The Creation Days in Genesis

Dr. George Benthien

Common Ground

We have talked about the ways in which various viewpoints differ in the interpretation of Genesis 1. However, Genesis has some clear messages that don't depend on how we view the days of creation. The following statement was taken from the book Authentic Christianity: From the Writings of John Stott, p. 89, InterVarsity Press.

God's Word is designed to make us Christians, not scientists, and to lead us to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. It was not God's intention to reveal in Scripture what human beings could discover by their own investigations and experiments. So the first three chapters of Genesis reveal in particular four spiritual truths which could never be discovered by the scientific method. First, that God made everything. Secondly, that he made it out of nothing. There was no original raw material as eternal as himself on which he could work. Thirdly, that he made man male and female in his own image. Fourthly, that everything which he made was “very good”. When it left his hand it was perfect. Sin and suffering were foreign invasions into his lovely world, and spoiled it.

The young-earth creationists J. Ligon Duncan III and David W. Hall present some similar points in the book The Genesis Debate: [2]

  • God created the world and is distinct from it (but not unconcerned about it).
  • God shaped his creation from formlessness into order and filled it from emptiness to fullness.
  • God's world was originally good and, therefore, different from the corrupted world in which we now live.
  • Man's sin is entirely responsible for corrupting original creation.
  • God's character (justice and mercy) is revealed as He responds to the three “low points” of primeval history: the Fall, the Flood, and Babel.

Certainly ‘Creation by God’ is an important Christian doctrine. The fact that man was created in God's image provides a sense of dignity to all men. Also, the fact that God's original creation was declared to be ‘very good’ is what make man's Fall into sin so tragic. Our sinfulness is not just the way we are, but is a corruption of what we were meant to be.

I hope that you can see from the above that, as Christians, we can agree on many important aspects of creation while possibly holding differing views on the length of the days.

References

  1. Report of the Creation Study Committee to the 28th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), 6 July 2000 [can be obtained from the web site http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html].
  2. The Genesis Debate, three views on the days of creation, edited by David G. Hagopian, Crux Press Inc., 2001.
  3. Three views on Creation and Evolution, J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds general editors, Zondervan Publishing House, 1999.
  4. A Matter of Days, resolving a creation controversy, Hugh Ross, NavPress, 2004.
  5. The Genesis Flood, The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1961.
  6. Genesis, an expositional commentary, vol. 1, James Montgomery Boice, Baker Books, 1982, 1998.
  7. How it All Began, A Bible commentary for Laymen/Genesis 1–11, Ronald Youngblood, Regal Books, 1980.
  8. Reading Genesis One, Comparing Biblical Hebrew with English Translation, Rodney Whitefield, author and publisher, 2003.
  9. Genesis 1–4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary, C. John Collins, P&R Publishing 2006
  10. Reasons to Believe website, http://www.reasons.org.
  11. Creation and Evolution: Rethinking the evidence from science and the Bible, Alan Hayward, Bethany House Publishers, 1995.
  12. Creation and Time, A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, Mark Van Bebber and Paul S. Taylor, Eden Publications, 1996.
  13. Portion of the transcript of the Scopes trial where Clarence Darrow questions William Jennings Bryan, http://personal.uncc.edu/jmarks/Darrow.html.
  14. The Language of God, Francis S. Collins, Free Press, 2006.
  15. Summer for the Gods, Edward J. Larson, Harvard University Press, 1997.
  16. The Lost World of Genesis One, John H. Walton, InterVarsity Press Academic, 2009.
  17. The days of Creation: A Closer Look at Scripture, Jon Greene, on the web site http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/
    six_days_of_creation.html
  18. Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account, John Sailhamer, Dawson Media 1996, 1911