Breaking from my Charismatic and Christmas writing, but keeping along with the alliteration, let’s talk a little about Creationism! Not just general Creationism (which could be theistic, deistic, old earth, young earth, day-age, metaphorical, etc.), but what I’ve heard called Biblical Creationism. For the sake of clarity, Biblical Creationism is a little different than Young Earth Creationism (YEC) because, at least from my understanding, it doesn’t really make an evidentialist fight over the age of the earth but rather is more concerned with the biblical text itself and talks far less about the age of the earth than YEC. Seeing that the Bible doesn’t directly address the age of the earth, as a Biblical Creationist I simply leave it as a logical necessity demanded by the text of scripture, regardless of the state of contemporary empirical research, but I’m not really interested in debating things like geomorphology or carbon dating (simply because I recognize that I lack sufficient understanding of those things to discuss them accurately).
Now, a while ago, I wrote a comment that turned into a whole blog post while I was interacting with someone. I’ve edited it a bit, and here are my three biggest reasons why I’m a Biblical Creationist:
1. Creation was a supernatural event.
It’s so funny how so many people who are theistic evolutionists, or any other form of *somewhat* creationists, assume a supernatural explanation for the ultimate origin of all biological life the universe and then argue for a natural explanation regarding how all biological life came to be in its current form, especially when the Bible makes it so utterly clear that the origin and form of biological life came about as the result of a supernatural event.
By their very nature, supernatural events are events that, in terms of any combination of natural processes, are utterly impossible. The very nature of supernatural events rules out natural processes right from the start.
I mean, let’s be serious with one example: the feeding of the 5,000. If we’re talking about ANY sort of underlying “how” that involves ANY sort of physical process whatsoever, what sort of physical process spontaneously either creates matter or re-organizes it from one complex structure (i.e. air) into another (i.e. bread)? What combination of natural processes regularly makes bread appear nicely in baskets?
There is no physical process that explains it, and everyone knows it (remember this when we get to point #3). If anyone suggests that there might be a physical process to explain it that hasn’t yet been discovered, then they’re clearly exhibiting blind faith in the omnipotence of unregenerate men and their reason rather than informed faith in the omnipotent God of the Bible and his revelation.
I’d submit that as a good practical definition of “insanity”.
Now there was an underlying mechanism to creation, but it wasn’t a physical one; the mechanism was divine speech.
The Bible tells us jolly well what the “mechanism” of creation was; divine speech. Genesis 1 is filled with the phrase “and God said” followed by matter obeying the divine sovereign of the universe and marching according to his directions. The mechanism of creation was that Jesus Christ spoke. That’s all. That’s maybe not the answer many are wanting, but that’s the answer that scripture gives us.
2. The scripture reveals the supernatural event of Creation occurred in six solar days.
Now, if you’re a Christian there should be a basic understanding that the Bible is divine revelation; the Bible is actually God revealing himself to humanity in propositional language (if you don’t believe in the inspiration of scripture, meaning that the scriptures [in their original autographs] are the very words of God, then you have some problems with basic Christian doctrine…). The big fight comes with the interpretation of the Bible, and with Genesis the big fight usually boils down to the interpretation of the word “day”.
As far as the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1 goes, did you ever notice that there’s debate on the meaning of “day” in Genesis 1 and basically nowhere else? Why is that? Why is Genesis apparently so confusing? Genesis 1 spells it out in plain language with both ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) and the phrase “evening and morning”, kinda like God saw this strange debate coming, and yet hordes of people claim that the word “day” could meaning any number of things. Do they make that same “it’s possible, therefore it’s probable” argument anywhere else?
– In Exodus 18:13-14, we have a day with the phrase “evening and morning”. As far as I’m aware, there is absolutely no debate about the length of the “day” in Exodus 18:13-14. The same goes for Exodus 27:21, Leviticus 6:20, Numbers 9:21, Judges 19:9, and everywhere else in the OT where there’s a day with “evening and morning”. I don’t know of one example outside of Genesis where there’s serious debate.
– In Exodus 12:15-18, we have the a day with an ordinal number. As far as I’m aware, there is absolutely no debate about the length of the “day” in Exodus 12:15-18. The same goes for Exodus 40:2, 40:17, Leviticus 23:5, 23:24, 23:35, 23:39-40, Numbers 1:1, 1:18, 7:12, 9:5, 28:16, 28:18, 29:1, 33:3, 33:38, etc. (the examples here number in the triple digits and the pattern is uniform throughout the whole Old Testament).
– In Deuteronomy 16:4 we have a day with both an ordinal number and the phrase “evening and morning”. As far as I’m aware, there is absolutely no debate about the length of the “day” in Deuteronomy 16:4. In 1 Samuel 17:16, we have a cardinal number (one, two three, etc.) with the phrase “evening and morning”. As far as I’m aware, there is absolutely no debate about the length of the “day” in 1 Samuel 16:14. Whether or not there are cardinal numbers or ordinal numbers, the meaning of “day” isn’t a topic of argument outside of Genesis, with the only exceptions being a few prophetic passages.
The pattern is consistent in scripture throughout the Old and New Testaments. When the word “day” appears with the phrase “evening and morning”, it’s a regular 24-hour solar day. When the word “day” appears with either a ordinal or cardinal number, it’s a regular 24-hour solar day; the only places in the entire scripture where the meaning of “day” is debated is in a handful of prophetic passages (i.e. “the day of the Lord”).
Beyond that, the meaning of any word in scripture isn’t found by taking a list of possible meaning and selecting which ever one suits your preferences. The meaning of any word in scripture is found by understanding it as it is used in the sentence in which it appears (in other words, the meaning of a word is found by its usage in context).
I’m wondering what within the text of scripture drives so many to say things along the lines of “Genesis itself is unclear as to the meaning of the word ‘day’ in Genesis 1” when the scripture appears to overtly rub our faces in it? Even many liberal Hebrew scholars admit that it seems like the author of Genesis was trying to portray the “days” as normal, 24 hours solar days….but many scholars simply don’t have a very high opinion of whoever wrote Genesis.
3. Rejecting the Biblical Account of Creation inescapably necessitates rejecting the Biblical Account of Christ.
Now these days, there is a popular “Jesus only” movement where people try to focus on Christ and more or less ignore what they see as “secondary” debates. The line goes something like “I don’t want to focus on arguing about this or that; I want to focus on Jesus!” Many in the Young, Restless and Reformed category fall into this camp, and in some ways I agree.
***If you focus on doctrine at the expense of Christ, your doctrine is useless to both you and the world.***
Who’s going to argue against the idea that Jesus should be the most important component of Christian belief? Not me!
But, I would come back to suggest that only in the context of the entire Old Testament, cemented in all its glorious prophetic promises and intricate historic details, does the risen Christ find any meaning whatsoever. If Genesis 1 is a myth, so is the risen Christ…not because of some sort of “slippery slope” argument but rather because of logical & theological necessity. Let me explain for a second:
a. It is a logical necessity because the root reason for challenging a straightforward reading of the biblical account of creation is the utter incompatibility of the Genesis account with empirical naturalism. Empirical (physical) naturalism is the foundation of empirical (physical) science and it’s the idea that, at least for the purposes of empirical observation and experimentation, natural processes are all that can be considered for the purpose of empirical investigation. In simple terms, we don’t see supernatural events regularly occurring so we assume that they simply can’t occur (or else the entire scientific enterprise becomes useless because results could vary from experiment to experiment due to the random insertion of supernatural occurrences).
The problem is that the Bible is a divinely authoritative book recording a fair amount of supernatural events, and not just in Genesis; we know with certainty that specific supernatural events have occurred throughout history. Trying to make sense of any supernatural event in history through natural explanations simply cannot work since there is no naturalistic explanation for a supernatural event, and neither can a naturalistic interpretation of the effects of a supernatural event ever arrive at a supernatural explanation of that event. A supernatural event, even if it actually occurred, simply is not on the list of options for the empirical naturalist.
The same naturalism that cannot believe the divine account of creation Genesis 1 also cannot believe the resurrection account of Matthew 28. Even with a time machine, the empirical naturalist who personally witnessed the death and resurrection of Christ would have to abandon their empirical naturalism to ever make sense of what they personally witnessed. Even though they would be eyewitnesses, they would have to rule out what really happened as a possible explanation in order to hold to their empirical naturalism. That empirical naturalist would be in the same position if they witnessed the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, the transfiguration, the giving of the Holy Spirit, his prophecies of his own death, etc.
2. It is a theological necessity because the root reason for disbelieving a straightforward reading of the biblical account of creation is sin. Actually, the root reason for disbelieving the scripture, in general, is sin rather than some sort of rational process of deduction. There are plenty of scriptures dealing with this idea (i.e. Luke 16:18-31, Romans 1:18-23, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, 2 Corinthians 3:12-15, Ephesians 4:17-19, etc.) but there’s one great one that specifically deals with origins issues:
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. – 2 Peter 3:1-7
Now 2 Peter 3:1-7 is talking about the coming divine judgment, but the idea presented is that the reason people disbelieve the divine testimony about the future is the same reason that they disbelieve the divine testimony about the past. The reason that people scoff at the notion of coming judgment is because they’re “following their own sinful desires”; unregenerate people disbelieve the testimony of scripture because they follow their desire to sin, not their reason.
In other words, sin leaves an unregenerate man unable to see reality as it truly is; reality in relation to God.
Their eyes are not closed to the facts of nature, but the cannot possibly understand those facts in relation to God.
Avoiding a 40,000 word rabbit trail regarding the noetic effects of sin (how sin affects the mind and reasoning process), the unregenerate person disbelieves the scriptures because of sin. Not only that, but they also can only believe the scriptures due to divine regeneration of the heart. Hebrews 11:3 clearly states “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” That doesn’t mean that Christians blindly trust that God is right and ignore all the contrary data; the biblical account of creation is empirically validated by every fact of nature in existence. Rather, saving faith (i.e. regeneration) is the means by which we come to a right perception of every fact of nature in existence and are able to believe that the universe was created by God (as well as live in the light of the moral significance of that belief). We don’t get there by assembling a large body of facts; we get there by God granting us, by his grace, to rightly see whatever limited facts we have.
I could go on and on, but I’ve been piecemealing this post together for around 5 days now (since I only can blog after the kids go to bed at night, which means I maybe have an hour or two to write). It’s about time I simply tossed it up in order to post something.
So, I’m going to simply break there and allow the comments to come active. I welcome all thoughts and interactions.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “blogging ad vesperam” Unger