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BULLETIN FIFTY THREE
ASTRONOMY FROM GOD AND MAN
"The Eternal Universe"
versus the Biblical Confines,
with the Bible as compère:
Hartnett's hypothesis, and those opposed
to his concept of extended universe life.
In the latest Journal, the former is speaking second each time.
Here his work and word in view in this hypothesis, need attention first!
See Bulletin Fifty Seven and Fifty Eight in this field.
Bulletin Thirty Six, for Journal of
Creation 30(3), 2016
Journal of Creation Vol. 31 (1), 2017
BULLETIN FIFTY TWO
TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THE QUESTION OF CONTINUITY
CHRIST'S DEFINITIVE DICTA
Let us take Matthew 24:35, or rather be taken by it. It is good to follow His word, since it is His, even the word of Him who gave man speech and logic and personality and expressive power (cf. SMR, TMR). Let us see what it has to say about continuity of this universe.
Heaven and earth will pass away. This is a flat statement. It is not even a subjunctive, but simple and plain factuality. We are not, when it comes to our Lord and our God, interested in second guessing Him, using our undoubted expertise to tell of our purely subjective and fallibly human opinings, or transfer of preferred combinings of one part of the Word of God with another, so that on certain suppositions they relate both intimately and transferably.
But what assumptions we meet in this affair!
Though the Luke passage called up, Luke 16:17, is not the actual parallel to Matthew, also cited by Luke, these two verses from Matthew and Luke are fashioned the one with the other, as though content were transferable, with desired omissions. These thoughts are squashed in some way together, as if, contrary to fact, they were in the same context and moment of utterance and with the same thing in mind, precisely in view.
There appears, a sort of waving of the imaginative wand to fuse that unselected for identity of meaning by God, in text and context, while ignoring what is the parallel, itself readily available in Luke at 21:33. Such transformative liberties with the text seem at least to be in some kind of sovereign knowledgeability, passing all bounds of necessary inference. New Testament things are moved together, as if from some super computer which understands all things and is therefore unabashed (cf. in detail, Appendix at *1 below).
The point is fearfully unsupported - and I mean fearfully, for a certain fear is due towards God, a fear of being presumptuous and so involved in one's own mode of thinking that one can guess what He is thinking even when He does NOT say it, like a cook, grabbing ingredients from here and there, to make such a nice dish. When it comes to the word of God, however, there is no such liberty. Certain things are repeatedly stated and declared to be going to pass and perish (for example, Matthew 24:35, Psalm 102:26). In this case, a flat contradiction of what IS said in both Gospel is the egregious outcome.
Think what you like, but in interpretation, conform not to what to you seems so good and satisfying*1, but to what is THERE. Interpretation is not an explanation of a theory, but an account of what is there, objectively provided, not subjectively suggested. Anyone can make a theory, but it is NOT the same as making clear what is the meaning of what God has said. Anyone can make a star, for that matter, in his mind, and prefer it to what is there. There are parallels. This however does not put it there.
After all, if one cannot keep to what IS (undoubtedly) there in what God imparts in His words, how can one expect with all godly meekness, to find FROM HIM what is to be held in mind in understanding Him, concerning His mind on such data as the existence (or not) of matter, of our sort of matter, our sort of time, or space, or our sort of space, let alone of the transitions that may be in view, both major and minor.
In the text currently in view, Matthew 24:35, certain things are unequivocally, startlingly, but on reflection, most understandably, NOT to be in existence. That is their destiny.
If you or tyres perish, then in the dimension in view, these or you are not there. For this world, if you perish, life is gone; its operative format is gone; its cohesion of visible parts is gone. The things said to be still there by contrast, like earth and skies, are not suggested as gone because you go. It is a selective statement and gives very precise data. You perish - not more is what is called you then remains on this earth. If the intention is not to cover matters of eternity, but just your earthly place, in context, then that is finis, no more. As to your place now in this planet, in these terms, you will no more occupy it. It will, as is pointed out in Job (20:9) see what has passed, no more.
Grief indeed for this fact might be in order. Whatever remnants on this earth, might remain for a time, without God's express Gospel intervention in His time, theirs is not a move from time to continuity in content in eternity, and time lets them depart. Perishing is the alternative for those who do not find God's mercy, in His love in the Gospel, in His time. This is the teaching of Jesus Christ, in particular of John 3.
When the topic is the heavens and the earth, and their passing away, what then ? Then their passing away means that they are no more for this earth. No more are their constant criteria to be there to be appreciated. With them, not arms and legs, but multitudes of particulate parts of various large and small nature, are gone. Their overall impact and majesty is gone. Space in which these inhere, is gone. Whatever might then happen or happen simultaneously, is not here our concern.
Let us take one thing at a time, note it diligently and be scientifically, or logically precise. As in an observation, so through understanding of words, we are instructed, and this instruction is neither more nor less. What it says, we adduce, ready for more, and what it does not say, we do not presume to invent, and ram into the mouth of the Speaker, who does not like people to invent His words, far less put their own with them to make some kind of remarkable composition. Creation is not exposition. You must not, God indicates, steal His words, go if He does not send you (Jeremiah 23) or unveil your own words as part or all of His. His heart deplores it, we learn there.
What else does Christ, then say in this impactive statement. In nullifying, by prediction, the heavens and the earth, and informing us thereby on this topic, He is also making a contrast. Now when you make a contrast it does NOT include the notion that it is only for form's sake and is not really so. Not, that is, if you wish to be taken seriously: and declaring the end of the current heaven and earth, in terms of perishing, you are not being unclear or humorous. It not a profound topic, because their objects are so many. Once they were not there. Then they were created, called into being and existed. After long and at times sever use, they will perish. They will be countermanded in some way, by the very power which commanded them (Lamentations 3:37) into being.
He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1), and when He commands, it is done; or decommissions, then this too is so (Isaiah 14:27). There is no intrusion into His power or purity, no dictate to His mind, no take-over of His speech (I Cor. 2:9ff.). The mind of God is not available for immigration, but in grace outreaches. God deals in universes as one deals in books; they are to be made or not, undone or judged, replaced or whatever. No one else does it. He says; it does. This is neither difficult to understand nor capable of meaningful contradiction as an interpretation.
As to the creation part, nothing cannot do it; if it could, it would have potential, which is not nothing. That is a contradiction in terms. It cannot have the power to have things accrue; for that is not nothing but a power. You CANNOT logically start overall, with nothing or you will end of it.
This is true in any original field setting you like (such as nothing or some verbal equivalent), for all depend on logic for tracing their alleged coming into being, and all accounts to account for what has happened (such as the production of an available energy decreasing after creation) depend on it, so that all big bang nonsense and begging the question logical detritus is merely a matter of fairy stories, or if you prefer, fabrications of a rationally idle intellect. This is irrespective of what that same intellect might do in other fields. Thus drunkenness can dull the strongest mind, and confusion of imagination with evidential reality can become a type of psychic intoxication, as can many things for many people in politics, before on some occasions, murdering a few million, historically speaking.
These are merely examples to reify what can
PRODUCTION OF THE WORD OF GOD IS A WORK OF GOD
IT MUST BE HEEDED
Production of the word of God is a work of God and one might as well seek to try to help Him raise the dead - as distinct from seeking to engage Him in such action - as help Him speak. God's word is not twisted, we read (Proverbs 8:8). It is clear to him who understands. Obfuscation ia nor onw od His qualities in revelatory speech. He especially detests the art of adding ideas of man to His ideas (very wearisome and utterly corruptive in potential, as you can imagine you might find, if others could insert into your books, making you say, as with Hartnett at Matthew 24:35) THE OPPOSITE.
Thus the text and its meaning is one thing; receiving or rejecting what it says (for whatever reason) is another thing. You can have world views aplenty, inward understandings in multitudes, wisdoms to the last point, but if the result is contradiction of flat statements, with neither compelling contextual grounds, nor irrefragable evidence, based on transmission attestation, then you fail to be an interpreter, and become an adversary in this, of the Almighty. I say it absolutely, I would not dare! I love fearing God because it is a clean fear, as the Psalmist characterises it, a cleaning fear indeed, for it purges presumption. Peter recommends it.
God spoke a world into existence (like a CEO infinite in power), and can nullify, destroy it, so that it passes and perishes (cf. Psalm 102:26), and is cast away like a cloak (so that it was there and now is no more involved). Indeed, in Matthew 24:35, the negation of the heavens and earth is made as a contrast to what is NOT susceptible to such treatment, namely the words of Jesus. They do not do this. It does NOT say, in the parallel passages in Luke and Matthew, "even if these things pass away." Ït states that they will pass away. If my rich uncle says, Even if these assets pass away, you still have those, well, that is alleged to be a fact. If however he says, It would be easier for those to pass away than for Australia to break into more islands, then he is venturing into more types of assurance with more implications.
Let God speak. In the cited Luke passage in the article, one point is made. In the parallel ones in two Gospels, another point is made. It is also made elsewhere in Luke! That is a triple declaration in three Gospels. Where the matter has different treatments in two, it also has the same treatment in those two! Since Luke has a different statement also, in a different context, each is interesting, instructive, to be considered and pondered. If a speaker's words were sure, as the word of God is, then at the end of the various statements, I would have much to learn, varied in nature, within the field of assurance.
Words have meaning and two more letters can debunk their meaning. Here Christ, the truth, is speaking His mind as He wishes, to convey what is true. He could have said other things; He elected not to do so, no doubt because truth prevailed, clarity did not bend, and His purpose was thus fulfilled, for indeed He spoke what His Father commanded (John 12:48-50).
|1.Heaven and earth will pass away.
|2. His words will not pass away.|
The first things noted, are to perish. The second group will not do so.
Elsewhere we find that these former things (1)
are cast away like an old garment, (2) grow old,
have their time, but declares (Isaiah 51:6), this is not true of the word of God. The principle on which the disparity is met, is noted, the procedure, the result, and the degeneration is featured in the case of the one only, as also its passing.
Again elsewhere, we find (not by infusing new words, making guesses, inventing connections and nullifying at one's own pleasure) that there is not only a contrast between the things that can be shaken and what is unshakeable (Hebrews 12:26), so that what can be shaken goes and the unshakeable stays, for He will shake (Haggai 2:6).Now He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3), so that a decision to cease to uphold them, keep them in being and in place and in operation, will entail that a divine activity now present in this phase of existence, will cease to deal with this field. In this aspect, it might be compared to turning off a switch, were the analogy not mechanical; but then this is the point, to bring home in other terms what is true in this.
Indeed, Hebrews 12 tells us this of the two
categories, shakeable things and the unshakeable: there is to be a shaking of
the shakeable, and this is linked to ITS REMOVAL (12:27), and it has this
further characterisation, it involves the "things that are
made". The unshakeable, by contrast in type, will
"remain". This also emphasises the marvel of NOT being
dismissed, through adoption, not perishing.
TRANSMUTED INTO THE DOMAIN
OF INCOMPREHENSIBLE DELETION
in its character, but in its cancellation
comes the venturesome dissidence from the texts and their truths
Thus not only, in terms of interpretation, are we being told a simple, totally comprehensible fact which any student of Genesis ought to be able to face in view of the mode of creation, without INTRINSIC difficulty; but this is contextually cohesive with a multiple contrast, so giving the whole not only clarity, but point, not only declaration, but mutually constraining integration of contrasting principles.
To counter this is to create a new Jesus, however unintentionally. A puppet says what he is commanded to say, and so does a christ. The incarnate deity is a man who told you the truth, as He indicates in John 8:40, and His words, as we here read, will outlast the universe. He has a commission as to what He should speak from His Father (John 12:48-50), and all power is given to Him; and it is His good pleasure to present by the means and the power of the Spirit, what is chosen. Manufacturing a new Jesus is an unholy task. It is wise to inspect and be sure that it is a task zealously avoided: let us repeat, ONE WORD can change a meaning.
Let us reflect, the word of Professor Hartnett here is adding that one word in outcome: NOT. It contradicts the output of Christ, in word and promised deed, entirely. As an expression of the Lord's Christ, therefore, it is grievously amiss.
Now we turn to II Peter 3. We find that mockers will arise who will deny certain historical basics as detailed in the word of God, mock and have no apparent brakes on their voicings. In particular, however, like it or not, certain things are to happen.
Sin may obscure vision, but the fact remains, Peter declares, that (as Christ Himself indicates in an extended declaration) the day of the Lord will come most unexpectedly, indeed in a manner resembling the mode of entry of a thief at night. What had seemed to have a certain continuity, uniformity, will cease to be so orderly. The heavens will not only pass away. That event at least will not be silent. Empirically, it will be exceptionally noisy. Now Peter did not have a Ph.D. in astronomy, but God made the minds that do; and when God speaks, let man be silent, is the advice. LISTEN!
Not only will the passing away of the heavens (at such time as this is the command) be in the day of judgment, a noisy dispersal, but it will be one of a certain incandescence, or some such extraordinary and unique category of action, and the elements, the participating components will melt in the burn-up, and that is what we are fold: it will be BURNED UP. Indeed, not only will this reference to the heavens, in a direct warning from the apostle, happen; it will be a partner in destruction. The heavens and the earth, are involved, and THESE with a third element, the works of man, in gross multitudes so amply and liberally contradicting Christ in method, morals, laws, life and doctrine.
The base and the spirit, for man, the platform and the performance, all in its wicked ambience and superimposition on the world in its wonder, passes away, perishes. This being a reality check, it becomes a segment of inventory of what is to come to man's vast habitat. It must not be left in limbo as if it were some kind of informative lecture. Man who hears must act! That is the context. We are, as it were, talking of possible nuking (as an illustration here), and saying, Get your shelter ready for you WILL need it; for when man acts it may be terrible, but when the anger of God smites, the weaponry has no limits, and the truth has ample justification, His longsuffering being staggering.
This outcome is far more than urgent advice: what is faced is systematic decomposition and departure.
Hartnett very strangely finds 'no sense' in what he seems to take as II Peter 3:10, outside the majority text*2, about the earth reaching the point of not being found. IF that were the text, then presumably it would indicate that so great would be the devastation that the earth platform for one, and the moral character which man has given to it by occupancy, will no more be tolerated in substance or character, so creating trouble in order that it might be even be found. It would be very eloquent. However the major textual variant outside the Majority Text is not "not be found" but "laid bare," as you find it rendered for example in the NIV. That is the text taken otherwise than for "burnt up".
Thus, on the way to dissolution, being on fire, the earth will expose its innermost parts before passing away (II Peter 3:10-12, Matthew 23:35, Luke 21:29ff., Mark 13:31). If we are going to talk negatively about texts, at least let us keep to what they are and not make some kind of uncertainty add to make confusion latent, with such contradiction of Christ in the beginning, overtake the issue itself.
However, the majority text has "burnt up" which comes to much the same thing as suggested by II Thessalonians 1;8 and of course with II Peter 3:12, where we learn that "the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire." There is a result: dissolution. Whatever causes may be in sum for this result, there is one noted: the earth is going to be on fire as it moves to dissolution, passes away and perishes.
Indeed, II Peter declares it roundly in advance of His detailed description of the implementation of the passing away which Jesus declared was to come. Consider II Peter 3:7ff., starting with 3:7 itself.
1) The apostle calls attention to the heavens and the earth which now are.
2) He declares that they are held in reserve, special object of divine action to come,
select for this.
3) Indeed, they are PRESERVED NOW, because they are held in RESERVE
for future action.
4) The terminus of this period of preservation, till the reserve date comes,
is the day of judgment .
5) The method of dealing with them when that comes is by fire.
6) It is linked to the perdition, divine negative judgment, of ungodly men.
7) The time until then is not short.
8) When this special time comes, reserved in categorical judgment for fire,
the heavens will pass away,
and as to the earth, it will be burnt up (as noted, the ragingly intense fire at work).
9) This devastatingly complete judgment, is compared by Peter
with the time of the flood, comparable in this:
it was universal in scope but with exceptions reserved for deliverance,
an utter demolition in that case with water,
less devastating to structure than fire,
but a readily remembered annihilatory removal of human life.
It was a vast denudation, distortion, calamity of enormous distinction,
outside the selected few.
THAT, the universal flood, was a prelude in UTTER ruin at its limits, which were vast.
THIS is associated with final judgment, a finale,
a long pending culmination for the work of God on evil
with no limit on its scope outside the redeemed ones.
10) The object of the fire, passing away, degradation, annihilation with no place to be, is twofold.
Let us itemise these purposes.
First, the text states that it is the wicked works IN THE
WORLD. This point should not be confused. That is the text.
Secondly, it is the earth. It is a holder for the wicked works, a container unit, a locale,
an environment to support them, like a man's house, a tainted garden to the last,
one of resolute resistance fighters, glutted with blood: with the works in it,
blazingly coming to a clangorous coda. Seized and squeezed, it will be destroyed.
There is a common end, perishing, for stake
holder and stake alike.
The end mirrors the murk, residue of the works in it.
The world of incomparable beauty, for some in
spirit as well as in life and wonder, is no more to be a party headquarters for
the wicked as they murder, and NOTHING ANYONE gained in it, like property of
value or handsome distinction of flesh, will have so much as a residual PLACE in
Any residual works have no more any place to build on, any temple for their scurrilous schemes.
It has let them down. It was meant to do so.
Their pay for the day is not least, no more earth, vehicle, place of hypocrisy, cunning and cults. It can no longer be used by tyrants or abused by dictators, turned into a bath to bathe in, a bath of blood. The judgment is on man and the outcome is on his habitat as well. It is spurned with its spiritual vagrants forever. Sin's mortgage is paid. The property with its increasingly evil proprietors is no more. Who will mourn it! It is now in general as with Nineveh in the prophet Nahum.
No value is to be found in it any more than in perishing tyres; but in this case, it is more fundamental, because a finale to thousands of years, now in its quintessence. It is all burnt up, passing away like smoke. In fact, that is precisely what the prophet Isaiah declares: "the heavens will vanish away like smoke."
In contrast, "My salvation will be for ever, and My righteousness will not be abolished." That is the divinely made contrast. What passes away like smoke is not what remains.
It is necessary to see things in the light of what the Lord SAYS in the Bible. It is then like imperial Nineveh of old, the sins committed in which have it as their representative, so to be interpreted by many. Now it lay waste, and WHO WILL MOURN FOR IT ? asks Nahum. Mourners for this world, like this world itself will be gone. Let's listen: "Nineveh is laid waste. Who will bemoan her!" Indeed, this being so, the Lord asks: "Where shall I seek comforters for you!"
This contains the thrust of what the Bible consistently teaches, when the topic is the scope of history with creation a member, and the judgment the end. Such is its aura, its spiritual aurora and both its indications and implications. The Psalms noted deal with the appointed terms of reference until that time comes, the Hebrew allowing longer or shorter, but not short absolutely. for the time.
Rather obviously, no human shelter can help when the very earth goes unhallowed to perish and pass away in a glut of inferno and whatever beyond is involved in this consuming conflagration which leads to that. It is also might be hard to find when something is destroyed and perished and gone away; and fire for its part, is not great on residues, when it is not only wrought on purpose, but on divine purpose, and in terms of long delayed divine judgment on the earth and its characterisable nature, whether you choose to regard this as personification, or simple transferred epithet, or fouling of the very memory of something, by the unspeakable and chronic continuance of evil, as more and more of it was turned by man to that end. You might even regard it as referring to the SITE, the SITUATION, the total CONGLOMERATION, the container and its contents, the very emblem of wickedness, its site and its sightlessness.
Moreover, the TEXT actually says THIS: "both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." To refer, as Hartnett does, to the undoubted fact that in the final judgment, there is fire, as if this in some way offset II Peter 3, is amazing. You can have a fire in two different houses on one street, in two different phases of judgment; and fire is an explicit element in judgment, the water destruction in the flood no longer in view, and this by divine directive. The promised omission of the one however is linked to the premised proclamation of the other. To export and import meanings does not alter what is written. Such action is a simple non sequitur. The Bible in nothing is unclear, and is even being clouded by inconclusive conclusions in exegesis.
Even at that, the text is not that the earth is morally culpable, as by personification, but the reference is to the works NOT OF IT, but "which are in it," II Peter 3:10. It is a place, There is work in it. Man is in it. Man works. The evil of these works, precisely as in the time of the flood becomes intolerable, careless beyond all comedy and filled with hatred challenging all tragedy; so in the burning up of this world, site and content alike are burned up.
Even without personification (which is a common literary device), there is no room for seeking to find some scrap of relevance in this entirely self-sufficient context. It needs no help, let alone by trying to make fire some kind of cosy togetherness that is unified, rather like a camp fire around which people sit. But this is not that. Like all the rest of the Bible-contradicting points, this has no basis, even for consideration.
Hence Peter enjoins, exhorts, directs his listeners to lead holy lives, to be diligent t be found in Him, in peace.
Now you can re-invent this warning and this
relevant exhortation; but only by ignoring once more a flat declaration of cause
and effect, of heavens and earth perishing, and man in danger of the same,
and a practically related advice of the most urgent practical flavour. In this case, again, it is more than distortion that would be required. It would be rather like a professorial chat with a student, TELLING him the reality, to dismiss his rather silly ideas, or at least something of that kind. It would be invasive, dismissive, a replacement regimen.
You can do this, but not without manhandling, or mouth-handling what God says WILL happen, and the WAY that He says it will happen, and the EXTENT to which He says it will happen, namely that element and aspect already considered above: perishing. Aptly, a NEW heavens and earth will not be left out, so that what perishes now has what is created in its place, and this is "looked for according to His promise," II Peter 2:13. Isaiah 65 and 66 speak of this new heaven and new earth, "which I will make" as one that will remain.
You find this again in Revelation 20-21, where heaven and earth at the judgment, having fled away, no place is found for them. They have nowhere to go so they "fled", which must mean at least, depart and without place, dissipate into deconstituted perishing. They were deconstituted, de-authorised, given no place as they passed away.
Passing away is not coming to stay, but rather moving on, moving off, all vigour, vitality, rigour, reality gone as when a wind blows and then passes away. It is no more there.
In contrast with this temporarily in the present heaven and earth, a vast assemblage of spirits in bodies (tripartite man - mind, spirit, body) and majestic formats, almost indescribably sensational surrounds, Christ in Luke tells us that HIS WORD will BY NO MEANS pass away (as indicated in place, in Isaiah 59:21. The endurance in this case is "from this time and forevermore."
THE ENORMITY OF THE CHANGE TO THE CHANGE
It is necessary to realise in all this that the CONTRAST between the shakeable and the unshakeable, the things shakeable and the things unshakeable, is total, continual, consistent, basic in character, involves the nature of God Himself in its eternity, with His word expressing it, and the nature of what He has made and His word expressing it in its perishability on the other hand, so that in this mutuality and apposition, the infinite diversity is made clear. There is in contrast in just those two categories as the beginning and the end of the matter, in overview. . Principles of imperishable character are involved, meanwhile, fundamentals of infinite diversity: the one forever, the other temporary, the one for its time of operational performance, the other without allay consummation except in ruin and removal. Failure with this joint project, to grasp it, becomes a fundamental impasse with the word of God and no mere sophisticated slither.
Where one called mankind is involved, as to type, then since this is in the divine image, but far from being God, a creation who is creative whether for good or for evil,
and so able to have an idol of the heart or mind or hand (cf. Ezekiel 14).On the other hand, then there is the future in eternity, which may be added to the potential for it through faith by grace; but the principles themselves do not vary.
It took the ransom of the cross to open that door,
God becoming man that man might become an adopted child of God (Ephesians 1),
not divine in himself, but granted grace to inhabit the adoption chambers of eternity
(Ephesians 1, 2:6, John 10:9,27-28).
Nor is the breach through the principle of discontinuity featured in death to be forgotten, for here is the acme of the curse in precipitate impact, as initial onset, before the resurrection.
Similarly, when it comes to the universe, it is one thing, as with the creation of man, to dismiss the nothing hypothesis in ll its forms, big or little bangs, which is a mixture of deceit, sloppiness of thought and the death of logic: and so be a creationist. One may do this in a causal setting where what is to do the work already exists, as arrays of almost endless testimonies independently require (cf. LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST, WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS). It is because it exists with undegradable ability, that it is able to create (cf. SMR, TMR).
It is one thing to understand the necessity and probe the wonder of creation in its continual confirmations through vastly superior exhibition of implanted knowledge, code and conditions, laws and mathematical formulae. It is however a correlative thing to understand about terminus, end, finish, wipe out, removal, perishing, so that no more place is found for the thing in question. Death is a human example of it. Dissolution is a material one. Passing away is a term indicating its absence (cf. Revelation 20:11, 21:1).
Things in the platform domain, in the setting for work and will and decisions and personal departures (and of course, arrivals), they have a case, a place. Starting and ending are prerogatives of the hand of the Maker and a consignment from the Creator as far as heavens and earth are concerned. There is a due date. There is a time dramatised, but this does not annihilate the annihilation. If I say, It is raining cats and dogs, I do not mean that it is not raining. I am using a customary cliché piece of imagery to signify something of its quality, where the fact and flurry, but not the precise amount, is what is chiefly in view. Again if you have purpose in mind, this does not eliminate the events fulfilling it. Thus, if I say, I will let that copy perish to eliminate danger of confusion, but will type a new one, this does not mean that I will not let it perish, or not type a new one.
Categories of thought must not become absurdly mixed because we are dealing with something large, requiring God to make it. After all, in the DNA are things way past human power to make small, and it is not human power which achieved this technical marvel, but adequate cause. Deny logic and it denies you and you are left bereft.
Thus creating and destroying are both prerogatives within the power of deity, and with an infinite being, the arena of thought may be miniature to a marvel, or prodigal in dismissal. We are at that level or height then, and this is the area where operations beyond man are natural and normal; except that in terms of the supernatural, it might be better to say, are supernatural and in terms of its norms, which can proceed to any desired level. This includes judgmental 'evil' for those requiring it for their case, and darkness and calamity (Isaiah 45:7, Genesis 6:13, Isaiah 66:8, 51:6), as well as termination of the approbation for this heaven and earth, its dismissal, evacuation, departure, passing away, perishing, of this we are informed.
There is no use prescribing for God contrary to His own prescription, what He will do or is likely to do (some sort of psychiatry here!), when He has declared in this domain many times what He will do (cf. Matthew 24:35, Luke 21:33, Mark 13:31 (emphatic declaration), Hebrews 1:6-12, Psalm 102:23-28, Isaiah 24:19-20, Revelation 20-21). Conflating contexts to induce cancellation of what is simply stated is mere foreign authorship to the word of God, and it is amazing ever to find such irrational latitude where God and His power is concerned. It is also in the case of Matthew and Luke a direct assault on the very thing being stated about His words. They will not pass away, having the continuing quality denied to what is in contrast, a matter of the things that are temporal.
So birth and death, creation and curse, beginning and end, all are to be found in the works of the Maker and what after all would you expect ? that He would be so controlled that He would not or could not destroy the heavens and the earth. That is NOTHING compared with the total horror and wonder, depth and dimension, vastness and rupture of having God become MAN and die, and not only that, but do so:
|1) in a cursed
condition for the sins of many others, a substitute;
|2) in agony and
anguish of Spirit, for sin whether borne or committed,
does that without mercy (Isaiah 59:1-2),
and the bearing of sin is in itself the mercy
in the case of the Saviour,
|3) in fulfilled
anticipation of the breach of death through sinless infinitude,
its rupture by mercy's payment in terms of justice,
so that there is resurrection of the body.
You must face that God is God and His actions are from His own heart, and not from the hearts of creatures, nor is His word from a joint commission of impressions, but from its own integrity for it is clear to him who understands (Proverbs 8), and a first consideration in understanding is to both trust in Him who speaks and realise His wonders and values, of which He is able to make you in much most aware (cf. Proverbs 1:22-23), and to let Him speak for Himself.
He is not a junior! He understands about His word. and often speaks on that topic (cf. I Corinthians 2:9ff., Isaiah 59:21, Psalm 111, 119, I Thessalonians 2:13, II Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:17-20). His understanding AND His power is infinite (Psalm 115, 145). In terms of the last cited, it is to be noted that there is something else in our field, to be found. Not only will every part of His written word be fulfilled, but the standard is every jot and tittle. God is very zealous about His word, the sole authorised written word to mankind, the Bible (cf. SMR Appendix C and D), and why not! Will people come along and start splicing this with that to the cancellation of the meaning of the one or the other! It is almost impossible to consider the profundity of such an error.
But what if someone for ANY reason, changes not only the form but the meaning, and does so not only to the point of altering, but of contradicting what is written, as here ? and what if there be no repentance ? Can such a person be a Christian ? It is a wonderful thing that the infinitude of the Infinite Being is the quality basis for judgment. HE makes no mistakes, and has it all settled from before creation, or human sin, or human beings arrived on the platform, the perishing of which is here in view. God will stain the pride of all glory, and there is no contest or continuity with His creation except for that which took the death of Christ, selectively, and from eternity, to secure (cf. SMR, Bulletin 47, Colossians 1:19ff., John 3).
Relevant considerations would include such texts (divinely and spontaneously given criteria included) as Luke 9:26. To be ashamed of Jesus Christ and of His words (these as granted are deemed not to measure up to the standards of the professing Christian and are hence dismissed in part), as you change His words, which include reference to both testaments, so you change who He is, as if to insert denials into a biography. in fact, any one additional 'not' to a theme or declaration or construction, contradicts and is at war with the wisdom and bounty of God, and constitutes a partial assault on His being, however unintentional. For years the Liberals have done this sort of changeover, and given reasons similar, ones often not even worthy of consideration and exhibiting in their case, a lofty disregard of both what is written and its constraining surrounds; and now if something not dissimilar comes from a very different source, what then ?
Coming with a different message on any topic, theme, and a different authority of course as in Jeremiah 23 and II Peter 2, cannot be accepted, nor can one join in any way with it. There are commandments on such things. But condemning the person is another matter. It is better to exhort and answer; but if the thing WILL not be faced except with more of the same fundamental fault (I Corinthians 11:19), then God is to be preferred in His promises, to man in his premises. Division is the finale (cf. Separation). It is nothing new. This century is the century of false enlightenment, and nearly every imaginable declension from God and His word and His predictions is to be found, with every warped use of imagination, even concerning God. Even from among yourselves, says Peter, will these detractors come.
Hartnett's earlier article along the orbit of this theme (Journal of Creation, 30 (3), 2016) showed some of the most tortuous reason area one has ever met. The matter proceeds in the later one.
The earlier one speaks of the parallel in Luke in some phase concerning translating into English. It moves as if there were some linguistic difficulty. Yet in Matthew 24:35, quite simply what WILL happen to the heavens and earth is what WILL NOT happen to His word, and this with no hypotheticals but only categorical statements. That is the first thing. To say the opposite, someone with whatever actual purpose, would need to delete, deceive or confuse.
Secondly, there is a parallel passage in Luke, not at Luke 16:17, which Dr Hartnett cites, but at Luke 21:29-33. THIS is a confirmation of what is found in Matthew, making the second, the parallel announcement with no difficulty, or variation to the point. This doubles at once, the statement, the attestation, its content. Why then seek Luke 16:17, a different occasion and a different statement, not a match at all ? What is to be gained from not noting that two items of data are provided here in two Gospels, and they being totally parallel, constitute one more doubly clear assertion, jointly ?
Indeed, that is not all the basic impact, though it is more than sufficient. A THIRD testimony to just the same effect is to be found in Mark 13:31, and if the word of God is a command to the intelligence and heart of man, indeed of mankind, He who has not left us to our own devices which readily corrupt through wilfulness, grandiosity and partial ignorance (Psalm 119:11,160, Isaiah 34:16-17), has given even more. It is a threefold cord which is not easily broken; a broken spirit and a contrite heart is much more to the point (Isaiah 66:1-2, Psalm 51).
If however, you for some wish or purpose insist on proceeding to this different situation, different statement in a different context within Luke, which is what is done in the Hartnett hypothesis, why make it serve to contradict these passages in Matthew and Luke ? What possible justification is there for that!
It is making another logical possibility where none is even hinted. If any one should want to get across the terminus of what is not the word of God and its personal conferments (cf. John 5:24), in general, and the non-terminus of what is, then invention outside His word is the only way. Here the point of relative ease and specialised interest is the mode.
One notices generally that both in what one reads and writes, when things require impact, diverse aspects may be taken at different times, to induce alertness and thought. So far then, we have three Gospel statements that heaven and earth will, in conformity to the case of the words of Jesus Christ, pass away. Added now from Luke 16, is something even more intense in the domain of accuracy (jot and tittle) and something more conducive, perhaps to imagination to go with it. It is EASIER for heaven and earth to pass away than for the words of Christ to do so. This is the new statement in its place, and context as written and as wrought in time.
Consider this case. This time, we think of EASE! Easy! we muse, for heaven and earth to pass away - well, if not easy, yet more so than for one word of Christ's to do so! What a prodigious, this time in terms of personal, fact! Indeed, it is not ONLY a word, it is the smallest letter or difference between letters! heaven and earth can leave off being more readily than for this to be so. This brings in a new sort of psychic impact, and is most impressive.
Yet HOW on earth this is supposed to WEAKEN the double statement concerning their dismissal ? How remove by contradiction what has in itself in both cases NO difficulty, and no weight on translation. Simplicity decrees and deity declares without room for manipulation, gainsaying or attenuation, that heaven and earth WILL pass away. Rational stays on this announcement, it is impossible to find. What is written is written; and what additions are made, and what harmonious diversities attend our divine news (as in Hosea 12:10 in principle, as an aid to understanding, are confirmatory and instructive! Thus related but not at all parallel statements are made on different aspects of topic. Do we doubt a Celsius readout because there is also available a fahrenheit one! Rarely have I seen such irrelevance. The next dénouement is this.
Since Luke (at one noted point) speaks of what is easier in a variant, this means that this is probably what was meant in the OTHER reference in Luke that actually DOES mirror Matthew 24:35. This appears a very prodigy of salesmanship, being gratuitous, unreasoned, intrusive and baseless. Ignoring the FACT, it misuses another case without the slightest logical force, and invents scriptures by an unhallowed manipulation. Reason does not exist for this.
Diversity does not per se destroy declaration; new data is not automatically to oust the old; and in this case both are not only found in the same Gospel, but in different places, with NO logical divergence, amid mere diversity of facts given.
HOW anyone could dare to present such irrational grounds for contradicting Christ in two Gospels is a case both fascinating and horrifying: both at the textual and the doctrinal levels!
Looking then at the non-parallel case in Luke, namely 16:17, we are told that what Jesus is "actually saying" is not the Matthew 24:35 statement (true, it is a different statement on a different occasion), but something else. Strange that anyone should ever add a new aspect or detail or datum to wht He has already said, fortifying it and giving it extra impact in one dimension that might the better more the listener; so that the joint effect could be a help to depth of understanding.
It is NOT that what one first said on a topic is automatically deleted if one says more elsewhere at other times. Yet this appears a general type for what is happening in this hypothesis. WE find what Christ is actually saying in a different setting, complementary, arresting; but this has no bearing on inventing this as logical ground for defiling His former statement into negation, Matthew and Luke in their actual parallels make this simple, clear, classic declaration. That fact remains. It is there. Itm ay be contradicted by the most specious seeming total irrelevance. In fact, this is a slide more like an avalanche!
The word of Christ in Luke and Matthew FLATLY contradicts Dr Hartnett in this matter, and no amount of speech will alter that which He, God the Speaker made and so secured, OR the addition which He made, or the TOTALITY of both. It is almost like examining a leg, then finding an arm, and arguing that since an arm can be seen in a different angle, therefore it is not really there.
Now as to the Old Testament, at least here there is something to talk about, other than simple eisegesis.
It is of course in the Old Testament that we have one of the most conspicuous and detailed references to the passing away of heaven and earth, in Isaiah 51:6, We are first of all told here in Isaiah, that there must be clarity. So we are instructed to lift up our eyes to the heavens. No question, it covers the stars, as if a lecturer were using a long pointer on a blackboard, to make sure no one was confused about his topic (we had one like that, and it was marvellous). Next, 51:6 tells us to look on the earth beneath, and as Hartnett rightly says at one point (and should remember) this is not some kind of allegory. It is not poetry. We are here given once more in its own way, a gauge to heaven and earth. There are things about them that we ought to know, and these are so important that our attention is first directed in this highly explicit manner. Isaiah then reveals what they are.
Now, we learn a fact: the heavens will vanish away. That is pellucid. Here we are with Isaiah, regarding these literal heavens and earth, and they are both visible and impactive, well known and basic elements in the divine enterprise. Visible as they now are, they will yet be removed from visibility, indeed altogether. They will VANISH AWAY. The idea that they will NOT VANISH AWAY is a flat and simple contradiction which should be rejected with vigour and address.
But this is not all. There is a principle in view as well. There is an AGEING PROCESS. It may as an incitement to understand, be compared with the well-known and often seen decay, growing old such as is typified in some coat, once so splendid, now ... on its last phases, without worth, no longer to serve in the way appointed in its creation; and in fact, it is tossed away. Tossed away ? vanish away ? and the latter because of ageing, so it is stated. It is even compared to human death: IT IS ALL TO COME TO A FINISH, A DISCONTINUITY, A SHUFFLING OFF, A DEPARTURE.
Thus the Old Testament is most explicit in this same area. Now let us turn to what is indeed poetry, even with its own modes of expression. Here Hartnett cites Psalms 148 and 89. Here first we learn of a decree that shall not pass, the prolongation of the command that they be created, we are told. God has established them for ever and ever. His kingdom, moreover, declares Psalm 89, will endure for ever, just like the moon, which is a witness.
Searching for the total meaning (NOT by contradiction of the data), we find in Isaiah 24:19-20 that the earth will be smitten, stagger like a drunkard in the violence to come, and that "it will fall and not rise again."
Clearly there are elements, aspects of these things needing attention. Now there is no difficulty in the TOTAL context of either the Bible or the Old Testament, about the Kingdom which will be established forever, like the moon. This is used as a dimension of longevity, and what is the norm till the end of the earth, the moon a witness, will not outlast the Kingdom. Would it stop if the moon stopped ? We are not told. It is simply that whatever durability the moon has, so will His kingdom have.
What then of the use of the term translated forever, in its Hebrew meaning ? Someone once spoke to me of some will I had made; that, said this will (and I am 89) would be forever. I knew what he meant: it was that in the domain where wills were apt and had their place, this would last to the uttermost and require no changes.
As all acknowledge, the relevant Hebrew word used here MAY (or in that case may not) mean a duration which has no end. It may also signify that the thing will last for the entire life of the thing in view, according to the case, where great length is normally a significant component. Thus the kingdom may (and does - Daniel 7:14) have the nature that will NEVER be destroyed, being set under the divine banner of the never-to-be-destroyed. It is the one that will not be destroyed. The case is open and shut. It proceeds on earth, it succeeds into heaven. Thus, integral to the eternal designs of God, In fact, it is designated by contrast with the other ones that have been in view in Daniel, and those others all perish. THIS kingdom however, like the word of God in contradistinction, does NOT perish. Thus the case is established even more: not only will it never be broken, it will NOT be broken, and there is then a simple negation (we must learn to take such things seriously): that is something that will not happen, period.
Thus the Psalm 148 needs further investigation. The forever MAY (it is quite exegetically responsible to say so) mean for a very substantial period of time, within whatever form, format, situation one may have in mind. If so, the one here in mind is the entirety of the history period on the earth, as far as day goes. There is in this vast period no fraud, no weakness, no failure, no clash of astronomical gears, nothing to end intemperately and by mere divine oversight or intention indeed, to end. To end what ? to terminate the regularity to the point of operability, of the heavens. They will continue immovable in this period, in their appointed function, kept intact by the power of God.
It is decreed. It is not something to be decided.
It is wonderful, impressive, majestic; just like man in his pride, and man in his short-circuit which comes when sin slashes his spiritual windpipe. This then is the supervening fact. The nature of the great time of this order in the heavens, faces another fact. There is the absolute certainty that sin will have its finale on this heaven and this earth, its disruption acknowledged, its impact not a mere thought but a vast movement in the heavens, as they PERISH. This is precisely the sort of dual situation you find in Isaiah 24:7-23. All comes first of all very good, but over this, sin has its various outcomes in decay, delay, degradation and termination.
NOW in Isaiah 24, we find that "the moon will be disgraced", and "the sun ashamed" but the Lord will reign. So the prelude mounts to the coming zenith. The moon's testimony fouls, the sun hides in shame, and the supernatural God rules over what is to be (cf. Psalm 72). As Isaiah 65:17 tells us in parallel to Peter, the Lord will CREATE a new heaven and a new earth. It is as in the first case, a work of creation. This sets the barrier in kind to what happens before that.
That came and went; then this comes. As Revelation 21 tells us, the millenium precedes the finale. This does not mean that there will be no milenium, nor in a very symbolic book, does it necesarily require a precise figure, a matter dealt with in the exposition of Revelation (see Bible Study). It DOES mean that the millenium will happen, and that afterwards, the realm of eternity proceeds past all the bounds, for nothing is bound upon it. Yet eternal life is bound within it, the very acme of freedom in love that moves freely in the heart and satiates it in the inimitable realities of the glorious deity (cf. Revelation 22).
For Bible texts, see especially this link and this detailed one.