The plain sense of Genesis chapter one is that Almighty God created the universe and all it contains in a time period of six ordinary days. Apparently, many Christians do not appreciate that this truth under girds the Biblical world view. Some have abandoned it altogether, and opted for a "day/age" interpretation of Genesis one. Why is it Scriptural, as well as theologically crucial, to hold to the six day position? To demonstrate why, six considerations follow.
Consider Genesis one at face value. Does an exegetical grounds appear for concluding that Holy Spirit means something other than that creation took place in six real days? Even if it were granted that Moses is using a poetic style under inspiration, no justification for that view appears in the text. The phrase, "there was evening and morning" occurs after each day. Nothing in the context or elsewhere in Scripture would lead one to the notion that other time periods are intended. In Exodus 20:9,11, the six days of creation are mentioned. The Hebrew word for days (yamim, plural for yom, day) is used there. In all other Biblical passages where it appears, the word yamim refers to literal days. (Cf. Genesis 3:17; 5:5, 23; 7:4; 17:12; 21:4; 24:55; Exodus 7:25; Numbers 28:17; Deuteronomy 16:13, et. al.)
True, the apostle Peter wrote that one day is with the Lord as 1,000 years, and vice versa (2 Peter 3:8). Should that axiom be used to hypothesize that the Lord Jesus may have been in the grave for 3,000 years? Peter's point is that God is greater than time - he might have written with equal veracity that with the Lord, one second is as a trillion years and vice versa!
The words of the gospels and those elsewhere in the New Testament preclude the absurdity that our Savior's time in the grave was an era of thousands of years. Even so, the language and intent of Genesis chapter one make void the day/age concept.
What then is the reason that many feel constrained to hermeneutically force the Scriptures into a day/age mold? A significant motive arises from the fear of so called science (cf. 1 Timothy 6:20). Ostensibly desiring to not put a stumbling block in the way of anyone who might be coming to Christ, some have allowed their precious Bible to be subjected to the judgment of the "worldly wise man". More will be offered below regarding the alleged scientific evidence against six day creation. Let it suffice for the moment to affirm that faith has compromised with unbelief all too often in this arena. Is it from studying the Word that Christians have arrived at the day/age (or old gap theory) views? Or, have they retreated from the Goliath of the world's "knowledge", in the attempt to keep the counsel of God from appearing foolish in the eyes of men? This compromising has actually hindered the advance of gospel. The apostolic gospel is the command of the Creator-Redeemer to all mankind to repent and believe! Its crystal purity and piercing simplicity do appear foolish...to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18)! Christ's gospel is not a vapid message from a nebulous god capable of revealing nothing more than a muddled myth about the origin of His world. Why come in fear and trembling to a god like that? Why believe that a hapless creator will be an exacting judge?
One further comment in this vein: If we capitulate to human wisdom regarding creation, why not regarding a truth such as the resurrection? Perhaps the Lord Jesus did not literally rise, bodily, on the third day. Perhaps this age is a long period of time during which He is "spiritually rising" through His followers in an allegorical way. After all, does not our great human wisdom tell us that people just do not rise from the dead? Of course, God must not have meant that, even though all four gospels record it in plain language! Perhaps we need a day/age theory of the resurrection!
II. The Origin of the Sabbath
God "codified" or inscripturated His moral law for man through His servant Moses. The Lord Jesus summarized that law as "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (See context at Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27). This moral law has existed since man existed; its essence is revealed when human history begins. We see Adam and Eve worshipfully communing with and serving God at the very first. Marriage is instituted and made holy by God right at creation. The sanctity of the lives of God's image bearers - the sanctity of human life - is established at the dawn of history (Cf. Genesis 9:6). The sabbath is also instituted as a perpetual observance (Genesis 2:3).
In the book of Exodus, chapter 20, the Decalog is given and the sabbath is to be remembered because of the example set by God at creation. If all future weeks are patterned after those original six days with their seventh sabbath day, how can it be that those first seven days were of different duration than all future days?
God could have made His world in any length of time, for He is time's Creator. In fact, "time" only has meaning in the created world. God reveals that He chose six days to create the universe, with the seventh day as a Sabbath, in order to give His images a pattern for their lives in His service.
III. The Origin of Death
The Bible presents a cosmos that was pronounced "very good" by its Maker. At the future consummation, God says that He will make all things new, and that there will be no more death, pain, etc. (Revelation 21:4). Certainly the inference is well justified that before the fall of mankind into sin, death did not exist at all.
After the fall, God keeps his promise: "In the day you eat of it, you will die!" He curses the serpent, puts enmity between his seed and the woman's seed, multiplies the woman's pain, curses the very ground, which will now bring forth thorns and thistles, subjects Adam to toil, and destines man to return to the dust from which he was taken. (See Genesis 3:14 - 19).
Paul further instructs on the massive changes which took place when our first parents plunged all humanity, and God's beautiful world, into misery: "...the creation was subjected to futility...the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption...the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now..." (See Romans 8:19ff; consider the "all is vanity" theme of Ecclesiastes).
Since death originated with sin, how can a Bible believing person hold a view of origins which brings death into existence simultaneously with life? The day/age idea was evidently conceived to keep the basic fact of Divine creation intact, while accommodating Darwinism. A corollary concept to the day/age idea, "theistic evolution", developed. It might well be termed "theistic thanatology". It is a view of death which presents a creator who apparently loves death as much as life, or who considers death to be good. From its very cradle and for eons thereafter, the theoretical world of this god is one of savagery and doomed mutants. Survival of the fittest is the creation mandate. This loveless, primeval world is characterized by innumerable evolutionary dead ends. Creatures struggle to stay alive at the expense of other creatures. This is a doctrine of origins which normalizes and dignifies the horrors of death and misery. It makes the cursed order of this present fallen world indistinguishable from the order of the "very good" world, wherein was Eden and its bliss. According to Scripture, death and misery entered by sin.
The covenantal structure of God's redemption places Adam as the "federal head" of the fallen human race, dead in trespasses and sins. The Lord Jesus is the federal head of the redeemed, alive in Him. Covenant theology is discredited by theistic evolution, because it subverts the doctrine of original sin. It is in Adam that all die. We do not die simply because "death is natural". Death is fundamentally unnatural! Most day/agers have retained their belief in a literal Adam. They would agree that any doctrine of man which denies a literal Adam is a foundation for another gospel. Any doctrine of death which gives it an origin other than by sin is also erroneous and dangerous. A Scriptural view of death sees it as God's drastic judgment on the sinners who defiled the very good world He had made.
It is probable that death even for the lower creation originated with the sin of the higher. Perhaps the garments of animal skin given to Adam and Eve, to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:11,21), also graphically portrayed death to their newly opened eyes. Perhaps the slaughter these garments would have required was their first encounter with physical death. Also, note that it is only after the fall that God gives animal flesh as food for man. Before the fall, both man and beasts were given "green plants and fruit" as food (Compare Genesis 1:29,30 with 9:3). Of course, animal sacrifices were not made until after sin was in the world (See Genesis 4:3ff). Admittedly, some challenges exist for this thorough going view of the curse: Does the use of green plants and fruit as food mean that death existed in the vegetable kingdom before sin? What of those creatures that depend on the decay of corpses for their life? These are not insurmountable objections. Again referring to Genesis 3:14ff, we see that it is sound to infer that the curse introduced major physical changes in the created order, along with spiritual devastation. The predator versus the prey, thorns and thistles, deformities, and perhaps even the very existence of some life forms, is part of the curse, the groaning as Paul says, of the lower creation. It was not so in the beginning!
IV. Creation as General Revelation
"The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). "Since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20). God points out to Job the myriad natural wonders which proclaim His majesty. Other Scripture could be cited to show that the creation, though cursed, still reveals the Creator.
Of utmost importance here is that the universe does not merely tell us that there is "a creator", but it speaks eloquently about the Only True Creator! It declares the glory of the True God! It is man's blindness that obscures this natural revelation, not any inarticulateness on God's part! Therefore, the more we investigate natural revelation (and history), the more we shall see the outworking of what the true and living God has told us in special revelation (Scripture).
Consider the attributes of the "god" of theistic evolution: Is he all-wise? He arrives at finished products through the trial and error method (evolution). In the process, much life is wasted. Is he a kind and gracious god, who has no pleasure in the death of his creatures? Is this deity fallible and capricious? If so, he is not the God of the Bible!
God's glory is at the heart of this matter! His glorious majesty is maligned by any view of origins that includes evolution or vague "ages of creation", of uncertain duration or purpose!
V. The Witness of Other Scripture
All professing Christians would agree that Divine creation is a major teaching of the Bible. It is of the very fabric of the Old and New Testaments. However, this discussion is on a specific dimension of creation: God calling all things into being within a period of six days. What can we infer from the following passages about that specific aspect of God's fiat creation?
1) Psalm 148:5 - God commands creatures into existence. When the Lord Jesus commanded the winds and waves, instant obedience ensued. When He changed water into wine, His fellow guests at the wedding commented on the excellence of the vintage moments later. How unlike God, and how out of keeping with His ways is the idea that the mighty Word of His power, which called all out of nothing, was sluggish in its effect! If anything, an inquirer might dare ask God why His "ex nihilo" creation required so long a time as six days! Again, as per the Ten Commandments statement, God worked six days and rested one: a model for His people of future weeks.
2) John 5:45-47 and Luke 16: 29-31. In both of these passages, the Lord Jesus evinces an extremely high view of the Scriptures that came through Moses. He says that those who refuse to accept Moses will not believe Him. If Moses (and the prophets) will not be believed, a resurrection will not convince!
If the Lord so spoke of Moses, who dares assume for himself the authority to despise Moses? Who is wiser than the Lord Jesus? Has God allowed His people of all ages to believe in six day creation but reserved the privilege of a "higher" wisdom for smug, twentieth century gnostics?
3) Colossians 1:16 - All things were created "in Christ". This spiritually understood phrase, in Christ, is often used in the New Testament, and testifies of Christ's Deity (Compare Acts 17:28 - in Him, that is God, "we live and move and have our being"). Saints are said to be in Christ, all things will be summed up in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). That which is in Christ is acceptable to the Father, is good, is holy. If all things were created in Christ, surely the original creation must have been glorious, holy, and good - as God declared it to be in Genesis 1:31.
VI. The Witness of Science
The mathematical genius and philosopher Sir Isaac Newton believed implicitly in recent, special creation. Likewise did other great men of science such as Johann Kepler, Lord Kelvin, and Louis Pasteur. Real science corroborates God's inerrant, fully inspired, infallible Word, the Bible.
The court of natural science and its expert witnesses is appealed to last of all, in deference to the Bible. All mere human wisdom is completely subject to His Word. However, when "doing science", the believer is to take every thought captive to obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). He is to reason about nature and investigate it, with the Scriptures as the guiding light for his inquest.
What is to be found when examining the "scientific evidence" for their theories offered by theistic evolutionists, gap theorists, and day-agers? Among the pieces of evidence offered, a few exhibits that have seemed like formidable giants in the land to God's people are: dinosaurs and their fossil remains; the "geologic column"; the vast light-year distances of interstellar space, carbon 14 dating, and other (radio metric) dating methods.
A few basic and brief observations are offered. Regarding the dating methods, the amounts of original substances are often assumed. Dates are calculated by measuring the rate of change of one substance to another, and comparing the present amounts with the assumed original amounts. As for the travel of light through space, let us note that it is assumed that light always travels at the same speed, and that the light originated at the far distant point. The "geologic column" is a morass of circular reasoning. Fossils are dated by type of rock and type of rock dated by fossils. Anomalous formations abound, confounding expectations. Much is based on naturalistic (godless) assumption.
Assumption is a wonderful tool for creative, investigative postulation, but anathema for proof! True science begins with hypothesis, but does not conclude with it.
The dinosaurs and their extinction present no threat to six day creation, nor to the account of Noah and the ark. (To discuss the latter is outside the scope of this paper). Dinosaurs are merely animals which are now apparently extinct. Modern times have seen, and continue to see other created kinds become extinct. In fact, extinction itself is more evidence of the current fallen state of the world! It is unfortunate that the "ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan" (Revelation 12:9) has caused the bones of the "terrible lizards" to be a stumbling block. There is no fact pertaining to those amazing beasts or their fossil remains that conflicts with any Biblical statement.
Even as the apostle Peter prophesied that they would, men conveniently forget the Great Flood. (See 2 Peter 3:5,6). The fact is that even to this day, stupendous evidence remains of that great universal cataclysm. Much paleontological (fossil) data can be explained far more reasonably by "flood geology" than by uniformitarian geology. (Uniformitarianism assumes that the features of the earth's crust are best explained by forces of nature similar to those observable today, acting over vast ages. Example: the Grand Canyon was formed by millions of years of erosion by the Colorado river.)
The Noahic deluge was a world-wide event which surely changed the face of the earth fundamentally. Many fossils exist in "beds" of huge proportions, indicating sudden, mass loss of life for the creatures preserved. The fossil fuels themselves are likewise evidence of the Great Flood of Noah's time.
These scientific considerations are but a meager introduction to the great weight of real evidence supporting a very young universe formed by special creation. By digging deeper into this subject, the Christian reader will be delightfully surprised, and greatly built up in the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Evolutionary/uniformitarian dogma is the current version of the perennial pagan ideas of the eternity of matter, and of order arising mysteriously out of chaos. Genesis chapter one, understood in its plain sense, remains unsullied by the folly of those who would gainsay it. Fashionable alternate theories on origins are ever springing up, and some in Christendom exhaust themselves to keep their theology in vogue. Again and again, these speculations wither into irrelevance; with all other chaff they blow away.
The Bible believing Christian can rest in knowing his God created the universe and all therein, in six ordinary days. This bedrock foundation of orthodoxy abides; it is God-breathed truth.
© Keith Graham, May 1996 (original article November 1993)
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