Without getting into the thorny issue of which position is actually correct, Russell Moore, Tim Keller and Ligon Duncan discuss the bottom line respecting the doctrine of creation. What are the non-negotiables that would put us outside the bounds of orthodoxy on this issue?
If you can’t be bothered to watch the video, I pretty much share Duncan’s absolute minimum:
- Creation ex nihilo
- The goodness of creation
- The special creation of man (and, as Keller alludes, the specific implication of a historical Adam & Eve who were the sole progenitors of the human race)
There is much more we could say on the issue. There are many other issues that matter and are worth discussing. Nor is that to say there are not other errant positions apart from these things. But it is fair to say this is pretty much the orthodox bottom line.
Without creation ex nihilo God is not the prime mover nor sovereign over all things. Denying the original goodness of creation presses us toward the Gnostic heresy, makes God the author of suffering and raises serious questions about Biblical infallability. Denying the special creation of man impinges on the very heart of the gospel, rejects the unversality of sin and undermines the idea that Christ is the only remedy. It would also ruin penal substitution, Christ’s federal headship and God’s sovereignty (in both creation and salvation).
For this reason (and perhaps a few others), these things represent a bottom line. This does not mean anything else we may discuss on the matter won’t press us into other errors elsewhere. But it does give us some boundaries of who might, in any way, be considered orthodox on this issue.