A common perception is that an apologetic is a defence of a matter. We need to note three important points concerning the usage of the word in the Scriptures:
It is the whole gospel and not just part of it that we have Biblical precedent to reason and explain, does not need us to defend it, but declare it. However, we are called to give a reasoned explanation of the good news to clear away misconceptions that hinder acceptance of the gospel. This is “apologetics”.
Examining creationists’ apologetic arguments, it becomes clear that many are not seeing Creation in its proper context within the whole gospel. Many leading figures in creationism are scientists, who concentrate mainly on scientific issues. Although evolution makes the battle appear to be scientific, it is really concerns faith. In Creation matters, as with all other aspects of proclaiming the gospel, the armoury we rely on must not be fleshly, but a divine one capable of destroying every arrogant philosophy. Consider how we would proclaim THE LORD’s work in Creation, if evolution theory did not exist. Would science lead our thoughts?
Whilst the Scriptures are not scientific text books, many were written as historical documents. The Bible uniquely documents the story of the human race and the universe which we inhabit from the creation of the heavens and the earth to their destruction and beyond. The message of Creation suffers in many ways because its exponents have divorced it from the rest of Biblical history. THE LORD is not just creator - the God of the gospel is creator, sustainer, judge, redeemer and Lord!
The effect of this trend can be seen, for example, in the way Creationists view the Flood. Many want to consider the Flood, in reality a fierce outburst of divine judgement, primarily as a mechanism to explain the fossil record. This is scientific thinking. This has led to a generally very weak ‘picture’ of the Flood amongst Christians and a failure to ensure it is seen as a type of the events preceding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, (this is the only reason why the Flood is mentioned in the New Testament.)
I am not suggesting that every lecture or sermon should outline the whole gospel message, but that we should aim to keep the Biblical perspective and continuity of past, present and future history intact. Not doing so has allowed creationists with differing views about the present and future to co operate (and to co operate even with non Christians), but has prevented us from declaring the fully Biblical gospel message of God as creator, sustainer, judge, redeemer and Lord.
The Taliabo Story (New Tribes Mission) is not a ‘Creation’ video, but a missionary one. Yet, because it shows how important it is to carefully teach the history of the Old Testament, it places the events of Genesis 1-11 in their proper context. The Taliabo, an isolated Indonesian tribe needed to hear about Creation, Fall, God’s anger at sin, the Flood and Babel to understand the why their own lives felt so futile - which was why they had searched continuously for many generations for a river which would give them eternal life. On the foundation of the truth of these records the missionaries were able to teach the rest of the Old Testament and prepare the hearts and minds of the Taliabo people for the news about Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
‘Science’ has a part to play today in combating the lie of evolution, but it is not the main foundation for a reasoned account of the gospel. Biblical history, which starts with Creation and continues through to the creation of a new heavens and earth, should be the major message of the ‘Creation Debate’. Yet, addressing issues of history seems neglected amongst those who seek to promote confidence in the Biblical record.
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© Randall Hardy, 1998.
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This page updated 1 March 2000
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