According to Pattern

“According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all the furnishings, just so you shall make it,” Exodus 25:9 (NKJV).

The tabernacle wasn’t a ramshackle affair.  It wasn’t something made up as they went along, but every part of it, down to the clasps which held the sides to the frame, was set forth and described.  There were no revisions, no “TabernaclePlan.02”  It was complete as it came from the mind of God to the hand of Moses.

That’s equally true of everything in creation.  Many may believe that this world came into being as the result of a chance event, but someone has calculated the odds of such a thing happening as 1 in 40 to the tenth power, or as 1 followed by 40 zeroes.  That is a lot of zeroes: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.  We probably don’t even have a name for such a number.  It seems to me that it’s a lot easier to believe Genesis 1-3 than it is to believe in such a throwing of the dice, as it were.  Of course, that does get rid of God and any obligation mankind might have to obey Him.  We think we’re so smart, but all things considered in perspective, an amoeba may be smarter than us.

The truth is, God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, or order, cf. 1 Corinthians 14:33.  While Paul wrote primarily to correct some serious problems in the Corinthian church, what he wrote is applicable in a lot of places.  No matter where one looks, whether through a microscope or a telescope, he sees order and design.  Even in the so-called random movement of atoms, there is a discernible pattern.

This is true also of life.  He has not left us on our own, as it were, but has given us instructions about pretty much every area of life.  Whether individually, in our church, in our family, our neighborhood, our city, our country or our nation, there are principles and practices either commanded or forbidden, the doing of which in either case will have discernible results.  We do reap what we sow.

55 years ago, a woman decided we should ignore what God says, so she went to court.  We see the results around us today.  True, she wasn’t the first publicly to oppose God, but she was the most outspoken and successful.  I’m old enough to remember “back then,” what it was like before Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her atheism permeated society.  People left their front doors unlocked.  Cars were left unlocked – we can see this in the old TV programs.  Women could walk down the street at night without worrying about it.  I’ve mentioned this several times before, but the high school I attended was in a “tough” neighborhood.  I hate to think what it’s like today, 59 years after I graduated.  This “tough” school had a rifle range in the basement, with rifles and live ammunition.  I qualified as a marksman on that range.  People today get all upset at the very ideas of “guns” at all, let alone around or in schools, but there was never any problem at that school.  Young men carried rifles in a rack in the back window of their pickup trucks.  No one thought anything about it.  Was there crime?  To be sure.  But nothing at all compared to today.

But now….

To paraphrase Hosea 8:7, “We have sowed the wind and have reaped the whirlwind.”  Or, in the immortal words of Pogo, for you “old-timers:”  “We have found the enemy and they is us.”  I don’t mean to minimize the problem or make fun of it, or to imply that Walt Kelly, the author of Pogo, would agree with my views.  He probably wouldn’t.  But he was right in this case, whether he meant it as I take it or not.

“We” are the enemy.  Having decided that we’re too sophisticated for those old-fashioned “Puritan” ideas, we’ve thrown them all out in the name of “freedom.”

Having rejected “order,” we have opened the door to “confusion”.

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March Memories: Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3.

[As we continue our “March Memories,” we think it’s good to back to the beginning – of everything.  On every side, atheistic science and materialism tell us that there is no God, and there is nothing that we can’t figure out in a laboratory or raise in a petri dish.  I just watched a TV show that asserted that Noah could never have built the Ark the Bible describes because he didn’t have the technology to build such a craft.  We still haven’t figured out for sure how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but we know for sure that Noah couldn’t have built the Ark!  There’s lots of stuff “back there” that we haven’t figured out how they did it, or even in some cases what it is, but they still did it!]

As we come to the book of Genesis, we find that it tells us where everything came from, not from some random cosmic explosion, but from the power and wisdom of God.  So Genesis is the real Origin of Species, long before, and in opposition to, Darwin.  It tells how the earth came to be, and where man came from.  It accounts for the entrance of sin into the world, revealing that man is a moral being, different from all other earthly creatures, in contrast to evolution, which tells us that he’s just a highly-developed version of them.  It accounts for the nation of Israel, as well as for the origin and distribution of many of the other nations of the world.

Genesis is also the “foundational” book of the Bible.  It tells of sin and redemption, and forms the basis for most of the rest, if not all, that the Bible says on these subjects.  Its first redemptive promise contains in a verse (Genesis 3:15) the whole of prophecy given in the rest of the Bible.

Here are some ways Genesis might be outlined:

1.  The Beginning of Human History, chs. 1-11.
2.  The Beginning of Hebrew History, chs. 12-50.

or –

1.  The Beginning of Man’s Residence on the Earth, chs. 1, 2.
2.  The Beginning of Man’s Rebellion on the Earth, chs. 3-11.
3.  The Beginning of Man’s Redemption on the Earth, chs. 12-50.

or the more familiar –

1.  Creation, chs. 1, 2:  Preparation for Man.
2.  The Fall, chs. chs. 3-5:  Presumption of Man.
3.  The Flood, chs. 6-9:  Punishment of Man.
4.  The Tower of Babel, chs. 10, 11:  Perversity of Man.
5.  The Patriarchs, chs. 12-50:  Preference Among Men.

As we look more closely at the opening of Genesis through this outline, we see:

Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.

A.  It opposes many errors, among them:

1.  Atheism.  “In the beginning, God…,” Genesis 1:1.  NOTE:  the Bible was written to people who already believed in God, and, in many cases, who had had personal dealings with Him.  The Bible never attempts to “prove” the existence of God, though His creation (“nature”) has many proofs for those who will see them, Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20.

2.  Pantheism.  That is, God is everything, and everything is God.  There is a modern version of this called “panentheism,” which, while maintaining that God is everything, also maintains that He is greater that everything.  Creation is “contained” within Him.  Scripture shows that God is indeed the Supreme Creator and Sustainer of everything, but also that He is distinct from everything.  He IS everyWHERE; He IS NOT everyTHING!

3.  Materialism.  That is, “matter” is eternal and, as such, has always existed.  This begs the question, “Where did matter come from in the first place?”

4.  That everything came unintentionally and spontaneously into existence, i.e., “The Big Bang.”

B.  Genesis reveals the origin of the universe and of the earth.  It doesn’t particularly tell us “how” or “why.”  Theistic evolution, in a sincere but misguided attempt to align Scripture with atheistic science, doesn’t see what the Bible says about origins.  I have no difficulty with the idea that the earth is more than 6,000 years old; I just have trouble with the idea, as we’ll see in a moment, that it’s billions of years old.

Herbert Spencer, an eminent scientist who died in 1903, taught that everything exists in one of five categories:  time, force, action, space or matter.  Moses already knew that, millennia earlier.

1.  time – “In the beginning”
2.  force – “God”
3.  action – “created”
4.  space – “the heavens”
5.  matter – “and the earth.”

C.  Genesis has many features which don’t agree with evolution.  Among them are:

1.  It has an intelligent Creator, not a mindless cosmic catastrophe, followed by aimless and random development.

2.  The earth was created before the stars!  They were made on the fourth day, when the earth already existed.

3.  Plants were created on the third day, before the Sun, which was created with the other stars on the fourth day.  If the “days” are geologic ages, as evolution claims, then how did vegetation survive without the Sun to nourish it?

4.  On the first day, God created “light” as something distinct from Himself, Who is light, 1 John 1:5.  On the fourth day, creating the Sun, He created “time.”  Our concept of time would have relevance nowhere else in the universe.

5.  Each kind of animal was created fully developed.  It had no need for further “development,” apart from adaptation to climate or environmental changes.  There are many instance of such development within species; there is no evidence for development between species.

6.  Each creature was made with the ability to reproduce according to its kind, 1:11, 21, 24, not mutate into another, entirely different, kind.

7.  Sea creatures were created on the same day as birds.  Birds did not evolve eons later from the dinosaurs.

8.  In a separate act, man was created from the dust of the ground, 2:8.  He did not “evolve” from “lower” animals, nor did God simply choose one or two from a number of already existing hominids with which to form a special relationship.

The Fall, chs. 3-5:  Presumption of Man.

1.  Note that man fell because of a discussion over whether the Word of God was to be accepted “literally” or not.  That discussion is alive and well today.

2.  Note that man fell because he decided to replace God as the moral authority as to what was “good” or “evil.”  The essence of sin is the disagreement with God over jurisdiction:  who decides “good” or “evil”?

3.  Because of his sin, man fled from God.  Left to ourselves, we’re still fleeing.  This doesn’t mean that men and women can’t be “religious;” witness the number of religions in the world, but how many of them, even those who claim to believe the Bible, actually follow the Bible, or believe it’s authoritative?  How many people even read the Bible and have any real idea about what it says?

God must seek us, if we are to “find” Him, Isaiah 65:1.

4.  Man was taught that, because of his sin, the only way he could continue to live physically was through the substitution and death of an innocent sacrifice.  All religion revolves around this central issue:  how may a man or woman live before God, regardless of how “live” is defined, or whomever or whatever God is said to be.

5.  Because of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, God’s justice bars the way to the tree of life, Genesis 3:24.  All religion seeks to answer the question asked very early in Biblical history, “How can man be righteous before God?”  “…Or how can he be pure who is born of woman?”  Job 9:2; 25:4.

To put it another way, how can I satisfy God’s justice and the holiness His word and nature require?  How can I escape the penalty for the disobedience I’m guilty of?  It is only Biblical Christianity (for there is a great deal in “Christianity” that is not Biblical) that proclaims the answer foreshadowed by the slain animals and coats of skin.  The only way God’s justice has ever been or ever will be satisfied is through the sinless life and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His death He paid forever the penalty demanded by a broken Law, and by His sinless life He obtained that righteousness imputed to believing sinners, by which and only by which they and we will ever be able to stand before God uncondemned.

Friends, if we have committed even one sin, and who among us wouldn’t have to admit to that, we are lost and undone without the Lord Jesus.  O blessed life, that did what we could not, and blessed death, that did what we dare not!
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(originally published, April 9, 2013) edited and new material.