Sunday, May 23, 2010
Truth Series - Creation
We might as well start at the beginning. This is not a new debate by any means and I am not foolish enough to think that a blog is going to change the world. But when it comes to creation, believers need to seek God's face first and then look to science.
Years ago I invited the middle school science teacher from my children's Christian school to come hear creationist Ken Ham speak at my church. It was like pulling teeth to get him to come, but on the final night of a three night conference, the teacher came. It was life-changing for him. His favorite area of study was genetics and that night Ken spoke on genetics from a biblical perspective. This teacher was floored - he was a graduate of Calvin College with post-graduate work from Grand Valley State University. He told me that in all his years of education, he never heard God included within the realm of science, except for one mention of Him in a class at GVSU. Four years of undergraduate at a Christian college and no inclusion of God in his science classes. He had always believed that you had religion and God on one side of life and science stood on its own - the two worlds did not mix. That night he heard science from a biblical perspective and it opened his eyes to the fact that the Bible can be trusted from a scientific perspective.
Today, scientific theory wants to explain life and matter without the involvement of a higher power. Or maybe there is a higher power but it is not the God of the Bible and it is very uninvolved. Therefore, to produce what we see as the world, they need billions of years and lots of good luck. And sadly the church has bought into this plan. They look at science and say that a literal understanding of the Bible contradicts the truth of the geological record, therefore the Bible must be allegorical and not literal when it comes to creation.
My husband was invited to speak at a senior seminar class for science majors at Calvin College. He was asked to defend a young earth, therefore a literal creation. When he was done, the teacher thanked him for coming and sharing the narrow-minded, uneducated view that these students were going to face when they returned home to their communities and families. You see, according to the professor, Genesis was not meant to be taken literal. It was a book of stories teaching a group of uneducated Jews coming out of a polytheistic worship system that there is only one God. Thus the story of creation was meant to retrain their minds into thinking monotheistically, and was not a literal account.
Okay, so where do we begin? Am I really going to write a blog defending the biblical account of creation against evolutionary theory? Well, in this whole series I want us to learn to ask a first question. This question is going to be the rock solid foundation that we build our beliefs on. What you do after you answer this question is your choice. So here it is:
What does the Bible say?
This will be our first question and it will be our guide.
Yes, I understand the Jews were coming out of hundreds of years of slavery within Egypt and Moses recorded a monotheistic account of creation for them. But if we truly believe that God's Word is truth, then in comparing scripture with scripture and taking it at face value, we will find that God's word clearly teaches that He created in six, literal days. Creation is the first act of God that we are given in the Word and I believe it is dangerous to allegorize right out the gate when the context doesn't allow for it.
Genesis 1:1 tells us that "In the beginning God created..." We know that God exists because of His creation (Romans 1:20). For six days, Genesis records exactly what God created on each day, how long each day was (an evening and a morning) and then assigned a number to each day (one, two, three, etc.). Every time a number is associated with the word "yom" or day in Hebrew, it is in the context of a literal twenty-four hour day. In addition to God over-emphasizing that He created in days, He also created in an order which would not allow for millions of years. How could plants be created on day three but have no daylight until day four, unless the days were short and not long periods of time?
Jump to Exodus 20. God is giving the law to His people and tells them to work six days and rest on the seventh, just as He created in six days and rested on the seventh (Exodus 20:9-11). He is making a literal example out of His work in creation. Literal. This is a highly overlooked passage that clearly supports a six-day literal creation. I worked for six days and so should you. Literal.
Jump to the New Testament. In a last days discussion, Peter warns that people will mock the believers' testimony that Jesus is returning - saying "..all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4) He goes on to say that when they make this claim, they fail to notice that "...by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water..."(v.5) We see this today. Evolution is no longer a "theory" but taught as truth, pushing the biblical account out of the picture. Science as well as education mocks the idea of a literal creation and claims that we are advanced in our evolutionary state because of the slow process which began billions of years ago, not because of God. God is not even allowed in the discussion, let alone in the classroom. When they say this, they ignore the fact that God created and that He destroyed with the flood. The world-wide flood itself provides scientific answers to geological strata as well as animal extinction, and even explains our earth's formation of fossil fuels.
Now, this is getting long and I know that I am not arguing the scientific perspective well. I really don't have to because there are people who do that much better than I. (Go to www.answersingenesis.org and check out that site.) My point is that the Bible claims a six day creation and then warns that most will mock it and not believe it. If we start believing that God's Word is true and then build on that, then we start with a literal, six day account of creation.
"But Kristen, with God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8). So couldn't a day be longer than 24 hours? Can we really know?" Well, that verse is in regards to God's patience in not having yet poured out His wrath on earth and not His creation timing. So, let's keep scripture in context, please.
So if you ask yourself the question, What does the Bible say about creation, I think it's pretty clear. So why can't believers stand on the Word of God? Why do we have to adjust and maneuver around what God states rather plainly? Why do we have to bend God's Word to meld with modern scientific theory? (Theory being the key word.)
Obviously I am hardly denting the debate, but we have to start somewhere. We have to start with what the Bible teaches. If you are a believer who holds to a theistic evolution position, I would challenge you to start by studying scripture and the follow that mindset into science. There is plenty of evidence that proves a young earth. It is down played, however, because the purpose of modern science is not to prove God's existence but to point away from the Creator and worship the creation (Romans 1:21-23).
Start with one question, "What does the Bible say?" and go from there.