Professor Werner Gitt, Information Science
In Six Days: Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology
Why I Choose to Believe in Creation
Dr Gitt is director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology, Germany. He is the head of the Department of Information Technology. He holds a diploma in engineering from the Technical University of Hanover and a doctorate in engineering summa cum laude together with Borchers Medal from the Technical University of Aachen. Dr Gitt has published numerous research papers covering the fields of information science, numerical mathematics, and control engineering. He is the author of the recent creation book In the Beginning Was Information.
A while back, there was a panel discussion in Bremen, Germany, on creation/evolution. The invited participants were a geologist, a palaeontologist, a Catholic priest, a protestant minister, and myself as an information scientist. Before long, the moderator asked, “How long did creation take?” The palaeontologist and the geologist were quickly unanimous—millions of years. When the clergy were asked, both were very definite that, nowadays, theology had no problem with millions of years. Even billions of years could be effortlessly interpreted into the creation days. Finally the moderator asked me for my opinion. I answered as follows:
For me, as an information scientist, the key question is the source of information. Regarding the length of the creation days, there is only one information source, and that is the Bible. In the Bible, God tells us that He created everything in six days.
Since no one else could nominate a source for their opinion, this part of the discussion stopped dead in its tracks.
The question of the length of the creation days has aroused much passion. Adherents to theistic evolution try to interpret the creation account to allow for long timespans. There have been many attempts to arrive at “long creation days.” Here are four examples.
- The “day-age” theory: The expression “day” is interpreted as actually meaning a long period of time. “Ages,” “periods,” or “epochs” of time are referred to. Psalm 90:4 is frequently used for justification: “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday [i.e., one day] when it is past.”
- The “days-of-revelation” theory: The days of Genesis are not viewed as days of creation, but as days of revelation. This assumes that the various statements in this account were progressively revealed to the writer in six consecutive days. The motive is clearly to avoid the idea that creation actually took place within these 24-hour periods.
- The “movie” theory: Originating with Hans Rohrbach, this concept tries to explain the creation account as if it were time-lapse cinematography of a process which “in reality” took a long period of time. He writes that “It is as if the prophet is seeing a film, in which the mighty process of creation, compressed using time-lapse photography, is screened in front of him. He sees movement, a happening and becoming, hears God speaking; he observes the earth becoming clothed in the green of plant life, and sees everything graphically, like a modern 3-D widescreen film in sound and color.”
- The “literary-days” theory: This maintains that the creation days are merely a literary device, in order to establish a thematic structure. According to this concept, the individual “creation days” are to be regarded like the chapters of a book.
The length of the days of creation
There is a widespread opinion that the creation account is only concerned with communicating “the fact that God actually created.” However, this it totally implausible in light of the numerous precise statements contained in Genesis. If God had only wanted to tell us that He was behind everything, then the first verse of Genesis would be enough. However, the many particulars in the account make it quite clear that God wants to give us much more information than that. In the account of creation we have not only conveyed to us matters relevant to faith and belief, but also a range of facts which have scientific significance. These facts are so foundational to a true understanding of this world that they immediately distinguish themselves from all other beliefs, from the cosmologies of ancient people and from the imaginings of today’s natural philosophy.
The creation account of the Bible stands alone in its declarations. Here we find none of the ancient mythical imaginings of the world and its origin, but here rather we find the living God communicating reality, the truth about origins. The course of correct or false biblical exposition is firmly set, according to the expositor’s convictions, on the first page of the Bible. Separating “faith” from “science” (widely practiced in the Western world), has frequently driven Christians into the ghetto of a contemplative inner piety, which fails to achieve any penetrating effect upon their surroundings, while science is driven into the wasteland of godless ideologies and philosophical systems.
As a result, it has been widely presupposed that biblical statements about the origin of the universe, life, and in particular mankind (as well as nations and languages) are not scientifically trustworthy. This has had grave consequences. Alexander Evertz bemoaned the rampant worldwide spiritual decline as follows:
Belief in the Creator is now largely only a display piece in the glass case of dogmatics. It resembles the stuffed birds one sees perching on rods in a museum.
We should be thankful for the details God has seen fit to reveal to us in Genesis, this brief glimpse at the origin of this world and life. Thus, we note that God created everything in six days. That they were really 24-hour days, that is solar days or calendar days, should be settled by way of several arguments…
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image credit: Artwork from original by Flavio Takemoto