By Harry Osborne
The biblical account of creation is initially set forth in simple narrative form in Genesis 1-2. The account shows every sign of being an historical narrative to be under- stood in its literal and obvious sense. Dealing fairly with the text itself demands one acknowledge that the first readers would have concluded a simple truth: God created the world and all things in it, including man, over a period of six literal, consecutive days at the beginning of time. However, this article will seek to address the view of the creation presented in other passages of Scripture as the inspired writers look back on the Genesis account of creation. In this way, we can see the divine commentary given to us to aid in properly interpreting this important and fundamental text.
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth . . . (ASV).
The fact that Adam and Eve were created on the same day is here affirmed. Two measures of time, a day and years, are used in the same context. Consistency demands the same rule apply to interpreting both. Was the day actually a long epoch or a literal day? Were the years a period of approximately 365 literal days or a collection of many epochs? Obviously, the literal sense of both “day” and “years” best fits the context.
Exodus 20:9-11; 31:14-17
Each passage views the six days of creation and following day of rest as analogous to the Jews’ six days of work and following day of rest, the Sabbath. The days are analogous in length, order, and function. If they are not meant to suggest such likeness, there would appear no legitimate purpose for the parallel made between them.
By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: He layeth up the deeps in store-houses. Let all the earth fear Jehovah: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (ASV).
God’s power as manifest in creation is the focus of this passage. When God spoke, it was done and stood fast. How could this passage be harmonized with an interpretation of the creation account which holds that God spoke to begin a process that took millions or billions or years to “stabilize” into the form ultimately reached? There is no way to harmonize the two for Psalm 33 is diametrically opposed to such views. Yet, our progressive creationists tell us that when God spoke into existence the heavens and the earth, he actually caused the big bang to take place 15 to 20 billion years ago which finally resulted in the earth forming some 4.5 billion years ago. They tell us that when God spoke light into existence on a first day, it took millions of years for enough cooling and clearing of the atmosphere to take place so that the sun, moon and stars could be seen to have already been made when he spoke to make them on a fourth day. Such interpretations may sprout from a fertile imagination, but they wither away when examined in the light of the plain teaching of Psalm 33.
Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4-6
In answering a question asked by the Pharisees about divorce, Jesus referred them back to the origin of marriage with Adam and Eve. Jesus affirmed, “He which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matt. 19:4, KJV ). The progressive creationist might respond that this refers to the beginning of marriage which may have come millions or billions of years after the beginning of creation. However, the parallel account of Mark 10:6 takes care of that quibble by saying, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” If the progressive creationists are correct, man and woman were brought on the scene much closer to our end of time than the beginning. Again, the interpretation forced on the Bible by Progressive Creationism does not harmonize with other biblical references back to creation. Bert Thompson made the following point in commenting on the same passage:
In this context, there is additional information that should be considered as well. For example, concerning Adam and Eve, Jesus declared: “But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them” (Mark 10:6; cf., Matthew 19:4). Christ thus dates the first humans from the creation week. The Greek word for “beginning” is arche, and is used of “absolute, denoting the beginning of the world and of its history, the beginning of creation.” The word in the Greek for “creation” is ktiseos, and de- notes “the sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, Biblico-Theological Dictionary of New Testament Greek, 1962, 113, 114, 381, emp. in orig.). Unquestionably, then, Jesus placed the first humans at the dawn of creation. To reject this truth, one must contend that: (a) Christ knew the Universe was in existence billions of years before man, but, accommodating Himself to the ignorance of His age, deliberately misrepresented the situation; or (b) The Lord, living in pre-scientific times, was uninformed about the matter (despite the fact that He was there as Creator — Colossians 1:16). Either of these allegations is blasphemous (Thompson, Creation Compromises, 1995, 179).
Other passages could be addressed regarding the issue as well. However, these are sufficient to show that the biblical writers looking back on the creation account took it as a literal statement that God created heaven, earth and all therein in six literal, consecutive days with man’s creation taking place in that beginning of thecreation week. Any conclusion to the contrary needs to deal with these passages as well as Genesis 1 and 2 in order to show from the contexts that such a conclusion is sustained by proper exegesis.