The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

It’s Tuesday, April 5th, 2022.

I’m Albert Mohler and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

‘Common Sense and Narrowly Targeted’: Arizona Governor Signs Law Banning Transgender Athlete Participation in Sports and Gender Transition Surgeries for Minors

On so many basic issues and by that I do mean basic at the base, foundational, fundamental issues, Americans are now separated American communities are now separated and increasingly, American states are now separated. We see this on the abortion issue, looking at clearly pro-life states. And that would include, for example, the state of Mississippi and other states that have passed legislation that would restrict abortion in a way that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Remember the Supreme court will be ruling on that Mississippi law, just in coming weeks. You see those to states, and then you see states like for example, Illinois and California, New York. But California in particular that says it actually wants to become something like a abortion tourism state, a destination state for those from less pro-abortion states who might be seeking an abortion.

But what about some of the states that might be so-called swing states? States that are unpredictable or at least in some way, split or in the middle. Consider a state like Arizona. Now, for a long time Arizona was a blue state. Then for a long time, it was basically a red state. Now, well, it’s at least somewhat up for grabs.

But this much is certain, there are a lot of social conservatives in the state of Arizona. Arizona’s Republican governor has just in recent days, signed into law, several pieces of legislation including one that adds new restrictions on abortion in the state of Arizona and another, that limits transgender treatments for underage citizens of Arizona. That is for minors. Ray Stern reporting for the Arizona Republic on the second issue said this, “Governor Doug Ducey signed two bills last week that make Arizona the fifth state to restrict sports participation for transgender athletes this year. And third to place limits on surgeries for transgender youth.”

We’re immediately told that representatives advocates of the “LGBTQ+ community had lobbied strongly against the bills at the legislature before they passed along party lines.” There again, you see the ideological and worldview division that really is for the most part reflected now in a partisan division. Yet, the Republican governor did sign them and he identified these particular bills on the transgender issue with young people as common sense and narrowly targeted. Two very interesting terms. He says they’re common sense. By that, he means that most people in the state of Arizona know that biological males should not play in and compete within female or girl sports.

On the other hand, when it comes to surgical treatments in particular or for minors, again, the governor is obviously on safe ground when he says that the restrictions should be common sense and he’s probably right when he says they’re narrowly targeted. The governor in signing the surgery bill said this, “The irreversible nature of these procedures underscores why such a decision should be made as an adult, not as a child.”

Now, that’s a very important statement on moral terms. And it’s a very blunt statement, even in political terms when he speaks of the irreversible nature of these procedures. Again, without being graphic, these are irreversible procedures. They include the amputation of healthy organs and tissue from the human body. Let’s just recall that a part of the Christian worldview, this might be helpful to Christians.

One of the central issues in the Christian worldview is that it is wrong to remove something that God had designed as a part human beings and are naturally functioning and healthy. It’s wrong to remove such parts from the body. That would include, say, limbs. It would include organs, glands. If you just go down the list, you can pretty much figure out that God made us according to his purpose and every part of our body has some functionality that is important, certainly only all the parts that are at stake in this kind of proposed surgery and the reality is this surgery is an attempt to undo what God has created.

The reporter for the Arizona Republic then went on to editorialize later saying, “The bills follow national trends as Republican politicians take advantage of an issue that has divided the American in public.” Well, let’s just think about that for a moment. There’s an insinuation here of motivation, that the politicians who are bringing this kind of legislation or say Governor Ducey in signing the legislation is just taking advantage of an issue that has divided the American public.

Well, let’s just note. This is an issue that does divide the American public, but I think it’s also fair to say that if you ask the question, honestly, we’re not talking about something like even a 50/50 division, especially when it comes to minors.

But furthermore, you see the editorialization in this press report suggesting that if you stand against the LGBTQ revolution, you are just taking advantage of a division among the American people. That’s an insidious kind of comment, but frankly, it might even be believed by the reporter in this case or by the editor of this newspaper, who would simply think, “Well, that’s so axiomatic. If it’s so obviously true, we’ll just go ahead and put it in what’s supposed to be a news report.”

There are two additional issues in this report that demand our worldview attention. One is a bit of a development in medical professionalism or in this case, medical ethics. It’s a very ominous development. For one thing, the particular law at stake here said that it would be outlawed for minors to undergo what are described here as genital reassignment surgeries, as well as “top”–that’s put in quotation marks–“surgeries to masculinize or feminize or a transgender person’s chest.

Okay. We understand what that’s all about. But then we are told, “The surgery is relatively rare for minors and the current best practice and advice by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health,” an organization made up mainly of Canadian and United States medical professionals, “is to wait until the age of majority in the person’s country.”

So that’s very interesting. We’re told that actually, this bill that was just signed into law by Arizona’s governor and is supposed to be just political opportunism, it turns out that it’s the best advice by what is identified here is the professional organization, but we’re told, “Just wait.” The report tells us that that very organization, if this is true, is considering or planning to lower the minimum recommended age. It’s interesting that the Association’s president elect would not confirm that information. But nonetheless, it also was not denied.

The other thing I want us to note is how the article ends: “A Gallup poll last year found that a majority of Republicans and independents believe that athletes should play on the team that matches their birth gender, not their gender identity. While most Democrats said they should play on the team’s matching gender identity.”

Again, the issue here in is that as much as we might like to define these issues as not being partisan, by the time you come to the end of the day, they actually turn out to be quite partisan as do the votes, including the votes for the legislation, the pro-life legislation in Arizona that was signed into law by Arizona’s Republican governor, just at the end of last week. It makes Arizona now much like Mississippi in the sense of limiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

It’s going to be very interesting, very important and there is no way to overestimate actually how important it is that the Supreme court will rule on that issue and a direct collision with Roe v. Wade during this term that comes to an end in the month of June.

Part II

‘Another Piece of the Cosmic Puzzle of the Evolution of Our Universe’: Astronomers Discover Farthest Star Yet in the Cosmos

But next, let’s turn to the stars. Marcia Dunn for the associated press reports that astronomers have discovered the furthest star yet identified, “As a super hot, super bright giant that formed nearly 13 billion years ago at the Dawn of the cosmos.” We’re told that the Hubble telescope has detected its light. We’re told that this is the most distant star ever detected by such a means and such a remarkable technology and we’re just reminded that light years as a term of measure reminds us that it takes time for light to travel through space.

A light year is the time that light, as fact as light is travels in one year and we are told that this particular star is thus the star most distant from our planet ever yet to be detected. Of course, it actually wasn’t detected, you might say or observed on this planet, but rather in an orbiting high technology satellite. We’re told that the previous record holder was a star named Icarus also identified as a blue super giant star.

It was also identified by Hubble. It had formed, we’re told, 9.4 billion years ago. We’re told that’s more than 4 billion years after The Big Bang. We’re told that this particular new star that isn’t named yet that was detected is a luminous blue star, “So massive that it almost certainly exploded into bits just a few million years after emerging.” We’re then told, “It’s swift demise makes it all the more incredible that an international team spotted it with observations by the Hubble space telescope.”

It takes eons for light admitted from distant stars to reach us. One of the spokesmen for the project, Astronomer Brian Welch, who is at John’s Hopkins university said, “We’re seeing the star as it was about 12.8 billion years ago, which puts it about 900 million years after The Big Bang.”

In other words, we are jumping according to the estimation of these astronomers, something like 3 billion years from what had been the furthest star identified in the past until this new star that was just announced by NASA last Wednesday. It’s name at least for temporary purposes is Aaron Dell.

The world view behind this is made very clear later in the article when other researchers indicated that what this provides us with is, “Another piece of the cosmic puzzle that is the evolution of our universe.” The assumption here is that the universe is explained by a big bang that took place something like 14 billion years ago. We’re told that the development of the cosmos as can now be observed is evidence of the fact that it is evolving and by evolving, it means without any particular plan or purpose, without any particular design or designer.

Those familiar with advanced astronomy and cosmology will understand that the big bang is a theoretical construct that suggests this massive release of energy about 14 billion years ago that produced the shape and evolution of the cosmos. As we know it, that would include our own galaxy, would include our own planet and it would include everything that has evolved on this planet. That eventually would mean, well, all of us as human beings and all other species and others that are on the earth, not just species, but all material objects, every atom and every molecule that exists or has ever existed is somehow going to be explained within this cosmic evolutionary explanation.

But let’s just understand that there’s a direct collision here with the biblical narrative of creation. That’s why I wanted to bring it up. A lot of Christians look at a report like this and say, “What should we think?” Now, I’ll note that there are Christians who say, “Look, you can somehow harmonize evolutionary theory, even Darwinism or this kind of evolutionary view of the cosmos and biblical Christianity. You just have to understand that the cosmos actually is very, very, very old, billions and billions of years old.”

But that clearly runs into a collision first of all, with a text of Scripture, which doesn’t insinuate any such thing. Let’s just state the obvious. As you look at Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, it does not purport to tell us about vast expanses of time. I argue for a young earth form of creationism. That is to say, I think creationism is absolutely necessary not only for biblical Christianity, I believe it’s absolutely necessary for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also believe it is necessary for any faithful system of interpreting Scripture. If you get creation wrong, you’re going to get everything that follows wrong.

But then there are those who will come back and say, “Well, you can come up with some way of saying that, for instance, God used evolution or used the big bang.” After all, you don’t want to deny the kinds of scientific discoveries that are now being reported. For example, in this report about this new, very distant star that has been discovered. “And after all,” they will say, “the earth, the cosmos, our galaxy, this particular new star, all of this does demonstrate vast epics of time. How do you explain that?” That question is often posed to me and I’ve addressed it academically and in other settings. I will simply say this. We need to understand how the evolutionary idea of the cosmos is actually constructed. The modern understanding of the evolution of the cosmos and the evolution of life goes back to the 19th century in particular. Charles Lael, Charles Darwin and others, the most important thing to understand is that there are assumptions based into every form of observation.

One of the assumptions that was simply stated and acknowledged by those who are arguing for evolution is what is known as uniformitarianism. Now, that might be one of the biggest words I have ever used on The Briefing.

Uniformitarianism, that is an ideology or a theory that says that time is uniform. Uniformitarianism. That is to say that as you look through the history of the cosmos, you’re looking at stable time, thus, as you look at a fossil and you try to work back from the apparent age of the fossil, then you say that the evidence of time in this fossil has to be time as we experience it now.

Thus, you look and say light years and the very existence of light years, light coming from light years away would give evidence of a vast expansion of the universe over a vast period of time. How do Christians reconcile that with the scripture? How do we come to terms with it? Well, there’s a positive and a negative argument. The positive argument is this. There is no reason for Christians to assume uniformitarianism. That’s an arbitrary intellectual act.

I would argue that the scripture itself argues against uniformitarianism because the very structures in pressures of creation itself, what’s described in Genesis 1 in particular in the separation of the earth and the firmament and the separation of the land and the sea and all of this over a period of time, it would’ve released pressures and powers. It would’ve released energies and forces that would have made time look very different.

In other words, it would’ve created the impression of time simply by the application of so much energy. By the way, that can happen today. As you look at something like a natural diamond that takes well, we are told, unbelievable amounts of time for that diamond to be produced. Meanwhile, we also have laboratory formed diamonds. How are they formed? They’re not formed over hundreds of millions of years. They’re formed in a laboratory over a matter of very limited time.

So much time that you can make them in the laboratory, and then you can sell them in the jewelry case. How is that possible? It is because of the application of particular forms of energy that compressed time. My argument is we should expect that there would be evidence of that, of not uniformitarianism, but rather of the impact of creation and also catastrophe. Because the Bible not only tells us about God’s intentional, specific, sequential creation of the cosmos and of planet earth and of life on this earth, including human life. The Bible also tells us about catastrophe.

And you think of catastrophe here in two forms. Number one, the catastrophe of the fall. The Bible makes very clear that the fall has natural consequences. By the time you get to Genesis 8, we are told that creation itself is groaning under the weight of sin. So we come to understand that there are consequences of sin, even for the created order. And that includes tumors, termites, tsunamis. You just go down the list. They wouldn’t have been what they are now in the garden, but they’re very different and very deadly now.

But the second catastrophe has to do with something that is also revealed in the book of Genesis and that is a worldwide flood. And just to give the hydraulics of a worldwide flood, all of the energy, all of the weight, all of the mass of that water would’ve created well, just for example, take the Grand Canyon. Was that created over millions and billions of years by a trickle of water or was it created by the release of enormous energies in both creation and catastrophe?

I think the biblical worldview would indicate the second. But I said, there’s a positive and a negative argument here. The negative argument is this. If you’re going to take an evolutionary view of a very, very old earth, you’re going to have a very, very hard time explaining the same kind of data that comes along with data supposedly about the age of the earth that has to do with say preexisting species, preexisting hominids.

You’re going to have to come up with an explanation to all kinds of things than I believe are far better explained by a young earth with the appearance of age, which is understandable. Not because God’s misleading us, but because the scripture actually tells us of the enormous trauma and pressures and energies released in creation and also as a result of sin in catastrophe.

Part III

How Does the Discovery of the Most Distant Star Yet Detected Square with Your Biblical Worldview? Is the Cosmos Really That Old? And What Is Uniformitarianism?

But the biggest single issue here has to do not just with the interpretation of Scripture. And again, I’m going to argue if you get Genesis wrong, you’re putting in peril your understanding of any other text of Scripture, but I’m also going to go on to say it is not just as if it’s just about how long it took for God to create the earth. It’s about whether or not Adam and Eve were special creations of God and were actually the first human beings which is to say the first humanoids, they were the first of the human species and they are the mother and father of all the living. If that is not true, then it’s not just a matter of how we interpret the Bible, it’s a matter of how we understand the Gospel because the new Testament clearly presents Christ as the second Adam.

Jesus Christ himself obviously believed in an historic first Adam and the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, beginning in verse 20, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Verse 21, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” Verse 22, “For as an Adam all die, so also in Christ shall be made alive.”

That’s the first headship of Adam and the second headship for those who are in Christ, in Christ himself. Adam, the first head in sin Christ, the second head in redemption.

Both in space and time and history. Both just as real as historical figures. Just as real as are revealed in the holy scriptures. I deal with this at length today in order to say to Christians, just remember, there is nothing to fear as you pick up a newspaper or see a press report or might in school hear someone say, “Hey, did you hear about the discovery of this star?” Or, “Hey, do you recognize how many billions of light years away this star is in terms of distant? That tells us that the world is extremely, extremely unbelievably old billions and billions of years old? Hey, have you heard about this? How does that square with your biblical worldview and with your belief in the book of Genesis, your belief in divine creation?”

Well, here’s where we just need to understand we need fear, no press release. We need fear as Christians, no headline. There will not be a scientific discovery that is somehow going to nullify a single word or verse of Scripture, not to mention the entire biblical theology that starts in the book of Genesis.

Rather, we have to understand that most of these debates are not over the data, but over the interpretation of the data. We do not deny. We shouldn’t deny that this star that has now been discovered and observed appears to be just that far away. And that if you did think of time as absolutely constant and uniform, you’d believe that it is thus an indication of the cosmos being such and such old. In this case, billions and billions of years old. We don’t argue with how this is now measured in terms of the data that are presented to us.

We simply say, “Look, we have another understanding of how the cosmos was made and of the kinds of energies and the compression of forces that came not only in creation itself, but in the catastrophe of the fall and later, in the catastrophe of the flood.”

When Christians look to the grand canyon, we don’t have to say, “No, this doesn’t look very, very, very old.” Because if you’re thinking about a stream, cutting through say the surface of the earth, it does look very, very old. But instead, what this tells us is that God intended for us to have a creation that shows his glory, including in things that appear very, very old.

Also, we’re not even looking at something like the Grand Canyon without the effects of human sin, without the effects of sin in the cosmos, as the scriptures tells us again, in a passage such as Romans 8 is all too real.

Of course, also behind the modern materialistic and evolutionary understanding of the cosmos is the fact that it’s all just an accident anyway. You can’t have God as an explanation at the beginning, and you can’t have recourse to God or a creator even in terms of the unfolding of a design.

This is the mater realistic element of modern materialism. This is just so much a part of the modern secular mind. But we can’t enter into a debate on materialistic terms because we simply can’t act as if God does not exist. Furthermore, we understand that ideas have consequences. The consequence of materialism is understanding that we are nothing more than atoms, than dust, than molecules and we will simply return to nothing more than atoms and dust. Materialism means that there is no meaning in this life other than the meaning that we construct in our own lives.

Let’s all admit, that’s not enough to live on. The consequences of materialism are traced right back to the consequences of understanding evolution as the key to seeing the universe and the meaning of the universe, the origin of the universe. The debate between modern materialism and Christianity is not just an argument over the who or just an argument over the when or how long. It’s more importantly an argument about why and that takes Christians back to who and it takes materialists back to their rejection of the very existence of that who, of a creator, of a designer, of a sovereign Lord over all.

I’m simply going to end The Briefing today on a word of scripture from the eighth Psalm where the Psalmist writes this. As you well recognize these words, beginning in verse 3, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man, that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him?”

There will be people looking at this kind of headline news and saying, “What an amazing world?” This is where Christians need to respond. Yes, that’s right. But what it points to is a bigger issue, a bigger truth. What an amazing God?

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can find me on Twitter by going to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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