A few months ago when I was at my older sister‘s house, I found myself perusing her most recent issue of the Lutheran Magazine The Lutheran Witness. I stumbled upon an impressive article called “Concerning the Six-Day Creation” by Matthew C. Harrison, the president of the entire denomination; dumbfounded, I immediately tweeted about it.
Today I want to do a more in-depth response to that article. Enjoy!
“Creation is a mystery.”
Not really. What is mysterious to me, however, is how you are still capable of being a young-earth creationist in the twenty-first century. I think that if you took the time to learn about the big bang and evolution by those who understand what they are, you would know that we have, indeed, figured out “creation” with near certainty.
“Just as science will forever have a problem with Jesus being God and man, with his virgin birth, or with His resurrection, so science will forever scoff at, or, at best, view the creation account in Genesis as mythology. Though I’m no scientist, I’ve had challenges myself believing that the creation accounts are history. When will a talking snake appear believable to reason? How, in the face of the dominant theory of evolution, will the special creation of Adam out of dust and in a flash appear reasonable? And what of Eve from a rib? How can I possibly hold on to an actual creation of all things in six natural days?”
You can’t. Unless you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and try really really hard not to think about it. But at least you’re getting there.
“We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture.”
“. . . a process of evolution: [the world] has, in immense periods of time, developed more or less of itself.”
Who told you that that is what evolution is!? A Google search takes 10 seconds. It took me only seconds to find the definition of evolution (I already knew, but I like to be positive before making a claim): “the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.” The development of living organisms is not equal to the development of the world as a whole, by which I assume you mean the earth or the universe, as “world” is a somewhat vague term. Biological evolution did not cause the universe to originate. No one believes that. And the straw man doesn’t make you look any better.
“Since no man was present when it pleased God to create the world, we must look for a reliable account of creation to God’s own record, found in God’s own book, the Bible. We believe God’s own record with full confidence . . . “
Why? How do you know he was there? Because he said so? If I said the Flying Spaghetti Monster was there, which I claim to know because he told me, would you believe me? You can’t blame us for being less than dissatisfied for that pitiful excuse for an answer and going off to use science and construct our own.
“Over the centuries, there have been a plethora of attempts to alleviate the ‘scandal’ of the creation accounts and to understand them in a way that is less offensive to human reason.”
You just admitted that your beliefs are offensive to human reason. Think about it…take all the time you need.
“. . . suggesting that the earth is somehow millions or billions of years old actually [compounds] the scandal in my view. Can we somehow stretch the meaning of a ‘day’ in Genesis 1 into an eon or long period of time? If so, then how is it that light is created prior to the sun? How is it that vegetation is created prior to the sun? How is it that God created fish and birds prior to the other animals?”
Again… your arguments are self-defeating. This is still the Genesis account’s order of things no matter how long the days are. Elongating the days doesn’t change the order. And these are the questions asked by skeptics all the time. Pastor Harrison, I think you are more of a skeptic than you think you are.
“You simply cannot stretch the days of Genesis 1 into eons in order to somehow accommodate science or evolutionary theory in any meaningful or coherent way.”
No, no you cannot. Therefore you reject Genesis as a plausible account of origins. Because they contradict fields of study with tangible evidence.
“Why do I believe that the creation accounts are historical? I believe them because I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior. And I hear the words of Jesus that He Himself believes that the creation accounts are historical . . . And both He and the Scriptures bear witness to their absolute inerrancy and infallibility.”
Around and around and around we go… I’m starting to feel a bit dizzy.
“There will always be a struggle between faith and reason.”
“As Lutherans, we are not anti-science.”
But you just said…
“A recent study of the human genome concluded, by tracing markers on the male chromosome, that all human beings have one common male ancestor. That’s phenomenal to consider!”
Yes! Isn’t evolution amazing?
“Christians should not be against science, but only against philosophies which would eliminate God from creation, deny his existence or attack the veracity of His Word.”
Ah, I see. You like science if it gives the answers that align with your preconceived beliefs. And when it doesn’t, you regard it as one big mystery. I think that living that way would give me headaches.
“. . . the recognition of the soteriological purpose of Scripture in no sense permits us to call into question or deny the historicity or factuality of matters recorded in the Bible.
We therefore reject the following views …
That recognition of the primary purpose of Scripture makes it irrelevant whether such questions of fact as the following are answered in the affirmative: Were Adam and Eve real historical individuals? Did Israel cross the Red Sea on dry land? Did the brazen serpent miracle actually take place? Was Jesus really born of a virgin? Did Jesus perform miracles attributed to Him? Did Jesus’ resurrection actually involve the return to life of His dead body?”
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. Reading that made me feel sick. This is why the thought of coming out to a Lutheran family as an atheist made me feel sick as well. I asked the questions I wasn’t supposed to ask.