While visiting a church where I was to be the guest speaker a couple of years ago, I helped myself to a cup of coffee during the Bible study hour. I could not help but overhear the adult class meeting in the open room nearby. They were discussing a friend who had lost her faith due to watching programs on public television. That network notoriously runs programs to explain “what really happened” in the Bible. As a result, she came to reject the Bible as a collection of fairy tales and “just so” stories.
Excusing myself as I entered the room, I said, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.” They invited me to join them, which I did. I continued. “It’s not difficult to believe that many so-called Christians lose their faith.” “What do you mean?” they asked. “I mean that if you stumble over the very first verse of the Bible, you will have trouble accepting the rest of it.” Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” I asked them, “How many of you believe in a literal six twenty-four-hour day creation?” They seemed stunned.
Today many Christians believe they are too sophisticated to accept that simple premise. They rationalize. They compromise. The call it a secondary, non-essential doctrine. In fact, the teacher of that class responded, “The Bible does not teach that God created everything in six days.” I had them all turn to the Ten Commandments. In laying down the guidelines for the Sabbath, God told the Israelites: “In six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is within them, and on the seventh day he rested” (Exodus 20:11). Nothing here indicated billions or even millions of years. A straightforward reading indicates six literal days. The teacher was shocked. If this were not true, there would have been no basis for the Israelites to observe the seventh-day Sabbath.
John 1:3 says, “All things came into being through him (the Logos, i.e. Christ), and apart from him not one thing came into being that has come into being.” Let that sink in. First of all, Christ is not a created being. He brought everything into existence, but he did not bring himself into existence. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have to do mental gymnastics with this to show that Christ was the first created being. This passage does not support that interpretation, which has gone around since the first century heresy of Arianism.
Colossians 1:16 says, “All things in the heavens and on the earth were created by him, things visible and things invisible…all things were created through him and for him.” The New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses blatantly adds the word [other] to change the obvious meaning of the passage. They claim that although the word is not found in the original text, it clarifies the meaning; but it actually distorts the clear equating of Christ with Jehovah, a claim they cannot tolerate.
In the last Gospel presentation made to mankind, the angel says, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship the one who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:7). The glory of God is related to his nature as Creator.
At that time, people will be given a choice to worship the Creator, or the Beast. Revelation 14:11 says of those who choose the Beast: “the smoke of their torment went up forever and ever, and those who worshiped the beast and his image did not have rest day and night.”
By downplaying the doctrine of Creation, you are actually robbing Christ of his glory as the Creator. Creation is not a secondary, non-essential doctrine at all. If you doubt the truth of the very first verse of the Bible, you will have trouble all the way through it. However, if you do not stumble at the first verse, you will have no trouble believing that the God who created the universe controls it and sustains it. You will have no trouble believing that the Creator can intervene in his creation at any time, and that he is directing it toward a purposeful end. When that end comes, what side will you be on? Will you stand with the Creator or sit with the assembly of scoffers? (Psalm 1:1). Will you worship the Christ of Creation or the beast of destruction?