Does it Really Matter? The Essentials: Part 1-Creation

Ever felt uncertain about the Bible’s validity compared to modern science or philosophy? Maybe you consider stories of “creation-in-6-days” or a “global-flood-and-a-boat” to be more mythical than true? I think most of us have wondered how it all fits together. There are a few of the subjects I call “The Essentials”. In the next few posts, I would like to share some thoughts about them. Let’s start at the beginning: 

Part 1 – Creation

Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, Col. 1:16, and Ex. 20:11 all clearly state that God created the earth. So, did God create everything in six literal days? Let’s break it down into three sections:

A. 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. Since then the idea has taken root, but consider some of these facts:

  • Prominent scientist of history perfected their methods based on the belief that God created “with order”. Men like Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Pasteur believed God’s 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.
  • A 1996 university survey revealed that 40 percent of scientists 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 more in Part 2).

B. 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 (or compromises) coming out of that era:    

Theistic Evolution – 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 Corinthians 15:21). The idea of millions of years of natural selection before Adam doesn’t fit with scripture. 3

The Gap Theory – belief in a long gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 allowing for “millions of years”. This idea comes specifically from Thomas Chalmers of the 19th century, and was unfortunately 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-The TANAKH (our Old Testament), interprets Gen. 1:1 this way, “When God began to create heaven and earth.” As you can see, it’s declarative and simply sets up verse 2 with no pause. It doesn’t describe two separate events.

The Day/Age Theory – belief that the 6 days in Genesis chapters 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 to move it forward 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. 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 addition to these reasons, experiments measuring things like element depletion, continental erosion, lunar dust, and more show the earth to be young, not millions of years old. 4

C. Evolution

A general belief that man has a common evolutionary ancestry with apes, and other animals

  • The difference between Macroevolution and Microevolution is a key component concerning 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 (a fish becoming a bird) 3, 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 height/weight of a people group changing makes sense. There is room for variations from dog breeding, but dogs don’t become cats.
  • 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, or worse, such as 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.

So, does it really matter? Let’s think about it this way. If Genesis is true, then Jehovah God (The God of the Hebrews) is revealed specifically as the Originator of the universe. Creation not only started specifically with Him, but must yield to His specific authority too. The Bible describes it all coming full-circle one day when everyone will see God as uniquely sovereign, but the Good News is; He invites us to know Him personally through His son Jesus Christ. I sincerely hope you’ve placed your trust in Christ. If not, I pray you’ll consider doing so today.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1-2 HCSB

Next Post: Part 2-The Flood

Notes:

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

A Quote Worth Passing Along

I hear and see a lot of quotes, but one really grabbed me recently. I heard it on the radio in an old sermon by Adrian Rogers. He was talking about the value of truth and trusting God’s Word as a compass. I’ve been pondering on it ever since. Here it is:

“He who is slave to the compass, is master of the ocean; the rest must sail close to the shore.” – Author Unknown

In a time when western Christianity is heavily influenced by cultural norms, those of us following Christ must hold specifically to the revealed truth in the Bible as our compass. As a believer, I need to learn and do what it says in all of the roles I’m in…as husband, as dad, and in my vocation. There’s nothing like reading the Bible for yourself, and hearing from the Lord. The real truth liberates and you may even find some fresh “wind in your sails”!

“…If you abide in My word, you are my discpiles indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:31b-32 NKJV

Caught Red-Handed

Once in a small village, there was an orphan (about 10 years old). One morning, as he quietly walked through the busy market crowd, he took a small loaf of bread. When the owner of the cart saw it, he grabbed the boy and rushed him directly to the nearby constable for punishment.

While the merchant made his complaint, an ornate carriage came along with the King inside. Noticing the boy being held by the shirt, the King instructed a soldier to investigate. When he reported back, the King’s heart was filled with compassion; so he gave the order for the young man to be placed in his household, given a new name and raised as one of his sons.

Can you imagine the overwhelming joy of being escorted into the castle for the first time? Now there was a nice room to live in, new clothes to wear and plenty of fine food to enjoy every day.

Consider Paul’s words in Colossians 1:13-14:

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” -NKJV

Now consider the passage again, but in a personal way by replacing the “us & we” with “me & I”.

“He has delivered me from the power of darkness and conveyed me into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Like the orphan, when we place our trust in Christ as savior, we too are rescued, forgiven and placed in the King’s household. What an incredible gift! Because of His grace, we now bear His name with full rights and privileges as His children! Now that’s something to be thankful for and worth sharing with others!

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