Does My View Of Creation Matter?

When the Ham/Nye debate occurred a while ago, it was evident that neither one of these men were going to change the other’s mind.  Each one was set in his own worldview, and to change their view on something as big as creation and evolution would require monumental shifts that would effect more than just understanding how the world was created.  Most Christians who watched or listened to the debates were fully supportive of Ken Ham because he represented Christianity.  What I want to know is how many of those who supported Ham that night would agree with one another on their view of creation.  I am not talking broadly about evolution vs. creation, but about Day-Age view, Analogical Day, Framework Hypothesis, or a Literal view.  In the denomination that I belong to (PCA), the preferred (almost required) view is the literal day view.  In fact, some presbyteries will not license or ordain you if you fail to hold to this view.  Many of my non-reformed friends will say something like, “Why does this even matter? Aren’t you all on the same team?”  The answer is that a person’s view on creation is extremely important because it shapes how you interpret the rest of the Bible, and consequently, your worldview.

So what are the different views of creationism?  

Theistic Evolution: This view is for those who want to believe in macro-evolution and God at the same time (the funny thing is that evolutionists want nothing to do with advocates of theistic evolution because they want to have it all when the world views just do not mix).  The basic problem that this view, along with almost all of the others, is trying to harmonize what the Bible says with modern science, which says that the earth is billions of years old, and man at most is 2.5 million years old. Instead of billions of years between creation of earth and man, you have 6 days.  How do you explain that?  

This particular view is that God is the worker or mover behind the process that sets the evolutionary process in motion.  God is acknowledged as the creator, but His involvement is little more than that.  Practically, it transforms into deism, where God becomes the clockmaker who puts the machine into process.  What does this do to the creation account?  The creation account becomes a mythical story that lacks real truth, which leads to a denial of God’s sovereign ability to create as He claims He does in the Bible.  This view is the most dangerous of all the views listed, because it inevitably forces a person to abandon Scripture in order to truly adhere to it.

Day-Age View: This view believes the sequence of creation according to Scripture is correct, but  holds that each day is not a literal 24 hour day.  Rather, these days are considered to be aeons or indeterminate amounts of time.  The day which God rests is commonly seen as lasting a millennia, which is connected with the millennia of Revelation.  

My issue with this view is that it disregards the Hebrew grammar and genre used in Genesis 1.  The genre is distinctively historical narrative, so much so that it makes undisputed texts of this genre look downright poetic.  For example, in Joshua 1, the use of the direct object, the waw consecutive, and phrases like “and it came to pass” or “and it was” is used 4 times.  What about in Genesis 1?  These markers are used 51 times.  In fact, Genesis 1 has the most indicators of historical narrative of any chapter in the Old Testament!  Genesis 1 is not poetry, it is carefully constructed prose that clearly indicates historical events.  I should also mention that the word used for day, yom, is consistently used throughout the rest of the OT to refer to 24 hour days; not some extended period of time.   

Gap View of Creation: This view believes that there is a real sequence in the creation order, but there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.  

Analogical Day View: This view is very similar to the Day Age view mentioned above, with the difference being that each day is God’s day and not man’s day.  Genesis 1 is understood as being in the realm of God, and Genesis 2 as what is going on on earth. 

My issue with these views is not only that they (like the Day-Age view) misinterpret Genesis 1 as poetic, but they do not even address the order of creation.  It seems that if appeasing scientific claims about the age of the earth, the sequence would also bother those who hold these views.  

Framework Hypothesis: This is one of the more popular scholarly views being taught right now because it seems to solve the “problem” on the order of creation.  The supposed problem is that there appears to be an unnatural order in the sequence of creation: there is light and darkness in days 1-3 that takes place without the sun, there is vegetation before the sun (which depends on sunlight to grow).  This problem extends to Genesis 2, where it appears that a different chronology takes place than in Genesis 1.  Some would argue that Genesis 2:5 indicates that man was created before vegetation and Genesis 2:19 shows that man was created before the animals.  What are we to do with these supposed differing accounts?  

The Framework Hypothesis view understands Genesis 1:1-2:3 as a literary work that uses poetic elements to arrange creation by topic instead of chronological.  The order of the days is figurative as is the use of the term day.  The arrangement of creation is broken down into two triads that parallel each other, as if the author of Genesis is presenting creation in frames of time that are not necessarily in sequence:

Day 1: light            Day 4: light bearers

Day 2: sea/sky      Day 5: fish/birds

Day 3: land            Day 6: land animals

                   Day 7, God rests (focusing on the Creator King)

Now, to be fair to those who hold this position, the lack of a chronological sequence does not mean that they doubt the history of God’s creation of the earth (though with no sequence there is no history). 

My issue with the Framework Hypothesis view is that they believe nature acted the same way prior to the fall and flood as it did after.  This is necessary for their position, yet it creates difficult questions, such as: It never rained prior to the flood, is this natural?  Plants existed, but were not growing, is this natural?  This view judges what is going on in Genesis 1 and 2 by the system we live in now, which is a dangerous idea.  

Literalist View: The name should explain what this view holds to: Literal 24 hour days that follow the sequence of Genesis 1.  The genre is historical narrative, the word used for day means a 24 hour day, and the days are sequentially numbered.  Therefore, each day God created in a 24 hour period certain aspects of the world, even though the arrangement of the days might not make complete sense to us.  This is the view held by an overwhelming history of church theologians, and is still the predominant view in conservative evangelical circles.  

So how do literalists address these problems of the age of the earth and the sequence of creation?  By saying, “So what?”  If we truly believe God is all powerful, omnipresent, etc (that is to say, if we believe He is God), then He is the creator of nature, and He is not bound by nature.  God can create in whatever way He pleases, and it will fit with who He is: perfect.  If you struggle with accepting that God is not bound by natural law, ask yourself if Jesus was bound by natural law?  The answer is a resounding “No!”  Jesus fed the 5,000 and 4,000, Jesus healed the untouchable, Jesus walked on water, and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  The very definition of a miracle is God working without, above, or against the normal means of providence.  If creation was a miracle (which I would contend that it is miraculous), then God can work against what we hold to be natural laws, just as Jesus did.  Why should we allow Jesus this ability but not the Heavenly Father?  The main question is this: Creation ex nihilo is unnatural in and of itself by how we define nature. Is God bound by nature??  If He is, then we have a bigger problem than the creation account.

Why does this matter?

This gets me back to the question that started the whole thing: Why does this matter?  Aren’t we all on the same team?  The answer to this question matters because it reveals the underlying understanding of God.  Is God powerful enough to work above and against the natural law?  Is God powerful enough to create in the space of 6 days what many think took billions of years?  If we try to go around God’s purposed creation sequence to make sense in our minds, then we take the miraculous creation away from God, binding God by natural law.  

 

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