In a recent issue of his magazine, Does God Exist?, John N. Clayton
of South Bend, Indiana had an article titled: "Biblical Fundamentals vs.
Religious Fundamentalism." The design of the piece is to ridicule those
so-called "fundamentalists" who believe that the entire creation was effected
within the six days of history's initial week. Clayton says "religious
fundamentalism has done an incredible amount of damage." He identifies
six-day creationism as a basic component of "fundamentalism," and puts
it in the same category with belief in UFOs, demon exorcism, etc. Here
is one of his comments.
It [fundamentalism] demands the entire creation to have been accomplished
in a literal seven-day week instead of recognizing God has been [sic] active
before and after that week
What should be said in response to this misguided brother's charge?
First of all, none of the Lord's people, with whom this writer is familiar,
adopts the designation "fundamentalist." A Bible believer ought to be satisfied
with the name "Christian." This appellation should signify that one accepts
the testimony of the Scriptures, neither more nor less, for his authority
in all matters relating to faith and practice. Since none of us was there
at the beginning, we are wholly dependent upon the declarations of the
inspired writers as to what happened. Second, Clayton's allegation-that
"the entire creation" was not accomplished within earth's first
week should be examined in the light of biblical testimony, not within
an emotional climate tainted with evolutionary suppositions. And make no
mistake about it; this brother has been significantly influenced by the
propaganda of evolutionism. For ample documentation see: Wayne Jackson
& Bert Thompson, In the Shadow of Darwinism-A Review of the Teachings
of John N. Clayton (Apologetics Press, 1992). Let us focus upon Clayton's
statement that "God has been [sic] active before and after that week."
Consider the following factors."
The Total Creation in Six Days
There is the explicit testimony of Moses, who declared: "[I]n six days
Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Ex. 20:11).
Two items are of special interest, "in" and "all." The creation "all"
of it-was accomplished "in" the sixday period. The Hebrew term kol,
rendered "all," signifies "the whole" or "totality" of a thing (Gesenius,
396). Could a statement be clearer than that? It is difficult to see how.
But Clayton simply cannot accept that. And why not? Because he has endorsed
the evolutionary system of chronology that demands the earth be billions
of years old. Our friend's belief in a substantial portion of the evolutionary
theory has distorted his view of the Bible.
Nothing Before "The Beginnings"
The Genesis record commences with these words: "In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth." Subsequently, the text says: "And there was
evening, and there was morning, one day." Verses 15 deal with the
divine activity of the beginning day of earth's first week. But Clayton
suggests that "before that week" God had already "been active" in the work
of creation. Does that make any sense at all from a logical point
of view? How could God have been "creating" before the beginning of
the "creation"? Such a contradiction should not be attributed to be Scriptures.
The Work Was "Finished"
John Clayton further asserts that God was involved in creative activity
"after that week." That statement explicitly contradicts the testimony
of Genesis 2:13. Therein Moses records that "the heavens and the earth"
and "all the host of them" were "finished" (kalah-"to complete,
bring to an end," Brown, et al., 478) as the first week came to a conclusion.
The inspired writer affirms that God "rested" (shabhath -"to cease,
desist," Brown, et al., 991) from "all" his creation activity. One scholar
notes that this language "implies that the created world came into being
as a fully developed whole, as a finished product. God's creative power
did not merely produce a phenomenon with vast possibilities and potentials
which, in turn, would develop in the course of eons of time. The world
was finished, complete, a product of God's workmanship and was fully done"
(Aalders, 74). This agrees with the wellknown first law of thermodynamics,
which asserts that, according to present processes, nothing is being
John Clayton is so radical in his quest to find "creation activity" outside
the bounds of the initial week, that he labels the contrary view as "apostasy."
Within this context he charges: "The apostasy of religious fundamentalism
has been as catastrophic as the forsaking of the simple message of the
gospel by modern denominationalism" (8). The gentleman appears to be calling
for a cessation of fellowship with all who subscribe to a literal understanding
of the Mosaic testimony. If the brother is accurate in his charge, Moses
himself becomes an apostate (Ex. 20:11). That is a most serious implication.
Aalders, G. Charles (1981), Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), Vol.
Brown, Francis, Driver, S.R., Briggs, Charles (1907), Hebrew and
English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford University Press).
Clayton, John N. (1997), Does God Exist?, January/February.
Gesenius, William (1979 Reprint), Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old
Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker).