Monday, March 29, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Studying Creation

The Pastor’s Perspective

Vol. 33 Num. 10

“Studying Creation”

First Published: March 10, 2000

I want to thank you for your generous giving toward the work of missions this past year. Another exceedingly large anonymous gift was given toward our mission work just this last week. This means that our church has supported the expansion of Christ’s kingdom through evangelism, discipleship, church planting and missions with around $2,000,000 in the last year alone. We all ought to be rejoicing over this. Thanks be to God, that in his grace he has seen fit to use us as instruments of blessing to his people, as well as to those who will become his people, around the world.

If you have not yet made a Faith Promise commitment, now is your time to join in on the blessing. From the very beginning, God’s covenant of grace has entailed our being a blessing to the nations (see Genesis 12:1-3). This means that, as Christians, we must care about all the lost wherever they are, pray for them, and be committed to doing everything we can to disciple the nations. As Joe Novenson reminded us, the covenant of grace means that we are no longer “guests” here, but “hosts.”

This last week I spent two days in Atlanta for the final face-to-face meeting of the PCA’s Creation Study Committee prior to our submission of a written report. For two years, we have been working on the assignment of dealing with the biblical, theological issues connected with Genesis 1-3, as well as working to ascertain the precise original intent of the Confession’s phrase “in the space of six days.” The reason why the committee was formed was because their was a widespread concern that the PCA might be softening its stand against modern evolutionary science and allowing secular, naturalistic thinking to impact the way the Scriptures are read, understood, taught and preached in our circles. Additionally, many presbyteries have failed to ordain and install certain men because what were deemed to be aberrant views on this subject.

The committee has researched the matter vigorously and debated the matter comprehensively. We have not come to an identical point of view, but we have all been drawn closer together (I think) in our mutual understanding. There are at least four major views of the Genesis days represented on the committee. The Traditional view (often known as the 24-hour or normal day view) that Genesis days were basically calendar days as we know them is the position of the majority of the committee (perhaps 7 of the 12 members). The Framework view (that Moses does not mean to indicate a specific sequence and duration of time in speaking of the six Genesis days, rather these days refer to the real historical events of God’s creation but do not tell us anything about how long or in what order God actually made things) also had a representative on the committee. In other words, this view says that the events of Genesis 1-2 are real history, but that that history is recounted in a literary framework of a “week.” The Analogical view (that the days represent real events, and may even speak broadly to the sequence of creation, but are a literary device for establishing an analogy between “God’s creation days” and the days of our work week. The main architect and proponent of this view served on the committee. Finally, the Day-Age view (which says that the days were long ages, aeons) was represented as well. This view has been around since the advent of the new geology at the turn of the nineteenth century and has been held by many famous Reformed theologians. More about this next week. Enjoy your Spring Break!

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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