The Gospel in Hollywood – Part 2

Previously, we have discussed some of the Gospel elements that appear frequently in Hollywood fiction. Movies often portray a Christ-figure who fights for truth and saves people. Often the Christ-figure experiences a (usually symbolic) death and resurrection, and defeats an imposing enemy against incredible odds. We have seen how the Christ-figure is generally the main character in superhero movies. We now examine the movie genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Unfortunately, most books, movies, and television shows of the science fiction genre are steeped in evolutionary mythology. Such films portray extra-terrestrial lifeforms as having evolved on other worlds over billions of years. Many science fiction franchises seem to promote secular humanism quite heavily. And yet, despite all these anti-Christian themes, science fiction often portrays the Gospel in symbolic form. So, you can usually find both Christian and anti-Christian themes in science fiction.

Why such inconsistency? I suggest this reflects the worldview schizophrenia of the unregenerate mind. Unbelievers know God in their heart of hearts, but inconsistently suppress that truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). Consequently, their creative efforts inevitably mix Christian and anti-Christian themes. But the Gospel is subtly there in the form of allegory. Let’s examine a few sci-fi / fantasy movies in light of their similarity to the Gospel.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

If you want to enjoy a delightful sci-fi classic, watch the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. In contrast to the disappointing 2008 remake, this old black-and-white gem featured a fascinating story with likeable characters. Needless to say, there will be spoilers below. So if you have not yet seen this movie, go watch it now and come back to the article. I’ll wait.

The movie begins with a saucer-shaped spaceship of alien origin landing at a park in Washington, D.C. Military vehicles and personnel quickly surround the ship, and tension is quite high. A crowd gathers as curiosity rises. Finally, a door opens and the ship’s occupant, Klaatu, steps out. His helmet obscures his face, but his form appears basically like a human being. Klaatu announces that he is on a mission of goodwill, and begins to present a gift to one of the people, but is shot by a nervous soldier.

This action triggers a robot (named Gort) on board the ship to shoot a beam from his visor that instantly destroys all weapons in the vicinity while miraculously leaving the soldiers unharmed. Klaatu orders Gort to cease and is then taken to the hospital. The doctors find Klaatu to be human in appearance, but are astonished at how quickly he heals.

Already we see many Gospel elements. Klaatu is the central Christ-figure who has come down from heaven with a message of peace and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:14). Rather than welcoming him in peace, his arrival generates anxiety, just as Christ’s did (Matthew 2:3). This is followed by an (unsuccessful) murder attempt, just as Herod tried to assassinate Christ (Matthew 2:16).

As Klaatu appears human, so Christ was fully human. Both had the power to heal. Both had great power available to them, but did not use it in vengeance against their oppressors. Indeed, Christ did not retaliate even when His critics crucified Him (Luke 23:34). Likewise, Klaatu orders Gort to stand down, even after being shot.

In the movie, Klaatu escapes from the hospital and dresses as an ordinary human, using the alias “Mr. Carpenter.” No doubt, this is an allusion to Christ’s human nature as the son of a carpenter. So again we have the dual-identity: one appearing as an ordinary man (Mr. Carpenter / Jesus), the other as a heavenly being of tremendous power (Klaatu / the Lord). Klaatu befriends a boy named Bobby. The dialog between these two characters is delightful. Michael Rennie (the actor playing Klaatu / Mr. Carpenter) is very believable as a gentle, wise, highly intelligent man from another world. Like Christ, Klaatu is full of compassion for the people of earth, and deeply disturbed by mankind’s violent ways.

Klaatu meets professor Barnhardt, a highly respected scientist, to whom he reveals his identity as the alien visitor. He asks for advice on how to get the world to listen to his important message. The stakes are high, for if Klaatu’s message is unheeded, “Planet Earth will be eliminated.” Barnhardt suggests that Klaatu should demonstrate his great power, but in a way that does not harm anyone. Klaatu’s solution to this puzzle is ingenious. He programs his ship to disable all electricity on Earth for precisely thirty minutes. No vehicle, light bulb, phone, or television will operate. Klaatu compassionately made exceptions for life-critical equipment, such as hospitals and planes in flight.

Again we see many biblical parallels. As Klaatu makes the Earth stand still metaphorically by disabling electricity, so God literally made the earth stand still on one occasion (Joshua 10:12-14). Likewise, when God’s message of repentance is unheeded, He is able to destroy the earth on behalf of human wickedness (Genesis 6:5-7).

Later, Klaatu is again shot, this time fatally. Anticipating this end, Klaatu had previously told a woman to get a message to Gort, lest Gort retaliate for Klaatu’s murder by destroying the world. The woman relays this message: “Klaatu barada nikto.” No translation is given in the movie. However, based on Gort’s response, the words must mean something like “Do not retaliate.” This reminds me of Christ’s attitude at the crucifixion: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

True to the Gospel, Klaatu’s death is followed by a resurrection. Gort rescues the body of Klaatu, and is able to resuscitate him using technology in the spaceship. People again gather to the spaceship, and Klaatu delivers his message. Essentially, the message is that humanity must give up its violent, wicked ways or be destroyed. Repent or perish. This is remarkably similar to Christ’s warnings during His earthly ministry (Luke 13:3,5). Klaatu goes back inside the ship, which then returns to the sky while the people below stare up in wonder. This is similar to Christ’s ascension at the end of His earthly ministry (Acts 1:9).

The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien’s engaging trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” is full of Christian symbolism and allegory. We see this both in the books and in Peter Jackson’s masterful movie adaptation. The story is complex and intended to be part of a rich mythology. It focuses on the adventure of Frodo Baggins, a “hobbit” of the Shire, who is given a magic ring that bestows great power on its keeper. But the ring is inherently evil, eventually enslaving and corrupting its keeper and strengthening its creator – the evil Sauron. The ring can be destroyed only by returning it to its place of origin in a volcanic mountain in enemy territory. The task of destroying the ring has fallen to the innocent Frodo and his companions.

The ring seems to represent sin. It answers only to Sauron, a nonphysical enemy representing Satan. Like sin, the ring is superficially attractive, desirable, and gives its wearer great power. But it inevitably destroys its wearer and enslaves him to the evil Sauron. Those who have been in possession of the ring find it nearly impossible to give up, even though it slowly destroys them. By way of backstory, we learn that many otherwise good men have been corrupted by the ring; they attempt to use it for good but it works its evil through them instead. Perhaps because of his innocent and selfless nature, Frodo is resistant to the corrupting effects of the ring, making him the ideal choice to carry it to its destruction.

At least three people typify Christ in the Lord of the Rings. First, Frodo is innocent and yet must bear the ring, just as Christ bore the sins of the world. Like Christ, Frodo willingly suffers great misery in his journey to undo the evil caused by others. Frodo ultimately defeats Sauron – the Satan figure. The analogy falls short because Frodo does eventually (though briefly) succumb to the ring’s power before it is destroyed.

Gandalf the Grey, who aids Frodo in his quest, also parallels Christ in some ways. Gandalf has a dual identity. He is humble and seems like an ordinary old man. Yet, he has existed from the beginning of creation and has tremendous seemingly supernatural power. Most significantly, Gandalf is killed early in the story, but is resurrected as Gandalf the White – as if to represent his glorified, eternal body.

From a creation perspective, the most interesting Christ-figure in this trilogy is Aragorn. Like Christ, Aragorn has a duel identity – one ordinary, one extraordinary. He goes by the name “Strider” – an unassuming ranger from the North, of humble apparel and few possessions. But secretly, he is also the rightful king of Gondor. Aragorn is a warrior who fights for good against incredible odds. He is able to “heal” people using herbs. In the movie, Aragorn falls in battle, and his comrades think he is dead. But he returns to them later, as if resurrected.

The First-Adam / Last-Adam connection here is remarkable. Aragorn’s distant ancestor was King Isildur. Isildur had the opportunity to destroy the ring, but he instead succumbed to temptation and kept the ring for himself. This led to his death, and plunged the world into an age of darkness, much as Adam’s sin brought death and suffering into the world. But Aragorn succeeds where his forefather failed. Aragorn does not succumb to temptation. He is not tempted by the glory and power the ring promises (see Matthew 4:8-10), but wants only to save the world from the evil bestowed upon it by his ancestor. After conquering evil, Aragorn is officially installed as the king. Likewise, Christ came into the world to save people from sin; Christ succeeded where Adam failed. Christ defeats evil and is installed as King (Psalm 2:6-9).

Conclusions

Many sci-fi and fantasy films contain such Gospel elements. These are not always intentional, nor are they always obvious. They are sometimes mixed with anti-biblical elements as well. The blending of Christian and anti-Christian themes may reflect the unbelievers’ mindset: having knowledge of God but suppressing that truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). So the next time you watch a movie, see if you can pick out biblical and anti-biblical themes. Cinema may be entertaining. But why not let it serve to practice discernment as well?

36 Responses to The Gospel in Hollywood – Part 2

  1. A movie that had many Christ elements had me wondering at first if it was a parable was the 1982 version of Tron. Programs were in awe of Users, and a User became one of them to combat evil, and had great powers. As you said, science fiction and fantasy stories have weak spots in their analogies, but Tron had quite a few before the similarities fell apart.

  2. Nina Ruth says:

    To shorten my original reaction & subsequent nerdy epistle of joy…I mean…comment on this post:

    Great post – very enjoyable and thought-provoking.

    God bless.
    Antonina

  3. Nina Ruth says:

    Been thinking about…ok, obsessing over, the last part of your post for the past four days. Double imputation. Re-reading Romans along with one of my fave books (Newell’s Romans Verse by Verse), and was just praying from Ephesians 6 this morning. Got to the armor piece dealing with righteousness, and have tears in my eyes. No wonder the point you made regarding Dark Knight is so touching – grace is just astonishing. A double imputation! There are other spec fic examples of this, but the Real story of this blessedly unfair exchange has me overflowing in gratitude this morning.

    Thank you! I’d love to hear more about this theme…Good News never gets old!

  4. Nina Ruth says:

    Interesting observations about comic book heroes and current culture by Al Mohler:

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2017/04/12/briefing-04-12-17/?segment=3

  5. Val says:

    Hey Doc,

    Quick question (that has nothing to do with this post. I just didnt know how else to contact you.) I’m new to the Astronomy world and in my Astro Class my prof talks about new stars being born. Biblically speaking… does that make sense? Are there new stars being born or were they all created at Creation? Merci!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      The original stars were all created on day 4. Although the Bible does not preclude the possibility of new stars forming, I haven’t seen any evidence that they do. Under the normal conditions that exist in interstellar space, gas will not spontaneously contract. So I very much doubt that new stars have formed since the original creation.

  6. Nina Ruth says:

    Praying for you this morning, Dr. Lisle.
    Happy (Young!) Earth Day! 😉

    Galatians 4:5-6
    Romans 8:15-16

  7. Tim Griffin says:

    seriously…dinosaurs are only 7000 years old. You embarrass people who are thoughtful and have faith. Your Youtube video in dinosaurs and the bible is just backward, lacks apprehension of simple genetics, aging, and scripture.

    You may be trying in earnest but I believe it is not in inspired.. Making arguments based on wrong assumptions and facts is misleading. You should be apologizing for misleading people.

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Tim,

      > seriously…dinosaurs are only 7000 years old.

      No, of course dinosaurs are not 7000 years old. That would make them 1000 years older than the universe – which would be absurd! Most dinosaur fossils are found in layers associated with the global flood described in Genesis 6-8, which puts their age around 4400 years ago. That is much younger than the age evolutionists believe for dinosaurs. But it explains why we find c-14 and soft-tissue in many dinosaur remains, which wouldn’t make sense if these creatures lived millions of years ago.

      > You embarrass people who are thoughtful and have faith.

      Faith in what? Not the Bible apparently. The Bible teaches that God created the universe in six days. That embarrasses some people because they have been brainwashed into thinking that the universe is billions of years old. The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted (Proverbs 29:25).

      > Your Youtube video in dinosaurs and the bible is just backward, lacks apprehension of simple genetics, aging, and scripture.

      Can you provide a specific example, and back it up with actual evidence?

      > You may be trying in earnest but I believe it is not in inspired..

      Do you mean that you don’t believe that the Bible is inspired by God? If so, what evidence do you have for that belief?

      > Making arguments based on wrong assumptions and facts is misleading.

      Yes. Many people have embraced evolution and deep time because they have been misled by bad arguments based on wrong assumptions. We attempt to correct this as much as possible.

      > You should be apologizing for misleading people.

      Can you back up your claim (that I am misleading people) with actual evidence, and not just your opinion? Hypothetically, if the Bible were not true, and people are just chemical accidents of evolution, why would it matter if one chemical accident “misleads” another chemical accident? If creation were not true, then what rational basis would you have for being upset with a chemical accident about anything whatsoever?

      • Josef says:

        “But it explains why we find c-14 and soft-tissue in many dinosaur remains, which wouldn’t make sense if these creatures lived millions of years ago.”

        It’s hard enough to believe soft-tissue could be found if a dinosaur had been dead for 4400 years. I bet if an animal the size of an elephant were dead and buried, none of its flesh would survive after 1 year. So imagine how much more faith it takes to believe it survived 65 million years!

        And I’m glad to see new content, Dr Lisle. Hope all is well.

        • J says:

          What do you think of the argument that evolutionists/old-earth believers use that the reason the soft tissue has been preserved is iron? Supposedly some ostrich blood vessels were preserved in a laboratory at room temperature for 2 years after being put into contact with iron.

          • Josef says:

            >”What do you think of the argument that evolutionists/old-earth believers use that the reason the soft tissue has been preserved is iron? Supposedly some ostrich blood vessels were preserved in a laboratory at room temperature for 2 years after being put into contact with iron.”

            The first thing that comes to my mind is I am reminded of what Dr. Lisle wrote regarding rescuing devices in “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” (if you haven’t read this book, I would recommend it as I actually feel it is a must-read for all Christians who want to defend their faith).

            But also, this is highly desperate. The study you’re referring to was a case where the ostrich blood vessels were soaked in an iron-rich liquid. But this seems pretty unrealistic, and doesn’t represent actual conditions in which the dinosaur blood vessels were found.

            Preserving blood vessels in a controlled environment like this for 2 years is one thing, but it’s a huge leap to say that because they were preserved for 2 years, this could account for 65 million years! Though ironically, this might explain thousands of years (as I said in my comment earlier, even 4400 years is hard to grasp).

            So unless evolutionists come up with a mechanism that demonstrates how the blood vessels could survive over 65 million years in a way that simulates actual/realistic conditions, then I don’t see how this can refute the obvious: the dinosaur bones simply aren’t millions of years old.

            Furthermore, I can’t help but think of the consistency of the evidence between the dinosaur soft-tissue and that we find C-14 in dinosaur bones (and actually virtually anything that has carbon). Since C-14 has a half life of approximately 5730 years, it simply cannot last for millions of years. Even if a dinosaur was made of 100% C-14, all of it would decayed well before 65 million years.

  8. Brayden says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,
    I would like to ask a quick question: I recently read an article by Dr. Faulkner on Answers in Genesis in which he stated the raqia (expanse) which was named samayim (heavens) was made on Day 2; the astronomical bodies were place in samayim on Day 4. I read an article by you that stated the universe is expanding. But how can this be? Would the ‘waters above’ be above the universe? If so, how could the universe continue to expand. Dr. Faulkner believes the expansion was a past event. What do you think? What are the waters above mentioned on Day 2 of Creation Wekk?
    Thanks for much,
    Brayden

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Hi Brayden,

      The shamayim (heaven) basically means the sky – the visible hemisphere above Earth’s horizon. It can refer to the atmosphere, outer space, or both. When God separated the waters, that expanse (raqia) marked the separation of those below (ocean) and those above. God then called the expanse (raqia) heaven/sky (shamayim). So raqia also apparently refers to the visible sky. My suspicion is that the waters above are clouds – which are collections of liquid water droplets in suspension above much of the visible arch of the sky. Faulkner might disagree with me on this.

      The expansion of the heavens is alluded to in passages such as Isaiah 40:22. God apparently is stretching or has stretched out the universe – the starry realm – such that galaxies are farther away from each other than when the universe was first created. Is the expansion entirely in the past, or does it continue today? It’s impossible to know for sure. My guess is that it still continues.

  9. J says:

    I’ve been discussing the myth of neutrality with a journalist friend of mine. I suggested to him that neutrality and objectivity were impossible positions to take in regards to origins. He reluctantly agreed after some persuasion. He wanted to make the case that objectivity is at least possible in other matters. For instance, he said an unbiased reporter can objectively report the details of a crime scene. Do we has creationists say that objectivity is NEVER possible? Even at a surface level? I know I’m not wording this as well as I could, but perhaps some of Dr. Lisle’s readers can help here.

    • Josef says:

      >”He wanted to make the case that objectivity is at least possible in other matters. For instance, he said an unbiased reporter can objectively report the details of a crime scene. Do we has creationists say that objectivity is NEVER possible? Even at a surface level?”

      The myth of neutrality applies to all levels of reasoning, even in matters that one would consider trivial or surface level.

      First note that ironically he showed partiality in his example when he said, “An unbiased reporter…”. His example is begging the question as he’s already taken for granted that the reporter is unbiased.

      But even with this aside, we need to ask why a reporter should report things in an unbiased way? When we make claims of how people “ought” to behave, we’re really saying there is a moral standard that they should abide by. But does such a moral standard make sense apart from the Christian worldview? I think it’s been well demonstrated that an objective moral standard only makes sense in the the Christian/biblical worldview.

    • Perhaps this statement from this link, https://rebuildbiblicalworldview.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-myth-of-neutrality/, will help:

      > Part 1 of Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s video lecture series, Basic Training For Defending the Faith, is titled “The Myth of Neutrality.” The title sums up the lesson succintly: neutrality is a myth. In this lecture, Dr. Bahnsen teaches that the idea of neutrality — be it intellectual, philosophical, emotional, scientific, or in any other area — is a myth. You see and read several passages of Scripture that prove this. Jesus spoke definitively about this (Matthew 6:24, Matthew 12:30).

  10. Cambridge Hathaway says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle!

    (BTW this comment is unrelated to the post…sorry!)

    I cannot express how eye-opening and refreshing your book Ultimate Proof is!! It has helped me understand the Bible and the origins debate in a way that I could not have come to on my own. (I just have to say that the fact of the uniformity of nature is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE way of questioning any worldview. Truly brilliant!! 🙂

    Anyway, I have been wanting to contact you for some time now and I didn’t know how else to do that. This one question has bugged me and I’m sure you will have a simple answer, but I just can’t get around it in my own head for some reason. It is this: Suppose Mr. Jeff Random grew up on a deserted island (maybe shipwrecked parents?) and had no access to the Scriptures. Now, we know the Bible is true, but Jeff can’t even read it. Yet he still trusts his senses, memory and the laws of logic. In fact, Jeff is blessed with impeccable logic, and realizes that he needs an ultimate standard to justify his senses and his logic, but he has none. Is Jeff then irrational for trusting his senses, memory, and logic? And an additional question: With such impeccable logic, would Jeff be able to discover all the attributes the Ultimate Standard would need in order to justify the things he has heretofore assumed? And one more (the last one I promise!): If he is able to discover the attributes of the Ultimate Standard through logic, wouldn’t his logic supersede the Ultimate Standard he has created/discovered?

    Sorry this is so long, but these are questions I have not been able to conclusively put to rest. But I know you will have a good answer!

    Thank you and God Bless You!!

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      Thanks for the encouraging feedback. I appreciate it! With your hypothetical scenario, I would say that Jeff does indeed have an ultimate standard for trusting his senses, memory, and laws of logic. And it is the same as ours: the biblical God. Romans 1:18 indicates that God has revealed Himself to everyone. God has “hardwired” knowledge of Himself, including some of His attributes (Romans 1:20) into all human beings, such that when we observe the world we recognize it as the creation of God. Jeff even knows about God’s moral standards which have been written on his heart (Romans 2:14-15), and he further knows that he doesn’t live up to God’s standard. So Jeff does have justification for trusting his senses, memory, laws of logic, morality, and uniformity in nature. However, he would have a more difficult time defending his presuppositions than someone who has read the Bible, because the Bible gives an objective and propositional description of the biblical God and His attributes.

      RE: “If he is able to discover the attributes of the Ultimate Standard through logic, wouldn’t his logic supersede the Ultimate Standard he has created/discovered?” No. What you use to discover something is not necessarily more ultimate than what is discovered. Astronomers use telescopes to observe the universe and to discover how laws of physics work; but that doesn’t make the telescope more foundational than the laws of physics that hold it together. We might see the roof and walls of a house, and conclude that it must have a foundation. But the roof and walls are not more ultimate than the foundation.

      I hope this helps. God bless.

  11. Levi says:

    Hi Dr. Lisle,

    Thank you for the ministry that the Lord has prepared for you.

    I recently started reading regarding the evolution/creation debate, as I continually get confronted regaring this subject.
    Though, I was not prepared for what was coming, as I never looked into this subject, the overwhelmingly support for the evolutionairy worldview from the secular society is shocking.

    Not only that, but the riddicule, mocking, and the charges against Creationist for being unscientific can shake the faith of anyone when getting into this subject unprepared.

    What’s worse, is the increasingly support of old earth Creationists, and Theistic evolution.
    Someone like myself, can go through some doubt when one discovers how many Christians choose this side.

    Where it basically comes down to, it’s a matter of willing to be mocked for Jesus sake, as our Lord Himself states.

    But I thank the Lord for AiG, ICR and many others for faithfully defending God’s Truth.

    Sorry for the reply that has nothing to do with the post.

    Kind regards from (tiny) Belgium.
    Levi

  12. Anuj Agarwal says:

    Hi Jason,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your Jason Lisle’s Blog – theology has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 Theology Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/theology_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 Theology Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    Best,
    Anuj

  13. Bret says:

    I wanted to make a comment to you about your public teaching. The speed of light has been scientifically measured and the formula accepted my most academics.

    > Dr. Lisle: Correction – the round-trip speed of light in vacuum has been scientifically measured. The one-way speed is conventional.

    Using that formula we know that it takes more than 5000 years for star light to reach the centre of the Galaxy.

    > Dr. Lisle: No. That is a one-way trip, and so the duration depends on the one-way speed of light which is conventional. All we can say objectively is that it would take light 50,000 years to go to the galactic center and return. But the time for one leg of the journey can be as little as zero.

    We know this since we can measure the distance using parallax trig.

    > Dr. Lisle: No. The parallax method doesn’t work nearly that far out for any ground based telescope. Such distances are theoretically attainable by the Gaia spacecraft but are not yet published. There are other methods to estimate such distances, but not parallax.

    There is nothing in the Bible that insists that the earth is 6000 years old but it is your theological construction that precludes this as being necessary.

    > Dr. Lisle: Incorrect. The Bible states that God created in six days (Exodus 20:11), that Adam was made on the sixth day (Genesis 1:26-31), and that Christ was born around 4000 years after Adam (e.g. Genesis 5:1-32, 11:10-26, 12:4, 15:13, 1 Kings 6:1, 11:42, 14:21, … Daniel 9:24-26). That doesn’t require any “theological construction.” It only requires the ability to read and to add numbers.

    You assume that the Bible is linear and straight forward but it is a complex document that we are only beginning to understand.

    > Dr. Lisle: First, the Bible says it is straightforward (Proverbs 8:8-9) and understandable (Ephesians 3:4) and that we should not be led astray from its simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3). God is not the author of confusion as you seem to think (1 Corinthians 14:33). Second, if you are only “beginning to understand” the Bible, then how can you be so sure that my understanding of it is faulty?

    for example why do you feel Genesis is less complex than Revelation and we still do not understand all that is written there.

    > Dr. Lisle: Less complex? Not necessarily. But Genesis requires less knowledge of the Bible to understand for reasons that should be obvious. (1) Genesis comes first, and therefore cannot require any prerequisite reading to grasp its meaning; conversely Revelation comes last and is based on the previous 65 books. Over 2/3 of the verses in Revelation are quotes or references to previous verses in Scripture; you cannot understand Revelation without a very good knowledge of the Bible. (2) Genre: Genesis is written in historical narrative form which is very easy and straightforward, whereas prophecy is almost always written in synonymous or antithetical parallelism indicative of Hebrew poetic form. And while Hebrew poetic form isn’t hard to interpret, English-speaking students unfamiliar with Hebrew often have some difficulty at first. Revelation is based on Old Testament prophecy and requires knowledge of such to interpret most of its symbolism (e.g. Revelation 17:7, Daniel 7:7). (3) Revelation isn’t particularly hard to interpret, if you have a thorough knowledge of the other 65 books – but most people don’t. Genesis is far easier for the uneducated.

    Your assumption is binary about Genesis. If Y is true than X must follow but science show’s it is not binary and you must take this into accord.

    > Dr. Lisle: “If X then Y” is not binary. Rather, it is a form of reasoning called “logic.” Logic is very helpful if you want to believe things that are true. As for science, first of all, science is predicated upon the literal history of Genesis. God created the universe with order and patterns to be discovered; God created the human mind with the capacity to reason logically; God upholds creation in a consistent way (Genesis 8:22). If these biblical claims were not true, there would be no rational reason to suspect that the methods of science are reliable. Second, science involves things that are testable and repeatable in the present. It is well-suited for answering certain truth claims, such as the normal way that God upholds His creation. But it cannot effectively analyze historical events or miraculous ones (yet, creation was both). Third, it is completely inappropriate (and logically absurd) to attempt to use science to tell you how to interpret Scripture. As shown previously, science is predicated on the literal history in Genesis. But also it would lead to absurdity; you would have to reinterpret the virgin birth, the water-into-wine, and the resurrection of Christ (to name a few) because these cannot be repeated scientifically.

    Hugh Ross and other Christian astronomers are very smart people but for some reason you dismiss them as fools when you refuse to consider their counsel and weigh it accordingly.

    > Dr. Lisle: Just the opposite. I have not dismissed Ross; in fact I have thoroughly examined his claims found them to be erroneous. You can watch my public debates against Ross on youtube. And more thoroughly, my book “Understanding Genesis” which dedicates three chapters to refuting Ross’s blunders. Further, my book has been peer-reviewed approvingly by Bible Scholars including Dr. Jim Johnson and Dr. Ken Gentry. Indeed, it is Ross that simply dismisses what I have written and fails to seek wise counsel.

    • Bret says:

      Dr. Lisle I see that in your reply you asserted that the Bible and especially Genesis is straightforward and easy to understand,…

      Dr. Lisle: Again, the Bible itself says it is straightforward (Proverbs 8:8-9) and understandable (Ephesians 3:4) and that we should not be led astray from its simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3). God is not the author of confusion as you seem to think (1 Corinthians 14:33).

      …but as evidence that it is not, there are many books on Genesis in the libraries and I believe that many certainly differ from one another in interpretation, …

      Dr. Lisle: This is not evidence that the text is unclear; rather, it is evidence that men really do not want to believe the text. It is our sin nature to think that we know better than God, and therefore we think in our arrogance, “God can’t really mean what He says because we know that isn’t true.” But, believe it or not, God really does know how to write a book. And since God is not the author of confusion, it stands to reason that His writings to us will be understandable, not convoluted.

      ….this means it is complex unless you assume these men are all stupid…

      Dr. Lisle: That’s a bifurcation fallacy. No, it simply means that men are strongly motivated to not believe the text as written. Men are well-practiced in the mental gymnastics it takes to twist Scripture into interpretations that are contrary to its clear meaning so that they can continue in their unbiblical beliefs. This is not new. The Pharisees did it. They had their traditions just as we have ours, and they were masterful at re-interpreting the text to match their beliefs. Take a look at how Jesus responds to them in Matthew 15:1-9. Note that He did not say “Well, I can certainly see how you would draw that conclusion since the text is so unclear.”

      Sir, I have taken many courses on the Bible books and Genesis and I am still learning, (Have you taken any, and have you learned anything or do you know it all?)..you seem to think there is nothing to complex about Genesis, …

      Dr. Lisle: I didn’t say that. You need to read my previous response more carefully. Rather, the main-and-plain teachings are so clear that even a child can understand them. Creation in 6-days is not hard to understand. The problem is people do not want to believe it.

      All I can rely reply is that if I were to follow your logic we should throw out all the commentaries.

      Dr. Lisle: That is not logical; it is a pendulum swing. There is some value in (some) commentaries. But they must not be used to override the clear teaching of the biblical text. Many modern commentaries attempt to interpret the text contrary to the author’s intention in order to accommodate modern (secular) opinions and traditions, such as evolution or deep time. Those are not helpful except as examples of what not to do. But older commentaries written by godly men who actually understood hermeneutics can be very helpful. Note, however, that even these can be wrong at points. The book you really should be studying most is the Bible.

      Dr. Lisle you used rhetoric, theology and logic intermixed with astronomy in your attempt to rebuff my position and defend a 6000 year old earth, Okay, so your entrenched and are using everything you’ve got, …

      Dr. Lisle: Actually, it sounds to me like you are pretty entrenched. In any case, since biblical theology, logic, and astronomy all confirm the biblical timescale, I am curious why you so strongly desire to deviate from the clear text of Scripture? Many people get intimidated and think that the secular scientists must be right about origins, and so we must adjust our interpretation of the text. That is the reason for the different “interpretations” you mentioned above. They are not due to textual or exegetic considerations. Be honest: no one reading Genesis objectively would come away thinking, “Wow! This book clearly teaches that God progressively evolved the universe over the span of 13.8 billion years!” There is no hint of that. And the Scriptures specifically and explicitly teach the contrary. Why not consider that God actually just means what He says? Would that be so bad?

      But what it shows me most is that you are dogmatic and will never concede any point, …

      Dr. Lisle: I’m not going to put a question mark where God has put a period, if that’s what you mean. That would not be faithful to my Lord. In any case, it is the Bible that is so dogmatic on the issue; I’m just a messenger. It is the Scriptures that explicitly and dogmatically state, “In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). If you don’t like the dogmatism with which God describes the creation of His universe, take it up with Him.

      as you say Hugh Ross’s claims are erroneous, Why not instead say…

      Dr. Lisle: because Ross’s claims are erroneous. They are utterly ridiculous and unbiblical. (See my book Understanding Genesis). It would be unfaithful to God for me to call Ross’s teachings anything less. The Bible calls us to cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5) – not to simply say, “Well, that’s not my personal opinion, but let’s all just get along.”

      “The Wonders of God like Creation are more amazing than you can understand, that although you personally believe in a 6000 year old earth, that if you are wrong then God is still God.”

      Dr. Lisle: There are two reasons why that response would be unbiblical for a mature Christian. First, the Bible does infallibly provide sufficient information for us to know (approximately) how long ago God created. The Bible does explicitly give the timescale of creation, so it would be arrogant for me to think that God only might be right about this. Think about it: would it be biblical to answer other clear biblical issues that way? Would it be appropriate to say, “I personally believe that Christ literally rose from the dead, but I could be wrong, and that’s okay because God is still God”?

      Second, if God lacks the ability to clearly communicate in His Word, then how do I really know anything about Him? If a text as clear as “in six days” really means “over billions of years” then how do I know “by this gospel you are saved” doesn’t really mean “by works of the flesh you are saved”?

      Dr. Lisle: However, I will grant that your hypothetical answer might be appropriate for a new believer who has not yet studied the issue. But as we grow in Christ, our knowledge of such basic and clear teachings of Scripture should not be so unsettled.

      This is a more humble position…

      Dr. Lisle: On the contrary, true humility would be to accept what God has said in His Word, even when it is not popular. As Martin Luther put it, “But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.”

      …but you picked this hill to battle on but many are wondering why?

      Dr. Lisle: It is the clear teaching of Scripture. How could I as a Christ-follower deny or minimize what my Lord has explicitly stated?

      • Bret says:

        PS-That was a cheap shot that the 6000 year stance was merely based on the ability to read and count numbers, …

        Dr. Lisle: No, because the 6000 years is indeed based on the ability to read and add positive integers. I know because I have done it myself. It does not require any advanced “theological construction” as you had suggested. On the contrary, it takes a very convoluted and non-exegetical theological construction to attempt to read billions of years into the Bible.

        you know very well that the “six days” in Genesis has been subject to an intense scholastic debate among christian and other academics including Hugh Ross.

        Dr. Lisle: I am well aware that many Christians do not want to believe that God created in six days, and have sought out many devices in an attempt to rationalize a non-exegetic reading of the text in order to accommodate the secular belief in billions of years. But you seem to be unaware that all these have been shown to be hermeneutically fallacious. The context of Genesis 1 does not permit the poetic, non-literal use of “yom” because God defines “yom” as when it is “light” out in verse 5, and as being bounded by evening and morning. This constrains the meaning to an ordinary (earth-rotation) day. Furthermore, the plural form of “days” (yamim) used in Exodus 20:11 is never used to mean anything other than ordinary days. From a scholarly perspective, there is no doubt that the author of Genesis meant to indicate that God created in six literal days.

        It makes little difference wether you ignore the whole debate or not.

        Dr. Lisle: With all respect, it seems like you are the one who has ignored the whole debate. I have debated the topic of the age of the earth on multiple occasions, and have written two books on the issue. My latest one, Understanding Genesis, is a very thorough analysis of the issue; it carefully examines and debunks Ross’s claims, and demonstrates beyond any rational doubt that the text of Genesis really does mean what it says. Have you read this book?

        Perhaps Hugh can not read or count? Give me a break?

        Dr. Lisle: Ross can count and therefore knows that a straightforward reading of Scripture gives an age of 6000 years. But he rejects this – not for exegetical reasons – but because he believes in the big bang and billions of years. No one believes in billions of years for biblical, exegetical reasons.

        • Bret says:

          Dr. Lisle, how can you tell that a day is 24 hours before the sun was created? Was the sun not created on the fourth day? So the days before the fourth day are not defined in the same manner as days afterwards for their was no sun which is how we define a 24 hour day.

          Isn’t it ‘gymnastics’ as you put it to get out of this simple observation?

          • Dr. Lisle says:

            Bret, the sun has very little to do with the length of the days. It is the rotation of earth that causes day and night. As long as we have a light source and a rotating earth, we can have 24-hour days. Did we have a light source for the first three days? Yes – Genesis 1:3. Did we have a rotating planet for the first three days? Yes, because there was evening and morning (Genesis 1:5,8,13). God replaced the temporary light source used for the first three days with the sun on day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19). So days have always been 24-hour earth rotations.

  14. Stella says:

    Hello Dr. Lisle,
    This is a bit off topic, but I’ve been wondering where you stand regarding global warming? I know Dr. Hugh Ross has stated it is true.
    Keep up the great work,
    Stella

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      There has been some degree of global warming, but it is non-catastrophic and its cause is not well known. This would be a good topic to bring up in our Partner’s Forum at the Biblical Science Institute (BiblicalScienceInstitute.com).

  15. Stella says:

    Thank you!
    Will try the forum. I was just wondering, you sound a bit reformed!
    Where do you stand reguarding the doctrines of grace? (Calvinism)

    • Harley Serafini says:

      I am quite sure Jason Lisle is a Calvinist. I have never heard him state implicitly that he is reformed(He is usually representing nondenominational ministries), but I have often heard him imply it.

  16. Harley Serafini says:

    Hello Dr. LIsle,
    I have been wondering recently which approach to apologetics is best. In the context of evangelizing an atheistic friend, do you, as a presuppositionalist, believe that once we have established our presuppositions, we can use some of the classical arguments?

    • Dr. Lisle says:

      I have found that the presuppositional method is best, not only from experience, but more importantly because it is Scriptural. I don’t use classical arguments, but I do think that much of the information contained within some of the classical arguments can be very useful in an apologetic encounter if used in a presuppositional way. Our new ministry (the Biblical Science Institute) will cover the details of this. Blessings.

      • Harley Serafini says:

        Thank you very much for your answer. I was rather confused about how presuppositional apologists thought about classical arguments and your answer has helped to clarify this.

  17. Deborah Barnum says:

    Don’t forget Harry Potter. I couldn’t help but notice that none of the “Bible and Harry Potter” books put out sequels after the HP series finished. Perhaps it’s because of the overarching themes of the series, which only became obvious at the end. The two biggest for me: self-sacrifice to conquer evil, and the fact that in trying to kill Harry as an infant, Voldemort sealed his own doom.
    Sadly, though there is little to no “real” witchcraft in the books, it has ignited interest in & acceptance of witchcraft in this generation with the old lie that there is “good” magic and “evil” magic. Like the “Force” in the Star Wars movies, the myth says we humans are able to wield supernatural powers, and remain “good”.

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