Dr. Ed Hindson is Liberty University’s assistant to the chancellor, dean of the school of religion, dean of the Institute of Biblical Studies, and distinguished professor of religion. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of more than 40 books.
Tell us how biblical creation was part of the core of Liberty University from its beginning.
The school was founded by Dr. Jerry Falwell. He was a firm believer in the literal six-day creation. He was very committed to that as the core value of one’s theology. That has been part of the doctrinal statement of the university since it was founded in 1971.
Is there a movement today away from a literal understanding of Genesis?
In the broader evangelical world there is a move away from literally interpreting the Bible. This is a growing problem in certain evangelical circles, even as it was 100 years ago in liberal circles. The move away from the early chapters of Genesis cut the heart and soul out of the liberal church and eventually out of the gospel. Unfortunately, the drift away in the twenty-first century is exponential.
How important is Genesis to the gospel?
God is the creator and sustainer of life. The Fall teaches us that when Adam and Eve sin, they rebel against God. That is at the heart and core of the gospel. If we are not sinners, accountable to the God who created us, there is no need for Christ to come and die for our sins. The story of Genesis sets up the story of the rest of the Bible. All the major doctrines are based on Genesis.
How is that shown in the university’s choice of professors and courses?
We are all very committed to a belief in a literal six-day creation, a young earth; and we teach that very, very strongly. That is taught by our biology and science faculty, and it is part of our doctrinal statement. A course in creation studies is required of our students as well.
Has Liberty’s stand on creation caused difficulties?
Well, believe it or not, it hasn’t seemed to affect our academic reputation as far as accreditation is concerned. We receive stronger challenges on abortion and homosexuality. If you present the creationist viewpoint effectively, not only from the Bible but from scientific evidence, the secular community may not agree, but they are not going to penalize you.
Do you think there is pressure to move away from a literal teaching of Genesis?
Christians put the pressure on themselves that every time we are interviewed maybe we should repackage, soft-sell our position. That is always a mistake. When you start backing up and backing down, you’re going to lose everything. That was one thing Dr. Falwell clearly understood.
Sum up the importance of a literal understanding of Genesis 1 to 11.
The power of the gospel is rooted in the concept that God created you, that He has the power to redeem, and that, in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is genuine forgiveness, spiritual transformation, and the gift of eternal life. The God who created life in the beginning is the One who can sustain life forever in eternity.