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‘Are you a biblical creationist?’

Nine questions to ascertain whether your future pastor, youth group leader or Bible College principal takes a straightforward view of Genesis

by

First published: 8 August 2008 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 30 October 2013 (GMT+10)

Meeting

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CMI periodically receives requests for us to identify Bible colleges/seminaries that believe/teach a straightforward reading of Genesis. We also know of pastoral search committees lamenting that they would not have selected certain candidates if only they had known in advance of their compromise (long-age, or theistic evolutionary) stance on Genesis.

For a number of reasons, CMI does not provide a list of ‘young-earth’ theological colleges, nor do we get involved in church staffing matters. However, in response to such enquiries we have prepared the following questionnaire to meet an evident need. It consists of just nine questions requiring a simple yes/no answer, which can be filled out in only a few minutes. Please note that the accompanying brief commentary on each question (following the list of Questions 1–9) has been designed to show earnest Bible believers who might not have previously thought through this issue exactly what is at stake. (Perhaps some people, ostensibly not biblical creationists when they start filling out the questionnaire, will be by the time they’re finished!)

Questionnaire—NINE YES/NO QUESTIONS

(Note that if you are unsure whether you believe something, the accurate answer would obviously be ‘no’.)

1. SIX DAYS (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that God created the earth and universe in six ordinary-length (earth-rotation) days?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

2. AGE OF THE WORLD (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that the earth and universe are only thousands (not millions or billions) of years old, as measured by Earth time?

☐  Yes

☐  No

___________________________________________________________________

3. THE FIRST HUMANS (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that Adam and his wife Eve were the literal, historic ancestors of all (other) people who have ever lived?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

4. ADAM AND EVE’S ORIGINS (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that Adam and Eve had no physical parents, but were created directly by God; Adam from the actual dust, and Eve from the actual flesh and bone of Adam’s side?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

5. HUMAN DEATH (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that human physical death began only after Adam sinned?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

6. CARNIVORY (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that all animals were originally created vegetarian?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

7. SUFFERING IN THE FOSSIL RECORD (see explanatory notes)

Do you believe that fossils showing evidence of bloodshed and suffering (e.g. half-eaten prey, dinosaur cancers,) could not have been formed before Adam’s Fall led to the Curse?

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

8. GLOBAL FLOOD

Do you believe that the Flood of Noah covered the whole globe? (see explanatory notes)

☐  Yes

☐  No

_____________________________________________________________________

9. THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF JESUS

Do you believe that after Lazarus was physically dead for days, Jesus miraculously caused him to regain physical life? (see explanatory notes)

☐  Yes

☐  No

____________________________________________________________________

Explanatory notes on each question

1. SIX DAYS

Pic Description

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Genesis 1 uses unequivocal language, indicating that the days (numbered—indeed, a numbered sequence of days, with an evening and a morning each) are ordinary consecutive days. In Exodus 20:11 God instituted the Sabbath commandment saying that His work of creation in six days (with a seventh day where He ceased to work) is the pattern for our seven-day week. Attempts by some Christians to stretch out the time-frame of Creation Week aim to accommodate the conjectures of historical science; that billions of years of time transpired before people came on the scene. But that ‘deep time’ incorporates geological eras represented by rock layers with fossils in them; fossils of dead (and often diseased) animals. This then puts natural evil in God’s ‘very good’ creation before Adam sinned and brought the curse of death and corruption upon the created order. This undermines the ‘big picture’ of the Gospel–i.e. an originally ‘very good’ world, ruined by sin, to be restored to a sinless, deathless paradise through Christ. Return to Question 1

2. AGE OF THE WORLD

The genealogy in Genesis 5 gives a history of the world from Creation Week to the Flood and therefore a total history of creation of thousands of years (about 6,000 years by the Masoretic text). Hebrew experts unhesitatingly concur that the Hebrew of Genesis indicates that Adam was created six (ordinary-length) days from the beginning of the entire universe, with a chain of genealogies from Adam onwards giving us a thousands-of-years-old universe (as measured by Earth time). Note that most of these experts are either non-theists or are ‘liberal’ Christians. Because neither group believes that the Bible/Genesis is true/inspired, they are not motivated to bend Scripture to fit with ‘science’. They are free to tell us exactly what the Hebrew means. Even if there were gaps in the genealogies (the Bible shows that there are no gaps), the time-scale cannot be stretched to accommodate notions of ‘deep time’ that are popular today. And long-age views, which all place the appearance of people towards the end of an incredibly long creation process, clash with the clear statements of Jesus in e.g. Mark 10:6 where He says they were there from the beginning. Either we accept the Bible’s chronology or we don’t, in which case the Bible is not our authority; fallible human historical ‘science’ is. Return to Question 2

3. THE FIRST HUMANS

Jesus, whom the apostle Paul called ‘the last Adam’, died for all those who are ‘in Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15), so the Gospel as explained here (and Romans 5) depends on the historical reality of the Bible’s teaching here that all people on earth came from Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were the ancestors of all people, as is also clear from Acts 17:26 (all nations from one man, or ‘one blood’ as the KJV puts it). Return to Question 3

4. ADAM AND EVE’S ORIGINS

The Bible clearly says that God took dust and made a man and took part of his side and made a woman. Since part of the Curse was for Adam to return to the dust from which he was made (Genesis 3:19), dust cannot be a metaphor for an ape that evolved into humans. The meaning of marriage rests on this historical fact, as Jesus made clear in his teachings on marriage in the Gospels (Matthew 19:3–6, Mark 10:6–9). Man did not evolve from a lesser animal. The creation of Eve from Adam’s body undermines all hope of deriving an evolutionary statement from Genesis. Furthermore, the N.T. teaching on the respective roles of men and women in the church is clearly stated to depend on the historical reality of the events as described in Genesis (1 Timothy 2:13–14). Return to Question 4

5. HUMAN DEATH

Genesis 1–3 clearly teaches that bodily death of Adam and Eve happened only as a consequence of disobeying their Creator: ‘from dust you came and to dust you return’. The whole N.T. teaching on resurrection and the necessity of Jesus’ bodily resurrection rests upon the reality of this teaching in Genesis, that bodily death came through sin (1 Corinthians 15:21–22). Return to Question 5

6. CARNIVORY

Genesis 1 clearly says that God originally created the people and animals vegetarian (vv. 29–31). (People were only permitted to eat meat after the Flood (Genesis 9:3).) Immediately following God’s statement about this, He pronounced all that He had made ‘very good’. ‘Nature red in tooth and claw’ (Tennyson) was not a description of God’s very good creation. Plants were provided for food and are not able to suffer or die in the biblical sense. The same likely applies to bacteria, insects, and some other organisms. The passages in Isaiah 11 and 65 about a future state in which carnivores and herbivores co-exist peacefully make it clear that violence, death and suffering in animals is not God’s desired state. The corruption of Paradise only happened after Adam sinned. The origin of attack/defence structures on animals was related to the Fall, either in anticipation or a consequence. Paradise restored to a deathless, sinless condition (Revelation 21:4) involves the removal of the Genesis Curse (Revelation 22:3). Acceptance of this historical perspective from Scripture gives us a basis for an effective theodicy (explaining why there are ‘bad things’—natural evil—in a world created by an all-powerful, good God.) Return to Question 6

7. SUFFERING IN THE FOSSIL RECORD

Fossilized animals show evidence of having died violent deaths, eaten by other animals, or death from painful conditions such as bone cancer, etc. Such natural evil is not consistent with God’s pronouncing His finished creation ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). This means that the fossilization of these animals must have happened after the Fall in Genesis 3; after the Curse of sin corrupted the cosmos (Romans 8). And this means that the placement of most of the geological column under the feet of the first people has to be wrong. Again this relates to an effective theodicy. But it also provides the basis for eschatology, that there will be a new heavens and earth in the future (because this present order is corrupt). See 2 Peter 3:10–13. In Romans 8:21 we read how this present ‘groaning’ creation will be ‘liberated’ in the future, referred to as the coming restitution (restoration) of all things in Acts 3:21. This entire framework is (often unwittingly) undermined through long-age views that put the fossil record pre-Adam. Return to Question 7

8. GLOBAL FLOOD

Scripture gives numerous evidences that the Flood of Noah was global (Genesis 6–9). There have been many local floods since, which would have involved God breaking His rainbow promise if Noah’s Flood were only local. Such a large boat, for which calculations show it could comfortably accommodate all kinds of the land-dwelling animals that breathed through nostrils, is totally unnecessary, even absurd, for a local catastrophe. The land creatures (especially the birds!) could simply emigrate to escape it. To suggest that it was a local inundation, or tranquil, or worse, it did not happen, contradicts Scripture. Indeed, Jesus clearly believed in the reality of the Flood (Luke 17:26–27). The Apostle Peter likened the Flood to the world-wide fiery judgment to come and also predicted today’s disbelief regarding the Flood, even the ‘uniformitarian’ philosophy of the scoffers (2 Peter 3:3–7). The Flood also gives a basis to explain the way in which much of the fossil-bearing rock could have formed after Adam sinned. Return to Question 8

9.THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF JESUS

Many evangelicals will not believe the Genesis account about miraculous creation because of ‘science’ or ‘the majority of scientists’. However, ‘science’ also says that ‘dead men do not rise’, but many who disbelieve Genesis still believe in the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus, although it is also a creation miracle (reconstructing the molecular arrangements of a rotting corpse, reversing the decay and disintegration). If Jesus, the Creator (John 1:3), can raise Lazarus, He can also create everything in the time frame that the Holy Spirit inspired the biblical writers to so clearly record. It is inconsistent to believe one, and not the other, and this inconsistency leads many to reject Christianity because they can see it clearly. If we don’t believe the Bible about the history of all things, how can we believe what it says about the miracles of Jesus, about morality and salvation, and more? Return to Question 9

UPDATE 1 November 2013: Title of article was changed from ‘Are you a young-earth creationist?’ to ‘Are you a biblical creationist?’ For strategic reasons as set out in We are … biblical creationists? CMI now recommends using the term ‘biblical creationist’.

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Readers’ comments
John A., Australia, 30 October 2013

A very concise and focused overview of this important set of topics and their implications. Thanks.

Cameron M., Australia, 30 October 2013

9 yeses. And the sensation that these are the questions for future leaders to be asked. Good work! Simple and straightforward.

Warren H., Australia, 30 October 2013

I believe many people are intimidated by pastors who, over all, seem unwilling to accept any point of view differing from their own. Thank you for yet another way of equipping the saints in our seemingly never-ending search for leaders who are true to God's word

Alan B., Australia, 30 October 2013

Many thanks for this clear and consise list and notes. Definitely one to keep for reference and also use as a basis for a series of bible studies.

Hans M., South Africa, 30 October 2013

God cannot lie therefore we should not doubt His inspired word as reflected in the Holy Bible.

Christine M., New Zealand, 30 October 2013

Good, clear and concise. However, I wonder if there might be a case for adding a Don't know or Not sure option in the question answers, which may distinguish between people who genuinely have not thought about these issues from those who hold creationist or anti-creationist views. An honest "Not sure" answer may indicate a willingness to find out, explore and grow in faith (a good thing) as opposed to being an intransigent anti-creationist.

Ron V., Canada, 30 October 2013

Warren, while you say, "I believe many people are intimidated by pastors who, over all, seem unwilling to accept any point of view differing from their own", from my experience I have found pastors to be hesitant to complete this type of questionnaire.

ken W., Canada, 30 October 2013

I answered no to the first two but yes to the others. I don't know what it would mean to have a day of earth time without the sun. I don't think the universe is billions of years old either, but I don't know if that is an important discussion if I answered yes to the other questions.

Being that time is not constant everywhere you go, I wouldn't be surprised if somehow things could be rendered mathematically to come up with 6 24 hour days, but is that a hill worth dying on?

Tas Walker responds

The day, of course, is not determined by the existence of the sun, but by the the rotation of the earth. And it is a life-and-death issue as the notes make clear, and as this article, Charge the hill, explains, together with the other articles listed at the bottom of that page. Ideas are connected, and it is important to think about where the idea of deep time leads.

Chris W., United Kingdom, 30 October 2013

All very good and succinct.

Larry E., United States, 30 October 2013

God does not see time as we do. The six days of creation were the way God saw them. The six days may have been six thousand years. A day to The Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. Remember revelation, "Christ slain from the foundation of the world.

Tas Walker responds

In the battle over biblical authority, there is a key position that is critical to hold against the enemy’s attack, and that position is (surprisingly to some) the age of the earth. That is why it figures so prominently in this questionaire.

Could I encourage you to read some of the relevant articles on this issue on creation.com. Charge the hill is a good one to start with, but there are important 'Related Articles' listed at the bottom of that one.

Aaron A., Canada, 30 October 2013

Why can't we answer the questionnaire?

Tas Walker responds

It's not intended to be completed on-line, but that the pdf be downloaded, printed, and filled out by the relevant person.

Andrew H., Australia, 31 October 2013

It is encouraging to think that there are in fact churches, schools, colleges and seminaries that might indeed answer Biblically to these questions. God always has a remnant.

But where many Christians live - including here in Australia - places like that are very hard to find.

Michael W., United States, 31 October 2013

Andrew H.,

If places like that are hard to find in your area, it seems like that would be the perfect spot to start one yourself!

Chris L., United Kingdom, 31 October 2013

Really it's down to; do we believe God is perfect or not. If we do then His Word has to be true as read. So 9 yes's show that we do believe and trust Him to be perfect.

Pastor Charles R., United States, 31 October 2013

Nice Study. Thanks

Ken H., United States, 1 November 2013

Having read and watched books and videos of Russel Humphreys, John Hartnet, G Charles Jackson, Walt Brown, and others, I am 100% convinced that there is no scientific reason to question the six literal 24 hour creation days. My favorite is the time dilation theories relating to day four.

kevin R., Australia, 2 November 2013

Larry E., your reading of that particular verse is unfortunately a common misinterpretation. If proper exegesis is used, even with just consideration of the verses surrounding the verse that you point to, you will see that the context of that verse is concerning the patience of God and not how God relates to actual time. You can find more on this topic through several articles on the CMI website.

Andrew S., United Kingdom, 2 November 2013

Ken, W.

Indeed, when the earth completes one full orbital circuit around the sun, one year has passed.

When the earth has completed one full rotation on its axis, one full day has passed.

The confusion, I suspect, is that we are used to visual clues telling us when the typical day is beginning or ending for a human who needs rest.

However, it is the rotation of the earth that provides us with our day and night cycles. And even then, a sunrise occurs after a new 24 hour day has started, and sets before the 24 hour day has ended. Thus, a day is not measured by sun, but by the complete rotation of the earth on its axis.

Daniel M., United States, 5 November 2013

Great little test. As a teen I was a staunch evolutionist ... then I was saved and started studying the Bible. Key for me was Jesus Christ. His teaching was always consistent with the Old Testament and thus there is but one way the universe came into being - God's Word. He spoke, it happened, and the evidence is there if we choose to believe. I do not hesitate to preach the full counsel of God and that includes the truth of the six literal days of creation.

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