Christians in the Public Square: How Far Should Evangelicals Go in the Creation-Evolution Debate?

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Excerpt The reason for abandoning a literal understanding of Gen 1 and 2 is not new. Sometimes the plain, simplest, most natural reading of the text is, indeed the best. Such is the case with Gen 1, despite all the attempts to explain it in some other, more complicated way... Continue reading

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The debate between creation and evolution has gone on now for nearly 150 years. The cover story of the current issue of Time Magazine (Nov 13, 2006) is “God vs. Science,” in which there is a debate between the atheist biologist Richard Dawkins and the Christian geneticist Francis Collins, is just the latest indication that this topic is ever in the public square, and not likely to go away any time soon. When the Time magazine editor mentioned that some conservative Protestants took a literal view of Genesis 1 and 2, Collins responded that this is “a very narrow perspective that will put our faith at risk of looking ridiculous.” Dawkins suggested that Collins would “save himself an awful lot of trouble if he just simply ceased to give [his fundamentalist colleagues] the time of day. Why bother with these clowns?” So it is sad, but true, that if one attempts to view Gen 1 and 2 as literally true, a mainstream news magazine such as Time has no problem with one of their experts calling those who hold such a position “clowns”! Unfortunately, millions read these words, and are swayed by them.

So it is not news that the mainstream press thinks that those who take a literal position on Gen 1 and 2 are foolish; nor is it news that critical scholars, represented by Francis Collins and many others, also regard that position in the same light. What is amazing to me is that in the last 30 years, increasing numbers of evangelical scholars have also abandoned a literal understanding of the early chapters of Genesis.

The reason for abandoning a literal understanding of Gen 1 and 2 is not new. Christians who are convinced that evolution is, to a large degree, correct, have needed to try to harmonize what they view as “science” with their understanding of the Bible. For those who do not hold to an inerrant Scripture, this is not a big problem, since it is easy to say that the biblical accounts are not correct in such matters. But for those of us who call ourselves evangelicals, who hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, reconciling the teachings of modern “science” with Gen 1 and 2 is not so easy. How can one uphold the inerrancy of Scripture and still hold to evolution?

There were two older attempts to reconcile Genesis with evolution: the gap theory and the day-age theory. These have been joined in recent years by a third interpretation, the framework hypothesis. While we will look briefly at all 3 views, the major emphasis in this paper will be on discussing the merits of the framework hypothesis.

The Gap Theory: Full of Holes?

The gap theory, popularized by the Scofield Bible in 1909, held that there were two creations.1 Gen 1:1 describes the first creation, after which Satan, the earth's ruler (over pre-Adamic “men”), rebelled.  Because of Satan's fall, sin entered the universe and brought God's judgment upon the earth in the form of a flood (indicated by the water of 1:2) and then a global ice age.  The plant, animal, and human fossils on earth today date from this flood, and are genetically unrelated to plants, animals, and humans on earth today.  Gen 1:2 thus describes the ruined condition of the earth, and Gen 1:3-31 describes God's re-creation.

Support for the gap theory is seen in translating ht'y>h' in Gen 1:2 as had become. Furthermore, Whbow" WhTo (without form and void) is said to represent an evil, sinful condition, and thus not an original state of the earth (Isa 45:18 is said to support this understanding). Finally, it is claimed that a distinction must be made between hf'[ (make) and ar"B (create).

But there are major problems with the gap theory. First, the translation of 1:2 is strained, since was is the normal meaning of ht'y>h, not had become. Second, Whbow" WhTo simply means unformed and unfilled; it is often used in contexts of judgment (such as Isa 45:18), because the land is then swept clean and uninhabited.  But the words themselves do not carry this connotation.2 Third, the words  hf'[' and ar"B' are used interchangeably with respect to creation (for instance, hf'[' is used in Neh 9:6; Job 9:9; Prov 8:22, 23, 26; both words are used in Gen 1:21, 25-27; 2:2-4). Fourth, there are theological problems with the gap theory. Was there death before sin entered the world?

Were there men without souls prior to Adam? Fifth, the gap theory contains a great deal of speculation. There is not one word about Satan's “reign” and fall on earth, and no mention of any pre-Adamic cataclysm (in the Bible, or in geology which presupposes uniformitarianism–if one is going to accept evidence for a cataclysm, why not simply accept the flood?). And finally, the Hebrew of Gen 1:1-2 seems to preclude the gap theory, since the waw consecutive form should have been used if the gap theory were correct; instead, the verb is a simple perfect. Yet, in every other verse in Gen 1, the waw consecutive is used.  The waw consecutive implies consecutive action–first, God created the heavens and the earth, and then the earth became formless and void.  However, the construction used indicates a break in the action–“and at that time the earth was formless and void.” It describes the setting at the time the earth was created by God.3

The Day-Age Theory: Bad Science and Bad Exegesis?

For the above reasons, the gap theory is not popular among evangelical scholars today.4 The second theory, the day-age theory, is somewhat more popular.5 This theory states that the creation “day” is not 24 hours, but instead may be thousands (or millions) of years. So the six days of creation are “six sequential, long periods of time.” 6 Some attempt to support the theory by 2 Pet 3:8 (“One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”). Archer opts for the day-age theory, because he cannot imagine Adam naming all the animals and Eve being created in only one 24-hour day. He states, “Who can imagine that all of these transactions could possibly have taken place in 120 minutes of the sixth day?”7

But there are problems with the day-age view, both from an evolutionary and a biblical standpoint. First, the day-age theory contradicts the evolutionary model, and thus does not really solve the problem of harmonizing the Bible with “science.” The order of events according to the day-age theory and evolution is radically different. According to the Bible, plants were created the 3rd day, marine animals on the 5th. The sun, moon, and stars were created the 4th day, after the plants (what about photosynthesis?). The birds were created with fish on the 5th day, but evolution says that the birds evolved from the fish after the reptiles (created on the 6th day). Insects were created on the 6th day, after plants (but insects were needed for pollination; also, the simple [insects] should not follow the other complex animals in the evolutionary model).8 Furthermore, according to Gen 2:7 man's creation was from the dust of the ground; the evolution model claims that man came from apes.

So, if the day-age theory does not solve the problem with “science,” why is it needed? Moreover, the day-age theory also fails on biblical grounds. First, ~Ay (day) in Gen 1 does not mean an indefinite period of time. It does have this meaning 65 times (as in Gen 2:4), but over 2200 times it means a 24-hour day. And it never means an indefinite period when a limiting number is attached to it (first, second, third, etc.). In addition, the phrase evening and morning (as used in Gen 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31) surely seems to imply a normal 24-hour day. Finally, Exod 20:8-11 provides proof for a literal 6 days: “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.... 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.” The word ~Ay can not be used literally in one part and then symbolically in the next verse!

This is why I am personally surprised that there are still some advocates of the day-age theory today. When analyzed carefully, it does not answer the problem with evolution, so it fails on those grounds; and it is contrary to the normal understanding of Gen 1 in terms of the use of “day,” so it fails on biblical grounds.

Six 24 Hours Days, But...

What is fascinating is that even many of those who do not believe that God created the world in six 24-hour days argue that the meaning the author intended in Gen 1 is six 24-hour days. For example, the critical scholar John Skinner asserts that “the interpretation of ~Ay as aeon, a favourite resource of harmonists of science and revelation, is opposed to the plain sense of the passage, and has no warrant in Heb. usage (not even Ps. 90:4).... If the writer had had aeons in his mind, he would hardly have missed the opportunity of stating how many millenniums each embraced.”9 Similarly, Mark Ross notes that “the steady march of days–day one, day two, day three, etc.–strongly suggests a sequential, chronological account.”10 Victor Hamilton likewise states that “it needs to be affirmed that in the Hebrew Bible the normal understanding of yom is a day of the week.” Even though there are places where it can mean a long period of time, Hamilton says that “the burden of on those who do not attribute to yom in Gen. 1 its normal and most common interpretation, especially when yom is always described as being composed of an evening and a morning....Whoever wrote Gen. 1 believed he was talking about literal days.”11 In addition, Gordon Wenham notes that “there can be little doubt that here ‘day’ has its basic sense of a 24-hour period. The mention of morning and evening, the enumeration of the days, and the divine rest on the seventh show that a week of divine activity is being described here.” Though he notes that “day” may also mean “when,” and Ps 90:4 says that a thousand years are similar to a day in God’s sight, Wenham concludes: “it is perilous to try to correlate scientific theory and biblical revelation by appeal to such texts.”12 Finally, Allen Ross states that in Gen 1, ~Ay “must carry its normal meaning....It seems inescapable that Genesis presents the creation in six days.”13

With this conclusion we wholeheartedly concur. 

Since the meaning of Gen 1 appears to be that God created the world in six 24-hour days, it is surprising that many evangelicals either seem to be abandoning this view or becoming agnostic about the whole subject. Bill Arnold is typical of the latter approach. In his text, Encountering the Book of Genesis (aimed at undergraduates in Christian colleges, according to the book’s preface), he says that we can’t really be sure what the Hebrew word ~Ay means; then he points out that it is hard to square the 24-hour view with current geological evidence. He concludes that “we should not be too concerned with the issue...This is not a faith issue. If it were important to know how long it took God to create the world, the Bible would have made it clear.”14 To which I would like to respond, “He did! How much clearer could he have made it?”

Sadly, Arnold is hardly alone. G. C. Aalders says that “we are not talking about days in relationship to human beings because they had not yet been created. We are speaking rather about a day of God....It will always remain an idle effort to measure the length of the creation days.”15 Yet, is not God the author of Scripture, writing to human beings who presumably would know what is meant by a “day”? Why is it an “idle effort” simply to understand that by evening and morning we are dealing with a normal, 24-hour day?

John Walton’s discussion is verbose and confusing. He finally states:

If we press the question, did God really carry out the events of Genesis 1 in seven twenty-four hour days, the answer is certainly, yes. What we do not know is whether that literal seven days incorporated a ceremonial setting, focused on a declarative sequence, or something else again. If the interpretation offered in this commentary is correct in highlighting function over structure, the text may not suggest that all things were made in this seven-day period. God’s creation of matter may not be confined to the seven days, nor is it the principle [sic] subject of Genesis 1.16

This confusing conclusion is in the popular NIV Application Commentary series, not in a more technical commentary. One is left to ponder, if God’s creation of matter is not the principal subject of Gen 1, what is?17

Victor Hamilton, cited above in his statement that ~Ay means a 24-hour period (“whoever wrote Gen. 1 believed he was talking about literal days”), then states the following: “Now, over the last few centuries science has shown that it is absurd and preposterous to think that the universe was created in one week.”18 Similarly, Wenham, who also clearly holds that ~Ay means a 24-hour period, then concludes that the six days are merely a “device which our narrator uses to express the coherence and purposiveness of the creator’s work,” and that the days should not be interpreted “over-literalistically.”19 Likewise Robert Godfrey argues that “the days of Genesis 1 are ordinary, twenty-four-hour days,” but then concludes that “these ordinary days are for us as a model for our working, not as a time schedule that God followed.”20

Derek Kidner seems to take the days as literal in some sense, such that even the human author understood as literal; but then he concludes that it is “phenomenological language” and “heavy temporal foreshortening which turns ages into days.” He concludes condescendingly, “it is only pedantry that would quarrel with terms that simplify in order to clarify.”21 In a similar manner, Bruce Waltke asserts that the author of Genesis “is not concerned with presenting a strict historical account,” but instead gives truth about origins “in anthropomorphic language.” He concludes that “the narrator has an agenda very different from the modern historian. He has a theological agenda: to tell us that God created the earth and that it is all very orderly.”22

So, according to these evangelical scholars, all we are left with from the Genesis account is that God did things purposefully and in order. Is that all that Gen 1 teaches?

Coming to Grips with Genesis: Fourteen scholars present rigorous biblical and theological arguments in favor of a young earth and global Flood and also address a number of contemporary old-earth interpretations of Genesis. This unique, substantial, historical, theological, and exegetical defense of the literal history of Genesis 1-11 is designed for seminary professors and students, pastors, and missionaries, as well as laypeople and students who want to dig deeper into Scripture. Must reading especially for those inclined toward accepting millions of years. Terry Mortenson, Ed., Ph.D. Thane Ury, Ed., Ph.D. Level: Semi-Technical, paperback, 450 pages.

Six 24-Hour Days–An Embarrassing View?

One is left to wonder why so many evangelicals have abandoned the six 24-hour day view or become agnostic on the whole matter. I would suggest that there are two primary reasons. Neither of these reasons has anything to do with the exegesis of Gen 1, since the simplest, most direct reading of the text indicates that God created the world in six 24-hour days, as many of these same evangelical scholars acknowledge.23 The first reason is that many evangelicals are convinced of either evolutionary theory or (at the least) the geological evidence for the age of the earth. This understanding then guides their interpretation of Gen 1.24 I believe that they are wrong to give such great credence either to current evolutionary theory or geology, since both are based upon the unproved assumption of uniformitarianism: the idea that the processes we see at work now in the universe were always at work at the same rate in the same way. So, for example, according to uniformitarianism, we can determine the age of fossils by using Carbon-14, since the rate of decay has remained a constant throughout time. However, a catastrophic event such as the flood of Gen 6-8 (see also 2 Pet 3:3-6) renders the uniformitarian assumption invalid; in fact, uniformitarianism is in direct contradiction to any miraculous event. Still, the continual teaching of evolution in public schools and universities for decades has taken its toll, and sadly even some evangelicals are convinced by the “scientific” assumptions of uniformitarianism and evolution.25

I think there is a second reason why many evangelicals have either abandoned the six 24-hour day view or become agnostic. And that is, they are somewhat embarrassed by it. For years, evangelicals have been regarded by the mainstream (i.e., liberal) critical scholars as “out of touch,” with little scholarly work to their credit. Their view of the Bible, especially that it is inerrant, has been regarded as simple or naive. Evangelicals who have pursued doctorates in non-evangelical schools have found their reception disconcerting. They, too, want to be known as reputable scholars, not simply knee-jerk fundamentalists.26 And what could be more “fundamentalist” than insisting on a literal six 24-hour day creation for Gen 1? Such an opinion is regarded as anti-intellectual and anachronistic: in the words of Richard Dawkins, those who hold such a view are simply dismissed as “clowns”!

The Framework Hypothesis: A Less Embarrassing Alternative, But At What Cost?

All of this has led some evangelical scholars to seek alternatives to the literal six 24-hour day creation view. Some have offered quite innovative alternatives. For example, John Sailhamer believes that #r,a, in Gen 1:2 should be translated land, and that Gen 1:2-31 refers to the creation of the promised land, rather than the creation of the world.27  And Duane Garrett believes that the seven days of Gen 1 do not represent the actual length of creation, but instead are “the seven days of divine revelation to Moses.”28 While both of these views are novel, they also seem to necessitate reading in various assumptions into Gen 1 that are nowhere stated, nor even implied. Thus, it is not surprising that these views have not attracted a wide following, and they will not be discussed further here.

By contrast, the framework hypothesis has been embraced by numerous evangelical scholars.29 The framework hypothesis addresses one of the major weaknesses of the day-age theory: unlike the day-age theory, the advocates of the framework hypothesis believe that the six days of creation are presented as normal, 24-hour days. In other words, they take ~Ay with its normal meaning of a 24-hour day.30 Yet, this “picture” of God’s creative work in a week is not to be taken literally; instead, “it functions as a literary structure in which the creative works of God have been narrated in a topical order.” So the commands of God (“Let there be...”) “are narrated in a nonsequential order within the literary structure or framework of a seven-day week.”31 Thus, Gen 1 is intended to provide the literary framework for creation, but not a literal or sequential chronology. Appeal is sometimes made to other Ancient Near Eastern myths to demonstrate that this approach is not limited to Gen 1. Furthermore, it is stated that Gen 2:5 indicates that it had not rained on the earth, showing that ordinary divine providence operated in the same way during creation as it does now, thus requiring far more than 24 hours between each creative act.32

Often the following pattern is noted:

Creation kingdoms                                             Creature kings

Day 1: light; day and night                      Day 4: light-bearers: sun, moon, stars

Day 2: sea and sky                                 Day 5: sea creatures; birds

Day 3: land and vegetation                      Day 6: land creatures; man33

While the framework hypothesis may at first seem like a viable option, upon closer reflection, it has a host of insurmountable problems. First and foremost, Gen 1 is presented in a normal narrative, not poetic, form. It is presented in a sequential manner. In fact, it contains 50 waw consecutive imperfect forms (the standard marker for consecutive, sequential action34), more waw consecutive forms than all but 3 of the first 20 chapters of Genesis.35 There are an average of 1.61 waw consecutive imperfect forms in Gen 1. By contrast, in the poetic section in Gen 49:1b-27 (Jacob’s blessing of his sons), there are only a total of 8 waw consecutive forms, or 0.30 per verse.36 To put it another way, Gen 1 has 5 times more narrative sequential markers than a comparable poetic section. Is there any doubt that the author of Gen 1 intended that the narrative be understood as normal sequential action? The genre is clearly narrative, not poetry. As Pipa notes, “is there any way Moses could have more precisely indicated six, normal, sequential days?”37

In fact, it is fascinating that the day-age advocates insist (correctly) that Gen 1 speaks of the days in sequential action, while the framework hypothesis advocates insist (correctly) that the days of Gen 1 are literal 24-hour days. Only the literal 24-hour day view holds that the days are both sequential and literal 24-hour periods.

A second objection to the framework hypothesis is that the nice pattern outlined above breaks down at several points. Furthermore, even if the pattern held true completely, it would not be an argument for a non-literal approach to the chapter, especially since the chapter has so many sequential markers! Just because something is presented according to a pattern does not mean that the pattern should not be taken literally. As E. J. Young states, “why, then, must we conclude that, merely because of a schematic arrangement, Moses has disposed of chronology?”38 But the pattern itself does not hold. A few examples will suffice. First, the light of day 1 is not dependent on the sun, so the sun is hardly the “ruler” of it. The light of day 1 is a special creation of God, distinct from the sun. If some have a problem with understanding light without the sun, then they should recognize that something similar will be true in the eternal state. According to Rev 21:23 and 22:5, the sun will not be needed at all, since the Lord Himself is the Light. So just as in the first three days of the creation week, in the eternal state there will once again be light without the sun. Second, the waters existed on day 1, not just day 2. Third, in v. 14 the “lights” of day 4 are set in the “expanse” created in day 2 (not day 1). Fourth, the sea creatures of day 5 were to fill the “water in the seas” which were created on day 3, not day 2, contrary to the chart above (see Gen 1:10); and none of the sea creatures or birds or land creatures other than man were to “rule” anything anyway! Finally, man was created on day 6 not to rule over the land and vegetation (created on day 3), but over the land animals created on day 6 and the sea creatures and birds created on day 5! In other words, despite the nice chart, the patterns simply do not hold up!39

Third, the appeal of Kline and others that Gen 2:5 supports a non-literal understanding of Gen 1 requires a particular understanding of that passage (and relationship of that passage to Gen 1) that is not warranted. First, one should acknowledge that Gen 2:5-6 is not an easy passage to interpret: do these verses refer to the preparation only of the garden of Eden, or to the entire state of the earth? Only in the latter case would Kline’s interpretation possibly come into play. Second, even if Kline’s interpretation of Gen 2:5-6 is correct, it would not rule out extraordinary providence during the third day of creation: as Young states, at most it would show that “such a mode [general providence] may have been present.40 Furthermore, Gen 2 is not a second detailed chronological creation account; rather, its purpose is to provide further details concerning man and the garden that are necessary to understand the narrative of Gen 3.41

Fourth, if Gen 1 is not intended to provide details about creation but rather to demonstrate that God did it in an orderly way, then why are all the details provided? In other words, if the details are not the point of the chapter, then why did the author provide so many of them? In fact, there is no single marker or indication from the text that the days are simply a “form” or “framework,” or that the details of what things are created on what day, are unimportant. Further, how could Exod 20:11 use God’s six-day creative activity as a model for man’s activity, if God Himself had not actually worked for six literal days?42 Kline’s later attempt to introduce a two-level cosmology (an “upper invisible register,” to which the “days” of creation in Gen 1 apparently refer; and a “lower register,” which we actually see) only confuses matters further.43

Finally, there is a major hermeneutical issue with the framework hypothesis. Simply put, it is this: if we regard Gen 1 as not literal, but rather figurative language that in essence says that “God did it,” then when do we all of a sudden decide that the text of Genesis should be taken literally? Do we do that in chap. 3, where the serpent tempts Eve, or is that metaphorical as well? And if so, was there an actual historical fall? Or is that also a metaphor? What about the Flood? Or the Tower of Babel? Or Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph? In other words, since there is no internal marker to indicate that the text of Gen 1 should be taken figuratively, how do we decide when to stop? The NT clearly refers to creation in Gen 1 and 2, and regards the accounts as historically accurate (see Matt 19:19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8; Luke 3:38; Rom 5:12-20; Rom 8:19-22; 1 Cor 11:8-9; 15:22;  2 Cor 4:6; 1 Tim 2:13-14; 2 Pet 3:5; Heb 4:4; 11:3). The same is true for Gen 3, the flood accounts, and so forth.44 Why do we have license to do otherwise? As E. J. Young aptly states, “if the ‘framework’ hypothesis were applied to the narratives of the virgin birth or to the resurrection or Romans 5:12ff., it could as effectively serve to minimize the importance of the content of those passages as it now does the content of the first chapter of Genesis.”45

In other words, for those evangelicals who think that the framework hypothesis is a more satisfactory solution than the more “embarrassing” view that the days of Genesis 1 are meant to be taken literally and sequentially, I would ask, is it really worth it? Once one has decided to take the first chapter of Genesis as literary rather than literal, then where are the hermeneutical safeguards? Why should one insist on a literal fall or a literal flood? And if there is no literal first Adam who fell, then what is the need for the second Adam to redeem mankind from that fall (Rom 5:12-20; 1 Cor 15:22)? Are those who are adhering to the framework hypothesis really thinking about the hermeneutical ramifications of their choice?

Why not take the words of Gen 1 at face value, as simple, straightforward sequential narrative of God’s miraculous creative activity? If that causes some intellectuals to label us as “narrow-minded clowns,” then so be it. The claims of Christ are narrow (John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me”); the gospel is narrow; and the cross is regarded as foolishness by the wisdom of this world (1 Cor 1:18-31). But it is true nonetheless. Heb 11:3 says that “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Do we really think that contemporary science is more authoritative than God’s revelation? Sometimes our intellectual pride may get in the way of our faith: if the inerrant Scripture in Gen 1 states that God created the world in six literal days, then why should we not simply accept it, rather than try to find all kinds of ways to explain it away? Sometimes the plain, simplest, most natural reading of the text is, indeed the best. Such is the case with Gen 1, despite all the attempts to explain it in some other, more complicated way.

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1.The gap theory is also supported by Arthur Custance, Without Form and Void (Brookville, Canada; published by the author, 1970). It is available online at:

2. See further Weston Fields, Unformed and Unfilled (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1976) 113-30.

3. F. F. Bruce mentions this argument against the gap theory (“And the Earth was Without Form and Void,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 78 [1946]) 21-23. So also E. A. Speizer, Genesis (AB 1; New York: Doubleday, 1964) 5; Fields, Unformed and Unfilled, 75-86.

4. In the full-length treatment of three main views of the creation, David Hagopian calls the gap theory a “previously popular view,” noting that it has not “been embraced by large numbers of evangelicals.” Thus, he chooses not even to present it other than in an introductory paragraph. David Hagopian, ed., The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation (Mission Viejo, CA: Crux, 2001) 17.

5. Hagopian, Genesis Debate, 123.

6. In addition to Hugh Ross and Gleason Archer (who co-wrote the section in Hagopian’s book on the day-age theory [Genesis Debate, 123-63]), others who hold the day-age view are Derek Kidner (Genesis [Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1967]), 56-58; R. Laird Harris, “The Length of the Creative Days in Genesis 1,” in Did God Create in Six Days? (eds. Joseph Pipa, Jr. and David Hall; 2nd ed.; White Hall, WV: Tolle Lege, 2005) 101-11; and Walter Kaiser (Peter H. Davids, Frederick F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, and Walter C. Kaiser, eds., Hard Sayings of the Bible [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996] 104). Ross and Archer claim that they have observed “a dramatic drop in support of the framework interpretation and young-earth creationism” among the university/seminary/church audiences they have addressed in the last few years. Hagopian, Genesis Debate, 158 n. 5. My own observation is that the framework interpretation has continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, while support for the day-age view has diminished.

7. Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (rev. ed.; Chicago: Moody, 1994) 201.

8. See further Fields, Unformed and Unfilled, 178.

9. John Skinner, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis (ICC; 2nd ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1930) 21.

10. Mark E. Ross, “The Framework Hypothesis: An Interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3,” in Did God Create in Six Days?, 113.

11. Victor Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 (NICOT; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990) 53.

12. Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15 (Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, TX: Word, 1987) 19.

13. Allen Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1988) 109. Ross lists four reasons for taking ~Ay as a 24-hour day: 1) elsewhere when used of a number, ~Ay means 24 hours; 2) Exod 20 bases its teaching of the Sabbath day on the six days of creation; 3) there are days, years, signs, and seasons from the fourth day on, “suggesting that the normal system is entirely operative”; and 4) if ~Ay means an age, then there would need to be a long age of “day” and a similarly long age of “night.”

14. Bill T. Arnold, Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998) 23. Arnold concludes, “The important lesson from Genesis 1 is that he did in fact create it, and that he made it orderly and good in every respect.”

15. G. Charles Aalders, Genesis: volume 1 (Bible Student’s Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981) 58.

16. John H. Walton, Genesis (The NIV Application Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001) 156.

17. Elsewhere Walton states that we “get little information concerning the structural cosmos (i.e., matter per se). It is fruitless to ask what things God created on day one, for the text is not concerned about things and therefore will not address itself to that question” (Genesis, 84). It seems to me that the things God creates are precisely what the text mentions in day one and in the subsequent five days of Gen 1:1-31. I count 22 things that God creates in this chapter!

18. Hamilton, Genesis, 53.

19. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 39.

20. W. Robert Godfrey, God’s Pattern for Creation (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2003) 90.

21. Kidner, Genesis, 57-58.

22. Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001) 76-77.

23. For example, R. Laird Harris states, “I will freely admit that the view that the days were 24-hour days is a natural first reading of the chapter” (“Length of the Creative Days,” 103). See also the views of Mark Ross, Hamilton, and Wenham, discussed above on pp. 3-4.

24. For instance, Waltke dismisses the literal 24-hour view, explaining simply in a footnote that “most scientists reject a literal twenty-four hour period” (Genesis, 61 n. 29). Where, one might ask, is the good, high quality exegesis which Waltke displays in many of his other works? Because “scientists” reject the view, are we who hold to biblical inerrancy supposed to follow suit, without asking first what the biblical text actually says?

25. Time and space do not permit discussion of this important topic further. See recent works by Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis), Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box), and Phillip Johnson (Darwin on Trial). All these authors demonstrate the flaws of evolution, though some would hold to an old earth. See also older classics by Henry Morris (The Long War Against God, Scientific Creationism, etc.). Whitcomb and Morris’s The Genesis Flood, though dated, still provides excellent evidence against uniformitarianism.

26. I have long suspected (though I have only circumstantial evidence to back up my suspicions, so I may be completely wrong!) that those who come from the most fundamental backgrounds (either churches or schools such as Bob Jones University and even Dallas Theological Seminary, especially in earlier days) often are embarrassed by their former school’s fundamentalism, and tend to react against it in some way. In my own case, coming from Princeton University, perhaps my “rebellion” was in remaining conservative in a hostile environment!

27. John H. Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996) 47-59. One immediate problem with this view is that it gives two different meanings for #r,a, in Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2. Further, nowhere in Gen 1 does it limit creation to the promised land.

28. Duane Garrett, Rethinking Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991) 193. So also P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in Six Days (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1948) 133-34. Yet, nowhere in the text does it indicate that these are days of “divine revelation to Moses,” nor is Moses even introduced in the book of Genesis.

29. For example, Meredith G. Kline, “Because It Had Not Rained,” WTJ 20 (1958) 146-57; Mark D. Futato, “Because It Had Rained: A Study of Gen 2:5-7 with Implications for Gen 2:4-25 and Gen 1:1-2:3,” WTJ 60 (1998) 1-21; Lee Irons (Lee Irons with Meredith Kline, “The Framework View,” in Genesis Debate, 217-53); Henri Blocher, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1984); Waltke, Genesis, 58-59, 73-78; Hamilton, Genesis, 54-56; Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 39-40; Mark Throntveit, “Are the Events in the Genesis Creation Account Set Forth in Chronological Order? No,” in The Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions about Creation and the Flood (ed. Ronald F. Youngblood; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1990) 36-55; and Godfrey, God’s Pattern, 85-90. The Dutch theologian Arie Noordtzij came up with the essence of the framework hypothesis in his work Gods Woord en der Eeuwen Getuigenis, published in 1924. An English translation of much of his work is given in N. H. Ridderbos, Is There a Conflict Between Genesis 1 and Natural Science? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957).

30. Irons and Kline, “Framework View,” 219.

31. Ibid.

32. See Kline, “Because It Had Not Rained,” 146-57; Irons and Kline, “Framework View,” 230-36.

33. See, for example, Meredith Kline, “Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48 (1996) 2-15; Irons and Kline, “Framework View,” 224.

34. Bruce K. Waltke and Michael O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990) 543.

35. The 3 chapters in Gen 1-20 with more waw consecutive imperfect forms are chaps. 5 (60), 11 (51) and 19 (64).

36. Todd S. Beall, William A. Banks, and Colin Smith, Old Testament Parsing Guide (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2000) 1-15, 46.

37. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., “From Chaos to Cosmos: A Critique of the Non-Literal Interpretations of Genesis 1:2-2:3,” in Did God Create in 6 Days?, 183.

38. Edward J. Young, Studies in Genesis One (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1964) 66. I am amazed at the strength of Young’s argumentation against the framework hypothesis (pp. 44-105). Having forgotten about this little tome that I purchased 35 years ago (when the framework hypothesis was not nearly as popular), and only picking it up after reading numerous more modern critiques of the framework hypothesis, I found Young’s arguments to be more thorough than any of the others.

39. See further Young, Genesis One, 68-73.

40. Ibid., 64.

41. For further discussion, see Douglas F. Kelly, Creation and Change: Genesis 1:1-2:4 in the Light of Changing Scientific Paradigms (Ross-Shire: Christian Focus, 1999) 121-26; Young, Genesis One, 58-65; Pipa, “From Chaos to Cosmos,” 152-62. Young and Pipa also both deal with the questionable claim that the language of Gen 1 is “anthropomorphic,” so we should take “day” and “evening and morning” as “anthropomorphisms..” See further, Young, Genesis One, 55-58; Pipa, “From Chaos to Cosmos,” 162-65.

42. So Young, Genesis One, 47.

43. See Kline, “Space and Time,” 2-15; Irons and Kline, “Framework View,” 236-48. Irons and Kline argue that the language of the “days” and “evenings and mornings” are instances of “lower-register terms being used metaphorically to describe the upper register....Scripture employs the language of earthly time to speak of the progress of heavenly time” (p. 240).

44. For a list of NT references to the creation, fall, flood, and patriarchs, see Kelly, Creation and Change, 129-34.

45. Young, Genesis One, 99 n. 109. So also John MacArthur, The Battle for the Beginning (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001) 21-24.


Comments Comment RSS

7/23/2008 3:21 PM #

It's more than just creation vs. evolution.  It's the age of the universe and the earth that is causing a lot of conflict.  Evolution is less prove-able than Special Creation.  They have better press than Creationist do and that's how they are getting the upper hand.  God is not as concerned about it as we are.  Remember, he still   turns them over to a reprobate mind and He laughs at them.  On judgment day they will believe.   No reason to back down on evolution.  Get the DVD Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed when it comes out.  Show it to as many people as you can, particulary evolutionist, teachers, students, adminstrators, scientists.  This movie shows evolutions many errors including influencing Nazism in Germany.   As far as the age of the universe and the earth is concerned, I think we can be a little more flexible.  If we put a long period after Genesis 1:1 and begin verse 2 with the word "Now",  we see that there could have been a long period of time between the time when God created the heavens and the earth and when the Spirit, moved over the  face of the deep and caused the dry land to appear and the water to go in its appointed place.  Following he called everything else into existence.  A geologist friend of mine could agree with me on every other part of the Bible but the age of the  earth.  He was in my Bible study, but since I was a young earth guy, I was seen as intolerant and he left the Bible study.  As I see, that's the only concession we can give and no have it affect any of the Bibilcal truth, including sin before the Fall and sin before death.  What say you?

Wayne Matulis - 7/23/2008 3:21:07 PM

7/24/2008 4:08 AM #

Dear Wayne, (re: comment post 7/23/08)

Thanks for contacting the ministry of ABR. I will briefly try to answer your questions the best I can, and will mainly refer you to references for further study. I appreciate your comments and your concern about how we ought to handle this issue.

1. It is our view that long ages are imposed on Scripture, not taught in it. We believe, as Todd Beall in this article, long age interpretations of Genesis One are really RE-interpretations of what the text actually says. There is good discussion of the Hebrew text in Dr. Beall's article, as well as ample bibliographical data for further research. Ministries such as CMI in Australia have done mountains of work on this subject. See here off-site for further research:

2. Is there a large time gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? In short, the answer is 'no'. The Hebrew text has been evaluated in many places. I would refer you to the book by Weston Fields, "Unformed and Unfilled". This is the best and most detailed critique of the Gap theory available. Many Christians over the years have tried to fit millions of years and the dinosaurs, etc. in a gap between the first two verses of Genesis. This author looks at the inconsistencies of this position and shows that the Hebrew language in Genesis does not allow for such a gap.

3. I am sorry that your friend decided to leave your Bible study and label you as intolerant because you hold to the plain meaning of Scripture. I must ask you a question though: isn't he being just as 'intolerant' as you by refusing to move from his position? Is it not he who left the Bible study because he did not agree with you? I am not sure why the onus is on you to capitulate to his viewpoint. Now, there is no reason to be deliberately divisive if the age of the earth if not an issue in your interactions with people. But when it is an issue, stay true to the Word of God, pray for your friend, and try to treat him with forebearance and patience. The solution to the issue is NOT compromising what the Word of God plainly teaches.

4. Old earth teaching is rooted in philosophical naturalism, a fact overlooked by many believers. Here is an excellent off-site article on the subject:

4. If you give in to old-earth teaching, you are in fact compromising theologically. The New Testament teaches a cosmic Christology, one where Christ will not only restore the Sons of God, but the entire created order. The sub-human created order is connected to the fate of mankind, and is its current state because of Adam's Fall. This is clear from Paul's teaching in Romans 8:19-23a. I refer you to my paper on this subject, "Cosmic and Universal Death from Adam's Fall: An Exegesis of Romans 8:19-23a." See on-site here:

Although it is impossible to be exhaustive in this forum, I hope that these answers are helpful to you. Thank you very much for your interest in the ministry of ABR and many blessings!

Henry Smith

hsmith - 7/24/2008 4:08:05 AM

2/17/2011 4:27 PM #

Christians not holding to the literal six, 24 hours day creation do not realize how inconsistent they are being with the Word.  This description is written as Hebrew historical commentary, not poetry or allegory.  God gives a definition of day right at the beginning - morning, evening, day and night and He numbers it "first."  When this sequence is used in the Bible it always means a 24 hr. day.  And it is further enforced when the 10 commandments are given with respect to the Sabbath.  Now if one cannot take God at His word at the beginning of Genesis then just where does one do so?  Abraham? Joseph?  and who decides?

Jesus stated that "He made them at the beginning male and female."  Note "at the beginning" - man was not created millions of years after the beginning.  Jesus was a creationist.  If a Christian cannot reconcile the supernatural at the beginning then how can he do so for Jesus resurrection from the dead? or any of the other supernatural events mentioned in Scripture.

I think the big problem is that believers are not well-grounded in the Word which makes them easily swayed by the fads and fashions of the day.  Rather than stand firm and perhaps be made fun of they compromise because the "majority" of scientists, and scholars, and bible schools, etc. believe long ages and evolution.

It's sad but Darwin is now a creationist and one day everyone else will be too.

joannebb - 2/17/2011 4:27:06 PM

7/3/2012 1:33 PM #

I write books on sacred chronology and prophecy, and limit my research back in time to 2,162 BCE, back only to the birth of Abram. Attempting to establish dates much further back in time seems futile, since Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 11b, very clearly states, “He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end” (NASB). As for creation, I accept the biblical account as inspired and accurate, and I also accepts as credible the empirical evidence that supports the scientific theory of creation, which posits a universe originating with a Big Bang that occurred 13.75 ± 0.12 billion years ago. I offer no apology for not attempting to reconcile the two creation accounts, and think that trying to do so only feeds confusion. Over the years, I have heard more than a few cosmologists repeating distortions of sacred texts in an attempt to discredit the biblical account of creation, and I have heard just as many young-Earth creationists repeating what can best be described as pseudo-science to explain away the findings of their assumed scientific adversaries, and I wish to do neither. From personal experience, I can certify that the Bible has always proven dependable and true for me, and that, using my technical training and God-given intellect, I have examined and found the chronological conclusions of modern science to be deserving of respect as well. When both the words of the Bible and the observations of science are correctly interpreted and fully understood, I have no doubt that any truth revealed by one will agree with the truth revealed by the other since, ultimately, truth is an inherent attribute of God, who is, by definition, One.

Dan Bruce - 7/3/2012 1:33:24 PM

9/3/2013 9:11 AM #

An excellent article worthy of many more comments and more discussion.

To Dan Bruce: I don't mean to be rude but you can't be much of an expert to be writing those books if you discount biblical chronology before Abraham.
Abraham himself was a prophet as were a number of those before him and before the flood.  If the later chronologies are true and valid and inspired by God in scripture then so are the earlier ones.
If I was you I would rethink my entire approach.

The theory of the big bang relies on the assumption that the universe is expanding.  This in turn relies on theoretical interpretations of supposed empirical evidence that it is in fact doing this.  An example is the supposed redshift anomaly in which light is distorted due to this expansion.
I would suggest that much of astronomy is absolutely theoretical nonsense valid only in the minds of those who hold to it rather than having any basis in fact - just like evolution.

The single biggest problem with modern "science" is that it thinks it knows everything.  The simple fact is - as you suggest in your quote above - that science knows very little and is constantly re-teaching itself.  Certainly we know much more than we did in previous times and technology and education has spread to the masses in many parts of the world both for good and for ill.  However as christians it is perfectly acceptable to say that there are things we do not know and can't explain, hold to our faith without changing our belief in God and scripture, and concentrate on more important things ie: using our knowledge to improve the lives of others etc...

I don't see how anyone can pick and choose which parts of the bible they believe or don't believe.  It's either true or it isn't this is no halfway house.

Regards etc...

l gould - 9/3/2013 9:11:30 AM

9/3/2013 11:50 AM #

Thank you for your comments, but obviously did not understand the part where I indicated that I believe the Bible account, all of it including the Creation account, as valid and true. What is left unsaid is that I probably disagree with your interpretation of that biblical account, and that's all that it is, an interpretation. As for the science, you did not state your qualifications to speak authoritatively on that matter.

Dan Bruce - 9/3/2013 11:50:23 AM

9/6/2013 11:05 AM #

Dear Mr. Bruce,

We allowed you to respond to I Gould's comments about the creation narrative, but your remarks concerning chronology were not posted. We would appreciate it if you would not use the ABR website as a forum to promote your book or website. We understand you have strong feelings about the issue of chronology and have disagreements with ABR and others on the subject. However, your comments remain repetitive and the questions posed to you about Thiele and chronology by ABR Associate Rodger Young remain unanswered. We recommend submitting your work to a Christian peer-reviewed publication, such as JETS or another outlet where others can provide you with critical and constructive feedback.

Henry Smith

Henry B. Smith Jr. - 9/6/2013 11:05:37 AM

9/28/2013 7:28 AM #

I. Gould, you criticize science for being "nonsense" which has no basis in fact -- but if that is what science is, what is Christianity?  Scientists at least have physical evidence, and theories based on such.  What do Christians have?  Faith, and only faith.  I'm no expert on the world's religions, but I believe that Christianity is the only religion that discerns the voice of God in its scriptural texts (texts that were clearly written by humans), and the only religion which has elevated its messiah to the status of "son of God" or "God incarnate".  You say that the problem with science is that it thinks it knows everything, but isn't that what Christians do?  They elevate their personal faith to the status of fact.  It is a much greater leap to elevate faith to fact than it is to elevate scientific evidence to fact.

The creation story in the Bible was clearly devised by members of an ancient and unsophisticated culture.  It is simplistic and crude and illogical, but it was the best they could do to explain the unexplainable.  Science, however, is showing us that it CAN'T be true.  I mean, we all know that humans and the dinosaurs didn't coexist, and that the dinosaurs flourished for millions of years.  Modern Christians are faced with a choice:  Either they abandon their logic and believe in the Bible, or they accept science and view the Bible as the writings of humans, which is clearly what it is.  (Dr. Beall has obviously chosen to abandon logic.)

My position is that it does not make you less of a Christian to take the Bible with a grain of salt.  The litmus test is whether you believe in Christ, not whether you believe in the Bible.  It is a belief in Christ that makes a Christian a Christian.  Didn't Jesus criticize his contemporaries for being obsessed with scripture?  And isn't that what fundamentalist Christians are doing today?

Perry James - 9/28/2013 7:28:51 AM

9/28/2013 8:18 AM #

I. Gould, let me add something to my last post.

There is actually a great deal of integrity in what Dan Bruce is doing.  He finds the Bible believable, and so he believes it.  But he also finds science believable, and so he believes that too.  He is not, in short, denying his logic in order to be a Christian.  He believes that both are true and that someday they will be reconciled.  What I discern in Mr. Bruce is a lack of ego.  Unlike everyone else (including me), he doesn't claim to have all the answers, and he is willing to wait for them.  He is not charging into the public arena like a bull, telling other people that they are wrong.  You could learn something from him.

Perry James - 9/28/2013 8:18:56 AM

10/4/2013 8:33 AM #

I'm still curious as to why you haven't posted my previous comments.  Is fundamentalist Christian doctrine so flimsy that it can't withstand some criticism?

Perry James - 10/4/2013 8:33:44 AM

10/14/2013 8:19 AM #


Sorry my internet has been off for a while as I'm skint!

Perry - I clearly did not dismiss ALL science.  What I said was that if it comes to a crunch I prefer to accept scripture rather than a scientific opposition as scripture has been proved time and time and time again to be accurate even when "science" "archeology" and "history" have supposedly proved it to be wrong.  Which is kind of one of the whole reasons for this website I guess.
Creation and chronology are absolute fundamentals in the question of God.  There can be no mixing of incorrect science and the Biblical account.  If our current understanding of science does not explain some things then I conclude our scientific knowledge is limited and I do not try to devise new mixed theories to satisfy myself or others.

Christianity is a faith based on eyewitness fact both historically and in the present day world.

The creation account is actually unique in the plethora of "creation" accounts from history - your comments on its simplicity and crudeness only demonstrate a crudeness and simplicity in your own understanding of a number of issues I'm afraid.

Finally being bold enough to speak out on the authority of scripture and God is indeed easily mistaken for arrogance and ego.  However strong faith backed up with firm historical fact and proper scientific evidence leads one to be sure of one's ground.  And that is why I am bold enough to try and speak authoritatively on a subject rather than try and mix scientific misinterpretation, scriptural inacurracy and doubt into a hodge podge of my own beliefs.

Christianity and christians of course can take criticism - one of our primary goals is to try and persuade people to believe what we believe and that can't be done without discussing the issues I reckon.

An example might be your statement about dinosaurs and humans which like the entire evolutionary theory is based on a limited knowledge of objective fact.  Before you get angry at me for rubbishing evolution check the facts and see if some of the foundation elements of evolution have been thoroughly and evidentially and factually disproved first.  And I'm not talking about by christians I'm talking about in general.

Signing off for now....

l gould - 10/14/2013 8:19:02 AM

10/15/2013 5:56 AM #

We must be living in different universes.

The Bible is full of fables, theories, songs and some historical accounts that may or may not be accurate, but I doubt that much of it is factual.  By accepting the creation account in Genesis as fact, you and Dr. Beall are showing yourselves to be illogical extremists.  You have joined the ranks of "science deniers", a term which has become synonymous with "fools".  If you are going to believe in a six-day creation, you might as well go all the way and believe that the earth is flat and that the moon is made of cheese.  The creation story in Genesis is little more than a guess by the early Jews, and not even a good guess.

The body of scientific evidence that has accrued over the centuries is huge and undeniable -- yes, undeniable.  There may be some holes in scientific theory, but the holes will be filled soon enough.  Personally, I think that science will eventually prove the existence of God (and when they do, they won't find an old, bearded man).  I am a creationist and also an evolutionist.  The two can coexist.

It isn't necessary to believe in the inerrancy of scripture to be a good Christian.  Believing in God and Jesus is all that is necessary.  I say that because I assume you and Dr. Beall are afraid of hellfire, which is why you cling to scripture so fanatically.  God isn't going to strike you down if you use your common sense.

Perry James - 10/15/2013 5:56:14 AM

10/17/2013 1:52 PM #

If you believe in Jesus you believe in his teaching ie: what he said and taught.  He said that scripture cannot be broken and attested to the fact that Moses himself not only wrote but wrote about him.  He also attested to the fact that God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  Oh and he taught about hellfire too.

To reject these teachings or sayings outright is calling Jesus a liar.  To reject them as thought up by the apostles etc.. and not actually Jesus' words is basically calling them liars.  Further, why would you believe in somebody whose entire doctrine is a figment of others' imagination?  Or why would you believe in somebody that is therefore a sinner and not the Son of God?

There is no compromise.

Sadly you haven't read much of the contents of this website as there are vast quantities of factual data confirming the historicity of the Bible, as there is in other places.  Only a charlatan or a fool who doesn't know their facts would state otherwise.

Contrary to your assertion the illogical extremist here is yourself, not myself or anyone else.  We have, in fact, opened our minds and hearts to the truth and not tried to frame God or history or science into our own theories or thoughts but taken him as he describes himself and believed in him in reality.

He does exist, he is a real person, he made the world in 7 days and the bible is the truth.  Bottom line.  

You are entirely mistaken when you assert that creation and evolution are compatible.  They are not for a whole host of reasons but mainly because creation is the truth and evolution is a warped unscientific hodge podge of theories built up from the beliefs of esoteric religions deliberately designed to undermine true religion and faith in the true God.

If you are going to come on here and argue for half a gospel or half a god or half a bible do it from a position of honesty and fact rather than blind anger and rash, unknowledgeble statements.  Then we at least could have a proper discussion instead of arguing.

Regards etc

l gould - 10/17/2013 1:52:03 PM

10/17/2013 1:55 PM #

Dear Commenters,

I have posted an article in response to the assertions of Perry James here:

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Henry B. Smith Jr.
ABR Staff

Henry B. Smith Jr. - 10/17/2013 1:55:22 PM

10/17/2013 2:12 PM #

Excellent stuff Henry.  Perry I hope you read it with thought instead of antipathy and the Lord opens your heart.

l gould - 10/17/2013 2:12:51 PM

10/24/2013 5:04 AM #

Henry Smith didn't actually address the issues I raised.  I talked about fundamentalism, faith and logic, and he responded with semantical arguments without addressing my central points.  I quoted the Bible, but he turned my comments back on me, questioning why I would quote the Bible if I don't believe in it.  I talked about scientific evidence, and he tried to discredit what I said with the exotic theory of uniformitarianism.  This isn't an honest way to debate.

As you said, I am an authority of one (as are each of you), but I will nonetheless say what I have to say, and then be off.

The real problem is that Christianity is a bad religion.  When taken with a grain of salt, it can be harmless.  But when interpreted literally, it ranks with Islam as a negative force in the world.  According to scripture, every person has but one short life in which to accept Jesus as his savior; and since most people don't do that, about 90% of the world's population will end up in Hell -- which posits the question, why do you want to believe in a god who is so cruel?  The Bible promotes conceit:  It allows Christians to feel superior because they are "chosen" and "saved".  The Bible promotes discrimination against women and gays, and it promotes personal irresponsibility by allowing people to justify their prejudices with scripture.  Having given humans dominion over living things, the Bible encourages a reckless attitude towards the environment.  The concept of a devil also promotes personal irresponsibility by encouraging people to blame an external force for their behavior.  By promoting the concepts of evil and original sin, the Bible makes people feel that they are inherently bad.  By promoting the concept of judgement, the Bible encourages people to judge each other.  As we've already established, the Bible encourages people to deny reality since it conflicts with well known and accepted scientific theories and facts.  In people like you who defend the primitive science of the Bible, it encourages delusion and promotes sophistry.  The Bible promotes hypocrisy among fundamentalist Christians because in actual practice they pick and choose which portions to obey.  For example, the Bible says a good deal more against divorce than it does against homosexuality, yet most Christians feel perfectly free to get divorced.  Another example is Jesus' comment about a camel passing through the eye of a needle:  That hasn't stopped any Christians from getting rich.

The bottom line is:  By promoting the narrow and fearful world view of an ancient culture, the Bible keeps Christian societies from growing, maturing and evolving.

I may be a secularist insofar as public policy is concerned, but in actuality I am deeply religious.  My religion has its own scriptural texts which are a good deal more sensible than the Bible.  My God is not a petty and punitive god, but a loving and forgiving God.  In my religion, there is no heaven or hell, and everyone is saved by default.  There is no such thing as original sin, so there is nothing to be saved from.  The opportunities to accept God are infinite, and everyone eventually does so because God is the reality; there is no need to do so within the confines of one physical life.  In my religion, men and women are equals.  In my religion, God doesn't judge people for their human foibles (especially in the area of sex).  In my religion, the earth was formed by God but has been allowed to evolve, so there is no conflict with science.  Thus, no one has to give up his common sense.

Having said all that, I'm aware that I'm not about to disabuse you of your terrible world view.  However, let me make a point:  The Bible isn't telling you what to believe.  If you think that it is, you are shirking your responsibility to make your own choices.  Most fundamentalist Christians believe what they do because it suits their personalities, not because the Bible is true.  You (Beall, Gould, Smith) are no doubt conservative by nature.  If you weren't, you'd believe something else.  By publicly promoting the worse face of the Bible, I think you are hastening the demise of your religion.  Whatever goodness there is in the Bible, that's what you need to be talking about -- not the obviously wrong portions, like the six-day creation.

It was recommended that I look at the rest of your site, and I did.  It appears that your site is about using science to give historical veracity to the Bible -- but that's the wrong way around.  You don't decide what to believe and then find the science to justify it!  But of course, that's what conservatives have always done:  They decide what is true and then dismiss all evidence to the contrary.  As far as the six-day creation story is concerned, you are barking up a dead tree.  You have already lost that argument.

Perry James - 10/24/2013 5:04:20 AM

10/30/2013 8:43 PM #

Dear Perry James,

Thanks for commenting on our website.

It is clear from your response that an in-depth refutation of your latest anti-Christian diatribe will serve no constructive purpose. I would like to respond to just a couple of your comments for the sake of clarity:

1. Concerning your original post, I responded to almost every point you made, regardless of your incredible claim that I did not address the issues you raised. I asked you questions to substantiate your claims, I pointed out the incoherent inconsistencies in your worldview, I provided you with resources to refute your assertions, and I corrected your misrepresentations of the Bible.

2. Your recent post of 10/24 is nothing more than an anti-Christian rant, filled with bald assertions and containing zero substantive critique of Christian theism.

I am afraid Mr. James is the one who is practicing fundamentalism: a close-minded, dogmatic, and deeply misinformed anti-Christian fundamentalism. Such an attitude is deeply troubling, and any Christian reading this post needs to pray for Mr. James to be illumined by the gracious truth of the Gospel. He is under a very serious and dangerous spiritual delusion.

Sincerely Yours in the Name of Jesus,

Henry Smith
ABR Staff

Henry B. Smith Jr. - 10/30/2013 8:43:22 PM

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