39. Christianity and Creation
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Col 1:21-23 (ESV)
Evolution says death came before sin. Genesis says sin came before and was the cause of death. Why did Jesus die and why was he able to defeat death and offer eternal life if sin isn’t the reason for death and sinlessness the reason for life? If death existed before sin, then Jesus is a liar and should not be believed. What is the nature of faith and why should Jesus be believed?
Paul recounts the essence of the very earliest of Christian creeds in 1 Cor 15:1-8 when he explains Jesus Christ died for sin and rose the third day according to the prophecies of scripture and was seen alive by many eye witnesses. Either these things happened or they did not. There are many arguments made against it, but ultimately the power of personal eye witness testimony and the supporting evidence of and from history are steadfast. The faith of a born again Christian is supported by reason, but strictly speaking not caused by it. Saving faith is spiritual. It must be experienced personally. Faith transcends intellect. Experience transcends knowledge. To be born again is to experience the forgiveness of sin. This is done not by human action or mental choice, but by a divine act carried out by the forgiver, Jesus Christ.
Paul writes in the fifth chapter of Roman that sin came into the world through Adam and death through sin. He then explains that just as death came about because of one man, forgiveness of sin comes through Jesus Christ because he, who was sinless, died on behalf of sinners to pay the debt of sin. Either sin caused death or it did not. If sin is not the cause of death then the sinlessness of Jesus is meaningless. Evolution requires death before sin. This belief directly opposes the New Testament, not just the first chapters of Genesis. Understanding Genesis is not required. Faith in Jesus Christ is required for eternal life.
The new and old testaments alike warn against false teaching. The new testament in particular makes a number of very direct statements about the dangers of false beliefs and those who promote them. Peter perhaps spoke most clearly against the belief we call Evolution when he wrote, “…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Pe 3:3-4, ESV)
Christians need to remember that Evolution is a theory. A theory is an unproven belief. Evolution is also a human idea. Christianity is founded on the testimony of people who were eyewitnesses of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although we cannot be eyewitnesses of these events in the same way as the Apostles, we have their written testimony and we have it from several of them. They testify that our Lord Jesus referred to the creation account at various times as an historical fact. Jesus is Lord or he is a liar.
Evolution offers one explanation for history. The bible offers another. Science does not decide which is true. All science can do is examine material reality to quantify and describe its qualities. Science is merely a technique, not a conclusion. Creationists and Evolutionists both have the same evidence to work with. The evidence available may be tested scientifically, but meaning is interpreted within the framework of whatever belief is held by the examiner.
The Evolution model on the premise that life itself is devoid of special purpose. The earth is nowhere special. Humans are one of many life forms evolved from primordial goop and are not particularly special among those many organisms except for certain characteristics suggesting we are “more” (or at least differently) evolved than other creatures. Free will is an illusion as is any idea that we are more than our biology. Humans are among the most recent organisms to evolve. Every living thing dies and the cycle of life and death has been going on since the first organisms formed. Life is a struggle to continually evolve and our ultimate end is death. Law and justice are useful concepts in the evolution of society although they are not intrinsically necessary nor are they objectively absolute.
The Creation model is built on the premise of divine purpose. God designed the material universe from subatomic particles to galactic clusters with exacting standards. God created order—order can no more create itself than material reality could create itself. Reality consists of more than the material universe. God created humans as part biology and part spirit. Our likeness to God can be seen in our spiritual nature. This includes our creativity, morality, humor, altruism, and various other characteristics we attribute to God as well as human kind. We have purpose and the free will to accept or turn from that purpose. Man was designed for life, but death came upon man through sin. Eternal life is the gift God seeks to give to all who will seek Him, accept His love and repent of their sin.
Even without benefit of scripture, a reasonable objective survey of the natural world leads to the conclusion that there must be some sort of intelligent designer. This designer must be responsible for establishing cosmic order and development of life as we currently have it. This mind must be unrestrained by time or material reality yet must be capable of manipulating both. The Apostle Paul essentially said the same thing in the context of the opening chapters of his letter to the Romans. It stands to reason, then, that if we recognize such a designer exists, that designer must still exist and could be knowable. The bible claims to reveal God to humanity. Through the bible we may begin to get to know the designer, the one Christians call Creator.
The bible says the earth and everything in it was created in six days. Although the length of the creative days in Genesis cannot be proven to be exactly 24 hours each, scripture leaves little room for any other interpretation. Each Creative day is described as one cycle of dark and light in immediate succession. In other words, the text does not leave room to insert additional periods of time between one day and another. It requires substantial mental and linguistic gymnastics to read into the creative days anything other than literal successive single dark/light cycles.
A plain and literal reading of the creation account of Genesis 1 is supported throughout scripture. The strongest support is found in the ten commandments recorded in Ex 20. The fourth commandment instructs the people to keep the Sabbath holy because: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex 20:11, ESV). A similar explanation for the Sabbath commandment is repeated in Ex 31:17. There are many other references directly or indirectly supporting the Creation account throughout the Old Testament.
Jesus confirmed the Creation account of Genesis with words and deeds. According to John’s gospel account the first public miracle Jesus performed was the creative act of turning water into wine (Jn 2:1-11). John proclaims that Jesus is the creative Word of God (Jn 1:1-3,14) through whom God created everything. In Mk 13:19 Jesus remarks that God created everything. In Mt 19:4-6 Jesus affirms that God created the first humans male and female and established that the purpose was to form a family unit. Jesus speaks of Abel as a real person in Lk 11:51. Jesus confirms the historical fact of the flood of Noah in Mt 24:37-38. Jesus also talked about Abraham as a real historical figure in Jn 8:56-58. More generally, Jesus validated the books attributed to Moses because Moses wrote about him (Jn 5:45-46). Jesus told Nicodemus that if he could not accept what Jesus said about earthly things, how could accept what Jesus said about spiritual things (Jn 3:12). Only through willful ignorance can we ignore what Jesus had to say about the accuracy of Genesis and the other books of Moses, including the factual nature of Creation.
The Apostles spoke of the Creation account directly and indirectly. Peter warned of those who would scoff at Jesus and the bible. His description of their line of thinking (2 Pe 3:3-4) sounds a great deal like Evolution and its associated forms of naturalism like Big Bang theory and Uniformitarianism. Jesus first of all calls us to believe (Jn 3:16). He never asked for purely blind faith and even went so far as to condemn the foolishness of blind faith (Lk 6:39). Jesus and later his Apostles used sound reasoning to teach, preach, and persuade (Ac 18:4). They also demonstrated the power in which they believed through miracles as well as personal conviction. Peter admonished believers to be ready to explain the reason for their faith (1 Pe 3:15). Paul warned believers to be ready to show yourself approved, without shame, rightly handling the scriptures (2 Tim 2:15). Not only is it clear that Genesis means what it says, we are to believe it as we believe in our Lord Jesus and we are to be prepared to explain our faith. This is not a requirement to get a Ph.D. in creation science, but it does mean we should make an effort to be informed about what it is we claim to believe.
Darwinian Evolution absolutely requires millions of years for life to evolve and billions of years for the solar system evolve enough to support life and tens of billions of years for the universe to become as we see it today. Those in the Intelligent Design movement understand that pure materialism cannot account for the order of the universe or living things. Theistic Evolutionists accept the general premise of God as creator, but deny the essential truth of scripture by suggesting God supernaturally directed Evolution to accomplish the purpose of generating the universe and life and ordering it to the high degree we observe today. Creationists accept the straight-forward plain reading of the Genesis account and scripture generally as revealed truth from God to humanity. By taking the bible at face value Creationists are compelled to accept that the earth is just a few thousand years old and that it and the whole universe were created suddenly.
In the words of Joshua, “Choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15)