[asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: George Cooper <georgecooper@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Wed Mar 26 2008 - 18:57:21 EDT

 

As one of the few literalist here, and one wanting to learn, even if it is iron on wood, please tolerate my unorthodox literal view.

 

Jon,

 

First, I was pondering the statement that the animals and Adam were created "out of the dust of the ground". I realize that some have inferred that this statement could include evolution, as the earth itself is what produces the variety of creatures.

 

This reference is not from Genesis 1, but from the time after God placed Adam in the garden (2:15). In verse 19, "God formed every beast of the field". That could be interpreted "God formed every beast that was in the field" in the sense that it was a duplication process. It is unlikely that every beast for all the Earth suddenly were made "out of the ground", else there would be no ground left to have a garden. Only replications were necessary for the purpose that seemed obviously intended -- the allowance of Adam to name them.

 

I disagree with those that view that Chapter 2 is to be taken as an enhancement to the day 6 account, or a greater level of differentiation. I take Chapter 2 as a separate and important event for mankind, since a "living soul" (KJV) was given to a very special man.

 

Since there was no mention of the formation of things "out of the ground" in chapter 1, then a broader view that allows for an evolutionary process may be warranted.

 

.then for consistency what would the creation of Eve be taken to mean scientifically, as being from Adam's rib? In other words, for those who take the one statement as a scientific inference of Adam's evolution, how can they apply consistent interpretation when it comes to Eve's creation as a scientific event?

 

Agreed. But, if our observer is simply giving an account of mankind's presence to establish God as the responsible Creator, then a 6th day mankind evolutionary view, along with a specific creation account for Adam and Eve, doesn't seem that illogical. The necessary molecular and neurological components necessary to create an Adam from scratch that would make him compatible for our planet would be available in any of the evolved homo sapiens already in existence.

 

Perhaps, when the evolutionary process reaches such a level as the early homo sapiens, then credit is given to the one person who made it possible - God. Further, such species could be candidates for eternal life. That would be a very, very special event, one worth establishing in a special chapter, too.

 

That may sound a little radical, but I predicted, through a crude math extrapolation, that we would discover 62 new exoplanets last year. I missed it by one; there were 61 new ones. The rate of exoplanets discovery is not linear. It seems clear the universe will have trillions of planets. This does not diminish God's glory, of course, but should magnify it for our own eyes to see and admire.

 

[While we are on the subject of exoplanets, take a look at this story I just read while typing here. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080326123135.htm

 

It shows a dark spot in the insert image that represents the likely formation area of a protoplanet within the star's accretion disk. Is it not plausible for an ancient observer to see such a region and describe it as "without form and void"? This is the first image of its kind that I've seen, though I am not an astronomer, nor heavily active in this field.]

 

Second, the sun and moon were made to "divide the day from the night", with the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night. If this was so (according to a "literal" interpretation), then why do we see the moon come out in the daytime and disappear at night sometimes? It seems that if this verse were to be taken literally, the moon has ceased functioning according to its created purpose, which was to rule over the night.

 

I think others have addressed this well enough. Only one is seen at night, and it is 2000 times brighter than Venus (the second brightest object in the sky) and 30,000x brighter than the brightest star, Sirius. The Moon rules, as kids might say today. Since everyone knew in those days the Moon's pattern, no further elaboration about it would be necessary in the passage. Their own rulers roamed around, too, no doubt.

 

 Also, since God divided the light from the darkness in Gen 1:4, why did it need to be divided again in verse 14 by the sun and moon? How do the sun and moon divide the light from darkness, since both of them cast light on the earth (the moon for at least most of the month)?

The emission of light into darkness creates the division. Recall that there was first darkness." and darkness was on the face of the deep". Space is both deep and dark. Only light changes that view. It is also seen in our shadows where the division from light and dark are obvious. It is the light that creates the division, and only the Moon and Sun create these personal light/dark divisions, excluding some nit-pickin' wimpy exceptions.

 

George

In "The Hexaemeron" Basil says:

 

"And God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night." Since the birth of the sun, the light that it diffuses in the air, when shining on our hemisphere, is day; and and shadow produced by its disappearance is night. But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night." (NPNF 2, VIII, p.64)

 

The shadow is not that which is night. The absence of light in our atmosphere allows us to see the darkness of the face of the deep - space. Day, or daylight, has been added to darkness. When did this happen that would be critical to mankind? It may have been when the Sun first burst forth its nourishing light upon its family of planets. Protostars are often enshrouded with dust during their early accretion years. Perhaps the Sun had a Sun burst moment that was monumental enough to make it important for our author to witness. Of course, the metaphorical use of light is a special bonus, too; I like the use of Sonlight.

 

 

Michael

Until we see that the Bible was accommodated to the thought of the day so
the original hearers could understand instead of in terms of modern science
we shall never understand it. and create great problems for everyone.
I see accommodation for both. "Never understanding" may not be God's plan for us. I like to think things will unfold that will give us the illumination we need to deal with the problems more unique to our period. I strongly disagree with Ken Ham's statement that it will be the "collapse of Christianity" if we don't see it his way along the simplistic path. That speaks poorly of Who is really in charge of Christianity, and gives insight to the one making such a charge.

 

 

Jim A

Just to perhaps speak the obvious, but with respect to your first "ponder", the Genesis 1:20-21 passages, including, "...Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life..." are additionally interesting. They are interesting in their very presence, given the seemingly sufficient "out of the dust of the ground" passage. It is of course also interesting because of its possible descriptive accommodation of an evolutionary process. Neither passage of course proves anything relating to evolution, but they do seem to me to make clear room for such a progressive creative process, even to a very literal interpreter of Scripture unless they are just to be ignored.

Yes. Also, the use of the word "Let" is interesting and one that may indeed suggest a process is at work, even if in the background, far from the observer's understanding.

 

If we allow the idea that the six days of chapter 1 were six actual days an observer experienced, then his accounts are simply ones to best describe what he was shown and told, nothing more. Revelations tells us that John is to write what he sees. Perhaps this idea from the last book is a small key to the first one.

 

The observer could not have been ignorant of his purpose, namely to glorify God as Creator, thus forcing the forfeit of any other gods. Whatever he observed on any of his days could, therefore, be taken from the perspective that God would be established as their creator, rather than God performing creative wizardry. This allows evolution some room to develop.

 

Jon T

If the verses in question are suggested to have a "possible descriptive accommodation of an evolutionary process," then what kind of accommodation could be contrived for the creation of Eve from Adam's rib?

Good point. There just seem to be too many specifics not only in Genesis but even in the NT that strongly support the idea that they were real individuals.

 

Jim A

There is no evident reason as I see it to dismiss earth as an secondary "actionee", doing what it was assigned/designed to do. Instead, we can look at everything about us to see earth in an active state, not static. I see only an allergy [allegory] to the idea of God setting something in motion to bring about a desired result. Yet, we do that every time we plant a garden.

Yes. And if you snapped your fingers and produced a ripe tomato ex nihlo, I would want to tell others that you snapped your fingers and did so to point out to the amazement of others that you did it in an instant "right before my eyes". However, if you grow a tomato I would still give you the credit an attentive gardner deserves, especially if I get to eat it. Or, if you commanded others to grow them, I would expect them to be almost as good. Even by fiat, credit is due.

 

Why some must have instantaneous action ex nihlo is somewhat understandable because it is a more attractive view, but not necessarily that which was given in Genesis. If all was from nothing, that would have been something worth mentioning.

George A

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Received on Wed Mar 26 18:58:14 2008

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