A Common Thread: What Do C.S Lewis and John Calvin Have in Common?

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One may be certain that there are a myriad of things that the theological giant John Calvin had in common with C.S Lewis; the Famous British author and Christian philosopher. However, the commonality that demands attention is the fact that they start their major Christian works the same way. C.S Lewis in “Mere Christianity” begins his book with the chapter called, “The Law of Human Nature”[1] while Calvin entitles his first book, “The Knowledge of God the Creator.”[2] Even though these chapters don’t share the same title they speak of the same teaching. That is, every man has an innate knowledge that the God of the Bible exists. What did these two see in this doctrine that was so important to begin their major theological works with?

 

The answer in short is that when one has knowledge of God then that person will realize his or her own sinfulness and as a result will be zealous to find a remedy for that sin in the gospel, or that person will be confirmed in their unbelief and will incur a greater judgment. Calvin says it this way, “… no one can look upon himself without immediately turning his thoughts to the contemplation of God, in whom he ‘Lives and Moves’ (Acts 17:28)”[3] Therefore, in order to set a stage for the gospel, Lewis and Calvin seek to show men that they know God exists and that they must repent from their sin against Him.

 

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Romans 1:23

 

 


[1]  C. S, Lewis. Mere Christianity. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001) 3.

[2] Jean Calvin, and Ford Lewis. Battles. Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001) 35.

[3] Ibid

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Reasons to Believe in a Literal 6 Day Creation

In 1859, the publication of Darwin’s “The Origen of Species” introduced a new view pertaining to the age of the earth and it contradicted the traditional biblical view of a young earth. Ever since the birth of this new idea the Church has been attacked for her view on the age of the earth. In an attempt to maintain academic credibility and Christian orthodoxy, many have tried to reconcile the two contradictory views. Such views include:
1. The Gap Theory→ There is a gap of millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2
2. Theistic Evolution→ God used the method of Evolution to create the world.
3. The Framework View→ The account in Genesis one has nothing to do with time but rather topics.
4. Day Age Theory→ The individual days represent ages rather than days.

When the church adopts these views to become relevant with mainstream academia they add to the Word. Creation may seem like an innocent enough issue to do this to, however this type of adding will not stop just at creation. In other words once there is a breach in the dam the whole dam is going to burst.Therefore it is important to understand the biblical and extra biblical arguments in order to stop these attacks from spreading upon the rest of the Word.

Biblical Evidence for a Young Earth and a Six Literal 24-Hour Day Creation: Those that support a non-literal hermeneutic for Genesis 1 most often argue that there is no word in the Hebrew to express an age. As result they say that day (Yom) can refer to an age. This is the case in Ruth 1:1 that states, “Then in the days when the judges ruled…” This verse is referring to an age; a generic kind of time. However, this understanding of day should not be read into Genesis 1 for several reasons:

1. The Use of Ehad in Genesis 1:5→ Genesis 1:5 says, “There was evening and morning, day one.” The word for one is Ehad. This is significant because it is a cardinal number. Therefore evening and morning is the definition of one day. The rest of the days in Genesis are ordinal and they all point back to Genesis 1:5. This is significant because some people say that the first three days were not literal days because there was no sun. However, the grammar is clear that every day is the same as the first day.
2. The Comparison of Israel’s Work Week to the Creation Week→Exodus 20:8-11 gives the law to observe to the Sabbath day and regard it as holy. It says that the Israelites were to work for six days and then rest on the Sabbath. Then it gives the reason. God worked for six days and then rested on the Sabbath. Here Moses is drawing a parallel to the workweek of an Israelite and the creation week.
3. The Stretching Out of the Heavens: A common argument put forth against the young earth model is that the earth has to be old because of the distance between the stars and planet earth. As a result, astronomers believe that the age of the earth is around 13 billion years old. However, the Bible states that God created the heavens and stretched them out (Isaiah 42:5; 45:12; Jeremiah 10:12). This means that God created the galaxies close together but as a result of time the universe has expanded and continues to do so.
4. Jesus Believed in a Young Earth: Jesus also believed in a young earth. He said in Luke 11:50-51 that, “the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the alter and the house of God…” Here Jesus is equating the shedding of Abel’s blood with the foundation of the world. Therefore there were not millions of years that came before the account of the early human civilizations in Genesis.
5. The Genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11→ If there are gaps in the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 it doesn’t matter in calculating the amount of years in between Adam and Abram. The relationship of these genealogies doesn’t matter. What matters is the actual time given when the next generation was begotten. For example, James Johnson writes,
a. Genesis 5:3 states that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was “begotten.” How old was Adam when he begot Seth? Adam was 130. Does it matter whether Seth was Adam’s son, grandson, great-grandson, or an even later descendant? No, the answer is the same: 130. Seth’s exact relationship to Adam is irrelevant because the timeframe is measured in how many years elapsed from one event (God creating Adam) to another event (Seth being begotten)–regardless of how many generations may have occurred between Adam and Seth.
b. With these numbers we can calculate that there are about 2000 years in between Adam and Abram.

Extra-Biblical Evidence For the Young Age of the Earth:

1. Human History is too short→ Secular Geologists say that Homo sapiens came into existence about 70,000 to 50,000 years ago. However, recorded human history only dates back to about 4000 to 5000 years ago. If humans lived 70,000 years ago the amount of human memorabilia and civilizations should at least have been discovered. The significance recorded human history only dating back about 4000 to 5000 years ago is because it supports the date and event of the flood.
2. Inaccuracy of Carbon 14 Dating→ Many scientists appeal to the Radiometric dating process as being the authority for the age of the earth. Here are a few examples that weaken the reliability of the Carbon 14 dating method.
a. Live penguins from Antarctica were tested by Carbon 14 and they were dated to be 3000 years old.
b. Wood from living trees has been dated at 10,000 years of age.
c. Shells of living snails were said to be 2,300 years old by this test.
3. The Distance Between the Moon and the Earth→ There is a huge gravitational relationship between the earth and the moon. Currently the distance between the earth and the moon is increasing by four inches every year. Many scientists say that the age of the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. If we were to reverse the clock the moon would be physically connected to the earth only 1.4 billion years ago.
4. The Methuselah Tree→ Just east of the Sierra Nevada’s grows the Bristlecone Pine. This tree grows very slowly. The oldest tree, called Methuselah, is estimated to be around 4600 years old. This correlates to the date of the flood. So Methuselah would have started growing right after the flood. The reason that there are no older trees is due the flood.
5. The Current Population→ A current argument put forth to young earth creationist is, “how can there be 6.5 billion people if the earth is only 6000 years old?” Well, let’s assume that the population started with 2 people and every 150 years the population doubles. In year 4800 the population would have reached 8.6 billion people. Therefore, 6000 years is plenty of time to give us our current population.

John MacArthur once said, “If you marry the science of the age you will be a bachelor tomorrow.” It is important for Christians to understand that the ideologies of the world constantly change. However, there is one thing that will not change. The Prophet Isaiah when he comments on the permanancy of God’s word says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the LORD stands forever.” Even though a 6 day creation may not be a popular doctrine in a university biology lecture, believers must stay true to God’s word. If we give up a 6 day literal creation then we will open up the Bible for future attacks. We must believe the Bible to be true even if we can’t make perfect sense of it (Proverbs 3:5,6).

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I’ll Stop Procrastinating Tomorrow: Lessons From a Recovering Procrastinator

“Procrastination is the assassination of a worth while goal and dream.” This is a quote I have heard a million times growing up in the Smallman household. As a child, my father bears witness, I was the(par excellence) procrastinator. I can remember dad asking me questions like “Dorian, did you feed the cattle?” “Did you cut the grass?” “Did you quit smoking yet?” To which, I, all too commonly would reply, “No, but I’m gunna.”
You may be thinking to yourself, “Dorian, why are you telling me about your childhood and your father’s appreciation for the pedagogical method of repetition? Do you want me to psycho-analyze you?” No! That would be extremely awkward and would cause embarrassment and discomfort. On the contrary, the purpose of me telling you about my early life is so that I can supply you with a legitimate excuse for me not blogging.
Tonight, as I was unwinding and relaxing from a ridiculously easy day at work, I thought to myself, “I should be blogging”. So, I checked my blog and seen that Peter put the first post up on April 15th; over three months ago! Can you imagine if this was a paper for college? The only professor that would accept this would be Dr. Susuki!
Well, now that I have admitted to my tendency to procrastinate, I hope that this post is a step in the right direction to recovery. I have a goal to become a better writer and I do not wish to assassinate it…dad!

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The Start of a New Blog

The Berean Battalion is a new blog which is basically an outlet for those of us who are so inclined to talk through specific issues which deal with the Bible and culture.

The contributors will be Josh Feinberg, Dorian Smallman, and myself.

There will be a variety of formats for postings. Some posts will be straight forward, others will be more of a discussion format of critiques. The end goal is really to learn how to write better and be able to think more critically.

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