisees: they wrote Scripture on the fringes of their garments, they were not afraid of being ridiculed, and they were bold to confess to everyone that they believed in God.I know of many Christians who dare not pray and give thanks for the meal before men when they go to an unbeliever's home or an unbelieving friend comes to their home for a meal! Since their consciences bother them if they do not give thanks, they pray to God in their heart with open eyes! How shy they are! How timid! They dare not admit that they are Christians before others. This was not the situation with the Pharisees. They would pray at the crosswalk. Let us not mention what kind of motive they may have had; their outward performance alone was much higher than that of ordinary Christians. However, the Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee was fallen and would go to hell. Pharisees were high class people in the society of those days. They were a very gentle, noble, and cultured people. But God does not care for social status. He is righteous; He will not regret sending you to hell if you deserve it. Do not say in your heart, "Is it possible for people like meso fine, so gentle, so smart with a Ph.D. degree, and so richto go to hell?" Let me say that there are plenty of people just like you in hell, even some wiser, prettier, richer, and gentler than you! A person is never too good to go to hell! The Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee would perish. Although he was one of the high class, he would perish. So please do not depend on your social status. When this gentle Pharisee came to pray at the temple, he prayed, "God!" (Luke 18:11). Please listen to this word, "God." He was neither an atheist nor a fool, since he did not say that there was no God; neither was he a wicked person doing evil and abominable deeds (Psa. 14:1). He believed that there was a God. Even though he could not see Him, he knew that God is clearly seen since the creation of the world (Rom. 1:19-20). He was not an nonreligious person; he believed that there was a God. In spite of this, he still was not saved. He could not avoid going to hell and perishing. He was a very pious and religious man; he came to God's presence and prayed. He was a good man. Nevertheless, the Lord said that this pious, good man was going to hell. Please remember that a good man, who even believes that there is a God, can go to hell! What will happen to those who do not believe!The Pharisee prayed, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men," and then he named many types of sinners. He told the Lord that he was not evil like the rest of men, that he had not committed as many sins as others and that he was among the best of men, unlike others. Indeed, this Pharisee was a good man! He was rare among men! Yet the Lord said that this unusually good man would go to hell and perish forever. You may think, "Perhaps this Pharisee was going to hell because he was a hypocrite. If he was genuinely good, he would surely go to heaven." But there is no indication that he was a hypocrite. I can tell you that he was indeed rare among men, yet there are other people who are also moral. He was truly a morally perfect man. He prayed saying that he did not sin as others and had many good points. The Lord did not deny this; He did not say that the Pharisee's words were false. For this reason we know that he must have been a good person. Furthermore, in verse 9 the Lord indicated that he was "righteous." This proves that he was an ideally good man. But good men go to hell, and good men should go to hell!We should remember that he said to God, "I am not like the rest of men." Many times when I preach the gospel, I ask, "Do you know that you are a sinner and that you need a Savior as a substitute to redeem you?" Many have replied, "I have never killed anyone and burned down buildings. In what way have I sinned? I do everything according to my conscience. I am much better than my friends and neighbors. I am better than all." An unbeliever might add, "I am even better than many Christians! I am better than they without even believing in Jesus." Yes, maybe you can say this to me, but can you say to the Lord, "God, I thank You that I do not sin like the rest of men. I am better than all others"? I am afraid you can only utter self-justifying words to me but not to God. You dare to boast before men of your virtues. But you would not dare to say before God that you are better than all others. You may deceive men but not God. You may boast to me. You may deceive parents, husband, wife, children, relatives, friends, and the world. But you cannot deceive God. What you dare to say before men, you dare not say before God because God examines your inward parts. The Pharisee acted according to his conscience. He not only boasted to men that he was a perfect and righteous man, unlike others who had committed sins, he dared to say even to God, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of menextortioners, unjust, adulterers." His conscience did not even slightly condemn him; he could boldly declare his righteous acts before God. Truly, he was better than others, better than you and I. But the Lord said that this good man, who was rare among men, would go to hell. If such a good man will go to hell, then what will happen to those who are not as good as he, who do not come up to his standard, and who have sinned as the rest of the world? Should they go to hell and receive more punishment? "If they do these things with the tree full of sap, what will happen with the one that is dry?" (Luke 23:31) If an extremely good person goes to hell, what will happen to us sinners? Do not be so self-confident. Although you are good, you cannot escape the fire of hell. Oh, you who are self-righteous, please do not be at peace. Your own righteousness cannot save you.He was not an extortioner. Extortion is taking what should not be taken by force or by power. This Pharisee did not extort others, even though he had the power. I wonder how many of you reading this message have extorted someones riches by your own power. You know it; God also knows it. What a common thing it is to dominate others by means of your power! But this Pharisee did not do this; he did not extort. Yet the Lord said that he could not be spared from going to hell. Good men go to hell. If a good man like this Pharisee was going to hell, then what about extortioners?Furthermore, he was not unjust. Whatever is not fair is unjust. Being unjust is the most common sin today. Not only is there much unjust conduct, but there are many unjust objects. In your home, bedroom, classroom, living room, and office is there anything that is not yours, but has become yours? Please search your bedroom, living room, closet, pocket to see if there are items that were obtained in an unjust way. Please check your own heart, and ask yourself if there is anything that you have gained in an unjust way. It is still unjust, even if it is only one dress or one penny. To put it politely, we acquired these things in an unjust way; putting it frankly, these things were stolen from others! To be unjust is to steal! Did you ever steal any money from others? Did you ever steal any article? Did you borrow from others and never return the borrowed thing? All this is unjust!Once I held a meeting at Changchow. A young student who had stolen five dollars from her teacher was there. After she attended the meeting, she realized that what she had done was a sin. The Spirit urged her, and she confessed to her mother and returned the money to her teacher. Another young girl student who had stolen two loquats from her supervisor was also there. Her supervisor was a very strict person; the students were afraid to talk to her. After this young student received the Lord's grace, she realized that she should clear up this unjust matter; she went to her supervisor and boldly confessed her sin.Two weeks later I went to the Kulangsu Bible Association. The manager told me that he had received a letter and dictionary from Changchow. In the letter the writer stated, "I took this book from the Association without paying for it. I now know that this is unjust so I am returning it." Oh! Brothers and sisters, I do not know if there is any injustice among you; I hope that there is none among you, but I am afraid that there are some unjust ones among us, and I am also afraid that there are some unjust things among you! This Pharisee was not unjust. He dared to say to the Lord that he was not unjust. But the Lord said that even though he was a good man and not unjust, he was not justified and could not be saved! A good man can go to hell! If a just man can perish, how much more will unjust ones perish and go to hell? Needless to say, you and I should go to hell.He did not commit adultery. I do not know how many reading this message have committed adultery. You know and God knows. The sin of adultery is filthy! But many have defiled their beds through their flesh! If we agree that lusting in the heart is committing a sin, then there will be very few perfect people in the world! The Lord said, "That every one who looks at a woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). Today few keep their bodies clean; even fewer keep their minds clean. God surely will punish those who commit this kind of sin. He has to punish sin. This Pharisee was a moral person; he did not do anything unclean. He never committed adultery. But the Lord said that the good Pharisee, who did not commit adultery, would perish and go to hell. The destination of a good man is hell! If such a good person is going to hell, then what about evil ones and adulterers? Will not adulterers, all the more, go to hell?The Pharisee not only abstained from many evil things on the negative side, but did many commendable things on the positive side. He "fast[ed] twice a week" (v. 12). I am afraid that many people have never fasted once since they became a Christian! They may not even know what it means to fast! But this Pharisee was very strict; he mastered his body and did not give in to the passion of his lust. He was a self-disciplined person. He served God in a godly and dedicated way. The law did not require a man to fast twice a week. He had even fulfilled what the law did not require of him. Despite all this, the Lord said that he would perish and go to hell. Surely those who are worse than he will receive a more severe punishment. If this is the case, how can one hope to be saved?He gave tithes of all that he had acquired. He was not a miser; he was a very generous person. His principle was to tithe. Very few Christians today give even one percent, much less ten percent. When offering time comes, many think that a silver dollar is too big and a silver dime too small. But a copper coin is neither too big nor too small, so they offer it! This was not the case with the Pharisee. He was full of thoughts about accumulating wealth in heaven. Yet the Lord said that he would go to hell. A person who gives his labor and money still can suffer perdition! If a good man can go to hell, what kind of punishment will miserly ones receive?From these points we can see that the Pharisee was a good and perfect man. Not only was he good in men's eyes, but he was also perfect and without blemish in his own eyes. We cannot say that he was a saint, but he was a very rare and good man in this world. Nevertheless, the Lord declared that he was not justified, that he was not saved, and that he was going to perish! If we think that we can be saved by doing good or that we are saved because we are good, we should realize that even if we are as good as this Pharisee, we still cannot be saved. How can we be saved by doing good? How could the Pharisee possibly have been saved just by being a good man? Therefore, good people should not be complacent! We should not think that we can be saved because we are good. We have to realize, according to the Lord's judgment, that we still belong to hell! Sinners, do not think that we should improve ourselves gradually and then be saved after we have been good. Let me tell you that this is Satan's gospel. Not only are we incapable of doing good, even if we could do as well as this Pharisee, we would still go to hell! What use is it to do good? The Lord purposely chose this ideal and good person and said that he was still going to perish in order to disappoint those who rely on their self-righteousness and let them know that their self-righteousness cannot save them. The way of salvation has nothing to do with ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9). If anyone wishes to be saved, they should not look to the way of self-improvement. In order to be saved, one has to believe on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31).Since this Pharisee was such a good man, why did he end up going to hell? What are the reasons? Now we will see the reasons why this good man would go to hell.First, he was one like those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" (Luke 18:9). He was an outstanding person according to moral standards. He was very content and thought that he could be saved. It seemed that no one else could go to heaven if he could not go. To "trust" means to depend upon. He depended upon his own righteous works and thought his righteous works could justify or save him. He did not realize that "all of us became like him who is unclean, / And all our righteousness are like a soiled garment" (Isa. 64:6). None of these things can cover our shame and shelter us from God's condemnation. He did not know that in God's eyes, "there is none righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10). He thought that he was "not like the rest of men," that he was the one and only righteous man on earth! He thought that he conducted himself according to the law and even did more than what the law required. Therefore, he thought he would surely be justified. He is just like many others who think that they can be saved by good works. But the Bible says, "Out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before Him" (Rom. 3:20). It also says, "For we [the apostles] account that a man is justified...apart from the works of the law" (Rom. 3:28). "A man is not justified out of works of law...we might be justified...not out of the works of law, because out of the works of law no flesh will be justified" (Gal. 2:16). "By law no one is justified before God" (3:11). "Not out of works in righteousness which we did...He saved us" (Titus 3:5). "The works of law" mean good works. Not being justified by the works of the law means that one cannot be saved by doing good works. This has been repeatedly made clear in the Bible. Although the Pharisee had righteous works, he did not realize that his righteous works could not save him. He was one of those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous." He wanted to go to heaven, but eventually he ended up in hell. How pitiful! He thought his own righteousness was sufficient and did not seek the righteousness which was prepared by God in Christ Jesus. As a result, he fell into perdition. Man's righteousness does not satisfy God; He will not save anyone unless He sees His own righteousness. Because this Pharisee was "ignorant of God's righteousness and sought to establish [his] own righteousness, [he was] not subject to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). To not be subject is to rebel. This man was a rebel in the face of God. How could he have any hope of being saved?Oh, how numerous are the descendants of this Pharisee today! Many still think that they are a good man, that they are therefore saved. Many think that they should do good in order to be saved. But the Lord said that good men go to hell. If you are this type of person, please turn back quickly and believe in the Lord Jesus because your good works cannot save you. Nothing in this world is less dependable than your own righteousness. The righteous Pharisee who depended upon his own righteousness has already gone to hell and has become a pattern to those who want to be saved through doing good works. Why should you suffer by following in the same footsteps?He not only was one who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" but also "exalt[ed] himself" (v. 14). Self- exalting ones go to hell. As a preacher, I have never seen a proud person become saved. If a man wants to be saved, he must admit that he is a helpless and hopeless sinner, unable to save himself and unable to trust himself. He must admit that he deserves hell. He needs to prostrate himself before the cross to beg for grace and believe in Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified in a shameful way to be his vicarious Savior. How humbling this is! Without humbling ourselves, who can do this? There is nothing under heaven more humbling than to believe in the Lord Jesus as the Savior! Worldly people are very unwilling to confess that they cannot do good! Self-exalting ones are not willing to come to the despised cross to seek grace. A self-exalting man cannot be saved. He likes to say that he can do good and can patch up all his wrong doings with his own good works. Even if he cannot, he will try to bear his own responsibility. It is hard for him to confess that he is a sinner and that Jesus Christ is his Savior! Oh, proud one, please do not be so proud anymore. Humble yourself before God. Otherwise, your pride will cause you to go to hell!Moreover, the Pharisee did not ask God for grace. He thought that a person as qualified as he was did not need to ask God for grace. If a righteous man like the Pharisee is sufficiently qualified to be saved, why ask God for grace? Since he already has done good works, why is there a need for him to lose face by asking for grace? Although he went up to the temple to pray, the Lord said that he "prayed these things to himself." Please read verses 11 and 12 again and see whether or not he prayed. He did not come to the temple of God saying, "God, I have this and that shortage. Please fill me." He did not say, "God, I cannot save myself. Please save me." Rather, he said, "God, I thank You, because I can be good without Your help. I never did this or that evil thing. On the contrary, I have done many good things." He did not pray! He did not beseech God! He thought that he was the top person and that he was good to the uttermost. He did not come to pray; he came to give a report! He came before God just to give Him a report and to let Him know all his merits. He seemed to be saying, "God, I thank You, I did not do many sinful things; instead, I did many good things. I am afraid that You do not know about it, so I came to give You a report." He did not ask God for grace. He was truly a good man, according to his own estimate and others' evaluation. But he was an outsider to God's holiness. He had never seen God; he did not know God. So he dared to boast before the God of all holiness and all goodness! If the eyes of his heart had not been completely blinded, he would not have been so foolish. Even though he and all the others thought he was a good person, in God's eyes he was still a sinner. He was not justified, and he needed to be saved. If he would not be saved, he would perish and go to hell. In the same way that a great sinner needs a Savior to redeem him and suffer the penalty of sin for him, this so-called righteous person needs the same in God's eyes. But he was blind to this need. He never knew God or God's grace. Therefore, he did not know that he was also a sinner before God. He also needed a Savior. He was too self-content and too proud! He thought that he was capable and able! When he arrived in hell, he surely was shocked and thought he had gone to the wrong place! Little did he realize that this very place was his real home!The Pharisee had already perished. We need to take this case as a warning. He made two great mistakes regarding salvation: (1) he thought that in order to be saved he should do good, and (2) since he was good, he was surely saved. He did not know that these thoughts were absurd. When we read Ephesians 2:8-9, we can see that we are not saved by our good works but by believing in the grace of the Lord Jesus. "He who believes into Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe has been condemned already" (John 3:18). Whether a person will be saved or will perish depends on whether or not he believes and receives the salvation that has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross. It does not depend on our own goodness or badness. Since we are not saved by doing good, someone who is just good cannot be saved. Dear readers, do not think that you can be saved by accumulating good works little by little. I know and God knows that you are unable to do good. Even if you are able, the God of all goodness does not consider your goodness as good. Good works can never save you. You cannot buy God's salvation by doing good. You should first be saved, then do good works. Do not change the order, thinking that first you should do good works, and then you will be saved. Please come now and receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and be saved.Now we are going to see the wicked person who was saved, and find out how wicked he was and why he could go to heaven. He was a tax collector (Luke 18:10). According to the situation in Jewish society at the time, a tax collector was the most despised among all classes of people. The Chinese consider a robber to be the worst man and a harlot to be the worst woman. We have a saying, "a man-robber and a woman-harlot." For the Jews, the lowest, most ignoble, wicked, and dirty profession for a man was to be a tax collector! For a male to be a tax collector and a female to be a harlot is the most despicable thing! But the Lord Jesus said that even though he was despised by men, he was justified by God; he was saved and could go to heaven!In those days the Jews were under the dictatorship of the Roman government, and the Romans taxed the Jews by the system of collecting tribute money. The government would set the amount of tax in a certain place and then hire people to collect it. These tax collectors collected tribute for the Roman government. When they took the job of collecting tribute, they would extort a tribute of their own choosing, so that the excess tax would be theirs. As a group, they helped evildoers do evil and cared for even the smallest, trifling amounts. They only cared for their own gain; therefore, they were considered by society as the most low and despised of men. This was the tax collector in the eyes of the world. If you asked a Jew which kind of person was the worst, he would certainly answer, "a tax collector." But the Lord Jesus said that the tax collector would go to heaven. Wicked men can go to heaven! If the sinful and wicked, such as this tax collector, can be saved, what is possible for those who are less sinful!He was a sinner (v. 13). His own conscience accused him. Everything he did was against God's laws. He could not keep God's commandments. His thoughts were filthy. His eyes beheld things that should not be seen. His mouth spoke things that should not be spoken. His hands did evil and his feet walked in wickedness. He was totally filled with lusts and all things of ungodliness. He only knew how to take advantage of others. He was a miser; he only cared to fill his own bag. He did not care for anything, much less righteousness or morality. He turned his ear away from the cries of orphans and widows. As long as he accumulated thousands and tens of thousands for his wealth, he did not care whether others were sinking in the mire. He did not worship God. His deeds, behavior, and motives were all against God. In brief, he was a sinner. But the Lord Jesus said that this tax collector was justified and that sinners can go to heaven.O sinners of this world, you know that you are a sinner. You think that you are incurable and not worthy to be saved. When you examine your own thoughts and behavior, your conscience condemns your sins and convinces you that you deserve to perish. Dear sinners, let me say that you do not have to be disappointed or worry. The Lord Jesus said that the wicked can go to heaven. Oh, distressed ones, you do not have to be discouraged. Here is the gospel. Even though you are a sinner, sinners can obtain eternal life. You cannot save yourself, but you can be saved. The way of salvation is in the Lord Jesus. Come and receive His salvation! The Pharisee said he was "not like the rest of menextortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector" (v. 11). From this statement, we can deduce that this tax collector was an extortioner, an unjust person, an adulterer, and one with all kinds of sins. This tax collector usurped power to oppress and extort people. Everything he did was full of injustice. In his house there were articles which he owned illegally; he had used crafty methods to obtain them. He committed adultery, sinning against his own body. He got involved in all kinds of unclean things and committed all kinds of sins. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus judged and said that this tax collector could go to heaven.From a worldly point of view, this type of sinner deserves more than perdition. According to worldly judgment, nice people should go to heaven and evil ones to hell. If we made the decision, only good people would be saved and wicked people would perish. If we made the decision, the Pharisee would certainly receive eternal life, and the tax collector would be sentenced to condemnation. Fortunately, there is no room for men to say anything regarding salvation and perdition. Fortunately, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who set the rule by saying that good people should go to hell. Since the evil ones can go to heaven, we have a chance to be saved. There are very few good people in the world; all are sinners (Rom. 3). If only good people can be saved, then how many will be saved? Will not all perish? Fortunately, the Lord Jesus made the rule that sinners can go to heaven. Therefore, we sinners have the hope of being saved. Praise the Lord!Once I took the Lien Shien Steamer from Shanghai back to Fukien. I shared the gospel with a well-known businessman from Fukien. I told him the gospel of the Lord Jesus' vicarious death and His redemption. He answered by saying, "What Confucius said was the best: `One who sins against heaven shall not be forgiven.' " I asked him, "Sir, according to what you have heard and seen, how many people have not sinned against heaven?" He was silent for a while and answered, "I am afraid that there is not one!" I asked, "Very well then, since all have sinned against heaven, can anyone be forgiven? If this is so, what else can be said? We are all here waiting to be sentenced." He could say nothing. Yes, we all are sinners and should perish. But God is full of grace; He has the gospel. Although everyone thinks that they have sinned against heaven and cannot be forgiven, God has bestowed grace upon everyone who has sinned against heaven. He has prepared a Savior to die for them to redeem them so all sinners can have a chance to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, sinners, come quickly and receive God's salvation. The evil can go to heaven; this is the gospel.This tax collector was a most wicked person. Yet he was saved. Does this mean that we should commit sins and become evildoers in order to be saved? Does this mean that we can sin as we please in order to obtain salvation? No, absolutely not! The Lord Jesus said that sinners can be saved. He did not say that sinners would be saved because they commit sins. By himself, a sinner will perish. If he relies on a third party, he can be saved. Now we want to see the reason why this tax collector, who had committed such sins, could actually be saved. In this way we, who are sinners like him, can learn from him and obtain salvation, so that evildoers like us can also go to heaven.Although he was sold to sin, he was not proud before God and did not presume that he had anything. The Lord Jesus said that he humbled himself before God. The Scriptures say that "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). He knew his own deeds. He knew he had nothing to boast about. He saw his many defects. He knew he deserved to be condemned. So he humbled himself before God. When he came to the temple of God, he stood "at a distance, [and] would not even lift up his eyes to heaven." He knew that God is most holy and most righteous and that a person like him was unworthy of coming close to God or looking to Him. He had no good works to report to God. He knew he could not save himself, so he came to God for grace."God...gives grace to the humble." If you are proud, thinking you have everything and are short of nothing, may the Spirit open the eyes of your heart so that you will see all your shortcomings and come to God for grace. If you know your shortcomings, I hope you will not be proud and deceive yourself and end up perishing. Pride has misled many to not believe in the Savior, and therefore, they perished. I hope that pride will not mislead you! He prayed before God, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" (v. 13). He was not like the Pharisee who despised "the rest," speaking about the sins of others. He confessed that he himself was a sinner: "me, the sinner!" How hard it is for men to utter these words! Men are willing to admit that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), but are not willing to say "I have sinned." Men are willing to admit and say that all are sinners (Rom. 3:10-12), but they are not willing to say "me, the sinner!" Saying this is very shameful! This tax collector put himself in the position of a sinner. This is the position that everyone who wants to go to heaven should and must put himself. Let me say, if there is a saved person in this world, that person must be a sinner. No one who is not a sinner can go to heaven. If you go to heaven and ask those who are already there about their past qualifications, they will unanimously answer and say that they all were sinners in the past. Everyone who is in heaven is a saved sinner who has received grace. They have nothing special. Heaven is specifically prepared for sinners. If one does not confess himself that he is a sinner, he has no qualification to enter into heaven! Heaven only welcomes tax collectors and harlots. All the sinners who believe in the Lord Jesus may come!The Lord Jesus said, "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:13). He also said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). If you are a righteous man, His coming is not to call, seek out, and save you. But He will save you if you admit that you are a sinner and are lost. Putting yourself in the position of a sinner is the first step in salvation. Although this tax collector was a sinner, who should have perished, he was saved because he did not pretend to be a person without sin. He admitted that he was a sinner.The renowned British preacher Spurgeon had a dream one night. In the dream he saw himself standing outside the gate of heaven, and a group of bright and glowing saints were standing in a line holding banners of victory, singing and marching through the gate of heaven. As soon as they entered through the gate, Spurgeon heard many joyful voices and praises welcoming them. Then he asked one angel, "Who are these ones who are so welcomed by heaven?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient prophets." Spurgeon said, "Alas, I am not a prophet, I am not worthy to enter in with them." Later, another group also marched through the gate and received a great welcome. He asked the angel again, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient saints." Spurgeon knew that he was not one of the ancient saints and felt unworthy to enter through the gate with them. A little later, another group came; they were the ancient martyrs. Spurgeon dared not join in with them either. Finally, another group with a multitude much greater than the first three came. Among this group Spurgeon recognized two people. One was the woman who anointed the Lord with ointment; the other one was the robber who was crucified with the Lord. Spurgeon thought that when this group entered into heaven it would be quiet, but to his great surprise, the welcome and applause was seven times greater than the welcome for the first three groups. Spurgeon asked, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are ones who were dead in sin and were made alive by the Lord Jesus." Then Spurgeon rejoiced and said, "Praise be unto the Lord Jesus forever! The people in this last group are my companions." Then he woke up. Although this was a dream, it was real! The Lord of heaven welcomes sinners.The first step the Holy Spirit takes in the heart of a man is to make him realize his sin. The first step God takes in saving a sinner is to send His Spirit to work in his heart and convict him of his sins. I once held a meeting in a certain place, and some grade-school girls were deeply moved by the Holy Spirit. They deeply realized that they were sinners. After the meeting they waited for me to fellowship with them. I saw that none of their eyes were dry. Every one of them was sorrowful for her sins. They told me that they were very sorry. They knew that they were sinners but they did not know whether they could be saved. I told them that knowing that they were sinners was proof of the Holy Spirit's working in their hearts. I then read John 3:16 and 5:24 and other promises to them and helped them realize that since they knew they were sinners, they could receive eternal life and be saved if they believed and received the Lord Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit opened their eyes and they experienced the salvation of the cross and the enjoyment of salvation. They are still joyful and rejoicing in the Lord every day. Therefore, if this very hour the Holy Spirit shows you your sins, it is because He wants to save you, not because He wants to condemn your sins.This tax collector not only put himself in the position of a sinner; he was also genuinely grieved because of his sins. He "beat his breast." He hated himself. When he considered how he committed sins in the past, sorrow uncontrollably rose up within him. He was in anguish and beat his breast. Certainly those who overlook their sins and do not feel sorrowful for them will easily commit sins again. "For sorrow according to God works repentance unto salvation, which is without regret" (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible says that God dwells "with the contrite and lowly of spirit, / To revive the spirit of the lowly / And to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa. 57:15). "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: / a broken and a contrite heart, O God, / thou wilt not despise" (Psa. 51:17). Therefore, dear sinners, it does not matter how great your sins are; what matters is that you do not want to admit that you are a sinner and feel sorrowful for your sins. If you overlook your sins and refuse to put yourself in the position of a sinner, you will surely not seek after the Savior. Even if the Savior is sent to the door of your heart, you will not receive Him. Actually, humbling yourself is not worth anything. Neither is putting yourself in the position of a sinner or being sorrowful for your sins worth anything. However, unless a man humbles himself, unless he sees himself as a sinner, and unless he feels sorrowful for his sins, he surely will not seek after the Savior of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. This tax collector's humbling of himself, acknowledging himself as a sinner, and sorrow for his sins could not save him; it could not give him eternal life. These steps only prepared his heart to receive salvation.The one and only reason this sinner was saved was because he believed the vicarious salvation of the cross. Even though he humbled himself, the humbling could not save him. Even though he was sorrowful, the sorrow could not save him. Even though he confessed himself to be a sinner, the confession could not save him. Even though all these prepared him to receive salvation, these could not save him. Although without these you will perish, these things alone will not save you. A sinner is saved only through the salvation that the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross and not through anything else.He prayed, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" Other ways to translate this phrase in the Greek text include: "God, make propitiation for me, a sinner!" or "God, allow me, a sinner, to be propitiated." This is the cross. No one can be saved without the cross. Perhaps when the tax collector was standing in the temple praying, the Holy Spirit moved his heart to convict him of his sins. Perhaps he saw from far off the priest in the outer court offering sacrifices. He saw the sacrifices slain on behalf of the sinners. Therefore, he asked God, "Make propitiation for me, a sinner." He knew he was a sinner. He knew that there was a punishment for sins. A sinner could never be justified or go to heaven. He also knew that if there was not a redeeming Savior for his sins, he would perish. His heart looked to the Savior; his heart looked to the sin offering. He cried out to God and was saved. Surely heaven was his.He came to God not to ask God to help him change himself when he went home because he knew that he could not change. He could not improve or correct himself. He knew he had sin. He would perish because he had sins and did not have the One who could substitute for the punishment for sins. He looked to the substitutionary Savior; therefore, he was saved. Dear readers, we all are sinners and cannot save ourselves. Therefore, the Lord Jesus came specifically to save us. He did not come to be our model or to be our pattern, He came to die for us. He came to die for you and me. You and I have sins and deserve to die. The Lord Jesus came to die for your sins and mine. Therefore, you and I do not have to die. "Who Himself bore up our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). "For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous" (3:18). "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). This matter is most important. Since the Lord Jesus died and propitiated for us, now we do not have to perish but can be saved. If the Lord Jesus did not die and propitiate for us, we would have to bear our own sins and die, that is, perish. It is true that the tax collector was a sinner. But he depended on the Savior who died for him and who propitiated for him. Therefore, he had no sins and did not have to die or go to hell. The tax collector was able to go to heaven not because of his own merit but because of the merit of a third party, the merit of the Savior's saving work. Likewise, all those who go to heaven are justified not because of their own righteous deeds, but because they rely on the work of the cross of the Lord Jesus.The tax collector came before God for the propitiation of sins. "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed?" (Rom. 10:13-14). The tax collector cried to God because he first believed in God. He was saved because he believed God would propitiate for his sins. Justification is by faith and salvation is also by faith. He knew well the truth concerning salvation: "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). He knew he lacked something. He also knew that except for God's mercy, nothing else could make up for his lack. He asked God to have mercy on him. He knew that salvation was by grace and "not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). He knew God gives grace through the Savior and that he needed a Savior to die for him to propitiate for his sins. He prayed for God's grace and beseeched for God's redemption. He asked by faith, and He believed in his heart. Therefore, he obtained it.The tax collector went to heaven because he obtained God's mercy and received the Savior's propitiation for him, not because he was remarkable and outstanding. For a sinner to go to heaven, there is no need to pay a price because the Lord Jesus has already paid the full price on the cross on our behalf. The Pharisee perished because he did not have a Savior. The tax collector was saved because he had a Savior. Salvation and perdition have nothing to do with you or your behavior. A man as good as the Pharisee could not avoid going to hell, while a man as wicked as the tax collector could go to heaven. One went to hell not because he was wicked, and the other went to heaven not because he was good. The difference between them was whether or not they believed in the Lord Jesus who died for us on the cross. That was all! "He who believes into the Son has eternal life; but he who disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him" (John 3:36). The decision between eternal life and eternal death depends solely upon whether or not one believes. Today I beg and beseech you to quickly believe in the Lord Jesus' vicarious death, and you will be saved.The good man went to hell and the wicked man went to heaven. The good man did not go to hell because of his goodness, but because he did not believe in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. The wicked man did not go to heaven because of his wickedness, but because he believed in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Therefore, if you want salvation, you must realize that salvation is not merchandise. You do not have to gradually behave yourself better and earn your salvation as a reward. Salvation is God's free grace, freely given to all sinners who believe. God does not care how wicked you are. If you are willing to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and if you believe that His death was for you, you will be saved. The Lord Jesus has already borne all the punishment for your sins; no sin will be able to stand up to accuse you in the day of judgment. You are completely and absolutely saved. God does not care how good you are. If you do not receive the Lord Jesus to be your Savior and if you do not believe that His death was for you, you will surely perish. Your goodness cannot cover your wickedness and cannot redeem your wickedness; you will still perish. God has ordained that those who believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved and that those who do not believe will perish. Good unbelievers will go to hell, but wicked believers will go to heaven.Therefore, good man, please do not be proud, because your goodness will not save you! Therefore, wicked man, do not be discouraged, because your sins will not condemn you. Thank and praise God! How wonderful is His salvation! The people of the world are like this tax collector, helpless and hopeless sinners, and we all deserve eternal punishment in the future. Yet God caused the Lord Jesus to die for us on the cross, so that when we believe in Him and receive Him as our Savior, we will be saved. How great is this grace! So sinner, please follow the tax collector! Humble yourself before God. Confess your sins. Come before God with faith, asking God, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Save me by the Lord Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross!" God will surely save you. Thank God that He has such a salvation.
AUTHENTIC RECORD OF GEOLOGY. SCIENTIST CANT CALCULATE THE AGE OF THE EARTH.
Regarding the scientific explanation of the earths creation, there are ways to know it by natural speculation or by a historical record. A cording to natural speculation, one meditates observe and conjectures about the creation. In a historical record, we go by what it says.
The earth does not have six thousand years it has billion of years.
It was created, then judge, became void, the big bang happened, finally restored.
We believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God, and every word of it is inspired. A very grievous thought in the mind of godly ones is that men have despised and opposed His Word. God's children are grieved because men do not respect God's statutes. Among the sixty-six books of the Bible, Genesis has been subjected to the most doubt. Those who oppose the Bible often try to overturn God's clear revelation with geological ages and prehistoric discoveries. The evidences in geology prove to them that the earth has been in existence for tens of thousands of years, and that the record of six thousand years of history in the Bible is untrustworthy.
In the name of science, the world hurls its attacks on the book of Genesis. Many dear brothers in the Lord are not that scholarly (the author being one of them) and become lost in this storm. Although geology does not form part of our meditation, for the benefit of all, we will study the Word of God by the Lord's grace at the commencement of our meditation and will consider how perfect is His Word, so that we can silently behold His beauty in His presence.
Genesis is God's revelation, while geology is man's invention. God knows the whole truth. As such, His revelation can never be wrong. Man only sees in part. As such, his conjectures are not accurate. When we place Genesis side by side with geology, we should follow Genesis and not geology, because it is God who stands behind Genesis. If there are any basic differences between Genesis and geology, the error must be on the side of geology. The authority of the Bible is undisputed. Everything that is contrary to the Bible is wrong. Thank God our Father that He has given us such a complete revelation. If there are any incompatibilities between God and man, we would rather give up man and accept God.
Men often laugh at the ridiculous stories of creation circulated among the Chinese, the Babylonians, and other countries. No scientist has to spend much effort to refute these myths. The reason is that there is not much weight to these traditions. This is why they have not attracted much attention.
But men's attitudes towards the Bible are very different. The very fact that they have tried their best to resist the Bible proves the power of the Bible. They cannot treat the Bible the same as the traditions of the nations because they have recognized the extraordinary nature of the Bible.
All those who have read Genesis 1 cannot fail to marvel at the beauty of its record. How ordinary it is, yet how marvelous! It is a plain record and contains no theory or arguments to prove its authenticity. The writer of the book was not bound by the book, but was transcendent above its record. The true author of the book is the One who is far above the universe it describesGod. Had the recorder of the book, Moses, written this book according to his own learning and ideas, his thoroughly Egyptian-trained intellect would surely have been influenced by the Egyptian theory of creation. Yet who can detect a trace of Egyptian philosophy in Genesis 1? Why is this? It is because God was the One who inspired Moses to do the writing. Otherwise, how could Moses know that the land came out of the water? This is, of course, a fact established by geology and is a modern discovery.
Had Moses not been inspired, it would be difficult to explain this fact. As to the development of life on earth, although the Bible does not support the theory of evolution, it does not altogether reject the fact that there was a progression.
First, there were aquatic organisms, and then there was man. Would not a scientist marvel at the record of Moses? The omniscient God must surely have given inspiration according to facts; those who were inspired by such an omniscient God cannot be in error. Yet the Bible is not a textbook of science. Its goal is to guide sinners "unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).
Nevertheless, the Bible does not contain any scientific errors. If there are any contradictions with science, it is either a misinterpretation of the Scripture or a misjudgment of science. Many of the definitive statements by geologists in the past have been overturned! Many of their assertions have been proven wrong.
Cummings said, "Geology has made mistakes in the past. It is possible that it will be wrong again. The hasty and loud assertions by those who are not too familiar with its theories may be proved inaccurate again."Since the Bible is not a science textbook, it only mentions the "whats" of creation without mentioning the "whys." Science is interested in the "whys." Of course, in many cases it is successful in doing this. But one must not overturn the "whats" with theoretical "whys" just because man's finite mental research has come into conflict with God's record. What God said are the facts because He knows everything. If the world wants to study what God has said and why He has said it, it must not hold on to its own ideas while rejecting God's authority. It is a good thing to have wisdom, but there is one kind of foolishness which is more blessed.
Among Christians, there is a popular theory that Genesis 1:1 is a kind of general introduction, and that the work of the six days is actually an expansion of the record of verse 1. In other words, they consider the words "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" as merely a subject of Genesis 1. They say that in the first sentence the writer wrote down a summary of what he was about to say, after which he went at length into an explanation of this sentence.
After telling us that God created the heaven and the earth, Genesis goes on to tell us the condition of the earth after creation, and how He created light, air, the land, the plants, and the animals day by day. This popular theory considers Genesis 1 as a record of the creation of the universe, and that the universe was created out of desolation.
If we study the first chapter of the Bible carefully, we will see the error in this supposition! This erroneous supposition, not the Bible itself, has put the church into a great debate with the world. This supposition gives men the excuse to say that Genesis is incompatible with geology and casts doubts in the minds of many young people concerning the accuracy of the Bible. In Hebrew, the original language, there are altogether seven words in Genesis 1:1. Each of these seven words has independent meanings. God's inspired record does not say that at the beginning of time, God molded the heavens and the earth into being, or that He made them out of some elements. It says that the heavens and the earth were created. How clear is the word created!
To create is to make something out of nothing; it is to create something out of void. It is not to make something out of some existing elements. The word create is Bara in the original language. "In the beginning , God Bara the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). The word Bara is used three other times in Genesis 1 and 2:
(1) "And God created (Bara) great whales, and every living creature that moved, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good" (v. 21).
(2) "So God created (Bara) man in his own image" (v. 27a).
(3) "In it he had rested from all his work which God created (Bara) and made" (2:3b).
To create is to make something out of nothing. The great whales and every living creature do not have an outward body only, but a life-element within them. The only way that this can be done is through God's direct work of creation. This is why it says that God created the great whales and every living creature (1:21). There is a very good reason for the Bible to say "created" instead of "made."
In the same way, although man's body was made from the dust, 2:7 tells us that man has a spirit and a soul which cannot be made from any physical material. This is why the Bible says that God created man according to His own image. In Genesis 2 there are three words for the act of creation:
(1) Bara, which means to make something out of nothing. We have covered this briefly.
(2) Asah, which means to make. This word is very different from the first. Bara is to make something out of nothing, while asah means that there is some raw material first, and then something is made out of the raw material. A carpenter can make a chair, but he cannot create a chair. In describing most of the work during the six days, this word is used.
(3) Yatsar, which means to complete, has the sense of a potter molding a piece of clay into shape. This is the word used for formed in 2:7. Isaiah 43:7 shows the relationship between these three words: "Everyone who is called by my name, whom I have created, formed, and even made for my glory." To create is to make something out of nothing, to form is to mold into shape, and to make is to work from some material.
Genesis 1:1 uses the word Bara. The phrase in the beginning is a further proof that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. There is no need of any hypothesis. Since God has said this, man should believe. If man wants to fathom God's work in the beginning with his finite mind, he will only expose his own presumptuousness! "By faith we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God" (Heb. 11:3).
Furthermore, who can answer God's challenge to Job concerning the creation? God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning. The heaven does not refer to the heaven that surrounds our earth but rather to the heaven of the stars. This "heaven" has not changed since the creation of the universe. Although the heaven has never changed, the condition on earth has changed! If we want to understand Genesis 1, it is very important to differentiate between the earth in verse 1 and the earth in verse 2. The condition of the earth in verse 2 was not the condition at the beginning of God's creation.
In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, His creation was perfect. God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, the condition of void and confusion in verse 2 was not the original condition at the time of God's creation. How could God possibly have created an earth that was void and without form?
We can answer this question by reading one verse alone.
"For thus says Jehovah, Who created the heavens. He is the God . Who formed the earth and made it; He established it; He did not create it waste, But He formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah and there is no one else" (Isa. 45:18).
How clear this is! The word waste in this verse is the same as the word without form in Genesis 1:2, which thou are in Hebrew. Unfortunately, translators of the Bible have not used the same word in both places. "He did not create it [the earth] without form." Why then does Genesis 1:2 say that "the earth was without form"? It is easy to find the solution.
In Genesis 1:1, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth that God created then was not void and without form. Later there was a cataclysm, and the earth became without form and void. Verse 3 does not refer to the original creation, but to a restored earth.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and then during the six days, He re-created the world. The world in Genesis 1:1 was the original world, while the world in 1:3 is our present world.
Genesis 1:2 describes the transitional condition of desolation after the initial world and prior to our present world. We do not base our explanation on Isaiah 45:18 alone (even though Isaiah 45:18 alone is sufficient as a proof). We have other evidences. According to Bible scholars, in Hebrew the first word in verse 2 is a conjunction, which should be translated as and. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void."The "and," according to Hebrew usageas well as that of most other languagesproves that the first verse is not a compendium of what follows, but a statement of the first event in the record.
For if it were a mere summary, the second verse would be the actual commencement of the history, and certainly would not begin with a copulative. A good illustration of this may be found in the fifth chapter of Genesis (Gen. 5:1). There the opening words, "This is the book of the generations of Adam," are a compendium of the chapter, and, consequently, the next sentence begins without a copulative. G.H. Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages, 1942, reprinted 1975, p. 31.
Therefore, what follows in Genesis 1:2 is not a detailed explanation of the record in 1:1, but an independent, distinct, and later event. The creation of the heavens and the earth is one thing, and the earth becoming without form and void is another. Later we will explain why the earth became void and without form. About a hundred years ago, Dr. Chalmers pointed out that the word was in "the earth was without form" should be translated became. Dr. I.M. Haldeman, G.H. Pember, and others also pointed out that this word is the same as the word became used in Genesis 19:26. "And she became a pillar of salt." If the same word is translated became in 19:26, why should it not be translated the same way here? Even the word became in 2:7 is the same word as in 1:2. Therefore, it is not hypothetical to translate 1:2 the following way: "And the earth became without form." When God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was not without form and void. Later it became such. Let us read a few more verses:"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that in them is" (Exo. 20:11).
Comparing these two verses, we can see that the world in Genesis 1:1 was very different from the world in 1:3. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, but in the six days, God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them. There is a vast difference between create and make. One is to have something from nothing, while the other is to improve the things that are in existence. The world can make, but it cannot create, while God can both create and make. This is why Genesis says that "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Later because of the cataclysm, the earth became desolate, and "in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Exo. 20:11).Second Peter 3:5 through 7 says the same thing. The heavens and the earth in verse 5 are the heaven and the earth in Genesis 1:1. Verse 6 speaks of the world flooded with water, which is the earth that was without form and void and that was under the water in Genesis 1:2. "The heavens and earth now" in verse 7 is the restored world after Genesis 1:3. There is a clear difference between God's work in the six days and His work of creation at the beginning. The more we read Genesis 1, the more we will see that our explanation above is the proper one.
In the first day light was called into being. Before the first day there was already land, but it was "without form and void" and was buried in the deep under the water. On the third day God did not create the land; He merely caused it to appear.
F.W. Grant said that the work of the six days merely put a new order to the earth; it did not create something out of nothing. The earth was there already. The Bible never says that the earth was created during the six days. Grant also said, "At which point did the first day begin? Some may think that it began from desolation. Yet this is not true. The `evening' on the first day indicates light had been there since the beginning. `The darkness he called Night,' yet the `evening' is a darkness that is already under the control of light."In the first day God did not create the light; He merely caused the light to appear on the darkened earth.
In the same way in the second day, He did not create the heaven. The heaven there was not the heavens, but the atmospheric "heaven" which surrounds the earth. This was not created then. Where then did the atmosphere come from? Our answer is that it was created in verse 1. Therefore, there was no need now to create; there was only the need to restore."In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." There is no detailed discussion here. We do not know if the primordial world was created in an instant or became what it was through an endless period of time. We do not know if it was completed in a few thousand years or millions of years. We do not know the shape and the size of it. All that we know is that "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." We do not know how many years there were between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1. We do not know how long ago God created the heaven and the earth, and we do not know how many years after the creation of the primordial world did the desolation of verse 2 occur. But we believe that there was a long period of time between the perfect creation at the beginning and the later change into something that was without form and void."In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." How much later was it that "the earth became without form and void"? We cannot tell. But we know one thing: there was a long gap between the two expressions. This long gap between the first two verses of Genesis covers the whole prehistoric period.
But from verse 3 until now there are less than six thousand years. Since we have proved that there is a big gap between the first two verses of the Bible, all the years which geology demands to exist and all the geological periods associated with these years can fall within this period. We do not know how much time passed on the earth and how many changes occurred on the earth's surfaces and in the atmosphere before there was the condition of void and formlessness; the Bible does not say anything about it.
But we can say for sure that the Bible never says that our earth is only six thousand years old. The Bible only testifies that there are six thousand years of human history. If the Bible has not said something, science can conjecture all it wants. But science cannot form conjectures on what the Bible has already said. After we understand the first two verses of the Bible, we can be assured that there is no contradiction between the Bible and geology. All the attacks by geology on the Bible are beating the air.
How wonderful is the Word God has written! We are not saying this to please science. God's revelation never wavers before man. We do not give up the Bible's authority in order to accommodate man's inventions. If there are any contradictions between the Bible and science, (and we would expect there to be some, because fleshly man is always at enmity with God), we have no intention to reconcile and annul these differences. The above assertion was not proposed after some geological discoveries, in an effort to reconcile the Bible with science.
There were men in the ancient church who spoke about this. At that time, geology was not yet in existence! When men like St. Augustus interpreted Genesis, the world did not yet have the term geology! A Christian does not trust in human wisdom, but in God's Word. We need nothing other than the sure rock of the Bible. As long as we have the "it is written" (Matt. 4:6) in the Scripture, everything is solved.
Unfortunately, many apologetics have forgotten their ground; they change the words of the Scripture to accommodate man's teaching. An example is given by A.W. Pink, who noted that after the translation of a certain Assyrian tablet, the apologetics enthusiastically reported that much of the Old Testament history was verified! This turns things upside down! Does the Word of God need verification? If the record on the Assyrian tablet coincides with that of the Bible, it only shows that the Assyrian tablets have no historical error. If they do not agree, it merely proves that the tablets are in error. Worldly men and vain scientists will of course scorn at our logic. But this only goes to demonstrate God's Word which says, "But a souls man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he is not able to know them because they are discerned spiritually" (1 Cor. 2:14).
We must never lower ourselves to appease men. It seems like a good idea to change the Bible to suit man's taste, but doing so changes the true nature of the Bible. How wonderful is Genesis 1! It devotes only one verse to the description of the first creation! It uses only one verse to describe the desolation of the world! This is far less than the thirty or so verses that describe the restoration of the world! Who can come up with a composition that matches the record of Genesis 1?
The subject is difficult, yet the explanation is clear; the facts span a long time, yet the description is simple. It does not talk about science, yet it is scientifically accurate. Who except God can compose such writing? The reason God did not say more than this is that He only intended to show man His own relationship with man. J.N. Darby said: This revelation from God is not a history by Him of all that He has done, but what has been given to man for his profit, the truth as to what he has to say to. Its object is to communicate to man all that regards his own relationship with God...But historically the revelation is partial. It communicates what is for the conscience and spiritual affections of man...Thus no mention is made of any heavenly beings...Thus also, regards this earth, except the fact of its creation, nothing is said of it beyond what relates to the present form of it. The Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, reprinted 1970, p. 9.
Indeed, God's revelation is not given to satisfy human curiosity, but to manifest His Godhead, the world's sinfulness, the way of salvation, and the coming glory and judgments. The present worldly knowledge is indeed dangerous. Unless God bestows grace on man, man would boast in himself and use the knowledge he acquires as a basis to oppose God. How difficult it is for an intellectual person to humble himself! Man can search for knowledge as much as he wants. But God will not supplement this with His revelation. This is why He does not say much in Genesis 1. Our present need is not more science, but deeper spiritual fellowship. Only this will reap real fruit in eternity. We have to praise God the Father because He is full of love! He not only created us, but re-created us, and made us a new creation in the Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus! How sweet is this name! God has given us His Son. What a marvelous grace this is!
THE ORIGINAL WORLD AND AFTERWORDS DESOLATION
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth perfect. Later, after an unknown period of time, the earth which was originally good became waste and empty, without any life whatsoever. God then rose up to recreate the world; He restored the desolate world in six days. Now we will consider why the world became desolate. How could God allow the work of His hands to be destroyed? Why did such a catastrophe come upon the once beautiful earth? There is probably no other reason besides sin. The question we are considering has no perfectly clear explanation in the Bible.
Nevertheless, we can find many shimmering lights in the Word of God which will enlighten us concerning this question and which will enable us to have a little more understanding concerning the former world and the cause of its desolation. Only the Word of God can guide us and our thoughts.
The understanding of His Word, regardless of the question being discussed, always brings us edification. The greatest vanity is the reasonings in man's mind which do not rest on the foundation of God's Word. Although in reading Genesis 3 we cannot find Satan's name, we all know that the serpent was Satan's vessel and perhaps was even the embodiment of the devil. Revelation 12:9 say, "And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole inhabited earth."
Genesis 1 gives no record of the creation of Satan. Where did he come from? This is a problem. Furthermore, we can see many evil spirits in both the Old and New Testaments; we meet them even more frequently in the Gospels. Where did they come from? We also do not see the creation of angels in the six days of work in Genesis 1. Where, then, did the angels who are frequently mentioned in the Bible come from? These questions are all related to our subject.
Since the creation of the angels and the other supernatural beings is not recorded in Genesis 1, which covers the work of God during six days, we know that they were not created during that time. Since they were not created within these six days, when were they created?
The only explanation is that they were creatures of the former worldthe original, perfect world. As the fossil remains clearly show, not only were disease and deathinseparable companions of sinthen prevalent among the living creatures of the earth, but even ferocity and slaughter.
And the fact proves that these remains have nothing to do with our world; since the Bible declares that all things made by God during the Six Days were very good, and that no evil was in them till Adam sinned...Since, then, the fossil remains are those of creatures anterior to Adam, and yet show evident tokens of disease, death, and mutual destruction, they must have belonged to another world and have a sin-stained history of their own, a history which ended in the ruin of themselves and their habitation. G. H. Pember, Earth's Earliest Ages, 1942, reprinted 1975, pp. 34-35.
By reading Jeremiah 4:23-26, we see the reason why the earth became waste and emptiness. Verse 26 says that it was due to "His [Jehovah's] burning anger." Why was the Lord so angry? It was probably because of the sin of the creatures at that time.
Isaiah 24:1 says that "Jehovah now makes the earth desolate." Why would the Lord destroy the earth of His original creation? Judging from the history of our own world, we can answer that it was probably because of the sin of the earth's inhabitants which forced God to judge them. We have said before that when we read Genesis, we do not see the origin of Satan. As we look into the cause of earth's desolation in the beginning, our mind will naturally think "an enemy has done this" (Matt. 13:28).
Other than attributing the cause to Satan, it seems that we cannot find any other clues in the Bible. We will study a portion of the Bible which seems to tell us the origin of God's enemy and thereby we may know the condition of the former world and the cause of its becoming desolate. Let us now read Ezekiel 28:1-19. These nineteen verses are divided into two sections: (1) verses 1-10 concern the prophet's warning to the prince of Tyrus, and (2) verses 11-19 concern the prophet's lamentations upon the king of Tyrus. The first section, a word to the prince of Tyrus, is easy to understand. He was exalted with pride, considered himself God, and thought that he was wiser than Daniel. Due to his progress in commerce, he became puffed up. Therefore God punished him, causing him to be slain and destroyed by the terrible of the nations. Soon after this prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans came and destroyed Tyre. Josephus believed that the prince of Tyrus was Ithobalus, who was called Ithobaal II in the history of the Phoenicians. Since we know that this prophecy has already been fulfilled, it is not difficult for us to interpret verses 1 through 10. But when we read on from verses 11 through 19, we find many places that we do not understand. Since this portion of the Word is very much related to the subject which we are studying now, we quote the text in full:
Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou seals up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covered; and I have set thee so: thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more (Ezek. 28:11-19).
This section is indeed hard to understand, for it contains many expressions which cannot be applied to any mortal man.
If the "king of Tyrus" were only a mortal man, how could we explain the things in verses 11 through 15? How could the king of Tyrus have been in the Garden of Eden or upon the holy mountain of God? How could he have been the anointed cherub that covered the ark? None of the things mentioned here had been the experience of the king of Tyros. We cannot explain this section simply by spiritualizing it. It is unfair if we spiritualize the interpretation of a section when we encounter difficulties in it. I believe that the first section (vv. 1-10) addressed to the prince of Tyros was a word spoken to King Ithobalus II, and the second section (vv. 11-19), the lamentation upon the king of Tyros, denotes the coming Antichrist. Verse 2 of this chapter speaks of Tyro "in the midst of the seas." By reading Daniel 11:41-45, we know that when the coming Antichrist will be in Palestine, perhaps he will dwell at Tyro. That is why he was called the king of Tyro here. Moreover, Antichrist is Satan incarnate; therefore, numerous expressions in this section refer to Satan himself.
Mr. Darby said, "Verses 11-19, while continuing to speak of Tyro, go, I think, much farther, and disclose, though darkly, the fall and the ways of Satan, become through our sin the prince and god of this world." Dr. A. C. Gaebelein also said that the king of Tyro is a type of the last great sinner (Antichrist), that behind this evil king, we see another power that is Satan; Satan was the power behind the king of Tyros then, and he still is the god of this age now, who rules the nations of this world. If we have studied the Scriptures carefully, we will realize that the justification for merging Satan and Antichrist in this passage into one being is not contrary to the general teachings of the Scriptures. We know that, although human beings have their own will, their walk is either directed by God's operating (Phil. 2:13) or by the operating of the evil spirits (Eph. 2:2). Human beings are never totally free. Ordinarily, human beings are under the control of the evil spirits. Sometimes, in important matters, Satan himself, in addition to the working of evil spirits, will also participate in the work. Hence, we see him personally coming to tempt Christ in the wilderness. Later, in trying to hinder Christ from going to the cross, he personally used Peter. After that, in attempting to destroy Christ, he entered into Judas. Eventually, on the world stage he will be united to Antichrist. Scripture says that the works of Antichrist are "according to Satan's operation" (2 Thess. 2:9); it is Satan who "gave him his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2). Since Antichrist is the incarnated devil, the Holy Spirit speaks of him together with Satan in this passage. In these few verses, the superhuman aspects all refer to Satan himself, and the remainder to Antichrist. Since our purpose is not to study the question of Antichrist, but to know the creatures of the former world and the cause of its desolation, we shall put aside the verses in this portion concerning the Antichrist and concentrate on Satan, who is related to our subject.
Now let us consider the words that refer to Satan. Ezekiel 28:12 says that Satan (Note: "Satan" is the name used after he had sinned; he was called the "son of the dawn" and also "Daystar" or "Lucifer" (Isa. 14:12) before his fall. "Satan," which means "adversary," is his name after the fall. For the sake of convenience, we shall call him Satan in the following paragraphs.) "Sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." This depicts his condition before he had sinned. He was superior to all the other angels. Phrases like "sealest up the sum," "full of," and "perfect" reveal that he was the greatest of all the creation. God had put him above all the creation. Being "full of wisdom" probably refers to his understanding of God's will; if this is true, he might have had the office of a prophet already.
The first part of Ezekiel 28:13 says, "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering." When we read Genesis 3, we indeed see Satan there. However, he was not being covered by "every precious stone"; he was tempting Adam and Eve. Hence, the two gardens of Eden are not of the same time. In Adam's Garden of Eden, Satan had fallen, whereas here, it clearly depicts the situation before his fall. Hence, the garden of Eden here must be earlier than the one at Adam's time. If so, then it must not have belonged to the present world but to the previous one. This Garden of Eden, like the coming New Jerusalem, had many precious stones, such as sardius, beryl, etc. The Garden of Eden where Adam lived was not like this. The Bible focuses only on the trees and does not say anything concerning their being covered with precious stones. Hence, the Garden of Eden here must be different from that of Adam and is much earlier. His being covered with the precious stones reminds us of the precious stones on the priest in Exodus. He probably had been appointed by God to be a priest. The latter half of the verse says, "The workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee." In the Bible musical instruments are used by kings. We see how David played the harp for king Saul. When the king of Babylon was destroyed, the sound of his lutes were said to be brought down to Sheol (Isa. 14:11). And when the king of Babylon was pleased, various musical instruments were played (Dan. 3). Satan was a king at that time and these musical instruments were given to him by God. The first half of Ezekiel 28:14 says that he is "the anointed cherub that covered." Anointed indicates that he is consecrated. The work of the cherubim is to lead men to worship the Lord (Rev. 4:9-10; 5:11-14). Therefore, his work in the beginning was also to lead the creatures at that time in the worship of God. This also refers to his priesthood. The latter part of verse 14 says that he was "upon the holy mountain of God" and had "walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." The holy mountain of God probably is the place where God's glory is manifested. As the priest of God, he would, of course, stand before Him to minister. What does it mean to walk "up and down in the midst of the stones of fire"? Ezekiel 1:26 reveals that the position of the cherubim is below the throne. Now when Moses took seventy of the elders of Israel up the mountain of Sinai, "they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness...And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount" (Exo. 24:10, 17). The paved work of sapphire stone in the appearance of devouring fire probably was "the stones of fire." This indicates that Satan enjoyed a very high place, right below the throne of God, and was very intimate with God. Verse 15 says that he was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created, but that later God found iniquity in him. All of God's creation was perfect; God is not the author of sin. Iniquity was initiated by the archangel who sinned. He was created and given a free will by God just as we were. Unfortunately God's created angel abused his freedom! And how many people are still following his footsteps! The first part of verse 16 says that by the multitude of his merchandise they have filled his midst with violence, and he has sinned. We may refer this word solely to Antichrist. During the end time commerce will be very prosperous (Rev. 18). Many sinful things will be brought in because of this.
This can be proven by history.Nevertheless; the same clause may be applied to Satan.
Mr. Pember points out that "the word translated `merchandise' may also...signify `detraction' or `slander'; and we know that the very name `Devil' means `the slanderer,' or `malignant accuser'" (Earth's Earliest Ages, p. 52).
Thus, we can find out the meaning here. We see how Satan accused Job and tried to destroy him with insidious acts. Also in Revelation 12:10 we read, "Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ, for the accuser of our brothers has been cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night." The casting down here probably corresponds to the casting of Satan out of the mountain of God in Ezekiel. The reason for the casting out in Ezekiel and in Revelation is one and the same, that is, accusation (or slander). Perhaps what was recorded in Ezekiel was the conviction of Satan by God and what was written in Revelation was the sending of Michael by God for the execution of that conviction. Then why would God still allow Satan to remain in the heavens? The reasons seem to be:
(1) the time of God has not yet come, and
(2) His own children need the furnace to purge away the dross still in them. Ezekiel 28:17 reveals the cause of Satan's fall. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty, and his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness. The king of Babylon as described in Isaiah 14:12-14 bears much resemblance to this verse. Many servants of God believe that the Holy Spirit is not only pointing out the king of Babylon, but in a deeper sense, the cause of the fall of Satan who was behind the king of Babylon. In my view, the record in Ezekiel reveals the cause of his pride, while in Isaiah it shows the manner in which he exhibited his pride. It is probable that after comparing himself with God's other creatures, his heart was lifted up. In the end he tried to exalt himself to be equal with God and thus suffered God's judgment.
"How you have fallen from heaven, O Daystar, son of the dawn! ...But you, you said in your heart: I will ascend to heaven; / above the stars of God I will exalt my throne. And I will sit upon the mount of assembly On the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (Isa. 14:12-14).
Since he was so proud, God punished him. His authority in the heavens was removed and abolished by God. The remaining part of the prophecy in Ezekiel is not relevant to our subject, and we shall stop here. From the prophecy contained in this passage in Ezekiel, if our interpretation is correct, we can see how God created Satan the fairest and wisest of all His creatures in the former world and made him their leader. God placed him in the garden of Eden, which was long before the Eden of Adam. The things in the former garden, if not altogether different from those of the latter garden, were at least more numerous than the latter. They resemble the future New Jerusalem. He was a prophet there, teaching all the inhabitants of the earth with his wisdom to know how to serve God. He was also there as the priest of God, directing them in the worship and praises of God. He was also the king among the creatures, having been placed in a position that was above all the creation. He must have been in such a condition for a lengthy period of time (v. 15), but because of his sin, he became the greatest enemy of God.
So far we have covered the origin of Satan. We shall now proceed to cover Satan's angels and demons, which are under him, and to investigate how they fell and how this affected the earth, causing it to become waste and void.
From the New Testament we see that under the hand of Satan there are two living beings:
(1) angels and
(2) demons. Let us first look at the angels. Matthew 25:41 speaks of "the devil and his angels." Revelation 12:4 says that the dragon's "tail drags away the third part of the stars of heaven, and he cast them to the earth." The stars denote the angels (Rev. 1:20). Therefore 12:9 says, "And the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he who is called the Devil and Satan,...he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him." These angels were probably the ones established by God in the beginning to assist Satan to rule the world. They were "the congregation of the mighty" and "the gods" in Psalm 82 (cf. John 10:35). When Satan fell, they either conspired or sympathized with him. Therefore, they fell together with him and became today's "rulers," "authorities," "world-rulers of this darkness," "the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenliest" (Eph. 6:12). Note that the numbers are plural. These angels are not disembodied demons; they have ethereal bodies. This is why the Lord promises that the children of resurrection will be like the angels in the heaven. Satan has another class of subjects, the evil spirits. Demons and the evil spirits (or filthy spirits) are the same. We can tell this by checking with the translation of the Mandarin Bible. In Matthew 8:16, it firstly mentions the demons, then the spirits. But the Bible translators, seeing that the Holy Spirit used the words "demon" and "spirit" interchangeably, translated both into "demons." In Luke 10:17 the word "demons" is in the original language, but in verse 20 the word "demons" should be "spirits." In these two verses of the Bible we see the Lord Jesus acknowledged the "demons" and the "spirits" to be the same and thus the Chinese Bible translator again translated both as "demons." Matthew 17:18 speaks of the Lord casting out a demon, yet Mark calls this demon an unclean spirit and dumb spirit (Mark 9:25). Demons and spirits are the same. These demons, or spirits, probably were the race who lived in the former world. They helped Satan in his sinning; or, perhaps after Satan sinned, they followed him rather than forsaking him and obeying God. Therefore, they were cut off by God and their bodies were removed from them. Hence, they became disembodied spirits. Although we cannot find any clear evidence in the Bible to confirm this theory, we can find some clues. In Matthew 12 we see the situation of a demon when he left the human body. He became helpless and wandered about. Besides the human body, he could not find another resting place. Therefore, he eventually returned to his original place, the human body. If they were not disembodied spirits, why did they have to enter into man's body? As we read Luke 8, we see how the legion of demons was unwilling to leave the human body. When they had no way to remain in the human body, they even entered the bodies of the swine. Presently in the world they still cling to human bodies. Even some believers are unconsciously possessed by them. They are different from Satan and his angels who do not like to enter human bodies. Satan and his angels still have a spiritual body, but the demons do not. Their character and liking seem to prove that they are the disembodied spirits. Since they are disembodied spirits, where were they when they were disembodied? We know that the spirits of all the dead are in Hades. So, where do these spirits come from? They must have come from the former world. While they were alive, their habitation was probably the former world where Satan exercised his rule. In the Bible we can find another clue that tells us that there were inhabitants in the pre-Adamic world. Isaiah 45:18 shows that the world created by God in the beginning was not waste and empty. Since this verse speaks of the original world, one expression suggests to us the existence of mankind in the previous world.
It says, "He is the God who formed the earth... He did not create it waste." This clearly refers to the original creation. Following this it says, "He formed it to be inhabited." This seems to clearly tell that the earth then was inhabited by some race. As we read the Bible further, we find clues which indicate that there is a detention place for the demons now. The legion of demons in Gadara must have known this. They were in great fear and begged the Lord that He would not "order them to depart into the abyss," (Luke 8:31) because they would be tormented there (Matt. 8:29).
Mr. Pember says that this "abyss" in the original language is abussos; and that "in some passages, such as the ninth chapter of the Apocalypse, this term is evidently applied to a fiery hollow in the centre of the earth: but it is also used for the depths of the sea, a meaning which accords well with its derivation" (Earth's Earliest Ages, p. 60). In the future Satan will be detained in a bottomless pit in the center of the earth. This is revealed in the book of Revelation. The demons are also detained in an abyss now, yet some of them still have freedom. We must wait until God's appointed time comes for them to be completely shut inside. This abyss is probably different from the one in the heart of the earth; it is in the sea. Furthermore, at the final judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) when all the prisoners will have been thrown into the lake of fire, there will be no more sea in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1). However, there may be only one abyss that is divided into two parts. There are other clues concerning the sea being the place of detention for demons. In the Septuagint Bible, the word "deep" in Genesis 1:2 is the same as "abyss" here. We have said that these demons are probably created races that lived in the first world. This corresponds to what we read in Genesis 1:2 because they originally lived on the earth. After sinning, their bodies were destroyed by God; their habitation was judged by God and became without form and void. The whole earth was covered by water and was characterized as "the deep." It follows then that the spirits of the races at that time were in this "deep"! Finally, on the third day when God restored the earth, He commanded the earth to come out from the water and called the gathering of the waters the sea. This earth was prepared for mankind in the new world. Where then have the former demons gone? We can spontaneously answer that they went into the sea. As we read Revelation 20:13, we often do not understand why the sea will give up the dead which are in it. It is understandable to say that death and Hades will deliver up the dead which are in them, but why will the sea give up the dead who are in it? The common interpretation is that the sea surrenders the bodies of those who are drowned. If so, then the earth should also give up its dead because there are more bodies buried in the earth than in the sea. Yet the earth does not give up its dead. Therefore, the sea will give up the spirits of the imprisoned ones and not the bodies of the dead. Men's spirits are in death and Hades; the Bible does not say that the spirits of man are kept in the sea. Then whose spirits will the sea give up? It will give up those who are from the other world, that is, the former world. The sequence here indicates this. "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them." Those who lived in the former world died first. Therefore, they will be the first beings to be given up; then, we who are of this world will follow after because every man will be judged in his own order. Thus far we have seen the probable origin of Satan, his angels, and the demons. As to how man lived on the former earth, this is something beyond our knowledge. However, we can see some hints in the Bible.
Many Bible scholars, Dr. Scofield being one of them, believe that Jeremiah 4:23-26 refers to the condition of Genesis 1:2, in which the earth was without form and void. Although the context of this passage is the desolation of Judah, these few verses of the Scripture have a notably broader view, as if God caused the prophet to view the desolation of the earth in the beginning. If our belief is accurate, then we know that in the former world there was "the fruitful land" and "its cities" (v. 26). The inhabitants then dwelt in cities and some took up farming as an occupation. When they were deceived by Satan, the burning anger of Jehovah came upon them (v. 26) and the earth became "waste and emptiness" (v. 23).From these biblical clues we see the original situation of the earth, the races who dwelt on the earth, the paradise, and the princes, etc. If we are not mistaken in our meditation, we can draw a conclusion concerning the first world and the cause of its desolation as follows: In the beginning of "time" (as opposed to eternity) God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was not waste (Isa. 45:18) but very beautiful and perfect. On this earth there were inhabitants and the number of the inhabitants was great. Before God created the earth and human beings, He had created the angels (Job 38:6-7). He assigned Satan, whom He created, as the leader to be above all the angels. Satan, the most beautiful and wisest of all, the prime of all God's creation, dwelt in the Garden of Eden. God made him the ruler of the world; therefore, he was called "the ruler of the world" (John 14:30).
Many angels were under his rule, and these angels shared in ruling with him. Then, because of his position and honor, he became proud. Due to pride, he rebelled and lifted himself up to be equal with God. He was not satisfied with being a creature, but desired to be the Creator. Therefore, he slandered God before the people and accused the people before God. God found out his iniquity and condemned him. When the time comes, he will be cast to the earth. One third of the angels (Rev. 12) followed him in rebellion and, therefore, became the angels of the devil. God has prepared hell for them (Matt. 25:41), and when the time comes, Satan will be cast into it. In the former world, the inhabitants of the earth, being under Satan and his angels' rule, were also deceived and filled up with sins. (We can readily understand this when we consider our world situation today.)
Therefore, God's anger was fierce, and He completely destroyed the earth and all the races therein and locked up many spirits in the abyss in the sea. These evil spirits, angels, and Satan himself formed the kingdom of darkness. We do not know how long this period lasted. Later, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters again, and the Triune God began His restoration work on the world. After His restoration of the world, He created Adam and his wife and asked them to guard it, so that there would be man on the earth to cooperate with Him in heaven to stop Satan's power. Perhaps God used Adam to test Satan to see whether he would repent. However, he came to tempt Adam; therefore, God cursed Satan. Because Adam fell, he could not bring the world which was under Satan's rule back to God. On the contrary, the world Adam received from God's hand was given anew to Satan. Since angels and mankind had failed, God came in the person of the Son to be a man, the last Adam. The Lord Jesus became God's prophet, priest, and king. When He was on this earth, He was God's prophet without blemish. When He was about to die, He was able to say, "The ruler of the world is coming, and in me he has nothing" (John 14:30). At His death all who are in Adam were crucified in Him. He was able to include all of the old Adamic creation in His crucifixion because He is God, and He is able to continue on as the new man. His human living had nothing to do with Satan. Through His death and resurrection, He regained the world lost by the first Adam. Every sinner, who is destined to die in the old Adam, can return to God and be saved if he rejects the first Adam through the death of the last Adam and joins himself to Christ in life. This is the meaning of believing in the death of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, whoever believes in the Lord Jesus becomes an enemy of the devil. In everything he attacks us, and in everything we resist him, his angels, and the demons. This is God's purpose in saving man, and this is a real spiritual warfare. Satan was judged once on the "holy mountain of God," and he was judged again on the hill of Golgotha. He has been convicted, yet his judgment has not yet been executed. When the time comes he will be cast down from heaven and when the Son of God returns to this earth, he will be cast into the abyss. After one thousand years he will forever suffer in the lake of fire. Now the Lord Jesus holds the authority which Satan had abused, and He will hold it until all traces of rebellion disappear. He has brought His own blood into the Holy of Holies and has cleansed the heavens; He is now a Priest of God. When He returns, it will be the time of the restoration of all things. He will be a King, ruling this world from heaven with all the overcoming saints, in the same way that Satan ruled with his angels in the former time. At that time He will teach the inhabitants of this earth to know God's will and to worship God, in the same way that Satan did in the former days. The situation in the millennium will be like the situation in the world before Satan sinned. Christ will restore all things to the condition in the "beginning" in order to accomplish God's original purpose. After this He will burn up the whole world, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which the righteous will dwell. Therefore, as God's children we ought to have a deeper enmity for the devil. For thousands of years God's only purpose has been for man to be joined with Him to destroy Satan's authority. Our God is a law-abiding God. He will not take back by force the world which was lost through man. Therefore, He sent His Son to become a man in order to regain what man had lost. We, men who have been saved, ought to cooperate with the unique "Man," the Lord Jesus. In our life, in our work, in our environment, in our dwelling, and in the world, we should resist the works of the devil. Our resistance is in firmness of faith (1 Pet. 5:9), and not by means of fleshly weapons (2 Cor. 10:4), which is the way of social reformers who are being utilized by the demons. Satan was wise and beautiful! But because of his pride, he ended up in complete ruin. It is dangerous for frail mortals to esteem themselves wise and beautiful! Beware, lest being lifted up with pride, you fall into the judgment of the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). Being self-exalted with pride is not a blessing to man; wisdom rests only with those who fear the most high God Jehovah.
THE EARTH RESTORED THE RECOVERY OF THE EARTH IN SIX DAYS
We have seen that in the beginning God created a perfect world. Later, because of the sins committed by Satan and those who dwelt on the earth, they and the earth were judged by God, and the earth became without form and void. Now we will see God's work of restoring the earth. In the book of Job, Job mentions the failure of Satan's rebellion in order to show that it is foolish to dispute with God. "He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? which removed the mountains, and they know not; which overturned them in his anger; which shakes the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble; which commanded the sun, and it rises not; and sealed up the stars" (Job 9:4-7). When did God do this? When did He shake the mountains and the earth, and alter the position of the celestial bodies due to man's stubbornness towards Him? Since the time of Adam, such an act of God in the world has not been seen. This passage must be a description of God's judgment on Satan and on the earth under his dominion when he rebelled. At that time God shook the earth and overturned the mountains. The calamity came so swiftly that the mountains were overturned unnoticed. In addition to the earth, the positions of the celestial bodies were also affected. Because of God's judgment, the sun disappeared completely and the stars did not shine. The world was plunged into darkness. There was no sun and no heat was produced. Consequently, this led to the glacial epoch on this earth. Then, after a long period of time, possibly due to internal heat at the earth's core (Rev. 9:2), the ice gradually melted. However, the sun had not yet appeared and the stars were still "sealed up." When the Spirit of God began to move, there was the deep, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Job not only mentions God's judgment, but also His work of restoration. He says, "Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, / and treadeth upon the high peaks of the sea; / which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, / and wonders without number" (Job 9:8-10, Heb.). The phrase "spread knows? / Or who hath stretched the line upon it? / Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? / Or who laid the corner stone thereof; / when the morning stars sang together." No matter which earth is referred to here, whether the original created earth or the restored earth on the third day, one thing is definite: before the earth was formed, the stars already existed. As the earth was being formed, morning stars were there singing together, praising the work of God. In Genesis God was only rearranging the stars that were there before. After He had gathered the light into the sun and had made it the great light, He restored the stars and made them appear in the sky to meet the needs of the earth. The Holy Spirit inspired Moses to describe God's work with human words because the Bible is written for man. He did not speak of the positions and functions of the sun, moon, and stars, but only mentioned their relationship to the earth and man. Although seasons, days, and years have to do with other creatures, the use of the celestial bodies "for signs" is specifically for man, since no one besides man is able to observe the motions of the celestial bodies in order to make signs. God only speaks about the positions and functions of the sun, moon, and stars according to man's viewpoint. He does not mention other matters. In man's eyes the sun is the greatest light, the moon is the second, and the stars are still smaller lights. Is it not wonderful that God has prepared such an immense universe for men as small as we? On the fifth day, after the dry land and the celestial bodies had been restored, God prepared to create living organisms to inhabit the earth. "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven" (v. 20). God's commandment expressed God's purpose. "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moved, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind" (v. 21). God created these things out of nothing. We do not know what materials God used to make fish and aquatic life. As for the birds, 2:19 tells us that they are made out of the ground. Science tells us that living organisms first existed in the water, then on the ground. Aquatic organisms are the most primitive species among all the animals. Even today, the ocean is still home to the majority of the living creatures. Birds, on the other hand, are the most primitive species of all warm-blooded animals. We can see how closely science resembles the description in the Bible. Although science proves these words, faith believes without the help of science! On the sixth day God went on to create the beasts, the cattle, and the creeping things. Finally, He created man in His own image. We will discuss the creation of man in more detail in later messages. Here we will deal only briefly with the subject. Chapter one covers the creation of man in a brief way to show us man's position among the creatures, while chapter two describes the origin of man in detail to show us man's relationship with God. We should notice that man was "created" by God (v. 27). Man did not evolve from a lower class of animal. The word "creation," as we have mentioned, means the making of something out of nothing. It is a special work of God and not a natural process of evolution. The Bible does not give credence to the theory of evolution, which will forever be a vain idea! On the third day God ordered each type of vegetation, the trees, grass, and vegetables, to yield seed after its kind. Grass cannot change into a tree, neither can one tree change into another kind of tree. On the fifth day aquatic life and birds were all after their kinds. On the sixth day the beasts, cattle, and creeping things were also after their kind. Every creature is after its kind. The Bible does not tell us how these kinds were classified, yet the words "after his kind" is sufficient proof that in those days every creature was of a different kind. Since God has said that everything was "after his kind," the boundary of each kind was set by God. There is absolutely no possibility for one kind to evolve into another kind. Plants cannot change into animals; even one kind of plant cannot change into another kind of plant, neither can one kind of animal change into another kind of animal. We Christians believe in the Word of God. Anything beyond "thus saith the Lord," we will not believe. How much less should we listen to a theory that is contradictory to the Word of God? The Word of God is sufficient to solve all the problems. The world may be scornful of our logic, but we are satisfied with God's Word. Pitiful mortals do not believe in our God. As a result, they drift aimlessly and devise theories for themselves on which to base their faith! They think that it is too incredible for God to bring something out of nothing into being, and to make man out of the dust of the earth. To us, however, for a tiny embryo of one kind of animal to undergo the numerous processes of evolution to become a monkey, and then after many more steps of evolution, to change from a monkey into a man, is something that is far more incredible. Just for a monkey to evolve into a man is incredible. It is much more incredible than God creating man! I warn my readers not to believe such end-times nonsense. Not only should we not believe such talk; we should not even listen to it. We should not read magazines or books that contain these kinds of theories. We thank God that His words are clear and easy to understand. He said, each "after his kind," and all around us we see all animals and plants behaving according to this word. Formerly, evolutionists said that man's ancestors were some sort of animal many thousands of years ago. Now they tell us that after many more thousands of years, our descendents will be formless animals without fingers or toes. They are talking things that belong to many thousands of years ago or many thousands of years in the future, things which we will never see or be able to hold up for questioning! Our Bible is a book of the present. At present, all creatures multiply after their own kind. The Bible does not make irresponsible statements! As noted by many previous writers, "Elohim," one of the names for God in the original Scriptures, is plural in number. However, in Genesis 1:26 the verb used after God is singular in number. It seems incompatible to have a plural noun with a singular verb. However, this indicates that God is three-in-one and one-in-three. Since there is more than one person in the Godhead, the noun does not have a singular designation. Neither are there two persons. Hence, the designation is not dual. Rather, there are three persons. Hence, there is the plural designation "Elohim." Alth