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.
I fully agree with this article. When you re-interpret Genesis 1 to fit the secular long ages evolutionary paradigm that was derived by using methodological naturalism to interpret the facts we have, we run into a lot of trouble later in the Bible. It forces us to re-interpret a lot of other passages as well in order to remain consistent. This is a point that is not well understood by many.
For instance, most long agers are forced into denying a global flood and seeing only a local flood. But you have to be really good at mental gymnastics to re-interpret the Bible like that. Even Jesus believed in a literal flood as did Peter. There is no indication anywhere in the Bible that it was a local flood.
Jesus spoke of making them male and female at the beginning of creation in Mark 10:6. This too has to be re-interpreted in order to make it fit with the secular time scale that has man coming on the scene in the last 1% of history instead of in the beginning - the exact opposite of what Jesus said.
Then, as a result, the inspiration of the Scripture and character of Jesus begins to be challenged and it is all downhill from there. Some people even go so far as to claim that Jesus didn't know what He was talking about when He spoke about marriage in Mark 10:6.
Great article, it cuts to the chase. DO we REALLY believe God?
Genesis 15:6 "Abraham believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness."
What can we really know about God, whom we generally neither see nor hear, except what is revealed in the Bible? If we DON'T believe what the Bible says, then we DON'T believe GOD!!!
Keep up your fantastic work, CMI! LOVE your apollogetics. I am equipped because of the Bible - and you (plural). Thanks a million!!!
This short article cuts to the heart of the 'Creation or Evolution' issue. When it comes to the Word of God you either 'take it all' or 'leave it all' there is no half way house! Just a word of warning though: If you reject the plain teaching of the Bible you abandon any hope in this life, and life without hope is literally soul destroying!
Good article., I run into this all the time. Psalm 11:3 comes to mind and is in direct correlation to Genesis 1-11. We must not compromise. This happened at the Scopes trial and it happened at the Miller trial in the 80's. To compromise the Bible in ANY area is to lessen it's effectiveness. It then becomes another bone of contention that biblical Christians have to deal with. Same goes for the various "Evolutionary" ideas.
I've had the same conversation many times with 'strong' Christians who believe in a 'weak' God. Apparently their God is able to heal a withered hand, cast out demons, utter words of salvation and even die on a cross and rise again but this God can't be trusted to have reliably communicated with us regarding how He created the world, where sin came from, etc. My question to old earth Christians is not 'Do you really believe God?' but 'Just how big IS your God?'
I liked your article, but people who are prone to entertain such ideas are not as committed to Christianity as they think they are.
The way I see it, you are just addressing the symptom and not the cause.
And the cause is really very simple to explain.
So simple in fact, it is overlooked.
Here is what my Bible says is the cause.
1 Corinthians 13:7 (TLB)
7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.
Here in this well known text in the Bible is why many don't, or can't, believe what our Bible says.
And the reason for this lack is because their "Love" is misplaced.
They are in "Love" with the idea of getting something for little or nothing, but not with the person who makes it possible.
Exactly the problem with children of Israel when they left Egypt.
These people could see Moses and honored and loved him in their way, but they failed to see and acknowledge the one person who was backing him.
So it took about 40 years to get to where they were going, instead of maybe two.
The thought of no longer being slaves was appealing until it became a reality, and then they were ready to go back when the going took longer than expected.
And so it is today, people are interested in the idea of living in a world without sin, but not very interested in having their God or his son, Jesus, as their neighbor.
Right now we Christians set aside one day in the week to be with our God. But how many could stand to spend every day in the week that way?
That to me is how life will be in Heaven and on the New Earth. Waking up every day and maybe meeting up with one or the other of the "Godhead" while walking somewhere.
That would be "Heaven" for me!
I thought that was basically what I was saying, that those who profess to be Christians but doubt what God has said/inspired are not honouring (loving) God.
You say we have to believe the literal 6 day creation. This is Gen 1. But what about Gen 2 that doesnt have days and does things differently to Gen 1? Which creation story do we major on? The Western mind needs facts and doesnt do concepts very well, especially concepts that appear to differ so markedly from each other. Gen 1 concentrates on God and the sabbath. Gen 2 concentrates on humanity, but which is correct? They are both different and both correct! These sorts of conundrums can only be worked out by humbly waiting on God , holding differing thoughts in tension for as long as it takes , because otherwise the desire to have an "infallible" word means that we would try and have a relationship with the book,,we want to turn it into God..so it has to be infallible, it has to be utterly true. But it isnt God and God doesnt want us worshipping it and so it has to have fallibility in it to prevent this happening! A shocking thought to evangelicals.
Jesus said "My (spoken) words are full of Spirit and therefore full of life" Paul says the letter of the law kills. Which do we want?
No, the point of the articleis that it is not me who says we should believe in literal six day creation, but God himself!
Genesis 1 and 2 contradictory? That is an old chestnut trotted out by those who don't want to believe God, but it has been answered over and over: Genesis contradictions?. Genesis 1 is the big picture and chapter 2 is the details about the creation of Adam and Eve.
You draw a false distinction between the spoken words of Jesus and the authority of the written Word of God. How do you know what Jesus said? Do you hear it from the ether? No, you read what he said in the Bible. So if the Bible is unreliable, as you assert, how do you know that it accurately recorded what Jesus said?
The point of my article is that if we really worship God, we will also respect (not worship) His inspired Word.
Thank you Creation.com, Creation magazine, etc. for all you do. Your labors are not in vain!