The Creation Reformation

Why should we celebrate October 31?

For hundreds of years, people of the western world have attributed spiritual significance to the last day of October and the first day of November.

But “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1, NKJV) governed the celebration of these days during the Dark Ages, until God brought light out of this darkness through the pen and voice of a humble monk and priest—Martin Luther.

Historians date the beginning of the Protestant Reformation at the day that Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany—Oct. 31, 1517.

With the pounding of Luther’s hammer, the significance of All Hallows’ Eve was forever changed. A day dedicated to spirits, myths, superstition and fear now reminds Bible-believing Christians of faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone and the glory of God.

With some similarities, many date the beginning of the modern creation-science reformation to 1961 and the publication of our 518-page volume, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing) which I, a theologian, coauthored with Dr. Henry M. Morris, a hydraulic engineer. I thank our Lord for allowing me to have a part in this project!

In 100 Christian Books that Changed the Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2000), William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen acknowledged the long-term impact of the book:

Creation science has been controversial within the evangelical community as well as in society at large, but there is no doubt of the impact of this book by Whitcomb and Morris… By the end of the century the book had gone into its forty-first printing [over 300,000 copies]… creation science became a major force… and has substantial presence in the fields of science and education, all stemming from the influential book by Whitcomb and Morris. (pp. 135, 136)

Thus, we ask the question: Why did creation-science need a reformation? The answer is quite obvious. The overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians before 1961 believed that millions of years must have elapsed between the original creation of the world and the creation of Adam and Eve. This was the popular gap theory that postulated a vast time lapse between the first two verses of Genesis 1. I taught that view during my first two years at a graduate school of theology.

Other Old Testament scholars believed in the day-age theory, namely, that millions of years separated the six days of Genesis 1. Adam and Eve, then, were walking on a cemetery of plants and animals that had died and been fossilized long before our first parents were created.

A major event in world history had been practically ignored—that is, the magnitude and hydrodynamic effects of the Flood in the days of Noah. Dr. Morris carefully explained what should have been obvious to all Christians: a mountain-covering, year-long deluge of water would have fossilized billions of creatures in layers or strata of mud all over the world!

When I heard Dr. Morris lecture on this topic in September of 1953, I saw the tremendous error of reading millions of years into Genesis 1:2. My reasons for abandoning the gap theory are set forth in The Early Earth (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 2010), pp. 113-125.

Martin Luther posted 95 theses in opposition to the theological disasters in his church and, thus, under God, brought about a reformation that continues to this day. Likewise, Dr. Henry Morris was used of God to post two theses: (1) the Genesis Flood was a catastrophe of stupendous magnitude and geological significance; and (2) we can therefore see more clearly why millions of years are not needed in Genesis l.

Happy Reformation Day! Let us celebrate by placing our trust in God’s Word, which is true from the beginning to the end.

[node:bio/john-c-whitcomb body]

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Joel Tetreau's picture

John, on behalf of many of us who are young-earth guys, you cannot know how much we appreciate your scholarship as well as Dr. Morris. The Lord used you men to impact not just a more careful Biblical theology but your work has directly impacted local churches and para-church ministries all over the world that are committed to a right understanding of both Genesis and it's various implications to the gospel and to ministry. You men demonstrated that one can be exegetical and at the same time scientific. Of course it's always been that way - but ever sense the Scopes trials and previous to your work, I think fundamentalist & conservative evangelical ministries of all stripes have had something of an "anti-scientific" tag on them. You and Morris challenged that view - both within the world of critical evangelical scholarship but also within the world of secular science. Today we have secularists that have "borrowed" from more than a few of your observations and have rejected all or most of the "Darwinian Model" for "Intelligent Design." While ID is not the same as believing and preaching the Genesis is a step away from Darwinianism - a step in part aided greatly by the work you and Dr. Morris accomplished those years ago.

All that to say - God bless you my brother!

Straight Ahead!


Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (; Regional Coordinator for IBL West (, Board Member & friend for several different ministries;

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