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Is Creation a Secondary Doctrine?

Butterfly01I often hear Christians say, “Creation is a secondary doctrine and we need to focus on the major doctrines”. Many who make this claim are unable to give a good biblical reason for distinguishing between a major and minor doctrine. We must remember that all Scripture is from God and all of it is good for teaching.

 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16

Wayne Grudem, Ph.D. and Professor of Systematic Theology
defines the difference as:
“A major doctrine is one that has a significant impact on our thinking about other doctrines or that has a significant impact on how we live the Christian life.  A minor doctrine is one that has little impact on how we think about other doctrines and very little impact on how we live the Christian life.”

Wayne Grudem (Ph.D., Professor of Systematic Theology) Biblical Doctrine, 1999, p. 20.

Since the words in Genesis are inspired by God, we are commanded to teach all of them. But does the creation account in the first three chapters of Genesis have a major impact on other parts of Scripture? When we examine the rest of Scripture we will see that the mention of creation, the allusion to creation or the reference to events during the creation week are numerous and important to understanding the doctrine of God and His Works.

First, creation is God’s first miracle. If we can’t accept the plain reading of the first miracle (creation in 6 days) then why would we accept other miracles in the Bible.

Second, creation is the foundation for the Gospel. Without the historical account in the first three chapters of Genesis we cannot have a full understanding of the Gospel. In the first three chapters of Genesis we learn about:
-Why we need a Savior.
-Why there is death and suffering.
-Why Jesus had to conquer death.
-What we need to be saved from (The doctrine of sin).
-The first promise of victory and a Savior (Gen 3:15).

Understanding the Good News of the Gospel depends on what happened in the first three chapters of Genesis.

Third, creation determines our view of the character of God and who He is.
-He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Only He can create out of nothing.
-He is the Creator of all things therefore, He sets the standards for all aspects of life and salvation.
-He is a perfect God. His works are perfect (Gen 1:31; Deut 32:4).
-He is the sovereign Ruler over all His creation (the doctrine of sovereignty).
-The value of human life. We were created in His image and likeness.

Fourth, the creation account establishes the doctrine of marriage. Jesus, in Mark 10:6, made a reference to the first chapters of Genesis as real history when He defined marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Fifth, how we interpret the creation account sets the criteria for understanding many other parts of Scripture. Without a proper application of hermeneutics (interpretation of written language) in Genesis the rest of the Bible becomes a matter of everyone’s personal interpretation. We must hold to a proper understanding of God’s Word and not add to it or subtract from it. A proper understanding is guided by the following standards.
-Context matters: We should not change the meaning to conform to the world.
-The explicit constrains the implicit: If something is explicitly stated is takes precedence over anything that is implied.
-The purpose of communication: God wrote His Word, not to be a source of confusion, but that it could be understood.

Sixth, the creation account teaches us how evil was introduced into God’s perfect creation (The rebellion of Satan and the Fall of Adam and Eve).

Seventh, the creation account introduces us to the doctrine of freewill. Adam and Eve willfully chose to disobey God.

Eighth, the New Testament authors treat the first chapters of Genesis as real history.
-All four Gospels mention the creation.
-John 1:3, Col 1:16; Eph 3:9; Heb 11:3; and Rev 4:11 teach that God created all things, reinforcing the literal creation account in Genesis 1.
-In Mark 10:6, Jesus teaches the earth is young by saying, “…from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.”
-Every chapter of Genesis except 20, 24, 34, 36, 40, 43 and 44 is mentioned in the New Testament.
-Creation and the Fall are woven into the entire theology of Romans. God’s power is revealed through creation, and men are condemned because they do not recognize or receive Him as God our Creator and Savior (Romans 1:19–20).
-The first three chapters of Genesis are the reason the rest of the Bible had to take place. After Genesis 3 the rest of Scripture is about God’s plan for redemption and restoration.
-We must understand the historical account of the first three chapters of Genesis to understand the book of Revelation. We see the theme, “Paradise Lost and Paradise Restored” in these two books.

 

Genesis: Paradise Lost

Revelation: Paradise Restored

The curse is announced (Gen 3:17b)

The curse is removed (Rev 22:3)

We toil for food (Gen 3:18-19)

There is an abundance of food (Rev 22:2)

Death for all (Gen 3:19)

No more death (Rev 21:4)

We wear coats of skin (Gen 3:21)

We are given clean linen (Rev 7:14)

The tree of Life denied (Gen 3:24)

The tree of Life supplied (Rev 22:14)

We are banished from paradise (Gen 3:23)

We receive entrance into Heaven (Rev 22:14)

Redemption is promised (Gen 3:15)

Redemption is accomplished (Rev 5:9-10)

Evil is everywhere (Gen 6:5)

Evil is excluded (Rev 21:27)

Angels block the way (Gen 3:24)

Angels block the way (Gen 3:24)

If Genesis is not real history, then did Jesus die for something that never really happened and why does everything have to be restored? Without a literal, historical understanding of Genesis the significance of the book of Revelation becomes harder to comprehend.

loses its importance as a message of hope. relevance and meaning.

Ninth, the creation account is under attack by the world. The teaching of evolution has caused many in the church to stumble and lack confidence in the Bible. Today, about 70% of Christian youth are leaving the church because they lack confidence in God’s Word. They are confused about what to believe; the biblical account of creation or billions of years and evolution. If parents, Christian schools and the church do not teach the biblical account of creation, our youth will continue to lack trust in the Bible. Parents and pastors have the responsibility to warn our youth about false teachings and then equip them to defend their faith (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Conclusion
The creation account is a very important doctrine and must be taught without compromise. It is the foundation for the Christian worldview and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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