Does the Bible tell us how God created?
Published: 24 May 2018 (GMT+10)
Those in Christian circles who do not like the notion that Genesis is real history like to tell creationists that ‘The Bible doesn’t tell us how God created’—as if we insist that it does so in every detail. They seem to think that this then means that the Bible allows for God to have ‘used evolution’ over millions of years. But this is a ‘part-truth’ that is seriously misleading.
The Bible tells us (Genesis 1), “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, and “God made the expanse”, “the two great lights”, “the stars”, and “man”. And sure enough, so far we appear to have no details on the scientific mechanics and practicalities of how God created. Did God simply make things appear instantaneously, or did God take time to fashion everything? Did He cause some things to sprout or grow? Did it take periods of seconds or hours? Did He melt and blend ingredients? How much of it was ex nihilo (out of nothing, rather than working with pre-existent material)? How exactly did He do it?
The Bible also tells us in the same chapter that God said, “Let there be light”, “Let there be an expanse”, “Let the earth sprout vegetation”, “Let there be lights in the expanse”, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth”, and “Let the earth bring forth living creatures”, and in each case, “it was so”, and sure enough again, we still have little to no details on the mechanics and practicalities of how God created, apart from the lesson that God spoke and it happened—which of course is in itself highly significant. Now, the Bible does tell us that God formed man from dust. And it says He fashioned Eve from Adam’s rib, in each case implying some form of reworking of pre-existent material, but still the Bible appears to tell us little else about how He did it in each case.
So here we see the ‘part’ of the truth which superficially appears to justify the detractors’ using this approach. But in fact what He does tell us about His method of creation, and in particular its sequence and His timetable, is more than enough to establish something with certainty. That is, that there is absolutely no way that the God who inspired Genesis could have used evolution, or created sequentially over long ages of supposed geologic time.
That all-important timetable
God tells us that the creation of the entire universe (‘heaven and earth’) from nothing to a fully-functioning state, including mankind, was in six ordinary-length Earth-rotation days.
The biblical evidence for this is simply overwhelming. Just one example: Exodus 20:9, part of the Fourth Commandment to the Israelites (the Sabbath rest), says that they are to do all their work in “six days”. Two verses further on, it then gives the reason, using the exact same Hebrew word construction for “six days”: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them”.
From this timetable, we can deduce a great deal about the ‘how’ of creation. To create a fully functioning universe in such a short period of time requires a high degree of supernaturalism. So even if much of the creation of biological life involved reworking of existing material, there is clearly no room for this to be ‘naturalistic’, i.e. it would have nothing to do with ‘God using’ the slow trial-and-error random walk over billions of years that evolution entails. And of course whatever pre-existent material was used (e.g. dust in the case of Adam, flesh and bone in the case of Eve), it would have all had a miraculous origin out of nothing a very short time earlier (days at most).
So the overall message of the ‘how’ of creation is very clear from this timetable—it had to be miraculous, using supernatural power and processes far more rapid than ‘natural’ processes today. Psalm 33:9 puts it well: “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
The mighty miracles of Jesus, who, the Bible says, was the agent of creation, give us some insight into this ‘how’: when the Omnipotent God the Son spoke the word, a man paralyzed from birth was made whole, and went away leaping for joy. That means that withered muscles had to be instantly recreated with their full bulk, and joints long ago deformed and frozen from disuse had to have extensive biological reworking, including the creation of new ligaments and bony trabeculae in the right place—in an instant.
To animals you shall return?
Even the simple formula ‘dust to Adam’, far from lacking in information and thus allowing for evolution, has the opposite effect. The text makes it very clear that Adam was not created from some pre-existing animal life. And lest anyone should claim that maybe ‘dust’ could be a metaphor for the animal kingdom, God puts a spoke in that wheel by telling Adam while pronouncing the Curse (Genesis 3:19): “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Clearly, we return to actual ‘dust’ when we die, not to some animal ancestor.
Of course, there are also powerful biblical reasons why this miraculous Creation Week could not have been millions of years ago, either. One of these is the genealogies of the Bible. Scripture presents these with incredibly painstaking care and concern for historical accuracy. It informs us that “When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son … Seth”, and that Adam lived a further eight hundred years,1 and “Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh”, and so on through Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, etc.2 In these ‘chronogenealogies’, as they are called, the Bible tells us the age of each father when the son was born, through successive generations, so that with simple arithmetic and historical investigation we can discover when in history this all happened (i.e. beginning about six thousand years ago).
So the reasons for rejecting the evolutionary hypothesis are not because the Bible tells us the fine details of the mechanisms of how God created. Rather, the Bible presents itself as a careful and exacting historical account3 of what happened, when it happened and how long it took, and we are convinced of its authority, authenticated by the Lord Jesus Himself, sealed with His Resurrection.
The history given in the Bible is far removed from, and very different to, the evolutionary story, particularly in genealogy,4 time-scale,5 order of events,6 and explanation of death.7 When combined with other biblical considerations8 and reassuring scientific evidence (the Cambrian explosion9 and pervasive fossil stasis10 to mention just two), biblical history is absolutely incompatible with the evolutionary story. The evolutionary story must be rejected if biblical authority is humbly revered, and fidelity to truth and rigorous intellectual integrity are earnestly treasured.
The fact that the Bible does not give us all the details of the ‘how’ of Creation Week (how much of it would we understand, anyway?) is seen as overwhelmingly paltry in the overall scheme of things, and the alleged ‘objection’ in our article title is exposed as the red herring it is.
References and notes
- Wieland, C., Living for 900 years, Creation 20(4):10–13, 1998; creation.com/900. Return to text.
- See Genesis 5, also Sarfati, J., Biblical chronogenealogies, J. of Creation 17(3):14–18, 2003, creation.com/chronogenealogies. Return to text.
- Barr, J., in a letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 April 1984, see: Oxford Hebrew scholar, Professor James Barr, on the meaning of Genesis, creation.com/barr. Return to text.
- Note: the creationist ‘orchard’ versus the evolutionary tree. See: Sarfati, J., Refuting Evolution, Creation Book Publishers, USA, Fourth Edn 2008, p.39, creation.com/rech2. Return to text.
- Cosner, L., Bates, G., Did God create over billions of years? Creation 35(2):50–52, 2013; creation.com/billions. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Evolution/long ages contradicts Genesis order of creation, Creation 37(3):52–54, 2015; creation.com/evolution-v-genesis-order. Return to text.
- Bates, G., Understanding death, Creation 35(1):42–44, 2013; creation.com/understanding-death. Return to text.
- Cosner, L., The use of Genesis in the New Testament, Creation 33(2):16–19, 2011; creation.com/genesis-new-testament. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Exploding evolution, Creation 16(2):38–39, 1994; creation.com/exploding-evolution Return to text.
- Batten, D., Evolutionists can’t dodge ‘Living Fossils’, Creation 33(4):42–43, 2011; creation.com/dodging-living-fossils. Return to text.