The Entrance of Thy Words Giveth Light (Psalm 119:130)
Biblical Research Monthly — by Dr. David L. Cooper
The Bible is the inspired Book of God, written by fifty or more authors who were given their messages directly from God. It is inerrant and infallible. This becomes immediately evident to the one who recognizes that it was written over a period of something like four thousand years, in at least three different languages, by fifty or more authors, who lived under various circumstances and conditions and whose outlook upon life was entirely different. Amid all of this great diversity there is absolute and perfect unity and harmony. One cannot gather the works of fifty different men written over a like period of time and find such harmony. In fact, there would be contradictions from beginning to end. What one affirmed, the other would deny. The fact that the Bible is unique in this particular stamps it as of divine origin.
No word from God is without power (Luke 1:37). God watches over his word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:11,12). The Bible can accomplish that for which it was sent, because it is backed up by all the power of an omnipotent God. But in this brief message I call attention to the fact that it gives light on seven of the most important questions that engage the interest of man. It must not be assumed, however, that these are all inclusive and that there are no other things with which it does not deal or treat.
I. Upon the Riddle of the Universe
Philosophers have sought from time immemorial an answer to the question of: what is the foundation of the material universe? Does it consist of matter only, or are there mind and matter? If so, which has priority in existence? What is the relationship between mind and matter? If mind preceded matter, when did matter arise? What is the cause of the variations that we see in the universe and what is the foundation of the unity and order observed? These and a thousand other questions are raised, all of which the Bible answers most clearly and positively.
Eternity divides into three sections: the period called “In the Beginning,” “Time,” and “The Ages of the Ages.” A helpful translation of Psalm 90:2 is, “Before the mountains were formed, or ever thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from age to age, thou [art] God” (literal translation). This verse affirms that God existed prior to the material universe and that there were ages upon ages in that eternity before the creation of the world.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Scriptures do not tell us how long He was in accomplishing this task, nor do they reveal to us what method or means He employed. Should science be able to tell us positively that great geological epochs of time were consumed in the creation of the world, I would not have to surrender my faith in the Scriptures.
When the Lord created the heavens and the earth, they were perfect. There was a catastrophe according to Genesis 1:2, which wrecked the material universe. There were six days of reconstruction mentioned in Genesis 1, during which God was repairing the damage wrought. These were literal days.
Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 we find a great epoch, about which the scientists speak so very often. This period is called in the New Testament Scriptures (R.V.) “times eternal.” All fossil remains of a prior civilization come from this period of time.
On the sixth day of this reconstruction period God created man in His own image and gave him authority over the earth. Finally, being seduced by Satan he fell and lost his high estate and privileges. He was then banished from the presence of God. There are eight ages of historic times. The first was that of Innocency when man was in the Garden of Eden; the second, Conscience from the expulsion from Eden to the Flood; Civil Government from the Flood to the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12; Age of Promise from the call of Abraham to the Exodus; Law from Sinai to the Cross; Grace from the Cross to the beginning of the Tribulation or the rapture; from the rapture to the revelation is the Tribulation Period consisting of seven years; and the period from the revelation of the Lord Jesus, His second coming, to the end of the great millennial reign of our Lord, during which Satan will be bound, is the Kingdom Age. Following this glorious era there will be a short period during which Satan will be unloosed. Then he will start a rebellion against God, at which time the heavens and earth that now are will be destroyed and the judgment of the great white throne set. Following this event Eternity of the future begins.
Thus, the whole history of this earth is set forth in the Word. One cannot understand the world in which he lives unless he understands it from the standpoint of the Scriptures. Thus the Scriptures give “the where and the whence” of all things.
II. Upon the Beginning of Things
The old Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, (and, in fact, all ancient tribes of the earth) have legends and traditions with reference to the beginning of the things upon this earth, and some of them attempt to describe conditions prior to the creation of the material universe. For instance, the Seven Tablets of Creation of the Babylonians endeavor to answer the question concerning the beginning. One is immediately impressed with the polytheistic ideas of the writers. When these accounts are stripped of all their heathenism and superstitions, together with the immorality of the gods, there are left references to the bedrock facts which are found so wonderfully and beautifully expressed in the Scriptures. Thus Genesis tells us of the beginnings of the heavens and the earth, the beginning of trouble which resulted in the disaster mentioned above, the beginning of the present order of things, the beginning of the human race, the beginning of sin, the beginning of human history under the curse, etc. In the first eleven chapters of Genesis a marvelous light flashes from this divine record, which gives a sane and satisfying answer to all the questions concerning the beginnings of those things with which we are acquainted.
III. Upon History
Ethnologists who are experts in their field acknowledge that Genesis 10 is the most authentic ancient document in existence to which they can appeal for authoritative information regarding the beginnings of the nations and their history. There is no surer chart and compass than this marvelous chapter for the historian.
Some advanced critics, controlled by their rationalism, have endeavored to discredit the biblical accounts by saying that, especially in the first chapters of Genesis, we have nothing but saga and legend. Modern archaeology has discredited these false and hasty deductions of the critics and has shown us that the things which are stated there are literally true. Furthermore, the discoveries of ancient Egypt and Babylonia have proved conclusively that the scriptural account is accurate in the most minute details. The person who does not, therefore, know the account in the historical portions of the Scriptures cannot be a real student of history. The true philosophy of history is to be obtained from this source and nowhere else. In this connection let us remember that there is a vast difference between the philosophy of history and the history of philosophy; the first is true; the second is loaded with a jumble of distorted facts, theories, and hypotheses. The Bible, therefore, furnishes the true basis for history for the first four thousand years of man's existence upon the earth.