Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Six Day Creation Issue Continued

My last post was prompted by some comments I heard from a fellow pastor. It seemed to me that his view was that it wasn't overly important whether one believed in the literal six days or in those "days" being millions of years, which really surprised me. I would think that people would see that there are theological issues at stake here. The article which follows was my own statement some years back in connection with an adult instruction class and similar questions. While it addresses the theological issues, it also does not shy away from addressing scientific support for a young earth either.

Why I Hold to a Literal Six Day Creation and a Young Earth

The most natural interpretation of the Genesis 1 Creation account(1) favors the translation of “yom” (Hebrew) as “day,”(2) indicating a 24 hour period. The first “day” is marked out in relation to the newly created light and its subsequent separation from darkness, with the boundaries being “And there was evening and there was morning – the first day.” [1:5] It is true that the sun and moon are not specifically created until the fourth day. However, the light was a distinct entity apart from the darkness outside or apart from the globe, which with the rotation of the earth could be seen in a “morning – evening” sequence.

A 6-day creation with the resulting “young earth”(3) fits the context of Genesis 1 if it is interpreted as the historical- narrative account (the most natural way to take it), and not as a kind of metaphorical-symbolic account which intends only to convey a general way to communicate the concept of divine creation. Taking Adam and Eve as symbolic of mankind only, and their subsequent fall into sin as equally symbolic, runs into trouble by contradicting the rest of scripture which presumes the coming of a Savior based on the results of a real Fall into sin, the effects of which were handed down to each generation. Creation suffers from this sin, as does man and woman, resulting in a state of death and decay, which was previously unknown. Evolution
describes the period as one of gradual improvement and advancement in the human form. This is not reconcilable with the biblical account. Furthermore, all things were created “good” at the moment of creation – assuming a state of perfection in the eyes of God. Evolution presumes a beginning state of chaos from which there is incomplete development.

While my belief in a “young earth” is grounded first and foremost in my understanding of the natural interpretation of the Genesis 1 account, it is encouraging to note that it is also consistent with the basic laws of science, contrary to much rhetoric that suggests the opposite. The first two Laws of Thermodynamics state quite clearly that the world of physical matter and life is in a process of conservation and disintegration (or Law of Entropy, where left to itself matter and life tend to become less ordered , not more ordered or complex), as opposed to evolutionary belief in a process of innovation and integration (self-ordering). If the earth is billions of years old, as is claimed, then according to the most basic law of science it should have disintegrated into dust millions of years ago. Observable processes in this world clearly demonstrate that things go from order to disorder, complex to simple, not the other way around.

I also understand that Evolution is, strictly speaking, only a theory, unproven as much as Creationism is in the sense that it is not a repeatable, testable event(4). Evolution, like Creationism, attempts to explain the origin of the universe and this planet, yet no one living was present to actually witness the event. Thus, both systems are based on faith, not on actual sight and first-hand observation.(5) We are not differing on such things as the existence of dinosaurs or other extinct animals for which fossilized evidence is constantly discovered, but on the broader question of origins of these organisms and the belief by some that some organisms were only transitory to higher forms, rather than forms unique and basically unchanging in themselves. There is no denying what has been called micro evolution, where changes within individual species are observed because of breeding and environmental forces. What is denied is the claim that changes extend from one species to another, something never observed in any species living, and only extrapolated from fossilized evidence thus far uncovered.(6)

Another area of science that argues against Evolution is the sheer statistical improbability that such immense changes could occur that resulted in such intricate development. A honest look at the intricacies of the human mind, for example, leaves one to admit that there must be an intelligent author of such a complex matter.

1- Assumed here is my belief in an inerrant and infallible Bible as a trustworthy record of the word and will of God. Without such a belief all that follows would not be necessary, since I would not have a need to feel responsible to faithfully transmit a message divinely authored.
2- “yom” can be interpreted also as “a period of time.” Such an interpretation has led some scholars to suggest either that the so-called “days” were indefinite periods of time stretching thousands , even millions of years (the “day-age” theory), or that there were large expanses of time between the days. There is nothing in the text to suggest such theories. These have been suggested not because the text demands this interpretation, but because of a supposed discrepancy between the theory of Evolution and its suggestion that living organisms came into being by a very long process of change spanning millions of years, and the literal Genesis account.
3- “Young earth” means an earth in the range of 10,000 years or less, as opposed to “millions and millions” of years old, as evolutionists claim.
4- Science is a discipline whose “laws” result from repeated observation and testing of known results and substances. Very often supposed “facts” may appear to contradict themselves, and one must either except the supposed contradiction and hope for a later resolution, or attempt a theory to reconcile and explain it. There are many “facts” that support a young earth and a worldwide deluge which are ignored by some in science today, thus showing that science can be manipulated by ideology and presumptions as much as any discipline can.
5- Some might say that such things as Carbon 14 dating which supposedly documents the rate of decay and change observable in nature, is an indicator of how things would “decay and change” well into the past. This is called Uniformitarianism and assumes that based on present observed processes the earth has always operated in this way. However, can we be so sure that events in the geology and biology of the earth have always proceeded at one, consistent rate? Who can produce facts to substantiate such a claim, given the fact that human knowledge extends only so far into the past? And is not the rate of change not influenced by a host of other events too numerous to control and predict? Event evolutionists will concede to the possibility of sudden change preceded or followed by long periods of time where nothing substantial happens in terms of substantial change.
6- It should be noted that the theory of Spontaneous generation, where life emerges from non-living matter, has never been observed. All observations have consistently shown that life only comes from life (The Law of Biogenesis).

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