What are the Christian views of creation?

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What are the Christian views of creation?

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:50 pm

There are two main Christian views of creation—“old earth” vs. “young earth.” Those in the old-earth camp, sometimes called “progressive creationists,” believe that, while God absolutely created the universe, He did so in stages which were separated by long periods of time, therefore reflecting the belief that the earth is billions of years old (usually thought to be in the area of 4.5 billion years old). They see the geologic record as accurately reflecting this viewpoint. This is actually a relatively new development; the idea of an “old” earth didn’t really gain traction until the Bible began to fall into disrepute in the late 18th century, as science and education began to fold the Biblical narratives into other famous mythologies. The “codifying” of evolution by Darwin in the mid-19th century paved the way for old-earth philosophies to really gain ground. As this happened, a school of theological thought developed that attempted to blend the billions of years of science while still maintaining some semblance of God in theology. On the other hand, young-earth creationists believe the universe and everything in it were created in six successive, literal 24-hour day, meaning they see the earth’s age as measured in thousands of years versus billions (usually thought to be 6-8,000 years old).
Specifically, some of the arguments supporting “old earth” are:
Speed of light measurements and the distance of stars indicate an ancient universe.
The Hebrew word yom (day) does not always mean a literal day. Example: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens—Genesis 2:4 (KJV).
The Bible says: Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day—Genesis 1:11-13. According to old-earth creationists, this is indicating growth from seed to maturity, a process that extends far longer than a 24-hour period of time.
They see far too much activity in the sixth day of creation (the animal kingdom, the forming by God of Adam, the naming of the animals, the sleep of Adam for the removal of his rib, the forming by God of Eve) for this to be a 24-hour period of time.
They see many animals as being specifically designed as feeding off of other animals. If that is correct, God’s design included animal death—preceding Adam and Eve’s fall into sin.
The Bible says: And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day—Genesis 1:14-19. If the sun was created on the fourth day of creation, then the first three days could not be 24-hour solar days.
Some of the arguments supporting “young earth” are:
The usual meaning of the Hebrew word yom is a literal, 24-hour day. In addition, it is believed that every time yom is used in an ordinal sense (accompanied by first, second, third, etc.), it always means a literal, 24-hour day.
The Bible says, And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day—Genesis 1:5b, etc.). This language seems to indicate a literal, 24-hour day.
When God spoke His commandments to the nation of Israel, He said, Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy—God speaking, Exodus 20:8-11. God seems to indicate the common understanding of six days meaning literal, 24-hour days.
While the sun was not created until the fourth day of creation, created life was already in place on the third day: Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good—Genesis 1:11-12. Life cannot exist for long periods of time without sunlight so, logically, their creation could not have been separated by long periods of time.
Despite their differences, both groups acknowledge that which is of primary importance in any discussion of this issue: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth—Genesis 1:1. In fact, in those opening words of Scripture (only seven words in Hebrew), seven incredibly important and fundamental truths are stated upon which everything that follows is based:
(1) God exists. The first step in pleasing God is recognizing His existence: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him—Hebrews 11:6.
(2) God existed before there was a universe and will exist after the universe is long gone: In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end—Psalm 102:25-27.
(3) God is the main character in the Bible. He is the subject of the first verb in the Bible (in fact, He is the subject of more verbs than any other character) and performs a wider variety of activities than any other being in Scripture.
(4) As Creator, God has done what no man or woman could ever do; in its active form, the Hebrew verb bara, meaning “to create,” never has a human subject. In other words, bara signifies a work that is uniquely God’s, that only God could do.
(5) God is mysterious in that, while the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, is plural, the verb form of which “God” is the subject is singular, perhaps alluding to God’s Trinitarian nature—three divine persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit—in one divine essence.
(6) God is the creator of heaven and earth. He doesn’t just modify pre-existing matter but calls matter into being ex nihilo—out of nothing.
(a) By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm—Psalm 33:6, 9
(b) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible—Hebrews 11:3
(7) God is not dependent on the universe, but the universe is totally dependent on God: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word—Hebrews 1:3a.
In addition, both sides of the argument are equally committed to the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the sovereignty of the Father and His rule, and His gracious gift of salvation, a gift prepared before the creation of the world—I Peter 1:20. And, regardless of the argument, both sides are united in pointing out that, even if the earth and the universe are billions of years old, this would still be not enough time for life to arise naturally and then evolve into the complex varieties of life we have today. And finally, both sides acknowledge without exception that only God creates ex nihilo—“out of nothing.”

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