In a recent issue of his magazine, Does God Exist?, John
N. Clayton of South Bend, Indiana had an article titled: "Biblical
Fundamentals vs. Religious Fundamentalism." The design of
the piece is to ridicule those so-called "fundamentalists"
who believe that the entire creation was effected within the six
days of history's initial week. Clayton says "religious fundamentalism
has done an incredible amount of damage." He identifies six-day
creationism as a basic component of "fundamentalism,"
and puts it in the same category with belief in UFOs, demon exorcism,
etc. Here is one of his comments.
It [fundamentalism] demands the entire creation to have been accomplished
in a literal seven-day week instead of recognizing God has been
[sic] active before and after that week
What should be said in response to this misguided brother's charge?
First of all, none of the Lord's people, with whom this writer
is familiar, adopts the designation "fundamentalist."
A Bible believer ought to be satisfied with the name "Christian."
This appellation should signify that one accepts the testimony
of the Scriptures, neither more nor less, for his authority in
all matters relating to faith and practice. Since none of us was
there at the beginning, we are wholly dependent upon the declarations
of the inspired writers as to what happened. Second, Clayton's
allegation-that "the entire creation" was not accomplished
within earth's first week should be examined in the light of biblical
testimony, not within an emotional climate tainted with evolutionary
suppositions. And make no mistake about it; this brother has been
significantly influenced by the propaganda of evolutionism. For
ample documentation see: Wayne Jackson & Bert Thompson, In
the Shadow of Darwinism-A Review of the Teachings of John N. Clayton
(Apologetics Press, 1992). Let us focus upon Clayton's statement
that "God has been [sic] active before and after that week."
Consider the following factors."
The Total Creation in Six Days
There is the explicit testimony of Moses, who declared: "[I]n
six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that
in them is" (Ex. 20:11). Two items are of special interest,
"in" and "all." The creation "all"
of it-was accomplished "in" the sixday period.
The Hebrew term kol, rendered "all," signifies
"the whole" or "totality" of a thing (Gesenius,
396). Could a statement be clearer than that? It is difficult
to see how. But Clayton simply cannot accept that. And why not?
Because he has endorsed the evolutionary system of chronology
that demands the earth be billions of years old. Our friend's
belief in a substantial portion of the evolutionary theory has
distorted his view of the Bible.
Nothing Before "The Beginnings"
The Genesis record commences with these words: "In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth." Subsequently, the
text says: "And there was evening, and there was morning,
one day." Verses 15 deal with the divine activity of
the beginning day of earth's first week. But Clayton suggests
that "before that week" God had already "been active"
in the work of creation. Does that make any sense at all from
a logical point of view? How could God have been "creating"
before the beginning of the "creation"? Such
a contradiction should not be attributed to be Scriptures.
The Work Was "Finished"
John Clayton further asserts that God was involved in creative
activity "after that week." That statement explicitly
contradicts the testimony of Genesis 2:13. Therein Moses
records that "the heavens and the earth" and "all
the host of them" were "finished" (kalah-"to
complete, bring to an end," Brown, et al., 478) as the first
week came to a conclusion. The inspired writer affirms that God
"rested" (shabhath -"to cease, desist,"
Brown, et al., 991) from "all" his creation activity.
One scholar notes that this language "implies that the created
world came into being as a fully developed whole, as a finished
product. God's creative power did not merely produce a phenomenon
with vast possibilities and potentials which, in turn, would develop
in the course of eons of time. The world was finished, complete,
a product of God's workmanship and was fully done" (Aalders,
74). This agrees with the wellknown first law of thermodynamics,
which asserts that, according to present processes, nothing
is being created.
John Clayton is so radical in his quest to find "creation
activity" outside the bounds of the initial week, that he
labels the contrary view as "apostasy." Within this
context he charges: "The apostasy of religious fundamentalism
has been as catastrophic as the forsaking of the simple message
of the gospel by modern denominationalism" (8). The gentleman
appears to be calling for a cessation of fellowship with all who
subscribe to a literal understanding of the Mosaic testimony.
If the brother is accurate in his charge, Moses himself becomes
an apostate (Ex. 20:11). That is a most serious implication.
Aalders, G. Charles (1981), Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan),
Brown, Francis, Driver, S.R., Briggs, Charles (1907), Hebrew
and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford University
Clayton, John N. (1997), Does God Exist?, January/February.
Gesenius, William (1979 Reprint), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to
the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker).
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