RE: Gen 1:1 and Concordism

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 13:46:53 EST

  • Next message: "Re: Gen 1:1 and Concordism"

    >Genesis 1:11 mentions "fruit trees" on the third day of creation. In 1611
    that might have made sense, however
    >in Hebrew, a "nut" is a fruit. Conifers bear seeds (nuts), and appear in
    the fossil record prior to fish, whereas cherry trees,
    >apple trees, etc. do not. How the human writer understood this verse we
    cannot know. What the Holy Spirit intended we can
    >only guess. The fossil record can be useful. Why not use it?

    Because you don't get your fossil record facts correct! As usual I check
    claims and this one is simply false, unless you can document from more
    recent literature what you say. Maybe I missed something in the past couple
    of years but I don't think so.

    Here are the facts as I see them today. If anyone wants to correct me then
    do so but give documentation for the claim.
    The oldest conifer I can find reference to in an internet search is 300 myr

    The oldest fish is from the Upper Ordovician. The earliest plant occurs
    long afterwards in the Llandovery epoch of the Silurian about 440 million
    years ago see

    Chongyang Cal, Shu Ouyang, Yi Wang,
    Zongjie Fang, Jiayu rong Liangyu Geng and Xingxue Li "An Early
    Silurian Vascular Plant," Nature, 379, Feb. 15, 1996, p. 592

    The oldest fish is from the upper Ordoician about 460 million years ago.

    Ivan J. Sansom, M.M. Smith and
    M. P. Smith, "Scales of Thelodont and shark-like fishes from
    the Ordovician of Colorado," Nature, 379:628-630, Feb. 15,
    1996, p. 628

    This is why I document much of what I say with lots of references. At least
    then claims can be checked and people can show me the error of my ways. But
    too much of Christian apologetics consists of nothing but unsubstantiated
    claims or downright falsities. We simply must do better.


    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

        5. On day 4, v. 14 says, "Let there be lights in the firmament of
        and then in v. 16 "and God made the two great lights...the stars also."
        the sun, moon and stars had already been created in v. 1, why do they
    have to
        be created again here? What happened to them in the meantime that made
        disappear? Concordists would have us believe these verses are just
    saying the
        sun, moon and stars were not clearly seen until God removed the clouds
        between the observer and the lights. But, the problem is not just that
        makes these lights again, but that v. 17 says he "placed them into the

      I like Steve Krogh's comment: "If they were there In v.1 they didn't go
    anywhere. Nathan can also mean "caused to appear" as opposed to bara." This
    is good. Genesis 1:14-18 could be understood in this context: When the
    clouds finally dissipated, on the fourth day, God appointed the sun, moon
    and stars as timekeepers for the sighted creatures who came along starting
    on the fifth day of creation.

        There is plenty that tell us Gen 1 is not a revelation of scientific

      Only in mistranslated and misunderstood form I would suggest. In my
    humble estimation, whatever discord may exist is more apparent than real.

        Where then did the "science" in Gen 1 come from? The Mesopotamian
        of the rest of Gen 1-11 along with the Mesopotamian background of
        suggests strongly that these ideas come from Mesopotamia. The solidity
    of the
        firmament could have come from anywhere (all proto-scientific peoples
        believed the sky was solid); but the dividing of the waters (Day 2) is
        to Mesopotamia.

      We heartily agree on the "Mesopotamian background" of the Genesis account.
    Do we agree on the Mesopotamian background of the physical events, i.e.:
    Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, the Genesis flood, and the tower of Babel?

        In addition, since there is, in fact, no solid firmament and no ocean
        it, we need not suppose this concept is a divine revelation.

      Even to a casual Accadian or Sumerian observer the idea of a "solid"
    firmament would have been a curious notion. The stars in space were known
    to be different somehow from the "seven shepherds" we know as planets today.
    Even the number seven had a mystical quality derived from these mysterious
    lights that moved around versus the other lights that remained relatively
    fixed, but yet rotated about the sky. What could have been solid? Were the
    stars fixed to a solid dome rotating around the earth while the planets were
    free to roam about without hindrance? I think the ancients were smarter
    and knew more than we give them credit for.

      The following two versus, there are others, would require the writers to
    be cognizant of a gaseous "firmament," what we call "atmosphere" today.
    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." Eze 1:26: "And above the firmament that was over
    their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire
    stone ..."

      The creation of the animals and Adam in Genesis 1 versus Adam and then
    animals in Genesis 2 appears to be problematical, but taken as two accounts
    from two different sources, whether compiled by Moses or whoever; we can
    either look for reconciliation, or just throw up our hands. I prefer the
    former over the latter. Let's look at the verses in question.

      Genesis 2:19-20: "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of
    the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what
    he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that
    was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl
    of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not
    found an help meet for him.

      "And" appears as the first word of a verse throughout the Genesis
    narrative. It is a connective that serves to link thoughts. "I am going to
    tell you this, and I am going to tell you this, and I am going to tell you
    this, etc." We get into trouble thinking "and" provides links in a
    chronology of events. "This happened, and then this happened, and then this
    happened, etc."

      The subject of Genesis 2:19-20 is that certain kinds of animals and winged
    creatures were brought to Adam and he gave them names. Some classes of
    animals are not included; no "fish," no "creeping things," no man-eating
    carnivores, no dinosaurs, etc. And the word bara is not found in these
    versus to tempt us into thinking God started with clay models of animals and
    breathed the breath of life into their nostrils.

      The word "formed" is expansive enough to allow plenty of room for
    scientific explanations of animal ancestry. In Hebrew, "all" and "every"
    are used similarly to our saying "much," many," or "some" in English There
    are plenty of OT examples where we can see exactly that. The phrase, "every
    living creature" applies to only what is named, domesticated animals and
    certain birds.

      So what can we say? Is the order of animals and Adam in Genesis 1
    reversed in Genesis 2? Absolutely not! In Genesis 2, Adam is within the
    confines of the garden. The animals and birds are in his immediate
    environment. No penguins, polar bears or kangaroos.

      Absolute and total harmony between Genesis and science may not be
    possible, but I do think it is entirely possible that every point of
    difference could be explained by errors in transmission, translation and
    interpretation. The original text may have been inerrant in my estimation.
    To just throw in the towel, however, and proclaim Genesis to have
    theological value without historical integrity is at best premature, and at
    worst, plays into the hands of unbelievers.

      Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution -
      "The answer we should have known about 150 years ago"

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