Preaching Christ from the Creation Narrative -- By: Sidney Greidanus
BSac 161:642 (Apr 2004) p. 131
Preaching Christ from the Creation Narrativea
Sidney Greidanus is Professor of Preaching, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In preaching on Genesis 1 preachers face several difficulties. The first difficulty is how to preach Christ from that chapter. Genesis 1 tells of a perfectly good creation in which there was no need for Jesus the Savior. Genesis 1 gives no promise of the coming Christ and it has no type of Christ. How then can a person preach Christ from that chapter?
A second, more troubling difficulty is that one can easily be drawn into the controversies of what has been called “the conflict between Genesis 1 and science.” What is the age of the earth? Is the earth six thousand years young or some four billion years old? Are the days of Genesis 1 twenty-four-hour days or long periods of time? If we say they were long periods of time, we face some serious problems. For the text clearly says, “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day,” and so on.1 In Hebrew evening and morning indicates a twenty-four-hour day, which began at sunset. Moreover, if plants and trees were created in the third eon of time, how could they survive without the sun, which was not created until the fourth eon? On the other hand, if we say the days were twenty-four hours in length, we face several other problems. For example scientists claim that dinosaurs roamed the earth two hundred million years ago and that humans appeared two hundred thousand years ago, but Genesis 1 states that land animals as well as humans were created on the sixth day, that is, within a twenty-four-hour period. How could there be light on day one when the sun
BSac 161:642 (Apr 2004) p. 132
was not created until day four? Or how could there be evening and morning on days one, two, and three before the creation of the sun on day four?
Unfortunately because of these difficulties many preachers avoid preaching on Genesis 1. But this is a tragic omission, for Genesis 1 lays the foundation of our Christian faith. The very first article of the Apostles’ Creed states, “I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” If we fail to preach the message of Genesis 1
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