Young Earth Creation: The Doctrines of Genesis

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 15, 2014 4 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

This post will wrap up my series on why I believe in Young Earth Creation and why it is important for a Christian to hold this as their model of origins. I have covered the four major world-effecting events of Genesis: Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the Origin of Sin. I have addressed these mostly from a doctrinal basis but also addressed some of the scientific backing for the claims. In this post I am going to summarize a key idea I have been laying out in the previous four, the fact that every doctrine of Christianity has some root, some foreshadow, some reason laid out in Genesis. Genesis is the foundation of world history. It provides the background of all the nations, their languages and cultures. It provides the reason why there is death and disease, and why we are longing for things to return to that utopian setting we had before sin. And ultimately, it provides the reason why Jesus Christ had to come to this earth to die for our sin.

A while back I went through some minor and major doctrines of Christianity that have a direct reference in Genesis. Here is a table of what I found.

7-day week - Genesis 1
Sabbath - Genesis 2:2-3
Man's Dominion over Creation - Genesis 1:28
Man Made in God's Image - Genesis 1:26-27
The Trinity - Genesis 1:26
A Perfect Creation - Genesis 1:31
Marriage - Genesis 1:26-27; 2:24
Work - Genesis 2:15
Choice to Worship God - Genesis 2:17
Sin - Genesis 3
Death - Genesis 2:17; 3:17; 3:22
Clothing - Genesis 3:7; 3:21
Blood as payment for Sin - Genesis 3:21
The Promise of a Savior - Genesis 3:15
Marriage Roles - Genesis 3:16
Toil, Thorns, Cursed Creation - Genesis 3:17-19
Animal Sacrifice - Genesis 3:21; 4:3-4
Worldwide Judgment of Sin - Genesis 6-8
Baptism - Genesis 6-8
Rainbow Promise - Genesis 9:13-15
One Human Race - Genesis 5,10,11
Call to the Promised Land - Genesis 12:1
Promise of Israel - Genesis 12:2
Blessing/Curses on Israel - Genesis 12:3
Jesus of the Order of Melchizedek - Genesis 14:18
Tithing - Genesis 14:20
Circumcision - Genesis 17:11
Intercession - Genesis 18:23-33
Jesus, the Willing/Final Sacrifice - Genesis 22
Firstborn/Birthright - Genesis 21; 25:31-34; 27
Dreams/Visions - Genesis 37; 40; 41
God works ALL things for the good of those who Love him, called to his purpose - Genesis 37;39; 41

This list is anything but comprehensive. This is just 32 doctrines and teachings that have a direct reference in Genesis. And notice that in this list, 2/3 of this list is found and rooted in Genesis 1-11, the chapters of debate on origins. Now I understand that if I had made a comprehensive list, this fraction could change. I’ve been writing about the Old Earth and Young Earth origin models and why this issue is important for Christians. I hear that many simply choose to avoid this discussion entirely as to not bring up the conflict. However, this list shows that the majority of Christian doctrine has its roots in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. If these chapters are to be ignored or gotten wrong, how much more does that affect our understanding of the “important” parts, like the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?

I have heard many people, especially from the Old Earth camp, say that it is difficult to understand Genesis. They often reference the many different ways that “day” can be interpreted or how we cannot be so certain that Genesis is a historical account because it “could be” poetry or metaphorical. But I have this question for them. If they have such a hard time understanding the foundations, how could they understand the Gospel? Jesus said the same thing when speaking to Nicodemus. He asked “If I tell you of earthy things and you do not believe, how can you believe me if I tell you about heavenly things?” If we can’t grasp or if we can’t believe Genesis, how can we honestly say we understand the Gospel? If we don’t understand how sin and death entered the world, if we believe Christ, what are we being saved from? If Genesis is a myth, how real is our salvation? What is more, Revelation 21 and 22 are a mirror image of Genesis 1-2. It shows us that what we started with in Genesis is a shadow, a picture of what the New Earth will be like. If our origins model is filled with death and decay, how can we believe that the New Earth will be any different? I will say that one’s position on origins does not determine one’s salvation. That is dependent upon faith and dependence on Christ as LORD (not merely Savior, but Lord). But I find often that one’s position on origins tends to be a fruit of their actual position with Christ. And when I see pastors and preachers proclaim an Old Earth origins model, I am forced to question what else they get wrong.

I believe Young Earth Creation because it is the only origins position that gets all these doctrines’ foundations right. The Old Earth models only get it right starting with Genesis 12, but there is a logical break between their position on Genesis 1-11 and on Genesis 12-on. YEC is by far the most consistent origins model with Scripture. It is completely consistent with the historical records of all the other nations. All observational science is not in conflict with the YEC account.

Finally, before I ever heard about the sciences that back up Scripture, I believed what YEC has preached. Since I was a child and I read Genesis, I believed that God made the universe in six days and I believed that the creation account was very recent. I didn’t know it was 6000 years but I knew right away it wasn’t millions of years. I had heard of Evolution growing up but it never made any sense to me. And as I took my science classes in college it still never made any sense to me. I understood how it is supposed to work and the ideas behind it, but I have never been able to see how it works with the scientific principles it claims to be based on. I’ve had many people try to explain it but it was just a repeat of what the textbooks say. But when I heard about the science from the YEC groups, it made sense. Perfect? No. But it showed that what the Bible has claimed for thousands of years has been verified. And it has been time and time again. I do hope this series on origins has challenged you to think about where you come from and why you believe that. Whether you believe it or not, it affects how you live your life today, what decisions you make, and helps you focus on where you are going. And ultimately, talking about origins does not mean much if we do not intend to bring it to Christ. He is the center of it all. He is the Creator and he is the Savior. If you trust Christ with your life, you should also trust him in how he made you and this universe. If you trust him on how he made everything, you can trust him with your life.


Bob Sorensen said...

This has been a very good series. Are you glad to be done, though? It took a great deal of work.

I have been strongly impacted by creationist organizations that point out how the foundations of most or all Christian doctrines are in Genesis. Unbelievers rely on their worldview to assault our foundations (and intolerantly mocking Christians for standing on our own worldview!). Unfortunately, some "Christians" also join them in attacking our foundations as well. We need to strengthen our foundations and show where their evolutionary/long age foundations are fundamentally flawed.

You also said that if we can't believe Genesis, how can we believe the rest of the Bible? "Science says" that the world is old and evolution is true, so we're supposed to capitulate and interpret God's Word with the ever-changing whims of man-made science philosophies. But "science says" that nobody can rise from the dead on the third day. Where do such Christians stop compromising, especially since they have no foundation for their beliefs?

Charlie said...

At some point when I finish a number of the other projects I'm working on, I plan to go into depth on this topic and trace as many of the doctrines of Christianity as I can to their foundations laid out in Genesis. The list I posted is just a partial one. I know Paul Taylor did this for seven core Christian doctrines but not to the depth that I am looking at.

This post is one area where AiG is dead on more than anything else. It is not a science vs the Bible issue. It is an authority issue. A very interesting observation is that those who believe in Old Earth have a tendency of truly not understanding the nature or character of God and they tend to support universalism which completely nullifies the cross. And that makes perfect sense. If you don't believe in original sin, you have no need to believe in the penalty of sin, which in turn has no requirement for the cross.

I said several times in my comments on this series: if there was one piece of evidence (and evidence has many forms, not just scientific which some people simply do not understand. Forms such as historical, eye-witness, etc) I would point to in order to demonstrate YEC to be true, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ would be it. YEC and the Resurrection capitulate two of the greatest miracles that science will NEVER understand: Creation out of nothing from the voice of God, and the resurrection of the dead. And the born-again believer partakes in that Resurrection. It is completely pointless to believe in YEC UNLESS you also believe in the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ. And of course, you won't believe the latter if you don't understand or are willing to admit you are a sinner in need of salvation. The origins debate is again not a requirement for salvation, but it certainly gives a big clue if you are or not.

Rick Hall said...

"before I ever heard about the sciences that back up Scripture"

Please document anything in mainstream science that backs up Scripture.

I know of nothing in science that agrees with creation happening in a "young earth manner. Science shows the age of the Earth to be billions of years old.

Science shows there was no global flood for Noah to survive. Geologic processes and The Flood cannot co-exist.

The Tower of Babel: Archaeology, History(non-biblical), linguistics, etc., all point away from the Tower. What evidence, outside of The Bible, supports the existence of The Tower of Babel?

You can believe in God AND evolution. And you can find value and guidance in The Bible, you just cannot take it literally. And the majority of Christians do not take it literally and have no problem with science being a valid description of the world as it exists.

Charlie said...

In all four of the points you address, I had already addressed them in my four previous posts.

If you know nothing from actual science that does not line up with Scripture, you must not be read up on what YEC says. Have you looked at what Creationists say with an open-mind? If you don't believe we can't look at Evolution with an open-mind, maybe you could show us how to do it. I've seen those arguments numerous times and they all stem from ignorance at best. But if you aren't going to approach this with an open mind, which your posts show you aren't, I'm not going to bother with you.