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
The Physical Evidence - limits and the flesh of life
This is the last and longest page of the creation / evolution controversy documents. In this section we will focus on the relationship of God with His creation, and the creation with God. Using the pattern described in 1 Cor 15:37-39, the relationships can be broken down into five limitations: plants, fish, birds, animals, and man.
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 1:11 KJV)
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. (Gen 1:12 KJV)
The King James Version lists three types of plants, however the NIV shortens the list saying simply, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees.." Vegetation as one type not three seems to be sufficient to express the full range of meaning in the words. Grass will sprout from the roots but it also will bear seed, and how do we decide when a plant stops being a bush and should be called a tree? I am open to other explanations, but I think the sub-divisions here are simply for the sake of showing God is responsible for all the different varieties of plant life.
We see in the first 10 verses of Genesis the creation of our universe where nothing existed before. The coming of light. The forming of the earth. The separation of the atmosphere and the sea. The appearance of dry land. Then, in verses 11 and 12, at God's command, the earth brings forth plant life. This is a very important event in the history of the developing earth. God begins building on His creation foundation an incredibly solid ecosystem. Early plants produced oxygen, which enriched and changed the atmosphere, building up the protective ozone layer. This allowed the further development of life. Also, plants appear to have taken part in the cleansing of the atmosphere, reducing the cloud cover until the sun became visible on day 4.
Before you get too comfortable here you should know the traditional understanding of Genesis causes another conflict between science and theology. Grass and trees almost certainly did not appear on earth until much later than the great explosion of marine life. It has been suggested that soft parts, such as plants, do not fossilize as easily as bone and hard body parts. It is possible evidence will still be discovered of land plants predating marine life, but for now that seems highly unlikely. Especially since many soft bodied fossils predating the Cambrian period have been found. Still, this should not be of great concern to us. Whether you are a believer or an interested skeptic, you are probably wondering how I can make such a statement. If grass and trees didn't come before marine life, how can the Bible really be the word of God? This will require a closer look at both sides.
According to the physical evidence, unicellular prokaryote life is found in the oldest known rocks to have formed on earth 3.5 billion years ago. Bacteria is this type of microorganism. Eukaryote cells appear next 1.5 billion years ago. Eukaryotic cells differ from prokaryote cells in that they have a distinct nucleus surrounded by a membrane; also their DNA is organized into chromosomes. All multicellular life is made up of eukaryotic cells. The first multicellular fossils being the unidentifiable organisms known today as the Ediacaran fauna, which may date to 700 million years go. Following 570 million years ago, the oceans swarm with life during the Cambrian explosion. Land plants occur much more recently.
Tradition has painted a beautiful picture of creation, where God forms the earth complete, with a single word. Then with a word, He covers it with grass, flowers, and lush fully grown shade trees. The next day God begins early by stocking the waters with fish. The following day man comes along and has the first argument with woman as to whether he should go to work or go fishing. (OK, so I made that last part up) Seriously, this is a beautiful account of creation, and it is the simplest reading of the text. However, it is not the way God actually went about His work. This truth may hurt but as Scripture says, the truth shall make you free. So how do we reconcile the evidence with Scripture?
Digging deeper you will notice blue-green alga is among the first life found on the developing earth. Blue-green alga is an oxygen producing photosynthetic bacterium. This seems to be one of the primary sources for the oxygenating of the early atmosphere. A prokaryote organism, blue-green alga is not really algae at all. True alga appears with the development of eukaryote cells. Algae, ranges in size from the single-celled forms to the giant kelp. Bacteria and algae are not considered plants by our modern day classification system. However, the fact remains photosynthetic life appears 3.5 billion years ago in the fossil record. That's 3 billion long years before the creation of anything remotely resembling a fish.
Please note, until recently blue-green alga and alga were classified as part of the plant kingdom by science. Genesis maintains they always have been grouped with plants in God's classification system. Science and Genesis only appear to disagree here, because the criteria each use in forming groups is different. Hopefully, you will understand why Genesis considers them plants in a moment.
Only three times in chapter one do we see God 'poof' anything into existence. The beginning of plant life is not one of those times. Look closely at verses 1:11 and 1:12, and notice what it does not say in them. It does not say God created plants out of nothing. It does not even say that God made them by forming the dirt into little leaves. So what does it say? Simply, the earth brought forth plants. When God said " Let the earth bring forth ", He actually gave authority to the earth to produce plant-life, probably from the very resources of the earth itself by the natural laws God had instituted at the big bang.
Take a moment to ponder this. What a mind blower! Theology has spent the last 50 years denying this event to protect its tradition (which does not agree with the Scriptures). Meanwhile science, with the best equipment available under the best possible conditions has tried to duplicate what the earth did almost 4 billion years ago. Abiogenesis, the study of life's origins, is still a long way from accomplishing this feat or even understanding it. Someday (if God permits) they may synthesize life in the lab, but the earth did it without all the fancy tools at God's command.
However, the earth's authority was limited. It could only bring forth life up to the limits set by God on day 3. As was mentioned elsewhere, the earth brought forth implies time. Lot's of time. The earth did not bump up against this limitation until early in day 5, after God had begun creating the swarming creatures. This idea may seem awkward to some, but it is a very Biblical concept as shown by the following:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 KJV)
God knew when He said "Let the earth bring forth" that it was as good as done, even if the full potential of this command was not realized immediately. A similar situation recorded in Scripture is the promise made by God to Abraham;
I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. (Gen 13:16 NIV)
Abraham never saw the realization of the promise God made to him. He accepted it on faith, and centuries after his physical death the promise is still being carried out on a daily basis. Abraham did see the initial fruit of the promise - his son Isaac, and day 3 did see the initial fruit of the command - oxygen producing photosynthetic microscopic life. The early microscopic life had the God given directed purpose to become the world's flora. This is not the same as natural selection since traditional naturalistic evolution has no predetermined direction.
The seeming conflict between the Scripture and the origins of plant-life solves itself once you realize Scripture is setting limitations, as was discussed in the last section, and is not listing species. Science says life appears in the first sedimentary rocks to form. The Bible says life began as soon as there was liquid water and solid rock.
What about panspermia? - the theory that the first life on earth arrived here from space. Since Genesis does not mention the moment God created the spark we call life, it is remotely possible the earth was seeded in this way. However, there is no real evidence to date that life exists, or ever has existed elsewhere in the cosmos. I seriously question the validity of this theory of origins, simply because life appears immediately after the earth is able to support it. If life were so abundant as to be bombarding the earth 4 billion years ago, where is the evidence today? The original proponents of panspermia realized the amazing complexity of life, even the simplest bacterial life. They also decided there had not been sufficient time on earth for the natural development of life. Cosmic seeding was the logical alternative to avoid the obvious theological implications of life's sudden appearance. Panspermia buys time for the non-theist but does not explain the beginnings. Still, it does not conflict with Scripture, and it does not eliminate God if it is ever proven correct.
The Flesh of Fish
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 1:20 KJV)
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. (Gen 1:21 KJV)
Immediately you should notice that these verses do not specifically mention fish. I use fish as a general term in agreement with tradition, and Paul (1 Cor 15:37-39). Tradition holds to this interpretation because of the mistranslated great whales listed here (which aren't fish anyway), and of course because what else could the water bring forth. What else indeed! You already know the answer, but there is a twist.
As was just discussed, from the humble single celled beginnings we have all the plants found on earth today. From these same beginnings the waters brought forth the creatures of day 5. Now, this may appear simply as naturalistic evolution to the unobservant, but a new limit is being established. Nothing existing prior to this time or afterwards could ever cross this boundary given time and chance alone.
Notice something special happens in verse 21 that has not been mentioned since verse 1. God created . Created what? Every moving creature, winged fowl, and yes the great sea and land monsters. All were created by God but brought forth by the sea. Wait a minute!?! Previously, it was shown that created means out of nothing, so how can the creatures of day 5 be created if the sea brings them forth from the single celled organisms of day 3? What God did is so incredible that even if you are not so inclined as to give Him credit for it, you must still view it in total amazement.
In the period of about 5 million years, an incredibly short period of geological time, the organisms in the sea change from simple multicellular blobs into over a hundred different phyla of complex life (today, only about 35 phyla exist). These creatures appear complete with limbs, digestive systems, working eyes, and beating hearts. This was not a gradual event by evolutionary standards; it was an explosion with no real pre-warning. Further, the creatures introduced remained basically unchanged throughout the duration of their existence on earth. While new creatures continue to appear, the older ones remain true to the form in which they were introduced.
Obviously, naturalism interprets this event differently. They don't see God at work here. They don't see any creation event. And they don't see anything contrary to the theory of evolution about this explosion. In fact, they often don't even see it as an explosion, or perhaps they can't. But the fossil record remains as a witness.
A classic evolution / creation argument revolves around the development of the eye. The Cambrian event renders this argument pointless. The eye makes it's first appearance here, suddenly and fully formed. The eye apparently did not evolve slowly. More amazingly it is found in more than one phylum. Logic dictates for this to have happened there would necessarily have been a common ancestor between the phyla. Yet this common ancestor would most certainly have been an eukaryotic cell or at best one of the Ediacaran organisms, which resemble tubes and blobs. This means all the genetic information necessary to produce the eye, the cardiovascular system, jointed limbs, the digestive system, the nervous system, etc. had to be stored away in the earlier organisms, which did not possess any of these physical traits. But why? For what purpose?
Naturalism holds there was no purpose, just response to environmental stimuli via natural selection. However, without a survival benefit to the organism there is no reason for the dormant genetic material to be selected for and thereby retained. It stretches the limits of credulity beyond the breaking point that all these complex life functions should burst suddenly and fully formed into existence from inactive DNA without prior purpose. It also sounds amazingly like the first creationist argument against observed speciation. Hmmm. Design is strongly suggested.
Admittedly, the appearance of design does not mean design has actually occurred. However (you had to know there would be a however), if it looks like a watch and it runs like a watch, it's probably a watch. Suppose you wandered into a field and happened upon a free standing stone arch. Now this could be the result of natural erosion, especially if the entire arch were formed in a single stone ledge. Even if it were made of many small stones it is conceivable that unguided natural events led to this wonder. Now, suppose you wander into this field and discover thousands of stone arches. More amazingly, you notice these arches are all formed in one of a dozen or so distinctly different patterns; some with great big stones, some with little stones, some flat, some round, etc. (you get the idea). Now suppose further that the type of stone found in the arches has never occurred naturally anywhere else in that part of the country. You might not be able to prove it, but you would conclude the arches had all been put there intentionally. Now, make this a worldwide event some 570 million years ago and you still don't come close to the magnitude of what transpired during the Cambrian period. Feel free to disagree.
I stated earlier in part three that I was not arguing from incredulity or a God of the gaps approach. I am not now either. As amazing as this period of pre-history is, the physical diversity of life is not what the focus of Genesis 1:20-21 is about. Instead, we see Scripture for the first time calling what God has created, living. We consider plants to be alive, yet Scripture does not make this statement. Sounds strange, but remember, Genesis is discussing relationship. So what is the difference that makes the creatures of day 5 alive by God's standards?
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. (Lev 17:11 NIV)
Complex biological functions are apparently insufficient to enter the relationship status of living. Blood is required. It is difficult to understand why blood is so important to God. As it is beyond the scope of this article to delve deeply into this, suffice it to say blood is a very prominent re-occurring theme throughout the Bible. It signifies life. It atones for (that is covers up) sin as seen in the sacrifices of the Levites. And it is the blood shed on the cross by which God forgives the sins of mankind, allowing for a permanent healing of the broken relationship between the individual and God.
On a physical level blood makes the higher functions of physical life possible. And blood itself is intricately complex. Microbiologist Michael Behe believes it to be irreducibly complex, meaning the many parts that fit together to form the 'whole' cannot be explained as having originated independently. Either all the necessary parts are there, functioning together, or the unit fails to operate. This concept is seen as arguing from incredulity, however Behe points out that naturalism uses a similar tactic in what he labels the 'road kill' approach. Since something did occur it must be able to happen - naturally. When an explanational impasse is reached the explanation over looks or over simplifies, and the theory is restarted after the fact. Implausibility is added to implausibility until the impossible becomes the theoretical actual. The Cambrian period seems to render pointless all arguments for or against Behe's conclusion as blood occurs suddenly without warning in the fossil record.
Another life function makes its first appearance in day 5, when God introduces the nervous system to the world, suddenly, fully formed and truly amazing. Life is now aware, able to experience the sensations of hot and cold, pain, hunger, and danger. The newly created brain of this type flesh functions mainly by instinct. Reacting with the environment by a preprogrammed code, like the operating system of your computer. In its simplest form the brain's primary function is to coordinate, making sure needs are being met to keep the creature operating properly. Without the code, breathing, regulating the circulation of blood, and the desire to reproduce would all have to be learned. That instinct is good is an understatement.
This type flesh is a very broad grouping of creatures and is not limited to aquatic life. It apparently is not even limited to vertebrate life. The flesh of fish is symbolic, representing cold-blooded life. This relationship applies to fish obviously, but also to amphibians, and reptiles. It also appears to include mollusks, crustaceans, insects, and probably many other animal types. Two verses report all the creation activity of day five, but the flesh of fish is only part of this work. They don't even get a full day to themselves. Well over 90% of all animal life on earth are in this group, and yet the Bible lists them all simply as, " Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life ". As you may have noticed they don't even get a full verse to themselves. The diversity of the species and whether they have a common ancestor is not that important an issue, except in our minds. The important point is life, as defined by blood and the nervous system, is a special creative act of God that time alone cannot fully explain.
The Flesh of Birds
In Genesis 1:20 we read the sea brings forth " fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. " And in verse 21 "God created... every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. " The Hebrew word for fowl here is 'owph. Please note this is an extremely generic word which has caused a great deal of confusion, even embarrassment among Bible believers. Note in particular these verses from the book of Leviticus;And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, (Lev 11:13 KJV) So far so good. Verses 14 - 19 present more of the same, then... And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Lev 11:19 KJV) And the what? Bat's aren't birds!?! Why are they 'owph? It gets worse... All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. (Lev 11:20 KJV) When's the last time you saw a four legged bird? - besides Ripley's believe it or not. Non-theists have used these examples to ridicule believers and to discredit the Bible. Unfortunately, believers have done little to gain understanding in the translating of these verses.
'owph is often translated bird, but it literally means winged. As I said this is a very generic meaning. Bats certainly fit this definition. The fowls that creep in Lev 11:20 is a reference to winged insects (you have to read the next few verses in Leviticus to realize this). I have not yet tracked down the origins of the expression 'going on all four' but it seems apparent it must be another generic expression as anyone as familiar with the land as the Israelites, would have known insects do not have four legs. Our modern language translations often mangle the ancient Hebrew, but the Scripture is correct if we view it in the context originally intended.
I point these things out so you will be aware of them and not end up embarrassed or confused. I also want you to notice a subtlety in the text that often goes with out detection. Gen 1:20 mentions fowl ('owph)but in verse 21 the wording is changed to winged fowl ( kanaph 'owph) this same combination occurs only one other time;
He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: (Psa 78:27 KJV)
Also a generic word kanaph is translated many different ways, with winged being its' primary meaning. When the two words are combined as in these cases, 'owph takes on its' secondary meaning, feathered. It seems proper the wording change is intentional, with verse 20 referring to winged ('owph) insects and verse 21 to birds (kanaph'owph). Bats are winged but are not included with the creatures of day 5.
It is the kanaph'owph that we are concerned with in the discussion of the flesh of birds. Birds are not unique in their ability to soar above the earth. We have already mentioned winged insects and there were flying dinosaurs, so it is not flight alone that Scripture is pointing out. The feathers of Birds are unique, but hardly seem worth mentioning. Could there be more we should notice? Possibly, Gen 1:20 may record the creation of one level of life with verse 1:21 recording a heightened level of creation on day 5. See if you agree...
In addition to the transitional difference of the word 'owph from one verse to the next there is another change that is lost in the English translation of the verses. In verse 20 it says the waters bring forth "moving creature that hath life "which in Hebrew is sherets sherets chay (active mass of minute living animals). In verse 21 the wording sounds the same in English " living creature that moveth " but it has a different, deeper meaning. The Hebrew is chay nephesh ramas (living breathing creatures that crawl). I believe nephesh is a reference to early mammals. The word nephesh will figure heavily in the discussion on the flesh of animals, but it hints, if only indirectly, at what makes the flesh of birds different.
Also in verse 21 are the gadowl tanniyn (great land and sea monsters) that has no parallel in verse 20. Though they are extinct today, dinosaurs may hold another clue to the puzzle. Recent excavations suggest that some dinosaurs may actually have built nests and brooded over their eggs like chickens. It is also suggested that some may have cared for their young after they hatched. This is hardly reptile like behavior. Reptiles lay their eggs and abandon them. Some fish, such as the male betta, do protect their nests but become uncaring when the young can swim away.
Very interesting, we are all impressed, but what does that have to do with the flesh of birds? Birds and mammals are warm blooded. Paleontologists continue to debate whether dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded. Because they look like big lizards we just assume they were reptiles, but maybe not.
So what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur? It has traditionally been the hip joint that determines this, as far as I can tell. Reptile legs are out to the side of the animal so they carry there bodies low to the ground - think alligator. The legs of the dinosaurs were carried beneath them like mammals - think cow.
Warm bloodedness may be part of what separates birds from the flesh of 'fish'. In addition, there is another point that is of even greater importance. Most birds and mammals care for their young, apparently some dinosaurs may have as well.
At the upper limit of the previous type of flesh is the instinct driven reptile brain. The limbic node in man's brain is akin to the reptile brain. The physical survival skills are controlled by the reptile brain. Cold and indifferent the reptile brains only concern is survival of the individual.
The warm bloodedness of birds corresponds to another warming - the warming of the heart, actually the brain but I'm trying to be poetic here. Birds are capable of emotional expression. Some birds choose a mate for life. As a survival tactic this seems lame. To insure the greatest possibility of passing its genes on to the next generation - survival of the fittest - it would be far more beneficial for the bird to mate with as many different birds as possible. Brooding over a nest of eggs is far less efficient than just laying more eggs as reptiles do. Caring for the young makes even less sense as a survival tactic. So what was God thinking?
The more complex the brain the longer the time needed for it to fully develop. The more complex the brain, the longer it takes for the young to become self-sufficient. Warm-blooded young require more care after birth, or hatching in this case, than reptile young. God in His wisdom gave birds a sense of other that reptiles lack to compensate for the extra time and effort required to raise their young.
To summarize - birds are winged, feathered, warm blooded, egg layers that often care for their young. They have some emotional expressive abilities and some sense of other that cold-blooded creatures lack.
The Flesh of Animals
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 1:24 KJV)
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. (Gen 1:25 KJV)
The flesh of animals is a reference to the mammals. The beginnings of mammals occurred during day 5, so the verses of day 6 refer to the population explosion of mammals occurring after the extinction of the dinosaurs. The dinosaur extinction by the way was not the only great extinction of life in earth's history. It was not even the biggest. Long before the dinosaurs roamed the land, over 90% of all the oceanic life was wiped out in a mass extinction. Also, the Cambrian period, though the most dramatic, was not the only explosion introducing new species. As the dinosaurs disappeared and mammals began to dominate, the earth saw the greatest explosion of flora in its' history.
The origin of modern day plants is during this time. Some old earth creationists consider this event to be described in the Bible as the bringing forth of plant life on day three. I have some trouble reconciling the events of day four and five with this view, but I am willing to be convinced otherwise. Mostly I see the origin of modern plants as God's changing of the environment to suit His new additions to creation.
I have already stated a couple times that " the living creatures" brought forth on this day are chay nephesh in Hebrew, or living breathing animals. The breath of these creatures, the nephesh is soul. Again, not to be confused with the eternal spirit, the soul is the emotional and reasoning characteristics of warm-blooded life. No offense to the snake and lizard fans, but a dog is just better company. I myself prefer cats but that is not the point. Mammals are capable of relating to one another and man in a way that escapes cold-blooded life.
In varying amounts, according to their kind ;-) mammals are capable of expressing joy and sorrow. Even destructive emotions such as hate and jealousy are observed in warm-blooded creatures besides humans. George , my 17-year-old cat, often does things out of spite when he doesn't get his way! On the positive side, it is a mammal's capacity to express love, even devotion, that best exemplifies the upper limits of the relationship that is the flesh of animals. The love that a mother bear shows her cubs is obvious even though few of us would want a bear as a roommate. Still, many mammals have learned to respect and live along side man. The ones we call pets, often even show a great attachment to one or more humans. We have all read of accounts where an animal (usually a pet but not always) has rescued a child.
Mammals have some unique physical characteristics, such as nursing their young and fur. Mostly, it is the advanced development of the brain that separates this type of flesh from those previously discussed. There is a sense of curiosity in mammals that they share with birds. But unlike birds there is a greater dependence on learned abilities and less emphasis on instinct. Mammals reason and plan.
At the upper limit of this level of flesh today are the apes and monkeys, but this most probably was not always the case. I am convinced that the hominid species that evolutionists contend are the ancestors of man are also of the flesh of animals. Australopithecus, Homo erectus, Homo hablis, and Neanderthal man should all be placed in this grouping. Science is now pretty certain through DNA testing that man is not a descendant of the Neanderthal. Maybe with time science will prove what most creationists have been saying all along that none of the other hominids are related to man. Then again maybe they won't. This will not be of concern to you if you understand that Genesis is referring to developing relationships and not species.
The Flesh of Man
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 1:26 KJV)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen 1:27 KJV)
Creationists maintain man is a special creation - formed by the hands of God, and generally made directly from dust. Fundamentalists agree. The Protestant Church in America agrees. The Catholic Church has been misunderstood on this issue as having accepted the evolution of man as factual but that is not what the Pope really said. Many Christians as individuals do accept the evolution of man from a primate ancestor, but as far as I can tell, this is not the mainstream belief of Christianity.
Surprisingly, the Protestant Church does not have a written policy proclaiming a belief in a recent creation of the universe or man. The young earth views are so strong and so common, at least locally, that it seems somewhat strange that none of the denominations have declared them publicly. Interestingly, there have been no denominational statements written against evolution. With all the fuss made over evolution in the past century this is amazing! Apparently, despite all the hoopla the Church either, believes 'these truths to be self evident', or more likely, it is not real certain what we should believe.
The origins of man have already been covered in part two. An attempt will be made to avoid repeating the same information. If you haven't read part two yet, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is man is a special creation. The bad news is, the dust he was made from may have been a primate ancestor. This is not a conflict. Stay tuned.
The main reason man's flesh qualifies as different from other mammals is that man has been sanctified by God - that is, separated and made holy for a sacred purpose. Man's body is the earthly vessel - jar of clay - used to contain an eternal spirit direct from God. When man sins he defiles what is holy making it unsuitable as an instrument of worship and service. The connection between God and man is broken by sin. This is what the bloodshed on the cross and the resurrection are about; God washes the vessel clean, restoring a holy function to the redeemed.
Sin means simply to miss the mark, like an arrow missing the bull's eye. It's kind of like playing on the nightmare level of Doom II - even with the BFG9000 you don't stand a chance of making it out alive on your own! Again, that is why God's way of salvation was planned before the beginning of time. Jesus allowed Himself to be sacrificed, so He could ascend from the grave, thus claiming victory over death and allowing you to finish the course of life in God mode! Way cool! This is the work of God alone. No creature other than man has been sanctified to receive an eternal spirit. No creature can evolve a spirit. God's work. Limitation. The flesh of man is different, even if he has a primate ancestor.
The psalmist declares man was created a little lower than the angels, yet we have been blessed above all creation. Mankind is given a special privilege. In His love God has made it possible for us to become His children. We are told that He could raise up children for Abraham out of the stones. Now, God would have to directly intervene to make that happen, but He could do it. But, notice that in so doing, He would be changing the stones relationship from material object to adopted child. So the physical body is not really that important, it is man's relationship with Him that is of concern to God.
Science tells us the genetic difference between man and ape may be only 1%. Arguably, there has not been enough time for the DNA to drift that far apart in 5 million years. It is often said by evolutionists that natural selection is not random. Maybe so, but it would need to be directed to effect this amount of change in two creatures living side by side, in the same environment, and under the same physical circumstances. Especially, if they did come from a recent common ancestor. I am sure naturalism disagrees.
The fossil record is suggestive, but it is only partial, scattered and not nearly as convincing as I had expected. Still from the naturalist's perspective it must be true (but directed natural selection is not evolution, it is design!) From the Biblical point of view it may be true. But either way it was God who formed the body of man. Naturalism just can't admit it.
Modern man has been labeled Homo Sapiens Sapiens by science. IF God used a primate ancestor to form the body of man then I propose this label is incorrect. Modern man should be relabeled Homo Sapiens Sapiens Spiritus. For he is a spirit indwelled being. Man alone ponders where he came from, what is his purpose in being, and where he is going. Man alone seeks to know the Creator.
What if God took a Homo Sapiens Sapiens animal, declared it holy, then breathed the breath of life into it? The creature that was already nephesh before God, would now become neshamah - spirit indwelled. The animal would become 'adam , the first man. What if God then placed Adam in a sanctified place on the earth? - The garden. Isolated from the Homo Sapiens Sapiens animals, Adam would have been alone. God could have created Eve in the same manner as Adam, but for whatever reason, He chose instead to create from 'adam the 'ishshah , the woman. Is this really that hard to believe? Is it really that degrading? Each of us must decide that for ourselves. Let that decision be an informed one, and not one made out of fear.
This interpretation of Genesis seems to fit nicely with current anthropological theories. A dramatic change occurs abruptly in the development of man about 10,000 BC that has been labeled the Neolithic revolution. Man (as defined by science) for the first time domesticates animals, cultivates plants, makes pottery and cloth. Man, however appears to have been on earth long before this time. Did man suddenly decide he would stop being a hunter-gatherer and settle down, get a farm and raise some cows? Or is this the indication of a change in relationship? After all that is what Genesis and the rest of Scripture is about, isn't it? The loving relationship of the living God for His creation and the opportunity we have to return that love and become the adopted children of the Father of creation.
A Few Closing Words
I have trampled all over tradition throughout this discussion. I know I have angered a few people - they have told me so. I also know many people have found comfort in knowing their faith still stands after examining the evidence. I hope you are one of the comforted. God is good. The creation declares His glory. May He be forever praised! God bless you, and thanks for stopping by.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Prov 9:10
Links to the World and Beyond - for further study
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Copyright © 1998 by Kevin Sluder
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