Ask Pastor Matt: “Does Genesis 1 Make Any Sense?”
by Matt Rawlings
Every week I receive wonderful questions from believers and skeptics alike. I publish one of those questions with my attempt to answer it here every week. This past week I was asked if “Genesis 1 makes any sense?” The questioner read the text and was confused how it was that light is created on day one but the sun and stars aren’t created until day four. This seeker also was confused by the text seeming to claim that the moon is a source of light and that animals and people are created but the fossil evidence points to a great gap between certain creatures such as dinosaurs and the existence of humankind. Once again, this is a great question!
In my opinion, there are a number of possible responses that a Christian may reasonably hold. Within conservative Christianity there are those who hold to theistic evolution, old earth creationism and young earth creationism. I will try to do justice to each in reverse order.
First, young earth creationists are best represented by the ministry Answers in Genesis, which runs a good website, publishes books, journals & videos and also is connected with the Creation Museum. Young Earth Creationists argue that Genesis 1 can be taken literally without embarrassment. They maintain the “light” mentioned in day 1 is God Himself. They argue the fossil evidence is incomplete and that it is possible
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we will find evidence that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. They believe the earth is roughly 6000 years old but the appearance of old age comes from events such as the global catastrophe of the flood recorded in Genesis 6-9. Young Earth Creationists include Theologian Wayne Grudem and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler.
Second, Old Earth Creationists are best represented by the ministries The Discovery Institute and Reasons to Believe. Old Earth Creationists fall into several categories when it comes to interpreting Genesis 1. Some hold to The Gap Theory, where they view Genesis 1:1 as a complete statement and Genesis 1:2 as the re-creation of the world for Adam & Eve possibly billions of years after the creation of the universe. The theory has been best articulated by Old Testament scholar John Sailhamer in the book Genesis Unbound (Dawson Media 2011). Notable champions of The Gap Theory include pastors Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Other Old Earth Creationists see Genesis 1 as poetry or a Psalm…