Some years ago, God led me into a time of prayer and fasting to make the Word clear regarding creation, and showed me how much this topic is veiled in Scripture. Since then, I’ve come to understand how much the church has been relying on human tradition instead of seeking truth with a humble and open heart. When one seeks the Lord and focuses on the Word instead of tradition, it becomes clear how we are to take it figuratively.
The Bible says nothing about the physical age of the earth or the development of physical life. Most people would be amazed to know how often Scripture is reworded to make it fit tradition better, how many commonly-taught concepts are not actually in the Bible at all, and how some Scripture passages are ignored because they don’t fit the traditional views. The idea of a young creation is a human tradition that has been accepted as if from God, but it is not.
This is not a minor theological debate. Rather, it is one of the most destructive false teachings in the church today, leading many people out of the faith and creating barriers to the Gospel for millions who would otherwise be open. In particular, teaching creationism to children not only sets them up to reject the faith in later years, it teaches them to spread ideas that will prevent many from coming to salvation at all.
Historically, people assumed that Scripture spoke plainly about some things, like creation and geocentricity, because those were the most natural interpretations. Our minds are biased towards thinking naturally instead of supernaturally (1 Corinthians 2:12–14), and so struggle with the techniques God used to speak of supernatural truths, such as figurative language (ie, Ezekiel 20:49 and John 16:29). Over time, these natural perspectives became ingrained as traditional views. This then reinforced those views because of the human tendency to favor tradition over seeking God. (Even to the destruction of the church, for example Galatians 1:13–14).
When science started challenging those established views, the zeal for tradition caused people to read those views into Scripture rather than seek the Lord with an open heart. As is often the case, this zeal led to increasingly vocal and strident presentations, which is why we have so much public teaching based on reworded Scripture, unbiblical ideas, and ignored passages.
Even the science itself became corrupt over time, and filled with unsound analysis. Unfortunatley, this propagated widely because most people, including most spiritual leaders, don’t have the training to recognize the errors. Those who do have such training focus on isolated anomalies, which are often present even in generally accepted science, or express opinions outside their primary field of expertise. As a result, many people believe that science supports the lie. Today, those who favor tradition over the Word are the most vocal and the most vehement.
The key is to turn to the Word with the heart of a Berean, and test everything we hear against Scripture, whether from science or tradition. We need eyes that see what the Word actually says, and ears that hear the Spirit. This means approaching the question through relationship rather than only scholarship. Rather than perpetuate tradition or turn to science for understanding, let’s commit ourselves to look at the Word with an open heart.