Four Key Principles of Biblical Creation Teaching at PPCF Ė Rich Cloud, PPCF Chairman
As a follow-up to my previous series of articles on PPCFís Vision & Mission1, it seems appropriate to continue this discussion by providing an overview of our educational focus as a ministry. Thus, this current article focuses on the What we provide during our meetings. This general content can be summarized as Biblical Creation, and the criteria used to define this is described in the following portions of this article.
Summary Overview of Biblical Creation Teaching
The overriding perspective, which encompasses Biblical Creation (BC), is centered in the concept of a Christian Worldview (CW). CW is grounded in the belief that oneís approach to life and the basis of oneís thoughts and actions are viewed through the lens of Scripture. BC, however, does add an additional and fundamental aspect to the typical CW. BC also intentionally incorporates the specific and identifiable perspective that the Genesis 1 to 11 account in Scripture provides a truthful understanding of past history (events, people, places and times from creation to some three plus centuries after the Flood).
Thus, in a way, I may be getting ahead of myself by first writing about the principles of teaching BC before addressing in more detail concepts such as: what is a worldview (Christian specifically) and why this understanding about Godís Word for Genesis 1 to 11 is so important (e.g., the inspiration, authority & truthfulness of Godís Word). I do plan to address these and other related concepts in later articles.
However, for our fellowship at PPCF and maybe for myself in particular, I feel it is important to communicate who we are and what we do as a ministry and the reason God has called us to be here at this time and in this place. By addressing the basis of our teaching at PPCF early on in the articles I plan to write, I want to state the importance of this fundamental aspect for our ministry. This overall concept of BC, which will be stated in four principles, can be used to help define and position BC within the larger CW. These four principles will provide a clear understanding of what we stand for and how we intend to carry out our calling at PPCF as a teaching and discipleship ministry.
Itís about God Ė His Integrity, His Character & His Revealed Word to Us
Firstly, any Christian approach to life needs to start with God and to be centered in Him. Each Christian needs to recognize that who we are as believers in Christ, and the blessings we receive from this relationship, originate with God. What we know about God is revealed in his Word. This is primarily how God has chosen to communicate most things about Himself, including His plans and His purposes to us. Our awareness of Him, our ability to communicate with Him and thus who we each individually are as personal created beings have been revealed in His word, which originates from Him. God has revealed this by His creative act of making each of us as a person of worth and "in His Image".
Thus, our understanding of Godís character, His attributes and His nature help us to recognize how He has created the universe and all it contains, including mankind. The means and ways, by which he has done this, is provided in His Word. Some aspects of these actions are simply highlighted as having occurred, while others contain more specific details, with all of these included in the Genesis 1 to 11 account. Thus, in certain ways we are told and can know specifics, while in other ways we need to discover more, as we seek to know more about the truths, which He has provided to us. But as we do this, we must recognize the veracity, the rectitude and the clarity with which His Word was written. We must seek to discern what He intended to communicate to us.
With this as our basis, one verse comes to mind as I reflect on God and His Word. This verse is found in Psalm 138:2. It reads, ďI bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.Ē (ESV) The first part of this verse speaks to an attitude of praise and thankfulness for God by the writer, and for the writerís recognition of his place before God. Thus, the writerís desire is to pursue after and to worship God.
The second part, however, speaks to the key understanding of why this verse is appropriate to discuss here. This portion proclaims that God himself has exalted His name (His character) and His Word (Scripture) above all things. The word for exalt here simply means "to be or make great, to magnify, to glorify". The word for above simply means "above, over, high". When these words are taken together and within this proclamation, this latter portion of the verse speaks to the idea that Godís desire is to both reveal and clarify the meaning of who He is and what He says while expressing that these concepts are of the absolute highest importance and are, in fact, above anything else.
Thus, our understanding of God at PPCF needs to convey these same truths about God and His Word. We must seek to exalt God and His Word in our speech and in our teaching. We must discern the truth about what God would communicate based on His character and how He did communicate the Truth of Creation. This later part would include the entire truth about every part of the "origins-based" content found in Genesis 1 to 11. From this discussion, we now consider how our expression of both God and His Word are to be exalted by our teaching.
Brief Presuppositional2 Statements of the Four Teaching Principles for Biblical Creation @ PPCF
These four foundational truths of Biblical Creation will each have a specific impact and focus pertaining to oneís view about origins. It is also recognized that each of these principles is complementary and thus they each directly reinforce the basic truth of Godís Word, which He has revealed about origins. The order by which they are listed shows a progressive development and understanding based on the acceptance of the prior principle(s) as being authoritative and truthful, then logically leading to the next principle in order.
PPCF believes and trusts that these four principles are consistent with the inspiration, the truth and the authority of Godís Word in its entirety and especially in Genesis 1-11. These presuppositional principles are discussed and summarized below. Each will then be detailed under separate headings.
1. The Facts and Events of Creation Provide a Truthful Understanding Consistent with Godís Character.
2. Godís Word (Genesis 1-11) Records Accurate and Correct Accounts of Historical Facts.
3. Godís Word (Genesis 1-11) Records an Accurate Account of Time and the Correct Timeline of History.
4. All Teaching of Origins-based Science is Done via an Exegetical Understanding of Godís Word as Applied to All Scientific Disciplines.
1 Ė The Facts and Events of Creation Provide a Truthful Understanding Consistent with Godís Character
PPCF believes that God would only act according to the attributes He possesses and the veracity/rectitude (justice) of His character, as He has revealed it to us in His Word (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, Numbers 23:19). Thus, when God created the physical universe plus all of life and humanity in His image, He did so in a way that is fully consistent with whom He has revealed Himself to be in His Word.
Likewise, all other historical events and actions by God, as recorded in Genesis 1-11, are also fully consistent with whom God has revealed Himself to be. This viewpoint and perspective both accepts and emphasizes the doctrine of the perspicuity (or full clarity) of Scripture. This is summarized as follows: "God says what He means and means what He says." Thus, all teaching will be done with this perspective in mind. This would also include any outside teaching opportunities that may occur or articles written for this website.
2 Ė Godís Word (Genesis 1-11) Records Accurate and Correct Accounts of Historical Facts
Building on principle #1, this teaching ministry accepts that all Scriptural content found in Genesis 1-11 is factually true. This content accurately describes these recorded events, people, places and time from history. These events would be taught as "factual and truthful narrative accounts", each of which provides key biblical and foundational insight for the rest of Scripture.
Any and all viewpoints or perspectives of Genesis 1-11, which do not accept this portion of Scripture as being factual and containing historically accurate, narrative passages, will not be accepted as being either a correct or valid understanding of biblical truth. This would include both any and all non-biblical or secular sources and those Christian sources which question, by their content, the factual truth of Genesis 1-11. All teaching at PPCF will be done from this perspective of history as provided in Genesis 1 to 11 account.
Likewise, any and all outside teaching, if and when those opportunities occur, will also be done in like manner. Also, all papers on this website will be written within this same understanding and perspective as affirmed by the historical truth of Genesis 1-11.
3 Ė Godís Word (Genesis 1-11) Records an Accurate Account of Time and the Correct Timeline of History
Accepting the truthfulness of principles #1 & #2, and utilizing verifiable secular dates from history plus accepting the entirety of the factual events and the details of the timeline as recorded in Genesis 1-11, would place the time frame for the creation week at some 6000 to 6200 years ago. All recorded time-based accounts contained in Genesis 1-11 would be taught as being the accurate and factual time record for these respective events, which provides key biblical and foundational insight for the rest of Scripture.
Thus, any viewpoints or perspectives that accept the concept of long age time frames for history, whether secular or Christian-based, are rejected and will not be accepted as valid in any teaching done at PPCF. Likewise, any and all outside teaching, if and when those opportunities occur, will also be done in like manner. Also, all papers on this website will be written within this same understanding and perspective as affirmed by the historical truth and timeframe of Genesis 1-11.
4 Ė All Teaching of Origins-based Science is Done via an Exegetical Understanding of Godís Word as Applied to All Scientific Disciplines
Teaching principle #4 is the simple application of accepting the Biblical truths stated in principles #1, #2 and #3. This perspective would then follow and accept the fact that God as Creator has designed all that we see and experience. From this, one can develop a proper and correct understanding of origins and apply this perspective to all science-based instruction, which would result from this understanding and which is summarized below.
All origins-based, scientific evidence (and thus all historical & forensic considerations of science applied to this same evidence), when examined and evaluated within each scientific discipline, would be understood and taught by solely utilizing and accepting the historical accuracy, the 6000-year time frame and the authoritative and truth accounts recorded in Genesis 1-11. Thus, Godís Word is the first principle and foundational basis for the proper perspective and viewpoint of how to consider any and all historical based understandings of scientific issues, i.e. origins science. This entails an exegetical of Scripture first.
Any "science-first" views for the foundational understanding of origins (i.e. any eisegetical understanding) will not be accepted as a valid approach to understand the truth of Scripture. Placing science above Scripture can only result in invalidating the clear truth and teaching of Scripture. This approach is categorically rejected.
Thus, all teaching of science-based topics and the application of any and all science disciplines will always utilize, as a first principle, the lens of Scripture to evaluate the science taught. Likewise, any and all outside teaching, if and when those opportunities occur, will also be done in like manner. Also, all papers on this website will be written within this same understanding and perspective as affirmed by the historical truth and timeframe of Genesis 1-11.
Ultimately, what is true about the past, in terms of origins, is about what has certainly occurred and who we can trust to provide the factual truth about it. If we truly believe that God is indeed the Creator, then God was there and He can tell us (as He has in Genesis 1 to 11). If we believe that He has recorded these truths in His Word, then it seems clear that He has provided this communication to us in a form to be both known and understood.
My hope is that the discussion contained in this article has provided a logically defined argument and overview of our principles at PPCF for all educational teaching. These principles are intended to provide a pathway of understanding and a description on what has happened, when it has happened, how it has happened and the way we can understand the what, the when and the how of it. From this, we can say with assurance that Godís Word is our basis of truth on the matter of origins.
Our primary intention is that we desire to assure that our teaching is in accord with Godís Word. When we examine the subjects we teach, very little "directed" teaching will likely include Principle #1. Some direct teaching will include principles #2 and #3. Most of what we do and teach centers on principle #4, with references back to and understandings formed by principles #1 through #3. The fact is, however, if we do not get principles #1 through #3 right, then principle #4 will be wrong. For the sake of those whom we teach and the kingdom work our ministry has been called to do, all four principles need to be correct in intent, accurate in the evidence provided and honoring to Godís Name to exalt both Him and His Word. We trust that this is indeed so.
I hope you enjoyed this current article.
Rich Cloud, PPCF Chairman
1 See the set of three articles written on the Vision & Mission of PPCF:
Our Vision and Mission as a Biblical
Creationist Ministry: Part 1 (1st
Our Vision and Mission as a Biblical Creationist Ministry: Part 2 (2nd Article)
Our Vision and Mission as a Biblical Creationist Ministry: Part 3 (3rd Article)
2 ďPresuppositions (statements & apologetics) are simply beliefs that everyone has that affect how they think, view the world, interpret evidence, and read the Bible. Apologetics is a reasoned defense of beliefs. So presuppositional apologetics is a reasoned defense of Christian beliefs based on recognizing our presuppositions." [Quote from Answers in Genesis article by David Wright]
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