Creation: God has spelt it out plainly

(Ed.: A few people were involved in the following dialogue, but I’m focusing on only my own exchange with “Smithy” (pseudonym). The aim is to demonstrate a good example of the kind of attitude, exhibited by Smithy, that shuts down and prevents conversation between Christians who disagree on certain matters. The better attitude, even if you hold to strong convictions, is to engage others with humility, a willingness to listen respectfully to a different point of view and with an openness to possibly learn something.)

 

Hi,

Can you please explain the teaching of Exodus 20:8-11 and Exodus 31:14-17.

God has spelt it out plainly that He created the universe in six days. [If you do not accept this then the Bible is not your ultimate authority.]

Belief in six day creation originated with God and has been given to us on a platter through His Word.

Thanks

Smithy

 

Hi Smithy

Here are my thoughts for what it is worth.

The passages in Exodus you refer to is, of course, not a teaching on how to understand creation, but on why and how the Jewish Sabbath was to be observed. The author uses the creation narrative of Genesis 1 up until Genesis 2:4 as the basis for the pattern of 6-days-to-work-and-1-day-to-rest that the nation of Israel were to follow. And they were to follow that pattern as a sign to other nations, much like the sign of the circumcision, of their special relationship with God.

If the creation week is mainly told as a story for theological purposes and to convey theological truths, and not meant to be understood as a mainly literal or scientific rendering of events, then referring to the creation narrative (or a summary thereof) to expound on the Sabbath is perfectly legitimate. It would be somewhat similar to when someone refers to the children’s story of the three pigs and the wolf, and then making the observation that for protection against windy conditions or wild animals in general, it is always better to build a house of stone rather than of straw or sticks. This observation would be stating something true, even if there are other or more important purposes for telling the story.

So, just to be clear, my understanding is not that any part of Genesis is merely fictional, but that there is reason to think that the intent of the author was to teach important theological truths using metaphor and other literary devices in a story with a specific historical and geographical backdrop. We should therefore be careful to press the Biblical text for a meaning which its human as well as divine author did not intend.

Kind regards

Udo

 

Ok, thanks Udo for that.

But where does it say that the Genesis account is a story for theological purposes and why does it say specifically that God created the universe in six days as it is written “For in six days the LORD made…”

Are you dealing deceitfully with the Word of God? Are you spinning a lie into the world? The texts of Scripture [I mentioned] says you are doing just that.

Where did belief in six day creation originate? – from God or from man?

Where does belief in evolution originate? – from man or from God? 

Your 3 little pigs story makes no sense at all. You are speaking out of your own imagination.

Separate the clean from the unclean.

Rgds

Smithy

 

Smithy,

From your reaction I see that you are the kind of person who has made up his mind that he and only he, is the infallible interpreter of God’s Word. It is clear, despite appearances, that you don’t care to understand other Christian points of view on this matter – you are simply ready to denounce and judge.

Please don’t bother asking questions of other Christians in how they understand God’s Word if you don’t have the slightest interest in where they are coming from (as your response indicate). That is simply dishonest, disrespectful and not worthy of somebody calling himself a follower of Christ.

Udo

 

Udo, I am sorry that you have taken offence to some strong statements of mine, but the text of Scripture stands against all your man made theories.

This issue is very personal to me because of the stumbling block it caused me for many years to trust the Word of God and find rest in Christ – I have been very involved in the issue for many years and am not judging on a whim. 

It is misguided scientists who have imported evolution into the church and it now needs to be exported from the church.

God has given the world belief in 6 day creation through His Word and you cannot deny that. Separate the clean from the unclean.

LORD willing I will send you a link to my testimony when it is completed and you can read what I have to say for yourself.

[And in another email:]

I have heard most of these arguments [about how to understand Genesis] before. There is nothing new under the sun. 

To try and reconcile Genesis with evolution is a big mistake and does violence to the Word of God. 

Please read Walt Brown’s book “In the Beginning”. This will help you to come to a better understanding of things.

Evolution is unthinkable if one applies a bit of common sense and logic.

Evolution is unthinkable if you want to hold up the Gospel of Christ. Death before sin? Never!

Evolution strips the Gospel of its power by creating doubt in the Scriptures.

Evolution does not belong to God and it does not derive from the Scriptures. It is man’s attempt to understand the world apart from God. 

Keep it far away from the Scriptures. This is where Dawkin’s and others are doing better. They don’t try and corrupt the Scriptures with their philosophy. They understand that the Scriptures say what they say and they don’t believe it, and stay far away from it.

But to muddy the clear water of the Word with a useless and ever changing philosophy is a serious thing indeed.   

Regards

Smithy

 

Smithy, I make a few observations.

I have heard most of these arguments [about how to understand Genesis] before. There is nothing new under the sun.

Smithy, your being unconvinced by these arguments, doesn’t say anything about the arguments. From what I’ve seen in your responses so far is that you are not really interested in any arguments that might convince you of anything, your mind is made up.

To try and reconcile Genesis with evolution is a big mistake and does violence to the Word of God.

It’s not difficult to see why you cannot conceive of Genesis being reconciled with evolution. You not only think that your, and only your, very particular interpretation of Genesis 1 is infallibly correct, but you, in doing so, also have such a strong bias in what science will and should reveal that you will interpret all the evidence in a very specific way.

Please read Walt Brown’s book “In the Beginning”. This will help you to come to a better understanding of things.

Do you even realise how condescending you are being here? Do you really think that none of us who disagree with you, have not wrestled with these issues before, that we simply don’t understand things? If you have truly spend any significant amount of time trying to understand the issues from various perspectives, then you would never have made the utterly simplistic suggestion to anyone that reading one author, from one perspective, will settle the matter.

Evolution is unthinkable if one applies a bit of common sense and logic.

You are most welcome to your opinion, but that in itself doesn’t say very much.

Evolution is unthinkable if you want to hold up the Gospel of Christ. Death before sin? Never!

Thanks for your opinion, but you are simply mistaken. The truth and power of the Gospel isn’t affected if evolution is true. Or worse, are you saying that no person that believes evolution occurred can also be a true Christian? When I last checked, accepting the truth of the Gospel and thereby becoming a Christian, has nothing to do with whether one believes in evolution or not.

Evolution strips the Gospel of its power by creating doubt in the Scriptures.

And again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but there are abundant testimonies to the contrary. Or why do you think that many people claim that a responsible approach to the study of nature (that might include accepting evolution) and a responsible approach to studying Scripture has strengthened their trust in both what is discoverable by science and what is taught by Scripture?

Evolution does not belong to God and it does not derive from the Scriptures. It is man’s attempt to understand the world apart from God.

If Scripture’s aim was to teach biology and then didn’t mention evolution, then I might have agreed with you. But clearly the Bible wasn’t written as a science textbook. And clearly God has given us the ability to use our minds to explore the physical world that he has put us in. We call it science. And if God used processes of evolution in creating, then why can I not believe in both God and the mechanisms he used?

Keep it far away from the Scriptures. This is where Dawkin’s and others are doing better. They don’t try and corrupt the Scriptures with their philosophy. They understand that the Scriptures say what they say and they don’t believe it, and stay far away from it.

So you honestly think that committed followers of Christ “try and corrupt” the Scriptures? And you honestly think an atheist like Dawkins who actively ridicules and rejects Christianity, understand Scripture better than all those committed followers of Christ who actually make it a habit of studying and reading Scripture?

Smithy, do you really think that we should believe that this isn’t the telltale sign of someone who is utterly and unreasonable biased? Are you really interested in conversation about these matters? It sure doesn’t look like it.

But to muddy the clear water of the Word with a useless and ever changing philosophy is a serious thing indeed.

You seem to think that making the necessary effort to interpret the Bible responsibly and get at its intended (not merely surface) meaning, is muddying the waters. Maybe you are simply giving a very uncharitable description of the hard work of responsible exegesis. But I think it better not to confuse the process of coming to a responsible understanding of what can be learned from both the world and the Word, with “muddying the waters”.

Regards

Udo

 

Thanks Udo,

Yes, my mind is made up.  God created the universe in six days. He has made that very clear to us in the Scriptures. I am declaring the Word of God to you and not debating it. I believe in exploring the physical world, but in the framework of what has been revealed in Scripture. Learn your biology but understand it in the framework of a miraculous creation and the curse of sin that came into the world at a specific point in time.

I don’t distinguish between who or who doesn’t corrupt the Scriptures. It can and is done by anybody when they bend the Scriptures to fit their own theories and imaginations.

The Scriptures come to us as a whole. The Gospel is tied up in the creation of the first man Adam from the dust of the earth and the first woman from his own flesh. Man came before woman and Paul makes this very clear. This is why Paul did not permit woman to teach or have authority over a man. Condemnation and death came into the world through sin, and it was not in the world when God declared His creation as being very good during the creation week. Jesus came to destroy death and to crush the serpents head who holds the power of death. The purpose of the Gospel is to restore us back to where we were before the fall. Evolutionary theory runs riot over the fundamental Gospel doctrines and nullifies the Word of God.

As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God for the sake of your traditions”. I can say a similar thing to evolutionists, “You have a fine way of nullifying the Scriptures for the sake of your fake and non provable so called science”.

I am not debating with you. I am declaring the Word of God to you.

Here I stand.

Regards

Smithy

 

Smithy,

Thanks for clarifying that you are not interested in conversation (that is, speaking with fellow believers), but in making pronouncements (speaking down at them). You might have saved us all the trouble if you were more forthright at the very beginning of this email exchange. Nobody wants to waste time and effort with someone who is not at all interested in what you have to say. But now we know, indeed, where you stand.

Udo

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