1. The Biblical God
1. God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, sovereign Being described in the Bible who supernaturally spoke the universe into existence and upholds it today by His power (Jeremiah 32:17, John 21:17, Isaiah 43:13, 46:9-10, Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:3). In grad school, one of my classmates professed to be an atheist. He and I would often discuss issues of science and faith, and I quickly realized that he had a terrible misconception of the Christian God. He tended to think of God more like the Greek gods who were limited in power, not all-knowing, within time, capricious, and fickle, with needs and weaknesses. The Biblical God is not like that. He is beyond space and time (both of which He created) and does not change (Malachi 3:6). He needs nothing and has no weakness (Acts 17:24-25). He is perfectly logical, and orderly, and controls every atom, every photon, every sub-atomic particle in the universe – this is why the universe is so orderly and it is what makes science possible.
As Creator, God owns everything and holds everyone accountable to His sovereign and unchanging standard. He is the Judge of all mankind. Since He is righteous, all of His judgments are fundamentally right (Genesis 18:25). God is good and is the standard of goodness. There is only one God, yet He is three in persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. These are not merely different aspects of God; each is a person who is eternally distinct from the other two. Each member of the Trinity is fully God (Hebrews 1:8-9, Acts 5:3-4), and yet there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
2. The Bible is God-Breathed
The Bible does not necessarily endorse as morally right everything that it records as true. For example, the Bible correctly records the fool who says, “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). The fool’s statement is false, but the Bible accurately records it. Those of us who rely on an English translation of the Word of God are doing just that – relying on a translation. We do not claim that every modern translation is perfect. However, most are very good, and can be cross-checked or checked against the original Hebrew and Greek languages. So, there can be absolutely no doubt about the main and plain teachings of Scripture.
3. Interpretation of Scripture
4. Genesis: Historical Narrative
5. The Biblical Age of the Universe
Furthermore, Exodus 20:8-11 teaches that our work week is the same as God’s creation week. Namely, these passages explain that we are to accomplish all our work each week in six days, and then rest on the seventh day because this is what God did. God had the power to create the universe in an instant. But He chose to create in six days and rest one day as a pattern for us to follow. The Hebrews rightly understood this to mean six ordinary, literal days. Moreover, Exodus 20:11 uses the plural form of the Hebrew word for “days” to tell us that God created in six days. This plural form always translates as ordinary days and is never used to denote longer periods of time.
The Bible gives sufficient information to compute, at least approximately, the timespan between creation and Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. Much of this is computed by adding the ages of the patriarchs at the time of the birth of the next patriarch (e.g. Genesis 5:3,6,9). This number is roughly 4000 years. And given that Christ’s earthly ministry occurred about 2000 years ago, the biblical age for the universe is about 6000 years.
6. The Biblical Sequence of Creation
7. Created Kinds
The biblical kind is not, in general, the same thing as a species. This is one of those straw-man arguments that evolutionists invoke from time to time. They will sometimes claim that creationists teach that God created each species separately during the creation week. But this is not what the Bible teaches. ‘Species’ is a modern word and does not occur in the original manuscripts of Scripture.
8. No Death before Adam Sinned
Some people have tried to restrict the result of Adam’s sin to human death, as if animals were living and dying long before. But this is implicitly disallowed by a careful reading of the Scriptures. When Adam rebelled against God by violating God’s command, Adam’s sin affected all that was under his dominion – the entire world (Genesis 1:26, Romans 8:20-21). God sacrificed an animal or animals to provide clothing for Adam and Eve, a symbolic covering for their shame (Genesis 3:21). So, God instituted animal death at the time of that first sin. Furthermore, the Bible states that after God finished creating everything – including Adam and Eve – that God saw that everything He had made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Naturally, this disallows animal death and suffering. For that matter, we find fossils with evidence of disease in them: arthritis, cancer, and so on. Such fossils must have formed after Adam sinned, otherwise we would have to conclude that cancer, disease, and bloodshed are “very good.”
We must also note that plants are not classified as “alive” in the biblical system. The Bible refers to living creatures as “nephesh chai” – a phrase that is used to describe human beings and animals, but never plants. Plants do not literally die because they are not literally alive to begin with – not in the biblical sense of the word. Plants are self-replicating food. So there is no problem with a plant cycle before sin. God’s creatures originally ate only plants. Yes, all animals (and people) were originally vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30). Some of them became meat-eating after sin and death entered the world. Human beings were given permission to eat meat in Genesis 9:3.
9. Sin and the Gospel
That’s the bad news. The good news (the Gospel) is that God is also merciful and has generously offered to pay for our sins and offers forgiveness if we will simply repent and trust in Him. In Genesis 3:15 God promised to send a Redeemer, a descendant of Eve, who would accomplish this salvation. As history progressed, God revealed more information about this redeemer: He would be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 22:18), a descendant of David (Isaiah 7:13-14), yet He would be God Himself (Isaiah 45:21-22). It may have seemed perplexing to Old Testament believers. But we now understand that Jesus is the promised Savior. Christ is both God and man. As man, He is our relative and can represent us on the cross and pay our penalty (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). As God, Christ can pay an infinite penalty (Hebrews 1:8). He died in our place, but resurrected Himself, showing that He has power over death (John 10:17-18). He will resurrect everyone else on the last day (John 6:40, 44, 54).
10. A Global Flood
Creation Scientific Models
The above essentials of creation are taught in Scripture, and are thus non-negotiable aspects of biblical creation. Building upon this foundation, and making scientific observations about the world around us, creation scientists have developed creation-based models that explain what we observe and allow us to make predictions about future observations. Since these are scientific models, we may have to revise them in light of new data. Nonetheless, most biblical creationists would agree with the following interpretations of the data:
A. Definition of Kind
We know this from breeding studies. Two particular varieties of cat may not be able to interbreed for various reasons, such as size differences. But if each of them can interbreed with a third variety, then they are all related and of the same kind. Over time, varieties of a kind may lose the ability to interbreed with another variety of the same kind. But since they share a common ancestor, they are still classified as the same kind. Evolutionists really should not object to our definition of “kind.” They simply believe that there is only one “kind” since in their view all organisms on earth share a common ancestor.
B. Variation within Created Kinds
No informed creationist denies natural selection and mutations, and that these have a role in adaptation along with the genetic information contained in an organism’s DNA. We further acknowledge that different varieties within a kind can become genetically diversified to the point that they can no longer interbreed with each other, and as such are classified as separate species. This process is called speciation, and yes, creationists do believe in speciation! However, speciation never results in a fundamentally different kind of organism. Organisms do have an ability to adapt to their environment (within certain limits). But they remain the same created kind. So, dogs have always been and will always be dogs. They will never turn into anything else.
C. Catastrophic Geology
The Cambrian rock layer seems to be the first (lowest) layer associated with the global flood, because it contains abundant fossils of multi-cellular marine organisms. Naturally, the flood would dump sediment into the ocean, killing and trapping some marine organisms in the process. The flood was a geologic catastrophe, unlike anything in our world today. It was not tranquil, but violent, involving rapid plate tectonics and continental separation. Most creationists believe that the continents were connected before the flood into something like Pangaea. The mountain ranges we have today would not have existed before the flood, but were pushed up as a result of it. Creationists believe that the vast majority of fossils were deposited during the flood year, with a few afterwards.
Since the flood waters rose in stages, they buried plants and animals in stages. We therefore expect to find a progressive order in the fossil record. We would expect the lower rock layers would contain only water-dwelling organisms, as sediment was rapidly deposited into the ocean. Then as the flood began to inundate the land, we would expect to find the higher rock layers to contain both aquatic and land organisms mixed together – exactly what we do find. Contrary to the claims of some evolutionists, creationists do not expect to find the fossil rabbits in the lowest layer (Cambrian); that would be absurd because rabbits do not live on the ocean floor.
D. An Ice Age after the Global Flood
The ice age was caused by the worldwide flood, and lasted a few hundred years after it. Abraham and Job likely lived during this time period. This explains why the climate was so different then. Recall that Lot lived in the land near (and eventually in) Sodom because it was green and lush at that time (Genesis 13:10-12). Today it is a desert. With much of earth’s water trapped in glaciers, the oceans would have been as much as 300 feet lower than they are today. This would result in natural land-bridges and ice-bridges connecting the continents. These aided in the dispersal of organisms as they departed the ark and spread to the various continents.
E. Dinosaurs and Noah's Ark
Since dinosaur fossils are found in rock layers associated with the global flood, the animals must have still been extant at that time. And since they are air-breathing land animals, they would have been on Noah’s ark. The critics mock this, saying that they wouldn’t fit; but their objection does not stand up to rational scrutiny. We estimate that there were around sixty dinosaur created kinds, only a few of which grew to be enormous. The average size would be that of an American bison. We estimate that there were no more than 16,000 animals on board Noah’s Ark, and that they took up less than half the available space. When we do the math, we find no rational objection to Noah’s ark.
The goal here is not to defend or demonstrate each of these aspects of biblical creation, but merely to state them in order to avoid confusion. If we are to have rational dialog with those from other perspectives, it is imperative that we at least understand both positions. Most creationists have attended public schools where they have had Darwinian evolution crammed down their throats since kindergarten. Then they go home and are taught evolution on the television and at the movies and in books and so on. Needless to say, most creationists are very familiar with Darwinian evolution. But the reverse is not usually the case. Evolutionists are rarely familiar with what creationist actually teach, though they have likely heard misrepresentations of what creationists teach. This article serves as a starting point to clear up the confusion.
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