Seeking Biblical Truth – Part 2: Going Too Far

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Researching the Bible

There are times when using outside sources, such as a concordance or study Bible, can be taken too far. I want to present some examples of what I would define as going too far. I do not present these certain beliefs to judge or criticize, only to inform. While I do believe the logic behind the beliefs presented here is flawed, I certainly do not hold myself to a higher position against someone who may hold these beliefs. If for nothing else, I hope to at least present some new options to think about and research thoroughly.

When using something to help us understand scripture better, it is important for us to keep the ultimate authority of God’s Word with the Bible and not with a concordance, notes from a study Bible, or any other such tool. I have seen good men who love Jesus fall into a pattern where they will look up a word, mistranslate or misinterpret, and try to force the rest of the Bible to fit around their theory. Of course, with instances like this, the problem doesn’t arise with the tools at our disposal, but arises with pride found within a person. Pride can be responsible for keeping a person from properly discerning the information found within tools such as other Bible translations, concordances, or even appendices found within a Bible.

Sometimes, when we take a word found in our English Bible back to the Hebrew language, we find that there are multiple words presented as possible translations. When this happens, we must put the Bible before our own thinking, test scripture against scripture, and define the word properly. We must not let our own theories dictate how we decide to translate a word if it doesn’t line up with the rest of scripture.

For example, there are Christians who believe the six days of creation were not six literal days, but six thousand years, or six different ages. In my humble opinion, there are numerous biblical contradictions with this theory and I see it as an attempt to marry the evolution theory with biblical facts. I do see a possibility that there may have been an expanse of time before the first day of creation, but that is an entirely different topic altogether.

The belief everything was created in six thousand years originates from a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:8, which states…

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

Christians will equate this back to the creation story in the book of Genesis and say that each day spoken of represents one thousand years. The problem here is they are only looking at the first part of the verse, “…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years…”. If this was all it said and nothing more I might be able to at least consider the possibility. However, when you consider the second part, “…and a thousand years as one day.”, we come to an interesting conclusion. These two parts of the same verse seem to contradict themselves. If we were to believe the six day creation actually happened in six thousand years, we would equally have to accept that the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth in Revelation 20:6 is only going to last one day.

We have to test scripture with scripture. We know from scripture that God created everything. This includes the very notion of time. God is also all-powerful. This means He can move throughout time as He pleases. One major misconception is that God is bound within time just like the rest of us. This verse, 2 Peter 3:8, is teaching otherwise. It is saying that for God, one of our days can be as long as a thousand years, and a thousand of our years can be as quick as a single day. God is outside of time. He would have to be. If He weren’t, it would mean there was something out there that is more powerful than God, and we know this to be impossible. God can bend time at His will, He can lengthen days or shorten days, and He can travel within time and space to be in more than one place at one time. He is not bound by time like we are. 2 Peter 3:8 illustrates that fact for us. (For more information on the Time issue in regards to God, please watch my “Defending the Trinity” presentation on YouTube and Facebook)

For the belief that the creation happened in six ages, the problem originates with a misinterpretation of a single Hebrew word. Sometimes, when you take an English word back to the original Hebrew language, you will discover that the English word could mean many different things in Hebrew. This happens with the English word “day”, which was translated from the Hebrew word “yom”. While it is true that one of the possible definitions for the word “yom” is “age” as well as “day”, to find the accurate definition, we have to look at the words in the context they were written in. For example, Genesis 1:5 reads…

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

Each of the six days of creation was written about in this way. First it says what God did and then it says the number of the day. God even defines what a day is in the creation story for us. For each of the six days, the texts say “the evening and the morning”. A thousand years would consist of hundreds of thousands of evenings and mornings. An age would consist of even more. The only span of time found with the definitions for the Hebrew word “yom” that consist of one evening and one morning is a single, literal, twenty-four hour period; one single day.

What is also important to realize is if the Bible were talking about six different ages, you would have death before sin, as Adam brought sin into the world and sin is the reason for death (Romans 5:12). This would be a huge contradiction. To explain it, Christians and pastors will come up with all sorts of reasons that don’t line up perfectly with the Bible. Some will even become angry as they continue explaining with more reasons to explain their original reasoning and explanations. It can get incredibly confusing. When I encounter this, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 14:23, which states…

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

To further illustrate how this concept of original languages can be taken too far, there are Christians and pastors out there who preach that there were more than eight people saved from the flood and aboard Noah’s ark. Of course, with Biblical passages such as Genesis 7:13, 1 Peter 3:20, and 2 Peter 2:4-5, it is very difficult to believe there were more than eight people saved from the flood. To make this theory fit in with scripture, I have had Christians tell me many different things like the flood was not worldwide, or it was eight “adamic” souls saved and it makes sense if you only add one word to the Bible, even up to saying that the Bible has this whole Noah story wrong and the Bible can’t be trusted as an accurate source of information from God. This is what happens when a person gives more authority to their own logic than to the Word of God.

As for their source of this type of misleading information, some will cite other pastors, others will cite sources such as the Companion Bible or other study bibles, and some just will not reveal their reasons for believing this.

As a quick side-note and to conclude Part 2 of Seeking Biblical Truth, while I do believe there is some valuable information containing in the appendices of the Companion Bible, I do not believe all of the information should be blindly accepted and believed, as is the case with any text outside of the Bible itself. This type of information needs to be tested against scripture to find out if it is accurate or not. We must lift the Bible itself above any study notes or appendices that might be included.

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