Modernism in Bible Class Literature (III)

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

In this series of articles we have been reviewing some statements found in a High School class book, GENESIS AND MY LIFE, which is published by the Sweet Publishing company of Austin, Texas. This book is a part of THE LIVING WORD series, and is a study on the book of Genesis.

There is much material in this book that tends to lend plausibility to the theory of theistic evolution. In this article we mainly want to study what this Sweet publication says about the "days" of creation.

Geological Eras

For years evolutionary scientists of all kinds have sought to discover great periods of time in the Biblical chronology so as to allow sufficient time for evolution to occur by natural processes. It is true that the Sweet company writer held no philosophical presupposition which necessitated these gigantic periods of time. In fact, the author said, "The important point is that God could have done the entire job in 24 seconds or 24 minutes." This concession is certainly to the author's credit.

When one reads the Bible statement, "Let there be light: and there was light," there is no intimation that the light became a reality a geological era after God said "Let there be light" "Instead, the Bible says, "he spake, and it was done" (Ps. 33:9).

But evolutionists of every hue have fought valiantly to try to prove there were great eras of time so that God would have enough time to create by the process of evolution.

Concessions Made

Evolutionists will not now have to try to prove there were such long periods of time available. The Sweet company author virtually admits it. In fact, the inference is that great periods of time may have been consumed in divine creation. Yet your Bible says, "for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day" (Ex. 20: 11).

But what does the Sweet company literature say? Listen to this High School Teacher-Student manual: "The length of these days of creation has caused much discussion. By all the rules of Biblical language there seems to be no reason to insist that the days were 24 hours periods. Whether He did it in 6 days of 24 hours, or 2400 billion years is relatively unimportant. The important truth is this: God created. One's piety is not affected by his view of the length of the creation days." Again this Bible class book says, "It is pure speculation to insist that these 'days' had or did not have equal length."

In one of the discussion sections of the lesson, the author introduces a fictional "Mary Ellen" who "In all her sixteen years ... had never had any doubts about the Bible and God. Why should they start now? The story of creation had seemed so simple. Approximately 6,000 years ago God created everything. She had no reason to think differently."

"But now, her science teacher was teaching that the earth was much older than that. And he offered some convincing proof. If she couldn't believe the Bible, if it made serious mistakes in the very first chapter, how could she believe any of it?"

Now I do not know about the rest of you parents, but I would just as soon my four children have their faith undermined by an atheistic evolutionist as by a theistic evolutionist.

The Sweet company writer does not come out overtly and affirm theistic evolution, but lie grants the necessary presuppositions, lie says, "The continents are formed by the Word of God. We do not know, from these verses, what method God used or how long the oceans and continents were in forming." Any theistic evolutionist would agree 100 percent!

The Day-Age Theory

Brethren, the day-age theory is not an innocent little speculation. It is an essential ingredient of evolution, and the Sweet company not only does not combat it, but its literature even teaches it. All the quotations in these three articles have come out of one lesson in one book in THE LIVING WORD series. Are churches actually going to buy this literature and pay to have the faith of their youth wrecked? Apparently so, for the Sweet Company has built a successful business out of trafficking in such infidelity.

GENESIS FOR MY LIFE says that "By all the rules of Biblical language there seems to be no reason to insist that the 'days' were 24 hour periods" I could not detect just who the author of GENESIS FOR MY LIFE was, but I think that someone should remove his (or her) anonymity, and let us know just who this hermeneutical wizard is.

It just so happens that there are some rather respectable commentators who think there is hermeneutical basis for insisting that "the 'days' were 24 hour periods" For instance, many preachers have purchased the set of commentaries published by the Baker Publishing Company that we commonly call "Barnes' Notes." It happens, however, that Dr. H. C. Leupold (Professor of Old Testament Exegesis in Capital University Seminary, Columbus, Ohio) authored the two volumes on Genesis. Dr. Leupold said," 'Day' over against 'night' must refer to the light part of the day, roughly a twelve hour period. When the verse concludes with the statement that the first 'day' (Hebrew word YOM---cw) is concluded, the term must mean a twenty-four hour period" (EXPOSITION OF GENESIS, Vol. I, p. 56).

Furthermore, the Hebrew word (YOM) which is translated "day" occurs 1480 times in the Old Testament. In 1181 of these instances it is translated "day." Admittedly the expression, "the day of the Lord." Harry Rimmer said, "since in the over whelming majority of cases this word is translated by the English equivalent of 'day', this translation must be accepted in every case that is not otherwise demanded by the context" (MODERN SCIENCE AND THE GENESIS RECORD, pp. 12, 13).

There are several other good reasons, which I do not here have time to discuss, for concluding that "day" refers to an ordinary twenty-four hour period consisting of "evening" and "morning." With a little prodding however, we might even write an article on that point, if it would do some good and someone would like to see an article on it.


However, one wonders why anyone would conclude that the "day" in Genesis Chapter 1 is any different from any other day. Why would one suppose that "day" in Genesis 1 meant 250,000 years? Why would one suppose "day" meant a geological era? I never heard of but one reason for so doing, and that was to try to find time for evolution to have occurred. Indeed, it astonishes one to find his brethren in Christ using this infidelish ruse.

Dr. Henry Morris recently said: "THE DAY-AGE THEORY IS THUS MERELY A SEMANTIC VARIANT OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION (CREATION RESEARCH QUARTERLY, March, 1969, p. 132) Dr. Morris says that the day-age theory is just another way of saying theistic evolution," and he is exactly right.

This is why it dismays me so to find my own brethren advocating or defending the evolutionary "day-age" theory. But GENESIS FOR MY LIFE is replete with its advocacy, and apparently the brethren are buying it in quantity, for the Sweet Company has every appearance of affluence. Even the Gospel Advocate, which has carried some good articles against evolution, advertises and promotes GENESIS AND MY LIFE (See 1969-1970 Catalog, p. 117).

Such a condition portends personal disaster for many of our youth, and yet another unpleasant battlefield within the church of our Lord.


February 5, 1970