John B. Wilson
Much has been preached and written on the first chapter of Genesis by men who are more qualified than I, and are much better known. However, the controversy seems to be growing rather than abating.
Some think the days described in Genesis one may not be seven consecutive twenty-four hour days. They try to reconcile creation with current scientific conjecture. Paul warned us that having this much unquestioning faith in science is a dangerous road to travel (1 Timothy 6:20-21). With all the conflicting teaching, I know of no one who does not believe that God has the power to have accomplished the creation in six literal, twenty-four hour days. Those who find problems with the literal days say other scriptures make it improbable, if not impossible, for the creation to have occurred in six literal days (God resting on the seventh). They attempt to reconcile the discrepancy by saying that even if each item of God's creation had been in an embryonic, or youthful, state and then allowed to mature (evolve) until time for the next day's creation, it would still have been God doing the work - part miraculously, and part through his laws of providence. If we but give him the credit, he will not mind what we believe (has a familiar ring, doesn't it?). Of course, since creation was not completed until after the sixth day, all his providential laws would not have been enacted and in force on day one, two, three in fact until all creation was complete. Even without all his natural laws being in force, this maturing, or evolving, still occurred and could have taken thousands or millions of years.
Isn't this limiting God to man's idea of what is probable, or possible (Mark 10:27)? This reasoning has many fatal flaws. With this article, I would like to focus on some thoughts that I have never heard expressed.
God's revelation to man was not in concept, where man could write it down in his own words, using his own reasoning (1 Corinthians 2:12-13), but the Holy Spirit revealed the exact words he wanted written down (2 Peter 1:20-21). God has always said exactly what he meant, and meant exactly what he said; his revelations do not have multiple meanings. When he described the week of creation it was not a multiple choice description. He was describing either seven consecutive twenty-four hour days; seven twenty-four hour days separated by long periods; or the days were not literal, but figurative.
By man's reasoning we are allowed to select whichever one pleases us, and still be pleasing to God. What has God had to say about this type of reasoning? God command Saul to go and smite Amalek, and destroy "all" that they have (1 Samuel 15:1-3). Saul, in his wisdom, knew that when God said "all" he surely didn't mean all those wonderful Amalekite animals, because they would make great sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:9). After all, did not God require sacrifices? That would be such a waste of sacrifices, just to kill them. Logically, to save and sacrifice these animals was what God meant. Saul convinced himself that he had really obeyed God (1 Samuel 15:13). God reminded Saul, through Samuel, that when he said "all" he was not giving Saul a choice of beliefs, and thus actions (1 Samuel 15:14). He really meant "all" (1 Samuel 15:22). Saul lost his kingdom for his wisdom (1 Samuel 15:26). It appears God is very jealous about how we believe what he says.
Moses is another prime example of someone who believed in God (Hebrews 11:6). He had the kind of faith in God that caused him to choose affliction with Gods people rather than be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter (Hebrews 11:24-25). This caused him to flee the country for fear of his life (Exodus 2:15). After forty years, his belief in God was strong enough that he risked his life and went back to Egypt just because God told him to (Exodus 3:10; 4:20). His next forty years is a textbook on what a faithful servant of God should be, in thought and action.
All this, and yet he was not allowed to enter the promised land. Why? The same reason that is dividing the Lord's church today, setting brother against brother. Refusing to believe what the Lord says. In Numbers the 20th chapter, God told Moses to speak to the rock and water would come forth (Numbers 20:8). Did Moses believe God had the power to perform this miracle? Obviously he did, because he gathered the people together (Numbers 20:10). Did Moses think that he, Moses, had power to cause water to come forth? I don't really think so. Yet, he said "...must we fetch you water out of this rock?" God responded by telling Moses and Aaron "...Because ye believed me not..." they would not be allowed to lead the Israelites into the promised land (Numbers 20:12). What did God tell Moses he did not believe? He told Moses that although he believed God had power to bring forth water, demonstrated that belief by gathering the people together and even producing the water, he did not give God the entire credit. When Moses said "we" he did not set God apart as the only source of the water. Moses knew God had the power to produce water from that rock, and he further knew that God was the one who actually produced the water, but he did not tell the people that. The simple little word "we" that he used did not "...sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel..." (Numbers 20:12) but rather left the thought that Moses and Aaron produced the water; or the water came forth from the rock by some natural process as a result of the action of Moses and Aaron; or maybe some may have even thought God had some part in the event. His not correctly telling the people that only God was responsible for the water was counted to Moses as unbelief.
I see no difference in Moses here and those who will not accept God's account of creation, by saying "it could be any of several ways". God's creation was not done in several ways, therefore, we cannot choose any way that satisfies us and still be right in God's eyes. It was done one way, and only one way; to say otherwise is to refuse to sanctify God in the eyes of man. To say it doesn't matter if we say the days of creation were figurative, or there were periods of time between the days, because God did it and that is all that is important, is the same as saying, "Well, God was the one who brought forth water from the rock, and that is all that was important". I think Moses would disagree with you. To stand in judgment and say "but I thought..." will garner the same response that some religious people who believed in God received in Matthew 7:21-23 - "depart from me ye that work iniquity".