I had a discussion with someone the other day who liked Challenge News but disagreed with our stance
on creation. He felt that six days couldn’t be taken literally and that, in the light of textual criticism and evolutionary science, we should take those verses as instructive myth, rather than history. It got me thinking. Christianity is considered a religion of history, full of actual places names, dates and backed up by thousands of archaeological finds. So, if we discard the first bit of Genesis as not historic, at what point do we then agree that history begins?
If we use the argument of “It must make scientific sense” for reading the rest of the Bible, where does that leave us?
If it seems impossible that God made the Earth in six actual days, does it seem any more plausible that the entire Earth was deluged in a flood that killed everything except eight people and some animals on a wooden boat? Does it seem likely that people used to live to 900 years old; or that once everyone spoke the same language and then suddenly, out of nowhere, they were all speaking different languages (the story of the tower of Babel); or that a woman was turned to a pillar of salt (Lot’s wife); or that the sun stood still for a whole day (Joshua) or went backwards! (Hezekiah); or that a man survived three days in the belly of a giant fish (Jonah); or that a donkey talked (Balak); or that all the water in Egypt turned to blood, and later all the first born children suddenly died in one night; or that a man was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot (Elijah)?
None of these things make sense scientifically, and this is just a small smattering of the bizarre and supernatural things in the Old Testament. Is it all just nonsense? Some would say so.
OK. What if we decide the whole OT is rubbish and we just believe the New Testament part of the Bible?
Righto. How scientifically plausible is a virgin birth? How about the chemistry of water becoming (very good) wine in an instant? What about paralysed people walking, a guy who was dead for four days and beginning to stink, coming to life (Lazarus); a man blind from birth, seeing; a man walking on water; two bits of fish and five loaves of bread being enough to feed more than 5000 people? None of these things make sense. And yet each was witnessed by several people and testified to. How about a guy being publically executed, dying in front of a crowd, and then coming back to life three days later and appearing in a locked room? Over 500 people saw Him in the days after He came back to life. None of that is logical, scientifically verifiable or even practically possible – apart from God. The Bible says that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound those who think they are wise. Looking at the above examples, you could say it is foolish to believe the Bible – and many people do, dismissing it completely on the basis of scientific rationalism.
Where does that leave us? Is it any more logical and scientifically rational to believe that the whole universe exploded out of nothing, by accident? Or that our intricate genetic code evolved out of chemicals with no process or design? Or that the beauty we see all around us in nature is random and accidental?
By discarding the Bible as ridiculous, materialistic thinking does not take away our problems of logic, it just creates new, and I would argue much more difficult, problems to grapple with. Where does creativity come from? What is love and why do we do it? What makes us, us? There is more to the world than science, logic and what we can perceive with our senses. Christians are not the only ones to argue that. And once we admit that scientific plausibility cannot be the only arbiter of truth, then the whole basis for rejecting Genesis as fact collapses.
The Bible is either all true, the Word of God, supernaturally written and preserved for us as a record of God’s supernatural dealings with humanity right from the beginning; or it is all equally irrational and unbelievable. It takes faith to accept the parts of it that we can’t verify, but, let’s not kid ourselves, it also takes incredible faith to believe there is no Author of the beauty around us, no immortal soul within us, no eternity, no final punishment for wrong, no moral basis for anything and no purpose to existence on Earth.
Pick your poison, but me, I believe God made the world in six days. Call me an idiot.