Can Genesis and Old Earth chronology be reconciled?

Please, don’t use the minimalizing argument!
We are talking about MORAL judgement. Having a soul is not about intelligence. It is about the moral and ethical aspects of life. Elohim God chooses at what point each person reaches the “age of accountability” which is the tipping point. And it is not an all at once proposition. A child learns and accepts responsibility for self over a sliding scale of years from true innocence to adulthood. I see in myself the steps I took (and failed) in my own growth.

I am making the assumption from that that the pre-accountable population of the earth were intelligent, active human beings, who did everything we do, but were not held as accountable for those moral actions of sin until Elohim YHWH chose. The Breath of Life is the instillation of what we would call “soul” in and of itself. All the others outside of that in Adam’s day were living an breathing animals, intelligent to the point of what we may consider Blue Whales, Dolphins, of my beloved pet dogs (only more so). Sentient to the very cusp of humanity, but lacking the one “spark” necessary to complete Elohim’s Image.
How he propagated that through the pre-adamic line as they came into contact with Adam’s line will remain unknowable for now, but it certainly is a probability.
The test of accountability were TWO trees in the garden to eat from. Hence having the choice Adam & Eve failed the test and were judged accountable for their actions.

– Oh, and this brings up the aspect of eternal Hell. I think people who do NOT accept Yeshua Christ as savior are not truly human (yet), The spark is there, but we must choose how to use it in making the choice between Elohim God or Self. Choosing self means rejecting humanity at it fullest intent, and will burn up in the hellfire and be gone (no eternal damnation). I am a annihilationist and believe the Church has been mislead by poor scholarship on the doctrine of hell.

I agree! The Bible is bound by a “Literal” Translation. But you must define what is “Literal”!
Like you, I was raised to believe the Creation Story was “literal” in 24/7 days, which requies a “literal” seven day creation. Yet the Bible is clearly not a scientific text! So why in the world would it be describing the creation Story in Literal 24/7 days and years?

The bible is the History of Elohim God’s Relationship with mankind! It is limited in that it is called SPECIAL REVELATION, not Exhaustive Revelation. Hence the book of John becomes the text by which we determine the meaning of the Genesis account. And John 1:1-4, 3:1-21 clearly intends for Genesis 1-2 to be a Spiritual Formation story, and the actual material creation has nothing to do with it!

General Revelation is ours to discover the mechanism of HOW, just as Special Revelation of Scripture is WHY.
Why is that so hard to understand? Breaking Material Creation away from Genesis 1-2 is like potty training a small child. It takes time and it is messy and smelly But worth it! :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Why is that so hard to understand?

I think you answered it with your and my upbringing. Childhood indoctrination has lasting effects. Most people are not interested in putting in the intellectual work necessary to get beyond a simple literal understanding of Genesis. The imagination loves fantasy and the supernatural so it prefers to see it that way. Notice the popularity of superheroes and crazy conspiracies.

The literal translation of the Bible means limiting the translation of the Hebrew to common knowledge at the time of writing. The word choices for translation are based on the application of that same Hebrew word in other usage from the same text. The translation has to make grammatical sense but not empirical sense.

Every person has there own aptitude for understanding different ideas. Social media has exposed the range and variation in that aptitude. Given that reality, there will never be reconciliation between Genesis and Old Earth chronology that is accepted beyond a group of people with the same aptitude.

1 Like

Where did you get that number? Not arguing it.
Even if correct, how many words do you need for a mostly nomadic people who have yet to establish their own kingdom? Many of our words today are multiple words meaning the same thing, words brought in from various other languages and technology specific words. They didn’t need any of those in ancient Hebrew.

That changed after the Torah, though. I would highly suggest Jeff Benner as a source for anything about ancient Hebrew. And no, I’m not him either. I still have a time with the letters and learning a few words in Hebrew.

https://www.quora.com/How-many-unique-Hebrew-words-or-roots-are-there-in-the-Old-Testament-Tanakh-Are-there-8674?share=1

What I find interesting is that children these days surpass a vocabulary of 5000 words at the age of 5. So we are talking about kindergarten. What kind of science can you teach in kindergarten? Does it make any sense whatsoever to evaluate the findings of science by the standards of what is taught in kindergarten?

They didn’t need any of those (words) in ancient Hebrew.

I can’t provide a specific reference for the determination that ancient Hebrew had a vocabulary of 5,000 words. In my studies of the history of language I also recall that the Greek language at the time of the Greek Empire had a vocabulary of 20,000 words. A good book to reference is “The First Word” by Christine Kenneally. It contains an excellent bibliography. You may also explore books by Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker.

I think you are realizing my basic point. The Bible tells us that words are man made (naming the animals) and Genesis was written in an ancient language that had a very limited vocabulary. To confine the understanding of Genesis to a literal translation/interpretation is to put serious human limitations on God. The Bible was translated into Greek in 100 BCE, into Latin in 400 CE and into English in 1620 CE. All translations are based on the literal Hebrew and none are seriously thought to be divinely inspired. A literal translation is important for preserving the integrity of the original but it does not allow for God’s omniscience in the light of what His Creation tells us.

The creation of words as they appear in writing is fascinating to study. Spoken language existed well before it was rendered in writing. Written language is about 6,000 years old and unique to humans. I am referring to a series of words with syntax not just a picture or symbol drawn or carved on stone or wood. Vocabulary expands with new words. New words may represent new knowledge or they may be a synonym for an existing word with a nuanced difference for certain usage. Many words have multiple meanings that rely on context to figure out. This is the issue with translating Genesis beyond the literal. So few words existed that the meaning God inspired would not be exposed by a literal examination but discovered later with new knowledge. It is just one of the many ideas people may choose from to “reconcile” Genesis with what God’s creation tells us.

1 Like

I couldn’t find anything specific to the Torah either. Please read my earlier post from Jeff Benner. It may show why the low figure doesn’t tell everything. He takes the whole Old Testament or Tanakh into account.

https://www.quora.com/How-many-unique-Hebrew-words-or-roots-are-there-in-the-Old-Testament-Tanakh-Are-there-8674?share=1

Given that YEC and an old earth are disparate belief systems, it takes a lot to mentally juggle them to fit together.

You will deny this, but of course accepting the realty of an old earth is not a belief system. It is your belief that it is a belief system that is part of your overall belief system, and that belief system is called YEC. What you are doing here is simply projecting that onto us.

People who accept evolution as the best explanation for the evidence, do so only because it is the best explanation for the evidence. People like you Patrick simply cannot accept this because this would mean that those in my camp are the more reasonable and rational ones. So YECs have to insist that there are these people called ‘evolutionists’ who believe in this special kind of science called ‘secular science’ which is not real science, and that this is designed to remove God out of our thinking about the world. This is a belief that you have to hold in order to lower those who accept evolution down to the level of a ‘mere’ believer like you.
However, this denigrates other Christians who don’t agree with you because all of this implies that being a believer is lesser thing, but also you denigrate science by saying that it is merely playing the same game, which is to decide in advance the outcome you want and then produce results to match. Yet it is precisely the fact that science doesn’t do that that makes it science and not religion.

In all the posts you have sent to this forum, you have failed to demonstrate any of this. You have not succeeded in showing evolution to be false or even doubtful in any way. You have presented no scientific evidence that shows that we have a young earth, and you have just made a bunch of claims and assertions without reasonable and sound support.

The only one here believing what you are saying is you. People who accept evolution know that this is not a belief, and you telling us it is just looks plain silly. We know that what we have done is looked at the evidence for evolution with an open mind. There are many ex-YECs here who have done just that and have let go of the impossible task of putting a square peg in a round hole. A task which you are persisting with. Those of us on this side are watching you try and try to get that peg to fit, and denouncing those who say it won’t but yet no matter what you do, that peg just will not fit and everyone can see that but you.

Patrick, it is time for you to take stock. You need to wake up to the fact that it is you who has decided that literal interpretation of scripture is critical to being a Christian, so you desperately cling to that. This then leads you to the square peg in a round hole problem.

Believing things because you have to or want to or need to are not good reasons to believe anything. The best and most rational way is to apportion your beliefs to the evidence and that is precisely what everyone in these forums has done except you.

I have said it before and I will say it again. If and when you decide to become scientifically literate, learn about science and speak to real scientists, I will be here waiting to talk with you. I look forward to the possibility of that happening one day.

2 Likes

Thank you for the link to the information on Hebrew words and vocabulary. The various responses in Quora show the complexity of the subject. Language is complicated and what distinguishes one word from another may be different from one language to another. The point is that the writer of Genesis had a small percentage of the words we have today.

The approach that I propose for interpreting Genesis is to reverse engineer the translation. The universe began with two discrete entities, space and matter. Matter consists of mass and energy as atomic fission has demonstrated. What would have been the Hebrew word for “space”? And what would have been the Hebrew word for “matter” in the creation story? The first verse of Genesis could easily be saying “In the beginning God created space and matter”. The context is dictating the choice of word to use in translation. This approach can be followed throughout the creation story to produce a reasonably accurate description for the sequence of creation that agrees with scientific discoveries.

Another curious aspect of the common translation we read has to do with the spirit of God moving over the waters. There were two Hebrew words for movement. One means linear movement and the other means vibration. The Hebrew word used in this case means vibration. Why is it simply translated as “moved”? The word that is translated “the waters” also leads to much confusion. The Hebrew word used could also be referring to some other “fluid matter” for which there was no other word. It just so happens that the matter of the early universe was in a fluid state. It actually would have been a plasma of quantum particles vibrating with energy.

I am sure this process would be subject to the same dispute as all other attempts to understand Genesis. It could be seen as a unique form of prophecy that is not the prediction of an event in the future but the revelation of a past event (creation) that is not known to be accurate until the future when new discoveries are made. It would give the Bible an exclusive credibility that no other alleged Scripture or mythology has.

There used to be a webpage that someone put up describing Genesis 1 in terms of string theory. If you can ever find it, I recommend reading it.

I don’t think this was it, but it is interesting.

Thank you for the reference. Josh Peck seems to have the same thinking that I have been having for many years now. I will take a look at his book. It is good to find people with the same aptitude for science and the Bible.

Nicely said, and makes for the crux of epistemology. How we know what we know is based upon our presuppositions, which in turn is informed by our upbringing. That’s why higher education is a two-edged sword, it cuts away our presuppositions but can also cut away the foundations of faith if we are not careful!
Dang it! If KJV was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me! :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Indoctrination is a good thing, if the doctrine is true. That helps explain why so many YEC families lose supposedly believing children when they learn good science and the truth about the antiquity of the cosmos, for instance. Of course, that is not the only reason children from Christian families leave the church.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.