The starting point for David’s devotions in Psalm 8 is the sky, the sky at night (whereas Psalm 19:1-6 treats the sky by day), for it is only when the sun is down that we can see "the moon and the stars" (8:3). The almighty wisdom manifest in "the work of [God’s] fingers" in outer space (3) leads the psalmist to marvel at God’s careful attention to puny man (4) whom He crowns with glory (5), giving him dominion (6) over the living creatures of the land, air and sea (7-8). "O Lord our Lord," holy David exclaims, "how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (1, 9). Jehovah’s "glory [is] above the heavens" (1), far higher and greater than even the marvellous and enormous expanse of the second heaven, outer space.
But what has all this to do with the false theory of common grace? Not much; rather, not much directly. But in raising the issue of the right interpretation and understanding of the moon and the stars (3), the doctrine of man (4-5) and his lordship over the earth (6-8), and hence the glory of God’s great name (1, 9), as well as in characterizing those who grasp this truth (2), the issue of common grace comes up. For common grace is a prominent factor in the unbelieving reinterpretation of the creation.
Let me explain. Over the last two centuries, the Bible’s teaching of a young earth and the creation of man on the sixth day as head, under God, of the planet has been attacked and undermined through unbelieving science: uniformitarian geology, evolutionism and the big bang. As these views infiltrate seminaries, pulpits and pews in apostate and apostatising churches, the question inevitably arises, How can we reconcile our evolutionary beliefs with the Bible (especially Genesis 1-3)?
The false philosophy of common grace has boldly ridden to the rescue (cf., e.g., the report of the Committee on Creation and Science accepted at the Christian Reformed Church of N. America Synod of 1991)! The (flawed) reasoning is easy to grasp. Since God loves everybody and since this is God’s love and, therefore, powerful and transformative, God’s love must result in changing everyone somewhat for the better and so making them something less than—and maybe a lot less than!—totally depraved. All scientists are, therefore, (at least partially) good and so they are really seeking after the truth, the truth about origins too: the origins of man, life, the earth and the universe.
These scientists (at least, most of them) tell us that man evolved from the primeval slime pond and our planet, solar system and universe are the result of an explosion many billions of years ago. Common grace "baptizes" this folly into (various forms of) theistic evolutionism, the notion of a "god of the gaps" who used evolution to make man and the world. Genesis 1-3 and the succeeding chapters, as well as many other parts of the Bible, such as the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:8-11), Christ’s teaching on marriage and divorce (Matt. 19:4-6), the prohibition of women in church office (I Tim. 2:11-15), etc., must be "reinterpreted" as myths or mere morality stories. The biblical and Reformed doctrine of the inspiration, authority, inerrancy, perspicuity and sufficiency of Scripture is denied (II Tim. 3:16-17; Belgic Confession 2-7; Westminster Confession 1) and further departures are inevitable.
Ah, the marvel of common grace! It not only removes the offence of the gospel (the absolute sovereignty of God) and facilitates false ecumenism with Arminians (by teaching that God loves everybody and wants to save everybody); it also can be used to justify evolutionism!
Unlike liberal theologians with the glaucoma of common grace and the warped spectacles of evolutionism, David has 20/20 vision through spiritual, believing eyes and the glasses of Scripture. He knew that the holy God of justice does not love the ungodly reprobate: "thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Ps. 5:5); "the wicked ... his soul hateth" (11:5). The psalmist meditated upon and cleaved to Scripture and not the vain counsels of the ungodly (1:1-2; 2:1-3), for God’s "word is true from the beginning" (119:160).
In this light (including Genesis 1), David surveyed the glorious night sky with its heavenly bodies (Ps. 8:3). The immense expanse of God’s work on the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-19) dwarfed tiny man made on the sixth day (26-31), compelling David to exclaim, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Ps. 8:4). Next he, believing the truth of the first chapter of the Bible (Gen. 1:26-31), recalled God’s good gift to man, his vicegerent, of dominion over the earth (Ps. 8:5-8). Thus we understand and appreciate David’s entirely appropriate response in the opening and concluding lines of Psalm 8: "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!" (1, 9).
But who makes this glorious confession? Not many of the high and mighty of this world (I Cor. 1:26). Jehovah has "ordained strength" or "perfected praise" "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings" (Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:16)! Covenant children—not unbelieving astronomers or theologians—and humble adults with a child-like faith understand the heavens in the light of the Word and worship their Creator by sovereign, uncommon grace alone! This is God’s means to "still [orsilence] the enemy and the avenger" (Ps. 8:2) who pervert and deny the truth of Jehovah’s creation, especially here of the fourth (3), fifth (8) and sixth (4-7) days (Gen. 1:14-31)!
This truth of creation is inseparably joined to the truth of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, for He is the ideal man and the second Adam who is the head of the creation, as Hebrews 2:6-10, citing Psalm 8:4-6, teaches. And the "babes and sucklings" who glorify their Creator (2) also worship Christ in His temple (Matt. 21:15-16)!
- Volume: 12
- Issue: 12
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
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