The early chapters of Genesis are difficult to reconcile from a scientific and Biblical point of view. Not too long ago, I went through a time of re-examining 6-day creation. I did not find the argument as compelling as theologians and scientific creationists make it out to be. One really runs into the problem of language. Scholars with similarly impressive credentials differ on the meaning of terms in Genesis, such as, yom (day). (For the record, yom is used immediately in Genesis 2:4 to represent the entire creation week, not a 24-hour day—a departure from its 24-hour use in the 2nd chapter of the Bible!)
There are, however, some guiding principles that are central in the evaluation of Bible and science.
- The Bible is God’s revelation, inerrant and infallible. In my analysis, and in agreement with Gordon Clark (GHC), it is the only truth that we will know in this life. Everything else has some relativity, probability, and dependence on interpretation.
- That these issues around creation ever come up is the presence and pressure of evolutionary “science”—pure and simple! While we want to be honest with the “facts” of science, we have to realize that the only reason such issues abound is an atheistic, hell-bent-to-disprove-God attitude.
- Science is empiricism, ever changing. The evolutionists don’t agree among themselves. Their facts differ and are incoherent. Creation scientists do not agree. Their facts differ and are incoherent. All these differences make reference to what was thought “then,” what is thought “now,” and what we will think “then.” This tenuous nature of science exists because of its inductive method which can never determine truth.
- So, without going further. Empirical science is “iffy,” and Scripture is truth, and the gulf is probably unbridgeable.
Thus, the problem becomes what Scripture really says—a language-hermeneutic problem. The language does allow some laxity, as I have suggested above.
- “In the beginning…” of what? Space, matter, energy, AND time. And, time began with “evenings” and “mornings.” Throughout Scripture, especially in reference to the fourth commandment, the readily apparent reading of Scripture is a literal day. All this Biblical interpretation is great evidence to overcome with “mere” science. If you want probability, I would estimate in the 99.9 percent range.
- I have decided that dualism is a test of orthodoxy. Simply and plainly, that is what the Scripture teaches. I favor idealism, and I can speculate that position as a philosophy. I can build an evidential base for it, but it would still be speculation. God has posited the spirit world and the physical world. Man is both body and spirit. Jesus Christ was both—the Incarnation seals it.
- We should look at the “worldview” of those who differ on 6-day creation. When an otherwise orthodox, systematic theologian says something, for example, John Jefferson Davis, we ought to evaluate carefully what he says. But, if Barth or Bultmann says something, we have to remember that they are coming from their worldview which does not include Biblical inerrancy (above). That does not mean that they are wrong, but they are less likely to have something of value for Biblically committed Christians.
- The genealogies beginning with Genesis 5 have to be taken as literal years. There is no other reasonable way to interpret them in an inerrant Bible. Two different scholars, working more than 300 years apart, came to the exact same year for creation week!
- We have to remember that Adam was the most intelligent man that ever lived. Even post-Fall, he was not a descendent of generations under the noetic effects of sin. So, as far as man’s intelligence is concerned, he is devolving, not evolving. Technology blinds us to that fact; because we have a lot of gadget, we equate that possession with intelligence and knowledge. There is considerable evidence that people are less able to learn today. Of course, modern education is a factor as a “dummer downer.” But, it seems that many Christians who discuss science and Genesis assume the evolutionary scenario of man evolving to become more intelligent and more “civilized.” The anthropologists do not like to admit it, but the most backward tribes of the world have a vocabulary that is incredibly and exhaustively complex.
- The differences between young earth creationists and Christians with longer time frames should be more tolerant. It is not automatic that “old earth” Christians are going to throw out Biblical inerrancy, just because of this one issue. (However, most strong Bible believers are young earth.) There does need to be more grace and kindness here.
- There is the issue of “life.” What gives life? A scientist may compound all the chemicals that make up a human being, but what gives them life? I think that life comes from the Spirit of God. Man can never create a living thing. Life can only come from life—the Living God.
Almost 20 years ago, I wrote that something must regulate the DNA; it is only a blueprint. There was the mad dash to map the human genome. Now what? Where are the genetic cures? There is more to matter than matter. We had better not forget that, as Christians. Here, we have dualism again.
I am not impressed with the orthodoxy and Biblical depth and breadth of the American Scientific Affiliation (worldview above). Therefore, anything that they say is highly suspect. The same holds for the Christian Medical and Dental Society and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University.
I grant hermeneutical problems in early Genesis, but I do not think that anything in empirical science has sufficient standing as probability and temporary knowledge to challenge anything that is generally considered to be orthodox.
One must have his “spectacles” (as Calvin would say) that is, those Biblical teachings that are sound in place. Otherwise, a Christian is listening to voices that do not share his worldview.
Again, I do not think that 6-day creation should be a test of orthodoxy, but Biblical inerrancy and other central doctrines should be, including dualism. I am not all that familiar with the literature in these areas, but it seems to me that most of these voices are non-orthodox or borderline orthodox and weak theologically.