Sometimes God wants us to get out of our comfort zone. Well, let me tell you, getting up to speak to any kind of group is not what I would call being in my comfort zone. But I do believe that the Living God is calling me to share these things with you.
What I want to share with you involves what God has done in my heart during the last 10 years. When I was trying to put this talk together, I kept asking myself “How am I going to fit the last two and a half years of study into 25 minutes?”
I will tell you truthfully that I read more books in the last 10 years than I did during the first 46. Also, if I get a little animated about what I believe to be the truth of God’s Word, please understand that I have become passionate about the Bible and the proper understanding of it.
I want to get started, but first let me ask you a few questions.
How does the mainstream liberal medium treat Republicans?
How about Christians?
How about Fundamentalist Christians?
What about Creationists?
Can we accept their analyses of these people at face value?
No, there is a huge bias against anything Christian or Republican for that matter. Basically, we cannot trust the media to tell the truth concerning issues that go against their worldview. That being said, let me get started.
I was at a Crisis Pregnancy Center Dessert Reception on September 12, 2003. Ryan Dobson, the son of James and Shirley Dobson, spoke. He delivered a very powerful message supporting the ministry of CPC. The brochure accompanying the reception stated that Ryan Dobson “is articulate, animated, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Well, he does challenge the status quo and I also want to challenge you! I want to challenge you to look at God’s Word, study it, analyze it, pray over it, and believe it. Most of us would say, “Of course I believe God’s Word”. Two and a half years ago I would have told you the same thing. But did I really believe what the Bible plainly teaches about creation? I will tell you, “No, I did not”!
What event took place 2-1/2 years ago that changed my life? Polly, our two sons Stephen and Daniel, and I went to a Worldview Weekend at a church in
Most of his presentation centered on refuting evolution. He also said that the Noachian flood provided the sedimentary rock layers. Therefore the evidence that evolutionists have for long ages in those sedimentary rock layers is incorrect. These statements intrigued me. I wanted to learn more. I remember thinking that “If only science could support a young earth, I would believe the Bible in this area.” I think back now and ask “What was I thinking? I am a Christian: I should be saying The Bible is true, therefore, science will eventually catch up to what the Bible says”. Well, that led me on a journey of a lifetime.
I did not know it then, but up until that time, I was a progressive creationist. That is a concise way of saying that I accepted the evolutionary timetable for the age of the universe and the age of the earth, but I believed that, throughout history, God intervened periodically, to create the living systems we see today. So, you see, I did not believe in evolution, but accepted the evolutionary timetable. Let me ask you, “Why would someone who did not believe in evolution arbitrarily accept the timeframe required by evolutionists to assist them in their hypothesis?” It just doesn’t make sense.
Beliefs about Origins
Generally, beliefs about origins fall into four categories; evolution, theistic evolution, progressive creation and creation.
The evolutionist believes that only natural causes produced the universe and life. The universe came into existence about 15 billion years ago, the earth about 4.5 billion years ago, and life started to evolve about 3 billion years ago with mankind evolving about 1 to 3 million years ago. Humans looking like us existed about 160,000 years ago.
The theistic evolutionist believes that God used evolution to produce the universe and life. The timetable for these things is the same as the evolutionist.
The progressive creationist believes that God intervened periodically, to create the universe and the living systems we see today. The timetable for these things is, also, the same as the evolutionist.
The creationist believes that, in accordance with the straightforward reading of the Bible, God created the universe and the earth and everything in it in 6 normal days about 6,000 years ago.
I purchased a book called Darwin’s Leap of Faith by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. The information contained in this book clearly defeats evolutionism in several ways; information theory, irreducible complexity, biogenesis, probability, the second law of thermodynamics, the fossil record, logic and others. Reading this book was just the beginning of my journey. The consistent tone of the book is that evolutionists conclude “Time, chance and natural laws produced all that we see” despite the evidence while those who believe in God look at that same evidence and conclude that only God could have created the things that we see. The evolutionist cannot allow God into the picture and, therefore, is forced into a very tenuous position.
Let me give you an example of two people looking at the same thing and coming to two very different conclusions. Two people walk up to the edge of the
Reasons for Believing in Progressive Creation
Why did I believe in progressive creation?
1. Science was telling me that the universe is 15 billion years old. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Although the evolutionist says that humans evolved slowly and gradually over the last 3 billion years, the transitional fossils are nowhere to be found, except for a few disputable ones. So, I believed God’s Word when it said that He created all living things according to their various kinds. That wording is used ten times in Genesis Chapter One.
2. The Bible says that a day is like a thousand years. So why couldn’t the 6 days in Genesis be millions or billions of years?
Well, at the time I was naïve and ignorant, both of good science and of the Bible. What reasons does science have for making the claims for the age of the universe? Evolutionary scientists need billions of years to allow for evolution to take place. Actually they need much, much longer than that.
Let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about creation. But first I want to evaluate the verse to which I just alluded - 2 Peter 3:8. I hung on this verse to support my understanding of the universe. However, I never bothered to read this verse in context. The third chapter of 2 Peter is titled in the NIV as “The Day of the Lord”. In the NAS, starting in verse 3 the title is “The Coming Day of the Lord”. Verse 10 starts as “A New Heaven and Earth”. That should give us a hint as to what these verses relate.
2 PE 3:7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
Verse 8 clearly is not meant to redefine the meaning of the word “day”. It is wrapped in paragraphs that discuss the end times, not creation. Verse 8 is also the beginning of a paragraph. As such, its intent is to be the topic sentence. The rest of the paragraph, in this case verse 9, describes the topic sentence. The straightforward understanding of verse 9 is that in our thinking about when Jesus returns it may be a long time, however, in God’s timetable, it isn’t a long time and God wants everyone to come to repentance before Jesus returns to judge the world. Verse 8 does not define the word “day”. The verse explains that God is outside of time.
Hermeneutics is the science and methodology of interpretation, especially of Scriptural text.
“… the goal of interpretation is not to come up with the most unique interpretation (unique interpretations are usually wrong), but to discover the original intended meaning of a passage – the way the original audience understood it. The task of discovering the original intended meaning is called exegesis.” Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc (Hons)
Also the AMIA , in their “The Solemn Declaration, Proposed Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Mission in
When we do exegesis of the word “day” we discover that it could mean several things. Day could mean the daylight portion of a day. It could also mean a 24-hour period. It could also mean a certain period of time such as “in my father’s day”. However, when we look at what it means in relation to other words such as morning, evening or number we find that the word “day” has only one meaning – a 24-hour period. If you notice how day is used in Genesis chapter one, you will find that each time that the word “day” is used, at all six days of creation; evening, morning and number are also used. Therefore, in the process of using Scripture to interpret Scripture, there is only one way to understand the six days of creation. These six days are six normal 24-hour days.
Genesis Chapter One tells in a most straightforward way that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six normal days, resting on the seventh. Since Scripture cannot deny itself, let’s check other verses in the Bible that support the straightforward or plain understanding of the word “day”. (Exodus 20:8-11),
EXO 20:8 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
The fourth commandment also tells us that the reason we are to work six days and rest one day is because God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days and rested on the seventh. Also, Exodus 31:14-17
EXO 31:14 'Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 'For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. 16 'So the sons of
tells us that the reason we are to work six days and rest one day is because God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days and rested on the seventh. This is why we have our seven-day week. Therefore, three times (Genesis chapter one, Exodus 20:8-11, and Exodus 31:14-17) God tells us in a most straightforward way that He created everything that we see in six normal days. If they weren’t ordinary days we wouldn’t have a basis for our seven-day week. If they were billions of years, would we be in the middle of a billion-year rest? He clearly and plainly tells us that His six days of work with a single day of rest is to be a model for us.
Let’s look at the word “day” another way. Are there words God could have used for long periods of time? Yes, there are. There are at least seven Hebrew words or phrases that God could have used for long periods of time. If these words were available and God intended for us to understand that He created the universe and the earth eons ago, then why didn’t He use these others words which mean long periods of time? The bottom line is that God chose the words He wanted to use. He chose the word day because He meant an ordinary day.
Are there other scriptures that would lead us to believe that God did not intend for us to extrapolate 6 days into 15 billion years? Yes, there are. In Matthew 19:4 Jesus was talking about divorce when He stated
“Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?”
Also, in Mark 10:6 Jesus replied
“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.”
There are also several verses that in God’s Word where Jesus, Luke, Paul, and Peter specifically mention the people identified in Genesis as real people. The reason that I mention this is because a great many people charge that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are an allegory. If these chapters are allegory, then the people were not real people. It is interesting to note that the Smithsonian in
MAT 23:35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 24:37 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
LUK 3:36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.'
17:26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
HEB 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
1PE 3:20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
2PE 2:5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Now why would I even mention this? Because based on the account in the Bible of the ages of individuals when their children were born, there were 1656 years between Adam’s creation and the flood. There were about 2320 years between the flood and the birth of Jesus. There have been about 2000 years since Jesus birth to today. When you add this up you get about 6000 years. According to paleontologists, the bones of men who look like us have been dated at 160,000 years old. Did God produce humans for 154,000 years before He gave them a soul? I don’t think so, but that is what the progressive creationists believe. It would not be in God’s character to do that. Based on the evolutionary time scale, why would God wait 15 billion years to produce mankind if that was His goal? Or are we what evolutionists would call just a bunch of random, chance processes coming together?
Implications of Believing in an Old Earth
Most everyone who believes in an old earth assume that the sedimentary layers provide evidence of the long ages.
A. Therefore the billions of dead fossils found in these layers occurred prior to God’s creation of Adam and Eve. But the Bible tells us in Genesis 1:31 that at the end of the sixth day of creation all He had made was very good. Those who are Christians and still believe in an old earth have to conclude that God considers pain, suffering, death, and cancer in animals very good. Yes, cancer is found in the fossil record. I frankly do not believe that God’s character would allow Him to call these things good, especially when Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, calls the last enemy death (1 Cor 15:26).
B. The clear understanding from the Bible is that sin caused pain, suffering, and death, both physical and spiritual. It wasn’t until Adam and Eve sinned against God that God cursed the serpent and the ground. He also told Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. Now based on the references to this part of Genesis in the New Testament (1Cor 15:20-26 and Rom 5:12) this death was not just spiritual death but physical death as well. If pain, suffering, and death all occur prior to sin, then sin is not responsible for any of these things. So the need for a savior to set us free from the power of sin goes away. After all, Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin in our lives.
C. A third consequence of believing that the earth is billions of years old is that the Noachian flood was not global. This is the conclusion of Hugh Ross, a progressive creationist. The reason for this conclusion is that if the sedimentary layers indicate an old earth, then there is no evidence of a worldwide flood. Therefore the flood of Noah’s time had to be local, not global. To the six day, young earth creationist, however, the sedimentary layers clearly show that a global flood occurred. This flood, which lasted over one year and covered all the high mountains, caused a transformation of the earth, giving us coal, oil, natural gas, billions of fossils, and a new topography with thousands of feet of sedimentary rock.
Now, let’s move on to science.
Study of Origins
The study of origins requires making assumptions. I say that because no human was there to see it and record it. So, the Bible believing Christian assumes that God’s Word tells about the origin of the universe. Science by dictionary definition is the “observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena”. The naturalist scientist redefines science to mean that only natural laws can explain natural phenomena. He or she believes that only natural laws can cause the world that we live in. This is the view that the media gives.
Let me talk about two different dating methods: radioisotopic and radiocarbon. The radioisotopic dating method involves precise measurements of radioactive isotopes in the rock. Examples of these methods would be uranium-lead, potassium-argon, and rubidium-strontium. The radiocarbon dating method involves measuring the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12. But just what assumptions have to be made to come up with the dates and how accurate are these dating methods?
Every dating method for evaluating the age of anything prior to recorded history requires making assumptions. The assumptions required for radioisotopic dating include
1. The rate of decay of the radioactive element is constant under any and all conditions to which it would have been subject during its existence.
2. Neither the parent nor the daughter concentrations in the rock have been altered over time.
3. Initially, there are known quantities of daughter elements associated with the radioactive element (usually this value is assumed to be zero).
4. One can accurately measure the amount of parent and daughter concentrations in the rock.
Some of these assumptions may be reasonable while others may not be. The radiocarbon dating method is based on similar assumptions. I guess the bottom line is “how accurate are these dating methods?
I would like to give you an example. Some miners found some charred wood below a lava flow in a ventilation shaft in
New lava rock formed within ten years after
Some people may also have a problem with starlight and the time frame for allowing starlight to get from the stars, some of which are 13 billion light-years away. There are, however, creationist cosmologies out there that account for starlight travel to earth. One of the latest is by Dr. Russell Humphries. He uses Einstein’s general theory of relativity. See his book and video “Starlight and Time”. Another creationist cosmology is identified in Dr. John Hartnett’s book and video, “Starlight, Time and the New Physics.” But let me ask you another question. Does science know everything? ROM 11:33 O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and unfathomable his ways! Just because I don’t understand how God did something does not mean I should not believe it.
Evidence for a Young Earth
There are a great many other ways to calculate the age of the earth or the universe. Please see the booklet “Evidence for a Young Earth” which shows several reasons why one should believe that the earth is young. The book “In Six Days” lists 50 Ph.D. scientists and gives their reasons for believing God’s Word is true, especially concerning a young earth.
I have used a number of resources to obtain the information that I have gathered over the past seven years. The Institute for Creation Research (icr.org), Creation Ministries International (creation.org) and Answers in Genesis (answersingenesis.org) have been my three greatest resources. Another resource is Christian Answers Network (christiananswers.net).
God has given these ministries a phenomenally powerful message for the church and world—the Bible is true from the beginning. God’s Word is authoritative and its history and its science can be trusted in every area. So the morality and salvation message of the Bible are also true!
Ron Bessette is a native of Randolph, MA, a suburb of Boston. He went to Northeastern University and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1977. He came to Virginia and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1979.