The creation story has always been one of my favorite parts of the Bible. There is something about it that captures me every time I read it. I have put a lot of thought into it, studied it, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It is in my belief that the creation story should be taken literally for what it is, which would put me in the young-earth creationist boat. I would like to think that I am not being stingy in this belief, like the church was when it thought it was the sun that was moving and not the earth, but that with good reason I can reach both a Biblical and scientific viewpoint as to why we live on a young-earth.
One must recognize when reading the creation story, that the first chapter of the Bible is written in an ingenuous poetic form that most humans even today don’t seem to possess the ability to write. Due to its poetic nature, I believe that we are reading more of a summary of the creation of the earth rather than a detailed description of what happened. That does not, however, mean that I do not take it literally. While the creation poem may not be entirely full in information, I still believe that it is a day-by-day account of what God did and that humanity can take it for what it is. In reflection on Genesis 1:1, Willmington offers a similar point. “It is a simple statement of fact. While the verses that follow provide many details about God’s creative activity, they do not explain it in scientific terms. Believers accept it ‘by faith.’”
Being a part of the Pentateuch, we know that Genesis has always been important to its readers, especially since these first five books held a significant value in the life of the Jews. And so, traditionally, I would imagine that many early Hebrews reading this chapter would come to the conclusion that this story was meant to be taken literally, especially without an advanced knowledge of science like we now have. If this is so, we should have many arguments to pace over rather than just scrap what has been thought and taught throughout the ages.
Tradition also tends to tell us that Moses was the one who wrote this book. If this is true, then I think we need to realize that God must have had a big hand in it, since Moses wasn’t really around during creation. For this reason God may have had more to do with the writing of this book than the human did, making its words more divine in a sense than other books of the Bible might be. And even if we discovered Moses didn’t write it, we still have to come to some kind of divine conclusion as no one can really write about the beginning of the earth, since we weren’t there.
It seems that one of the big reasons people want to believe in an old-earth is because of the different ages of the land and how far down dinosaurs are buried. Rather than build a theory within the context of the Bible as to why this might be, old-earth creationists build theories outside of the Bible and then try to stick them in. And so I bring up the flood during Noah’s time? Could it be possible that a worldwide, universal flood could have the power to really screw up the earth? Dinosaurs drowning, their bodies decaying at the bottom of the ocean, dirt being swished back and forth, covering up their remains. I highly doubt the world looked exactly the same when the floodwaters dried up.
And this is essentially the same theory for anyone trying to stick a gap in between the verses. When the Bible starts we are basically looking at a giant ball of water, and so if anything were actually living before this time, it would have been wiped out in a flood. And then when God asks for dry land to appear, he does so by asking the waters to move into one place, which infers that it would be the same land the previous life was living on. Therefore, if a flood didn’t cover up their bodies, the world would have started with hundreds of dead animals lying on the surface. On top of that, some of the Christian old-earth supporters would even value the big bang and evolution theories against the idea of God creating the world, which completely violates one of the basic understandings of the faith and shows a complete lack of belief in the Christian faith. Theories like these rob God of his glory, which is said so perfectly in The Teacher’s Commentary. “Creation is such compelling proof of God’s existence, and such a clear reflection of His character, that any explanation of beginnings which rules God out serves only to underline human perversity.”
I really enjoy Biblical scientific theories, especially when someone invents one that you know is on the right path. But I am talking more about theories such as the ball of water around the earth that may have helped the human race live early on in creation or how Pangaea may have been created quite rapidly when “the earth was divided.” These are all well thought out scientific theories that really could not change our faith too much whether we agreed or disagreed. But when we take stories like that of creation and try to cram in unsound thoughts and theories (especially those of the secular world view), we completely change the course of human history. Passages like Genesis 1 do not only hold significance for us today, but it has held significance throughout the ages as The Bible Knowledge Commentary points out. “In writing this work for Israel, Moses wished to portray God as the Founder and Creator of all life. The account shows that the God who created Israel is the God who created the world and all who are in it. Thus the theocracy is founded on the sovereign God of Creation. That nation, her Law, and her customs and beliefs all go back to who God is. Israel would here learn what kind of God was forming them into a nation.”
It’s not that we shouldn’t be open to new thoughts and theories, because we don’t want to find ourselves completely out of the loop with life thinking that the earth is flat. But we need to be sensitive to the Word of God and careful in what we believe. False interpretations of passages such as these can lead to an entirely screwed up faith, if you can even call it faith.
Willmington, H. L. (1997). Willmington’s Bible handbook (4). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (20). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1:27). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.