Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Biographies of Ancient Man: Noah

By Analea Styles

Lately there has been one biblical name that seems to be on everyone’s lips, showing up all over in news feeds, blogs, and social media platforms. He even has a hashtag! But who is this “Noah” that everyone is talking about? Well he’s Darren Aronofsky’s fantastical cinematic Noah. And he’s the biblical Noah of Genesis. And he’s everyone’s own interpretation of the two.

Noah, Noah's ark, real Noah, Noah Movie, Bible, ancient man
An artist's imaginative rendition of Noah and the Ark 
The purpose of this post is not to get into the debate over said recent film. Read our review of Noah if you are interested in our stance. Instead, we would like to introduce you to the Noah the Bible teaches as one of the most intelligent, skilled, and righteous men of the ancient world.

In The Genius of Ancient Man we present the contrast between the evolutionary view of early man and the biblical account. According to the Bible, man did not evolve slowly from brutish beings into more intelligent humans – rather mankind was created brilliant from the beginning (read our post about the most ancient man of all). The biblical record gives us insight into the lives of several ancient men that were truly geniuses in their time! Noah is one fantastic example.

“This one shall give us rest”

The first mention of Noah in the Bible is when Lamech, his father, names him saying, “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed” (Gen. 5:29). Noah was marked from his birth as someone special and unique for his generation. His father was evidently growing weary of the toil and keenly aware that much of their hardship came from the curse God had placed on the ground. Somehow he knew that Noah would bring some relief to the world.

A Man of Righteousness

The character of Noah stands out in bright contrast to the rest of mankind living in his pre-flood world. Genesis 6 says that the people were continually wicked and evil. But Noah “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). Noah was “a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9) whereas the rest of the earth was “corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11).

Noah, Bible, Flood, worship, righteous, sacrifice
A scene of Noah and his family worshipping God after the flood,
from the Noah exhibit of the Creation Museum

Whereas all of mankind was rebelling against God and living in disobedience, Noah demonstrated his righteousness in his obedience to God’s commands: “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Gen. 6:22).

The New Testament also remarks on Noah’s character and faith:
  • Peter calls Noah a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5)
  • The author of Hebrews says Noah was a man of faith who had a reverent fear of God and became an heir of righteousness (Hebrews 11:7)

The faith and righteousness of Noah makes him stand out in his time because morality is seen as a characteristic of an advanced nature. According to the evolutionary theory, “morality begins with biology, and specifically with the instincts we have evolved over eons to aid in our survival and reproduction.”[1] But God instilled mankind with a conscience and the ability to reason and make decisions (for example, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and knew immediately that they had done wrong, so they hid themselves and proceeded to shift the blame to others when confronted).

The term “righteous” used to describe Noah means “just” and “lawful” and indicates moral or ethical significance.[2] Noah knew God’s laws and he chose to follow them rather than join the culture of wickedness around him. This shows incredible strength of character. It would have been mentally and emotionally demanding to live “blamelessly” in a world intoxicated by sin!

The Shipbuilder

Because the Bible doesn’t give us specific details about Noah, much of what we imagine about him is speculation. But we have to remember that when God came to Noah, over 1,500 years had passed since creation. The world was not a primitive place but rather filled with people, cities, and more technology than we usually give the ancient people credit for! We know from Genesis 4:16-22 that people built cities, made tents, raised livestock, worked metal, and created and played instruments! These were very accomplished people! 

And Noah found favor with God. When God decided to bring judgment upon the wicked corrupt world and to “destroy all flesh” (Gen. 6:17), He chose, by His grace, to save a remnant of both animals and mankind. And Noah was commanded to build an Ark to bring them through the waters of the flood.

Noah, noah's ark, Answers in Genesis, floating, flood
An artist's rendition of the Ark (Answers in Genesis) 
The building of this ark was no small chore! The ship that God instructed Noah to build was MASSIVE and would require more than just your average shipbuilding skills.

We do not know for sure how many instructions God gave to Noah pertaining to the building of the Ark. The Bible records a few scant details including dimensions and some materials but the crucial plans are not recorded. God may have given Noah specific instructions or perhaps Noah was capable of designing the ark on his own. By the time he received the commands, he was almost 500 years old – enough time to have acquired a huge amount of knowledge. He also had approximately 120 years in which to construct the Ark and therefore he had plenty of time to research and study. (This timeframe comes from Gen. 6:3, in which God says man would have 120 years, likely referring to the coming judgment of the flood.)

Either way, Noah’s genius and the miracle of God’s grace and provision work together to create an amazing conclusion – the Ark was built perfectly and brought Noah’s family and the animals with them through the catastrophe safely. Just think! He only had ONE chance to get the Ark right, there could be no mistakes!

More than just a builder

Building the ark would have taken more than just shipbuilding skills though. This massive project would have required immense planning and organization. Some have speculated that Noah, after living such a long life, was very wealthy and could have hired laborers to help him as well. Such a project would indeed require immense wealth and therefore Noah could have been a very financially adept man as well.

Furthermore, God expected Noah to provide for all the animals on the ark as well. Noah needed to know about the different kinds of animals, what food they ate, how much, etc. He had to know how to store food properly and to ration it out. Of course, God may also have provided this information in more detail than the Bible records but it was still up to Noah to prepare for it all and see it through.

Thinking about all that Noah had to do, it is not surprising God would give him 120 years to see it accomplished! We cannot help but be impressed by his work. This was one intelligent and extraordinary man!

Saved by Grace

But he was just a man; one chosen out of his generation because of his righteousness, and rescued by the grace of God from judgment. God gave the people 120 years to repent, 120 years of seeing the Ark in progress, a reminder of coming judgment; 120 years to seek salvation. There was only one way to be saved from the coming flood – through that door on the ark. One door.

Today God is waiting for the world to turn from their wickedness. He has provided the door: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and our only way to God (John 14:6). Our world is not so different from those ancient pre-flood days just as Jesus said: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah…they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away…” (Matt. 24:37, 39).

There is another judgment coming, this time by fire (2 Peter 3:7), the question is, are you on the Ark? Have you accepted the way of salvation? Do not be like those people who did not understand. Do not continually reject God’s way. Do not try to do it on your own. For it was not Noah’s skill or intelligence that saved him, it was his obedience to God – he got on that Ark! 

Will you accept God’s grace for you today?

Suggested reading for more about Noah and the Ark:

[1] Boeree, C. George. The Evolution of Morality. 2005. . Accessed April 4, 2014.
[2] Baker, Warren. Carpenter, Eugene. AMG’s Annotated Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary of the Old Testament. 2003. AMG Publishers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Reviewing "Noah": Bible-based Entertainment or Deceptive Heresy?

By Brian Mariani

Noah, Review, heresy, Bible, movie

Coming March 28th, acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky will share with the world his newest movie, entitled Noah, which is supposedly based on the biblical account of Noah. People are abuzz with anticipation, but WAIT! Be forewarned…there is a lot of controversy surrounding this new movie starring Russell Crowe as Noah, among numerous other all-star actors and actresses. Is this “biblically-based epic” really true to Scripture?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Modern Mystery

By Brian Mariani 

Coral Castle

We love mysteries. We can’t help it! God created man with the desire to learn and explore and discover His beautiful creation. Satan sometimes uses this characteristic of man to tempt us. Just like he offered knowledge to Eve in the Garden, sometimes our desire to “know” can lead us away from God instead of toward Him. However this doesn’t mean it is a sin to investigate mysteries, but we should always be wary of our motivations.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Incredible Journey (Part Two)

By Bethany Youngblood

Artist Depiction of Tower of Babel
Wikimedia Commons
(Be sure to read Part One of The Incredible Journey if you missed it!)

How Did They Go?

Now that we have a general idea of what direction these groups of people where headed in, how did they get there? It is an exhausting exercise to imagine that everyone simply walked all those miles day after day after day until finally arriving in some random place that looked like home. So was this migration some sort of mad dash, or a slow trek?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Incredible Journey

By Bethany Youngblood

Wikimedia Commons
"So The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because The Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:8-9 KJV)

The Biblical account of the Tower of Babel is a familiar one. We know that it was at Babel that God divided the languages and thereby scattered the people in all directions to fill the earth and multiply. But we are not so familiar with the span of time between the dispersion and the many civilizations that were created by the migration from Babel. Evolutionary models for how man populated the globe are so common that when confronted with the question of how it happened from a biblical perspective and within a biblical timeframe, we often come up short for answers.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reviewing Ham vs. Nye

Dear readers,

We are sure many of you are aware of the significant event that took place in Petersburg, Kentucky last night. It was broadcasted live online and reached an estimated (minimumtwo million people! Not to mention the many more who will watch the recorded version available online for free or later purchase as a digital download or DVD copy. This event is the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate.

ken ham, bill nye, creation debate, debate, evolution

Our team would like to take this opportunity to publicly express our thanks to Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis (AiG) and also briefly share each of our thoughts on the debate.

Ken, praise the Lord for using you to share His Word with so many people worldwide! You stepped up as a leader and represented Him well by sharing the Truth. You engaged countless unbelievers and believers alike by drawing attention to this crucial discussion that has already produced numerous print and digital articles, social network conversations, and other multimedia resources. You upheld the ultimate authority of the Bible as the very basis of the laws of logic, science and morality. You presented the Gospel clearly several times throughout the debate, and we pray the Lord will use the message you shared to draw many hearts to Himself!

We pray each of our readers would take the time to contemplate the messages presented in the debate. We hope you were encouraged and will continue in what Ken Ham has started here. Follow Christ and share the Truth with those who have no hope!

Here are a few thoughts from our team:

Drawing Worldview Conclusions

Don Landis
Pastor of CBC, Chairman of Board at AiG, President of JHBC

Creation debate, review, ancient manMr. Nye wanted a prediction. Here it is: Believe in evolution (his worldview woven with evolution, relativism, and humanism), and the culture that follows you will have no morals, no values, no self-worth, no true equality between man and woman or black and white, no understanding of why there is evil and abuse, no purpose for living other than self, no foundation for love or compassion of others, and no hope or future. After your very short years you die and rot and your conscious ceases to exist anywhere. You have no one to quote but yourself; your opinions are worthless and, by your own admission, meaningless.
(Read Pastor Don's full review here)

An Answer to the Mysteries 

Analea Styles

Creation debate, review, ancient manAs I watched the debate last night I was struck by the very real joy that Bill Nye has for science and discovery. No one can deny that Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”, has a deep passion for learning about the universe and desperately wants to figure things out “scientifically”. He mentioned that one of our greatest questions is “Why are we here?” In fact he was keen on pointing out that mankind has many big questions about life, the universe, and origins – things we don’t understand and he willingly admitted, “I want to know”...
... I love that Ken Ham repeatedly pointed to God’s Word as the answer. We do not back down on the truth – that we base our beliefs on FAITH in God and His perfect Word. We have our confidence in Him. We know the compelling and wonderful truth of the Bible, the true joy that comes from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), faith in God (Romans 15:13), and salvation in Christ (Psalm 51:12)! 
(Read Analea's full review here)

The Proper Way to Engage

Matthew Zuk
Creation debate, review, ancient manI thought that Ken did a phenomenal job of standing firm on the authority of God’s Word and he presented the Gospel at least four to five times throughout the debate. He stayed on message and presented his position very well throughout the night. He remained gracious to Bill Nye and did not resort to ad hominem arguments to tear Bill down. Ken maintained composure regardless of what Bill said and simply stayed on the message that there is only one absolute authority: God, and only one door to salvation: Jesus Christ. 
It is important to remember that it is not our job to “win” debates when we are talking to unbelievers. They are blind to the truth and so no matter what evidence we bring up it will never convince them. They will always find some way to refute the evidence we present, even if our evidence is conclusive and their points make no sense. 
 (Read Matthew's full review here)

Why You Should Watch the Debate

Timothy Thornton
Creation debate, review, ancient manTwo and a half hours could never have gone so fast! The debate last night with Ken Ham and Bill Nye was extremely enthralling. The topic of debate was: “Is Creation a viable model of origins?” Ken Ham proposed that Creation as described in the book of Genesis is the only model of origins, while Bill Nye explained that the mainstream scientific view of evolution and millions of years of natural processes should be the only model of origins taught in schools. 
While neither of the debaters could convince the other of their own views, the debate was not a frivolous event. Some may wonder why people would debate something that cannot be agreed upon, or why people would even want to watch it. However, there are several reasons that the debate was not pointless; that it was actually very valuable, and if you have not watched it yet, I highly recommend you do for those very same reasons...
(Read Tim's full review here)

How does all this apply to you? 

Derrick Zuk
My feelings were mixed while watching this debate. I cheered Ken Ham on, but also felt disappointed with some of his responses. He had many great arguments, but he seemed to lack in several key areas I wish he addressed more. Namely these things: 
  • That the "Bible, as written in English, translated many many times over the last three millennia" (Bill Nye quote) is trustworthy
  • That we are not respecting "Mr. Ham's word" but God's Word as our absolute authority.
  • That Nye has no basis for his claims to truth, morality and science itself.
After everything Bill Nye said, my mind raced to tear apart and destroy his statements; it was too easy, I began laughing at the absurdities he called compelling evidence. Yet part of me reminded myself of who Bill Nye is and who he represents. He is lost, a sinner in need of a Savior who cannot understand spiritual things and whose wisdom is reduced to foolishness – and he represents a lost world. He needs prayer, so through the debate I prayed for his heart and for those who support him.
I encourage each of you to do the same, and also to share it with others. Get a copy of the DVD, show it to your churches and youth groups, talk with your unsaved friends about it. The world is full with people like Nye who ultimately reject God because of their love for sin. They know the truth, but they suppress it in unrighteousness. Eternity is a long time; pray for Bill Nye and all those who choose to reject Jesus Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can change hearts and draw the lost to Himself. Pray for believers to take advantage of this opportunity to share the hope that is within us!

On this blog, the Ancient Man Team is dedicated to presenting history through the lens of Biblical authority. Please explore our blog posts about ancient man and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!

What were your thoughts on the debate? Do you agree or disagree with any of our responses? Or maybe we missed something that you noticed. Let us know in the comments!

Why You Should Watch the Debate

A response to the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate
By Timothy Thornton

Two and a half hours could never have gone so fast! The debate last night with Ken Ham and Bill Nye was extremely enthralling. The topic of debate was: “Is Creation a viable model of origins?” Ken Ham proposed that Creation as described in the book of Genesis is the only model of origins, while Bill Nye presented that the mainstream scientific view of evolution and millions of years of natural processes should be the only model of origins taught in schools. 

While neither of the debaters could convince the other of their own views, the debate was not a frivolous event. Some may wonder why people would debate something that cannot be agreed upon or why people would even want to watch it. However, there are several reasons that the debate was not pointless; that it was actually valuable, and if you have not watched it yet, I highly recommend you do for the very same reasons:

The debate was a clear depiction of worldviews. 

Both Bill Nye and Ken Ham use the senses that God has given them to observe the natural world around them. However, they each interpret the data they can observe in the present differently, since it represents the past. The final question posed to both at the end of the debate was: “What one thing, more than anything else, do you found your beliefs upon?” Ken Ham succinctly responded that the Word of God is the basis for all truth, and that he believes in the historical account written by the One who created everything and was actually there to tell us about it. Bill Nye responded by saying that Science was the basis for his beliefs; he also mentioned that such observational science brought joy to him and motivation for discovery. This was a fitting wrap-up to a debate that, as a whole, clearly depicted the difference of worldviews and how they determine the way a person lives and interprets the world around them. 

Ken Ham pointed this out very clearly at the beginning of his presentation. It is interesting to note that when one starts with God and the foundation that His Word is Truth, then they can understand the world around them. On the other hand, when one starts with man and the foundation that his knowledge is truth, then they cannot understand the things of God. Two verses come to mind: 
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
“Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7)
 The worldview based on the God of the Bible is the only one that can make sense of the world around us.

The debate gives stunning insight into our culture today

Ken Ham began the debate with a presentation on the indoctrination of evolution and millions of years in our western culture. He explained that the reason moral relativism is on the rise in our world today is because the foundation for moral absolutes has been thrown out—the Word of God is denied while science is upheld even subconsciously by many Christians. 

The undermining and trampling of God’s Word is nothing new; it’s been happening since Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instruction, being deceived by the Devil who questioned God’s Word. As such, a society that does not believe in the One True God will act and think in a manner in accord with Romans 1:18-32—
“professing to be wise they became fools” 
"For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is" (Proverbs 23:7)

In reality, there are truly only two worldviews in the world: God’s and Satan’s. Any worldview that denies the God of the Bible and upholds something else as the authority is obviously not of God and therefore can be lumped into the same category. 

Under the umbrella of philosophies that are opposed to our Creator God is the pervasive worldview known as postmodernism: truth is what you make it, morality is relative, tolerance and acceptance of many kinds of ideologies and lifestyles is promoted. Bill Nye expressed this worldview when he was asked the question: “Is there room for God in science?” In his response he mentioned that there are many people of differing faiths and beliefs around the world that support his view and teach evolutionary origins. Nye even made the statement that because many religious people have held the “scientific view” they (science and religion) “are not incompatible”. He also did not want to offend anybody and thus respected the fact that some believe in evolution and yet are very religious. He ended his response, however, by saying that “Ken Ham’s model” was certainly not compatible with science. 

Indeed, there are a lot of problems with Bill Nye’s arguments logically and evidentially, but he remarkably displayed the growing philosophy of our day. Christians who believe in the Bible, especially those who take a strong stance on the literal history of the world as found in Genesis, are at odds with a world that will accept and tolerate almost anything else.

The debate supports the Christian faith and the Truth of the Bible. 

For those who may have heard Ken Ham speak or have read anything by Answers in Genesis, the debate was an incredible refreshment and motivation. Although Ken Ham did not answer every single point or question raised by Bill Nye, he did clearly state that the Bible has the answers to all such things. The Word of an all-knowing and all-powerful Sovereign God is most certainly true, and though it cannot answer specifically every question in the world, it is the source of truth. Besides, Solomon once said, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The debate was a wonderful reminder that God’s Word can be trusted. And seeing Ken Ham boldly proclaim the truth of His Word and the message of the gospel encouraged believers to stand firmly upon the Bible and defend it.

The debate gives believers necessary apologetic knowledge to defend their faith in today’s culture. 

1 Peter 3:15 says,
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
Nye and Ham debated a hot topic that sparks much controversy in the western world. Bill Nye’s points were very typical of any unbelieving person, especially atheists. Ken Ham’s arguments and responses were a good example of how to approach such anti-God philosophies in our culture today. (For more on this read: Matthew Zuk’s review). 

Unfortunately, it is not just atheists and unbelievers that hold to Bill Nye’s worldview. When it comes to the issue of the origin of the universe and the age of the earth, many Christians believe the same as Nye. The view that the world is billions of years old and that humans evolved from unicellular life forms is prevalent in the church. The average person that professes to be a Christian does not believe that the six days of creation in Genesis 1 are six literal days and thus allegorizes the text to make it fit the mainstream “scientific” paradigm. 

What many true Christians do not understand is that this attacks the character and nature of God, undermines the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and also opens the door to further misinterpretation of God’s Word—the sustenance for our Christian life. For more on how the cross is attacked, read pages 105-107 in The Genius of Ancient Man. Ken Ham clearly explained the problems with accepting the view of evolution and millions of years towards the beginning of the debate. You may know someone who has mixed mainstream science with the Bible and doesn’t realize the problems that arise. This debate will help give you the answers you need to defend God’s Word to any who may question it, especially concerning origins.

The debate was also a reminder of our ultimate purpose on earth. 

Indeed, we were created by God to bring Him glory by the things we say and do (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 2:10). He has given us the “Great Commission” to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). We have a mandate as Christians to make the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ known to all people. This is the greatest message of all time; the importance is one of life and death (John 3:36). 

The entire Christian life is based upon this amazing truth that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross, and after three days in the tomb was resurrected from the dead. He is alive and now offers the free gift of salvation from sin and imparts His righteousness to any who would believe in Him, enabling them to enter into the presence of a Holy God after death. Ken Ham clearly presented this gospel and seemed to make sure that was the focus of the debate. 

Bill Nye was not going to be convinced by evidence, but after hearing the good news of salvation, the Spirit of God could draw his heart to believe in Jesus—and the outcome: eternal life! It is estimated that over 2 million people watched the debate in the last twenty-four hours—that means that if they were listening, they would have heard the gospel. The statements and responses made by Ken Ham are a great example of sticking to the task and not getting into fruitless argumentation. Indeed, if the greatest message of all time were not mentioned in this debate, then yes it would be pointless. 
(See our blog article on the gospel)

Paul said “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Amidst increasing persecution in western culture, Christians need to take an uncompromising stand on the authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15) and make known the gospel message. It is the dark and blind world that we live in that needs to hear the truth! The debate indeed is a tremendous encouragement and motivational reminder. We cannot change the culture or the hearts of the unbelieving world, but God is more than capable to work in the lives of those who have heard His message. We ought to live for the Lord and teach our children to love Him as well.