Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indication or Interpretation?

When it comes to the Biblical account of creation I have heard well meaning interpretations, especially regarding the literal six days in which God created the earth. Ken Hamm of Answers in Genesis has recently sent out an email asking "Should Christians Divide..."(over this literal six days issue). I find it very interesting regarding some of the issues surrounding our Baptist Faith and Message that we affirm in order to be considered "cooperating" Baptist churches, denominational employees, etc.

My summary of Hamm's statement is that it gives gives two reasons why someone who takes a non-literal six days interpretation is really indicating a lack of belief in the authority of God's inerrant Word.

That issue may be seen in this question. What is the effect on someone affirming the Baptist Faith and Message, including it's statement of Biblical inerrancy, but taking a non-traditional view/interpretation of a portion of Scripture? In the case of the Answers in Genesis statement the argument is framed in these terms: Anyone who believes the Bible to be inerrant must believe that the six days of creation are literal days, not some other reference to "time periods".

I will admit up front that I wholeheartedly affirm a literal interpretation of Scripture and I personally believe the literal six day account of creation. I also believe that organizations like Answers In Genesis and The Institution For Creation Research have done a worthy job in putting up the science to back up the true historical account as we know it in the Bible.

My concern however is that there may be some area for interpretation that would allow for someone to view the days as time periods. For me this is not a Primary Doctrine, like the inerrncy of God's Word or the Deity of Jesus. It is to me an important Secondary Doctrine, something I would not say makes someone else an unbeliever if they disagree with me but someone who I would be wary of full cooperation, at least in certain aspects.

There is the rub. My personal opinion is that I would be wary of full cooperation with someone who did not INTERPRET Scripture the way I do but still claims the Bible as the authoritative and infallible Word of God. The Baptist Faith and Message, however, does not speak specifically to the "days of creation". Therefore, I am in fact cooperating with those who may INTERPRET Scripture differently than I do on this point.

I don't necessarily think that is always healthy but I can live with it. How about you?

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