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Luther on Genesis

Isaiah 40:28

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.”

There is a common view abroad which suggests that so-called Young Earth Creationism is an invention of the 20th Century and that no such creationist ideas existed in centuries earlier. It is not difficult to test whether such an opinion is correct or not. All we have to do is check some early commentaries on Genesis.

Martin Luther wrote an extensive commentary on Genesis. He did not mention the theory of evolution once! That, however, is not surprising, considering he published the work in 1545, whereas Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859. Nevertheless, there are a number of issues relevant to creationism, where Luther had strong views. One of these was the age of the Earth. On this subject, Luther wrote:


From Moses however we know that 6000 years ago the world did not exist.


A theistic evolutionist might retort that this was what everyone believed in Luther’s day. Not so. Luther comments on those who have other views, saying:

Aristotle leaves the problem in doubt whether or not the world is eternal, yet he is inclined to the opinion that it is eternal.

Luther understands that a biblical position is in opposition to the prevailing philosophical opinions of his time. Augustine, for example, had developed an elaborate allegory to explain Genesis. Luther made short work of that view.


With respect therefore to this opinion of Augustine, we conclude that Moses spoke literally and plainly and neither allegorically nor figuratively.

So Martin Luther’s commentary appears to leave no opening for those who want to suggest that the world is millions of years old.


Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for great men of God in the past, who clung to Your word and endeavored to publish it for all to read. Amen.


Ref: Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, (Project Gutenberg), < >, accessed 12/30/2017. Image: Public Domain.




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