Be a Berean
by Kenneth Ham
If I told you that Adam could fly like a bird and swim like a fish, how would you react? I am sure most (hopefully all) of you would think this ridiculous and not take me seriously. However, if I insisted that the Bible taught this, what would you say?
I hope you would immediately be like the Bereans spoken of in Acts: 17:11, " . . . that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Because the Word of God is the only absolute we have, all teaching must be checked against this absolute standard. I want to emphasize this, because there are many people out in the community teaching all sorts of things about creation and the Flood and, as a result, there is a lot of confusion.
Almost daily, we receive phone calls and mail asking us to respond to statements made by someone who seems to be an authority, but what they are saying totally disagrees with what ICR speakers and scientists are saying. What is the best way to handle this confusion? All of us here at ICR encourage everyone to test everything we say against the standard of God's Word. We try, to the best of our ability, to be true to the Scriptures, and we are not afraid of having what we say tested, as the Bereans tested what they were taught. In fact, we want you to do this.
Let me give you two examples of teaching that we were challenged about recently:
Benny Hinn, a pastor from Florida who speaks to multiple thousands at rallies across the USA and is regularly featured on Christian televisions, recently made some astonishing statements on a Trinity Broadcasting Network television program. This man influences the minds of thousands upon thousands across this nation. This is what he said:
"Adam was a super being when God created him. I don t know whether people even know this, but he was the first superman that really ever lived.
"First of all, the Scriptures declare clearly that he had dominion over the; fowls of the air, the fish of the sea, which means he used to fly.
Well, of course how can you have dominion over the birds and not be able to do what they do? I’ll prove it to you."
The word dominion in the Hebrew clearly declares that if you have dominion over a subject, that you do everything that subject does.
In other words, that subject, if it does something you cannot do, you do not have dominion over it. I'll prove it further. Adam not only flew; he flew to space . . . with one thought he'd be on the moon.
For the Bible declares he had power over the sun, moon, and the stars . . . Adam had dominion over the universe . . . he had dominion over the fish, he could swim and not run out of breath and so did his wife . . . they were both super beings."
I would not have believed he said this except that someone sent me a recording of the entire program! People have asked us about this, so I immediately went to our ICR librarian, who has a Master's degree in Theology from Grace Seminary. I asked him to research the meaning of the word "dominion" for me. All my own research in searching respected Hebrew dictionaries had not come up with the meaning Benny Hinn gave to the word.
This is what our librarian found: The phrase "have dominion" occurs 24 times in the Old Testament in the form of a verb, and the meaning of the word is simply "to rule." The writers of Scripture used it to refer to the rule of a king, or a master. Each place it is used, it speaks of the position of the individual over others; it never suggests that one is capable of all the activities of those ruled.
Sadly, many people will not check the Scriptures, but just believe what Benny Hinn stated.
Another person who has appeared regularly on the TBN television network is Dr. Hugh Ross. Many have called or written and asked about his teaching, as what he says is very different from the teaching that comes out of ICR. Again, it is vitally important that people test what he is saying against Scripture.
Dr. Ross teaches that the universe began by a "big bang" billions of years ago. He also teaches that Noah's Flood was just a local event, that only birds and mammals went on the Ark, and that the earth is billions of years old. He teaches that there was a race of spiritless people before Adam and Eve.
One of our scientists, astrophysicist Dr. D. Russell Humphreys, recently began testing Dr. Ross's teaching against Scripture. Dr. Humphreys has a Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University and works with Sandia's Particle Beam Fusion project in New Mexico. The following is a summary of just one aspect of Dr. Humphreys' research, with which our resident theologian also wholeheartedly agrees:
"Many people have been influenced by the theistic evolutionary teachings of Dr. Hugh Ross, founder of Reasons to Believe. They feel he must be correct because of the great confidence with which he teaches. A few years ago, Dr. Ross had occasion to teach on Genesis 7:19, which reads:
"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered."
Here's what Dr. Ross had to say about that verse on an audiotape:
"If you want to get at the scientific details, you must read it in the Hebrew. Let's do that. As you go through the Hebrew, 'the waters rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains'—the word 'high' is not in the original. It's not there. Now, it comes up in almost every English translation. But in translations into other languages, it's not always there, and it's not in the Hebrew. So you can take your Bible and cross out the word 'high.' It's not there. I don't recommend you do that all the time as you go through your Bible, but in this case there is a good basis for it: it's simply not there in the original Hebrew."—Reasons to Believe tape A8712, "The Flood," Part 1, 1990 (transcript available from James Stambaugh, ICR).
Dr. Ross emphasized six times that the word "high" is not in the Hebrew of Genesis 7:19. From the great assurance with which he made this pronouncement, you might easily conclude that he was correct. But was he? Judge for yourselves by examining the Hebrew in an interlinear Bible (read from right to left):
The second Hebrew word from the left is hag'vohim, translated "high." It is the word Dr. Ross claimed wasn't there. The word is not only there in all modern Hebrew Bibles, but also in the oldest Hebrew manuscripts. Thus, in spite of his emphatic self-confidence, Dr. Ross was totally wrong on this point. When confronted with this, Dr. Ross admitted his error in a letter to me April 2, 1992, and he said he plans to withdraw the tape in question.
If there were only a few such overconfident errors in Dr. Ross's teachings, I would not have bothered to write this article. However, his teachings are full of them. They range from brash mistakes about Hebrew to demonstrably false pontifications about science, including his own specialties, astronomy and cosmology. I chose this particular error about the word "high" as an example, because it exposes a central fallacy in his teaching—that the Genesis flood was small and localized.
If the mountains covered by the floodwaters were even moderately "high," say 3,000 feet, then the water would cover more than 90% of the earth's surface. Since the Flood covered "all the high mountains under the whole heavens," it covered the whole world. A worldwide flood would be catastrophic, depositing most of the geologic strata in one year, instead of the billions of years alleged by Dr. Ross and other evolutionists and progressive creationists.
This example shows that Christians should look past any teacher's self-confidence and try to judge for themselves the truth or falsehood of what he is teaching. The best way to do that is to follow the example of the Bereans, whom Luke commended (Acts 17:11). They compared the teacher's claims with a straightforward reading of the Bible, following Isaiah's advice:
"To the law: and to the testimony: if they speak not according to his word, it is because there is no light in them" Isaiah 8:20.
It's important to understand that because Dr. Ross basically accepts the evolutionists' claims that the fossil record is millions of years old, he cannot accept the worldwide flood as the Bible describes. Therefore, he attempts to reinterpret the Scriptures to fit with his ideas. However, in doing this, he has accepted that death and bloodshed existed on earth millions of years before Adam—but the Bible teaches clearly that there was no death or bloodshed of animals or man before sin.
How can the average person know what to believe, when supposedly qualified people on all sides, who claim they are Christians, are saying very different things? It is difficult; however, I have two pieces of advice for you:
We here at ICR have always tried to be true to Scripture. We put God's Word first; we build our science on God's Word, not on our understanding of God's Word based on science, as Dr. Ross does. We are happy to help you sort out these problems; that's why we're here.
Also, when you read a good translation of the Bible, it's important to remember that the translators worked hard to convey the true sense of the word. As someone has put it, reading an English Bible is like watching a black-and-white television program. You can understand the story; however, when you are able to study the original languages, it is like watching a television in color. There are many enhancements, but the story is still the same. The point is, you don't have to be a Hebrew scholar to understand the Scriptures—but all of us need to be Bereans!