Re: Accepting Genesis 1 as scientific truth

David Campbell (
Mon, 31 May 1999 17:16:58 -0400

>Let me first address your closing remarks. The inherent power of miracle
>to convince and convict unbelievers is clearly demonstrated (a) in the
>Mount Carmel experience (1Ki.18:19-40), and (b) in our Lord's appeal to
>the Jews (Jn.10:37,38). To make others aware of the standing miracle
>embodied in the Hebrew of Genesis 1:1 is, therefore, hardly to take
>Christianity 'in the wrong direction'.

Ultimately, nothing but the Spirit can convince and convict unbelievers.
He can use the evidence of miracles, but they seem of limited value in that
role (as opposed to convicting or strengthening the faith of believers).
I'm not sure that your examples are very good. Although the Israelites
were impressed by Baal's failure and God's success, and killed the prophets
of Baal, Jezebel retained her influence as well. Though all Israel was
notified (18:20), God says there are 7000 who will be protected. A lot
more than one, which Elijah was claiming, but a lot fewer than the total
who knew what happened. Likewise, the response of the Jewish leaders to
Jesus's appeal to His works is to seek again to seize Him (10:39). Again,
the many miracles of the Exodus demonstrated the hardness of most Egyptians
and Hebrews alike, whereas I cannot think of anyone mentioned as converted
as a result. The feeding of the 5000 did not prompt faith but rather greed
and ambition in the crowd (Jn. 6:15). Jesus did more wondrous things than
seemed possible to write down (Jn. 21:25), yet unbelievers kept demanding
signs from Him. John 2:23-25 and 20:29 likewise suggest that a faith based
on amazement from miracles is not reliable.

As to the issue of whether the number patterns are significant, the problem
is that many different numbers could produce interesting patterns. Several
numbers have symbolic significance in Biblical useage, and there are an
infinite number of ways to combine them to generate other numbers. Also,
some numbers may be particularly likely to be generated by Hebrew due to
the grammatical and linguistic structure (I do not know for sure, but this
needs to be tested). As the Bible does not say "Calculate the number in
this particular way and you'll get a big surprise!", it is necessary to try
various possible scenarios. However, the more scenarios you try, the more
likely you are to find one that works just by mathematical chance.

Certainly, if the presence of these patterns leads someone to greater trust
in the authority of Scripture, they are producing a good result. However,
the trust should be in Scripture, not in the pattern.

David C.