Our God-given minds need some light

Tue, 03/03/2009 - 4:15pm
By: Letters to the ...

The human mind is a beautiful thing. When God made man out of dirt, He fashioned a brain that worked rather well. Adam was immediately able to comprehend what God told him to do (“Be fruitful and multiply. ...”).

Categories of thought, perceptive abilities, memory, self-awareness, other-awareness (Adam recognized Eve as a fellow human being), communication skills, God consciousness, reasoning powers, and an incredible vocabulary (name-giving to all the animals). But a tragedy of titanic proportions took place in paradise.

Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to second-guess God, listened to the arch-enemy of God, and plunged themselves and creation into the dark abyss of the curse of sin and death.

Did they lose their minds? No. But they no longer worked right. Instead of seeing God as their friend, they became hostile to God and afraid of him.

Adam and Eve’s minds became debased (Rom. 1:28), occupied with futility (Eph. 4:17), defiled (Tit. 1:15), blinded to spiritual realities (2 Cor. 4:4), and darkened (Eph. 4:18). Their minds became desperately in need of the light of revelation. Their reasoning powers were not to be trusted apart from God’s revealed wisdom.

On Feb. 12, the AJC made its contribution to the celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday by running an editorial by the Rev. Patricia Templeton, rector of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in northwest Atlanta. The title of the article was “Study Creation with God-given Mind.”

My 50-plus years of reading editorials, especially in liberal newspapers, prompted a suspicious impulse. Was I about to read something that would have us revel in the wonders of God’s creation?

It didn’t take the Rev. Templeton long to inform her readers that though the Bible “contains the words of the living God,” it is not a source of authority when it comes to understanding how God’s creation is what it is.

To her way of thinking, science is an independent authority and must take precedence over the Bible when it comes to knowing how the world began and how human beings came to inhabit our planet. We are assured that science has the answers to any questions we may have about these matters.

Not to worry though. The Bible, we are told, starts out giving us “stories of creation.” Rector Templeton stumbles badly here. She thinks Genesis 1 and 2 contains two conflicting stories. There is a failure here to appreciate the literary device used by Moses (and many others) of giving the order of events (Genesis 1) followed by additional content about those events (Genesis 2).

It is not a matter of “which story is true?” There is only one story harmoniously written and providing a complete picture of creation events.

Is the Bible merely a story book designed to tell us about the “relationship between God and human beings, between the Creator and creation?” The biblically uninformed will be thrown off balance by this kind of language. After all, wasn’t the Bible written to tell us the story of God’s provision of a redeemer for human beings?

The question is, can the Creator be trusted to tell us what we need to know about origins, about ourselves, about Him, and about our responsibility to Him?

What is being served up in this verbal birthday cake for Charles Darwin is a not so subtle attack upon the sufficiency of God’s Word, the Bible.

The Bible tells us what we need to know about God, His creation, and how it came about. Once science is made the gate-keeper for knowledge about human origins, the Bible becomes, in effect, a religious book to inspire good feelings about God and oneself.

That, of course, is strikingly similar to Satan’s first words to Eve’s mind, “Has God said?” If we want to talk about a wasted mind, those three words opened the door to the greatest displacement that has ever occurred.

The human mind chose to replace God with the autonomous self. The mind became darkened and prejudiced against God. The creation was given supremacy over the Creator and the rest is history.

Listen to the Spirit of God through the apostle Paul; “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21-22).

Don’t fall for the high-sounding double-talk that gives lip service to the Bible as a useful book while at the same time holding up fallible human beings as the final arbiters as to what is truth about human origins.

The truly God-given mind submits itself to the authority of the Scriptures in all matters pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). If the Bible has it wrong about human origins, then it is wrong about human sin, our need for a Redeemer, and the outcome of human history.

Beware of those who condescendingly assure us that the Bible can guide us in spiritual matters but is not our final authority in matters of history and science.

If that is so, what are we to do with the Bible’s assertion that “Christ died for our sins.” There is a massive amount of history, science, and theology bound up in those five words.

Dr. Howard E. Dial, senior pastor

Berachah Bible Church

Fayette County, Ga.

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