In this regard, what amazes me about Christians is in how we like to argue endlessly about what words mean and scriptural interpretations that won’t set a heart free.
We call it defending the truth, but are we actually doing this, or just getting in the way of their knowing this Father who loves them so much He sent His Son to died for them?
Last year, I took our ministry students to Mall of America to just hang out and see where Jesus would lead us. We met up with a ministry friend of mine who lives in Minneapolis. I like going to this place because you’ll find just about every nation, tribe and tongue on the planet there. It’s a modern-day cultural crossroad.
When my friend and I were going through a food court we were led to approach a young man who turned out to be a biology student attending a local university. He was in the middle of what looked like a fine dinner but stopped when we walked up so we started a conversation with him. He seemed interested, so we continued.
Of course, like many young bright science majors, he was an atheist. So I was looking forward to a wonderful conversation because I know that God loves atheists.
As it turns out, his problem with the Bible was that he couldn’t believe the Genesis account, that the world was created in six days. I’ve found this to be a major issue for most skeptics in America. Probably elsewhere too. I was cool with that and wanted to continue the conversation. But my ministry friend started digging into this objection, trying to prove to him that it was a literal six 24-hour days. I could see the biology student shutting down. And this is the point of my post today.
Does it really matter if the world was created in six days or six billion years, as far as sharing the love of Christ? Really?
Does this person even have to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days in order to be saved? To be filled with the Holy Spirit? To know the Father’s love?
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. The six-day thing was his objection. And if he can’t get past that, how is he ever going to believe in Jesus? I’ll get to that in a moment.
So I interrupted my friend as subtly as I could and said, “That’s great, Bob (don’t remember his real name). You would probably get a lot out of listening to Dr. Hugh Ross about the Genesis account, and then I moved on in our conversation.
The walls started to come down. As I talked he got more interested and asked questions.
His food was getting cold but he didn’t seem to mind.
We ended up talking for about 45 minutes (we usually only talk to people for 5-10 minutes), I shared the Father’s love, how He wants him to know Him, and actually got a word for him that he acknowledged to be true about himself (got him to smile too!). We blessed him and left him to finish his dinner. He said he would check out the Hugh Ross link I gave him.
Here’s my point.
Does it really matter, in light of an offer of a life in Christ filled with purpose, love and joy, that we win an argument over how old the earth is?
And how’s that been working for you?
Back to the objection. Now, I personally don’t have a problem with God creating the world in six 24-hour days. But this is my question.
Do we have to hold to this position in order to defend the truth of the Bible?
Actually, I don’t think we do. For even though God is God and He can do whatever He wants, I think He made the Universe within the physical laws He created. And this is good because that means we don’t have to throw away science in order to believe in Him.
While there are people like Ken Ham, from Answers in Genesis who do an excellent job defending the traditional “young earth” model, this line of argument isn’t going to convince our, otherwise open to Jesus, biology student that the world was created in six 24-hour days.
The good news is, you don’t have to throw away the Bible to agree with science here. And this is where people like Dr. Hugh Ross can help us. He’s an astrophysicist, former professor at Cal-Tech, pastor and founder of Reasons to Believe ministry. In other words, he’s really smart!
I have included a short video clip where he answers how the earth could actually be very old, while still embracing a literal view of the Genesis creation account (the Hebrew word for “day” can be literally interpreted four different ways).
You see, something wonderful has happened over the last couple of decades. Advancements in science are actually converging and confirming the crazy things we’ve even doubted or didn’t understand about what the Bible tells us (especially, in the area of quantum physics and microbiology.)
Science and Christianity don’t have to be opposed to one another. But we may need to re-think our traditional interpretations of Scripture to see if they are valid. But regardless, we need to stop obsessing on the minors and focus on the majors, like inviting people to experience the Father’s love and transforming fellowship in Christ (1 John 1:3-4).
And, by the way, God is pretty good at getting us to believe the details of the Bible…after we have believed in Him.
What do you think about this? Does this view stretch you too far from your traditions? Or could it be another resource to help you overcome these major objections to faith?
Here’s a couple other videos you might like from Dr.Hugh Ross…
For a longer video on “Why the Universe is the way it is” (makes some good points to go along with my last post)
Photo credit: MOA Food Court by Michael Ocampo used under Creative Commons 2.0 license.