The Creation Week: A Systems-Based Approach

Shannon asked James a perfectly valid question, which he can answer if he chooses. Let’s not be so abrasive or defensive, please. James can take care of himself.

[I have thoughts of my own to share, later perhaps, after James gets a chance to respond.]

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Romans 10:9:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

It’s all about Jesus, Shannon. The age of the earth, or who did or didn’t evolve from what, have nothing to do with it.

Yes, Shannon, you’ve made that point already. And it is a valid point. But, as I’ve already said, going by what we cannot see is not a licence to make untrue claims about what we can see.

It’s nothing to do with “my interpretation,” Shannon. It’s about sticking to the rules. Honesty has rules. Rules that are the same for everyone, whether you are a Christian or not, whether you walk by faith or by sight. If someone knows what the rules are but doesn’t stick to them, then I’m sorry, but they are lying.

So is YEC lying? It depends on who is espousing it. If you finished compulsory science education at the first possible opportunity at age sixteen and haven’t set foot in a laboratory since, then no, you’re not necessarily lying, because you don’t know what the rules are. But YECs with PhDs in science do not have the luxury of that excuse. They know fine what the rules are, but do not stick to them.

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We could point to many YEC’s who are lying and/or deceiving, and well meaning and honest YEC’s pick up on what they say and repeat those lies. Until proven otherwise, I always assume YEC’s are the latter.

But we do have sight and we do have physical eyes, and what they see is inconsistent with a young Earth and a recent global flood. This is a matter of fact, not faith. If YEC is true, then the creation should be consistent with YEC, but it isn’t. Having faith in an interpretation in the Bible does not make these facts go away. Some of the earliest geologists in the 18th and 19th centuries ran into this very quandry, and the humble and honest ones admitted their error. A perfect example is Adam Sedgwick who was chair of the Royal Society at the time he said this:

Notice the date, 1831. This was well before Darwin and Wallace published their theories. Before the theory of evolution was a thing it was already obvious that the Earth was not young and that there wasn’t a recent global flood. The evidence has only further cemented this conclusion over the last 180 years.

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Romans 10:13

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

What are we saved from?

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(Meaninglessness)

Driving a wedge between soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and our view of creation creates a dichotomy when there should be a dependency . The good news of the gospel is only good because of the bad news recorded in Genesis—that sin and death are intrusions on what was God’s glorious and perfect creation.

Is there a more deadly, more devastating, a more destructive, a more ungodly act than to openly and purposely and publicly denounce the veracity of the Bible? Is there a worse crime? Is not that the crime of all crimes? Because if you can’t believe what the Bible says, all is lost. And if you think because you have a Ph.D. in microbiology that you are the judge of all the earth and you have a right to edit what God has revealed by His Holy Spirit, then we better run over to wherever you are and bow down, because we need to worship you since you’ve got it right and the writers of the Scriptures, though inspired by the Holy Spirit didn’t get it right. I mean, there is no more serious crime than that. That is the ultimate crime, is to attack the veracity of Holy Scripture at any point.

Comment:

If people won’t accept the testimony of Paul or Christ Himself in the New Testament, about the veracity of the Old Testament scriptures, I don’t know what they’ll accept.

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170428

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I’m not denouncing the veracity of the Bible. Young earth creationism is not the Bible. It is a cartoon caricature of the Bible with a thick layer of science fiction slathered on top of it.

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The dependency is on the truth, and YECism denies it with respect to creation. This is by a Christian, about ‘girdled rocks’ – new evidence always supports the antiquity of the earth, and it continues to build:

You are misjudging what the veracity of the Old Testament means. Parables are true, not because they literally correspond to physical reality but because they are about spiritual realities – they are metaphors. You are mistakenly insisting that passages that are are intended to be spiritual truths and metaphors be actual physical and scientific truths.

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Over the top! If you conflate the Christian Faith with Answers in Genesis I would say you’re in a cult.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

What is man, that you are mindful of him?!

YECism belittles the import of Psalm 8:4, not only because of the vastness of the size of the universe, but also because of the vastness of its antiquity, and both speak to the vastness of our God.

Was God so short of time that he had create the universe in only 144 hours? Why didn’t he do it instantly?!

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The good news is good because it tells us God loves us so much he is willing to condescend himself and allow his only begotten Son to die on a Roman cross. If the Gospel required a 6,000 year old earth then it would not be good news at all because it would be completely and unequivocally wrong. We need the gospel because we sin, not because Augustine concocted the doctrine of original sin based off of a mistranslation of Romans in the Vulgate or because two people ate magical fruit at the urging of a talking snake in Never Never land.

Vinnie

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@Shannon from something I just wrote inspired by this thread. After some preliminary definitions I ended up here:

Is Genesis True?
I believe Genesis 1 is a wonderfully true story in what it teaches about the form and function of the world and the nature of God. I do not view its literary genre as history though. It is much closer to ancient poetry and part of its purpose is in correcting the mistaken mythologies of Israel’s neighbors and exalting the one true God in a time when polytheism was the norm. The story is from a pre-scientific era and has no modern interest in the scientific age of the earth. It cannot resolve the 24 hour vs epoch debate because it has no knowledge of it. It doesn’t care about it. If you look closely at it a very discernable pattern emerges. The events on days 1 and 4, 2 and 5 and 3 and 6 all correspond very well with one another. On day one light is created, on day four the sun and moon. On day two the waters above and below are separated and on day four fish and birds are created creatures below and above. Day three separates the dry land from the water and naturally land creatures arrive on day six. Days 1-3 are concerned with setting up what happens on days 4-6. The order and function of the world is due to God’s purpose and careful planning. That is the point intended here. A point I absolutely affirm as 100% true.

Genesis 1 also establishes God’s primacy and expresses Jewish monotheism. When we read it in light of other Ancient Mesopotamian creation stories, it plainly tells us God has no rivals, no prior lineage, there is a monopoly on power and only one true God. Unlike in the Atrahasis epic, God doesn’t need a discussion amongst peers or the approval of anyone to create human beings. Unlike in the Enuma Elish, we weren’t created after he proved himself defeating Tiamat the sea goddess in some cosmic struggle and gained the renown of the other gods. The sea monsters in Genesis 1:22 are just another part of God’s good creation.

There is no conflict mythology in Genesis because the author is plainly telling us God cannot gain what he never lacked and there has never been a challenger worthy of Him. A rise in power is not possible for one who has never not been in power. Bill Arnold writes of Genesis, “Israel’s God has no rivals. There can be no struggle with forces opposed to his actions or corresponding to his power. There can be no victory enthronement motif because God’s victory was never in doubt; rather, God has never not been enthroned. There can be no enthronement portrait here because God has not become sovereign; he has simply never been less than sovereign.”

In its original context, the audience of Genesis 1 would have been aware of many features of Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. The absence of conflict mythology or an origin story for God would have clearly stood out to ancient readers and hearers of this story. Genesis tells us a great deal simply by not including these elements and comparing how it differs from other creation stories. It is in this context that Genesis 1 must be read and understood. From within this interpretive matrix, a clear statement of Jewish monotheism and the sovereignty of the Biblical God is given. That is the primary purpose of the first creation story bar none. I absolutely affirm Genesis is 100% correct on this point.

Genesis 1 is also an etiology for the sabbath and for that reason we probably should
understand the “days” therein generally in the context of a human week. Etiologies were extremely common in antiquity and in the Bible itself. Since scripture is accommodated and does not intend to teach us science, and the form and function of the narrative in Genesis is clearly designed to teach theological truths to ancient audiences who would have understood these cultural references, there is no need to fuss over this. Genesis 1 is not interested in “twenty four hour periods” vs “long epochs.” That is a modern issue not at all relevant thousands of years ago. Just as one should not seek to learn quantum mechanics from a poetry text, this is imposing the wrong question on Genesis which explains the patterns and regularities of the observed world in terms of God’s creative work.

So why the days? What is the author telling us besides what was delineated above? Genesis is expressing the importance of honoring the sabbath which is tied into the created order. Rather than worrying about the length of the days in Genesis and asking it questions to which it never intended to provide answers to, questions which are ultimately meaningless given its more poetic genre, we should be pointing out to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord that the importance of the Sabbath is as plainly taught as is Jewish monotheism or that humans were the climax of God’s creative work. Fussing over the meaning of “days” in Genesis might also allow us to conveniently neglect an important issue facing the Church today, why so many Christians no longer spend the sabbath devoted to honoring God. We certainly have no issues honoring capitalism on Sundays.

Why I Embrace Wooden Literalism when reading Genesis 1
Despite the fear of being accused of having a sensationalistic or clickbait-like title, as it turns out I feel I am a bit of a wooden-literalist when it comes to Genesis 1. I believe what the account is teaching us is absolutely true as written in its original context to its original audience based on how they would have understood it. However, I am not a Biblical concordist because I do believe Genesis 1 teaches us theological truth though some ancient cosmogony that we now know to be incorrect. For example, it assumes there is a solid firmament in the sky while teaching us about God’s care and providence in establishing the form and function of the natural world. To summarize what we learned of Genesis 1:

  • It has zero interest in 24 hours vs long epochs.
  • There is only one God (thus flouting polytheism which was the norm)
  • God is sovereign. God alone has all the power and no rivals.
  • God has always been sovereign and has never had rivals (no conflict mythology)
  • The created order is due to God’s foresight and planning.
  • Humans are the climax of God’s creation and given dominion over it as stewards.
  • The Sabbath is of such immense importance to God that it is tied into the created order.

Vinnie

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You mean The Heresy of Peor isn’t a disgusting just-so-story?! It’s true!? God is a self-righteous murdering psychopath? The Flood??!? Only exceeded by the billions yet to die in the Seven of Trumps.

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Shannon,

You obviously realize that relying on a late bronze age text - representing mid-bronze range conceptions for accurate cosmology is…well…:confounded: Why not rely on them for accurate medical advice as well, a full understanding of electricity, etc.

Why not come to grip with a very God honoring notion that the text represented the reality that they understood at that time. Period.

As alternative explanations, I am certain you are easily able to understand that it is not an either-or situation. FURTHER it may be that we simply do not have a clue how all this was manifested - or how a supra-natural entity may have intervened and to what extent. Certainly we do not see such entity’s overt interaction in the natural world at present - but “He” pretty much lets it all ride out - unless, it appears, He has a specific purpose…

I am pretty good with “I do not know” - an infinite universe is far greater than I - or, really, any human mind can comprehend - even more so a seemingly infinite entity - especially one not routinely available to the senses…

Just trying to keep it real - which is the greatest way to honor God in Christ.

Best,

Greg

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Vinnie,

Just to keep it real - it DOES appear that there is a discussion among peers in a couple instances in these chapters - and certainly we see this sort of pantheon described in say Rev 4.

I would suggest that bronze age Jewish theology very much mirrored surrounding cultures - the more we have an opportunity to become familiar with them - along with a lot of later “cleansing” of the text and concepts… Yet we see all sorts of Canaanite theological elements throughout the text - Rev 4 not being the least…
:slightly_smiling_face:
Best,

Greg

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Klax - I am buying your take - and letting the “Creator” being the Creator - instead of “evangelically” neatly defining him into the system of one’s own ego.

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Evangelicals who do are in the fine Abrahamic tradition of doing so. Even Jesus bought it.

More likely Iron Age, I’d say.

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Hello Shannon,

Haven’t seen you here before. Welcome!

In what language did God reveal the Torah, Shannon?

Also, have you ever worked as a translator between any two languages? Have you studied linguistics? You seem awfully confident that you are 100% without question right and that everyone who disagrees with you is a false teacher infiltrating the church. I’m wondering what experiences and training you possess to be able to reach such a conclusion.

Your approach to Scripture is very reminiscent of the approach Cardinal Bellarmine took in the early 17th century.

Best,
Chris Falter

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

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