Posts tagged ‘Genesis’

May 23, 2012

A More Powerful Creation

I have decided that I don’t believe in a young earth.  By this I mean that I do not understand the bible, and in particular the early chapters of Genesis, teaches that the earth was created a few thousand years ago.   I don’t believe that the 7 days in Genesis 1 are twenty four hour periods.  Nor do I believe that they are long periods of time. This is known as the “day-age theory”, which struggles when you have plants appearing on day 3, before the sun appears on day 4!  I simply believe that the creation story is a Holy Spirit inspired story written to teach Israel (and us) important truth about God.

I’ve reached that conclusion after many years of thinking, reading and reflecting.  I think that the author of Genesis is simply not trying to give us a narrative of what happened at creation – they are trying to teach theological truth to the nation of Israel.  Theological truth, as opposed to scientific truth.

So last night I read Genesis 1 again with these conclusions in mind.  I was blown away.  In the past I had read it and wondered how it all fits together, how I am meant to understand it, how it works with what science tells us about our universe.  Those questions were so prominent in my mind that I was losing sight of what the passage tells us about God.  I was focussing on what it tells us about the world, and how it integrates with what we now know about the world.

But when you read it focussing on the theology that it is teaching all of a sudden the focus is on what the focus was always meant to be on – the truth about creation.  What struck me afresh is that God is the creator, there is one God, he made his creation free of sin, He is the one behind all the magnificent variety that we see around us, he put mankind at the pinnacle of his creation, man is the culmination of his creative genius and is above the rest of creation, man is meant to have dominion over the earth, and he rested when he finished.

These are the truths that I believe the author wants us to see.  To communicate those things is, I believe, is why Genesis 1 was written.  When we stop reading it to see how we can win arguments with angry atheists like Richard Dawkins then we are freed to dwell on the truth about God that is revealed to us.

Far from being less powerful if you abandon belief in a young earth, Genesis 1 is more powerful when you place it’s theology where it should be – front and centre.

Perhaps you can believe in a young earth and still focus on the theology of Genesis 1 without being caught up in the creation/evolution debate.  I have found that difficult.  The evolution question hangs over it like a dark cloud.  When you realise that the writer is not fussed about those issues then the cloud lifts and you are free to be impacted by what we learn about our creative God.

A final thought – just because I have decided that I don’t believe in young earth creationism that does not mean that I therefore believe in evolution.  The problems with evolution that Philip E Johnson identifies in “Darwin on Trial” are severe in my mind.  I just think that the author of Genesis is not trying to write something that modern scientists can interact with.  It’s just not that sort of a document.

Thoughts, comments and heated debate welcome!

John

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