Christ and the Time of Creation
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Christians who go along with the standard "old–earth" model of the evolutionists need to realize that they are going against the strong testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, for He clearly affirmed the truth of recent creation. Jesus Christ was the Creator of all things (note John 1:1-3,10; Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2,10; etc.) and so knows far more about when He created the world than all the modern evolutionary geologists and Big Bang astronomers combined. Christ says there have been people on the earth since the very beginning of the world--and He ought to know, for He was there!
For example, when the Pharisees asked Him about marriage and divorce, He replied that "from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). He did not say that God made the first man and woman fifteen billion years after the beginning of the creation, but right from the beginning of the creation. In fact, the whole creation had been prepared for them (even the stars had been made to serve them "for signs, and for seasons," Genesis 1:14,16), and they were given "dominion … over all the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Such a stewardship responsibility would be an anachronism if animals and plants had already been living and dying—many even becoming extinct—for long ages before they were placed under some kind of human "dominion" (note also Hebrews 2:6-8).
Soon after this primeval dominion mandate, sin and death entered the world, and God had to begin His work of redemption. His divine Lamb "was foreordained before the foundation of the world" and to all intents and purposes became "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," with the names of those who would be redeemed "written in the book of life from the foundation of the world" (I Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8). What conceivable purpose could God have had in interposing a billion years of suffering and death in the animal kingdom prior to implementing His great plan of salvation for lost men and women? He is neither cruel nor capricious, and would never be guilty of such pointless sadism. A further question is why so many evangelical Christians seem eager to advocate such an unworthy compromise!
Beginning with Abel (the first prophet of God according to Jesus in Luke 11:51), God sent prophet after prophet to transmit His word to men. More often than not, their message was opposed, even to the point of bloodshed, and this has been going on from the beginning. Jesus Himself referred to "the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world" (Luke 11:50). That is, prophets have been preaching and dying since the very foundation of the world—not starting five billion years later.
This opposition to God's plan has been instigated by Satan himself. Jesus called Satan "a liar, and the father of it," as well as "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). He had not only deceived Eve with his humanistic philosophy ("ye shall be as gods," Genesis 3:5), but also had caused Cain to murder God's first prophet. This too was at "the beginning," not five billion years after the beginning, for even if animals had been dying for a billion years before this, as theistic evolutionists claim, their deaths could not be called "murders." Note also 1 John 3:8: "The devil sinneth from the beginning."
There is yet coming a time of God's great wrath on this unbelieving world. Again it was Jesus who said: "In those days shall be affliction, such as was not since the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time" (Mark 13:19). The clear premise of this prophecy by Christ was that there had, indeed, been tribulation and affliction "since the beginning of the creation which God created" (and, therefore, people had been on the earth all during that time), but that the coming period of "great tribulation" would be still worse.
Also note that, according to these words of Christ, the creation had both a "beginning" and a termination ("created" is in the past tense, in consistency with the use of this word all through the Bible). The world and its inhabitants are not continuously being created, as evolutionists and many progressive creationists would have us believe, for the creation was a completed event of the past. See also Hebrews 4:3 for a clear affirmation that all of God's "works were finished from the foundation of the world."
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom all things were created in the beginning, has repeatedly made it clear that the supposed billions of years of a groaning, travailing creation (note Romans 8:22) prior to man's creation and fall never existed at all. God created men and women at the beginning, and then, when Adam sinned, quickly began to implement His great plan of redemption. To the redeemed He has promised "a kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34), without the slightest intimation that there would be a fifteen-billion-year prelude before He would ever start the program of redemption.
The same emphasis was later carried forward by His apostles. Peter, for example, promised the soon return of Christ, "whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21).
Similarly, at the birth of John the Baptist, the prophet/priest Zacharias stressed that God's "horn of salvation" was coming, "as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began" (Luke 1:70). Thus, just before and just after Christ's earthly ministry, we are assured that Jesus spoke clearly and truly when He said that God's prophets have been transmitting God's word to man not just since human history began, but "since the world began." Thus, the world and its human inhabitants began essentially at the same time.
Consider also the testimony of the apostle Paul: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). This powerful verse explicitly tells us that the evidences of God can be seen so clearly in His created world that it is inexcusable for people not to see them. Furthermore, they were being seen and understood by people, not just since a certain imaginary population of evolving hominids somehow acquired souls, but "from the creation of the world."
Lest anyone equivocate over the meaning of "world," note that two different Greek words have been translated as "world" in the passages cited above. In Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Hebrews 1:10; 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; and Romans 1:20, the Greek word is kosmos. In Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19 and Acts 3:21, the word is an aion. As defined in Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, kosmos means an "orderly arrangement" (that is, a cosmos instead of a chaos), referring in Biblical context to the fact that the heavens, the earth, life, man, and man's systems had been divinely designed and arranged, not randomly produced by chance processes. Aion is defined as "age," and as "world," thus carrying the concept of both time and maker. In modem terminology, it suggests the space-time-maker "continuum" which constitutes our physical universe. Thus, whether the "world" in these texts is considered as the universe of space, time, and maker, or as the orderly structure of all its components, it does not make any difference as far as the time of creation is concerned. People have been a part of the created world since both the beginning of time and the foundation of the world.
This, of course, is also the teaching of all Old Testament passages dealing with this subject, as well as other New Testament verses we cannot consider here because of limited space. In my book, Biblical Creationism (Baker, 1993), I have analyzed every passage in the Bible dealing in any way with the subject of creation, with the conclusion that the unequivocal teaching of the whole Bible is recent creation of all things. There is no hint of long geological or astronomical ages before man anywhere in the Bible.
Why, then, do so many Christians insist that we should believe in these long ages, pushing our Creator as far out in space and as far back in time as we possibly can? The apparent reason is that they feel it is more important to be "scientific" (as currently defined) than Biblical (as eternally defined, Psalm 119:89). The statement of Dr. Pattle P. T. Pun, professor of biology at Wheaton College, is typical.
It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of the Genesis record, without regard to all the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science [emphasis mine] is that God created heaven and earth in six solar days, ... However, the Recent Creationist position ... has denied and belittled the vast amount of scientific evidence amassed to support the theory of natural selection and the antiquity of the earth (Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, March 1987, p. 14).
Although Dr. Pun is undoubtedly a sincere and gracious Christian, he feels, nevertheless, that we must base our Biblical hermeneutics on "science," and the same is apparently true of most of his colleagues at Wheaton and in the American Scientific Affiliation, as well as of numerous leading theologians, scientists, and educators throughout the evangelical world.
Although ICR scientists (with academic qualifications at least equal to those of Dr. Pun and his colleagues), as well as large numbers of other creationist scientists in many fields hold the greatest respect for true science (i.e., knowledge, not naturalistic extrapolation), we believe that the clear teachings of Jesus Christ--as well as God's word in general--must be given higher priority. His approval carries far greater value than that of our professional peers, in the light of eternity, and He taught that the world is young.
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President of the Institute for Creation Research.