By Jay Seegert
Amy and I, our own church back in Wisconsin, they were going to go through a series and the first week of the series was ‘Who is Jesus?’ because that’s the most important question anyone can answer. The second week, they wanted it to be ‘Who am I?’ and so they contacted me, and they said, ‘Would you be willing to fill in for that service and give a sermon?’
And I said, ‘Sure! I could probably get up there and tell people a little bit about myself.’
Then they said, ‘No, not who YOU are, but who WE are as human beings.’
And I thought, ‘That might even be a better idea.’
So that’s what we’re going to be talking about: ‘Who am I? From a Biblical and a scientific standpoint’.
We’re being redefined all the time. Society wants to tell us who we are. And ‘Who We Are, ‘Who we believe we are’ drives what we think and what we do.
It makes a big, big difference which you’ll see in the talk here.
Our school systems in the United States in 1962 and 63 kicked God out of the school system. From the founding of our country, we were using the Bible in the school system to teach English, to teach History, to teach Morality, to teach Science, and Spelling, and all those things.
Then, in 1962 and 63, they kicked God and prayer out of the school system. And today, occasionally, one student will shoot another student, or someone will come in and shoot students, and then society gets all upset and asks, ‘How could God allow that?‘
And I say,
‘Don’t get mad at God! He’s not there! You kicked Him out. If you want to fix the problem, bring Him back!’
That’s one of the problems we have. We’ve removed God from society and now we’re surprised that we’re having all these issues.
So, that’s where we’re headed with this particular talk. And there are two approaches that we could use to answer this question of ‘Who we are’.
- One approach would be man’s wisdom, all the knowledge man has built up over the years,
- The other approach would be God’s Wisdom, what God tells us in his Word.
You can probably guess which one I would highly recommend there. But that first question, ‘Who is Jesus?’, I can summarize that very, very quickly:
Jesus is exactly who He said He is. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, He’s the Messiah, the Son of God. He is God. And because Jesus is who He said He is, we are exactly who He said we are.
We’re created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We’re His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). We’re fellow heirs with Christ (Ephesians 3:6). We are the body of Christ (Romans 12:5); we are God’s chosen ones (1 Peter 2:9). We’re more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), we’re God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). We’re chosen in Him before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). We are the light of the world (Philippians 2:15), we’re partakers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
You’ve all heard these verses, that’s why I went through them fast. I’m not planning on going through each one of those verses but it’s clear what the Bible has to say about ‘who we are’: we’re created by God for good works, we’re created in His Image, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. So, we’ll be looking at parts of that this evening.
Science and man’s wisdom
Now, let’s look, very briefly, at some of man’s wisdom because, right now, mankind is trying to define who we are.
This is just one opinion, from Stephen Hawking whom, I’m sure, you’re all familiar with. He was probably the world’s leading theoretical physicist and died just a few years ago.
He was an atheist, but this is what he had to say. A brilliant, brilliant scientist, seriously. I believe that the man was extremely brilliant, but we need to keep in mind that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
A lot of these scientists, they don’t fear God, they don’t even believe in God, and he didn’t believe in God. So, he had a lot of knowledge in his head, but he couldn’t apply it properly because he lacked wisdom.
This is what he told us about ‘Who We Are’. He said,
I could do an entire series of sermons just on this quote. I’m just going to pull out two things right now:
- He appreciates The Grand Design. Do you see a problem with that? How do you have design without a designer? And then,
- He’s extremely grateful. To whom or what? To particles for banging together just the right way so he could be here now and explain to us how all the other particles got here and why he appreciates those particles?
It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. But that would be very logical coming from an atheistic worldview.
Lawrence Krauss, an American theoretical physicist who’s still around; another brilliant scientist said,
I would not want to be in his shoes when he faces His creator. I pray for the guy. It’s not that he’s not smart enough, he needs that different Starting Point, the different foundation to interpret those facts.
He doesn’t need someone screaming at him or trying to win an argument, he needs one someone to share Jesus with him, and to be praying for him.
The conundrum and God’s Wisdom
Well, why can’t we put the two approaches together? Some of man’s wisdom and God’s Wisdom.
This is where most people are on the planet today. Most people are not atheists, but most people are not truly Born-Again Christians either. So, they’re in the middle. They think man has come up with his ‘great information’ and ‘its science’, so you just have to accept everything they say and then you can take that and go to the Bible and figure out which portions make sense, and which portions you want to believe.
So, you’re putting the two approaches together.
What happens when we do that?
This happens: the Bible takes a back seat to man’s wisdom and often the blinds are drawn, people embarrassed, they don’t want others to know that they take the Bible seriously at all, but sometimes too, it’s convenient because there are things in the Bible that help us out, make us feel better. We’ll go to it once in a while but, for the most part, we go with man’s wisdom. That’s what happens when you put the two approaches together.
When you try to put the two together, they don’t initially seem to fit well. Which one gets changed then? It’s always God’s Word because science is science, it’s black and white, you can’t argue with it. The Bible is just a religious book, right? And it could mean anything you want. So, when they try to put the two together, they always reinterpret God’s Word to tell God what He really meant, because ‘we know better‘, right?
That’s how we feel.
How did we get to this point? How did this happen? Where we have such a weak view of the authority of God’s Word, it has to do with a very powerful Hebrew Word and (I bet your pastor doesn’t even know this word), it’s pronounced yabbat. The English translation is: ‘Yeah, but…’ It’s NOT a Hebrew Word, I made it up. I don’t know Hebrew; I’m still working my English!
What happens is, people might say, ‘Well, the Bible says this yeah, but… I know better because I just read an article from an astrophysicist,’ or ‘I saw a documentary on YouTube on‘ whatever and so, the conclusions is: ‘I know the Bible says this, yeah, but… you can’t really take that seriously.‘
We’re going to be seeing how this plays out quite a bit in this presentation.
We started out with Genesis 3.2-5. What’s one of the first thing that happens in the creation account? God creates everything and it’s perfect. Adam and Eve are perfect; they have perfect fellowship with their Creator. Satan gets in there and what does he say? He said,
Guess what! God didn’t say that. He said: you can eat of any tree in that Garden except for one, so Satan misquoted God. Satan takes Him out of context, he twists His Word and gets Eve to doubt the authority of God’s Word.
Guess what! Satan’s plan has not changed at all he’s doing the same thing. Every sceptic doubts the authority of God’s Word, but now, many Christians doubt the authority of God’s Word because they know better, they know what it says ‘yeah, but…’ ‘I know better. You can’t really mean this’ or ‘It can’t be a Six-Day creation account’, or ‘There wasn’t an actual flood, this didn’t really happen…’ ‘The Antichrist and all that that’s just kind of crazy and way out there!’
So, they know better, and, again, they tell God what He meant. So, Satan’s plan has not changed at all today. This is Jesus speaking in John chapter 5.46-47,
Jesus was saying, ‘You know, if you’re not going to believe Moses, I’m not sure why you would believe anything that I have to say. Because Moses wrote everything about me.’ Jesus took Moses seriously. The writings of Moses were inspired by God and Jesus Is God. But Jesus is saying, ‘if you’re going to reject Moses, I’m not sure why you would believe anything that I have to say because these are Moses’s writings.’ He wrote the first five books of the Bible, including the Book of Genesis.
For example, we have the doctrine of sin.
What is sin?
God created Adam and Eve in that Garden. They were perfect but they sinned, or they chose to do their own thing, they disobeyed God. That’s what sin is, it’s disobedience to God. The definition of that goes back to Genesis.
Then, we have death
Why is there death in the world today? It’s all around us. How did that get here?
God created Adam and Eve in that Garden, they were perfect, but they sinned against God and that resulted in bringing death and a curse into God’s perfect creation. Death’s origin goes back to Genesis.
Then we have marriage. Marriage is ‘one man and one woman for life’. That’s highly controversial all around the world today, even in many churches. Where did that come from?
And we have clothing
I notice you’re all wearing clothes this evening. It’s a good thing. This is kind of weird but, do you ever wonder why you put clothes on? Sometimes it’s colder out there and you want to be warmer, but, when it’s the perfect temperature outside, I don’t bother putting clothes on because God created Adam and Eve in that Garden. They sinned; they disobeyed God. That brought death and a curse into God’s perfect creation and clothing was just a temporary covering for their sin. It goes back to Genesis.
Then, we have work
Why do we work? Because God created Adam and Eve in that Garden and He said, ‘Adam, I want you to till the ground, work the Earth.’
Now, it all got a lot harder for him after he sinned, but it was actually ordained by God, right? From the beginning.
Then, we have Jesus
Jesus is referred to as being ‘the last Adam’. If the first Adam wasn’t real, what does that say about the last Adam?
And then, most importantly, the Gospel message
What is the Gospel message?
That Jesus Christ came and died on a cross and rose again the third day. Why? Because God created Adam and Eve in that Garden, they were perfect, but they sinned, disobeyed God. They got kicked out of the Garden. That brought death and a curse into God’s perfect Creation. In the shedding blood of Jesus Christ is the only permanent solution for that problem.
The Gospel message starts back in Genesis. If we have problems with Genesis, if it ‘didn’t really happen’, if it is not ‘literal’, if there are errors and contradictions disproved by science, we have problems with pretty much everything we believe as Christians.
So, I hope you’re going to start to see that this Genesis stuff is important, it’s not a side topic that some people are into. This is foundational to everything we believe, and it’s no surprise that when God inspired the biblical writers and it got bound together, Genesis was the first book. It’s ‘the book of the beginnings’.
I had one pastor say, ‘Wait, wait, wait a minute! You must be careful trying to tie the New Testament into the Old Testament.’
And I was thinking, ‘That sounds crazy! Almost nothing in the New Testament makes sense without the Old Testament.’
In fact, if Genesis is not literal history with a literal, very good creation and a literal Adam and Eve, then, Satan did not literally enter the world through their actions and you, and I don’t literally need to be saved.
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
We cannot lose our foundation. Yet, our entire educational system got rid of Genesis.
This is just a fairy tale, right? Genesis?
Because we know better: ‘absolutely nothing was created everything and there was a big bang and now we are here today because particles smashed together just the right way’.
That’s pretty much what all our school systems are teaching. And, way too often, especially in the United States, churches are silent. So, the youth in the church go to school and learn that ‘nothing created everything’ and that ‘there was a big bang and, eventually, cells turned into plants and other animals; then apes evolved into humans’, and they go back to church and learn about Jesus. And then, they go to school, they learn about dinosaurs and evolution. They then go back to church and learn about Jesus, and, eventually, they sense that these two don’t fit together very well.
But we skip that too often.
But the church isn’t commenting on ‘what I’m learning at school’. So, ‘it must be okay‘. They try to come up with some compromise that fits the two together and it’s always the interpretation of the Bible that changes and gets damaged to fit with what they’re learning at school, rather than the church taking a stand and saying ‘let me tell you about the Book of Genesis, that you can trust it from cover to cover, even if you don’t have a science background but that, if you’d like to know some of the science, we can help you with that as well’.
Quick side note: We scientists do NOT fight science. I mentioned this morning that the vast majority of areas of science we have today were founded by Bible-believing Christians. In fact, our daughter, when she was 14 years old, had been raised in a Christian school but was then going to finish up in a public high school. She was in freshman biology and the teacher in the public school told the class ‘The church is against science‘. Now, had I gone into that school and said anything about church, or God, or religion, or Jesus, or creation, they would have kicked me out. But here’s the biology teacher telling the students that the church is against science. Why can’t you just teach biology? Yet, he told the students that the church is against science. My daughter raised her hand. He didn’t know who she was. He called on her and she said, ‘The church isn’t against science, it’s against some scientists’ opinions’. And the teacher said like ‘Okay! Good point!’
Wow, that’s pretty good coming from a 14-year-old girl! But she apparently was listening to some of my talks! So, we (scientists) are NOT fighting science.
Here’s an interesting quote from another atheist. He said,
If Jesus was not the Redeemer who died for our sins and this is what evolution means and Christianity is nothing, I would agree with that conclusion. If evolution is true, as they’re teaching it in the school systems, Christianity is not true.
If evolution is true, there wasn’t an original perfect Creation with an Adam and Eve who ticked God off and got kicked out of the Garden. And God says, ‘Oh, great, now I must send my Son to die for their sins’. That didn’t happen if evolution is true.
The root of confusion
Now, many, many, many people put the two together. They say, ‘I have the solution! God used evolution; case closed, end of story’. On the surface, it sounds like a great solution because then you can have God and you can have whatever the scientists tell you. So, whatever the scientists come up with, you say, ‘Yep, that’s how God did it! Yep, that’s how God did it!’ And guess what? God is all-powerful, physically, there’s nothing He couldn’t do. He could do anything.
But that’s not the question. The question is: ‘What did He say He did? He does not at all talk about these evolutionary processes. The Genesis creation account is written as literal historical Hebrew narrative. It’s not poetry, it’s saying, ‘This actually happened’, and when we look at real science, we find out the idea of evolution is not a good scientific concept, there’s no reason we should feel pressured to try to squeeze it into God’s Word. If we do try to put evolution in the Bible, we do have errors and contradictions, and problems with the Bible. But God never intended us to do that.
This, of itself, would be a whole other series of talks. I must keep moving here.
Jesus said, ‘if you were to believe Moses,’ you’d believe Jesus’s words.
What were Jesus’s words? Here are some of them. In Revelation 22.12 he said,
Well, guess what! Today people doubt that; they doubt the return of Christ.
2 Peter chapter 3, written by Peter almost 2 000 years ago, is talking in this passage about the last days (and probably most, almost every one of you here tonight thinks we’re probably living in the last days). Peter, 2 000 years ago, was talking about our time and he was talking specifically about those who are doubting the return of Christ.
He says that these doubters are doubting the return of Christ because they’re ignoring two things; the King James says that they are willingly ignorant of two things. They are choosing to ignore two things.
The return of Christ is certainly, a spiritual issue. So, maybe the two things that are causing sceptics of our day to doubt the return of Christ would be two spiritual things, right? That’s NOT what Peter says.
The first time I saw this, I was just shocked, I was excited, but I was shocked.
Peter said these are the two things causing them to doubt the return of Christ.
- They’re rejecting the Genesis creation account, and
- They’re rejecting the Genesis Flood.
Now I got excited! Because I travel around the world talking about the Genesis creation account, the Genesis Flood, and many other issues, so I thought, ‘this is cool, I can refer to 2 Peter chapter 3’, but I never thought ‘why?’ Why are those two things causing sceptics of our day doubt the return of Christ?
I never tried to make that connection until, a number of years ago, when I thought through it, I studied it further, and then, it made perfect sense. What is the creation account?
Let me back up a second:
- The creation account is God being the ultimate authority. Well, sceptics don’t want to be under God’s rules, they want to do their own thing. They don’t want to recognize God as their creator. So, they’re rejecting His authority.
- What was the Flood? The Flood was a judgment on sin. Well, sceptics are not sinners, they’re good people. They reject that judgment by God.
Since they reject His authority and His judgment on sin, they’re going to reject the return of Christ because, what is that? That’s another judgment. But this time Peter said, ‘It’s going to be by fire’. That’s why sceptics of our day are rejecting the return of Christ, because they don’t recognize God’s authority or His judgment on sin.
What’s interesting is, this is 2 000 years ago in some old religious book, right?
Guess what. Today, every single secular scientist rejects the creation account, and they reject the Genesis Flood. Peter predicted that.
But guess what. Many Christians reject the Genesis creation account and the Genesis Flood. Oh, they say that ‘Yeah, God’s the Creator but He didn’t do it the way the Bible says in six days‘, because “We know better. Yeah, we have astrophysics and radiometric dating, and the big bang and all that; so, it can’t mean what it says’.
I know most people took it that way; even the Jews interpreted it that way for many years, but they didn’t have the microscopes and telescopes that we have now. ‘We know so much more now! We’re not ignorant like they are, we know better!‘ So, ‘we’re going to tell God what He actually meant.‘
That’s what’s happening today, even within the Christian church.
I like Richard Dawkins, primarily because I think he’s straightforward. He’s honest with what he believes, and I appreciate that. I know he’s no friend of Christians and might not like me too much, that’s okay. But I just appreciate that he’s explaining what atheists believe and, in this quote, Richard Dawkins is giving his opinion on what he thinks about Christians who put the two together, who say that ‘God used evolution‘. Because many Christians will do that to impress the secular scientist. ‘Hey, we don’t reject what you say. You guys are scientists. We think you’re brilliant, and we can accept that because we’re smart people’. So, this is what Richard Dawkins thinks about those Christians, he said:
I always say I would pay good money to go on a speaking tour with him, and I’d say, ‘Richard, tell everyone that one quote you told me because that’s awesome.’ I think he understands this better than many Christians do. The problem of putting things together doesn’t impress the secular scientists at all and it does a lot of damage to God’s Word.
It leads to a problem that we have today. Statistics are showing us that two-thirds or more, probably more of Christian Youth will end up walking away from their faith before they leave the university (college). By the time they finish, most have walked away from their faith.
There are many factors that are going on behind this fact.
One of the biggest factors is: they were handed a set of beliefs without convictions, they were just told this is what you need to believe, this is true. It’s okay when they’re young, that’s fine.
But they don’t know ‘WHY’ they believe what they believe, and then they go off to the universities and they have PhD professors giving them academic reasons why the whole thing is not true:
- scientists totally disproved the Bible
- the Bible is filled with errors and contradictions
- there are portions in here that are missing
- there are other extra portions that got put in here that shouldn’t be in here, and then,
- you have all the different Bible versions, and then
- all the violence in the Bible, and on and on.
And many of these youths say, ‘I knew it!’ Yes, and they are excited to walk away from their faith because they want to do things. They know that God’s Word says it is wrong, but now they’ve found out you can’t even trust this. So, why bother?
Therefore, you live however you want. And they go home to their parents, and they tell their parents, ‘You have no idea what you’re talking about. You don’t know anything about Carbon 14 dating and the real history of dinosaurs, and astrophysics, and all that’. And many parents are like, ‘Well, we just we just believe in Jesus’.
Do you know? That’s not good enough for the children and the grandchildren. So, they walk away. Big problem.
In our area, where we live, there are some larger churches. Our own church has about 2 000 strong but it’s an exception, it’s a really, really strong church that takes a strong stance on the authority of God’s Word.
There’s another church in the area, they have about 6 000 people and they teach a lot of good things, but they don’t take a consistent stance on the authority of God’s Word. And I was talking to one of the pastors and he was sharing with me how concerned their youth pastors are (they probably have six youth pastors). These pastors were very concerned about how many of their youth were walking away from their faith and he was explaining this as if I was unaware of that trend. Well, I deal with that all the time, and when he finished explaining how concerned these pastors were, he asked me this question: he said, ‘How can I help them?’
My answer was, ‘You can’t.’
He was surprised. He thought I was going to start saying all these things and I said, ‘you can’t’. Then, I had a smile on my face. We were having a very good conversation and I have a lot of respect for him, but I said, ‘Let me tell you why’. I just said that.
‘You can’t help?’ he said.
‘You can’t help them because you don’t know what you believe.’ And I said that respectfully, but it was very true. He doesn’t know what he believes about Genesis and all these things, so they just avoid it all together.
And I said, ‘Think about it this way. You’re having this problem with the youth and so many are walking away from their faith. So, you want to help fix the problem; you bring in some expert (this is just a generic person), you bring in someone and this person not only knows the Bible very well, but this person is also a scientist and he’s been studying things for a year, so he’s going to come in and he’ll help with this problem.’
He’s standing before these hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of youths. These are smart, sincere Christians on both sides. Some think the Bible is literal, some think it’s poetry. And he’s saying (his argumentation goes as follows),
“I know you’re struggling and many of you are walking away from the faith, but I’m here to help. I’m here to tell you I know the Bible, and I’ve studied science for years and years, and I’m an expert in both areas, and I’m here to tell you that Genesis may or may not be just poetry, you know? We’re not sure.”
“So, we’re just not sure about that one. God may or may not have created everything in six literal days. I know scripture seems to say that, but I mean, we do have radiometric dating and astrophysics, and the Big Bang and all that. There are people on both sides. We’re not quite sure about that one.”
“God may or may not have used the Big Bang. And the Bible doesn’t really talk much about that kind of a concept. But, again, the scientists have pretty much proven that the Big Bang is true, right? So, I mean, again, we’ve got people on both sides.”
“Life may or who may not have originated from non-living chemicals like 3.8 billion years ago. The Bible doesn’t really talk about life starting that way but again, the scientists, they’ve done all these experiments and it seems like they have a lot of evidence for that. So, we’re just not quite sure about that one.”
“Animals may or may not have evolved from a common ancestor. Again, Genesis doesn’t talk about animals evolving over time, but again, there’s just so much evidence for evolution you know. So, we’re again not sure about that. We may or may not have evolved from ape-like creatures because the Bible does say that Adam was created from the dust of the Earth. But again, they go to the museums I mean they’ve got fossils of ape men and all that. So again, we’re kind of torn on that one. There may or may not have been an actual Adam and Eve. I know the Bible talks about them and many New Testament writers seem to take them literally, but again, with Evolution, maybe we evolved from an ape-like creature and at some point, God just said, ‘well, these two are going to be Adam and Eve‘, but it might not have been literal.”
“There may or may not have been a literal original sin. If there wasn’t an original Adam and Eve, then, there wasn’t this one act that was the original sin. Maybe it’s just a concept to describe sin in general.”
“There may or may not have been an actual Flood. The Bible does seem to talk about a Flood, but the secular geologists don’t believe in a worldwide flood. So, we’re not quite sure about that one. And even if there was a flood, it may not have been global, it might have just been a local flood.”
“So, good luck in university! I hope this helps.”
And the students are thinking, ‘Just how is that supposed to help me, seriously! We don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know…’
It doesn’t really matter. So, don’t worry about it!
Well, the professors in the universities aren’t going to say ‘well, we don’t know, we don’t know’, they’re going to say ‘we know, we know, we know, because we deal with science in the real world. That Bible stuff, you can forget about that! You’re at the university now, so, just leave that Bible.’
There are examples where professors say, ‘how many of you here are Christians and believe the Bible?’ Some students raise their hands. ‘Would you please get up and sit at the back of the room.’
Other professors will say, ‘How many of you here believe in God?‘ And when students raise their hands they say, ‘Well, you won’t by the end of the semester because it’s my job to make sure you leave all those myths behind you, because you’re at the university to learn real knowledge, to get a real job to live in the real world.’
That’s very intimidating. When we don’t do a good job as Christians of raising our children, we’re just ‘throwing them out to the wolves’ and many walk away. And we should not be surprised when that happens.