Let us begin where the materialists begin. How do we make sense of all that we see? How come those mountains? Why that mouse and that bird? Whence cometh that monkey and that cow? And wine and clouds and similarly shaped skulls and frogs that look so convincingly similar while being so utterly different? How do we explain the world we live in? How do we explain where it all came from? And particularly where did all this life come from?
Now, beginning with these questions, let us add a qualifier - a rule to the answers we provide: Make no reference to God. Appeals to the Divine are forbidden. Answer the questions but do so without doing what every other human being has done in the history of the world: Explain the world assuming you can see and sense everything that there is. Leave God to the side or abandon him on the scrapheap of silly myths. We do not need him. Explain everything without giving him any credit from the outset.
And so, what did they come up with? What sort of answers were proposed? Unbounded libertarianism + time + chance. In other words evolution over billions of years gets us to where we find ourselves now. Billions of years + matter and you can do pretty much anything says our test-takers. A pool of chemicals can turn into a pool of single-celled swimmers. Give it enough time and they can have babies with legs and lungs and eyes. Let your children become whatever they want to be and they’ll soon be flying…. Give us time, give us a bunch of elements, throw some energy into the mix and you can grow a universe just like ours.
But after all this time the bio-chemists and the physicists respond with, “Actually, errr, you can’t…” The Quantum physicists come along and start in with a short explanation of why the world simply doesn’t work the way we can see it does - actually almost nothing works the way we have assumed it does, not time, not matter, not light, not movement, not really anything. Social psychologists start talking about how your brother’s anxiety problem can give you cancer. We can’t get a single protein to spontaneously transform. And suddenly we find ourselves with an absolute cultural consensus around evolution and time and the origins of the universe that is increasingly indefensible - but don’t question it in public. The theory of evolution was already full of enormous holes. Now it appears to be dissolving into sand - like so many un-relatable facts crammed together but nothing to bind them and an increasing amount of space between them. In other words there’s no way to get from one small lizard-like thing to one bird-like thing - ad infinitum.
Enter the theologians.
We Christians have been trying our best over the past few hundred years to look respectable. No one wants to look the fool. And no one wants secular smart people to think the Bible is stupid. And as Dr. Hugh Ross thoughtfully observed of the belief in a young earth created over six days: “I cannot imagine a notion more offensive to this group…” Dr. Henri Blocher speaks of anyone who questions the received dogma of naturalistic and ancient origins as being functional kamikaze pilots - crashing into the intellectual world and offering nothing but an unjustified stumbling block to, well, the smart people. And so theologians bend over backwards to make Genesis 1 & 2 clearly not teach what Genesis 1 & 2 appear to clearly teach. Does a 6-day creation story sound stupid to you? Have no fear - that’s not what Genesis 1 says. We twist the text into convoluted knots separating the meaning of the words from the objects of those same words. Day can’t mean day. Night cannot mean night. Light cannot mean light and so on and so forth. And so in the name of scientific respect for the indefensible consensus, we rip the text to shreds doing with it what we would never do to other texts in the Bible. And this is the evangelicals.
We say nonsensical things like, “We don’t really know what Genesis 1 and 2 is all about. Its not about how God created the universe, but rather that He created the universe.” We do this with a straight face. Ignoring the hard reality that there are real words on the page that mean things. Words like “And God Said…” Words that indicate real actions over real time “…and there was evening and there was morning the third day.” Liberal protestants are more honest than we are. But a small question in the face of these exegetical contortions: Why let the materialists set the baseline? Presupposing the non-existence of God seems a bit like preloading the answer. And why would we want to make room for any explanation that begins there? Especially when its not a very good explanation…
So, a new proposal - Same question: Explain all of this. Someone needs to. There are mountains and trees and kangaroos and rhinos. Someone said that Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals on the planet? Explain. How did everything get here? But this time, no qualifiers on what is a permissible answer and what isn’t. Make as many references to God as you like. No avoiding the Divine this time.
Genesis 1 and following: Now here is an answer with real meat on its bones. Here is a bountifully happy God speaking and commanding and existence obeying. Here is a God speaking everything into being and I do mean everything. Not just stars and water and protein molecules. I mean speaking into existence time. I mean matter. Speaking them into existence and then ordering them and then subjecting other things to them. Creating time, ordering it into days and nights and then subjecting the earth and the sun and the moon to it. I mean a God who speaks water into existence and then moves it by commanding it by his word - and it obeys. I mean a God who takes six days (that he just created and ordered) and speaks into existence a universe that he spreads out like a tent (stop and picture that one for a moment… and then let that answer whatever odd questions people ask about light years and light and the age of the universe). Here is every atom explained. Here is every species’ origin. Here is a world whose foundation is a God who speaks and creatures (like rocks and stars and bears and humans) who obey. Here is why disobedience isn’t simply moral, it has ontological and biological consequences. God created the heavens and the earth. How? He spoke it. He spoke for 6 days (like real days, not metaphorical ones) and then rested. And it was all very, very good. It was all very, very good, because all of it - every single atom and photon and lepton - obeyed all that God had said.
For some highly recommended reading on these subjects, might I suggest:
Creation and Change by Douglas Kelly.
Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson
Undeniable by Douglas Axe