Another excellent book review found over on Confessional’s Bytes:
A controversy I regularly encounter amongst Christians is over a literal six day creation as recorded in the Old Testament book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter one verses one through thirty-one (Gen 1:1-31) we read the creation account which spans six periods of time described in the text as “there was evening and there was morning” followed by “the first day,” “the second day,” and so on and so forth until “the sixth day.” Are these “days” literal twenty four hour periods? Did God literally work one of the grandest miracles of all in creating the entire universe in one hundred and forty-four hours? Not all Christians take the Genesis account of creation literally. Indeed, some insist, such as the “Day Age” proponents, that the six days of creation are not literal twenty-four hour cycles. Instead a “day” is a descriptor of what can be a very large period of time, or age.
Who is correct? Are the “Day Age” proponents correct, or are those who take the natural reading of the Genesis account for a one hundred and forty-four hour creation correct? The answer to those questions are provided in a great little book of only eighty pages in length titled, In the Beginning, GOD written by Dr. Joel D. Heck.
In his book Dr. Heck presents an excellent defense of a literal six day creation, arguing from the Hebrew language and from grammar. With a small amount of effort he masterfully exegetes New Testament passages and presents evidence from the Church Fathers in support of cogent arguments demonstrating why the “Day Age” proponents are wrong in their approach to the Scriptures and why we ought to take the Genesis account of creation literally.
One argument from the “Day Age” proponents that I had found difficult to overcome at one time is taken from Genesis 1:3 where we are told that God created light, but it isn’t reported until verse sixteen that God created the Sun. So how is it possible that there is light without the Sun? Here is how Dr. Heck approaches the problem in his book:
One common objection to a traditional reading of Genesis 1 is the creation of light before the creation of the light-bearers. That can’t happen, some say—which is true, if your presupposition for a chapter filled with miracles are entirely naturalistic. This, however, was not a problem for some of the Church Fathers, such as Theophilus of Antioch and Basil the Great. In fact, why can’t light exist before the creation of the sun? God is light (1 John 1:5), the ultimate light source, not only figuratively but also literally, so why not? The first three days of Genesis may not have been solar days, because the sun was not yet created, but those days are still circumscribed by one evening and one morning. This is the second miracle of Genesis. (Ibid. p. 20)
Did you catch the implication raised by Dr. Heck with the point of miracles? In other words, why should a Christian be surprised that light exists prior to the Sun when it is God who is Lord over even light and is in fact light? God is most certainly able to call into existence light, gravity, space-time, etc. without the Sun. How it happened we can’t say other than to point out that it is a miracle. If we hold a presupposition against miracles based on our own reason, then it makes “good sense” that physical light doesn’t exist without a physical light source and therefore we can’t take Genesis one literally. However, pointing out the miraculous nature of the events recorded in Genesis one pushes the “Day Age” proponent into either rejecting their rationalistic endeavor of trying to harmonize the Scriptures with our own understanding of physical evidence (empiricism), or in rejecting miracles all together. If it is the case that miracles are rejected all together, then events such as the resurrection of Jesus must also be rejected and at that point the “Day Age” proponent must understand he is not really Christian at all (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).
In the Beginning, GOD has many excellent points and arguments crammed into eighty pages. As I was reading this book I wished that Dr. Heck had expanded upon all his points and given me more. It was one of those books where I felt I was eating an amouse-bouche that should have been a full course. But that is my only gripe with an otherwise worthwhile read. If you haven’t read In the Beginning, GOD by Dr.Joel D. Heck, then you should pick up this little gem over at Concordia Publishing House (here at this link). It will be the best four dollars you spent in a long-time, literally.
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