The book of Genesis opens simply ... "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The author boldly presents God as Creator then as Redeemer of humanity. Life is not an accident. God has a purpose and he is working to fulfill it throughout history. Men and women are made in the image of God. As partners together, their God-given mandate is to fill the earth with loving community and to give responsible leadership to the planet.
All Christians believe in creation but there are a variety of opinions as to exactly how God created the earth and over what period of time. We have a lot of questions today that the Bible doesn't directly answer (for instance the theory of evolution wasn't even in existence when Genesis was written). After all, the Bible is primarily the story of God's work of redemption. It was not written to be a science textbook, although it does contribute significantly to the study of science.
In the book Three Views on Creation and Evolution, three views on creation are presented [General Editors J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds]:
1. Young Earth Creationism (presented by Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds). This view sees the earth being created in six twenty-four hour days about ten thousand years ago. For information on this view, check out www.answersingenesis.org and www.creation.com
2. Old Earth or 'Progressive' Creationism (presented by Robert C. Newman). This view sees the earth being created over an extended period of time many billions years ago. [An intermediate position between views #1 and #2 is referred to as the "Gap Theory", which sees God's original creation in Genesis 1:1, followed by the destruction of the earth's habitat in Genesis 1:2, perhaps due to Satan's rebellion. The rest of the Genesis account then describes the restoration of the earth just a few thousand years ago in six literal days.] For more informaiton on this view, check out www.reasons.org.
3. Theistic Evolution (presented by Howard K. Van Till). This view is the belief that God created the world through the process of evolution, and that Genesis 1-2 are to be taken figuratively, not literally. World renown scientist, Francis S. Collins is an example of a believer who holds this view. His recent book The Language of God endeavours to show the compatibility of modern science and faith (Collins prefers to refer to this view as BioLogos). For more information on this view, check out www.biologos.org
The most important thing is to embrace the truth of creation and of a God who is the designer of all that exists. As we discover his fingerprints in the universe, we can come to know Him better, find and fulfill our purpose in life, and live to please Him.
Additional recommended reading:
* Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Origins of Everything by Gerard Rau.
* The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel (author of the best-selling book The Case for Christ), which looks at scientific evidence that points towards God.
* Seven Days that Divide the World (2011) by John Lennox.
* The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories by Thomas B. Fowler and Daniel Kuebler.
* "Intelligent Design” is not really a separate view – www.discovery.org/csc
I enjoy hearing different perspectives on any issue and then taking time to reflect on them. It always enlarges and enriches your own perspective.
P.S. Check out these upcoming special events related to ORIGINS.