Genesis first, or science first?

(Otangelo Grasso) #1

Should our starting point be: The bible is true, lets press all scientific evidence to conform with Genesis, or should we believe in science , and try to re-interpret Genesis until it conforms with what current understanding of science says ?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2

First of all, Genesis is not the while Bible. Our theological understanding of the Beginning needs to be based on the whole Bible esp. John 1:1.

Second our understanding of the Bible needs to be understood in light of philosophy and our understanding of how God relates to the universe and humanity.

Third our understanding of the relationship between science and faith needs to be one of reconciliation, rather then one first and the other second

(George Brooks) #3


Do you believe Yahweh, even today, is storing snow and hail in a large building in the Heavens?

Or is that simply a figure of speech which confuses things for the modern reader? It’s in the Book of Job!

(Phil) #4

Your premise implies that Genesis and science are talking about the same things. That is a false premise, and thus makes the question irrelevant. Genesis tells us who God is and how we should relate to him and to the rest of creation. Science does not address that. If God was trying to teach cosmology, biology and geology in the the first chapter of Genesis, I think he would have done a better job, since no one understood what he was saying for thousands of years.

(Otangelo Grasso) #5

Science and the Bible talk about the origin of the universe, and life, and biodiversity. The issues are the same.

(Phil) #7

I guess we will have to agree to disagree, as I don’t think it says a word about biodiversity, and the point of discussion about the origin is to point to the Creator, not the created.

(Stephen Matheson) #8

I read in one of the gospels that the mustard seed is the smallest seed in the garden, and that salt eventually loses its flavor. I decided not to put the bible first. That’s probably where my slide into atheism began. Dang.

(Emily) #9

It’s not an either or with me. Trying to make science agree with Scripture is where the problem and false dichotomy starts. The Bible was never intended to be a science book.
Science tells us about the natural world. It’s not involved in the explaining of the supernatural.

Genesis does have a purpose- telling us why God did things. Not how. Is it true? In a spiritual context absolutely. Every Christian on here agrees that there’s a God who made everything. But we see Genesis for its spiritual truth regarding the state of mankind. Humans screwed up and we are seperated from God due to sin. ( in the evolutionary framework how sin cane about has been debated). But it’s in the world now. We all agree on that.

As to Adam and Eve, some believe they could’ve existed. Not as the first humans ever, but the first to understand sin and its consequences, and how it cuts us off from God. I think Biologos has some articles on that.

(Emily) #10

We’re you raised believing asking perfectly valid questions about our world means you “lacked” faith? A fundamentalist/ really conservative household?

(Otangelo Grasso) #11

Variety Within Created Kinds

Did all species evolve from one common ancestor? Genesis 1 repeats ten times that God created creatures separately according to various “kinds.” Today’s species show the potential variation that God designed within the original kinds, but this variety remains limited—cats are still cats, and dogs are dogs.

(Stephen Matheson) #12

No. I was being sarcastic. Bad habit.

(Otangelo Grasso) #13

The mustard seed was regarded in that region back at that time as the smallest seed. That does not mean, it is scientifically speaking the smallest seed. We know it isnt. But in the context Jesus said that, he was right.

(Phil) #14

Actually, I think I believe that animals give birth to the same kind more than the AIG does, as they advocate a cat-like animal giving rise to different cat-like animal within a generation or two, also without any evidence that such is the case. Totally fabricated out thin air just to support an erroneous man-made interpretation, in my opinion.


This is yet another false dichotomy. Both the Bible and the creation are of God’s authorship and God’s revelation. So the whole idea of trying to force a precedence of one over the other makes no sense.

Why not assume that “We see through a glass but darkly” and “It is to the glory of God to conceal a matter but to the glory of honorable people to search it out”? Why not realize that as fallible humans our understanding of God’s revelations in the Bible and God’s revelations in his creation are limited and subject to error?

Whenever the evidence in God’s Bible and the evidence in God’s creation may seem to be in conflict, the fault is not with God’s revelations in both but in our understanding of one, the other, or both.

On some matters the Bible is most clear on a topic and on some matters the creation (i.e., the universe God made) is much more clear. And when we consider that God’s Bible is primarily focused on our relationships with him and with other humans, and that God’s creation tells us much more detail about how God fulfilled his will in making the world function as it does, we can understand why God gave us teachers of theology and teachers of science. To treat either as in conflict with the other is to dishonor God’s revelations in the Bible and in his creation.

I find it fascinating that so many people try to characterize science as “mere human interpretation” while pretending that the Bible doesn’t involve the errant interpretations of fallen humans. So many Young Earth Creationist ministries work hard to convince their followers that science is flawed but that their “Biblical theology” comes direct from God without any possible human error or human interpretation playing a role. It is all about assuming “Our thoughts are God’s thoughts—so when you disagree with us, you are denying God’s Word!”

Otangelo wants us to treat the Bible vs. Science as a war demanding that Christians pick a side—as if God’s Bible is reliable but God’s creation is not. Instead, let’s respond with humility and an admission that when there appears to be a conflict, we may be erring in our understanding of the Bible, the creation, or both.

Why do I accept the evidence for billions of years and evolutionary processes? Unlike Otangelo, I accept what God has revealed in his creation and I refuse to believe that God is a liar and deceiver. I said that last part to put Otangelo on the other side of his favorite tactic. But when we refuse to heed what God has revealed to us in his creation, we assume a false dichotomy where we operate as if God’s Bible is reliable but his creation is not. Both are subject to human understanding of what God has revealed.

(Lynn Munter) #16

This, if you ask me, is exactly what it means to take the name of the Lord “in vain”—using it for self-aggrandizing purposes. Your mileage may vary.

(James McKay) #17

Here’s my take on “science first or Bible first.” It’s a sneak preview of a blog post that I’ve got scheduled to go live tomorrow morning:

Young earth creationists often tell me that science must fit Scripture, and not the other way around. That’s fair enough, but fitting science to Scripture means first and foremost that it must be honest in the way that it handles weights and measures (e.g. Deuteronomy 25:13; Proverbs 11:1). It must be free from arithmetic error. It must not fudge or cherry-pick the raw data. It must neither exaggerate nor downplay the significance of uncertainties and discordances. It must not take shortcuts. It must verify its integrity by testing against controls where appropriate. It must not misrepresent the extent or nature of the evidence. It must not quote mine. And it must not be resistant to reasonable critique.

These are basic rules of honesty and quality control. To break them in order to “fit Scripture” is neither scriptural nor scientific.

Basically, I go Bible first, but not in the way that YECs expect.

Just remember that accelerated nuclear decay is not in the Bible. Neither is catastrophic plate tectonics, the anisotropic synchrony convention, dinosaurs on the Ark, hyper-rapid post-Flood speciation, a 200 year post-Flood ice age, the idea that Adam “began to die,” a vapour canopy, a decaying speed of light, or the omphalos hypothesis. But on the other hand, “a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day” is.

There’s a lot more of “man’s fallible wisdom” in YEC than they care to admit.

(George Brooks) #18

Actually @Otangelo_Grasso1, Genesis 1 convincingly only deals with the Earth. There is no reference to galaxies, solar systems and planets like Earth circling stars.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #19


So why do you think that Creation and the Bible, Science and Theology are opposed to each other?

(Christy Hemphill) #20

I’m going to go with neither. We should study science to answer scientific questions using the scientific method and we should study God-inspired literature to answer theological questions using appropriate textual interpretation methods.

(Patrick ) #21

No, in the context Jesus said that, he was wrong.