Friday, May 15, 2015

Six Literal Days of Creation Demonstrate Salvation By Grace!

Exo 20:8  "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo 20:9  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work…Exo 20:11  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy

Okay, I know that is a strange title but let me explain.  As I am starting to preach through the book of Genesis, I spent a few weeks dealing with Scriptures that in one way or the other cannot be understood if evolution is true.  Along with that we have looked at some that are compromised if we try to make the six days of creation anything other than 24 hour periods.  The text above is one of those examples. 

For instance, it is undeniable that the Lord is establishing a 7 day week for Israel under the Old Covenant.  He uses the creation week as the blueprint for their six day work week where God rested or took a Sabbath after “working” for six days.  There is no way you can make “days” in verse 11 mean eons without suggesting that the Lord is completely misrepresenting the creation week to the Jews.  If they are six eons then this comparison makes no sense and there is nothing in the text that suggests that the days of one week are different than the days of the other. 

Besides this I think there is another reason why we have to understand that the Lord is referring to the creation week as six 24 hour periods in the Exodus text.  The subject here is not so much the 7 day week but the Sabbath and the reason for its observance.  The Lord rested on the seventh day because there was nothing left to create.  He had declared that every aspect of creation was good.  There was nothing left to perfect because it was just as God wanted it from the beginning.

Creation is not continuing to evolve because the Lord did it right from the beginning and he commanded all life to reproduce after its kind.  He established that no species can evolve into something else.  The Sabbath rest of God on day seven did two things; it declared that there was nothing left to be created or changed with creation and it pointed to the future fulfillment of the true rest of God.  This future rest in turn proves that the first creation was done immediately and not through gradual progression.  Let me try to prove this.

We find the writer of Hebrews bringing all this together especially in chapter 4.  He is warning those Jews who were being tempted to add the works of the Law to faith in the finished work of Christ.  As Paul does in Galatians, he says that if you do this you pervert the gospel and cannot be saved.  He points back to those Jews who died in the wilderness and did not enter the Promised Land or the “rest” because they did not have faith, Heb 3:17  And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
Heb 3:18  And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? Heb 3:19  So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.  Rest is a good illustration of salvation because God has done a work in the cross that fully accomplished our salvation and through faith we can rest in Christ and stop trying to work our way to heaven which is impossible.

In chapter 4 he brings in the creation rest as an even better example of entering into God’s rest or salvation,  Heb 4:3  For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. Heb 4:4  For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works."  And here we see him making the point I made earlier that God resting on the creation Sabbath was to show that creation was done once for all and there was nothing left that needed to be finished, although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.  And then in vs. 10 we see it again, Heb 4:10  for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

And so my point in all this is not to show salvation through faith alone apart from works.  I imagine anyone reading this blog already understands that.  It is to show that if you buy into God creating the universe over time by a process you are undermining salvation by the finished work of Christ alone!  Christ didn’t begin the process of salvation on the cross and there are any number of steps after this that are necessary for our justification.  When he said, “It is finished” on the cross as he died it was an echo from the creation week when he said it the first time.  There is nothing left to be done!

I would say that if the creation week was a matter of age long time periods, that would fit better into Roman Catholic’s theology.  They believe the cross was only the beginning of our salvation but there are many other things we must add to it in order to be finally saved.  We might say they believe salvation is a process or something that must “evolve” before it is finished.

If our salvation rests fully on the finished work of Christ then creation took place in one week and then it stopped; it was never a process.

Jer 32:17  'Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. 



20 comments:

  1. No comments yet?

    Well, I'll go first.

    I am with you totally on evolution not being true. Species don't change into other species. Monkeys don't gradually turn into men. Spontaneous generation didn't occur to get the whole thing started. All animal's body systems didn't occur thru mutations gradually because mutations are bad and systems--digestive, neural, reproductive, etc.--cannot come about gradually.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that the earth was made in 6 literal days. It means that evolution is a bunch of crock. Lots of good Christians believe the earth is old and still laugh at the ridiculousness of evolution.

    As I've worked thru the creation issues, a key distinction that I find that some people do not make is this: Some Christians say that if the creation account in Genesis is not to be taken literally, then Genesis is untrue. That is wrong. Genesis can be expressing truth in a non-literal way, without it being a bunch of hooey.

    Let me put it this way:

    Literal does not equal true.
    Non-literal does not equal false.

    Literal = Literal
    Non-literal = non literal

    That is the distinction that some folks have a hard time making.

    Kenny B

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  2. While I will agree with your general statements about literal and nonliteral, we have nothing in the text to suggests it means anything other than what it says. There is no reason to believe in an "old aged earth" other than we have bought into unproven "scientific" theories. The only reason for there to be a universe that is billions of years old is to support evolution. Why other purpose would it serve?

    Thanks,
    Nathan

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    1. I find the evidence for the earth being old quite compelling. While I find the evidence for evolution to be lunacy.

      Before Copernicus, people of the world and indeed the church, were quite sure that the earth did not rotate (it sure doesn't feel like it to us!) and used some scriptures about the earth being unmovable as part of their support. After Copernicus, those same verses were re-interpretted to be non-scientific statements.

      I see an analogy here. Six literal days may be needto be re-interpretted as non-scientific statements, without losing the bigger thoughts of God creating, and God creating something out of nothing, man being special/different from the animals, man being made in the image of God.

      We just may have to not take the Bible as scientific statements. It surely wasn't written in that vein. It was written for purposes other than nitty-gritty scientific facts.

      Kenny B

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  3. It is no more compelling than assuming Adam was years old 2 minutes after he was formed out of the dust. Genesis takes care to give the order of the days and what happened in each day. The environment cannot exist unless everything is working at one time. Plants can't live for eons without insects, etc. We end up having to admit that there is nothing in Genesis 1 after verse 1 that is reliable and useful but we would never allow someone to do this with the rest of the Bible.

    Paul says in 2 Cor. 4 that what Genesis said happened on day one was literal so why would we assume that everything after verse 3 is not literal?

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    1. I looked up 2 Cor. 4:6. Sure enough, Paul quotes Gen 1:3. I'm not convinced that when Paul (& Jesus & maybe others) quote Genesis that that necessarily means that Genesis is literal at the point of quote.

      Four big ideas, apart from the down-in-the-trenches details:

      1) I've come to learn, mainly thru Mark Lanier's lectures on Genesis, that a great way to view Genesis is in comparison to other contemporary creation accounts of that era. Genesis blows the others out of the water! The others are so goofy with gods having wars and getting humans to help them out and yada yada yada. Genesis is clearly the one that has the correct views about God and man.

      2) To impose on Genesis a perfect scientific account of creation is not something the writer was trying to accomplish.

      3) One of the beauties of Genesis for me is that a) it "worked" for centuries when viewed literally till science/astronomy postulated a very old earth, and b) it still "works" today when viewed non-literally. In other words it works great thru all periods of time.

      4) For me, Genesis is not the hill to die on. My two favorite generals are George Washington and Sam Houston. Both retreated and retreated till the time was right to turn around and attack. Sam Houston retreated dern near all the way across Texas. Mark Lanier tells the most enlightening story of a gathering of about 6 agostic/aetheistic lawyers where they challenged him to make his case for his faith. Masterfully, every time they trie to draw the conversation into creation issues, he (the artful-dodger) refused to be drawn into those debates, but took the discussion down other more fruitful lines. So the literal-ness of Genesis, for me, is not the hill to die on. It is a hill to retreat from.

      Like a big glob of Christians, I view the earth as old, but do not fall for the stupidity of evolution. Genesis has got it all right. Really, really right! Just not literal.

      Kenny B

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    2. I guess we will just have to disagree on that one. I am curious though as to how Genesis 1 works with age long "days"? I have given in my reply an example of how age long "days" undermine Genesis 1 but you haven't given any example of how the Genesis account can work with age long "days".

      Genesis 1 might not be a hill to die on but I believe we undermine the rest of the Bible to the lost when we interpret it differently than we do the rest of the Bible.

      thanks

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  4. Not sure when you go non-literal that age-long days even makes sense or is an appropriate thought.

    Before ever running into people that don't take early Genesis literally, it always appeared to me literarily that Genesis didn't sound like "history" till you hit Abraham. Then, it certainly sounds historical.

    So this is literary evalution kinda before you dig into the details. Early Genesis doesn't sound historical, so it probably isn't historical. Clearly everything in the NT is historical. The only other passage in the OT that doesn't sound historical are--hold your hat--Job.

    None of the Bible sounds scientific, showing us how the world works. It is about theology and God revealing himself to us, not about how things in the world fit together.

    So there probably should be some sort of literary evaluation of the Bible before digging in. Actually the NT has one book that you gotta make an evaluation first--Revelation. If you put Revelation into a literary category of apocalyptic symbolic writing, then it too becomes non-literal and all the requisite questions of how it works from a literal viewpoint all of a sudden don't even make sense as questions.

    I think that is how your age-day question appears to me, a question that doesn't make sense to ask under the assumption of non-literal.

    Kenny B

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  5. Wow, you realize that all that is pretty much out of step with the majority of sound evangelicals, right? So are you saying that the Genesis flood isn't to be understood historically?

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    1. Well, I might quibble with the adjective "sound", replacing it maybe with "a lot of". Hopefully, folks like me are "sound" enough.

      The flood would be understood to be an historical event, but probably not worldwide, but a really big, big, big flood that did indeed happen that covered most all of that part of the world--the known world at that time.

      The creation and the flood are two biggie issues in Genesis 1-11, but by no means all the issues created by going non-literal. Another one is the ages of all the old guys mentioned. Those are not taken literally, but symbolically because the folks back then were not numbers oriented like we are today. Indeed they tended to use numbers symbolically. What those numbers perhaps symbolized however, no one knows.

      Again, this way of interpreting early Genesis has to do with understanding the people of that era and the literature of that era. We probably shouldn't make early Genesis fit our modern desires for accurate/scientific/perfectly historical/never symbolic view when the writer didn't even have a frame of reference like that.

      Kenny B

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    2. Interesting debate-here are a few things I thought of:
      Proofs of Job being a real person-
      Other scripture bears witness to him:
      Eze_14:14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.
      Eze_14:20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.
      NOTE:When used, “declares the Lord GOD” is one of strongest statements scripture puts forth whenever you see it used to seal the truth of what came before it...in this case, Noah, Daniel and Job being real people who existed in real time and real history. God bearing witness through Ezekiel that that is the case.
      Jas_5:11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
      Proofs of Noah being a real person-
      Other scripture bears witness to him:
      Isa_54:9 "This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.
      Eze_14:14 even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.
      Eze_14:20 even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.
      Mat_24:37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.(Jesus Himself said this)
      Mat_24:38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,(Jesus Himself said this)
      Luk_3:36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
      Luk_17:26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.(Jesus Himself said this)
      Luk_17:27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.(Jesus Himself said this. Note that He also said the flood killed all who were not in the ark,
      Heb_11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
      1Pe_3:20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
      2Pe_2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
      Finally,is genealogy considered “history” or “historical”?. I used to think so(I actually still believe that).
      Using the given that genealogy is indeed 'history', then Luke's record that Jesus' legal line went back to Adam who's line produced Noah (of flood and saving ark fame)shoots down any argument to the contrary.If this doesn't soundly declare that Genesis 1 thru 10 is historical then I don't understand the definition of the term “history”.
      Also, the flood had to be world wide in that all humankind died save those who were in the ark-the idea of a “localized flood” is naive at best and a preposterous bit of biblical revisionism at worst.

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    1. Wow. That is an impressive list of references to both Job & Noah.

      I understand that my understanding of Job is a bit unorthodox and off the beaten trail. Even my wife hates it.

      It might surprise you that I agree with your first sentence. I too think Job was a real person. But let me try to make an important distinction.

      In my "off the beaten trail" view, JOB was indeed an historical man--a man who at that time suffered sudden great loss and then restoration. But the BOOK OF JOB is not a 100% purely historical book about his life. It simply doesn't read that way. It reads as a didactic/teaching book giving us a great understanding about the issue of human suffering. Chapters 1 & 2 simply do not read like history. They read as a set up for the teaching that follows. So, for me, Job is an historical figure--a real person--used by the writer of the book of Job, a book written to make some great theological points, but not to be "pure" history.

      This means that we probably both glean the same important teachings from the book of Job.

      But also, I personally find, that when folks take Job literally, that that first chapter quite frequently leads them to some really iffy doctrines about Satan and what he can and cannot do and how God operates with Satan. To me, that is the big risk about taking Job literally--some iffy, perhaps even wrong, doctrines about Satan & God.

      Ditto for Noah. Briefly: Historical guy. Real person. Humongous flood. But not worldwide. And not a purely historical write-up in Genesis.

      Perhaps that makes me "naive at best", but cylcing back to the first post, a literal Genesis is not the hill that I wanna die on. Jesus' teaching never hinged on a literal early Genesis, or a literal Job. The gospel of the cross doesn't hinge on a literal early Genesis or a literal Job.

      With the world, we oughta fight the gospel fight around the issues of sin and redemption and not be suckered into unwinnable squabbles over early Genesis. I say concede a literal Genesis belief to the lost and go for the bigger stuff.

      Kenny B

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    2. Hi Kenny,
      What biblical proof(other verses or books of the bible)do you have to support your belief that the Genesis account of the flood did not refer to a world wide event? If you can produce any, please support your case by doing so.But if you can't produce any, then you are making an assertion and the bible strongly warns us not to do that. Because one cannot see how something could happen the way the bible describes it does not mean it couldn't or didn't happen that way.
      It seems to me like you have a low view of scripture. We can't treat the bible like a dining room smörgåsbord taking some of these verses we like and throwing out others we don't like. The following verses help explain why:
      Proverbs 30:
      5Every word of God proves true;
      he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
      6Do not add to his words,
      lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
      2 Timothy 3:
      16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
      Luke 24:
      26 ”And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he(Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. “
      2 Peter 3:
      15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
      And could you also explain what you mean by “iffy doctrines about Satan and what he can and cannot do and how God operates with Satan.” Do you think the account in Job is not accurate about God controlling what Satan was allowed to do to Job?

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  7. I fully realize that there are Christians who do not believe in a six day creation. Tim Keller refers to himself as an evolutionist, which I find disturbing, but I have benefited from him. While I strongly disagree with him and you on these issues I agree in part that it is not about the gospel. But I disagree in thinking that these things don't matter and aren't worth defending and taking a stand on. I think we undermine all of the Bible by teaching theistic evolution and old earth creationism; but we aren't going to solve anything on this blog either.

    I would suggest, though, that old earth only makes sense in an evolutionary framework. I think if you would ask any atheistic evolutionist what would be the point of an old universe if God created everything and he would say there is no reason for it. Billions and millions of years only have meaning if time is needed for evolving of life. So my stance is what is the purpose of a Christian holding on to old earth? Will we not admit that God didn't need time to create? I have been clear that the appearance of age doesn't prove age.

    thanks for the dialogue,
    Nathan

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    1. You are right, this won't be solved by us on this blog, but I like and appreciate the dialogue. As you know from the very first post, I'm not an evolutionist or even a theistic evolutionist. I think evolution is laughable. But I do think the earth is quite old.

      I can't get a grip on your idea that "billions of years only have meaning if time is needed for evolving of life". I just don't get it. Billions of years have to have some meaning?! Does it? And the only possible meaning is time for evolution?

      Of course, Steve is right. I have no other bible verses in support of these ideas which he rightly describes as assertions. They are assertions without Biblical support. But that doesn't mean I'm "throwing out verses I don't like." I like them. It just means I'm not interpreting some verses literally. They are truth. They just aren't literal.

      Kenny B

      My Ryrie study Bible says "the book fo Job gives imporant insights into the work of Satan". To me the the dialogue between Satan and God just doesn't sound legit. Difficult to pinpoint. But maybe--Why is God getting some measure of approbation from a man like Job's faithfulness? or Why are God and Satan having a tiff over Job's faithfulness? Again, its difficult to pin down. But I think I would rather view those couple of chapters as the set up for the long discussion about the meaning of suffering rather than some writer saw that dialogue occur in heaven or just had his pen write true history that he didn't see. Plus 1:13-19 seems to be written in a parable-like way with the events and the refrain "I alone have escaped to tell you." It just doesn't sound historical. It sounds story-like.

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    2. I have this week off and on my to-do list has been to listen to your Genesis sermons. Just listened to the first one. Loved it! You seriously took evolution to the woodshed and utterly destroyed it.

      Favorite line: "you won't answer to someday to science".

      I didn't know there were that many reasons that evolution can't be true.

      Kenny B

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    3. OK

      I'm now up to snuff and caught up on all your Genesis sermons.

      You gave lots more good reasons why evolution is crock--many more Biblical reasons than I ever imagined.

      If I'm ever up your way, I'm dropping in to visit. Would love to actually see and meet you and your folks. I hear the kids a little. And occasionally someone speaks out.

      I've listened to maybe 10-15 of your sermons now. You are in my top 5 of preachers to listen/watch. Preachers in Hunstville (TX), Texarkana (TX) League City (TX) and Cypress (TX) and Hornell (NY).

      And I do refer to all ya'll preachers in my Sunday School lessons and borrow ya'lls ideas and understandings and stories. Indeed, I just referred to you a couple of weeks and what you taught me as to the underlying Greek on two words in I Cor 6:9 as I did a lesson on homosexuality. I mentioned you--not by name, just as this preacher in upstate NY that I listen to a lot and blog with some--as a second confirming source of the meanings of those two Greek words there. Our pastor did a sermon on the same subject the same Sunday. Mostly because of the upcoming Supreme Court Ruling.

      My main source of info and inspiration for doing said lesson was a micro-book by Sam Allberry with the provocative little "Is God Anti-Gay?". He came over from Britian and spoke at The Village Church in the Dallas area on April 15th, which I caught on-line thru an unbelievable chain of events.

      Kenny B

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    4. Hi Kenny,
      You said “But I do think the earth is quite old.”
      So do I. Does a 6 billion year old universe look older than a 6000 year old universe or vice-versa? How could one tell?
      Regarding time:Time means nothing to God because He is outside of time-He is eternal. “...with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. “ Not so with humans. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” We are bound and limited by time-God is not.
      Adam was created as an adult. When he was one day old, he looked nothing like a one day old baby. You could say he had the appearance of age. Based upon the text of Gen 1 and 2, Adam was created on day 6. The heavens and the earth were no more than 6 days old either. Adam looked older than one day old but was fully adult. How old would the heavens and the earth look at that time? Could God actually create all this in 24 hour days or would He be limited in what He could do?
      26The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”
      Rom.4 “...God ...gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
      And which is harder for God to do, for Him to say “Let there be”... and it happens or “Lazarus, come forth! And he who had died came out...”? Why have you determined that one event is literal and one isn't? What proof makes or breaks your case of either?
      Peter said in 2 Pet.3 that the heavens and the earth were changed after the flood. Scoffers said things have never changed since God created the heavens and the earth. Peter said the scoffers were deliberate in their error regarding this. Jesus said to judge with right judgment, not by appearances. Why limit God because science demands or dictates what is possible or impossible?

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  8. Thanks Kenny,

    I am not sure about you if I am in your top 5 but I am glad to be able to minister to you. It would be great to see you. Do you get up this way much? Ha.

    I would be careful of dismissing any passage because it doesn't sound right. This is how liberalism treats any passage it doesn't like. I am not calling you liberal but I see such an approach as potentially dangerous. It seems to me that your position basically says Gen. 1 and Job 1 aren't important, just what follows. I would say there are reasons God gave them to us and we have to figure out why.

    As to Job 1 we need to remember that Satan is the great Accuser. Instead of dismissing that account as something that didn't really happen and merely setting up the book of Job, I think there are good reasons to see it as something that did happen from time to time just as the book tells us.

    Before the cross, Satan was accusing God of not dealing justly with sinners; why were they allowed to live and even in some cases be blessed as Job was. Jesus said in Luk 10:18 And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
    I believe he was referring to what was about to happen to Satan when he did his work on the cross and was raised again for our justification. Satan no longer can accuse God of not being just nor can he accuse us of sin because Christ has paid the price for sin. God no longer appears to be letting sin go unpunished.

    This is confirmed in Rev. 12 where Satan is cast out of Heaven because there is no longer place for him in Heaven because there is nothing to accuse us of like he was doing with Job. Read Rev. 12 carefully, especially vs. 10, Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

    Notice how his name as Accuser is used as the reason he is cast out. It states clearly that Satan has been continually accusing us up to that point. This is why instead of dismissing Job 1, I see it in perfect harmony with Scripture and I would obviously say the same thing about Gen. 1.

    Hope this is helpful,

    Nathan

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    1. I've been to NY once. Drove the family van thru NYC in 2006. Then up thru your section of NY, and then over to Niagra Falls.

      Chances are small I'll ever be up that away again.

      I just visit your church in my imagination.

      BTW, what is the DVD you keep mentioning? A Strobel DVD?

      Kenny B

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