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Questions and Answers on the Bible,
the Cults, the Occult, and Aberrant Christian Teachings

by Robert M. Bowman, Ken Samples and Ron Rhodes

from The Bible Answer Man column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 4: Numbers 3, 4 and 5, 1991.

The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.

Volume 4, Issue 3

This column is based on questions and answers excerpted from "The Bible Answer Man," CRI's live call-in radio broadcast. In this issue of the Newsletter, Rob Bowman addresses the question: Does God know everything, including the things that human beings will choose to do in the future?

It isn't too surprising to hear non-Christians, liberals, and cultists deny that God knows all things. What is surprising is that a growing number of theologians who profess to be evangelicals also deny it.

The Bible repeatedly affirms that God knows all things. His knowledge is "perfect" (Job 37:16) and "beyond measure" (Ps. 147:5). He sees every move we make, knows the innermost thoughts of our hearts, and knows what we are going to say before we say it (1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 139:1-6; Jer. 17:10; Heb. 4:12-13). Jesus tells us that our heavenly Father even knows how many hairs are on our heads (Matt. 10:29-30). Unlike the false gods of the world, the Lord knows everything that will happen in the future (Isa. 41:21-24; 42:9; 44:7). God revealed to Isaiah, for example, the name of Cyrus -- the king who returned the Jews to their land after their exile in Babylon -- more than a century before Cyrus was even born (Isa. 44:28--45:1). God even knows what people would have done if their circumstances had been different (Matt. 11:21).

Despite this evidence, some people deny that the Bible teaches that God is all-knowing. They point out, for example, that Genesis reports God coming to look for Adam in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned (Gen. 3:9-13). Later, the Book of Genesis reports God as saying that He would go down to Sodom and Gomorrah to find out how bad their sin was (Gen. 18:20-21).

These passages, however, do not actually say that God did not know everything. Nor are these passages difficult to understand. Parents often ask their children where they are or what they have done, even though they already know, in order to get the children to face up to their wrongdoing. God does the same thing with us.

There is another common objection to the doctrine that God is all-knowing. It is the claim that if God knows everything that will happen, our actions cannot be free, responsible decisions. For example, if God knew that Adam and Eve would sin, then, we are told, Adam and Eve had no choice in the matter -- what they did was predetermined from the start.

Christians have proposed somewhat differing answers to this objection. Some agree that in some sense everything we do is predetermined, but argue that from another perspective our actions are indeed the result of our own responsible choices. Others have urged that God's knowing all things before they happen does not imply that He determines all things before they happen. However the matter is resolved, one thing is clear: we are not at liberty to deny or twist the Bible's teaching that God is all-knowing just because we are not sure how that is compatible with the Bible's teaching that we make responsible choices. Both are clearly taught in the Bible, so Christians must accept both -- even if they do not know how to put the two together.

Volume 4, Issue 4

This column is based on questions and answers excerpted from "The Bible Answer Man," CRI's live call-in radio broadcast. In this issue of the Newsletter, Ken Samples -- noting that some Christian churches recite creeds during their worship services -- addresses the question: What are creeds, and why are they important?

The term creed is derived from the Latin word credo, meaning "I believe." Creeds are considered to be authoritative pronouncements that set forth the central articles or tenets of the historic Christian faith.

While the most famous of creeds were developed during church history, specific statements in Scripture have been used as creeds in themselves. For example, in the Old Testament the Israelites used the Shema as a creedal expression of the unity and uniqueness of Yahweh: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4). In the New Testament, there are several passages that were used as protocreedal statements during apostolic times. The apostle Paul's statement in Romans 10:9 about confessing "Jesus as Lord" was certainly used as an early Christian creedal confession. The use of creedal expressions, therefore, has a biblical base.

In many cases these biblical statements were used as models for the formal creeds that developed later. The four formal creeds used in church history consist of: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Creed of Chalcedon.

The creeds were written with several purposes in mind. First, they were written to correct various heresies that had arisen. For example, the Nicene Creed was written to combat the Arian heresy that denied Christ's full and unqualified deity. The Creed of Chalcedon countered heresies that challenged the biblical teaching concerning Christ's human and divine natures in one Person (Nestorianism and Eutychianism).

Second, the creeds affirm Christian truth. The Athanasian Creed, for example, affirms the truth of the Trinity, Christ's incarnation, resurrection, ascension, second coming, and final judgment. Creeds, therefore, have an appropriate use both in Christian instruction as well as in worship services.

Another way in which creeds are beneficial is that they help us identify what is essential doctrine from that which is peripheral. For example, the creeds do not discuss disputable areas in eschatology (the study of last things) such as the rapture, the tribulation, or the millennium, but simply state -- as does the Nicene Creed -- the central issue, which is that "He [Christ] shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end....and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen." The features in eschatology that are central and indispensable to historic Christianity are that (1) Jesus Christ will return to earth; (2) there will be both a resurrection and a judgment; and (3) Christ's kingdom will never end. The creeds, therefore, help us to avoid being too narrow in our presentation of Christianity.

Because the creeds are a summary expression of biblical truth, they are authoritative. However, like any statements written by imperfect men, they are to be subjected to the supreme authority: the Bible. Unlike the Bible, creeds are not inspired. Creeds were never intended to replace Scripture. But they have remained a helpful guide for the church in affirming doctrinal truth, refuting error, and encouraging doctrinal instruction.

Volume 4, Issue 5

This column is based on questions and answers excerpted from the "Bible Answer Man," CRI's live call-in radio broadcast. In this issue of the Newsletter, Ron Rhodes answers three questions pertaining to Christ's relationship with the Father.

End of document, CRN0040A.TXT (original CRI file name), "Questions and Answers on the Bible, the Cults, the Occult, and Aberrant Christian Teachings" release A, June 30, 1994 R. Poll, CRI

A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.

Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute.

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