Thursday, 22 November 2007

Problems With Creation Science III: A Tale of Two Chronologies

I dislike the way various Creation Scientists I have encountered handle the relationship of Genesis 1 and 2.

On the face of it, the first two chapters of Genesis give differing accounts of the formation of the world. Whether you then see that as complementary perspectives or a fundamental disagreement that Moses was too stupid to pick up reflects your basic stance towards the Bible (and your I.Q. in my view. Do you really think that wouldn’t have been noticed?)

Genesis 1 recounts the creation of the heavens and the earth over six days, with plants coming into existence on day three, birds and water creatures on day four, and animals being created on day five before humanity, which is presented as being created male and female in one hit. All these things were made just by the simple word of God. God said, ‘let there be…’ and there was.

Genesis 2 recounts the creation of the heavens and the earth ‘on the day (same word as for the seven days of Genesis 1) they were created’. In Genesis 2 man is created first. Then plants are created just to make a garden (the rest of the earth is bare of plant life due to a lack of rain, and a lack of human cultivation—suggesting a fairly critical role for humanity in the filling of the world with life). Then God creates animal and bird life together (no mention of water life being created at all). Then he creates the woman. In none of the cases of man, woman, animal or bird does God create with just a word. Man, animals, and birds are fashioned out of the dirt. Woman is fashioned from Man’s rib. (Only plants, interestingly enough, are created the same in each chapter: both are produced by the earth, one part of creation being used to create another part).

The chronologies of the two passages cannot be reconciled. Neither can the modes of creation be easily reconciled. This would seem to suggest that what we have here is quite possibly a non-literal account of creation in either chapter or in both chapters. That is, having two parallel accounts suggests that the interest is not in giving you an eyewitness account, but in disclosing the meaning of creation, to interpret the world you live in for you. It’s true, but it’s not scientific truth (any more than Christ’s death paying the penalty for our sins is a scientific truth. How would you experimentally validate it?)

However, the guys I was chatting with, like most Creation Scientists I have encountered, insisted that chapter one has to be taken as a literal, eyewitness account. Hence, they were prepared to take chapter 2 as not offering an actual, trustworthy chronology (you can see the irony here I hope). The literal nature of Genesis 1 was secured, from what I could make out (it was, as I said, a difficult conversation, so it wasn’t always easy to work out what substantial points they were making) by appeal to Exodus 20:

Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Here, the argument seemed to go, another part of the Bible is taking Genesis 1 as speaking of seven concrete twenty-four days as the reason for the Sabbath command. Therefore, Genesis 1 is to be taken literally, and Genesis 2 less so.

The difficulty, is that the NT draws upon the chronology of chapter 2 and not the chronology of chapter 1 to make its points about how to live:

1 Timothy 2:11-15 Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.

1 Corinthians 11:7-9 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake.

In both passages, implications for how men and women are to live are drawn from the chronology of Genesis 2.

It could be suggested that this is the only part of chapter 2 that is a literal chronology—that in the sixth day of creation, God made man first, some of the stuff of chapter 2 ‘kind of’ happened and then Eve was created. But that kind of speculative exegesis is exceptionally strained and distorts the meaning of both chapters—you’ve essentially fused them together to create your own Genesis chapter 1.5.

In other words, even for the Creation Scientist another part of the Bible can appeal to the chronology of a ‘non-literal’ part of Genesis to make authorative demands on God’s people. Exodus 20 appeals to days in chapter one. Paul appeals to the chronology of chapter two. And both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can’t be historical chronologies, because they can’t be reconciled.

Whichever way you go there, you can’t just point to a passage like Exodus 20 to show that the days are meant to be historical twenty-four days and Genesis 2 is less literal. Because the exact same argument can be derived from Paul to ‘prove’ the historical chronology of chapter 2 and hence the less literal nature of chapter one.

And if the same type of argument can be run twice from the same body of evidence to deduce mutually incompatible results, that indicates that the argument itself is wrong.

One part of the Bible using the chronology of Genesis to establish a point about how God’s people are to live shows that Genesis is designed to tell us how to live. It doesn’t establish that it was meant to offer us a ‘better science’, by telling us what we would have seen if we had been there.

It may do that as well, but the Sabbath command doesn’t prove it.

32 comments:

michael jensen said...

Terrific. I have heard this Exodus argt used by many more sensible people than the ones you encountered.

Are you going to address the issue of death? That is one of the key planks for creation scientists of course.

Baddelim said...

Yep, death is next. I wrote I to V a couple of days to go in one hit (the obsessive in me...). IV and V tackle the issue of death from two angles.

I was disappointed, but probably not surprised, to see R. Reymond use the argument in an online article arguing for a literal interpretation of the days in chapter one.

Steve Carlisle said...

Thanks Mark
That is very well written and argued, thanks for your clarity on this issue

Keith said...

Hi there Mark. I've really enjoyed your posts, having done 12 rounds with some creation scientists in the past.

Because I've enjoyed them so much, and am anticipating more, could I ask you a small favour? Go to Feedburner.com, and get your blog on rss feed, so my google reader will tell me when you next post.

All the best with your studies - I'm looking forward to hearing more about your Trinitarian stuf with Athanasius.

Grace and peace, Keith

CraigS said...

Keith - http://reflectionsinexile.blogspot.com/atom.xml

Bruce Yabsley said...

My main (and rather lengthy) comments were made on the previous post. Briefly, on death, michael wrote that it is one of the key planks for creation scientists:

It is also, for me, one of the key points of offence when it comes to exposition. I am forever hearing statements about the Fall introducing death into the world, as if this were a straightforward point: plainly, it is not. So I look forward to IV and V ...

Baddelim said...

There’s been one comment that I’ll quote as follows:

All rubbish!

Just what is Moore College disgoring into the church these days?

Hear the Lord Jesus Christ "Haven't you read ..."? Take a look at Matt. 19:4-5 where Gen 1:27 and 2;24 are both validated.

I'm out of here in case I drown with the rest of you!

Neil Moore


This is going to be unpleasant but it’s probably necessary, sad to say. If parts of this seem strong understand there’s a history that’s behind what I’m about to say.

‘Neil Moore’ is one of the gentlemen listed as a contributor to the blog I mentioned. Like the rest of his group, the name is probably a pseudonym, as they believe that publicly attacking Christian leaders under the cloak of anonymity is in line with their self-professed prophetic calling.

I’m going to allow this one comment on as I have no doubt they will complain if I don’t (that’s a lose-lose because they’ll find another reason to complain, but that’s life in the big city).

But I don’t see the need to provide them with a free link back to their blog. It’s easy enough to find if a reader wants to, but as I’ve encouraged people not to, due to the bad reflection I think they cast upon Creation Science, it would seem a bit strange to then allow a simple one-click link on.

‘Neil Moore’, your comment is on, but I will not be allowing future comments from your group unless you use your own names. What you do on your blog is your own business. But while I’m happy to accept a mild anonymity for people who act responsibly, I won’t allow anonymous attacks on this blog. If you want to discuss the issues, feel free to come and do so publicly in a Christian and courteous manner. If you want to play hardball and do so anonymously then you already have a blog for that.

Having allowed it on, I’ll give it the courtesy of a proper response.

About the only redeeming feature of the comment, in my view, is that it gives people a small example of the quality of the conversation that’s prompted my reflections. “Neil Moore’s” comment is about average for the blog, both in tone and in quality of argument.

Having declared something (the third post? The comments? Every post on the blog? Who knows?) ‘All rubbish,’ “Neil Moore” calls on us to read three passages of Scripture:

Matthew 19:4-5 And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh '?

Genesis 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 2:24-25 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.


He claims that Matthew 19 ‘validates’ the two passages in Genesis. It is difficult to know what exactly he’s getting at by this statement. My post has the assumption throughout that both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are valid, and that when other parts of the Bible appeal to these chapters for how God’s people are to live it has God’s own authority behind it. I certainly am not arguing that either chapter is invalid, quite the opposite.

My point is that the Creation Science argument seems to rely on the idea that Genesis 1 is valid only if the chronology is an eye-witness historical chronology, and that this logic causes problems given the chronology of chapters 1 and 2 do not align.

If anything, “Neil Moore’s” brief salvo reinforces my argument, as it shows that our Lord appeals to both chapters to make the one point, passing over any issue of the differences in chronology, but as I say, it’s hard to know what substantial point he’s making.

Except that he came all the way to this blog to say that he’s leaving.

Baddelim said...

Keith,

I think the blog is now set up as your requested. Not entirely sure what I've just done, but it sure looked impressive!

Thanks for the well wishes, and readers will probably be heartily sick of Athanasius over the next four years if all goes well. Although, there might be a quickish post on his take on penal substitution in The Incarnation of the Word in a week or so, once this stuff is out of the way.

Critias said...

Dear Mark, thanks for your long and detailed post. It is rare for those of us who take early Genesis as an account of history to have the discussion carried with some reasoning.
I won't be able to study this and your earlier posts immediately (due to holding down a day job and v.busy once I manage to get home), but I'd like to disavow the term 'creation scientist' for myself, in this comment. I think I detect a perjorative thrust in the term which does a disservice to the view that I and others hold. We (I refer to the Sydney Anglican Heretics blog, on which I comment from time to time), I don't think, attempt to put 'science' conceived as an examination of the creation as physical phenomenon, ahead of the word of God.
For me, the matter is not a debate about the role, place or status of science. It is rather about the historical information present in the scriptures and its implications for our addressing the gospel to those whose minds are furnished with a philosophy which in its axioms denies that a creator has acted, spoken, or exits. That, I think, is the nub of it.
The concern on the 'other' blog, I suspect (ratty as it can get) is that salvoes of 'fundamentalist' are fired against those of 'heretic' with only a few sitting down to 'let us reason together' and examine the scriptures to learn and grow. I guess we can all improve our approach in these terms.
One of the unfortunate characteristics I've noted in many forums is that the official Anglican line is defended by silence not discussion. Indeed, I've had many letters to bishops current and retired (including those I have worked with) ignored or been replied to with veiled contempt. Not good, and indicating an unbrotherly hubris, which is distressing to say the least (both personally and fraternally).

Keith said...

Many thanks Mark for indulging me! I think it ill be easier for many more folk to benefit now from your thoughts with rss.

Thanks too Craig S.!

Baddelim said...

Welcome Critias,

Please don't allow the tone of my response to 'Neil Moore' sour your desire to talk things over. As I've indicated, I've reached certain conclusions about the core contributors on the blog you mentioned (I wish you hadn't mentioned its name as I was trying not to make this either be or look like a sustained attack on another blog, but it looks like the cat's out of the bag now) and I'm keen not to have this blog brought to the same level of rattiness.

I hear you on the dislike of the 'scientist' moniker and I probably should have chosen that better. It probably reflects the fact that when I held the position around ten years ago, people within the movement (like me) were happy to identify themselves that way. I'm not trying to score points just with the name. If you want to offer an alternative that doesn't beg the question (the guys on the blog called themselves 'Biblical Creationists', which I feel is a little bit like a Calvinist calling Calvinism 'Biblical Free Will') and that could be fairly easily grasped to be a name for your movement, I'm happy to change the titles, and even edit the posts with the new name.

I'm always up for some prayerful and mutually edifying reinvestigation of the word of God and if you'd like to raise some things here, I'd be happy to try and offer what I can (although I think the blogs will exhaust most of what I'm thinking on the issue at the moment).

I am keen that it is done better than what I experienced, however, for all parties who are involved. I hear your experience of things on your end, however those who reject your position have their own wounds to show from how they've been treated as well. As you say, it's an area where the game could be lifted all around.

Take whatever time you'd like and feel free to respond here if you think that'd help. I'd prefer well thought through critiques than spur of the moment stuff. Just understand none of this is official Moore College stuff (I'm not even an employee there any more) and it doesn't have the formality of a properly published academic piece. It's some reflections I'm putting up for discussion (albeit publicly) in the wake of a conversation.

Warwick said...

Mark,
I think it quite understandable & acceptable that people would see a chronology in Genesis chapter one, what with the days of creation being defined as days as we live them. However unless I have misunderstood what you have written it appears you feel Genesis 2 should also be taken as chronological. May I ask what is it in Gen. 2 which you feel constitutes a chronology?

Warwick

ps I would remind readers that using one's actual name (as I do)has a cost as one of your contributors attempted to smear my reputation with my denominational executive & my pastor. A very grubby & unsucessful attempt. Quite humerous actually. So I am not surprized some withhold their names.

Baddelim said...

Warwick,

The reasons why I think Genesis 2 offers a chronology are much the same as the reasons why I think any biblical narrative involving historical characters is offering a chronology. These reasons aren't exhaustive but they'll do for a start, and are probably to some degree interlocking as opposed to discrete points:

1. If we didn't have Genesis 1, I doubt that there'd be any debate that Genesis 2 was offering a chronology. That is, it looks like most other kinds of genres that we think offer a chronology of events.

2. Genesis 2 uses things that we normally take as indicating a historical chronology. That is, the Hebrew uses the devices it normally uses in narratives to indicate that one event is occuring after an event described previously. Hence most English translations translate Genesis 2 with words such as 'now' and 'then' to indicate that the events being described are occurring in a historical order, and are not just being listed as a timeless now.

3. Genesis 2 involves characters that the rest of Scripture treat as historical characters: God, Adam, Eve, animals, birds, the snake. It describes them acting in a sequence of events: doing one thing after another and then another thing happening after that. It would be unusual for the Bible to offer a non-literal chronology of events of historical characters in a passage of this kind.

4. It doesn't read like poetry any more than chapter 1 reads like poetry.

5. As I've said, the NT appeals to the chronology in Genesis 2. Paul hangs his argument about men and women in relationship upon the fact that man was created first and the woman afterwards. This suggests that Paul reads Genesis 2 as offering a historical chronology which discloses insight about good ways for the genders to relate.

As your other point, about the cost of using one's own name, I agree with you. Doing the right thing often has a cost. And doing the wrong thing is supposed to have a cost. One of the benefits of posting under one's own name is that one gets to enjoy the privilege of suffering with Christ when bad things happen for doing what is right. And one is held accountable when one does wrong. Christians should embrace both outcomes, in my view. Anonymity is too easily abused on the internet, where discussions take place in a generally non-relational context anyway.

However, as far as 'dobbing in' another contributor for actions outside this blog (although I'll acknowledge you didn't name him) I am going to require that to desist. I won't allow through any comments that are designed to make this unsafe place to comment for all except those people who like interactions to read like a series of flame posts or trolling digs. You could have made your point just as easily without mentioning that one of the commentators was the person who reported you. That was unnecessary.

As I'm going to make comments about such matters in my blog then I'm fair game (but still within limits). The pinciple for all commentators on this blog is to treat other commentators with honour while on this blog.

Warwick said...

Mark I'm well aware many see Gen. 1&2 as conflicting versions of creation. Meanwhile many others (just as qualified) say otherwise. I have read numerous articles & blogs on the former view but find the various arguments to lack force of reason. Gen.1 is an obvious day by day chronology of events whereas, as I see it, Gen. 2 covers but a few aspects of Gen. 1 fleshing out the story.

Surely if there were some conflict those following, inspired by Holy Spirit, would have mentioned this. They don't, quoting from both as sober historical truth. By my count Jesus & the apostles quoted or alluded to the first 11 chapters of Genesis as basic histroical reality 107 times! In fact Jesus (surely an authority wouldn't you agree) combined Gen. 1.17 & 2.24 in a very sober point about the reality of Godly marriage. No hint of conflict there.

In reading what some Anglicans have written on the heretics blog I have come to the conclusion they have a non-Biblical frame through which they see Scripture reinterpreting it to conform to this extra Biblical view. In no way do I imagine this failing is restricted to Anglicans as we falible sinful souls are all capable of reading into Scripture just what suits our bias. However a straightforward reading of Genesis clears the extra-Biblical fog, & I see no Biblical reason to see Genesis as other than straight forward historical prose.

As regards your comments about the blogger who misbehaved I have to disagree with you, as my comments were simply given as a good explanation why some may use other names, responding to comments. They opened the door & I rode through it. It should be taken at face value containing no intent to expose but simply an explanation.

I work for no one, fear no one's ridicule or attack so it is easy for me to expose myself to the public gaze. For various reasons others don't have the freedom to do this.

As a Christian who defends the Word of God privately & on public forums I have come in for considerable criticism & abuse but consider it just part of the territory.

Warwick

Baddelim said...

Warwick,

The fact that people disagree about the relationship between Genesis 1 & 2 does not in itself constitute an argument against their chronologies conflicting when read in a strict literal way. Almost everything in the Bible that matters is contested, and the Bible itself leads us to expect that.

I'm more interested in arguments than just the fact of disagreement among people qualified to hold an opinion.

I'm not sure from what you've said in your two comments exactly what your position is at this point. I think your position is that Genesis 1 is a historical chronology and that Genesis 2 expands upon chapter 1 at a couple of points, so is not a historical chronology but speaks of historical realities. I'll respond to that, let me know if I've misread the clues in your statements, and your position is otherwise.

As I read it, you've offered three reasons why you find any notion of a conflict between chapters one and two 'lack the force of reason' according to the strict literal reading you want for chapter one.

First, that chapter two is an expansion of a few areas of chapter one (an alternative explanation).

Second, that if there was a conflict, the rest of the Bible would mention it.

Third, that Jesus appeals to both chapters about marriage.

We'll take them in order.

1. The idea that chapter two is an expansion of chapter one at a few points seems to me to stretch the notion of an 'expansion' to the breaking point. Chapter two does not say, "Now on day three, this is what happened, and on day four the following things occurred.." and the like.

There's nothing about chapter 2 that explicitly refers back to chapter one at all to suggest that it is filling in areas that were just passed over.

And it's hard to see something as an expansion when it gives a completely different series of events. Genesis one tells us that plants were made. Fourty-eight hours later birds were made. Twenty-four hours after that animals were made and then humanity was made male and female.

Genesis two tells us that man was made first. Then God made plants solely to make a garden for the man. God then made animals and birds together because it wasn't good for the man to be alone. Then he made the woman.

Calling this an 'expansion' of 'a few areas' of chapter one is anything but self-evident. It needs some fairly substantial argument with evidence from the text of the two chapters.

Otherwise, what we have is two different chronologies, as seen by a basic comparison between them. And Paul appeals to the second to call on Christians on how to live. I'd like to see both these points addressed.

2. I don't see why the rest of the Bible would mention any kind of conflict at the strict literal level in Genesis 1 and 2. How often does the Bible go around saying 'There are problems with this part of the Bible, we advise using a non-literal approach to reading to avoid the surface conflict'?

Instead, I'd suggest that the Bible teaches us how to read it by the way it reads itself, not by stepping in to give advice on 'problem passages'. If there are two different chronologies on the surface (which I suggest there clearly is) and the rest of the Bible passes over that as not relevant to the points it draws from the chapters, that teaches us how to approach the issue.

Your argument at this point assumes that if there are two different chronologies that is a problem for the Bible's veracity or authority. And so the fact that the Bible doesn't mention the two different chronologies means there aren't two different chronologies. But whether two different chronologies is a problem for the Bible's veracity and authority is the very point that's being debated. So it has to be your conclusion, not your presupposition.

3. The appeal to Jesus seems to be a variation on your second point. Both are arguments from silence (which isn't an issue for me, but some people dislike arguments from silence) - the Bible appeals to these passages and doesn't mention the chronology difference.

You use this as evidence that there is no difference in chronology. I use this as evidence that the difference in chronology is unimportant.

As to the issue of anonymity et al. I'm not requiring that you agree with my reasons for the kind of boundaries I'm putting for comments. I give some reasons so people can get some sense of what I might bounce a comment for. My point is, your way of illustrating your point only just squeezed through. If you don't want a future comment bounced, respect that boundary even if you think I'm being overly precious about it.

As to your final point:
I work for no one, fear no one's ridicule or attack so it is easy for me to expose myself to the public gaze. For various reasons others don't have the freedom to do this.

This is one of the few things that has made me genuinely angry about this whole experience. If people don't have the freedom to sign their name to very serious public accusations that they make of other people then there is a basic path forward for them. And that is to not make the public accusation. God does not call people to do what they are not free to do. Nor does he call them to sin for the greater good.

No-one should have to face an anonymous accuser. That's a point of law that arises out of the Judeo-Christian ethic. It comes from the Bible's teaching on principles of how to handle accusations, and especially accusations against leaders among the people of God. Accusations against people are serious. Accusations of heresy are as about as serious as it gets for a Christian leader. And the Bible gives no warrant for an anonymous witness against someone, let alone a Christian leader.

The fact that your small group of mostly anonymous people has dedicated itself for months to a blog that names one church group (the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church) and names several of its most respected leaders regularly and isn't prepared to do so in the light of day is contemptible in my view.

If you were just writing some papers on Creation Science and how wrong other views were I would have no problems with the anonymity. But to attack actual people while lurking in the shadows and beg off that most of you can't be identified because of who you work for...well, colour me underwhelmed.

And when the people you name are people who have stood publicly for the name of Christ throughout their careers and been regularly attacked in print and on the TV for it, at cost to their ministries, their families, and the organisations they represent, then I think you are biting at the heels of men who are far, far greater in the kingdom of God than yourselves.

If some of you are Christian leaders in churches or Creation Science organisations then you should act in a way that doesn't bring such groups into disrepute if your identity becomes known. You shouldn't be hiding in the darkness because your actions would reflect poorly upon the group you work for or would have consequences for that group that you don't have the right to bring to that group's front door by your private actions.MDB

Warwick said...

Mark, Life is too short for me to reply to each of your points. You obviously have much time on your hands.

I am not a member of any 'group', I am an individual, I work for no one & am a leader of no one. I trust this is clear.

You made a strange & revealing comment but I thank you for your admission. You wrote 'I think you are biting at the heels of men who are far, far greater in the kingdom of God than yourselves.' This confirms you are a respecter of man, a follower of earthly leaders. I have the privelege of speaking on Christian matters both in Australia & overseas. I do so as an individual & only because I am invited to do so. In September I was a speaker at two creation conferences in Paris alongside a German evangelist/ scientist. A very humble man whom I have known for a long time, a man who in retirement devotes himself to evangelism & defending the Word of God, traveling throughout the world at(mostly) his cost. He would be troubled to read your comment as he knows there are no great men in the kingdom of God, no heirachy of greatness, there being only one great, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In my travels I have had the privelege of meeting many servants of God, quiet men who though totally dedicated to His service would be offended to be listed as -great in the Kingdom of God.

If I have criticized any Christian it is based upon first hand knowledge. I have men many in the Church who doggedly defend the truth of the Word of God against all opposition, against the ridicule of Godless men. However, sadly some of these go to water when Genesis is mentioned proposing al sorts of man-dreamed alternative meanings, anything but the straight-forward reading.

I remember being at a private meeting with the then head of Moore College who was asked -what view of Genesis is taught here? To which question he replied- we teach all views. He was then asked do you teach the 6-day creation view to which he replied- no. Mark is this not pure deceit to say all views are taught when they aren't? Remember I (and others) were eye-witnesses to this. Great in the Kingdom of God? I don't think so.

Mark your admission shows why I reject your views. You respect men but I respect only God & His Word as He directs me to do.

I thank you for your replies but see no point in continuing this dialogue as there can be no solution.

Baddelim said...

Warwick,

I think ending the conversation is a good move, as I agree there isn't going to be a solution between us. My diagnosis of the reasons for this differ, but the conclusion is the same.

As for being a respecter of persons and a follower of earthly leaders, I think you'll find that the Bible calls on Christians to do these things. Even you seem capable of following the Bible at this point, despite your protests, because you clearly admire the humility of various servants of God that you have met. And that's a good thing.

As to there not being any greatness in the kingdom of God - well, I'll give just a couple of Scriptures:

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

One of the features of greatness in the kingdom is to not seek it. It's something recognised by others. That's why I said it for them (and they'd be uncomfortable like your German scientist mate).

As to words Peter Jensen might or might not have said, I don't really care. He may have mispoke, you might not be giving me the context.

However, people like Critias may want to reflect on your willingness to play "gotcha" in public with a person's words said in private when he gets upset that no-one will return his calls.

Your movement has a reputation for shamelessness. It might be worth asking why.

dariux said...

There are a number of superficial or ‘apparent’ internal inconsistencies within the Bible. Most such inconsistencies quickly resolve themselves on careful study, and the alleged contradictions between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are a good example of this.

However, regardless of whether we can or cannot resolve apparent difficulties in its opening chapters, the fact remains that Genesis is written in the genre of historical narrative (i.e. a record of real events in history). Genesis’ status as historical narrative is not dependent upon our understanding of its content, but upon its grammatical form. Even if it were not possible to reconcile perceived discrepancies in Genesis 1 and 2 (it is possible) that would not mean that one account was, say, poetic, or symbolic. Both Genesis 1 and 2 are written in the genre of historical narrative, as unequivocally determined by their grammar, and nothing we may think or believe about their content can change that.

Genesis 1:1–2:4a is a summary of the whole of Creation Week, while Genesis 2:4b–25 is a detailed account of Day 6. See the articles listed under the heading Do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other? within the topic Genesis in the Creation Ministries International Frequently Asked Questions index.

Dariux

Andrew said...

Genesis 2:8–9 says that God ‘planted’ and ‘made to grow’, and these verses mention only particular plants—food plants, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The use of the word ‘garden’ also implies that only certain plants were involved in this Day 6 event.

This does not conflict with plants being created on Day 3. The specimens that God caused to grow out of the ground in Eden on Day 6 may or may not have been specimens of plant kinds already created on Day 3, but in neither case does this contradict Genesis 1:11–12. Significantly, different Hebrew words are used. To be contradictory, it would have to say that plants were not created on Day 3.

Genesis 1:26–31 indicates that Adam and Eve were both created on Day 6. These verses do not say or require that Adam and Eve were created at the same instant of time on Day 6, or that they were created by the same method. For another verse (e.g. Genesis 2:7 or Genesis 2:18–25) to contradict this, it would need to say that either Adam was not created on Day 6, or that Eve was not created on Day 6. With respect to Eve’s creation, if Genesis 1:26–31 said God made Eve from, say, dust, or that God did not create Eve from Adam’s rib, then that would contradict Genesis 2, but it does not say these things. A contradiction requires statements of the form ‘X’ and ‘not X’ and there are no such conflicting statements in Genesis.

With respect to creation of the birds, the Hebrew verb in Genesis 2:19 is pluperfect, equating to ‘had formed’ in contemporary English. See the explanation of this under the heading Genesis contradictions? in the article Evangelical compromise misses the essentials on the website of CMI. This does not conflict with birds having been created on Day 5 (Genesis 1:20–23)

If the first part of the Bible were false, as the idea of ‘conflicting chronologies’ entails, then there would be no reason to trust any other part of it. Jesus made it clear that believing the Old Testament writings is foundational to believing in Him and that people who will not believe the literal words of Genesis will not believe his words either:

For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My words? (John 5:46–47)

Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham, but if one should go to them from the dead, they would repent. And he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:29–31)

And He said to them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all things that the prophets spoke! ... And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25–27)

Jesus taught that if we are ashamed of his words (which include his teachings on Genesis), then he will likewise be ashamed of us:

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

Jesus himself understood the book of Genesis to be a literal historical account of the origins of the world, as the following passage shows:

And the Pharisees came to Him, tempting Him and saying to Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And He answered and said to them, Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female", and said, "For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cling to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh? (Matthew 19:3–6)

Here Jesus was quoting from Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24.

Jesus also taught that mankind has existed since the beginning. Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 make it clear that Jesus believed that people (starting with Adam and Eve) have been here from the beginning of the world. Most people who reject the historicity of Genesis believe in millions of years, but Jesus doesn’t mention any millions of years of suffering and death:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6)

Andrew Lamb

Baddelim said...

Dariux,

I'll be picking up questions on the nature of Scripture and genre, in the next post, so I'll hold my response 'till then.

Baddelim said...

Andrew,

You made your argument in the first four paragraphs. Your position on the need for a strictly literal reading is spelled out in the fifth. The other six (and that's a generous way of counting) don't add much, as they're compressed into a canta of Bible quotations, but all seem to be about the need for a strictly literal reading. As I said to dariux, there'll probably be material in part VI for you to make your points about taking things strictly literally.

Let's pick up a couple of points of the argument that relate to this post. The word translated 'made' in Gen 2:19 is a wayyiqtol. It does appear that there is some reason to think that wayyiqtols can function analagous to an English pluperfect ('had made' in our case). (However, there is some discussion at the moment as to whether the English tense system is really equivalent to how Hebrew verbs function.)

But this is acknowledged to be rare. By far the most common usage is to indicate sequence of events, i.e. that this action took place after the previous action.

To just assert that it is a pluperfect simply isn't good enough.

The two reasons I can see why one might go for the rare grammar here are:
1. The wayyiqtol of 2:15 is returning to God's action in 2:8, and so we have a surface reading of God putting Adam in the garden twice.
2. It has to be a pluperfect given the events recounted in chapter 1.

Neither of those will do as conclusive arguments.

The issue in point 1 is that it is quite possible for the OT to give a summary of something and then expand, and in this case we have the expansion happening after a break in 2:10-14 where the Hebrew uses the normal kind of grammar and syntax to show that what it is speaking about is not a series of events. In other words, the fact that, after a break, the narrative returns to God placing Adam in the garden and kicks off from there, doesn't provide warrant for thinking the wayyiqtols in chapter 2 are being used in a rare way.

The more likely reason why one would take the rare usage is because otherwise you have a contradiction on a strict literal reading. This doesn't rule it out, but it would have been nice if you'd acknowledged the circularity of your argument at this point.

It might also be good if creationists reflected on, and gave an explanation for, why English translations (as far a I can see) generally didn't translate the verbs in chapter 2 in the pluperfect until modern creationism came along, despite the fact that a strictly literal reading of chapter 1 was fairly common. Not even they seemed to buy your pluperfect reading, which should at least be acknowledged.

The rest of your arguments seem to hang upon this statement:

A contradiction requires statements of the form ‘X’ and ‘not X’ and there are no such conflicting statements in Genesis.

I would suggest that this is an extraordinary narrow criteria to be used to determine if a contradiction has occured. It is so inflexible that you can't even finish your own comment without breaking it when you say:

Jesus also taught that mankind has existed since the beginning. Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 make it clear that Jesus believed that people (starting with Adam and Eve) have been here from the beginning of the world. Most people who reject the historicity of Genesis believe in millions of years, but Jesus doesn’t mention any millions of years of suffering and death:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. (Mark 10:6)


Jesus' words are hardly in the form of "not X" here, so on your principle, there is no contradiction between Jesus' words and the idea of millions of years. Neither statement is in the form of "not X" so there's no contradiction on the basis of your rule.

I'd suggest contradictions can occur without such a problematic form of words. And that means you need some better arguments about the relationship of the details of chapters one and two.

Dannii said...

I don't know Hebrew grammar, but personally I think that if there's a rare alternative, it's still an alternative and we can leave the contradiction arguments aside. There are more important things to look at.

There are huge differences between the chapters! I believe the biggest is that ch 1 is God-centric and chapter 2 is man-centric. I think that the Toledoth theory has got it right when it suggests that 1.1-2.4 was written by God from his perspective and 2.5-5.1 by Adam from his perspective.

In ch 1 God creates with his word, both with the spoken word, and as we know Colossians, by his son Jesus, the word. The language is universal, there are no specific details about anything in his creation: the sun and moon are simply two great lights, no detailed animal kinds. There are no nations, or individual people, but instead the message that all mankind is created in his image. And of course there is the repeated affirmations of his creation - he made it according to his perfect standard.

But ch 2 is very man-centric: Adam-centric specifically. We find out about his family, his job, and what God said to him. We find out that he was created from the very ground he would be working. We see the geography that he would live in described, and what mankind alone in the universe cares about, minerals and metals. And can't we all hear Adam going "Bowchickawowwow!" in vs 23?

When you consider these big distinctions, I think having some grammatical peculiarities is less of a problem.

Andrew Lamb said...

Secular science says the universe began 14 billion years ago and mankind evolved 200,000 years ago.

Jesus said mankind has been here from the beginning.

These two accounts do contradict. Here they are again expressed in 'X' and 'not X' form:

Secular science: Mankind has not been here since the beginning.

Jesus: Mankind has been here since the beginning.

As our Creator (John 1:3), who was there at the time (John 1:1–2) Jesus should know. Further, as the very Creator of human language itself, Jesus is perfectly capable of expressing truth clearly. Where what Jesus said contradicts the opinions of fallen men, who were not there and who are not omniscient, and whose hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and inclined to reject God (Romans 1:28), I choose to believe Jesus.

Andrew Lamb

Warwick said...

Mark as you have chosen to make closing comments I feel free to do likewise.

The discussion at Moore College was not made in private but in front of witnesses. The question was clearly phrased & the answer likewise clear. His first answer proved to be an evasion of the truth and his final answer exposed the attempt at evasion. You have a record of what I wrote so I do not have to go over it in detail.

Whether you believe what I have written or not is irrelevant as I, not you, was an eye witness to this. The context has been previously given.

BTW you write 'Your movement has a reputation for shamelessness.' You & some of your like-minded liberals constantly raise this smoke-screen- I don't have a movement, I speak for myself in defending Scripture against those who would destroy it.

I repeat I see your comments as a clear indication you are a respecter of persons. I use this clearly in the sense of one who obediently follows 'great' men. This has & continues to cause serious problems as such followers are often lured away from Scripture. This is not unique to the Anglican community as others have gone down the liberal path well ahead of you. This is very cultic, but sadly not uncommon.

Baddelim said...

Dannii

I don't think I can go with you on the issue of the wayyiqtol. Just because an alternative is possible doesn't mean that we can then put the exegetical issue to one side. There needs to be a good reason to take a very minority position on a grammatical function.

In light of the big differences between the two chapters, and the completely different perspectives, doesn't that itself suggest that what we're being offered is not a historical record in chapter one like what we would see? Is God's perspective so similar to ours that we would see what he would see?

Baddelim said...

Andrew,

In your original post, you indicated that a contradiction would only occur in Genesis if one part said something like, "on day three plants were created" and another part used a form of words like, "plants were not created on day three." Your argument focused on the words used, not the concepts being communicated by the words.

My point was, you couldn't sustain that even within the one comment because your argument at the end was not in the form of x and not-x that was your criteria for a contradiction. The fact you can put it in that form, doesn't take away the fact that you yourself, within just a few paragraphs, were looking for a contradiction based on the ideas and not just the words.

I'll put it to you again. Contradiction occurs when the ideas cannot both be right, irrespective of whether the words are in the from x and not-x. I think you've already demonstrated that.

Let's move to whether there is a contradiction between Jesus' statement that humanity existed since the beginning and science's view that the universe existed a long time before humanity appeared.

It depends on what Jesus means by since the beginning.

Your reading could also be seen to contradict this, because you think the universe existed five days before humanity appeared. And whether it's five days, or five billion years, humanity didn't exist from the very first moment that the universe did. Hence, on a certain meaning for 'beginning' your view also fails. Perhaps only Augustine takes Jesus' words seriously, as he seems to have thought that creation all happened in a single instance.

I suspect you'll then argue that I'm being obtuse, and 'beginning' means something like, 'the creation process that took six days.' But that's not different in principle from my position. I don't think things 'began' until humanity appeared. Whether it was six days or a googleplex of years, creation was finished when humanity was created. And so humanity has been here since the beginning.

That is, for both of our positions, 'beginning' has to do with a way of evaluating time, not just in counting days or years.

Baddelim said...

Warwick,

Restating the same minimal facts isn't any more convincing. A conversation like what you're describing can be complex, with lots of room for misunderstanding at points. Particularly as you don't strike me as the kind of person that went into such a conversation with the kind of good will that helps avoid such communicative cul de sacs.

I never suggested that you were a formal member of a group. The fact that you are invited to speak at creationist conferences shows that you are part of a movement - and a somewhat leading member of such a movement. Hence your actions reflect upon other members of your movement like Critias. That was the point I was making.

If Critias genuinely wants open lines of communication with Christian leaders, then he has to look at actions like yours here as sabatoging the trust necessary for such to exist.

What sensible Christian leader would enter conversation with a creationist leader if the prospect is mudslinging like what you've done?

As far as liberals making smokescreens, I never suggested your membership was a reason why I didn't need to consider your views. The only liberal smokescreen of that nature has been yours, because you latched onto my supposed cultic adherence to my leaders to claim that you didn't need to consider my views.

Finally, it's still not clear what your accusation against me is. Following 'great men' is something the Bible requires of Christians.

If the accusation is that I follow men rather than Christ, or follow them against what I know the Bible is clearly teaching, then, like most of the other accusations you and your mates on SAH have made, you haven't provided a shred of proof. Evidence of respect is not evidence of what you've accused me of. Accusations are easy, Warwick. They're also cheap.

Dannii said...

Hmm firstly is the contradiction that man is made before the birds? Are there any others?
Again I don't know Hebrew, however I noticed that one difference is that what ch 2 says is that God created and brought the animals to Adam. Bringing the animals to Adam obviously happened after Adam was made, the question is when were the animals made. Any chance that coordinated Hebrew verbs simply take the tense of the second?

Warwick said...

Mark speculation is fun but not to be relied upon. In reality I was invited to the meeting at Moore. At this time I knew precious little about the college or what it taught. The person who posed the question did so as to ascertain (from the horse’s mouth so to speak) what was actually taught there. Better to go to source than listen to gossip. As I have previously said the first answer was evasive. The second question was asked to as to be sure what was being said. The second answer was without any doubt that the 6-day creation view was not taught there.

As you were not there your view has no weight & therefore there is no need to consider it. Eye witness account trumps idle speculation. I am not a liar and am well able to hear what a person says even if I should have an opposite view. You have no point.

I have done no mud-slinging just told the verifiable truth.

The reason I am invited to speak at such conferences is because I trust the Word of God, having no extra-Biblical bias, therefore having no need to reinterpret Scripture to fit in with man’s changing views. Christian faith is a serious commitment & people want & need the assurance that it is the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth. Christians world-wide die for their faith in large numbers each year. We need to know whether this thing called Christianity, this person called Christ is worth dying for if necessary.

Christians read that Jesus said- I am the way the truth & the life, there is no way to the father except through me and wonder is this 100% true, Can I base my life upon this? If you & your fellow compromisers are correct then they can’t. I & others find the compromiser dance to be truly sadly fascinating where some sober Biblical writings are held to with vigor & ardour ( & I commend that) while other sober writings are massaged beyond all recognition. Jesus says that man was made at the beginning of creation & you ask what did he mean by the beginning of creation? It means man was made at the beginning of creation not almost at the end as in the compromisers long-age view. If Jesus meant the end when he said the beginning then language has no meaning. I speak a few languages reasonably well & I find that no matter where I go or in what language I speak beginning means at the beginning & six days always means six days as we live them.
As I have said before your compromising views are nothing new as other denominations, now destroyed, set off along this path well before you.

I have considered your view, & the views of others, have judged them by God’s Word & found them wanting. There is no food for the soul there.

As regards accusations I make none only state the obvious. Your very tone of we lesser mortals snapping at the heels of great men says it all. As Scripture says- let God be true & every man a liar. We are to follow Christ alone & His Word not Popes, prelates & preachers.

Baddelim said...

Warwick,

This is the third time you've slung the same mud. You've made it clear that you're not here to engage with the arguments but to attack people to justify yourself for not engaging with the arguments.

The information people need to evaluate your accusation against me is on this comment thread so they can check it for themselves, given that you're not even prepared to try and justify an accusation that can be verified within the limits of this comment thread.

No further comments by you will be allowed unless they are interactions with the arguments and only about the arguments.

Baddelim said...

Hi Dannii,

Hmm firstly is the contradiction that man is made before the birds? Are there any others?

As possible conflicts I'd go for birds and animals seemingly created after Adam.

I'd also take 2:5 as indicating no vegetation existing outside the Garden, not just no cultivated plants, so that would also be a contradiction.

As incongruities that I think can be reconciled, even though I think such reconciliations have a bit of a distorting effect on the point of both chapters, I'd go for God creating with speech alone in chapter one, and forming things in chapter two without speech; and Eve being made after Adam.

Again I don't know Hebrew, however I noticed that one difference is that what ch 2 says is that God created and brought the animals to Adam. Bringing the animals to Adam obviously happened after Adam was made, the question is when were the animals made. Any chance that coordinated Hebrew verbs simply take the tense of the second?

I'm not an expert, I'd have to contact some mates. My Hebrew is fairly rudimentary, but I'm pretty sure that if that exists it's fairly rare in narrative texts. A wayyiqtol in this context would normally (and 'normally' is a very big %) be taken as indicating that it slots in after the action described before it and before the action described after it.

Dannii said...

Hi, sorry it's taken so long to reply again!

As incongruities that I think can be reconciled, even though I think such reconciliations have a bit of a distorting effect on the point of both chapters, I'd go for God creating with speech alone in chapter one, and forming things in chapter two without speech; and Eve being made after Adam.

I don't think see a incongruity there. In chapter one God speaks, but he also makes, separates and places. Although there just "was light", in the case of man, it does say God specifically makes them. In chapter two God doesn't speak, but he still does make them, but it's described with a few more details.