Re: Accepting Genesis 1 as scientific truth

Vernon Jenkins (
Mon, 31 May 1999 23:31:52 +0100

Hi George,

Thanks for your recent mail.

GA> Actually I am suggesting just that (Genesis 1 derives from Enuma
elish). Why not? The revelation of God is always limited by the human
receiver's capabilities of comprehension. I think of when - according
to Jesus - God "winked" in terms of the issue of divorce due to the
"unbelief" of the Old Testament peoples God, evidently, allowed a moral
issue to go unchecked for hundreds (thousands?) of years!

Is it not so, that whenever revelation exceeded human comprehension,
e.g. the visions of Ezekiel, Daniel and John on the isle of Patmos, the
record resulted in fantastic and wonderful imagery; e.g. seven headed
serpents, giants, etc.; all of which were images already present in the
receivers "vocabulary"? Furthermore, a secondary revelation concerning
the meaning of these images was often required and given; else the
revelation would remain shrouded in the mystery of the inadequacy of the
images - as is still the case for some of the biblical imagery to this

As you know, the Bible is a record of God's covenant with Israel and
by extension to the rest of Adam's seed; not a detailed account of
creation; it is sacred and ancient history revealed in the language of
the science of the day - not modern science.

VJ> What bothers me about the suggestion that Genesis 1 is nothing more
than a sanitized version of the Enuma elish is that the idea is not in
keeping with a straightforward acceptance of Paul's teaching, viz 'All
scripture is given by inspiration of God...' (2Tm.3:16). This hardly
squares with a two-stage process - with stage 1 in the hands of

I take your point about the visions recorded in scripture. But, by what
authority do you claim that Genesis 1 is of the same genre?

GA > ...of course science is an essential method by which we ascertain
physical reality (you can read this as "truth" in this context); it is
precisely science's exclusive ability - via the empirical method - to
make conclusive statements about the universe that - theory ladeness
aside (we know atoms exist and how they behave - even though they are
misnamed!) can be tested.

I agree with you regarding the progeny of scientists but my
understanding is that they did not take Geneses 1 as having anything
other to say to their scientific practice except "God did it".

VJ > Science, of course, knows nothing of the supernatural. How,
therefore, can it make conclusive statements about physical reality?

With regard to miracle, to agree that 'God did it' should suffice.
Science can have nothing to add to the matter!

GA >...I believe in the blood of Christ which cleanses me from all Sin!
This is the proper place for human faith: the cross; I know you agree.

VJ > Yes, I certainly agree! But our faith in Christ must surely be
grounded in an unwavering belief in his teachings - as they are recorded
in the gospels - and an acceptance of the things that he and the
apostles believed (for it is hardly logical to assume the Creator would
be ignorant in any area!). Significant, then, that our Lord believed the
holy writings that were available to him (which, of course, included the
Book of Genesis). As evidence of this, consider the record of his
temptation in the wilderness (Mt.4:1-11) where we read of the devil's
assaults being consistently parried with the words 'It is written...'.

GA > (Referring to the numerical patterns underlying Genesis 1:1) The
problem here is that you consider these musings as "facts"; I do not. At
most, they are a curiosity in that apparently these exhibit number

VJ > By what possible stretch of the imagination do tangible visual
patterns become 'musings'?

GA > ...even if you succeed in showing Hebrew/Greek/Arabic/.........
symbols contain mathematical regularities, as they are found in
sequence, you now have to deal with why numbers behave the way they do
inherently; i.e. math is still a science and as such is not at all well
understood philosophically let alone theologically!

VJ > I don't get your point here.

GA > ...if you discover information content in the form of number
patterns in sequences of Hebrew symbols, you are merely translating -
and evidently reducing (i.e. losing information) the inherent
information content of Hebrew grammar to numbers. In other words, it is
not necessarily a supernatural divine code; just a consequence of
Hebrew rules of grammar.

VJ > You appear to be suggesting that any portion of Hebrew text is
likely to throw up interesting patterns! This is certainly not the case!
And rather than the information represented in the 7 Hebrew words of
Genesis 1:1 being degraded, we find it lifted to a new level by the
information conveyed by the same words, interpreted as numbers!

GA > An honest question: why do we need such epiphenomenal support of
the Bible? Is not the messages of Moses and the Prophets enough? I am
very concerned with the American christian community trying to "prove
the Bible" by some other means; scientific or otherwise! It stands on
its own.

VJ > When patterns of this kind are found associated with the opening
words of a large book for which the claim 'inspired by God' is being
made, then I suggest people should sit up and take notice. A careful
consideration of the matters surrounding their appearance in our day
suggests that they can only be the work of our Creator! Clearly, then,
they have a serious purpose, and it is appropriate that they are now
being brought to a wider audience.

GA > What other mode of thought than science do you suggest we use for
interpretation of our world? The alternatives to science include magic,
spiritualism, animism, ect. Science has even done much to shed light on
biblical text! (here I include the sciences of history, archeology,
linguistic analysis to name a few). Science is fallible; but it is the
only testable mode of inquiry that we can use to amass collective - as
opposed to private - knowledge.

VJ > I hope you will agree that it cannot be pretended that the use of
science in a 'forensic' capacity (as in the interpretion of the
geological record, for example) is able to yield firm conclusions.
Possibilities, perhaps, but not proofs!

GA > The literal truth of Genesis' message of the creation is not in
question; only the wooden interpretation of the details. Does Jesus
address these details?

VJ > Did he have any need to? The only reason for our discussing them
now is the glaring mismatch re the order in which things were done. This
problem won't go away, you know! If God really created by evolutionary
means, then why should he get things wrong in relating the happenings of
days 5 and 6?

Kind regards, and thanks for responding.