Theology and apologetics
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In this article, I will explore the text of the first chapter of Scripture, Genesis 1, with a view towards determining whether this text commits one to a young earth interpretation of origins, or at least the extent to which the text tends to support such a view, if at all.
Paul had, at the time of his writing, never visited the Roman church in person (Rom 1:13; 15:22-29). He thus expands his salutation so as to include a creedal summary of the gospel and his apostolic calling. Presumably Paul’s intent here was to establish credibility with the recipients of his letter, whom he had not yet met with in person.
I do not believe this evidence to be decisive in favor of a non-literalist interpretation of those ages, but it does call for caution against dogmatism in reading the ages given in the Biblical genealogies literally.
The historicity of Adam and Eve is a question which strikes at the heart of the Christian faith. If the primordial pair did not exist, then the historical and biblical doctrine of the fall becomes extremely difficult to maintain.
Some may wonder why I have chosen to address this topic prior to engaging with other topics (such as the meaning of the ‘days’ in Genesis 1). I have done so because many young earth creationists consider this to be the more pressing concern, and perhaps even the strongest argument for their position from Scripture.
The “young earth” teaching introduces an unnecessary and erroneous tension between Scripture and science that has confused many and I have personally met many people who have turned aside from their faith due to what they see as the impossible challenge of trying to reconcile that understanding of Scripture with the clear scientific evidence. They end up being neither ‘old’ or ‘young’ earth and worst of all not believing that God is the Creator at all.
So confident was David Hume about this principle that he said, humble man that he was, “I flatter myself that I have discovered an argument…which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures.”
One of the most challenging objections to the existence of God is the problem of divine hiddenness. Closely related to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness asks “Where is God?”; “Why doesn’t God make His existence more obvious?”; “Why does God leave any room for doubt?”
The text is of evidential value given that it allows us to establish, in harmony with other independent lines of evidence, that the resurrection claim goes back to the apostolic eyewitnesses themselves.