Help! Common Arguments For Literal Genesis

(Matthew Pevarnik) #21

The simplest understanding is that God called the light ‘day,’ i.e. we know today why the day has light, because of the sun reflecting off the atmosphere— but why was the daytime full of light to them? It wasn’t the sun but rather the daytime gave off its own light and you don’t need a sun for day and night.

(Christy Hemphill) #22

You don’t need a scientific reason for light before the sun if you just accept that Genesis 1 includes ancient cosmology that is incidental to its theological message. (In other words, it isn’t trying to teach how the world works, but instead it accommodates assumptions people already had in some areas in order not to distract them from the important messages about God and humanity.) There is some evidence that the ancient audience conceived of light/day as a separate entity from the sun.

See this discussion if you are interested on more along those lines:

(RiderOnTheClouds) #23

Was this light, the light that we see at daytime on earth? Genesis implies that it was.

(Phil) #24

I was thinking yesterday of how this can in any way be read as literal. God " saying" literally implies sound, transmission of sound through a medium, a physical means of vocalization, language, etc. So from the very beginning verses, we have to assume a figurative narrative.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #25

The best concordism that I have ever come up (to my knowledge) with is how baryonic accoustic oscillations would have been present in the early universe- that is pressure waves that are analogoous to sound waves that would have been produced by the slight clumping of matter, heating up and then outward pressure like stars perform regularly today. These accoustic oscillations are largely responsible for the spacing we see today between galaxies and therefore it is perhaps a way to imagine ‘God speaking into the darkness.’ Furthermore, to produce the first generation of stars ‘or light’ they likely received help igniting by dark matter (i.e. ‘darkness’). Ta da!

(Michael Peterson) #26

Technically correct. However, the BH verbal systems express completion, not time. So, for example, an event which completed in the past is called the ‘perfect’ aspect of the verb, and an event that started in the past, but has not yet completed is called the ‘imperfect’ aspect.

So, if by your response you meant to claim that BH is unable to represent events the occurred in the past, you would be wrong. Completely. BH is a relatively simple language apart from its verbal system which is reasonably complex and quite expressive.


(Michael Peterson) #27

There is absolutely no evidence that the two biblical creation stories were written to be heard and interpreted literally. None. Zero.Zip. Nada. The first creation story is similar in form to an epic poem whose magisterial cadences point to the transcendence, unity, and authority of Elohim and the human’s relationship to their creator. The second creation story is an elegant and powerful allegory that tells a story of the loss of innocence as a consequence of human free will - a concept that did not exist in the surrounding pagan cultures.

There is a famous story about Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first governor of Texas that is instructive when dealing with literalists. When speaking of bi-lingual education, she was alleged to have said “If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for Texas”. This is informative because it is exactly the way literalists approach the English Bible. They falsely assume that the English word they read maps directly to a semantically identical word in ancient Hebrew. It may be hard for many of you to grok, but ancient Hebrew writing is highly symbolic as it must be because it is concret language with very few words (~8000 words) compared to an expressive language like English (~175000 words). The authors who wrote the Bible were masters of metaphor, idiom, poetry, exaggeration, allegory, repetition, parallelism, numerical harmony, etc.

Ask a literalist to do a book report on Orwell’s Animal Farm and s/he will describe a dystopian children’s tale about talking barnyard animals. The idea of using literary forms to express deep truths is completely lost on the literalist.


My response was simply BH doesn’t have verb tenses which you agree with. Arguments based on English verb tenses are problematic because the English translation is not inspired. An argument based on the actual BH would be better.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #29

Note too that the writer is a film producer, not a scientist or biblical scholar.


Ok, so the author of Genesis believed the daytime’s light to be unrelated to the sun, but rather it’s own entity?


I came across an article on Biologos claiming Enuma Elish is older than Genesis, but other websites say it’s younger and copied from Genesis, which is why there are similarities. What do you guys think?

(Phil) #32

I was taught that Enuma Elish was derived from Genesis in years past, but have come to believe it is the other way around. Evidence is pretty clear that Genesis was written or at least heavily redacted and edited around the time of the Babylonian exile, so it is natural that they would use the concepts and stories of their time to express theologic truth. It is not a hill to die on for me, however.

(Randy) #33

Right; Enns also argues that EE was from a much older culture in Evolution of
Adam Incarnation, I believe. Also, Dennis lamoreaux says the same. Thanks.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #34

Maybe, I couldn’t tell you exactly what he believed personally but it was something I came across in a book and began to consider after trying to read the text apart from all the scientific knowledge I have today. For example, we know there is still ‘daylight’ even when the sun is covered so perhaps it is not unreasonable to assume people groups thought day had light in itself.

Perusing through commentaries I have on Genesis the simplest way to deal with the day before the sun thing is related to the idea that the framework hypothesis proposes, i.e. it is not a strictly chronological order but rather days of forming and filling that are more poetic than scientific. I will need to do some more research but it is just one possible solution that generally is ignored when considering the dilemma.

(Eakin C) #35

The Genesis account is to be taken literally. You don’t have to go past the first five words to know this. Hebrew (phonetic) is Barasheet Eholhim bara. When the Bible uses bara as a word for creation, its only subject ever is God. God is not subject to empirical analysis. When Elohim “baras”, there is no way to assay this scientifically. Reliable Hebrew scholars will tell you (if they are being honest and candid) that the Hebrew “bara” for creation automatically invalidates scientific principles of any pertinence in further discussion. Hence, all the “scientific” mumbo-jumbo of extrapolating today’s “constants” to “understand” creation is nonsense. God was there. Nobody else was until He put them there. We must trust His account or be subject to His judgment for desecrating His Word. No other option.

Colin Eakin, M.D.

(Laura) #36

Are you citing an actual rule in the Hebrew language here, or just something that seems consistent in the way the Bible uses it?

(Eakin C) #37

Good question. I am citing the teaching of Pastor Cliff McManis, Th.D, of Grace Bible Fellowship church( who is a professor at Cornerstone Seminary and a Hebrew expert.


(Phil) #38

I do not know Dr. McManis, but looking at his web presence, I would not call him a Hebrew expert, and in fact cannot find anything on the institution he is said to have earned his Th. D. from, though he got his masters at the institution he is at now, under John MacArthur. Not to be critical, but we have to be careful when we quote from authority.

(Eakin C) #39

Your recommendation re: whom to quote works both ways. Nobody’s credentials matter, nor is anybody an expert in biblical understanding, if they do not have illumination of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit per 1 Cor. 2:10-16.

Re: Pastor McManis, Rev. Cliff McManis has been in pastoral ministry since 1989, where he first began ministering to children at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA. He graduated from The Master’s College with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and earned an M.Div. from The Master’s Seminary. He went on to earn his Th.M. and his Ph.D. in Ecclesiology from the Bible Seminary in Independence, Missouri. He went on to do post-graduate study in English at California State University (Los Angeles), California State University (Northridge) and Point Loma University.

Cliff has served in churches in southern California, northern Utah, San Antonio, Texas and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also taught in six different Christian schools. Over the years Cliff has served as a pastor for children, middle school, high school and adults. He is committed to Biblical counseling, personal discipleship, and expository preaching and teaching. He is the author of Christian Living Beyond Belief (Kress Publications, March 2006) and Biblical Apologetics (Xlibris, 2012, He is a regular contributor to The Master’s Seminary Theological Journal. He served as a consulting editor for The Transforming Community (by Dr. Mark Lauterbach), and has participated at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). He is a current member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics (ISCA, ). Cliff likes to partner in ministry with other local like-minded churches and is an adjunct professor of Theology at The Cornerstone Seminary in Vallejo ( and teaches Christian Education at The Master’s College (WalnutCreek,www.masters. edu/admissions/cps/walnut-creek.aspx ).


If you are talking about understanding a dead language and the culture of the time then yes credentials do matter.