“Creation: How Old?”
II Peter 3:3-4, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
This morning, foundation points that are building blocks to other principles are eroded or taken away. The family is attacked today by the constant onslaught of what marriage really is. Religion is hammered by constant attacks on the truth. The church is ostracized by culture as being out of touch and antiquated. Though these attacks may trouble the household of faith, the real affront in these onslaughts is towards God Himself. When the children of Israel wanted a king in the days of Samuel, the Lord told him that the rejection was not of Samuel’s judgeship but rather the Lord’s Kingship. Today, people’s attack on principles and institutions is not a rejection of God’s people as much as it is a rejection of God Himself. Perhaps the most fundamental truth is that of creation itself. Without the starting point that God is the creator of the material universe, failure is inevitable. However, many today claim to believe in God’s existence and role as Creator, but they deny the simplicity of truth as enumerated in the Scriptures.
As Peter wends home to the close of his second epistle, he will discuss in glorious terms the second coming of Christ. Before doing so, he will speak of things preceding that day that opens his discussion into the subject of the second coming. Before Christ comes back, scoffers will manifest themselves denying the coming of Christ. As proof of their denials, they will foolishly point to the predictable occurrence of things and say that all things have done this since the beginning. What is interesting is that these people are not necessarily evolutionists that deny the existence of God. They admit to a creation, but their idea of creation is faulty. Today, we see this mindset all around us.
In my secular life, I work in the engineering world and in the fields of science. The people that I most associate with professionally are learned in advanced mathematics and sciences. Though I am thankful that many of my colleagues are God-fearing men and women, it is disturbing to see how so many have fallen victim to the incessant barrage that has been unleashed in the science fields. Again, they do not subscribe to evolution in that there is no God. Rather, they take all the scientific data that we have available and try to somehow make it “jive” with the idea of Creator God. Since the data being given points to an “old earth,” they must find a way to make things fit with what science tells us is fact.
Without going too deep into technical weeds, the “old earth theory” is much more popular today than it was in centuries past. Due to testing in science fields, many materials seem to be millions or more years old. This conclusion is reached based on what we know of material decay through certain composite materials. Therefore, if something has decayed so much over the last 50-100 years, the conclusion is that it must be X million years old to decay to the point it is today. That very simplified explanation of what the data shows is why so many creation believing people subscribe to the old earth theory. Therefore, they take the Genesis 1 account to be allegorical wherein every day of the creation week is really just vast indeterminate periods of time. In this way, they “marry” creation through some long evolutionary cycle to claim that both the data conclusions and the Bible are both true.
Though I am not alone, people in my field that subscribe to a “young earth” (6000-7000 years old) have been ridiculed as blindly dumb. However, no matter what someone’s worldview is, assumptions must be made beforehand. The problem with the old earth worldview is that the assumption is plainly refuted by Scripture. The assumption from the data points is that there is a linear scale and that the decay of isotopes has followed a predictable pattern from the beginning. Peter asserts in our study verses that this mindset is exactly what the scoffers believe. He will go on in subsequent verses to talk of their willing ignorance to the worldwide flood and its ramifications. Because of what happened in Noah’s day, we cannot really comprehend the fullness of what life was like pre-flood. It was obviously different as men lived 900+ years. Certain species whose fossils have been unearthed lived then but not today. Such a cataclysmic change as the flood produced altered the scale of which things like decay took place. To say that the linear regression points to a creation that is millions or billions of years old is a scoffer’s mentality.
However, something much more sinister lurks behind this theory. Based on the fossil record and things that are yet being unearthed, we see something very evidently. Fossil grounds are a cemetery of sorts that displays death. If we accept the notion that the data points to an old earth and that Genesis 1 must be allegorical, then we must accept that these fossils lived and died centuries, millennia, or longer before Adam was formed upon the earth. If that be the case, then why did they die? The Bible unequivocally points out the fact that death exists and reigns in the earth due to man’s actions. (Romans 5:12) Death not only passed upon Adam and his posterity, but death affects natural life as well. Before the fall in the Garden of Eden, death was non-existent. Animals and anything else would not have died.
To say that life forms lived and died before and not subsequent to man’s decision is to deny the basic foundation point of why death is here in the first place. If that foundation stone is taken away, what about the inverse? James says in his epistle that sin “when it is finished” bringeth forth death. The inverse of that is that grace “when it is finished” bringeth forth life. If the starting place for death is moved from its rightful slot, then the starting point for grace gets altered as well. Without believing that God created all things exactly as He says He did, we end up with a myriad of unexpected problems in the building blocks of theology as it pertains to salvation and redemption.
Brethren, our adversary is very crafty and many of the arguments arising in my lifetime have caused a great many people to slip. One of my colleagues asked me one time, “With all the evidence that we have, how can you be so dumb as to deny it?” Though I do not deny the data, I do deny the assumptions that must be made to make the conclusions that people make with them. Our children need to know that the simple model of 6 days of creative work a few thousand years ago is the starting point. To move from that point leads us to slippery places wherein our belief of depravity, grace, sin, righteousness, life, and death will not be able to stand. Furthermore, it could ultimately lead to scoffing at the idea of His return. Beloved, His return is just as sure as His creation stands today. As real as the judgment of the flood in Noah’s day is, so real is the judgment of the fire in the Lord’s day. He is coming. The knowledge that His return will be swift, certain, and glorious sustains us today through hope. To keep that hope fresh and vibrant, let us look at the creation now that is kept in store to that day of judgment with the knowledge that it was framed by God’s word just as He said it was in the beginning. Over and over, “And God said…,” “And God said….,” “And God said….” All it took in the beginning was for God to say, and it was done. All it will take in the end is for God to say, and it is done. Even so come Lord Jesus!