Two Things to Remember When Discussing Creation with Other Christians

by Tim Barnett

Last month I had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of high school students at Hume Lake Christian Camp in California. One of the sessions was titled Ask Me Anything. On this particular occasion, many of the questions related to science and faith. In fact, one question kept coming up: How should we understand the creation account in Genesis 1?

There are few conversations between Christians that generate as much heat as those concerning creation. It seems like there are as many interpretations of Genesis as there are Christians. Depending on which view you hold, you might be labeled a “fundamentalist,” a “compromiser,” or even a “heretic.” I’ll let you decide which theory goes with each label.

When it comes to this issue there are two key principles that all Christians should keep in mind. The first principle is that Christians gather truth about creation from two sources: general revelation and special revelation. Nature is God’s general revelation and Scripture is God’s special revelation. God communicates through both sources of revelation, and both need to be studied and interpreted.

This leads to the second principle: everyone interprets. The interpretation of nature is called science whereas the interpretation of Scripture is called hermeneutics. Of course, these are interpreted in very different ways by using the tools within each discipline. We interpret the Bible using principles of hermeneutics and we interpret nature using the principles of the scientific method. 

In his systematic theology, Dr. Norm Geisler writes, “For whenever there is a conflict between an interpretation of the Bible and a current understanding of God’s natural revelation, priority should generally be given to the interpretation that is more certain.”

Some of you might be thinking, “That can’t be right, Tim. Doesn’t Scripture always trump science?” Technically, that’s not the right question…

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