Wait a minute - Hear me out.
At the risk of my reputation, your trust, potentially even my job (or future employers who do extensive internet searches and stumble upon this blog), I want to ask you what would you do if you suddenly learned that God didn’t create the world in seven 24 hour days? Would you leave the church? Would you give up on Christianity altogether? Would comets suddenly plummet to the earth and wipe out all creation?
Maybe I should back up and ask something smaller. How would you feel if I told you that Isaiah might have actually been written by three different people over decades? Most of you probably don’t care because, honestly, who’s taken the time to really read all 66 chapters of Isaiah carefully enough to tell the subtle differences that experts fight over. It’s just a fun fact that there’s an actual debate on whether it was written by one person or three, but it has very little impact on most of our faiths. But there might be some of you who can’t believe that it’s possible, that if God used three different people then we’d have three different books and God wouldn’t have allowed us to believe a lie for centuries. I had a pastor once say from the pulpit that if you believed that Isaiah wasn’t written by one person you might as well not believe the rest of the Bible either. The awkward part was this happened a week or two after I had talked to the youth about this subject.
So back to creation. What if God didn’t create everything in seven days? Some of you probably jumped to the conclusion that I meant that God didn’t create anything, that I’m just talking about random chance or evolution without a God. There are actually at least 5 theories for a God centered creation. The one where God created everything in seven 24 hour days is called young earth. This says that the earth is between 6,000-10,000 years old and they came up with this age by going through all the genealogies in the Bible. We also have the Old Earth theory where most of what science (the what and when) says is true, but the acting force (the who and the why) behind everything was, and is, God. They say vastly different things about creation and how we should interact with science.
In his best-selling book, Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell made the comparison of this situation to a brick tower and a trampoline. Trampoline springs can be taken off, looked at, flexed, and put back without causing the whole system to fall apart. But if you have a bricks stacked on top of bricks and pull one out, the whole thing can come crashing down. Me believing God created the entire universe in 168 hours or over the course of 4 billion years doesn’t change who God is. The fact that the Sun wasn’t really the thing that stopped moving in Joshua 10:13 doesn’t mean that the whole Bible is wrong. It means that the way that the author who wrote Joshua used terms and ideas that he understood to talk about what he saw God do. It doesn’t change who God is or what he did, only our understanding of what He did and who He is. If God didn’t create the world in seven days, he would still be God, he would still be the maker of heaven and earth, he would still be the hope and savior of the world.