As to the answer of the committee of the Christian Reformed Church in regard to Point III, we can be brief. They simply state that the schismatics agree with them and they with the schismatics. The answer reads as follows:
“3, with respect to Point III:
“a. Both committees are agreed that the natural man performs ‘civic good.’
“b. The expression is warranted in view of II Kings 1029, 30 and Luke 6:33 and in light of the fact that the Confessions speak of ‘spiritual good,’ and ‘saving good,’ and ‘truly good,’ which implies another good which is not to be so characterized.
“c. It is further agreed that this ‘civic good’ in as far as it is not done from the root of faith, neither according to the law of God, nor to God’s glory, is sinful.”
We remark the following:
As to b above, it is evident that neither the schismatics nor the committee of the Christian Reformed Church are original in referring to the statements from the Confessions: “spiritual good,” saving good,” and “truly good.” They, evidently, consulted the pamphlet written by Prof. L. Berkhof: “De Drie Punten In Alle Deelen Gereformeerd” (The Three Points Reformed In All Parts). He writes the very same thing on p. 54.
However, they do not agree with Berkhof when they simply call this so-called civic good sin. For in the same pamphlet referred to above, he writes (I translate from the Dutch):
“Nor does one have any right, on the ground of Rom. 14:23, to call all the works of the unregenerate simply sin, without any qualification. For many people it appears a settled matter, when one simply says: ‘all that is not of faith is sin.’ But, when you read Rom. 14:23 in its entirety, it soon becomes evident that the truth one seeks in it is not found there.” And then Berkhof continues to explain this verse in his own way. From this, as well as from other passages, it is evident that Berkhof does not agree with the committee of the schismatics or of the Christian Reformed Church when they declare that the “civic good” is sinful. Besides how is it possible to call these works of the natural man sinful in view of the fact that they are performed under the influence of the Holy Spirit or of “common grace”? Does not the Second Point teach “that God by the general operations of His Spirit, without renewing the heart of man, restrains the unimpeded breaking out of sin, by which human life in society remains possible”? And is not the same thing taught in the Third Point when it declares “that God, without renewing the heart, so influences man that he is able to perform civic good”? Is what God does, even though it be through the unregenerate man, ever sinful? Is what man does through the general operations of the Holy Spirit, even though the heart of man is not renewed, ever to be called sinful? Is, then, after all, God the author of sin. To be sure, it is the teaching of the theory of “common grace” that not man of himself but God is the ultimate Author of the “good works” which the natural man performs. If then these so-called good works are sinful, it follows that God is the Author of these sinful works.
And this is blasphemy.
Let us not camouflage the “Three Points” as both committees evidently attempt to do.
A work is either good or sinful f it cannot be both.
Hence, we must either royally retract the Third Point or let it stand the way in which the Synod of 1934 formulated it. And this holds true also for the First and Second Points.
As far as we are concerned, i.e. the Protestant Reformed Churches, we reject them with all our heart as fundamental errors.
In conclusion, the committee of the Christian Reformed Church states the following:
“It may be stated in conclusion that the committees have come to this position through careful consideration of one another’s expressed convictions, the deliberate weighing of arguments, and exhaustive discussions.
“The committee believes, in view of this fact, that this same method should be employed by all our people and that these conclusions, should be carefully examined in the light of the Word of God and the Confessions, and judged in that light.
“The committee makes the following recommendations to Synod:
“1. That the conclusions of the committee be approved.
“2. That the committee, or a committee, be continued with instructions.
“3. That the Synod exhort our people to make a careful study of these matters in view of the facts that have been brought to light by the work of the committee.”
I understand that the report and its conclusions have been approved and adopted by the Synod.
We will now await the results.
Evolution, Long Periods, or Days We still have to call attention to the creation of the woman.
After the account of Gen. 1:1-3, which speaks of the finishing of the work of creation by God and of His rest on the seventh day, there still follows an account of various details of creation on the sixth day. These details include: 1. A brief repetition of the creation of the plants and herbs. This was made especially with a view to the statement that God had not caused it to rain on the earth but that a mist went up to water the face of the earth. 2. The creation of man from the dust of the ground and the breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. 3. The planting of the garden of Eden, the placing of man in the garden to dress and to keep it, the tree of life in the midst of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil and God’s command concerning it. 4. The bringing of the animals to Adam to see how he would name them. 5. And, finally, the creation of the woman. All this took place on the sixth day. This is evident, as far as the creation of the woman is concerned, from Gen. 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Also the creation of the woman, therefore, was accomplished on the sixth day while in Gen. 2 we have a more detailed account of the way in which she was created.
Of this we read in Gen. 2: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and he brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.”
On this we briefly make the following remarks:
1. Evidently, the text is intended to be understood in the literal sense of the word, as is the entire chapter. The mist that rose up from the ground, the creation of man from the dust of the ground and the breathing into his nostrils of the breath of life, the planting of the garden of Eden and the two special trees, the naming of the animals by Adam,—all this leaves the simple impression of a literal narrative of facts that occurred just as they are told in the narrative. There is nothing allegorical in the entire narrative. If we depart from the literal sense of the words and make it all allegorical, there is no end to possible speculations and one interpretation is as good as another and—as bad. The same is true of the creation of the woman. It is literally true that, in distinction from the animals, man was first created alone, that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, that He took one of man’s ribs, closed up the flesh thereof, and made a woman out of it. All this is a simple description of a literal fact or it means nothing.
2. The deep sleep which God caused to fall upon Adam was, of course, not a natural sleep. It was a “deep” sleep, that is, such a sleep “in which all consciousness of the outer world and of one’s own existence vanishes” (Keil). We might, perhaps, say that it was a complete anaesthetic which caused Adam to be wholly insensible. The purpose of this deep sleep was, of course, that God might be able to perform the operation by which He took one of Adam’s ribs and closed up the flesh thereof, entirely without pain.
3. From the rib which God had taken from Adam He made the woman and brought her unto the man. The word that is translated for rib in the Hebrew means literally “side.” However, the correctness of the translation “rib” is evident from the fact that we read: “and God took one of his ribs” showing that there were several of them in the human body. The woman, therefore, was not created out of nothing by the powerful Word of God; nor out of the dust of the ground as Adam was; but out of man. The meaning of this is twofold. First of all, it signifies that the woman was designed to stand in relation to the man in the marriage bond of natural love. And, secondly, that in that relation of marriage, the man is first and he is the head of the woman. And as such it is at the same time a picture of the relation between Christ and His Church. As Paul writes in Eph. 5:22-33: “wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
The basis of this marriage bond in all its implications lies in the fact that the woman was created out of the man.
It needs no proof that the theory of evolution can have nothing to do with this beautiful truth of Scripture. That man is directly created by God out of the dust of the ground, the evolutionist cannot accept. He prefers his own philosophy that man is evolved from the lower animal. But how utterly it must be to him that God created the woman out of the man!
But the same thing applies, as far as the creation of the woman out of the man is concerned, for those that hold that the creation days were long periods of millions or, perhaps, billions of years. They certainly cannot maintain the biblical narrative of the creation of the woman as it is found in Gen. 2. How long did it take God to create the woman 1 How long was Adam sunken in that deep sleep? How long was God operating on Adam to take one of his ribs and close up the flesh thereof? And how long was God busy to build a woman out of the rib he had taken from man? Five hundred thousand, a million years? You say: that is absurd. And I agree. But the absurdity is not mine. It is of those that teach that the days of creation consisted of long periods and wish, nevertheless, to leave the impression that they believe the biblical narrative of the creation of the woman.
This is not only absurd.
It is also downright dishonesty.