_GENESIS_CREATION_ACCOUNT_ from Hugh Ross' "The Fingerprint of God"
Typical Creationist occult-laden propaganda piece. Enjoy!
The "higher critics" of the last two centuries have badly
misinterpreted the first two chapters of Genesis, and by their error
led many astray. Establishing the correct point of view and initial
conditions for the Genesis creation chronologies yields a sequence of
events in perfect harmony with modern science. This accuracy is too
amazing for Moses to have guessed. He must have received divine
[hang in there - this guy is suprisingly objective...]
Among nineteenth century leaders of seminaries and churches, reaction
to Kant's cosmology and its scientific support took two distinct
directions. One camp, led by German theologians, made concessions
and adjustments in their view of the scriptures. The other camp,
championed by British and American fundamentalists, stood utterly
opposed, denigrating science and reason and upholding the scriptures.
Higher Criticism Theology
A cloud over biblical veracity had arisen even before the publication
of Kant's works. The first scholars to publish serious claims for
multiple authorship and internal inconsistencies in the Genesis
account of creation were Richard Simon, an Oratorian priest, writing
in 1678, and Campegius Vitringa, a Dutch Reformed theologian, writing
in 1707. Their works, though, were largely ignored by their
contemporaries and forgotten by later generations.
In 1753 a French physician, Jean Astruc, perhaps out of a desire to
justify his immorality, published a treatise undermining the
credibility of Genesis. He concluded that in writing Genesis, Moses
(or someone later) had interwoven material from several independent
sources. In particular, he said that Genesis 1 and 2 contained two
contradictory creation narratives of different authorship.
Not long after Astruc's ideas began circulating, Johann Eichhorn, the
most famous theologian of his day, published the same conclusions as
Astruc. He further pointed out that the discoveries of geologists
not only contradicted both Genesis chronologies but also the creation
date proposed by Ussher [does ICR _still_ hold to this?]. soon
Eichhorn and his German colleagues were theorizing that much of the
old Testament was a compilation of late, unreliable documents dating
>from 800 to 500 B.C. They saw the biblical accounts of creation as
edited versions of borrowed myths.
The methodology of Astruc, Eichhorn, and the emerging "higher
critics" was notably "simplistic." They presumed that the order of
mention for the creation events represented the intended chronology
of the text. Verb tense, indicators of parenthetical comment, and
other syntactic features were ignored. The order of Genesis creation
events they deduced follows:
Genesis 1 Genesis 2
1. heavens and earth created 1. heavens and earth created
2. light created 2. plant life created
3. light divided from darkness 3. man (male) created
4. heaven ("firmament") created 4. animal life created
5. land separated from water 5. woman made from man
6. plant life created
7. sun, moon, and stars created
8. animal life created
9. man (male and female) created
As a result of their view of the chronologies, many theologians
concluded that the Bible was unreliable, not only internally, but
also with respect to science and history. Therefore, for them, God
became discoverable only through another channel, through "faith"
alone. Their brand of faith, then, was totally subjective. It
comprised moral responses prompted by the conscience and warm
feelings about the presence of God. Thus, their position,
theologically and scientifically, was hardly distinguishable from
Many who held the Bible to be totally error free reacted to Kant's
conclusions and to the new discoveries in astronomy and geology with
flat rejection. They denied the possibility that any physical
phenomena had taken more than a few thousand years to occur. All
forms of evolution, whether astronomical, geological, or biological,
were rejected outright. All scientific discoveries were subordinated
to the inviolable dogma of Archbishop Ussher's chronology.
In seeing through the interprative errors of the higher critics'
chronology for Genesis 2, they removed the internal contradictions.
but, unwittingly, they failed to question the faulty interpretation
of Genesis 1. Thus they trapped themselves, unawares, into denying
not only the scientific timescales, but even the best established
principles of physics and astronomy. Their view required, for
example, that the earth, light, and water predate the formation of
the sun and stars.
Their position, then, necessitated a denial of God's revelation of
truth via nature and an acceptance of the written word, the bible, as
the only reliable revelation of truth. Ironically, their definition
of faith resembled that of their opponents, the higher critics. In
both cases faith in God lost its actual footing. It was removed from
the reach of testing by scientific and historical data.
The Scientific Method
What Astruc, Eichhorn, and the higher critics failed to do, among
other things, was to recognize the scientific method in the text.
Interestingly, the scientific method, to a large extent, originated
>from renaissance experimenters' perception of certain consistent
patterns in Scripture. In describing sequences of physical events,
the Bible always begins with a statement of the point of view, or
frame of reference. Next, there is an indication of the initial
conditions. Then comes a chronological account of the physical
events. Finally, there is the conclusion of the matter. Here, in a
nutshell, is the scientific method.
Integrating Genesis 1 and 2
Without question, the description of creation in Genesis 1 is
markedly different from that in Genesis 2. However, an examination
of the point of view in each passage clarifies why. Genesis 1
focuses on the physical events of creation; Genesis 2, on the
spiritual events. More specifically, Genesis 1 describes those
miracles God performed to prepare the earth for mankind. Genesis 2
presents God's assignment of authority and responsibility.
Careful attention to verb tenses and to the purpose of each account
eliminates any supposed contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis
2. Plants, rain, man, animals, and woman are subjects of discussion
in Genesis 2, but creation chronology is not the issue. The man
(Adam) simply interacts first with the plants, then with the animals,
and last of all, with the woman (Eve). His role with respect to each
The Hebrew language has only three verb tenses: imperative, perfect,
and imperfect. The perfect tense denotes completed actions while the
imperfect tense denotes incomplete or unfinished actions. The use of
the perfect tense in Genesis 2:19 for the formation of the beasts and
the birds simply implies that those creatures were made sometime in
the past. Nothing in the verb tense or the context of Genesis 2
would necessitate the existence of man before the beasts and the
birds or, for that matter, the trees of the garden of Eden.
Origin of the Universe
The bible opens with this declaration: "In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth." The Hebrew words for heavens and earth
are shamayin and erets. Whenever these two words are joined together
in Hebrew literature they refer to the entire physical universe. The
Hebrew word for "created," bara, refers always to divine activity.
The word emphasizes the newness of the created object. It means to
bring something entirely new, something previously non-existent, into
existence. Genesis 1:1 speaks of God's creating - originating - the
fundamental constituents (all the space, time, matter, energy,
galaxies, stars, planets, etc.) of the universe.
Specific Point of View
Unfortunately, most Bible commentaries still err with Jean Astruc and
the higher critics in placing the point of view for Genesis 1 out in
the heavens, looking down on the earth. Yet, the second verse of
Genesis 1 places the point of view under the could cover, on the
surface of the waters. It says, "The Spirit of God was hovering over
[rachaph actually connotes "brooding" or "vivifying." Hence, this
statement may imply biblical support for formation of the first
life-forms in the oceans.]
the surface of the waters." This one seemingly minute correction
eliminates any supposed contradiction between the biblical order of
events and the scientific order. The miracles described in the
account take place in or under the earths's atmosphere, not in the
broader scope of outer space.
Genesis 1:2 also states for us three initial conditions of planet
-It was dark upon the surface of the oceans
-The earth was formless, or disorganized.
-The earth was void or emtpy.
Since Genesis 1 focuses on the introduction of life upon the earth,
formless and void (or disorganized and empty) are best interpreted in
the context of life. That is, the bible says that in its initial
state, the earth was unfit to support life and was literally "empty"
of life. We are told, too, that the earth's atmosphere (and/or
interplanetary debris) blocked out the light that exists throughout
the universe. Light could not pass through to the surface.
The physics of star and planet formation verifies that the
proto-earth indeed must have had an atmosphere (or debris cloud)
opaque to light. Such studies also confirm that conditions of the
proto-earth made it entirely unfit for the support of life.
Order of Creation Events
With the point of view and initial conditions established, we can
properly interpret the biblical chronolog of events. What once
seemed baffling or incorrect now becomes comprehensible and
demonstrably accurate. It may be helpful to note, too, that six
different Hebrew verbs are used for God's creative work. The
following table lists the eleven major milestones in order, giving
suitable English equivalents for those verns. Bara appears in the
manuscripts only twice more after Genesis 1:1, once for the creation
of nephesh, or soulish animals - those creatures endowed with mind,
will, and emotions (namely, birds and mammals) - and again for the
creation of adam, or "spirit" beings - those creatures endowed with
the capacity to respond to God Himself.
1. creation of the physical universe (space, time, matter, energy,
galaxies, stars, planets, etc)
2. transformation of the earth's atmosphere from opaque to
3. formation of a stable water cycle
4. establishment of continent(s) and ocean(s)
5. production of plants on the continent(s)
6. transformation of the atmoshpere from translucent to transparent
(Sun, Moon, and stars became visible for the first time)
7. production of small sea animals
8. creation of sea mammals (nephesh)
9. creation of birds [possibly same time as 8] (more nephesh)
10. making of land mammals (wild mammals, mammals that can be
domesticated, and rodents - still more nephesh)
11. creation of mankind (adam)
The record above perfectly accords with the findings of modern
science. Ironically, some have found fault with it for its
simplicity and brevity. We must remeber, first, that the recorder of
the events, Moses, lived some 3500 years ago, and he was writing not
only for the people of his time and culture but for all people of all
times and cultures. Use of the simplest possible terms was
essential. Second, the apparent purpose of the account is to
document various demonstrations of God's miraculous power in forming
the earth and life upon it. With obvious necessity, the account is
selective. Only the highlights, those events most important for
achieving God's final goals, are included. As a result, dinosaurs,
for example, receive no particular mention.
The odds that Moses could have guessed the correct order even if he
were given the events are 1 chance in 40 million. In addition, Moses
scored three for three in describing the initial conditions. Of
course, most amazing of all is the accuracy of his depiction of each
creative event. Clearly, Moses must have been inspired by God to
write as he did.