A few weeks ago, Shaune, Gracie, and I were travelling away from home over the weekend. As is our custom, we visited a local congregation for worship. This is a congregation we’ve had the pleasure of visiting several times over the years. Although it isn’t a church where we would consider attending full time (if we were local), it has always been pleasant and never theologically questionable.
Until this trip.
I’ve hesitated to write this post, as I don’t want to come across to harshly. We truly love many of the people in the congregation. I do believe the pastor means well, but the particular teaching we heard raised so many red-flags... so many I’ve also heard from other sources, that I feel the need to address it.
The sermon was on taking the Bible literally. The pastor’s claim was that overall, no, we should not – the Bible is a collection of stories and teachings, many of which were for a particular season in history. He specifically pointed to the creation story in Genesis 1. He began his teaching with this (my paraphrase, as I was too in shock to write it precisely): “Now, many of us have issues with certain aspects of the Bible. Look at creation – most of us accept that the Bible can’t be literal here. Scientists have proven evolution.”
I’m not a scientist. I don’t read science journals. (However, this used to be an issue of doubt for my husband, so he has spent many hours researching both sides of the evolution-vs-creation debate. I’ve asked him to write a little post summarizing some of his findings – look for that next week ) What I do read, however, is the Bible. And what I’ve discovered is that when the Bible describes creation, it means it literally.
Creation is the starting point of the whole story. Without it, nothing else makes sense. Follow me along this train of thought:
• Without creation, humans evolved from monkeys
• If we evolved from monkeys, there is no Eden, nor is there an Adam or Eve… just a more “human” monkey somewhere along the way
• With no Eden, Adam, or Eve, there is no original perfection, no one to be tempted, no command to be obeyed or disobeyed, and therefore no original sin
• With no original sin, there is no need for a savior
• And if there’s no need for a savior, it’s an easy jump to Christ being nothing more than a good man and a moral teacher
Without Creation, there can be no purpose to the Cross. Are you with me?
Clearly the Gospel writers believed in salvation. They also believe in the original sin of Adam and Christ’s redemptive death. Here’s a sampling:
• “Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them…” (Acts 4:24)
• “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.” (Romans 8:20-21)
• “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
• “Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:12)
• The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
I believe in a literal, final-form creation as prescribed in the Bible. Was it 6 24-hour days? I’m not sure, I wasn’t there (lol), but I do know that when God created, He created species as they are today. Humans were humans from the beginning. Fish were fish, cats were cats. (Variation has clearly occurred over the years, but that’s a different topic for a different day.) I also believe that if you don’t accept the reality of creation, you will forever struggle with the rest of Christianity. We need saved because we aren't what we were created to be. This is a line in the sand… literally.