What is a creationist? Since there are many varieties of creationists, we must define our terms.
A creationist, at minimum, believes that matter was created ex nihilo (out of nothing) by God at some point in the past. A creationist stands in contrast to a naturalist, who looks to existing matter as the cause and explanation for all that is.
Beyond this point, there are creationists that seek integration with naturalism, and those who do not.
These believe that God initiated the Big Bang, and then directed cosmological and eventually biological evolution. God superintended the process that took billions of years, until in the recent past, man was ready. Proponents differ in their views of how involved God was, the historicity of Adam, and so forth.
Progressive Creationists/ Day Age
God used successive stages of guided micro or macro-evolutionary changes, injecting creative power to advance the process at various stages.
Literary framework proponents.
This theory leaves open the actual mechanism or timing or creation, stating that the Genesis account is a literary device to explain to us that God created all things. Theoretically, a literary framework proponent could be a theistic evolutionist or a Young Earth Creationist.
Literal six-day week creationists.
In this theory, the days are taken as normal days, and the creation of all things took place within a week. No use of death or evolutionary mechanisms was used, and the creation was perfect when made. Adam and Eve were sinless, historical persons, and their sin introduced death.
A consistent creationist is, in our view, some form of six-day creationist. The issues at stake include:
a) The way we interpret Scripture. If Genesis 1-11 cannot be taken literally, what about the Resurrection?
b) According to Romans 5:12, 19, we need a historical Adam to explain sin and the introduction of death.
c) Without a first Adam as the progenitor of one race, it doesn’t make sense to have a second Adam, the progenitor of a new creation and a new humanity.
d) If death was used to produce advancement, it hardly seems like a curse or a judgement for sin.
Therefore, we must reject theistic evolution, and any other theory that would use death as a perfecting mechanism, or deny the historicity of Adam. The actual age of the Earth or of the universe is not of as great import as the issue of a perfect original creation, an historical Adam created ex-nihilo, and death introduced as a judgement. (Though we do recognise the category of plant or animal death may have been different to human death).
Among six-day creationists, there are further positions.
I) Strict Young-Earthers. Here the genealogies of Genesis are read as possessing little to no gaps, rendering the creation of the Earth and Adam at around 4000. B.C., the Flood at around 2400 B.C. Problems: this timeline tends to clash with established Egyptian, Chinese and Mesopotamian dynasties. Problem of starlight, dating of rocks.
II) Young-Earthers. The genealogies of Genesis are seen as possessing gaps, pushing back the Tower of Babel to perhaps the third or fourth millennium B.C., the Flood several hundred or a thousand years before that, and Adam at least 1656 years before that, leading to an Earth around 10 000 years old. Problems: apparent tight chronology.
III) Gap-Theorists. Verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1 are seen as separate from verse 3. Some form of initial creation, including invisible things (Col 1:16) took place at some point in the past. After this time, which is uncertain in length, the creation week as described from Genesis 1:3 began, in the recent past.
One version of this has been called “Undefined age biblical literalism” who “interpret the Bible to require a young biosphere (a recent, literal, six-day creation) but leave planet earth’s mineral base and the stellar heavens with an unspecified time of origin. This allows for a possible or probable old universe and earth but requires a recent biology.”
A second version has the universe created in Gen 1:1 in the undefined past, but the proceeding Scriptures deal with the fashioning of the Garden of Eden in the recent past in six literal days.
A third version suggests Satan’s fall had occurred in the undefined past between Genesis 1:1 and proceeding verses, leading to possible death before Adam’s fall, catastrophism in creation, and the need to make a Garden amidst the chaos.
Problems: argument from silence, argument that verses 1 and 2 are part of day 1.
It is our belief that any of these positions (Strict Young Earth, Young Earth, Gap Theory) can be reasonably defended. Each has their problems, but each seeks to uphold a literal interpretation of the Genesis 1-11, a historical Adam, a perfect original creation free from death and the curse, death as a curse because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, and God creating a habitat for man in six literal days.