Author: Pastors Robin Fish & 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.
Those who refuse to accept the truth of creation are adopting evolution because it offers 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 about why the idea of a Creator God Who has ownership claims on us must be opposed. At the beginning 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)
1. Compare Lucretius’ statements 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 familiar with Genesis 1?
Does Lucretius clearly state his starting assumption? What is it?
What drives Lucretius to seek an alternative to a Creator?
Which of his words in the last paragraph clearly say 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 Manifestoes 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.”
2. 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?
3. 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 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?
4. Turn to Ephesians 4: 18. Notice the other words connected to the darkened understanding. The most important phrase, “excluded from the life of God,” is probably least easily understood when one addresses science unless we remember that man is a unity, and one twisted part comes to affect the whole.
5. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What is the answer to the natural predisposition of man?
Can this affect the ability to think clearly? Connect this passage to 1 Corinthians 2:14 and see what difference it makes.
Will conversion utterly transform a person’s thinking overnight? Note, the question is not “can it?” but “will it?”
Are there examples of unregenerate thinking among believers today?
What does 1 Corinthians 13:11 suggest?
Do you think that maturing and growing is limited to any time of a person’s life?
6. Philippians 2:5-11 sets a goal for our thinking. What is it? Is this goal purely spiritual?
What real-life effects might this goal tend to produce in those who pursue it?
How do verses 10 and 11 particularly apply to creationism? Is there a norm or measuring stick for right thinking?
What does Paul suggest in I Corinthians 14:37? Formulate a rule or statement which would apply the principle Paul uses in this verse to human thinking.
7. What sad truth does Romans 1:21 reveal about the thinking of man? Notice the cause and effect relationship.
Can we relate this to evolution? How? Notice that verse 20 tells us that God is clearly seen in the creation. We are not dealing with that which cannot be seen, or is difficult to discern, but with that which is nearly inescapable. The occasional evolutionist will be forthright enough to admit this to be the truth.
Note the results of this darkening in verse 22. How do these passages relate to the present origins controversy?
8. Look at Hebrews 3:10. Where does the error of man’s life come from? How likely is man to err?
Naturally, men don’t think that they have erred. They want to call evolution (for example) hard science. However, look at James 1:26. The discussion of controlling the tongue is not our interest here, but the comment about the heart. What does James tell us it is possible to do with our own hearts?
9. Once man has been darkened, and has begun to even deceive himself, he speaks and acts what is within him. Look at Matthew 12:34. A man cannot but deceive and ignore facts outwardly if he has already done so inwardly to himself. This is the principle of human behavior (sin). Matthew 15:17-19. It can be no other way, according to Luke 6:45. What hope does Luke suggest to you?
This means that we should do more than avoid compromise with this rebellion against God. We need to be able 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 communicate 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 is 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: Bust of Lucretius.
Copyright © 1991 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastors Paul A. Bartz and Robin D. Fish. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839, Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com