[Originally published as Believe the Bible]
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth … By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. Psalm 33:4, 6
My father only completed the third grade in Mexico. He learned to read, write and do simple arithmetic. Education was not greatly valued in his youth. More highly prized were his skills at handling horses and cattle on the family ranch, so his education was good enough to get by.
Later in life, he felt called of God to enter the ministry and become a pastor/church planter of Spanish-speaking churches. His third-grade education allowed him to enter the Mexican Bible Institute in San Antonio, TX where, after five years of difficult study, he left without earning his diploma. However, he gained valuable skills in sermon preparation, preaching and pastoring churches. His lack of education did not diminish his love for God’s Word nor discourage him from the constant study of it.
My father taught me many things, but the lesson I treasure most was his love for and trust in God’s Word.
He taught me that God’s Word is true in all things and applicable in every situation. Even in those areas of Scripture that are difficult to understand, Dad taught me to trust the Bible simply because it is God’s Word. Dad provided no other apologetic than that.
I grew up with that firmly implanted in my mind, and when confronted with skeptics, my defense defaulted to, “The Bible says.” This answer satisfied me, but it did not impress my challengers. They were convinced that everything started with a Big Bang, that earth formed by itself more than 4.54 billion years ago, and that life sprang up from some mysterious chemical reaction 3.6 – 4.0 billion years ago.
This story might make logical sense to some, but it does not line up with the biblical account very well, especially when it comes to the topic of the evolution of life. Some Christians suggest that God used evolution to create life over millions of years. My response simply stated that God can do whatever He wants. He could have created slowly over millions or billions of years or He could have created instantly. However, the Bible says He did it in just six 24-hour days.
The arguments have not changed much over the years although the skeptics have gotten more hostile.
Even Christians come against young-earth creationists charging that a young-earth stance is controversial and divisive. However, today I can offer a better defense besides “the Bible says so,” albeit, that really should be the only defense needed against a Christian.
What Defending God’s Position on Creation Looks Like
A ‘mature’ gentleman confronted me this week with the old earth challenge. He claimed to believe the Bible but he believed the earth was billions of years old, not 6,000 years old as young-earth creationists believe.
He pointed out that light from distant stars takes billions of years to get to earth and that radiometric dating proves that the earth is old. He excused his disbelief in a literal six 24-hour day creation by stating that we really do not know what the Bible means by “day.”
Given that I was not in an appropriate place to properly respond to his challenge, I gave him some simple answers.
- A light-year measures distance, not time. Just because a galaxy is 14 billion light-years from earth does not necessarily mean that the light from that galaxy took 14 billion years to arrive at earth.
- Science has yet to measure the one-way speed of light. For all we know, it could be instantaneous.
- The Bible also hints that God “gave” the light in place when He created the stars. “And God set [the stars] in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:17, emphasis mine).
The Hebrew word translated “set” is nâthan and it means “to give.” Also, the phrase “to give light” is only one word in Hebrew – ‘ôr, i.e., “light.” The verse could be translated, “And God gave them [the stars] in the firmament of the heaven to light upon the earth.” This seems to say that light from distant stars took no time to arrive on earth; it was here from the start.
Then there is the matter of radiometric dating. Besides radiocarbon dating, there are several other methods of radiometric dating—none of which are reliable. Dr. Vernon Cupps, a nuclear physicist at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), recently wrote Rethinking Radio Metric Dating: Evidence for a Young Earth from a Nuclear Physicist that goes into great detail explaining the fallacies of radiometric dating. Indeed, all radiometric dating methods fail to prove that the earth is billions of years old.
The argument from Scripture that we do not have a clear understanding of what a “day” is in the creation account only betrays a lack of understanding of what Scripture really says.
In this, the gentleman alluded to Peter’s statement in 2 Peter 3:8 that to God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. Peter draws his comparison from the psalm of Moses in Psalm 90:4.
In his statement, Peter does not make an equivalence between a day and a year but rather draws a simile. The use of the word “as” makes this clear. Peter’s point is that God is not fettered by time; He is timeless. God created time. Exodus 20:10-11 tells us He created in six 24-hour days and rested on the seventh for our benefit. Furthermore, the word for day used in the creation account is defined by “evening and morning” and confirmed with the assignment of ordinal numbers to distinguish the days.
I left the man with this final thought
We place too much confidence in scientists who are fallen, fallible human beings rather than trusting God’s Word and believing that God did exactly what He told us He did.
God is all-knowing and all-powerful and He can do whatever He chooses to do.
He could have created the universe, the earth, and all life on earth over billions of years if He chose to do that, but that is not what He told us in His Word.
He could have created everything in an instant if He chose to do that, but that is not what He recorded in His Word.
What God tells us is that He created everything in six 24-hour days. It is clearly spelled out in His Word. Believe the Bible!