As we pointed out in a previous blog, the strength of gnostic thinking comes from its ability to morph and mutate. The frightening thing is that one would be hard pressed to find a “First Gnostic Church of Jonesville.” Rather, it finds itself most comfortable buried in the skirts of the Christian church. It flourished in the second century, and yet it lives today. The great Lutheran historian Phillip Schaff says, “All speculative theologians who endeavor to reconcile reason and revelation, may be called Christian Gnostics … bringing with them a morbid pride of wisdom, an arrogant, self-conceited, ambitious knowledge, which puffs up, instead of edifying … resting on an over-valuation of knowledge and a depreciation of faith.” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, p. 445.)
The direction we are taking this brief discussion is simply to remember that each generation must fight old battles over and over again. Some of the sharpest conflicts have centered upon the creation of a material world along with the existence of evil, and a perfectly good God who is all-wise, omnipotent, and yet immaterial. How can a material world with all of its atrocities proceed from a good and loving God? At some point we must admit that we simply do not have all the answers. However, we do have the best answer, and it lies in the Christian doctrine of creation and redemption.
In Genesis we read that God created a perfect world and the problems we see in creation have occurred only because of the curse as a result of mankind’s sin. To equate matter as being evil in itself is to reinterpret this history. In his first epistle, the writer John reminds us that the everlasting Creator God became the God-man. In a huge act of humiliation He became the “stuff” that we are made of, yet He remains fully God, holy and pure. As one Christian writer puts it, ’He emptied Himself by addition, taking to Himself something He never had before, which is a true humanity, with all essential properties and common infirmities, yet without sin.” Here is where reason must kneel at the feet of revelation.
It’s a true message of hope for the world. Yet, many Christian scholars are embracing worldly philosophies of millions of years and evolution that place the effects of the curse (e.g., death, disease, and suffering) prior to the fall of man. By teaching this, they are opening the door to a gnostic belief system that views matter as evil, considering that God supposedly created this way. They are also playing with the human philosophies of “higher knowledge” from the community of secular scientists. gnostic thinking breeds in a world that embraces a less than perfect original creation. To uphold the gospel in global mission, Answers in Genesis is taking the message of a reliable history in Genesis and a perfect original creation to the world.
Please pray for our global efforts against the gnosticism of our day.
From Steve Fazekas, AiG–U.S.