Genesis and the big bang
Young Earth - Old Earth, what does it matter?
Science and the Bible can be harmonized
The Bible and Science in Conflict
Understanding Genesis Chapter 1
Scriptural Evidence for Long Days
The Origin of the Universe
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 1
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 2
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 3
The Creation / Evolution Controversy Part 4
Entropy, the Fall, and Adam
The Tree Of Life
What I learned at an Answers in Genesis Conference
What's Wrong With This Picture?
Science finds a purpose for the appendix
Flat Earth - A lesson to all of us
Why are young people leaving the church?
Why Does God Hate Me?
Links to the World and Beyond
Since young-earth creationists are such a large segment of the population it seems proper to begin by restating that I believe the earth is much older than the 6,000 years this view holds to be true. The Biblical case for an old earth has been presented in Understanding Genesis Chapter 1 and is further supported by Scriptural Evidence for Long Days . This will not be covered here.
Now let's begin by examining what Scripture says about evolution.
The Beginning of Plant Life
Most of us were taught as children that when God created the earth he simply spoke the word "tree" and there was a fully formed tree, or "grass" and there was grass, which would shortly need mowing. Nearly half the adults in the United States believe this is true. Is this what Scripture says?
Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind , whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind : and God saw that it was good.
If you throw out all the evidence for an old earth, Let the earth bring forth has no real significance when interpreting these verses. 24 hours is close enough to instant that it just doesn't matter. When you accept the evidence of cosmology, geology, paleontology and all the other 'ologies as basically true then this phrase is very interesting. God's command let the Earth bring forth plant life suggests a passage of time and indicates the earth is God's chosen instrument through which He will create. The implication is that God's creative act might appear perfectly natural to humans when examining it millions of years later in the fossil record. 'Suggests' and 'might' are not conclusive but this does harmonize Scripture with the fossil record without forcing an awkward interpretation of the passage.
Does this mean random evolution from a common ancestor is God's chosen method of creation? My understanding of Scripture sees this as too big a jump to make. Scripture is clear it was God who planned, ordered, and formed all of creation, and the phrase after his kind is a pretty direct statement of limits. But what does it mean? I have always been told it means after a particular species . Again what does Scripture really say? Note in particular that grass, herb yielding seed produces after his kind , and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind . Scripture does not say - Oak tree you will produce only exact duplicates of yourself until the end of time. But isn't this the way we are taught to believe? What I am saying is that there appears to be room for variation of plant life in Scripture by what would appear to be natural selection with limits. Not random chance, but God's hand guiding the creation of plant life on Earth.
Do not think that I am giving evolution free reign here. I am not. Please stay with me until the end of this article. The question remains to be asked, did all plant life originate from a few plant cells that God developed into individual forms of grass, herb, and tree or were many types of fully formed plants created initially? We cannot be certain since Scripture is silent on this issue, but the first view seems to be more consistent with the fossil record. Either way this should not be of great concern to us. The fossil record is very clear; plants have changed tremendously through time. No matter what mechanism has been used by the earth to bring forth plant life it is God's command that caused it to happen.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. Prov 16:33 NIV
The Creation of Dinosaurs and Birds
If God allowed room for his creation to change with limitations in the plant world is it possible He did the same in other areas? Again let's examine the Scriptures.
Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind , and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
The same pattern emerges here as in the earlier passages. This time it is the waters that bring forth but it is God that created the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth . Another pattern is repeated as well - notice God created... that... which the waters brought forth... after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind . Again limits have been set but specific species have not been mentioned, with the exception of great whales.
I stated in Understanding Genesis Chapter 1 that this is a mistranslation. Dinosaur fossils would not be discovered for 250 years after the translating of the King James Bible. If this is a correct understanding of God's word then this means that the creatures of the waters developed until on day God made some of them able to live on land. This is a proper understanding of current scientific theory and if correct is not a violation of Scripture.
It is interesting that the waters are mentioned as bringing forth the fowl that fly above the earth. This is a totally foreign idea to the traditional understanding of Biblical creation, yet that is what the Scripture says. It is also interesting that science has been unable to decide how to classify birds, how they originated and whether they were originally reptiles. The Bible says they were created after their kind. It is possible that the birds have no predecessor. Archaeopteryx may have been a flying reptile just as bats are flying mammals. This does not mean they are related to birds. Archaeopteryx may also have been legitimately one of the first birds, despite its reptile features. This still does not prove it had reptile ancestors. The possibility remains though that birds were descendants of reptiles through God's guiding hand on this fifth creation day. There is no conflict here except in our tradition and in our bias. God is in control. The Biblical account of creation is literal. Science agrees with the Bible again.
Doesn't what I am saying destroy God's authority and power? In no way, but it does destroy long held tradition. The Bible is literally true. It is the tradition that is in error. This tradition was not built on a denial of the truth but upon the amount of revelation given. It was a good belief based upon what was known. If rejection of the old tradition causes you to stumble or weakens your faith, seek the Lord's face for understanding. If you must, cling to the old tradition since you have to be convinced in your own mind. One thing that I ask, allow others their freedom in Christ to believe in this new way. I have never met anyone that has become a Christian because they heard the earth was 6,000 years old, but I have met many who have rejected the Bible and Jesus because of this young earth belief.
The Making of Mammals
We all know we must deal with man's origins shortly but first what does Scripture really say about mammals?
Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. Gen 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind , and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind : and God saw that it was good.
Sounds a little familiar doesn't it. Let the earth bring forth... after his kind, God's chosen instrument through which He will create - with limits. What is created at this time needs some discussion. Specific species are not mentioned here, only broad categories. The Hebrew word for cattle is behemah and it means a large quadruped. This covers a broad range of mammals, but is best understood as meaning grazing animals. The Hebrew word for creeping things is remes and it means a rapidly moving animal. It can mean reptile but probably doesn't here. It probably refers to rabbits, squirrels and that type of mammal. beast of the earth is chay in Hebrew and refers to wild creatures.
Another interesting thing about these verses is that God made these creatures whereas the creatures mentioned previously were created . Why the word change? Is it possible this verse is not as simple as traditional interpretation has long held? The mammals may have been created from the earth directly or they may have been genetic alterations of previously existing land dwelling lifeforms that had been created during day five. The Hebrew word for created is bara and it means cut out or formed and is traditionally considered to mean out of nothing. Since we are told that the sea brought forth the creations of day five, the idea might better be understood as a lump of clay being used to form a piece of pottery. In this case the pottery is a living creature. Asah , the Hebrew word translated made means to bring forth. Carrying the pottery analogy further this might mean using the existing pottery (from day five) and reshaping it into something new (the mammals of day six). Understand that the potter is still necessary. God is the Creator and power responsible for the genetic alterations. God is in control.
Why should God make mammals in this way? Looking at this question from another angle we should just as easily ask why do we believe God must have done it in a certain way? We should never be so arrogant as to demand God follow our idea of what is the proper method to create a universe, or a mammal. We should never be so arrogant as to demand God follow our limited understanding and interpretation of Scripture.
Did God make all mammals from a few pair of creatures or did He make many different kinds of mammals initially? Again, Scripture is silent. We do not know. One idea may be more palatable to us than the other but it is folly to demand a preferred method is correct. Science is also uncertain on this point. Current theory is that mammals descended from Therapsida, a large order of reptiles (an order contains many species). This would indicate that several cold-blooded reptile creatures developed along parallel lines to become warm-blooded mammals. This seems to me to be highly unlikely by unguided random natural selection, but with God all things are possible.
Interestingly, the origins of mammals appears to be mentioned in day 5. In Gen 1:21we read " And God created ... every living creature that moveth . The Hebrew for creature here is different than creature mentioned in verse 20. The Hebrew word is Nephesh and it is often translated soul, not to be confused with spirit. Spirit refers to the eternal; soul in Scripture refers to the living mind and emotions. Unlike reptiles, mammals are capable of emotional expression.
The fossil record tells us that until 65 million years ago mammals were confined to rodent sized creatures scurrying about at the dinosaurs’ feet. When the dinosaurs became extinct the mammals quickly dominated the earth, exploding in numbers and variety. Isn't this what the Bible tells us that God did on the sixth day? Science and the Bible are once again in complete agreement.
The Creation of Man
It is my opinion that when it comes right down to it, no one really cares if a lion and a tiger share a common ancestor. Even young-earth creationists probably aren't too concerned if a zebra and a horse have a common lineage. The real problem comes in when we discuss the origins of man. Immediately defenses go up and emotions start to rise. Naturalism insists that man is no more evolved than any other primate. Man is then considered no better, just different from any other animal. Creationists hold that man is a special creation, and is above the creatures of the Earth. What does Scripture say on this issue?
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour . Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Psa 8:4-9
What wonderful verses! Interesting, full of challenge and mystery. How shall we begin to understand these passages? One thing that should be immediately clear is God created man . Whenever the Bible makes a statement 3 times as it does in verse 1:27 it is to make sure we take special notice. Something very profound is being said and God wants to make sure we don't miss it. Of the other works of God's creation we read " and God said, Let there be or Let the earth or again let the waters ..." These are statements of authority. But in man's creation we read And God said, Let us make ... this is a statement of affection. From Matthew Henry's Commentary we read...
Man was to be a creature different from all that had been hitherto made. Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him, and he must be allied to both worlds. And therefore God himself not only undertakes to make him, but is pleased so to express himself as if he called a council to consider the making of him.
And of the order of man in creation...
man was made last of all the creatures, that it might not be suspected that he had been, any way, a helper to God in the creation of the world; that question must be forever humbling and mortifying to him...
Man was made the same day that the beasts were, because his body was made of the same earth with theirs; and, while he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them.
The fossil record of bipedal hominids is not at all as convincing as we have been lead to believe. There are a few thousand fossils mostly teeth and skull fragments that compose the 4 - 5 million years of the hominid timeline. This partial record suggests though certainly does not prove that man evolved from a common primate ancestor with apes. Homo sapiens sapiens (modern man) appears abruptly in time and evolutionists admit they are not sure who his immediate ancestor is, though they are convinced he has one. The relatively new field of genetic research shows that the genetic difference between apes and man is possibly as little as 1%. If this figure holds up in future research it will certainly make the case for a common ancestor very strong. If this conclusion should prove to be true it is humbling and may bruise our ego, but it should not cause us great concern for long.
Looking closely at Scripture we see the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground . Traditionally this has been taught to mean literal soil, but in light of God's earlier creative efforts this might not be the case. Wait, foul you cry! On the opening page, God, Genesis and the big bang introduction I stated; "The missing link is still missing. It does not exist." So am I now changing my mind? No! There is a world of physical difference between apes and man, even if the difference is as little as 1% genetically, but the real difference between man and apes is actually infinite because the difference is divine in nature.
We are told that God created man in his own image so what we must do is determine what this means. If the dust of the ground God used to form man was a primate ancestor that the earth brought forth, so be it. For God's image is not the body, God is Spirit and as such has no body as we understand that term.
It has been suggested that it is our minds that separate us from the apes. From our minds we gain the "ability to think; to reason; to speak; to write; to design; to build; to create art; to compose music; to write literature and poetry; to ponder truth, beauty, love, humor, and every other intangible thing that is part of the human experience. Compared to animals of a similar size and body mass, we are not strong, we are not fast, and we have no special physical abilities -- we can't leap like a panther, climb like an ape, or fly. We would not make it without clothing and constructed shelters to protect us from the elements. And yet, humans have used their intelligence and tools (which they have also designed and constructed) to survive and thrive in every climate on the planet, from the hottest deserts to the highest mountains to the densest jungles, to the frozen Arctic. We have learned to survive in and explore even environments that will not sustain our lives, like the ocean floor and outer space." (Quote from my sister in Christ - Kate)
Some see human morality as the difference between man and animals. "Human morality, the sense of right and wrong, goes far beyond instinct. We have a sense of "the greater good". It is not enough that our own children are safe and fed, we are moved to feed other hungry children -- whether they are in our own city, or are suffering from a famine on the other side of the world. A fireman who rushes in to a burning building to save an elderly man isn't doing it for the money. He does it because he recognizes the preciousness of life, even if the man he rescues is old and sick. A herd of muskoxen would run away from a predator, leaving the old and sick of the herd behind with no remorse." (Quote from my sister in Christ - Kate)
These things are true and add to our understanding of what it means to be human. But who we are is more than a primate with intellect and a high moral standard. The question remains, what does it mean to be created in God's image?
The clue to answering this question is found in Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul. The initial reaction to this verse is that it is saying God made man alive, and this is true but it has a much deeper meaning than just bodily alive. The breath that God gave man was spirit. Man was created different; he was created to have eternal life. Man was created to have a personal relationship, even friendship, with the Creator of the universe.
The other creatures of the Earth are purely physical in nature brought forth by the earth and the waters, but man's spirit is directly from God. We are by design spiritual beings. We can deny there is a God and reject any form of communion with Him, but the desire for Him remains. To fill this vacuum we create our own gods in the form of idols; money, theories, facts and figures, rules and traditions. Still, we remain spiritual beings, unique special creations of a loving God.
The idea that man is considered no better, just different from any other animal is just plain wrong. It robs man of the glory and honour God has crowned him with. It robs God of the praise He is due for the creative work of His hands. God blessed man with a spirit and gave him dominion over the other creatures of the earth. Not so we could be little gods over them but rather caretakers of the earth. To this I agree with the psalmist " O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
Objections to this Interpretation of Scripture
I maintain this view is consistent with a literal reading of inerrant Scripture. I believe God created a literal Adam and Eve. There are, however, some legitimate questions that traditionalists might ask that must be addressed.
Isn't this a compromise with the world?
This view holds to God's sovereignty in all acts of creation. This interpretation violates tradition but in no way compromises the integrity and authority of Scripture. Science attempts to understand the workings of the universe and life from the viewpoint that all things can be explained by purely natural means - i.e. no supernatural creator is necessary. The young earth viewpoint is that God created in the manner of the simplest reading of Genesis 1. Both sides state their premise in such a manner that they arrive at exactly the conclusion they expect to reach, but they do so by dismissing the evidence of the other side. Why? Because the evidence is outside of the theory being proposed.
This interpretation of Scripture is not a compromise; it is a bridge. And it is more than this it is a restating of the original premise. The evidence of the Bible and the evidence of the universe do not oppose each other rather they compliment one another.
The simple answer to this is obviously yes.
Many Christians believe that before Adam sinned there was no death of any kind in the universe. As we have done many times now, let's see what Scripture really says.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Rom 5:12
Notice sin entered the world through Adam, causing death by sin. The recipient of death according to this passage is mankind. Why? Because all have sinned. Nowhere in Scripture does it say plants and animals sin or are guilty because of sin.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:21-22
This is another passage of Scripture commonly used to support the no death view, but you need to take it in the context of what was being discussed. Looking at the next verse we see...
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 1 Cor 15:23
Mankind's death and the gift of grace through Jesus' resurrection are the subject matter; plants and animals are not discussed here.
So why is the no death before Adam idea so common? The above verses are combined with the Scripture on Adam's sin and the resulting consequences.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Gen 2:15-17
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen 3:17-19
Still don't see where plant and animal death originated from Adam? Neither do I because it is not there.
The real thrust of this misconception is found in Romans...
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Rom 8:19-22 NIV
It is supposed that the decay of the universe (along with death of all living things) is the result of Adam's sin. Scripture does not say this, but because we are trained to think it does, that is what we believe. In fact Scripture does not say when this groaning began, only that it continues to the present time. Also notice creation was subjected to frustration ... by the will of the one who subjected it. Now I ask you, did Adam will the universe to decay? Of course not. It is by the sovereign will of God that the laws of nature behave, as they do, not the sin of man.
We have been taught that Adam's sin affected the entire universe because six times in Genesis chapter 1 we read where God saw His latest creation and it was good . Further, after all of God's creating and filling has been completed we are told:
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Gen 1:31
It is understood that if it was good by God's standards it must have been perfect. So if it was very good how much more divinely perfect the universe must have been! Golly this sure sounds right doesn't it? And it is, just not the way it has been taught. This misconception is based on the same reasoning that caused Ptolomey to construct his model of the geocentric universe with complex epicycles. Since the universe must be perfect, the planetary orbits must follow a geometric pattern of mathematical perfection. But Potolemy was wrong. The earth is not the center of the universe and the planets do not orbit in perfect circles. Ptolemy and countless others since have made the same mistake by forcing their preconceived idea of perfection on God's creation. That the universe was created very good is true. It perfectly accomplished the purpose for which it was created.
Cosmology provides some insight here. The birth and death of stars was necessary from the beginning to form the heavy elements in the universe in sufficient quantity that planets could form and life would be possible. The laws of thermodynamics also point out why the universe is decaying. It takes energy to run a universe, but the universe is a closed environment. All the energy that is available to run the universe was created with the big bang. For the past 15 billion years the universe has been running down, using up its available energy. This is necessary because without entropy no work could be done. Planets wouldn't form, stars wouldn't light up, and life couldn't reproduce or even exist in our current universe.
God could have created the universe without the demands of entropy, a universe where nothing decays. He could have, but He didn't. We know this because of the physical evidence available for us to study. One day this utopia will be a reality with the coming of the new heaven and the new earth. Until then things in the natural world die. But the spirit remains connected to the eternal through Christ Jesus.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Rom 8:5-6
This sounds like evolution. Where is God in all of this?
The answer to this question is the subject of the next page as this discussion continues with Part 3-
The Physical Evidence - God's word and His works agree
God, Genesis and the big bang - home
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