What did Jesus say about creation?

Updated 10-5-08

Many creationists make the argument that Jesus believed in a literal creation story as told in Genesis. Naturally, if Jesus believed it, why shouldn’t we?

For example, in Mark 10:6 Jesus states:

“But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE.”

Therefore, creationists say, there could not have been billions or millions of years of life before humans burst onto the scene. However, this statement ignores the fact that no matter how one reads the text, marriage (which is what this passage is really about) did NOT begin at the beginning of creation. Even if you take the verse out of context, not realizing the passage is talking about marriage, you would have to conclude that Jesus got it wrong.  Mankind was not even created at the beginning but on the sixth day (see Genesis 1). Humanity was created later as the pinnacle of the creation.  By reading the creation account literally, one comes across a bigger problem–you must either admit that Jesus lied or is very forgetful, according to Mark 10:6.

Furthermore, Mark 10:6 is rarely quoted in context when being used to debate creation. Mark 10:1-10 states the following:

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

“What did Moses command you?” he replied.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Jesus is simply explaining the institution of marriage as was commanded to the first two creatures it applied to. The passage has no bearing on the age of creation.

In John 5:45-47, Jesus gives weight to the word of Moses:

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

One of the passages in the words of Moses is Exodus 20:11:

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Creationists often cite this verse as evidence that clearly Jesus and Moses believed in a literal interpretation of the creation account. This passage instructs the people to keep the Sabbath day holy and not to work on that day. This passage compares the six days of our labor to the six days God used to create. According to creationists, this means that both represent literal 24 hour days.

However, God declared other Sabbaths. A Sabbath for the land consists of six years of cultivation followed by a seventh year of rest (Leviticus 25:2-4). This establishes the principle of six periods of work followed by one period of rest. And in this case, the “days” are not six 24 hour periods.  This 6:1 ratio is used in many instances to express important principles, including 6:1 year cycles in Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:1-7.

As I have mentioned previously on this blog, it is important when reading the bible to keep in mind the history and cultural influences of the times.  The ancient Israelites were in need of establishing an identity for themselves.  These people were facing ancient Near East nations that were mostly hostile and polytheistic.  The Sabbath principle allowed them to establish their identitiy and develop an efficient work ethic-first in a nomadic situation and then in a land they were charged to establish as their own. 

Ironically, most Christians recognize the important principle in Exodus without taking it absolutely literally. Most do not rest or devote the actual Sabbath day (Saturday) to worship. If this passage is meant to be taken literally, we should all be worshipping on Saturday. Yet most Christians truly see the significance of the principle stated above, six periods of work and one period of rest, without following the literal interpretation.

In my opinion, I do not feel that one can conclusively say that Jesus was a “creationist” or believed in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. Certainly he affirmed the supremacy of God the Father and acknowledged the Father as creator, but this says nothing about the manner in which God created the heavens and the earth nor how long it took Him to do so.

Later I plan on commenting on what Paul had to say about creation. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you may find the following posts interesting:

Death Before the Fall?

Should the creation account be read literally?

You may also be interested in the following blog, Servant’s Thoughts.

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16 Responses to “What did Jesus say about creation?”

  1. […] with some screed about “Well, did Jesus REALLY say that?”.  However, airtightnoodle devoted an entire article to the topic, and did a good job of tackling the meat of the issue and talking about Scripture in it’s […]

  2. Eric Kemp at Intelligent Science has attempted to rebutt the above article. It’s a good conversation so far. Eric, however, largely ignores many of the points made above and completely misinterprets others.

    You can view the conversation at the following address:

    http://intelligentscience.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/theistic-evolutionists-and-the-truth-of-jesus-the-two-dont-mix

  3. You are way out of your league on this one, noodle. It’s not too late to delete this post and save yourself a great deal of embarrasment.
    By the way, Bible is spelled with a capital “B”

  4. Just a note saying good work.

  5. Internetpastor–
    Your brilliant argument above astounds us all.

    Steve–
    Thanks.

  6. […] Paul also taught a literal six day creation.  I’ve already discussed what Jesus had to say here.  Regarding Paul, Romans 5 is often quoted to support creationism, as Eric Kemp does here: If […]

  7. Sam George Says:

    Genesis 1:5-“and the evening and the morning were the first day.”  There is no mention anywhere in the BIble that a morning or evening equals a period equal to millions of years.Further, if evening here means millions of years, then, it must mean the same in every verse which means that earth underwent millions of years of total darkness followed by millions of years of sunlight which is impossible.Gen 1:2-“And….”.  The word ‘and’ connects the first two verses and the simple words are that in the beginning when God created the earth, the earth was without form.  There is no evidence of any gap. The total time of creation of heavens and earth was the first evening while the total time of creation of light was the first morning.

  8. Sam George…have you ever considered the possibility that the Genesis account isn’t meant to tell us anything literal about time at all?

  9. Marek Benjamin Oakshott Says:

    This is the first blog I’ve read of your airtightnoodle and I have to say I was delighted to read it.

    It seems discussions between ‘popular’ science and ‘popular’ religion (in this case Christianity) is dominated by shrill voices speaking from positions of extremity and often ignorance, whether they are highly politicised Evangelical Scriptural ‘literalists’ (who aren’t necessarily ‘literal’ at all), or sneering ‘Dawkinsian’ / ‘Hitchinsian’ anti-religious bigots-in-the-making.

    It’s important for society for intelligent Christians to make observations like yours about science and its place in relation to the religion as it is for intelligent atheists to make positive observations about religion that avoid caricaturisation.

    Anyway, bless you and keep up the good work. You have one new subscriber.

    ~ Marek

  10. 2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
    ——————————————————————————–
    2 Thessalonians 2:10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  11. brianswordpressacct Says:

    Yes, you certainly point out the true context. It is a real STRONG possibility that most people clearly understand its about marriage and divorce and not creation (so doubtfully “ignored” by 6/24 dayers). Your points are moot since Jesus was using a literal interpretation that Jews obviously believed and understood. How do you get the six day was not very close to the beginning (not billions of years)? Your quote: “Jesus is simply explaining the institution of marriage as was commanded to the first two creatures it applied to.” leaves out how your quote should end: “…first two creatures it applied to…FROM THE BEGINNING.” Then it would be kinda hard to say “The passage has no bearing on the age of creation”.

    You further try to make some case that the only reason for the 6:1 week is for separation from pagans as somehow the pagan nations did not have some form of 6:1 understanding of creation. Its extremely unlikely that they didn’t have a billions of years belief at that time. You ignore the Ex 20:11 quote by God that the main reason for the 6:1 week is simply because he created the earth in 6 days and rested seventh. How do we know this? Because that’s what he said!

    Yes, God uses the 6:1 ratio, as you call it, in other commandments but none to my knowledge make reference to the creation days/week except Ex 20:11. In all that you have written, I can’t figure what it is about Ex 20:11 or Mk 10:6 that is such a stretch when used by 6 day creationist Christians. Further, if you want to make the side case about whether we should worship on Saturday instead of Sunday; firstly it is not even part of the argument; also, Jesus spoke to Jews during the time of the Law (Jesus lived and died under the Law) letting them know that marriage started from the beginning, not from the time of Moses but before it…using “from the beginning” as a reference to the fact. Everyone knows that. But 6/24 dayers make a valid conclusion. Question: what does ”from the beginning” refer to? The beginning of what?
    Mk 10:6 and Mt 19:4 are used in very much the same way to say that Jesus was for marriage between a man and a woman. Jesus wasn’t making a case against or for same sex marriage. But it is only logical that he did recognized marriage between a man and a woman and did not reference any other type of marriage. Out of context, but the point is the same. Its still as valid as using Mk 10:6 or Ex 20:11 to buttress 6 day creation. Would you use your same argument that Jesus was for gay marriage? Would you also say that Jesus wasn’t really referring to Adam and Eve or that Jesus use of “man and woman” wasn’t literal?

    Of course if I don’t keep on you will probably accuse me of ignoring all of your points. So be it. Its doubtful you will read this anyway. This is mainly for the readership.

    I haven’t yet heard a good argument from theistic evolutionists yet. Otherwise, I would be one I suppose.

  12. Jim Cooper Says:

    Genesis literally tells us that the days of creation were not in reference to our suns, as we measure time from. Our sun wasn’t created until the 4th day ! The days of creation were in reference to the original source of light created on the 1st day, from God’s perspective of time.

  13. What did jesus mean by “creation” though then? and was “them” adam and eve” sorry im still a little confused on what u want ur point to be

  14. JoshTheBoss Says:

    But you have to remember that to God, a day is a thousand years and a thousand years a day. So jesus not bound by time, and he could have been meaning the general start of creation, which is stil going on. The evolution of humans going from the stone age, to iron age, to space age. And by evolution I am not talking about evolution like monkeys into humans.

  15. The biological theory of evolution does not teach that monkeys turned into humans. Common misconception.

  16. Andre Alexander Says:

    The gap fact according to the scriptures.( King James )

    In Genesis 1:1 we read:”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

    Now we need to consider if this is talking about the physical universe or the spiritual realm.

    The answer to this is given in the book of Job. Job 38:3-7:

    Job 38:4-7King James Version (KJV)
    4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    This passage surely illustrates that the Angels witness the creation of the earth.
    And this scripture confirms that the earth was created after the spiritual realm where The Lord God dwells with His innumerable heavenly host.

    What intrigues me is why The Lord God needed to also create a physical realm as well. However His ways aren’t our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

    However The Lord God did and of course for good reason, but that’s for another discussion.

    Now to Genesis 1:2: “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    Now this is a very enigmatic verse and tragically misread by countless young earth creationists.

    Now some scholars indicates that “was” should read; ” became”. But what does it matter. The earth was without form and void so logically it had to become that way to be so.

    What I can’t, for the life of me , not understand is how the young earth creationists can’t see that the earth and the water were already in existence when The Spirit of The Lord God was hovering over the earth. And that after it became enveloped in darkness!

    Then the next command from The Lord God was;” Let there be light….”
    The Lord God then separated the waters and the dry land appeared. Genesis;1:3-9.

    The Lord God did not then say;” Let there be water and let there be dry land!”

    Also what I find rather enigmatic as well is why would the Lord God say;” Let there be light .” The Lord God is light ! Unless of course He created a different kind of light to be again, part of a physical universe.

    Now above argument should be enough to make young creationist reconsider there stance as I believe it is not helping the unbelievers to accept the gospel of Our Lord.

    Now don’t get me wrong as I believe in the then, literal creation of the reconditioned earth. Exodus 20:11;” For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

    Also the sun and the moon and all the stars were also created then.

    But let me get back to additional scriptures that illustrate the gap fact. Remember The Bible explains itself.

    Isaiah : 45:18
    For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

    Then;

    Jeremiah :23-27
    23
    I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.
    24
    I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
    25
    I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
    26
    I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
    27
    For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

    Now this is another passage in scripture that is completely taken out of context by conservative scholars. A lot of them comes up with the ridiculous assumption that this passage talks of a future judgement. The following scripture spoken by Our Lord Jesus Himself should debunk that argument. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”Mathew 24:22
    This clearly illustrates that when The Lord Jesus comes back, after the great tribulation, there will still be people on the earth !

    Also;

    Ezekiel 28:11-19King James Version (KJV)
    11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
    12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
    13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
    14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
    15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
    16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
    17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
    18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

    Above verses are self explanatory .

    Here is more scripture that illustrates what happened before the reconditioned earth.

    Psalm 104:6-9King James Version (KJV)
    6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
    7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
    8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
    9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

    Genesis 8:1-3
    1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
    2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.
    3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone.

    Above scripture verses demonstrates that what the writer of above Psalm is referring to is not what happened during or after the deluge.

    And last but not least;

    2 Peter 3:6-7King James Version (KJV)
    6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    This is another scripture passage that is misinterpreted and misunderstood by young earth creationists. They claim that the apostle Peter is writing about the flood in the days of Noah. What’s the matter with them! Can’t they read and comprehend plain English! The apostle Peter specifically mentioned that the earth perished! However we know according to the Genesis’ account that the earth did not perish but that Noah and his family survived and started anew after the waters subsided!

    I sincerely believe that the young earth creationists are making a serious error with their stand as it hinders the acceptance of the gospel of our Lord Jesus by unbelievers.

    The true gospel of our Lord God and Saviour started even before man was created.

    Genesis 1:26, makes a remarkable statement.
    “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…

    Man ?!

    Who or what is “ Man” ? !

    Since The Lord God made man into His image and likeness, tells us something quite amazing. Especially as we were created last, after the plants and the animals. Also man was not spoken into existence, like the rest of His creation. Man was lovingly fashioned from the dust of the earth and then the breath of the Lord God himself brought man to life ! A physical being to interact with a physical universe. Simply mind boggling ! With the already existence of an unfathomable spiritual Heavenly realm filled with the innumerable heavenly hosts of which we can only speculate about, why did The Lord of Hosts create a physical universe as well. And most enigmatic of all, fashioning a physical living person after His image and likeness when He knew that this amazing creature is going to let Him down and fall away from Him thru sheer disobedience.

    Because He knew afore hand that man will become a fallen creation so for man to be redeemed back to Him, The Lord God needed to make it possible for Him, at the fulness of time, to become a man, leaving the splendour of Heaven to come into a fallen world to fulfil the destiny of Messiah.

    So the reason for creating man into His image and likeness is to make it possible for God to become a man to redeem us back to Him. So today there is a man sitting at the right hand of God the Father because we were originally made in His likeness for the very purpose of redemption and reconciliation to Him.

    I once, very very fearfully and humbly, asked the Lord why there were no plan of salvation for Satan and his fallen comrades but only for us, the descendants of an also fallen Adam. The Lord replied that evil came from within Satan but Adam and Eve were beguiled.

    I prayerfully hope that the insightful memo above, which was made possible thru The Holy Spirit, will help to understanding and grasping the complete word of The Lord God, from Genesis to Revelation of His amazing plan for us.

    God bless

    Andre Alexander

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