A youngster asked this question recently at Vacation Bible School. The teacher passed it along to us along with the follow-up question: Was the creation seven days or over a long period of time? The short answer to both these questions is simple; we don’t know.
God created everything out of nothing. That is a concept that our brains can’t conceive. In the same way, God is eternal, with no beginning and no end. That’s another idea that is beyond our ability to truly grasp. So when trying to answer these questions we need to make some human assumptions. First, we must look at the Bible, God’s inspired word sent to man to help humankind understand God and the world he created. Second, we should take a look at what scientists have to say, because if God created man in his image, he gave man the ability to think and reason. He made man to be in communion with God, so asking and answering questions is a Godly pursuit.
So what does the Bible say about creation?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
In these opening words of the Bible, both questions are answered. When did God create the earth and the universe? The answer is “in the beginning.” At some point in eternity God decided to change what was and create something new. He communicated this idea to men who wrote down, as best they understood, what God was telling them. In the first chapter of Genesis, the creation story was told in poetry so we understand the sequence of the creative process, a process culminating in God’s greatest creation, men and women.
In the opening five verses of Genesis, God answers the second question posed by the student in VBS: Was the creation seven days or over a long period of time? God inspired a writer, generally believed to be Moses, to explain the creative process in terms of days. In this writing, there were six days of creation and a seventh set aside for rest. Obviously, if God is all-powerful, he didn’t need rest as we think of it. So why is creation described as a 6-day process? God answers that in the fourth of what we call the 10 Commandments.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Remember, God’s idea of time differs radically from ours. His has no beginning and no end. So he gave man the idea of time to measure his days and years and to help us understand the world around us. Throughout the Bible we see seven as a description of perfection. In using seven days to describe the creation, God is saying that his creation was perfect. That is a qualitative, not a quantitative assertion. The Genesis account of creation is not scientific, but poetic and should be read as such. But, should we dismiss the idea that God created everything in the course of six earthly days? Not if we truly believe that God is all-powerful. However, we could ask why an all-powerful God needed six full days to create everything. Why not one day, or one hour, or one minute?
Now let’s look at what most scientists say about the “beginning.” They point to evidence in the speed in which the universe is expanding to suggest that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. They use other measuring tools to calculate the age of the earth at 4.5 billion years. But they can never explain the source of all the energy and mass that comprise the universe.
Other scientists adhere closely to clues in the Bible to advocate for a much younger earth and to mankind’s existence that spans thousands of years, not tens or hundreds of thousands. Unlike those who contend that every living plant and animal evolved over millions of years, scientists who espouse a theory of intelligent design point out many examples in creation of species that have no link to “forebears.” They also point to the complete lack of “missing links” that undermine evolutionary theory.
This is why our answer to the two questions posed by that student at Vacation Bible School is, we don’t know.
However, what we do know is that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. He created men and women, made them in his image and wanted to enjoy fellowship with his most important creation. However, when humans turned their backs on their creator (this turning away is known as sin), rather than rejecting them totally, God set in motion a plan of redemption–an incredible plan to take away the sins of everyone past present and future. That plan included allowing his son, Jesus, to come to earth and to die in our place in order for us to be brought back into fellowship with God.
We don’t know exactly when he created it, but God created a perfect world and one day he will return to restore that perfection. When he does, there will be a reckoning because sin cannot coexist with perfection. Are you prepared to have an encounter with the creator of everything? If not, you may want to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?
Image by Dr StClaire from Pixabay
A worldview is “any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and the relationship of people to God and the world.” That definition is provided by Summit Ministries, an organization that is equipping and supporting rising generations to embrace God’s Truth and a Christian worldview.
We all have a worldview, even if unconsciously and without formally articulating it. It is our take on the nature of the world, like a lens through which we view and try to comprehend life. If the lens is faulty, if the prescription is wrong, our view of the world will be faulty and blurry. Such an uninformed and out of focus view will lead to poor decisions, bad behavior, and an unfulfilling life. The prophet Hosea warns, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
A Christian worldview is based on seeing and interpreting life through the lens of God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. That truth begins with God who predates Creation as we know it. “In the beginning, God…” (Genesis 1:1)
A Biblical worldview pronounces that we are loved by God, made in His image, and created for eternal life, while also acknowledging our sinful human nature. The Bible is the Christian’s constant point of reference with rules and wisdom to live by. When we fail to live up to God’s holy standards, we learn in the Bible that God offers us redemption and a path to eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Worldviews in conflict with Christianity begin with ‘in the beginning, no God.’ For them, there is no divine image in which we are made; instead, we are seen as no different from the animals, a random, evolutionary product of time plus chance. They acknowledge no divine truth to serve as a guide for our lives, and no such thing as eternal life, which we will spend in heaven or hell. They assume that human nature is good, not sinful, and thus not in need of a redeemer. Whereas the Psalmist proclaims, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:6) The atheist worldview believes, “the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
Many non-Christian worldviews, ideologies known as “-isms,” are not only different from but also hostile to the Christian view. Some of the best known are Secular Humanism, Materialism, Naturalism, Marxism/Communism, and Postmodernism. Christians must study the Bible to understand their own worldview, and they need to become acquainted with the ideologies that are determined to replace it. How will you respond to the challenge presented by Joshua (24:15)? “Choose this day whom you will serve, . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Let’s begin answering this three-part question by defining truth. Truth is an assertion that can be proven through measurement. It is true, for example, that a cup can hold tea. We can prove the assertion by pouring tea into a cup and noting that it stays in the cup. Truth can also be an assertion or belief that cannot be falsified or one that is supported by a preponderance of evidence. Though no one living has seen or talked with Julius Caeser, we accept as true that he lived, ruled and was murdered because we have copies of writings of people who lived at the time of Caeser. In the same way, we know about Jesus of Nazareth because of the written and oral testimony of his contemporaries.
Finding truth can be a bit more complex especially as it relates to the great questions about life and death, why we can think and feel and love and communicate, and why the world is as it is. We’re going to present several ways that you can begin to understand some of the greatest truths in the universe. Let’s begin with nature.
God uses creation to reveal two basic truths: 1) that there is a God; and 2)that He is all powerful. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul, an apostle of Jesus, wrote: “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20). He’s saying that there any observer of nature can plainly see that only God–a brilliant designer and all-powerful builder could have created it. PauI also explained that some people chose not to accept this basic truth and will “[change] the truth of God into a lie.” Romans 1:18, 26. And for that, there will be harsh consequences.
Of course, the primary way to find God’s truth is by reading the Bible. However, God is a concealer as we learn from conveyor of wisdom who penned these words more than 2500 years ago: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Prov. 25:2) Why would he do that? Typically, the truth is concealed from those persons who don’t want to listen to the truth and have hardened their hearts against it. For example, parables were used by Jesus, the Christ (Messiah or Anointed One) for the purpose of concealing truth and preventing understanding. (Matt. 13:13-15.) So, the best way to find truth is to allow the Holy Spirit to teach it to you.
The Holy Spirit will “guide” you into all truth. (John 15:26, 16:13 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father even the Spirit of truth …When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” His guidance is not only as to Biblical truth, but to all truth. If something is true, he will reveal it to you as being true. If something is false, he will show you that it is not true. Quietly listening to this Holy Spirit, who dwells within those who are God’s children, often brings to mind the very truths for which we are searching.
Are there objective truths? Yes. Objective truth is factual. It matches up with reality. For example, the Bible explains the location of God’s temple at the time of Christ, to be in Jerusalem. That is factual. The law of gravity is objective Truth. It is not dependent on subjective opinion. There can only be one objective truth. It can’t be “your truth” vs. “my truth.” Subjective truth, on the other hand, is rooted in the opinions of each individual and therefore may not be truth at all.
For a believer who wants to know God’s truth, he or she should start with the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 documents or books written through the divine inspiration of God over the course of 1500 years and preserved and translated in most of the world’s languages. Asking the Holy Spirit to open up one’s spiritual eyes, a believer will discover that Bible contains wisdom for living and an understanding of the promise of eternal life with God once he or she experiences physical death.
A believer will discover that Biblical truth is best revealed when he or she:
1.) Is spiritually healthy with no unconfessed sin;
2.) Has, to the best of his or her ability, put aside evil practices, 1Peter 2:1-2; Eph. 4:31; and Col.3:8-9; 3.)
3.) Reads with a desire to do so in order to grow up spiritually, 1Tim. 2:1; the Bible is the believer’s spiritual food: bread (Matt. 4:4), apples (Prov. 25:11), honey (Ps.19:10), meat (Heb. 5:12) and milk (1Pet. 2:2) .
4.) Prays for understanding, Ps. 119:18, 34;
5.) Trusts God to give understanding, Prov. 22:17-21 “ … written to thee … that I might make known the certainty of the Words of truth.”
6.) Believes what is read, Ps.119:160;
7.) Approaches the Word with humility;
8.) Does not try to change what is read; For example, don’t add words to the scripture, don’t leave out words, and stay in the context;
9.) Meditates on it, think on it, day and night, Ps. 1:2, Ps. 119:15; 10.) Study it, 2Tim. 2:15; and 11.) Find from the Word itself how to understand it;
a. By comparing spiritual ideas, 1Cor. 2:12-13;
b. By dividing the Word into separate parts for further understanding, 2Tim. 2:15;
c. By determining who is speaking; for example, in the Psalms we see David speaking for himself and then David switches to speaking for the Lord, Ps. 18:20, 22-25; and
d. By studying similitudes (similarities, likeness, resemblance), Hosea 12:10; by studying contrasts (differences), Amos 3:3 .
God’s Truths are factual and match up with reality. Creation is one of the greatest truths of the Bible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis1 and Romans 1:20) In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In this case the Word refers to Jesus (John 1:1). Finally, Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father but by me.” Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus? If not, why not? He is the only way to eternal life and His Word is Truth, God’s Truth. Today is the day of decision .