With refutation of errors
George Bancroft, B. Sci., M. Div., Th. M.
(16th March 2019; Update: 30th March 2019)
This explanation of the Westminster Confession of Faith is written to make plain the original intent meaning of the doctrines and church ordinances of the ministers and elder governors, who adopted the Confession to be the confession of the Church of Scotland in 1647. We must look to the 17th century Church of Scotland with reference to five important points in order to understand the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Confession: (1) The Adoption Act of 1647; (2) Adoption Act of the Larger Catechism in 1648; (3) the Larger Catechism; (4) the Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God (1645); and (5) the Westminster Form of Presbyterian Church Government (1645). From 1647-1662, the Church of England was unable to continue on with establishing a Presbyterian general synod and only set up presbyteries and a few provisional synods, prior to 1662. In 1648, the House of Commons and the House of Lords in England adopted the Westminster Confession. Then the House of Commons approved the Larger Catechism and the Shorter Catechism; but the House of Lords failed to adopt the Larger Catechism or the Shorter Catechism. In 1662, when the national Church of England returned to prelacy form of government, with pressure from King Charles II, the seceding ministers of the gospel and elder governors formed the Presbyterian Church of England with a General Synod. The Westminster Standards became the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church of England.
The ministers of the gospel remaining in the national established Church of England returned to the Protestant evangelical confession, the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion. In 1662, the Constitution of the Church was the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, along with the 1662 Prayer Book, as the directory for public worship. It should be noted though that in the Introduction to the Thirty Nine Articles, the gospel ministers were not to allow for any differences in the said Confession; and this was the position of the Church of England from 1571 until the early 1700s. Whilst the House of Lord’s and King Charles II did not allow for the full adoption of the Westminster Standards, the ministers of the gospel who stayed in the Church of England continued to require total subscription to the Protestant evangelical Thirty Nine Articles of Religion in the Church of England, as it was before 1643. There was to be no other gospel doctrines preached in the pulpit, nor in the lecterns; and there was church unity in the church ordinances including public worship.
The Church of Scotland carried on as before with the principle of total subscription to the church constitution having adopted all the Westminster Standards by 1648. Even during the oppression from King Charles II from 1662-1687, the principle of total subscription to the church constitution was the position of the Church of Scotland. During the reformation, the principle of total subscription to creeds, confessions, and catechisms had formerly been made plain in the Synod of Dordt Church Order 1618-19 (see Formula of Subscription). Changes to a church constitution are reserved for the General Synod, not presbyteries and definitely not individual ministers in pulpit preaching. Personal exceptions, resulting in personal amendments, are very divisive for a denomination, which can ultimately lead to differences over the gospel body of divinity, with heresy promoted in the congregations, which is contrary to Scripture (I Cor. 1:10; Gal. 1:6-9; 5:19-21; Phil. 1:27 KJB).
In order to explain the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Confession, we should start with utilising the adoption act of the Church of Scotland in 1647. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland required thorough study of the Confession before adopting the Westminster Confession. The church officers were “to put in their doubts and objections, if they had any,” before adoption. The General Assembly intended that church officers would subscribe in full without reservations and without exception to the whole Westminster Confession including each chapter, section by section. The language in the Adoption Act (1647) of the Confession of faith is as follows: “And the said Confession being, upon due examination thereof, found by the Assembly to be most agreeable to the word of God, and in nothing contrary to the received doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Kirk.”
The Solemn League and Covenant (1643) also called for working on a Catechism to be used in preaching and teaching, and definite uniformity in gospel doctrines and church ordinances. Therefore, it is important to also take note of the adoption act of the Larger Catechism as well as consulting the Larger Catechism to understand the Westminster Confession in any chapters or sections in question. The Church of Scotland also prepared to adopt the Larger Catechism in much the same language as the Westminster Confession: “and publick intimation being frequently made in this Assembly, that every one that had any doubts or objections upon it might put them in”. Then the Church of Scotland Adoption Act of 1648 used this language to make plain total subscription to be the position of the whole church for church officers with reference to the Larger Catechism: “do find, upon due examination thereof, That the said Catechism is agreeable to the word of God, and in nothing contrary to the received doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Kirk; a necessary part of the intended uniformity in religion, and a rich treasure for increasing knowledge among the people of God: and therefore the Assembly, as they bless the Lord that so excellent a Catechism is prepared, so they approve the same, as a part of uniformity”. Moreover, the adoption act further explains how the church officers in the Church of Scotland were to receive the Larger Catechism: “agreeing, for their part, that it be a common Catechism for the three kingdoms, and a Directory for catechising such as have made some proficiency in the knowledge of the grounds of religion.” The Westminster Confession and the Larger Catechism were designed for church officers, ministers, elders, and deacons to subscribe upon entering church office and to function accordingly in the church courts and in the congregations; but the ‘grounds of religion’ would be the first or introductory church catechism, the Shorter Catechism.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism was meant particularly for communicant membership subscription and then to come to the Lord’s Supper. The Adoption Act of 1648 states that the Shorter Catechism was also found to be “agreeable to the word of God, and in nothing contrary to the received doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this Kirk”. The adoption act also says that the smaller catechism was for the intended uniformity but specifically intimating that it was for non-church officers and designed for all communicant members (see I Cor. 11:18-19; Gal. 1:6-9 KJB): “And therefore approve the said Shorter Catechism, as a part of the intended uniformity, to be a Directory for catechising such as are of weaker capacity”. In the book, The Shorter Catechism, Explained From Scripture, written by Thomas Vincent (first published 1674), there are forty church officers who signed an “Epistle to the Reader” in the front of the book indicating that the Shorter Catechism was intended to a be catechism for the grounds of religion, that is, the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Yet, subscription to the Shorter Catechism was not required to receive young adult or adult Baptism: hence a two tier membership in the Westminster Standards, one for Baptism and one for communicate membership (see WCF 28:4; 29:7; LCQA 166, 171-174, 177; SCQA 95).
In the Church of Scotland Adoption Act of 1647, it states that the Westminster Confession would also be a means for suppressing heresies: “as a principle part of the intended uniformity in religion, and as a special means for the more effectual suppressing of the many dangerous errors and heresies of these times”. How should readers understand this mention of suppressing heresies in the adoption act of the Westminster Confession? Comparing all the three adoption acts, it is the Shorter Catechism which is the grounds of religion and the document to be used to be the minimum evangelical doctrines of a faithful Protestant evangelical church; but with reference to the same doctrines of the gospel, it is the Westminster Confession, besides the Larger Catechism, that gives the clarifying understanding and interpretation to the Shorter Catechism. So when it comes to interpreting the Shorter Catechism with reference to gospel doctrines (e.g., covenant of life, covenant of grace, divine election, effectual calling, sanctification, saving faith, repentance unto life, and the moral law), the Westminster Confession and the Larger Catechism must be consulted for its definite meaning. Church officers may not interpret or reinterpret the Shorter Catechism in gospel doctrines and church ordinances in a manner to contradict the Westminster Confession or the Larger Catechism, departing from the Protestant evangelical fundamentals of the faith. Interpreting the Shorter Catechism with reference to the legislative intent is most important and will be further clarified in chapter 25 of the Confession, with reference to a true Protestant evangelical church.
When a pastor or elder encounters some basic Christian adherents that question why a church should have a confession, the answer should be that every independent congregation with a pastor has a confession, namely, his own confession. According to Scripture, every church or pastor is required to at least have a confession and/or catechism (Acts 2:42, 27; I Cor. 1:10; Gal. 1:6-9 KJB). An unqualified or heretical pastor may say that the Bible is his confession; but that is not true, for he must interpret the Bible. Furthermore, his confession is often published in the congregation or some where for any one to read. A pastor that refuses to publish his confession wants the freedom to be unstable and changeable. The question is, will the pastor have his own independent minded confession or submit to other ministers and elders to have a check that the gospel doctrines he believes are scriptural. Evolutionary thinking pastors, not committed to the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and obedience, may speak as if theology and even gospel doctrines evolve for modern times. This is simply heresy and ought to be outright rejected. Some Charismatic-Pentecostal pastors may also speak against confessions, because he, or even she (see I Tim. 2:11-15 KJB), is mistakenly receiving revelation to interpret or reinterpret the Scriptures (see WCF 1:1). These heretics ought to be marked out and condemned (Rom. 16:17-19).
In the 20th and 21st centuries, there have been many ‘conservative’ Presbyterian churches in Australia, Canada, the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland which have claimed to subscribe to the whole doctrine of the Westminster Confession, or the system of doctrine of the Westminster Standards; however, often the church officers and the students for the ministry are not taught the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Confession. Moreover, the true ‘grounds of religion’ (i.e., fundamentals of the Christian faith) are not being faithfully taught in many ‘conservative’ Presbyterian pulpits. Some students spend their time reading modern systematic theologies and other books in deliberate revision of the “reformed faith” against the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Confession of Faith; and the students for the ministry and the newly elected elders and deacons are called upon to subscribe to the Westminster Confession, with little or know specific knowledge of the full system of theology of the Westminster Confession and not even the grounds of religion, the fundamentals of the faith. This is exactly what the Church of Scotland church officers were trying to avoid, not allowing for dangerous doctrines and heresies to come into the church.
This explanation is written to make plain the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Confession, by comparing the doctrines with the Larger Catechism, the Directory for the Public Worship of God, and the Form of Presbyterian Church Government. “Conservative” Presbyterians who want to ignore the Larger Catechism, adopt a different directory for public worship and a different form of church government, need to be careful to be honest in any resultant revision and amendments of the Westminster Confession. Readers should take note also that this explanation will seek to make plain the ‘grounds of religion’ in the Westminster Confession and taught in the Shorter Catechism to be a standard for marking sects and heretics (Rom. 16:17-19; Gal. 1:6-9 KJB). There will also be refutation of doctrinal errors and especially gospel body of divinity errors.
Some church officers may speak of scruples instead of exceptions to the Westminster Confession. There are those who would define ‘scruples’, as having no essential difference, distinguishing them from ‘exceptions’. Others speak of simply thinking that a given doctrinal statement might have been written better than stated in the Confession. Why should scruples be even mentioned? In the 17th century, two churches, the ‘reformed’ Church of England and the ‘reformed’ Church of Scotland worked on the Westminster Standards; and the church officers in the Church of Scotland adopted it as is, without amendment and without concern for better possible terminology, except with reference to one qualification related to the civil magistrate and calling of synods (see WCF 31:2).
After reading and studying this explanation, ‘reformed’ church officers who are determined to be reformed evangelical can correct their departures and subscribe to the original Westminster Confession (1647) or the North American amended confession of 1789. The legislative intent interpretation of the original Westminster Confession and then the three amendments will be explained (1789), understanding that the two views on civil government advocated that the civil magistrate is required to uphold both tables of the Ten Commandments. Both positions set forth the duty of governors to countenance the true Christian faith, endorsing the Protestant evangelical church (see WCF 25:6; LCQA 191). The view advocating that the civil governors were only to uphold the second table of the Ten Commandments is a 19th and 20th centuries’ revisionist interpretation.
The Westminster Confession was revised in 1936 by ‘conservative’ Presbyterians. In 1936, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) constituted with two Westminster Confession deletions (i.e., WCF 22:3; 25:6) and the Larger Catechism 109 deletion (“tolerating a false religion”). In 1903, three amendment deletions had been made in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Those church officers supporting the amendment deletions in the OPC Church Constitution (1936) were exposing their own significant departure from reformed evangelicalism (see WCF 24:3; 25:5), even with reference to the 1789 Amended adoption of the Westminster Standards. The phrase ‘tolerating a false religion’ is in a specific context in the Larger Catechism. The Protestant reformers viewed corrupt worship, including making statues, icons, paintings, or pictures of God the Son, to be scandalous sins against the second commandment (see also Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 35 on the 2nd commandment). Since the deletion in Larger Catechism Question and Answer 109 was done at the same time as removal of the statement in the Confession that the Pope of Rome is the ‘man of sin’, the church officers promoting these deletions were determined to promote the toleration of the Roman Catholic church. The church officers of the OPC, who supported the deletions, wanted the Roman Catholic church, and other similar churches, to no longer be marked out as sects (see Acts 15:5; Rom. 16:17-19 KJB).
This writer will write and defend the Westminster Confession, compared with the Larger Catechism, in full subscription to the original 1647-48. Westminster Standards, believing it to be eminently biblical and definitely needed for reformation in our day. Whilst the proof texts were put in the second edition of the printing of the Westminster Standards, as the Parliament of England requested them, the writer understands the proof-texts to be only a sample listing and was not intended to be an exhaustive list of proof-texts to the doctrines and church ordinances. The reformed evangelical church officers, who are not committed to Westminster Presbyterianism, but are instead semi-Presbyterians or Congregationalist-Independents, can adopt the Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order (1658) and even amend that confession as needed.
Ministers and church governing elders, who were taught true Presbyterianism as set forth in the Synod of Dordt Church Order 1618-19, the Second Book of Discipline (1578), and the Westminster Form of Presbyterian Church Government (1645), understand what it means for a denomination to have a confession and catechism as a definite church constitution. Reformed evangelicals, having a study Bible in conformity to Westminster Confession 1:8 and the Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God (Of Public Reading of the Scriptures) will have the word ‘decree’ in the translation of Acts 16:4-5. Reformed evangelical Presbyterian ministers and elder church governors understand that the Church Constitution is to be the decreed Church Standards based on the Scriptures and only to be reviewed by the General Synod in light of Scripture. The Westminster Confession requires the confession that the Scriptures are to be the only rule of faith and practice (see ch. 1:2; LCQA 3).
In the case of churches confessing the Westminster Confession, Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism, the Shorter Catechism is the entry level for communicant membership subscription; and the Larger Catechism and the Westminster Confession is meant for church officers to have uniformity in gospel doctrines and church ordinances. When this is properly understood and implemented, the doctrines preached from the pulpit, taught in catechism class, and put into practice will be reformed evangelical Presbyterian; and the church officers will have several unifying practical points that semi-Presbyterian Congregational-Independents in an association do not have. (1) Communicant members will know how to elect future reformed evangelical church officers. (2) Communicant members will know how to select a pastor when needed, trusting the Presbytery to fully examine a potential pastor in the church constitution. (3) The church will have uniformity in gospel doctrines of the faith. Church property can be purchased with church officer trustees to protect the property for the use of future church members. (4) The church will have uniformity in church ordinances, in the Sacraments and public worship, across the whole denomination. Full subscription with uniformity in church ordinances is important in families moving across a nation to another congregation. (5) The decreed church constitution will allow potential new adherents to establish preaching station-mission congregations knowing that the reformed evangelical faith is preached, with uniformity in the administration of the sacraments and in reformed evangelical worship throughout the whole denomination. (6) With the same church constitution across the whole denomination, the communicant members in various member congregations would be an endorsement for potential marriage partners (see WCF 24:3).
(11th April 2019; updated 13th April 2019)
Chapter IV.–Of Creation.
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.
The Trinitarian Godhead created all things of nothing in the beginning to display His own eternal and Almighty power, wisdom, and goodness in creation. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the three persons of the trinity, were all directly involved in creation (Gen. 1:2, 26; Jn 1:3 KJB). God displayed His power by creating simply by the word of His power. He spoke and out of nothing God created and brought things visible and invisible into being (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24; Jn 1:3 KJB). There is no notion of plants, fish, animals, or man evolving from lower beings. This is definitely contrary to the natural interpretation of Genesis chapter 1. Any form of theistic evolution is completely out of accord with Scripture. Divine creation is also confirmed to be part of the light of nature in man. Unregenerates, including some nominal Christians, who advocate evolution are going against what they know to be true within themselves (Rom. 1:19-20; 2:14-15 KJB). By the light of nature, man knows that he was created by God, and that he is the same man from the beginning in creation. He is the same man referenced in Psalm 100 to be sung in public and private worship: “Know ye the Lord that he is God; not we, but he us made: We are his people, and the sheep within his pasture fed.” (1650 Scottish Metrical Version of the Psalms: 2nd version of 100:3).
By nature, all unregenerates including the heathen suppress the truth concerning creation. They hold and hold down, or suppress, the truth of creation by the Trinitarian Godhead (Rom. 1:18-21 KJB). The Greek word translated ‘hold’ (vs. 18) has both meanings: ‘hold’ and ‘suppress’; it is best translated ‘hold’ to emphasise and remind repentant believers that all mankind know this truth in their inner being, yet suppressed (see II Tim. 4:1-2; I Pet. 3:15 KJB). Unregenerates know within themselves that they are created and owned by Almighty God, even though they may speak publicly of not knowing about biblical creation or openly speaking of opposition to creation in favour of evolution or theistic evolution. Evolutionists do their studies vigorously but poorly, trying to prove what their inner being says is simply not true. Evolution may be accepted and promoted by many in the world, who want to believe in something that takes a lot of worldly blind faith; but according to the Word of God, they know better and suppress the truth of God’s Sovereign creation, creation of themselves, and Providential control of all things in heaven and earth.
The Confession teaches that creation was performed by God “in the space of six days”. The Larger Catechism states that creation was done “within the space of six days” (LCQA 15). The Shorter Catechism also says that the work of creation was performed “in the space of six days” (SCQA 9). Now certainly, Almighty God could have created in one day or instantly, instead of six days. As the same clear teaching is in all three documents, and the fact that it is included in the Shorter Catechism, this teaching concerning six day creationism is believed to be part of the gospel body of divinity for church unity and uniformity (Rom. 12:16; I Cor. 1:10; Phil. 1:27 KJB). It is a fundamental of the faith, required to be confessed among other doctrines for partaking at the Lord’s Supper. Consider the difference between a six day creationist partaking at Communion in comparison to a theistic evolutionist, who denies the plain meaning of Scripture and God’s Sovereignty over him or her. According to the Westminster Standards, it is sectarian to teach otherwise; and those who do oppose it should not even be allowed at the Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:18-19; Tit. 3:10-11 KJB). They may become baptized members, but should not be communicant members (see ch. 28:4; 29:7; LCQA 166, 171, 177). The implication is that those who reject the natural and plain teaching of Genesis 1:1-2:3 as well as Exodus 20:8-11 are rejecting the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule of faith and obedience.1
It is dangerous in many ways to reject the plain and obvious meaning of Genesis 1:1-2:3 as well as Exodus 20:11. Rejecting the natural meaning of creation is inherently dangerous and has caused other departures in doctrine and life, including a confusion in the important work week, necessary day of rest, and public worship of God.2 It encourages followers to depart on creation ordinances, the creation of mankind to be distinctly male and female, the role of men and women, the institution of the Christian Sabbath, marriage between a man and a woman, to be fruitful and multiply, and the role of women in learning in the church as non-church officers (I Cor. 7:1-6; 14:34-35; I Tim. 2:11-15 KJB).
In the mid-19th century, the gap theory came into being and started to become popular among some Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptist, Methodists, Charismatic-Pentecostals and Anabaptists groups. Robert Shaw (19th century Free Church of Scotland, minister) wrote, The Reformed Faith, an explanation of the Westminster Confession, and advanced this gap theory in the chapter on creation. It certainly might be considered to be ‘evangelical’; this is basically true, as it fully allows for and supports continuance of creation ordinances. Yet, the gap theory is not the legislative intent meaning of the Westminster Standards on creation. With definite unreliable dating methods, sought to be beyond the biblical dating of roughly 6000 years and expanding to 10,000 to 15,000, the gap theory became popular. The idea was to place a possible gap in Genesis 1:1-2 lasting 4,000 or more years. The new position was that perhaps there was meant to be a gap from the earth first being created by God and then the six days of creation, beginning with Genesis 1:3. The problem with this position was that there is no reason at all given in Scripture for a gap of 5,000 to 10,000 years for the sole purpose of giving the appearance that the earth is older than the genealogies, which favour the 6,000 years of age. It is not the natural interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Exodus 20:11; and this concern to fit in with some 19th century dating methods was soon destined to be stretched even further, when the evolutionists later chose to extend their own theory that the earth might be more like 100,000 years old and then millions of years old; and it did not end there. In the mid-20th century, the evolutionists decided to guess that the earth was perhaps five billion years old. Many so-called conservative Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, then invented the ‘Day Age Theory’ and the ‘Framework Hypothesis’ for creation to fit in with “theistic” evolution, but denying the plain meaning of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Exodus 20:11.
Neo-reformed Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists invented the ‘Day Age Theory’ of creation to fit in with the latest expanding dating theories of the evolutionists. The idea is that the days are not definite, not at all meant to be seven normal length days. They had abandoned the Bible’s own teaching of a young earth, created with apparent age from the beginning. Also some of these same imagined “scholars” and pastors began to argue that it was more likely that the flood was localised and not worldwide, even surmising that the Hebrew word should be translated ‘land’ rather than ‘earth’; but it does not fit the context at all of the scriptural chapters on the flood (see Gen. 6:5-8, 20; 7:1-6, 10, 12, 17-24; 8:4-12; 9:1-17 KJB).
The theistic evolutionists, including the ‘Day Age theorists’, then became quite exposed with other signs of rejecting the plain teaching of Scripture on the Sabbath Day and a weakened view of the moral law altogether. Some of the sectarian church leaders became influenced by the feminist and women’s suffrage movement in the late 19th century through to the mid-20th century.3 Contrary to the natural interpretation of I Timothy 2:11-15 (KJB), but fitting for the theistic evolutionists, women eventually came to be elected as deacons, then elders, with some even allowing women into the pastoral ministry. As made clear in chapter one, some “conservatives” and some modernists advocate that the original manuscripts are inerrant, the Scriptures are even authoritative, but the Scriptures for them are not the only rule of faith and practice.4
With the 1930s redemptive historical method of interpreting Scripture and preaching in Holland, the framework hypothesis theory of creation was invented to further advance the heretical teaching of theistic evolution. The notion was that Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a framework or model, but also a hypothesis. The term ‘hypothesis’ is a clever term intimating that the Genesis account is not accurate for study nor can be counted on for scientific study. Many of these unbelieving scholars actually say that the Bible may be reliable for doctrine, but not reliable for historical matters nor science, proving again that these “conservative”, neo-reformed, teachers do not believe the Scriptures to be the only rule of faith and practice. The advocates of framework hypothesis are not scholars at all; but heretics just as the “Day Age theorists”, rejecting the plain and obvious meaning of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Exodus 20:11 and prone to further heresy. Rejecting six day creationism, creation ordinances, and God’s Providential control over creation, theistic evolutionary church officers have been providing grave unfaithful leadership in the name of Christianity. They have often displayed serious incompetent, poor counsel even in daily living, work, rest, marriage, farming, the raising of a family, education, illnesses, physicians, healthy eating, and a healthy lifestyle (see ch. 24:1-3; LCQA 28, 135-138).
In the beginning, before the fall of mankind into sin, creation was performed by God in six days, teaching man a six day work week and one day of rest for public and private worship of the one true God (Gen. 2:1-3 KJB). Each day has something mentioned having been performed by the Godhead in creation, and then the day ends with “And the evening and the morning were the first day”, then the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days. This painstaking manner of writing indicates that each day was a normal length day. This is not some ancient way of marking a day, but normal length day even in sleep patterns. As God has designed, man goes to sleep at night, and during the night the day changes to the next day. Widespread use of clocks is a rather modern invention. Farmers, ranchers, fisherman, and outdoor tradesmen of various sorts can calculate their day by this means; and some even put domesticated animals on a schedule by solar time: which the animals tend to remember. There are knowledgeable gardeners and farmers who know when to plant original seed by the annual, or even monthly, pattern of the Moon, and its effects on the earth, for optimum conditions of growth. This is found to be true even in the far north and the far south of the earth wherein there are much shorter and longer sunlight days. Regardless, man can and does develop natural sleep patterns in various parts of the earth, including Moon and star time, called a ‘body clock’. This ‘body clock’ was obvious placed in man and ordained of God from very creation for man as created in the image of God; and it continues in God’s Providence over the whole earth: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psa. 127:2).5
In the beginning, God’s creation was made all very good, including the creation ordinances (Gen. 1:31 KJB). Certainly the Godhead could have performed creation instantaneously, but the Lord God did it in six days as a perpetual example to man of a seven day week: six days of labour and one day of rest (Exo. 20:8-11 KJB). The Larger Catechism adds the creation institution of the Sabbath day (see LCQA 20). This is referring to the Fourth Commandment (Exo. 20:8-11; Deut. 5: KJB), and not the ceremonial Sabbaths added in the Mosaic ceremonial law and abolished in the New Testament (see ch. 19:3). The Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath day, is perpetual and continues into the New Testament, changing the day to the 1st day of the week (Matt. 5:16-20; Jn. 14:15; Acts 2:41-47; 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Rev. 1:10 KJB). John Calvin wrote in the 16th century in defence of this creation ordinance: “So far as the Sabbath was a figure of this rest, I say, it was but for a season; but inasmuch as it was commanded to men from the beginning that they might employ themselves in the worship of God, it is right that it should continue to the end of the world.”6 Following on in the 17th century, Matthew Poole stated this in order to refute those opposed to the perpetual Sabbath day creation ordinance: “Some conceive that the sabbath was not actually blessed and sanctified at and from this time, but only in the days of Moses, which they pretend to be here related by way of anticipation. But this opinion hath no foundation in the text or context, but rather is confuted from them”.7
The Scriptures by natural interpretation would indicate that the earth was created mature ready to inhabit man with all manner of herbs. On the third day, God created all herbs, including fruits, grains, vegetables, medicinal and spice herbs. Man, created on the sixth day, began as herbivores in the biblical diet. God created each seed in a distinct manner. Whilst each individual seed can slightly modify, in God’s Providence, with the wind blowing to different parts of the earth, God has said that he would maintain the seed, ‘after his kind’ (Gen. 1:11-12 KJB). Any type of deliberate altering of the seed in a laboratory is not God created original seed; and it will not be blessed of God unto healthy nutrients for man or animals. Both genetically engineered and genetically modified organism, fruits, gains, and vegetables are against God’s creation ordinance. God-fearing Christians should expect such modification of food to be detrimental to health and to the soil itself (see LCQA 136). Man also has been designed to drink milk and quality water from the beginning (see LCQA 135). Mother’s breast milk for the child is designed for up to four years, as deduced from Scripture (see I Sam. 1:19-28); and goats milk is commended for drinking for all (Prov. 27:26-27 KJB).
The Word of God indicates that the worldwide flood did make some change to the earth in climate patterns, the continents and massive erosion of certain areas. Furthermore, the flood slightly changed the nutrients of fruits, vegetables, and grains, preparing for meat eating. Nevertheless, God continued to providentially control the original seeds. After the flood, man was instructed to add quality meat eating to his biblical diet, killing wild animals, fishing, and domesticating some animals for production of meat, but promoting grass-fed animals (Gen. 34:5; Deut. 11:15; Psa. 50:10; 104:14 KJB). Professing Christians rejecting six day creationism and the worldwide flood have had much trouble making the transition back from trusting evolutionists, without repentance and accepting the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and obedience. The teaching of the Westminster Confession on six day creationism, together with the church ordinances, should indeed be viewed as an evangelical, fundamental of the Christian faith.
1 Being a rather early reformation catechism (1563), the writers and signers of the Heidelberg Catechism likely inadvertently left this doctrine out. Therefore, in the late 20th century and the 21st century, reformed evangelical denominations serious about total subscription to the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dordt) added the Westminster Confession as a church standard.
2 The 16th century reformed evangelical minister, John Calvin, taught that creation was in the space of six days. See John Calvin, Commentary on the Bible, on Genesis 2:1-2.
3 Beginning in the late 19th century and by the mid-20th century, in accordance with their theistic evolution heresy, the following churches eventually accepted women in church office: for example, Church of Scotland, Church of England, Nazarene Church, Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, Christian Reformed Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church of North America, Presbyterian Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church in the United States, United Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church of Australia, Presbyterian Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church of England, Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, Reformed Church of America, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Church.
4 The heretical affects of rejecting six day creationism and certain creation ordinances continued into the mid-20th centuries and was tolerated in the following “conservative” churches: Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church, Free Church of Scotland, Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia, Presbyterian Church of America, Presbyterian Church of Australia, and Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the United Reformed Church.
5 “Day light saving” time was initially brought in by German evolutionists or theistic evolutionists and used in World War I and II; and other countries have done so at various times. Yet, some countries or province-states have repealed them, being harmful to the natural ‘body clock’ and sleep patterns. Bible believing Christians should oppose “Day light saving”. The idea was to take advantage of more sun light in the summer months and less in winter months, by moving clocks ahead one hour in the Spring and back one hour in the Autumn. Some people have developed sleep disorders for various reasons, but aggravated by the “Day light saving” clock changing. It is also disruptive to farming and ranching, because the domesticated animals by instinct develop a ‘body clock’; but man’s body clock, having dominion, is by innate knowledge being in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28).
6 John Calvin’s, Commentary on the Bible, see Genesis 2:3.
7 Matthew Poole’s Commentaries, see Genesis 2:3.
II. After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
In the beginning, God created man on the six day, distinct from animals. He created man, male and female. Every serious Bible-believing Christian will advocate that God created mankind with two distinct genders: male and female. This is definitely an evangelical fundamental of the Christian faith, being taught in the Shorter Catechism as well (SCQA 10). Those who reject this teaching, but profess the Christian faith, are rejecting the obvious and plain meaning of Genesis 1:27. They are not only to have the appearance of male and female, but God designed them to have distinctive body parts and emotions related to the same. The first man and first woman were created with maturity. Man, the male, was created first and to be the principle labourer in the estate, beginning with the farm plot in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:4-15 KJB). The woman was created second to be “an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18b). The woman was created with a womb to bear children and is therefore the weaker vessel (Gen. 3:16; I Tim 2:15; I Pet. 3:7 KJB). The first woman, Eve, was presented to Adam fully naked, as he was naked (Gen. 2:25); and they were not ashamed of their full public nakedness until after the fall into sin. Eve was presented with distinctive long hair, and Adam had distinctive short hair (comp. I Cor. 11:14-15 KJB). Adam and Eve were created to be married, married by the Godhead, and to be fruitful and multiply under the Sovereign control of God in conception (Gen. 1:28; 2:18-25; 9:1, 7; Psa. 113:9 KJB). This creation ordinance, that marriage is between a man and a woman, is also an evangelical doctrine; and to marry outside of God’s moral precepts in the Lord is implied to be a damnable heresy in the Westminster Confession (see ch. 24:1-3). This follows in accordance with the natural and obvious meaning of the words of Christ concerning marriage between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:3-6 KJB).
After the fall, Adam and Eve were clothed by God in modesty for public appearance in accordance with the 7th commandment (Gen. 3:10-12, 21; Prov. 5:19-20; Song of Sol. 1:13 KJB), reserving full nakedness for the marriage bed and private bathing (comp. Heb. 13:4 KJB). They were created with distinct body parts, suitable for the conjugal love in marriage in accordance with the 7th commandment and for the woman in pregnancy and giving birth (see LCQA 138). After the fall, the gift of containment (I Cor. 7:8-9), with bachelors and spinsters, was sovereignly brought in by the Godhead (see LCQA 138); and biblical marriage continued to be between a man and a woman (see ch. 24:1).
By the early 21st century, a question developed by some atheists, agnostics, and even some nominal Christians that perhaps some individuals are meant to be neutral or flexible in gender; or that some having the body parts of a male may have the spirit of a female within them. Also one having the body parts of a female may have the spirit of a male. It is surmised that perhaps these people are trapped in a body that does not fit for them or changes periodically. This is pure speculation based on temporary feelings of a very confused person, trying to suppress the truth of the 7th commandment. There is no mention any where in the Bible of such a problem after the fall, indicating that God has providentially continued with male and female distinctions for creation, yet subject to foolishness in the total depravity of man including the delusions of demonic spirits (Rom. 1:26-32; I Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 4:1-3 KJB). Any notion that someone is trapped in the wrong body is either a sign of self-delusion or following demonic foolish suggestions. The delusion was also brought on by evolutionary intervention and experimentation in hormones, scandalously violating the 7th commandment, besides the punishment of God (see WCF 24:2; LCQA 28, 138-139).2
Of course this new consideration, questioning the definite distinction between male and female lacks common sense and is against science. Evolution is supposed to be based on science without presupposition; but we know that evolutionists do begin with a presupposition. Evolutionists start with a young earth and supposedly over billions of years things happen to evolve by chance to the present state of the earth. In contrast, genuine six day creationists do their scientific studies beginning with the understanding of a mature earth; and this presupposition results in the scientific understanding that mankind continues as male and female. Perhaps the justification for confusion between male and female is that some males and females are confused in some new “evolutionary process”; but this confusion and display of foolishness are happening too quickly for even dedicated evolutionists to accept.
Nevertheless, some evolutionists with no correlation to their scientific studies are open to the foolishness and experimenting in switching genders, or neutral gender. All manner of experiments even with trying to construct or reconstruct body parts cannot change or make a change from a male to a female and a female to a male or make some neutral. The plastic surgeons can only make the appearance of a private body part and any thing further is a prideful, foolish violation of the 1st commandment to even entertain it in the mind. God-fearing repentant believers should know that a replica of a God created womb cannot be made with no prospect of natural conception in the womb and sustaining of a baby in the womb (Eccl. 11:5 KJB).9 The emotions of male and female, related to the distinct body parts and their souls, can only be made and maintained by the Creator; that is the natural and obvious meaning of Gen. 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”; and each baby conceived in a womb is specially designed by God as comparatively intricate as the universe: “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1)
In the late 20th century, with the new or evolving “evolutionary” studies, based on periodic personal feelings, a very foolish development in evolutionary studies began. It is another example that evolutionists hold and suppress the truth that the God of the Scriptures created all things in six days, including man was created distinct from animals, with two genders: male and female (see Rom. 1:18-20 KJB). Some dedicated evolutionists are probably wishing this gender emotional experience would eventually pass, as it is exposing the whole evolutionary movement to be unscientific and even prone to foolishness, lacking reasonable common sense.
Man, distinct from animals, was created with a rational and reasonable mind. Being distinct from animals, man has an immortal soul or spirit, which is a soul that cannot die. The soul has continued existence. Whilst man was to start in creation with an immortal soul (Gen. 2:7 KJB) and a body to live for ever, in the fall, mankind lost continued existence in the body; but man continued with an immortal soul, that is, continued existence. The Larger Catechism says that man was created with a living, reasonable, and immortal soul (LCQA 17). Herman Hoeksema, a 20th century neo-reformed professor in the Protestant Reformed Churches of North America, denied the immortality of the soul teaching and even called it a ‘heresy’ (see Index, Reformed Dogmatics). This kind of teaching is simply sectarian. Hoeksema had no sound argument to call it a ‘heresy’; and he had every good reason to teach consistently against ‘soul sleep’, calling that teaching a heresy. It is obvious in Scripture that man was created with an immortal soul. Regarding death, the Scriptures teach that in death only the body goes to the earth, or to the grave; and God takes the soul to its immediate home in hell or heaven: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc1. 2:7; see also II Cor. 5:1-10).
Man was created in the image of God, distinct from the animals, which is understood to be in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. It is taught in Genesis 1:26-27 that man was created in the image of God. When man fell from that image of God into sin, Romans chapter one and chapter two teach that the light of nature in man still sets forth the basic moral law of God (Rom. 2:14-15 KJB), in the covenant of works (Rom. 2:31), and the wrath and curse of God in Romans 1:18-19; but in effectual calling, the image of God is significantly restored in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness (see WCF 10:1-2), yet imperfect in this life (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Heb. 12:22-23 KJB). From this, we gather that man was created initially with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness as part of the image of God in man, distinct from animals. When speaking of any animals, they function based on Divine controlled ‘instinct’. Man does not function by instinct. Instead, man functions by rational thinking in accordance with the image of God, even if it is rational immoral behaviour, because of the fall of mankind into sin (Rom. 2:14-15 KJB).
The Westminster Confession teaches that the law of God began in the Garden of Eden in very creation. Being in the image of God, Adam and Eve had the law of God written in their hearts to be perfectly righteous and pursue holiness. The Confession refers to this law as the moral law of God (see ch. 19:1-2; LCQA 92-93). Even after the fall of man into sin, the basic moral law in the Ten Commandments remains upon the hearts of all mankind, yet quite marred: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom. 2:14-15). As a creation ordinance, the moral law was given and imparted in a twofold manner, as a covenant of works (see ch. 7:2) and as a continuing rule of right living (see ch. 19:1-2; LCQA 92; SCQA 40). This is clearly taught in the New Testament based on the natural interpretation (Matt. 5:16-20; Jn. 14:15; Rom. 3:19-20, 27-31; Gal. 3:10; I Jn. 3:4; II Jn. 6).
Besides the moral law of God written on the hearts of Adam and Eve in creation, there was one additional command given by the Godhead: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Whilst this command and all commandments were kept, Adam and Eve had full communion with God with full dominion over the creatures (Gen. 1:28 KJB). This dominion over creatures as vice-regent certainly continued after the fall, as man remains distinct from animals with remaining traces of the image of God; but this dominion over creatures, adversely affected by the fall, is to continue in terms of the teaching of the whole counsel of God in Scripture (Acts 20:27 KJB) with God’s Providential care over all creation.
With reference to the covenant of works (ch. 7) mentioned also in the Larger Catechism (LCQA 30), which is also called the covenant of life (see SCQA 12), God has required absolute perfection from the beginning in creation. The Scriptures teach that man was created good and upright, that is, power to fulfil the covenant of works, “which was subject unto change”. This change and the definite fall of mankind into sin will be explained in subsequent chapters, as well as the covenant of grace for Salvation in Christ (see e.g., ch. 6-7).
1 With the widespread use of contraceptive pills (1960), male enhancement pills (1998), and the definite abortion pills (1980s), such Pharmaceutical drugs have been known to end up in city water supplies, with inadequate government filtration systems. Household taps with city water supplies need adequate additional purification. There should also be grave concern about certain ingredients related to abortion put into medical Pharmaceutical products, severe side affects, and prescribed by evolutionary medical physicians.
2 By the 1980s, IVF came into being with unnatural conception in a laboratory together with all the abortive discarding survival of the fittest deaths. Then there is often further death, namely miscarriages, after unnatural laboratory plantation into a God created womb; and all the repercussions of scandalously breaking the 1st, 6th, and 7th commandments, with God’s promised punishment, are certainly unknown, making such evolutionary experimentation dangerous.