I learned, this week, about a professor at a certain Seminary who was forced to resign because he wrote that there is room in the language of the first chapter of Genesis to allow for an old earth; something that is obviously true. Some institutions are so closed that a professor can get fired for writing “Holy Spirit” on the blackboard rather than “Holy Ghost”. These institutions stifle learning and often repress the truth, holding the interpretations of the denomination’s founders as more holy than the Scriptures they interpret.
What those institutions fear most is what institutions on the other end of the spectrum have become. There are institutions where the educators have become so open minded that they are empty headed. They have moved into open heresy and it would be highly improbable that a single believer could be found among the faculty.
Error is most often found at the bitter end of a continuum. There are, thank God, institutions that fall in the center… Firmly anchored in the central truths of the Gospel and resisting heresy, they offer students and faculty the freedom to do honest exploration in search of the truth. That is where I am and that is where I will stay. You cannot move me from the central truths of the Gospel but neither can you forbid me to come to any conclusion that might be seen as violating the interpretations of the Denomination’s Founder and clearly laid out in his book, published in 1793.
I believe that the key is to judge all things in the light of Scripture. There are those who refuse to tie their shoes because the Scripture does not clearly lay out the instructions for doing so. “If it isn’t in the Bible, I don’t believe it!” is their rallying cry. The second you begin to talk about history or myth, the instant you speak of the book of Enoch or the book of Jubilees, they stick their fingers in their ears and turn off their brain. If there are those who elevate those books to the level of Scripture, they are equally wrong but I know of no one who falls into that category.
I believe that we should study history, mythology and books like Enoch and Jubilees… there is a wealth of information to be found there. All that we learn there must be passed by the Scripture. If I learn more about Nephilim from an extra-biblical source, I do not have to reject that knowledge but I am required to ask if that knowledge violates Scripture. Any knowledge that contradicts plain Scripture must be rejected. Knowledge that agrees with Scripture, adding to my understanding of Scripture, is a good thing.
Back to the Professor mentioned at the beginning… some of you are still calling him names and wondering how I could be on his side. Let’s look at that.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Look at the word “was” in verse two. The Hebrew word is “ הָיָה (hayah)”. That is a very common root word and is translated in many ways, based on context. However, you should notice that out of the 3,156 times it is used in the Bible, it is only translated “was” one time, in this verse. Meanwhile, it is translated “became” 85 times, “become” 221 times, and “becomes” 13 times. You do the math… is there room to translate Genesis 1:2 as: “And the earth became (הָיָה) without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”?
Is there just cause for forcing the resignation of a professor who dares to suggest that the language of Genesis 1:2 “allows” for an old earth?
Stick to the core Gospel and judge all things by the Scripture but never be afraid to reach out and learn something new…