Today a debate rages about the question of origins and where creation and humanity came from. Much of the passion that surrounds this question is because the question of origins has implications for everything else. For example, Genesis says that there was a beginning to history which means there will be an end. Genesis says that creation comes from God which means it belongs to God. Genesis says that people come from God which means that people will stand before God in the end.
Within Christianity there had not been a widespread debate on the nature of creation until the sixteenth century. Nor was there much of a debate about the length of the six days of creation until the nineteenth century. This is because if someone simply read the account in Genesis 1–2 and the primary summary accounts throughout the rest of their Bible (e.g., Exodus 20:11; Psalm 136:1–9), they would likely believe that God made creation out of nothing in six literal twenty-four hour days.
But with the rise of modern science and evolutionary theory, the Biblical account of creation came under continual attack, which caused some Christians to seek to reconcile science and Scripture. When done rightly, science simply operates by the order God placed in creation and therefore points back to Him so there is no need to bifurcate science and Scripture. But in an effort to accommodate bad scientific hypothesis that had gained credence, some relatively new interpretations of Genesis 1–2 and views of creation emerged. Today there is a mountain of books written on these issues, some of which I have included in the appendix for further study in addition to some helpful websites on the matter. In this brief book I will seek to briefly address only a handful of the more common questions regarding creation.
Lastly, I would like to stress that Genesis was not written with the intention of being a scientific textbook. Rather, it is a theological narrative written to reveal the God of creation which means its emphasis is on God and not creation. Because of this, Hebrews 11:3 says "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
Genesis is far more concerned with the questions of who made creation, how He made creation, and why He made creation than when He did. Therefore, as Galileo said, the "Holy Ghost intended to teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."
At Mars Hill we want to be clear that there is a distinction between debates within Christian theology and debates that are not Christian. For example, godly Bible-believing and Jesus-loving people can and should graciously debate and discuss what Genesis 1–2 means without viewing one another in the same light as non-Christians who hold to atheistic evolution. This is because there is an enormous difference between discussing what the Bible says and ignoring it altogether. It is in this spirit of loving dialogue about Scripture that I will seek to answer the most common questions about the Genesis creation account. Read More.