Custom Navbar

Friday, July 18, 2014

Creation vs... Creation? Christians Need To Get Their Priorities Straight

The creation account in the book of Genesis generates too much dissension in churches. Christians need to get their priorities straight.
Oh, age. You're such a pest. With every passing year my declining body can endure less and less, and yet with every passing year life heaps upon me more and more. More responsibility. More things to do. More relationships to maintain. More problems to fix.

Bah, humbug!

Sorry. I DO have a point to make, and I DO plan on being optimistic about it, but optimism isn't natural for me. I'm not a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. I'm a glass-is-half-empty-with-a-crack-in-the-bottom-slowly-getting-emptier kind of guy. But that doesn't mean I don't have faith, or hope, or that I don't believe that with God all things are possible—even turning me into an optimist.

But life does have its frustrations, doesn't it? The older I get the more aware I become of the cultural issues and political differences around me.

Even in churches I'm becoming more aware of the vastly different beliefs people hold within Christianity.

Our church has gone through a few upheavals recently, which has drawn out some dramatically different beliefs among members of our congregation. Namely, the issue of Creation. Our church has held to a "young earth" point of view for some time, but some leaders in our church have recently revealed that they don't believe in a literal six day creation, and some members of the congregation share this point of view as well.

For anyone unfamiliar with this topic, the controversy, when boiled down, is very simple, though there are varying degrees of complexity which I won't get into. The basis of it is this:

Young Earth Creationists are people who believe that God created the earth in six 24-hours days. Based on the genealogies in Scripture from Adam to Jesus Christ, they conclude that the earth is somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. It's the simplest interpretation of the first chapter of the book of Genesis. These people believe that we should take God at His word, that extracting any other kind of interpretation of this text involves over-thinking this very simple aspect of the Bible.

But there are those who don't believe that the word "day" in Genesis Chapter 1 refers to a literal 24-hour day, but rather a week, or in some cases thousands of years. They often point to Hebrews 4:4-11 which seems to indicate that God is still within his seventh day of rest. From this, they conclude that if the seventh day of creation is thousands of years long, then couldn't the other six days be just as long? That could imply, then, that the creation account took thousands and thousands of years!

Scripture is actually quite vague on the matter, and scholars have, are, and will continue to debate the merits of each point of view for ages.

The thing that surprises me is how vehemently some Christians will defend their positions, to the point of attacking each other and even leaving churches, when, in reality, this is largely a secondary issue. Does it really matter whether Creation was a literal six day creation or one that lasted thousands of years? Isn't the idea that the world came into existence through an all-knowing, loving Creator as opposed to being the result of billions of years of mutating goo far more important?

Christians need to get their priorities straight. There are billions of people in this world being deceived into thinking that they are nothing but primordial soup, when the Bible says that they are so much more. Billions of people are leaning on the plethora of crutches offered by the world—anti-depressants, alcohol, sex, money, status—when there is a God who loves them more than they can imagine because He created them. He made them. He formed them into exactly who they needed to be for a glorious purpose. Whether it took Him six days or seventy thousand years is hardly relevant when people's souls are in jeopardy.

It's fun—for me anyway—to debate the intricacies of Scripture, such as the creation account. There is nothing wrong with debating Scripture. In fact, it's good exercise for the mind and a good way of challenging us to really examine what we believe, but it can not—MUST not—overshadow the fact that we, as Christians, need to stand united against the lies of this world, fully ready to come alongside each other and defend the faith when needed.

Keep pinchin' :-)


  1. Thanks for posting this article, Jake! There are numerous viewpoints that can be held safely inside orthodox Christianity. What matters is what C.S. Lewis called "Mere Christianity", the central and essential doctrines of the faith. It isn't that the secondary issues aren't important, but we who belong to Christ should strive toward unity.

    It's also no vice to simply be agnostic on certain issues. Isn't it just honest to sometimes say "I don't know"? We can trust Scripture without knowing exactly how it cashes out. This isn't a call to intellectual laziness. We should spend much of our lives studying and wanting to perfect our knowledge of God, but there is only so much time (this side of eternity) to take down books from the mystery shelf and do prolonged studies on individual matters.

    For example, I am not sure (right now) what position to hold on the Genesis account. Early church fathers differed from one another on the interpretation of the length of the six days of creation. There are good scientific reasons to believe that the Big Bang was a real event billions of years ago. The bible confirms that the universe isn't past-eternal. And yet, it seems important to maintain the belief in a real Adam and Eve. Christ in the New Testament is called the "Second Adam" and essentially saved us from the first Adam's sin and fall into depravity.

  2. Good article, Jake! I believe its hard, especially for young believers, to discern what are primary and secondary issues within Christianity and your viewpoint, "Isn't the idea that the world came into existence through an all-knowing, loving Creator as opposed to being the result of billions of years of mutating goo far more important?" is spot on. In fact, the only issue that is continually mentioned time and time again as a viewpoint to guard and defend is the issue of the Gospel, not Creation. It is important for us to remember that secondary issues (a secondary issue being defined as an issue on which numerous Christians, with an equally high view of Scripture, interpret the Bible differently), like Creation, or predestination, music, church government, even baptism, etc. should be treated as secondary issues and not given the weight of primary issues. As long as another believer or Christian gets it right on the issues of "Mere Christianity" we should not break our partnership with them or think ill of them - but rather assume that our own position could possibly be incorrect. I always liked the line in "Catching Fire" for this. "Remember who the real enemy is." The enemy, in this case, is pride and unnecessary division.

    C. Russell

    1. Thanks for reading Chris! Pride is such a horrific heart issue in churches today. It makes people so dogmatic on so many things and so stubborn against the possibility of change.