(Excerpted from Dr. Ankerberg’s, "Does Scientific Evidence Today
Show that God Created the Heavens and the Earth? And What Does the
Bible Say About When He Created?" The entire article is available at
I would like to share with you some thoughts on what the Bible
teaches about creation and science. In doing so, I would like to cite
Dr. Norman Geisler’s new Systematic Theology, Volume 2 entitled, "God
and Creation." His words express what I believe, although I do not
believe I could say as well as he.
What are the issues presented in the current creation/evolution
Since the time of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), debate has raged
within Christianity on whether or not total evolution is compatible
with the historic biblical and theological teaching on origins. Two
basic camps have emerged: theistic evolution and creationism. Within
the second faction (creationists), there are two major groups:
old-earth creationists and young-earth creationists. (The former are
often called progressive creationists, and the latter, fiat
creationists.) Currently, in America, the young-earth creationists are
led by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), based on the work of
Henry Morris. Progressive (old-earth) creationism is championed by
Hugh Ross and his "Reasons to Believe" organization; another proponent
of this view is Robert Newman at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield,
What is the primary difference between young-earth and old-earth
The primary difference between young- and old-earth creationists is
the speculated amount of time between God’s creative acts. Young-earthers
insist that it was all accomplished in 144 hours—six successive
24-hour days—while old-earth (progressive) creationists allow for
millions (or even billions) of years. This is usually done by:
placing long periods of time before Genesis 1:1 (making it a recent
and local Creation);
(2) placing the long periods of time between Genesis 1:1 and
1:2 (called "gap" views);
(3) making the "days" of Genesis 1 long periods of time;
(4) allowing long periods of time between literal 24-hour days
in Genesis 1 (called "alternate day-age views); or
(5) making the days of Genesis to be days of revelation of God
to the writer, not days of Creation (called "revelatory day" views).
There are several variations within these perspectives, making a
total of more than a dozen different views held by evangelical
theologians on the matter.
Old-earth (progressive) creationists are not to be confused with
theistic evolutionists. Old-earth creationists do not accept
macroevolution as a method by which God produced the originally
created kinds of Genesis 1. Old-earth creationism was strong among
nineteenth-century creationists, though the view dates from at least
the fourth century (in Augustine). Again, prominent contemporary
defenders include Hugh Ross and Robert Newman.
What are the areas of agreement between young- and old-earth
Young- and old-earth creationists have much in common, at least
among those who are evangelical. This includes several basic things:
Direct Supernatural Creation of All Forms of Life
Both young- and old-earthers believe that God supernaturally,
directly and immediately produced every kind of animal and human as
separate and genetically distinct forms of life. Both hold that every
kind produced by God was directly created de nova (brand-new) and did
not come about by God’s using natural processes over a long period of
time or tinkering with previous types of life in order to make higher
Opposition to Naturalism
Both groups are also agreed in their opposition to naturalism,
which they see as the philosophical presupposition of evolution. They
correctly observe that without a naturalistic bias, evolution loses
its credibility. Ruling out the possibility of supernatural
intervention in the world begs the whole question in favor of
evolution even before one begins.
Opposition to Macroevolution
Likewise, both are united in their opposition to macroevolution,
either theistic or nontheistic; that is, they reject the theory of
common ancestry. They both deny that all forms of life descended by
completely natural processes without supernatural intervention from
the outside. They deny that all living things are like a tree
connected to a common trunk and root; rather, they affirm the separate
ancestry of all the basic forms of life, a picture more like a forest
of different trees. Microevolution, where small changes occur within
the basic kinds of created things, is acknowledged, but no macro
(large-scale) evolution occurs between different kinds. For example,
both old- and young-earth creationists agree that all dogs are related
to an original canine pair–part of the same tree. However, they deny
that dogs, cats, cows, and other created kinds are related like
branches from one original tree.
The Historicity of the Genesis Account
Further, both young- and old-earthers who are evangelical hold to
the historicity of the Genesis account: They believe that Adam and Eve
were literal people, the progenitors of the entire human race. While
some may allow for poetic form and figure of speech in the narrative,
all agree that it conveys historical and literal truth about origins.
This is made clear by the New Testament references to Adam and Eve,
their creation and fall, as literal (cf. Luke 3:38; Rom. 5:12; 1 Tim.
What are the areas of difference between young- and old-earth
Of course, there are some differences between the two basic
evangelical views on Creation. The primary ones include the following.
The Age of the Earth
A crucial variance between the two views, naturally, is the age of
the earth. Young-earthers insist that both the Bible and science
support a universe that is only thousands of years old, while old-earthers
allow for billions of years. Young-earthers connect their view to a
literal interpretation of Genesis (and Ex. 20:11), but old-earthers
claim the same basic hermeneutic, which they believe can include
millions, if not billions, of years since Creation. They too cite
scientific evidence in their favor.
What are three areas both sides ought to agree on?
At a minimum, it would be wise if both sides could agree on the
(1) The age of the earth is not a test for orthodoxy.
(2) Neither view is proven with scientific finality, since
there are unproven (if not unprovable) presuppositions
associated with each.
fact of Creation (vs. evolution) is more important than the time of
Creation. Their common enemy (naturalistic evolution) is a more
significant focus than their intramural differences.
What conclusions can we reach concerning the doctrine of creation?
The doctrine of Creation is a cornerstone of the Christian faith.
The essentials of this teaching have universal consent among orthodox
theologians. They include the following:
(1) There is a theistic God.
(2) Creation of the universe was ex nihilo (out of nothing).
(3) Every living thing was created by God.
(4) Adam and Eve were a direct and special creation of God.
(5) The Genesis account of creation is historical, not
While there is lively debate about the time of Creation, all
evangelicals agree on the fact of Creation. There is also agreement on
the source of Creation (a theistic God) and the purpose of Creation
(to glorify God). The exact method of Creation is still a moot
question; however, increasingly, the scientific evidence supports a
supernatural Creation of the universe, the direct creation of first
life, and the special creation of every basic life form. Hence,
macroevolution, whether theistic or naturalistic, is unfounded both
biblically and scientifically.1