Paul Was A Creationist—A Reprise


Some time ago, during my personal time in the Bible, it dawned on me that the Apostle Paul must have been a creationist.

Clearly he viewed Genesis as a historical record. He drew parallels in numerous places between Christ and Adam (Romans 5; I Corinthians 15). None of those analogies would carry any weight if Adam was a mythical character, not an actual historical person.

Come to think of it, the writer of the book of Hebrews (some think that was Paul, too, but some think it might have been Barnabas or even Peter) also believed in the historicity of Genesis. The fundamental comparison in Hebrews is between Christ and a little-known priest/king named Melchizedek. Genesis 14 mentions him briefly, almost in passing, but clearly the New Testament believers understood him to be a historical figure and highly significant in helping people (especially Jews) understand Jesus’s role as High Priest and King.

I suppose, more important than all is that Jesus Himself understood Genesis to be history. After His resurrection, He is the one who spent time with His disciples explaining how He figured into the Law and Prophets—how the Old Testament Scriptures pointed to Jesus.

Before His crucifixion, He made numerous references to David, Moses, and Abraham. In fact, in connection to Abraham, He taught about life after death. If He had used a mythical character for these lessons He would have destroyed the very point He was making. Instead, He referenced historical figures, and mentioned their motives, their choice of a verb tense, their use of words. If Jesus knew these Old Testament people to be figments of someone’s imagination, He would have been partaking in a great fraud.

No, He, along with the writer to the Hebrews, along with the Apostle Paul, viewed the Law and the Prophets as grounded in historical fact.

So how do I get from that point to Paul was a creationist? If Paul believed Adam was a historical figure and that sin came into the world because of what Adam did, which is precisely what he says in Romans 5:12 (“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned —”), he must have believed that Genesis 3 was historical. That’s the passage in the Old Testament that relates how sin entered into the world because of one man.

Do we have reason to believe Paul thought Genesis 3 was factual but Genesis 2 or Genesis 1 was mythical?

Actually there’s no evidence that Paul thought any of the Old Testament was mythical. He’d spent his life as a Pharisee, and he’d been a student of one of the most learned men of the time. Clearly he took the Law and the Prophets to be the word of God, and he was zealous to do what he believed God would have him do.

But God stopped him. And changed him. From the time of his conversion, Paul did a 180°. Instead of persecuting Christians, he spent his time reasoning with non-Christians so that they too might believe. Despite this change, he still based his instruction on the Word of God. In every city, he began his church planting by reading and discussing Scripture.

Sure, today some may dismiss Paul as scientifically ignorant. But one thing we can accurately know—he was not spiritually ignorant.

So the question is, does rational thought negate the power of God? If after all our scientific discoveries, we say, God couldn’t have created the world the way Genesis says, isn’t that actually a reflection of our own beliefs, rather than what really happened?

I mean, what we’re really saying is, I don’t see how these scientific facts and the Genesis account can both be true, so I choose known science (even though unknown science might someday prove me wrong). Science is ever-changing, shaky ground. God’s word is authoritative, infallible, accurate, and true. To choose the fallible over the infallible is not a wise decision.

What’s more, God Himself is all powerful, so to conclude that God couldn’t create the world (because it’s billions of years old, we know, and evolution does away with the need to believe in creation) is a bit silly. God could create a grown man, so certainly He could create a fully developed universe. Scripture never said He was creating the beginning of stars. No, He created stars. Fully formed stars. And they undoubtedly looked a whole lot older than one minute. Just like Adam undoubtedly was not an infant and had never been an infant.

Back to the Apostle Paul. This learned man who had a direct revelation of Jesus Christ, wasn’t encumbered with the restrictions of modern philosophy or with the uncertainties of postmodern ideas or with the chaos of post-truth thought. Undoubtedly his vast study, his reliance on and belief in the authority of Scripture, led him to be a creationist.

This post is a revised version of one that first appeared here July, 2009.

Advertisements

Paul Was a Creationist


I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what we’ve been discussing, but during my personal time in the Bible this week, it dawned on me that the Apostle Paul must have been a creationist.

Clearly he viewed Genesis as a historical record. He drew parallels in numerous places between Christ and Adam (Romans 5; I Corinthians 15). None of those works if Adam was a mythical character, not an actual historical person.

Come to think of it, the writer of the book of Hebrews (some think that was Paul, too, but some think it might have been Barnabas or even Peter) also believed in the historicity of Genesis. The fundamental comparison in Hebrews is between Christ and a little-known priest/king named Melchizedek. Genesis 1 mentions him briefly, almost in passing, but clearly the New Testament believers understood him to be a historical figure and highly significant in helping people (especially Jews) understand Jesus’s role as High Priest and King.

I suppose, more important than all is that Jesus Himself understood Genesis to be history. After His resurrection, He is the one who spent time with His disciples explaining how He figured into the Law and Prophets.

Before His crucifixion, He made numerous references to David, Moses, and Abraham. In fact, in connection to Abraham, He taught about life after death. Using a mythical character for these lessons would have destroyed the very point He was making. Instead, He referenced historical figures, and mentioned their motives, their choice of a verb tense, their use of words. If Jesus knew these Old Testament people to be figments of someone’s imagination, He would have been partaking in a great fraud.

No, He, along with the writer to the Hebrews, along with the Apostle Paul, viewed the Law and the Prophets as grounded in historical fact.

So how do I get from that point to Paul was a creationist? If Paul believed Adam was a historical figure and that sin came into the world because of what Adam did, which is precisely what he says in Romans 5:12 (“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned —”), he must have believed that Genesis 3 was historical.

Do we have reason to believe he thought Genesis 3 was factual but Genesis 2 or Genesis 1 was mythical?

Actually there’s no evidence that Paul thought any of the Old Testament was mythical. He took the Law and the Prophets to be the word of God. He based his instruction on the Word. He began his church planting by reading and discussing the Word.

Sure, some can dismiss Paul as scientifically ignorant. But one thing we can’t accurately conclude—he was spiritually ignorant.

So the question is, does rational thought negate the power of God? If after all our scientific discoveries, we say, God couldn’t have created the world the way Genesis says, isn’t that actually a reflection of our own beliefs, not of what really happened?

I mean, what we’re really saying is, I don’t see how these scientific facts and the Genesis account can both be true, so I choose known science (even though unknown science might someday prove me wrong).

In reality, Paul, who had a direct revelation of Jesus Christ, wasn’t encumbered with the restrictions of modern philosophy or with the uncertainties of postmodern philosophy. And his vast study, I’m certain, led him to be a creationist.

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 10:52 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Shade – November CSFF Tour, Day 2


john-b-olson-tinyThe CSFF Blog Tour feature, Shade (B&H Publishing), “isn’t your grandma’s prairie romance,” according to author John Olson in an interview over at Title Trakk earlier this year.

Dr. Olson goes on to say:

There’s more going on beneath the surface than even the most brilliant reader will be able to pick up on, and it could very well be frustrating to readers who are used to having their stories served to them in nice bite-sized chunks. I’m not just nervous about it’s release; I’m chew-my-fingernails-up-to-my-elbows terrified.

So what, I can’t help wondering, did I miss? I surmise that there are undercurrents swirling around the villain—called Mulo (vampire) yet taking the form of a man named Sabazios Vladu. The first name is the same as a Phrygian sky father god.

That would tie in with one of the other characters who goes by Athena, though her real name is Athalia, closely related to Athaliah, an exceedingly wicked queen of Judah (daughter of Ahab, she had all of her grandsons killed so she could take the throne—except one escaped, a boy named Joash).

Then we have Melchi, short for Melchizedek, a type of Christ because he was the prophet/priest/king Abraham encountered, which the writer of the book of Hebrews explained. Or what about Hailey Maniates? Her last name is the same as a group of Greeks known as fearless warriors. A number of historical and mythical stories are connected to them.

And that’s just the names of the main players. There are some occasional characters that have obvious import that has yet to be developed such as Blaise (a reference to Saint Blaise?) with the rainbow mohawk hair (rainbow hair? The John 3:16 guy who used to hold up signs at football games?)

There are also the intriguing epigraphs from Milton and Bram Stoker, the passages from Paradise Lost with Melchi’s notes, and the list of authors Sabazios revered.

Tip of the iceberg, I suspect, given what Dr. Olson said about the work. I can’t help but wonder if having so many subtle or obscure references adds to a work. Some, to be sure, made me wonder. Why, for instance, was the main character named after a figure who was a type of Christ? It was interesting that he seemed to have an Old Testament faith until near the end and that he was willing to make a sacrifice for someone he loved.

But do those things cause me to care about the character more? And isn’t that essential for a story to really grab a reader and stay with him?

OK, tomorrow my review. But what did everyone else think? Check out the posts by these CSFF participants:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
√√ Kathy Brasby
√√ Valerie Comer
Karri Compton (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Melissa Meeks
Pam Morrisson (not on the original list posted at CSFF)
Eve Nielsen
Nissa
√√ John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Mirtika
√√ Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

“√” indicates I know a blog post is up.

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: