Origins and Perspectives 3

John Zimmer (
Mon, 14 Oct 96 13:01:01 CDT

Glenn Morton wrote

>After reading part II (J. Ray Zimmer), I was very disappointed
>that the detail of your view
s>topped at Genesis 1:3. To avoid the difficulties in having the plants
>created prior to the sun seems to avoid the biggest problem that Genesis has.
>If interpreted as a sequential fulfillment, the Bible has Birds and Fish
>created at the same time. Yet, fish are from the Cambrian and Birds don't
>appear until the Jurassic long afterward.

So I guess the first day sounded okay. Indeed, the first day in
Genesis does resemble the formation of the solar system in two respects.
First, one set of phrases resemble phenomenal features of that era. Second,
another set of phrases resemble the relevance to that era to humanity.
Combining the two types of phrases allows one to imagine the
whole day as a vision taht was both seen and heard.

In a similar fashion, one can compare day two to the accretion of
the planet earth. The "coagulation" of the circumstellar disk into
planetesimals is imaged by phrases of waters separating from waters and the
appearance of the firmament in the midst of the waters.
For the earth, the collision of partially molten planetesimals with
partially molten planets can be imaged by the waters above
the dome separating from the waters below the dome.

In addition to this visual aspect, day two contains a naming
phrase: God called the firmament Heaven. This phrase appears to
resemble the relevance of that evolutionary epoch to humanity.

Day three contains two events, the appearance of dry land and the
appearance of vegetative life. This day resembles the early
Archean, the epoch following the accretion of the planet, when
the earliest continents formed and the earliest life appeared.

For the start of day three, the gathering of water and the appearance
of dry land images scientific ideas concerning the formation of
the earliest continents. In addition, there is a naming phrase which
resembles the importance of this era: This is when the earth and seas
came to be.

For the end of day three, the creation of seed bearing plants and
fruit trees does not image the appearance of vegetative life. But
these phrases certainly resemble the importance of that epoch
to humanity. Seed bearing plants and fruit trees are the most
relevant examples (to us) of vegetative life. Vegetative life photosynthesizes
and reproduces (bears according to its kind). The photosynthetic
bacterial life which gave rise to the oldest fossils (stromatolites,
found in early Archean rocks associated with the oldest continental
rock) may be characterized as vegetative life.

So we can think of day three as imaging the appearance of
the earliest microbial photosynthetic life. God creates
vegetation bearing according to its kind. And we can think of
the creation of seed-bearing plants and fruit trees as phrases
which resemble the relevance of this epoch to humans.

You can imagine how perplexing a vision of the earliest bacterial
aggregates (such as stromatolites) would be to someone projected
backwards in time. Stromatolites, forming in
shallow bays, would seem to reproduce and would be much closer to
vegetative than to animal life. So if the visionary asked,
"What am I seeing?". The answer might have been, "These are the
beginnings of seed-bearing plants and fruit trees."

Remember, the nonsensical question being addressing is: If Genesis
resembled the evolutionary record, then how would they match? I think
that they might match if the first chapter of Genesis originated
as a vision.

How does this strike you?

J. Raymond Zimmer