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OPENING DARWIN’S BLACK BOX

(SERMON #7 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, July 29, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

 

I have been re-reading Dr. Michael J. Behe’s book titled, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (The Free Press, 1996). Dr. Behe is a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. In that book Dr. Behe said,

Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature – in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books – that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred, but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations…In the face of the enormous complexity that modern biochemistry has uncovered in the cell, the scientific community is paralyzed. No one at Harvard University, no one at the National Institutes of Health, no member of the National Academy of Sciences, no Nobel Prize winner – no one at all can give a detailed account of how…any complex biochemical process might have developed in a Darwinian fashion. But we are here. Plants and animals are here. The complex systems are here. All these things got here somehow: if not in a Darwinian fashion, then how? Clearly, if something was not put together gradually, then it must have been put together quickly or even suddenly (Michael J. Behe, Ph.D., Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, The Free Press, 1996, pp. 185-187).

Remember that Dr. Behe is a biochemist and professor of biochemistry at a secular university. Dr. Behe’s book has been published for more than ten years, and the molecular evolutionists have not been able to give a reliable answer – just a bunch of bluster, no scientific proof that Dr. Behe is wrong. Why? Because he is not wrong! He is accurate when he says, “Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority.” He is right when he says, “In the face of the enormous complexity that modern biochemistry has uncovered in the cell, the scientific community is paralyzed.” And he is correct when he says, “No one can give a detailed account of how…any complex biochemical process might have developed in a Darwinian fashion.” I don’t agree with everything Dr. Behe says, but he has made “an overwhelming case against Darwin on the biochemical level” (David Berlinski, author of A Tour of Calculus). For Dr. Behe, Darwin's "black box" is the irreducible complexity of biochemical systems.  Charles Darwin (1809-1882) lived in the nineteenth century, when microscopes were very primitive.  He could not see the complexity of molecular structures within cells and biological systems.  Today scientists can see inside of Darwin's "black box."  Dr. Behe is a biochemist who, knowing what Darwin did not know, postulates that the theory of molecular evolution does not hold up under the examination of the complexity of these structures.  Dr. Behe says that molecules are joined in such complex systems that they cannot be explained by mere chance.  Even a single cell is extremely complex, like a great city in miniature.  Darwin did not know the great complexity of molecules.  Thus he viewed them very simplistically.  Modern biochemists like Dr. Behe are opening Darwin's "black box" and showing, on a molecular level, that these structures are far too complicated to have arisen by chance alone. Many other scientists are now questioning some of the basic ideas of Darwinian evolution (see In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation, edited by John F. Ashton, Ph.D., Master Books, 2002 edition). The very foundation of Darwinian dogma is beginning to crack. I believe that we will some day see the basic theory of Darwinian evolution discarded by the scientific community.

Dr. Behe said, “But we are here…if not in a Darwinian fashion, then how? Clearly if something was not put together gradually, then it must have been put together quickly or even suddenly” (ibid., p. 187). That’s exactly what the Bible said!

Some day Darwin’s black box of evolution will be completely opened – and inside the box man will discover that what God said in the first chapter of Genesis was the absolute truth!

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him…” (Genesis 1:26-27).

I remember a piece of doggerel poetry I once read in one of Dr. M. R. DeHaan’s books. I have upgraded it a little.

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree,
  Looking down on people like you and me.
Said one to the other, Now listen you,
  There’s a certain rumor that can’t be true,
That man descended from our great race;
   The very idea is a rank disgrace.

No monkey ever divorced his wife,
  Aborted her babies and ruined her life.
And another thing you’ll never see,
   A monkey make a fence around a tree.
And let the coconuts go to waste,
   Rather than let someone else have a taste.

Here’s another thing monkeys don’t do,
   Go out and take drugs and come home in a stew,
Or use a gun, a club or a knife,
   To take some other monkey’s life.
Yes, man descended, the ornery cuss,
  But surely he didn’t descend from us!
(Adapted from an anonymous poem in Genesis and Evolution 
   by M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Zondervan Publishing House, 1962, pp. 57-58).

.

In a sense, man indeed has “descended.” But he did not descend from anthropoids, from ape-like ancestors. Instead, he descended from his original lofty position through the Fall. All men, in this fallen state, are now only poor copies of the original man and woman, who were created in the image and likeness of God.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).

Here God is speaking to Himself. There are several instances of such conversations between the Persons of the Trinity in the Bible. For instance, the pre-incarnate Son of God said,

“The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7).

David declared,

“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1).

And in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah we read,

“I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me” (Isaiah 48:16).

Concerning that verse, Dr. Morris said, “This is a clear Old Testament indication of the Trinity. The Son, speaking, is being ‘sent’ by the Father and the Spirit” (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995, note on Isaiah 48:16). The fellowship between the Father and the Son, in the eternal Trinity, is expressed also in John 17:24, when Jesus said,

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

The fellowship and conversation between the Persons of the Trinity is revealed in our text:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).

Luther said,

The words, “Let us make man” confirm the mystery of our Christian faith, namely, that there is one eternal God, in whose divine essence there are three distinct persons: God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Martin Luther, Th.D., Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, Zondervan, 1958 reprint, volume I, page 28).

Luther pointed out that the “us” could not be the angels because man is not made in the image of angels. It cannot be the earth, he said, because man is not created in the image of the earth. It cannot be the lordly “we” of nobility for, as Dr. Gill pointed out, that usage did not occur until long after Moses wrote Genesis (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 10). The “us,” said Luther, “is indicated here most assuredly as the Holy Trinity, namely, that in the one divine essence there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost” (ibid., p. 29).

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).

“Image” and “likeness” are from Hebrew parallelism, where the same idea is expressed twice; thus, “image” and “likeness” do not consist of two separate things, but of one and the same thing. The word “image” alone is used in verse twenty-seven,

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him…” (Genesis 1:27).

What was “the image of God”? Having read the classical commentaries, I believe that Dr. Gill gave the best description of it,

So God created man in his own image…which consisted both in the form of his body, and the erect stature of it, different from all other creatures; in agreement with the idea of that body, prepared in covenant for the son of God, and which it was therein agreed he should assume in the fulness of time; and in the immortality of his soul, and in his intellectual powers, and in that purity, holiness and righteousness in which he was created (John Gill, ibid., p. 11).

In agreement with Dr. Gill, Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

Both in body and spirit, Christ was indeed Himself the image of God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; II Corinthians 4:4). It does not seem too much to infer that God made man in the image of that body which He would Himself one day assume. In this sense, at least, it is true that, both physically as well as spiritually, man was both made and created in the image and likeness of God the Son (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, p. 75).

Thus, I believe that “the image of God” in Genesis 1:26-27 refers to the first man being created in the spiritual and physical image of the pre-incarnate Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the divine Logos, of whom the Gospel of John says,

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).

“Who is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

“Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).

“God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

The view that Christ was the image of God, from which man was modeled both spiritually and physically, was also the position of several of the early Christian writers, the Fathers, whom John Trapp refers to, though (I think wrongly) with a note of skepticism (John Trapp, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Transki Publications, 1997 reprint, volume I, pp. 9-10). I believe those early Christian writers were correct on this point, that Christ was in the Garden of Eden, as the creating Logos of John 1:3, and was the one who

“created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).

I believe this because Christ, from eternity past, is the Second Person of the Trinity,

“By whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” 
      (Hebrews 1:2-3),

“Who is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

Thus, I believe that the original man was created like the pre-incarnate Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead, who formed man of the dust of the ground in His own image and likeness. Christ – in His pre-incarnate form – created man with the same spiritual form. Christ – in His pre-incarnate form – created the first man even in his body, as Dr. Morris said, “In the image of that body which He would one day assume.” Christ, I believe, is the image of God, man’s Creator, who formed the first man in His own image and likeness:

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” 
      (Genesis 1:26).

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” (Genesis 1:27).

Thus, the first man was, as Dr. Morris said, “created in the…image and likeness of God the Son” (ibid.).

“Who is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15),

from eternity to eternity – world without end!

But man lost the spiritual image of God in Christ, and even his bodily structure degenerated from its once glorious form, so that now the human body is subject to physical death; and man’s spiritual capacities have been rendered dead by the Fall, so that now it is said, that man is

“dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5).

No longer bearing the divine image of Christ, man is now a depraved creature,

“Having no hope, and without God in the world” 
      (Ephesians 2:12).

Only by the divine intervention of the grace of God in Christ can a man be restored to the original righteousness of Adam before the Fall. Only by the new birth can man regain the full benefits he once had when he bore the image of God.

And that is why Christ came into the world, to restore the lost image of God in man’s now depraved soul and death-ridden body. As that monkey declared in the bit of doggerel I quoted,

Yes, man descended, the ornery cuss,
   But surely he didn’t descend from us!

Indeed, he did not descend from ape-like forms. No, he descended from a perfect man, made in the image of Christ – down, down, down, into total depravity and sin.

And that is why Christ came and died on the Cross for our sins – “The just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (I Peter 3:18). We are now sinners, made so by man’s fall, but

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” 
      (I Timothy 1:15).

When you come to Christ, you are born again – and the renewal of the image of God begins. After you are regenerated [born again] the process of sanctification is set in operation. When you are raised to meet Christ in the first resurrection the image of God will then be perfectly restored – and you will then, at last, be like Adam before he sinned.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him” (Genesis 1:27).

If you have been born again, in that glorious day of resurrection, you will be restored fully in the image of God!

Salvation begins now, in conversion, and goes on until you are perfectly restored to the image of God, wholly sanctified when Christ returns to rapture you from this dark world. The two Wesley brothers believed that sanctification is a sudden act, similar to conversion. I believe that the Reformed position is correct - that a converted person goes through a process of sanctification, which is not finished until he reaches Heaven. Yet Charles Wesley's hymn, when seen in that light, expresses great beauty and meaning.  

Finish then Thy new creation,
   Pure and spotless let us be,
Let us see Thy great salvation,
   Perfectly restored in Thee:
Changed from glory into glory,
   Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
   Lost in wonder, love and praise.
(“Love Divine” by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788). 

.

It all begins by simple faith in Christ. Come to Him. Trust Him. You will be regenerated, born again, by Him. Then He will lead you to a perfect restoration of the lost image of God through conversion, followed by the process of sanctification, ending in a glorified state.

Changed from glory into glory,
   Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
   Lost in wonder, love and praise.

Right now, this very morning, the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 2:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).