statement of faith

May 24, 2005 Posted by Frank DeRemer, Ph.D.

I believe in Jesus Christ

Yes, I believe Jesus is God in the flesh, that he physically died on the cross for the sins of the world, including you and me, and that he rose again on the third day, according to the gospel. I believe that my God-given faith in him means I will spend eternity with him in heaven. Yes, in this modern time, even with my high level of education, I believe in both heaven and hell, as real places, and that I have escaped the latter.

Did I have to cash in my Ph.D. degree and cast off my intellect to become a Christian? No, it is a rational faith, based on verifiable evidence too voluminous to list here, but I will be happy to point you to reference materials. (For more details of what I believe, read the Nicene or Apostles' Creed.)

Which gospel? Which Jesus?

How do I know I have the right gospel, and the right Jesus? There are, indeed, several to chose from. I follow the Jesus described in the Bible. I have compared the Biblical gospel to some of the imposters. Looking at the counterfeits has helped me see the importance of some of the doctrines in the real gospel. But mostly I study the Bible to deepen my understanding of Jesus and to help me become ever more like him.

If you think I am arrogant in thinking I have found the real Jesus and the way to Eternal life, I can only "blame" Jesus, for he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father (God) except through me". He made the claim, I follow him, and you will have to take it up with him -- although, again, I can refer you to resources. I thank God that he provided a way, rather than complaining that he didn't provide many ways.

I believe the Bible

My main resource, as you can already deduce, is the Bible. That is my source and my foundation. I believe in the authority of the Word of God, the Bible, in all areas of life. Where it speaks, I try to make it a point to listen -- and to believe and act appropriately.

There is abundant evidence, again, that the Bible is trustworthy in every area it touches on. Indeed, many Christians, including me, believe that the Bible is a reliable revelation of God's mind in its original autographs. Unfortunately, we do not have the originals; we have "only" a few carefully made copies of the Jewish scriptures, and thousands of copies of the "new testament" scriptures. Nonetheless, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that all these scriptures are amazingly accurate and differ only in insignificant ways: no doctrines are in question due to any copyist errors. I'd be happy to refer you to detailed studies on that topic too.

I believe the Creation Account

One of the most fundamental rules of interpretation of the Bible is "When the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense". I believe the plain sense of the Creation Account, Genesis 1:1-2:4a, i.e., that God created and made everything in six literal earth-rotation days not much more that six thousand years ago. I also believe that the global Flood described in the time of Noah resulted in "billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the world", i.e., the "geological column" containing the fossil record

Did I have to cast off my intellect and cash in my Ph.D. to believe in Creation, Corruption (the "sin bomb", resulting in the intrusion of Death, the last enemy to be abolished), the Curse on the universe, the Catastrophe (the worldwide flood), and Confusion of languages at Babel, as plainly stated in Genesis?

No, again, it is a rational faith, based on verifiable evidence too voluminous to list here, but I will be happy to point you to reference materials. I have no more trouble believing these claims of the Bible than I do its "unscientific" claims of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the same Bible, with the same degree of reliability and authority. I cannot just pick and choose parts of the Bible to believe. It is not a smorgasbord. Mine is only to submit to what it says and to have fun looking for confirmation at scientific data through Biblical glasses, rather than through secular-humanist glasses as taught in secular human-istic schools for confirmation of men's current "scientific" opinion about the past.

Quite to the contrary, my Ph.D. helps me understand what any other person can understand: that although our observational and operational science is amazingly effective and impressive, still, when scientists try to guess what happened in the distant past, with no help from the Bible, they have been and are wrong on many fronts. They are at a considerable disadvantage: their operational and observation scientific techniques are ineffective because they cannot repeat the experiment of history. Additionally they were not there and they do not know everything. Finally, they are fundamentally biased, by and large avoiding the idea of a Creator even when the alternative is improbable in the extreme.

But according to the Bible, "all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work". Thus, the ultimate author of the Bible, including all of Genesis, is the self-existent, all-knowing, all-powerful, infallible One -- the Word, Jesus Christ, God incarnate. He was there. He designed and implemented the Creation, all of it, for his own purpose. He is its owner, all of it, including you and me. Thus, we owe him respect, including believing what he, the designer of language and communication, told us in plain language regarding his process of creating and forming everything.

This viewpoint is certainly not acceptable to modern society, but neither was Jesus acceptable then or now to the establishment. But we Christians should not play for the fans but for the Coach. Indeed, the generally accepted position of "modern society" is an atheistic position: the appearance of design without a Designer resulting from chance mutations and preserved by natural selection over millions of years, after an explosion resulting in finely tuned order over billions of years. This idea is the antithesis of the Creation Account.

Nor does simply recognizing Intelligent Design in this worldview solve the problem of antithesis, not for the Bible-believing Christian. Yes, God was the Intelligent Designer behind the Creation, but let's accept his description of the process and timing. He did it, he was the only one there, and he knows how to communicate. Why can't we just accept what he said he did?

Some Christians in the last 200 years have crafted various models that try to accommodate the timeframe and sequence of evolution with Genesis: gap theories, day-age theories, theistic evolution, progressive creation, framework hypotheses, and so on. As a Berean, who 'searched the Scriptures to see if these things be true', I have analyzed each one, just as I once evaluated competing gospels.

Some simply make general claims that their favored model is compatible with Genesis 1, but upon examination, we find that there are gross discrepancies. Others basically dismiss Genesis as "only two pages of Scripture" or as "only saying God did it -- all the details are distractions from that main message" (a classic Gnostic argument), so they don't bother to try to show compatibility, effectively ignoring Genesis1:2-31. And others seriously distort verses in Genesis 1 to try to make it conform to their model, violating other generally accepted rules of Biblical interpretation, such as allowing verses written hundreds of years later to correct or modify the plain meaning in Genesis, or at least, to call the plain meaning into question ("Hath God said?"). The Author's intended meaning of an earlier text will never be corrected or modified by the Author's intended meaning of a later text, for ALL scripture is inspired, and otherwise the hearers of the word during the intervening years would have gotten the wrong meaning.

Sometimes theological luminaries are listed who support each model, to give the model added credibility. That puts us Bereans in the position of having to decide which are right and which are wrong. This is possible because the models are mutually exclusive: each has major points of disagreement with each other model. Hence, at most one of these models can be what the Author intended. All the other models are incorrect, at odds with Scripture. "Let God be true and all men be liars".

There are some interesting puzzles to be solved in looking for the intended meanings of details of the Creation Account. But what is clear is that God took exactly six literal days to create and make the universe, when he could have done it in a split second or billions of years, apparently to model the workweek for us, and the following Sabbath rest. We too are to work for six days and rest on the seventh.

The Creation Account is not just a story. It is the foundation of a book that is largely history written by eyewitnesses. Genesis 1-11 is intended as literal history as surely as the rest of Genesis is, and as surely as much of the rest of the Bible is. Virtually all the doctrines of the Jewish and Christian faiths are established in Genesis, including the first prophesy of the coming Messiah, the doctrine of marriage, clothing, etc. We would do well to take it seriously and refrain from distorting it.

So I believe. --Frank