Does It Really Matter?
Michael L. Vierheller
It feels rather strange among God's people to be considering the matter of the days of creation (literal 24 hr. days) compared to ages of time. Young people have learned for years that God created the earth in six literal days (24 hrs.) and rested on the seventh day. Before I became a Christian and attended a denominational church I learned as a small child that God created the earth in six literal days and rested on the seventh. I am glad that I did not meet any of these day/millions of years brethren when I was learning about the truth of the Bible and obeying the word to become a Christian. Had I heard this kind of nonsense I never would have been persuaded to become a Christian. To top it all off, we have brethren telling us it makes no difference what we believe on this matter.
It is quite clear from the scriptures in three areas of study that it does make a difference what we believe about the days of creation. It also makes a difference in the matter of teaching the gospel to the lost and in fellowship among brethren. These areas of study are faith, the inspiration of the scriptures, and God's testimony of Himself. These are fundamental facts to the Word of God and our salvation and fellowship among brethren. If we cannot speak the same thing on these matters fundamental to the faith then there is no grounds of fellowship. Paul puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 1:10, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." We are commanded to be of the same mind on matters of faith. Those who give uncertain sounds are not to be heeded. "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). Those who give uncertain sounds on the matter of faith will be held accountable for those who follow, ( compare Ezekiel 33: 1-6; & James 3:1).
Most fundamental to the word of God is faith, for without it we cannot be pleasing to God, (Hebrews 11:6). Fellowship among God's people is dependent upon "walking in the light" which is also walking in faith, (1 John 1:7 & 2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is a belief in the unseen, Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Our becoming a child of God depends upon the "evidence of things not seen." We cannot have faith in that which we know to be true, Romans 8:24, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?"
Among one of the reasons used by those holding to the "day/ millions of years theory" is that this makes the creation more acceptable to scientists. However, scientists, as well as every one else are saved by faith, which is a "belief in the unseen". No scientist nor anyone else for that matter can be saved by sight ( that which is known, 2 Corinthians 5:7) but by that which is unseen. Abraham and Sarah were saved by faith not because they knew that Isaac would be born, but because of faith, (Hebrews 11:11). Abraham, by faith offered up Isaac not knowing "by human observation, (empirical evidence)" that he would receive his son back, (Hebrews 11:17).
By faith we believe that God, by His Word, formed the world. Hebrews 11:3, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." We "understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God", by "faith" not by the testimony of scientist nor by the wisdom of men, (read 1 Corinthians 1:18-21). Our belief in the days of creation rests in faith and not in empirical evidence. Notice further from the text of Hebrews 11:3 that the creation was made from the invisible, "the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible". In other words, there was no steaming mass of matter before the creation of the world and universe, it was all created from nothing in six literal (24hrs.) days. Our belief in God is by faith and as the text of Hebrews11:3 says, "By faith we understand", that everything was created in six literal (24 hrs.) days. If we cannot accept this we cannot please God, nor be saved, (Hebrews 11:6). Our source of salvation is dependent upon faith, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). The Hebrew writer says that the creation of the world is by faith and it is by faith that we believe in God not by evidences of science nor any other form of human knowledge. We cannot and must not try to appeal to anyone to be saved by empirical evidence, or by trying to make creation concur with the theories of scientists nor so called intellectuals. We can only offer them the gospel and belief in the "unseen" to produce in them saving faith.
What is hard to believe about this whole matter is that some are willing to throw away faith on the basis of pure human speculation. No scientist nor intellectual can know the age of the earth. The age of the earth is beyond science. Those who consider themselves scientists and tell us that the earth is billions of years old are pseudo scientists. There is no way to measure the age of the earth this side of creation. To measure something we must have a reference point and scientists today were not there by their own reasoning. Anything dealing with the age of the earth is pure speculation. The reason they believe in an old age earth is to prove evolution. Why should anyone make shipwreck of the faith over matters of speculation? Speculation from those who do not believe in God as their starting point cannot at all be believed. Anyone who begins with the premise that there is no God and builds a theory to prove there is no God cannot be believed by any reasonable person. Scientists who believe in the old age of the earth do not look at the evidence to see the truth. They make the evidence mold to their own presuppositions. People do this with the word of God. Should this cause us to change the truth of the scriptures so they can accept the Bible? Maybe some brethren are spending too much time in "the hallowed halls of secular knowledge" and should spend more time teaching the lost and on studying God's Word instead of human speculations.
Now let us go to the subject of the inspiration of the scriptures. The Bible claims to be inspired of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The reliability of the "scripture" is dependent upon this fact. If any of the Bible is not valid as it is written then none of it is true. The Bible is not a book of science, but whenever it gives a fact of science it must be true. If the Bible cannot be trusted in statements of fact where can it be trusted? Contextually Genesis 1&2's account is presented as fact and not as an allegory. It is plainly a statement of fact. God is telling us our origin and that of the universe and all contained therein. Many say that the Bible is hard to understand. However, how could God make clearer our origin than He did in Genesis 1&2? The simplicity of Genesis 1&2 is a testimony of God's great knowledge and His ability to make a complex subject clear enough to be understood by little children. Maybe our educated brethren should become like little children, Matthew 18:3-4. Little children have simple trusting faith. From what motive could someone say that understanding Genesis 1&2 is difficult and we should be tolerant of others views?
Since it is agreed that God created all things, then it must be true that He created time. God, being the creator of time, knows the difference between millions of years and a 24 hour day. It also follows that since He has all knowledge then He knows how to tell us that it took Him millions of years or six 24 hour days. To believe anything else is not to believe and have faith in an all-knowing God, (compare Isaiah 40:21; 41:4,26; 46:10; 48:3,5). The "all-knowing God" would have no difficulty telling us in our own words every detail of creation or a brief detail of the fact that He did it in six 24 hour days. What motive would God have in hiding the fact of millions of years of creation and tell us that it was a 24 hour day? Genesis 1:5, "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." God said a morning and evening, 24 hours by inspiration, and I take Him at His word by faith. Those who do not believe in a 24 hour day are faced with two options; God lied, or He is incapable of revealing His mind to us so we can understand plain stated facts as we have in Genesis 1&2.
Does this have anything to do with our salvation in the church today? You better believe it does. If the Bible is not inspired as it claims and God is not the all knowing God, then there is no truth that we could depend upon for our salvation today. Do we believe that Jesus died for our sins and that He arose again for our salvation? How do we know that apart from revelation? Were we there? Did we see Jesus arise from the dead? Did we see Him ascend into the heavens to sit at His Father's right hand? The answer is no. We believe this by faith and our confidence in God's revelation about these things. If we cannot be confident in God's ability to reveal His acts of creating the earth in six literal days, how can we believe in those things dealing with our salvation revealed in the Bible?
The Bible as we have it today is God¹s testimony of Himself. Deuteronomy 32:4, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He." God's righteousness and all His attributes depend upon His truthfulness in His revelation of Himself. God said six literal days. He did not say millions of years. Psalm 100:5, "For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations." Mercy and truth and God's goodness depend upon God¹s testimony of Himself. God's truth about how He created the earth is true today and will be true throughout all generations. If we cannot believe in God's testimony of His power and ability to create all things, then He is not a God of truth but one of deception.
Paul said in his discourse to unbelievers that in order to become Christians they had to believe in the Bible account of creation. Acts 14:15, "and saying, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.'" Belief in creation and in God's testimony about Himself is necessary for salvation. We serve the true and living God who created the earth in six literal days as He stated Himself in the book of Genesis 1&2. Scientists and everyone else must also believe in this by faith and not by human reason and speculations. Salvation is by faith and the preaching of foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18) to the educated and those who consider themselves to be wise. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." God has already drawn the line of fellowship in this matter. Our faith cannot rest in the wisdom of men but in the "power of God". I am, as many others are, satisfied with only knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified and not knowing the foolishness of those who consider themselves to be the educated class, (1 Corinthians 1:25). To the believer of God this matter cannot be settled by science or human knowledge but by faith. This is a spiritual matter and the "Word Of God" has spoken. In six days (24 hours) God created the earth and rested on the seventh, as Genesis 1&2 states.
The teaching of the earth being created in millions of years instead of six literal (24 hour) days as the Bible teaches is false teaching and will overthrow the faith of many. Some scientists understand that the Bible teaches six literal (24 hour) days and that is one of the reasons they don't believe the Bible. Unbelievers can understand the Bible better on this point of creation than some of our own brethren. This is a serious matter and what makes it even more serious are those who are willing to compromise the Bible on this matter. We need prayer and true study and dialogue on this matter.
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