Creation: In Defense Of Six-Day Creation
by Rev. Robert Grossmann
This article is from a letter written to Mr. Jan Michaelson, a conservative Christian radio host for WHO in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Michaelson recently had Dr. Hugh Ross, an long-age "creationist" on his program. Rev. Robert Grossmann sent him this letter in hopes that some of these ideas will counter what Dr. Ross proclaimed.
March 8, 1999
Mr. Jan Michaelson
WHO Radio, Des Moines
To begin, I should identify myself. I am pastor of Peace Reformed Church at Garner, IA; a graduate of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia (1963); a graduate of UC Berkeley (1960 - just before it went to pot) in Philosophy but with 3.5 years of Chemical Process Engineering before switching majors; a veteran of a year of work in a cancer research group in San Francisco where I learned a good bit of biochemistry; and have authored numerous articles including one entitled "The Light He Called Day," which demonstrates that the "day" of Genesis one is defined as "the light" part of the day/night combination by God Himself. I also have a Masters Degree in Theology from Whitfield Theological Seminary and I taught eight years at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, then in Orange City, IA, and now in Lansing, IL.
I listened to your recent conversation with Hugh Ross, the "ancient earth creationist" writer with great interest. I had never heard him defend his own ideas even though I have known about them and read some of his material. I believe his approach is indefensible from a biblical as well as a scientific point of view, and I thought you would be interested in reading some critique of his ideas. Mr. Ross wants to defend creationism but I am afraid he raises the same old canard, that the Bible cannot be taken to say what it says. I refer here, of course, to the length of the creation days and of the creation week. As the late Dr. E.J. Young, perhaps the greatest Semitic language and OT professor of the 20th century said, "No one has ever answered the argument (for six normal days) from the Fourth Commandment." God tells us to work six obviously literal days and rest one obviously literal day of every obviously literal seven days because, he has worked and rested in a prototype of our pattern. If the prototype is a rubber nose we can make say anything we want (depending on the science of the day), the pattern is meaningless.
From a Biblical perspective:
1. The word yom in Hebrew is not used to describe an indeterminate length of time. First of all, Mr. Ross's Hebrew is suspect because he gives an English, not Hebrew pronunciation. The "O" in yom is long, and is pronounced as the "O" in "note" according to Thomas Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Every beginning Hebrew student knows this, so one has to wonder about Mr. Ross's qualifications to make statements about Hebrew use. Let's hope his claim to be an "astrophysicist" is better than his Hebrew.
a. Mr. Ross says that he has been speaking at many seminaries and making his claim about long periods for yom. This has been a canard of the liberals for a long time, that has, unfortunately been bought into by many evangelicals and semi-conservatives, most of whom don't read Hebrew either. I think Mr. Ross has been visiting the wrong seminaries. I have kept up my Hebrew by reading daily along with our family devotions in which another family member reads a chapter of the Bible after every meal (there is something to be said for a disciplined devotional life).
b. I have done a painstaking study of the use of the word yom in the Old Testament and cannot find one place where the word has to mean anything but the light part of the twenty-four hour period, or as a summary for the day/night complex. I have looked at the several verses that liberals quote to prove that it must mean a longer period, and every one of them either uses the plural of yom, or simply does not require a meaning of more than one day. The problem really lies in our use of the word "time," which can mean a distinct point in time, or a lengthy period of time. The Hebrew, like English, uses the word yom in plural to express longer periods, and the singular to express a specific time or day. For example, it speaks of the "days (plural) of Solomon," and the "day that God created them" (that is, the heaven and earth). The liberals tell us that "in the day that God created them" (Gen. 2:4) must mean the whole six-day period of creation, thus a longer period, but the first verses of the Bible clearly say that God "created the heaven and earth" on day one, that is, in ONE day. This is demonstrated by the parallel wording of Gen. 5:1, "in that day that God created man," which was day six, not the whole six-day period.
c.Many arguments demonstrate that the use of yom in Genesis one must mean ordinary days, and they are quite solid. I believe you asked Mr. Ross about numbered days. He passed over this, but there simply is no biblical or extra-biblical use of numbered days that isn't of ordinary days. The fact that they end with "evening and morning" is also insurmountable. Evening and morning are the border of "night." Therefore the first day ended with a night, just like every other day we experience. The setting aside of the sabbath day in Genesis 2:3 also implies ordinary days. The days after day four were by definition solar days, the sun is there for days, as the text itself says. Further, the first three days are exactly like day four and following in that they are of light and darkness, end with an evening and morning, and are counted one, two, three, of which four is four. The fact that God created light before He created light bearers, is clear from the text of Genesis 1, that is what it says in verse 3. We know that light can exist without a light-bearer. If we shut of a bulb in space, the light beam still travels on forever. If God created a beam of light some fifty billion miles long, it would have shined on a revolving earth for three days before the Sun was made. Or, He may have used other means, His own glory light will give light to the new earth (Rev. 21:23).
2. Every other reference to Creation in the rest of Scripture takes Genesis 1 literally. Cf. the above mentioned Gen. 5:1; Christ on male and female in Matt. 19:4-5; Psalm 33:9; and of course, the Fourth Commandment.
3. Gen. 1:5 clearly defines the day as being the period of light and night as the period of darkness. Combined with Gen. 1:4, where God created the light, there can be no doubt that God went out of His way not only to tell us what He had done, but also to give us a definition of day, so that there would be no doubt in our minds about what the days of Genesis 1 are. Notice that God does this on the FIRST day, just exactly when it is most effective to define day throughout the creation week. Those, like Ross, who claim to take the creation actions as literal but not the days, are left with God lying about what He did as creative act right here, if we do not take the days chronologically and literally as normal days of light and darkness. (The words "twenty-four hour day" do not appear in Scripture, so we should be aware that they may have been slightly shorter. We know the universe is slowing down, including earth's rotation [thus extra "leap- seconds" are needed occasionally]).
4. It is very misleading to say, as Mr. Ross does, that early church teachers, like Augustine did not believe in six-day creation. Augustine said that he believed that the heaven and earth were created in an instant. This does not mean that he did not believe in the six days. I too believe that the heaven earth were created in an instant, in the instant of the beginning, as is stated clearly in Gen. 1:1 "in the beginning, God created the heaven and earth." This is undoubtedly what Augustine meant too.
1. The fossils and organic deposits in the earth were not laid down over long periods. The only time these are laid down is in catastrophic floods. Yet the earth is covered with them, testifying to Noah's flood. Ross buys into the obvious falsehood of millions of years to deposit organic material underground. As a matter of clear fact, the earth is designed to recycle organic material through macro vultures, termites, etc., and micro molds, bacteria, etc. No organic material whatsoever is fossilized into oil or coal during normal conditions.
2. If it were millions of years since the organic deposits were laid down, they would long since have dissipated through the permeability of rock. All oil would be gone in about a million years (like the helium out of a rubber balloon over night). The high pressure gas deposits would be gone in much less time, on the order of a hundred thousand years or so.
3. The earth-moon complex would long since have crashed. At present distance and present rate of slowing in rotational speed, the moon will land in about a million years.
4. The sun has not produced life giving heat for millions of years. It is burning at a far greater rate than previously thought. (Our global heating or cooling is much more likely the result of variations in solar output than in any other thing.)
5. The modern physical theories of the universe are very much theory upon theory. Quantum physics and the theory of relativity do not reconcile, yet both do fit some phenomena or other. As a fan of physical theory I always enjoy reading materials like Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." Hawking is an honest unbeliever and an excellent physicist who understands more of his own and of others' theories than any other living physicist. Yet he constantly talks about God and creation rather matter-of-factly because it is virtually impossible to create a universe without God. He says, that since we cannot touch God, our science must operate without Him, but he virtually accepts the argument from design when he says in a Brief History, "Its almost as though the universe was designed to produce us." Hawking would laugh at the facility with which Ross speaks of the necessary factuality of "ten dimension" reality. This only means that Ross himself is a gleaner of intelligent sounding ideas, without really understanding how plausible or implausible they are on the basis of sound theorizing.
6. The fossils clearly indicate that the species on earth appeared suddenly. There are no intermediate forms for invertebrate to vertebrate, nothing for reptile to mammal, or for birds (archaeopteryx is clearly a modern bird with modern feathers, but who has claws on his wings just like some modern birds). Yet if there are two to four million species on earth, and evolution has been going on for a few hundred million years, there should be a new species and an extinction every ten years or so. These simply do not exist in the fossil record, or in life today.
7.Fossils, like biodeposits, are only formed during flood catastrophes, not at all under normal conditions. An animal has to die, be buried and pressed hard in a few hours or it will decompose from its own internal parasites and bacteria. Therefore the fossils do not show a long age for earth, but only that sometime in the past, there was a flood that laid them down. There is simply no real evidence for a four billion year old universe, unless we wish to force God out of the equation and reject all that He tells us in Scripture, including the fact that the universe had an appearance of age (grown trees, light from stars arriving on day four, and grown animals). These things are only misleading if God says nothing to Adam and us about how they got to be. But He tells us! The only reason for not listening is to escape our responsibility to God for our sins, and that is simple unbelief of the kind that leads to hell.
Sincerely yours, Rev. Bob Grossmann
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy dauilhter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.