Evolution’s Dirty Little Secret

A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks, semi-popular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found–yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks […]  (David Raup 1981: 832, Professor of Geology University of Chicago, Chicago Field Museum, emphasis mine)

 

The primary reason that there is any question regarding the length of the creation days of Genesis is due to many people’s belief that evolution is a fact, and since it is a fact, then a literal reading of Genesis must not be valid.  Some have gone so far as to suggest that the ancient Israelites were simplistic and merely ignorant of true science, which is precisely what medical doctor William Keen did in his 1922 book entitled I Believe in God and Evolution.  Keen’s book may be somewhat dated, but the attitude he championed has not changed.  In fact, we could argue it has become even more entrenched today.

 

Fully convinced that evolution was an established fact, Keen argued, “A fundamental difficulty with the so called ‘Fundamentalists’ is that they fail to recognize the fact that the ‘Children of Israel’…were living in the intellectual childhood of the human race” (Keen 1922: 7).  He then goes on with his biased and incorrect version of ancient history by stating, “…their minds were cast in a poetic mold, their literature was permeated with imagery, metaphors and parables.  Bards, priests and prophets delivered it to them.  No scientists then existed”  (Keen 1922: 8).

 

Neither of Keen’s observations is based on historical fact.  Unfortunately, his belief in evolution has skewed his understanding of history, though his perspective is consistent with the evolutionary model.  Simply stated, the evolutionary model proposes that life forms continue to get more and more complex and so too does man’s sophistication and understanding of the world.  While mankind is more technologically advanced today than ever before, and hence we have more and usually better data to work with, ancient man was by no means primitive, nor was man at that time in the “intellectual childhood of the human race.”

 

The age before Abraham (approximately 2000 B.C.) saw amazing applications of scientific principles based on math, geometry, physics etc.  The ancient civilizations of the time (the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians and Egyptians) were the ones who invented writing, an extremely complex concept not for the weak-minded.  These civilizations first developed elaborate mathematical tables.  It was even the Babylonians[1] who preempted the Greek philosopher Pythagoras with his famous discovery known as the Pythagorean Theorem by approximately 1300 years (O’Connor and Robertson 2000b).  These ancient peoples erected enormous pyramids and ziggurats, which to this day still defy some of our best engineering prowess — and they did so all without the aid of motorized machinery.  They plotted the course of the stars with incredible precision and devised extremely accurate calendars.  They wrote music and plays for entertainment, kept immaculate business records that have survived until today, and even had a postal system.  This supposedly primitive culture, to which Keen referred, codified extensive laws, which in many countries, law students are still required to study.

 

Keen is equally incorrect in claiming that there were no scientists.  Let’s consider some evidence that shows that ancient man was actually quite advanced and therefore was not mentally primitive as Keen as suggested.  If men were not mentally primitive, then they were able to faithfully and accurately pass down the creation account given to them by God.

What is Science?

 

The Collins English Dictionary defines science as “the systematic study of the nature and behavior of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms.”  This description certainly applies to what we narrowly define as science today.  But the word science comes from Latin and simply means knowledge.  This meaning is reflected in the Webster’s Dictionary 1828 definition, “In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind.”  The Bible contains many astute observations about nature that demonstrate that the authors were very observant of the world around them and came to conclusions about their world.

 

In the book of Job, we find a statement that claims something that was not universally accepted in the ancient world.  Whereas the countries surrounding Israel believed that the world was either floating on water or founded upon the body of a dead or living god, the Bible describes the earth suspended in empty space:  “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. [al-bli-ma literally: on-without-what]” (Job 26:7).

 

Ecclesiastes 1 verses 6 and 7, thought to have been written by Solomon, make keen observations regarding the circulation of the atmosphere and the water cycle:

The wind goes toward the south,

And turns around to the north;

The wind whirls about continually,

And comes again on its circuit.

All the rivers run into the sea,

Yet the sea is not full;

To the place from which the rivers come,

There they return again. (Ecclesiastes1:6, 7)

 

We take these passages for granted since they communicate things that are fairly common knowledge today, but these passages demonstrate an extraordinary understanding of the world – all without the benefit of high-tech measuring instruments.  At the most, these are proofs that God inspired the words of the Bible; and at the least, they demonstrate good science on man’s behalf.  Consider another example:

 

The birds of the air,

And the fish of the sea

That pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:8)

The fact that “the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water”[2] was not known until the late 1800’s yet the Bible contained this truth almost 3000 years earlier than modern science.  In essence, William Keen and those in agreement today who claim that the Bible is just a collection of myths and therefore we need not take it literally but instead must interpret the Bible by way of modern science, have made a grave mistake.  The Bible is reliable and scientific.  Certainly, if indeed inspired by God, then it must be accurate.  However, if only inspired by men, then those men were first-rate scientists of their day.  Dr. Keen’s thesis is certainly not unique, however.  In fact, it seems that the number of individuals who claim, “I Believe in God and Evolution” only grows in spite of the authority and accuracy of the Bible.

 

Evolution Sunday

 

On February 12, 2006 hundreds of churches around the United States observed Evolution Sunday, a celebration of the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, in order to support the teaching of evolution in public schools.  Evolution Sunday was the culmination of approximately two years of gathering signatures from over 10,000 clergy from many mainline churches who believe that evolution is an established fact.  “At St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, the Rev. Patricia Templeton told the 85 worshipers […] ‘A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all’” (New York Times, Feb 13th 2006).  A parishioner from that church commented in a similar fashion:

Observation, hypothesis and testing — that’s what science is, it’s not religion. Evolution is a fact. It’s not a theory. An example is antibiotics. If we don’t use antibiotics appropriately, bacteria become resistant.  That’s evolution, and evolution is a fact.  (ibid)

 

Unfortunately Rev. Patricia Templeton and her parishioners have misunderstood both the Bible and science.  She is wrong in believing that the teaching of the Bible somehow requires us to close our minds – the Bible actually gives us the correct paradigm with which to properly understand the world.  It tells us why people behave selfishly and sinfully, why there is disease and death, and why we see the scars of a global cataclysm known as the flood.  The real scientific evidence, as we will see, supports the Bible.

 

The parishioner that made the above statement is wrong as well since he lacks a basic understanding of the difference between macro and Natural Selection.  Natural Selection, speciation and adaptation, are embraced by essentially all Bible believers.  The person referred to merely an example of how organisms adapt to their surroundings – a fact which is recognized by all.  As noted, Darwin was correct in observing the change of the beaks of the finches.  That, however, was all that he actually observed.  The other aspects of his model are speculation and not based on “observation, hypothesis and testing,” the very requirements people claim the Bible leaves out.

 

Molecules-to-man evolution, that is to say the changing of one kind to another (reptile to bird, for instance), remains nothing more than a paradigm which has never been observed and cannot by any means be proven even after so many years of trying.  It is not an established fact.  Darwin himself even wrote in a letter[3] to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”

 

Darwin was not the only “Darwinist” to recognize this point.  L. H. Matthews wrote in the Introduction to Darwin’s (1971 edition) Origin of the Species:

 

The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on unproven theory.  Is it then a science or a faith?  Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation.  Both are concepts which the believers know to be true, but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof. [4] (emphasis mine)

 

Matthews is by far not the only person to suggest such sentiments regarding the scarcity of evidence in support of the evolutionary model.  Famed evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard, stated “The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossils” (1990: 13). David M. Raup, paleontologist at the University of Chicago and curator and Dean of Science at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, likewise stated:

The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. Darwin was completely aware of this. He was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn’t look the way he predicted it would […]. Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. […] Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as the result of more detailed information.  (Raup 1979: 22-29 emphasis mine)

 

The Clergy Letter Project

 

The Clergy Letter Project from which the idea of Evolution Sunday came about issued the following statement (An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science) that sadly claims that the keystone and foundational passages of Genesis are nothing more than stories with a spiritual message and are not real historical events.  The entire letter has been copied below:

 

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth. (“An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science”, Clergy Letter Project, 2004, emphasis mine)

 

What Kind of Truths Are the Biblical Promises?

 

Whether or not religious truth is different than scientific truth is irrelevant; if something is indeed true, then it does not matter what category it falls into.  The events as described in the Bible are either true or they are not; there can be no middle ground.

 

The very accounts that they are dismissing as being spiritual stories or allegories are, in fact, the very foundation of the Bible.  For example, if the flood did not actually occur as Genesis declares, then the promise given by God “I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth…” (Isaiah 54:9) through the prophet Isaiah is worthless.  If God based His promise on an event that did not really occur, then what assurance would outcast Israel have that some day God would no longer hide His face but restore them?

 

“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,

But with great mercies I will gather you.

With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;

But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”

Says the LORD, your Redeemer.

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;

For as I have sworn

That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,

So have I sworn

That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

For the mountains shall depart

And the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you,

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”

Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:7-10 emphasis mine)

God is comparing the judgment of the earth by the flood with the judgment on Israel.  Here He promises that just as the waters would no longer cover the earth, which is to say that the judgment would not happen again, so too was the promise that Israel’s judgment would pass.  If the story of the flood is just a timeless story to teach us about God, what do we do with the promise that He made to Israel?  If there was no real flood, was there also not a real judgment that fell on them?  Clearly from biblical and secular history we know that is not true; Israel definitely was judged as we will see in the statements of Daniel, Jeremiah and the Chronicler.  Later in chapter 11 we will look at some real-world evidence of that flood.

 

The First Six Days 5 ComboFurthermore, if we categorize the creation account, Adam and Eve, and Noah and the Flood as being merely figurative and non-literal stories that contain truths, all the while denying that they are in fact true in what they state about cosmology, history, and geology, then what do we do with the promise of redemption given to us concerning the current sinful condition of man?  Is Jesus the fulfillment of that promise?  Was there really ever a promise made?  And if there was a promise made, then to whom was it made if not to the real, historical Adam and real, historical Eve?  Gleason Archer stated well the importance of the Bible being true and accurate in all areas that it touches: “if the biblical record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested.”  (Archer 1982: 23)

Darwin Didn’t Want God’s Help

 

We should not use man’s observation of nature to interpret the Bible.  Man sees things differently everyday and in a way that fits his best interests.  The data concerning the origin of the universe are out there, but how we interpret those data is the true test.  After having seen the historical and archeological confirmations of Scripture, we should therefore let Scripture be the starting point of our worldview.  We ought not let man’s interpretation of nature be used to interpret Scripture.

 

Accepting the various facets of the evolutionary model as fact is the only reason for arguing that the creation days mean billions of years.  Ironically, Darwinian evolution is diametrically opposed to God’s assisting in any way.  It is given as a plausible mechanism for how we are here without any first cause, not how God might have done the job!  There seems to have been no room for divine intervention in Darwin’s world.  Darwin expert Neal Gillespie noted “Darwin clearly rejected Christianity and virtually all conventional arguments in defense of the existence of God and human immortality” (Gillespie 1974: 141).

 

Furthermore, Sir Arthur Keith stated in the introduction to the sixth edition (1872) of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection

 

[…] we see that Darwin’s aim was to replace a belief in special creation by a belief in evolution and in this he did succeed, as every modern biologist will readily admit.  (Keith 1872: xvi-xvii)

 

Darwin himself, in Life and Letters of Charles Darwin published posthumously, describes the process by which he went from a belief in God to removing God from his world completely:

Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true.  (Darwin 1896: 274-286)

 

Evidently, to grant room for evolution in Genesis is contrary to what Darwin advocated.  If Darwin didn’t believe in Theistic Evolution, why should we?

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[1] O’Connor and Robertson state concerning the Babylonians mathematical abilities, “Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Babylonian’s calculating skills was their construction of tables to aid calculation. Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates in 1854 date from 2000 B.C.. They give squares of the numbers up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up to 32…”  (O’Connor and Robertson 2000a)

 

[2] Late 1800’s. Dr. Matthew Maury is considered one of the major founders of the science of oceanography. He was also a creationist who believed in the absolute authority and accuracy of the Bible. One day while he was sick in bed, he asked his son to read the Bible to him. One of the verses his son read was Psalms 8:8. That particular verse mentioned “paths” in the seas. Believing that the Bible must be correct about these “paths”, he set out to find them. As a result, Dr. Maury was the first to discover (in modern times) that the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water.”  Scientific Foreknowledge in the Bible retrieved from creationists.org/foreknowledge.html October 22, 2006

[3] Quoted in N.C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (1979) p. 2 (University of Chicago book). See nwcreation.net/evolutionism.html retrieved October 2, 2006

 

[4]  See Introduction pages: x, xi.

 

The Millennium Chronicles Chapter 1: The Escape!

Chapter 1: The Escape

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On the surface of the earth, two illustrious beings were coming out of the massive, golden, gemstone-covered temple. Their bodies looked like dazzling gems; their faces emitted flashes like lightning, like the rays of the sun.[i] Their arms and feet shone like polished bronze.[ii] Their clothing was shining[iii] whiter than any snow[iv] and they wore belts of pure gold around their waists.

They walked past six guardhouses, each artistically engraved with palm trees, until they passed through one of the eastward, ten-foot-tall gates in the mile-long wall that encircled the temple.[v]

“It is with great satisfaction I tell you that the time of the Covering is over,” Adam said to Michael, his companion as they crossed over a bridge. Michael thought back to the first time when Adonai offered the life-force of an animal as a covering for Adam and Eve, which they needed when they were mortals. Adam glanced over at Michael as they shared the memory of that ancient day of shame and mortality.

They continued walking next to the crystal clear water of the River of Life that proceeded from the very throne of Adonai and of Yeshua at the apex of the mountain.[vi] The water collected in a pool before the throne and looked like a sea of glass as clear as crystal.[vii] Half of it flowed to the Western Sea and the other half flowed to the Eastern Sea, branching off into multiple streams on the way down the mountain, making glad the City of Adonai.[viii] One branch flowed under the Temple and came out of the eastern-facing threshold where it continued toward[ix] the eastern territories and its water flowed toward the Eastern Sea (formerly the Salt Sea). The Living Water had transformed the Sea so that it could support all kinds of living creatures that thrived abundantly. Wherever the river flowed, everything lived!

A pair of fiery horses[x] adorned with bells inscribed with ‘Holiness to Adonai’ galloped by on the ornate gold-covered streets in front of the massive temple structure.

Michael suddenly stopped. “He’s coming,” he said solemnly to Adam, looking to the south, to the gate of the Abyss.

****

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Under the surface of the earth, deep in the lowest recesses of the Abyss, on a remote slope of that ancient pit void of light,[xi] the unbreakable, everlasting chains[xii] that had fully immobilized Lucifer for the past thousand years began to shake. He knew that the time of his emancipation was at hand.

How he loathed his prison of darkness in the belly of Tartarus, the lowest rung of the Abyss. A foul and putrid stench of sulfur and rotting flesh, like the smell of death, permeated the stale, lifeless cavern of despair while wailing voices and gnashing teeth were faintly heard[xiii] far above them. It was here in this place, thousands of years earlier, in the days of the Great Deluge, that some of Lucifer’s Watchers had been imprisoned until he had acquired the Key and released them,[xiv] before being ingloriously cast into it himself.

Lucifer was still seething with rage over his last debacle. He had been on the verge of victory when Adonai’s mighty Angel swooped down with that unbreakable chain and single-handedly bound and thrust him into the pit, sealing him in and locking the gate with the Key.[xv] This same Key was once his when he had robbed Adam and Eve of the earth and left them in abject slavery binding their entire lives by the fear of death.[xvi] Both this Key of death and the Key of the Abyss[xvii] had been in his possession until Lord Yeshua intervened on behalf of the mortals and repossessed the Keys and the Scroll of Destiny.[xviii]

The unyielding and relentless chains that had shackled his neck, hands, and feet, shook violently and suddenly clicked open. Immediately Lucifer ripped them off, throwing them to his side. Finally free, he stood up from his bed of maggots, shook off the blanket of worms that had smothered him,[xix] and watched as the chains of his entire Watchers army also fell away. At that moment they roared mightily like a horde of lions seizing their helpless prey, shaking the Abyss. The reverberation traveled out of their dungeon and up the jagged sides of the shaft where it crashed against the mighty door, fracturing the great seal which the powerful Angel had placed over it one thousand years[xx] earlier, allowing the din of their voices to escape to the world above, announcing their return.

All eyes were on Lucifer, eagerly awaiting instructions from their leader.

“The Adamites have had one thousand years of Lord Yeshua their King ruling with his rod of iron,”[xxi] Lucifer said sarcastically, “while we have been unjustly locked away in the Abyss. Now we shall go and test the hearts of the Adamites to see if they truly desire him as their King.” He paused, then spoke slowly and deliberately, “Or to see if perhaps they missed me. I know their hearts, for they are utterly deceitful and incurably wicked![xxii] They have served him for these past thousand years because they had no choice! We shall go and liberate them from their oppression!””[xxiii] He said, triumphantly holding up the chains that had fallen off him. “I guarantee you; there will be billions of defectors who will march with us to sack Adonai’s City of Light[xxiv] because the Adamites are weak and feeble-minded!”

“My unjust incarceration these past one thousand years has only given me time to calculate every possible combination of scenarios and their potential outcomes. As you know, our battle with Adonai has never been one of strength, for he is stronger and we cannot defeat him that way. Ours has always been a battle of legality, which is his greatest weakness; we shall exploit it to the fullest. Our strategy is simple and our victory is certain because Adonai is obligated to keep his word; he cannot lie.[xxv] He has magnified his word above his name[xxvi] and therefore any contradiction of his word will create an irreparable rift in the cosmos which will force him to abdicate his throne.”

“Each of you must go out to your former regions,” he said to Prince Parás, lord over the land of Persia. Then turning to Prince Yaván, lord over Greece, “You must oh-so-subtly share our plan of attack,” he said with a malicious smile. “Then I will climb up to the peak of Jerusalem, the City of Adonai, and set up my throne.”[xxvii] The legions of the underworld cackled spitefully in the darkness, eager to realize the final fall of the Adamites and even Adonai himself.

“Take courage, my brothers,” Lucifer said, looking around at the countless faces of Watchers who were once luminous Angels resembling Adonai’s image but were now disfigured like him. “Our sacrifice to restore justice in the cosmos is nearly complete. Soon all of the Adamites will learn their true place – at our feet!” he said, reviving the ancient hatred in the hearts of the fallen. “Now, great ones, destined to rule the cosmos with me, let us rise, never to fall again and, henceforth, never to taste defeat! We shall feast on the life-force of the Adamites!”[xxviii] Lucifer bellowed. Immediately, he and countless hordes shot upward as if from cannons to the world above them. In just moments, they reached the massive gate which had shut them in and smashed through it, sending it flying thousands of feet into the air and landing miles away. Hundreds of millions of the rebel Watchers launched through the smoke billowing from the dungeon of deepest darkness and out into the agonizing light of Adonai, exposing their sunken cheeks, and shriveled arms and legs on their colorless grey, disfigured and grotesque bodies.

They hovered for a moment as they transformed themselves into Angels of light, disguising themselves as Angels in Adonai’s service, just as they had done in the previous age, though their light had a bluer hue to it than did their counterparts’.[xxix] Their hideous true-selves could not endure Adonai’s blazing brilliance. They then flew out like balls of lightning in every direction, returning to their former regions.

A strange shadow of darkness began to fall upon the pristine planet for the first time in one thousand years.[xxx] “I feel the same wickedness, greed, and depravity[xxxi] emanating from Lucifer like those of seven millennia ago,” Adam said, surprised by the sensation caused by the release of his ancient nemesis. Adam looked at the lush orchards brimming with vibrant flowers of every color that flanked the street. He inhaled deeply the rich scent of apples, passion fruit, peaches, oranges, and fruit of every kind that permeated the untainted air. The light of the rays of the setting sun poked through the wings of a thousand beautiful blue butterflies clinging to the side of one of the tall, majestic trees, home to animals of every sort. Hummingbirds drank of the nectar from the boundless fruit trees. A warm glow emitted from every leaf, and every blade of grass, every wing, and every creature. A lion gently played with a deer near a tree, and animals were everywhere.[xxxii]

Adam observed one of two wolves that were lying down together with a lamb nestled between them. It warily raised its head, tilting it sideways, and thrust its ears back for the first time in a thousand years. “It is the same bloodthirsty, invincible, and willful arrogance of Lucifer as when he strolled up to the Tree so long ago, covered with his precious gems of brilliant colors that refracted his light in every direction.”

“We met his gaze yet suspected nothing,” Adam continued, remembering his first encounter with Lucifer. “Eve and I simply admired his beauty, for none but Adonai himself compared in splendor. His presence was not surprising, for Adonai had stationed him in Eden to keep Adonai’s special places.”[xxxiii]

Michael nodded, remembering the treachery of Lucifer, once a member of the divine council of the Angels[xxxiv] on the Mountain-City of Adonai and Guardian cherub to Adonai himself![xxxv] “There has been no noble thing that the mortal Adamites could not have during the past thousand years,” he said, looking down at the sparkling crystal clear water and the many fishermen who had plenty of room to spread out nets along the banks of the River.

“And yet,” continued Michael, finishing his thought, “many have ungratefully lingered; waiting, imagining, anticipating his ascension,” he said, turning his head back to the place where Lucifer and the Watchers had re-entered earth’s atmosphere. “Now Lucifer has returned, and he and his minions will slowly begin sowing seeds of discord, just as before, so that they may eventually dare to show their faces to the Adamites and encourage them to rise against their Maker.”

Adam walked down to the bank of the river and cupped some of the water and let it pass through his fingers, remembering how Lucifer’s subtle scheme had excited his pride and desire to be wise[xxxvi] and so, being lured and trapped by it, sank his teeth into the deadly fruit,[xxxvii] savoring its flavor while Lucifer looked on, masking his devilish delight.[xxxviii]

“Not only have earth’s inhabitants been abundantly satisfied with the fullness of God’s house, but he has even invited them to drink from the river of his pleasures! Indeed with him is the fountain of life and it is in his light that we see light.[xxxix] How sad to think that,” Adam reflected, “just as the ancient Hebrews previously forsook Adonai, the fountain of living waters, and carved themselves broken cisterns that could hold no water,[xl] so too now some will prefer Lucifer, who is nothing but a broken cistern full of stagnant water.”

Adam stood and turned, looking to where Lucifer had come from the Abyss. “Adonai has placed before them life and death; they must choose their destiny.”

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[i] Mat 13:43

[ii] Dan 10:6-7

[iii] Rev 19:8

[iv] Dan 12:3; Luke 20:35, 36; Phil 3:21; 2Tim 4:8; 2Pet 1:4

[v] Ezek 40:6-16; 42:16-20

[vi] Rev 22: 1, 2, 14; Ezek 47:1

[vii] Rev 4:6

[viii] Ps 46:4

[ix] Zech 14:8, 10; Joel 3:18; Ezek 47:1

[x] 2Kgs 6:17

[xi] Isa 14:15

[xii] Jude 1:6; 2Pet 2:4

[xiii] Rev 16:10

[xiv] Rev 9:1-2

[xv] Rev 20:1-2

[xvi] Heb 2:14, 15

[xvii] Rev 1:18

[xviii] Rev 5:3, 5

[xix] Isa 14:11

[xx] Rev 20:1-3

[xxi] Isa 11: 3-5

[xxii] Jer 17:9

[xxiii] Ps 2:3

[xxiv] Rev 20:7-8

[xxv] Num 23:19

[xxvi] Ps 138:2

[xxvii] Isa 14:13

[xxviii] 1Pet 5:8

[xxix] 2Cor 11:14

[xxx] Rev 9:1-2

[xxxi] Rom 1:29

[xxxii] Isa 11:6-9

[xxxiii] Ezek 28:12-18

[xxxiv] Ps 82:1

[xxxv] Ezek 28:14, 16

[xxxvi] Gen 3:6

[xxxvii] Jas 1:14-15

[xxxviii] Prov 10:18; Rom 1:30; 2Tim 3:3; 1Pet 2:1; Col 3:8

[xxxix] Ps 36:8, 9

[xl] Jer 2:13; Zech 14:8, 10

Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory

 Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory

In Genesis 1:28 we read “…and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (KJV)  The King James Version’s use of the word replenish has been seen by Gap Theorists as proof that the earth is old, since supposedly Adam and Eve are commanded to fill again.  In fact, the idea that God commanded Adam and Eve not merely to fill the earth but to fill the earth again, stems from the Gap Theory.[i]  The proponents of the Gap Theory believe that the billions of years of the age of the heavens and earth, as touted by evolutionistic thinking, is found between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  Thus, did God command Adam and Eve to fill the earth for the very first time or to fill the earth again?  Did they

The First Six Days: the Gap Theory Debunked

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actually understand that they were to fill the earth again because the world prior to their creation had been destroyed?

 

Replenish/Malu

It is true, that in today’s English, when we say replenish we mean filling up something that is depleted, something that was once full and is now empty.  However, just less than 200 years ago, Webster’s Dictionary (1828) defines the word as, “To fill; to stock with numbers or abundance.”  We can see that the word has changed from meaning fill to fill again today.  Of course, the answer ultimately lies not in English but in Hebrew.

 

The Hebrew word מלאו (malu) does not mean to refill, but simply to fill.  It in no way connotes or implies to fill again.  It just means fill.  God gave the same command to fill in Genesis 9:1 to Noah after the flood as He did to Adam and Eve.  There is no question that Noah was to fill the earth again, but that is not intrinsically implied by the word; God simply said to fill the earth.  Likewise, to suggest that God commanded Adam and Eve to repopulate a world that had been recreated is poor exegesis and is not even remotely supported from the text.  We can, therefore, absolutely conclude that Adam and Eve simply understood God to be telling them to fill the earth for the first time and not to refill the world.  They would absolutely not infer from God’s command that there had been a world gone bad prior to theirs.  In fact, there are no words or verses that support such a claim.[ii]


 


[i] Weston W. Fields in his book Unformed and Unfilled (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1978) provides a thorough discussion of the Gap Theory and its fatal flaws.  See also

answersingenesis.org/creation/v3/i3/gap_theory.asp

[ii] For a discussion on the Gap Theory, see: Russell Grigg From The Beginning Of The Creation

answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i2/beginning.asp

The Value of Literary Genre (The Language of Creation Part 5 of 5)

the language of creation

A consideration raised by the Clergy Letter Project is that the creation account is not to be read literally but allegorically or figuratively. The Letter states: “Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation…Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.” (Clergy Letter Project, 2004) People holding to this view often claim that the literary genre of Gen 1 and 2 is poetic rather than prose. They therefore suggest the account cannot be a literal, accurate, straightforward, and chronological summary of the actual events; it is simply using figurative, allegorical, metaphorical language to teach us “timeless truths.”

 

A survey of parallel accounts written in both prose and poetry, however, demonstrates that regardless of a passage’s literary genre, (poetic or prose), it is still to be understood in a literal fashion. For example, God’s commanding of Moses to strike the rock so that water would come out of it (Exod 17:6) offers an example of prose that was retold in a literal but poetic fashion by later, biblical writers. Asaph uses very concrete words to describe the historical fact of the rock being struck and water coming out, such as: “we have heard”, “our fathers have told us”, (Ps 78:3) “(God) appointed a law…to make known”.  He makes it abundantly clear that striking the rock was a very real, historical event and that the events occurred as stated. There is no sense of allegory whatsoever in his language even though he retells the account using poetic parallelism (chiasmus A, B).

  • Give ear, O my people, to my law; (A) Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (B)
  • He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; (A) He made the waters stand up like a heap. (B)
  • He split the rocks in the wilderness, (A) and gave them drink in abundance like the depths. (B) He also brought streams out of the rock, (A) and caused waters to run down like rivers. (B)  (Ps 78:1, 15. 16)

 

The striking of the rock and water coming forth is reiterated in Psalm 105:41 where another Psalmist states: “He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it ran in the dry places like a river.”  Both of these writers have interpreted the events in Exodus literally and straightforwardly. (See also Paul’s recounting in 1 Cor 10:1-6)

 

Exodus 15:1 is another example of poetry as historical fact a song (poetry) to the Lord: “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying…” Exodus 15 is the poetic form of chapter 14 which was written in prose – that is, a plain straightforward kind of language. What we must not miss, however, is both the prose in chapter 14 and the poetry in 15 tell a true and historic account of what happened at the crossing of the Red Sea. A historic account expressed in poetry in no way precludes it from also being an accurate and true account.

 

Therefore, whether or not Genesis creation account is poetry or prose or even a mix of both makes no difference. We see this proven by looking at other biblical passages that speak of creation. For example, after taking the children of Israel out of Egypt, God led them to a place called Mount Sinai. We read in Exodus 20 which is written as prose, He gave them the law and therein he states that he created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.” (Exod 20:9) Certainly God is talking about a regular workweek. The people were to work six (literal) days and then they were to take a day off, something very different from the custom of the peoples around them, who generally didn’t take any days off. God gives the reason and history behind the seven-day week: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” (Exod 20:11, 31:15, 17) God unequivocally declares that He created everything in only six days. Like the other times that a cardinal number appears before the word day (yom יום), here too it is used as a literal 24-hour day. God makes perfectly clear how long he took to make the universe (just in case anyone should be confused). If these days are not taken as literal days then neither can the Sabbath be taken as literal. Yet the Sabbath as a literal day, starting at sunset Friday evening and lasting until the following Saturday evening, has always been considered a literal span of 24-hours so we can safely conclude that the six days of creation are also to be taken literally.

 

There is no way to circumvent this declaration: the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, observed for 24-hours every week, is a sign between the Jewish people and God. The Israelites knew exactly how long it was – for not knowing would cost them their life. The Sabbath was/is 24 hours and therefore, so are all of the other days of the week, which is how long it took God to create the heavens and the earth. Hence God himself interprets the former revelation given in Genesis one and two as literal.

Framework Hypothesis

The framework hypothesis posits that the layout of the creation events is not chronological but theological and thus we cannot understand the days (and creative events) as being literal. For example Gordon Wenham, a proponent of the framework hypothesis argues that, “…the distribution of the various creative acts to six days, has been seized on and interpreted over-literalistically…The six day schema is but one of several means employed in this chapter to stress the system and order that has been built into creation.” (Wenham 1987: 39, 40) Yet the fact that the Genesis creation account is beautifully written does not detract from the author’s intent to convey a literal and factual account.

 

This is confirmed by many biblical scholars, who do not believe that Gen 1:1-2:3 is the actual scientific explanation of where we came from, yet nevertheless argue on the basis of linguistic and literary criteria that the Genesis creation account was written as a literal rendering of what the author believed to have truly happened and hence the days of Gen 1 and 2 are literal, definite periods of time. Old Testament scholar Gerhard von Rad states, “The seven days are unquestionably to be understood as actual days […]” (von Rad 1972:65).

 

Oxford Hebrew professor James Barr, who does not actually believe Genesis as factual, states emphatically concerning the writer’s intent, “the creation ‘days’ were six literal days of a 144-hour period” (Barr 1978: 40). Barr later adds in a 1984 letter:

…so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: 1) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience, 2) the figures contained in the Gen genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story, 3) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.’ (Barr 1984)

Gerhard F. Hasel in his article The “Days” Of Creation in Genesis 1 likewise notes the conclusion of liberal scholars:

 

the creation “days” cannot be anything but literal 24-hour days. They are fully aware of the figurative, non-literal interpretations of the word “day” in Gen 1 for the sake of harmonization with the long ages demanded by the evolutionary model of origins. Yet, they insist on the grounds of careful investigations of the usage of “day” in Gen 1 and elsewhere that the true meaning and intention of a creation “day” is a literal day of 24 hours (Hasel 1994, emphasis mine).

 

Hasel further argues how:

 

the ‘literary genre’ redefinition of the creation account is intended to remove the creation account from informing modern readers on “how” and “in what manner” and in what time God created the world. It simply wishes to affirm minimalistically that God is Creator. And that affirmation is meant to be a theological, nonscientific statement which has no impact on how the world and universe came into being and developed subsequently. (Hasel 1994)

 

Thus what Wenham and others have discovered about the literary style of Genesis only serves to magnify its author, God, and the literary considerations in no way detract from a literal interpretation of the days and events contained therein. Furthermore and for the record, Walter Kaiser states in his study on Genesis 1-11; “we are dealing with the genre of historical narrative-prose, interspersed with some lists, sources, sayings, and poetical lines.” (Kaiser 1970: 61) Therefore the attempt to relegate it as non-literal literature is an unwarranted effort to dismiss the biblical cosmology as myth.

Conclusion: The Language of Creation Proves a Literal Seven-Days Creation

The biblical creation account can only be describing a period of seven literal 24-hour days. The linguistic foundation is found in the usage of the word day (yom יום) because every time it is used in conjunction with a cardinal or ordinal number, the meaning is always and without exception limited to the period of a regular and literal 24-hour day. God Himself reiterates that He created the heavens and the earth in six days, which is why He instructs man to work six days and then to take the seventh off. We know from history that the Hebrews have always taken the six-day workweek literally and have considered the seventh day to be a day of rest. Because God tells us twice in Exodus (20:11 and 31:17) that those were literal days, our only plausible conclusion regarding the six (plus one) days in Genesis is that they are to be taken as literal, 24-hour days. There is wide acceptance that the writer of Genesis believed that God created in six literal days. We need not and cannot conclude that they were six indefinite periods of time, at least not if we are to take everything else in the Bible seriously.

 

The only reason to conclude that the six days of creation were long periods of time is if we seek to harmonize the Bible with the model of (geological, chemical and biological) evolution. However, if we simply seek to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, then the interpretation of Genesis 1 is clear: God created the heavens and the earth in six literal 24-hour days and rested on the seventh. We therefore conclude that there is no room for a biblical interpretation which includes an evolutionary process of billions of years during creation; God emphatically declares to have done it in six, literal days.

 

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four

Bibliography

Barr, James (1978). Fundamentalism. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

Barr, James (April 23, 1984). Letter to David C.C. Watson: Oxford.

Bozarth, G. Richard. (Sept. 1979). The Meaning of Evolution. American Atheist Magazine.

Brown Driver Briggs (BDB), (1996).  Hebrew Lexicon. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers.

Buth, Randall (1994)."Methodological Collision Between Source Criticism and Discourse Analysis, The problem of 'Unmarked Temporal Overlay' and the pluperfect/nonsequential wayyiqtol" in Biblical Hebrew and Discourse Linguistics, ed. Robert Bergen, (S.I.L., 1994: 138-154).

Buth, Randall (2005).  Living Biblical Hebrew, Introduction Part Two, Mevasseret Zion: Biblical Language Center.

Clergy Letter Project. Retrieved August 20, 2006, from www.butler.edu/clergyproject/religion_science_collaboration.htm

Collins, C. John (1995). The Wayyiqtol As ‘Pluperfect’: When And Why Pages 117-140 Tyndale Bulletin Vol.46.1 (May 1995).

Fields, Weston W. (1978). Unformed and Unfilled. Collinsville, Illinois: Burgener Enterprises.

Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L Archer Jr., & Bruce K. Waltke, (1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press.

Joüon, P., & T. Muraoka (2005). A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Roma: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico.

Kaiser, Walter C. (1970). The Literary Form of Gen 1-11, New Perspectives on the Old Testament. ed. J. Barton Payne Waco, TX: Word Books.

Kautzsch, E. and A. E., Cowley, eds (1910). Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd. ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Keil & Delitzsch (1866). Commentary on the Old Testament. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids (1973 reprint).

Hasel, Gerhard (1994). The “Days” Of Creation in Gen 1: Literal “Days” Or Figurative “Periods/Epochs” Of Time?  Retrieved September 5, 2006, from www.grisda.org/origins/21005.htm

Orr, James ed. (1913) International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. (electronic version: The Word Bible Software).

Pipa, Joseph A. Jr. From Chaos to Cosmos: A Critique of the Framework Hypothesis. Westminster Theological Seminary/California. (Draft January 13, 1998). Retrieved March 12, 2007, from http://capo.org/cpc/pipa.htm

Ramm, Bernard (1950). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Roberts, A. & J. Donaldson, eds. (1885). Translations Of The Writings Of The Fathers Down To A.D. 325. Buffalo: The Christian Literature Publishing Company. The Word Bible Software.

Ross, Hugh (1991). The Fingerprint of God. 2nd ed. Orange, CA: Promise Publishing.

Von Rad, Gerhard (1972). Gen: A Commentary. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

Wenham, Gordon J. (1987). Gen 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 1. Waco, TX: Word Books.

 

Are Genesis One and Two Contradictory Accounts? (The Language of Creation Part 4)

The Language and Grammar of Genesis One and Two

The claim is often made that the creation accounts of Gen 1 (really 1:1 – 2:3) and Gen 2 (really 2:4 – 2:25) are contradictory. Thus, it is suggested that even if chapter 1 had been written with a literal intent, chapter 2, with its supposed contradictions, would render a literal reading impossible. The principal difference in the two chapters is that chapter 1 deals the language of creationwith creation from a panoramic view while chapter 2 is concerned specifically with the how of the creation of man and the what of man’s role in God’s creation. Let us analyze biblically and linguistically the key passages the full range of the key Hebrew words in Gen 1:1–2, the grammar of chapter 1 and also 2:4, 2:5-7, and 2:19.

 

Genesis 1:1 is the first act of creation and not simply a title which is substantiated by the Hebrew grammar. The typical sequence of a narrative is to start with a verb in the simple past tense. (Buth 2005:52) Gen 1:1 begins with bara – created in the simple past tense thereby signifying something new or dramatic to the story.  Verse 2 is a parenthetical statement explaining what is meant exactly by the creation of the “earth”. The action picks up again in verse 3 with the use of a sequential past tense (vayyiqtol). The use of a different kind of Hebrew verb marks quite clearly that the writer understood the actions of verse 3 to be a continuation of the previous two verses. Dr. Randall Buth notes that this is the normal storytelling construction in biblical Hebrew.

 

The sequential past tense is used to present the next event in the story or the next event in a sentence. If the writer wants to mark a break in the flow of the story for any reason, then they do not use the sequential past tense. For a past event they would need to put something other than the verb at the beginning of the sentence and then use a simple past tense (Buth 2005: 52).

 

Not only is verse 3 a continuation of verse 1, but the entire creation account of Gen 1 uses the sequential past tense. Consequently, according to the grammar, there is no break between verse 1 and the rest of the chapter and hence no gap of years between any of the first three verses since they are all part of that first day. Light was created on the first day, along with the very building blocks necessary for even the light to shine, which was energized by the movement of the Holy Spirit over the face of the deep. There exists, therefore, no reason to believe that the length of the first day was any different than that of any other, neither was there a previous world that fell only to be recreated, nor was there even a geologic creation some billions of years earlier (as the Gap Theory suggests). The first three verses of Gen 1, the first day, all occurred within 24 hours just like the rest of the days.

Bara and Asa

Before God created anything, there was only God. There was no universe, no vacuum of space, nothing whatsoever. There was only God. He created something completely new (bara), a space/dimension (from nothing) called שמים shamaim (heavens) which he filled with ארץ eretz (earth-material) which was in the process of being formed and was not completed. Keil & Delitzsch underscore the connection between verses one and two “it is evident that the void and formless state of the earth was not uncreated, or without beginning…the heaven and earth, as God created them in the beginning, were not the well-ordered universe, but the world in its elementary form; (Keil & Delitzsch 1866: Gen 1:1) God essentially created the building blocks before beginning construction. The term “earth” here must be directly interpreted by verse two and hence understood as the raw material, the elements that God created out of nothing that He would form and fashion later to His liking. The creation of light was the third creative act.

 

A key word in Genesis 1:1 is ברא (bara) created and is used a total of 53 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The basic and most widely used form of the word (used in Gen 1) has the general meaning of create, shape or form. It has been suggested that the word bara used here in Gen is a different type of action than the word עשׂה (asa – do, make, fashion or produce) used in Exodus 20:11 where God says that he made the heavens and earth in six days.

 

Bara and asa are for the most part synonymous with one important distinction between them: bara is used only of God’s actions and never of man’s. There are countless examples of where man can asa (do or make); however, only God can bara. There is by implication creation ex nihilo, but the major thrust of the word bara lies in its use by God only and on the initiation of something new. The TWOT notes concerning asa and its distinction from bara: “The word bara’ carries the thought of the initiation of the object involved. It always connotes what only God can do and frequently emphasizes the absolute newness of the object created. The word ‘asa is much broader in scope…“’asa may simply connote the act of fashioning the objects involved in the whole creative process.” (TWOT: 1708 asa)

 

As the TWOT notes, the use of asa is a broader term than bara, but we see from the context in which the words are used that they can be used interchangeably to a large extent. Perhaps the best example is Isaiah 45:18 where the three words that are used, create, form and make all describe the same event – God’s creation of the heavens and earth. “…who created (bore בורא) the heavens, who is God, who formed (yotzer יוצר) the earth and made (oseh עושׂה) it, who has established it, who did not create (braha בראה) it in vain, who formed (yatzarah יצרה) it to be inhabited…” (Isa 45:18)

 

This verse is incredibly specific in regards to the creation of the earth. First of all, God declares that He is the one who created (bore בורא) the heavens – which could also be translated as Creator of the heavens. Next He says that He is the former (yotzer יוצר) and the maker (asah עושׂה) of the earth, a seeming confirmation of the supposed distinction of bara and asa. However, God continues by saying that He created it, where the word it, is the third person singular feminine possessive suffix (the word it is attached to the word created). The word it must refer to earth because the earth is a singular feminine noun and heavens is a dual masculine noun. Clearly and unmistakably God declares that He created, formed, and made the earth. Thus, to suggest that Exodus 20:11 (“For in six days the LORD made [asa] the heavens and the earth…”) is not parallel in thought to Gen 1 is to ignore the evidence in favor of one’s own theory.

Tohu Vavohu

The matter God created in Gen 1:1 was still in no particular shape or form: “The earth was without form, and void (תהו ובהו tohu vavohu)” (Gen 1:2a) There was no planet earth as we know it today, but the raw material that God had created (according to Gen 1:2b) was still in no special shape. It was still unformed and unorganized. These words do not in any way suggest that there had been an earlier creation, as proposed by the Gap Theory. They do not suggest that the earth was a wasteland waiting to be recreated. The word tohu in Gen 1:2, according to the TWOT: “Refers not to the result of a supposed catastrophe…but to the formlessness of the earth before God’s creative hand began the majestic acts described in the following verses.” (TWOT Tohu)

Furthermore, the text says that the earth “was without form and void” and not “became without form, and void” as the Gap Theorists argue. (See also: Fields 1978:58).  The Hebrew והארץ היתה vehaaretz hayta is what is known grammatically as a copulative clause. (See Kautszch and Cowley 1910:484) The Hebrew letter vav (or waw) attached to the noun (the earth) acts as a type of parenthetical statement (See: Joüon, P., & T. Muraoka 2005) that is to suggest a reading: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Now the earth was without form, and void.)” Thus the earth was desolate and void (tohu vavohu) at the very beginning of God’s creation and did not become (per the Gap Theory) as a result of God recreating it.

Genesis 2:5 – 2:7

A casual reading of Genesis 2:5 to 2:7 “Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown…there was no man to till the ground…” in English it appears to critics to indicate that man was created before plants and shrubs. Is this referring to all of the vegetation on the entire planet or is it more defined? The vegetation referred to is designated by the word field, which appears twice in the text. שׂיח השׂדה (siach hasadeh) plant of the field and עשׂב השׂדה (esev hasadeh) herb of the field are the technical terms that we must not overlook. Both of them are in the construct state, which simply means that two nouns are considered one unit. It is very similar in English where bicycle tire is not referring to bicycle and tire, but a type of tire, that is, the tire of a bicycle. So too, we could just as well translate these as field plant and field herb – two specific items. Keil & Delitzsch clarify that the planting of the garden, not the creation of the plants, is what is being referred to:

 

The growing of the shrubs and sprouting of the herbs is different from the creation or first production of the vegetable The language of creationkingdom, and relates to the growing and sprouting of the plants and germs which were called into existence by the creation… שׂדה [sadeh] is not ‘the widespread plain of the earth, the broad expanse of land,’ but a field of arable land, soil fit for cultivation, which forms only a part of the “earth” or “ground.” Keil & Delitzsch 1866: Gen 2:5-2:7)

Genesis 2:19

Genesis 2:19 is frequently considered to be a contradiction to chapter one since it would seem God first formed Adam and then the animals “God formed every beast…and brought them to Adam…” (Gen 2:19) The Hebrew word formed (ויצר vayitzer) is in the past tense. This form, however, can potentially express a simple past tense and the past of the past, known grammatically as the past perfect (see: Buth: 1994 and C. John Collins 1995; ESV, NRS use this form as well). The past perfect is used to express any action that happened prior to another, both occurring in the past. For example, Johnny had eaten three hamburgers before he ordered dessert. The past perfect, had eaten was finished before the action of ordering. Thus the word vayitzer can signify either the simple past or past perfect and formed could just as well have been translated as had formed. (See Pipa: 1998) The Hebrew supports either which would then yield a plausible translation, “Out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field…and brought them to Adam…” The use of the past perfect here, grammatically speaking, clears up the order of creation events perfectly: God first created the animals, then created man and then brought the animals that He had created to man.

 

Part One Part Two Part Three

A Day is a Thousand Years? (The Language of Creation Part 3)

A Day is a Thousand Years?

Peter’s statement “…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pet 3:8) has been A Day is a thousand yearsused to supposedly prove that time and numbers in the Bible do not have concrete value and therefore the days in Gen 1 could have lasted one thousand years or perhaps even one million. The key to understanding is the phrase “with the Lord” with which Peter describes God’s perspective to time and not man’s; he is not saying that one thousand years are equal to one day but rather in God’s economy, time is radically different and when we think that the Lord is “slack” (2Pet 3:9) we should think again. Peter wants to make clear that God’s timetable is different from ours, hence “with the Lord”.

Numbers are Literal in the Bible

Another objection made against the creation account is that numbers and days are allegorical or figurative. Signers of the Clergy Letter Project suggest the creation account is not meant to convey literal truth but simply “timeless truths.” Though there are many examples that can be brought to demonstrate that claim to be false, for brevity’ sake we will only compare the texts of Jeremiah, Daniel, and 2 Chronicles.

 

God told the prophet Jeremiah that the people of Judea would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jer 25:11) Approximately seventy years later, Daniel tells us, “I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:2). Keep in mind, though the book of Daniel contains many visions, Daniel chapter 9 is him explaining an event in his life; in other words, it ought to be read as literally and historically true. In his time of prayer he interprets the prophecy of Jeremiah in unmistakable terms – he understood from the prophet Jeremiah that God would keep His people in Babylon for seventy literal years. He does not try to look for a hidden message as to what God meant by seventy years, he assumes them to be literal: exactly seventy years after the first deportation, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.

 

Daniel interprets and confirms that the curse given in Deuteronomy was 100% literally fulfilled through the destruction of Jerusalem. “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us.” (Daniel 9:13) He does not seek to

Get all facts in the book.

Get all facts in the book.

interpret away God’s words as allegory as many do today. Daniel was much closer to and was a part of the writing of the Hebrew Scriptures – less than seventy years after Jeremiah. His own writings are also considered canonical, inspired, and authoritative. If he took such writings as literal and straightforward, how much more should we? The literal interpretation of Daniel regarding Jeremiah’s prophecy is also shared by the writer of 2 Chronicles in extremely plain language: “…to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah … As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years…that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled…” (2Chron 36:20, 21) The author of Chronicles reiterates the period of seventy years to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy. There was no question in the writer’s mind that this prophecy was fulfilled completely and literally.

The Language of Creation, Confronting the God-Plus-Evolution Myth (Part 2)

24-Hour Days

The final meaning refers to days of 24‑hours. The most basic way of defining a day was from evening to evening, which is indicated in the text by evening and morning. The ancient Israelites, contrary to us, started their new days at sunset. Thus, Friday night right after sunset would already be considered the Sabbath and the day would end Saturday evening at around the same time.

 

Another way to indicate a regular day of 24‑hours is by hayom hazeh היום הזה which is translated as “the very same day.” In Gen 7:13 we read: “On the very same day Noah…entered the ark.” Likewise, Gen 17:23 states: “So Abraham took… all who were born in his house… and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day…” In both of these passages, the word day makes reference to the same day – that is the 24-hour period they were currently in. It is clear that the word here does not refer to an indefinite period of time but rather to a 24-hour period.

Days with a Cardinal Number

When a cardinal number (one, two, three, four, etc.) appears in front of the word day, it refers only and always to one (or many) period(s) of 24 hours. There are numerous verses which elucidate this point. “But Jacob said to him… ‘And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die.’” (Gen 33:13)

 

What Jacob is saying to his brother Esau is that there is a limit to how far little children and cattle can go in one day. The reference is clearly to one 24-hour period of time. Numbers 11:20 clarifies the usage even more. The children of Israel complained against the LORD because they did not have meat like they had in Egypt, the very place where God rescued them from. In frustration with his stubborn children, He declares that they will have more meat than they know what to do with: “You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you…”  (Num 11:20)

 

Here the meaning of day or days is clear. There would be not just one, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days, but a whole month’s worth of meat. The meaning of the word day is augmented by the contrast with the word “month” chodesh חודשׁ, which only refers to the time of about thirty days or one cycle of the moon and never anything else.

 

Further proof that yom day refers to a 24-hour day when preceded by cardinal numbers is found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. God, in explaining the judgment coming upon the world, says, “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights…” (Gen 7:4) God gave Noah another seven days – not long, indefinite periods of time, but seven 24-hour days, until the floodwaters would come. Indeed after seven literal days, the waters of the flood came: “And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.” (Gen 7:10) Verse 11 surpasses the previous two in precision by telling us exactly when this occurred. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up…” (Gen 7:11)

 

This description is not just about some indefinite period of time. It was on the 17th of the second month, a very real time that the flood came. And then the record (verse 24) tells us specifically how long the waters were on the earth. “And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.” One hundred and fifty days in the text is not some long, undetermined era. Some people would contend that the days of the flood are irrelevant since Noah was simply a mythical or an allegorical figure. However, if one accepts the words of Jesus and the New Testament, then one must also accept that Noah was a real person who lived through the worldwide flood. (See Mat 24:37, 38, Luke 17:26, 27, 1Pet 3:20, 2Pet 2:5, Heb 11:7) Thus, because Jesus and the disciples accepted Noah as real, we must understand the days described in Gen as being real, 24-hour days.

 

The list of verses in the Hebrew Scriptures is extensive which confirms that every time a number comes before day it is referring to a 24‑hour day; a few more examples clearly illustrate the principle. “Then he put three days’ journey between himself and Jacob…” (Gen 30:36). “Forty days were required for [Joseph]… and the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days” (Gen 50:3). “And seven days passed after the LORD had struck the river” (Exod 7:25). “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exod 12:15). “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none” (Exod 16:26). “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land?” (2 Samuel 24:13). Although there are too many verses to list them all here, throughout the entire Hebrew Scriptures, in every case where a number precedes day, it deals with the literal usage of day rather than an indefinite period of time.

 

The days in Gen 1, therefore, should be understood as literal, 24-hour days due to the usage of the limitation of the evening and the morning (see also Num 28:3, 4) found throughout Genesis 1 (the fact that the sun was not created until the fourth day is irrelevant since the rotation of the earth is what constitutes a day – the light source is immaterial). Even though the evidence points to literal, 24-hour days in Genesis one, the old-earth camp is still persuaded that these days are long periods of time rather than normal (24-hour) days. They suggest that the usage of ordinal numbers (first, second, third, fourth etc.) rather than cardinals denotes different eras of time and thus the first era (day) is followed by the second era (day) etc. where each day equals an unknown but extremely long period of time in which the slow processes of evolution, with God’s help, had enough time according to Darwin’s model of slow change.

 

There are some fatal flaws to this theory, however, from a biblical perspective. First of all, the first day of Genesis in the Hebrew is not actually defined as the first day, but rather as day one or yom echad יום אחד. The word echad is the cardinal number one and should not be understood as first ראשׁון rishon, but as in the series one, two, three, four, etc. We have seen previously that any time day occurs with a cardinal number, it always refers to a literal, 24-hour day. So we can conclude that the first day of creation was 24 hours.

Days with Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are also used in a literal sense when used with day just like cardinal numbers. Ezekiel records that on a particular (literal) day of a particular month of a particular year God again spoke to him: “Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me” (Ezek 24:1). Likewise, Ezra records the exact day when the temple was finished: “Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius” (Ezra 6:15).

 

We find in the book of Numbers a usage of ordinal numbers that is parallel to Gen 1. In Gen 1 we saw the chronology of creation described as one day and then the second day, the third day etc. In Numbers 29, God lists the various sacrifices and on which day they are to be performed for the feast of Tabernacles. Notice that the days listed have the same ordinal numbers as used in Gen. “On the second day (יום השׁני yom hasheni) present twelve young bulls…On the third day (יום השׁלישׁי yom hashlishi) present…On the fourth day (יום הרביעי yom harevi’i) present… On the fifth day (יום החמישׁי yom hachamishi) present…” (Num 29:17, 20, 23, 26).

 

The days above were most certainly real and literal days in which specific things had to happen; they were not long drawn out periods of time. The text employs the use of ordinal numbers as does Gen 1 but here we do not conclude that those days were indefinite periods of time; they were simply days. Thus even with ordinal numbers a day is just a literal, 24-hour day.