I didn't make many comments on the recent Ham-Nye debate, but it was interesting to follow the aftermath. As you'd expect, few people's minds were changed as a result of this event, and both sides claimed victory.
But I would like to go on record and share my beliefs, and how I got to this point.
As you can see from the title of this post, I do in fact believe that the world was created in six literal 24-hour days. But I haven't always felt that way.
Before I explain more, I'd like to recap a post from Tim Challies, Why I Am A Six-Day Creationist, for the sake of comparison. He says that he has always believed this to be true, and then he explains the three main reasons why:
- The Bible teaches it.
- The writers believed it.
- Science confirms it.
My JourneyUnlike Challies, I didn't always believe this was true. I did not grow up believing that the Bible was completely true, or even somewhat valid on most issues. And even after I became a Christ follower at the age of 19, I still believed that evolution was true and that the universe was old. Really old. After all, this is what I had always been taught in school, and I didn't see any evidence to believe otherwise.
Besides, I didn't want to be one of those "whacky" Christians that turns up their nose towards real science.
But over the next few years, I read a some books on this topic and talked with a few men that I respected who believed that God created the world in six-literal days, including all the kinds of organisms.. These (one was a personal mentor, and one was a PhD chemist) guys seemed normal enough. And what they (and the authors of the books that I read) said made sense.
Funny enough, I went to the opposite end of the spectrum. Following the lead of guys like Ken Ham -- but not the men that I knew personally -- I believed that this was a core issue in my faith, and for the faith of others. I thought that it was impossible for a "real" Christian to believe in evolution, or an old earth. I became a
Then I experienced another transition in my thinking, over years and years. I began to see that this issue is more complex than I realized, and, even more importantly, I began to see that I needed to show more grace on this non-salvation issue.
Where I Am NowSo here's what I think: I believe that the earth is on the magnitude of thousands (not billions) of years old. And I believe that life as we know it today did not arise by a primordial soup and macroevolution (the change from one genus or species to another over a long period of time).
But I also know a lot of strong Christians whom I respect and who are a lot smarter than I am, who don't line up with me on this issue. We have to be gracious and loving to each other, even as we pursue truth together.
Going back to Challies three points above, here is how I would respond:
- I totally agree that the Bible is clear in what it means by "day" in Genesis 1. My biggest thought is, "If God wanted to make it more clear that He created the world in six, 24-hour days, how would He have had that recorded in His Word?" I can't think of how He could have done so.
- I also agree with Challies here, that none of the Biblical writers contradict what Moses wrote in Genesis 1 or Exodus 20:11.
- Here is where I will differ from Challies. From the science that I've studied, I've come to these conclusions:
- There is a bunch of evidence that backs up the claim that the earth is relatively young.
- There is a bunch of evidence that backs up the claim that the earth is very old.
- There are evidences that don't support a young earth.
- There are evidences that don't support an old earth.
You see, perhaps the baseline questions we need to ask aren't Did God make the world, some time ago? or Did the world come about through chance over billions of years? I think better questions to start with are:
- Could there be God who made the world in six literal days?
- Could this world have come to be through random chance?
Let's not rule anything out at the start of our conversations.
"I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God." James Tour, PhD nanoscientist
And even more importantly, let us not forget The Crux of the Matter, when it comes to the Christian faith.
For More ReadingI could write more, but many smarter men have written much more than I ever will on this topic. Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
- Signature in the Cell: A Case for Intelligent Design (from The Gospel Coalition)
- Four Views on the Historical Adam (book review by Challies)
- Darwin's Black Box (Michael Behe)
- The Case for a Creator (Lee Strobel)
- Darwin on Trial (Philip Johnson)
And if you want to read more about what I've written on this topic, check out these posts:
- How Do We Know That God Is Real?
- The Cell and the Origin of Life
- Should Christians Believe in Evolution?
- Science and Magic