Friday, February 7, 2014

Creation and the Gospel: Is the Genesis account of Creation just a side-issue?

Many of you are aware of the debate that took place between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis the other night.  I found it a very enjoyable debate/discussion, and look forward to watching it again with my friends and family.

In the aftermath of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate, I have been reading some articles examining the content and reaction to it.  This thing really has caused quite a stir out there.  I was not surprised to see that there are Christians out there who try to harmonize the "theory" of evolution with the Biblical record.  But when I hear other Christians actually mocking the Biblical account of Creation, (like Pat Robertson, see here: ) and the comments from many who call themselves Christians, I was disturbed.  Some have even gone so far as to suggest or imply that Creationism is just a side-issue and that those who teach it are causing contention within the body of Christ.  They say that the main thing should be the Gospel, and nothing more.  I would like to give my take on this whole thing and why it is significant and relevant in discussions among Bible-believing Christians.

Almost 100 years ago, Christian leaders in the major Protestant denominations found themselves in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people in their churches and schools.  The battle was not against atheists, agnostics and opponents of Christianity; it was against those who also called themselves "Christians", who claimed to love God and follow the teachings of Christ.  However, these "Christians" denied the literal account of Creation, the historical accounts of Israel in the Old Testament, the miracles of Christ in the New Testament, and even went so far as to deny the virgin birth and the substitutionary death of Christ and his Resurrection.  They were called 'liberals'.  The battle raged for many years, and those who held to the fundamentals of the faith eventually lost.  The liberals claimed leadership of most of the major denominations and their schools and churches.  These quickly turned apostate, and today most if not all of these are completely secular in their beliefs and teachings.  Agnosticism, atheism and humanism are rampant on their campuses.  Start naming some of the largest universities in the United States and Canada, and you will find that many originated as orthodox Christian institutions.  Now they are completely secular, casualties of the secular humanism of liberal "christianity".

Many of the "fundamentalists" and conservative Christian leaders who lost the battles with the liberals over these institutions started their own churches and schools.  Their intent was to have churches and places of education where Biblical, historic Christianity was taught and passed down to the generations of Christians that followed.  What they did not anticipate was that the battle was not over.  Error will always look for a place to root and grow.  The Father of Lies is always hard at work, seeking to plant seeds of deception, lies and wickedness.  Where does Satan aim his biggest guns?  Where does He focus most of his attention in this battle?  The Word of God.  That is one thing we need to get into our minds and heads.  His first temptations was to question the Word of God, "Did God actually say....?"  And today, he is still using the same tactics.  "Did God actually say that He created the heavens and the earth in six days?  After all, modern 'science' has 'proved' the theory of evolution is true.  Why question what everyone else believes?  You might sound like a crazy person, or worse, a religious fanatic!"

Now, I would like to ask a question and make a suggestion.  If we cast doubt upon the literal account of Creation as found in Genesis 1-3, what other part of the Bible do we cast doubt upon?  If the very beginning of the Word of God is just an allegory, if it isn't really factual history of the origin of the Universe, Man, the fall and Redemption, then what other parts of the Bible are also just allegory, that are not really factual history?  What other miraculous events can we toss into the trash-heap of mystical fantasy?

Here is my suggestion: If we give the evolutionists and the secular humanists one inch of ground in the question of origins, then we cast a shadow of doubt upon not only Creation, but upon the Gospel itself.  And to my friends who would question any part of the Creation account and say that it does not matter as far as the Gospel is concerned, may I say that IT IS ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL.  The account of Creation is not just an account of the origin of matter, energy, consciousness and  the space-time continuum, it is the beginning of Gospel history.  The Word of God is the story of the Gospel.  From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 it is the story of the plan of the Almighty Creator God to send His Son, the second member of the Trinity, to become a man, to suffer and die and redeem His elect, His people the Church, and to set them in the Kingdom with Him in His glory for all eternity.

God's work of instantaneous, special Creation is a picture of the new birth of the believer.  Just as God spoke into the void and said, "Let there be light", and it was so, God also speaks into the cold, dead void of the human heart and shines the light of the Gospel.  Just as God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul, so too does the Spirit of God breathe the breath of Spiritual life into the cold, lifeless hearts of those who were dead in trespasses and sins.  God creates life ex nihilo (out of nothing), whether it be the matter and energy of the universe, or spiritual life in dead sinners.

To doubt the literal Adam of Genesis is to doubt the Gospel.  If you doubt the literal Adam and the literal history of the book of Genesis, then you can cut out key passages in the New Testament such as Romans 5:12-21, which is key to our understanding of original sin, the depravity of man, the source of death and the curse, and its remedy.  Or cut out I Corinthians 15:22 which says, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."  Later in the same chapter the Apostle Paul quotes Genesis 2:7 with authority by saying, "Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.'" (15:45).  In I Timothy 2:13-14, Paul once again attests to the historical accuracy of Genesis by saying, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."  Sounds to me like Paul believed the literal Genesis account of creation and the historical accuracy of Genesis.

This is not a side-issue.  It is critical to our understanding of the Gospel and the Word of God.  Satan has cleverly designed this to divide God's people, and deceive many true Christians.  We need not be contentious as we stand for the truth of the Word of God and the literal account of Genesis, but we MUST contend for it.  We must be informed and speak out for the Truth.  We must be educated and informed so that we are always "...prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame." (I Peter 3:15-17, ESV)