Do people who embrace common descent "give up on Genesis"?

(Otangelo Grasso) #1

If you embrace common ancestry, you give up Genesis. What do you think is more reliable, the word of God, or science, which moves forward and changes constantly ?

Otangelo has questions about the age of the earth
(Christy Hemphill) #2

God did not say he created nuclear fusion either. Or that the Sun is a ball of burning gas like all the other stars. It just says he created the light to rule the day. Does that mean as Christians we can’t learn things about the Sun other than the fact that it gives light during the day?

(Christy Hemphill) #3

Deciding to approach Genesis as something other than a scientific or historical account is not the same thing as giving up Genesis. You can still find it a source of authoritative truth even if you determine it was not intended to teach us the details of natural history.


No I don’t. You sound similar to those Christians of not so many centuries ago who said “If you embrace the Copernican Model of the earth and all other planets orbiting the sun, you give up the Bible.” Do you agree with them? I doubt that you do.

The problem with such bombastic declarations (both theirs and yours) is that it confuses “the Bible” and “Genesis” with “my interpretation of the Bible.” Ken Ham and so many Young Earth Creationists like to use this tactic almost daily: “Those who claim X are denying the Word of God!” What they should be saying is “Those who claim X are denying my interpretation of the Word of God!” Big difference.

False dichotomy fallacies are so handy! Just take something undeniably good and contrast it with something that can so easily be maligned. But once again, you don’t really mean “the word of God”. It is a subtle swap for “my interpretation of the word of God.” Gullible audiences may not notice the sleight of hand—unless they stop to think about it.

I’ll ask the question more honestly: “What do you think is more reliable, my interpretation of the word of God, or the science academy’s analysis of the evidence from God’s creation?”

As to the “which moves forward and changes constantly”, hopefully BOTH our understanding of the word of God and our understanding of what we observe in God’s creation move forward and change constantly! As the Apostle Paul said, we see through a glass but darkly. And the Proverbs tell us that it is to the glory of God to conceal a matter but to the glory of honorable people to see search it out. Hopefully we are all growing in grace and in knowledge as we observe what God has created for his glory!

I am a former competitive debater and debate tournament judge so I can appreciate your attempt to use a very effective rhetorical technique, the False Dichotomy, to make your position sound unassailable. And the fact that you presented it as a question gives you a modicum of deniability if you get caught red-handed using the False Dichotomy ploy. (You will be able to satisfy some people with a plea of your innocence: “I simply asked a question! I simply asked for your opinion as to which is more reliable. I didn’t actually take a position on it!”) Some politicians have used the False Dichotomy tactic for great personal advantage. I provided some specific examples—but just before I hit the REPLY-key, I deleted those sentences because I realized politics and individual politicians really don’t belong on this thread or even this forum in general. But I’m sure readers can think of some examples of their own.

I very much appreciate your posts here because you use a lot of the traditional arguments, the classics, which are found on countless origins ministry forums—but those forums usually censor anyone who exposes the flaws in those arguments and tactics. So this thread will help readers to spot traditional science-denial strategies. (I was an enthusiastic evolution-denier when I was a Young Earth Creationist long ago. So I was equally guilty of these very same tactics.)

(Phil) #5

Little to add, but I suspect your statement was intentionally provocative, rather than reflecting your true views, which is fine, as we can look to the issues more easily when put forth in a bare-bones manner.

(George Brooks) #6


I think Common Descent is intuitively much more plausible and reasonable than several traditional features of Genesis:

A) Creating a planet in 6 days … along with life that creates the impression of relatedness … but they aren’t really?
B) In 6 days, where the Sun (which makes counting days possible) doesn’t even exist for 3 of them.
C) A global flood … or a regional flood that lasts a year … none of that makes any sense to me.
D) The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a tangled mess of poetry.
E) The story behind the garbling of languages . . . that makes no sense in my view.

If you ask me, Genesis needs a good explaining … and BioLogos is the only group I know that can offer an explanation that will work with an active Christian Faith.

(Otangelo Grasso) #7

No. God for some reason seems to have intentionally misled us in beleaving he created plants, animals, fish etc. separately, in six 24h days, when he supposedly did not, but rather created LUCA, upon which all life diverged…

(Otangelo Grasso) #8

Lets see what the passage in question says:

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.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gênesis 1:20,21
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gênesis 1:24,25
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gênesis 1:26,27

Upon this, i understand that God made plants, fish, land animals, birds etc., and man separately, each " after its kind". And he made it it in six literal 24h days.

What do you understand, when you read this ?

(Otangelo Grasso) #9

why did the believers not think so prior to Darwin ?

and based on what passage in the bible exactly do you arrive at that conclusion ?

And why does mainstream science not agree with you ?

(George Brooks) #10

I see you are diligently copying down every question from some YEC internet page. Exhausting, isn’t it?

[A] Why believers did not think so prior to Darwin? For the same reason that believers didn’t think atoms were made of Quarks - - nobody knew any differently. As many YECs say to their atheist critics, the Bible is not a science book. When the Bible scribes talk about stars falliing down to Earth, they thought stars were fairly small … just a little bigger than the meteorites that ancient men found half buried in the ground after racing across the sky.

B] In my thread on Genesis 1:25 (and 1:24), I discuss this at length. Here is the relevant text:

Genesis 1:25
"And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good."

Now this seems pretty straightforward, yes? God made these beasts. The “his” of “his kind” is the beast itself. The beast is being generically referred referring to “his” kind … his category of creature.

The English word “after” is probably not the best way to translate the sentence. Instead of “after”, it would be more clear to say "God made the beasts “by” or even “into” their kinds… their categories. He didn’t just create a chaos of beasts. He created creatures that could be categorized by their kinds.

And these “kinds” are pretty strongly connected to the reproductive process of these beasts. We see this in
Genesis 1:11-12:
“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. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind,
and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.”

So “kinds” are created from the seed of their parents … not just animals, but trees and grass!

In short, as soon the Bible talks about plants and animals “bringing forth after their kind” … the Bible is speaking of creatures descending from their parents, and those parents descending from the prior parents, and so on.

Below is a video provides ample detail on how a YEC understands “common descent” in the case of the Three Rabbits:

In the video link below, science journalist Peter Hadfield (aka: Potholer) discusses the views of Creationist Kent Hovind, and in particular the existence of a strange situation !

Even creationists acknowledge this situation exists!: there is a population of Alaska rabbits that can breed with Minnesota rabbits… and the Minnesota rabbits can breed with Florida rabbits. But (!!!) … the Alaska rabbits cannot breed with the Florida rabbits!:

From this we discover the Biblical sense of the word “kind”! There is a “kind” where Alaska and Minnesota rabbits can “bring forth”. And there is a “kind” where Minnesota rabbits and Florida rabbits can “bring forth”. So that appears to mean they are all one kind. But this is not so. If the Florida and Alaska rabbits can no longer “bring forth” - - it means those two rabbits are not of the same kind! And it leads one to conclude that the Minnesota rabbit is the one that fits into a special category - - it is a Greater Kind … a Kind of rabbit that embraces two other kinds. This is made possible by all 3 kinds of rabbits having a shared descent. But clearly the Alaska and Florida rabbits are no longer the “same kind”. They cannot “bring forth” creatures of “their kind”.

So… that’s one mystery out of the way. Let us proceed to the glorious finale!

[God says The Earth “brings forth” these kinds!.. just as it also says God “brings forth” these kinds. The only way that both sentences can be true is if God uses evolution and common descent to create these kinds.

[Second Clip]
Genesis 1:24 says:
“And God said,
Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind,
cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Isn’t that odd? God said let the Earth bring forth the living creature, to reproduce it’s kind.
This is in fact what God says before verse 25 says that God is creating these animals.

How can both things be true? What? When God says the clouds bring the rain, and that God makes the rain, the solution is rather obvious to anyone. God ordains the clouds to make the rain, and they do!

So when God says, let the Earth bring forth the creatures of their kinds, and God makes these animals, it is the same solution. God ordains the Earth to bring forth these creatures. From the Earth the first creatures of life come into existence!

From the earth the first Kinds rise up. And from them come the other kinds … just as the three kinds of rabbits in North America come from a common ancestral population - - and now we have at least 2 kinds of rabbits where there used to be just one. And probably even a third kind!

The Bible intentionally describes the bringing forth of life in two ways… to show that God used the Earth as God’s “intermediator” … his natural instrument in the creation of these kinds.

This is the “smoking gun” of Genesis… which makes all the rest fit together into a harmonious whole!
[End of Clip]

And finally @Otangelo_Grasso1, to answer [C]

[C] And why does mainstream science not agree with you ?

Otangelo, what makes you think mainstream sciences does not agree with me? What do you think Mainstream science says that differs from what I’m saying?

(Christy Hemphill) #11

I wouldn’t blame God for your potential misunderstanding of what the text intends and doesn’t intend to communicate.

(Lynn Munter) #12

I would like to note that the translation ‘bring forth abundantly’ is elsewhere translated ‘teem with’ or ‘swarm with,’ because it is an entirely different Hebrew word (yisresu) than is used for the earth bringing forth life. Elsewhere, yisresu means ‘multiply,’ as in the Israelites multiplying.

So I don’t think there’s much of a conflict: the earth brought forth life; all the life was ‘after its kind’, i.e. derived from similar creatures, except man which is ‘after His likeness:’ although we are not literally descended from God, we are to strive to be like Him; we have a higher level of responsibility than all the other creatures do.

But I’m open to other interpretations as well; if you want to say that plants, sea creatures, birds, and land creatures are all separate created ‘kinds,’ I won’t argue too much. And who are we to say God cannot fit a million generations of animal reproduction into a single day? God is unlimited, isn’t He?

For that matter, if God had the earth on ‘fast-forward,’ as it were, it could account for a lot of geological age, too!

(system) #13

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