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Groaning Under the Curse

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | Comments (57)

Evidence of man’s sinfulness surrounds us. Daily newspapers publish it in their headlines; news programs feature it on the hour; websites make it public domain for all to witness; and it sweeps through the annals of human history. But how did we get into this condition?

Charles Spurgeon once said the slime of Adam’s transgression covers the entire planet. He was right. Nothing is free from the stain of man’s sinfulness. Even the creation itself groans under the strain of God’s curse. The evidence is undeniable—we live among a fallen people on a fallen planet. But how did it get that way? Well that depends on who you ask . . . Here’s John’s answer.


Genesis 3 is one of the most vitally important chapters in all the Bible. It is the foundation of everything that comes after it. Without it, little else in Scripture or in life itself would make sense. Genesis 3 explains the condition of the universe and the state of humanity. It explains why the world has so many problems. It explains the human dilemma. It explains why we need a Savior. And it explains what God is doing in history.

In other words, the truth revealed in Genesis 3 is the necessary foundation for a true and accurate world-view. Every world-view that lacks this foundation is utterly and hopelessly wrong.

When God completed His perfect creation, there was no disorder, no chaos, no conflict, no struggle, no pain, no discord, no deterioration, and no death. Yet our lives today are filled with all those things all the time. Frankly, we find it hard to imagine what a perfect world would have been like. Genesis 3 explains how we got from that paradise of unimaginable perfection to where we are today.

Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic evolution cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual.

Yet we are clearly moral and spiritual creatures, and we all know this. The concepts of good and evil are innate in the human psyche. (Even the most atheistic evolutionists have consciences.) We know from bitter experience that we cannot keep ourselves from evil. We find the pull of sin irresistible. We cannot do everything we know we ought to do. Worse, we cannot reform ourselves. Evolution offers no explanation for this dilemma and no hope for a solution.

Instead, the doctrine of evolution (if followed consistently) ends with a denial of the reality of evil. If naturalistic evolution is correct and there is no God, neither can there be any inviolable moral principles that govern the universe. And therefore there is no moral accountability of any kind. In fact, if evolution is true, things are the way they are by sheer chance, for no transcendent reason. Nothing under such a system could ever have any real moral significance. The very notions of good and evil would be meaningless concepts. There would be no reason to condemn a Hitler or applaud a Good Samaritan.

Who wired us to distinguish between good and evil? Where did the human conscience come from? And why is human nature universally drawn to evil? Evolutionists are clueless.

Genesis 3 answers that question with clarity and simplicity. Our first ancestor, Adam, deliberately disobeyed God. Somehow his sin defiled the whole race, and now every one of his natural offspring has inherited a love for sin and a contempt for true righteousness. And this manifests itself in our behavior.

Because of Adam’s sin, creation was tainted and cursed. Romans 8:20-22 says, "The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." In other words, because of sin, no part of creation now exists as God originally made it. It "was subjected to futility," meaning that it was rendered unable to achieve the purpose for which it was originally designed. It was spoiled—defiled by sin, and thus subject to God's curse instead of His blessing. It was enslaved to corruption and placed in bondage to the debasing effects of sin—including decay, degradation, and death. All creation now "groans and labors with birth pangs"—picturesque language depicting the suffering and pain caused by sin's defilement. All these things, according to Scripture, are the effects of Adam's disobedience.

This clearly argues against evolution. If God used evolutionary processes or "natural selection" to create the world in the first place, then death, decay, mutation, and corruption were part of creation from the beginning. If death and natural selection were part of the means God used to create the world, then nothing was actually created perfect; everything had defects built in. But Scripture plainly attributes all such things to Adam's sin. They are the consequences of the curse that came after that first act of disobedience.

And deliverance from this state will not come from any process of evolution, either. In fact, the whole of creation—including the human race—is now subject to a kind of devolution, which no amount of education, enlightenment, environmentalism, psychology, civilization, or technology will ever be able to reverse. What is needed is redemption (Romans 8:23).

The remainder of Genesis is filled with evidence of humanity's downward spiral into utter moral degradation. Genesis 3 is the turning point. Before that, God looked at creation and pronounced everything "very good" (1:31). But after Genesis 3, all human history has been colored by that which is very bad. (And the only exceptions are examples of God's redemptive work; they are not examples of human nobility.)

Genesis 4 records the first murder, a case of fratricide. Genesis 4:19 contains the first mention of polygamy. Verse 23 tells of another act of murder. And from there the human race declines so grievously that by Genesis 6:5, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." So God destroyed the entire race, except for one family.

Genesis also records the beginnings of such evils as homosexuality (19:1-5); incest (19:30-38); idolatry (31:30-35); rape (34:1-2); mass murder (34:25-29); harlotry (38:14-19); and numerous other forms of wickedness.

All of this stemmed from Adam's one act of disobedience (Romans 5:19). Adam's sin poisoned not only his offspring, but also the rest of creation. How did this evil come about? Again, only Genesis 3 gives a clear answer. The only remaining question is: Will you believe it?


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#1  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 5:00 AM

Wow. Some really great (and I mean that sincerely) theological and ontological statements. Interspersed with some of the usual drivel one finds here. The good first.

Genesis 3 is one of the most vitally important chapters in all the Bible. It is the foundation of everything that comes after it. Without it, little else in Scripture or in life itself would make sense. Genesis 3 explains the condition of the universe and the state of humanity. It explains why the world has so many problems. It explains the human dilemma. It explains why we need a Savior. And it explains what God is doing in history.

Amen.

Yet we are clearly moral and spiritual creatures, and we all know this. The concepts of good and evil are innate in the human psyche. (Even the most atheistic evolutionists have consciences.) We know from bitter experience that we cannot keep ourselves from evil. We find the pull of sin irresistible. We cannot do everything we know we ought to do. Worse, we cannot reform ourselves

And amen.

Unfortunately, there is a flip side.

Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic evolution cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual.

Evolution as a scientific theory shouldn't have to answer these questions. Once again, GTY conflates the scientific theory of evolution with the philosophy of atheistic naturalism. Two different things, guys.

When God completed His perfect creation, there was no disorder, no chaos, no conflict, no struggle, no pain, no discord, no deterioration, and no death. Yet our lives today are filled with all those things all the time. Frankly, we find it hard to imagine what a perfect world would have been like. Genesis 3 explains how we got from that paradise of unimaginable perfection to where we are today.

This has begun to be addressed in another thread, but statements like these implicitly affirm some sort of second creation. If there were no disorder, no chaos, or no deterioration before the Fall, then the fundamental principles of physics were different before the fall. There must have been some sort of frictional force, because Adam walked. But it was no dissipative? It didn't create entropy? In this line of thinking, the Curse was much more than what is typically thought. It is a fundamental reordering of the universe, tantamount to changing the rules of Monopoly after everyone has gone around the board once. Note also that the text never uses the word perfect to describe creation. Just that it was good. A primordial state of pristine Perfection is a Hellenistic ideal that we have allowed to creep into our theology.

#2  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 5:33 AM

Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic evolution cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual.

I knew if I stuck around this forum long enough, JM would say something I strongly agree with. Ladies and gentlemen… alert the media!

Naturalistic determinism indeed has no basis for even acknowledging moral values and duties exist despite the obvious intuition that they do. There are many who attempt to misuse evolution as a tool for the explanation of morality, but such attempts fail miserably because evolution is about branching away from common centers or origin, and objective morality is about everything moving toward a moral center. It is completely inconsistent to argue objective morality as a product of evolution.

Evolution cannot answer “why?” It can only attempt to answer “how?” Conversely, our divinely inspired Scriptures are all about answering “why” questions. Why did God create the heavens and the earth? Why did God provide for man? Why did He give him instructions? Why did man reject those instructions and rebel against God? Why are we dealing with sin and the effects of sin to this day? The answers are all there if you take the time to read them.

The problem is we often approach the Bible with “how” questions when we should be asking “why” questions. The Bible is silent on much of the “how” questions and we have to learn to be okay with that. We have to figure out some things for ourselves, like how germs cause diseases, or how to build internal combustion engines, etc.

#3  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 7:08 AM

Dirk opines,

Evolution as a scientific theory shouldn't have to answer these questions. Once again, GTY conflates the scientific theory of evolution with the philosophy of atheistic naturalism.

That's because atheists insist we conflate evolution and naturalism. As I noted earlier, show me a group of atheists who adhere to ID.

Dirk continues,

Note also that the text never uses the word perfect to describe creation. Just that it was good. A primordial state of pristine Perfection is a Hellenistic ideal that we have allowed to creep into our theology.

So how exactly does sin have any impact in the world then? Does the Hellenistic idea of "perfection" have any bearing upon the new heaven and new earth?

#4  Posted by Dylan Perkins  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 7:50 AM

"Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic evolution cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual."

Yeah, can't argue with that. Of course, JM could have substituted any other scientific theory and it would come out the same. Let's try it:

"Atomic theory offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Atomic theory will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic atomic theory cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual."

Let's try another:

"General relativity offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? General relativity will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic general relativity cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual."

This is fun:

"Plate tectonics offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Plate tectonics will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic plate tectonics cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual."

Can't say I disagree.

#5  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 8:16 AM

Joey and Dirk -- it appears from your comments that you take Genesis 3 literally? That Adam and Eve were literal people who literally sinned bringing God's curse on man, beast, and planet? If you agree with that then why do you not believe in the first two chapters? You can't believe in Genesis 3 and not believe in Genesis 1-2. They are interwoven and interdependent.

It is factually wrong to say that Scripture does not contain the "how". If you say that you automatically demonstrate your ignorance or blindness to the words of Scripture. When Scripture says, "And God said, 'Let there be...' and it was so," We know that Scripture is telling us that "how" of something.

Scripture is filled with "how" answers. It tells us how the world was created. It tells us how the first man came into existence. It tells us how the first women came into existence. It tells us how the multitude of languages came to be. It tells us how people were spread to various parts of the globe. It tells us how God chose a nation. It tell us how He won victories for His people. It tells us how He anointed a king over Israel. It tells us how He sent the incarnate Son of God. It tell us how Jesus lived. It tells us how Jesus died. It tells us how Jesus was resurrected. It tells us how we are saved. And on and on it goes with a thousand "how's" in between.

Scripture is not a philosophy book from which we simply get the "why's" of life. Because many of the "why's" of life are intricately tied to the "how's" of Scripture, particularly the first three chapters.

Evolution simply destroys any possibility of a biblical worldview.

#6  Posted by William Rhoden  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 8:52 AM

I would submit that God declares these things "good" on an intrinsic level in Genesis 1. It's not that they just functioned well, or they completed his purpose well, it's that all creation was good by nature and needed no more work.

It would be against God's character to declare something intrinsically "good", if it were not perfectly made by Him. Otherwise, it would be a lie, and God cannot lie. We must also understand that it is God's standard of good (which is good indeed) and not ours (which is tainted by evil).

I would also submit that plant death, animal death, and human death are all different categories. Assuming no common ancestry between the three would allow for this. Clearly there was plant death before the fall, because man and animal could eat of the garden. This was not a problem to God, because He made it as such. Never in Scripture is plant death equal to animal or human death and in fact plant death never atones for sin. (Genesis 4, Leviticus 1-6, Hebrews 9:22) The curse on plants was not for them to die, but for plants to become difficult to master by humans. (Genesis 3:17-19) The point being is that plants have never been equal to humans or animals, even though we now know they are made up of cells.

Macro-Evolution, unlike atomic theory, does make moral statements when it comes to human evolution. It would require man to die prior to the fall in order to evolve to a more perfect man. That is clearly not true in the Scripture, and is an attack on the entire doctrine of sin and death. It undermines God's justice and righteousness, for the death of man prior to the fall would have been punishment for no reason. God would then be unjust, and therefore not God at all. It's not just a slight scientific fact that we are arguing here, but an attack on the very character of God.

#7  Posted by Larry Bucar  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 8:56 AM

I love the pattern - the biologos brothers jump in with questions that have already been answered by the blog producers or are in the Bible... and/or sarcasm. LJB

#8  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 9:14 AM

To add to what William said, while Evolution does not explicitly address moral issues, it has significant implications for morality. If humans are descendants of animals then murder is no different than one animal killing another, and thus should not be punished. PETA certainly demonstrates their consistency in applying the implications of morality by putting animal treatment on the level of human rights, if not above.

For the Christian who has faith in Evolution, the uniqueness of humans is not inherent in humanity, it is designated by God. This means the concept of man being made in God's image is a strictly religious concept and should not be expressed in the public square. This means morality is not a universal absolute, but strictly a subjective religious concept, and therefore should not be brought to bare in the public square. So for any evolutionist, creating laws against murder is no different than creating laws for/against a particular religion.

Unless man is inherently a unique creation, morality cannot be absolute. Or if it is absolute, it must be applied to every organism in the chain of Evolution.

True? Not true? Thinking out loud here...

#9  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 9:23 AM

Citing from the article,

"Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question. In fact, pure naturalistic evolution cannot account for anything that is moral or spiritual."

Dylan points out in #4,

Yeah, can't argue with that. Of course, JM could have substituted any other scientific theory and it would come out the same.

Richard Dawkins seems to disagree with your sassy response:

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

-- Richard Dawkins, "God's Utility Function," published in Scientific American (November, 1995), p. 85

Other Dawkins quotes on the power of evolutionary theory:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/dawkins.htm

Care to offer a response Dylan? Or is Richard sort of dismissed as being "just one guy"?

#10  Posted by Dylan Perkins  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 9:42 AM

Fred, how is Dawkins disagreeing with me? Evolution is precisely like every other scientific theory, in that in offers no morals or values whatsoever. It's not supposed to. It's merely descriptive. I don't see the relevance of the quoted passage.

#11  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 9:58 AM

Dylan writes,

It's merely descriptive. I don't see the relevance of the quoted passage.

If you read that citation carefully, Dawkins most certainly attributes moral qualities to evolutionary theory. Pitiless indifference is a moral quality. If evolution is merely descriptive, then it only deals with present reality. Once it attempts to be utilized to build a history of earth's deep past, then it becomes philosophy, which again, is a system that exercises moral qualities.

#12  Posted by Dylan Perkins  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 10:32 AM

Fred,

"If you read that citation carefully, Dawkins most certainly attributes moral qualities to evolutionary theory. Pitiless indifference is a moral quality."

This is like saying gravity has moral qualities because it's indifferent to my well-being. I would say it has no moral qualities. It is just gravity. It is not a sentient being that can choose indifference or otherwise, scientifically speaking anyway. Which goes back to my point; you could sub anything in.

"If evolution is merely descriptive, then it only deals with present reality. Once it attempts to be utilized to build a history of earth's deep past, then it becomes philosophy, which again, is a system that exercises moral qualities."

Description doesn't have to be limited to the present. Description is description. How does description of the past become philosophy, which then, to add another twist, acquires a moral dimension? This is weird.

#13  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 12:28 PM

Macro-Evolution, unlike atomic theory, does make moral statements when it comes to human evolution. It would require man to die prior to the fall in order to evolve to a more perfect man.

Actually evolutionary theory does not address the fall of man at all, so it does not require man’s death prior to such. That’s a theological issue.

If humans are descendants of animals then murder is no different than one animal killing another, and thus should not be punished.

This is only true if one rejects Genesis 2:7.

it appears from your comments that you take Genesis 3 literally? Truthfully, yes. I’ve noticed a few different ideas on here as to what different people mean by the term “literal.” I don’t really have a problem with it as you went on to define it.

If you agree with that then why do you not believe in the first two chapters?

Who doesn’t believe the first two chapters?

Scripture is filled with "how" answers.

Of course. I didn’t say otherwise. I said that evolution is only concerned with “how” answers and that theology is more interested with the “why” answers. I’m obviously generalizing, but the point is that looking for an answer to a question in Scripture when one is not given might mean that one is asking the wrong question to begin with.

Evolution simply destroys any possibility of a biblical worldview.

It would be sad if this were true. If you believe this, you have a pretty flimsy foundation for your worldview. If God were to reveal to you today that evolution was true, are you saying you would be forced to reject the Bible as the foundation of your worldview?

#14  Posted by William Rhoden  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 12:47 PM

Descriptions are based on an observable fact. We can observe things and describe what we see. Evolution was originally put together by Darwin, who observed and described the world as he saw it from the S.S. Beagle. He then came up with a theory to explain the world as he saw it. Several different people agreed with his theory, and with some refinements we have evolutionary theory today. Yet, Darwin did not see evolution, he saw birds with variations.

So, I would be careful calling Macro-evolution a description, because no one has observed it. The only one who would have seen evolution is God alone, and in Genesis 2:7 He makes it clear that He created man out of dust. So the question is who has the final say? God or Darwin? That question has huge moral implications, for if we cannot trust God on Creation, how can we trust Him morally? If we can't get morality out of God, then who do we trust? Darwin? Dawkins? Ourselves?

Evolution has moral consequences because it voids God's Word and offers no alternative. So it leaves us in the dark, unable to find true morality. Even if (as Dawkins would say) our morality is derived on common genes (grown over years of evolution), there would be no judgment or justice on that morality. Without justice, all morals are ultimately meaningless despite if people practice them or not.

#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 1:33 PM

Joey,

I can't remember now what you believe about evolution, but it sounds like you don't if you accept Genesis 2:7.

Who doesn't believe in the first chapters? Dirk, Garrett, and Dylan, for starters. The truth is, they believe something about the first two chapters (though I think none of them would agree with eachother's interpretation), but they don't believe that it is actual history.

If someone were to ask me, "How did humans come into existence?" I would tell them Scripture very clearly answers that question. If someone were to ask, "How did the universe come into existence?" Scripture has a clear answer to that too. Genesis 1-3 answers a ton of "how" questions, the answers of which provide the basis for a ton of "why" questions.

So evolution is treading on Scripture's jurisdiction when it attempts to answer "how" questions.

God can't reveal that evolution is true because that would contradict His previous revelation. Evolution directly contradicts God's revealed plan for the universe. Evolution contradicts a host of biblical passages from Genesis to Revelation.

#16  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 2:54 PM

I think naturalistic evolutionists will not get into a morality debate. They will admit something is "wrong", but will still keep God out of the picture (somehow), and "believe" mankind will find a solution to moral problems (I see they are trying really hard).

Theistic evolutionists might, because, even if they are misled about Genesis 1 and 2, they will believe Adam fell in Genesis 3 bringing the "groaning of creation" to the forefront.

Christians believe the solutions to moral dilemmas are found in the bible. If only it weren't so hard to convince the unbelievers of that!

#17  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 3:23 PM

Fred

That's because atheists insist we conflate evolution and naturalism. As I noted earlier, show me a group of atheists who adhere to ID.

So you take your cues from what they atheists do? Why would they adhere to ID? They reject the existence of any deity. But I can show you a host of otherwise orthodox Christians (by your definition, because I would consider them wholly orthodox) who adhere to some form of OEC/TE.

So how exactly does sin have any impact in the world then? Does the Hellenistic idea of "perfection" have any bearing upon the new heaven and new earth?

The most obvious way sin bears upon the world is the way humans, being sinful and selfish, abuse one another and the natural world. It's hard to be any more specific, as Scripture is not terribly descriptive when it comes to the specifics of the curse, other than the difficulties of agriculture.

I would say no to your last question. I don't see any scriptural support for a "perfect" new creation. It will be Good. God will be All in All. Christ will make all things New. That's as far as I can go without speculation.

Gabriel

Joey and Dirk -- it appears from your comments that you take Genesis 3 literally? That Adam and Eve were literal people who literally sinned bringing God's curse on man, beast, and planet? If you agree with that then why do you not believe in the first two chapters? You can't believe in Genesis 3 and not believe in Genesis 1-2. They are interwoven and interdependent.

I don't necessarily take it to be a newspaper account of what happened. I've struggled with the issue of Adam and Eve for some time. Were there Homo Sapiens before Adam and Eve? Probably. I think what's important is that man did rebel and we're living with those consequences now. And by the way, Genesis 3 says nothing about animals being cursed (aside from the serpent) and nothing about the universe being cursed outside of the agriculture issue.

I believe very strongly in the first two chapters, just not the same way as you.

Evolution simply destroys any possibility of a biblical worldview.

It's these type of extreme statements which make me question even engaging in this debate here. It simply is not true.

If humans are descendants of animals then murder is no different than one animal killing another

If humans are made from dust, then murder is no different than spraying Pledge in your living room. What's important is not how we became human, whether instantaneously from dust or through evolution, but what makes us Human, namely the Breath of Life from our Creator and the distinction of bearing His Image, which does not mean our bodies are modeled after His.

William

So, I would be careful calling Macro-evolution a description, because no one has observed it.

You should do a little more research. Species with extremely short lifespans (and thus who produce prodigious numbers of generations in a short period of time) have been shown to develop new traits, encode new information in their DNA and diverge from each other. And of course there's the fossil record for larger, more long lived speicies.

#18  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 3:40 PM

Dirk:

I’m interrupting your conversation here, but wanted to point out an inconsistency.

You said: I would say no to your last question. I don't see any scriptural support for a "perfect" new creation. It will be Good. God will be All in All. Christ will make all things New. That's as far as I can go without speculation.

Then you said: I've struggled with the issue of Adam and Eve for some time. Were there Homo Sapiens before Adam and Eve? Probably.

That’s a pretty good stretch from That’s as far as I can go without speculation, to homo sapiens probably existed before Adam and Eve. How exactly do you define “speculation”?

By the way, God said the serpent was cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field (Gen. 3:14), so indeed Genesis 3 says plenty about animals being cursed aside from the serpent.

#19  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 3:48 PM

Dirk,

I think what's important is that man did rebel and we're living with those consequences now.

Wait a minute, how do you man rebelled? How do you know there was a literal Adam and Eve? If you don't believe what it says about their creation, why do you believe they existed at all? How can you take their creation as something other than literal, but their sin as literal? That seems pretty inconsistent.

It simply is not true.

A biblical worldview is built upon what God has revealed in Scripture. God has revealed His plan (from the beginning of time to the end of time) to us in Scripture. If evolution is true, then His revealed plan consists of less than 1% of history. But His revealed plan says it is from the beginning to the end of history. Evolution just doesn't mesh with Scripture. Both can't be true.

If humans are made from dust, then murder is no different than spraying Pledge in your living room.

That doesn't follow. My point is that God revealed that humans are a special, unique creation distinct from animals. If evolution is true then we are just animals and we should either treat each other like animals or treat animals like we treat each other.

what makes us Human, namely the Breath of Life from our Creator

Hold your horses Dirk... you believe that phrase (that God breath the breath of life into Adam), but not the phrase right before it (that God formed Adam form dust)? You need to at least try to be consistent in how you interpret the text. Either we were formed from dust and received the breath of life, or we evolved and didn't need the breath of life.

According to Scripture, there is nothing special about humans except that we were made in God's image, according to God's likeness. If humans weren't a special creation distinct from animals then there is no biblical reason for the dignity of human life. Or is there a passage I'm forgetting?

#20  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 4:40 PM

*Shauna Bryant here*

To answer the question presented:

The indwelt believers will believe it - the others won't.

I read an interesting article ( http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/02/darwintheabolitionist/ ) about how MORALLY grounded Darwin's theories are. This is exactly in line with all the garbage I was fed at University regarding evolution. And I believed it, but fortunately God, in His Grace and Mercy, gave gave me a new heart so that I would believe Him....that's the only way anyone will actually believe God.

Hmmm......oh, yeah, that 'moral basis' was the justification for race extermination that even Darwin approved of (all the while - the authors tried in vain to also prove he was somehow an abolitionist, trying to make blacks and other 'less favored' races equal with whites.....no, rather his evil heart may have tricked him for awhile, but he eventually succumbed to the total darkness within). Apparently abolitionist to them must have meant the 'abolishment' of 'lesser' races! But, poor Darwin, they say, he was just following the trend! Well, of course he followed the popular trends of this world - he served the god of this world. For surely Darwin did write that (all) men were 'brothers', yet without God his service to the evil one led him where it will always go......where Darwin would finally call genocide 'natural and beneficial'.

Believers know, from Gods Word -that ALL men do indeed have a 'common descent' - Adam, Created by God.

But Darwin couldn't tolerate God, so he went to animals. That's what people do who will not believe God, they'll just try to find a way around Him. Well news flash - God is LORD over ALL, even those who don't believe. Even the devils have sense enough to tremble at that - only unregenerate men are so without sense that they have no fear of God. One day they will.....fear God and bow down before Him while they are judged, and found wanting........

And you know what....one day these same 'humanists' will call once again for the extermination of God's people....and yet these are the very people that those who claim Christianity yet believe evolution have made an alliance with, against believers. No my friend, the Bible is clear - you are to be one with your brother in Christ - not unregenerate unbelievers. You can argue whatever science you please - but you may not argue against God's Word if you are a believer. You don't seem to get that there are MANY theological implications to your compromised belief. So what's is going to be....? Are you going to fully be one with your brothers In Christ (if you are actually a Christian) or are you going to remain in alliance with Satan's people?

Also, they also say this of Darwin: "...his theory of evolution was intended to explain society."

Did you get that? Intended to explain society......I'll add "without recognizing God." The Bible explains society. We were Created, we fell, we are wicked and so God provided The Way. Evolution is nothing short of Satan's manifesto. Pick one to believe. You can't have it both ways...God won't share His Glory!

Theistic evolutionists.........they try to get you to buy the anti God model of evolution, while claiming to serve God. Well, this is nothing new....throughout the Bible we read of those who knew God and worshiped Him, yet they also worshiped false gods....and God fully rejected that. Again, God won't share His Glory.

If you don't have the faith to believe God's Word then I pray you will one day be given a new heart to believe.

#21  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 4:53 PM

No problem, Tommy. You wrote,

That’s a pretty good stretch from That’s as far as I can go without speculation, to homo sapiens probably existed before Adam and Eve. How exactly do you define “speculation”?

We're completely reliant on Scripture for teaching on the New Creation. Not so in the present age. The fossil record shows the presence of modern humans long before the timeframe of a literal Adam and Eve, thus I say "probably" (hedging my bet on the possibility of a unique creation event for humans, though I admit I doubt this) because of the evidence of human activity before 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.

By the way, God said the serpent was cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field (Gen. 3:14), so indeed Genesis 3 says plenty about animals being cursed aside from the serpent.

I take this to mean "Serpent, you're the lowest" not "You're the lowest and I'm cursing all these other things too."

#22  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 6:13 PM

"When God completed His perfect [very good = perfect? Does that mean the new creation will be better than perfect?] creation, there was no disorder, no chaos, no conflict, no struggle, no pain [or, I guess just no pain leading to death], no discord, no deterioration [2nd law of thermodynamics not in play? Careful, even most creationists reject that], and no death [well, not counting plants and excluding cells, possibly some insects and some sea creatures, but other than that, none]."

"Evolution offers no explanation for the human dilemma, much less any solution to it. Why is human existence fraught with so many moral and spiritual problems? Evolution will never be able to answer that question."

Of course it can't; science can't test spiritual problems. That's why God has to reveal them to us.

"If naturalistic evolution is correct and there is no God, neither can there be any inviolable moral principles that govern the universe. And therefore there is no moral accountability of any kind. In fact, if evolution is true, things are the way they are by sheer chance, for no transcendent reason."

This is mixing science and metaphysics, a la Dawkins and co. Saying "there is no God" or "there is no transcendent reason" are not scientific statements. How could you possibly test those?

"All of this stemmed from Adam's one act of disobedience (Romans 5:19)."

Actually, Romans 5:19 is anthropocentric and says nothing at all about the animal kingdom. Even Ken Ham freely admits this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhGPIH1KObE&feature=related In addition, he says, regarding animal death being brought on by man's sin: "There's no one verse that you can specifically speak to it and look at in regard to that, but, definitely by very strong inference from scripture in a number of verses you put together..." In other words, the bible never explicitly teaches that no animals died before man's sin. You must infer it, no matter how strong an inference you think it may be. Sort of like infant baptism; nowhere explicitly taught, but if you daisy chain some verses together about household baptisms and the covenant promises, you can, depending on your viewpoint, make a more or less strong inference about children of believers being baptized. IMHO, saying Adam's sin brought on all death is a similar case; it is believed, not because the bible says it, but because of other commitments, like what it means for the creation to be "very good" and so on. If I were y'all, I'd stick w/ Romans 8:20-22, because I think a much stronger case could be made from there, though it too is not explicit regarding this topic.

Fred: "That's because atheists insist we conflate evolution and naturalism. As I noted earlier, show me a group of atheists who adhere to ID."

Fred, that's beneath you man! How could you possibly cite the likes of Dawkins, since in the very next breath he is just as happy saying that guys like you who reject evolution are "ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked." You and Gabe are none of those (well, at least wicked, according to Jesus in Matthew 7:11). You then quote the infamous "blind, pitiless indifference" quote, which is clearly not a statement that is subject to empirical falsification. In other words, that's Dawkins the atheist speaking, not Dawkins the scientist. And since he's clearly only a layman in the realms of religion and metaphysics, who gives a rats tail what he thinks? He, Jerry Coyne, and P.Z. Myers are bigots, and they've proven it time and time again. Plenty of other atheists like Michael Shermer and Eugenie Scott recognize their tendencies to sloppily conflate science with materialism. Heck, Dawkins and Coyne have all but tar and feathered Michael Ruse for even entertaining the possibility of the compatibility of evolution and Christianity. He has committed the unpardonable sin of "accommodation." Coyne calls him a "fatheist" and Myers calls him a sheep in wolves' clothing with lingering "faith in faith." Citing them is proof positive that any old stick is good enough to beat us OEC/TE compromisers with (a la Phil Johnson's critique of "What Love is This? where Dave Hunt paints all Calvinists as hypers by quoting the worst our side has to offer. You're doing the same thing Fred). That's not cool man! I am SO quoting Kent Hovind and the Association for Biblical Astronomy in the next post!

#23  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 7:19 PM

Can I jump in to comment.

#22 Posted by Garrett League | Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 6:13 PM

"When God completed His perfect [very good = perfect? Does that mean the new creation will be better than perfect?] creation, there was no disorder, no chaos, no conflict, no struggle, no pain [or, I guess just no pain leading to death], no discord, no deterioration [2nd law of thermodynamics not in play? Careful, even most creationists reject that], and no death [well, not counting plants and excluding cells, possibly some insects and some sea creatures, but other than that, none]."

Umm, I don't get it why you don't seem to understand. God made every

thing is good. God also knew satan rebelled Him and went to earth as

a serpent to destroy God's plan. God made a promise to crush satan's

head. God came to earth 2000yrs ago to die for our sins. His name is

Jesus. God is the Father,the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 3 in 1., One

God. God never breaks His promises.

#24  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 8:02 PM

Re # 22 Garret writes:

"IMHO, saying Adam's sin brought on all death is a similar case; it is believed, not because the bible says it, but because of other commitments, like what it means for the creation to be "very good" and so on."

The above statement only applied to the last four paragraphs in the introduction to the post(the first one being the one regarding "evidence of humanity's downward spiral into utter moral degradation.")

I hope you won't deny that Adam's disobedience (sin) did bring humanity's downward spiral.

I think the case could be made that Adam's sin also brought death into the picture. Since Adam would now eventually die, everything in creation started to "groan" knowing not only the death of everything would come, but all things bad.

So yes, I believe the bible "says" Adam brought about death.

#25  Posted by William Rhoden  |  Wednesday, July 21, 2010at 8:04 PM

Dirk,

What you described would be Micro-evolution as I understand it. Cells, bacteria, and even larger species like birds do variate even to the point where they will not reproduce with each other. That's one of the marks of a new species. Yet, Macro-evolution would be a change in kind (to use the biblical term). The definition of kind is obviously not as specific as species, but it assumes a separation between different types of animals. We have no current observable examples of such a dramatic change. For example no one saw the dinosaurs become birds, and we cannot test that theory in a lab. So we either trust our theory of Macro-evolution or we trust God's Word, which I would submit doesn't support evolution across kinds.

#26  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 4:41 AM

*Shauna Bryant here*

Some people claim that Genesis was written for ancient man and not to us. Or that there is some type of mystical meaning we are to weave out of it considering the knowledge we have today, since some have determined it (Genesis) can't be what God actually meant (as He wrote it). I don't know what God people serve who think like that, but it certainly isn't the Sovereign God of the Bible. You know the one - He who knows the ending from the beginning - the Alpha & Omega - that God. See, that God knew even foreordained (gasp) that Genesis would be read by 'modern man'. That God reveals Himself and we are to take His Word by faith, even if we don't 'get how'. Kinda like the virgin birth.....or even the seemingly impossible (for us to explain) fact that the Sovereign God of the Universe, born as a baby, lived to to pay for the sins of His elect. Can anyone explain how God became a man? Can anyone explain how a virgin gave birth (you know without IVF)? Can anyone explain how it works that Jesus paid for our sins? What are the 'mechanics'-what's the process- behind all these events, you know scientifically speaking..........? Declare it if you can....!(sarcasm)

Perhaps, and certainly it is so, God has us take these facts on faith. In other words - we are to believe it even if we cannot explain it. God always works this way....not a single one of us will be able to explain the 'mechanics' of how God did something....He is so far above us, His ways so far past us...that it is the height of arrogant foolishness for men to try and explain how God does things. He does them. Period.

The 'god' that sinful, fallen man can understand and explain his ways.............well, that is a god of mans own making. Good luck with that.

But we know that He Created by speaking it into existence...can we explain how that works? No, but we believe by faith it is true because God gave us a new heart to believe. Unregenerate men will never 'agree' with us about God....until they also are given a new heart to believe or until they stand before Him in judgment that is.

The One True God:

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

#27  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 5:32 AM

Atheists, I feel sorry for them. If I met one, if he believes in no God

then I am not real to him or no exist before him also. Right?!

#28  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 5:54 AM

Garrett states that no scripture states specifically that animals did not die prior to the fall and that this belief by YECs is due to prior commitments. I would agree with this but add that the inference from scripture is quite strong (as is the inference from which we get the doctrine of the Trinity) and that our commitment is to uphold the plain teaching of scripture first and foremost as opposed to the commitment of OECs to accommodate science (not that which can be proved but the interpretation of data by fallible man).

The question of death before the fall goes to the character of God. Did God create a world of disease and death and call it very good? Or did He design a world without disease and death, and the suffering we see today is the result of the curse. I believe the latter. God, who knows the beginning from the end, knew man would sin, but His perfect creation in Eden was what He desired for man. All of history since the fall is fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem man and restore once again, in the new heaven and the new earth, a perfect fellowship with man in a place where there will not be sorrow, or pain, or death.

What are some of the facts of scripture? God is merciful, gracious, and righteous (Ps 116:5). God created the earth in six days (Exodus 20:11). God states 10 times in

Genesis 1 that He made the creatures according to their kind, and in 1 Cor. 15:39, He states that “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.” God states He has given plants for animals to eat (Gen. 1:30). God states that “A righteous man regards the life of his animal.” (Pro. 12:10). God cursed all of creation in Genesis 3 after man sinned, including the animals (see also Romans 8:21-22). Through one man sin entered the world and death through sin. (Romans 5:12).

Evolution is a denial of all of these facts of scripture. It is the wisdom of man set against the Word of God. For those of you who so boldly deny scripture, and are at times mocking and derisive on this blog, I would caution you that you are building your house on shifting sand. You would do well to prayerfully meditate on

1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

#29  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 6:48 AM

I can't remember now what you believe about evolution, but it sounds like you don't if you accept Genesis 2:7.

This passage does not address evolution at all. Even if you deny human evolution, this verse could not be interpreted to preclude other life evolving, including other genus homo, aka hominids.

The truth is, they believe something about the first two chapters (though I think none of them would agree with each other's interpretation), but they don't believe that it is actual history.

I’m not going to speak for those other guys, or anyone else, but there are certainly varied interpretations of those texts because there are very few hermeneutical ‘anchors’ on which to base a particular interpretation. We may all agree that these texts are inspired by God, but we pretty much all agree (I hope) that all of the Bible is inspired. When we read and interpret most other texts, we have a strong basis for knowing how to interpret them, including who probably wrote it, when it was probably written, who was the intended reader, what the intended purpose was for writing, etc. For most of the early passages in Genesis, we don’t know any of these things. Sure we can speculate and take a few educated guesses, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes in when these speculations get rooted into doctrines and become unrootable as if they were part of the texts themselves. The important thing to remember is that even though the best method of interpretation may be up in the air, the important theological significance of God’s authority, providence, and justice as well as man’s rebellion and subsequent curse are evident given multiple interpretations. I would love a detailed description of the specific events involved, but simply wanting it doesn’t mean that God must have chosen to provide one. So it doesn’t bother me when someone else assumes a different interpretation of these texts than I do. That’s to be expected in this situation. The problem I have is when someone claims their interpretation is exclusively the right one, knowing full well they have absolutely no good basis for such a claim.

If someone were to ask me, "How did humans come into existence?" I would tell them Scripture very clearly answers that question. If someone were to ask, "How did the universe come into existence?" Scripture has a clear answer to that too. Genesis 1-3 answers a ton of "how" questions, the answers of which provide the basis for a ton of "why" questions.

Yeah, but you are hypothetically asking exceptionally broad questions. What if someone asks you, “How did hominids come into existence?” or “How did fossils form?” or “How can we see light from stars billions of light years away?” You can’t answer with “Scripture says…” because it doesn’t. You have to speculate on those things.

So evolution is treading on Scripture's jurisdiction when it attempts to answer "how" questions.

When asking the questions you suggested above, sure, but not when the questions are the ones I suggested.

God can't reveal that evolution is true because that would contradict His previous revelation.

In what revelation did God say that evolution couldn’t be true? Obviously you are referring to a pretty loaded meaning of the term ‘evolution.’ If you believe in german shepards and swine flu, then you believe in evolution because those are both empirical evidences of it. Are you ready to tell God he’s contradicting himself yet?

No? Okay, then you must have some deeper meaning to the term, ‘evolution.’ At what point exactly does it begin to contradict the Bible?

Evolution directly contradicts God's revealed plan for the universe. Evolution contradicts a host of biblical passages from Genesis to Revelation.

This is simply fantasy. The Bible never even mentions evolution or anything that it might contradict.

#30  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 8:38 AM

Joey,

To be clear (though I assumed it was obvious by the three months of discussion going on here), when we talk about evolution we are referring to macro-evolution, namely, that every creature is commonly descended from a single cell.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Genesis 2:7 explicitly states that God made man out of dust, not a pre-existing creature. The same is true in Genesis 2:19 regarding animals, each according to their kind. The Bible explicitly denies the modern concept of common descent by stating that humans and animals were created from dust according to their own kinds. The text pretty clearly indicates that bugs were made from dust, cattle were made from dust, snakes were made from dust, lions were made from dust--each according to its kind was made from the ground, not some common ancestor. Evolution is thus explicitly contradicted in Scripture.

Unlike your assertion that we don't know who/when/why/recipients of Genesis, we actually do. We know Moses wrote it at the same time he wrote Exodus - Deuteronomy, and it was written for the people of God, namely, the nation of Israel. The first part was written when they were encamped at Mount Sinai, and the rest over time and Deuteronomy was completed right before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. Sure, liberal scholars think it was written hundreds of years later, but that is such a recent conception is contradicts a longstanding history of conservative scholarship which is based on Jewish tradition prior to the time of Christ.

We also know the text is written in normal historical narrative language--the same historical narrative as Exodus. There are therefore clear markers that tell us that the author intended a literal interpretation, and indeed a literal interpretation is taken by every biblical (inspired and authoritative) author of the Old and New Testaments, including Christ who actually performed the miracle of creation.

How did hominids come into existence?

If by Hominidae you mean the common ancestor of humans and chimps, that is a false category. God didn't create Hominidae; He created various families of monkeys (used in an extremely broad way), and He created humans. Humans have no common ancestry to animals. The Bible says humans were made from dust.

How did fossils form?

This question can't be answered by science either. All they have are the fossils; not the events that formed the fossils. We have Scripture that tells us of a global flood which naturally created a ton of fossils, but there are many other events throughout history that would have formed fossils. Scientists can only speculate how a specific fossil was formed.

How can we see light from stars billions of light years away?

That's another easy one: Genesis 1:3, 14-16. God not only made the light givers, He also made the light itself.

So, In what revelation did God say that evolution couldn’t be true? The ones I referenced above. Evolution is explicitly contradicted in Scripture.

The Bible never even mentions evolution or anything that it might contradict.

The Bible doesn't mention Arianism, but it directly contradicts it. The Bible doesn't have to mention evolution to contradict it; it only needs to affirm something contrary to evolution.

Those of you who believe in evolution would do well to listen to this sermon. The point you need to hear starts at 32:18 in or -18:22. You'll hear John explain from Scripture the eternal plan of God for creation. With that understanding, evolution simply doesn't fit. If God's plan for creation is centered on redemption, then it makes no sense that human history would actually encompass less than .000001% of time and space history. This point cannot be overstated. Evolutionists must deal with this issue, namely, that evolution destroys the biblical revelation of God's plan for creation. Biblically, human history goes back as far as the history of the universe. That fits perfectly with God's plan for creation.

#31  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 9:33 AM

Hi Dylan:

Words like "suffering", "decent", "selfish", "misery", "pitiless" are the language of morality. In language it is hard to speak without using these indicators. Morality is "rational". We think in terms of what good and evil are, we even have a place for the amoral. It is also a feeling, in that our sense of right or wrong triggers an emotional response. It is part and parcel with human nature to have a "morality". The question is why? The sense of rightness or wrongness is antithetical to the nature of evolutionary principles because evolutionary theory proports to answer questions of existence or being, (philosophical and theological questions). Just because it is centered in materialist garb does not void these questions. And unlike Atomic theory, evolution must answer these questions. Saying, like Dawkins, that "meaning" has no meaning ignores the problem of rationality. Francis Schaeffer once wrote about a concert that John Gage conducted. It was totally random, and when it was finished the orchestra stood up and booed him. It was trash because order is what we look for and where we are most comfortable. "Evolution" is steeped in philosophy at it's very base and should be able to answer the questions posed. Rationality should not exist in an irrational cosmos, but it does.

A philosophy of history, which is what Fred was referring to, needs to explain these issues if it is to be true to reality. And just because Dawkins says that these processes are blind does not really make it so. His statements are based in materialism- a philosophy of atheism. ( I hope that is helpful )

#32  Posted by Dylan Perkins  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 11:17 AM

Hi Paul,

"Words like "suffering", "decent", "selfish", "misery", "pitiless" are the language of morality. In language it is hard to speak without using these indicators. Morality is "rational". We think in terms of what good and evil are, we even have a place for the amoral. It is also a feeling, in that our sense of right or wrong triggers an emotional response. It is part and parcel with human nature to have a "morality". The question is why? The sense of rightness or wrongness is antithetical to the nature of evolutionary principles because evolutionary theory proports to answer questions of existence or being, (philosophical and theological questions). Just because it is centered in materialist garb does not void these questions. And unlike Atomic theory, evolution must answer these questions."

I think you're confusing two different issues. You seem to be asking, what is the evolutionary basis of morality? That is a question that can fall under the purview of (human) evolution, and it's very interesting, but it wasn't what I was referring to.

What I mean is that the scientific theory of evolution makes no moral pronouncements. It doesn't say what is/should be moral, or what we should value. It's completely silent on the worth of things. In this way, it's exactly like every other science.

When you say this:

""Evolution" is steeped in philosophy at it's very base and should be able to answer the questions posed. Rationality should not exist in an irrational cosmos, but it does.

A philosophy of history, which is what Fred was referring to, needs to explain these issues if it is to be true to reality. And just because Dawkins says that these processes are blind does not really make it so. His statements are based in materialism- a philosophy of atheism. ( I hope that is helpful ) "

I don't agree evolution, as a scientific theory, is steeped in philosophy. It simply descibes how the genetic makeup of populations of living organisms changes through time. That's simply all evolution is. It describes a process that occurs in nature. Anything else added to it is above and beyond this. Creationists like to think it's a cover for atheism, some atheists do the same thing, but it isn't. Like every other scientific theory, it describes and explains natural phenomena.

When Dawkins says that the processes are blind, he's right - from a scientific point of view. Science cannot say that god or some supernatural being isn't behind it.

#33  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 11:39 AM

Wait a minute, how do you man rebelled? How do you know there was a literal Adam and Eve? If you don't believe what it says about their creation, why do you believe they existed at all? How can you take their creation as something other than literal, but their sin as literal? That seems pretty inconsistent.

I know man rebelled because I look around and see him in rebellion. So I infer that at some point man rebelled against God. I've said before, the issue of an historical Adam and Eve from Genesis 3 is not something I've settled in my mind.

A biblical worldview is built upon what God has revealed in Scripture. God has revealed His plan (from the beginning of time to the end of time) to us in Scripture. If evolution is true, then His revealed plan consists of less than 1% of history. But His revealed plan says it is from the beginning to the end of history. Evolution just doesn't mesh with Scripture. Both can't be true.

This is full of your own presuppositions and interpretations. God's redemptive plan goes back to the beginning of mankind and his rebellion. Less than 1% of 1% of the physical universe is occupying God's redemptive plan at the momemnt, so I don't see why his redemptive plan is limited by time as you insist.

That doesn't follow. My point is that God revealed that humans are a special, unique creation distinct from animals. If evolution is true then we are just animals and we should either treat each other like animals or treat animals like we treat each other.

I believe humans are special and unique too, as the sole bearers of the Image of God. Where's the disagreement there?

Hold your horses Dirk... you believe that phrase (that God breath the breath of life into Adam), but not the phrase right before it (that God formed Adam form dust)? You need to at least try to be consistent in how you interpret the text. Either we were formed from dust and received the breath of life, or we evolved and didn't need the breath of life.

We have the breath of life in us, which is the spirit of God. No, I don't believe that God (in some physical form) performed CPR on a lump of dust shaped like a human.

According to Scripture, there is nothing special about humans except that we were made in God's image, according to God's likeness. If humans weren't a special creation distinct from animals then there is no biblical reason for the dignity of human life. Or is there a passage I'm forgetting?

You're taking a condition for uniqueness - being made in God's likeness and image - and somehow linking that to a unique creation. But what in the Genesis 1 account make's man's creation unique, other than the proclamation that he bear God's image. I believe that too. But with your wooden literalism, you somehow gloss over that God called forth living creatures from the earth. So aren't they made from dust too?

#34  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 1:05 PM

when we talk about evolution we are referring to macro-evolution, namely, that every creature is commonly descended from a single cell.

So then you don’t have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists? Most of us would disagree along with you that every creature descended from a single cell, or at least there’s no way such a concept could ever be proven or even useful. I hear many people define “macro-evolution” more narrowly than you do as speciation or something similar where one ambiguous ‘kind’ becomes another. Are you saying you take a broader definition of the term?

We know Moses wrote it at the same time he wrote Exodus – Deuteronomy… The first part was written when they were encamped at Mount Sinai, and the rest over time and Deuteronomy was completed right before they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. “We know that?” I think, “we guess that” is a much more accurate statement. Come on, you don’t seriously think those of us who have studied much of the Bible, theology and apologetics are going to buy into this do you? I’m dying to hear your basis for such claims.

We also know the text is written in normal historical narrative language--the same historical narrative as Exodus. There are therefore clear markers that tell us that the author intended a literal interpretation, and indeed a literal interpretation is taken by every biblical (inspired and authoritative) author of the Old and New Testaments

All conjecture and speculation… Anyone can read the creation account in Genesis and then read Exodus and tell that the literary genre is vastly different. Even the later parts of Genesis vary greatly from the first parts. There is even a very obvious shift in genre between the first and second chapters. We need to define exactly what we mean by ‘literal.’ If you mean literal in the sense that the language is singularly objective, then I would agree with you that it is. But if by literal you mean journalistically structured, then I do not. The latter is never affirmed anywhere in the rest of the Bible. Come to think of it, neither is the former really.

If by Hominidae you mean the common ancestor of humans and chimps, that is a false category.

I do not. Modern humans are considered hominids as well as several extinct species, i.e. neanderthals, homo erectus, australopithecus, etc. No implication of common descent is implied in the classification alone. I’m just talking about primates that walk upright and don’t have a lot of hair.

We have Scripture that tells us of a global flood which naturally created a ton of fossils, but there are many other events throughout history that would have formed fossils. Scientists can only speculate how a specific fossil was formed.

“Naturally created tons of fossils?” How do you figure that? It sounds to me like the scientists are not the only ones doing a lot of speculating.

That's another easy one: Genesis 1:3, 14-16. God not only made the light givers, He also made the light itself.

Perhaps it’s not so easy. Light is more than just photons on a path from A to B. It’s data. It contains information about the source of that data. Among other things it is a visual record of what happened at its source and along its path. When we see the explosion of a supernova 4.7 billion light years away like we did in 2005, are we seeing an event that never actually happened? Are you sure you really want to assert such a thing? I’m okay if you do, but I get the impression you don’t.

The Bible doesn't have to mention evolution to contradict it; it only needs to affirm something contrary to evolution. Given the very broad definition of evolution you described earlier (single cell to everything,) I’d say you might be correct, however, I don’t think you have a very good working definition of what evolution is. Evolution as I, and I believe most people understand the term, (change over time… lots of time… lots of change… including speciation) is not at odds with anything stated in the Bible.

If God's plan for creation is centered on redemption, then it makes no sense that human history would actually encompass less than .000001% of time and space history.

Is it the economy of time that bothers you? Well what about the economy of space? It's an aweful big universe out there for God's plan of redemption to be centered on a tiny speck of dust called earth. Does that not make any sense to you either?

#35  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 1:28 PM

Dirk,

I infer that at some point man rebelled against God.

So you don't get your doctrine of original sin from Scripture. That's helpful to know. One [small] problem is your inference is a non sequitur. There are probably endless possibilities to explain modern rebellion.

Genesis 3 is not something I've settled in my mind.

So you're settled on an idea based on your finite observations (see previous comment), but you're unsettled as to whether Scripture is true. I understand now.

I don't see why his redemptive plan is limited by time as you insist.

Read Scripture, cover to cover, and you'll see that this is the case. Evolution requires a purpose for creation other than redemption. You just won't find that in Scripture.

[humans are] the sole bearers of the Image of God.

On what grounds are we image bearers? You've already admitted that the text isn't historical. You can't separate the unique creation from the image bearing. To do so is to commit hermeneutical suicide.

We have the breath of life in us

On what grounds can you make such a statement? God didn't breath anything into man (according to your view), so how can we possible have something that God didn't breath into us? Again, you can't separate the special creation with the breathing into us without committing hermeneutical suicide.

But what in the Genesis 1 account make's man's creation unique

If you read the text carefully acknowledging that every word is inspired and inerrant, you'll see that God created man by molding and shaping him, and finally breathing into him. Further, God created woman by taking a rib from Adam and He "built" Eve. The word that is used for God making Eve is unique to her and not applied to anything else God created in those days. The involvement of God in His creation of both Adam and Eve is very personal and unique--unlike the rest of creation.

If man wasn't a specially crafted creation who received God's breath of life, I don't see how you can say that man is made in God's image, or that we have the breath of life.

That's to say nothing of the fact that the breath of life is not the Spirit of God, since the Spirit only comes to dwell with believers upon regeneration.

#36  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 1:45 PM

So you don't get your doctrine of original sin from Scripture. That's helpful to know. One [small] problem is your inference is a non sequitur. There are probably endless possibilities to explain modern rebellion.

Now you're conflating different ideas. Scripture teaches in numerous places outside of Genesis 3 that man is sinful and in need of a savior. I forgot I need to state everything I believe every time I answer one of your questions, lest I be accused of not believing everything I'm supposed to.

So you're settled on an idea based on your finite observations (see previous comment), but you're unsettled as to whether Scripture is true. I understand now.

No, I don't doubt for a minute that it is true, but rather how it's true. The Resurrection is true in both a spiritual sense (what it accomplished) and in an historical sense. The parable of the Prodigal Son is true in a spiritual sense, but it's really not important if it's true in an historical sense. The same with Genesis 3.

On what grounds are we image bearers? You've already admitted that the text isn't historical. You can't separate the unique creation from the image bearing. To do so is to commit hermeneutical suicide.

Stop equating the words "historical" and "true" and you'll be fine.

On what grounds can you make such a statement? God didn't breath anything into man (according to your view), so how can we possible have something that God didn't breath into us? Again, you can't separate the special creation with the breathing into us without committing hermeneutical suicide.

"Breath of Life" is, again, a spiritual truth about something that is unique to mankind, not Divine CPR.

If you read the text carefully acknowledging that every word is inspired and inerrant, you'll see that God created man by molding and shaping him, and finally breathing into him. Further, God created woman by taking a rib from Adam and He "built" Eve. The word that is used for God making Eve is unique to her and not applied to anything else God created in those days. The involvement of God in His creation of both Adam and Eve is very personal and unique--unlike the rest of creation.

If you read the text carefully, you'll find two distinct and contradictory creation stories, written by two different people (by the way, I found your appeal to Jewish tradition in defending Mosaic authorship ironic, given your disdain for letting Jewish beliefs about creation and cosmology instruct us on how to understand the text).

If man wasn't a specially crafted creation who received God's breath of life, I don't see how you can say that man is made in God's image, or that we have the breath of life.

Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say the Image of God? I think that would help our discussion.

#37  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 1:53 PM

Joey,

Most of us would disagree along with you...

I think you'll need to speak for yourself on this one. Who is "most of us"? Certainly not most of the evolutionists posting here. As I understand it, Theistic Evolutionism still believes in descent from a single cell, only that God was somehow (no one knows how) involved. It's merely an attempt to save evolution from atheism.

I think, "we guess that"

I'm not sure how much you've studied Scripture, but we "guess" that as much as we "guess" Matthew wrote Matthew, or Mark wrote Mark or John wrote John. It's not very much of a guess.

Anyone can read the creation account in Genesis and then read Exodus and tell that the literary genre is vastly different.

I'm guessing you're not familiar with this article, or Hebrew for that matter. The genre is quite obviously historical narrative. That the subject is creation necessarily requires unique terminology, but the grammar and linguistic characteristics are blatantly historical narrative.

There is even a very obvious shift in genre between the first and second chapters.

I don't think "genre" means what you think it means.

We need to define exactly what we mean by ‘literal.’

Literal as opposed to allegorical, symbolic, or metaphorical. Literal means that the author intended us to take the narrative as a historical event.

The latter is never affirmed anywhere in the rest of the Bible.

Read this. The entire Bible treats all of Genesis, including the first three chapters, as true historical narrative.

When we see the explosion of a supernova 4.7 billion light years away like we did in 2005, are we seeing an event that never actually happened?

This discussion has been had before in this series... you'll need to go back and find it or perhaps someone remembers where it is and can post a link to it.

Is it the economy of time that bothers you? ... Does that not make any sense to you either?

It's not that it bothers me as much as it contradicts Scripture. The economy of space is does not contradict but for those of us who are blessed to live in the recent times when such vastness was perceivable, it only serves to demonstrate how vast God is. If God created the vastness of the universe, that tells us that God is much much more vast. Plus there are no biblical problems with the vastness of space, nor moral or spiritual problems.

#38  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 2:11 PM

It's not that it bothers me as much as it contradicts Scripture. The economy of space is does not contradict but for those of us who are blessed to live in the recent times when such vastness was perceivable, it only serves to demonstrate how vast God is. If God created the vastness of the universe, that tells us that God is much much more vast. Plus there are no biblical problems with the vastness of space, nor moral or spiritual problem

The moral and spiritual problems of vast being, of course, wholly invented on your part.

#39  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 2:13 PM

Dirk,

Now you're conflating different ideas.

I'm only making the connection that Scripture makes. Man is sinful precisely because of what Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3. That is the testimony of Romans 5. Women are not to be leaders in the church precisely because of what Eve did. That is the testimony of 1 Timothy 2:13-14 which includes not only Genesis 3, but also Genesis 2. More examples could be given. If Genesis 3 did not happen in time and space, then there is no biblical reason to believe in the inherent sinfulness of man.

I don't doubt for a minute that it is true, but rather how it's true.

The prodigal son is clearly not a historical event because it is explicitly stated as a parable. The Resurrection is no more historical than Genesis 3. Genesis 1-3 is laid out as history, and that is how the rest of Scripture treats it--as history. You can't get around that.

Stop equating the words "historical" and "true" and you'll be fine.

The problem is you can't. You just can't, when it comes to this text. It either happened or it didn't. God either made us in His image, or He didn't. He either breathed into us the breath of life or He didn't. You can't make up your own spiritual truths and separate them from Scripture's clear testimony. Otherwise you have no valid reason for believing in the physical Resurrection. Your hermeneutic permits people to say that Christ's resurrection was purely spiritual. It's the same hermeneutic.

If you read the text carefully, you'll find two distinct and contradictory creation stories, written by two different people

Or perhaps you simply haven't studied it enough. Your statements reflect the thoughts of unbelieving liberal scholars. The text was written by one person, Moses, and they are not contradictory. There are plenty of conservative scholars who can demonstrate that. It would take too long to do so here.

Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say the Image of God?

Since God is spirit we obviously don't reflect Him physically. So we are left to non-physical reflections. This includes our nature in terms of what has sometimes been referred to as communicable attributes. The concept of personhood is probably the most general way to describe it. Our personhood includes emotions, intellect, will, etc. This is more of a theological question because Scripture doesn't necessarily define it. But the text says we are made in His likeness, so we are like Him in certain ways.

#40  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 2:16 PM

The moral and spiritual problems of vast being, of course, wholly invented on your part.

Not sure what you mean. I said there are none.

#41  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 2:20 PM

Since God is spirit we obviously don't reflect Him physically. So we are left to non-physical reflections. This includes our nature in terms of what has sometimes been referred to as communicable attributes. The concept of personhood is probably the most general way to describe it. Our personhood includes emotions, intellect, will, etc. This is more of a theological question because Scripture doesn't necessarily define it. But the text says we are made in His likeness, so we are like Him in certain ways.

We agree there. Can we celebrate that? It feels like a small victory to me for both of us, and for our Lord (John 17:20-21).

#42  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 2:27 PM

Small victory indeed.

Now let me ask you this, why are we in God's image?

#43  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 4:16 PM

Who is "most of us"? Certainly not most of the evolutionists posting here. As I understand it, Theistic Evolutionism still believes in descent from a single cell

Go ahead and take a poll if you don’t believe me. Remember the question is, “how are we defining evolution?” Is it lots of change over lots of time, or is it all life from a single cell? You might be surprised at the responses. Many TE’s might accept the possibility of the latter, but I doubt most would consider it necessary to be a TE. Even many non Christians reject that idea.

I'm not sure how much you've studied Scripture, but we "guess" that as much as we "guess" Matthew wrote Matthew, or Mark wrote Mark or John wrote John.

You are on the right track, but there is still much better evidence for the authorship of those gospels than there is for Genesis. The manuscripts we have and the early church leader’s comments about them put the original autographs to as little as within a hundred years or so of the suspected authors’ lifetime. Historically speaking, that’s pretty golden evidence. Even if the they turned out not to be the authors of the gospels, the historical and political context of their writings provides a wealth of hermeneutical foundations for sound interpretation. We just don’t have the same for Genesis.

Read this. The entire Bible treats all of Genesis, including the first three chapters, as true historical narrative.

Actually I’m very familiar with this article. You and I debated it a few weeks back on another topic. I say again, what I said then. The article, while well written and researched, has a fundamental flaw. It’s actually quite silly. It assumes that the only possible literary genres Genesis 1 could be is narrative or poetry. It concludes that it’s not poetry so it must be narrative. That’s got false dichotomy written all over it. There are all kinds of literary genres out there.

I don't think "genre" means what you think it means

Enlighten me. How do you define genre?

Literal as opposed to allegorical, symbolic, or metaphorical. Literal means that the author intended us to take the narrative as a historical event.

Okay, then consider this statement, “I like popcorn.” Is that a historical event, or is it symbolic? The fact is. It is neither. It may be literally true, but that does not make it a historical event. Likewise the truths of Genesis 1-11 could be considered literal in the sense that they are unembellished, singularly and objectively true, but that does not make them a historical or scientific record of a sequence of specific, detailed events . Obviously, if God created man in Gen 1:27, but then there was no man yet created in Gen 2:5, that should give you a clue that it is not meant to be interpreted that way.

Read this. The entire Bible treats all of Genesis, including the first three chapters, as true historical narrative.

Yeah I had read that before. .. again, not one verse on how Genesis must be interpreted, or how it only fits one interpretation. You could take out the words “historical narrative” from your statement and it would be correct.

This discussion has been had before in this series... you'll need to go back and find it or perhaps someone remembers where it is and can post a link to it.

Yes the discussion was had and no one… not one single person… addressed this obvious problem I presented. I just got a bunch of red herrings about problems with scientific models instead. Now are you running from it as well? You made the comment, “God not only made the light givers, He also made the light itself.” Defend your statement or concede you could be wrong.

It's not that it bothers me as much as it contradicts Scripture

Do tell! How does a lot of time passing in and of itself contradict God’s plan of redemption?

#44  Posted by Douglas Grogg  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 5:48 PM

“We're completely reliant on Scripture for teaching on the New Creation. Not so in the present age.” Dirk Gently #21

Dirk, I’m not sure what you mean when you speak of the “New Creation”. Based on your comments over the last several weeks I suppose that you may be referring to some kind of second work of creation that took place after some supposed evolutionary process. Perhaps you may be referring to the state of being a Christian. “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation … (2 Corinthians 5:17). Galatians 6:14, 15 portray the one who is a new creation as being crucified to the world and the world being crucified to them. Indeed the world will hate them, John 15:19. When we compare scripture with scripture, we discover many terms which are used that refer to such a person, as well as many characteristics of those who are indeed a new creation in Christ.

For example, they are referred to as “Blessed” in Psalms 1:1, 2 and are characterized as not sitting in the seat of scoffers but rather such a one “meditates day and night in His law. In Matthew 5:3, 10 these “Blessed” ones are described as possessing the kingdom of heaven. They are characterized as being “poor in spirit” and “suffering for the sake of righteousness”. Both the Greek text and other scriptures demonstrate that they and they only possess the kingdom of heaven (see Romans 8:17). This being “poor in spirit” is closely related to another characteristic of denying self and taking up a cross (see Luke 14:27). Christ here refers to them as a disciple. He also states that to be a true disciple one must abide in His word, John 8:31. This is consistent with the “Blessed” one who meditates in His word day and night.

To use the language of the Old Testament they are referred to as being partakers of the “new covenant” which God through the prophets declared was to come. They are characterized as God having taken away their heart of stone and giving them a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 36:26. This testimony of God that He has taken away their heart of stone is demonstrated by a person being poor in spirit, Matthew 5:3, dying to, Galatians 2:20, and denying self, Luke 9:23. God testifies that He not only puts His law within them but that He also writes that law upon their hearts, Jeremiah 31:33. He also puts His Spirit within them and causes them to walk in His statutes and observe His ordinances, Ezekiel 36:27.

Dirk, the fact that you cleave to your own understanding and have such a low view of God’s word demonstrates that you have never truly been brought to the end of “self”. Dear, dear neighbor, the day is soon coming when we must all stand before the One who has eyes like a flame of fire and a mouth from which comes a sharp two-edged sword etc. Nothing short of the new birth and characteristics consistent with being a new creation in Christ will be acceptable in that Day. –His Unworthy Slave

#45  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 5:54 PM

I was reading JM sermons. It is about chance. I mean like

If I say there is a chance it might rain. I would be wrong to say that.

I think if I said looks like the Lord would provide rain or say looks

like the Lord will send a nice day tommorrow. I hear the word chance

everywhere. It's like a person depending on chance. I remember in the

gospel that Jesus never said there is chance of, what, etc.

To whom are evolutionist. Let me know what you think of the stars

and the earth.

Need to ask a question.

Why do you believe what you believe about you were taught by man. In

God's Word says have no confidence in the flesh.

Do me a favor to look outside at night and tell me why you think that chance cause stars. But I will tell you who made it, God did. I will ask God to help you to know the truth. Look up in the sky at night

or day and just open your mind. I will pray for you. We will try to help you know

who God is. God is the Lord, Creator of Heaven, earth, and things in

the seas below. He is I am who I am. One God. God is the Father, the

Son and the Holy Spirit. 3 in 1.

#46  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, July 22, 2010at 7:40 PM

Re # 27 Dan wrote:

"Atheists, I feel sorry for them. If I met one, if he believes in no God

then I am not real to him or no exist before him also. Right?! "

No, not necessarily. Atheists are people who don't believe in God or deities, but they do believe people exist. I, for one , don't think you should feel sorry for them. Only by the Grace of God are we not "one of them". God can, if He chose them before the foundation of the world, come alive in their lives. Please, pray for them just as you would for any unsaved person. They are blind, not being able to "see" God. Hope this helps.

#47  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, July 23, 2010at 5:12 AM

OK, Thanks. I remember Jesus say something to the disciples not to

feel sorry for the pharisees. I agree with praying.

#48  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, July 23, 2010at 10:25 AM

Hi Dylan:

Thank you for taking the time to answer my blog and being gracious in your response. I understand your perspective, but would disagree. I can see how that your training helps you to think objectively, and your statements would look good in any textbook,(because that is how we wish science was practiced). However, it took me a long time to see past the so called "objective data", and see the philosophy that was used to color the findings of the data. The set up of the geologic column, radiometric dating methods, and fossil finds of the last 70 years are all evidence of this. Even an admission by biological science that the chimp has 99% human DNA - not my words- is up from the claimed 93% of a few years ago, from the claimed "no way" of my childhood.In other words they really do not know and the propaganda is for effect, i.e. to keep the faithful in line.

If data can be interpreted in two ways- as admitted by evolutionist, why could Ben Stein make a DVD about the lack of scientific candor regarding even the questioning of evolutionary dogma?

Questions of origins,whether from a perspective of "science" or religion are philosophical in nature, and can not be removed from that class of "first cause" questions. Data could not be interpreted without such ideas. Thus when I say that evolution is "at it's base" steeped in philosophy- it is true because the world view of those who have set up the edifice called "evolutionary theory" is atheistic materialism.

The interpretation of data, the experimentation, classification of fossils, and presentation of the findings, etc, etc. show this bias. And in every field associated with the theory uses philosophical axioms of materialism. Even such greats as A.T.Robertson and B.B. Warfield were caught in this web.

In this blog those of us who hold to a YEC/ID paradigm have hammered on the issue of interpretation of data. And it has not mattered the degree of uncertainty injected into the theory, there is no movement in OEE/TE proponents. Not because of the data, but because of the philosophical underpinnings of a belief system. The fact that evolutionist will not even check data that appears to be true on the surface demonstrates how fundamentally un-scientific the philosophy is. (hope that was not to preachy)

#49  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, July 23, 2010at 10:59 AM

Hi Joey Hodge:

I am not sure that I understood you in your reply in #43. The Genesis record has all kinds of history to show it's ancient origins.-

And the grammar supports "narrative" literature point of view. Even the lay out of the book supports it as an ancient textual rendering. It shows that the author/editor intended us to receive the text at face value, not as a metaphor or other literary device.

You statement "I like popcorn" does not fall into the same class of forms as the Genesis record shows. And while it may make a true statement- one would hope that it is not being used as a metaphor (he he),- it is not the same as "...and God said...". Yours is more of an anecdotal statement vs. narrative statements in Genesis. ( the waw consecutive = "and" this happened "and" this happened...etc. and is characteristic of Hebrew narrative literature in the O.T. not poetry.)

#50  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Friday, July 23, 2010at 2:33 PM

#49 Paul says:

I am not sure that I understood you in your reply in #43. The Genesis record has all kinds of history to show it's ancient origins.

Paul, the essential issue was what level of certainty can we attribute Mosaic authorship of Genesis as opposed to the named authors of three of the gospels. My point was that there is far more historical and archeological evidence to back up the authorship of the gospels than there is authorship of Genesis. We have extant copies that have significantly fewer generations between them and the original autographs. We have the testimony of early Christian leaders to within only a few generations of the writers claiming who wrote them. None of these authorships are considered settled and none are claimed within the texts themselves. Furthermore, even if the named authors , Matthew, Mark and John are not the actual authors of their respective gospels, we still have a very good understanding of the religious, cultural and political climate at the time of their writing, not to mention the fact that they are multiple, probably independent, accounts of the events contained within them. None of these facts apply to Genesis. That doesn’t mean that Moses didn’t write it, and it doesn’t mean that Matthew, Mark and John did write their gospels. It just means there is better evidence for the gospel writers than there is for Mosaic authorship of Genesis.

Does that help clarify?

And the grammar supports "narrative" literature point of view. Even the lay out of the book supports it as an ancient textual rendering. It shows that the author/editor intended us to receive the text at face value, not as a metaphor or other literary device.

This is the point that seems to keep generating confusion. Face value… yes, that’s what I meant by singular and objective. As for your use of the term “narrative,” I think I know what you mean, but narrative is a rather broad term. Here’s how my dictionary defines it, “a story or account of events, experiences, or the like whether true or fictitious.” I also checked Webster’s and it defines narrative as “the representation in art of an event or story.” Given these open-ended definitions, then you would be correct that Genesis does fall within the bounds of a narrative. That does not, however, address the “genre” or rather “genres” of Genesis. Here’s Webster’s definition of genre, “a category of artistic, musical or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form or content.” What genre would you say that Genesis 1 is?

The use of “vav” or “waw” within the text doesn’t really say much to the genre itself, only that it was emphasizing consequence, which is clearly present is lots of different genres. It’s really not much different than using “therefore” instead of “and” in English.

Are you familiar with many extra-biblical examples of ancient Hebrew narrative literature?

#51  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, July 23, 2010at 4:58 PM

Here's a good verse for this blog. Eccl. 3;1-8

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven;

A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to

pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to

break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh;

A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast stones, And a time

to gather stones; A time to embrace; And a time to refrain from

embracing, A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep

silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

God made everything in His time. Not evolution or chance.

#52  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, July 24, 2010at 11:15 AM

Hi Joey: I am not sure what literature you are reading, I would take it that you don't read much conservative material. Most questions of authorship were settled long ago, and the problems of Mosaic authorship/ editorship of the Pentateuch are poo-pooed by liberal scholars because of their commitment to older liberal scholars who have been answered. The unit and antiquity of the Hebrew Bible is very well attested. If you read Tov's book on textual criticism- by no means a conservative christian- the sense you arrive at is that of extreme unity of text beyond the MT. And as to the differences between ancient translations- the LXX, SP, etc. From what little comparisons I have done- as it is a broad field of study- I don't see as many problems as you-apparently.

As to the numbers of generations between the autographs and the text we have today- the text we have from 100BCE to c.250BCE representative of much older copies then you might suppose. I have held a copy of a three hundred year old Torah portion that looked almost brand new. It was part of a "retired" scroll. Given the life span of the "skin" documents it would not be hard to imagine that the distance between the originals and those of Qumran were a relative few generations. And given the propensity of the scribes to copy "true" originals they are remarkably better "preserved then even New Testament documents.

Liberal Scholars always assume that the ancients lie to us about authorship of ancient documents, why? I think that the "higher naivete" suggested by Donald Keagen is apropos here. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of a document or its authorship without compelling reasons. Even when the document is non-christian in origin. Our own assumptions to the contrary are suspect, especially when it is a materialist mentality which poisons the objectivity of the research. I might add that it was such poisoned mentality which claimed that Hittites did not exist several hundred years ago but no objective reason existed for such a claim. That claim was made by scholars who desired to debunk the credibility of the Scripture and the authority of the "Church".

And as to the Grammar and genre of Hebrew narrative literature. With all due respect, I do not mean to belabor this aspect but...Jerome Walsh describes the passage we are referring to as "Forward Symmetry" narrative and tells us that we should not expect to find that Hebrew forms follow English patterns of literature. Narrative literature which we are referring to has a distinct pattern, one of its characteristics is that it uses a "Vav" in a distinct way. Hebrew poetry uses a different device that differentiates it from narrative literature. In English literature we have poetry which is free form and might not look (to the average reader) much different from "regular" writings except in the form which it is printed.

I hope that this is helpful.

#53  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Sunday, July 25, 2010at 5:45 AM

#52 Paul writes:

I would take it that you don't read much conservative material.

I can honestly say your assumption is incorrect. After the Bible, that’s the bulk of what I read. It would seem to me, however, that you only read a very narrowly ultra-conservative selection of materials. Please see the end of this post for one recommendation I have for you.

Most questions of authorship were settled long ago

I find it really amazing that many of the same people who are so quick to point out that scientific principles such as the speed of light and radiometric dating can’t be known with any degree of certainty, in the very next breath, say that the authorship of the books of the Bible can be ‘settled.’ You don’t even have any inspired text to back that up! You are relying fully on human reasoning and treating it as infallible and yet criticize those who you think (although they actually do not) do the same with other forms of data. It’s the most blatant kind of hypocrisy. The pot’s calling the silverware black!

I don't see as many problems as you-apparently.

Paul, I can tell that you study these matters quite a bit and I commend you for that, but you seem to be very much bent on using your knowledge to build elaborate straw men rather than addressing the issues at hand, or taking the time to actually read the comments you are responding to. You’ve done that several times now and you are doing it again here. You say you don’t see as many problems with the texts as I do… but did I EVER say anything about problems with the ancient texts? No I did not. Your argument is with ultra-liberal scholars’ analysis of the ancient texts, not with anything I’ve said.

it would not be hard to imagine that the distance between the originals and those of Qumran were a relative few generations.

You can imagine lots of things, but that doesn’t make them true. You need better evidence than just imagination to support conclusions with any degree of certainty.

There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of a document or its authorship without compelling reasons.

It depends on the standards of evidence you are applying to it. If you have a low standard of evidence, then you are correct. But we should not have low standards of evidence when we approach the representation of scripture or even its authorship, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:8.

For example, we have no reason to really doubt that Homer wrote the Iliad. But how important is it if he did or didn’t? If that fact had serious repercussions on the world today, you better believe it would be intensely scrutinized, as it should be. Now the authorship of Genesis or the gospels has little to do with the inspired truth of the texts, BUT it does have something to do with the proper hermeneutic approach to interpreting the texts. Furthermore, the authorship is not claimed within the aforementioned texts, so that alone is sufficient reason to question, or at least leave open the question of who wrote them.

Narrative literature which we are referring to has a distinct pattern, one of its characteristics is that it uses a "Vav" in a distinct way.

Once again, no one here is questioning that the text of Genesis 1-11 is more narrative than poetry. The question is what genre of writing is it? I’ve already shown that “narrative” does not define a genre, and many types of genre fit within the bounds of narrative, even pure fiction.

If you would like to do some very detailed study on the Hebrew language used in Genesis 1 & 2, I recommend listening to this audio file from Dr. William Lane Craig. He’s a very well-known, conservative, evangelical theologian.

http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/Defender_podcast/20060108TheDoctrineofCreationPart4.mp3

Part 4 is a good starting point because it talks about many of the same things we are discussing. You can just go to reasonablefaith.com and click on “podcasts” and download all the ones on “The Doctrine of Creation” if you want.

#54  Posted by Dirk Gently  |  Sunday, July 25, 2010at 6:54 AM

Douglas,

Thanks for your concern, but I've had a vibrant relationship with the Lord for more than 20 years. And to the contrary, I have a very high view of God's Word. So high in fact, that I'm willing to engage with you on this issue to get to the bottom of what God meant to communicate in the text.

Your long-winded response to your own question (what did I mean by New Creation) was interesting, but not what I meant at all. I was speaking of the event/state described at the end of the book of Revelation, where Christ makes all things New, the New Jerusalem comes down to Earth, and God makes his dwelling place with Men.

#55  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Monday, July 26, 2010at 6:00 AM

Okay, I promise I double check my posts for errant tags. I still must have let one out in post #53. Sorry about that everybody. Hopefully this post will fix it.and everything will stop being all in italics.

#56  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Monday, July 26, 2010at 8:05 AM

Hi Joey: Thanks for your blog.

You missed the point on the vav issue, it is not that there is a lot narrative and a little poetry, it is no poetry and all narrative. I even specified the kind of narrative class it falls into. Hebrew poetry, among other things, uses parallelism as one of its features. This is unlike anything we have in English which relies on rhyme and meter or is free form.

I would not doubt that you would quote Craig- he is OEE/TE. He is also quite the philosopher. I may indeed read more of his stuff. But that is not the issue here.

As to reading only ultra conservative stuff, you know from my prior blogs that this is untrue-(e.g. Donald Keagen teaches at Yale)not that it really matters. I do not read as much Reformed stuff as I use to, but that's no big deal either. It really comes down to this "Can you trust God to tell you the truth and preserve his word", I would answer that I can believe God's Word because it speaks truth- I can not trust another document the way I trust God's. Scientific evidence has been tampered with over and over again. Presuppositions which are used as a foundation are materialistic at best and are motivated by a desire to eclipse God from society. From my walk with God, I know that I can trust him and I can trust his Word. I've been a believer for about 54 years at this point, I have devoted my life to study. (I am by no means brilliant, but things do come to you after awhile- I mean the real issues.) Creation is a real issue to me because it is foundational, I take it for what it says, and read other translations just to keep it fresh.

I will say this again, I am not brilliant, but having lived as a sinner for these few years (it goes faster then you think), I realize that Van Til was correct in this point, apologetics is not for the unbeliever primarily, but for the believer (I'm referring to the academic discipline here). The apologetic which the Word tells us of is how God has worked in our life- it is the "Testimony of Jesus" and that is what will be effective towards the lost world. (More to follow )

#57  Posted by Joey Hodge  |  Monday, July 26, 2010at 12:14 PM

Paul #56 says:

You missed the point on the vav issue, it is not that there is a lot narrative and a little poetry, it is no poetry and all narrative

I don’t think I missed your point at all. When I said it was more narrative than poetry, I was not talking about the quantity of one vs the other in the text but rather the surety of its style. I mean that it is much more certainly narrative than it is poetry. I was agreeing with you.

I even specified the kind of narrative class it falls into.

Now that I did miss. I reread your posts and I still don’t see this. Could you point it out to me?

It really comes down to this "Can you trust God to tell you the truth and preserve his word", I would answer that I can believe God's Word because it speaks truth- I cannot trust another document the way I trust God's.

I fully agree with you.

Creation is a real issue to me because it is foundational, I take it for what it says,

I completely get that and that is all I am really trying to say. We need to take the Scriptures for what they actually say and try to understand them despite our presuppositions we bring to the table. The most fundamental and practical application of any exegesis is listening to what the words say rather than tell them what we want them to say. This is why I study the works of theologians like Dr. Craig and Dr. Plantinga who stress the importance of this principle in Biblical interpretation.