Monday, August 29, 2011

The Beginning and the Ending: Creation Maligned

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch PDFBy

Regarding the origins of our planet and life, the Bible plainly reveals that both were created by God in six days about 6,000 years ago.

Christendom seemed to have no problem with this revelation until the 19th Century. Scientists before that time — even the man acknowledged to be the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton — believed the biblical story and affirmed it in their writings.


The Attack of Science

But in the 19th Century, scientists began to challenge the biblical story, reaching its culmination with Darwin's Theory of Evolution which was proposed in 1859 in his book, On the Origin of Species.2

As the 20th Century began, the Bible was on the defensive, and the battle came to a climax with the Scopes Trial in 1925 when William Jennings Bryan tried to defend the biblical view while Clarence Darrow mocked and scoffed.3


Scopes Trial


The Christian Response

In response to the relentless attacks of scientists, Christian theologians scrambled to try to make the biblical story line up with the claim of the scientists that the universe was billions of years old and that all life had evolved haphazardly from a single source.

This was accomplished primarily in one of two ways, or a combination of both.

First, was the Day-Age Theory that converted each day of the Genesis creation week into a million or more years.

The second was the Gap Theory. According to this idea, there is a gap of millions or billions of years between the first two verses of Genesis.

There are different versions of the Gap Theory, but all versions postulate that God's original creation was most likely corrupted by the rebellion and fall of Satan. Then millions or billions of years later, God decided to bring order out of the chaos by re-creating the earth and its heavens. Some who subscribe to the Gap Theory believe that the re-creation process took only 6 literal days. But most would contend that each of the days were actually millions of years.

They thus combine the Gap Theory with the Day-Age Theory and end up with a creation process that took place over a time span of billions of years.


The Situation Today

Today, the Gap Theory, or some version of it, is held by most Christians — even Evangelicals. Many believe that God intervened at some point and created Man.

But many, if not most believe in Theistic Evolution. In other words, they believe God created all life, but that it emerged over a long period of time through a process of guided evolution.

When challenged to simply believe the creation story in the Bible, they often respond with scoffing.


Personal Experiences

I experienced this early in the history of this ministry when I was speaking to the combined adult Sunday School classes of a church in Oklahoma. I just happened to mention in passing that we should accept the Genesis story of creation to mean what it says — namely, that God created the universe and life supernaturally in six literal days some 6,000 years ago. That off-the-hand remark prompted an explosion! A man jumped to his feet and started yelling. "I can't believe that you believe such nonsense," he shouted. He then added, "It's ignorant people like you who make Christians look like fools!" At that point, he stomped out of the room.

Here's another example of what I'm talking about. In 2009 we aired a series of television programs with Dr. Jobe Martin who has a great ministry that focuses on the Creation-Evolution conflict.4 In one of those programs, he told why he believes the Genesis story of creation means exactly what it says.

In response, I received a letter from a Christian who watched the program via satellite in Latvia, one of the former Russian Baltic Republics. He wrote:

Is the cause of Christ really advanced by having on your show a wild-eyed fanatic who cannot comprehend the concept of proof? Possibly we are not talking about the same Creator? My Lord can not lie, thus, He cannot create an old-looking earth to deceive the modern man... Satan's best troops in the battle to stymie Christianity are the Young Earth advocates. There are hundreds of reasons that speak of earth's age, but the wellmeaning fools refuse to learn some science before they argue against it... Dear sir, preach what you will but not in the name of Christianity. Do not make my Lord a deceiver and Christians an uneducated lot.

And lest you think these are isolated examples, let me point out that a group of Evangelicals have formed an organization called BioLogos whose purpose is to convince Christians that "the process of evolution is a tenable biblical position, and... is the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics."5

This group has actually taken the position that if Christians do not accept the theory of evolution, the Church will soon die off, because it will be rejected as "an insignificant cult."6

The relevance of this issue was demonstrated recently on the cover of Christianity Today magazine, published in June 2011.7

This is a magazine founded in 1956 by Billy Graham to espouse and defend biblical truths. But in recent years, it has become increasingly liberal, while still claiming to be Evangelical.

The magazine's cover featured a drawing of Adam as a Neanderthal looking person, and the lead article presented him as being most likely a mythical person. The article is also a shameless apologetic for Theistic Evolution.


Historical Adam?


In the next part of this series on the beginning and the ending of the Bible, I'll look at how people scoff at the Creation account and then answer these skeptics.


Notes

2) Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (London: John Murray Publisher, 1859).

3) Dr. David Menton, "The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' — 80 Years Later," www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0711scopes.asp. It should be noted that Bryan did not believe in a young earth. He took the Day-Age position, arguing that each day of creation represented millions of years.

4) Jobe Martin's outstanding book about his conversion from Evolution to Creationism is titled, The Evolution of a Creationist. It can be obtained from Lamb & Lion Ministries for $15 plus the cost of shipping. To order, call 972-736-3567.

5) The BioLogos Forum, About The BioLogos Foundation, http://biologos.org/about.

6) Lawrence Ford, "Confronting Evolutionary Ideas," www.icr.org/article/confronting-evolutionary-ideas, 2011.

7) Richard N. Ostling, "The Search for the Historical Adam," www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/june/historicaladam.html, June 3, 2011.

25 comments:

Billy said...

These articles look interesting but I'm afraid to read them.

If I do I think I might get my Lamplighter in the mail only to discover I've already read it.

Expected Imminently said...

Hello Nathan

Today I know why I believe in the Genesis account by taking into account the so called 'proof' of an old earth.

Previously, I believed it simply because God said it and Jesus took it as a fact. As there is no Scripture that says God was 'only' telling a story; I believed it to be true, or otherwise how can we know the Gospel message, which is based on what happened in Genesis, is true or not.

The REAL question is 'SIX 24 hour days!!! why did it take God so long??? :)

Anonymous said...

I love the tv program, website and all that LL does, but I've never understood LL's take on earth's age.

I believe evolution is as comical as global warming. I do not, however, believe that earth is ~6,000 years old. I dont see how one can overlook the inordinate amount of scientific evidence against such a conclusion. Dr. Martin hypothesized that there are dinosaurs roaming around in remote parts of the earth, and we're supposed to take what he says at face value? There is zero support for that.

Too many people debate the meaning of day/time-period in Genesis, and I really do not see why it matters. Some call it "spiritualizing," but in my opinion it's not essential to Christianity as a whole. Unlike the virgin birth, resurrection, or diety of Christ, among other things, the earth's age makes no difference to the core of one's Christian beliefs. One can believe that the earth is 10 billion years old and still not believe in evolution or any of the other liberal ideas that contradict the Bible.

As the Latvian said, God is either intentionally tricking us (scientifically) into believing the earth is very old, or it is really old.

Having said all that, I just want to know if you can please explain why it ultimately matters? It is undoubtedly arguable that the timing of Genesis is ambiguous. Why does it matter so much? Why do you believe that the earth MUST be so young?

Anonymous said...

If people start saying well in this case, God didn't really mean what He said... then where will that line of reasoning stop? Why is it so hard to believe God? Why do we have to try to prove everything? Who created carbon dating for instance...MAN did. Maybe their formulas are really skewed instead of God being a trickster. I choose to believe God and take Him at His word.

C~ in Salem

Expected Imminently said...

C ~ in Salem

Well said!

Anonymous
This is a portion from an article by Dr. Grady S. McMurtry

"So why is the acceptance of a young creation, based upon the Bible’s account of creation about 6,000 years ago, so important to the Christian faith? Why should Christians care whether or not the earth and universe are young or old? Does the acceptance of an old or young earth and universe really have any bearing on the Gospel?

In one word, the answer is yes, it does matter. It matters a great deal. CWM is unequivocal in its support for, and belief in, a young creation. The reasons are based, as they should always be, in the character of the God of the Bible, the inerrancy of the Bible and in the scientific support for a young creation.

Yes, it matters, because it is important to God:
“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47 [Emphasis added]
I want to stipulate that a Christian who believes in an old creation may go to Heaven. Their acceptance of an old creation is not the salvation issue. They do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, and they may be ignorant of the overwhelming scientific evidence for a young creation (270+ Geochronometers supporting a young creation), but these are not salvation issues.
Even if we were to push the scientific evidence for a young creation to one side and not take it into account; there are five major theological reasons that Christians should believe in, and adamantly support belief in, a young creation.

ONE: If anyone, especially a Christian, believes in an old creation they are saying that the God of the Bible is not omniscient; that He is not smart enough to create it all whole and complete to begin with. They would believe that God does not know everything to start with; that He has to learn over time. Such a position would mean that God supposedly had to turn a wrench here, turn a screwdriver there, over a long period of time in order to arrive at the final product that we now see - the universe.

BUT: The God of the Bible is an omniscient God.
“For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” Job 28:24
“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” Ps. 147:5

TWO: If anyone believes in an old creation they are saying that the God of the Bible is not omnipotent; that He is not strong enough to create it all whole and complete to begin with. They would believe that God is a weak God; that He is incapable of creating things whole and complete all at one time. Such a position would mean that God supposedly could not speak things into existence; that He is not totally sovereign in His powers and knowledge.

BUT: The God of the Bible is an omnipotent God.
“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” Jer. 32:17
“Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” Ps. 135:6
“And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Mt. 19:26
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Lk. 1:37

Read the rest at this link
http://www.creationworldview.org/articles.asp

Billy said...

Anon said "I dont see how one can overlook the inordinate amount of scientific evidence against such a conclusion."

Hey Anon, how much scientific evidence is there that a man could turn water into wine, calm the seas, give sight to the blind, cure disease with words alone, be killed then come back to life?

How much scientific evidence is there that the red sea could be parted, then crash in upon the command of another man. How much evidence that three men could be thrown into a fiery furnance yet come out unharmed?

As you know, I could go on and on...but I won't.

This is NOT about scientific evidence. It is about FAITH. Not just faith, but childlike faith. I believe everyting in the Bible. Not because it is scientific, but because I have childlike faith that it is true.

So I ask...if you can believe all the other things I mentioned, why not that the Earth was created in six days on faith alone. Why do you need "scientific evidence"?

Nathan Jones said...

E.I., never thought of it that way... why indeed did God take "so long" with six days of Creation. :)

The primary argument for why believing in a young earth is important is because it's what the Word of God says. When we like Satan begin asking, "Did he really say that?" then in our questioning of God we then are "subjecting him to public disgrace". We're discrediting God. The whole Bible unwinds. People lose their faith. It's exactly what Satan wants and has become a proven powerful tool in his arsenal in this spiritual war.

A ton of evidence exists for a young earth. Check them out at Dr. Jobe Martin' site, Eric Hovind's site and other great ministries like the ICR and Answers in Genesis.

Nathan Jones said...

Billy, you get it here first. One of the benefits of the CiP Journal!

Billy said...

(Nathan,

I know - that's why I'm waiting. I'm one of those few people left that still like to read the magazine in print. And I like books over electronic readers.)

General comment to Anon:

One time a friend of mine, a Christian, quoted the "Can God make a rock too big for Him to lift?" nonsense. I told him there is an answer to that question. He seemed surprised. What is it he aksed. I replied "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

Searching for scientific evidence, to me, is akin to putting God to the test.

If you don't have it, then I can't explain to you how wonderfully joyous it is to simply believe. Not because what the Bible says is possible scientifically. Only because the Bible tells me so.

Gideon said...

Something else I always think about when the Old Earth topic comes up is this: God's 6 day creation of life in Genesis is not told to us in time pertaining to God, God told the creation story in time pertaining to man. Otherwise, the creation time-line couldn't possibly be understood by ancient man.

Billy said...

Evolution = EVIL_LIE_tion as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback.

Most, if not all, of the arguments proffered in response to my comment are based on the assumption that Genesis 1 refers to a literal 24 hour day. That is exactly what I'm arguing about. Many Christians and scholars debate that very fact, and they do not debate it based on a lack of faith. It's based on looking at the ancient language. Just google "yom" and you'll get thousands of hits where people are trying to put forth the proper definition. That's all I was trying to get at - we do not know for sure what it means.

EI/Nathan - thanks for the articles. I really enjoy reading literature on this topic.

In response to some of your arguments:

EI:
One - saying that God took awhile to create something is not the same as questioning his "intelligence." I can build a toy truck out of legos in a year. That doesn't mean I do not have the knowledge to do it in a day. Your argument is also flawed because it assumes God would have created the world instantaneously. Like you said - why would he have taken 6 days? He could do it in one second if He wanted.

Two - His omnipotence is also not at stake for the same reasons I mentioned above.


Billy:
Examples of Jesus' miracles are completely inapposite. The creation of the universe, whether in 6 days, 6,000 years, or 60 billion years, is still a miracle. I am not arguing about the power of God. You, like everyone else, missed the part of my comment that says "[i]t is undoubtedly arguable that the timing of Genesis is ambiguous." This is not about the validity of the Bible, faith in God, or God's power. I am simply saying that IF the Bible is ambiguous, then the age of the earth is relatively unimportant. IF the Bible is ambiguous, it's arguable that the earth is really old or relatively young. That's it. Ambiguity and inerrancy are two separate things. I do believe the Bible is without error.

Gideon - "God told the creation story in time pertaining to man. Otherwise, the creation time-line couldn't be understood by ancient man."

I never knew God "told" the creation story. I also didn't know that ancient man was incapable of understanding the concept of time. Moreover, much of the Old Testament likely wasn't understood by ancient man. Do you think the jews understood every prophecy? God doesn't always allow us to understand everything, which is why I found it possible that the earth is very young, even if science says otherwise. I have just personally found the evidence for an old earth much more persuasive.

Please understand that I am discussing this with an open mind on science and the possibility of an ambiguity in Genesis. My mind on God is closed. If someone could persuade me that the Bible definitively says 6-24 hour days, then I'd happily assume all evidence to the contrary must be false. Until then, it's fun to argue :)

Original Anon

Gideon said...

Really Anon,

You didn't know that Moses penned the book of Genesis from what God told him?

God is not subject to our time. But since he created it, he has access to it. So, you are telling me that ancient man understood the concept of different dimensions of time? That would have to be the case if we are not to take this at 6 24 hour days!

God said 6 days, there was no asterisk, no 6 of God's days not human days..... Do you think people were to read Genesis and have no clue as to what a day meant because that is where you leave it when you say a day is more than 24 hours.

How about instead of us proving our point to you, you show us where in Genesis the Bible really meant that a day could be longer than 24 hours.

From reading your posts, I don't think anything will convince you. You have your mind made up...

Billy said...

Anon,

God created the Earth in six days. Everything created was done so fully mature, the trees, the animals, and Adam and Eve. The world was a beautiful garden paradise. There was no death.

If you say the world was not created by came about by evil-lie-tion, then you are saying it was NOT good. Evil-lie-tion equals death and struggle and survival of the fitest.

That is NOT what the Bible says! It says creation was GOOD and a paradise and there was NO death until after humans ate the forbidden fruit.

(Note I agree wiht E.I. that this is NOT a salvation dependent issue - but someday we "6 day creationists" will get to say "I told you so.")

Expected Imminently said...

Original Anonymous

Who needs Yom?

Genesis 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. AND THE EVENING AND THE MORNING WERE THE FIRST DAY

8.And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

19.And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

31. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

= Jewish 24hours from 6 to 6 not 12 to 12.

God say’s what He means and means what He say’s; what you claim is to suggest He is both fickle and capricious and totally unreliable, which insults and countermands His character and intelligence.

Expected Imminently said...

Original Anonymous said “…saying that God took awhile to create something is not the same as questioning his "intelligence." I can build a toy truck out of legos in a year. That doesn't mean I do not have the knowledge to do it in a day. Your argument is also flawed because it assumes God would have created the world instantaneously. Like you said - why would he have taken 6 days? He could do it in one second if He wanted”.

Good for you! I couldn’t build a Lego toy truck in a lifetime – too bloomin’ tedious; I would need something a mite more stimulating.

My flawed argument or you flawed reasoning? C’mon! God COULD have done it in an atomic second if He wanted to; the point is He didn’t. There was purpose and planning using six literal 24 hour days (dusk to dawn rather than black to black). Not forgetting the 7th day of rest. All picture book language for the finite human mind to grasp the infinite!

Nathan Jones said...

That God goes out of his way to say "evening and morning" which the Jews to this day use to begin and end their days is another proof for the six literal 24-hour days of Creation. It's a no-brainer to believe this, but one has to go through many hoops to try and prove the days are longer than 24-hour literal days.

Expected Imminently said...

Original Anon,

God's Word is most certainly NOT ambiguous!

Ambiguity is the domain of Covenant Theology reasoning of why take God’s Word literally/plainly as written within an historical/grammatical God given hermeneutic when you can spiritualize His Word into something other than what it actually says.

Hogwash!

Expected Imminently said...

OriginalAnon

RECAP

Nathan said “primary argument…it's what the Word of God says.

When we like Satan begin asking, "Did he really say that?" then in our questioning of God we then are "subjecting him to public disgrace".

We're discrediting God. The whole Bible unwinds.

People lose their faith.

It's exactly what Satan wants and has become a proven powerful tool in his arsenal in this spiritual war”.

Billy said “…Evolution = EVIL_LIE_tion…

…how much scientific evidence is there that a man could turn water into wine, calm the seas, give sight to the blind, cure disease with words alone, be killed then come back to life?

How much scientific evidence is there that the red sea could be parted, then crash in upon the command of another man. How much evidence that three men could be thrown into a fiery furnace yet come out unharmed?"

Anon said ‘Examples of Jesus' miracles are completely inapposite’.
So NOT; rather totally applicable.

It takes from months to years to normally produce wine; and ONLY with fermenting Grapes, present in the water.

It takes many hours for the waves to subside after the wind has dropped. They can cross oceans before they break on a shore.

After thousands of years helping the sightless, man has gone from specs to laser treatment and STILL can’t form an eye to see where there was none before.

It has taken thousands of years to cure SOME diseases.

A Cyborg is the closest man has got to resurrection in 2000 years.

The Red Sea parting is still waiting to be repeated.

How many Jews walked out of the Nazi crematoria?

Given billions of years of TIME there may come a few instants out of Billy’s list to compare with. Billy is simply RIGHT and absolutely relevant to the miracle of Creation.

Gideon said “You didn't know that Moses penned the book of Genesis from what God TOLD him?

E.I. said 'Hogwash'.

Ransen J. Borges said...

For many years I considered the "Gap Theory" to be mere deduction. However, recently I've found that there are some compelling inductive proofs for the idea that earth was destroyed by Satan's rebellion and that God took six literal days after this to rebuild the planet for man's habitation.

Nathan Jones said...

Ransen, I can see how some come to the conclusion from Genesis 1:28 of there being a Gap Theory based on the word "replenish" from the old King James version, indicating there was a time break within the Creation account. In other versions, Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 were told to "fill the earth." The Hebrew word, which unfortunately is translated "replenish" in the King James Version of 1611, does not mean to "replenish" though. That word is "male" and means simply "to fill." Interesting is the fact that this very same word is used in Genesis 1:22 where the command is given by God to "fill the waters of the seas." Later versions of the Bible (ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV, et al.) have rendered the verb properly as merely "fill."

Dr. Jobe Martin of Biblical Discipleship Ministries has a great explanation of the Gap Theory and its problems.

Dan said...

Isn't this fun?

Ok, my last comment (i think) :)

Gen 1:3 - God separates light from darkness (the first day).
Gen 1:6-9 - God creates sky and the physical earth (the second and third days).
Gen 1:14-19 - God creates Sun and Moon (the fourth day)

How do you explain the first day having a morning and a night --the same morning and night you all use to justify your 24 hour day-- before there was a sky and a sun with an earth spinning on its axis - the same axis that provides us with a 24 day today?

Also ...

Gen 2:4 "This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens ... ."

Note: in the DAY, not in the 6 days that He created the earth and heavens.

You and I are reading the English translation of ancient Hebrew. The latter has less than 10,000 words; the former has almost one million.

I'm interested to see how you will you get around the "24 hour morning and day" that you cling to when it's mentioned before earth and the sun existed.

I remain,

Original Anon

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents...most people love to hang on to a particular viewpoint.

However, CMI has lots to ponder. So type in "creation days" in the search engine and do some study.

http://creation.com/

rg

Ransen J. Borges said...

The inductive evidence I refer to has little to do with v. 28. What should be considered: Is Genesis 1:2, best rendered (as in the King James Version) “And the earth was without form and void” or “But the earth had become without form and void?” Should the Hebrew conjunction waw be translated as “and” or “but” and should we translate the verb hayah simply as “was” or by the pluperfect “had become.” While staunch opponents object to this “Gap Theory” as an attempt to rescue modern geology and a capitulation to evolutionary theory, I would disagree simply because it makes no difference to me if a “gap” exist or doesn’t. There is no subtraction from the authenticity of the Genesis account whether or not the six (24-hour) creative days refer to the universe (ex nihilo) or a re-forming of a devastated earth.

Expected Imminently said...

Dan the Original Anon said
‘How do you explain the first day having a morning and a night --the same morning and night you all use to justify your 24 hour day-- before there was a sky and a sun with an earth spinning on its axis - the same axis that provides us with a 24 day today?"

Nearly missed this ‘fun’?

Was this information meant to shock us?

AFTER God had created the ‘light’s for signs and seasons for our benefit; He STILL called the evening and the morning a ‘day’.
God was looking at the whole sequence of events as a completed whole – He sees the end from the beginning, but for our sake he placed them into a time-line.

Dan the Original Anon said ‘note: in the DAY, not in the 6 days that He created the earth and heavens’.

CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT!

Biblically a ‘day’ refers to a span of time of either 24 hours; or Seven day’s; or 1000 years…(Do a search)

Grandad says’ ‘boys had to wear caps in my DAY’. Which meant the span of his boyhood.

In the Creation event the DAY God created – was over a span of seven 24hour days.