"Dear Mr. Wilson:
1. I have been taught that once a person is saved, he cannot be lost. Do you believe in eternal security?
2. – The devil was once a perfect angel, but he fell. What would stop a Christian in eternity from taking the same path as the devil?
3. – How can the Bible be taken as "the word of God" or "the truth" when there is physical evidence of dinosaurs and humans evolving?
– Christina "
Ladies, thank you for your questions! I will start with Robyn’s question:
Robyn: The reasoning underlying "once saved – always saved" involves two steps. First, it is believed that being born again is a momentary event – as in the birth of a baby. In other words, it is believed that salvation comes to a person the second that he is born again, not at the end of a lengthy qualifying process.
Second, it is believed that once a person is saved, he becomes a child of God forever. The parallel offered is simple enough: Nothing can change the identity of our biological parents, therefore, nothing can change the identity of our spiritual Father. The conclusion is that once we become a child of God, we are saved – no matter what!
Advocates of eternal security use many Bible texts to support their position. Here are three: First, Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." (John 10:27-29, italics mine) Second, Paul wrote, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39, italics mine)
Finally, Paul wrote, "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you– guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us." (2 Timothy 1:12-14, italics mine)
Robyn, if these three passages were the only verses in the Bible that speak about salvation, there might be some legitimacy to the doctrine of eternal security. However, the Bible reveals much more about salvation and aligning all that is said into one harmonious truth is a challenge. In just a moment, I will address your question about eternal security, but right now, please consider Michelle’s question, because your two questions are interconnected:
Michelle: The Bible teaches that long ago, Lucifer (the devil) lived in Heaven. He was blameless, the model of perfection and perfect in beauty. The Bible also teaches that Lucifer had a change of heart. Think about this. Lucifer lived in a perfect place with perfect beings. He served a perfect God – a God of love.
Lucifer had everything that a created being could be given – his beauty was exceptional, he had a sinless nature, and he had the highest and best job a created being could have! (Ezekiel 28:12-18) He was a guardian cherub (he stood beside God’s throne.) Lucifer had it all and still, he fell into sin. Even worse, prior to being thrown out of Heaven, Lucifer led one-third of God’s angels to unite with him in rebellion against God!
Adam and Eve were also created perfect. They were sinless and they served a perfect God of love. They had everything that created beings could want. They had happiness, holiness, and the Garden of Eden and yet, they fell. Lucifer deceived Eve and when Adam realized her fate, his love for Eve caused him to deliberately eat the forbidden fruit.
I have briefly reviewed these two failures to make a profound point. God’s children have the power of choice – they always have, they always will. This means that with the power of choice throughout eternity, God’s children can choose to rebel against the laws of God if they want.
The fall of Lucifer and one-third of the angels proves that sinless beings can choose and did choose to sin. The fall of Adam and Eve proves that sinless humans can choose and did choose to sin. Because God’s children can choose to sin, what will keep angels and humans from sinning at some point in the future? The answer to this question is amazing!
God has permitted sin to exist for several thousand years so that the nature of sin can be fully understood. God has carefully documented the course of sin so that throughout eternity, endless generations can study the drama caused by sin. Earth has served as a theater for the universe.
This is the only place in all the universe where death, sorrow, suffering, disease, broken relationships, and hatred exist. This drama has been recorded in real time with technology that is better than 3D or any technology man is aware of. At any time in eternity’s future, if any hint of rebellion should arise, God will put out the fire by calling upon the redeemed from Earth, a host of ex-sinners who know all about the wages of sin and the heartache it brings. The saints will meet with any person who is about to sin and there will be a show and tell experience.
The redeemed will also remind the person who is contemplating sin that if he insists on sinning, there will be no rescue because God will not provide redemption for defiant sin. (This is why God did not offer salvation to Lucifer and his angels. Matthew 12:31,32; Hebrews 10:26) The bottom line will be made clear: Sin has been proven to be an awful cancer that eventually turns sinners into predators. Therefore, the day you choose to sin, you will die. (Genesis 2:17)
The drama of sin has three elements related to eternal security. First, we have a few million examples of holy angels who were eternally secure, but are now lost. They will be burned up at the end of the 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:10,15) Second, Adam and Eve are two examples of holy people who were eternally secure, but fell.
Both instances (one in Heaven and one on Earth) prove that eternal security is based on eternal submission to God’s will. Look at these two texts: "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." (Hebrews 10:26,27, italics mine) Please consider this passage and notice that it is possible to fall away!
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." (Hebrews 6:4-6, italics mine)
So, Robyn and Michelle, there is eternal security, but it is conditional. "If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die." (Ezekiel 18:26-38)
Being born again is not a one time event. There is a beginning moment to a spiritual life, but the way to success is to be spiritually renewed each day or our carnal natures will quickly separate us from the Lord. (Romans 12:2,3; James 1:23-25) The apostle Paul knew that salvation belonged to those who finished the race!
He wrote, "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. . . . I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (1 Corinthians 15:1,2, 2 Timothy 4:7, italics mine)
Christina: Your question involves two separate issues, so please give me a moment to identify them before bringing your question into focus. First, the language in Genesis 1 and 2 is not subject to the wild distortions often heard today when other Bible texts are considered.
For example, our Creator, Jesus Christ, declared from His own mouth that He created the world and everything in it in six days and this is why He commands us to remember the seventh day of each week by resting on His holy day. (Exodus 20:8-11; See also: Colossians 1:15,16; John 1:1-14 and Revelation 14:6,7.) Because the synchrony of a day is determined by the arrival of evening and morning (Genesis 1), every day since Creation week has been twenty-four hours in length.
Creation week was a profound event. Consider this: Light was created on the first day, atmosphere was created on the second, dry ground and food was created on the third, the Sun, moon and stars were created on the fourth, fish and fowl were created on the fifth, beasts and mankind were created on the sixth, and the seventh day was set apart from the six as a memorial to all that the Lord had done.
According to Genesis 1, Jesus did not create this orb we call Earth during Creation week. Moreover, He did not create water during Creation week! This water-covered orb existed long before Creation week. Geologically speaking, Earth appears to be about 4.5 billion years old and life on Earth, according to the Bible, is about 6,000 years old. These two issues explain the mixed geological strata of Earth because the strata contains a mixture of old and recent creation!
I have mentioned these things because dinosaur fossils do not prove evolution as science claims. The fact is, dinosaurs could not have lived on Earth before Creation week! The dinosaurs required an atmosphere, dry ground, sunlight, and food – items that did not exist before Creation week.
I believe that Jesus created dinosaurs for the same reason that He created whales – the oceanic version of dinosaurs. Both are/were "giant caretakers" of their respective worlds. Both are/were designed to keep the growth and undergrowth in check so that other forms of life might flourish.
God destroyed the dinosaurs during Noah’s flood for a minimum of two reasons: First, their bones would serve as a testimony to a worldwide flood in Noah’s day. Second, because the surface and weather of Earth would be radically changed by the flood, they were no longer necessary to manage the rapid growth and undergrowth of vegetation.
The dinosaurs were buried in strata that is billions of years old and this mixture of recent creation (6,000 years ago) and ancient creation (4.5 billion years ago) confirms that creation’s story is true! I am looking forward to the day when the bones of some antediluvians and some dinosaurs are found in the same strata! Can you imagine the scientific outcry that will follow?
As for the evolution of one species to another (Darwinism), we know several things about genetics today that makes Darwinism less attractive than it once was. First, we know that genetic mutations within species can and do occur. Second, we know that selective or limited breeding eventually produces a derivative that reflects the genes that are dominant within a given gene-pool.
Third, we know that some species are adaptable. They can adapt to whatever their environment may be. Our Creator wisely gave plants and animals (and humans) a certain amount of genetic adaptation so that wherever they might live on Earth, they might adapt and prosper. Paul wrote:
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ " (Acts 17:24-28, underlining mine)
The Bible and true science are not in conflict. Even though recent advances in DNA technology are many, science cannot defeat God. Science has not produced one living example of Darwin’s theory that one species can become another. If life on Earth has been on-going for millions of years, there should be examples of life-forms in transition everywhere. Look around. We have monkeys and we have humans. Have you seen any half monkey-humans lately? Grin….