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Creation in Six Days

Tom Pennington • Selected Scriptures

  • 2014-06-29 AM
  • The Distinctives of Countryside Bible Church
  • Sermons

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If you came this morning expecting to continue the journey through the book of Romans, or perhaps you came for the first time this morning expecting to begin with us working through Romans, I'm sorry, but you're going to be a little disappointed. And that's because we're going to step away for a time from our study of Romans. Let me explain why. For two years or so, the elders and I have discussed the importance of teaching through what are called our distinctives. The concise statements about where our church stands on major biblical issues of our time. Those biblical truths that we embrace as a church that, sadly, because of the state of the Christian culture around us, set us apart or make us distinct from other churches. I've decided that this summer is the right time for me to preach a special series on those distinctives—both defining the distinctives and defending them from the Scripture.

Now, right away when I say that there are some Christians who think that if you speak against anything, then you're simply being negative and you quickly risk becoming known for what you're against rather than what you're for. And certainly, there's an element of truth to that. There are churches who spend their entire ministries attacking others and attacking other ideas. That's not what we as a church are about. If you have been here, you know we spend our time working through the books of Scripture and we will continue to do that. However, if you affirm anything as being true, you are at the same time denying everything that contradicts what you have said is true. So, this series then is not solely about what we deny—although it certainly is that—it is also, more importantly, about what we affirm the Scriptures to teach. The elders have considered it important to state where the church stands on five key issues that divide the church of Jesus Christ today. Our distinctives simply establish what we believe the Bible teaches about those issues, and what the Bible does not teach about those issues. What the Bible affirms, and what the Bible denies.

Now let me just give you a spoiler alert up front. What our church believes on each of these five issues is the historic understanding and position of the church of Jesus Christ. There's no new news here which should be a comfort to you. Our distinctives specifically have to do with five areas. First of all, creation. Secondly, the reality of changed life in regeneration. Thirdly, the role of women in the life of the church. Fourth, the sufficiency of Scripture in sanctification as opposed to the integration of psychology, be it secular or Christian. And fifthly, the cessation of the miraculous spiritual gifts that were known in the first century church. Those are distinctives to our church. And we will take each of those in turn in the coming weeks. Lord willing, that will bring us through the summer, and I hope to begin with the beginning of September back in our journey through the book of Romans.

Today, I want us to begin by considering what the Bible teaches about creation. Let's begin in Exodus chapter 20. Exodus chapter 20 finds Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. It is the giving of the Ten Commandments as we call them, the ten words, ten Hebrew words. Let me remind you that in the context here, we learn God Himself, with His own voice, spoke the Ten Commandments from the top of Mount Sinai out of the cloud that was the symbol of His presence. They heard the voice of God say these things. Let's read commandment number four—verse 8. Exodus 20, verse 8.

Remember the Sabbath day [or the seventh day, literally], to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it, you shall not do any work; you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

Now stop there for a moment. It's not the intent of my message today to show you from the New Testament how this command has been set aside for the New Testament believers. I believe that very strongly. If you are interested into delving into that, there's a couple of messages online, just search "Sabbath," you'll find them where I walk through the arguments for the fact that we as New Testament believers are not bound by the Sabbath laws. However, we are bound by the principle that's thought here. And that is God is the Lord of our time; He's commanded that we devote most of our time to work and yet out of our lives, we set aside a regular pattern of worship. For us as New Testament believers, that's on the first day of the week in commemoration of our Lord's resurrection. But I want you to move on to the next verse. Here's the reason the Israelites, the Jews, the believers of the Old Testament were to set aside the seventh day. Verse 11. "[Because] in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the seventh day and made it holy." So here God Himself compares the creation of the world with the weekly cycle of man's life and makes a direct correlation between them. As God worked for six days, you're to work for six days. As He rested on the seventh, you're to rest on the seventh.

Now I need to begin by telling you that the Christian church from its beginning overwhelmingly has taught the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Ex nihilo is simply Latin for "out of nothing." The early church fathers taught that God spoke the world into existence in six days or less out of no preexisting materials. This is true of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origin. Now when they were speaking about the creation account, they were often defending the Scripture against the ancient secular versions of evolution. You realize that evolution didn't begin with Darwin? It began long before that. In fact, you can read of clear evolutionary teaching in two Greek philosophers, Epicurus as well as Democritus. You can also read evolutionary teaching in the writings of the Christian heretic, Celsus. Now what makes this remarkable is how clearly the same thing was taught that we have to defend against today. Let me read a quote to you from a man named Theophilus. Theophilus was the bishop of Antioch and he wrote these words in AD 169—169. Listen to what he writes.

Some of the stoics absolutely deny the existence of God. Others say that everything happened spontaneously; that the universe is uncreated and that nature is eternal. Plato and his followers say that matter is as old as God. But if God is uncreated, and matter is uncreated, then according to the Platenous, God is not the maker of the universe.

So, you can see that very early on, they were having to battle the same evolutionary ideas that we have to battle today. And they took up that mantle and they fought against those evolutionary ideas, and they did so with one voice. In fact, Theophilus wrote, "God made the existent out of the nonexistent." In fact, Theophilus was also the first to stress that the days of creation were literal days. But that also seems to be the view of Irenaeus, of Tertullian, and most of the church. Now there were three exceptions to the literal days: Clement, Origen, and Augustine, all of whom thought that creation may have actually happened in a moment's time and the description of several days was merely a literary device for our understanding. But here is what I want you to get: none of the early church fathers believed that creation took longer than six ordinary days; certainly not millions of years. In fact, listen to Origen, "The world is not yet 10,000 years old. In fact, it is very much under that." Closed quote. Now that is the testimony of the early church fathers. Now I'll come back to that a little more in a few minutes.

Let's fast forward to the reformation. The reformers held firmly to creation ex nihilo—out of nothing. God speaking everything into existence when nothing existed. And they also held firmly to the days of creation as six literal days. Listen to John Calvin. This is in his commentary on Genesis. "Here the error of those has manifestly refuted, who maintain that the world was made in a moment [so here he's attacking Augustine's idea that it was only in a moment and not six days] for it is too violent a cavil to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction." Here's what he says, "Let us rather conclude that God Himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating His works to the capacity of men." God did it in six days, and the reason He took six dayse, was as an instruction tool for us. Martin Luther, likewise, says, "Moses calls a spade a spade." You got to love Luther. He says, "He employs the terms day and evening without allegory just as we customarily do. We assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively. That is, the world with all its creatures was created within six days as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit."

The puritans, who put together the Westminster confession—of course, out of that came the Baptist confession of faith as well which says the same thing. They wrote this, collectively, unanimously, they write, "it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the beginning to make of nothing the world and all things therein, whether visible or invisible in the space of six days." They actually borrowed that language from Calvin's commentary on Genesis. This was the position of the reformation.

What I want you to see is this is the position of the first 1,700 years of church history. It was only in the eighteenth century as theologians began to attempt to harmonize Scripture with the rise of naturalistic science that Christians even began to consider that the days of Genesis might be long periods of time. And today, we live in a day when there are Christians, professing Christians, and organizations who are doing the hard sell to try to convince Christians to abandon the traditional historic view of the church on the issue of creation and to embrace theistic evolution. That is, the idea that God started the process, and perhaps supervised the process, but that it, in fact, occurs according to the dictates of evolutionary theory. But this has been a very difficult sell. Very difficult sell. Why is that? Well, it's what we'll learn in Romans 1. It's because of general revelation. It's because God has made it clear and evident that He created all things, and you have to close your eyes and cover your ears to miss it. Because of that, most people don't miss it. This survey will shock you but in 2005—so that's within this century, recently—in 2005, there was a poll taken by two less than conservative news organizations, CBS news and the New York Times. In this poll, they found that only 13 percent of Americans are secular Darwinists. In other words, only 13 percent of Americans buy what's taught in most public schools and in most public universities that there was no involvement by a divine being whatsoever, that it all just happened by chance. Only 13 percent. And, in fact, the survey found that 55 percent of Americans embrace creation with God spontaneously creating what exists. And only 32 percent were found to be theistic evolutionists. So don't feel like you're in the minority. You're not, at least not yet, no matter what they may be selling. Sadly, I will admit to you that today theistic evolution is gaining in popularity among professing Christians. In response to this contemporary attack on biblical creation, our elders wrote a distinctive that defines who we are as a church. Let me read it to you. "We believe Genesis is a straightforward, literal presentation of the historical events it describes. We teach, therefore, that God created everything in six literal days. We reject every form of theistic evolution."

Now we're going to look at what the Scriptures teach in a moment, which is the most important thing. But before we do that, let me begin by making sure we understand what we deny about creation. I've said these distinctives set forth what we deny and what we affirm. Very briefly, let's look at what we deny. We deny generally the idea that macroevolution can synchronize with the biblical record. We deny that as secular evolutionists teach that macroevolution is a real fact of science. And we deny that as theistic evolutionists say that God began that process and God, in the case that some of them believe this, God directed that process. We deny any interpretation of the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 that defines the six days of creation as something other than literal days. We deny all theories of creation that require vast amounts of time. We do not believe that the days are allegory or metaphor. We do not believe that Moses uses this language merely as an accommodation to the flawed scientific understanding of people who lived at the time he wrote. We do not believe that the biblical creation record should be interpreted in light of other near eastern creation accounts. Rather, we believe those ancient pagan creation accounts are merely faint and distorted echoes of the original event recorded in Genesis. We do not believe that Genesis 1 and 2—and this is very common today—we do not believe that Genesis 1 and 2 are merely stating that God is responsible for creation but not telling us in any way how He did it. We deny that. We deny generally those things.

We deny specifically the redefining of the word "day" as anything other than a literal 24-hour day. Therefore, in light of that, we deny the following theories. Let me give you four theories. There are others but these are the four I'll concentrate on that we deny. We deny, first of all, the gap theory. Now some of you are old enough to have been taught this. This is essentially an outdated view but there are still those that believe it. It was originally made popular by the Scofield Reference Bible which was my first Bible when I first came to Christ in 1978. It teaches, this view does, that the days of creation were six literal days, but they were six days in which God restored from chaos a creation which it encountered a cosmic catastrophe. Turn back to Genesis 1. I'll show you how the gap theory works. Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Now we believe this is part of day one. This is not a summary; this is a part of day one. But here's what the gap theory teaches. It says verse 1 is actually the original creation of everything. It describes the original creation of everything including a pre-Adamic race. In other words, there were humans who lived on that original creation before Adam. Then between verse 1 and verse 2, in the white space there (I'm not making this up), there's a gap. A very long gap. A gap long enough to accommodate the millions of years required by evolution. It was during that gap between verses 1 and 2, they say, that Satan ruined the original creation. So, beginning in verse 2 and through the rest of the chapter, God isn't creating. God is recreating and restoring what had been destroyed. They argue the wording in verse 2—"the earth was formless and void"—that must mean there was a catastrophe that had happened. God would never have created originally in that way.

Now, there are a number of problems with this view. I'm not going to spend a lot of time with this view because there are very few people who embrace this today. Let me give you just one main problem, or one key problem. It's with the fossil record. Because they believe the fossil record—all those millions of years of death recorded in the fossils—that happened between verses 1 and 2, in the white space. Now the problem with that is that you have death on a massive scale occurring before man falls in chapter 3. And yet, that's contrary to what Paul tells us. In Romans 5:12 he says, "Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death [came] through [that one man's] sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned." Death came as a result of sin. And in Romans chapter 8, by the way, it's very clear that he's not talking just about human death, but about all death, the entire creation. So, this theory doesn't work. We deny it.

Number two, we deny the pictorial day theory. This theory says that the word "day" in chapter 1 is a day of revelation. It's a day on which God revealed to Moses a certain aspect of His creative activity. So, in other words, the activity of creation took vast amounts of time, but telling it to Moses took seven days. Now, this view is not very popular today for obvious reasons. I mean, after all, if this is true, either Moses had a serious learning disability or God spoke very slowly. This is not very common so let's move on to the two that are very common today.

We deny, number three, the day-age theory. The day-age theory. This is a relatively new but very popular view among theistic evolutionists, those that want to hold on to the Bible in some regard but also want to hold on to what they say are the findings of modern science. This is the view that Hugh Ross takes—one of the leading, probably the leading evangelical proponent of theistic evolution. He likes to call this view the progressive creation view. This view argues that Scripture uses the word "day" in various ways. We'll talk about that. It does. Sometimes it uses the word "day" figuratively for indefinite periods of time. So, they say that's what's going on in Genesis 1. Each day of Genesis 1 was actually a vast period of time during which natural evolution progressed to approximately the state that's described on that day. So, in other words, the days have to be long periods of time. Now folks, this is a new idea. In fact, it was in 1896, just before the turn of the century to 1900, that Andrew Dickson White wrote these words, "Down to a period, almost within living memory [so in other words, within the 1800s] it was held virtually always, everywhere, and by all that the universe as we now see it was created literally and directly either in an instant or in six days." That is the reality of church history. But in spite of that, those who support this view try to use church history to argue their view. In fact, Hugh Ross has written this, "Many of the early church fathers and other biblical scholars interpreted the creation days of Genesis 1 as long periods of time. The list includes [he writes] Augustine and later Thomas Aquinas to name a few." Well, that's actually two and not a few but let's not quibble. Is that true? Did Augustine and Aquinas, did they hold to the creation days as long periods of time? That's not true. Augustine actually taught that God created all things out of nothing by His Word, but the days were stages in the angelic knowledge of creation. He believed, as I've already mentioned, that creation occurred in an indivisible instant or simultaneously—the opposite of long days. Thomas Aquinas, he never says that the days are ages. In fact, in his magnum opus, Summa Theologica, he describes them as 24-hour days. So, we deny the day-age theory. But even this theory is growing out of date because it doesn't work with evolution because you can't have the vegetation created in this vast long period before you have the sun and so forth. It just doesn't mesh.

And so, really, it's moving towards the fourth view that we deny and that is the literary framework theory. The literary framework theory. This is very popular with Christians who believe in an old earth. Until his death, the leading evangelical advocate of this view was a Dr. Meredith Kline of Westminster Theological Seminary. Now in this theory, the days are not distinct eras as they are in the day-aged theory, but rather they are overlapping stages of long evolutionary process during which God supervised the process of evolution. So, the days then of Genesis 1 are not real days. They're not even chronological. Day two doesn't come after day one. Instead, they are a blended story. They are a metaphorical framework that God uses to describe the creative process to our finite minds. Now if you've read Genesis 1, you immediately know and recognize the serious problem with this view. If you read Genesis 1, it is composed in English as it is in Hebrew as a historical narrative as the rest of the Old Testament is. It reads just like the rest of the Old Testament as a historical account of what really happened with real time and real days. So, to take this view undermines all legitimate interpretation of the Scripture. Where does this metaphorical framework stop? Where does it stop? Does it stop after Genesis 1? After Genesis 3? After the flood? After the Tower of Babel? Or after the resurrection? You get the point. There's no way to truly interpret the Scripture when you start this. It's undermines the integrity of the entire Bible. We reject the literary framework theory.

Now the leading proponents of theistic evolution, or progressive creation today—I've already mentioned one of them—Hugh Ross. The other is BioLogos. BioLogos is an organization that has been formed by Frances Collins, the Institutes of Health director appointed by President Obama. He has formed this, and he is arguing this: "Listen, if you're a Christian, you've got to reject the historic understanding of creation because if you don't, who is going to believe your gospel? What person in his right mind is going to believe the gospel if you're saying God spoke all these things into existence in the relatively recent past?" Well let me ask you this question: what person, apart from the work of the Spirit, is going to believe that God sent His own eternal Son, He became a man, walked on this world, lived a perfect life, died for the sins of all who would ever believe in Him, and God raised Him from the dead, and some day is coming again? The only way sinners will believe any of those things is through the work of the Spirit. But that's the basis on which they're arguing. They're trying to shame Christians into changing their view of creation and the motivation is supposedly evangelism. So, we deny all those things. That's what we deny, but let's go secondly and more importantly to what we affirm. What we affirm that the Scriptures teach about creation.

First of all, we affirm that God personally created all things out of nothing, ex nihilo. There were no preexisting materials, and He did so by divine fiat; that is, by His command, by His Word, His spoken command. This is the core of the creation account. You know this but let me show it to you. I want you to feel the impact of this. Look at Genesis chapter 1. Genesis chapter 1, verse 3. Notice the pattern. Couldn't be clearer. "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light." Verse 6: "Then God said, 'Let there be an atmosphere above the earth.'" Verse 7: "and it was so." Verse 9: "Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so." Verse 11: "Then God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation.'" Verse 11 ends: "and it was so." Verse 14: "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.'" Verse 15: "and it was so." Verse 20: "Then God said, 'Let the waters swarm with swarming things and let the birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.'" And it happens and "God saw that it was good." Notice verse 24: "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their own kind.' And it was so." You see the pattern? In every case except the creation of man, that's the pattern. God spoke, "Let it happen," and it happens. That's creation ex nihilo by divine fiat. There were no existing prematerials that He shaped and worked with. In the case of all of those things except man, He simply spoke, and it happened. It was created.

The Psalmist understood this. Turn to Psalm 33. Psalm 33: A celebration of God as creator. And the Psalmist says in verse 6: "By the word of the Lord, the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth [in other words, He spoke the words], all their host." Verse 9: "For He spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast." Psalm 148, verse 5 is talking about all of the things that God has made and it says, "and let everything that God made praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created." Hebrews 11, verse 3: "By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." The Scripture could not be clearer, and we affirm that God personally created all things out of nothing by divine fiat, simply by saying let it be so and it was so.

Secondly, we affirm that God immediately or directly created all kinds, and each kind reproduces solely after its kind. This again is a major point of the creation record. Go back to Genesis 1. You see this about the vegetation in verses 11 and 12, but let's skip to conscience creation. Beginning with the marine life, and the birds. Verse 20: "Then God said, let the waters [literally] swarm with swarming things." I love that. It's a powerful picture now that we can see with cameras below the ocean. This just takes on a life of its own. In a moment, God said let everything body of water on this planet have swarms of living things and it was so. And let birds fly above the earth—the ornithological creation above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens. God created the great sea monsters, the large creatures of the sea, and every living creature that moves in which the waters swarm. Now watch this: "After their kind, and every winged bird after its kind." In other words, God created kinds of marine life, and He created kinds of birds, and they reproduced after their kind. The same thing is true when you come to land animals in verse 24. "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind.'" There it is again. And then He gives us here what is not a technical taxonomy, but rather just a basic categorization of the creatures. You have first cattle. Those are domesticated animals, land animals. And creeping things; that is, those land animals that either crawl on the earth or move close to the earth. And beasts of the earth: that describes those larger non-domesticated land animals. And all of them, notice, after their kind. Verse 25: "God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind."

Now obviously, this is a very important point God wanted us to get. He created things in kinds. What is this? Well, the Hebrew word is min. It's best explained and defined by the kind of animals that can sexually breed with one another. Our own doctor Nathanial Jeanson makes a great argument in a book I'll recommend in a few minutes that when you go to chapter 6, Noah is told to take male and female of each kind on the ark. In other words, the biblical kind here is probably closest to the traditional classification of family, not species. For example, horses and donkeys are different species, but they belong to the same family so they can mate and have viable offspring. The point God is making in Genesis 1, is that at the beginning, He created all of the categories, all of the kinds, all of the families of living things. There have since creation, been many different species that have come into existence by cross mating within those kinds or families. But there have been no new kinds. And one kind, one family, cannot become another kind or another family. There is absolutely no evidence in the fossil record or any proof anywhere whatsoever of one kind becoming another kind. And sadly, for evolution, that is exactly what macroevolution says is necessary. And there is no record of it. God created kinds and they reproduce after their kind, and new kinds are not being made.

We affirm, thirdly, that God created the heavens and the earth relatively recently. Theistic evolutionists agree with secular evolutionists in this: they date the earth and the age of the earth at billions of years. The Genesis record on the other hand teaches that creation is relatively young. This is clearly taught in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. Turn to Genesis chapter 5. Genesis 5 traces the godly line from the first man, Adam. Notice verse 3: "When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth." So here you have the beginning of humankind. Adam was the first man created when? On the sixth day of creation. So, the genealogy here begins with Adam. You can trace it down and the genealogy of chapter 5 goes all the way to verse 32 to Noah and his sons. Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. So, the genealogy of Genesis 5 runs from the first man, Adam, to Noah's sons. Now, turn to chapter 11. Chapter 11 has another genealogy. This one takes up where that one left off. Notice verse 10 of Genesis 11. "These are the records of the generations of Shem." This is Noah's son, Shem. Shem was one hundred years old. He became a father and so forth and you can trace through the lineage that's given here. This genealogy ends, notice in verse 26, at Abraham. Terah lived seventy years. He became the father of Abram. So, you put the two genealogies together. You have a genealogy from Adam to Shem in chapter 5, and you have a genealogy in chapter 11 from Shem all the way to Abraham. Now we know, and there is a vast agreement about when Abraham lived, even among secular and biblical scholars. Abraham lived in about 2166 BC. Now, if we assume for a moment there are no gaps in the genealogies, and we calculate back from Abraham at 2166, and we put all of the times that are given to us in these two chapters together, we arrive as Bishop Usher did, at a date for the creation as 4004 BC. Bishop Lightfoot even gave a month and day and time. Do I believe that the world was created on 4004 BC? Not necessarily because it is possible that there are gaps in the genealogies of chapters 5 and 11. In other words, some generations are left out as are left out on occasion in other biblical genealogies. But, even if you include time for gaps that are commensurate with the kinds of gaps left in other biblical genealogies, if you interpret these genealogies with any kind of reasonable hermeneutic, you are left with a date for creation no earlier than about 10,000 BC. So, understand then, that from a biblical perspective, God crated all things thousands of years ago, not millions or billions of years ago. We affirm that.

Number four: we affirm that God created all things in six literal consecutive 24-hour days. Theistic evolutionists, or progressive creationists, they love to point out that the Hebrew word for "day" can refer to the 24-hour period marked by the full rotation of the earth on its axis. That same Hebrew word can refer just to the daylight part of the 24-hour period. And that same Hebrew word, on occasion, albeit rare, can refer to an extended period of time—and that's true. However, clearly in the context of Genesis 1, Moses can only mean a literal 24-hour day.

Now let me give you a brief survey of the biblical evidence. Those of you who are part of our church family, you know I really like to show you and so I'm a little frustrated by what I'm about to do, but I'm going to do it anyway. Here's a brief survey. Number one, the normal meaning of the Hebrew word for "day" argues for a 24-hour day. The Hebrew word yom as most people pronounce it—it's a literal 24-hour day in its most common usage. This Hebrew word occurs 2,225 times in the Old Testament. Overwhelmingly, it describes an ordinary day and there is absolutely no reason in the context of Genesis 1 to change its normal and primary meaning.

Number two, the direct statement of Moses in Exodus 20, verse 11. We read it as we began this morning. Listen again to what he says: "In six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day." And in context, he's comparing that to the normal weekly cycle. He's saying they are the same thing. God worked six days, you work six days; God rested on the seventh, you rest on the seventh. But there's another argument here as well. Notice in Exodus 20, verse 11, "God created in six days." Plural. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word yom, occurs in the plural 608 times. In the plural, it always refers to ordinary days and never once to anything metaphorical.

Number three, the use of the word "day" with the word "night." Go back to Genesis 1, notice verse 5. In the same verse, you have day and night. "God called the light day [there's our word], and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day." Now outside of Genesis 1, the words "day" and "night" appear together fifty times. Every other time, without exception, it refers to a literal day.

Number four, the expression "morning and evening." Notice verse 8, the end of the second day. It says, "There was evening and there was morning, a second day." By the way, the Jewish day is based on the Genesis account. Their day begins at sunset and goes until sunset the next day because it was evening and morning—a day. But I want you to notice that expression, "there was evening, and there was morning." That phrase indicates a literal day-night cycle. Again, that expression occurs outside of Genesis in 37 verses. Every time those two words are used together, they describe an ordinary day. So light, you remember, back in verse 3, was created on the first day of creation. From the first day, there was evening and morning. That means that from the beginning, the earth was apparently rotating on its axis and this sort of amorphous light that God created on day one was on one side of the earth, although the light holders themselves, the sun and the moon, were not created until day four. Regardless, there was evening and morning from the very first day and so all seven days were literal days.

Number five, the use of the ordinal number with the word day. Hundreds of times in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for "day" occurs with an ordinal number: first, second, third, fortieth, three-hundred sixtieth, et cetera. Whenever it occurs with an ordinal number, it always refers to a literal day. And that's exactly what Moses does here under inspiration. Notice verse 8: "It was the second day." Verse 13: "The third day." Verse 19: "The fourth day." Verse 23: "The fifth day." Verse 31: "The sixth day." And chapter 2, verse 2: "The seventh day." The ordinal number always literal days.

Number six, the absence of the Hebrew word for "age." Hebrew has a word for "age" or "for an indefinite period of time": holam. Moses could have used that word or some other idea to communicate this if he intended that there were seven ages or seven indeterminate periods of time, but he didn't choose that word. He chose instead a word, that in the vast majority of cases, means "a literal day."

And finally, number seven, the reason for the creation week. I want you to consider that God created in a 24-hour, seven-day period of time to establish a pattern for man's cycle for work and rest. That's what Exodus 20 says: "God worked six days, you work six days. God rested on one day, you rest on one day." Now let me ask you, did God need six 24-hour days to create every thing? Obviously not. So why six days? In order to establish the weekly structure of our lives. God intended the weekly creation pattern to become the cycle of man's life. Now this is really interesting. Have you ever thought about this? The seven-day week has been an almost universal way in all times and in most cultures for man to mark his life. But apart from the creation week it makes no sense. Every other unit of time we use has a foundation in astronomy. Take the day for example. The day is one rotation of the earth with respect to the sun. A month represents the time it takes for the moon to pass through all its phases. A year is the time it takes the earth to orbit the sun. But there is absolutely no astronomical foundation for a seven-day week. The only explanation for the universal use of the week as a way to structure human life is the seven-day creation. The six days of creation and the one day of rest.

Now, can I just back away from all of this and ask you this question? If God wanted to tell us that He created the world in a six literal 24-hour day period of time, what else could He have said? How else could He have made that clear to us? The only reason—and I want you to mark this—the only reason for the other views among Christians in the last two hundred years is a blatant accommodation to evolutionary scientific theory. It is because they are embarrassed to say God spoke all of these things into existence in six literal days as the Bible clearly teaches.

If you or someone you know struggles with this issue, or you just want to read more about it, let me recommend a couple of resources to you. And I apologize to the bookstore: I didn't give them a heads-up on this so they will need to get more, I'm sure. But first of all, online. Online. You won't need the bookstore for this. There are a couple sites: the Institute for Creation Research. We have several folks in our church who work there and that's a great resource. Institute for Creation Research. Also, especially for kids: "Answers in Genesis" with Ken Ham has some helpful material. Foundational books. If you're going to read a book or two about this issue, let me recommend two to you. First of all, Creation Basics and Beyond, published by ICR. Creation Basics and Beyond. That'll deal with some of the scientific questions. Well, what about carbon dating and all those issues—how does all that reconcile? When were dinosaurs and how do they fit into this picture? And a number of other more scientific issues are addressed in that book. Secondly, I would recommend John's MacArthur's book, The Battle for the Beginning. It deals with the exegetical issues from the book of Genesis and would be a great help to you. So, I commend those to you.

Now let me ask in closing, why have the elders decided to make this a distinctive of our church? Why does it matter? What are the ramifications? Let me give you two huge ramifications of this issue. Any form of theistic evolution denies both the clear exegetical and the historical interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. And once you come to the Scriptures interpreting it in some odd way, you open the door for allegory and metaphor of any passage that is currently out of step with modern thinking. Now I've seen this happen in my lifetime. I remember when theistic evolutionists said, "Oh listen, we believe the rest of Bible is exactly the way it says. We stop at Genesis 2. We just want to reconcile that with modern science." Well, they no longer say that. BioLogos, for example, people within BioLogos have now thrown out their confidence in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. They don't believe Adam was a real person. They don't believe there was a literal fall as it's recorded in chapter 3. They don't believe there was a universal flood. They don't believe there was a division of the nations. Why? Because it doesn't sync with macroevolutionary theory. And so, they are willing to continue hacking off portions of the Scriptures. Is it going to stop at Genesis 11? I can guarantee you it will not stop at Genesis 11. They are willing, they've already expressed a willingness to cut out whatever is in conflict with contemporary thought. That's why you're seeing the church capitulate on the homosexual issue. It's the same approach, same issue.

Number two, another major ramification. Ultimately, any form of theistic evolution attacks the reliability of the entire Scripture including the way of salvation. You see, every crucial doctrine we believe traces its origin to the book of Genesis. Think about this for a moment. Genesis 1 through 11 is quoted or directly referred to more than a hundred times in the New Testament. Every chapter of Genesis 1 to 11 is alluded to in the New Testament. Every New Testament author refers somewhere in his writings to Genesis 1 to 11. And in not one of those instances is there even a hint that the New Testament author regarded the persons or events as anything less than true persons and real historical events. If they got Genesis wrong, and if Genesis is wrong, what in the world gives you confidence that what they say about the way of salvation can be trusted? This is a huge issue. It raises significant doubt about the New Testament authors and everything they say. And frankly, about our Lord as well, because our Lord in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10 quotes the creation account as history. Was He wrong, too? You know, it's interesting: some professing evangelicals are beginning to say that. They're beginning to say, "Well, He was just accommodating his language to the understanding of creation of Genesis 1 and of His times, but it really wasn't true [wink, wink]." This undermines the integrity of everything. It's an assault on the truthfulness and integrity of the entire Scripture.

In fact, let's end by turning to John 1. I want you to see how this comes as a package. This isn't the only place. John 1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Watch verse 3: "All things came into being through the Word [through Jesus Christ]. And apart from Him, nothing has come into being that has come into being." He made it all. He spoke it into existence as Genesis makes it very clear. Verse 9 speaks of His incarnation. He comes into the world. Verse 10: "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him. And the world did not know Him." Verse 11: "He came into His own [literally His own things, His own: His world, the world He made] and those people who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man but of God." Here you have all mingled together: the nature of God, the spoken into existence creation of the world by Jesus Christ, all things He created, the incarnation, and the gospel, and it's all woven together in one package. And that's how it always comes. You cannot have Jesus as Lord and refuse to believe what He Himself taught about the beginning of the world. It comes as a package. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Let's pray together. Father, we have hurried through these things, but I pray that You would use them to those who are here. Strengthen our faith, our confidence in Your Word. Lord, we do believe what You have revealed. Lord, help us to be informed. Help us to read, to be equipped to defend Your Word even as the early church was against the evolutionists of its day. May we be equipped and prepared today against a new onslaught. But Father, thank You that You have revealed Yourself to us. May we truly have confidence in You and allow every man to be a liar. We pray it in Jesus' name, amen.

The Distinctives of Countryside Bible Church