Chalcedon Report No. 398, September 1998
Creation is the initial doctrine we encounter in opening our Bibles, and it has been the point of initial attack of critics of Biblical faith. The attack is almost as old as Christianity, because the early church moved in a Greco-Roman culture deeply committed to an evolutionary perspective. Aristotle as a scientist was deeply interested, as Cornelius Van Til showed us in a telling essay, in freaks because they represented a possible next step in evolution. More than a few of the early church fathers, being pagan in origin, compromised on Genesis 1.
With the Enlightenment, the departures from an orthodox view of Genesis 1 became more common, and they were the starting point for the development of modernism. Today, in seminaries professing to be orthodox and created as a protest against modernism, six-day creationism is held in contempt, and compromising views are held.
All attempts to undermine strict six-day creationism have a deadly effect. First, they require a different view of the Bible. Orthodoxy has long held that the plain and obvious meaning of the text must prevail, not those meanings known only by scholars and apparent to no one else. These novel kinds of exegesis deny the validity of the Reformation and the view of Scripture as given to the believer, not the scholar.
Second, a denial of six-day creation requires a different view of God. Process theology rapidly takes over and the Biblical God wanes as a humanistic and evolutionary “god” replaces him. Biblical theology has waned with the rise of process theology. The expert replaces the common believer, and the Bible becomes a closed book.
Third, more than a few adherents of this shift can be called symbolic theology champions. They can read meanings out of a text which we, as men of simple faith, never can imagine are there! They are indeed a self-appointed elite in the world of the church.
Fourth, a grim division has been created by these attacks by the anti-six-day creationists between the seminary and the church. Thus far, the seminaries have prevailed, but a rebellion in some circles is brewing. It is important to note that the rapid growth of the church since the 1960s has been among churches bypassing the seminary. The seminary sees this as the triumph of ignorance, but many of these untrained pastors have taught themselves Greek and Hebrew and more theology than the seminaries can boast of. A revolution is underway.
The issues in six-day creationism are thus more basic than many are willing to admit. The life of the church is at stake.
I pass at times in my travels a large stone church here in California. Seating about 1,400, it was once full, but modernism killed it. The church which then purchased the structure started off well, until a seminary-trained fool gutted it with his modernism. It may soon need a third buyer!
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.