Creation (1)

I’m auditing a class this fall (how can RTS miss me if I won’t go away?) where we’re working through passages in Genesis 1-11 verse by verse in Hebrew. I’m doing this 1) to try to get and keep my Hebrew up to par and 2) because lately I’ve been really interested in creation, what the Bible says about it and its implications. So over the next few days I’m going to do a series of posts on creation and the Bible, intermittent with whatever else I come up with.

One of my goals (not the only one) is to defend an increasingly unpopular view: that the Bible teaches that the world was created in 6 literal, 24-hour days, and that this probably did not happen 4.5 billion years ago. I haven’t always been certain I believed this– before coming to seminary I was unsure, but probably would have leaned more toward the view that the days represented long periods of time, or something like that. Over the next few posts I’ll mention some things that convinced me that the 6-day view is the best, and why I want to make a case for it here.

The first thing I want to address is what view we take of Scripture, which is foundational for how we answer the questions that arise when we look at the doctrine of creation. Because it is “breathed out by God” (2 Tim 3:16), the Bible is authoritative on all issues on which it speaks. So, for example, the Bible is not a science textbook; in fact, the Bible might not even answer every question we have about science. But everything the Bible says about science is true. This matters because when we talk about the origin of the world, the Bible seems to tell us one thing while the scientific community tells us another. When we look at the relationship between the two, if we think that the Bible is true, what the scientists tell us is true, and we have to make them agree, the Bible has already lost the fight. God’s word stands above every other source of knowledge. Human beings have no right to imagine that we stand between the Bible on one hand and science on the other, trying to get them to agree. We stand under the authority of the Bible. It is the only infallible source of information we have. Everything else can be under suspicion– even our own interpretation of the Bible– but the truth of the Bible itself is beyond doubt for the Christian.

What this means is that the primary question we have to ask about creation is What does the Bible say? And it means that some conclusions to the creation question are really off limits for Christians. Naturalism, which rejects God altogether, is out. Theistic evolution, which goes along with the scientific consensus and just adds that God did it, is out, because it’s a clear rejection of how Genesis 1 describes creation. The idea that the author of Genesis (I’m archaic enough to say it’s Moses) describes the Israelites’ worldview, a worldview that just doesn’t correspond to reality, is out, because we don’t believe that Genesis is a merely human document– it was inspired by God. In other words, we can’t accept any view that says, “Well, the Bible says X, but actually…

Starting with the right view of Scripture and its authority over us doesn’t answer every question. But if we get that wrong, we’ve veered off course at the very outset. In the next post I’ll give a brief overview of why I’m convinced Scripture teaches 6-day creation, and then I’ll try to interact with some of the other more common evangelical views.

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