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Evolution in the Vocabulary of Genesis

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Aaron, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Genesis according to evolution - creation.com

    When confronted with what the Bible says about origins, many of these Christians have argued that God could not have communicated that He created in this manner to people in a pre-scientific age. Genesis, they say, was written the way it was only because the ancient Hebrews, for instance, would not have understood today’s sophisticated cosmological, geological and biological theories.​

    But a little reflection will show that this is clearly not the case. Below1 we have used the simple vocabulary of Genesis to show how God could have said it, if indeed He had created as progressive creationists or theistic evolutionists imagine.​

    ‘When God began to create the heavens and the earth, he expanded a small grain of dust and said, “Let there be light.” And it eventually became so. From this grain of dust, over many great ages he formed the stars and then the sun and finally, after a long age, the earth and the moon. And the earth was hot and dry. There was no water anywhere on the earth. Slowly, God caused the seas to come forth, and from the water he formed exceedingly small creatures in the sea and he said, “Be fruitful and multiply and be slowly changed into fish and plants of the sea and creeping things and animals and plants on the land and birds in the sky.” And after thousands upon multiplied thousands of years, as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, it was so. But in those days there were terrors on the land and in the sky, and many also fell prey to a host of terrible plagues. Animals were eating each other, and killing with poisonous stings, and from time to time many of the creatures that God had made died and were buried and were no more. But new ones arose to take their place.​

    ‘Then after a further number of long ages, God said, “Let us make man in our image.” So God took one of the animals that had arisen, which looked like a man but was not, and God breathed His spirit into this creature so that it was changed into a man. And God called him Adam. In like manner God made a woman also and Adam called her Eve.2 And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And it was so. And from this first pair came all the people of the earth.​

    ‘And after many generations those people who lived in the land around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, called Assyria, became exceedingly wicked.​

    ‘God found only Noah to be righteous on the earth. And He said, “I will send a flood to destroy all the sinful people.” So God told Noah, “Take your wife and your three sons and their wives and your animals and move to the land that I will show you. There I will protect you from the flood that will soon come upon Assyria and this people.” And Noah and his family obeyed God and they alone were saved, along with their animals. All the other people in that land of Assyria died, along with some of the creatures there. The birds which had flown away once the waters began to rise returned soon after. And Noah and his family multiplied and gradually divided into different languages and tribes and spread over all the earth. From one of those tribes God called a man named Abraham … .’​
     
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  2. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    The New Jerusalem Bible is highly respected for its sensitivity to Hebrew nuance in the Old Testament:

    "I [Lady Wisdom] was beside the master craftsman, delighting him day after day, ever at play in his presence, at play everywhere on his earth (Proverbs 8:30-31)."

    In progressive OT revelation, the concept of creation as divine play orchestrated by a personified Mother Nature (Lady Wisdom) can be taken as a way of allowing for evolutionary exploration, dead ends, and mass extinctions without burdening simple-minded ancients with modern cosmological theory that would be way over their heads. Also, the ploy of separating Lady Wisdom off from God serves neatly as a way of teaching that God created life and then let Mother Nature evolve it to its climax in human intelligence according to Her own fixed laws.
    Karl Barth is the most famous Protestant theologian of the 20th century. I love his evasive response to a Fundamentalist student who asked him: "Dr. Barth, was there a snake in the Garden or Eden or not?" Barth dryly replied, "It's not important whether there was a snake there; what's important is what the snake said!"

    The scholarly consensus views the Priestly creation story (Genesis 1:1-2:4a) as a poetic myth designed by priests for use in the Temple as a means of promoting Sabbath rest. The liturgical repetition "And God said...And it was so...And God saw that it was good...Evening came, morning followed, the first (2nd, etc.) day facilitated responsive recitation by the Temple congregation. So no, I don't accept a literal interpretive of Genesis that would require me to believe in these 6 absurdities:

    (1) in the sky "dome" of 1:6 rather than the vacuum of deep space;
    (2) in the earth rotating on its axis, creating 24 hour days before the creation of the sun;
    (3) in the creation of vegetation before the creation of the sun (2:22, 26);
    (4) in the teaching that snakes crawl because a talking snake once said the wrong thing to Adam and Eve (3:1-5, 11);
    (5) in the view that God did not want humans to become godlike and to learn the difference between good and evil (3:5, 22).
    (6) in the view that humanity didn't evolve, but rather the first couple were created when Adam took a ribbing (2:21-22);

    But I find it intriguing that God didn't simply speak vegetation and animal life on land and sea into existence; rather, God allowed the Earth and sea to bring forth that life without making clear how the Earth and sea accomplished this task:
    "Then God said: Let the Earth [Mother Nature] bring forth vegetation (2:11)."
    "Then God said: Let the waters [the primordial soup rich in amino acids] bring forth swarms of living creatures (1:20)."
    "And God said: Let the Earth [Mother Nature] bring forth living creatures of every kind (1:24)."

    The inserted words illustrate my non-literal interpretation of old earth creation through evolution.
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    So what you're saying is, that the language wasn't 'dumbed down,' but that the ancient Hebrews fully understood that Genesis 1 is describing Evolution.

    That should be evident in the ancient commentaries, and especially in Christ's words, should it not?
     
  4. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    No, I'm making 3 points:

    (1) Taken literally Genesis 1-3 contains many absurdities that are unworthy of belief. My next planned post will offer a positive less literal interpretation. Put bluntly, my point is this: if I had to interpret Genesis 1-3 literally to be a Christian, my intellectual integrity would force me to renounce my faith! See my thread on the dangers of the Domino theory of Scripture.
    (2) The poetic image in Proverbs 8:30-31 of creation as Lady Wisdom's "play" does not explicitly teach evolution, but by poetically detaching Her from God (when in fact God is one), it allows for God to set Mother Nature and Her laws into motion with all Her potential to evolve intelligent life as we know it, without constant divine interventionist micro-management.
    (3) By refraining from teaching that God simply spoke vegetative and animal life into existence, the phrases "Let the Earth bring forth" and "Let the Sea bring forth" raise the question of the mechanisms of how the Earth and Sea brought forth life. The Priestly creation narrative does not teach evolution, but it is in the sense explained compatible with evolution.

    As I've mentioned in another thread, Dr. Kenneth Miller is a devout Roman Catholic, and yet, he is one of the most respected evolutionists in America and has written standard high school and biology text books. Miller has successfully refuted Intelligent Design advocates in court cases filed to prevent creationism from being taught as science in our public schools. But Miller believes in Intelligent Design in the sense that at creation God set in motion all the potentials for advanced evolved life that we see today. Every Fundamentalist should watch one of his YouTube lectures.
     
  5. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    No more absurd than Jesus supernaturally coming back from the dead to those who do not believe the NT documents are real history.
     
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  6. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Unlike some of the ridiculous postulates of the Special Theory of Relativity. :Roflmao
     
  7. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    Which are universally accepted by scientists because these "postulates" have ground-breaking predictive efficacy and therefore are well verified.
     
  8. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Such as?
     
  9. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    Try asking someone in your church to read and explain the 6 absurdities listed in post #2 for you, so [as to not] prevent your meaningful participation in this thread.
     
    #9 Deadworm, Nov 3, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2019
  10. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Why are any of these an absurdity?

    1. Why is the creation of sky (atmosphere) an absurdity?
    2. Why do you assume that there cannot be a day before the sun?
    3. Why is this an absurdity? Can plants not survive without the sun for a single day?
    4. Why is this absurd?
    5. What is absurd about this?
    6. There is no evidence for an evolved humanity. Why is it so hard to believe God created Adam and Eve?

    Better yet, WHY DO YOU QUESTION GOD? Professing yourself to be wise, you became a fool.
     
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  11. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    David: "1. Why is the creation of sky (atmosphere) an absurdity?"
    Because the Hebrew word literally means "dome," not "sky."

    David: "2. Why do you assume that there cannot be a day before the sun?"
    Duh, (1) because 24-days are created by the earth's rotation as it revolves around the sun
    and (2) because the author of Genesis 1 does not realize the sun is the center of the solar system, with planets revolving around the sun.

    3. Why is this an absurdity? Can plants not survive without the sun for a single day?
    Your most giggle-worthy comment! I guess you haven't studied basic botany. You don't realize that plants need heat and light to stay alive.

    David: "4. Why is this absurd?"
    The talking snake is a rational spirit being that is identified as Satan only centuries later. Real snakes are not creatures capable of humanlike rational reflections and modern snakes are not descendants of a talking snake! So the concept that primitive snakes must crawl as a punishment for what a rational talking snake said is absurd. By contrast, the evolution of snakes is well understand with the discovery of key missing links.

    David: "5. What is absurd about this?"
    In the Priestly creation story God creates humanity "in His image" and that face implies that there is something godlike about humanity. The Yahwist creation story contradicts this by implying that God does not want humanity to become godlike in this sense. To become godlike Adam and Eve must disobey God! Worse, it is only as a result of human disobedience that we learn the difference between good and evil. The story's assumption that God would have preferred humanity to be unaware of the good vs. evil distinction conjures the image of an amoral God and contradicts the teaching throughout the Bible that God wants humans to live obedient virtuous lives!

    David: "6. There is no evidence for an evolved humanity. Why is it so hard to believe God created Adam and Eve?"

    First, the Adam creation myth has evolved from a Sumerian predecessor and both "Eve" and the Sumerian word for "rib" mean "life." So this mythic detail is a poetic wordplay meaning "life from life.".
    Second, the Priestly creation myth (1:1-2:4a) teaches that the male and female of all species were created simultaneously in contradiction to the Yahwist creation story (2:4b-3:24) about Adam's rib.

    You claim "there is no evidence for an evolved humanity?" I posted a short video that provides just one compelling example of such evidence, for which creationists have no answer and which you haven't even bothered to watch! If you must pontificate, at least have the courtesy to watch a short video that refutes your claim:

    youtube kenneth miller chimpanzees - Bing video

    David: "Better yet, WHY DO YOU QUESTION GOD? Professing yourself to be wise, you became a fool."
    Why must Baptists stoop to name-calling when they have no answers to basic questions.
     
  12. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Would you not agree that the atmosphere acts as a dome?

    No, that is not what creates 24 hours. That is how we know days are divided into 24 hours. God created the order of 24 hours. Try again.

    I didn't say they did not. And remember, light was created day 1. It was already there. I asked if plants could not survive 24 hours without sunlight and you dodged.

    Ever read Numbers 22:28?

    Those chapters were both written by the same author....

    I do not have access to YouTube and therefore cannot watch it.

    Um, I quoted Scripture....
     
  13. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    David will practically post any evasive comments to avoid the honest work of watching my posted video that will confront him with an important piece of evidence from geneticists for human evolution. I know the truth hurts, but I resolve to obey God's command to love Him with all my mind as well as with all my heart.
     
  14. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    First, this is a personal and unfounded attack. Second, anyone who has been here a while will tell you I do not have access to YouTube. That was not an evasion.
     
  15. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    That Hebrew word refers to what would be spread out, an expanse, refers to the sky as such.


    Now that word is used to discribe God's power.
    Psalms 150:1, "Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in בִּרְקִ֥יעַ of his power. . . ."
     
  16. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Lol. Not quite.

    But since you presume consensus, and appeal to it, wouldn't the documented millennia of predarwinian scholarship be the touchstone of what is actually being said in Genesis?

    Of course it would. Especially since Darwinism in Genesis needs a secret kind of specialized knowledge to be 'seen.' But Genesis isn't written for Gnostics and sophists. It's written for the boy that drives the plough. And it speaks plainly to him.

    There is no question about what Genesis says. The only question is whether or not one believes it. And you do not.
     
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  17. Deadworm

    Deadworm Member

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    You obviously don't know Hebrew; so let me educate you. The Hebrew word in question in Genesis 1:6-8 is "raqia'" which Brown-Driver-Briggs (the massive standard Hebrew dictionary for the OT) defines thus: "the vault of heaven, or firmament, regarded by Hebrews as solid and supporting `waters' above it (p. 956)."

    "And God said: "Let there be a dome (or "bell"--"raqia") in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. Anf iy was so. God called the dome "Sky.""

    In his magisterial Commentary on Genesis, respected OT scholar, Gerhard von Rad, goes into greater depth in discussing the etymology of "raqia" in 1:6-8 against the background of Ancient Near Eastern cosmology:

    "The second day brings the creation of the firmament, which the ancients imagined as a gigantic hemispheric and ponderous bell (Psalm 19:2; Job 37:18). "Raqia" means that which is firmly hammered (a word of the same root in Phoenician means "tin dish!"). The meaning of the verb "raqi'" concerns the hammering of the vault of heaven into firmness (Isaiah 42:5; Psalm 136:6)...The heavenly bell, which is brought into the waters of chaos, forms first of all a separating wall between the waters beneath and above (p. 51)."

    The ancients had no concept of the void or vacuum of outer space and instead thought that water filled the gap between the "dome" and the stars. Of course, from a modern perspective this cosmology is utter nonsense, but God had to work with the primitive conceptions that the Jews embrace to communicate the truth that He created the world in stages and that it was good.
     
  18. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    Firmament is a mistranslation; one in which a fallacious notion was imposed on the text.

    The word is expanse.

    And a vault is hollow.

    Modern cosmology is the effort of philosophers to reconcile the observations of astronomers with the arbitrary Cosmological Principle.

    This is the very notion refuted in the OP. As if the physical world would be more puzzling to the mind of man than the nature of God, the existence of evil, the suffering of His people, and His plan of Redemption.
     
    #18 Aaron, Nov 5, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  19. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace Well-Known Member
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    I do believe this thread is a perfect example of - - "one who has been educated beyond his intelligence!":confused:
     
  20. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    The Sun for our earth became the star on the first day for our earth, and about 4 days later the debris being blown by our new Sun's stellar wind past earth to reveal the Sun and Moon as the two major lights in the sky. Today the current solar wind has a mean velocity of about 310 miles per second. So it takes an average of 3 1/2 days to reach earth. Those 6 days of Genesis 1 are what God said He did. I believe it because of the resurrection of Christ. (John 1:3; John 1:9-10).
     
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