Purpose of This Blog

The Final Goal of this Blog is to work towards the unification of the seceding denominations (and the one true original denomination) into a unified and public body of believers so as to properly fight the False Presbyterian Church (better known as the PC (USA)) and to subdue it from preaching a false gospel.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Return to Theological Formulations

I want to get away from the Continental/Westminster divide for a second and refocus us on a vital theological question. This having to do with the question of Creation. Now I know many Presbyteries and other local bodies have made declarations requiring ordinands to hold a certain position vis-a-vis Genesis 1-2. Now the question I have is should a United Kirk make a declaration that is strict on this issue (i.e.- 7/24-literal only) or be this a place for Christian Liberty? Below I have placed the OPC's declaration and the PCA's statement on the issue. What say you?

Question:

Does the OPC have a statement or decision regarding the length of the days of creation?

Answer:

The OPC, as a denomination, has no statement or decision regarding the length of the days of creation. Though General Assembly denied the appeal of a ruling elder who taught the animal ancestry of Adam (determining that such teaching was contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith), it has thus far had no judicial case with regard to the length of the days of creation, and therefore has rendered no ruling on the matter. OPC ministers and elders are divided on the issue. Those who hold to literal 24-hour days appeal to the words "in the space of" in Shorter Catechism question 9 ("The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good"). On the other hand, those who hold to the day-age theory or framework hypothesis argue that the biblical text is inconclusive as to the length of the days, and the phrase "in the space of" is not determinative. The OPC is a confessional church, and therefore the Confession, Larger and Shorter Catechisms must always be the standard by which to determine an officer's orthodoxy. Unless it is determined by a judicial ruling that our doctrinal standards teach a particular position, there must be latitude in this area.


The Following is the opening statement of the PCA Report on the Creation question. The rest of the report can be found here.

REPORT OF THE CREATION STUDY COMMITTEE

I. Introductory Statement

We thank our God for the blessings of the last two years. We have profited personally and together by the study of God’s Word, discussion and hard work together.

We have found a profound unity among ourselves on the issues of vital importance to our Reformed testimony. We believe that the Scriptures, and hence Genesis 1-3, are the inerrant word of God. We affirm that Genesis 1-3 is a coherent account from the hand of Moses. We believe that history, not myth, is the proper category for describing these chapters; and furthermore that their history is true. In these chapters we find the record of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth ex nihilo; of the special creation of Adam and Eve as actual human beings, the parents of all humanity (hence they are not the products of evolution from lower forms of life). We further find the account of an historical fall, that brought all humanity into an estate of sin and misery, and of God’s sure promise of a Redeemer. Because the Bible is the word of the Creator and Governor of all there is, it is right for us to find it speaking authoritatively to matters studied by historical and scientific research. We also believe that acceptance of, say, non-geocentric astronomy is consistent with full submission to Biblical authority. We recognize that a naturalistic worldview and true Christian faith are impossible to reconcile, and gladly take our stand with Biblical supernaturalism.

The Committee has been unable to come to unanimity over the nature and duration of the creation days. Nevertheless, our goal has been to enhance the unity, integrity, faithfulness and proclamation of the Church. Therefore we are presenting a unanimous report with the understanding that the members hold to different exegetical viewpoints. As to the rest we are at one. It is our hope and prayer that the Church at large can join us in a principled, Biblical recognition of both the unity and diversity we have regarding this doctrine, and that all are seeking properly to understand biblical revelation. It is our earnest desire not to see our beloved church divide over this issue.

7 comments:

Steven Carr said...

This is a hard one for me to decide. I am a literal six day creationist. I used to think that it didn't matter so long as didn't deny that Adam and Eve were actual people. But the more I looked into the matter, the more I realized that any view that doesn't take the days of creation as literal days brings about all sorts of problems.

Here is one of the biggest issue for me. Most people would admit that Moses was writing history. History as a general rule records facts. But history for the Jews was more than just recording facts it is preserving truth. (See Genesis in Space and Time by Francis Schaeffer) If Moses then is preserving the truth of creation against all the pagan theories it would make sense that He is recording the facts as they were given to him. Do you see where this is going? If Moses is not writing facts what repercussion does this have for the rest of Genesis, for the rest of the Bible even?

Anyway...in this sort of discussion the question really is. Does a denial of a literal six day creation strike at the vitals of religion? This makes it a little harder to answer.

Alan said...

I don't know if we need to make "24 hour days" an issue or not but I do know we cannot allow into teaching things that would directly contradict the word of God. Evolution directly contradicts the word of God, for evolution to be viable death would have to occur and that is clearly not introduced into the world until after the fall. If we do away with evolution I think most of the debate becomes moot. The day-age theory is an attempt to reconcile evolution theory with Christian belief. We cannot allegorize the first eleven chapters of Genesis without making the rest of the Bible irrelevant.

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

As an FYI we are discussing EP on my blog if you would like to check it out. I kept it a little briefer than first planned to allow for some more discussion.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

There are a number of issues that are foremost for me regarding this.

For one, the Bible is insistent that everything was made after its own kind. This doesn't leave any room for a theory of transitional forms.

Also, evolutionary theory insists that all life (including what would become man) began in the oceans. The Bible tells us that man was formed from the ground.

On the other hand, there is excellent scientific evidence for a very old universe. But wouldn't God have found it necessary to speed up all the natural processes in order to make a habitable environment ready for man? It would be necessary for Adam and Eve to awake to an earth that has the appearance of antiquity, but is in real time, perhaps, quite young. Mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, grass, valleys, etc. would all have to be in place in order for them to survive and thrive, wouldn't they? After that, natural processes such as erosion (and then decay after the fall), etc. would continue as God saw fit.

The day-age theory, in my view, doesn't adequately account for all these things.

What say ye all?

Steven Carr said...

Scientists who say that the universe is very old because it has all the appearances of being very old beg the question, "What does an old universe look like?" They cannot answer this because there is nothing to compare it to.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

"What does an old universe look like?" They cannot answer this because there is nothing to compare it to.

The assumption seems to be that everything began as kind of a flat "zero" level effect. From there, over very long geologic periods of time, the mountains and valleys came to be through observable natural processes. Whatever we know of the earth's progressive topography is based upon current observation of these processes. This, of course, does not exclude sudden, catastrophic changes. There is, at least, a logical speculation about what "old" looks like, given our observations.

Ed said...

Good questions and comments. I'd take the discussion in a slightly different direction: can a TE (or RE) claim a confessional exception to literal six 24-hour day creation and still be in accord with the brethren? In other words, is this an exception that "strikes at the vitals of the faith"?

If so, then it need not be an issue that divides us.