J B Stoney – Man’s Sin and God’s Grace

God at the first came down to create; and then when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation God came down to save. This is brought out in the first words uttered by the Lord God after man’s fall. 

James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)

Creation never could have brought out what God was. There was infinitely more in Him than power and wisdom. There was love, mercy, holiness, righteousness, goodness, tenderness, long-suffering.  Where could all these be displayed but in a world of sinners? God at the first came down to create; and then when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation God came down to save. This is brought out in the first words uttered by the Lord God after man’s fall.  “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” This question proved two things. It proved that man was lost and that God had come to seek.  It proved man’s sin and God’s grace

Golden Nugget Number 220

(J B Stoney New Series vol.1 p27)

Golden Nuggets are published by Saville Street Distribution, Venture, Princes Esplanade, Walton on the Naze, CO14 8QD UK

Some thoughts on Creation, Prophecy, the Sonship of Christ and the Lord’s Day – What does Scripture tell us – and what does it not?

I am concerned that we do not become over-focussed on certain aspects of the truth and give too much emphasis to them. They are often areas of contention, and I would seek to avoid what is contentious – ‘But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes’ (2 Tim 2:23).

lay-preaching

We are already through August – this year’s seems to be going fast – at least the Lord’s coming is fast approaching.

In the past month, through ADOSS, I have had a number of very interesting conversations with fellow believers, and I am sure God is working in many ways.  Would to God that there were more who were interested in heavenly truth!  But we can be very thankful that there are many who desire to call upon the Lord out of a pure heart, although separated into many groups ecclesiastically.  I do not believe that we will ever be together here – the public position will never be repaired – but the Lord is coming soon and we will be together then.  As the hymn put it

What will it be when all the strife is over,
And all Thy saints, now scattered far and wide,
Shall be without one shade of variation,
All like Thee, Lord, united by Thy side!
Little Flock No 421
Anne Ross Cousin (1824-1906)

 In the correspondence that I have had I am concerned that we do not become over-focussed on certain aspects of the truth and give too much emphasis to them. They are often areas of contention, and I would seek to avoid what is contentious  – ‘But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes’ (2 Tim 2:23).   I am not saying that the things that follow are of that ilk.  They are important, but are subjects where there can be a lot of unprofitable discussion.  There are areas where scripture is not clear – deliberately so I believe – so I am content to say that I do not know the answers to them, and am happy to leave that knowledge to a future day.  Of course I do not criticise those who believe that they have a clear view of the answers – maybe if I were closer to the Lord, I might see things differently.

Examples of these are as follows:

 

Creation

There has been much discussion as to whether there is a long interval between verses 1 and 2 in the first chapter of Genesis – referred to as the ‘gap theory’.  I was brought up to believe that there could have been many millions of years between the two verses.  Now I would say that I do not know, and I am content to leave the answer to that future day when things will be revealed.  In Gen 1 we read that the earth was waste and empty.  But in Isa 45:18 (Darby translation) it says ‘For thus saith Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it, — not as waste did he create it: he formed it to be inhabited.’  So what was there beforehand?  Darby, Schofield and others of that time had the same view.  Darby wrote, ‘Scripture, which does not reveal scientific facts, is totally silent as to them (facts of geology), but leaves a gap which may have been filled by millions of years when we were not (which no man could find out — so horribly stupid was man without a revelation), namely, that God made it. If He did not, who did?’  J.N.Darby Apologetic No.2 Vol 9 p111  – ‘And What has Geology Proved?’

Others would say, on the authority of scripture, that the earth was heavens and earth and all the rest of creation was created in a little period of six literal days.  It was created complete, along with fossils and dinosaur bones.  They say that the Hebrew word ‘yom’ refers to a day of 24 hours. Other words are used to express ‘day’ in the sense of ‘age’ or ‘era’.   I do not know which of these views is correct.  Some of my readers may have very strong views and I do not want to offend them, but I say let’s be content to wait. God will make it clear.

 

Prophecy

This is an important subject, occupying a large amount of the bible, and we are to be intelligent as to what is to come.  However I am concerned about spending too much time on this subject.  The dispensation that we are in does not come into prophecy: therefore prophetic writings do not relate directly to the church period.  We can learn from prophetic writings of course, and apply them morally, not literally, to our own time, as we pursue heavenly truth.  Most importantly is to keep near the Lord.

 

The Sonship of Christ

Sometimes I get letters and emails saying that since I am a ‘Ravenite’ (I don’t accept this term), that I must believe that the Lord Jesus was not eternally Son.  The truth is that I do not know, and again I am content to leave the answer to this to a future day.  We all agree that our Lord is eternal – He was, He is and He will be.  He is also the Son of God.  Hence I have no problem with the expression ’the eternal Son of the Father’ as He is both Son and He is eternal. Does the scripture ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee’ (Psalm 2:7), signify that the relationship of ‘Son’ came about at the incarnation?  Darby seems to have thought otherwise – See ‘The Eternal Sonship of Christ’ Miscellaneous Vol p 265  (Published by BTP).  In 1929 James Taylor Sr, was asked by Samuel Carter ‘Would ‘marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead’ (Rom 1:4), be His eternal sonship?’ His reply was, ‘I do not know that there is such a term in Scripture as eternal sonship.  The Son of God is announced in Scripture after the Lord Jesus was here. In Luke 1:35 it says, ‘The holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God’ (Vol 29 p 361).   Note that Taylor was not dogmatic as to the relationship, though later he said that ‘sonship in Christ implies His manhood’ (Vol 49 p288) – accessible through goodteaching.org .

A hymn I like says:
What that love no thought can fathom;
Nor can human lips define
Those relationships eternal,
All inscrutable, divine!

Little Flock No 117
A G Doughty (1892-1949)

 

The Lord’s Day

I have not had much contact recently with Seventh-Day Adventists but have had in the past. They and others, believe that the Lord’s resurrection was on Saturday and therefore that is the day that we should set aside for His service.  When challenged as to which day of the week the Lord was crucified, I normally answer, ‘Probably Wednesday’.  Then, ‘Which day of the week was He raised?’ I normally answer, ‘Probably Saturday – so?’  The first day of the Passover would have been a Thursday. Three days and three nights lead to the events of action being late on Saturday in our reckoning.  But if after sunset that would be the first day of the week.  So there is no big argument here.  That they broke bread on this day in Troas is for sure (See Acts 20:7).

Maybe be balanced and keep near the Lord holding the truth in love.

 

God’s blessings

Sosthenes.

 

September 2016

 

 

Darby – Evolution is not Scientific

Darby stated plainly that each species was distinct. Men and women produced human children; cocks and hens produced chickens. God may allow a horse and a donkey to produce a mule but mules do not reproduce. Scientific observation supports the biblical statement that each produces ‘after its kind’ (Gen 1:25).

Evolutionists cannot explain how protoplasm came about, but the Bible tells us that God was pleased when life began, even if it was protoplasm.

An OxymoronRecently I went to the National Museum for Natural History in London and saw some of the dinosaur skeletons.   How they fitted into the creational timeline, I do not know – God knows.  One thing which amused me – I should say concerned me  – was an oxymoronic title on one of the exhibits which spoke of Russel and Darwin discovering the theory of evolution.  I ask, ‘How do you discover a theory?’   You cannot discover a theory.  A theory is a theory – it’s not a fact.   So to discover a theory is completely unscientific.   Similarly, Darby in his paper ‘Evolution’ showed how unscientific this was.

charles darwinJ N DarbyCharles Darwin and JN Darby were contemporary with one another.  Darwin was nine years younger, but they died at 10 days apart in April 1882.  Of course there have been many discoveries and developments since the nineteenth century, but the thought process has not changed.  In my opinion, all new discoveries only bring out more questions and doubts about the so-called ‘science’ of evolution.

Darby stated plainly that each species was distinct.  Men and women produced human children; cocks and hens produced chickens.  God may allow a horse and a donkey to produce a mule but mules do not reproduce.  Scientific observation supports the biblical statement that each produces ‘after its kind’ (Gen 1:25).

Evolutionists cannot explain how protoplasm came about, but the Bible tells us that God was pleased when life began, even if it was protoplasm.  We can now say the same about DNA.  Darby said science is atheistical (I don’t quite understand this – studying physics, biology mathematics or astronomy makes us wonder at God’s creation – Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Fleming and many others were sincere believers).  However, it is clear that scientists follow what exists, and do not bring God into the equation.  Matter is what exists, and are as far as scientists are concerned matter, or the combination of matter and energy, is eternal.  But this cannot be proven.   Our finite minds cannot comprehend eternity.

Now as we were saying, each species is distinct.  Evolutionists will say that the one species evolved into another, but as they cannot prove it – it remains only a theory.  The Christian accepts God as the Creator: God created the animals.  ‘God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so’ (Gen 1:24).  The earth brought forth the animals, but God formed man.   The creation of man was quite distinct.  Our God gave man a face to look upwards towards Him, and He breathed into man so that he became a living soul.  That is not said of any of the animals. We do not know how this came about other than that Adam had a deep sleep, but we accept it by faith.

Scientists deal with phenomena.   Evolution from one species to another is not a phenomenon – it cannot be observed.  Whilst species adapt (evolution in a small sense), nobody man has observed the gradual migration of one species to another: half man, half ape for example. This would have been necessary were evolution to be true.  Evolution is therefore not scientific.

Darby asks what the answer is.  Though many scientists have faith, it would seem that infidel scientists choose to ignore the fixed laws of science, and are afraid to be honest.  Man’s mind cannot go further than antecedents and consequences: a point comes where speculation has to stop.

 

Based on J. N. Darby: Evolution – Notes and Comments Vol. 1, p 4

Sosthenes

 

August 2016

 

The Irrationalism of Infidelity –Objections Dependent on “Science”

There is no inconsistency. As regards man, the science of physiology can only examine man as he is — in a state of mortality. This is not, according to scripture how God created him. To suppose that God could not have sustained man in an immortal condition, is to put limitations on God, who cannot be limited. We are taught that following the fall, man became a dying creature, subject to ‘wear and tear’

Although JND used the word ‘science’, this objection surrounds more the anthropological background to beliefs worldwide.

It is not related to technological developments about which JND could not have known. These are however irrelevant to this discussion. I do not believe anything of the bible has been disproved by the discoveries of the past 150 years.

Objection – The biblical account is inconsistent with modern knowledge.

The_Fall_of_Man-1616-Hendrik_GoltziusAnswer. There is no inconsistency. As regards man, the science of physiology can only examine man as he is — in a state of mortality. This is not, according to scripture how God created him. To suppose that God could not have sustained man in an immortal condition, is to put limitations on God, who cannot be limited. We are taught that following the fall, man became a dying creature, subject to ‘wear and tear’.

If we look into ancient texts we find various references consistent with the account in Genesis. For example Plato wrote, ‘They lived naked in a state of happiness, and had an abundance of fruits, which were produced without the labour of agriculture, and men and beasts could then converse together. But these things we must pass over, until there appear some one to interpret them to us.’ [I cannot locate Source – maybe the Republic]. Fragments of truth, amidst the mass of superstition, exist in Egyptian, Greek, Mexican and Hindu fables. However, none of the written accounts are older than about 700BC [National Geographic refers to Mycenaean writing around 1450BC, the time of the exodus, but that makes no difference].

The millions of years of Hindu chronology, or the more moderate thousands of Chinese dynasties, have disappeared before increased information. Indeed, we have some Chinese dynasties and some dark Hindu traditions, which tend to confirm the early Mosaic accounts.

God, however, has given us a concise, simple account of immense moral import, infinitely elevated above the whole range of the heathen fables which pervert its elements, placing the supreme God — man —  good — evil —  responsibility — grace —  law — promise —  the creatures — marriage, all in their place. The Mosaic account brings out the innocence at creation, the knowledge of good and evil, conscience, judgment, the closing of the way to the tree of life, and the promise in the woman’s seed.

In so many fables there is the conflict between good and evil, with good prevailing. However in scripture, the drama was a reality; all involving one man and his failing companion. Yet from her who failed recovery was to spring; grace was to be brought out and magnified.

Another thing is evident, that Mesopotamia, and the country north of it, is the area from which the world was peopled.   Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, all are grouped round it. Indeed the Phoenicians even went to Ireland. [Skeptics might argue nowadays that early man came from Africa, but this is not the subject here].

No creature can subsist per se, that is, independently of God.

The Irrationalism of Infidelity – Two Accounts of the Creation

There are two different accounts of the creation which are distinguished by two different names for the Divine Creator

God employs different names for the purposes of that revelation. Each brings out some particular character in which He displays Himself and His actions.

Two Accounts of the Creation

creationObjection:  There are two different accounts of the creation which are distinguished by two different names for the Divine Creator

God employs different names for the purposes of that revelation.  Each brings out some particular character in which He displays Himself and His actions.

  • God is the general name of the Being — Elohim (a plural word).
  • Almighty was the name He took as the special protector of Abraham — Shaddai
  • Jehovah, as in relationship with Israel, the abiding One, “who was, and is, and is to come,”
  • Father – known to Christians – I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you (2 Corinthians 6:17)

 

When it was the fact of creation in power, the great thing was to show that God, as such, did it. Elohim created, Elohim made.

When God is teaching what He was for this creation, and how He took such a place, He takes a name of relationship, for those to whom the revelation was addressed could know Him as their God.  He is not called simply Jehovah, but Jehovah-Elohim, so as to connect the two thoughts, and show the Jehovah their God as Elohim the Creator, the supreme source of all things.

Note by Sosthenes:  God does not have to prove His existence.  He gives these accounts to reveal Himself, is greatness and His love.  It is not to satisfy our idle curiosity.