O.T. scholar: Genesis teaches a short timescale
Johnathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries chats with Old Testament professor Dr Travis Richard (‘Rick’) Freeman
Dr Travis Freeman serves as Professor of Old Testament at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University (B.A.) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D.). He has been a young-earth creationist for over twenty years and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society Creation Fellowship
Many people in the church think that it’s OK to believe in evolution over millions of years. Dr Freeman points out severe problems. One of the most important for Christians is surely that “Jesus contradicted evolution and millions of years when he said that God created Adam and Eve at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:5–9), not billions of years after a big bang.”
He further points out that a straightforward understanding of Genesis indicates that God created humans, animals, trees, and so on in mature form, and only a few thousand years ago.
Dr Freeman explains that real archaeology opposes long-age dogma, revealing no civilisations or historical documents older than a few thousand years. Geology also opposes this dogma, because creatures must have been buried quickly to form fossils, so the layers must have been deposited catastrophically. Also, there must be little time between the layers, because the contact lines are flat and largely erosion-free, and they have other features such as footprints that must have been preserved quickly.
How does creation matter to Christians?
Many in the church think of creation as a side issue. Naturally, Dr Freeman disagrees, and explains why it is actually foundational:
“God has placed in every person the desire to know the answer to some basic questions about life, such as who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going, and how should I then live? The biblical doctrine of creation answers those questions and thus helps us understand the need for obedience to our Creator, including belief in the Gospel. The doctrine of creation also helps us believe in the accuracy of the Bible, because we see that its opening chapters are compatible with history and science.”
Indeed, it was very important to Travis personally. First, as a young man, he was an agnostic: “I did not know the answer to those questions, especially, how I should live. I was confused about the meaning of life, or if there even was a meaning. The confusion showed in my behaviour.”
However, when he was 32, a pastor shared the Gospel with him. Like many people, Travis “objected that the Bible and its Gospel could not be true because we humans came into being through billions of years of blind evolutionary processes.” Many would-be evangelists would try to change the topic. Fortunately, not this pastor, who was well informed:
“In God’s providence, the pastor was also a biology teacher at a nearby university. He informed me that evolution was not even a good theory, and certainly had not been proven. His comments spurred me on a journey to find out the truth for myself. I soon came across several books, including The Genesis Flood by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, which exposed the flaws in evolution and showed how the Bible and empirical science actually agree. Once I saw the accuracy of the Genesis account of creation, I knew instinctively that the rest of the Bible must be true. So, I repented of my sins and believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now my life has meaning and direction—and may I add, great joy!”
We know of literally hundreds of people whose faith was ‘shipwrecked’ on the jagged reef of biblical compromise, but who, like Dr Freeman, were restored thanks to consistent biblical creation teaching. We trust that his encouraging testimony will help many more.