Author: Pastor Paul Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
People find many different reasons for opposing creationism. Some are simply ignorant of the scientific and biblical points which support the creationist worldview. Very often people really believe that evolution has been proven as fact. But in the end, those who refuse the truth are adopting evolution as an alternate religion to the Bible.
When we Christians realize why people oppose the creationist view of the world, and how their thinking works, we will be better equipped to speak to them about God’s concerns for them in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lucretius, who lived in the first century B.C., was clearer than most as to why the idea of a Creator God Who has ownership claims on us must be combated. At the very beginning of Book 1 of his On the Nature of the Universe, he condemns the “hocus-pocus” of prophets who lead the people to believe in a God or gods who judge men’s actions. “As it is, they have no power of resistance, because they are haunted by the fear of eternal punishment after death…I must therefore give an account of celestial phenomena, explaining the movements of the sun and moon and also the forces that determine events on earth…In tackling this theme, our starting point will be this principle: Nothing can ever be created by divine power out of nothing. The reason why all mortals are so gripped by fear is that they see all sorts of things happening on earth and in the sky with no discernible cause, and these they attribute to the will of a god. Accordingly, when we have seen that nothing can be created out of nothing, we shall then have a clearer picture of the path ahead, the problem of how things are created and occasioned without the aid of gods.” (Emphasis in the original.)
Compare Lucretius’ statements above with Romans 1:18-21. How does Lucretius betray his recognition of the creation’s testimony to the Creator? Which words show that he was even familiar with Genesis one? Does Lucretius state his starting assumption clearly? What is it? What drives Lucretius to seek an alternative to a Creator? Which of his words in the last paragraph clearly state this? Analyze that attitude in light of this text from Romans.
Lucretius set his mind to do this even though he was aware of the testimony about God’s existence in the creation, and he knew that his readers were, too. “One thing that worries me is the fear that you may fancy yourself embarking on an impetuous course, setting your feet on the path of sin. Far from it. More often it is this very superstition that is the mother of sinful and impious deeds.” That “superstition” is, of course, religion.
Humanist Manifestos I and II repeat Lucretius’ sentiments of rebellion against God: “Promises of immortal salvation and fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful…Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces…Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education…We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking.”
Many people who accept these basic ideas know nothing at all about the Humanist Manifestoes or Lucretius. However, the need to do away with creation, and in so doing, do away with God, is natural to man. What light does Genesis 8:21 shed on this fact of man’s nature? Read Psalm 51:5. Does David recognize this rebellion even within himself? Is this rebellion common to man? Do believers have to recognize this within themselves as well?
Read 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. How does man’s wisdom compare with God’s? Based on what is taught here, can man, by himself, be expected to understand the things of faith which are taught by the Holy Spirit? Does the word “taught” here simply refer to the facts revealed in Scripture or does it have a wider dimension? Which words here tell us that it is our duty to judge and discern what is God’s truth and what is not? How does this apply to the origins question?
This means that we should do more than avoid compromise with this rebellion against God. We need to clearly see the source and danger of evolution for human thought so that we can help those, including our own young people, who are being misled into it. We need to be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ as more than just biblical facts so that those who are afraid to recognize God realize that He comes to them with an open, inviting hand in the Gospel.
The hardest blow we can strike against evolution will be struck when, through the Gospel, another person’s thinking turns from the ways of sinful man to the things which are taught by the Spirit of God. Then they will be most convinced that God can never be excluded from the world!
Close this Bible study with a devotional reading of Psalm 95.
Photo: Sculpture of Lucretius.
Copyright © 1988 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839, Foley, MN 56329, 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com