'Studies in the Old Testament'

The Abrahamic Covenant - 2

February, 2009

(Continued from page 392)

Theories of the origin of the world and mankind


Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), English theologian and scholar, was author of a Biblical chronology printed in the margins of the King James Authorized Version.  He placed the date of the world's creation at 4004 B.C. and his dating system is still found in many of our Bibles and accepted, in many instances, as a good chronology. However, Ussher's work was compiled before the many recent archaeological discoveries were made and records such as the Eponym List became available.  The present dating system, available to us in textbooks which have been written during the last decade, is held by most conservative Bible scholars.

Genesis begins in eternity past and we find several positions regarding the various theories of the origin of the world and mankind as described in Genesis 1:1.  From the perspective of the Christian the most radical and unsatisfactory position is that of
evolution.  Born out man's attempts to deny his position as a sinner answerable to a Holy God, the originators - some of whom claimed at some time to be Christian - brought forward a hypothesis that others built on to the present day position where many of its adherents claim that God simply does not exist.  The Autobiography of Charles Darwin2 reveals the sad moment in which he says that he was "very unwilling to give up" his belief in Christianity until he wrote, "disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete." He adds this sentence, "I can hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for, if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe - and this would include my father, brother, and almost all my best friends - will be everlastingly punished.  And this is a damnable doctrine." Thus we find Darwin following the path of so many others who could not accept the utter depravity of the human heart as so clearly witnessed in life itself and spelt out with such clarity in the Word of God and in the very book of the Bible which they set out to wrest:

Genesis 6:5
1:  Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  6  And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  7  And the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." 8  But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.

In many people's minds the word
evolution is synonymous with the title of Charles Darwin's book Origin of Species3 and for 140 years, since its publication in 1859, this book has been viewed as the evolutionists' Bible.  This is strange really for Charles Darwin was certainly not the inventor of the theory of evolution; evolutionary ideas and interpretations were increasingly advanced in the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries.4  Dr. Henry Morris5 points out:

"Erasmus Darwin was Charles Darwin's grandfather and was a widely-read and popular writer on evolution even before Charles was born.  Wells, Pritchard, and Laurence were all physicians who wrote on evolution and natural selection almost a half-century before
The Origin of Species.  Diderot in France, Edward Blyth in England, and even Benjamin Franklin advanced similar theories."

Dr. Morris then goes on to note that Darwin never acknowledged his predecessors and always referred to the origin of species by natural selection as "my theory".  This inability to acknowledge debts owed to others who participate in their deceptions is a trend widely observed in the writings of false religionists and cult leaders.  It should also be noted that "Darwin's theory" fails the criteria for it to be called a "theory" and it should correctly be called a "hypothesis."  An honest assessment will also acknowledge it to be a failed hypothesis for the facts do not fit!

Thus we find Darwin and his contemporaries and successors insisting that the elements came into existence through a long process of random chance, eventually evolving into the "advanced" evolutionary state they claim to observe today in mankind, yet being contradicted at every turn.  In particular we observe the behaviour of men which, far from evolving to a state of perfection, proves to be worse as the second millennium draws to a close! Despite the failure of the facts to fit the hypothesis the proponents speak today of the "evolutionary theory" as if it were fact and share their views through such journals as the humanists vehicle: "
The Freethinker"6  Tragically many journals bearing "Science" in their title act as the instrument for atheists such as Richard Dawkins to attempt to prop up their crumbling edifice which requires regular adjustments - at least every 20-30 years - much as false prophets have to tinker with their proclamations to try and save face.

Christians deceived by this work of the enemy have sought to modify this position by postulating a "theory" known as
theistic evolution. This approach considers that God was involved in the creation of the first life cell, but then retired from the scene to allow the "natural process" of evolution to bring mankind to its present state. This position appears to placate the conscience of the Christian who does want to be ridiculed for believing the Genesis account as it stands and appears to take modern science on board while allowing for the existence of God. But, not only does it fall by the same scientific evidence that refutes the "evolutionary theory," it also insults God by inferring that the Word of God is a false account relying on myths to placate our ignorant ancestors. This makes "theistic evolution" another unsatisfactory position.

Another alternative held by some in Christian colleges and seminaries today is called the
day-age theory. Rather than have one day mean a twenty-four hour day in Genesis, the advocates of this theory believe that the day could have been a million years. In other words, rather than having six literal twenty-four hour days, each "day" involved a period of time that could have been 6,000,000 or 60,000,000 years, or whatever seems necessary (by evolutionary standards) to complete the creation work, described in Genesis Chapter One, for that day.

The first reason for believing that the Bible teaches a literal six-day creation is this: the context demands it.  The word for "day" in Hebrew (
yom), as in many other languages, is used with a variety of meanings; but in nearly every case it is obvious from the context what is meant.  In Genesis 1:5 the word is used to mean, first, daylight, and secondly to include the hours of light and darkness.  It is used in this clear way throughout Genesis Chapter One and a 24-hour day is obviously intended.

It has often been objected that, since the sun was not 'made' till the fourth day, the first three days at least cannot have been solar days.  It is not just evolutionists who are inspired by Satan to use this as a device to try and attack the Word of God.  Muslims claim that since there was no source of light in Genesis 1:3-5, when day and night were formed by the Christian God (He didn't create the sources of light until verses 14-19) then the Bible must be inaccurate!  The simple answer is that the Bible does not say anywhere that the sun, moon and stars are the only source of light in the Universe and that God could not produce light from another source before setting the constant source of light in its place for the duration of the present earth's existence.  Since it is the first mention of light in the Bible we simply look to the Word and then interpret it without resorting to needless speculation outside of what we need to know, and have been told by God.  This can be answered by making three points:

First, God created everything then He chose to create light (the very "science" of photons etc. that makes up "light") itself before determining the "sources" of light - one of which is the sun which He created later; this is supported by Genesis 1v3 which tells us that God created "light" and then separated it from darkness - naming light "day" and darkness as "night." In the same way He orders the rest of earth into "sky" (to separate the water of the clouds from the oceans) etc.

Science would interpret this in the following way: light is one form of energy and God simply called forms of energy into being as He required them. The various stars and galaxies were created by conversion of energy into mass according to the formula:

e/c2 (speed of light squared) = m (mass)

and the whole universe became one vast system of light and energy, since you cannot (from the viewpoint of physics) conceive of visible light as distinct from other forms of energy.  Physicists would agree that by the fourth day the conversion of energy into mass reached a concentration in the various systems of "atomic furnaces" which God called the sun and stars. It can be emphasised that, however vast the universe may be, light photons from the most distant stars would be visible
immediately since the stars were made by conversion of light into closed orbits of energy (which we call mass).

The Copernican system of astronomy is also supported by the creation account of activating the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day. Ptolemy assumed that the sun in its daily cycle around the earth caused day and night. So they pose the obvious question - how could there have been days and nights before the sun gave light? The answer is that the earth's rotation gives our diurnal cycles and always has ever since God said,
"Let there be light."  Genesis 1v14 tells us He created the sun and moon in order to separate these periods of "day" and "night" into the 24 hour day.  So God followed a patterned order - and who are we to disagree and say He did it in the wrong order?

Finally, it should be pointed out that in the Bible the last chapter of the last book, Revelation 22v5, proves to us that the sun and moon, or other sources,  are unnecessary for God to give light to His people. When the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven (21v1-4) there will be no more night and lamps and sunlight will no longer be required because God and the Jesus Christ the Lamb - whose throne is in the city - are its light. No doubt the glory of Revelation 21-22 will be far superior to the present created light inasmuch as the new heavens and new earth will be far superior to the present heavens and earth.

It was Calvin who said:
"The Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that He holds in His hand the light, which He is able to impart to us without the sun and moon." Revelation 22 would seem to bear out that there was a glorious reason for this order of lighting the world! And it was Jesus who told the unbelieving Pharisees: "I Am the light of the world, whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness."  (John 8:12)

Secondly, in nearly every other Old Testament passage where 'days' is used with a numeral, it means literal days of 24 hours.  The only possible exceptions are Daniel 8:14 and 12:11-12; but these chapters are visions, a type of literature entirely different from the history of Genesis One.

There is an interesting parallel to Genesis 1:1- 2:4 in Numbers 7:10
1, where we read:

"the princes offered for the dedication of the altar
in the day that it was anointed".

We might have thought that all offered on the same day, had not the narrative gone on to inform us that they offered on twelve separate days.  We have "the first day . . . . second day . . . . etc." exactly as in Genesis One; and logical hermeneutics tells us that the word "day" is used in Numbers 7:10 with a comprehensive meaning, while in the rest of the chapter it is used literally to denote a period of 24 hours.  In the same way, in Genesis 2:4, "day" is used with a comprehensive meaning, summing up the six individual and literal days of the previous chapter.

Thirdly, God's commentary in Exodus 20:9-11
1 states that God's working week and man's working week are exactly parallel:

  9  "Six days you shall labour...For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them....."
 
Proponents of the
day-age "theory" have to cope with the jibe that man should work for 6 million, or billion, years and then rest for 1 million, or billion, years.  Any interpretation along these lines would quickly lead to the extinction of man, since most of us struggle to cope with 5 days work between one weekend and the next!  E. J. Young7 comments:

   "The fourth commandment actually refutes the non-chronological interpretation of Genesis One". 

Let us remember, too, that there is no possibility of the Ten Commandments being man's interpretation of God's Word.  In the inspired Bible we are told it was the writing of God written with the finger of God on tablets which were the work of God - Exodus 31:18; 32:16
1:

Exodus 31:18  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.   

Exodus 32:16  And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

It is clear that any Christian attempting to make the word "day" in Genesis One mean anything other than a period of 24 hours makes their interpretation of the rest of Scripture severely weaker, if not hopeless.  Thus this "theory" also requires us to modify the literal truth of God's Word, to try and help our finite understanding cope with the miraculous, and is therefore another unacceptable response to the creation narrative.

Another position that has a few proponents is that of the
revelatory day theory. This teaching suggests that, rather than a twenty-four hour day in which the actual creative activity occurred, God gave Moses the events of creation in six days of revelation. So, on the first revelatory day, the theory claims that God said: "I am giving you this information, Moses." On the second revelatory day He gave him the next information to write; on the third day the next information, and so on. These days then were not creative days, but six successive days in which God spoke to Moses about the creation of the universe. This is another unacceptable position because it is reading into the text statements that are simply not there.  If we allow this kind of treatment of the Word of God we can prove whatever we want to prove from the Bible.

Another widely held position is the
gap theory which was popularized by the Scofield Bible and is still believed by not a few.  Since Genesis 1:2 is translated, "and the earth became waste and void . . .", in the Scofield Bible it is supposed to refer to some judgement of God on the 'pre-Adamite' earth after the initial creation many millions of years ago in Genesis 1:1, and then we have (in Genesis 1:3) the supposed re-creation of a previously created earth. This theory is primarily a sop to the evolutionists who maintain that we are living on an earth which is millions or billions of years old. This "eternity past" theory is widely taken up by Bible conservatives who wish to recognize the possibility of the accuracy of the geologic column.

Incredibly much of the
gap theory is drawn out of the meaning of two words: because in Exodus 20:11 the word is "made", not "created", Genesis One is interpreted as a restoration of the earth, not the original creation.  On linguistic grounds the theory was refuted many years ago both by E. J. Young and F. F. Bruce8, but its error will be apparent even to those who have other Bible translations.  Can we distinguish between 'created' and 'made' in Genesis One?  The answer must be an emphatic "No," when we consider the Genesis evidence by examining the other verses where one or other of the words is used:

vv.6-7:  "Let there be a firmament . . . and God
made the firmament."
vv.14-16: "Let there be lights . . . and God
made the two great lights."
vv.20-21: "Let the waters bring forth . . . and God
created the great sea-monsters."
vv.24-25: "Let the earth bring forth . . . and God
made the beast of the earth."
vv.26-27: "God said, Let us make man . . . and God
created man, in the image of God    created He him; male and female created He them."
v. 31:   "God saw everything that He had
made.

It is difficult to maintain that the process of "creating" sea-monsters was different from that of "making" the beasts: in both cases there was pre-existent material. The verses about Man show that the two words must be considered synonymous in the context.  Finally, if "made" in Genesis 1.31 can include three acts of creation (vv. 1, 21, and 27) - as it obviously does - there seems little reason to doubt that in Exodus 20:11 it can do the same.  Similar arguments have been tried by the "gap theory" exponents with Genesis 2:7 which uses "formed" to describe the creation of Man; however, a comparison with Isaiah 45:7
1:

The One
forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these

shows that all three words are sometimes synonymous.  In Genesis 1-2 they denote not three different processes but the
same process viewed from three different angles, for variety and emphasis.  Thus we see that the theory relies on a cultish re-emphasis of words to try and hide the clear truth and thus faith is brought into question rather than taught to rely on the Word of God.

Finally, the position held by many Bible Conservatives is that described in the Bible, and supported by accurate and consistent scientific dating experiments for God's Creation which shows us to exist on a
young earth not more than eight to ten thousand years old, created perfect  in the beginning.  The Bible teaches clearly that, following Adam's sin, both he and the earth came under the curse. According to this model, no major changes occurred in the surface of the earth until the great flood of Genesis 7.  At that time, the fountains of the deep were broken up and the vapour canopy caved in, causing the upheavals which are observed world-wide, e.g. in the Grand Canyon and in mountain ranges.  Associated "flood geology" explains fossils of fish that can be observed in the Arctica and Antarctica regions because of the weight of the water which covered the earth and shifted it on its axis away from the sun, thus causing ice-caps to form and the continents to divide. 

If the geologic record was the result of slow depositional and erosive forces acting over millions of years, as evolutionists claim, then one should not expect to find animals and plants from widely different environmental zones buried together in one rock stratum.  If the fossil record were the result of a world-wide flood, then tropical animals should be expected to be buried with temperate and arctic animals as well as life from other environments.  This would be a good test as to which viewpoint, creation or evolution, was true.  By looking in the fossil record, we should be able to tell whether plants are only rarely mixed climatically or if this occurs commonly.  It must be noted that we can say very little about the climate represented by a given animal or plant in fossil strata which contain only extinct forms of life.  Logically, if none has ever been observed living, we can't tell the habitat.  W.P. Woodring
9 told of a mixed collection of mollusks (a class of animals including snails, clams and oysters) which defy the evolutionists explanations:

"The Pleistocene marine faunas of California have long attracted attention.  Many of them are large: 100 to 350 species of mollusks in one formation . . . These fauna show different associations.  Some associations include cool-water and warm-water species . . . . They evidently do not represent the same environment: in fact, they appear to represent notably different environments...",

The Geiseltal lignites in Germany also present a real problem for the person who doesn't believe in a worldwide flood.  Wilfred Francis
10 wrote:

"A similar conclusion is drawn from the evidence of the fossil-bearing layers of the lignites of Geiseltal in Germany. 
Here also is a complete mixture of plants, insects and animals from all climatic zones of the earth capable of supporting life . . . "

W.B. Wright
11 speaking of particular strata, noted:

".. on top of the arctic freshwater plants and shells is a marine bed.  Astarte Borealis and other mollusk shells are found in the position of life, with both valves united.  These species are arctic, but the bed seems in other places to contain Ostrea edulis (a mollusk), which requires a temperate sea; the evidence is conflicting as to the climate."

A final example of mixed environmental fossils is found in the Amber beds of East Prussia (Poland).  The amber is believed to have been fossilized resin secreted by the ancient trees which lived in the area.  Some insects are found encased in the amber, and it is speculated that they got there when the insects, walking on the tree, got stuck and encased in the resin.  Later the resin turned to amber.  Francis
10 describes what is found in the amber and where it came from.  He says:

"Within the lumps of amber are found insects, snails, coral and small portions of plant life.  These are of modern type that are now found in both tropical and cold temperature regions.  Pine leaves are present, of the types now growing in Japan and North America..."

Obviously, the coral was not walking on a tree or in the forest and is known to grow only in the ocean.  Explaining how it came to be found there presents a considerable problem if you deny a worldwide flood.  These fossil mixtures found worldwide are what you would expect if the earth had suffered a worldwide flood as described in Genesis.

The unknown nature of the creative processes used by God and  the unique vapour canopy which surrounded the earth prior to the flood brought about situations totally alien to our present knowledge.  Therefore many of the scientific methodologies which have been applied to the accurate measurement of the age of the earth today fail to accurately account for conditions that existed prior to the flood, as well as often being conducted by evolutionists with an agenda to prove.  This is reflected in the widely divergent results obtained in dating, whether using Uranium-235 and 238, Potassium/Argon-36 and 40, Helium, Strontium-90, or Carbon-14 dating methods.  A typical example is the Kaupulehu lava flow in Hawaii, a flow which man watched coming out of the ground in 1800-1801AD, but which yielded potassium-argon ages of 1 to 2.4 billion years!  This lava flow is observably less than 200 years old - yet the same flow, when dated by helium dating, yielded ages of 140 million years to 670 million years.
12  Similar flawed results are observed with all the dating methods. Clearly man's attempts to preclude the Genesis account from God's testimony to mankind fails at every turn.

We are utterly content to adopt the Biblical
young earth model and place a date of approximately 8000 B.C. to Genesis 1:1, and to accept the date of the final section of Genesis chapter 50, which tells us of the death of Joseph, to be proven (by tracing the chronologies in Genesis) as 1805 B.C.

(Continued on page 394)

'The Abrahamic Covenant'

Genesis 3:15 and its importance to Old Testament history and Christianity

Theories of the origin of the world and mankind

Abram's brothers

Promises and validation of the Abrahamic covenant

Isaac's prayer for his barren wife related to twentieth century Christianity

Jacob and Esau

Jacob's eleven sons

Esau, Jacob and Laban

Joseph in Egypt

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