From the early nineteenth century to today, many people believe that the debate between biblical creation and evolution is based upon religion versus science. However, that is the furthest thing from the truth. The true bottom line in this centuries old controversy is accepting God at His Word or man’s interpretation of that Word and the world around him.
Long before Darwin and Origin of the Species, Martin Luther, the sixteenth century theologian who was responsible for the Reformation, found himself defending a literal 6 day biblical creation model against fellow theologians. A number of scholars of the day believed and taught that God created everything in just one day, not six days. In response, Luther wrote:
How Long Did the Work of Creation Take? When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go… We must understand that these days were actual days (veros dies), contrary to the opinion of the holy fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinions of the fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from authority of Scripture for their sake.
It seems that every time man tries to take God’s Word and re-interpret it or try to make it fit into our personal way of thinking, that we are as guilty as the holy fathers of Luther’s day in not taking God and His Holy Spirit at THEIR Word.
More recently, a prominent creation speaker was at a large seminar a few years back when an older lady approached him afterwards with tears in her eyes and thanked him for showing her that if you believe that God was the true author of the Bible, then you have to accept everything in it as His Word. We are not allowed to pick and chose what we accept or believe and what we don’t. For if God cannot be trusted in just one tiny item, then how can you trust any of the rest of the Bible as being true, especially the Gospels and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If He lied just once, it completely violates the very nature of God and everything God is and stands for. She said she had never understood that before but now it made all the difference to her.
This elderly lady came to understand what Luther had said so long ago about allowing the Holy Spirit to be more learned than we are.
Now a number of biblical scholars use the argument that Genesis 1-11 is allegorical or metaphoric writing and cannot be taken as factual history. Yet the vast majority of Hebrew scholars will tell you that Genesis 1-11 is typical Hebrew narrative text just like the rest of the book of Genesis.
Some of the biblical scholars try to question the word “yom” translated “day” in Genesis 1 and 2 and attempt to make it ambiguous at best. They claim that “day” could mean long periods of time like it can in English. However, Hebrew, like English, follows certain grammatical rules. There is a distinct difference in meaning between an expression like, “in his day” or “during the day” and ‘seven days” and one easily recognizes the use in context in which the word day was used and what it means. The same is true in Hebrew. The Hebrew word, “yom” also has plurals and is used in prepositional phrases just like in English. And as in English, if you wanted to express a vast period of time, there are many other words that you would most likely choose to convey your meaning than trying to use a word like day and hope they understand what you mean.
Then you run into those theologians that believe that the Scriptures are outdated and that they are more learned than the ancient human authors that penned God’s Word. For example, over the years, I have spoken to numerous pastors from many different denominations. On more than one occasion, I have had them tell me that they were too intelligent to believe in that, referring to a literal biblical creation account. So I asked them if they considered themselves to be a pastor of the Word of God. They usually answered yes they do consider themselves to be pastors of the Word of God. Then I asked them why aren’t they willing to accept God at His Word? Many have hung up on me while others tried to take the conversation in a different direction.
No matter what arguments men use to try to change the meaning of the creation account in Genesis, it comes down to the bottom line of who are you going to believe: the omniscient God and Creator of it all who was there or sinful and fallible man whose every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually? We have to learn to use God’s Word to interpret the world around us instead of trying to use a world that has experienced 6000 years of the Curse to explain the inerrant Word of God.
Our mission at www.CreatonRevolution.com is to use God’s Word to help interpret the world around us. We welcome the input from creation scientist and theologians from around the world to help us look at the wonders of God’s creation. We realize that some will have views and interpretations that vary from others. The progress of knowledge and understanding is often refined and advanced by the examination of different views and a healthy discussion between those views. As long as these views are based upon sound biblical principles, we encourage them to be expressed and reviewed by others.
- Martin Luther, What Martin Luther Says – A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active, Concordia Publishing House, 1986, p. 1523.