There is a view making the rounds in American Christianity called the Temple Innaugeration view which runs counter to the Biblical worldview. In this article, I will attempt to explain what the temple inauguration view is, and why, as Christians, we should not follow it and how we can explain to others about why this idea is not a good one.
I had not actually heard of this idea until I got to chapter 5 in Ken Ham’s book, The Lie, where he makes a mention of it on page 79. So I thought it would be a good thing to inform others about it, just in case there are other people like me who have not heard about it. Hopefully, this article helps you to give answers when someone asks questions about this particular idea.
The temple inauguration view was made popular by a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, John H. Walton by name. Walton begins with ancient history and mythology. Walton starts by saying that we need to read the text of the Bible in its cultural context. This actually has very little to do with science from this viewpoint, and more to do with how the ancients viewed how the world began. Most of that is actually going to be in the mythology of a culture, rather than in the history of the culture because no one was around to see the creation of the universe.
Anyway, moving on, the temple inauguration idea starts with the earth, and other things already in existence. Walton says that, “In the ancient world and in the Bible, something existed not when it had physical properties, but when it had been separated from other things, given a name and a role within an ordered system.” So, in other words, everything already existed, God just had to walk by and name it, so that it would exist. When God then named it, it then had a function, and so creation could not be a material creation, it was already there, and God just had to name things. Which means that there was no creative activity going on whatsoever. This is simply a repackaging of the Big Bang with some Christian overtones.
Next, Walton then goes to talk a little about the first three days of creation. He pretty much says that day one did not count as creation since in the ancient world light is not considered an object. Day two, God only created the weather, and on day three, He did create agriculture, and plants and such. Days 4-6, is where Walton says that God only installed what he calls functionaries, which would be the fish and sea life, birds, land animals, and man. Walton then goes on to say, “Everything is designated “good” indicating that it functions properly in the system.” This phrase makes God look like He is a computer programmer, who randomly found a computer and that He just decided to make it useful with a few programs.
Lastly, Walton concludes that day seven just meant that the temple of God, which is the cosmos that He just made to function, was finished, and that everyone in the ancient world knew that deities rested in temples, and that is what temples were created for.
What we have so far in this idea is that God did not actually create anything. He stumbled upon an already existing earth, named it and all the things He placed there, decided to make it work by creating time, and all the animals and man and so on. This whole time, God was also just adding things to make His temple, so He could rest and watch everything happen. God did not actually create anything, it was not a material creation, and we are just here to make things work. That is what we have. We have a god who is not God, who did not do what He said he did in Genesis, and we are not created in His image. God is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. This is a lie. And now I can tell you why it is a lie.
The truth is that God really did create the way He said he did in Genesis 1. If He had just stumbled upon the world, like this temple inauguration idea says, where did the world come from? Who made it? These questions would still linger in the air. Biblical creationists have no problem with these questions. Creation was a material creation. God spoke, and the world came into existence. He did create light on day one and called it good. Also, the ancient Israelites knew this to be true too. Otherwise, how could the psalmist, David say, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in store houses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6-9. Or how could Isaiah say this, “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48:13. They could only say this if they understood that God created the material world in which they lived.
At this point in the article that I’m reading, Walton seems to take a little bit of a different way to try and make his idea make sense. This is where he stops writing in an authoritative manner, and you start to see the word “if” appear more frequently in the article. The other things that you don’t see in this article are also equally disturbing. Walton frequently talks about other Near Eastern cultures who’s cosmology texts he has supposedly read, but he never actually names which ones he is talking about. He lumps them all together and lumps Israel in with them too. Walton also seems to be trying to make his idea a sort of middle of the road idea. He says, “The mechanisms that he used to bring the cosmos into material existence are of little consequence as long as they are seen as the tools in his hands. The teleology is evident in and supported by the functional orientation.” This phrase is dangerous, as it leads many to believe that they can just believe whatever they want, so long as God is the starter force behind it, and that is also not true. Walton is trying to make the Bible fit in with all of the things that “science” and evolution say are true. He is trying to come up with an idea where everyone is happy, and that they can believe as they want to. Walton says, “Having said that, whatever aspects of evolution that continue to provide the best explanation for what we observe should not be objectionable for Christians. Being believers in the Bible does not require us to reject the findings of biological evolution, though neither does it give us reason to promote biological evolution.” But being Christians, being followers of Christ, does require us to “reject the findings of biological evolution” because God says that He created everything. And God does not lie. Man does lie, in all of his efforts to try and not be held accountable for his sins.
The foundation of our faith is in Genesis. If we don’t believe that our God told us the truth in this first book of His book, then where do we begin to believe the Bible? Where can we start to believe it? Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”