Revisiting a Certain Point of View

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 12, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next one is here.]

"Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Truly, I used that quote in March of last year to demonstrate that two different interpretations of the same facts are possible. This week we apply that, sort of, to the Genesis creation account. This blog post will consider a question a theistic evolutionist has posed as an “unanswerable” question in the realms of theology for a Bible-believing young earth creationist. Interestingly, as most of the things he’s called theological are not theological, this is not really a theological question either. It’s a question of understanding language, context, and purpose. The question this evolutionist is asking is in regard to the general creation account in Genesis 1 and the specific creation account found in Genesis 2. The question: Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict? The obvious and simplest answer is: they do not. But I’m sure that won’t satisfy him, so let’s explain it.

Let’s first point out that not only is this NOT an unanswerable question, it is in fact a question that has been answered for a very very long time by a great number of people. He talks about “young-earth” creationists having an issue here when, in reality, it was simply “Christians” who had the problem to deal with for a long time—until the religion of Darwinism reared its unscientific head actually. There is literally no reason to buy into Darwinian evolution and certainly even less reason to try to combine it with the Bible to get some sort of two headed monster that is heaped with contradiction and nonsense.

We have been looking at Tyler Francke’s blog post titled, “10 theological questions no young-earth creationist can answer,” and this is question number 8. Question 8 is only a problem if you want it to be. It clearly isn’t a contradictory account from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2 if we actually look at the descriptions and what they intend to bring out. Yes, we can be sure the stories appear to have different details, but they are only surface deep and fit well into place once we see what’s happening.

Tyler says, “If these two stories are meant to be theological allegory, as I believe they are, then there’s no issue.” Not so. A story, whether an actual account or not, should be consistent, correct? It’s the same issue for him as it is for anyone else. But since he has no respect or regard for the written Word of God, he’s using a common atheist argument against the authority and accuracy of Scripture. I’m always skeptical of a Christian that joins with atheists to bad mouth the Bible or other believers. But to be sure, whether the account is fictional or actual, it still must be consistent. He has the exact same problem he believes the Biblical creationist has.

The question stems from the wrong assumption that the second chapter of Genesis is just a different account of creation to that in chapter 1. It should be evident that chapter 2 is not just ‘another’ account of creation because chapter 2 says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere, the seas, the land, the sun, the stars, the moon, the sea creatures, etc. Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them. Chapter 1 may be understood as creation from God’s perspective; it is ‘the big picture,’ an overview of the whole. Chapter 2 views the more important aspects from man’s perspective.

Josh McDowell (whose testimony I highly recommend you become familiar with) puts it this way: “The material dealing with the creation in the first two chapters of Genesis should be treated as a unit for a correct understanding of the creation and its theological teachings. The second account is complementary to the first, dealing more fully with the creation of our first ancestors, while the initial account gives a description of the world which was being fashioned for Adam and Eve to occupy.” Rather than looking at this as two separate accounts of the same event, which they are not, we should consider, I think, that these two accounts complement one another. Genesis 1 is a broad look at the creation week. Its focus is more on the physical creation of matter, energy, plants, animals, astronomical bodies, etc. Genesis 2 is a more detailed account of the spiritual creation—creating man and his partner to tend to the Garden and commune with God. In other words, it seems that Genesis 1 is the account of creation, preparing it for mankind to live while Genesis 2 is dealing more with the creation of man specifically and his authoritative role over the earth—he has dominion.

Tyler mentions the fact that if we understand Hebrew and how it should be translated, much of the “contradictions” in question dissolve immediately. He, however, incorrectly follows this up with “…the only reason to do so is to serve the translator’s underlying theological presuppositions.” So he's admitting here that the issue is not a “young earth creationist” issue but a Christian issue and has been dealt with for a long time. We also see that his assessment of the nature of the issue is actually false. The “only reason to” translate a text correctly is because we enjoy not doctoring the account to fit our presuppositions. The text clearly indicates that events happened in the past and were being brought up in the text later. This is found in relation to the animals in the Garden. The tense of a verb in Hebrew is generally understood by context as well as some clues within the text itself—how it’s written. According to Katie Erickson, the Worldview Warriors’ Greek/Hebrew egghead, “The verb there is an imperfect (present/future) but it has a vav consecutive, so it's translated like a perfect (past). Yes, they had all been formed at some point in the past, but whether that point is in the near past or far past is not clear from the verb itself. The form of the imperfect with the vav consecutive is often used in narrative style such as this.” This agrees with what has to say on the subject: “It is clear from chapter 1 that the beasts and birds were created before Adam, so Jewish scholars would have understood the verb ‘formed’ in Genesis 2:19 to mean ‘had formed’ or ‘having formed.’ If we translate verse 19 as follows, ‘Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field …’, the apparent disagreement with Genesis 1 disappears completely.” They claim “it is clear” because “…in Hebrew the precise tense of a verb is determined by the context.” So, in reality here, Tyler is mocking the translation because it’s consistent, while he’s claiming it is inconsistent. This is the core of theistic evolutionist thinking.

Even Hugh Ross, who I believe has a lot of good material in spite of the fact that he is an old earth creationist (an old earth creationist generally will accept the creation account but will insert very long ages either between certain verses of Scripture or claim the account occurred a great number of millions or billions of years ago), agrees that the two accounts found in Genesis 1 and 2 are easily interpreted with no contradictions if we enjoy simply looking at the whole picture. He says, “Careful attention to verb tenses and to the purpose of each account eliminates any supposed contradiction between Genesis 1 and 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 is delineated.” I don't generally quote old earth creationists, but this very readily shows the issue is not with the Bible but with the theistic evolutionist's desire to find fault in the historical account.

In other words, the two accounts are not two accounts but are to be read as a whole—one general and one specific with different subjects at their cores. Theistic evolutionists will ask why the two accounts have so many contradictions or differences when, in reality, because theistic evolutionists want there to be a problem, they refuse to accept the logical, historically held position that these two chapters are to be read as a whole—one being a detailed look at something specific rather than a retelling of the entire week of creation. This, like so many other “problems” Tyler Francke has with the Bible can easily be remedied if he actually desired them to be. But he has, like all other evolutionists, has accepted first the humanist story of our origins. He then is trying, very unsuccessfully, to marry humanism and Christianity—claiming the clear meaning of Scripture is in error only because we, as humans that the message was intended for, are incapable of understanding it as it's written. We need to force it to say something else or say it doesn't really mean what it says because man was too ignorant at the time of its writing to understand. In reality, science quite effortlessly supports a natural reading of the Genesis creation account.

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