The phrase, “In God We Trust”, is found on the United States’ currency. I fear it will not be there for very much longer. Why? As a nation, the majority seems to have lost their trust in God. The polls suggest a majority of Americans still believe in God, but how can anyone have faith in someone or something they no longer trust. We know the biblical definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”(NASB). Thus, we have the difference in belief and faith; trust! Do we really trust God? When we receive a promise and feel assured the promise will be delivered, we must necessarily trust the promise giver.
In Joshua 1, God spoke to Joshua encouraging him to be strong and courageous in the face of the daunting task of taking the promised land. In His encouragement, He promised Joshua something that would bolster his courage; in verse 5 He tells him – “I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” What it came down to; did Joshua merely believe in God or did he believe God. Did he trust God when He said to enter the land which He was giving the people; the land of promise? The question we all have to ask ourselves is, do we just acknowledge God or do we really believe Him and trust Him?
When we read about the examples of faith listed in Hebrews 11, we read about people who really trusted God. God had made each of them promises. Each acted boldly based on their trust that God would keep His promises. Verse 13 tells us they trusted in God and His promises though they died without seeing the promises fulfilled. God has made us promises. Do we trust Him so as to act boldly based on those promises even if we do not see them fulfilled in this physical life?
This is a time in my life when I see the world not knowing who to trust anymore. Marriages fail due to a violation of the trust spouses place in each other. We see our current financial crisis because individuals with great power have violated the trust placed in them. Many see our government in what appears to be a complete shambles, so they have lost their trust in its ability to govern effectively anymore. When all else fails and when our trusted companions let us down, we can still trust in our God. We may not see the results we long for while on this earth, but do not construe this to mean that the results will not come. I often ask myself, do I want what I want now because I have placed too much emphasis on the here and now, or do I trust God to keep His most precious promise in the judgment? I strive to have a faith like Paul’s when he said in 2 Timothy 1:12 – “… for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (NASB).
I take great comfort in the words of Jesus when He spoke to Thomas about you and me in John 20:29 – “…Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed”(NASB). As a part of that faith, we must truly trust in God and Jesus to fulfill the promises made to us all. True faith and trust comes from knowledge of God and the history of His promise keeping. This knowledge is not found in philosophy or secular education; it is found in the Bible according to Romans 10:17. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word. But even beyond that, He has revealed Himself to us through His creation. Romans 1:18-22 tells us that God’s creation reveals His power, and by its very existence, man knows God. Verse 20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Verse 21 tells us that some did not acknowledge God because of their futile speculations and their hearts became darkened. Verse 22 says “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” I am reminded of the Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who while in space said he did not see God up there. Yet, astronauts Borman, Lovell and Anders of Apollo 8, chose to read from Genesis 1 about God’s creation. As Romans 1 tells us, some may come to distrust God to the point they no longer acknowledge God. Their hearts have become darkened.
Let’s all be guided by the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:5-8 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, And refreshment to your bones.” Do I possess all knowledge and all understanding? No! But I do know God and am determined to obey His will whether I understand it completely or not. It’s a matter of trust.
In God we must trust!
Skeptics often look for reasons to dismiss the Bible. A recent complaint I heard against those who simply accept the Scriptures is, “How can you just believe in a book that talks about unicorns?”
Most of us scratch our heads and say, “What on earth are you talking about?” But, it is true that the King James Version of the Bible does mention unicorns in several places: Numbers 23:22 (KJV); Numbers 24:8 (KJV); Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV); Job 39:9-10 (KJV); Psalm 22:21 (KJV); Psalm 29:6 (KJV); Psalm 92:10 (KJV); Isaiah 34:7 (KJV).
Many of us, having moved past the antiquated King James will likely just say, that’s only a problem for folks hanging on to the “Authorized Version.” However, we still need to deal with why that is there.
I don’t know why the King James translators used that particular word. Did they believe a mythical creature with life-giving blood, who could be captured by getting it to lay its head in the lap of a virgin actually existed at some time? I don’t know. Even if they did, that doesn’t mean that is what the Bible was actually teaching.
What I do know is this, the word “unicorn” and the Greek and Latin words that caused it to be in the KJV Bible simply mean “one horn.” They do not necessarily mean the mythical creature we speak of today. Considering the existence of the rhinoceros, is there really that big of a problem in believing that at some point there was an animal in existence that had a single horn? We also have the narwhal. Please, don’t give me arguments saying the rhino’s horn is just hair and the narwhal’s is a tooth. The fact is they look like horns and men would naturally call them by names that identify that marker. To think there might have been an animal that had a single horn that died out is not that hard to believe. It doesn’t mean the animal was magical. It only means it had one horn.
However, having said that, there are actually some pretty good arguments made for knowing what animal is referred to. I’m going to call a hostile witness to the stand: Isaac Asimov, a well-known atheist.
The Hebrew word represented in the King James Version by “unicorn” is re’em, which undoubtedly refers to the wild ox (urus or aurochs) ancestral to the domesticated cattle of today. The re’em still flourished in early historical times and a few existed into modern times, although it is now extinct. It was a dangerous creature of great strength and was similar in form and temperament to the Asian buffaloes.
The Revised Standard Version translates re’em as “wild ox.” The verse in Numbers is translated as “they have as it were the horns of the wild ox,” while the one in Job is translated “Is the wild ox willing to serve you?” The Anchor Bible translates the verse in Job as “Will the buffalo deign to serve you?”
The wild ox was a favorite prey of the hunt-loving Assyrian monarchs (the animal was called rumu in Assyrian, essentially the same word as re’em) and was displayed in their large bas-reliefs. Here the wild ox was invariably shown in profile and only one horn was visible. One can well imagine that the animal represented in this fashion would come to be called “one-horn” as a familiar nickname, much as we might refer to “longhorns” in speaking of a certain breed of cattle.
As the animal itself grew less common under the pressure of increasing human population and the depredations of the hunt, it might come to be forgotten that there was a second horn hidden behind the first in the sculptures and “one-horn” might come to be considered a literal description of the animal.
When the first Greek translation of the Bible was prepared about 250 B.C., the animal was already rare in the long-settled areas of the Near East and the Greeks, who had no direct experience with it, had no word for it. They used a translation of “one-horn” instead and it became monokeros. In Latin and in English it became the Latin word for “one-horn”; that is, “unicorn.”
The Biblical writers could scarcely have had the intention of implying that the wild ox literally had one horn. There is one Biblical quotation, in fact, that clearly contradicts that notion. In the Book of Deuteronomy, when Moses is giving his final blessing to each tribe, he speaks of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) as follows: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns….”
Here the word is placed in the plural since the thought of a “one-horn’s” single horn seems to make the phrase “horns of a unicorn” self-contradictory. Still, the original Hebrew has the word in the singular so that we must speak of the “horns of a unicorn,” which makes it clear that a unicorn has more than one horn (Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, 1968, v. 1, pp. 186-187).
Obviously, I’m not suggesting that Asimov is an authority on all things biblical. However, when an atheist who would naturally want to take every possible potshot at the Bible he could can tell that the King James Version didn’t actually teach the existence of the mythical creature we call a unicorn, then perhaps that should lay any of our fears to rest on this subject.
We can trust God’s word. Let’s continue to trust in it.
It is becoming increasingly common for those claiming to be Christians today to deny the historical accuracy of the first chapters of Genesis. Having accepted the Theory of Evolution, they are searching for a means to make those chapters fit with their scientific outlook. One big problem with this is Adam. If the first chapters of Genesis are not historically accurate, then Adam is not a historically real figure. He is made into some representative of mankind as it developed through evolutionary means. However, Adam stands out as an obstacle to wedding the scientific views of evolution with the Bible. No matter how we slice it, the Bible presents Adam as a real historical figure. Not only that but a historical figure upon which the truth of his existence as a real person is based several New Testament doctrines. Let me share with you a few biblical passages that show the Bible presents Adam as a real historical man.
- Genesis 5:1-5 presents a historical narrative with a genealogy. Adam stands at the head of that genealogy. Interestingly, he is even given a length of life. At 130 years old he had a son named Seth and then lived another 800 years. That is an odd way to speak of a person who never really existed but is just a mythical construct to represent mankind in general.
- In I Chronicles 1:1, Adam is placed again at the head of mankind’s genealogy. He is not presented as a mythical construct or an allegorical parable. He is listed as a real person. The obvious question would be if the Theory of Evolution is true and Adam, therefore, is not, at what point in this genealogy did the author move from not real people to real people?
- In Luke 3:23-38, the genealogy of Jesus is traced all the way back to Adam. He is once again presented as a real historical person who held a place in a real period of time. Once again we ask, at what point did this genealogy move from real people to unreal people?
- In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus based His teaching regarding divorce and remarriage on the creation of male and female, created that way from the beginning. Our marriage law is based on Adam’s marriage to Eve being a real marriage. Jesus clearly believed Adam was a real person. If we believe Jesus, we need to believe in Adam. If we can’t believe in Adam, then we must toss Jesus out as well.
- In Romans 5:12-21, Paul says sin entered the world through “one man.” The man to whom he attributes it is Adam. He is very specific. He does not say sin just entered some time in history as lower life forms evolved into humans. He says there was one man and sin came in through him. He is considered to be a type of Jesus. If we throw out Adam as a historical figure where does that leave us regarding Jesus? If we believe Paul, we must believe in Adam. If we can’t believe in Adam, we need to toss Paul’s writings out because he is wrong. By the way, this passage is truly important. Paul bases the teaching that Jesus saves us and removes our sins on His contrast with Adam as a real historical figure. If we throw out Adam, we throw out the doctrine of justification and life to all men through Jesus Christ as the second Adam.
- In the same passage above, Paul claims “death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Paul clearly sees that as a definitive period of time. He saw Adam as a real historical figure.
- In I Corinthians 11:8, Paul based his arguments regarding the covering on the Genesis account that woman was made from man and not man from woman, a concept that cannot fit with the Theory of Evolution. Paul saw that creation as a historical event upon which he could base teaching.
- In I Timothy 2:12-15, Paul based his instruction about women teaching within the congregation on the historical accuracy of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s creation. If God did not create them that way, then Paul’s argument falls flat.
Here is the point of all this. It may be that the Bible is completely wrong. Maybe God did not create Adam and Eve but rather humankind wound up on the earth through the evolutionary forces of nature. We need to examine the evidence and choose which of the two we will accept. However, let us not accept any laughable position that tries to wed the Scripture with the Theory of Evolution. If we accept the Theory of Evolution, we cannot accept Adam. If we cannot accept Adam, we cannot accept the doctrine of Jesus Christ.