Do you really believe God?
Editorial from Creation magazine, January 2014
I recently had a conversation about Genesis with a Christian who is a university campus worker (‘UW’). This man has a real heart for spreading the gospel, and would say he believed the Bible is the Word of God.
Part of the conversation went like this (not the exact words): UW: “But you can’t take Genesis 1 in a straight-forward way!” I replied, “Why not?” UW: “Because scientists have shown that the world is very old.” It is now clear that my friend is confused about the nature of science, because claims about what happened in the past (history) are not open to experimental testing. And, there is much evidence that should encourage serious scepticism about the claimed billions of years—e.g. the wealth of data from dinosaur fossils indicating that they are not old; see p. 12. There is also much evidence that geological processes happened much faster than ‘deep time’ advocates usually assume (see ‘Fast forming Fly Geyser’, p. 15, and ‘Dinosaur stampede’, p. 38).
UW ventured that Genesis was not about time. I pointed out that Genesis is replete with time elements, such as the 7 days of the Creation Week and the chronology in chapter 5 (‘When person x had lived z years, he fathered son y’), the sequence of events with the Flood (chapters 7 and 8) and more chronological data in chapter 11. A child can add up the figures to get 1656 years from Creation to the Flood. Time is a major focus of Genesis.1
I asked him what it means when a story is introduced with ‘Once upon a time …’? He replied that it would be a fairy story. Exactly! History demands a time frame (see ‘Thinking about chronology’, p. 45). And this includes the time of Jesus’ birth (see ‘The census of Quirinius’, p. 42), death and resurrection.
It became clear that UW had not thought much beyond Genesis chapter 1. It was almost as if he thought this chapter could be quarantined to make the Bible compatible with the secular ‘scientific’ view of history. For example, he correctly believed in a real Adam and Eve and the Fall (in Genesis 3). I pointed out that long ages meant death and suffering before Adam sinned (the Garden of Eden sitting on a deep pile of the remains of dead things, aka fossils), and that this undermined the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:21,22).
It was also inconsistent with the goodness of God, who described the finished creation as “very good”. UW ventured that death was not so bad; it could have a good purpose. But death is called “the last enemy” in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:26), so how could death be “very good”? He conceded this strong point.
There are so many ramifications of not believing Genesis 1 as history. For example, Exodus 20:1–11, says, “And God spoke all these words, saying … ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.’” So if we won’t believe that Genesis 1 describes a week of time at the beginning of history, we actually deny the words of God that He Himself wrote on the stone tablets (Exodus 32:16). And Jesus authenticated even the tiniest letters of the Old Testament (Matthew 5:18), so if it is unreliable, so is Jesus. Everything crumbles.
Many have not thought through the consequences of trying to accommodate the secularist creation myth into the Bible. Please do your part to enlighten them; share a Creation magazine!
References and notes
- Hansen, P.A., Why Genesis 5 is a key chapter in the Bible: Multiple timeframes underline the historicity; creation.com/Genesis-5; 1 October 2008. Return to text.