Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Hi, Roger,

Recently two of my young friends have raised questions about the creation story.

One, a young lady, had been deeply hurt when another gal at a Casas evening group told her that if she didn’t believe in a literal 7 days, she might not even be a Christian!

The other, a young guy science major whose father is a scientist and atheist, was beginning to question the whole "faith-thing," since he can't reconcile literal 7 days with scientific method…

I don't know if you want to address something this controversial and divisive, but… since the elephant is in the room, I think maybe we (er, that would be you, as "we" doesn’t have the answers…) should talk about it.

Love ya, "L"

Dear L,

I almost lost my faith over this issue.

I grew up in a church which taught Genesis One as proclaiming a literal-seven-day creation. Any other interpretation was a slap at the veracity of the Bible. Those not falling into line were considered outside the historic Christian Faith since they failed to "believe in the Bible."

And yet... this literal interpretation was not fitting well with what I was being taught in school. I loved math and science and took every course available: biology, advanced biology, chemistry, physics, advanced physics, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Then, my senior year, I read Worlds In Collision by the Russian physicist, Immanuel Velikovsky and my faith was somewhat shaken.

But, I stood firm with the positions taken by The Center for Scientific Creation. I learned about young-earth theories and mature-earth creation stories; that God created the earth 6,000 years ago but made it to look as if it were 4.5 billion years old.

I considered the day-age interpretations that attempted to explain the apparent old age of the earth by interpreting the Hebrew word for day, "yom," as long-indeterminate eras that could have lasted millions of years.

Then, five years into my pastoring, I came across The Red Limit by Timothy Ferris. My faith was shaken to the core. The more I learned about cosmology and creation the harder and harder it was for me to believe in the Bible.

I was in spiritual agony.

I wondered if I could be a man of integrity and continue preaching while I doubted the integrity of the Bible. In Psalm 73, Asaph, the worship leader during David’s reign, also struggled with doubts. God told him to continue his ministry. However, he was to keep his mouth shut about his doubts until he had worked through them successfully. Asaph became my biblical model.

I took by faith that the Word of God was living and powerful. I felt I could confidently proclaim that the truths and teachings and proclamations of the Bible were absolutely capable of changing lives and evangelizing the lost.