The Offense of Biblical Creation & The False Authority of Science

John Piper keeps getting himself into hot water with the reformed folks he has been among for decades.  Latest is his comfort with the unbiblical quasi-scientific perspective on the age of the Earth.

As asked in the article below, “why would there be a need to harmonize the creation account with modern science? To prove it’s true ….or false? Why, to prove it is false of course.”  The child of God knows the Bible is true.  The Bible tells us not to trust the “wisdom” of man, as the “foolishness” of God is above (better than) the “wisdom” of man.  Yet we tend to trust men when they speak with the authority given them by other men – even when it cannot be reconciled with Scripture.

On whatever the Bible speaks, it is Authoritative and trustworthy.  Nothing man can discover or develop is able to disprove the Word of God.  Be careful what you believe.  You say you believe in Christ – believe in the Word of God.

What follows is from:

Piper & Sailhamer: The Offense of Biblical Creation & The False Authority of Science

Biblical truth is always offensive. The Biblical narrative on creation is certainly no exception. Scripture is quite explicit in how the universe and all that it contains came into being, and since the fall of man it’s description as recorded by God for us has been hated.

Creation is recorded as a series of totally supernatural, perfectly executed, final acts in 6 literal days. Modern philosophy and all social sciences of men have long attempted to refute the biblical account, and were in fact, created for that very purpose, to deny God’s truth.

In so-called modern times, the biblical teachings of creative, final acts by the God of Scripture have been superceded by scientific ‘processes’ so that the results of creation are placed within and are products of history and time (time itself viewed as a process, not a creature of God). In fact, much of modern historical geology is based on the philosophical assumption that the biblical account of creation ex-nihilo is false.

By the early nineteenth century the central presupposition of uniformitarianism that “the key to the past” had been popularized by James Hutton and Charles Lyell (who in turn influenced Darwin). (Douglas F. Kelly, Creation & Change, p. 163)

Perhaps placing some general creation assertions of the Bible against modern philosophical sciences will be helpful:

Bible Modern Sciences
All things, seen and unseen, are the creative final acts of the sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, Triune God, ex-nihilo. All things are result of processes, placed within  and products of history.
Meaning of history is to be understood in God. Time and history are determined and governed by God. Foundation of history is eternity, not time. Meaning of history is to be understood in the progress of man. Time and history are products of natural processes.
God is Sovereign in all things and holds the very life and breath of created man at His disposal and according to His good pleasure. The only god tolerated is a god working with man for a common purpose, to conquer and control time and history.

John Piper has been greatly influenced by a book on old earth theories entitled Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer. In a critical review of the book over at Answers in Genesis, we’re told that Sailhamer “adopts a unique view of the creation account in order to harmonize it with the claims of modern science.”

We are further told in this review that:

“Despite his plea to allow the text of Genesis to speak for itself, Sailhamer fails to take his own advice. He writes: ‘Given what appears to be true about the age of the earth, it is likely that millions or billions of years transpired during this time of “the beginning”’ (p. 105). Such a comment clearly indicates that Sailhamer has allowed the claims of modern uniformitarian science to determine what the text is saying.”

Now why would there be a need to harmonize the creation account with modern science? To prove it’s true ….or false? Why, to prove it is false of course. If it were believed to be true there would be no need for proof. Belief vs. Unbelief.

Another question: What is this uniformitarianism? If John Piper is ‘most at home’ with Sailhamer’s view on creation, as he has stated in his recent video, what does that really tell us? More importantly, what are the ramifications for those who sit under Piper’s teaching at Bethlehem Baptist and the internet?

We’ll take these questions one at a time, but first, let’s define uniformitarianism and show why it’s important that you understand the idea behind Sailhamer’s views:

Uniformitarianism is the belief that the origin and development of all things can be explained exclusively in terms of the same natural laws and processes operating today…Uniformitarianism has been the backbone of modern historical geology and is responsible for the current widespread assumption that the earth is billions of years old…[The Uniformatarians] insist that all geological features and formations, once attributed to geologic cataclysms, can now be satisfactorily explained by ordinary processes functioning over long periods of time. (Scott M. Huse, The Collapse of Evolution, pp 7,8)

Processes. Sound familiar?

1) Why would anyone want to harmonize the creation account with modern science?

Because on some level they reject the biblical account. An argument could be made for curiosity I suppose, but curiosity can be a form of doubt. Either way, it is unbelief isn’t it?

2) If John Piper is ‘most at home’ with Sailhamer’s view of creation, what does that really tell us?

It tells us he is ‘at home’ with allowing modern science (uniformitarianism) to determine what the Bible is saying. In other words, the ‘science’ of natural processes has taken a position of a higher authority than the Word of God itself.

3) Finally, what does this mean, in general, for those who sit under Piper’s preaching and instruction at Bethlehem Baptist and those who follow his teachings on the internet?

It means that there is at least one area of John Piper’s belief system that is not grounded in Scripture: Creation. For the Christian, creation is to be understood as a series of supernatural acts, not processes. Every attempt, either by Sailhamer or Piper, to read or force process philosophies into any Biblical text, to allow the possibility of days being turned to ‘ages’, to allow room for ‘scientific’ interpretations is to yield the authority of God and His inerrant Word to process philosophies of unregenerate man. It is, at the gist, an abandonment of the absolute Sovereignty of God and of the Biblical principle of sola scriptura.

To allow this type of teaching, as harmless as it may seem to so many, is to give a nod of approval to a lie. It is to attribute supernatural powers to ‘natural processes’ rather than final creative acts of God.

This issue my friends, is not about men, it’s about biblical doctrine. It’s about the truth of God. Please do not willingly compromise it. Reject error. Find this error in your own local churches, if it exist, and root it out for the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

John Piper:

Now, when it comes to the more controversial issues of how to construe Genesis 1-2 about how God did it and how long it took him to do it, there I’m totally sympathetic with a pastor who is going to lay his view down, having studied it, and is going to say to his people, “Here is my understanding of those chapters. These six days can’t be anything other than six literal days, and so that’s how long God took to do it. And this universe is about 10 or 15,000 years old. Though it looks old, that’s the way God made it. He made it to look old,” or something like that.

Or he might take another view that these days are ages.

Or he might take Sailhamer’s view, which is where I feel at home. His view is that what’s going on here is that all of creation happened to prepare the land for man.

In verse 1, “In the beginning he made the heavens and the earth,” he makes everything. And then you go day by day and he’s preparing the land. He’s not bringing new things into existence; he’s preparing the land and causing things to grow and separating out water and earth. And then, when it’s all set and prepared, he creates and puts man there.

So that has the advantage of saying that the earth is billions of years old if it wants to be—whatever science says it is, it is—but man is young, and he was good and he sinned. He was a real historical person, because Romans 5 says so, and so does the rest of the Bible.

That’s where I am, and I think every pastor should go ahead and say what he believes. [emphasis mine, ed.] (Online Source)

16 thoughts on “The Offense of Biblical Creation & The False Authority of Science

  1. I totally understand your point, and pretty much agree with everything said, but trying to articulate my point to other believers isn’t an easy thing to do, convincingly anyway, and I think that was part of what Piper was trying to do, land somewhere that he could explain to people who aren’t familiar with the arguments at hand. I don’t necessarily agree with where he landed, I just have argued a literal 6 days with other believers and much of the time they think you are as much of a lunatic as non-believers (not that that in itself really matters lol). Nice post and explanations of a tough subject.


  2. Why is it that nobody has considered the possibility that a lot of time – possibly millions of years – took place between Day 6 and the Fall?

    Before the Fall happened, Adam and Eve were immortal and had no inclination to sin. It’s not like Genesis 3 starts with, “The next week, the Serpent came into the garden of Eden.”


  3. 072591,

    Piper is OK with a HUGE gap before man’s creation – which was on the sixth day. The Lord rested on the seventh day. What the Bible does not reveal (to my knowledge) is how much time passed between the 7th day and the fall. I see nothing to dispute with a reasoned inference that a long time – many days – likely passed after the 7th day. But not between the 6th and 7th days; that goes against the clear reading of the passage and all Scripture that relates to it.


  4. Good post. I also had written about this as well when it came to my attention last year. It really is unbelief in the straightforeward reading of Genesis 1-3. Gen. 1:1 is the overview of Who made everything. Verse 2 is the begining of HOW God created everything. Simple, clear, obvious.To speculate when the Bible tells us each day was a 24 hour period is wrong. To accomated Evoluion on any level is heretical. The problem is that Piper is a philosopher and that’s what he’s doing wiith the evolution philosophy. What he “feels more at home” with is philosophical, emotional nonsense. Subtle, yet still an attack on God’s Word. “Hath God said”? Yes, He has!

    This is also the reason why I believe Piper is cancerous and instead of raising the Bible above all else, including mere science, he’s compromising and elevating science above Scripture. Science is NOT a hermenutic by which to interpret Scripture.

    Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

    As John MacArthur said in his excellent series on Creation: “…And an unwavering faith in the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible is at the heart of all sound theology. And it starts with believing the Genesis account.” This is also what ICR states.

    MacArthur goes on:
    “The bottom line, the Bible ends with a warning that you better not tamper with Scripture. And anyone who tampers with Scripture, to add to it or take away from it, brings himself under divine judgment.

    So we could readily conclude that altering the Scripture, tampering the Scripture or just flatly not believing the Scripture is unthinkable for a faithful, wise believer. It’s unthinkable. It is only reasonable that an ungodly and foolish unbeliever would attack the testimony of Scripture, and they do that all the time. That’s just a way of life with them. For a believer to assault the veracity of Scripture is an unimaginable thing. And yet there are many so-called Christians who do that. They wouldn’t deny the morality of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, they wouldn’t deny the…they wouldn’t deny the prophetic testimony of the coming suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53. They wouldn’t deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. They wouldn’t deny the gospel of grace and the need for the new birth. They wouldn’t deny other things in Scripture, but they do deny the clear teaching of Genesis chapter 1.”

    Add one more to the lsit: Tim Keller, another Reformergent, who has been involved with Biologos.

    So “Sola Scriptura”? No, Scripture plus science. Piper denies the very thing he claims. And he does it elsewhere as well.

    Science NEVER determines doctrinal truth. Science is always in subjection to the Creator and HIS Word.


  5. Denise & admin (from 5Pt Salt) – many thanks for your encouragement and, Denise, your additional emphasis. Man has a tendency to be deceived and we all must test what we read and see from man against what the Lord God of Heaven has said. He alone is true and without error.


  6. Denial of the literal account (evening and morning are the specific day in which the specified activity took place) is certainly a denial of the truth of God’s word, and is thus an attack on the whole of His word. It must necessarily be all true, or it is not true at all.

    But if one subscribes to the theory of Evolution (Theistic or otherwise), then one not only denies the truth of God’s word, but directly calls God a liar. Because in Ex.31:16-17 (and Ex.20:11) God specifically reiterates: “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth”.

    But further still, if one accepts that there were millions of years of Evolution before man was created, then one denies the Biblical doctrine of sin and death as well. For if there was any death before mankind came on the scene (as Evolution necessitates), then death did NOT come as a result of man’s sin, and is thus a denial of Rom. 5:12:

    “Therefore, just as sin came into the world THROUGH one MAN, and DEATH through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”

    Thus, if Evolution took place before the creation of man, then this verse is a lie, and Paul is thus a liar. Thus making the rest of his writings untrustworthy, so we might as well throw out the bulk of the New Testament. Gotta throw out Peter as well, because he testifies that Paul’s writings are Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16).

    One either believes the literal, six day creation account in Genesis, or one must discard the entire Bible. There is no in between.


  7. Thank you for the encouraging word D.P. But the result of doubting the literal creation account gets more horrendous still. For Jesus Himself said: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (Jn.17:17). But if the literal account in Genesis is a lie, then His word would not be true. In what then are we sanctified? That one thing has just been removed! And if God’s word isn’t (all and entirely) true, then Jesus would be a liar as well, and thus not our sinless Savior!!! And if that’s the case, we have no hope for all eternity!!! This is the logical result of casting ANY doubt on ANY of God’s holy and true word.


  8. I think it’s a show of their week faith. It show that their faith is in and of them selves and that show’s the flesh, which in and of it self can not believe God. Someone of his age should be past that stage. If they question Gods authority, they can’t be trusted as someone of God. They have shown they have another doctrine! Ask your self why is he transforming him self into something else?
    2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    2Pe 3:7 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.
    2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    No doubt he was talking about his return because the bible has already affirmed in Genesis that God made the earth in six day. He is talking about his gatering together his elect not the age of the world. Read on…The whole letter is about the return of our Lord with warnings

    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    And for sure is anything to hard for our God? Pray that God would be so kind as to open his heart and to repent of unstableness.


  9. Listened to all John MacArthurs sermons on Creation posted on this site last year. In one sermon he told a story of Herbert Spencer who wrote a book titled First Principles [1867], CHAPTER III.: SPACE, TIME, MATTER, MOTION, AND FORCE. –
    Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, theologian, evolutionist and explained all of life in terms of evolution. He coined the term survival of the fittest. He was so wrong about most everything but he did say that the entire universe can be grouped into 5 things in his book in 1867, see above.

    Now read Genesis.
    …how concise, simple and true those few words are that GOD spoke, just like God to keep it simple…and Herbert Spencer didn’t even know he was endorsing God while he was a staunch evolutionist. Mr. Piper is not the first or last who has lost his way, and will take others with him.


  10. Manfred, thank you for posting my article. It’s an important topic and it is good to see the concern for Piper’s theology regarding the Genesis account is not confined to a narrow group.

    Joel Taylor


  11. Exodus 20:8-11 (Theistic Evolutionist Version)–“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six million years you shall labor and do all your work, but the next million years are the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In them you shall do no work…For in six million years the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the next million years.”

    God commanded the Sabbath as a memorial to the six DAYS of creation. When Moses was reading the words of the Lord to the people of Israel, there are people that are seriously deluded enough to think that the people sat around asking Moses, “Well, now, the word ‘yom’ can mean simply a long period of time. So did God create the universe in six days, or in six long periods of time?”

    Not only does the whole “one day equals thousands of years” argument fail the biblical test, it fails the test of common sense.


  12. 072591
    Millions of years did not happen after the creation of man because when Adam dies the bible specifically states how old he was when he Died! not millions of years, not thousands of years … but 930 years Gen 5:5 says (NKJV) ” So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.”
    No room for Evolution! Faith and Faith alone, when we don’t understand we have Faith that its true because God Says it is!
    Loved the defense of Creation and literal understanding of what the Word of God says!


  13. Stephen: Good eye; I completely missed that it said how long Adam lived, not just how long after the Fall he lived.

    (Just to be clear, I was not arguing the idea of evolution happening at any point in time.)


  14. hey not a problem, and I love reading these posts because it challenges and/or encourages my own understanding!


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