The Genesis Flood is 50 years old today! The following article is reprinted with permission from the Baptist Bulletin July, 2010.
The book that powered the modern creation movement was skipped over by several Christian publishers. When Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb sent their manuscript to one prominent publisher, they were told it was much too long. Perhaps the authors would consider cutting it down by half?
Only then did the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. of Phillipsburg, N.J., take up the project, releasing the book on Feb. 11, 1961. Now nearly 50 years later, it continues to impact Bible students around the world and across the generations.
Against the backdrop of the mid-20th century infatuation with naturalism and scientific truth, the authors articulated a dissenting position. At the time, a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood was scarcely being taught, other than by a few conservative Lutherans and Seventh-day Adventist theologians. Even within fundamentalism the prevailing views were the gap theory (the view that there can be a gap containing millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2) and the day-age theory (the view that each day of the creation week may represent vast ages of time).
It is so important that we focus on God’s perspective concerning ultimate origins. Human theories, hypotheses, speculations and opinions come and go. But the God “who cannot lie” (NKJV,* Tit. 1:2), who was there when the world began, has written a perfect book—the Bible—which He requires that we read and believe (Rom. 10:17).
Let us think, then, about the vital and blessed heritage that Christians enjoy as we understand the truths of creationism.
The Bible, God’s unique, inerrant, inspired, infallible written revelation, informs us that the world was not the product of some vague designer (to say nothing of time through chance by mindless evolution), but was the creative work of the Second Person of the triune God, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through Christ, the eternal Son of God, “all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers [different ranks of angelic beings]. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [hold together]” (Col. 1:16-17).
The Message of Creation by David Wilkinson is a light commentary with ample contemporary application on the biblical theme of creation. Wilkinson is a competent theologian with a scientific background, making him well qualified to speak on the theme of creation. His pastoral experience shows through as he provides lengthy applications from the many biblical passages he discusses throughout the book. In his defense of the idea of a Creator, he also interacts with well known atheists (past and present) such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins.
The book considers five aspects of the doctrine of creation through 20 passages of Scripture. Wilkinson is quick to point out in the preface that the book is not a systematic theology on the doctrine of creation, though the theologian in him might prefer to write such a book.
It is a kind of journey. Some will want to get to the destination quickly, but that is not what we shall do. We have twenty “villages” to visit on the way in pursuing the doctrine of creation and opening up its biblical themes. Their large number of passages and their diversity is testimony to how important this doctrine is within the biblical literature. (p. 11)
Read Part 1
In the first part of this three-part series, I noted that the prevailing view of Christian orthodoxy had been the literal day interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3. I also presented four preliminary arguments supporting this twenty-four-hour day interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3. Here we will note four of the most prominent alternative views that have arisen largely as a result of the advent of modern geology and its claims about the (old) age of the earth.
Because the tradition of Christian orthodoxy has a legacy of interpreting Genesis as a historic narrative, the prevailing interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3 has been that it is a record of God’s creative activity in six, consecutive, literal days followed by a literal seventh day of rest. Because the focus is on the six days of divine creative activity, this view is often called the “twenty-four-hour view.” With the rise of modern geology and subsequent development of other disciplines, such as astronomy, biology and geophysics, secularists are convinced that the “scientific” evidence, such as radioisotope dating, demands an earth that is 4.5 billions years old and a universe that is 14 billion years old (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dalrymple/scientific_age_earth.html).