The biblical account of creation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. Darwinian evolution gave secularists an excuse to ignore Genesis, and attempts to harmonize the Bible with Darwinian evolution, such as "old-Earth creationism" have only added to the confusion. There are several points, however, that do not add up if the creation account in Genesis 1–11 is not read literally.
What is the importance of biblical creationism?
The first is that it was written literally. Linguistic Hebrew scholars agree that the creation passages were not written as metaphorical poetry, which has its own grammatical make-up, but as historical narrative. Another consideration is that although the Hebrew word for "day" is occasionally used in a figurative manner to indicate a timeframe (see Genesis 2:4-5), the way in which it is used identifies the author's intent. When accompanied by a quantity, such as "six days" or the phrase "morning and evening," as in Genesis 1, it always means the time it takes for the Earth to rotate around its axis.
If this is the case, if Genesis 1–11 was written literally but is incorrect, this sheds doubt on the entire Bible. If Moses got this fundamental principle wrong, then all of his books are suspect. Jesus claimed to use Moses as the authority as to His identity (John 5:46-47). He said those who believed Moses would know who He was. If Moses' writings were faulty, why would Jesus use him as a witness? If Moses was wrong, then Jesus must also be wrong, and Christians are "of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19).
The Genesis creation account is crucial to Christian theology in a really fundamental way. Genesis 1–3 show that at the time of Adam and Eve's creation, there was no sin. No death had entered the world. But if the world had existed for millions of years before Adam, death would have been inevitable—for animals and for the supposed ancestors of mankind. But, if death and sin were a natural part of evolutionary development, then how could God have called the world "very good" (Genesis 1:31)? And if Adam and Eve were the first to sin, then how did sin directly lead to death, as Romans 5:12 clearly states? Adam had to have sinned before the world experienced death.
If he didn't, if death was a normal part of creation and not tainted by sin at all, we have no need of Christ's sacrifice. If death is not related to sin, then death is not an appropriate atonement for sin—and resurrection from the dead is not an indication that the atonement was acceptable.
Without the literal six-day creation account, God created a "very good" world that quickly degenerated into violence and illness naturally, without the curse of sin. Death itself was not a curse or a deviation from God's "very good" world. Without the literal six-day creation, God intentionally included death and violence and sickness in His world. And if death is a natural, "very good," aspect of creation, then we don't need Jesus to save us from it.
The above arguments are directed towards the various types of old-Earth creationists. Those who believe humans came into existence strictly through evolution with no outside assistance paint an even darker picture. With no Creator to give us worth, we have only the worth we take. With no Spirit to give us spark, we have no soul. Love, kindness, hatred, and passion have no meaning. Life has no meaning. Individuals do not matter. Nothing matters.
Fortunately, the Bible says otherwise. The Bible says God the Creator handmade the world and called it very good. It says the first man and woman sinned and brought death into the world. And because one man's sin brought death, another Man's sinlessness, death, and resurrection conquered death for us all (Romans 5:12-15).
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