One Day: A Biblical Alternative to the Popular View of the End Times

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After the October date passed, he just let it go. Even prophets can get confused. Why are Christians so obsessed with the end of the world? Some Christian denominations are more likely than others to be interested in eschatology. Judgmental Christians are easy targets for ridicule and disdain, and, to be sure, Christians have perpetuated some of the worst and silliest ideas about the end of the world.

For many Christians, spreading the word about the Rapture is an act born of genuine concern.

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In the film, young Patty Jo Myers wakes up one day to find her family gone along with millions of other people, and has to live through the Tribulation, a time period referred to in Daniel 7, during which war, famine, and other plagues ravage the Earth and kill most of those who remain. Run by Thomas Ice and Tim LaHaye the latter of Left Behindfame , the Pre-Trib Research Center acts as a clearinghouse for Biblical prophecy scholars to share their work on the Rapture and their interpretation that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation.

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Hundreds of Christian groups have tried to use the Bible to predict when the world will end, using a hardly clear-cut combination of events mentioned in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation. The early church believed that Jesus would return very soon, even during their lifetimes, and Christians have been revising that prediction ever since. Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister who was influential in the construction of the Salem Witch Trials, announced that the world would end in Just kidding!

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Unhappy with , he soon moved the date up to ; when that year came and went, Mather suggested the world would end in While a large earthquake did shake Boston that year, the only thing that quickly came to an end was Mather, who died in February Mather is part of a centuries-long tradition of Christians who have made these bold predictions. Thomas Ice of the Pre-Trib Research Center distinguishes between the Rapture believers being carried up to heaven and the Second Coming of Christ Christ coming down to Earth, which will happen seven years after the Rapture.

Truly, the pressure of the scientific communities — both Christian and secular — can seem overwhelming and nobody wants to feel they have their head in the sand and are ignoring plain evidence. But never should the Christian allow current scientific understanding to supercede the historical and literary intent of the authors of Scripture. We will here discuss briefly several of these viewpoints, but dismiss them in the end as being built upon eisegesis.

Surrendering the historicity and honesty of Scripture beyond all other popular viewpoints, theories of theistic evolution force interpreters to mythologize the Genesis narrative. While maintaining that God did truly maintain control of all creative processes, the view strips Scripture of its accuracy by positing that Adam was not arrived at by fiat creation but through thousands of years of natural evolutionary process aided and directed by a divine touch. The specifics of the view are beyond the scope of this treatment as they question seriously traditional and conservative methods for the interpretation of Scripture—as well as its ability to function as an authority for the believer.

When the scientific community began discovering evidence to support long geological eras in the 18th century, a segment of Christendom felt compelled to syncretize their interpretation of Scripture with this newfound empirical data. Motive askew, they postulated that the universe was already in existence for an indeterminate duration before the Creation Week began and hence allow for a very old earth, but are able still to maintain God's recent fiat creation of mankind. A once-popular revision of this theme is the Restoration Theory. Proponents of this version of Gap Theory believed that the universe was created full-form and populated only to be decimated by a cataclysmic war led between God and Satan.

This war left the earth a wasteland, "formless and void" and explains why we find fossilized dinosaur bones that seem to be millions of years old. So then, by theory, the recent Creation Week would be a re-Creation or restoration of a world that was once destroyed. The hinge upon which Gap Theory turns is the interaction between verses 1, 2, and 3 of Genesis 1. But while the theory's suppositions are imaginative and interesting to ponder, they really must be forced upon the text — and are forced upon the text for a poor reason.

A clear example of this eisegetical pattern of interpreting Scripture in light of science can be found in the following quote from a Gap Theory supporter:. But under Adam's feet, entombed in the sedimentary rocks of the planet, was God's testimony to the reality of the existence of death long before Adam; the fossil record; the evidence of a previous world that was destroyed and wiped off the face of the old earth.

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This is a distressing demonstration of the Gap Theory hermeneutic. It is as if the author is saying, "Scripture says death came through Adam, but science says it came earlier, so we ought to change our interpretation of Scripture because science is our ultimate authority. Stating that the word, while often meaning a hour period, can also refer to an indeterminate duration, these theorists proclaim that a valid and moreover, proper literal understanding of the Creation account will interpret each day as an era, or age, lasting a great length of time.

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Popular among those who support a Day-Age Theory is a theory of Progressive Creationism by which God, having created the major types of the animal and plant kingdoms at the beginning of the Sixth Day, waits and watches as they evolve naturally within their groups until at the end of this lengthy period referred to as "the Sixth Day," God creates man of the dust by fiat. Now, while this is a fairly attractive position for many science-minded Christians, it simply cannot be arrived at from a grammatical-historical understanding of Scripture.

There is no hermeneutical reason for any Believer to reinterpret Genesis to fit the Day-Age model. Once more relying upon science to form the filter through which we examine Scriptural truth, the Apparent-Age theorists sees a contradiction between science and God's Word and feeling he must reconcile the two, he decides that God must have created the universe to look as if it were very old.

After all, he posits, God made Adam full-grown, for what reason should we not believe that He made the rest of the universe old as well? The Apparent-Age theory falls short in several places.

First, it makes a blind speculation upon Scripture — something entirely outside of the revelation God has chosen to give us. Second, though Adam was created as a full-sized human, this does not necessarily mean that he had the wrinkles, cellular degeneration, and evidence of weathering on the day of his creation and it seems unreasonable to assume he did.

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And third, the supposition that God creates things to look older than they really are seems to make Him out to be quite a prankster and a counterproductive one at that! In any case, the Apparent-Age Theory rests upon speculation demanded by science and is not borne out by a clean grammatical-historical hermeneutic. Strangely incorporating a hour day perspective, the Punctuated Hour Theory tries to have its cake and eat it too by squeezing millions of years in the form of geological eras between the days of the Creation Week. The Punctuated theorist feels that God created on the first day, let that stew for eons, created again on a second creative day, let that simmer for a long while, created once more on the third special day, and so forth.

Surely, an interesting hypothesis it is. But one that just does not find any sort of ground in the text of Genesis 1 and so becomes one more theory to dismiss before consideration because as far as this issue is concerned, we, as Christians holding to the supreme authority of Scripture, are only interested in the interpretation of that which God has revealed in His Word. Often supporting its hypothesis using a Flood Geology , Scientific Creationism says that science demonstrates not that the earth is ancient and weathered by millions of years of natural processes, but that it is a comparatively young creation generally between 7, and 15, years old.

Using this system, they affirm that yes, the earth is indeed young and Believers can indeed hold to a literal rendering of Genesis 1.

Now while their work may indeed serve an apologetic purpose, this is really no way to come to understand that which of Scripture would speak. The student of Scripture should be able to demonstrate his interpretation of God's Word based upon that Word alone. And so, in the next section, we will look at three methods of interpreting Scripture that find their foundation in the Scriptures themselves rather than in the fallible witness of natural revelation.

Interpretations that seek first to understand Scripture as it was written with no concern for the opinions of science are really the only way to properly look at the issues involved in the Creation Account.

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Now of course science can be useful to serve as a warning that perhaps we may need to re-examine our previous exegesis, but it should never serve any interpretive purpose for us. We should never allow anything but God's Word to dictate our understanding of the matters of God's Word. If Scripture says the world is flat, then the world is flat — no matter what science might say.

If Scripture says the world is 8 , years old, then the world is 8 , years old — no matter what science might say. The only real question then is "What does Scripture say in Genesis 1? The following four interpretations attempt to decipher what the Holy Spirit truly meant when He inspired Moses to write his introduction to our Bible.

Our examination of them will offer more detail and information than our previous summaries, but the final decisions about which interpretation most accurately reflects the true intent of Scripture will be left to you, the reader, for all of these positions are held to by true and learned Christian men.

And with that, the views:. Brief Summary: The most traditional of interpretations, the Hour Interpretation holds that God created all the universe in the space of six, regular solar days.

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Most will argue against an eternal seventh day of rest, but the view is not necessary to the interpretation. Argument: A straightforward reading of the text most consistently supports the Hour Interpretation. When one comes to the text for the first time, their immediate and natural conclusion will be that Scripture is speaking of a regular six-day period in which God gradually created everything from nothing. Verse 1 is generally seen as a summary of the Creation Week, rather than a chronological event occurring prior to the Creation Week.

God's purpose in creating over the course of a human week is one of love, knowing that His people would readily identify with the cycle of days. One of the interpretation's strongest arguments is one from silence: while a figurative interpretation of the Creation Days is not impossible, it is believed entirely unmerited, for nowhere does Scriptural discussion of the Creation indicate or support any sort of figurative rendering. And finally, standing on both a strong tradition and a simple though certainly not simplistic rendering of the text, the Hour Interpreter believes the final and considerable burden of proof sits in the lap of those who would contravene such a venerable position.

Brief Summary: Provoked by exegetical considerations, the Framework Interpretation sees the Creation Week as a topical guide unconcerned with a real chronology. Dividing the works of Creation into two triads, Moses presents his audience with a literary device to demonstrate theological truths of covenant promises and the role of the Sabbath. Argument: Although the fiat creative events "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light" refer to actual historical events that actually occurred, and the Creation Week is presented in normal, solar days, the Creation Account really functions as a literary structure presenting the acts in a nonsequential, topical order.