Were the days in Genesis 24 hours or longer periods of time?

Were the days in Genesis 24 hours or longer periods of time?

We presume you are asking about the length of the days of the creation story in Genesis. Most likely, ‘day’ refers to a long period of time. Keep in mind that scholars identify the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis as poetry, not necessarily a scientific textbook. The Genesis account of creation states that the Sun and Moon were not created until the fourth day (Genesis 1:14) so the traditional idea of a 24-hour night and day is not likely.

There are sincere Bible-believing Christians today, young-earth creationists, who take the Genesis account of creation as literal 24 hour days. There is another category of believers, old earth creationists, who take the Genesis account as ‘long periods of time’ based on the Hebrew language in which the word for day can have multiple meanings. ‘YOM’ the word translated as ‘DAY’ has four definitions one of which is, a very long period of time.

Science discoveries in the past century, from which the ‘Big Bang’ theory was postulated, strongly suggest that creation took place over a long period of time, perhaps as much as 14.8 billion years. Geological evidence for the earth posits an age of 4.8 billion years. God’s creation is truly more amazing than we can ever fathom. Recent scientific discoveries suggest this there are over 100 variables that must be perfectly aligned for there to be any life forms at all on planet Earth.

As mentioned at the outset, chapter 1 of Genesis is truth told in poetry. In Bible poems mountains can ‘sing’ and trees can ‘clap their hands’ to the glory of the Lord. (Isaiah 55:12) In ancient Hebrew there is often a rhyme in rhythm to this chapter in Genesis. We are also reminded in the New Testament in 2 Peter 3:8, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” This is why the mystery of creation intrigues us so much as we are limited by time and space but God is not.

Finally, this does not mean that God could not create the universe in seven 24 hour days if He chose. God could have done it in 24 seconds. The evidence of science today suggests a longer period of time for creation. The truth to remember is that God is almighty and the creator of the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He literally spoke it into being. Where there is a beginning there must be a beginner. That person is God!

We like to know with certainty about creation, but far more important is knowing the end of the story. How will you spend eternity? Does the creator of all have plans for you? If you are not sure, we encourage you to read the answer to the Question: How does one become a Christian?

How do we know that Jesus was a real historical figure?

How do we know that Jesus was a real historical figure?

The historical writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Peter are among the best preserved and attested to of all ancient writings. However, for those who seek additional corroboration of the historical Jesus, one of the best sources is Josephus. This Jewish historian, who was born in Jerusalem in AD 37 and died in Rome in AD 97, mentioned Jesus by name and made many allusions to him in the book, The Antiquities.

Concerning Jesus, Josephus wrote: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; as the divine Prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Book 18, Chapter3)

Also paralleling the New Testament is a body of literature called the Apocrypha. While never included in either the Hebrew or Christian Bible, they echo similar evidences about Jesus and his times and his miracles at his teachings. Further there are the writings of Tacitus (ca. AD 56 – ca. 117) that also mention Christ, crucifixion by Pontius Pilate and other reports of the activities of Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt from the historical records that Jesus was a real person.

However, if you ask believers how they know that Jesus was a real person, your answer is likely the chorus from a favorite Christian hymn, “You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart.” The hundreds of millions of followers of Jesus over the centuries is more than enough evidence in itself that Jesus is for real. Is Jesus a real figure for you? Do you know him personally as your Lord and Savior? God wants you to know him. (John 3:16) If you would like to learn more, please check out the answer to the question: How does one become a Christian?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

What does it mean that God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). God saw at all he had made and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Everything was perfect without a blemish anywhere! Think of a park with beautiful trees, manicured lawns and amazing flowers in full bloom with not a single weed to be found. It was truly a Paradise. Then unfortunately sin came into the world through Adam’s disobedience and God’s perfect creation became corrupted, so much so that God destroyed the earth with the flood, and only Noah, his family and the animals were saved to make a fresh start.

But, sin was still in the world. God gave his people laws and commandments but no one could, or was willing to, keep all the commandments or be obedient to all laws. People continued to sin and disobey God. But God had a plan. He sent his only son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for all the sins of the world; a Savior to fulfill God’s promise of salvation and eternal life for all who would trust in him. In the final book of the Bible, the apostle John describes a vision in which he hears Jesus say, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)

In a letter written by one of Jesus’ closest disciples we read: “but in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and the new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) Six hundred years earlier, the prophet, Isaiah recorded these words that God had spoken to him: “for behold, I create a new heaven and new earth and the former shall not be remembered, or come to mind.”

A new heaven and a new earth are more than just a promise. The Apostle John actually saw what God has prepared for all those who love him and have placed their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave John a glimpse into the future as recorded in Revelation 21:1 “ then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away.” The new earth will be a Paradise beyond human comprehension. In 1Corinthians 2:9 we read, “what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no mind has conceived are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

So, have you trusted your life to Jesus so that you can experience this promised eternal new earth paradise? If not, why not? Remember, this new creation is only the eternal dwelling place for those who are God’s children in Christ.

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

What are the glorious riches in Christ that Paul writes about?

In writing to the church in the Greek city of Philippi, Paul commends the saints and thanks them for their support of his ministry. In closing, he assures them “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a pretty bold statement and yet many Christians never think about the blessings that Paul is referring to. If they did, they would be full of joy every moment of every day even in the trials that come their way. Here is a partial list of those riches:

• Redemption from sin–the separation from God
• Salvation from eternal damnation and a promise of an eternity in the presence of God where there is no sorrow, pain or death
• Wisdom and understanding to make right choices
• Objective moral standards that bring about right relationships with one another and a fair and just society
• Peace, love, joy, kindness, patience and hope
• Self-restraint and guidance for life decisions
• Endurance, loyalty, perseverance
• Grace, healing, mercy and forgiveness
• Meaning and purpose for life…and much more

 When one considers the riches of being a child of God, the fleeting worldly pleasures pale in comparison. Paul knew what he was writing about. While he experienced all manner of pain, suffering, rejection, and imprisonment, he found that God continually met all his needs. He embraced the abundant riches provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus the messiah and kept his eye on the prize of eternal life with his heavenly father.

Would you like to know more about how you can inherit God’s riches by becoming his child and hence his heir? Click now to read about how you can become a Christian.

 

 

 

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity. So what transformed 11 scared and dejected disciples into fearless ambassadors? It was Jesus’ return from the dead and subsequent ascension into heaven. There were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried.

Was he really dead? The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were experts at the art of death. So when a soldier wanted to hasten the death of a man who had already endured a terrible whipping and was bleeding from wounds in his hands and feet, an upward thrusting spear through a lung and into the heart would do the trick. So certain of his death were the soldiers that they didn’t break the legs of Jesus. That was the usual way Roman soldiers finished a crucifixion. They knew that once a man could no longer support himself with his legs, he would suffocate since he could no longer breathe. The soldiers also knew that Jesus wasn’t coming back to claim his robe, so they gambled to determine who would get it.

To ensure that Jesus would stay dead and that his disciples would not try to steal his body and claim he came back from the dead, the tomb was sealed and soldiers were tasked with guarding it. To fail in the task of guarding the tomb, the guards risked execution.

Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected.

His disciples witnessed his ascension into heaven. So yes, Jesus is definitely alive. It is his power and authority that holds every atom in the universe together. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Given the events of these times, it could be soon. Are you ready? (see Matthew 25: 30-35)

What’s good about Good Friday?

What’s good about Good Friday?

There is nothing good about Good Friday until you see it from God’s perspective. Jesus didn’t have to give himself up to be crucified on a Roman cross. He didn’t have to die. However, he loved you and me so much that he chose to die in our place so that we would not have to suffer the punishment for our sins.

Throughout history, God sought to bring sinful mankind back into relationship with himself. That relationship had been broken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1-24). So God established a plan for restoration, a restoration that began with the setting apart of Abraham’s family and concluded with the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

To understand the restoration process, we need to understand the concept of a blood sacrifice as atonement for sin. That goes back to the time when man rebelled against God and the perfect creation he made for human beings. This sacrifice was codified by God when he set apart the Israelites and provided them with guidelines for living. That law included a system of sacrifices to atone for different sins. Among the sacrifices were those of animals without blemish, signifying perfection. (Leviticus 22:20) These sacrifices had to be repeated over and over since people kept sinning against God.

Through the death of Jesus, God provided a once-for-all way, for the sins of men and women to be atoned. In the New Testament, we read that John the Baptist recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) This is a reference to the perfect, sacrificial lamb that was called for in the Old Testament law.

Another John, the disciple of Jesus, who wrote an eyewitness account of the three years he spent with Jesus, explained the ultimate sacrifice that was made by Jesus, the Messiah. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) This made Jesus the ultimate sacrifice —satisfying for all time the requirements of God’s justice.

The apostle Paul wrote that “Christ died for our sins, according to Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3) because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This simple statement of fact reminds us that our personal sin, our rebellion from God, has us heading to judgment and eternal separation from God.

However, we do not have to suffer throughout all eternity.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross shows the depths of God’s love for us. (Romans 5:6-8) But it is through his resurrection that we can see God’s triumph over death. When we acknowledge that we are sinners deserving of death and accept the gift of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, we can be set free of the condemnation of sin and begin a journey that will culminate in everlasting life in the presence of God. Read more in the answer to the question: How does one become a Christian?

Why was Jesus riding a donkey called a “Triumphful Entry”?

Why was Jesus riding a donkey called a “Triumphful Entry”?

Triumphal Entry is the name given to the entry by Jesus into Jerusalem a week before he was put to death and resurrected from the dead. He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered, waved palm branches and shouted “hallelujah.” They were excited about the possibility that the eagerly anticipated Messiah was coming to save the people.

For many, this surely was the fulfillment of a 500-year old prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Zechariah 9:9

Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of that Triumphal Entry of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal life to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

How can anyone be sure that the God of the Bible really exists?

How can anyone be sure that the God of the Bible really exists?

If the universe with its trillions of galaxies and an unknowable number of stars and the irrefutable laws of physics and mathematics which control and govern it are not enough evidence to convince you that God exists, then look in the mirror and consider the complexity and supernatural intelligent design of your physical being.

Your eyes alone are two miracles that defy understanding in human terms. So too is your DNA, your brain, and your ability to reason. Where did that come from? And where do you think you get your sense of right and wrong, good and evil, and your longing to make sense of it all? A creator God, the God who reveals himself in the Bible, is the designer, the author of all that is. Everything we see around us are the evidence of the Creator, God. That’s how you can be sure God exists. The evidence is overwhelming. God has revealed himself in the creation, nature, the Scriptures, in Jesus Christ, and, most specifically, in human life. When we understand that we, each one of us, is made in the image of God, we can begin to know this God of the Bible.

Beyond observation, the best way is to get to know the God of the Bible is to ask God to reveal himself in your life in some tangible way. Then wait and see how he reveals himself to you. Talking to God and listening to him is what is known as prayer. This may seem too simple, but millions down through the ages have discovered that prayer is the best way to encounter God.

In the New Testament letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul, an apostle of Jesus wrote this about God:

”for his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, and the things that have been made. So, they (people asking your question) are without excuse.”

Romans 1:20

Clearly, God is ever-present, and we can experience and know him if we take time to seek him. The choice to believe that God exists is up to you. More importantly, believing that Jesus, God’s son, paid the penalty for your sin is an important first step in obtaining the promises that this God of the Bible has made to all of us–peace in this life and eternity with Him. The decision is one of the mind and the heart, as it is not for lack of evidence. Choose wisely as your eternal destiny depends on the choice you make. If you would like to learn more about how to enter into a life-changing relationship with God, please read our post, How does one become a Christian?

Why am I afraid to share my Christian Faith?

Why am I afraid to share my Christian Faith?

Sharing your Christian faith involves risk and potential failure. Sometimes it could even be embarrassing. Yet there is an urgency about sharing your faith in Christ with those you care about because we don’t know who else might tell them. Without faith in Christ, if they die, they are condemned to eternal separation from God in a place where there is eternal pain and suffering.

The Bible is pretty clear:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

If one is to remain silent and leave a person to his or her fate that doesn’t sound much like a friend. The better way is to ask God to give you the courage to take the bold step of communicating the gospel message of Christ in a loving and considerate manner. Remember, success is not dependent upon you. You have been commissioned to do the sharing and God’s Holy Spirit does the convicting and the saving. So, once you realize that you can’t do the saving, you’re more like the person tossing a life preserver to a drowning friend. That friend will be encouraged by the Holy Spirit to seize the ring, but ultimately the decision to take hold is the friend’s alone. Don’t feel as if you have to “make the sale.” all you have to do is start the conversation.

How Can I Share My Faith Without an Argument?’ is a free downloadable booklet in the RBC Ministries Discover Series that is a great resource for anyone wanting to let others in on the greatest news in the history of mankind.

When you recognize that you just have to be faithful and that the outcome is in God’s control the fear of failure is gone. God will give you the courage and the right words to share. The more often you share your story about how Jesus changed your life and how it will change others, you will discover that each time it becomes easier. Pray, trust and act. The world needs Jesus more than anything else.

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

It depends on what you mean by celebrate. There may be little harm in drinking green beer, eating corned beef and cabbage, and dancing an Irish jig, but a better celebration would be remembering who Patrick was and what he did for God.

Most people know that March 17th is a day for celebrating Irish national heritage and a man who is said to have rid Ireland of snakes. Many may assume because the title of Saint* precedes his name he was a religious fellow, but few know the real story of Patrick and the role he played in bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Patrick’s story begins sometime in the 5th century. From some of his writings we glean a story of a boy who was raised during the Roman occupation of the British Isles. His father may have been a church leader and a minor community official in Scotland or Wales. When Patrick was a teenager, he was captured by Irish marauders and sold into slavery in Ireland. There, he spent 5 years tending sheep and using his solitude to pray and sing and develop a close relationship with God. He also mastered the Celtic language that became vital for his missionary work later in life.

He escaped from slavery, returned to England and began formal study. Later he traveled to Auxerre in present day France and studied religion under St. Germain. Eventually he was promoted to the priesthood. He believed that an angel told him that the pagan people of Ireland were calling out for his return. With the blessing of the Pope in Rome, he sailed for Ireland and began telling the Druids of the true God and redemption bought at the cross by Jesus. Legend has it that he used the three-leaf shamrock to help explain the Trinity. Legend also says that he drove the snakes from the island, though scientists tell us that there were probably no snakes on the island since the end of the previous ice age.

It is not the legend we celebrate, but rather Patrick’s boldness and fearlessness in preaching the Gospel among a very hostile, pagan people. His missionary efforts led thousands of non-believers to give up their idol worship and become followers of Christ. By the time of his death at the end of the 5th century, the majority of Celts had become Christians.

So Christians and Irish Christians in particular, have good cause to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day, because they are celebrating the life of a man that God ordained and commissioned to carry His good news to a spiritually dark corner of the world.

*Ironically, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and one of the world’s best known saints has never been canonized by the Catholic church and therefore is a saint in name only.