When God presented the account of how He created the world and universe in the Book of Genesis, He gave an explanation that was straight forward and easy to understand. We, of course have no idea of what processes took place when He spoke or when He stretched His hands. But He gave an account that indicated the work was accomplished in a period of what we know was 6 days. He makes it very clear they are 24 hour days when He gives the 10 Commandments. (Exodus 20:11). It takes no theological training for the average person to see what He is saying. In addition the Bible contains genealogies that run from Adam & Eve to Jesus that allow for the calculation of years since Creation which would put the date at approximately 4000 BC.
However man is never satisfied with a straight forward explanation. His intellect tells him that this is impossible. Even Christians doubt the 6 day account! And to whom do they go to come up with an alternate explanation- atheistic philosophers and scientists. So we have fine Christian men who accept the evolutionary time frames and they pass it on to future generations.
Let’s go back to 1926. The Southern Baptist Convention accepted the declaration that the first chapter of Genesis teaches that man was a special creation of God, and rejects every theory, evolution or other, which teaches that man originated in, or came by way of, a lower animal ancestry.
But hold on! The Reverend R. H. Pitt, revered editor of the Virginia Baptist RELIGIOUS HERALD, leaped in with this statement-“There isn’t an intelligent Baptist 21 years old…who would be willing, if he stopped to think about it, to give his approval of the declaration…that the first chapter of Genesis is literally true. If the first chapters of Genesis are to be taken as literal history, then, of course, the world was made in six days. That is what the record says. No intelligent person in full age in our time believes that the world was made in six days.”
Admittedly, the Virginia Baptist was the most liberal of all Southern Baptist states, but this was out right apostasy. I don’t believe it represented the rank and file of Virginia Baptist, but maybe Rev. Pitt would not include them in the ‘intelligentsia’ for whom he wrote. This was nearly 90 years ago and it’s been downhill ever since.
Let’s move to a more recent Baptist pastor and theologian, the late Dr. Cecil E. Sherman. Dr. Sherman was well respected, was on the boards of Alliance of Baptist, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the first national coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and was a professor at the Richmond Baptist Seminary.
In a sermon at FBC, Ashville, NC, (Jan. 19, 1975) Dr. Sherman said. “Here is what I think: I think the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the way life appeared on this earth….I hold to the theory of evolution for an explanation of the sequences or process by which life came to this planet.” In a 1996 book, DEFINING BAPTIST CONVICTIONS Dr. Sherman, still upholding evolution, said, “Either the Bible was wrong, Darwin was wrong, or there had to be a new reading of the Scriptures.” Dr. Sherman stated most Baptist are not academic; most are not college educated. A very elitist attitude- apparently God is not able to communicate to the unwashed!
What are students and others to think when a distinguished pastor/educator denies the Bible account of Creation?
Let’s look at a current conservative theologian, Dr. R. C. Sproul. In his book NOW, THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION, Dr. Sproul had this to say about the date of creation. Dr. Sproul laughs at the date of 4004 BC. He says “I thought it was funny because there was a man by the name of Archbishop Usher a couple hundred years ago who, in reading the genealogies in the Bible, calculated an average lifespan of all those mentioned in the genealogy and came up with a highly speculative figure of 4004 as the date of Creation …”
The man that Dr. Sproul referred to was Archbishop James Ussher who developed a world history from CREATION to 73 AD. THE ANNALS OF THE WORLD was published in Latin in the 1650s. Ussher did not use ‘average life spans’ but those listed for each person in the Bible genealogy to arrive at the 4004 BC date. Ussher entered Trinity College at age 13, received his master’s degree at 18 and his Doctor of Divinity at 26. He held the highest position of Archbishop of Armagh. The history has been translated in modern English for the first time from the original Latin and is available from Master Books. There is nothing ‘highly speculative’ about Ussher’s calculations. A more recent publication, THE CHRONOLOGY of the OLD TESTMENT by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones arrives at the same date, 4004 BC. The writer of this article has done the calculations coming up with a date of 4112 BC. While the Lord has not given a specific date as He has done for some other events nor has He directed that a date be established, the basic information is available and certainly indicates a very young earth.
Dr. Sproul believes in the 6 day account of Creation and he says evolution is unmitigated nonsense. He states he is neither a young nor old earth proponent. In his recent 2012 National Conference he indicated because of scientific revelations he leaned to an old earth. While not adopting the evolutionary billions of years of history he certainly distances himself from the young earth position. Ironically, his son, Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr. does believe in a young earth position.
Another great Christian, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who believes the Bible is literally true has made the statement as follows: “I’m not sure whether Genesis refers to six 24-hour days or six ‘eons’ or periods of time. For example, a ‘day’ is defined as one revolution of the earth on its axis, with light from the sun shining on the entire sphere in a 24-hour period. But the sun was not created until the fourth day: so was the first ‘day’ really a day? I don’t know.” Dr. Dobson apparently has not given a statement on the age of the earth or whether he believes in the billions of years.
No wonder people find it hard to trust the Bible when fine men like Rev. Pitt and Dr. Sherman, who dismiss the historical account, and Dr. Sproul and Dr. Dobson who cast doubt. The real tragedy is that even conservative pastors have been intimidated and don’t preach what they really believe. Even worst are the Christian College and Seminary science and religious department professors. Everyone knows the public schools and universities agenda is to teach atheistic evolution but you would expect a seminary, a Christian college to be faithful to the biblical account. In a 2011 published account, the America’s Research Group found evidence that vast majority of the seminaries and Christian colleges were already compromised.
Thankfully there are still qualified men with credentials that believe in the literal 6 days of creation that took place 6,000 years ago. A book, IN SIX DAYS, gives the testimony of 50 Christians with a PhD and their detailed, scientific reasons of why they believe in the biblical account.
My take is that more Christian students are eventually compromised in their relationship with the Lord by their teachers and professors who state evolution is a fact. It does not help that many pastors do not seem to have a firm biblical understanding and are in essence compromised themselves.
In the final analysis no one really knows what happened long ago. But the best evidence we have for a six day, young earth is the HOLY BIBLE with its Creation account and the genealogical record. The best evidence for aeon days and old earth is the atheistic evolutionistic claim of billions of years.
Richmond, VA 23225