What is the Issue?
The essence of the issue before us is simply, how did we all get here? How did the universe originate? How did people end up on this earth? Was it all by chance or did God create the universe and man? These are the questions that we are seeking to answer briefly here. They have a great impact on our understanding of the nature of the Bible, or God, and humanity.
Arguments for Evolution
The main argument for the formation of a billion(s) year old universe and the arrival of man for the evolutionist is quite simple: it is one of a presupposed opposition to the possibility that God created the universe. Those who argue for those things generally hold to an approach to viewing reality called naturalism. “Naturalism is the view that every law and every force operation in the universe is natural rather than moral, spiritual, or supernatural. Naturalism is inherently antitheistic, rejecting the very concept of a personal God.” This sweeping belief of antitheism is the driving force behind attempts at argumentation for the validity of an old universe and evolution. While there are those who argue that they can maintain being old earth creationists or completely embrace evolution and still be Christians, the vast majority of those who argue for an old universe and evolution are reflecting a naturalistic view of the universe and in no way clearly reflect the Scriptural teaching on the issue. Every bit of scientific “evidence” is manipulated to support their naturalistic assumptions.
There is truly no scientific evidence to substantiate an old universe or evolution because it cannot be reproduced. Therefore, all arguments for an old earth and evolution fall under a desire to remain naturalistic.
Arguments for Creationism
The arguments for young earth creationism are derived directly from the Scriptures. In summary, the Scriptures argue that God created the heavens and the earth in six twenty-four hour literal days and that this happened only thousands of years ago, not billions.
The Use of “Day” and “Morning and Evening”
In the context of the creation account, there is found a use of the singular form “day” with increasing numbers to indicate which “day” is in view. This is used throughout Scripture to indicate a literal day. When the singular “day” is qualified by a number it is almost invariably understood to be literal. The use of consecutive ordinal numbers modifying the word “day” also indicates a literal 24 hour day. “The sequential use of the ordinal numbers ‘first’ through ‘sixth’ for each day of the creation week, followed by the ‘seventh day…’ indicates a chronological progression of days.”
Another argument for literal creation days is the usage of “morning and evening.” Throughout Scripture the usage of “morning and evening” often describes a literal day. In the creation account specifically, it indicates the non-creative portion of the day, i.e. night. Evening indicates the beginning of night whereupon God suspends his creative activity, and morning which indicates the end of night, whereupon God renews again His creative effort. This approach is consistent with the rest of the Scriptural usage of “morning and evening.”
Exodus 20:8–11 and Exodus 31:14–17
Other usages of “day” occur in other portions of Scripture which specifically point back to the creation event, yet are speaking of literal 24 hour days. In Exodus 20:8–11 we have the giving of the fourth commandment regarding the keeping of the Sabbath. V. 11 makes it very clear that keeping the Sabbath was based upon the pattern set in creation. It was because God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh that the Israelites should therefore work for six days and rest on the seventh. It is undeniable that the fourth commandment is connected to the creation week.
As well, Exodus 31:14–17, which is a command again to observe the Sabbath, connects it clearly with the creation week. Once again it makes the connection between observing a literal six day work week and a requirement to rest on the seventh because God created in a literal six day work week and rested on the seventh.
There are other passages which could be shown to agree with the literal 24 hour day creation but these suffice to demonstrate by connection to the creation week that creation was accomplished in six literal 24 hour days.
Image of God
Man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Cor 11:7; Jas 3:9). This is an incredible theological truth. Man was unique from the rest of creation in that he possessed the spiritual characteristics of God. This essentially is the essence of personality. We possess the same spiritual characteristics of God in that man is spiritual, self-conscious, self-determining, living, active, and intelligent. If man evolved from animals this would negate the unique and special creation that is man. Man is the only one that possesses the image of God and it was through the unique creation of man.
In contrast to what modern science teaches, much geological, physical, and biological evidence point to a young earth and away from evolution. It is not the scope of this post to deal with this scientific data but to simply make the point that it is the inherent presuppositions that people possess that indicate how they view science. Scientific “evidence” clearly fits within the biblical data for young earth creationism if one does not allow science to trump the Bible.
The Bible is clear. God created the universe in six literal 24 hour days. Man did not become man by the process of evolution but by the special creation of God Himself.
John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution and the Bible (n.p.: Word, 2001), p. 11.
Like Robert C. Newman, “Old Earth (Progressive) Creationism,” in Three Views on Creation and Evolution, ed. J. P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), pp. 103–133.
Like Howard J. Van Till, “Theistic Evolution,” in ibid, pp. 161–218.
The determination of the age of the universe or evolution can hardly be called scientific. MacArthur writes, “The notion that natural evolutionary processes can account for the origin of all living species has never been and never will be established as a fact. Nor is it ‘scientific’ in any true sense of the word. Science deals with what can be observed and reproduced in any laboratory. By definition, then, true science can give us no knowledge whatsoever about where we came from or how we got here. Belief in evolutionary theory is a matter of sheer faith” (The Battle for the Beginning, p. 12).
For an excellent interaction with non-literal viewpoints on creation see James B. Jordan, Creation in Six Days: A Defense of the Traditional Reading of Genesis One (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1999).
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., “Reformed Theology and Six-Day Creation,” Chalcedon Report 398 (September 1998): 28.
Robert V. McCabe, “A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation Week,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5 (Fall 2000): 105.
Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., “From Creation to Cosmos: A Critique of the Non-Literal Interpretations of Genesis 1:1–2:3,” in Did God Create in Six Days? Ed. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. and David W. Hall (Taylors, SC: Southern Presbyterian Press, 1999), p. 184.
McCabe, “A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation Week,” p. 106.
Gerhard F. Hasel, “The ‘Days’ of Creation in Genesis 1: Literal ‘Days’ or Figurative ‘Periods/Epochs’ of Time?” Origins 21 (1994): 29.
For creation in the New Testament see Douglas F. Kelly, Creation and Change (Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 1997), pp. 129–134.
Kurt P. Wise, Faith, Form, and Time (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2002), p. 142.
See Culver for details regarding these characteristics of personality that God possesses and that we also bear through the image of God (Robert D. Culver, Systematic Theology [Fearn, Scotland: Mentor, 2005], pp. 66–74).
See John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1961); Henry M. Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1984); and John C. Whitcomb, Jr. The Early Earth, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1986).