But there are even degrees of importance in the second category. I sincerely doubt that the most ardent exclusive psalm singer is going to argue that those of us who sing hymns will suffer eternally for it. Even a curmudgeon like me affirms that those who will not baptize covenant children not only are Christians, but possibly finer ones than I’ll ever be. The great difficulty, however, is in the emanations and implications of a doctrine.
The issue we are addressing this month, the Bible’s teaching on the Creation of the world, is, in our estimation, both neglected to our peril and elevated to a degree of importance that it does not deserve. Our ancient creeds make no mention of the issue of the age of the earth or the length of God’s days. The issue was not a point of contention during the Reformation. Why should it matter at all? It is a long walk to make a clear connection between this issue and soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. As such, there are people who make too much of a fuss over the issue. Some seem to see the affirmation of six-day Creation as the Galatians saw circumcision—to affirm that the Hebrew word yom, translated “day” in our English Bibles, might mean “eon” is damnable heresy. On its face, Ligonier does not believe it’s that kind of issue.
There is, however, cause for concern. We should study the issue because, first of all, the Bible talks about it. There is no part of the Bible that we can dismiss with a shrug of the shoulder. Last November, in our issue titled Forbidden Knowledge, we argued that where God has closed His holy lips, we must desist from inquiry. But the corollary is likewise true: When God speaks, we need to pay attention.
Second, we need to consider what motivates those who would deny a six-day Creation. In what we pray are most instances, it is done out of a sincere desire to be faithful to the text. But the concern does not then disappear. Whoever is wrong on the issue, if he comes with that sincere desire, must have a faulty understanding of how to understand the Bible. Such could, and perhaps does, affect all doctrine. We need to remember that no doctrine is discreet, hermetically sealed from the rest of God’s truth.
The greater danger is those who will not stand with six-day Creation for a less-laudable reason—because such a conviction makes us look like fools. The world laughs at those of us who affirm God’s great work of Creation in six days, who affirm a real Adam and a real Eve in a real garden, who affirm a real flood that covered the earth. No one likes to feel the scorn of the world. But all Christians are called to expect and to accept that scorn. Those who are ashamed of the Creation are likely in time to be ashamed of the Resurrection, which in turn will make them ashamed of the Gospel. And that, in turn will bring shame on the church of Jesus Christ.
We live not only coram Deo, before the face of God, but before the watching world. And Jesus told us that if we do not confess Him before men, He will not confess us before the Father.