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Catechism Buzz: I have Bigger Problems

11 April 2011 by Brad Williams

Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.

Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise his name, yet subject to change.

Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.

I believe in miracles. I believe in miracles because I have experienced at least one bona fide, life-altering, crowd-bewildering sign from God. That particular miracle, the miracle of my re-birth, makes it simple for me to be a joyous and child-like believer in a young earth. Though I confess that sometimes the journey to simple faith is paved with hard-work and much consideration.

In seminary, I was privileged to take Biblical Hebrew for three years, and beyond the grammar classes, I also had the opportunity to take book studies that were based in the original language. I concentrated my study in the book of Genesis. I still have the first verse of Genesis memorized in Hebrew. I did this because I wanted to understand God's Word. I did this because God, in his mercy, allowed me to study.

Beyond my Hebrew labors, I studied the Gap Theory, the modified Gap Theory, I read an out-of-print copy of Dr. Sailhamer's Genesis Unbound. I talked to godly Young Earthers, ungodly Young Earthers, godly Old Earthers, ungodly Old Earthers, and people who were not certain that they were on planet earth. I talked to those who cared deeply about the issue, and I talked to those who could care less. I tried to see Genesis One as poetry, allegory, and literal. I studied. I labored. I worried. What would I say to a congregation about these things? How could I have a serious discussion with an unbeliever if he outs me as a dude who thinks the universe is maybe 20,000 years old? The horror! The shame!

I write all of this, not to impress you with my great learning or seminary degrees or even that I came to my position legitimately by way of angsty worry. I write all of this to say that none of this really helped me at all. Rather, it plunged me further into worry and doubt. If my Hebrew studies did anything, they demonstrated that Genesis One was patently not written as poetry or allegory. Moses meant what he said there. Moses believed the earth and everything else was made in six days. My certainty meter hovered at 95% certainty on this fact, and the 5% uncertainty was coming from me wishing that Moses had written something other than what was on the page.

Then, one day,I had finally had enough. I believe I was in a conversation with a guy whom I really wanted to come to Christ Jesus. I was sharing my faith in Christ, and the guy sort of blurts out, "Dude?! You aren't one of those guys that thinks the world is like 10,000 years old, are you?" I was irked, not because he had outed me as an unthinking, fundy, Luddite, but because I was talking about Jesus here! I had just telling him that Jesus rose from the grave after being stone cold dead for three days and he goes and jumps to something inane like the age of the earth...

Peace like a river flooded my soul. I am so thankful for that rascal. I smiled and said, "Friend, I have bigger problems than a young earth. I believe that a fellow was born of a virgin in Palestine 2,000 years ago. I also believe that this man was fully the Infinite Almighty God, and yet still fully a human like you and me. I believe that he ate bread, cried, had friends, healed the sick, healed the lame, and made the blind see. I believe that this man died for my sins, on purpose, and that he came back from the dead three days later. I believe that this man ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of God (God is One, but in three persons, by the way), and that even now he is taking keen interest in me and you as we have this conversation. I believe and know all of this, because God revealed it to me by his Holy Spirit."

Now think about that, dear brother or sister. Think about what I believe about Jesus. Dead men tell no tales. Dead men do not rise from the grave. Men are not born from virgins. A Triune God sounds like nonsense. I am holding out on the hope that a Jewish guy named Jesus will one day split the sky with a shout, shake the earth with his glory, and speak my name that I might burst out of my grave. I hang all of my hopes on the absurd. I have dedicated my life to foolishness. Six day creation? No problem for me, friend. No problem here at all. If Jesus is not risen from the dead, I am a man to be pitied.

And so are you.