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CHRISTIANITY - WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT CREATION MATTERS

WHAT YOU BELIEVE ABOUT CREATION MATTERS

The controversial topic of Creation has three major issues:
1.    Are the first eleven chapters of Genesis literal historical narrative or are they figurative poetry?
2.   Does the word “day” mean 24 hours or does it mean an extended period of time?
3.   Which is the true version of the how the world began, Creation or Evolution?

As Christians, we must believe that the Bible is true.
•    It is God’s Word written down by humans (2 Timothy 3:16).
•    We accept it by faith defined in Hebrews 11:1.
•    The first item to be accepted by faith is Creation (Hebrews 11:3).

The basic controversial issue: Is Genesis 1-11 a narrative of actual events or poetry describing a fantasy?
The Bible itself support that all of Genesis is historical narrative as demonstrated by Jesus, Old Testament prophets, and New Testament authors.
•    Jesus knew events recorded in Genesis were history.
      - He was there, the Creator (John 1:1-3).
      - Matthew 19:4-5 and Mark 10:6-7 tell of Jesus quoting Genesis 1:27.
      - Jesus, as the second Person of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) knew that He had created the world and “made them male and female from the beginning.”
       - Other instances of Jesus referencing Genesis in the Gospels are:
          Matthew 22:21; Matthew 23:35; Matthew 24:37-39; Matthew 26:52; Mark 12:17; Luke 10:19; Luke 11:51; Luke 17:26-27; Luke 20:25; John 8:44.
•    Old Testament prophets treat people, events, timeframes, and even the order of events as real history

         (Malachi 2:10; Amos 4:13; Jeremiah 51:15; Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 41:20; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:7-8, 12, 18).
•    New Testament authors clearly regarded Genesis as history. They expected that their Hebrew readers, as new converts in the first churches, had received detailed instruction in Genesis  (John 1:3; Romans 1:20-21, 25; Colossians 1:16-17; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2; Revelation 4:11).

Proof from Scripture itself is proof enough. However, by analyzing grammar used, language scholars know that Genesis 1-11 is history and not poetry because
•    Hebrew poetry and historical narratives use different verb forms and sentence structures. The verb forms and sentence structures used in Genesis 1-11 are narrative forms.
•    Genesis 1-11 moves to Genesis 12-50 with no change in style. No one doubts that the later chapters are history.


The second Creation controversy involves the meaning of the word “day.” Belief in a Biblical Creation week of six 24-hour days is based on the historical account inspired by the Creator. The theme of Creation runs throughout the Bible, but Chapter 1 sets the scene.
•    Day One: Light called "day" and darkness called "night."
•    Day Two: The expanse separating the water under it from the water above it called "sky."
•    Day Three: The water under the sky gathered to one place called "seas," dry ground called "land," and vegetation of seed-bearing plants and trees that bear fruit with seed in it.
•    Day Four: Lights in the sky to separate day from night and as signs to mark seasons and days and years, two great lights--the greater light for day and the lesser light for night. He also made the stars.
•    Day Five: Water creatures and birds.
•    Day Six: Land creatures including livestock, creatures that move along the ground, dinosaurs, and wild animals. His last creation that day was human beings (Genesis1:26-29).
At the end of each day,
            God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the day.

Many Christians, including evangelical leaders, insist that they believe the Bible but seem unable to believe its very first chapter.
•    They agree that God is truly the Creator but that Creation occurred over millions or billions of years.
•    They claim that the Genesis account only reveals the "fact" of creation, that God orchestrated it all, but that it does not specify how long He took.

Here is the truth:
•    The Bible states that God created the universe and everything in it in six days, then rested on the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11).
•    The word "day" (Hebrew, “yom”) in Genesis 1 is a literal day, either a 24-hour day or the daylight portion of a day.
•    While this common word can mean an indefinite time period, it almost always means a literal day.
•    It is defined the first time it is used in Genesis 1:4-5.
•    It always means a literal day when modified by a number (2nd day), or evening and/or morning, as it is in Genesis 1.
•    It always means a literal day when used in the plural form (six days) (Exodus 20:11).
There can be no doubt of the Bible's intention to communicate the duration of Creation. God was very specific in using such words to preclude any misunderstanding.

The word "day" in Genesis does not mean “a long time” or “an age.”
•    The Hebrew word “yom” and its plural form “yamim” are used over 1900 times in the Old Testament.
•    It is only in Genesis 1 that some scholars don’t want to accept a 24-hour time frame.
•    There is no hint in either Genesis 1 or Exodus 20:8-11 that the writer's intent was to describe events that involve indefinite periods of time.
•    The accounts are written as simple statements of fact, using straightforward language that everywhere else in the Bible denotes literal days.

We should take Scripture as the literal Word of God, intended to be understood by readers in every generation and every nation. Genesis 1 is the foundation of all the Bible. If God had meant to convey the idea of long ages, He could easily have used a number of other Hebrew words and phrases. If God did not mean what He said in the very first chapter of His book, then why should we take the rest of it seriously?

The third controversy is the battle between Evolution and Creation. For a believer, there should be no conflict. The first five words of the Bible are the basis of our belief in God’s entire program:
            In the beginning God created

The Theory of Evolution is the secular world’s invented concept to deny Biblical Creation.
•    The origin of the universe is attributed to various events including the “Big Bang” and “Gap Theory.”
•    Secular scientists have different methods of dating fossils and geological finds which they relate to millions or billions of years.
•    Evolutionists say Darwin’s Theory has become a proven scientific fact. They teach it in public schools, and they present it as truth in movies and TV programs.
•    The faith or religion of Evolution is based on a continuously changing system of inferences, ‘educated guesses’, and ‘just so’ stories which sometimes even defy logic and known scientific principles.

Many scientists who are Christians know that Evolution is not scientific and that it cannot be authenticated. Many work for Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries  International, Institute for Creation Research, and Alpha Omega Institute, organizations that produce materials on the correct, Biblical view of Creation.

Much of the confusion over Creation and Evolution would be cleared away if the philosophical foundations behind the views were more openly discussed. One scientist recently observed that
            ‘A creationist and an evolutionist can agree on the data, the physically observable phenomena. It’s the same data. They will then proceed  to interpret that data by their own method, through their own lens.’

Be assured that the Bible says that
•    God created the world
•    in six literal 24-hour days
•    approximately 6000 years ago
•    He destroyed the earth and everything in it with a universal flood because people would not repent from their sin.
•    He saved the only righteous man He could find: Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives.
•    There is no such thing as prehistoric. There is no history before Creation.

If our faith is going to be relevant, and not perceived as something we just practice on the weekends to make us feel good, then we have to take the Great Commission seriously.
•    As Christians, one of our primary roles is to make disciples, who in turn will make more disciples.
•    We need to be able to answer questions and discharge our duties properly.
•    When witnessing to people who regard both Genesis and the Gospels to be mythical, it is inadequate to say, ‘Just believe in Jesus.’
•    We need to explain Biblical truth so they understand what they profess to believe.

So, here are the responses to the controversial issues:
•    The first 11 chapters of Genesis are authentic, historical events. Otherwise the rest of the Bible is incomplete and incomprehensible as to its full meaning.
•    The theme of the Bible is Redemption.
       - God’s redeeming purpose revealed: Genesis chapters 1-11
       - God’s redeeming purpose progresses: Genesis chapter 12 to Jude
       - God’s redeeming purpose consummated: Revelation chapters 1-22.
•    Unless the events of the first 11 chapters of Genesis are true history, the Apostle Paul’s explanation of the Gospel in Romans 5:19 and of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45 have no meaning.
•    The historical truth concerning the first Adam is a guarantee that what God says in His Word about the last Adam [Jesus] is also true.

Biblical Creation is supernatural, a miracle.
•    Creation occurred by direct acts of the Creator, not some naturalistic process (Genesis 1:1).
•    Creation was finished and complete in the beginning, not spread out over an evolutionary vast time period (Genesis 2:1-3).
•    The Creator spoke objects into existence. Genesis chapter 1 has a series of ‘And God said’ statements (Psalm 33:6, 9).

Because people have overwhelmingly accepted the ‘world’s science’ when it comes to origins, it obviously leads to doubts about the reliability of God’s Word. When Bible passages are attacked, Christians tend to ‘apologize.’ Usually it’s the miracles: Creation, the Flood, Jonah’s experience, the Resurrection. Christian culture that once dominated the West has been declining due to this number one issue, the truth and authority of Scripture, and doubts that start in the very first book. Standing firmly on Biblical authority gives a coherent worldview for answering skeptical attacks without compromise.

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
              Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
              I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
              Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

 

    Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   July 19, 2015