As a brief reminder, part one covered the topic of miracles, and part two began the discussion of the first chapter of Genesis. In that second article, we covered the first of two reasons that someone should not reject the whole Bible on the basis of a struggle with Genesis chapter one.
The first reason given was this: A literal understanding of Genesis 1 is not part of the gospel. In other words, some Christians do not take the first chapter of Genesis to be a literal description of the creation of the world over the course of six days, and yet they still believe the gospel. They are followers of Jesus Christ.
That being established, in this final installment, I’d like to still make the case for why a more literal reading of Genesis 1 might make good sense. So, reason number two for not rejecting Jesus because of Genesis 1 is:
There’s a lot that could be said here, but I’m going to try to be brief by just limiting myself to two points:
A. One reason that evolution has been taught so much could be because it is one of the few belief systems that easily allows for people to not have to be accountable to God. I suppose one can be an evolutionist and still believe in God (“theistic evolutionist” is the term for people who believe that God created the world through evolution) but one cannot be an atheist without believing in evolution! Evolution is pretty much necessary for a rejection of theism (belief in a god/deity of some kind.) And if the Bible is correct that mankind is wicked and bent toward rejecting God, it would make sense why this alternative belief would come into existence and then dominate the scientific community.
B. It is possible that God created a world that looks older than it is. I remember once hearing a pastor say that some people practice antiquing (where they take furniture and “distress” it to make it look older than it really is) and similarly, God could have made a world that appears older than its age.
In fact, if God wanted to make a world that is fully-formed and functional on day one, it seems that He almost had to make a world that appears older and more evolved than it actually is. This understanding is sometimes called “apparent age.” Let me sketch it out for you:
- If God wanted to create Adam and Eve as full-grown adults, for the purposes of having a relationship with them, then he couldn’t make them as babies. So, they must have appeared to be 25 years old (or 15 or 35 or whatever) at the time that they were actually one-second old. God did this, not to “trick them,” but because that’s just the nature of making a mature creation.
- Similarly, what if God wanted to create mature, fruit-bearing trees in the Garden of Eden? Would he really have to plant seeds and wait for them to grow? Of course not. However, creating fully mature trees would mean that you’d suddenly have some plants that are 30-feet high, and 5-feet around (maybe with hundreds of tree rings on the inside) when they were only one-second old.
- What about the stars? Imagine that God wanted them to be able to be seen by humanity immediately. Would He be forced to create the stars and then wait the thousands of years that it would take for their light to reach the earth before He made humanity? No. He could make the stars with their light already touching earth, even though that would make them appear (to scientists later in history) to be thousands of years older than they are.
- What if God wanted there to be mountains and canyons? Must he create a river and sit around for two million years while a great canyon forms? Or could he have made canyons that look two millions years old in a second or two?
So, while I’m not dogmatic about this, I still think there are valid reasons to believe in a more literal interpretation of Genesis 1. But as already stated, being a follower of Jesus doesn’t depend on that.
CONCLUSION (TO PARTS 1, 2, AND 3)
Science had not disproven Christianity. If God can raise Jesus from the dead, He can do other, lesser miracles. And in fact, we know that impossible/unexplainable things have already happened. They would have had to happen for the world to even be here. Additionally, a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 need not be an obstacle for someone believing in Christ because, while there are good reasons for taking that chapter literally, a person doesn’t absolutely have to do that in order to follow Jesus.