The Lutheran Witness

Concerning the six-day creation

Comments (38)
  1. Pr. Karl Weber says:

    Pastor Harrison, thank you for your faithful confession.

  2. Jon Mielke says:

    Thank you Pres, brother Harrison. Your confession and our synods biblical beliefs are a treasure worth fighting for.

  3. Rev. Raymond A. Smith says:

    Thank you Rev.. Harrison, for your faithful confession, and for explaining this in such a pastoral way.

  4. Rev. Alec Fisher says:

    Thank you, President Harrison. Faculty members at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, are also doing a lot of great work delving into this topic in a way that is exegetically faithful, honest, and responsible. We are so incredibly blessed to have such scholars and teachers within our church!

    1. The Rev. BT Ball says:

      Rev. Fisher, you might want to compare the Summer 2017 Concordia Journal article by Professor Jurchen and see if the publication of the St. Louis Seminary matches up with President Harrison’s post.

      But maybe you wrote satire, and I just missed it!

      1. Rev. Alec Fisher says:

        Rev. Ball, thank you for your note. My comment wasn’t satire. The faculty members involved in this topic have done a great job. I read the journal when it came out, as well as the subsequent articles posted on Concordia Theology, and I look forward to reading future installments. It’s nice to see President Harrison’s input in the conversation as well.

  5. Thank you, President Harrison!

  6. Thank you President Harrison for your faithful leadership!

  7. Nancy Stepp says:

    Amen!

  8. Walter W Raffel says:

    A excellent confession of faith.

  9. Lee Turpen says:

    Thank you for restating this position.

  10. Jack Klobnak says:

    A God not confined by time can do many things we cannot understand today. Eve from a rib? Science can now make many things from DNA from much less than a rib. An infinite God must have access to all the knowledge of the future, not just the past and present.

  11. James says:

    This unwillingness to engage with God’s creation or the beautiful intricacies of scripture beyond a simplistic reading is exactly why I’ve pulled back from the LCMS, the church of my childhood. Our reason is God’s gift to us, and rejecting its use under the guise of faith rejects is an affront to both.

    1. Bryan Wendt says:

      James:

      I implore you brother, please don’t go. I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I believe there is hope for LCMS on this issue. Let us continue to discuss, respectfully, any view that affirms Divine creation, the historicity of Genesis and a real Adam and Eve. I pray that in this discussion our leaders will realize that all truth is God’s truth. If general revelation appears to conflict with special revelation, then the problem is with interpretation of one or the other, or both. I fear that our leadership, thank God for it, is all to quick to conflate the Old Earth view with evolution. This is simply not the case. If you are not familiar with Reasons to Believe, I would recommend it highly (www.reasons.org).

      I have recently returned to LCMS after a long journey through evangelicalism. LCMS has so much to offer, so much tradition, such sound doctrine, such dedicated and equipped shepherds, such godly priorities. Don’t forsake it lightly, you may wish you’d stayed.

  12. Pastor Jeffrey Gross says:

    Thank you, brother Harrison. Well said.

    Whenever my “intellect and reason,” paltry though they may be, finds it hard to understand what God has done and promises to do, I find it best to assume my intellect, reason, and powers of observation and discernment are wrong or flawed. I am puzzled how so many otherwise highly intelligent believers when in the same situation conclude that God must be wrong. Better for corrupt human reason to do its best to serve God and His Word rather than try to overrule it and try to teach God.

  13. Alice Buck says:

    What an encouragement!

  14. Randall Correll says:

    The old testament is not the Gospel. Judaism is not Christianity. Slavish devotion to Old Testament (Jewish Bible) literalism is bordering on idolatry. It is neither correct nor necessary. Luther taught us to interpret the scriptures plainly, not literally. Where Luther asserts that Moses wrote in a literal sense, this is true, for how else could Moses explain the creation? But where the old testament concepts and language conflict with the book of nature, that should be interpreted mythically. This does not diminish the Old Testament’s foreshadowing of the Gospel message. Luther translated the New Testament into German first, before translating the Old Testament. There’s a reason for that, and it’s important, for that’s where the Gospel resides. And the Gospel works through the Holy Spirit, not through scriptural literalism.

  15. Fred Priebe says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! With so many leaders in the “church at large “ succumbing to the pressures of the secular world it is very gratifying to know our church body is holding steadfast to the teachings of the Holy Scripture. May the Lord bless you and keep you!

  16. Jeanne Fox says:

    Does the LCMS insist that the earth is 6,000 years old like some young earth creationsts insist?

    1. Matt Harrison says:

      The LCMS has not asserted a specific age of the earth.

  17. Stephen Schmidt says:

    I would encourage all LCMS Lutherans to read the 2015 CTCR report “In Christ All Things Hold Together: The Intersection of Science and Christian Theology.”

    https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=3469

  18. Gary Locklair says:

    Excellent. Thank you for posting this President Harrison.

  19. Dennis F. says:

    It is refreshing to see Christian leaders take a stand like this!

    There seems to be a real lack of fortitude amongst the Christian leaders in general when defending the Bible’s authority and historicity. Instead of fighting valiantly much of our leaders cave to philosophies that are borne out of godless presuppositions, human pride, and would be autonomy.

    God bless the LCMS for taking a stand and not backing down!

  20. Jonathan says:

    That’s one of greatest piece of History of our Faith, walk in his faith brother.

  21. Lenore Buth says:

    It’s worth considering why so many feel we MUST be able to explain everything in a manner that answers every question, especially since we now are so, um, advanced.

    I don’t know the speaker’s name, but his words are timeless. “A God who is small enough to understand is too small to worship.”

  22. Judy Finnessy says:

    Thank you, President Harrison for your defense of God’s word!

  23. The context of Exodus 20:8-11 makes it obvious that the author (Moses – also of Genesis 1-2) uses the word “day” to indicate a period of 24 hours. Otherwise we would be laboring for six indefinite eons and resting for one indefinite eon! – Silliness.
    Also, regarding death: if it’s a natural, built-in, necessary part of our existence (as in evolutionary theory), then we would need no Savior from it.

  24. Phil says:

    Thank you President Harrison for your defense of the truth of our God’s word.

  25. Tina Burge says:

    Thank you, President Harrison! This topic must be taught and discussed in the congregations so that we can have meaningful conversations about topics of our time with people inside and outside of our church. Too many are stuck in the mentality of – A Statement of Biblical and Confessional Principles (1973). Meaningful to me is John 1 – The Word, Jesus, was present at creation and speaks with authority. Also, Acts 17 as Paul tells the people of Athens about the UNKNOWN GOD, beginning with creation and ending with the statement v. 31 “for He (God) has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed (Jesus). He (God) has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”!! The God who raises the dead to life.

  26. I’m an ELS Pastor, and I say, “Well said, Pastor Harrison! Thank you. “

  27. Robert Bjornstad says:

    I received my confirmation instruction from a Pastor who was faithful to teach from the Luther’s Small Catechism. And all my life I have worshiped in Lutheran congregations where we recite the creed (Apostles or Nicene) every Sunday. Nowhere do any of these speak of a doctrine of six day creation. I would guess that the church has generally seen a belief in God’s creation, of all that is, the primary truth of the Bible. And that a six day creation is not central to the advancement of God’s kingdom.

  28. Michael Kasting says:

    Dear brother, I appreciate your addressing this matter. Two reflections: a) your comment that the Genesis creation account is “either myth or history” is a false dichotomy. There are creation accounts in Psalm 104 and Proverbs 8 and Job 38 too. Are they “either myth or history”? I’m guessing you’d say, “No, those are poetry” (but not therefore “untrue” or even “unhistorical!). b) You cite Luther’s views approvingly. But you do not include the fact that Luther, like many others in his day, felt that helio-centrism (as Copernicus and Galileo taught) was also opposed to Scripture (Joshua 10, specifically). Franz Pieper said the same as recently as 1925! Yet today even conservative Christians accept helio-centrism without thinking it opposes Scripture. I daresay you are one of those, Pres. Harrison. That doesn’t mean you have let “reason” trump Scripture. In Scripture God addresses our reason too, and we endeavor to use it humbly and reverently to make sense of the revelation.

  29. Philip Korth says:

    Thank you for the strong statement. I have been employed in the science and engineering field for 40 years and my belief in a literal creation has never hindered my work. I now am teaching an apologetics class in the Bible and Science at our church as I feel strongly that our church must stand firm on the truth of the Bible. Secular scientists cannot prove an evolutionary origin and Christians cannot prove Biblical creation but intelligent and reasonable Christians can evaluate scientific findings and be confident that the Bible is true.

  30. Noel says:

    Hello! The Mystery of Creation has been a difficult topic for Philosophers and Theologians alike. I’m not a Pastor or minister to render an explication on how I feel Creation really took place thousands of years ago. All I can say is that if we all get together and pray to God for Wisdom we may one day see all the issues we may have concerning creation and the aftermath in a different angle. We should ask ourselves how would Martin Luther react to all this? Remember that thousands of years people wanted to punish Galileo for what he saw in the heavens. Now we see heaven quite different. I think we need to follow what The Bible says.

  31. Whitney Watts says:

    I don’t understand the literal 6 day theory, and I was wondering if someone could help me to comprehend what exactly is being proposed here. First, God created days as we know them on the 4th day. “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.” Genesis‬ ‭1:14‬ . He on this day also creates seasons and years, all part of “time”. So what would lead us to assert that days 1-3 were literally 24 hours when hours and days had not come into existence yet? Secondly, scripture states “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:8‬. Would that not lead us to imagine, that the first 3 “days” of creation could in fact be eons to our God?

    1. Lannie says:

      “And God said, ‘Let there be light, ‘ and there was light…. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day… and there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” In other words, a 24 hour day. The Hebrew word used for day, yom, means a literal 24-hour period in this case because it is qualified with the words evening, morning, first, second, etc. Also, everywhere else in the Scriptures where this is the case “yom/day” is always interpreted as a literal 24-hour period by everyone. Only Genesis 1 seems to be problematic to do so for some.
      God can easily be the source of light for the day and evening until the fourth day when He created the sun, moon, stars, etc. Revelation 21:23 states concerning the new heavens and new earth, “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Could not God have been the source of light during the first 3 days of creation since He will be the light at the end of the age?
      Furthermore, the proper hermeneutic for interpreting the text of Genesis is that of historical narrative, including chapters 1-11. It is not poetry, apocalyptic, or any other type of literature. This also means the word “day” must be a 24-hour period.
      The verse you quoted from 2 Peter 3:8 you have taken out of context. It is talking about the second coming of Christ, not the creation days. Furthermore, the text says one day is as a thousand years, not is a thousand years. That is an important distinction. The word “as” used by Peter clarifies what he is trying to say and is also cleared up by Peter in the very next verse, verse 9 – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
      Furthermore, Jesus stated, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” Jesus, who was in the beginning with God, made all things. Jesus is the eyewitness to the Creation event since he is the Creator. So was Jesus wrong when he stated that Adam and Eve were created in the beginning, not millions of years later after the beginning? For my money, Jesus’ eyewitness testimony about the creation is more powerful than any other type of argument that can be juxtaposed.

    2. Quinten A. Buechner says:

      On the first 3 days, Gen. 1: “and the evening and the morning was the First day” no eons noted. Simply days for all six days of creation

  32. Joe Watson says:

    I am an LCMS Pastor (Military Chaplain) and I also have earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemistry (prior to seminary). One of the first things a scientist learns is that a theory can never be proven, but it can always be disproven. Also, a theory must be based on experimental data which necessarily require observable and reproducible results. As far as I know, no one has ever observed evolution, nor are they able to provide reproducible results. When I was a student in the field of science, my method of analyzing scientific theories was to accept them as valid as long as they did not contradict God’s Word. Since the theory of (macro)evolution contradicts the Word of God, it is necessarily false. Scientists are fallible and come to erroneous conclusions. God’s Word is infallible and should be considered as true, no matter how much scientific “evidence” contradicts it. Anything less than that calls any and all of God’s Revelation into question. That is what has happened to many mainstream denominations, and was in danger of happening to the LCMS years ago. God forbid that we ever place human reason over divine revelation. It would only serve to weaken our faith and increase our sinful pride. Sola Gratia – Sola Fide – Sola Scriptura.