“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 NKJV). And so begins the Biblical narrative with the infinite Creator speaking into existence the inception of all things including time, space, and matter. Genesis chapters one and two give detailed account of the origin of the cosmos, planet earth, animal life, mankind, and the pristine paradise uniquely designed for habitation. According to Scripture, the events of creation transpired in a sequence of six literal days (e.g. Ex.20:11) approximately six thousand years ago.1 This paper therefore defends the view of fiat creationism which teaches a recent creation of six days, the universal deluge, variation within animal kinds, and rejects evolution as a worldview that is antithetical to Biblical Christianity.
CREATION EX NIHILO
The divine revelation of Holy Scripture begins with the infinite Creator speaking all things into existence out of nothing.2 There is a repeated emphasis that God created by fiat3 which means that things came into being when He spoke.4 Scripture says that, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen are not made of things which are visible” (Heb.11:3 NKJV emphasis added). Prior to God speaking creation into being, there was nothing but the eternal reality of the tri-unity of the Godhead.
Scripture also teaches that God created the heavens and the earth in six literal days. Moses writes, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” (Ex.20:11a NKJV). The straight-forward reading of the Genesis account renders God’s creative activity as having transpired in a sequence of six twenty four hour days. There should be no question about the length of the days of creation because the Creator Himself made their nature certain by what He revealed in Scripture. Every one of the six days of creation is described as having an evening and morning along with an ordinal number. As a result of their description, the length of the days of creation can certainly be determined to be literal twenty four hour days.5
Despite the Biblical clarity of the nature and extent of the days of creation, there is tremendous controversy surrounding this issue. The scientific establishment bombards the public arena, the Christian community, and particularly those engaged in professional fields of study where the relation of faith and science is brought into question. What is incessantly announced, is that the evidence of science shows that the earth of millions and millions of years old and the universe is even older. In the midst of such an overwhelming consensus, many Christian scholars feel that it is absolutely necessary to reinterpret the days of creation in light of hermeneutical considerations from science. Observing this conflict, Vern Poythress writes, “The age of the earth presents an important test case in dealing with the relation of the Bible to science. Mainstream science currently estimates the age of the earth at about 4.5 billion years, and the age of the universe at about 14 billion years. But Genesis 1 describes God as creating the world in six days.”6 Due to the apparent conflict between the Bible and science, Dr. Poythress and others accommodate the evolutionary time-scale into the Biblical record of creation.
The differing views of the creation account in Genesis are many and varied. Among them include the following: 1.) Ruin and Reconstruction Theory, 2.) Day-Age Theory, 3.) Progressive Creationism, and 4.) Theistic Evolution. Each of these are considered accommodation theories in relation to evolutionary philosophy because they teach that the Genesis account is not to be taken literally and therefore attempt to reconcile creationism and Darwinism.7 Two other creation theories include the Ideal-Time Theory and the Literary Framework Hypothesis. The former teaches that God created the heavens and the earth with an appearance of age which could in reality be either billions of years or only thousands of years old.8 The latter presents creation as a figurative account that is not intended to be taken literally.9 Amongst the various interpretations of the creation account, the only one which conforms to the Biblical narrative is the view that sees Genesis as literal history.10
Fiat creationism, by definition, demands a young earth and bases this time-scale on the Biblical chronology drawn from the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 and developed by Archbishop James Ussher.11 Because of the antiquity of the earth as determined by the scientific community, not only are the days of creation reinterpreted but also the Genesis genealogies are said to include gaps and therefore not to be taken as a continuous line of descent from fathers to sons.12 But large gaps are absent in the Genesis genealogies and according to Scripture, Adam was created about six thousand years ago.13 Research has shown that the various arguments that are presented for there being gaps in the Genesis genealogies are inherently flawed.14 “The Scriptures themselves attest to the fact,” writes Larry Pierce and Ken Ham, “that the secular date given for the age of the universe, man’s existence on the earth, and so on, are not correct, because they are based on the fallible assumptions of fallible humans. Nothing in observational science contradicts the time-line of history as recorded in the Bible.”15
In facing the Biblical precedent for a six day creation week and a young earth, one may be inclined to inquire about how the great Protestant Reformers understood creation. Men like Calvin and Luther are revered for their stand upon the five solas of the Reformation which include the authority of Word of God and the Biblical doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone in Christ. These spiritual leaders also took a stand for Biblical creation. In the book, Coming To Grips With Genesis, David Hall describes the great Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, as having stood unequivocally for not only six literal days but also creation as having transpired in recent history.16 The extent of his research led Dr. Hall to conclude that the views of early Protestant Reformers like Calvin, Beza, and Luther could be summarized as 1.) understanding Genesis 1-11 as literal history, 2.) interpreting Scripture through a literal hermeneutic, 3.) believing in a 6,000 year old universe, and 4.) holding to 6 literal days of creation.17
Geological research is a particular scientific discipline that is used to prove the antiquity of the earth. The sedimentary layers which are filled with fossilized bones of dinosaurs and other creatures are said to be evidence of the millions of years of earth history. Their interpretation of the fossil record is contingent upon a uniformitarian philosophy which teaches that “the present is the key to the past.” Fiat creationism rejects uniformitarianism in favor of the universal cataclysm of the Biblical flood to account for the fossil record.18
By divine inspiration, the Apostle Peter anticipated the day in which man would embrace this idea, “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lust, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’” (II Pet.3:3,4 NKJV emphasis added). According to Scripture, the Lord intervened in the affairs of men and cast judgment upon their wickedness with a worldwide deluge that destroyed the face of the earth and permanently changed the topographical landscape (e.g. Gen.6:13; Ps.104:8). Peter went on to say, “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by the which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (II Pet.3:5,6 NKJV emphasis added). The testimony of Scripture is that the Lord destroyed the earth with a flood in the days of Noah and the world has never been the same.
Fifty years ago, John Whitcomb and Henry Morris wrote a book that is considered to be the catalyst behind the modern Biblical creation movement. In The Genesis Flood, the authors present extensive research in support of the Noahic deluge from both Scripture and geology. Their seven basic arguments for a universal flood include: 1.) The Depth of the Flood, 2.) The Duration of the Flood, 3.) The Geology of the Flood, 4.) The Size of the Ark, 5.) The Need for an Ark, 6.) The Testimony of the Apostle Peter, and 7.) The Total Destruction of a Widely-Distributed Human Race.19 In spite of the Biblical and geological support for a world-wide flood as presented by Whitcomb and Morris, many theologians embrace a local flood. Progressive creationists believe in a local flood that was confined to the area of Mesopotamia because of an apparent lack of evidence for a worldwide flood.20 On the other hand, atheistic geologists reject the worldwide deluge because of their a priori commitment to naturalism.21
VARIATION WITHIN KINDS
Fiat creationism also emphasizes that the differences between related creatures in the animal kingdom are attributed to the genetic variety that the Creator programmed into the basic building blocks of life, the DNA code. Macroevolutionary development is therefore rejected and the differences that are observed in related organisms are attributed to this variation within God’s created kinds.22 When God created marine and animal life on the fifth and sixth days of creation, Scripture says seven times that He created them “according to its/their kind” (e.g. Gen.1:21-25). Variations within the distinct groups of marine and animal life can therefore be understood as being a result of the immense versatility that the infinite Creator programmed into the DNA code. Contemporary genetic research supports the variety yet distinction between the created kinds as described in Genesis. Molecular geneticist, Dr. Georgia Purdom writes,
Simply put, the changes that are observed today show variation within the created kind-a horizontal change. For a molecules-to-man evolutionary model, there must be a change from one kind into another-a vertical change. This is simply not observed. We have never seen a bacterium like H. pylori give rise to something like a dog. Instead, we simply observe variations within each created kind.23
Evolutionists often point to mutations and natural selection as being the critical dynamics that thrust the vehicle of evolution forward. These processes result in a net loss of information which is incapable of the changes that evolution requires. The variety of differences between related creatures that result from natural selection is really a mechanism that supports the Biblical model in contrast to evolution.24
This variety observed in the animal kingdom is also seen throughout the inhabited world in the different people groups. All people of every nation, tribe, and language are descendants of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. Subsequent to the Tower of Babel where the Lord confounded the language of the people, mankind dispersed into separate congregations in accordance with their distinct languages.25 As a result of this dispersion, the respective gene pools were isolated and the distinctive physical characteristics that are now known as races developed. The Apostle Paul, speaking before the Areopagus in Athens, alluded to the reality that all mankind are descendents of the Adam and Eve, “God, who made the world and everything in it…has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:24, 26 NKJV emphasis added).
Another mysterious dynamic of the present world is proliferation of dinosaurs in the fossil record. These terrible lizards are fascinating creatures and are presented as evidence for the antiquity of the earth. The dilemma for the Christian is how to fit these mysterious creatures into the Bible. The key to solving the mystery surrounding dinosaurs is found in not attempting to fit them into the Bible but to use the Bible to make sense of these creatures. A comprehensive Biblical worldview builds its thinking upon the Word of God and interprets all of life through the lens of Holy Scripture. With this foundation, dinosaurs can be understood as having been created by God on the sixth day of creation about six thousand years ago. Contrary to the evolutionary paradigm, mankind lived alongside dinosaurs because Adam and Eve were also created on the sixth day. Dinosaurs could not have died out millions of years prior to the age of mankind because death is the result of man’s rebellion against the Creator in the garden of Eden (e.g. Rom.5:12). Representative kinds of the dinosaurs were included on the ark with all the other animal life needed to repopulate the new world. Those dinosaurs that were left behind are many of the fossils that paleontologists discover today. Subsequent to the flood, around 4,300 years ago, most of the these creatures died out due to the consequences of sin which includes such things as climatic change, food shortages, disease, and being hunted down by man.26 The Bible is the history book of the universe and therefore provides the answers needed to give coherent understanding surrounding the intriguing mystery of dinosaurs.
Biblical creationism recognizes Darwinian evolution as an antithetical philosophy of life that is at war with God and the tenets of the Christian faith. Referring to fiat creationists, Dr. Pattle Pun explains that, “They believe that evolution is the culmination of the atheistic offensive to undermine the trustworthiness of the Scriptures by destroying the creation account. Thus, any evolutionary compromise in the interpretation of Genesis 1 is detrimental to the Christian faith.”27 Scripture teaches that mankind’s need for salvation is contingent upon the Fall of man in Genesis 3. As a result of man’s rebellion, sin and death invaded God’s good creation (e.g. Gen.1:31; Rom.5:12) and the cursed world was plunged into the bondage of corruption (e.g. Rom.8:21). Sin and death are recent intruders into creation rather than fundamental aspects of life as evolution teaches. In the midst of judgment, the benevolent Creator issued a glimmer of hope in the prophesied Seed of the woman Who would one day crush the head of the serpent. Scripture teaches this protoevangel was fulfilled in the person of the Creator Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ (e.g. Matt.1:23; Col.1:16). The eternal Son of God took on human flesh, was born of a virgin, shed His blood at Calvary to redeem a world of lost sinners, and rose again the third day in triumph over sin and death. One day in the future, He will create a new heavens and new earth in which He will rule and reign forever as the Creator and Savior of mankind. Recognizing the foundational nature of the battle between creation/evolution, Carl Kerby and Ken Ham say that, “We need to attack the false foundation of autonomous human reasoning that leads to evolution and millions of years, and proclaim that God’s revealed Word is authoritative and its history of the world is foundational to Christian morality and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”28 Creation/evolution is therefore not a peripheral issue because the gospel of Jesus Christ hinges upon the literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis.
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of it failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”30
The conflict between creation/evolution stems from the issue of authority. Evolutionists tenaciously adhere to their beliefs because they have an a priori commitment to naturalism that will not allow them to accept any belief whatsoever in a Creator Who intervenes into the affairs of mankind. Scripture is clear, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom.1:20,21 NKJV).
This research is an attempt to defend the view of fiat creationism which teaches a recent creation of six days, the universal deluge, variation within animal kinds, and rejects evolution as a worldview that is antithetical to Biblical Christianity. In contrast to the autonomous human reasoning of evolutionism, fiat creationism is founded upon Biblical history as the divine revelation of the Creator Himself. Courage is needed to faithfully stand upon this history in the face of tremendous pressure to succumb to the consensus of the scientific community. Cowardice in the battle for truth weakens spiritual vitality, neutralizes the Christian witness, and minimizes the effectiveness of Biblical ministry. The residual effect of compromising the Genesis account with Darwinism leaves subsequent generations unequipped to combat the secular attacks against the truth and unable to answer the questions that arise from those who are antagonistic to truth and others who are genuine seekers of truth. Future generations will look back upon the current era with fervent joy or eternal regret depending on the spiritual legacy that is bequeathed to them. Faithfulness requires vigilance otherwise the truth may be never be transmitted to progeny. In every generation, reformation and revival is needed. Perhaps more than every before does the Church, the body of Christ, need to be called back to the authority of the Word of God beginning in Genesis.
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1 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), p.405-406. Archbishop James Ussher’s dates based upon the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 are the basis for determining the age of the earth as well as mankind.