What are the origins of the livestock, insects and wild animals? Are they the product of chance? Or did God create these creatures? About a century ago science thought it had solved the epic enigma with the revolutionary Origin of Species. In this book Darwin proposed that the similarities seen in the different species of animals all had a common link. Every animal was connected to another based on an enormous evolutionary tree. Secular scientists thought they had won the battle against God and that now they finally could subvert his lordship. Theologians even began to incorporate Darwin’s evolution into their worldview, seeing the evolution of man from animals as the way God created. Genesis was no longer thought of as history but rather as myth: a story that teaches us about God, but is not congruent with historical fact. Other theologians rebelled against the myth theory but never fully crossed the road. They proposed that Genesis 1 is neither myth nor history, but instead liturgy––a liturgy written by the priests of the exile revealing God’s order for the purpose of turning people back to the true God.
During the last half of the 20th century a new type of scientist arose. These scientists believed that the theory of evolution was just that, a theory. They saw fundamental flaws in the foundation of evolutionary theory. And not all these scientists were Bible believing Christians. Science’s trophy was really an idol that could not speak, hear or act. Based on their idol, scientists and educators built all of their subsequent theories around evolution much like the church of the dark ages built the universe around the earth. They constructed their solar system around the “earth” of evolution rather than the “sun” of God’s Word. Needless to say, one day, future generations will view their efforts as naïve and even archaic.
What is the main issue? It is God’s living Word and name. Genesis declares: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures…and God made the beasts’” (Gen. 1:24-25, NKJV). What many scientists, as well as some theologians, miss is the power of God’s Word and a corresponding deep reverence for God’s name. In the beginning of the Bible the Holy Spirit is communicating how foundational God’s spoken Word really is, the God “who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Rom. 4:17). The writers of Scripture were moved by this Holy Spirit to pen these living words for the generations to come. The Spirit had revealed to them the power of “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” They never flippantly penned God’s name. Instead, like Moses, they knew the holiness of drawing near to the presence of God in his name. When writing God’s name they were conscious of entering holy ground, requiring them to “take off their shoes” so that their feet could be washed by Yahweh himself. Therefore, they would never use God’s name for a mere myth.
The only proper biblical understanding of God’s Word is that it is creative. It is God’s Word that creates history. History does not imagine God’s Word; rather it is the fruit of his voice. This is the main message of the first creation account. More than any other phrase, “vayomer elohim” (and God said), is the most repeated. It is clear that the author is trying to impart to us a deep reverence for the Word. We need to come to the Word of God with fear and trembling. The Word is the answer to all our needs. The Word creates and it is the foundation of the new creation. God’s Word is what is spoken and it must be real to us if we are to be real.
Prayer: Father, let me see your Word in this new, living and reverent way, in Jesus’ name.