Catholic Apologist Jimmy Akin was recently on a talk show where he discussed the Catholic view of Creation. He pointed out that there wasn’t one view in the Catholic Church and his view was his own. The video can be found at the following link.
Akin points out that when the ancient Israelites wrote Genesis, they put it in the form of an Israelite work week. Since the Israelites worked for six days and rested on the seventh, that is how they wrote Genesis 1. Six days of Creation then God rests on the seventh. Akin uses the specific words: “All that Genesis 1 is really asserting is that God made these things but as a literary device the author of Genesis has fitted them into the Hebrew work week, comparing God’s labor to man’s labor.” This can be found at the 18 minute mark of the video.
Seems harmless, doesn’t it? A scholarly response that appears to maintain Christian orthodoxy. On the surface this explanation seems fine but deep down, its quite troubling.
First of all, Akin refers to the “author” of Genesis. The author of the Torah is Moses as Christ points out in Mark 10:1-5. It seems that Akin has avoided this important point. Regardless, there is a much bigger problem with his thesis.
Exodus 20:8-11 reads:
Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.
According to this passage, the Israelites were ordered to rest on the seventh day because God rested on the seventh day after his six days of Creation. In other words, God fashions the Israelite work week after his Creation, and not the other way around. Akin mentions: “comparing God’s labor to man’s labor” but it’s the exact opposite. Man’s labor is fashioned after God’s labor.
The hypothesis that Akin gives turns the Bible on its head. The larger problem is that many Christians think that you can embrace liberal scholarship and still be loyal to scripture. Most of the time, you cannot. It’s okay to read liberal scholarship but we need to remember that scripture is divinely inspired and liberal scholarship is not. Whenever the two conflict, the traditional view of scripture must prevail. I look at liberal scholarship the way that I look at the Quran. A work of human hands and therefore fallible.
Christians need to have the highest view of scripture. We cannot embrace these questionable ideas that Akin puts forward. You could collapse on the faith without even knowing it.