Moving on from God’s eternal decree, the next chapter in the Westminster Confession deals with creation.
Many who would call themselves reformed don’t realize that to be confessionally reformed, one ought to believe in a literal six-day creation. Of course, the Westminster Confession also says that “all synods or councils, since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred,” (WCF 31.3) leaving room for the possibility that the confession itself may have erred—and many are quick to point this out.
But what is the standard against which the confession and all our beliefs are to be judged? The confession speaks to this again when it says that it “can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.” (WCF 1.10) Yet many Christians, reformed and otherwise, hold to something other than a literal six-day creation without doing so much as a word study on the Hebrew word yom.
As Christians, we all believe that the universe was created by God out of nothing and we all claim to hold that Scripture is our standard for truth. But the matter of creation tests this last point. If you believe Scripture is our standard of truth but don’t believe in a six-day creation, can you really defend that idea from Scripture?
A common way to answer this question without answering it is to point to poetic structures or theological significance within the text of Genesis 1, but there is poetic structure in the Gospels and theological significance in the story of Jonah. No one claims that because they found poetic structure in John’s account of the crucifixion, therefore Jesus didn’t die. No one claims that because Jonah was a type of Christ, he wasn’t swallowed by a great fish.
If you break from the confession here, I’d like to challenge you. Can you truly articulate a rationally consistent and (more importantly) biblical defense of your belief? I’ve only met a small number of Christians who really can, so I want to encourage you to examine the Scriptures on this issue and make sure you’re standing on Scripture, instead of scientists—which may err; and many indeed have erred.