Six 24-hour Days: Fact or Fiction? – Part 2

By Erik Martin

-Continued from yesterday-

5. Jesus’ Teaching

Jesus also embraced a straightforward reading of Genesis 1. He affirmed the common Jewish interpretation of Genesis when He cited, without reservation, Genesis 5:2 in Matthew 19:4. If the Jews erroneously understood Genesis chapters one and two, Jesus would have corrected them as was His practice (Matthew 23:1-23; Luke 13:1-4).

Jesus was eager to correct the misinterpretations and false teaching of Second-Temple Judaism (Matthew 22:29). He firmly upheld the accuracy and truthfulness of God’s Law (John 10:35; 17:17) while also carefully fixing Jewish misconceptions by freeing the text from their bogus traditions (Matthew 5:17-19, 21-48).

6. Historical Evidence

A recent creation has always been the predominant, if not the universal, position of the people of God. A young earth was embraced by Judaism for thousands of years. A recent genesis is the universal position of the historic church. Until the Enlightenment, orthodox Christianity never questioned the Genesis account.

If God took millions of years to create and intended Christians (and Jews) to embrace an old earth, then why did He allow the church to get it wrong for 2,000 years and Judaism for the previous 1,500 years? If God created over long periods of time and then intentionally lied to His people or allowed them to misunderstand for thousands of years, then He is not truthful or good.

Furthermore, He would be an impotent communicator and the rest of His revelation is likewise unreliable and inaccurate. Furthermore, why would God finally enlighten His children to the truth by revealing it through the scientific speculations of those who hate Him? God, as a loving Father, always communicates accurately by speaking to His children through His prophets and now the Scriptures. Any other belief undermines the foundation of Christian faith. Christian epistemology requires no less.

7. Scientific Evidence

Finally, science does not actually prohibit a young earth. We have no extant humanly-generated eyewitness record of the origin of the universe. No man observed the beginning; even Adam only got in on the very end. This does not leave us in the dark. God was present and provided a reliable record.

Since no human witnessed the foundation of the world, and creation cannot be replicated, modern science can only hypothesize theories about the origins of time, matter, and life. Science applies uniformitarianism and assumes that the current patterns of the cosmos have never changed. This overlooks several important factors.

A. The earth was created without sin and sin has altered the way things work.

B. A global flood destroyed the past ecosystem and severely altered the world.

C. God created with apparent age.

He made Adam an adult, capable of naming all the animals, old enough to seek a mate, able to tend the Garden and competent to provide for His own needs.

God created the heavenly bodies as a celestial clock. Their function visibly marks out times and season requiring their light to have been instantly apparent on earth. The sun testifies to, rather than sets, the length of days. The length of a day was established on day one, not day four.

Science tries to undermine the Genesis account and gives many evidences to prop up macro-evolution. Even so, evolution cannot produce a battering ram able to definitively discredit the Genesis record. The question of origins comes down to epistemology. What do we trust as reliable? How do we know what we say we know? Do we trust the Scriptures or do we trust science?

Read part 1: https://modernpuritan.com/2014/03/14/what-happened/

Six 24-hour Days: Fact or Fiction?

by Erik Martin

Thesis: God created the earth in six literal twenty-four hour days approximately six to ten thousand years ago.

While this has been the historic position of Christ-followers, a traditional understanding of creation is now unpopular. Let’s look and see if the Bible really teaches a quickly-completed and recent creation. Has the church misunderstood God’s intention? What does the Bible really say?

1. Genesis 1:1

The most compelling support for a recent formation of the earth is Genesis chapter one. The opening verse of the Bible unequivocally declares, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen.1:1). In Genesis 1-2 the declared Creator explains how He accomplished this feat.

The Biblical text uses plain time markers understandable even to uneducated men to indicate the timeframe and chronology of God’s creation. Jews calculate their days from sundown until the following sundown. Genesis 1:3 speaks of the first creation day having an evening and then a morning. This linguistic structure links the days of Genesis 1 to Judaism’s common method of marking days. The length of a day when Genesis was composed, around 1450 B.C., is therefore comparable to the length of a day at the Beginning–even before the sun was born. Consequently, the original audience of the first book of Moses, Israel in the wilderness, would easily have understood that the creation was fully accomplished in six normal days.

An unbiased and straightforward reading of the first chapter of Genesis requires a quickly finished creation. Furthermore, God does not have a speech impediment; He is not a poor communicator. If He intended us to believe in an old earth, He could have easily explained His creative acts in a way that unambiguously recognized millions of years of creative processes.

2. Biblical Genealogies

Next, the biblical genealogies testify to a recent genesis. A few generations may be missing from the accounts, but any significant gaps or omissions would undermine the genealogies’ authenticity and accuracy. If the written records are missing scores of generations, how could descendants, hundreds, let alone thousands of years later have any hope of identifying and verifying their ancestors?

Furthermore, the clear and careful record of each man’s length of life and the age he became a father indicates that the text is meant to be and is an accurate historical document. The original audience of Genesis, Israel in the wilderness, could have easily traced back their genealogies using those recorded in the Pentateuch.

God seems to have expected His people to study His Word this closely. Why else did He include so many genealogical tables? The Israelites’ calculations would have easily established a very young age for the earth. Even more, if God wanted His covenant children to believe the universe was billions of years old, He could have easily told them. He would have included longer genealogies and noted any major gaps.

3. The Sabbath Day

God grounds the Jewish sabbath day–after six work-days–in His own past action. Israel was given one rest-day after six work-days because God worked the same way (Exodus 20:8-11). This parallel becomes absurd if each Creation day was more than 24-hours or if major gaps separated each day.

4. Beliefs of the Biblical Authors 

Thirdly, a recent creation was assumed, embraced, and taught by the biblical writers. The Psalmist testifies that God merely spoke and creation was accomplished (Psalm 33:6, 9). When Malachi references Genesis He endorses the teaching of Genesis (Malachi 2:10).

The Apostle Paul cites Adam’s fall in Romans 5:12-21. Paul treats Adam as a historical man and the biological father of all mankind. Furthermore, Paul constructs his entire Hamartiology upon the historicity of Adam. If Paul had known the Genesis account to be mistaken, He ought to have clarified any confusion. If Paul was mistaken about creation then he might also be mistaken about the sin, judgment and righteousness he teaches.

Paul is not alone in linking the present problem of sin with Adam’s transgression; He is merely echoing the prophets (Isaiah 43:27; Hosea 6:7). The Epistles scathingly condemn false teachers and work to correct their errant beliefs (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 1:6-9; Titus 1:10-16; Jude 1:4; 1 John 4:1). If God knew reality to contradict common Jewish thought, He would have clarified through one of His prophets or apostles.

Part 2: https://modernpuritan.com/2014/03/15/what-happened-2/

What’s Wrong with Theistic Evolution?

Theistic evolution, generally defined, is the belief that natural processes sustained by God’s ordinary providence were the means by which he brought about life and humanity. It often entails a common ancestry for all living things, macro-evolution, and some version of polygenesis.

William Dembski explains:

For young-earth and old-earth creationists, humans bearing the divine image were created from scratch. In other words, God did something radically new when he created us–we didn’t emerge from pre-existing organisms. On this view, fully functioning hominids having fully human bodies but lacking the divine image never existed. For most theistic evolutions, by contrast, primate ancestors evolved over several million years into hominids with fully human bodies. (God and Evolution, 91)

According to some proponents of theistic evolution Genesis 2:7 is a reference to God’s work in history whereby he made Adam into a spiritual being in the image of God, instead of the lesser sort of being he was before. This approach still insists on the historicity of Adam and Eve and their real fall in the Garden. But, on this view, Adam may not have been the first human:

According to [Denis] Alexander’s preferred model, anatomically modern humans emerged some 200,000 years ago, with language in place by 50,000 years ago. Then, around 6,000-8,000 years ago, God chose a couple of Neolithic farmers, and then he revealed himself for the first time, so constituting them as Homo divinus, the first humans to know God and be spiritually alive. (Should Christians Embrace Evolution?, 47)

And what’s wrong with this approach? Why can’t we say Adam was a real person and the first person to know God, but not the only human on the planet? Aren’t we still in the realm of historic orthodoxy even if Adam evolved from other beings and may not have been the physical father of all living persons? I am raising these questions not to suggest a single blog post and a few quotations obliterates evolution. The point rather is to examine whether full-blown evolution can be reconciled with complete allegiance to biblical authority.

Listed below are eight problems Wayne Grudem finds with theistic evolution. I realize he may not be an authority on these matters, but in typical fashion he distills the main points nicely and explain succinctly what unbiblical conclusions we must reach for theistic evolution to be true.

(1) Adam and Eve were not the first human beings, but they were just two Neolithic farmers among about ten million other human beings on earth at that time, and God just chose to reveal himself to them in a personal way.

(2) Those other human beings had already been seeking to worship and serve God or gods in their own ways.

(3) Adam was not specially formed by God of ‘dust from the ground’ (Gen. 2:7) but had two human parents.

(4) Eve was not directly made by God of a ‘rib that the Lord God had taken from the man’ (Gen. 2:22), but she also had two human parents.

(5) Many human beings both then and now are not descended from Adam and Eve.

(6) Adam and Eve’s sin was not the first sin.

(7) Human physical death had occurred for thousands of years before Adam and Eve’s sin–it was part of the way living things had always existed.

(8) God did not impose any alteration in the natural world when he cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin. (Should Christians Embrace Evolution?, 9)

These are other questions theistic evolution raises for the Bible believing Christian. How can we uphold the special dignity and majesty the Bible accords human beings when we are only qualitatively different from other life forms and continuous with the rest of the animal world? How can God impute sin and guilt to all humans along the lines of federal headship when some of us have no physical connection with Adam? Likewise, if we are not all descended literally from one pair, how can we all have an ontological connection with Christ who only assumed the flesh of Adam’s race?

Of course, these problems are no problems at all (conceptually) without the Bible to account for. But theistic evolution purports to bring together the evolutionary consensus and a faithful doctrine of creation. That’s the whole appeal. And yet, I don’t see how the two are compatible, whether Adam really existed or not.

-Kevin DeYoung
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/04/19/whats-wrong-with-theistic-evolution-2/

10 Reasons to Believe in a Historical Adam

Great post by Kevin De Young: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/02/07/reasons-to-believe-in-a-historical-adam/

“In recent years, several self-proclaimed evangelicals, or those associated with evangelical institutions, have called into question the historicity of Adam and Eve. It is said that because of genomic research we can no longer believe in a first man called Adam from whom the entire human race has descended.

I’ll point to some books at the end which deal with the science end of the question, but the most important question is what does the Bible teach. Without detailing a complete answer to that question, let me suggest ten reasons why we should believe that Adam was a true historical person and the first human being.

1. The Bible does not put an artificial wedge between history and theology.

Of course, Genesis is not a history textbook or a science textbook, but that is far from saying we ought to separate the theological wheat from the historical chaff. Such a division owes to the Enlightenment more than the Bible.

2. The biblical story of creation is meant to supplant other ancient creation stories more than imitate them.

Moses wants to show God’s people “this is how things really happened.” The Pentateuch is full of warnings against compromise with the pagan culture. It would be surprising, then, for Genesis to start with one more mythical account of creation like the rest of the ANE.

3. The opening chapters of Genesis are stylized, but they show no signs of being poetry.

Compare Genesis 1 with Psalm 104, for example, and you’ll see how different these texts are. It’s simply not accurate to call Genesis poetry. And even if it were, who says poetry has to be less historically accurate?

4. There is a seamless strand of history from Adam in Genesis 2 to Abraham in Genesis 12.

You can’t set Genesis 1-11 aside as prehistory, not in the sense of being less than historically true as we normally understand those terms. Moses deliberately connects Abram with all the history that comes before him, all the way back to Adam and Eve in the garden.

5. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 treat Adam as historical.

 6. Paul believed in a historical Adam.

(Rom. 5:12-211 Cor. 15:21-2245-49). Even some revisionists are honest enough to admit this; they simply maintain that Paul (and Luke) were wrong.

7. The weight of the history of interpretation points to the historicity of Adam.

The literature of secondtempleJudaismaffirmed an historical Adam. The history of the church’s interpretation also assumes it.

8. Without a common descent we lose any firm basis for believing that all people regardless of race or ethnicity have the same nature, the same inherent dignity, the same image of God, the same sin problem, and that despite our divisions we are all part of the same family coming from the same parents.

9. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of original sin and guilt does not hold together.

10. Without a historical Adam, Paul’s doctrine of the second Adam does not hold together.

Christians may disagree on the age of the earth, but whether Adam ever existed is a gospel issue. Tim Keller is right:

[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. . . .If Adam doesn’t exist, Paul’s whole argument—that both sin and grace work ‘covenantally’—falls apart. You can’t say that ‘Paul was a man of his time’ but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching. (Christianity Today June 2011)

If you want to read more about the historical Adam debate, check out Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? by C. John Collins.”

-Kevin DeYoung, 02-07-2012

The Christian & Evolution: Requiring Adam

Highlights of a post by D.A. Carson at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/02/29/if-the-apostle-paul-believed-in-the-historical-adam-must-we/

Carson…offers five reflections on Paul’s understanding of Adam:

1. The necessity of the cross requires a literal Adam                                      (1 Corinthians 15:20-27, 45-49)

[N]ot only must we conclude that Paul himself believed in the historicity of Adam, but that the structure of his argument requires the historicity of Adam. In other words, for Paul Adam is more than an optional extra, a mythological accretion which may be excised without loss. Far from it; Paul so tightly relates the saving cross-work of Christ to the significance of historical Adam that it is difficult to see how one can preserve the former if the latter is jettisoned.

2. Human history has a definitive start                                                       (Romans 5:13-14)

 Paul’s reference to the time period from Adam to Moses (5:13-14) certainly presupposes a historical figure (i.e. Adam) at the beginning of the period, corresponding to a historical figure at the end of the period (Moses). Moreover, this period in world history is not simply an abstract, bounded, temporal entity—we are not dealing with a “time” in the abstract; rather, this period is portrayed as a time during which (a) the “law” (of Moses) had not yet been given; (b) sin was in the world; and (c) death reigned. This threefold description can only refer to the Old Testament period stretching from the fall of Adam to the giving of the law to Moses; and it treats the period as real history inasmuch as all die within it.

3. One act of disobedience brought sin                                               (Romans 5:12-14)

Not only does Rom. 5:12-14 lay considerable emphasis on the one sin, one trespass, or one act of disobedience which brought ruin to the race; but implicitly the argument depends on the notion that before that one act of disobedience there was no sin in the race. This accords very well with Gen. 1-3; it cannot be made to cohere with any evolutionary perspective which denies the centrality of a fall in space-time history.

4. Adam was a flesh and blood type of Christ                               (Romans 5:14)

 Adam is portrayed as the “type” (tupos, NIV “pattern,” 5:14) of one to come. The relationship between type and antitype in the Scriptures is complex; but Ellis correctly insists that New Testament typology cannot be thought of apart from God’s saving activity in redemptive history, as determined by God’s definite plan of redemption which is moving toward a predetermined goal from a specific point of beginning. As Versteeg comments, “Thus a type always stands at a particular moment in the history of redemption and points away to another (later) moment in the same history. . . . To speak about a type is to speak about the fulfillment of the old dispensation through the new.”

5. Adam’s particular sin makes each person a sinner                           (Romans 5:15-19)

Adam is not portrayed as the first sinner, of which other sinners are later copies; but as the representative sinner, whose first sin affected the race. This distinction is crucial if the parallel between Adam and Jesus is to be maintained; for Jesus is certainly not portrayed as the first man to perform some definitive righteous act, but as the representative man whose definitive righteous act affects those who are in him. Preserve this parallel between Adam and Christ, and the historicity of Adam cannot simply be pro forma, as far as Paul is concerned.

-D.A. Carson

Does the Book of Genesis Really Matter?

The Book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written. The Bible as a whole would surely be considered (even by those who don’t believe in its inspiration) as the book that has exerted the greatest influence on history of any book ever produced. The Bible, however, is actually a compilation of many books, and the Book of Genesis is the foundation of all of them.

If the Bible were somehow expurgated of the Book of Genesis (as many people today would prefer), the rest of the Bible would be incomprehensible. It would be like a building without a ground floor, or a bridge with no support.

The books of the Old Testament, narrating God’s dealings with the people of Israel, would be provincial and bigoted, were they not set in the context of God’s developing purposes for all mankind, as laid down in the early chapters of Genesis.

The New Testament, describing the execution and implementation of God’s plan for man’s redemption, is redundant and anachronistic, except in the light of man’s desperate need for salvation, as established in the record of man’s primeval history, recorded in Genesis.

The Book of Genesis gives vital information concerning the origin of all things-and therefore the meaning of all things-which would otherwise be forever inaccessible to man. The future is bound up in the past. One’s belief concerning his origin will inevitably determine his belief concerning his purpose and his destiny. A naturalistic, animalistic concept of the beginnings specifies a naturalistic, animalistic program for the future.

An origin at the hands of an omnipotent, holy, loving God, on the other hand, necessarily predicts a divine purpose in history and an assurance of the consummation of that purpose. A believing understanding of the Book of Genesis is therefore prerequisite to an understanding of God and His meaning to man.”

-Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings, 1976, 17-18