ANOTHER LOOK AT GENESIS
H. Douglas Dean P.H.D.
It is indeed a pleasure to be here again this evening. If I were here and had been sitting out in the audience and seen the speaker of the evening handed a letter, I would be dying of curiosity to know what it says. So, in order to satisfy your curiosity I will read you a portion of it: “I am a student at Arlington State College.” It goes to say where he works and lists his religious affiliation. The letter continues, “We attended your first lecture Sunday night. It was very impressive, and you have probably changed my thinking to some degree. I plan to study deeper into this evolution thing and into Genesis.”
In order not to delay any, we want to get immediately into our lesson this evening which we are entitling, “Another Look at Genesis.” It is extremely important for us to know what the Bible says and what it does not say. It is important for us to know what science teaches and what it does not teach. It is important for us to know what is scientific fact and what is scientific theory, or interpretations thereof. It is important then for us to know what the Bible says and what it does not say.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This begins the Genesis account of creation, and up until 1859 this was believed by most of the Egyptians, and as early as the writing of Aristotle. But, within the past 100 years this whole picture has entirely changed, and we find the majority of people in the world today believe evolution. Many began to think that Darwin was right, and almost immediately theologians set about to harmonize the Genesis account of creation with the so-called facts of science. This has led to a tremendous modification of our scriptural interpretations in order to bring them into agreement with the scientific theories. Examples of this have been seen in the changing of “days” into millions of years by saying that the first few chapters of Genesis are poetical and allegorical, by even saying that the evolutionists are right, that they have the facts and that evolution was God's way of establishing life. on earth.
I want to ask two questions this evening. Are all of these concessions necessary? Do we have to twist the Genesis account of creation in order for it to fit the so-called facts of science? I do not believe that we have to twist and pervert the scripture in this way. Like any others of today, I feel that a literal interpretation of creation is as justified today as it was one hundred or two hundred years ago. There is absolutely no reason to abandon the literal interpretation of the Genesis
account of creation.
One of the important statements that we would note in Darwin is this. He says that animals are descended from at the most four or five progenitors. Plants have descended from equal or lesser numbers. Darwin, in effect then in Origin of Species says that all forms of life as we know it today have evolved from these basic types and presents scientific discovery to support these ideas. Now notice Darwin says here that there are eight or nine basic kinds of life from which all life has emerged or descended. . Darwin, where did these basic kinds of life come from? In the first edition of Origin of Species, Darwin says that behind these eight or nine basic kinds was the Great Intelligence of the Universe, that the Great Intelligence of the Univese caused them to be there. And yet in the second, third, fourth and fifth editions of Origin of Species Huxley sees to it that all mention of the Great Intelligence is removed from Darwin's book. It is rather difficult for you to obtain a copy of the first edition, but one is available. The later editions usually make no mention of the Great Intelligence, and I am sometimes inclined to think that Darwin was not so bad as Huxley made him out to be. Darwin then says that he had scientific information to support the concept that eight or nine basic types are the ancestors of the present day life as we see it in the world today. Today, Darwin's ideas have been extended to the idea of chemical evolution, with Oparin's The Orign of Life being the commonly accepted concept as to how life began. It is interesting to note that in 1964 Berkner and Marshall proved that life could not have existed in the atmosphere as proposed by Oparin. Yet, all of our biology books say that the most acceptable theory is the theory of Oparin.
Let us examine the Genesis references to the creation. The creative events are recorded as occurring during six days. The account does not say that the days were 24 hours long, but other references would indicate that they were 24 hours long. We might point out that days have not always been 24 hours long, for example the long day of Joshua. Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision points out that our years have not always been 364 days long, thus indicating a departure form the 24 hour day. It is really unimportant to speculate as to how long the days were since an omnipresent God could create in 24 hours or He could take longer
It is significant to note the importance of the statement, “Let there be light.” The ultimate source of all energy is the sun, as far as the earth is concerned. Light is only one form of energy which we have, but the creative acts involved energy. The entire universe is one vast system of light and energy. The creative acts involved the
conversion of energy into mass. By the fourth day the conversion of energy into mass reached a concentration high enough to activate the various systems of atomic furnaces which we now recognize as the sun and stars. The creation account in stating that the sun, moon and stars were not activated until the fourth day of creation indirectly supports the Copernican system of Astronomy. According to the discarded Ptolemaic system the sun in its daily circle around the earth caused night and day. According to this concept then there could not have been nights and days before the sun gave light. We now recognize that the earth's rotation give us our day and night cycles and always has since God said, “Let there be light.” The light came directly from Him until the fourth day by which time the sun was activated.
It is interesting to note the significance of water in God's creation: “...and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”(Genesis 1:2). We know today that water is a unique feature of earth, and evidently it is found in no other place in the universe. At one time Venus was considered the “watery planet” until the date Explorer II showed that it does not have any water and thus could not support life. Water has played an important role in the fashioning of the earth's surface, and today it is still the primordial agent in the ever- changing surface of the land. One recent book on evolution pointed out that there is available evidence to indicate that the earth has been completely submerged on two separate occasions. In the Genesis account we find a record indicating two times, when the earth was covered with water, in the originally created state(Genesis 1:2) and the flood in the days of Noah. One often inquires if the flood of Noah was universal or local. It is sufficient to state the geological evidence is that the earth has been submerged beneath water completely on two occasions. Thus there seems to be no doubt that the flood of Noah was universal. To state that it was local is to speak against all scientific evidence which indicates a universal flood. The evidence from science is that the flood was universal.
Biology reveals to us that all the phyla of animals are of great antiquity, with no evidence of forms of animal life earlier than the basic ten phyla, as stated by the Swedish Botanist, Linnaeous. Life goes back to Cambrian times which is the earliest period in the classical geological chronology. All animal phyla are present in the Cambrian Period, and no new phyla have appeared since then . This tends to support the fixicity referred to in Genesis. It is also interesting to note that none of the basic forms of life have disappeared nor have any of
the basic forms become extinct. According to biology, there is a basic tendency within each phylum for it to increase in variety. According to the evidence the usual pattern for any phylum is to first appear in relatively few forms and later to become vastly diversified. This is the biological evidence that the phylum starts off very few in number and then it diverges into several different forms.
Let us now examine the creative events of the third, fifth and sixth days, for it was in these days that the various forms of life were created. Once again, it is important in our examination to note what is definitely stated and what is not stated. On the third day of creation, this is the day we see God, having created land and water, commanded the earth to put forth two kinds of vegetation. Notice God uses something already in existence. Something He had. already created was to bring forth these two kinds of vegetation. First, “Grass, herbs, yielding seed after their kind.” The Hebrew word from which grass is translated means to be damp. This probably includes the simplest forms of aquatic plants. The herb includes the plants which are commonly used as food by animals and man, as well as most other intermediate plant forms. In biology we teach that the algae is the grass of the sea, and the grass that the animals in the ocean feed upon. The grass and herbs on the land are the grass which animals of the earth feed upon. So every plant that we see is basically a grass type plant or it is the other kind. What other kind is mentioned in book of Genesis record? Every plant you have ever seen is sort of like grass, or it is sort of like a tree. There is tree- like life or grass-like life
On the fifth day of creation we read in Genesis 1:20-23 that it was on this day that animal creation begins. On this occasion God commands the waters to bring forth two kinds of animal life: “Great sea monsters and every living that moves and every living creature that moves wherewith the waters swarmed after their kind.” Most commentators agree that this refers to aquatic animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles and aquatic mammals. Secondly, there is created on the fifth day of creation, “Every winged bird after its kind.” This probably included all aerial animals and any kind that flies above the earth, whether they be an insect, whether they be a bat, or a flying mammal On the sixth day of creation, we find God created terrestrial animals. In this case God commanded the earth to bring forth three kinds of animals. Number one, “Everything that creeps on the ground after its own kind.” Secondly, “Cattle after their kind.” Thirdly, “Beasts of the earth after their own kind.” This refers to animals which are
not domesticated. or easily tamed such a lions, tigers and perhaps dinosaurs. On the sixth day of the creative events, God created man from the dust of the ground ( Genesis 2:7). According to the Genesis record God created seven basic kinds plus man or a total of eight kinds of life. Remember that Darwin said that all forms of life have descended from eight or nine basic kinds of life. May we emphasize again that the facts of science are always in support of the authenticity of the Genesis account of creation. The scientific theories are not in agreement.
It is interesting to note the number of animals that Noah placed in the ark. Critics of today like to emphasize the story of the flood is false because Noah could not have placed all the animals that are in existence in the ark. It is true he could not have place inside the ark all of the varieties that we have today, but here again let us examine the Genesis account and see what it said. In Genesis 6, Noah is told to take into the ark two of every kind: cattle after its kind, fowl after its kind, and creeping things of the earth after their kind. The only ones taken into the ark were the kinds that were in existence then. Someone asked, “Did Noah take a Siamese cat into the ark?” Certainly not, because Siamese cats were not in existence then, but certainly all cats have descended from some basic ancestral cat that was created in the beginning. Noah could have taken into the ark small lizard-like animals from which dinosaurs descended after the flood. Biology teaches that present day lizards are the remnants of the dinosaurs which perished during the cataclysmic event. This event could have been the flood with the dinosaurs having lived before the flood. There is evidence that dinosaurs have lived since the flood, so it is logical that if lizards descended from dinosaurs, the dinosaurs could have descended from small lizard-like creatures. People sometimes ask the question, “How did God get a dinosaur into the ark?” Well, he didn't put one in there unless it was in the form of a small lizard which later differentiated and maybe gave rise to the pre-historic monster dinosaur that we know about.
One of the favorite presentations of the evolutionists is to point out the similarities between man and animals. Scientists say that because organisms are similar that they are of the same evolutionary origin; they have the same ancestors. We have emphasized, and we would like to emphasize again that man is different from animals. He has spiritual attributes. Genesis presents us with a logical truth as to the origin of man's spiritual attributes. He was made in the likeness of
God. In the absence of any scientific explanation for the origin of these attributes of man, the Genesis account is the only one we have; so it is logical to accept it.
In regard to the origin of the races, the genetic evidence favors the existence of a common radical type from which all 190 or more racial types have emerged. In the creation of the first man and woman, the Creator must have placed genes which would later be selected to produce the many racial types of today. The facts of genetics support this idea. The genetic evidence is that the various racial types became established through adaptation to varying environmental situations.
Anthropological evidence points to the Near East as being the center of the origin of the races. This is in agreement with the Genesis account of the origin of man. From this part of the world those people who moved eastward became the Oriental races. Those who moved into Europe became the Caucasians, and those who moved into Africa became the Negroid races. In each case it was a dispersion of peoples, each adapting to a new environment. In each case the genes were already in the ancestral types, but each selected those that molded it best to fit the environment. No mutations were involved, merely selection of those genes best adapted to survive was the case. If mutations had occurred, they would have been detrimental as are all mutations, and thus no races would have developed. . Only an all powerful God could have foreseen this and placed in the original created beings genes which would be selected to produce the various types.
The fossil evidence is in support of a creation. All forms of life appeared suddenly according to the fossil record. All animal phyla are represented in the supposedly oldest strata of the earth. This sudden appearance of all forms supports the idea of a creation over a brief period of time rather than a progressive creation. Recent evidence indicates that dinosaurs and men walked together, and that dinosaurs died out as recently as 1500 B.C. There is no evidence that they lived millions of years before man appeared on the earth. Genesis teaches that all life is of recent origin. Fossil evidence leads us to believe that life appeared suddenly and that the appearance was in recent times.