Paul in the Book of Acts.
Paul is called the “Apostle to the Gentiles;” does that mean that he didn’t preach to the Jews? What was his primary message to his own people? (Jesus is our Messiah.) When he preached to the Gentiles, was that the approach that he took? Because the heathen were either idolaters, atheists or pantheists, Paul had to start more elementally. What did the people in Lystra, Asia Minor think of Paul and Barnabas after they healed the cripple man? “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.” How did Paul respond to this idea? (Acts 14:15-17.) What would have happened if instead of this approach the missionaries started talking about the death of the Saviour on the cross? Paul first directed those people to the foundational doctrine that God is our Creator. Then he added that creation is filled with the evidences of God’s existence, power and goodness. How critical is the doctrine of Creation to the preaching of the Gospel?
At Athens Paul was confronted with two major Greek philosophies; what were they? The Epicureans were atheists who believed in the random evolutionary origin of all things. The Stoics were evolutionary pantheists. We can see that modern evolution is much like the philosophy of the Epicureans. How is modern evolution pantheistic in nature? (Nature is the replacement for the Divine Creator.) Both encouraged their followers to worship the idols which represented the different forces in nature that developed and sustained the world. How did Paul respond to them both (Acts 17:22-23)? (“I’m here to declare the unknown God to you.”) And what was the first thing that he said about that unknown God? (Acts 17:24-28.) Whom does Paul say holds the world and even our bodies together? How are we the “offspring of God?” Is there any way that we could be the “offspring of God” in an evolutionary way of thinking? (Theistic.) What was Paul’s last point (verse 31) and how does it relate to Creation? (Sovereignty and life.) How much scripture did Paul quote in this address to the Athenians? To what then did he appeal?
There are other evidences of Creation in the Book of Acts which are not related to Paul. We’ll come back to what Peter believed and taught next week. There is, however, one event which involves neither Peter or Paul – Pentecost. How do the events of Pentecost related to Creation?
The Book of Romans.
What is Paul’s theme in Romans 1? (Man has an innate knowledge of God.) Where did that knowledge of God originate? (Creation.) What very special and important word is used in Romans 1:20? What room for evolution is there in the words “which were made?” When he said that “they knew God” could he have been thinking of people like Noah, Shem and Japheth? What does man make himself, when he changes the incorruptible God in his mind, to created beasts? If Creation and the Creator are not so clear, should Paul have said that we are “without excuse?” The word “excuse” is “apologia” which means “defense.”
How did sin enter into the world (Romans 5:12)? Who is that one man? Did Paul think that Adam was nothing but an allegory? Does this doctrine leave any room for modern evolutionary thinking? When someone believes in evolution, what does it do to his doctrine in regard to sin? When someone doesn’t possess the correct doctrine of sin, what is the likelihood that he will ever be saved unless that false opinion is changed? If Adam is not considered to be a real person, what is the likelihood that Christ will be considered seriously either? In this regard how dangerous is are the doctrines of evolution? The reason that we need Christ the Saviour is because Adam, our first father sinned against the Creator.
At what point did death enter Creation? Where does modern evolutionary thought place the beginning of death? In evolution what is the source of death? If someone believes in theistic evolution, what relationship does death have to sin? Who is responsible for death in that man’s theology? (God.) If death reigned for a billion years before sin came along, how does Jesus’ death meet the needs of sin? Some people argue that only human death is sin-related – not animal death. What does Romans 8:19-23 say about that idea?
Should we be surprised if a scripture teaching God’s sovereignty also teaches Creation (Romans 9:20-21)? Turn to Romans 11:33-36. Romans 16:25-27. Can we say that Romans is a Creationist Book?
The Epistles to the Corinthians.
Was woman created in the same way as man? How then? Is this idea even remotely related to any of the evolutionary theories that you know? I Corinthians 11:8-9,12. Is Paul’s purpose in this scripture to teach the doctrine of Creation? That this isn’t Paul’s purpose indicates that Creationism lays at the root of other Bible doctrines and is foundational Christian doctrine.
What is the greatest chapter in the Bible about the subject of resurrection? How is it fitting that this chapter also declares the doctrines of Creation and the Fall? I Corinthians 15:21-22. According to evolutionary teaching was there a first man whose name was Adam? Can any man, spirit or devil, create life beside Jehovah? What does this scripture do to the idea that death existed millions of years before the first human? If death did exist before Adam, what is the meaning and purpose of the death of Christ? What relationship does I Corinthians 15:37-41 have to the Genesis record of Creation? (“After its kind.”) This passage also indicates that God had a purpose and plan in what He created. Who was the first man (I Corinthians 15:45, 47). My first pastor believed in the gap theory, and he also believed in a pre-adamic race of men. What room is left for that pre-adamic people if we take I Corinthians 15 literally?
Who was the first woman? Are you absolutely sure that was her name? What name does evolution give to the first woman? For what is Eve most noted? II Corinthians 11:3. How does II Corinthians 11:14-15 relate to the Fall?
The Book of Ephesians.
Does evolution teach that there was a “founding” of this world (Ephesians 1:4)? I think that the word translated “founding” — “katabole” (kat-ab-ol-ay’) is interesting. It is used in only two ways and translated in two ways. Let me read a representative group of them: Matthew 25:34 – “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the FOUNDATION of the world.” Luke 11:50 – “The blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the FOUNDATION of the world, may be required of this generation.” John 17:24 – “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the FOUNDATION of the world.” I Pet 1:20 – Christ “Who verily was foreordained before the FOUNDATION of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Revelation 17:8 – “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the FOUNDATION of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The only other way that this Greek word is used is to be found in Hebrews 11:11 – “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to CONCEIVE seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” The “foundation of the world” implies the implanting or imparting of the power of God into His creation.
Who is the Creator? Ephesians 3:9-11. When was the institution of marriage first designed and given to man? Ephesians 5:25, 30-32.
The Book of Colossians.
After the Gospel of John, Colossians may be the greatest Christological book of the Bible. It is an expression of Paul’s doctrine about Christ. Colossians 1:15-20. What is interesting, in regard to the debate with evolution, about the tense of the verb “created”? Should we be surprised to learn that creation might not be sustained without the ongoing blessing of the Creator?
What is the “old man” and from where did he come? (Colossians 3:9-10.)
The Pastoral Epistles.
What are the Pastoral Epistles and why do they have this title? (Timothy, Titus and Philemon.)
What is the likelihood that Timothy believed that Adam was a real historical person (I Timothy 2:13-15)? How does I Timothy 6:20 relate to the Creation/Evolution debate? II Timothy 1:9-10. Titus 1:1-2. Even though I believe that Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews, due to time, I’m going to include it with our next study.
Is it safe to say that Paul was a Creationist?