• Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The Genesis Account

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
To be fair, the scenario seems, as I read it, to be that the sun became visible on Earth on Day 4, when the clouds cleared. I thought that was quite neat.

It goes off the rails on Day 6 with this nonsense about sudden appearance of species.

But, from another thread, it seems my guess that this is all a Trojan Horse for ID was correct. This poster is quoting Denton's farcical 1985 book "Evolution: a Theory in Crisis". So it's ID all right. :confused:
Still, it makes little sense to put the origin of plants a day prior to the sun being allowed to shine on them, but the Day 6 example clearly derails the notion that the story soundly conforms with the view from science.

Another attempt to sneak ID in. Thanks for the heads up on that.
 

TagliatelliMonster

Veteran Member
I recently authored the simple thread about the term Creationism and why it is a misnomer to call everyone that believes in the Bible a creationist:

Haven't read the thread yet, but I agree.
The word "creationist" has been hijacked and / or superimposed upon a rather specific breed of "creationist" believers. Today, it virtually stands synonymous with science denier, evolution in particular.

A deist who believes a god sparked the big bang and then walked away not caring about it, after which the space-time continuum unfolded regulated by natural forces, is technically also a "creationist". But frankly if you would observe him working in a team with a hardcore naturalist - you'ld barely be able to tell the difference.

So what about the Genesis Account? Can it be reconciled with science?

The short answer is "no".
The long answer is "dear lord, lol no".

:p

Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Joking aside, I'm sure that if one really wants to, one will find some way to "stretch" some points, ignore some others, "re-interpret" a few left and right and come up with a narrative that isn't completely absurd in light of the scientific narrative... mainly because the scientific narrative would be the template against which all that re-interpretation and creative/selective reading is measured up.

That's what I see people do who can't bring themselves to just ignore science, but who also really would like their scriptures to be somewhat literally true.

The more sophisticated believers, don't seem to be bothering at all with trying to match genesis to observable reality. They view genesis as story telling. Fictional stories meant to convey certain ideas, concepts, teachings, what-have-you. Which back then was actually a common way of teaching.

I'm an atheist and can't imagine being a believer. But if somehow I would end up "finding Jesus" or whatever, there is simply no way that the thought of genesis, exodus or any of that other stuff could ever possibly be seen as literal history.

I wish to author this thread to explain not only that it can, but when observed from the correct viewpoint it becomes obvious that a nomadic wanderer some 3,500 years ago could not have written what he did without supernatural revelation.


The Genesis Account

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."-Genesis 1:1.

So starts the Genesis account of creation and the very first 10 words of the Bible. Is the statement scientifically sound?

Scientists tend to agree that the universe is expanding from what they term an explosion that started the universe known as the Big Bang. Most scientists agree that the universe had a start. And there is verifiable evidence by looking at the universe that it did.

So yes, the universe had a beginning. If cosmologists are correct it was some 13.8 billion years ago. Does the Bible account specify how long ago the universe and then later on the earth were formed? No it does not. But it does state correctly that the universe, in the sometime distant past, had a beginning.

The rest of the Genesis account is not referring to the creation of the already existing heaven and earth from verse 1. Rather it is the account of how God started to prepare the already existing earth in the already existing universe according to verse 1 for life.

There is one more thing to be mentioned here before continuing to understand the Genesis account. And it has to do with the word day. In Hebrew the word can connotate a number of things, and it is obvious that in the context it is referring to long unspecified periods of times, and not a literal 24 hour period of time.

For example in chapter 2 of Genesis we are told:

"This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven."-Genesis 2:4.

Here Genesis uses the word day to encompass all the preceding days in chapter 1. In the day God made heaven and earth. Obviously this is not referring to a literal 24 hour period of time.

Let us look on from the perspective of someone on earth as he was given the Genesis account.




Day 1:

"Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters."-Genesis 1:2.

If you notice we start out with the earth already existing in the already existing universe. The universe is now untold billions of years old, and perhaps the earth too. At this point in earth's history it is completely covered with water. And the atmosphere is completely shrouded in cloud. That is, on the earth's surface the atmosphere was so thick, the light from the existing sun could not penetrate to the watery surface.



Day 2:

"Then God said: “Let there be an expanse between the waters, and let there be a division between the waters and the waters.”  Then God went on to make the expanse and divided the waters beneath the expanse from the waters above the expanse. And it was so."-Genesis 1:6, 7.

The water vapor in the thick atmosphere lifted from between the waters on the earth and a division was made between the clouds in the sky and on the surface. Notice that while the sun and moon and stars have already been in existence for billions of years from the viewpoint of a person on earth at this point in its history they were not visible yet.





Day 3:

"Then God said: “Let the waters under the heavens be collected together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry land Earth, but the collecting of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.  Then God said: “Let the earth cause grass to sprout, seed-bearing plants and fruit trees according to their kinds, yielding fruit along with seed on the earth.” And it was so."-Genesis 1:9-11.

During this eon of time God had dry land appear on earth. That is when he called the waters Seas and the dry ground Earth.



Day 4:

"Then God said: “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night, and they will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years.  They will serve as luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.”-Genesis 1:14, 15.

During this period of time the earth's atmosphere was cleared up enough so that the sun and moon became visible from its surface.




Day 5:

"Then God said: “Let the waters swarm with living creatures, and let flying creatures fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”  And God created the great sea creatures and all living creatures that move and swarm in the waters according to their kinds and every winged flying creature according to its kind. And God saw that it was good."-Genesis 1:21, 22.

During this epoch God created living creates in the sea and the birds of the heaven.



Day 6:

"Then God said: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, domestic animals and creeping animals and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.  And God went on to make the wild animals of the earth according to their kinds and the domestic animals according to their kinds and all the creeping animals of the ground according to their kinds."-Genesis 1:24, 25.

During this last day of creation God finally creates animals on dry land, both domestic and wild. This would include the dinosaurs that lived for a time and eventually passed off the world scene.

And finally as his last work of creation on earth God created the the man and woman.

Looking at the fossil record, the appearance of sea creatures, winged creatures, the animals on land, and finally humans all concur with how it appears in the Genesis account. And they did not just gradually appear over long periods of times. But they appeared suddenly in the fossil record.

Is the Genesis account a scientific account of how the universe came to be and life on earth? No. of course not. Is it scientifically sound and reliable? Totally. Could Moses have really known all of this 3,500 years ago? Or was he given divine revelation in simple but understandable terms about our origin?

Honestly, I don't feel like going through this at this time. But I imagine that you likely did something like what I predicted would happen. Creative / selective reading, re-interpretation, stretching/ignoring meanings of certain points, etc only to end up with something that somehow vagualy or ambiguously resembles the scientific narrative.

Amirite?
 

izzy88

Active Member
Still, it makes little sense to put the origin of plants a day prior to the sun being allowed to shine on them

Some sun still comes through clouds, and there are plants today that need virtually no direct sunlight to grow. I don't know what the theories are about what the earliest plant life would have been like, but on its face it doesn't seem impossible. Plus wouldn't the first plants have been aquatic? Isn't the prevailing theory that all life began in the ocean?
 

metis

aged ecumenical anthropologist
But, again, that fact that Genesis likely underwent generations of oral transmission and refinement in no way implies that its creation account was intended as allegorical.
But it's pretty much an equal "s t r e t c h" to assume it's not. IOW, we'll never know for sure.

BTW, I treat literally all biblical narratives as if they were meant to be allegorical largely because there's very few narratives that we can affirm to be historically accurate. IOW, with me, it's more trying to figure out what the author(s) maybe were trying to say-- "the meaning behind the words".
 

izzy88

Active Member
This allows "some theologians" to hold precariously to the view that Torah is inerrant.


William M. Schniedewind's How the Bible Became a Book is excellent in this regard.

But, again, that fact that Genesis likely underwent generations of oral transmission and refinement in no way implies that its creation account was intended as allegorical.

I'm confused; are you trying to argue that the creation account in Genesis was intended to be scientific? Because science literally didn't exist back then - it's actually a relatively recent development. No one at that time thought scientifically, empirically, the notion of "facts" didn't even exist - there was only truth.

If you're trying to apply our current modes of thinking to ancient stories, you're in error right at the outset.
 

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
Some sun still comes through clouds, and there are plants today that need virtually no direct sunlight to grow. I don't know what the theories are about what the earliest plant life would have been like, but on its face it doesn't seem impossible. Plus wouldn't the first plants have been aquatic? Isn't the prevailing theory that all life began in the ocean?
But the verses clearly state that light did not shine on the Earth until Day 4. So even plants that require little light would not have gotten any until Day 4 along with those that require lots of light.

The origin of the sun predates the formation of this planet and the origin of life on this planet, so the Genesis narrative does not align very well at all with what we know.

Plants are eukaryotic organisms that may have evolved from marine or aquatic green alga, but there is some evidence of a terrestrial origin as well. Never-the-less, this evolution would have taken place long after the sun began shining on the Earth.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
Still, it makes little sense to put the origin of plants a day prior to the sun being allowed to shine on them, but the Day 6 example clearly derails the notion that the story soundly conforms with the view from science.

Another attempt to sneak ID in. Thanks for the heads up on that.
Yes fair point about plants with no sun. I hadn't made that connection.
 

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
Yes fair point about plants with no sun. I hadn't made that connection.
I imagine the Earth would have been rather cold without the addition of the energy of the sun.

I know some believers want everything we know to conform to the Bible out of fear that their religious views will collapse. But those are just two of many points where a coformity fails and it has not driven me from my belief.

Edit: Two points including this one about plants and the one you pointed out about every other living thing being created as is in a single day.
 

izzy88

Active Member
The origin of the sun predates the formation of this planet and the origin of life on this planet, so the Genesis narrative does not align very well at all with what we know.

The OP makes it pretty clear that he's saying the sun was there already, but simply couldn't be seen terrestrially because of constant cloud cover.

I'm not saying he's right or wrong; I'm saying you aren't even responding to what he actually said.
 

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
The OP makes it pretty clear that he's saying the sun was there already, but simply couldn't be seen terrestrially because of constant cloud cover.

I'm not saying he's right or wrong; I'm saying you aren't even responding to what he actually said.
The OP references aligning the account in Genesis with the evidence and scientific conclusions. I do not agree that it aligns. The creation of plants a day prior to light shining on the Earth is one example why the account does not align with the facts.

The account of Genesis does not have the sun or a sun shining on the Earth until a day after the creation of plants.
Day 4:
"Then God said: “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night, and they will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years.  They will serve as luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.”-Genesis 1:14, 15.

Let there be luminaries indicates that there previously were not luminaries. If they were not there until Day 4, they could not have even been obscured by clouds on Day 3.

Reinterpretation of the passage to get the sun and moon on Day 3 is incorrect. I have responded adequately to the claim of the OP in pointing out that this is one of many instances where the Genesis account does not fit the evidence.
 

exchemist

Veteran Member
I imagine the Earth would have been rather cold without the addition of the energy of the sun.

I know some believers want everything we know to conform to the Bible out of fear that their religious views will collapse. But those are just two of many points where a coformity fails and it has not driven me from my belief.

Edit: Two points including this one about plants and the one you pointed out about every other living thing being created as is in a single day.
Yes but "day" can be a convenient time period, I suppose. I've seen OECs make that argument, at least. And cdesign proponentists ( :D ) are a sub-species of OEC, are they not?

Anyway, since Origen in 200 AD these stories have been viewed allegorically by at least some of the church theologians. It seems to be c.19th myth to imagine that, until Darwin set the cat among the pigeons, the church took it all literally. In earlier eras, allegorical storytelling was understood as a method of imparting ideas that would be hard, or impossible, to convey literally. (That's not to say that a lot of medieval peasants would not have taken them at face value, of course.)
 

izzy88

Active Member
The OP references aligning the account in Genesis with the evidence and scientific conclusions. I do not agree that it aligns. The creation of plants a day prior to light shining on the Earth is one example why the account does not align with the facts.

The account of Genesis does not have the sun or a sun shining on the Earth until a day after the creation of plants.
Day 4:
"Then God said: “Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to make a division between the day and the night, and they will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years.  They will serve as luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth.”-Genesis 1:14, 15.

Let there be luminaries indicates that there previously were not luminaries. If they were not there until Day 4, they could not have even been obscured by clouds on Day 3.

Reinterpretation of the passage to get the sun and moon on Day 3 is incorrect. I have responded adequately to the claim of the OP in pointing out that this is one of many instances where the Genesis account does not fit the evidence.

You're still clinging to a straw man; you're ignoring what the OP actually says and arguing against something it doesn't.
 

danieldemol

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
It's best to read a post in full before responding. This was covered - quite early on, actually.
FYI I did read the OP in full. It raises the question, “was he* given divine revelation” [*ie Moses].
The answer to this question is revelation from whom, an earthbound observer whose knowledge was limited by such? Or the Omniscient God? If the former, it would be a passable account with minor exception/s, but if it was revealed by an All-Knowing God it is simply unacceptable that such a God would not know of the Sun predating the Earth’s formation.
 

izzy88

Active Member
FYI I did read the OP in full. It raises the question, “was he* given divine revelation” [ie Moses].
The answer to this question is revelation from whom, an earthbound observer whose knowledge was limited by such? Or the Omniscient God? If the former, it would be a passable account with minor exception/s, but if it was revealed by an All-Knowing God it is simply unacceptable that such a God would not know of the Sun predating the Earth’s formation.
The story is told from a human - and therefore terrestrial - perspective, and the OP makes it perfectly clear that the sun existed; the theory is that it was simply invisible from a terrestrial perspective.
 

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
Yes but "day" can be a convenient time period, I suppose. I've seen OECs make that argument, at least. And cdesign proponentists ( :D ) are a sub-species of OEC, are they not?

Anyway, since Origen in 200 AD these stories have been viewed allegorically by at least some of the church theologians. It seems to be c.19th myth to imagine that, until Darwin set the cat among the pigeons, the church took it all literally. In earlier eras, allegorical storytelling was understood as a method of imparting ideas that would be hard, or impossible, to convey literally. (That's not to say that a lot of medieval peasants would not have taken them at face value, of course.)
Is cdesign proponentists another name for intelligent design proponents? If so, I would say that they are an extension of OEC or an attempt at OEC to get lab coats.

As I understand it, the view of a literal Bible became widespread in the 19th Century among some Protestant groups. Not sure how much Darwin had to do with launching that, but he did give them someone to take their ire out on.
 

Dan From Smithville

What's up Doc?
Staff member
Premium Member
The story is told from a human - and therefore terrestrial - perspective, and the OP makes it perfectly clear that the sun existed; the theory is that it was simply invisible from a terrestrial perspective.
That is the interpretation that the OP is trying to sell and it might be correct, but given what the biblical account states, the sun was unavailable to organisms dependent on it for 24 hours after their creation. A notion that makes little sense regardless if the sun was there or not. It certainly does not fit what we know about the origin of the solar system, sun, moon, Earth and plants.
 

izzy88

Active Member
Precisely why we know it was not a “revealed” account.

Your logic simply doesn't hold. If God were "telling us the story" of our creation, in a way that we (the humans at the time) could understand, of course it would be told from our perspective. If God exists, humans today still can't fathom what things would look like from his perspective (and indeed we will never be able to), so why in the world would you expect the ancient humans to be able to? And if not from our perspective, nor God's, then from whose perspective should the story have been told?
 

izzy88

Active Member
That is the interpretation that the OP is trying to sell and it might be correct, but given what the biblical account states, the sun was unavailable to organisms dependent on it for 24 hours after their creation. A notion that makes little sense regardless if the sun was there or not. It certainly does not fit what we know about the origin of the solar system, sun, moon, Earth and plants.

How is it that so many people in this thread are responding to a post that they didn't even read? Do you guys do this all the time? Is this why so many discussions on here are such a mess?
 
Top