New SBJT examines creation and origins

Communications Staff — May 31, 2007

The doctrine of creation is the foundation for biblical Christianity.

However, in contemporary culture critics of creation abound and they seek to undermine this key doctrine and knock the pillars out from under the Christian worldview.

Essayists in the latest edition of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology sort through issues of science and theology associated with the universe’s origins and show where contemporary commentary opposes the biblical view. Essayists include editor Stephen J. Wellum and Southern professor Kurt P. Wise.

“It is hard to overestimate the importance of the doctrine of creation,” Wellum, professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes in his editorial. “In Scripture, God first identifies himself as the sovereign Creator and, thus, the Lord of his universe. … Without the Bible’s presentation of God as Creator and all that affirmation entails, the rationale and foundation for biblical Christianity is non-existent.”

The importance of the doctrine of creation has motivated many non-believers to attack the doctrine over the years, Wellum argues. Especially since Charles Darwin presented his theory of evolution in the mid-19th century, there has been a great need for Christians to defend the biblical view of the universe’s origins, he writes.

“The church must always be vigilant in expounding and defending what the Scripture teaches regarding creation and origins,” he writes. “This is especially the situation in our own day given the fact that the reigning view is the theory of evolution.”

Wise, professor of theology and science at Southern and a Harvard-trained paleontologist, argues that the methods of modern science are inadequate to determine the origin or age of the earth.

Science assumes that the world operates in a consistent, unchanging manner and that explanations should be based on known processes rather than unfamiliar ones, Wise writes. Such methods would make it impossible for a scientist placed in the Garden of Eden just moments after creation to determine accurately the origin of the world,
he argues.

“Modern science cannot infer how the creation occurred because God utilized processes in creation that we do not observe in the present,” he writes. “Since God claims to have ended all the works of Creation on the seventh day, science would fail to deduce the mode, the tempo, and the order of creation.”

Those who desire accurate information about the creation and origins of the universe need special revelation from God—the only eyewitness of creation, Wise writes.

“As a scientist I am convinced that the Bible—and not science—is the correct place to begin to determine the age of things,” he writes. “I also believe that the Bible is very clear about the creation being only about 6000 years old.”

The journal also includes articles by G.K. Beale, Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies and professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.; Jeremy Royal Howard, an independent writer who holds a Ph.D. in Christian apologetics and worldview studies from Southern; and John Mark Reynolds, professor of philosophy at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif.

A forum features responses from an assortment of scholars to various questions related to creation and origins. Forum participants include D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., and Kirk Wellum, professor of systematic theology and biblical studies at Toronto Baptist Seminary in Ontario, Canada.

Additionally the journal features a number of book reviews.

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