Jesus and Creationism – Part 1

Category: Bible/Christian Worldview 79

Jesus and Creationism. What do you think about this subject? The creation vs. evolution debate is one of the most heated topics in the world today. Did God create us instantly, or did we randomly evolve with no need for God? Most people throughout the world believe in some sort of deity, yet they still believe in evolution. In fact, many believe that God used evolution to create us. However, there is a movement within Christianity that holds to a literal view of the first chapters of Genesis. This movement is called young-earth creationism.

This article is the first that I will post on this debate. However, instead of beginning with an article on biology, geology, or some other science, I believe that it is best for us to start with the basics: Jesus’ teaching on creation-evolution. What did Jesus believe about the age of the world? What many do not realize is that the theory of evolution requires the earth (and universe) to be billions of years old. However, a plain reading of Scripture teaches that God created the universe in six days only about six thousand years ago. That’s a huge difference between the two.

This is where Jesus’ teaching on Scripture becomes important for the creation-evolution debate. Jesus was divine, so naturally he knows more about the world he created than what we do. So, his teaching on the beginning is of paramount importance. Did Jesus believe in the possibility of evolution and an old world, or did he affirm a straightforward reading of Genesis?

Jesus and his view on Scripture

Every Bible believing Christian will agree that Jesus’ teaching on Scripture (or any topic) is very important. Jesus believed that the Bible was the bread of life (Matthew 4:4), and that those who hear his words and act upon them are like wise men who build a house on solid rock (Matthew 7:24-27).

Jesus showed the importance of Scripture when he defended his claim to be God in John 10:34-35 by quoting Psalm 82:6. He then said that “Scripture cannot be broken.” Jesus rebuked his disciples in Luke 24:25-27 because they did not believe the Prophets in the Old Testament (equal to “all Scripture”).[1]

Unlike most people (both Christian and skeptic), Jesus believed the Old Testament was historically true. Examples include Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:3-6; Mark 10:3-9), Abel as the first martyr (Luke 11:50-51), Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:38-39), Lot and his wife (Luke 17:28-32), Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15), Moses and the serpent (John 3:14), the manna (John 6:32-33, 49), Elijah and his miracles (Luke 4:25-27), and Jonah (Matthew 12:40-41). Historian Terry Mortenson said it well:

Jesus did not allegorize these accounts but took them as straightforward history, describing events that actually happened just as the Old Testament describes. Jesus used these accounts to teach His disciples that the events of His death, resurrection, and second coming would likewise certainly happen in time-space reality.[2]

Jesus also quoted Scripture as the basis for his teachings on church discipline (Matthew 18:16), marriage (Matthew 19:3-9), and the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-39). He also used the Old Testament to justify certain things that he did: his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath (Luke 6:3-4) and the cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21:12-17). He even used Scripture against Satan when he was tempted (Matthew 4:1-10).

In Matthew 15:1-9 Jesus went as far to teach that the Bible sits in judgment over man-made traditions and public consensus. He demonstrated in Mark 7:5-13 that nothing is higher than the Bible in regards to divine standards and truth. Mortenson says, “The thoughts of men are nothing compared to the commandments and testimonies of God. It is a very serious error, according to Jesus, to set them aside in order to submit to some other source of supposed truth, whether human or supernatural.”[3]

To Jesus (Matthew 5:18) every part of Scripture was important and trustworthy. He did not dissect Scripture and trust only in some “moral” or “religious” section as many people want to do today. There is also no evidence that he looked for some kind of hidden meaning in Scripture passages. “Jesus repeatedly and boldly confronted all kinds of wrong thinking and behavior in his listener’s lives, in spite of the threat of persecution for doing so.” Jesus never adapted His teachings to the popular and common beliefs of his audiences.[4]

In John 3:12 Jesus taught if we cannot believe him about earthly things (things we can see with our own eyes) then how can we believe him concerning heavenly things (things we cannot see). Jesus taught in John 5:45-47 that believing Moses (who wrote the book of Genesis) was foundational to believing his own teachings. “Following the teaching and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, every Christian ought to conform his beliefs, teachings, and behavior to the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God.”[5]

Jesus and the Creation vs. Evolution Debate

Why did I go into so much depth about Jesus’ view of the Bible? Because Jesus viewed Scripture in such high esteem, this shows us that we should view the Bible with high regard. And what does this have to do with the creation-evolution debate? Everything! As I am going to show you in this series, Jesus was a young-earth creationist. He did not accept any other belief. When it comes to Jesus’ teaching on the age of the earth, there are three passages that need to be studied:

1) Mark 10:6: “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.”

2) Mark 13:19-20: “For those days will be a time of tribulation such has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never will. Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.”

3) Luke 11:50-51: “…so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah…”

Mark 10:6 – This verse is naturally important. It begins with “from the beginning of creation.” This phrase is not only used in Mark 10:6, but also in Mark 13:19 and 2 Peter 3:4. In the latter verse, Peter is referring to the past and future of the entire heavens and earth, not only humanity. “His reference to the beginning of creation must, therefore, be equally cosmic in extent.”[6]

In Revelation 3:14 a similar phrase is presented in which Jesus says that he is “the beginning of the creation,” which, of course, applies to all creation, not just a small part of it like humans. Never in the New Testament does the phrase “from the beginning” refer to the beginning of humanity. John 1:1-3 refers to Jesus as being “from the beginning” and the context of the passage is clear in that he [John] is referring to the beginning of all things.[7]

The phrase “from the beginning” also appears in other passages throughout Scripture. In Matthew 19:4 and 19:8, which are parallel to Mark 10, have the same meaning. In Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 it is clear that Paul is referring to the beginning of creation when he speaks of divine election. Hebrews 1:10 uses the phrase “in the beginning” which in context is referring to the foundation of the earth and heavens, so it cannot be restricted to the beginning of the human race only.

There are other times when the phrase “in (or from) the beginning” is used, but it is clear from the contexts of these passages that the phrase is being used to denote the beginning of other events such as Scripture or the hearing of the gospel.[8] It is clear that “from the beginning” in Mark 10:6 should be viewed as the beginning of all creation and not just humanity. Quite simply, Jesus is teaching in this verse that God created Adam and Eve at the very beginning, and not billions of years after as would be required for the theory of evolution.

Mark 13:19-20 – These verses appear in the middle of a discussion where Jesus was teaching about the end times. They also create for us a timeline of events: from the beginning of the creation until the second coming of Christ. Mark 13:24-26, 30-32 along with Matthew 24:14, 37-39 clearly teach that “Jesus thinks that the present human experience and the present cosmos will come to an end at essentially the same time (cf. 2 Peter 3). Together, these would support the notion that humanity and the rest of creation also began at essentially the same time in the past.”[9]

Since the suffering under consideration is human (not animal) suffering, there must have been humans at the beginning of creation in order for Jesus’ time-line to make sense. If there were no humans in existence from the beginning of creation (supposedly billions of years ago, according to conventional thinking) until the relatively recent past, what would be the point of saying there will be a time of human suffering unsurpassed by any other human suffering since the beginning of the cosmos (when no humans existed, according to old-earthers) until the very end?[10]

Jesus could easily have said something like “since from the beginning of man until now” if that is what he meant. His Jewish listeners would have understood his words to mean that the world and Adam are the same age, since we know from the historian Josephus that Jews in the first century believed that the earth and Adam were created together only thousands of years before Christ. Matthew 24:21, which is a parallel passage has “since the beginning of the world” and must have the same meaning. Although the Greek word kosmos can refer to the sinful system of the world it usually means the whole creation as in Matthew 24:21.[11]

Luke 11:50-51 – The phrase “from the foundation of the world” also appears in many other passages including Matthew 13:35 and 25:34, Hebrews 4:3 and 9:26, and Revelation 13:8 and 17:8. Hebrews 4:3 says that God’s creation “works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Verse 4 then says that “God rested on the seventh day from his works.” The two verses are clearly synonymous implying that God finished and rested at the same time. This teaches that the seventh day was at the end of the foundation of the world. “So, the foundation does not refer simply to the first moment or first day of creation week, but to the whole week.” The grammar, lexical, and contextual evidence in the other verses do not support any other meaning. It is clear that these verses speak of the entire creation, not just humans billions of years after the creation of the earth.[12]

The statement “the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world” is juxtaposed with the “blood of Abel.” There is parallelism in these verses. “Blood”, the two temporal phrases beginning with “from” or “since”, and the repetition of “charged against this generation” “strongly suggests that Jesus believed that Abel lived very near the foundation of the world,” not billions of years after.[13]

The phrase “before the foundation of the world” is also found in other passages such as 1 Peter 1:20, Ephesians 1:4, and John 17:24. In John, the sense that “before the beginning of all creation” fits the context the best, “for the Father loved the Son eternally before the creation of the heaven and the earth in Genesis 1:1.”

In Ephesians 1:4, we can be certain that Paul was referring to the believers God had chosen not before the creation of all things, not just humans. In 1 Peter 1:20, it is clear that Peter meant that Jesus was known before the creation of the earth, not just Adam and Eve. So these verses must look at the “foundation of the world” as referring to all of creation week.[14]

Conclusion

These three passages clearly teach that Jesus believed that Adam, Eve, Abel, and the rest of the human race were created at the beginning of the world, not billions of years after like the theory of evolution requires. This should give Christians pause for a moment. Modern day scientists believe that we are nothing but randomly evolved pieces of pond slime. However, Jesus teaches the complete opposite. So, who are you going to believe? Modern humans, who are limited in their knowledge and only tiny little dots in this huge universe? Or are you going to believe God, who created all things, who knows all things, and is outside this universe? What you decide shows how much you believe Jesus or not.

What do you think? What was your belief about this topic before reading this article? Has your opinion changed? Leave a comment below.


[1] Terry Mortenson. 2008b. “Jesus’ View of the Age of the Earth” in Coming to Grips with Genesis. Green Forest: Master Books. Pg. 315-316.

[2] Ibid., 316. Also see Ken Ham. “Did Jesus Say He Created in Six Literal Days?” in The New Answers Book. Green Forest: Master Books, 2006. Pg. 256-257.

[3] Mortenson, 316-317.

[4] Ibid. 317.

[5] Ibid. 316-317.

[6] Ibid., 319.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid., 319-320. Examples of these other Scriptures are 1 John 2:7, 2:24, 3:11; 2 John 5-6; Luke 1:2; John 6:25, 6:64, 15:27, and 16:4; Phil. 4:15; and Acts 26:4.

[9] Ibid., 320.

[10] Ibid. 320-321.

[11] Ibid. 321.

[12] Ibid. 323.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid. 323-324.

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