Series: Consider this… “A Conversational Defense of our Faith”
Lesson #2: 6-Day Creation – Fact or Fable?
Scenario: You’re in a waiting room. A conversation is prompted by the TV news story playing of a school district resisting inclusion of “Intelligent Design” in textbooks. Someone says, “I can’t believe people still want to put that stuff in school, it’s so unscientific.” How do you respond?
Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, Col.1:16, and Ex. 20:11 all clearly state that God created the earth. We’ll skip past the “Intelligent Design” phrase and cut strait-to-the-chase by asking “Does science confirm or contradict the Bible’s story of creation by God in six days?” Let’s break it down into three parts:
Part 1 – Science vs. The Bible
In 1896 Cornell University President Andrew Dickson White published a book titled A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. 1 The book launched the idea that science and Christianity were mutually exclusive. However, after years of permeating higher education, this myth is being dismantled by citing the facts, such as:
- Prominent scientist of history perfected their methods based on the belief that God created “with order”. Men like Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Pasteur believed His work could be studied, observed, and understood. Consider this quote from Johannes Kepler in his book Astronomia Nova De Motibus, “The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order which has been imposed on it by God, and which he reveals to us in the language of mathematics.”
- Galileo’s mistreatment by the Roman Catholic Church during the inquisition has been used as evidence of conflict between science and Christianity. However, Galileo’s work actually affirms his commitment to scripture instead of church leaders. His study of the earth in orbit revealed God’s design of the solar system, and its magnificence. We should not fear the facts…they’re on our side!
- A 1996 university survey revealed that 40 percent of scientist believe, not simply in God, but in a personal God who answers prayer. 2
- It’s been said that science doesn’t support a global flood as described in the Bible. However, there is overwhelming evidence of such an occurrence, and many formations can ONLY be explained by the flood in Genesis (We’ll address that in detail during lesson 3).
Part 2 – Young Earth vs. Old Earth
When the Darwinian Theory gained popularity in the late 19th century, theologians were caught off guard. The “evidence” of an extremely old earth caused many to formulate new doctrines in attempts to reconcile Genesis with contemporary ideas. Unfortunately, even renowned scholars of that day reinterpreted scripture to reflect these views. There are 3 major alternatives (compromises, in my opinion) that came out of that era:
Theistic Evolution – the belief that God created the basic parts and let natural selection take over, therefore guiding the evolutionary process.
- This contradicts the very core of evolutionary teaching that no single source is behind the process, thus “Theistic Evolution” is an oxymoron.
- The Bible teaches that death specifically came to earth through Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12, I Cor. 15:21). The idea of millions of years of natural selection before Adam doesn’t fit with scripture. 3
The Gap Theory – the belief that there is a long gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 allowing the “millions of years”. This idea comes specifically from Thomas Chalmers of the 19th century, and was popularized by the notes in C.I. Scofield’s study Bible. 3
While it’s an intriguing idea, it doesn’t fit the context of the Hebrew. The official Hebrew Bible (our OT) The TANAKH, interprets Gen. 1:1 this way, “When God began to create heaven and earth.” As you can see, it is declarative and simply sets up verse 2 with no pause. It doesn’t describe two separate events.
The Day/Age Theory – the belief that the 6 days in Genesis 1 & 2 represent ages of time, not literal days. The idea is that for some reason, creation was a long drawn out event over millions of years, and God simply stepped in on occasion and moved it to the next age.
- The Hebrew word for “day” in the Creation story is “yom”. It is consistently used in scripture to mean a literal day, and the specific mention of “morning” and “evening” leaves no room for an alternative.
- The creation order is also problematic for this view. On the 3rd day, God created vegetation (grass, herbs, trees, etc.). The sun doesn’t appear until day 4. If day 3 was an era of time, how could vegetation survive with no sun?
In additional to these reasons, experiments measuring things like element depletion, continental erosion, lunar dust, and many more show the earth to be young, not millions of years old. 4
Part 3 – Evolution – the general belief that man has a common evolutionary ancestry with apes, and other animals
The difference between Macroevolution and Microevolution is a key component when discussing the overall theory.
- Macroevolution is defined as: The appearance of new traits that the ancestral population neither had nor possessed the genetic information that is required to produce them. 3 (a fish becoming a bird) This part of the theory is directly opposed to the biblical record. There is no evidence for it, and has never been observed.
- Microevolution is defined as: The changes in the percentages of a population that have a particular trait, which is basically adaptation. 3 This idea is clearly true, and observable. A bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, or high/weight of a group of people changing makes sense. There is room for variations in dog breeding, but it doesn’t turn a dog into a cat.
- The Fossil Record – Much has been made over the years of so called transitional humans. The iconic images of Lucy, Neanderthal, and others, when put to the test reveal ape skeletons, disfigured humans, or even blatant fraud.
Also too, with the modern volume of cutting into the earth, there should be massive amounts of transitional fossils, but that isn’t the case. The ones that have been found, point to the Biblical record (when properly age tested, more details in lesson 3). Additionally, there are major flaws in The Big Bang Theory, and the DNA comparisons between humans and chimps.
Conclusion: The evidence for God creating in a literal 6 day time period is vast, but we must remember Hebrews 11:6 “without faith it is impossible to please Him”. Faith is where it starts, and our words should be tempered with love. Scientific facts are our friends, but the Creator Himself should be our focus.
There is a list of books and links for your personal study on the links page:
1. Who Made God? -Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler (p. 49)
2. Beyond Opinion – Ravi Zacharias (p.109)
3. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics – Ed Hinson & Ergun Caner
4. In the Beginning – Walt Brown