Does It Matter What One Believes About Creation?
by Tim Haile
August 29, 2000
What odd things we are hearing our brethren say these days. Not long after the creation controversy erupted, many brethren came out of the woodwork proclaiming, "What difference does it make what you believe about the days of creation!" Statements such as this one are somewhat disturbing to people like me for a number of reasons. As an individual Christian I have the obligation to "do my best" to "interpret correctly the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15, McCord). This "word of truth" is also referred to as the "Holy Scriptures," and includes both the Old and New Testaments (2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Tim. 5:18). I will use the scriptures to "prove all things," "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord," and prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (1 Thess. 5:21; Eph. 5:10; Rom. 12:2).
I am also obliged to "set Christ apart in my heart" and "be ready with a reply" for anyone who asks questions about my faith. Belief in biblically defined creation is a matter of faith (Hebrews 11:3), and I am to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints" (Jud. 3). The New Testament repeatedly states the importance of faith in creation. The first public prayer on record opens with the words, "Lord, you are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them" (Acts 4:24). The gospel of John opens with an acknowledgment of the prominent role of Christ in creation. John wrote that "...in the beginning...all things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made" (John 1:2-3). Paul also spoke of the place and importance of the creation account in Colossians 1:16-17. He wrote, "For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17). Friends, this is the faith, and we are under divine obligation to believe it.
You might say, "But the New Testament does not require belief in six, literal creation days; it only requires belief in creation." This is an important objection. It illustrates the need for us to allow the Bible to define its own terms. What did Jesus and Peter mean when they spoke of "the beginning of the creation" (Mk. 10:6; 2 Pet. 3:4)? Jesus answered that question quite simply when he said, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female..." (Matt. 19:4). This is a direct appeal to Genesis 1:27! Dear reader, by refusing to believe in the literal interpretation of Genesis 1, one expresses his disbelief in the very words of our Lord and Savior! Does it really "not matter" what we believe about creation?
Consequences of the Lackadaisical Approach to Genesis One
Let us assume for a minute that it really doesn't matter what one believes about creation. Okay, then why the fight against theistic evolution??? Have brethren really considered the consequences of their position? By affirming that it doesn't matter what one believes about creation, one affirms tolerance for theistic evolution. After all, theistic evolutionists believe in creation. They do not accept the literal meaning of Genesis 1, but they do believe that God created the evolutionary process. (By the way, the only real difference between a theistic evolutionist and a gap theorist is how much of the Genesis 1 account he interprets as literal.) Will you accept theistic evolutionists into your local church fellowship? Will you allow them to teach your children's bible classes? Will you hire a theistic evolutionist as a preacher, or appoint him as an elder? Do you still say it doesn't matter what you believe about creation?
It Gets Worse
If it truly "doesn't matter what you believe about creation," then why must one believe in "creation" at all? Based upon this argument, what would be wrong with a Christian expressing belief in full-blown Darwinian evolution? How can one object? After all, "it doesn't matter what you believe about creation" anyway! Right?
If it really doesn't matter what one believes about creation, then what difference does it make what you believe about other biblical facts? May we freely reject the fact of a world-wide flood, though such is taught in Genesis 6-9? May we freely reject the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, though such is taught in Exodus 14? What about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being cast into a furnace of fire and coming out with no smell of smoke on their bodies? Or, Daniel harmlessly escaping the Lion's den? What about Jonah and the great fish? May we stubbornly reject the veracity of these stories with impunity? If so, where will this end? What about the greatest miracle of all time - our Lord's resurrection. Must we believe this?
There is a reason why I have spent considerable time reading and reflecting upon the things that are being said on this subject. I have searched the scriptures, read the commentaries and examined the lexicons. I have spent many hours in face-to-face and phone conversations with others discussing this subject and its ramifications.
Furthermore, as coeditor and webmaster of a publication that has been heavily involved in this discussion, I have spent additional time coordinating, editing, converting, organizing and uploading materials to the Gospel Anchor web site. I have done these things because of my firm belief in the Genesis 1 account and Moses' further commentary on those events in passages like Exodus 20:9-11 and Exodus 31:17. Jesus condemned people for not believing Moses. Notice His words:
"For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words" (John 5:46-47)?
If one doesn't have to believe Moses, neither must he believe Jesus! Do you still think it doesn't matter what one believes about creation?
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