The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Creation Creeds

The following item was originally posted in October 2010. I have added it to my blog recycling program. Because I have new readers of The GeoChristian, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my favorite blog entries (sometimes with a little editing).

This “Creation Creeds” post is a statement of what I, as an old-Earth, theologically conservative, confessional, “Evangelical/Presbyterian (PCA)/with a big dose of Lutheran theology” Christian believe regarding the biblical doctrine of creation.

Creation creed — short version

As an old-Earth creationist

I believe that the universe was created by the triune God of the Bible

I believe that the Bible does not dictate when this creation took place

I believe in a real Adam

in a real garden

in a real fall into sin

in real consequences for that sin

and in Jesus Christ as the only solution for sin

Amen

 

Creation creed — long version

As an old-Earth creationist

I believe that the universe—all that is seen and unseen—was created from nothing by the triune God of the Bible: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God

I believe that the Bible does not dictate when the creation took place, nor does it state the extent or work of Noah’s flood

I believe in a real Adam and Eve as individuals—the first humans in the image of God—and that we are all descendants of this family

I believe that all humans retain the image of God, and are therefore of very high value

I believe in a real Garden of Eden, which was at a specific location in Mesopotamia, and that the Edenic paradise did not cover the entire Earth

I believe that the natural world has inherent value, and that humans are called to be good stewards of the creation that God has given us, for the glory of God,  for the good of all humanity, and for the sake of the creation itself

I believe in a real fall into sin through Adam’s disobedience to God’s command, and in real consequences for that sin that continue to this day: human physical and spiritual death

I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only solution for sin, and that those who put their faith in him as their savior will spend eternity with him and with each other in the New Heavens and the New Earth

Amen

January 1, 2013 - Posted by | Blog Recycling, Christianity, Creation Care, Creation in the Bible, Environment, Old-Earth creationism, Origins, Young-Earth creationism |

18 Comments »

  1. I consider my “creation creeds” to be rough drafts, and welcome any input you have as I work on these.

    I have used the short version as an answer when fellow believers question my orthodoxy when they find out I am an old-Earther. Many of them have been told over and over that if one accepts an old Earth then the doctrine of sin is thrown out the window, and that there is then no need for a savior. This is simply not true. As an old-Earth Christian “I believe in a real Adam, in a real garden, in a real fall into sin, in real consequences for that sin, and in Jesus Christ as the only solution for sin.” The age of the Earth has nothing to do with it.

    The long version is an elaboration filling in some details and adding some additional points, for example on creation care.

    These are creeds: short statements about my core beliefs. They are not intended to be exhaustive defenses of my doctrine of creation, which would take a book in order to present adequately.

    The phrase “old-Earth creationist” is taken by some as synonymous with “old-Earth anti-evolutionist,” such as the position advocated by Hugh Ross. I don’t take a stand for or against most of biological evolution, as I don’t believe the Bible addresses the topic.

    I have made only two changes to my October 2010 version of the Creation Creeds. Both changes were to the longer version.

    1. I inserted the phrase “from nothing” to the second line.

    2. I reworded line seven from

    “I believe in a real Garden of Eden, and that the human mandate was to extend the blessings of Eden to all of the Earth”

    to

    “I believe in a real Garden of Eden, which was at a specific location in Mesopotamia, and that the Edenic paradise did not cover the entire Earth”

    Perhaps the statement about Eden isn’t even necessary. I have included it as a counter to the common YEC assumption that the entire Earth was a picnic ground, what I call the “bunnies and daisies” interpretation. Instead, it seems from Genesis that the world outside of Eden was a wild place in need of subduing.

    Grace and Peace,
    Kevin (the GeoChristian)

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | January 1, 2013

  2. The statement about the garden is more important than making a distinction against YEC claims. In non-dispensational reformation theology, the garden represents the dwelling place of God and man, since, even in the beginning, heaven (God’s dwelling place) and earth (Man’s) were two distinct spheres. The garden, with the tree of life at the center, represents the place where the two overlap, in the presence of God. Had Adam obeyed, I presume that the garden would have spread along with his progeny, to cover the whole earth. The reason for this comes out of Revelation, where we see the final dwelling place of God and man being a new heaven and new earth, which can be seen as a complete overlap, where Man can dwell with God.

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    Comment by AdmiralPorkchop | January 1, 2013

  3. AdmiralPorkChop,

    Do you have any suggestions for a better way to word the Garden of Eden line (line 7)?

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | January 1, 2013

  4. I would split it into two clauses, restoring the language you had taken out, which is important. I wrote the second line before I noticed that you had removed one similar – you can take or leave my wording.

    “I believe in a real Garden of Eden, in a specific place and time upon the earth, which was the dwelling place of God and man.” <– I think mentioning Mesopotamia is helpful, but not necessary. We presume the locations in the Bible correspond to that region, but I would leave it open for evidence via better biblical or scientific inquiry.

    "I believe that Adam was mandated to subdue creation in a state of perfect obedience, via the stewardship and continued obedience of him and his offspring, to bring the whole earth into perfect, eternal communion with God."

    Like

    Comment by AdmiralPorkchop | January 2, 2013

  5. […] Creation Creeds […]

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    Pingback by Fr. Orthohippo | January 2, 2013

  6. AdmiralPorkchop — Thanks for the suggestions.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | January 2, 2013

  7. A friend of mine commented on Facebook:

    Hey Kevin, as I understand it, this creed essentially argues that the Almighty kick started everything out of nothing, directed evolution more or less as the theory says over billions of years, and then came back in to create people a few thousand years ago? Is that correct? Thanks!

    I replied with:

    God is intimately involved in all of his creation at all times, whether he uses ordinary natural processes such as plants growing or rain clouds forming, or supernatural interventions such as the crossing of the Red Sea or the resurrection of Christ. This is very different than deism, in which God gets the ball rolling and then it is all a hands-off cause-and-effect process. I have left my Creation Creeds ambiguous on the degree to which God has intervened in the creation process. When God said “Let the land produce vegetation,” or “Let the land produce living creatures” (Gen 1:11,24), these are not creations out of nothing as it was in Gen 1:1. But is there a “natural” process that God is pushing along (something like evolution), something like animals popping out of the ground as in C.S. Lewis’s “The Magician’s Nephew,” or something else? I don’t know, and the Bible is rather vague.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | January 2, 2013

  8. “I don’t take a stand for or against most of biological evolution, as I don’t believe the Bible addresses the topic.”

    But you do believe the Bible addresses the age of the earth?

    Like

    Comment by Mike Gantt | February 14, 2014

  9. Like many conservative Evangelical pastors and scholars, I believe that the Bible does not require a young Earth. I don’t say that the Bible teaches an old Earth, but that it is ambiguous or silent on the topic. Therefore I can go wherever the evidence leads, and I believe the scientific evidence overwhelmingly points to an old Earth.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | February 14, 2014

  10. So then, is it fair to say that you think that the Bible is silent about both the age of the earth and evolution?

    Like

    Comment by Mike Gantt | February 14, 2014

  11. As I said in the Creation Creeds, “I believe that the Bible does not dictate when this creation took place.” I’ve elaborated in some of my GeoScriptures articles.

    I also don’t think the Bible says much about biological evolution. The typical YEC insistence that the the use of “kinds” in Genesis 1 prohibits biological evolution is reading more into the text than is required. All the text is saying is that horses reproduce horses, and petunias reproduce petunias. It does not say that the genetic makeup of populations of these species cannot change from generation to generation, nor does it place a limit on how far that variation can go. If there is a limit to biological evolution, it is a “natural” limit, not a scriptural one.

    I have summarized what the Bible says about biological evolution here: What the Bible says directly about biological evolution.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | February 14, 2014

  12. I think the Bible plainly teaches the yec position on creation and the global flood. There is no way a plain reading of the text would give you any other position.

    Like

    Comment by Tom | April 25, 2014

  13. I am attracted to your Q&A on this topic. You clearly state the problem I feel grows from doubt. That we struggle to debate and communicate our questions about God’s gift to us, The Earth and the lives that grow here. I like to use this example about disagreement, Denominational differences being a distraction from what Jesus asks of us, “nicely”. Jesus asks us to Love and encourage love with Truth and Trust being the goal. and everywhere I look I hear Trinity this and evolution that?? followed by groanings and dismay.

    You are setting a great example for curious newborns and tired athiests, to search for true discussion and expression of true questions, I think you should advertise and entice more people to the discussion ( I literally found this site today )

    Like

    Comment by Kevin | October 29, 2014

  14. I am surprised by your point 8, that you don’t take a firm position on biological evolution because the Bible doesn’t address the tolic. Considering that it does not, combined with the extensive scientific evidence for biological evolution, why would you not accept it? Otherwise, it seems as illogical as saying, “I don’t accept genetics, because the bible doesn’t address it.”

    Like

    Comment by Glen | January 2, 2015

  15. Glen,

    I’ll give my wording some thought, and I appreciate your input.

    My “Creation Creeds” are intended to state what I believe theologically. I don’t think the Bible says anything about biological evolution one way or another, at least for non-humans, so I didn’t state anything like “I believe that God used evolution as his means of creation.” I believe that biological evolution is primarily a scientific issue, not a biblical issue.

    Having said all of that, I accept most of evolutionary theory, and believe that it is a primary means by which God has arranged the world to be as it is. Perhaps there is a hint of this in Genesis 1:11, where God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation,” and Genesis 1:24, where God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures.” These verses allow for a natural process to unfold over time, but it would be a stretch of Scripture to say that these verses require biological evolution.

    I think the evidence is against life forming from non-life by natural means, but that is a scientific conclusion, not a Biblical one.

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | January 2, 2015

  16. I think there is compelling evidence that evolution did not take place in the creation of the world and of living things: the missing link of Darwin, the fact that everything breaks down in nature with little indications of things being built up, the fact that intelligent order is everywhere with complex systems intack and delicate balances keeping things in check and a predetermind and calculated means and way of reproduction of all things living, among many other indications. What I do believe exists in creation however, is the ability of living things to change in varying degrees being influenced by living forces of nature, but these changes must follow along and be a part of the inherent order of it’s own existance, another words, a bilogical substances such as minerals in the soil can influence the quality and characteristics of a living organism allowing changes of health and fluxuations of adaptablility, but it cannot mutate a living organism into “something else”. I think all things must act and react within a basic blueprint of individual existance and I think it would be a stretch to call minimal changes and adaptabilty ‘evolution’.

    Also, I think that Science and Spirituality are different sides of the same coin. As God created all things, all existence must reflect the inherent aspects of God, that is that creation has both substance and spirit, order and direction, and that even a blade of grass, that is thrown into the fire, is arrayed with a life force ( part of the spiriutal aspect of it’s nature) flowing through the substance of it’s matter.

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    Comment by sag130 | January 21, 2015

  17. The idea, “created from nothing”, is a modern concept that is a mind set that came into modern thought as a counter to evolution and subsequent Big Bang theory. For God to be existing in nothing for infinity past waiting for a point in that infinite eternity to create is beyond my finite imagination. What was He doing in the infinite past in that nothingness ? Most remember the first time we heard the Name of God, I am that I am, and how that made us feel, their are things beyond knowing. Many Hebrew Scholars have done studies of the first verse of the bible which have attempted to reconstruct the Ancient understanding of the word,(Bershet) In the “beginning”, asserting that “from” is implied rather that “In”. It may not have been intended to mean God said; “In the beginning God created the Heavens and Earth” but “from the beginning” of eternity past. “Let there be light”, verse three, was in response to the darkness on the earth in verse two. Not “let there be light ” and bang there was light, but the revelation of what was already there. Order purpose and function being the focal point. (Dr. John Walton) Compare John;1 In the “beginning” was the Word etc. again this use of beginning doesn’t support from nothing as The word of God is eternal. The Earth has a beginning but Heaven, if defined as the dwelling place of God didn’t.

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    Comment by Randy Bryson | June 9, 2015

  18. Randy — Thanks for your comment. It seems that you are assuming that God is somehow restricted by time, or that time is outside of creation. If time is part of creation itself, then there is no infinite past that causes logical difficulties.

    A stronger case for creation ex nihilo of the universe (Earth, stars, galaxies, etc.) is found in Hebrews 11:3 — “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (NIV 1984).

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | June 10, 2015


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