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Sermon No: 40145-Creatio Ex Nihilo and the views of Old Earth Creationism



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SERMON TOPIC: Creatio Ex Nihilo and the views of Old Earth Creationism

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 19 October 2018

Topic Groups: CREATIONISM, GENESIS, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: This study looks at creatio ex nihilo (the idea that God created the Earth and the rest of the universe out of nothing) versus creatio ex materia (the idea that heaven and earth already existed in a “formless and void” state, to which God brings form and order).

We also look at some theories that Old Earth Creationists have regarding the timing of the creative week, namely Theistic Evolution and Progressive Creationism. Next time we'll consider the Gap Theory and Young Earth Creationism.
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CREATIO EX NIHILO

or

CREATIO EX MATERIA

Gen 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The Bible is clear that God is the creator of this world (Gen 1:1; Job 38:1-42:6), but there are differing views as to how he did this:

God’s first act of creation [out of nothing] was heaven and earth. This referred to as creatio ex nihilo - the idea that God created the Earth and the rest of the universe out of nothing (“ex nihilo” being Latin for “from nothing”).

“Heaven and earth” already existed in a “formless and void” state, to which God brings form and order. This interpretation is called creatio ex materia. God is seen as having formed the universe out of pre-existing material, by bringing order out of chaos.

EX NIHILO & EX MATERIA

Note the change in the rendering of Genesis 1:1 by the Jewish Publication Society (JPS).

JPS Tanakh 1917

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

JPS 1985 version

When God began to create heaven and earth…

GEN 1:1-3

Dr. Michael Heiser, a Semitic scholar, notes that the first word of Genesis ‘Bereshith’ can be translated as “when” as well as “in the beginning”. This allows Gen 1:1 to be viewed as an independent or an dependent clause. 1

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE: A group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. It can stand alone as a sentence E.g.

Jim studied in his room for his Chemistry exam

1 https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=4ldiVSY8Dfk

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Michael S. Heiser

DEPENDENT CLAUSE: A group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought and cannot stand alone as a sentence. E.g.

When Jim studied in his room for his Chemistry exam

We are left with a feeling that the thought is incomplete. To complete it we could have something like:

When Jim studied in his room for his Chemistry exam, he was able to concentrate

To complete the thought, we could also add something at the beginning e.g.

His brother stayed away when Jim studied in his room for his Chemistry exam

1 Ibid.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Because of the absence of vowels in Hebrew, it is possible to render Gen 1:1 as an independent clause, which stands on it’s own (the traditional rendering).

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

This implies that God’s first act of creation [out of nothing] was heaven and earth, which is creatio ex nihilo.

INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

But it can also legitimately be rendered as a dependent clause.

When God began to create heaven and earth…

As this an incomplete thought, it is argued that verse 1 is completed by verse 2. E.g. the Living Bible paraphrase renders Gen 1:1-2 in this manner, using verse 1 as a dependent clause and verse 2 as the main thought.

When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapours.

This implies that “Heaven and earth” already existed in a “formless and void” state, to which God brings form and order i.e. creatio ex materia.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

It is further argued that verse 2 may also a dependant clause and that both verse 1 and 2 are completed by verse 3. It is rendered as such in the JPS translation.

Gen 1:1-3 (JPS) When God began to create heaven and earth — the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water — God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Clearly this is a very awkward rendering in both Hebrew and English, having to wait until verse 3 to get the main thought.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

But proponents of the dependent-clause translation argue that according to the grammar of the Hebrew, Genesis 1:1 should be understood as a type of dependent (or substantival) clause.

With this dependent-clause translation, it is not possible to interpret the idea of an absolute beginning of the universe or a creation out of nothing since the rendering treats the earth in Genesis 1:2 as being in existence before God’s first act of creation, light. 1

But Dr. Joshua D. Wilson, adjunct professor of Bible at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, believes that this retranslation of Gen 1:1-3 using the verse 1 as a substantival clause is unwarranted and unworkable. 1

1 https:// answersingenesis.org/ hermeneutics/ have-we-misunderstood-genesis-11/

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Wilson writes, “Is this type of substantival clause a grammatical construction that was unfamiliar to the ancient translators? The most recent editions of the respected Hebrew grammars by Gesenius and Joüon together list over 200 examples of these types of substantival clauses in Biblical Hebrew, which tells us that they are not a minor nuance of the language. Not surprisingly, the ancient translators of the Septuagint (Greek), the Vulgate (Latin), and the Targums (Aramaic), amongst others, recognized these types of grammatical constructions and frequently translated them as relative clauses. Yet, none of these translations recognized Genesis 1:1 as one of these constructions. Instead they rendered the verse in the traditional manner, as an independent clause.” 1

1 Ibid

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

However, proponents of the dependent-clause translation also point out that in Genesis 1:1 the article the in the phrase “in the beginning” is not explicit in the Masoretic pointing of rē⁾šît, the Hebrew word for “beginning.” (The original Hebrew text had only consonants, which was perfectly understandable to Jewish readers. The Masoretes were the Jewish scribes working roughly from AD 400–1000 who preserved the oral reading of the Hebrew text by adding vowels points, accents, and other markings to it.) Their argument then follows that given the absence of the article, the, the only other option for understanding Genesis 1:1 is that it is the type of substantival clause just described. Again, is this a grammatical clue that the ancient translators missed? Did they not know that the article the is not in the Hebrew? 1

1 Ibid.

THE ARTICLE “THE”

According to the historical evidence, the answer to both questions is, “No.” Consider the Septuagint, again the very first translation of the Hebrew Bible. It preserved the same reading as the Masoretic text by not including the article “the” in its translation of the verse. However, if the only other option for understanding Genesis 1:1 is that it is a type of substantival clause, why didn’t the Septuagint translators render the verse accordingly? We have already mentioned that they were very familiar with these types of grammatical constructions and frequently rendered them as relative clauses. Perhaps there does not have to be an explicitly marked “the” in the pointing of rē⁾šît for us to understand Genesis 1:1 as an independent clause starting with “In the beginning.” In fact, there are good reasons to conclude just that. 1

1 Ibid.

THE ARTICLE “THE”

In both English and Hebrew, the word beginning is not a typical noun. It is a relator noun, which means it needs extra information to complete its meaning. Think about other English relator nouns like front, back, middle, left (side), right (side), and end. By themselves, these words don’t communicate much. The front of what? The middle of what? The beginning of what? Usually these relator nouns are joined to other nouns to give them that needed, extra information: the end of the couch, the left (side) of the couch, the back of the couch, etc. However, there are instances in both English and Hebrew where relator nouns stand alone with clear meaning, that is without another noun like “couch” connected to it grammatically. In such cases, the relator nouns get their extra information from their contexts. 1

1 Ibid.

RELATOR NOUNS

For instance, at the conclusion of a movie, the phrase “the end” stands alone and is contextually related to the event of watching the movie. We don’t need the words “of the movie” to be added to words “the end” to know what is being communicated on the screen. In Hebrew, the word rē⁾šît (“beginning”) stands alone in Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 46:10 as does the similar word rō⁾š (“beginning”) in Proverbs 8:23 and Isaiah 40:21, where it refers to the beginning of creation. The context of these passages gives us that extra information. In Hebrew, when relator nouns stand by themselves, they are frequently found with or without the article the. Consider the following prose verses from the NAS using the Hebrew relator nouns right (side), yāmîn, and left (side), sǝmō⁾l, where [the] indicates a missing “the” in the Hebrew. 1

1 Ibid.

RELATOR NOUNS

In 2 Samuel 2:19 the words “right” and “left,” standing by themselves, are explicitly marked with the article “the” in the Hebrew. 1

2 Sam 2:19 (NAS) Asahel pursued Abner and did not turn to the right or to the left from following Abner.

However, in Number 20:17b, the words “right” and “left,” standing by themselves, are not marked with the article even though they are used in the same manner as “right” and “left” in 2 Samuel 2:19. The article “the” is implied from the context. 1

Num 20:17b (NAS) We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to [the] right or [the] left, until we pass through your territory.

1 Ibid.

RELATOR NOUNS

In 2 Chronicles 3:17a the word “right” is not marked with the article “the” in the Hebrew, but the word “left” is! Again, the first “the” is implied from the context.

2 Chron 3:17a (NAS) He erected the pillars in front of the temple, one on [the] right and the other on the left,

Interestingly, the Septuagint, following the literal Hebrew, does not render the first “the” even though it is implied from the context, but does render the second “the” because it is clearly marked in the Hebrew. Often the Septuagint is very literal in its translations, as it is with 2 Chronicles 3:17a, so it is not surprising that its literal translation of Genesis 1:1 does not include an article with “beginning.” 1

1 Ibid.

RELATOR NOUNS

These verses help to demonstrate that when relator nouns stand alone, their contexts still communicate an implied “the” even though such nouns are not marked with an explicit article. Thus, just because the article “the” is not reflected in the vowel pointing of the Hebrew text, it does not mean that we cannot or should not translate the Hebrew relator noun rē⁾šît, with its prefixed preposition, as “In the beginning,” nor does it mean that we cannot translate Genesis 1:1 as an independent clause as the most popular English translations all do (e.g., KJV, NKJV, NAS, NIV, ESV, HCSB, Geneva, NLT, RSV). 1

1 Ibid.

RELATOR NOUNS

Here is the main take-away. The dependent-clause understanding of Genesis 1:1 is not grammatically easy; it is difficult and awkward. The traditional understanding of Genesis 1:1 is grammatically easy, and the most basic principle for understanding any language is to follow the ease of the grammar. The ancient translators were just as familiar with the grammatical issues as we are today, and they followed the ease of the grammar by rendering the passage in its most normal, traditional sense. 1

The traditional understanding of Genesis 1:1 is trustworthy. In the absolute beginning God did indeed create the heavens and earth out of nothing, and as the rest of the chapter and Exodus 20:11 teach, He did it supernaturally by His word in six literal days. 1

1 Ibid.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Another understanding of Genesis 1:1 is that it is a “Summary statement,” “Heading” “superscript,” or “Title.” Dr. Waltke, a Reformed evangelical professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, asserts that Genesis 1:1 is a summary verse of the rest of the chapter-- not simply the first event in the chapter. 1

According to this view, this statement “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” has nothing to do with God’s creative work, but is merely an explanation of what the chapter is all about. Creation actually begins with the second verse of Genesis 1. If Genesis 1:1 is understood as a title, then matter is already in existence when God created. But this idea has numerous problems.

1 http:// advindicate.com/ articles/2996

SUMMARY STATEMENT

The summary statement would be misleading because there is no creation of the heavens and the earth explained in the first chapter besides the first verse.

If Gen 1:1 were a title, grammatically Gen 1:2 (And the earth was formless and void…) should not begin with the word “and” which ties verse two to verse one.

This would make the Genesis account no different to other creation stories in the ancient world, which all began with the earth already existing.

We’ll see shortly that the traditional understanding of Gen 1:1 is that God created matter - it was not eternal.

The idea of creation ex nihilo is supported by other Scriptures.

SUMMARY STATEMENT

The apostle John is clearly alluding to Gen 1:1 in the opening verse of his gospel where he writes “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, ESV)

Yet even if we disregard Gen 1:1-2 and the argument over its interpretation, the balance of Scripture clearly teaches that God created ex nihilo.

Heb 11:3 (ESV) By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Rom 4:17 (ESV) … in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

OTHER SCRIPTURE

Scripture also states that everything (including matter) was created by God and that he is before all things.

Col 1:16-17 (ESV) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

John 1:3 (ESV) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Rev 4:11 (ESV) “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

OTHER SCRIPTURE

Ancient Near Eastern mythologies and classical creation myths in Greek mythology envisioned the creation of the world as resulting from the actions of a god or gods upon already-existing primeval matter, known as chaos. 1

It was, in fact, the doctrine of creation out of nothing (ex nihilo) that most fundamentally distinguished the Judeo-Christian view of God and the world from the various religions of the ancient Near East and philosophical systems of Classical Greece—all of which assumed that the world had been formed out of eternally preexisting chaotic matter. 2

1 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Ex_nihilo 2 https:// www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ 2014/ 07/ 28/ why-is-the-doctrine-of-creation-ex-nihilo-so-important/

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

The Greeks held that the cosmos had always existed, that there has always been matter out of which the world has come into its present form. Aristotle (384-322 BC), the foremost natural philosopher of his day, had developed a philosophical argument for the eternity of the world (Physics, I, 9; On the Heavens, I, 3). Philosophers of other schools such as the Stoics and the Epicureans also agreed that the world or its underlying reality is eternal. All these thinkers were led to this conclusion because they observed that “nothing can come out of nothing,” and so there always has to be a “something” that other things can come from, however one understands the processes of coming into being and passing away. 1

1 Robert Schneider http:// peped.org/ philosophicalinvestigations/ augcreatio/

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

Many early Christians had a background of being schooled or influenced by the thought of Greek philosophers. But against this Greek notion of an eternal cosmos, the majority of the church fathers asserted the biblical doctrine of creation ex nihilo.

… in doing so they emphasized not only the transcendent otherness of God but also the astonishing immensity of God’s power. God did not form the world out of a pre-existent matter, but spoke into being (“Let there be!”) that which literally did not exist before. 1

1 http:// peped.org/ philosophicalinvestigations/ augcreatio/

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

Justin Martyr (103–165), a Platonist before his conversion was one of the few early Christians to use the notion of Greek philosophers that God created from pre-existent matter, believing Plato had borrowed this idea from Moses.

… Plato borrowed his statement that God, having altered matter which was shapeless, made the world, hear the very words spoken through Moses, who... was the first prophet, and of greater antiquity than the Greek writers; and through whom the Spirit of prophecy, signifying how and from what materials God at first formed the world, spoke thus: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. And the earth was invisible and unfurnished, and darkness was upon the face of the deep… 1

1 The First Apology, 59

EX MATERIA

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - 215) was very influenced by Platonism and points out that Stoic, Aristotelian and Pythagorean thought was is in agreement with Plato on the question of pre-existent matter.

But the philosophers, the Stoics, and Plato, and Pythagoras, nay more, Aristotle the Peripatetic, suppose the existence of matter among the first principles; and not one first principle. 1

Like Justin, Clement believed the Greeks to have gotten the idea from Gen 1:2, when he comments, “But undoubtedly that prophetic expression, ‘Now the earth was invisible and formless,’ supplied them with the ground of material essence.” 1

1 The Stromata, Book V, Ch. XIV — Greek Plagiarism From The Hebrews.

EX MATERIA

But when writing to Greeks, Tatian (c. 120–180) affirms that matter was not pre-existent, but produced by God:

“For matter is not, like God, without beginning, nor, as having no beginning, is of equal power with God; it is begotten, and not produced by any other being, but brought into existence by the Framer of all things alone.” 1

“The case stands thus: we can see that the whole structure of the world, and the whole creation, has been produced from matter, and the matter itself brought into existence by God …” 2

1 Address to the Greeks 5 2 Ibid., 12

EX NIHILO

Theophilus of Antioch (died c. 183-185) studied with Justin Martyr but, like his contemporary Tatian, asserted that matter is not co-eternal with God, but instead was created by God.

And further, as God, because He is uncreated, is also unalterable; so if matter, too, were uncreated, it also would be unalterable, and equal to God; for that which is created is mutable and alterable, but that which is uncreated is immutable and unalterable. And what great thing is it if God made the world out of existent materials? For even a human artist, when he gets material from some one, makes of it what he pleases. But the power of God is manifested in this, that out of things that are not He makes whatever He pleases 1

1 To Autolycus, 2, 4

EX NIHILO

Athenagoras (c. 133-190) was another Athenian philosopher who converted to Christianity. In a writing addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius to protest the Roman persecution of Christians, he offers arguments against the eternity of matter and asserts that while God is uncreated, matter is created:

“But to us [Christians], who distinguish God from matter, and teach that matter is one thing and God another, and that they are separated by a wide interval (for that the Deity is uncreated and eternal, to be beheld by the understanding and reason alone, while matter is created and perishable), is it not absurd to apply the name of atheism?” 1

1 Plea for the Christians, 4

EX NIHILO

Irenaeus (130-200) was a Greek cleric who also argued against the belief that God had simply ordered matter that was pre-existent.

The rule of truth which we hold, is, that there is one God Almighty, who made all things by His Word, and fashioned and formed, out of that which had no existence, all things which exist. 1

While men, indeed, cannot make anything out of nothing, but only out of matter already existing, yet God is in this point preeminently superior to men, that He Himself called into being the substance of His creation, when previously it had no existence.” 2

1 Against Heresies 1.22.1 2 Ibid. 2.10.2-4

EX NIHILO

Similarly, Tertullian (c. 160–220 AD) rejected the notion that God created the world from co-eternal matter. He refutes the converted philosopher Hermogenes, who he says “introduces matter as having no beginning, and then compares it with God, who has no beginning.” 1

Now, with regard to this rule of faith— that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend— it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word… 2

Therefore, in as far as it has become evident that Matter had no prior existence… in so far is it proved that all things were made by God out of nothing. 3

1 Prescription against Heretics, 3 2 Ibid., 13 3 Against Hermogenes, 45

EX NIHILO

Surprisingly Origen (c. 185–254), the famous student of Clement of Alexandria, who himself would often introduce elements of Greek (Pythagorean and Neoplatonic) thought into his teaching, taught creation ex nihilo.

First, That there is one God, who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into being— God from the first creation and foundation of the world... 1

1 First Principles, Preface 4

EX NIHILO

According to Jerome, in the original beginning there was nothing. Creation is distinguished by creatio activa, ex nihilo, and creatio passiva, the ordering of the world. There are two stages of creation, creatio prima, the creating of unformed matter out of nothing called materia prima, and creatio secunda, where God gives form and life to the materia prima (Muller, 1985, 85). 1

In the 5th century Augustine, who was certainly influenced by Platonism, would still write, “For you, Lord, made the world from formless matter, and that formless matter that was almost nothing at all you made from nothing at all, intending to create from it all the great things which fill us humans with wonder.” 2

1 https:// www.bibleandscience.com/ bible/ books/ genesis/ genesis1_created.htm 2 Confessions, XII.8.8

EX NIHILO

Just as early Christians grappled with the dominating influence of Greek philosophy on many issues (with some trying to harmonise the two), so modern Christians are faced with the influence of evolution on issues of origins (with some trying to harmonise the two). But the early Christian, Tertullian, took a firm stance in this regard:

From all these, when the apostle would restrain us, he expressly names philosophy as that which he would have us be on our guard against. Writing to the Colossians, he says, “See that no one beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, and contrary to the wisdom of the Holy Ghost.” He had been at Athens, and had in his interviews (with its philosophers) become acquainted with that human wisdom which pretends to know the truth, whilst it only corrupts

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

it, and is itself divided into its own manifold heresies, by the variety of its mutually repugnant sects. What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? what between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from “the porch of Solomon,” who had himself taught that “the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart.” Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after enjoying the gospel! With our faith, we desire no further belief. For this is our palmary faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides. 1

1 The Prescription against Heretics

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

THEORIES ON THE AGE OF THE EARTH AND GENESIS 1

Secular evolutionists say that the earth is billions of years old and that there was no creator.

Christians all agree that God created the earth, but are divided on the issue of the earth’s age:

Old-earth creationists agree with the evolutionary timescales of millions or billions of years and attempt to harmonise Genesis 1 with evolutionary timescales (not the Theory of Evolution per se – as they still believe in God as the creator).

Young-earth creationists take a very literal view of Genesis 1 and insist that the earth is a few thousand (6,000 – 10,000) years old.

THEORIES

We will look at some theories that Creationists have regarding the timing of the creative week.

Old Earth Creationism

Theistic Evolution

Progressive Creationism

Gap Theory

Young Earth Creationism

THEORIES

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

Theistic evolution, evolutionary creationism or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. 1

According to the Old Earth Ministries website:

Theistic Evolution is the old earth creationist belief that God used the process of evolution to create life on earth. The modern scientific understanding of biological evolution is considered to be compatible with the Bible. 1

1 http:// www.oldearth.org/ theistic_evolution.htm

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

There are varying degrees of theistic evolution.

Many theistic evolutionists believe that God set in motion the laws of nature that led to evolution, but He did not take an active role in guiding the evolutionary process. He merely let nature take its course. 1 They argue that one should read the creation story in the book of Genesis only metaphorically.

Others believe that God actively guided the evolutionary process 1 (Evolutionary Creationism / Progressive Creationism).

1 http:// www.oldearth.org/ theistic_evolution.htm

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

Theistic Evolutionists claim “From a theological perspective, there is nothing in the Bible that would prohibit belief in evolution. In fact, the Bible even implies that God used evolution.” 1

Yet ironically, while in using this view they claim that they are “removing the YEC stumbling block to belief”, 1 in 2014 one atheist asserted that “Theistic evolutionists are one step from atheism” based on the fact that “denying a real Adam, a real fall, the introduction of Original Sin, Evil and Death would present an even greater problem for Catholicism and Protestantism. Jesus saves is based upon the idea that the Genesis account of Creation is real.” 2

1 http:// www.oldearth.org/ theistic_evolution.htm 2 https:// www.news24.com/ MyNews24/ Theistic-evolutionists-are-one-step-from-atheism-20141209

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

This atheist makes the following observations:

Theistic evolution should not be entertained by anyone who professes Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ affirmed the existence of a literal Adam in this conversation here, Matt 19:3-5 ..“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female…?” So, in Jesus’s understanding Adam and Eve existed as real beings. 1

Theistic Evolution is a denial of the Gospel. It was the physical death of Jesus that paid for the sin that led to Adam’s physical death (and that which brought death into the world). Therefore those who embrace theistic evolution are embracing an untenable position which is contrary to the gospel. 1

1 Ibid

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

Based on the fact that Pope Francis declared that the Theory of Evolution is real because God is not “a magician with a magic wand” as depicted in the Genesis creation account, the said atheist concludes:

Since the Creation and the fall are mythological and not literal accounts there is no basis to assume there is original sin. The gospel of Jesus Christ is based upon original sin. The death of Jesus upon the cross is a sacrifice (propitiation) for that sin. Paul argues it, “As in Adam all have sinned and died so in Christ all are made alive.” Since there was no Adam, Eve, Eden, or Fall then there is no basis for a need of salvation and hence no basis for Christianity to even exist in our modern era. 1

1 Ibid

THEISTIC EVOLUTION

THE DAY-AGE THEORY

The view that the universe and Earth are very old and that God guided the evolutionary process is known as Evolutionary Creationism or Progressive Creationism.

One of the most well-known proponents of this view is the astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross of “Reasons to Believe”.

The theory proposes that the universe was created by the Big Bang. The majority of life and Earth history had already taken place and death was already occurring before Adam and Eve were created.

DAY-AGE THEORY

Hugh Ross

During creation week, the days (“yom” in Hebrew) were not literal, 24-hour days but instead periods of millions of years each.

They support the Day-Age theory using the following Scripture.

2 Pet 3:8 …With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Speaking from the perspective of language, opponents of Day-Age Theory note that, if Moses wanted to convey a longer period of time, he could have used clear terms such as olam or qedem in place of yom. 1

1 https:// www.gotquestions.org/ Day-Age-Theory.html

DAY-AGE THEORY

Gen 1:5 (NKJV) … So the evening and the morning were the first day (yom).

While “yom” can refer to a non-24-hour day (e.g. “The Day of The Lord”), in context - the qualifying “evening-morning” clause, that is repeatedly used, reinforces the idea of a literal 24-hour day meaning.

Whenever the Hebrew word for day is preceded by a numeral (e.g. first day, second day) in non-prophetic passages (like Genesis 1) it always carries the meaning of a 24-hour day. 1

1 https:// apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx? category=9&article=824

DAY-AGE THEORY

The Gen 1-2 passage, in conjunction with Exodus, show Moses seeking to establish a pattern of a 7-day week as the idea behind the Sabbath rest. The argument loses its impact if the days were in fact simply indeterminate periods of time.

Ex 31:14-17 (NASB) “ ‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you… For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord… The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ”

THE SABBATH

Popular among those who support a Day-Age Theory is a theory of Progressive Creationism by which God, having created the major types of the animal and plant kingdoms at the beginning of the Sixth Day, waits and watches as they evolve naturally within their groups until at the end of this lengthy period referred to as “the Sixth Day,” God creates man of the dust by fiat (i.e. a decree).

But the following verse implies that man was made at the beginning of creation, which would not fit a creation of Adam at the end of a long period of progressive evolution.

Mark 10:6-7 (NKJV) But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife…

DAY-AGE THEORY

Likewise, Romans 1:20 says that since the creation of the world (i.e. Gen 1:1) God’s invisible attributes “have been clearly seen.” But who saw them if there were no men present - as the verse is addressed to unbelieving men?

Rom 1:20 (NASB) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

The Day-Age Theory, on the other hand, places man at the end of billions of years of geologic time. Both cannot be true. 1

1 https:// apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx? category=9&article=824

DAY-AGE THEORY

There are logical reasons to explain why we measure time in certain ways. For example, the earth revolves around the sun every 365 days. This determines our year. The moon circles the earth each thirty days. This marks the month. The earth completes one rotation on its axis each twenty-four hours, which constitutes our day. The baffling question is: why do we have weeks? There is no astronomical phenomenon to explain this. Campbell observed that “nothing on earth or in heaven, can be assigned as an argument for the week, aside from the fact that the heavens and the earth were created in six days of twenty-four hours each” (1958, 96). The fact is, the Hebrew word for week means “that which is divided into seven” (Young 1964, 78). 1

1 https:// www.christiancourier.com/ articles/ 210-creation-days-literal-or-figurative-the

DAY-AGE THEORY

Then, the world of plants came into existence on the third day of the creation week. Living creatures (e.g., fish, birds, insects, and animals) were not created until the fifth and sixth days. Some plants are pollinated solely by insects. Clover is pollinated by bees and the yucca plant has the pronuba moth as its only means of pollination. How did these plants reproduce during the millions of years of that alleged fourth day-age? 1

1 https:// www.christiancourier.com/ articles/ 210-creation-days-literal-or-figurative-the

THE PLANTS

The yucca plant and the pronuba moth

The creation of the sun after the Earth undermines progressive creationists’ attempts to harmonise the Bible with billions of years… Some assert that what really happened on this fourth ‘day’ was that the sun and other heavenly bodies ‘appeared’ when a dense cloud layer dissipated after millions of years. This is not only fanciful science, but bad exegesis of Hebrew. The word ‘asah’ means ‘make’ throughout Genesis 1, and is sometimes used inter-changeably with ‘create’ (bara’), e.g. in Gen 1:26–27. It is pure desperation to apply a different meaning to the same word in the same grammatical construction in the same passage. 1

1 https:// creation.com/ how-could-the-days-of-genesis-1-be-literal-if-the-sun-wasnt-created-until-the-fourth-day

THE SUN

Progressive creationists explain the fossil record as being formed by animals dying in these long ages. Those who hold to the Gap Theory assign fossils to the gap period they place between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2.

The same criticism of Progressive Creationism can be applied to the Gap Theory. Referring to Adam, Romans 5:12 states that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin…” (NKJV)

Yet if Progressive Creationism or the Gap Theory is correct, under Adam’s feet, entombed in the sedimentary rocks was the testimony of the reality of the existence of death long before Adam.

DEATH BEFORE SIN

Finally, one must ask, if God wanted us to know that He created the world in six literal days, what words would He have used? Or if a person wanted to explain to someone else that God created all things in a literal six days, what words would he use? The answer?—the exact words used in Genesis 1. 1

1 https:// apologeticspress.org/ apcontent.aspx? category=9&article=824

DAY-AGE THEORY

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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