January 24, 2017

The Days of Genesis One (3)

By Daniel King

The Pattern of Creation — The “Kinds”

The word translated “kind” (min) in Genesis 1:11-12, 21, and 24‑25   apparently refers to the general reproducing groups of organisms. The term probably does not refer to the technical word species in most cases, but it may refer to what we today call genera, families, orders, or other taxonomic categories. The word may in fact have no exact   twentieth-century equivalent. And, while there may be some uncertainty as to what is precisely meant by “kind,” it is plain that the word does have a definite and fixed meaning. (It may be helpful to note that the word “species” is similarly difficult to define by scientists today.) One thing is certain about the use of min in Genesis. One “kind” could not transform itself into another “kind.” We may therefore infer that all the changes which take place (and we admit that some do take place), happen only within the boundaries set by the creative hand of God, because organisms reproduce “after their kind.”

Hence, no change is capable of causing an organism to move to a kind different from that of its ancestors. On the evidence of these texts, and given the fact that evolution’s advocates have not been able to produce examples of the very thing which they are most obligated to prove, there are many very substantial reasons to reject the evolutionary account of man’s origin:

1. Eve was formed from the body of Adam (Gen. 2:21, 22). Male and female did not ascend     together through the various develop- mental stages to the final stage,          notably homo sapiens.

2. Adam was molded by divine transmutation from some type of earth (Gen. 2:7). He did not develop from lower forms of animal life.

3. Descendants of the original man and woman (as well as other creatures) must have been subject to change in a limited sense by genetic and environmental diversification. This would account for such things as racial variations in human beings (cf. Gen. 10-11). It would also explain the existence of families of animals like, for example, wolves, jackals, foxes, and dogs in the family Canidae.

This clear teaching of Genesis 1 is accepted and confirmed in other parts of the Bible. For example, consider 1 Corinthians 15:38, 39: “. . . God giveth . . . to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” Evolution, on the other hand, tells us that all life is probably ascended from a common ancestry.

“Create” and “Make”

As we have already pointed out in an earlier section, there are two types of creative activity recorded in the Genesis account. One type is that described by the word “create” (Hebrew bara). This is the word used in the only instances of ex nihilo creation, fiat creation, or “creation out of nothing.” Only three works of “creation” in this sense are found in Genesis 1: 

1. One is the creation of the basic elements of the physical cosmos — space, mass, and time (1:1).

2. The second is the creation of human consciousness, also associated with the breath of life (1:21).

3. The third is the creation of the image of God in man (1:27); this represents either the same thing that is alluded to in 1:21 or an enlargement of the notion.

The Genesis account does not have a clear reference to creatio ex nihilo, a creation out of nothing. It is assumed rather than explicitly taught, and it is the context which distinguishes these particular instances as such. Moreover, that this creation was not from pre-existing matter is made quite clear by the New Testament. In Romans 4:17, Paul speaks of God who “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” As well, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has this to say, “By faith we understand that the world was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (11:3).

In the other instances in Genesis, other than 1:1, 21, and 27, God’s work was to “make” (asah) or to “form” (yatsar), i.e., out of pre‑existing matter the final product, as a potter would shape his vessel on the wheel out of clay. In terms of the material universe, according to the text itself, the only creatio ex nihilo is in Genesis 1:1. There God is said to have created the matter and energy out of which the universe was fashioned, and then took six days to organize it. So, the six days were dedicated to organizing the matter and energy he had called into being at the beginning. One thing is very clear about the process as described in the Genesis account, and wherein these three verbs are employed, it was never left to its own devices, i.e., to form and shape itself. God was the Former and the Fashioner. He did not leave the elements of his creation to fashion themselves over vast stretches of time. One looks in vain in Genesis 1 for these vast eons of time and the Ages which they represent in the geological time table as described in modern science text books. But one also looks in vain to find the physical processes acting on their own to produce the world we now see. 

One particular writer’s remarks about the word “make” are indicative of one who believes the physical elements were left to themselves over these vast expanses of time. According to his view they formed themselves into what became planet earth as we know it today: “Now once again God lets this environment he’s created do what he created it to do: make (Assam’) [sic] the surface of the Earth. The earth is going through a process of cooling as it stabilizes         . . . How long was this? How long did it take God to pronounce his will? Not long. A day is surely sufficient. How long did it take the Earth to comply with his decree? However long it takes . . . ” (Hill Roberts, A Harmonization of God’s Genesis Revelation and His Natural Revelation). In this writer’s humble opinion it is very difficult to avoid the term “evolutionist” to describe such people and their views, since it is apparent that they believe in a process of “evolution” (whether or not they would agree to the use of this word) of the inanimate world through natural processes and subject to natural law. If God used such processes over vast ages to bring the inanimate world to an advanced state, why would it be unthinkable for him to have used the same or similar processes to bring the animate world to an advanced state of development? Whether you have one or the other, or both together, it would seem to this writer that the result ought to be called “theistic evolution,” simply because that is what it is.

The Logic and Symmetry of the Creation Narrative in Genesis

1. Purposeful progress. Each stage of the creative process in the Genesis account was an appropriate preparation for the succeeding phase and all of them for the ultimate purpose of providing a suitable home for man. But on the whole the stages in Genesis cannot be made to fit the sequences of evolutionary theorists and their way of reading the geologic column. This fact has been a constant source of frustration for theistic evolutionists. They could wish that Moses had been more aware of these later hypothetical reconstructions of the development of life on earth, so that he could have configured his creation narrative more in line with them! 

2. Appearance of Age. The creation was mature from its inception. It did not have to grow or develop from simple beginnings. Adam and Eve are presented as fully formed adults; stars and sun gave light immediately, though the spaces between the stars were many light years and would normally require eons to cross that space, etc. The earth and the elements that composed it (along with the rest  of the universe for that matter) may have possessed some of the appearances of age as well. It was so because God willed it to be so and spoke it into existence. The fact that under “ordinary circumstances” it would not be so has absolutely nothing to do with the creation as it is described in Genesis. Even though some operate on the assumption that such a miraculous intervention would be an aberration in a “uniformitarian” world, the Bible says it was so: “And God said, Let there be . . . and there was . . . ” 

3. It Was Different From Our World. “The world that then was” (2 Pet. 3:6) was vastly different from the one we know. The Firmament (raqia) about which Genesis speaks may have been a vast blanket of water vapor, or vapor canopy, which produced a greenhouse effect, maintained mild temperatures, prevented rainfall (2:5), and may even have prolonged life and decreased the aging process.

4. A Worldwide Flood Made a Significant Impression Upon Earth Geology. This is one factor which is generally ignored or even denied by many from among the ranks of theistic evolutionists. Of course, most from the contemporary scientific community give it no credence whatsoever. But those who take seriously the biblical account of creation and the flood (Gen. 6-9) also wish to come to terms with the geologic facts provided by the earth’s crust. All of the geologic strata and formations, the great coal and oil deposits, the volcanic and glacial beds, the mountain ranges and geosynclines, and all the multitudinous phenomena of historical geology require some adequate explanation for their very existence. As Dr. Henry Morris has said, “The only possible explanation for the geologic column and fossil record, consistent with Scripture, must therefore be sought in terms of the Noachian Deluge. This tremendous worldwide cataclysm does provide a satisfactory framework within which to reinterpret these data. If the Flood was really of the magnitude and intensity the Bible indicates, then the entire case for evolution collapses. Evolution depends entirely on the fossil record interpreted in terms of vast geologic ages. If these did not take place, evolution is impossible” (Scientific Creationism 251). 

The position held by theistic evolutionists which states that the biblical flood was merely a local phenomenon and the geologic column and fossil record are to be explained by vast eons of prehistoric time instead, holds the Bible in contempt, for it reduces the statements made in Scripture about the height and duration of the Flood to fiction (cf. Gen. 7:19, 20; 8:5). Mount Ararat, where the Ark came to rest is 17,000 feet high. The Bible says the waters covered these peaks for more than nine months. Such a “local flood” is impossible on many different grounds. Again, in their search for compliance with the theory of evolution, these “Bible students” are willing to surrender the literal and obvious meaning of certain passages from the Word of God.

5. The Genealogies of Genesis Provide No Benefit to Theistic Evolutionists. It is often argued that because the Hebrew expression “to beget” (yalad) does not necessitate a direct father/son relationship but often only means “to be a descendant,” that there is plenty of room in the genealogies of Genesis for considerable additional time than the traditional way of viewing them would permit. It is also noted that there is ample evidence of the fact that genealogies in general are not to be viewed as chronologies would be, that is, straight-line and all-inclusive generational depictions. Rather, they are often punctuated by abbreviations which may skip several generations. This much is not a matter of controversy. And this clearly renders the 4004 B.C. date of Bishop Usher for the creation obsolete. His dates may prove to be hundreds or even thousands of years off. Most careful Bible students today do not attempt to offer a precise date for the creation because of this. However, the question whether this fact provides any serious encouragement to the notion that millions or even billions of years may have intervened is utterly preposterous. The age of Abraham has been dated at approximately 2000 B.C. on a solid historical basis, so it is only the 2000 years from Adam to Abraham recorded in the genealogies of Genesis 10-11 which provide any room at all for flexibility in reckoning the duration of Old Testament history. Even the most generous approach to generation-skipping finds it hard to make this 2000 years correlate with evolution’s 100,000 to 250,000 years of human evolution. Moreover, this does not even consider the other 4.5 billion years which must be made to fit into the six days of creation! The genealogies of Genesis cannot be made to provide the theistic evolutionist what he is looking for, i.e., vast eons of time. If those expansive periods of time actually transpired, then the Bible is wrong. It is that simple. But if they did not, then evolution is wrong. It is that simple.

In the final section of our study, we shall examine the scientific evidence which has been set forward by scientists with a creationist orientation to argue for a young earth and recent creation. Without question this is the only scenario which may permit the Bible to be accepted at face value. (This series will be concluded in the next issue of Truth Magazine.)

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Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 12  p6  June 15, 2000