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
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
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
Great stuff, Chris! Can’t wait to see your post on the flood.