I hadn’t. Until a few weeks ago.
Sometimes I’m puzzled by what Christians are willing to believe. Unfortunately. . . It has been left to us to uphold truth. So it’s not surprising when Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
A few weeks ago I made a discovery! You know what? There is something “new” under the sun.
Actually. It’s not new at all. We’ve had to endure things like this since the Garden.
But I had Solomon’s attention for a moment. Didn’t I?
This “new” thing under the sun is called “Historical Creationism.” It reminds me of another label that gained notoriety in Nazi Germany: “The Charitable Transport Company for the Sick.” It was anything but “charitable.” Historical Creationism is a title with a similar problem.
How is that?
Let’s take a look.
Historical Creationism teaches that “God created the universe, planet earth, and many creatures and things within earth itself over the course of an indefinite time period before the first day of the week of Genesis 1, and that the days of the creation week were God changing a desolate piece of land into the blessed region of Eden” etc. One popular and respectable advocate we will call JP says, “In [Genesis 1] verse 1, ‘In the beginning he made the heavens and the earth,’ he [God] made everything. And then you go day by day and he’s preparing the land [for Adam and Eve]. He’s not bringing new things into existence.” But God does create man then. According to our brother.
So what do you think?
It is safe to say that in “Historical Creationism” there is neither history or creation in the historical record of creation in Genesis 1 (Adam and Eve excepted).
(1) Consider the historical aspect. Day one in Genesis 1 marks the beginning of time as we know it. However. “Creation” in Historical Creationism takes place before day one. You could say. . .it dwells in “timeless” space. (A land time forgot.) This can speak for itself. “An indefinite time period” before time began has no relation to history.
So what point is there in having six days? According to our friends, it is “indefinite time” that is key in creation.
The problem is. Moses didn’t see it that way. Historical Creationism has flipped Moses on his head! He gave us six days (see Exodus 20:11; 31:17). A definite period of time.
(2) As for the creative element, nothing is created in the actual historical account we have of the six days of creation (Adam and Eve being the only exception). As JP says, “[God] is not bringing new things into existence” then. According to him, in Genesis 1:1 “[God] made everything.” Remember. That was before the first day.
Genesis 1 and 2
Now let’s look at the Bible. You had a feeling this was coming, didn’t you?
The Bible begins, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This opening verse introduces the creation of heaven and earth. And day one of the creation week (vv. 1-5 are a unit: they mark the first day in ch. 1). Verse 1 is not a “garbage disposal,” so to speak, that can accommodate “alternative universes” or geologic eons even an evolutionary scientist might find useful.
Verse 2 says, “And the earth was without form and void.” So, what do we have here? Cosmologic desolation? Probably not. Why? The earth is being formed like a clay pot (Isa. 45:18). “Without form and void” is a simple description of the initial phase of the creation of earth. So no deep “theological” explanation is needed. Just the eyes of a child. “Without form and void” means the earth is “not finished in its shape and uninhabited by creatures” (MacArthur Study Bible). Sorry. But that’s it. (I’m sure some of you were looking for more.) Nor is the “darkness upon the face of the deep” evidence that God “scrapped” the “first earth” in favor of a new one. It’s simpler than that. There was darkness because God had not yet said, “Let there be light” (cf. Jer. 4:23).
The creation is unfolding. It is being systematically described as God brings it into existence day by day in the first six days.
Therefore Genesis 2:1 says, “Thus [in this way] the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array” (NIV). Here Moses reflects on Genesis chapter 1. (Not verse 1 of chapter 1.) Genesis chapter 1 gives us the record of the birth of heaven and earth “when they were created” (Gen. 2:4). That creation took place in the six days given there. As Moses says plainly in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17. “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” This was accomplished “in” the six days, not before them.
Consequently, Genesis 2:2 says, “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.” The seventh day of rest is obviously related to six days of work in which God completes His creation. Right? Yet, according to Historical Creationism, the lion’s share of work was done in “an indefinite time period” before the six days in the creation account. So it is unrelated to “the seventh day” or any other day given in Genesis 1.
If Historical Creationism is true, you’d think God would be in need of rest before the week begins rather than at the end!
But does it really matter to us what Moses says?
How can God put up with us? That is the real question. That is the real puzzle.
Thanks to the wonderful grace of Jesus. He does.
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© James Unruh, 2018 and beyond