Creation and the Bible: An Exegesis of Genesis. Views on Creation. In evangelical Christianity, there are two primary views regarding God’s creative acts. Young Earth Creationism (YEC) The earth and universe were created by God 6 to 10 thousand years ago Old Earth Creationism (OEC)
Views on Creation In evangelical Christianity, there are two primary views regarding God’s creative acts • Young Earth Creationism (YEC) • The earth and universe were created by God 6 to 10 thousand years ago • Old Earth Creationism (OEC) • The earth and universe were created by God billions of years ago • (A third view is that the universe is very old and Genesis describes a recreation of the earth thousands of years ago.)
YEC and OEC Share Much Common Ground • God created the universe and everything in it. • The record of creation in Genesis (and other places in Scripture) is true and accurate. • Humans are a special creation of God and not the result of random mutation and natural selection. • Old Earth Creationism does not imply evolution!
Old Earth Creationism is Biblically Based • The Chicago statement made by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy • A study published by the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) • Westminister Theological Seminary statement • Francis Schaeffer: No Final Conflict • Gleason Archer: A Survey of Old Testament Introduction • J. P. Moreland, Lee Strobel, Chuck Colson
Old Earth creationist believe that God’s method of creation was the big bang. We saw previously that OEC reveals the character of God • OEC is most definitely a theistic theory • Secular scientists understand this implication of the big bang. • The big bang and subsequent development of the universe actually reveals the character of the God of the Bible, as it should if it is true.
Nature declares God’s character • “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” - Psalm 19:1 • The Bible is God’s inspired, true word • “All Scripture is God-breathed…” - 2 Timothy 3:16 • “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” - 2 Peter 1:21 • God is the “God of truth” Since God is the God of truth, the revelation of nature will agree with the revelation of scripture.
PCA Statement on Biblical Creation • Lists four major literal interpretations of Genesis and six minor literal interpretations • Calendar Days • Day-Age • Framework • Analogical Days • Nine of the Ten are compatible with OEC. • The nearly 100 page document can be found at: http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html • Intermittent Days • Gap (Reconstitution) • Days of Revelation • Days of Divine Fiat • Focus on Palestine Days • Expanding Time
Why is this Important? • Understanding this issue helps to build bridges and encourages us to show love to each other • God is a God of truth and as Christians we will see the heart and mind of God as we explore the truth • The next generation must be prepared to face the challenges and ideas presented in college • For many people the answer to these questions will affect their faith • Truth about God’s creation can be used as an effective tool in evangelism.
Outline • The days of Genesis • The creation account • Creation and other Bible doctrine Their length is not known The Biblical record should agree with the record of nature Other Biblical doctrines are illuminated by what we believe about creation
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth The Hebrew word for “create” is “bara.” It has the meaning of creating something new, and is used of God’s creative acts only. • Bara is only used 3 times in the creation account of Genesis 1.
When did God create the heavens and earth? six days genealogies Creation Adam Christ Today • In 1650 A.D., Bishop James Ussher set a date of 4004 B.C. • He assumed that the Biblical genealogies were complete • He assumed that the days of Genesis were 24-hour days But…
…if the genealogies are incomplete and the days of Genesis are periods of time,then we have no information in Scripture regarding when God created the heavens and the earth. To be true to Scripture we must investigate how the Bible uses genealogies and the word “day”.
Genealogies • Hebrew genealogies deal with ancestral lines, not every generation. • The Hebrew word translated “begot” refers to generations • The Hebrew word translated “father” refers to ancestors • The Hebrew word translated “son” refers to descendents • Compare Matthew 1:8 with 2 Chronicles 21-26 • “Joram begot Uzziah” – Matthew 1:8 • This account skips Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah
Can the genealogies still have gaps when the ages of fathers are given? • “…the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem…” - Luke 3:35 • “…when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad…. When Arphaxad had lived 35 years he became the father of Shelah….” Genesis 11:10-12 Luke: Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Shelah, Eber Genesis: Shem, Arphaxad, , Shelah, Eber Yes, they can and do!
Scofield confirms that even when the age of the father at the birth of the descendent is given, the genealogies may have gaps. “Genesis 11:10 means that, when Shem was 100 years old, his wife bore a child who was either Arphachshad or an ancestor to Arpachshad. Many links in the chain of ancestry may have been left unmentioned.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967) Genealogies are not complete enough for us to determine when Adam and Eve lived.
The Bible itself gives clear answers to these questions: • Do the genealogies still have gaps when the age of the father is given as it often is in Genesis? • Yes and they do. Luke confirms this. Good evangelical Christian scholars confirm this.
The Days of Genesis The Hebrew word yom like the English word “day” has many meanings. “The word ‘day’ is used in Scripture in four ways: (1) that part of the solar day of twenty-four hours which is light (…); (2) a period of twenty-four hours (…) (3) a time set apart for some distinctive purpose, as ‘day of atonement’ (…); and (4) a longer period of time during which certain revealed purposes of God are to be accomplished (…). Cp. Gen 2:4, where the word ‘day’ covers the entire work of creation.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967)
Context must be considered when determining the meaning of the days of Genesis In the context of Genesis 1 and 2, what does yom mean? VerseMeaning 1:5 Daylight 1:14 Daylight 1:14 Distinctive days (plural) 1:16 Daylight 1:18 Daylight 2:4 Period of time: All creative days 2:17 At the moment (“when”) “Yom” never means a period of 24 hours in these verses! The Biblical context does not require the six days of creation and seventh day of rest to be 24 hour days.
For many people, the ambiguity of the Hebrew word yom settles the question • For others, some questions remain: • Can the days still be periods of time when they have a numeral with them, like “one day?” • Can the days still be periods of time when the text specifies “evening and morning?” • Good evangelical Christian Hebrew scholars agree • the days of creation with numbers and “evening and morning” can be long periods of time • Therefore both OEC and YEC should be Biblically accepted by Bible believing Christians.
Do numerals with the word day always imply a 24-hour day? No, a period of time can still be called one day And it shall come to pass, in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark, but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass that, at evening time, it shall be light. And it shall be, in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall it be. -Zechariah 14:6-8
Numerals are used even with indefinite periods of time Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on thethird day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. - Hosea 6:1-2 This has messianic overtones and have two meanings like Genesis 1 which has at least two purposes: to proclaim creation and to set up a pattern for the Sabbath.
“Evening and Morning” can be used metaphorically to mean “beginning and ending.” For an “era” or long period of time, this phrase could emphasize that the time is long, but finite. “You turn men back to dust, saying ‘Return to dust, O sons of men.’ For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning—though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.” - Psalm 90:3-6 Written by Moses
“The use of ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ may be held to limit ‘day’ to the solar day; but the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that it simply means that each creative day was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending (cp. Ps 90:6). In any event the sun did not become a measure of time before the fourth day, as seen in vv. 14-18.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967) Of course, we speak this way in English when we say, “the dawn of a new age,” or “the dusk of a dynasty.”
The Seventh Day Compare Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 with 2:2-3. Every day has an evening and morning (beginning and ending) except for day seven. If these were 24 hour days, then the seventh day would have a beginning and ending. If these are periods of time, then the seventh day would not have an ending. We are still in the period of time after the six days of creation.
The Bible itself gives clear answers to questions about the “days” of Genesis: • Can the days still be long periods of time when they have a numeral with them, like “one day?” • Yes, and they are in Zechariah and Hosea. • Can the days still be periods of time when the text specifies “evening and morning?” • Yes, evening and morning can simply mean the beginning and ending of a period, as Moses uses them in Psalm 90.
Why use “day”, (yom) for the days of creation? • The English word “day” has the same meanings as the Hebrew word. Consider “In George Washington’s day….” • Unlike English, ancient Hebrew has no word other than yom for a long, but definite, period of time. If the author wanted to say that God created the earth in six periods of time, he would have to use the word yom. He has no other choice. • God is setting up the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, so God inspires Moses to use a word that is the best word for both “era” and for “solar day.” • In the context, it is just as reasonable, if not more so, to interpret the six days of creation as periods of time as it is to interpret them as 24 hours.
Some of the best Hebrew scholars of our day even believe that the days of Genesis cannot be twenty four hours, based on the Biblical text. “On the basis of internal evidence, it is this writer's conviction that yom in Genesis one could not have been intended by the Hebrew author to mean a literal twenty-four-hour day.” [Emphasis added] - Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (1994) Gleason Archer was an evangelical Christian, one of the best Hebrew scholars of the 20th century and one of the translators of The New American Standard Bible
Conclusion of almost all good Biblical scholars: The Bible does not say when the universe was created. Any claim that the Bible unambiguously states that the earth or universe is young (only thousands of years old) is simply false. “Scripture gives no data for determining how long ago the universe was created.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967)
Biblical Hints about the Age of the Earth “He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal.” - Habakkuk 3:6 The idea that the Bible describes a young earth, only a few thousand years old, was popularized in the early 1900’s in order to confront evolution.
Before Darwin, scholars knew the “days” could be long • When it is said, therefore, that “the evening and the morning were a certain day,” we understand it as equivalent to saying that a series or succession of evenings and mornings constituted a peculiar kind of day, a day, a period, of undefined extent; • George Bush, Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature, New York City University • Notes, Critical and Practical on the Book of Genesis, 1838
Insights from Verse 2 “And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” • The Bible only states that there was darkness on the surface of the deep, not in the universe, in general. • The earth starts out formless, void, and mostly liquid • Scientific studies agree that the early earth was dark, formless, void, and liquid. • The Story of Creation is told from God’s perspective on the surface of the earth, not from above the earth. • Genesis 1:2-31 describes the creation of things on earth, and as seen from earth.
From a perspective on the surface of the earth, the story recorded in Genesis 1 remarkably follows the order of events as described by current scientific theories regarding the development of the earth.
The story is told from the perspective of the earth: “And God made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night.” - Genesis 1:16a
Day 1: Light is created and separated from darkness Day 2: Water above (in the sky) is separated from water below (the oceans) Day 3: Land appears, along with plants Day 4: The lights that fill the heavens are made Day 5: The birds that fill the sky and the fish that fill the oceans are made Day 6 Animals and man, that fill the land, are made The pattern of creation Formless Void
Day 1: Light Separated from Darkness The early atmosphere changes from completely opaque, which make the surface dark, to translucent, allowing light (day) and darkness (night) to be recognized, but still unable to see the sun or moon, like on a cloudy day or night.
Day 2: God separates the waters above from the waters below A water cycle with waters above (clouds) and waters below (oceans) begins.
Day 3: God creates dry land and oceans. Plants are created. The mostly watery planet develops continents
100% 50% First evidence of life on land Continents formed (Day 3) Oldest rocks Volume of continental land mass relative to the present 1 2 3 4 Time since Earth’s formation (billions of years) Day 3 “discovered” by modern science From Rare Earth by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee (2000)
Day 4: The sun, moon, and stars are created The atmosphere finally becomes transparent. The sun, moon, and stars can now be seen. Before this day, only the light from the sun could be observed from the surface of the earth, not the sun itself.
“(1:3) Neither here nor in vv. 14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is made to appear, made visible. The sun and the moon were created ‘in the beginning.’ The light came from the sun, of course, but the vapor diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967)
Days 5 and 6: Creation of animals • Animals that swarm (sherets) • If land animals, insects, frogs • Animals that creep (remes) • If land animals, usually with four legs • Large animals with soul (nephesh) • If land animals, usually with four legs • Three major classes of animals The creation of every species is not necessarilly described
Day 5: Second use of bara • v20 “Let the waters teem with sherets...” • v21 “…And God created (bara) the great sea monsters and every living creature (nephesh). • The second use of bara is associated with the creation of “soulish” animals.
Day 6: God creates (bara) humans • Humans are a unique creation. They are the spiritual beings created in the image of God. • Adam and Eve existed as actual people. • A 4.5 billion year old earth does not imply that evolution occurred.
“Only three creative acts of God are recorded in this chapter: (1) the heavens and the earth, v.1; (2) animal life, vv. 20-21; and (3) human life vv. 26-27. The first creative act refers to the dateless past.” - C.I. Scofield, in The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967) Remember, bara is used only three times in Genesis 1.
Order of creation: modern science and the Bible agree • Creation of the heavens and the earth. The earth is formless, void, and dark on the surface. • Light appears on the surface of the earth as the planetary and interplanetary dust clears • The water cycle begins • Continents form • Plants sprout from the ground • The atmosphere becomes transparent, making the sun moon and stars visible • Fish and birds fill the sea and air • Higher life forms fill the sea • Large mammals that will interact with humans fill the land • Humans are created
The fossil record Humans are a recent addition to life on earth
Theological Integration • The interpretation of Genesis proposed here follows good rules of Biblical hermeneutics and is in good agreement with other doctrines of scripture • The Fall of man and the consequences of sin • The condition and purpose of the creation • The coming heaven and earth
The Fall of Man If the earth is billions of years old, was there physical death before the fall of man? • Yes, physical death of plants and animals existed before the fall of man • The fall brought the catastrophic result of spiritual death to spiritual beings • The idea that the death from the fall is spiritual death is supported by many Biblical passages
“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” - Genesis 2:17 Did God keep his promise? Did Adam and Eve die the day they ate of the tree? Yes, if the death that comes from the fall is spiritual death.
Many New Testament passages only make sense if the death that came from the fall is spiritual death. “He who hears my word, and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed from death into life.” - John 5:24 “If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” -John 8:51 Christ did not come to save us from physical death in this world (which we will still experience), but from spiritual death.