If the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do? – Psalm 11:3
Beginnings matter. You only have one opportunity to make a good impression. Everyone must start somewhere. This is especially true when it comes to the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God”. John Gerstner has said, “The first four words of Genesis are sufficient proof of the Bible’s inspiration.” Why does Gerstner say that? First, the Hebrew word for God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim. That is a plural noun and is an early indication of the doctrine of the Trinity. God is One essence and three Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Man did not come up with that, so right away we observe that man is dependent on divine revelation for his knowledge of who God is. Second, the words “In the beginning God” are authoritative. The Bible is God’s Word, and as such, it does not appeal to any outside authority. To do so would undermine the authority the Bible intrinsically has.
The Bible is the authority, the ONLY AUTHORITY. The Reformers called this Sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone. This is certainly being challenged in our day. We live in a secular age. Charles Taylor, a man who wrote about secularism, described a social phenomenon that is prevalent in our times. He called the phenomenon the Social Imaginary. During the 19th Century there was a rise in so called sciences which claimed to be able to offer other explanations for all that exists without appealing to the authority of the Bible. With the passage of time the evidence to support these so called sciences has been found to be lacking, but the Social Imaginary remains. Sinful man imagines other explanations for the existence of everything must be out there somewhere. The reality is they don’t. God is the reality, and sinful man has an appointment with God that he must keep. God and His Word are the only Authority.
As I said, the so called sciences wielded a powerful influence in the 19th Century. No less a theologian than B.B. Warfield in 1888 said this; “I do not think that there is any general statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Gen. 1 & 2 or elsewhere alluded to, that need to be opposed to evolution.” Such statements come from taking man’s fallible word and granting them authority with God’s infallible Word. That’s no small error.
Warfield was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary with tremendous influence. The results of compromising Gods Word were devastating, especially devastating on the next generation. One such student was a man named Dan Barker. He ended up writing a book titled Losing Faith in Faith. In that book he said, “I used to believe that Adam and Eve were literal….But I got to thinking that there are parts of the Bible that are obviously Metaphorical…The Garden of Eden could have been a Hebrew ‘parable’ to explain God’s involvement with the human race regarding origins, good and evil….My first tiny step away from fundamentalism was…to realize that it shouldn’t matter to me whether other Christians held it historically…Sounds silly, but that was a big step in the direction of tolerance….After a couple of years I migrated further into a more moderate position….but discarded many lesser doctrines as either nonessential or untrue…The line that I was drawing….kept rising until it popped right off the top of the list! To my list of religious metaphors, which included the Prodigal Son and Adam and Eve, I now added God. That made perfect sense.”
How does a person get to the point where he views God as a mere metaphor? That persons foundations have been destroyed, that’s how. Genesis 1 is critical for our stability. Most of us have played the game Jenga. That’s the game where you stack up blocks and attempt to remove them one at a time without destroying the tower. What happens when you remove a foundational block? The entire tower comes crashing down like a house of cards.
Indeed, beginnings matter. September brings with it many new beginnings. It’s the beginning of a new school year, Adventure Club, and our Dig Deep classes. May you find rich opportunities to discover God’s Word. It is, always has been, and always will be the authority, the only authority. Sola Scriptura!