At 10:46 AM 2/17/02 -0800, you wrote:
> >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.
You have missed something. I take medication for Alzhimer's now. I didn't
then. Here is what I said in the book, and I should have used this:
The fossil record indicates that marine life, including both plant and
animal life, preceded any land-based life forms. Initially, living
organisms were microscopic until about 700 million years ago. Organisms of
only a few centimeters in size then began to appear, including jellyfish,
worms, and now extinct tribrachidium. 1 According to Prehistoric Atlas:
The presence of fossil remains of marine animals characterises only those
rocks dating back to the start of the Paleozoic Era. This proves that
animal and plant life were then confined to the seas and oceans, but that
all the groups of invertebrate animals alive today were already
represented. 2 Trilobites, brachiopods, sponges, and creatures of
wondrous description comprised the Cambrian explosion about 570 million
years ago. Biologists attribute this radical change in life forms to what
might be called an "arms race." Creatures developed defensive mechanisms
such as a tough shell, or were gobbled up. Fossilized shells can be found
in profusion today, which mark the beginning of the Cambrian period with an
Strange looking colonial creatures called graptolites were prevalent, and
are part of the Stomacordata group which "stands midway between
invertebrates and vertebrates." 3 The first tantalizing hint at
vertebrates appeared in the Ordovician period 500 million years ago such as
a kind of fish without jawbones called Agnatha, forerunners to present-day
Life on land dates to the Upper Silurian period 435 million years
ago. Plants emerged from the seas, and began to colonize river banks and
basins where some degree of nutritious soil was available. The first
primitive fish with jawbones (Acanthodii) dates to this period. Animal
life to first venture on land included earthworms, gastropods, myriapods,
and arthropods, which included primitive scorpions and the precursors to
insects that would be needed for pollination.
Genesis 1:11: "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."
Note that Genesis records land-based plant life on the third day before
marine life on the fifth day. What's going on here? Didn't marine life
precede life on land? The fossil record suggests it did, but consistently
the Bible record and the fossil record use different start points.
Life on land, according to nature's evidence, began about 400 million years
ago; ferns, club mosses, and horsetails appeared which reproduced through
spores not seeds, and were confined to moist wetlands. The first plants
with seeds date to the Devonian period about 395 million years ago. By 355
million years ago, trees 100 feet high or more dominated much of the
earth's lowlands. 4
Conifers such as Callixylon began to appear, that were ancestral to pine
and fir trees of today. The first blooming flowers began to color the
landscape in the Early Cretaceous some 120 million years ago, and the
earliest traces of grass date to the Upper Paleocene about 62 million years
Here critics point to seeming discrepancies. From the evidence available,
life in the ocean dates to even before the Cambrian period of 570 million
years ago, and preceded life on land. The Bible demonstrates consistency,
though; ancient precursors to modern men are excluded from the biblical
record, and so are ancient aquatic precursors to modern plant and animal life.
Just as primitive sea creatures preceded modern fish, likewise, sea
vegetation begat land vegetation, and all date initially to the same
period, the Ordovician. Not that it is particularly significant, but the
fossil record does indicate primitive land plants appeared before primitive
fish. So it makes no difference whether we consider primitive life or more
modern life forms. The Genesis account accords either way.
"Armored fish" called placoderms date to the Devonian period as does
Eusthenopteron a forerunner to rhipidistians, and then crossopterygians,
and, perhaps, also to amphibians. Characteristics of both fish and
amphibian were combined in one creature called Ichthyostega also dating to
The latimeria and ceratodus could be called modern fish, but they appear
195 million years ago in the Jurassic period. Over 100 million years stand
between seed bearing land plants and what could be called modern fish.
But what about "grass" on the third day of creation? Critics charge that
grasses did not emerge until after the dinosaurs became extinct. How can
62 million year old grass predate the dinosaurs, for example, who came into
existence over 200 million years ago?
Massive dinosaurs leave huge bones, which make wonderful fossils. The
Cambrian explosion left a permanent record of hard-shelled marine creatures
that is impossible to ignore. Any soft-shelled predecessors left scarcely
a trace. The same could be said for any land-based vegetation that might
Sparse fossil evidence hinders us from knowing exactly what plant life
first began to grow on dry land. "Grass" may be just another instance of
translation out of ignorance. The Hebrew word, deshe' can mean simply
"vegetation." We can verify that the earth has had land-based vegetation
for over 400 million years.
Modern fruit trees, critics point out, certainly were not in existence
before fishes. That seems to be true, but these verses say nothing about
"modern" fruit trees. In English, fruit trees bear edible fruit; apples,
pears, cherries, and so forth. The Hebrew term includes seed-bearing
trees, and shade trees that do not bear edible fruit. 5
Apple trees, for example, do not date to the Upper Silurian, but the
"fruit" of any plant is its yield. Conifers were among the first
land-based vegetation, and calling them "fruit trees" is consistent with
1. P. Arduini and G. Teruzzi, Prehistoric Atlas (London: Macdonald & Co.
(Publishers) Ltd., 1982), 23.
2. Ibid., 26.
3. Ibid., 28.
4. From the exhibition on early plant life at the Smithsonian Institute in
5. Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: The
Magnes Press, 1944), 40.
Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution - www.orisol.com
"The answer we should have known about 150 years ago"
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