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What is Reality?  

What we consider as being real determines how we live.

      In the last newsletter I discussed the possible origins of the book of Genesis. Next to the Gospels themselves, this is the most important book in the Bible because Genesis lays the foundation for the entire Bible.

      For many years there has been an attack on Genesis in Western culture. During the 16-, 17- and 1800s there was a growing questioning of the Bible among some intellectuals, and this doubt became focused when Darwin published The Origin of the Species. The theory of evolution quickly became popular and directly challenged the Biblical account of creation.

      For the last forty years or so Christians have made a head-on assault on the theory of evolution by citing many scientific evidences that Darwinism cannot possibly work. In recent years the principle of irreducible complexity has brought a new perspective and good ammunition into the battle.

      The issue, however, is much more than a scientific one. It goes to the very heart of how we view reality. What we consider as being real determines how we live. In this newsletter I want to briefly look at three things that shape our view of reality.


      Evolution and the Biblical account of creation are at complete odds with one another. The two are contradictory and cannot be reconciled. To state it simply, one is true, and the other is not. In order to conclude which is true we need to understand the very nature of truth.

      In the philosophy which has dominated our culture over the last 200 years, truth is defined purely empirically. That is, we cannot know anything outside of our intellect applied to information collected by our five senses. If that is the case, then there is nothing that can be known outside of the material universe, and truth changes as our knowledge of the universe changes.

      The Bible, however, takes a completely different perspective. Truth is not a thing. Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, (John 14:6) Truth is embodied in the person of Jesus, and since Jesus is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever, (Heb. 13:8) truth is both unchanging and eternal. Truth must be totally consistent with the person and nature of Jesus. Thus, anything contradictory to the nature of Jesus cannot be true.


      In the same manner, knowledge is popularly considered to be information that is collected and organized. Intelligence is thus measured by how one can deal with knowledge; that is, how a person solves a problem by applying systematic logic to an array of related facts.

      When God created man and woman and placed them in the garden, His one command was that they should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gods design was that He would reveal to man that which he needed to know in order to avoid mistakes.

      The reality is that knowledge comes from revelation, and there is nothing we know or can know except that God has revealed it to us. Consider the words of Moses:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. (Deut. 29:29)

I believe this extends to all knowledge. In the history of science, for example, virtually every new concept, from gravity to quantum mechanics, seemed to come out of the blue. Not one thing has been discovered that God meant to keep secret.

      This is especially true of Himself. We can only know God to the extent that He has chosen to reveal Himself. God has revealed Himself in many ways, including His creation and the Bible.

      Although we can know something of God in many ways and from different sources, He has chosen to make the most complete revelation of Himself in Jesus. The highest level of the knowledge of God is to walk in intimate fellowship with Him as one would a father. It is to converse with Him, revealing our thoughts and feelings to Him, and having Him reveal His thoughts and feelings to us.

      This type of the knowledge of God can only happen through Jesus. At one point Jesus said to the Pharisees, I and the Father are one. (John 10:30) Later He said to the disciples, no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6) Notice that Jesus refers not simply to God, but to God as Father. When one is in Jesus, he goes from being a son of disobedience to adoption as the son of God.

      Just as the truth is totally embodied in Jesus, so also is knowledge.


      Not many of us consider history to be a particularly spiritual subject. Yet there is a massive distinction between the way history is popularly presented and the view given in the Bible. For example, how would you answer the questions: How old is the earth? How long has mankind lived on the earth?

      The conventional answers to these questions are that the earth/universe is many billions of years old, and mankind evolved at least a million years ago. Even if we claim we do not believe in evolution, there are several implications of this perspective of history that are deeply ingrained and that profoundly affect our thinking.

  • Such long periods of time are incomprehensible and in our thinking are the equivalent to eternity. 

  • Mankind, and certainly any particular person, is of little consequence in the vast sweep of time. 

  • The thrust of development is upward, with all things progressing towards more highly advanced and intelligent beings.

      These implications have made deep inroads in our thinking, but they stand contrary to the Bible.

      Thinking in terms of millions and billions of years leads to a perception that things are permanent and will never change. At least the change in our lifetime will be so small that it is inconsequential. The Bible specifically warns about this very thing in II Peter 3:3-7: 

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

The apostle Peter writes that we will in fact become complacent and comfortable since time seems to march on unchanged forever.

      However, the Biblical perspective of time and history is that all of human history has taken place in a few thousand years. I have included a chart (click on this link to see it) that shows the Biblical time line starting from the sin of Adam until the birth of Jesus. The Bible is very specific as to years, and it is not difficult to work this out.

      Notice that the major part of the history of the world, from Adams fall until the birth of Jesus in 4 BC covers only about 4000 years, and to our time is a little over 2000 additional years.

      This leads to the second implication. Given the short span of mans history, individual lives are very important. To give some perspective, I am currently 62 years old and have lived for 1% of the entire history of the world. God has entrusted very important jobs to each one of us, and if we do not do our job, it may not get done at all. Furthermore, we do not have an unlimited amount of time in which to do it.

      Finally, the rapid increase in technology over the last two centuries has led to a popular idea that mankind is advancing. But it is a mistake to think that because our lifestyle is more comfortable that we are somehow getting better.

      Notice in the Old Testament Time Line chart that before the Great Flood lifetimes were very long, averaging over 900 years. God had created a world that was an ideal place in which to live, far superior to what we know today. Yet sin still had its way, and God had to bring judgment. The Great Flood did more than bring a lot of rain; it destroyed this ideal place, and the result was a dramatic drop in the length and quality of life.

      What if our technology and comfortable lifestyle are in fact setting the stage for Gods final judgment?

      This little article is a challenge to change our way of thinking. We need to see history in an entirely new way. It is not random events and circumstances that just happen. Rather, as someone has said, it is His-story. God is in total control and is working out His purposes. We dare not sit on the sidelines and watch dispassionately like a spectator. Rather, we need to get into the flow of what God is doing, even as Ezekiel described in chapter 47. Not just ankle or knee deep, but in over our heads.