"Is genesis history?" film

My bible study is going to be starting Genesis soon, and decided to go watch this film in preparation. I’m a bit leery of the film as the trailer seems to run afoul of a false dichotomy, although I’m still going to see it anyway.

In preparation I’ve been reading through some of the scientific evidences here. Does anyone have any other suggestions for preparation? Ultimately I want to balance scientific integrity with the study’s harmony. It’s not particularly useful for things to devolve into huge arguments, but it’s equally bad to stay silent about it.

It looks like a well-made film. I will see it when it is released on DVD.

As to how to prepare, I am not certain. Are you sure you want to engage your friends and family with this subject if (by your own admission) you are not prepared? Would it not be simpler to just sit back and learn? Assuming the study is about more than just the first eleven chapters of Genesis, there is much to be gained from the book that sidesteps science completely. You could simply focus on the theological themes, for example. Always look for what is profitable, even if you disagree with some stuff. Up to you.

Another thing to do would be to simply ask questions, Socratic-style.

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I’m not as concerned about the study. In that case I think it’s a lot easier to focus on the details of “What is God trying to teach us here that we can apply to our lives here and now.” Those are the sorts of questions that it’s easier for all of us to stay on the same page, as it focuses on the spiritual truths rather than getting bogged down by the nitty gritty of particular interpretations.

I hadn’t thought of the Socratic method, that’s a good starting place. Thanks!

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Ryan, lots has been written here about dealing with some of the issues. It may be too late to get it and read before the film, but if you have not read Origins as reviewed on this site, it is a good, straightforward book that puts forth some of the theological questions each of the major positions on creation creates. It would be a good discussion starter.
There are other books, with Walton’s Lost World of Adam and Eve also prominent in my memory that look at views other than historical.
You might want to look over Joel Anderson’s blog as he reviews the tactics used to detract from the discussion by AIG. He gets a little over the top at times, but has some good thoughts. link to his site: February 14, 2017 – Resurrecting Orthodoxy

I agree that asking questions is better than making proclamations.

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I expect the Genesis film to be very similar with what its author, Del Tackett (name??), produced in his major video series: The Truth Project. He ran Focus on the Family for years and his ideas of truth are basically just all of his personal opinions. Thus, the Truth Project taught churches (to whom it was marketed heavily) that evolution is evil, science is suspect, and the only good politics is Del’s brand of conservative Republican thinking. (I know of many pastors that cringed about the Truth Project but had church elders insisting on using it in Sunday School classes. So a lot of pastors told me that they made a compromise: “Go ahead and show the videos as long as you leave out the political chapters.”)

Anyone, anybody who saw the Truth Project videos knows what to expect with the Genesis film. You will NOT be getting a good mixture of Bible scholars presenting various views on the interpretation of Genesis. It will be another “Good Christians believe these things that I’m telling you.”


Yeah, that’s pretty much what it was at the end. The standard “All of the bible relies on Genesis! If this falls, everything else does too.” Which I think is ridiculous, because everything in scripture points to and relies upon Jesus.

I took some notes on my phone about various claims that were made (that stood out to me). So I’ll list those here for the curious (Warning my notes were a bit rough).

  • The Great Unconformity at the bottom of the Grand Canyon has erosion marks on it. Other layers above it should also have erosion marks and they don’t. They repeated the “lack” of erosion thing a lot when looking at different layers. From what I could tell the Great Unconformity is basically their start point for the flood.
  • Rock samples with radioactive elements were taken and sent to labs for analysis. Apparently the analysis came back wildly different. They also seemed to be claiming that radioactive rates had changed in the past. (Most of this struck me as cherry-picking their data or methods. I also find changing rates a very suspect claim.)
  • The coconino layer spreads across a wide area of the US. We don’t see these sorts of layers being created now, so the long process that made it is suspect.
  • 2 Peter 3. They said that the “everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” bit from those verses applies to Evolution. And that next bits about the flood are more support for a world wide flood. (I find the first claim dubious as the context is talking about the 2nd coming. I’m not sure what to make of the latter claim).
  • Some claims about Mosasaur’s spread over the US and the “explosion of life” in the fossil record not jiving with “slow” evolution.
  • Apparently footprints of some creatures are found in the geological record before the animals themselves. And because footprints were recorded something catastrophic must have happened.
  • Fossils in some areas are found with big bones found on the bottom followed by smaller bones. Apparently this is consistent with deposition in water.
  • Soft Tissue found in a Triceratops horn. Some journal article submitted with evidence by Schweitzer.
  • Misc claims about their being no evidence of any transitional forms anywhere. Giant holes in the tree of life.(Given the whale/hippo video posted in a different thread, I think that pretty much covers this claim).
  • Claims that random variations and nautral selection only do fine tuning.
  • Comparison between Astropithiucs Africans and Neanderthal. Not at all similar. (This seemed dubious to me. A quick search shows on the Smithsonian Natural History site that there’s at least a 1.5 million year gap between these two).
  • (Todd Wood?) claims he can always find a discontinuity between humans and other “human like” kinds.
  • The moon fully covering the sun during an eclipse shows evidence of design. (This seems like an odd claim. Sure it’s a happy coincidence, but I don’t see any point to this claim).
  • Light travel problems. God rapidl made the planets and rapidly brought for light. (I think Casper_Hesp adequately addressed this in his Blog posts a while back).
  • Spiral galaxies are not smeared out, which means they’re young. (I have no idea where this is coming from. As I recall the forces involve tend to flatten out matter into discs. I don’t see any reason why they would fly apart further unless they collide into another galaxy. Also there’s dark matter to contend with [and keep things clumped up]
  • Planetary ring systems still exist which means they’re young. Apparently interactions with other planets, asteroids, comets, etc… will deteriorate the rings over a long time. (I can’t argue against this, but I’m also fairly certain that any of the scientists studying planetary ring dynamics would’ve taken that sort of stuff into account).

Then they went into more post-flood era stuff and some archeology in the Mesopotamian area. Most interesting claim is they think that Eridu was the site of the Tower of Babel. I don’t have huge problems with this, but I seem to recall their being migrations of humans to other areas of this world prior to the time that Mesopotamia was building ziggurats.

After the movie they had a short panel discussion. Most of this focused on talk about the need for a historical Adam, and stating that attacking the historicity of Genesis undermined the entire Bible. Their astronomer (Danny Faulker I think) made what I considered to be some rather troubling and disparaging remarks against historical science (as opposed to lab bench science). I found that troubling because he should really know better as astronomy is primarily based on observing data that already exists. Yes, some “lab bench” science can be done in simulations and what not, but most of it is based on observing already existing data and creating models based on that data.

The other big claim they made during the panel was that death cuts out the gospel message. Statements like “dying to produce lungs is not good. Why would God consider it good”. With those claims I think they’re going too far into claiming what God things about X or Y. Clearly even human suffering (as seen in Job) serves God’s purposes. It’s difficult for us to understand why, but it’s one of those things we have to accept.

After this the biggest unanswered questions I’ve got are with the soft tissue still existing (if it hasn’t been preserved in something like amber). And on the 2 Peter 3 reference regarding the flood. Does anybody have any thoughts on those?

EDIT: Fixed wording/clarity on Unconformity bullet.


First, the term “soft tissue” is usually misunderstood by non-scientists. Secondly, new discoveries which push back the oldest remnants of things has happened many times. So instead of just saying “This means that the dinosaurs lived just a few thousand years ago”, it SHOULD be understood as, “Under the right conditions, some components can be well preserved long term.” Thirdly, the biggest problem is for Young Earth Creationists! If those dinosaurs lived just a few thousand years ago, we should find DNA fragments in them, just as we do with mammoths and other megafauna finds. But we don’t find them in any dinosaur fossil. Why is that? Answer: Because they are much older.

Of course, they should also explain why we never find angiosperm pollens among the dinosaur finds—but we do with recent animals. They ignore SO MUCH EVIDENCE and simply pick and choose. It is very dishonest.

2Peter 3 is one of my favorite passages for a regional flood. The author contrasts the world that will be destroyed by fire, the GE world, with the world destroyed by water, the KOSMOS world. The later Greek word refers to “the world of people”. Only the inhabited world (the area where Adamic people lived) was destroyed.

Besides, if the flood covered THE ENTIRE PLANET, it would mean that God broke his promise in the Creation Psalm----where it says that NEVER AGAIN would the world be covered in water like it was in Genesis 1.

My main question for fans of the Genesis film is WHY would we look to a business major (Del Tackett) for the best of Bible scholarship and science scholarship. Doesn’t that seem a bit odd?

I heard Del Tackett gushing over his project on James Dobson’s radio program yesterday. The mockery of scientists and of the Christians who don’t accept their claims was nauseating. The program before that was American Family Radio mocking climate scientists and the main host was laughing at those “silly scientists” who just can’t add two and two and get four. It made me sick. As usual, it was all “Good Christians believe the following things…”


These articles might address some of your questions:

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This is the most recent thread dealing with this topic: "Soft Tissue" again

To sum up, I’d say look for whether it’s “traces of” soft tissue, which isn’t necessarily the same thing as soft tissue. (Footprints are “traces of” the creatures that made them.) Many recent discoveries have been made of casts of soft tissue, or mineralized soft tissues, where cellular structures are preserved in great detail without still being “soft,” or, most excitingly, we can now find microscopic elements of the actual biological remains inside the (mineralized) bones. Schweitzer had to dissolve her fossil bones in acid (what was she thinking!) in order to get the ‘soft, stretchy’ collagen networks that have been causing such a ruckus.

Clearly, fossils are really cool and we’re still learning a lot about them, but also clearly, all dinosaur remains are really, really old, much more decayed than mere thousands of years would account for. We find mammal remains thousands of years old with flesh still covering the bones, in certain very dry, very cold, or very anoxic circumstances, but nothing remotely like that is a dinosaur.*

*Unless it’s from the bird lineage of dinosaurs!


And some nice experiments are starting to show how it is that proteins can be preserved across deep time in mineralized fossils. I think that amber is a different story, involving carbonization, but haven’t read up on the molecular or chemical details.

Very recent paper on protein preservation:
Protein sequences bound to mineral surfaces persist into deep time

Recent famous dino-feathers-in-amber paper, mentioning preservation of fine structure (“carbonized soft tissue”) and protein:
A Feathered Dinosaur Tail with Primitive Plumage Trapped in Mid-Cretaceous Amber


Different methods are usually well understood because they measure different events in the thermal history of the rocks. They measure the time at which the temperature falls below the “closure temperature” and seals in the decay products. Different methods have different closure temperatures, so if the rocks are heated in between them, one of the “clocks” will be reset but the other won’t.

However what they don’t tell you is that when scientists take more than one reading, well over 90% of the time the results come back the same. They need to come up with a convincing explanation for that level of concordance.

That’s not just a very suspect claim, it’s complete science fiction.

The YEC team that came up with this idea (the RATE project) themselves admitted that it would release enough heat to evaporate the earth. They also admitted that no conventional thermodynamic process could have removed the excess heat fast enough, and that any solution would also have had to have cooled different materials at different rates.

I think that in the end they proposed a combination of esoteric and fanciful new laws of physics and miracles. But since the miracles they’re proposing would have had no practical effect whatsoever other than to make the earth look older than it really is in the most complicated way imaginable, the whole theory boils down to a ludicrously convoluted version of the Omphalos hypothesis.

Basically, it’s by far the single biggest absurdity in mainstream YEC science that there is.

They love to quote verses 4 and 5 as being all about the creation and evolution debate, but if you cite verse 8 to them (a day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day), they flat-out deny that the entire passage has anything to do with creation.

Can you say “Cherry picking”?


Thanks for the review. I thought about going, but there was an episode of Big Bang Theory on TV.


The “lack of erosion marks” at the Grand Canyon Great Unconformity is a new one to me. Anybody know what that’s about?

I wondered that too. Would a flood somehow miraculously not leave erosion marks? What’s their case?

Sorry, I think I described that one poorly. The Great Unconformity has erosion marks. But the layers above it don’t, so “clearly” they can’t have been laid down over long periods of time without erosion marks.

Thanks for the clarification. What is the consensus geological explanation of the lack of erosion marks above the unconformity? Wind erosion, perhaps? Anyone?

Also, doesn’t the unconfirmity itself negate the notion that the canyon was formed in a single, yearlong event?

I found this post that had charts and diagrams from the Grand Canyon book that recently came out.


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So looking at that passage in an intralinear bible online it looks like the other occurrences of KOSMOS refer to “the world” in terms of the people, and more often the collection of unbelievers. And GE refers to the physical land mass of the earth, rather than the people residing on it. Is that what you’re saying?

In the film he was describing himself as a computer scientist. Which sure, but I found it very concerning that he was claiming to be one and saying that you program computers in an ordered way and not following anything like natural selection. I guess he hasn’t heard of the effectiveness of genetic algorithms.

I also found it disturbing that they way they mock scientists and then turn around and have their “own” scientists that are viewing the evidence in the proper paradigm. Or how they downplay and try to discredit other scientists who are skeptical of their results, but then turn around and talk about science being based on “healthy skepticism”.


Yes. Basically.

Exactly. For the Truth Project and most other contexts, he emphasizes his management background, but he clearly decided to portray himself as a “scientist” for this project.

The way he portrayed evolution and science in general in The Truth Project was quite amateurish.

As so many others do, he berates “secular scientists with their fallible ideas from fallible men” but never allows for the possible that he is fallible and perhaps mistaken.

I recently had a anti-evolution blogger who made a lot of silly claims about the science which most high school students could shoot down. I reviewed his arguments and basically explained how the guy’s position was an example of the Kruger-Dunning effect. Incredibly, he replied with a post which said, “Have you ever considered that it is all of the world’s scientists who are victims of the Kruger-Dunning Effect?”

Funny but not funny at the same time. Had he bothered to check on the meaning of the Kruger-Dunning Effect? Or was he simply immune to logic and how his reversal made no sense?