'All truth is God's truth.' That is a saying with which Christians should surely agree: there should be no fact in all creation which we try to ignore, no datum which we do not try to accommodate within our view of the world. One area, however, where Christians have often struggled to apply this admirable
principle is that of origins: How was the world created? Should we believe the scientists or the Bible? Or is there some middle way? This is the question addressed by Genesis One and the Origin of the Earth (6th printing; Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 2000), by Robert C. Newman (who spoke at BGST in August) and Herman J. Eckelmann, Jr. 

The book falls into two main sections, which respectively examine the scientific evidence for the age of the universe and discuss the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. The scientific evidence is copious, and all seems to point towards the earth being about 4½  billion years old. The biblical evidence, which at first sight seems to indicate that the world is only 6000 years old, can in fact be interpreted in a way which fits with the picture emerging from science. The authors show that there are serious difficulties in interpreting the seven days of creation in Gen 1-2 as seven consecutive 24-hour days, and then set out their interpretation of Gen 1-2. Days 1-6 are to be seen as marking out seven successive creative periods (Day 1 marks the transition from the first period to the second and so on; Day 7, the 'day' of God's rest, still lies in the future). In the first period the body of planet Earth was formed; in the second, the atmosphere and the ocean; in the third, dry land and land vegetation; in the fourth oxygenation and the clearing of the atmosphere took place; in the fifth the air and sea animals were created; in the sixth land animals and man were created; the seventh period, which is still continuing, is concerned with the creation of redeemed humanity. How long these periods last is not stated in the biblical text but, the authors argue, there is no objection to seeing the first of them as beginning 4½ billion years ago. When we take this approach, the data of contemporary science and the statements of Gen 1-2 can be seen to be in harmony.

Enough has been said to give an idea of the authors' general approach. In my view the authors are to be commended for a serious attempt to resolve a long-standing puzzle. Whether or not they are right at all points, they open a number of important questions up for discussion and suggest profitable avenues for further exploration. (It may be worth adding that the authors do not support the idea of 'Theistic Evolution' popular in some Christian circles.) Speaking as a biblical studies specialist whose studies in the sciences stopped when I was 15, I have to say that I found some of the scientific discussion hard work, though it generally yielded its meaning on repeated reading. The book also includes the contributions of three other authors on related topics in the form of appendices. These are 'Non-Radiometric Data Relevant to the Question of Age' (the age of the Earth, that is), 'Primeval Chronology' (on the genealogies in Gen 1-11), and 'How Long is the Sixth Day?' These enhance the value of an already worthwhile book. (PES)


astor Eddy Lim of Zion BP spoke to us from 1 Peter 2:1-3 on the theme of 'Craving for the Word'. Genuine godliness, he noted, always goes along with a love for, and a delight in, God's Word. 1 Peter 1:1-12 set out the Christian hope of salvation. The following verses describe the response God expects of those who have put their hope in Christ: holiness (1:13-21), love (1:22-25), and a desire for the word (2:1-3).
But Christians do not always desire ('crave for') the Word as they should. Why is this? Is it that we fill our minds with too much spiritual 'junk-food', books, magazines and movies which, while maybe not bad in themselves, spoil our appetite for the Word? We should be more discerning in what we let pass before our eyes.

How can we recover an appetite for the Word? We should remember, firstly, that the Word is the source of our life, that obedience to the truth purifies us (1:22). The Bible is not a miracle-pill which will suddenly infuse us with spiritual power, but a provides us with a wholesome diet on which we can nourish our souls if we regularly feed on it. 

Secondly, we should remember that it is the Word which is the source of our transformation, which supplies the power for us to live holy lives. If we don't keep feeding on the Word, we will gradually backslide. As someone has said, 'The Bible never suffers from neglect; it is those who neglect the Bible who suffer.' In order to feed properly on the Word, we may need to rid ourselves of certain sins, some of which Peter lists: hatred, which can immobilise or even destroy us; deceit, deliberate dishonesty with the intent of harming someone; hypocrisy, the attitude of one who professes to love God but lives an unholy life; envy, the hatred of other people's success; slander, the back-stabbing which is all too easily carried out under a guise of pious concern. These are not small sins, though they may seem rather ordinary. Sins such as these, persisted in, can prevent us from benefiting from the Word.

Thirdly, we must admit our need of the Word. A new-born baby leaves its mother in no doubt as to its need for milk, and even mature believers in self-sufficient Singapore ought to feel a similar sense of need for the Word. Why is that we are always careful to eat enough physical food, but not always so careful about spiritual food?

We are grateful to Pastor Eddy for his clear and thought-provoking message.

The Chapel Speaker for this Wednesday is Mr David Leong. 

TENT Brochure
Did you ever find yourself, when asked, unable to say exactly what the tentmakers' training course involves? BGST has been co-sponsoring this training programme for working adults since 1997. The brochure for TENT 2002 is out and you are welcome to get copies from the library or BGST office. Then when you are asked what TENT is all about, give the person a TENT brochure! While you are at it, you may want to take a look for yourself too!

GS 372: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph

This course was due to start on Thursday 14th September. By Tuesday 12th only two people had registered, so the course was cancelled. Since then I have received unconfirmed reports that there may be others who want to take the course. For the moment, then, the start date of the course has been rescheduled for Thursday 21st September and registration for the course has been re-opened. Five or six registrations are needed to make the course viable. If you intend to take the course, could you please contact us soon, and in any case no later than noon on Tuesday 18th

2 SVGA Monitors are needed for replacement. Please contact library staff for details at 3538073. 

Our Heartiest Congratulations to Dr & Mrs Chia Hwee Pin on the arrival of their firstborn, Luke Chia. Little Luke came into the world on 13 Sep, weighing 3.07kg, after 10 hours of labour by mommy. Daddy has been so efficient and has already created a website for Luke at http://luke.chiafamily.per.sg!

Wishing you God's blessings.
Happy Birthday!

Mr Loh Mun Fei 09/19, Ms Ng Kim Choo 09/19, Dr Satterthwaite Philip  09/20
Mr Chan Wan Yhim 09/21, Mr Chin Lee Poh 09/22, Dr Goh Oswald 09/22
Mrs Foo Susan 09/23, Dr Hui Richard 09/23

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Biblical Graduate School of Theology
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Singapore 579792
updated on 17 Sep 2001
Oct 2000