BAYLOR SEMINARY THE DRISCOLL ESSAY: INTERPRETATIONS OF THE CREATION ACCOUNT AN ESSAY SUBMITTED TO DR. BOBBY GENTO FOR THE REQUIREMENTS OF OLD TESTAMENT ORIENTATION 591 FOR THE COMPLETION OF A MASTERS DEGREE IN MARKETPLACE CHAPLAINCY by Janis Betts Lynchburg, Virginia May 18, 2011 Introduction Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, composed a comprehensive and succinct essay titled “Answers to Common Questions about Creation” that puts forth many principles surrounding the age-old question of Creation.
He presents several different theories regarding Creationism that allows Christians the opportunity to form their own opinions about how the world came to be. Faced with modern day science and differing ideals surrounding this question, Driscoll gracefully acknowledges the fact that the religious community can “discuss and debate” the differences without division. He also writes quite eloquently about: the timeframe of creation, literal or figurative interpretation of Genesis 1 – 3, the age of the earth and various notions of evolution.
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In this paper, I would like to give my personal response to his essay. My Personal View of Creation After reading Driscoll’s essay “Answers to Common Questions about Creation” which outlines different theories on creation, I came to the conclusion that I hold to View 1: Historic Creationism because it laces together the possibility of an old earth, which tolerates scientific theory; and the writings in Genesis regarding the Divine creation of Adam and Eve, thus young humanity.
Driscoll tells us that the word re’shit in Hebrew means “beginning” which literally means a starting point from which all things follow — without giving a timeframe. I like the idea that God set the groundwork for creation during an unspecified period of time, perhaps billions of years, and when he was ready, took six days to separate light and darkness, sky and waters, dry land and waters, then created plants and trees, the lights in the heavens, fish and birds, animals, and ultimately mankind.
Historic Creationism correlates with my view as a Christian that the Bible is a poetic and historically accurate accounting of how we as humans came to be in this awe- inspiring world while holding to the scientific probability that the earth is billions of years old. Philosophers, theologians and lay people have forever debated creation, and I for one, believe there is room for more than one opinion. No one will know for sure until the day Jesus returns to shed his divine light on all his believers. Only then will the mystery of creation be revealed. Literal of Figurative Views of Genesis 1 – 3
I have always taken the book of Genesis in a very literal way, for I believe God has the omnipotent ability of creating the world and everything in it in six actual twenty-four hour days. In the past, I based my beliefs in pure faith, but after reading Driscoll’s essay, there are specific details in Genesis 1 – 3 to solidify my beliefs. For example, Genesis 2:1 states “thus the heavens and the earth were complete in all their vast array” which gives credence to the theory that there was a completion of sorts in the physical realm, setting the stage for more work to be done.
All creation was then accomplished in a sequential manner. Another thing that struck me in the reading was the mention of specific landmarks, still in existence today, most notably the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Also reference to “gold, aromatic resin (or pearls, depending on the translation of the text), and onyx: to be found in specific areas, possibly Mesopotamia. The Age of the Universe It is my position that the earth is quite old, thus the universe and everything in it are ancient – perhaps billions of years old. Scientists estimate that the age of the earth is 4. 4 billion years old. I can reconcile this “fact” with what Driscoll writes, that “the period of the earth is not of great concern in the Bible. ” And I find it interesting that none of the writers or figures in the Bible refer to the age of the earth, but all are in agreement regarding a Divine Creation. This question has been up for debate for centuries. There is evidence for many viewpoints and should not be a acrimonious principle with the realm of Christianity. Let’s refer back to the Hebrew term re-shit which does not refer to a specific length of time, but only a starting point.
This allows for a student of religious studies/Christianity to merge science and faith without questioning the Scriptures. In conclusion, the information put forth in Genesis 1 – 11 does not differentiate a specific era, period or age. The Bible is most notably a historical recollection of mankind, written by mankind, who were literally placed on earth by God to do His will. The Issue of Evolution If one were to biblically respond to idea of evolution, you would just have to refer to the text of Genesis, and literally read the words.
For example, in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. ” This is, in itself, proof enough for me that mankind was created as he is today, not a product of an evolutionary consequence. I find the idea of macro-evolution to be extremely interesting, as it has been proven that animals adapt to their surroundings, if even in the slightest of ways, in an effort to survive.
However, there is no biblical proof that mankind evolved from an entirely different species. We are, after all, made in His image. Even Driscoll in his essay, admitted that Stephan Hawking, one of the greatest scientific minds of the present day, acknowledges that there are “religious implications” in the making of the universe, for nothing as complex as our world could have sprung from the abyss of nothingness. There was and is God’s hand at work. Conclusion After reading Driscoll’s essay, I found it to be a fine effort in trying to reconcile the scientic theory of creation with the Scriptures.
As a follower of Christ, I choose to believe the account of the Bible. Scientific findings have as much credence as one chooses to give them. Intellect is a gift from God, as is knowledge; however, it is a matter of faith and values on how one chooses to apply it when it comes to the interpretation of creation. Let’s not forget: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:6, 9).