How would Jesus answer the question, “How old is the earth?”
I think Jesus would reply wonderingly, “Have you not read…?” and beginning with the Genesis genealogies and continuing with Moses and the prophets He would explain the things concerning chronology in all the Scriptures (ala Luke 24:25-27).
Why do I think this? Look at Jesus’ own references to Creation. Look at how He literally interpreted and applied Scripture. Look at how those He trained applied Scripture literally. I’ll consider these issues in the next several blog posts.
What Did Jesus Think?
Jesus supported His teaching, defended His conduct, and ordered His life all by Scripture. In some form he used “Have you not read…?” eleven times and “It is written…” thirty times. He applied these Scriptures literally and expected His hearers to understand, believe, and accept the text’s plain literal meaning. For Jesus, Scripture was the Word of God and could not be broken (John 10:35). He pronounced it valid and trustworthy down to the smallest jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18).
During a dispute with the Jews over His equality with God the Father, Jesus concluded His case with “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47). Jesus equated believing His own words with believing Moses’ written record, a record which includes the Genesis genealogies. Clearly Jesus expected His hearers to interpret His claims to deity literally, and therefore He would expect literal interpretation of Moses’ record which He identified as equivalent to His words and foundational to believing Him.
Jesus asked Nicodemus, “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12) Similarly, if one cannot accept Jesus’ witness to a literal interpretation of Moses (an earthly matter), how can one accept what He taught about salvation (a heavenly matter)? Earthly matters are often subject to verification. If you don’t believe Jesus about earthly matters, how can you believe Him about unverifiable matters?
Satan used a literal interpretation of Psalm 91:11-12 to tempt Jesus: “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” (Matthew 4:6)
Jesus did not challenge Satan’s literal interpretation. Instead, He corrected Satan’s misapplication with a literal application of another Scripture: “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.‘” (Matthew 4:7)
Jesus interpreted and accepted the Old Testament literally. The next blog post will give more examples of Jesus’ literal interpretation of the Old Testament.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
5. Age of the Earth—Jesus Interpreted OT Literally
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 11, 2008 A.D.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.