Creation Views

Introduction

It has been argued down through the ages that the world has had a number of different beginnings. Rather, there are a number of different arguments that attempt to explain the beginning of the world. In general these arguments can be divided into two main camps. Camp one: someone, somehow, created the world. Camp two: the world became this way by a complicated series of chances. These Two camps, according to C. S. Lewis, can be classified “the religious view,” and “the materialist view.”[1] In this paper, these two camps will loosely be titled “Creationism” and “Evolutionism.” The former being that camp which says someone created the world, the latter being that the world evolved this way. Within both camps there are a number of various views, too numerous to detail here, but in general they all boil down to one of these two views. There are also large groups of people who believe an odd hybrid of the two. There are a number of these hybrids. The point being made is that consensus on this subject is far, far away.

The Views

The views that will be discussed here are as follows: Day-Age Theory, Gap-Theory, Literal Consecutive Six-Day Creation, Literal Non-Consecutive Six-Day Creation, Six Revelatory Days Theory. These theories will now be succinctly summarized.

Day-Age Theory: The theory that, in Genesis 1, the Bible says the word “day” but means more of “an extended period of time” which could be as many as billions of years. This theory is born out of both an attempt to marry the text and evolution as well as a verse in 2 Peter that states, “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Gap-Theory: The theory that the first day of creation occurred and then, in between verses one and two an un-recorded gap of time occurred, billions of years of time. During this time Satan fell and took a third of the angels with him and brought evil to the earth. The remaining five days of creation are then recorded as an account of God “cleaning up” the earth that Satan had vilified. This theory is born out of an attempt to explain why the earth seems to be billions of years old, according to new science, and to explain when in earth’s timeline Satan fell from heaven. It also tries to account for the difference of Hebrew words used for “make” in verse one and the rest of the verses.

Literal Consecutive Six-Day Creation: The theory that the events of creation happen exactly as the Bible records, that no periods of time in the creation process are unrecorded, and that no metaphors are used in detailing creation. This theory is born out of a literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of biblical text and disregards modern science’s claims about the origin of the universe.

Literal Non-Consecutive Six-Day Creation: The theory that creation happened in six days, but there are huge gaps of unrecorded time in-between the six days. This theory is born out of an attempt to keep the literal interpretation of the bible while still explaining why science seems to say that the earth is billions of years old.

Six Revelatory Days Theory: The theory that creation actually took place over the course of evolution, but that it took six days to reveal this information to Moses when he was writing Genesis. In essence, the “day” that Genesis refers to, according to this theory, is the day that it took for Moses to receive the revelation from God. It does not refer to the actual events of creation happening. This theory is born out of an attempt to keep both evolution and the bible completely right by adjusting the perceived intent of the writing of scripture.

Why Not Evolution?

Before examining these ideas clarification is needed for a few things that have likely already bothered a few atheist readers because Genesis 1:1-2:3, “have received much attention in connection with science,” but their flaw is in thinking that it has anything to do with science in its truest form.[2] Unfortunately for them, this section of scripture is purely theology and philosophy.

First, this paper will be written from a Christian viewpoint, and Christians should believe that what the Bible says is true. As a result of one’s conversion, a Christian must reconcile what he believes with what the Bible tells him and should not change what the Bible says because of what he believes. This practice has been shown throughout history to be unbeneficial if not downright foolhardy. A Christian should start with the Bible and consider the possible modes of interpretation open to him before forming his opinions, but He should not form his opinions and then consider how to best fit the Bible to them.

With that said, evolution, in it’s strictest definitions, has been dismissed right away because it clashes too loudly with the Bible to possibly be true. However, other similar theories will not be discounted until reasoning further, because there are possible interpretations of the Bible that allow for a less strict form of evolution to be considered. “Day-Age Theory” and “Gap Theory,” for example, offer possible explanations for marrying a type of evolution and the Bible, which is why they have been included in the list of discussed views, but “Evolution” has not.

The Question

The real problem of the question of the origin of the universe lies in the nature of the question itself. No matter what view one holds, the earth began long before any contemporary humans were born and there is no way to repeatedly test a theory to prove that one theory is correct and another incorrect. This necessarily means that whatever view you hold a certain amount, and flavor, of faith will be necessary. It might be faith in God, faith in science, faith in the Bible, or faith in the theory itself, but faith as an ingredient in the mixture is inevitable.

With all of these facts as a backdrop, this paper will attempt to make a case for one particular view and the best reasons there are for holding that view. No doubt it will be insufficient for many readers because the particular flavor of faith required in holding it is not particularly tasty to some. To those readers, one thing must be said. “Eating broccoli is still good for you, even though you don’t like the taste. If you never even take a bite how will you know if it’s beneficial or not?” To those odd few who find this view instantly palatable a warning should be given not to believe something simply because they always have, or because someone that they really like told them to believe it. Weigh it against the others, and, as all good Christians should, pray earnestly about it. With that said, the most reasonable view to hold closely resembles that of a literal, six, consecutive, twenty-four hour day, creation by the God of the Christian Bible. As The Moody Handbook of Theology says, “’In the Beginning’ describes the time of God’s creation. This is not a myth; it is a historical event.”[3]

Hermeneutics and Analysis of the Views

The main reason for this is based primarily on a simple yet increasingly irregular idea that when the Bible says the word “day” it means to say the word “day,” and not “an indeterminate amount of time.” This belief is the best to hold because of this and one other belief.

It’s a belief about a certain quality of God and the way He inspired the writing of his holy texts. The belief is this: Knowing the nature of God, his goodness, his mercy, and grace, it is very likely that he inspired the writing of his holy text to be simple to understand and taken at face value much more often than to be hard to understand or have hidden and mystical meanings. No doubt there are some sections of the Bible that are very difficult to understand, confusing, and generally mysterious in their intent and implication. However, the book of Genesis, in particular chapter one, is not one of these sections. The specificity delivered in Genesis in matters of genealogy, geographic location, and the recording of numerical values makes clear that a more literal and “face value” kind of interpretation was intended in its writing.

This belief naturally leads to the conclusion that when the bible says “day” it means “day,” and so one possible view must be swept off the table. Day-Age Theory must be out. This conclusion is further substantiated by something else that the bible says in Genesis one. Verses four and five say that, “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” The idea that when the Bible says “day” in Genesis 1 it means “age” is not supported in this passage, becuse Genesis defines what it means by “day” in the very same passage that it uses the word “day.” It means an evening and a morning in succession. It means that one evening and one morning equals one day and there’s no two ways about it. It means that Genesis 1:5 does not leave the Day-Age Theory open as a viable alternative view.

What of the other theories? All of them involve gaps of time. Either the gap is between only days one and two, or they are between every day in the creation. Why shouldn’t these theories be accepted? The answer is simply that there is no real need to put in gaps of time where gaps of time aren’t needed. These theories are born out of an attempt to make science’s “discoveries” about the age of the earth compatible with what the Bible says. But science should not be listened to when it speaks of things it can’t possibly know through trial and error. By all means, listen to science when it says that things fall at a rate of 9.8 meters per second squared. Listen to science about light particles and how they bounce off of a mirror. Listen to science about things that science has been around to witness and test, witness and test, witness and test, over and over again. Unfortunately, science wasn’t around when God created the heavens and the earth. God hadn’t made science yet.

An Illustration

It comes down to a simple question of eyewitness accounts. Imagine two people relaying an account about a master chef making cookies. One of these two people is the master chef himself; the other is a food critic who came into the kitchen once the cookies were already on the cooling rack. Which of these two people should be trusted to have a more accurate account of the cookie making process? Naturally, the chef should! The food critic might know a lot about cookies, might have hundreds of other recipes for very fine cookies, might be able to tell some of the main ingredients in the cookies. He might even be a better judge when it comes to tasting the cookies and determining how the flavors interplay with each other than the chef, but he will never have as detailed an account of the baking procedure as the chef who actually made the cookies.  Now God is like the chef and science is like the food critic.

Science might be able to tell a few things about how the world works. It might even be able to tell more about the way the world works now than God has done through the Bible (the Bible tells a lot of things, but does not reveal the gravitational constant to be 9.8 meters per second squared). Science has a lot to offer on the way the world now works, but it cannot give as good a description of how the earth was formed because it wasn’t around to witness its forming. God was. In fact, God did the forming, which is why the Bible, and not science, is a much better source for the origins of the earth.

The Gap-Theory, Six Revelatory Days Theory and Literal Non-Consecutive Six-Day Creation Theory, are therefore pointless to consider. They are unnecessarily trying to integrate less reliable information into more reliable information. This integration isn’t necessary. The Bible already has the authoritative ground on the subject. Thus, theories that add to what the Bible says are simply wasted thought.

Conclusion

In effect, the Bible is the most reliable source of information on the origin of the Earth. In this belief is wrapped up the belief that the Bible isn’t out to trick its readers and since the Bible says that it took God six literal consecutive days to make the earth, it’s a pretty good bet that that’s what happened.

Bibliography

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology Volume 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1948.

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008.

Geisler, Norman. Systematic Theology: In One Volume. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2011.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1980.

Walvoord, John F., ed., Zuck, Roy B., ed. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 1983.

Zuck, Roy B, Ed. A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1991.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1980), 21.

[2] John F Walvoord, ed., Roy B Zuck, ed., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 1983), 27.

[3] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008), 41.

So that’s it. I’m out. You know my dirty little secret. I am a literal six-day creationist. Okay. Let the onslaught of attacks against my character and insults about my intellect begin.

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