Isaiah 65 – Judgment and Salvation & Darwin vs. God

That’s crazy, believing in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  Sorry, but I knew about him before You and I didn’t buy then.  How can I believe I came from a monkey when there are still monkeys?  Now there are some people that kind of look like apes, but it has nothing to do with evolution, it involves the gene pool.

I know there are a lot of…

Possibly the Earliest Christian Writing
They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born.

A group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, was apparently discovered in a remote arid valley in northern Jordan somewhere between 2005 and 2007.

A flash flood had exposed two niches inside the cave, one of them marked with a menorah or candlestick, the ancient Jewish religious symbol.

A Jordanian Bedouin opened these plugs, and what he found inside might constitute extremely rare relics of early Christianity.

1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

65:1-66:24 – the grand conclusion to chs. 58-66, as well as to chs. 40-66 and to the whole book.

Asked not…sought me not” – the Lord now proceeds to answer Isaiah’s prayer.  Israel failed to stay close to the Lord, though they sought Him in a superficial way.

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

“Provoketh me” – by worshiping idols.

4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

“I am holier than thou” – those who engage in pagan rituals believe they are superior to others (the attitude of the Pharisees in Matt 9:11; Lk 739; 18:9-12.

6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,

7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

8  Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

“Inheritor of my mountains” – “Mountains” refer to the whole land since so much of it was hilly.

10 And Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me.

“Valley of Achor” -a valley near Jericho (see Josh 7:24, 26; Hos 2:15).  Since Sharon and Achor are on the western and eastern edges of the land respectively, they probably represent the whole country.

11 But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.

A staircase leads down to the 2,000-year-old ritual bath beneath floorboards in a family’s living room.
A family recently discovered a large 2,000-year-old ritual bath underneath the floorboards of their Jerusalem home during a routine living room renovation, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced today (July 1). 

The ancient ritual bath, called a “miqwe” or “mikveh,” was discovered in the town of Ein Karem, a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem that claims to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. The complete miqwe was found hidden under a pair of wooden doors concealed by a rug in the family’s living room, and measured about 11.5 feet long, 8 feet wide and 6 feet deep (3.5 by 2.4 by 1.8 meters).

The miqwe also contained pottery vessels and pieces of stone vessels from the Second Temple Period, despite evidence of a fire that may have ravaged the bath between A.D. 66 and 70.

12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.

13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.

15 And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:

16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

“New heavens and a new earth” – the climax of the “new things” Isaiah has been promising.

18 But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

“Create Jerusalem” – John links the notion of a new heaven and a new earth with the “new Jerusalem” (Rev 21:1-2).  A restored Jerusalem after the exile and in the Messianic kingdom points toward this greater Jerusalem.

19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

23 They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

“Bring forth for trouble” – the children they bear will never experience calamities such as death or captivity.

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Darwin vs. God

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)., was an English naturalist. He established the Theory of Evolution meaning that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors.

Charles Darwin grew up embracing the “intelligent design” thinking of his day—William Paley’s renowned argument that the design of a watch implies there must have been an intelligent watchmaker, and so design in the universe implies there must have been an intelligent Creator.

Concerning this, Darwin wrote:

I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley’s “Natural Theology.”  I could almost formerly have said it by heart.

Nevertheless, Darwin spent most of the rest of his life attempting to explain design in nature without the need for any purpose or a guiding intelligence.  He labeled himself an agnostic, and gave us his religious belief in his autobiography, written in 1876 when he was 67.

1. Darwin rejected Genesis as true history.

Darwin asserted that different species originated by the extremely slow process of evolution.  However, he knew that Genesis taught that God had created plants, animals and man by separate sudden commands.  

Both premises could not be true. So either his theory or Genesis was in error.  Which?  

He wrote:

I had gradually come, by this time [i.e. January 1839, when he was 29—Ed.], to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos [sic], or the beliefs of any barbarian.

Comment: Darwin embraced the wrong worldview.  The manifestly false history of the world is not that recorded in Genesis, but that of his theory and the long ages it requires.

2. Darwin rejected the miraculous Christianity.

Concerning the miracles with which Christianity is supported, he wrote:

[T]he more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become,—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us,—that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events,—that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses;—by such reflections as these…I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation.

Comment: Christianity is indeed a religion of miracles.  From the creative acts of God recorded in Genesis 1, through the miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt in Exodus, to Christ’s many miracles in the Gospels, and the disciples’ miracles in Acts, we see a God at work who is greater than our imagination can devise.

Darwin’s arguments are philosophically bankrupt.  He supposedly knows that all miracle reports are false because he knows that the laws of nature are fixed.  However, he can know that the laws of nature are fixed only if he knows in advance that all miracle reports are false.

So he is arguing in a circle: he dismisses the miracles by dismissing the sources; but he dismisses the sources because they contain miracles.

He also invokes intellectual snobbery by assuming that Jesus’ contemporaries believed in miracles out of ignorance.  However, Joseph (Matt 1:19) and Mary (Lk 1:34), for example, knew very well how babies are made—needing both a man and a woman, although they did not know certain details about spermatozoa and ova.

They questioned the announcements of the Virginal Conception because they did know the facts of life, not because they didn’t.

Also, miracles are properly considered not as breaks in the laws of nature, but additions to them.  So to disprove miracles, Darwin would need to prove that nature is all there is, with no God capable of acting outside the normal laws by which he upholds it (Col 1:15).

3. Darwin resented the biblical doctrine of future judgment.

He wrote:

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished.  And this is a damnable doctrine.

A sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious.

Comment: If Darwin had read his Bible as well as he had read Paley, he would have known that it says:

The Lord is not slack in concerning his promise, as some men count slackness,  but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).

In fact, by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins God provided the way of escape from everlasting punishment.

For God so loved the world that he gave his oily begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16).

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree (Gal 3:13).

Darwin also fails to show why the punishment is unjust, relying instead on the fallacy of argument from outrage.  However, a sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely serious.  

God’s perfect justice requires that either the finite sinner must endure punishment for an infinite duration, or an infinite substitute must bear the punishment we deserve.  This is fulfilled by Jesus taking upon Himself the sins of the world:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6).

4. Darwin thought that natural selection rendered design redundant.

He wrote:

The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered.  We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. … Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.

Comment: Wrong, Charles.  Natural selection is the culling of the unfit individuals of a population.  This can uncover previously unseen combinations of genes that have always been there since Creation and remain unchanged.

However, it can act only on existing genetic information, and cannot produce anything new.  It has nothing to do with design.  And by the way, you didn’t discover natural selection.  Edward Blyth, a creationist, observed it and wrote about it in 1835-1837.

5. Darwin thought that natural selection, rather than belief in God, could account for both the happiness and the misery in the world.

He wrote:

If the truth of this conclusion be granted [i.e. that there is more happiness than misery in the world], it harmonises well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection.

If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree they would neglect to propagate their kind….  

He then added that many sentient beings occasionally suffer much.  Such suffering, is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action.

He continued:

A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time?

Comment: Darwin’s views on suffering were highly personalized through the death of his 10-year-old daughter, Annie, in 1851, which destroyed Charles’s tatters of belief in a moral, just universe and chimed the final death-knell for his Christianity.

But Charles, suffering and death are integral parts of your theory of evolution.

God originally created a perfect world, where there was no violence or pain or death

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be meat.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so (Gen 1:29–31).

When this sinless world was marred by the rebellion of the first man, Adam’s disobedience brought an intruder into the world—death (Gens 2:17, cf. 3:19).

However, now, because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we all can be restored to a right relationship with God and enjoy peace with Him.

This sad outcome for Darwin shows the baneful danger of compromise with the concept of millions of years.  Darwin’s main opponents in the Church had views very much like today’s progressive creationists, who believe that God created species over millions of years.

But this view entails that God had created the germ that killed Annie as a deadly pathogen.  This contradicts the biblical teaching that death is the last enemy (1 Cor 15:26) and “the wages of sin” (Rom 6:23).

This teaching implies that God had created the germ as a beneficial agent, and that it became deadly only after the Fall.

6. Darwin discounted the inner conviction of others as evidence for God.

He wrote:

But it cannot be doubted that Hindoos, Mahomadans [sic] and others might argue in the same manner and with equal force in favor of the existence of one God, or of many Gods, or as with the Buddhists of no God.

There are also many barbarian tribes who cannot be said with any truth to believe in what we call God: they believe indeed in spirits or ghosts, and it can be explained, as Tyler and Herbert Spencer have shown,

Comment: Believers do have an inner conviction about their relationship with God.  They have a positive peace with God about their sins (as distinct from a negative mental obliteration of the concept).

This is because at the heart of Christianity the penalty for sin has been paid by Christ’s death and resurrection, and so God can justly forgive sin (1 Jn 1:9) and thus give peace of mind to all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.

Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and animism provide no such assurance, because no other religion has an adequate answer to the sin problem.

The inner conviction of the early Christians would never have been produced were it not backed up by irrefutable historical proof that Jesus rose from the dead.  There are at least 17 cultural factors that would have doomed Christianity in the first century if there had not been this proof.

7. Darwin discounted grand scenes (like that of a Brazilian forest) as evidence for God.

Comment: In the Bible, David saw evidence in nature that pointed him to God (Ps 19:1). Darwin had done so too in the Brazilian forest in his mid-20s, but not in later life when he had quenched all such feelings with his evolutionary dogma.

As Christians, we should be aware that our feelings go up and down with our moods, our appetite, our health, etc., but our Christian faith depends on what God has said in His Word, the Bible, not on what we feel.

8. Darwin discounted man’s ability to reason.

Darwin acknowledged that a First Cause was a more impressive idea than blind chance, but then wrote:

[C]an the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

Comment: We now know that there is zero chance of the universe being the way it is by accident, and there is zero chance of proteins randomly combining to form life. The best Darwin could do to void the evidence for a First Cause was to invoke his own theory.

In fact, the reason why the mind of man can contemplate such things is because man is not an evolved animal, but is made in the image of God:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Gen 1:26).

“Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God (Jas 3:9).

This is something to remember when debating skeptics—given their own evolutionary assumptions, why should we trust their skeptical thoughts to be true?  Natural selection works only on survival value, not on logic or truth. C.S. Lewis pointed this out long ago.

9. Darwin thought that belief in God was the result of constant inculcation of children.

He wrote:

[I]t would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.

Comment: God made mankind in His image.  It is not surprising therefore that children easily believe in God.  This even includes children who are NOT inculcated, such as in Japan where most adults don’t think of God as the Creator.

It is also not surprising that in later life many become atheists when they are taught by the government schools and media that they are nothing more than evolved pond scum.

Darwin disregarded the evidence that God has supplied, both in His Word and in nature.

Darwin’s argument commits the genetic fallacy—the error of trying to disprove a belief by tracing it to its source.  For example, Kekulé thought up the (correct) ring structure of the benzene (C6H6) molecule after a dream of a snake grasping its tail, but chemists don’t need to worry about correct ophiology to analyze benzene.

People can believe the right things for the wrong reasons.

Conclusion

Our faith is based on God’s Word, and no human being will ever be able to prove whether or not God exists, we live by faith:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things no seen.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently see, him (Heb 11:1, 6).

Christian faith is not irrational and is supported by logic and reason:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:18-20).

Darwin committed logical fallacies, and his arguments against God fail because he disregarded the evidence that God has supplied, both in His Word and in nature.

…stories about You.  How did that one myth of Atra-Hasis go again?