The Biblical Explanation of Creation
By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
Introduction: Why Is the Question of Creation So Important?
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
There’s a battle raging in our society on the subject of biblical creationism versus atheistic evolution. This battle started with Charles Darwin in 1909 and the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 and it has been raging for the last 100 years. There has been too much money spent on this battle for it to be unimportant. You may be familiar with the 60,000 sq. ft. Creation Museum which opened in Northern, Kentucky on Memorial Day 2007, at a cost of 27 million dollars. For the first several months, it has been averaging 100,000 visits per month! This illustrates how interested people are in this controversy!
But why is this battle so important? If I were the Devil and I could successfully refute the first five words of the Bible, “in the beginning God created” (Gen.1:1), the rest of the Bible would be irrelevant!
Creation is concerned not only with how but also for what purpose the world was created and it’s foundational to any and every worldview. Understanding the purpose of creation can help us understand the purpose of our lives. There’s a clear difference between the world originating by accident or design. There’s a clear difference between being an ancestor of an ape and being created in “the image of God.”
Everyone wants to know their: 1) origin, 2) identity, 3) purpose, 4) destiny – and they’re all tied together!
If the biblical account of creation is not true then there is no Adam and Eve. If there is no Adam and Eve, there is no Fall into sin. If there is no Fall into sin, then there is certainly no need for a Savior from sin.
If the biblical account of creation is true then Adam and Eve truly existed and fell into sin, then all of us need a Savior from sin, and one day we will all have to give account of ourselves before a holy and just God.
Explanation: How Can We Best Understand the Creation Narrative?
We need to be clear where the Scripture is clear and silent where the Scripture is silent. Christians have ignored the biblical account of creation for too long and it’s about time that we get involved in the debate.
What’s the greatest evidence that evolution is wrong? Some might say, “It’s because no transitional forms have been discovered in the fossil record.” The main reason really is “It contradicts the Holy Scriptures.” This is the main reason because: no one knows better than God what actually happened at Creation!
Christians must have more faith in God’s infallible Word than in the fallible theories of finite/fallen men. There are some things that science can never help us to understand, there is truth to be discovered beyond the microscope and the telescope. There are spiritual realities like God, the devil, heaven/hell, sin/righteousness, morality and ethics, punishment and rewards that are not in the purview of science.
A Christian view of creation is based on an understanding of and faith in all of God’s revelation. Physical eyes weren’t made to see spiritual realities; spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned (1 Cor.2:12-14). We need to discover what the entire Bible says about “the creation of the heavens and the earth”!
What Is the Bible’s Explanation of Creation?
1. The Method of Creation – Supernatural Miracle (Heb. 11:3)
Anyone who takes Genesis 1-2 seriously must conclude a miracle is at the heart of the creation account. That’s an immediate problem for secular evolutionists because they deny the very possibility of miracles. Science has to do with examining and understanding natural causes, not supernatural miracles!
We need to understand that the validity of the Christian faith depends on the miracle of the resurrection. If we can’t accept the miracle of creation, how on earth can we accept the miracle of the resurrection?
Why did God create the heavens and the earth by a miracle? It could not have been done otherwise. If God alone existed in the beginning, there were no raw materials for Him to work with in creation. You might say when it comes to creation, God “started from scratch” – He started with nothing!
What’s a miracle anyway? It’s God doing something on His own apart from natural means. God didn’t rely on anything when He created the earth, He did it “ex nihilo” out of nothing. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Secular science deals with material laws of cause and effect and doesn’t understand or believe in miracles. The truth is that no one except God understands the first thing about the nature of a true miracle.
Miracles are part of the “warp and woof” of the way God works as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. While they are essential to the Christian faith, they are stumbling blocks to virtually all unbelievers. The admission of only one miracle would bring about the collapse of the secular humanist worldview. The Bible presents creation as a “miracle” and offers no scientific or naturalistic explanation of it.
The bottom line: one isn’t likely to accept “spiritual reality” without a faith born in heaven (Heb. 11:3).
2. The Means of Creation – Divine Command – Gen. 1:3
Genesis 1-2 clearly teaches that God commanded each step of the Creation account. “Let there be…” isn’t a wish or a desire but an authoritative divine decree! Miracles are simply the act or method of carrying out God’s clear command. The Bible is replete in reaffirming this obvious and foundational truth (Psa. 33:9; 148:5; Heb. 11:3).
What do the commands in Genesis 1-2 teach us about the creation of the world?
- The Word of God is the foundation of creation. God spoke and the world came to be.
- The origin of all things is outside the universe. God’s command preceded the material creation.
- Everything was made according to the will and Word of God and it was good.
- God is the king of heaven and earth and we are His servants, created to obey Him.
- The nature of God is consistent with the will of God. Every good gift comes from God.
- We must function for the purpose for which we were created – to glorify and enjoy God.
- We are slaves to sin if we fail to know and love God and to serve His purposes.
- We can’t improve on God’s original design or purpose for His creation.
- We are responsible and accountable to our Creator – the God who made us.
- God created us in His image – we are unique creations of an infinite and personal God.
Creation by command shows us that the world responds immediately to God’s Word. Evolution attempts to explain changes in the world without addressing the initial cause of creation. Why? The initial cause of creation, God Himself, is beyond the ability of science to investigate.
3. The Pattern of Creation – God’s Wisdom – Psa. 136:5
Just as an engineer doesn’t build without a plan, God didn’t create the world without a wise plan. Creation is intricate and complex. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14). The Bible gives credit where credit is due; God in His wisdom made the world (Psa. 136:5).
The average person doesn’t have a clue as to the immensity of the physical universe (Planetarium). There is more to the universe than our physical senses tell us; i.e., moral and spiritual dimensions.
God has given man an immortal soul as well as a conscience in order to know right from wrong. Every part of creation is interdependent as well as dependent on its Creator (Psalm 104:27-30). We are dependent on the Holy Spirit to enable us to understand morality and spiritual reality. Evolution sees no meaning, no grand narrative, no intelligent design or purpose behind creation.
4. The Proof of Creation – Eye Witness – Gen. 1:2
The Bible is actually a legal document, not a scientific treatise or textbook – both sides know this.
- 1 John 1:1-3 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
The Bible is a collection of sworn statements by eyewitnesses of what they have seen and heard. Genesis 1-3 is an eyewitness account from the only One who could have reported the event accurately.
The entire Bible is an eyewitness account to the reality of God and his wondrous works and miracles. “We speak what we know and we testify to what we have seen” (Jn. 3:11). God expects us to believe eyewitness testimony. It’s intellectually dishonest to hide behind science in the face of recorded miracles.
God expects us to believe the miracles in Scripture, whether we do or not is our problem, not His. The very nature of miracles requires faith because it is beyond any one’s ability to understand. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was formed by God’s command (Heb. 11:3).
The unique feature of God’s witnesses is that they testify that something “impossible” happened. The biblical witnesses are approved and certified by God as reliable and trustworthy. In Acts 10:41, Luke says that [Jesus] “was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
The Bible is not a history of natural events but a testimony of the supernatural works of God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29b). In order to disprove all the miracles in the Bible, you have to call all the eyewitnesses liars!
Because the world had a miraculous beginning, science can’t help us understand how the world began. Those who think they need a naturalistic explanation of creation have a spiritual problem – UNBELIEF!
Were there any eyewitnesses to the miracle of creation? Yes, the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2). He’s the greatest witness of all because He’s God and God can’t lie. To doubt His truthfulness is a great sin (Mk. 3:28-29)!
Why trust the testimony of ignorant sinful man over the testimony of an all wise God who can not lie? If we don’t believe God concerning creation, why should we believe Him concerning the resurrection? Evolution has no eyewitnesses to prove its case; we have the truthfulness of the Holy Spirit to prove our case.
5. The Agent of Creation – The Holy Spirit – Gen. 1:2
The Spirit was involved in creation as an agent as well as a witness. He creates, empowers and imparts life. Because the Holy Spirit is God, He has the miraculous power of the Creator Himself. The Spirit made it possible for the world to exist exactly as God commanded it and He gave life to all its creatures.
Only God has within Him the power of being. He is the only one who can create ex nihilo. He upholds the creation and gives it the means to continue to operate. He doesn’t rely on evolution to do His creative work. God is a God of intelligent design and order, not like the randomness and chaos involved in evolution.
6. The Joy of Creation – God’s Blessing – Gen. 1:22, 28
Genesis 1:22 and 28 says that God blessed His creation. What does it mean to be blessed? To be blessed is the result of enjoying what God has given us in life and staying on the road where He has placed us on. The blessed man is the godly man who knows and does what God’s Word teaches (Psalm 1: 1-6).
God associates pleasure with obedience and pain with disobedience. The way that leads to life is narrow. God has created us as moral and spiritual beings with the ability to know, desire and do His good will.
Scripture teaches that righteousness results in happiness and unrighteousness results in unhappiness. In a moral universe, there maybe physical consequences to our moral and immoral decisions and actions. Evolution says, there’s no blessing or responsibility because there’s no God to bless or be responsible to.
7. The Builder of Creation – Christ – John 1:3
Every kingdom has a king and the nature of the king determines the character of the kingdom. Revelation 3:14 refers to Christ as “The ruler of God’s creation.” What would life be like in an ideal kingdom?
- The king would have the well-being of his subjects in his heart.
- The king would be concerned about the quality of life for all his subjects.
- The king would make sure the basic needs of his subjects were met.
- The king would be just, rewarding the righteousness and punishing the wicked.
- The king would do what is necessary to protect his subjects from the enemy.
- The king would lead his people to God in true worship and the glorification of God.
Christ fulfills all these duties and meets the expectations of a good king. The world was made through Christ and by His wisdom and power he maintains complete control (Jn.1:1-3; Heb. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-17).
- John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
- Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
- Hebrews 1:2 – in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”
Only the Creator of the world ……. could do the kind of miracles that Jesus does.
Only a King – the ruler of creation …… could speak with authority like Jesus does.
Only a Lawgiver …… could rightfully expect the obedience of His subjects.
Christ is not only the Lion of Judah but He is the Lamb of God slain from the creation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The universe is Christ’s kingdom in which He’s working out His will from beginning to end.
The secular evolutionist knows nothing concerning God’s purposes in creation.
8. The Goal of Creation – God’s Glory
Nothing in all creation compares with the magnificent character of the Creator – this is the glory of God. Glory has to do with who gets the credit. Since God is the source of all good things: He gets all the credit! God is ultimately responsible for everything in the world except sin; He is not the author of evil.
We’re all guilty of failing to give God the credit He so richly deserves. When we give glory to one other than God, that is idolatry. Atheistic evolutionists give credit to “Mother Nature” not to “God the Father.”
Unbelieving Scientists would be offended at the idea that God made the world by a miracle; they would rather believe it happened naturally. What’s the Genesis account-creation ex-nihilo-designed to do? Bring glory to God. Only God can do the impossible: to create in six days, to create out of nothing, to create by command, to create purpose into the physical world’s design and to create us in His image. Only God can do all that!
If God made the world through miracle, then it accomplishes several purposes:
- It proves the world is more than just physical reality which can’t be explained by evolution.
- It shows that God can unmake it in exactly the same way he made it-by command (2 Pet. 3:3-7).
- It instills within believers a healthy respect for an all powerful miracle working God.
- It instills within each believer amazement and wonder concerning God’s works (Matt. 8:27).
- It leaves no question who is running the universe and how He runs it.
- It prepares us to take the next step in our relationship with God – salvation through Christ.
9. The Culmination of Creation – Judgment Day
What does judgment mean? In a court room an attempt is made to discover the truth and pass out justice. On judgment day the truth will be perfectly disclosed and perfect justice will be given to all natural men. God knows what really happened and all His decisions will reflect reality and be based upon the truth.
Judgment is a foregone conclusion from the first Day of Creation. Only the One who made all things has the power to judge all things. Judgment Day is the last step in a process that began in the Garden of Eden.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Judgment Day tests the worth of the original Creation. How well did we fulfill God’s purposes? What are God’s purposes? For us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever!
10. The Window of Creation – Our Faith in God’s Revelation – (Heb. 11:3)
There are two main problems that make it difficult to find out what happened at the beginning of creation:
- None of us were there. We can choose to accept God’s account in Genesis or we can cook up our own.
- Even if we had been there, we wouldn’t have been able to figure out exactly what was going on.
Secular scientists have their own alternative explanation of what happened at Creation but they can only tell us how the world looks now, they don’t have any accurate idea how it was first made!
The good news is that God has provided a window for us in order for us to understand Creation. It’s a combination of Revelation (from God) and faith (the ability to trust in God’s revelation). Hebrews 11:3, says “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” By faith in what? Faith in the written Word of God (Gen. 1-2).
Faith is a gift from God that enables us to see the spiritual realities in this world. And Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” All who enter the Kingdom must do so by faith.
Conclusion: How Should We Present the Biblical Truth of Creation?
One word… “Presuppositionally.” What I mean by that is this:
If the Bible is a lie…
If there is no God…
If there is only matter and energy in the universe…
If there is no such thing as an immortal soul…
If there is no such thing as absolute right and wrong…
If there is no punishment for the wicked…
If there is no reward for the righteous…
If there is no heaven or hell…Then perhaps, just perhaps, evolution is true.
But if the Bible is true, evolution is not true. The entire Bible affirms the truth of Genesis 1-2. When it comes to how the universe started, science can’t help us at all. Evolution is not a scientific fact; it is not even a scientific theory. Why? Because…
Creation cannot be subjected to the scientific or empirical method of investigation. The creation of the heavens and the earth is beyond the purview of secular science. Creation was a miraculous event by an omnipotent God not a sequence of natural causes.
Trusting in God’s inspired revelation is both our personal responsibility and legal obligation! One who doubts the veracity of God’s Word is on the wrong side of the firing line in the Creation debate. Ultimately, the issue of Creation is not a scientific, but a spiritual one – it is a matter is faith.
What’s the bottom line? Five Conclusions:
- Creation is a miracle performed by God to be accepted by faith (Heb. 11:3).
- The entire Bible affirms the miracle of creation revealed in Genesis 1-2.
- Miracles are beyond by purview of science therefore evolution is not a scientific theory.
- Creation can’t be disproved and Evolution can’t be proved by secular science.
- Atheistic Evolution is a model designed to explain creation without a Creator.
God expects us to speak the truth in love as ambassadors of His Kingdom. This we must do if we hope to win the battle and bring glory to Him! Amen!
Credit to: The Bible Explains Creation by Dr. Charles R. Vogan, Jr. (Ravenbrook Publishers)