Tom: Thanks, Gary. You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Our first question, which we have taken from Dave’s book In Defense of the Faith—it’s one I have wondered about as I read through the Book of Genesis as a young Christian, but let’s get right to it. “I’ve had several atheists challenge me with the very first chapter of Genesis, not with the usual arguments about the universe being created in six literal days, for which I think there are scientific answers, but with one I can’t solve. Verses 14-19 say that God created the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day, yet on the very first day God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light; and the evening and the morning were the first day,’ verses 3-5. Where did the light come from on the first day if the sun, moon, and stars weren’t created until the fourth day?” That is something you need to wrestle over, Dave.
Dave: Well, it’s a logical question. Science doesn’t have any answers. We don’t even know what light is, so you couldn’t hardly say that the sun creates light, or that the moon—of course, the moon reflects light. We don’t know what it is. It acts like a wave, it acts like a particle. Math deals with a lot of these things. I wouldn’t know what to do with a partial differential equation if it hit me over the head now. But . . .
Tom: Dave, you lost me a few minutes ago, but keep going.
Dave: (Laughing) . . . but you can have particles of light—well, it’s incredible what they do, but we don’t know what light is! We don’t know what gravity is. We don’t know what anything is.
Tom: Is this just you and me?
Dave: No, this is everybody. Of course, that is as you’d expect it to be if the universe was created by God. If He created it out of nothing, then you’re are not going to find the answer to the existence of the universe in the things that He created out of nothing.
Tom: Now, Dave, we have talked about this numerous times on the program, but I know we have some new listeners [that] I am sure are saying, “What? God created something out of nothing? How do you figure that?”
Dave: There obviously had to be a time when nothing was here except God. You don’t get everything out of nothing.
Tom: And He couldn’t create it out of Himself, or everything would be God, right?
Dave: Well, that’s right. It would be an extension of God, part of God. This is Eastern mysticism. This is pantheism. No! We know the sun was not in the sky forever, just very quickly. I can go through this with a scientist, believe it or not, on an airplane, sitting next to me, in a few minutes! And I’ve even said to . . . say he’s a physicist sitting next to me, and I say, “You know, there is a contradiction between the first and second laws of thermodynamics.”
“Really?” and they raise their eyebrows.
“Well, yeah, the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy, says that energy runs down like a clock. It’s getting less and less usable. If it had been here forever, it would all be unusable. But the first law, the law of the conservation of energy, says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. But it hasn’t been here forever. If it had been, it would be unusable. Well, but you say it can’t be created. Well we can’t create it. But there had to be a beginning. We know the sun wasn’t in the sky forever; it would have burned out forever. The same thing with all the other stars. Things entropy. Things rust and deteriorate. So there had to be a time when no thing existed at all. Otherwise, if the things had been here forever, it would have worn out by now. And you couldn’t have had energy hanging around for millions of years or trillions of years to make a big bang out of. Where did the energy for the big bang come from? Why did it bang right then? How do you get all of this out of a big bang?”
You cannot explain it that way. There had to be a time when no thing existed except God. Someone had to exist who was capable of creating everything out of nothing. So, light was made out of nothing, and we don’t know what it is, but we do know that the Bible says that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”
And when you get to Revelation:21:23, it’s talking about this New Jerusalem that comes down from God out of heaven, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Interestingly, there is no new Rome, no new New York, there’s no new Washington. Jerusalem is it! This is the City of God, named the City of David; forty times it is called that. And he says, “I saw no temple therein for the Lord God almighty and Lamb are the temple of it.” That’s an interesting statement.
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamb is the light thereof, and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it.” That’s interesting, Tom, we could spend a week talking about that. And you know we are studying in the Gospel of John, and in John:1:3 it says, “All things, . . . ” (This is speaking of the Word of God, Christ.) “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
That’s interesting. Life and light are connected somehow, and we know that life is supported by light. If we didn’t have light, we certainly . . . we would be in darkness, and I don’t think any life can exist in total darkness, although some exist in the depths of the ocean where it’s almost totally dark. And there may be some life in some caves somewhere, I don’t know. But as far as human life is concerned and it’s talking about intelligent life, it’s talking about man’s understanding of truth, of justice, of morals, ethics, and so forth. There is no life of that nature without light.
And light and understanding are connected. “I’m going to shed a little light on this subject,” we say. So rather than exposing Genesis 1 to the ridicule of the atheists, this is another proof that this is God’s Word!
Tom: Dave, I have a question about that—when you quoted from Revelation, “the light of God” in the New Jerusalem, that’s a light that’s constant. I even think—you know, I haven’t read that verse, but it talks about no sleep then. But in Genesis we’re talking about “and the evening and the morning were the first day.” So obviously—or, it seems to be two different kinds of light here.
Dave: Yes, well, obviously God could have light. He could have light shining without the sun and the moon and the stars. And how there would be an evening and a morning and so forth, that may just be a figure of speech, I don’t know. Because there was not an evening and a morning as we would know it, which goes by the sun. But He set that standard, and, of course, the Jews—they measure their day beginning with the evening, and this is where they get it from. But all I can say is there could certainly be light. There was light without the sun and the moon and the stars, and the light was there temporarily in that form.
When God says, “Let there be light,” the light we know of is part of this physical universe. And, it’s like God could have said, “Let there be time,” as well—and it does say that, in fact: “In the beginning. . . .” So this begins time. Time is part of this physical universe. And, so, God is saying, “Let there be physical light.” He doesn’t have to have a sun.
Tom: See, that brings up an interesting point, and a problem that we get into sometimes. We’re looking from our vantage point right now, in time and history with regard to how the universe is functioning. And we have an indication that it didn’t function that way at the beginning. Certainly we believe in a worldwide flood—perhaps the axis has been changed with regard to great catastrophes, with regard to the stars and the planets and so on. So, my point is we’re looking at it from this perspective, and we’re trying to understand something that we weren’t there and maybe we are applying a wrong model. And that’s the problem.
Dave: Right. And, Tom, I certainly can’t explain it. All I am trying to say is that light comes from God, as everything else comes from God, and He didn’t need a sun and a moon and stars for there to be light. I have a few scientist friends—we used to live right near CERN (Centre Europeande la da recherche nucléaire), the European Nuclear Research Center, just outside of Geneva.
In fact, I knew the man who sold them the farm on which they built it. It’s all under ground, and we used to be part of an English-speaking Bible study there, because you have people from many nations, so English would be the common language. Some of them were scientist there at CERN. Generally they come there temporarily from various countries, even from Russia, and they come from all over Europe. They pool their resources and so forth, and I know some scientists in this country as well. They would just tell you, for example, every door that science opens, there are ten unopened doors on the other side! That although our knowledge is accelerating incredibly beyond what someone could have understood not many years ago. And yet, of course, it’s a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy: “Knowledge will increase; many will run to and fro.” I think of that every time I am in an airport. It’s just astonishing!
But they tell just tell me it’s like receiving images in a hall of mirrors. It just goes on and on and on and on and on. And although our knowledge is increasing, the unknown is just receding ahead of us faster than we can catch up with it because an infinite God created this universe! I don’t know how many subatomic particles they’ve found so far. And, Tom, this blows my mind whenever I think of it. There was a friend of mine at CERN and I asked him, “Where do you think we are in the scheme of things between the innermost depths of the atom and the outermost reaches of space?”
It knocked me off my chair! He said, “I think we’re about halfway in between.” He said, “It goes as far into the atom as it goes out into space!” Now, I can’t comprehend that! He’s not talking about literal space measurements, but that it just seems to be beyond our comprehension.
And the Bible reflects that! It does not reflect the thinking of the day in which it was written. Now, Moses wrote this, and he grew up in Pharaoh’s court. You don’t have any of the nonsense that the Egyptians talked about. They worshiped the sun. They worshiped light.
No, it comes from God. But it is not God. God is light, but light is not God. Like God is love, but love is not God. The universe is just . . . well, Tom, I’m a few years older than you are; we won’t tell anybody how many—how few it is, actually. [Tom chuckling.] But I remember when I was in school as a boy—that would be in the 30s. The physicists actually thought they were going to explain everything by physics. They were going to explain consciousness and thought processes and thinking and morals and purpose and meaning.
I don’t think any physicists imagine that anymore. They recognize that there is a nonphysical dimension—a dimension of the spirit. Of course we are soul and spirit living in a physical body. You can’t explain thoughts—we’ve talked about that many times—by chemical reactions in the brain, electrical current in the brain. The brain doesn’t think. It’s like a computer that we use to think, and we are the thinking person inside! We’re made in the image of God! Not a physical image, because God is not a man. God is a spirit. So we are made—Jesus tells us that in John 4 when he’s speaking to the woman at the well—and so we are made in the spiritual image of God. And, again, we don’t understand that. We don’t know what anything is really. I’m not even in touch with this page here in front of me, Tom. I can’t even be sure what this . . . I don’t want to get too philosophical now, but I can’t even be sure what this page is, because . . .
Tom: Well, you’re touching something physical, but it’s not getting to your spirit through something physical. In other words, it’s being translated by your brain to your spirit and it’s a perception right?
Dave: That’s right. All I know of this page that I am feeling now is how it feels; I can see light reflecting from it, and that gives me an impression of it. And that, as you said, is being mediated by my brain, which is interpreting it, but I am not in touch with this thing itself. It’s like I’m wearing thick gloves. And that’s the way it is with everything.
Now, of course, you know, you studied the occult enough, you know what the whole major idea of mysticism is to go into a trance state, an altered state, cosmic consciousness, and then you become the rocks, you become the tree, and there is no separation between you, you know. And somehow you think you are really becoming “it.” Of course, you have to get into a state of consciousness where you can’t check up on yourself to know whether you’re really thinking rationally even, or not. But anyway, a tremendous book, the Bible, and it just says, “God said let there be light, and there was light.”
Tom: Dave, going back to this question, there seems to be a very simple contradiction here. I mean, this is the basis of the question. Now, if it is so obvious, here it is: God creates light, and we have a night and day before He creates the sun, the moon, and the stars. So somebody says, “Oops, look there, you’ve got a big problem.” Now, why didn’t Moses, who wrote this, why didn’t he say . . . he was a bright guy, you know, he was educated in the court of Pharaoh, as you mentioned. Why didn’t he say, “Whoops! I’ve got to adjust that.” And then, after him, nobody made an adjustment to something that was so . . .
Dave: You don’t adjust the Bible.
Tom: Right, you adjust yourself!
Dave: That’s right. The Bible adjusts us! In fact, the Masoretes even would count the words, the letters, on each page, to make sure they hadn’t made a mistake.
Well, Tom, we probably ran that one into the ground. Do we have something else? Is there another question?
Tom: Yes, there is one other aspect. You touched on it. Moses, growing up as the son of Pharaoh, basically, in the court of Pharaoh. He must have had the greatest, the best, education that one could possibly have. And it wasn’t just in Hebrew and what would have been the oral tradition, right—prior to him writing.
Dave: Well, he wouldn’t have been speaking Hebrew. He was speaking Egyptian in Pharaoh’s court.
Tom: So here’s a man . . .
Dave: But he learned Hebrew from his mother.
Tom: Right. Here’s a man steeped in the culture of Egypt. Now, when you read through the Bible, why don’t we read about Egyptian culture? I mean, the guy who wrote the first . . . again, we know it’s under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but had it not been, you would have found all kinds of examples of his background and his education. That’s what people do when they write. They bring what they know, what they’ve experienced, to the forefront.
Dave: And you find none of that, which is, again, further proof that the Bible is what it claims to be—God’s Word. Tom, is there time to go on to another question?
Tom: Yeah, we’ve got another question. “The conversion of Saul . . . “
Dave: Now, this is a question, again, either given to me by someone at a Q&A session, or something that I pulled out of my files by atheists.
Tom: Okay, well we’ll take your word for it, Dave. It’s in your book In Defense of the Faith.
Dave: Right. I want them to know I’m not making these questions up.
Tom: Right. “The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, a rabbi, to Christianity, seems to be the strongest argument that Christian apologists can muster for the resurrection. Even if we accept it as having been written by Luke, the Book of Acts presents an account Saul’s conversion that is less than convincing. Yes, he claimed that he saw Jesus Christ alive on his way to Damascus, and yes, he was willing to die for his belief. That does not prove however, that Paul actually saw Christ. It only proves that he sincerely thought he saw him alive, years after his crucifixion. He could have imagined that he saw Christ; he could have hallucinated due to a sense of guilt for having persecuted Christ’s followers. How can Christians make so much out of Saul’s conversion when it stands on such flimsy ground?”
Dave: Well, Tom, I don’t remember where that came from, but this person is rather. . .
Tom: Well, he had to be into hallucinations, okay? Because this was right on their mind.
Dave: Well, this person is very perceptive, because I have heard many Christian apologists talk about this and proving the resurrection from Paul’s testimony, and it doesn’t wash. He could have hallucinated. How do we know? I mean, we know he was sincere, but how do we know he really saw Jesus?
Tom: Well, I’ve got some good reasons, because I read your book, Dave.
Dave: (Chuckling) Right. Well, if you go to Galatians:1:11 (I happen to be a Certified Public Accountant, so I know what he’s talking about here)—he says, “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel, which was preached of me, is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Interesting, because in the Bible—well, for example, Peter tells us that “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”—by the Holy Spirit. Over and over we know that the Bible is inspired of God, the Holy Spirit. But Paul doesn’t say that. He says “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” and he says that repeatedly. In 1 Corinthians:11:23, for example, he says, “I received . . . ”—not of the Holy Spirit—“I received of the Lord what also I delivered unto you—how the Lord Jesus, the night in which he was betrayed, took bread: . . . ” Paul wasn’t even at the Last Supper, but he’s telling us what happened at the Last Supper because he claims that Jesus Christ told him—that he met Christ, the risen Christ, and Christ taught him personally.
He goes on, verse 17, “Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; I went into Arabia,” and so forth. He says, “I didn’t go up and ask Peter, James, and John, ‘Hey guys, I think I met Jesus! I’d like to preach this gospel, but I never studied with Him. I could make some big mistakes; you better give me a quick course! I better get into seminary or something, so I know what this is all about.”
He says, “I did not consult with any human being. I was taught by the Lord.” Now, how do we know that was true? Well, Paul turns out to be the greatest authority on Christianity. In the next chapter, he rebukes Peter publicly. He says, “Peter you are wrong!” He writes most of the New Testament and the other apostles—Peter calls his writings “scripture.” The other apostles have to acknowledge that Paul knows everything they know and more! I don’t know any other explanation except he really met Christ, and Christ really was risen from the dead. We spent too little time on that . . . I guess we won’t come back to it?
Dave: It’s powerful. This man, Saul of Tarsus, who hated the Christians—he becomes the greatest authority on Christianity and writes most of the New Testament. You cannot explain it away. He learned it from Jesus Christ himself!
Tom: Right. Dave, a quick thing: Paul starts out—he’s the apostle to the Gentiles. It’s interesting that the Lord allowed him to be that after persecuting the Gentiles. Paul persecutes the early church!
Tom: And what a start! But look how he finished.
Dave: Yes, no other explanation! Jesus is alive, and he met Him!