GENESIS 1 AND 2
Good Morning. I want to talk this morning about science and Genesis 1-2. You know what science is, don't you? It's the study of God's work. Then, I want to share with you why I view Genesis 1 & 2 as a literal and accurate account of the beginning of our world.
About mid-August I was told I would be doing these first few lectures. I was really excited about it because the beginning of Genesis is a fascinating account of the beginning of the Universe. It is a rather sketchy account which opens it up to a lot of speculation. I began reading books, magazine articles, journals, more books on the subject of the beginning of the universe. But as I sat down to put this lecture together I felt I had learned very little. It was rather frustrating. I was a decent student in school. Granted, I had raised 2 children from infants to grade school age in the past 9 years, but I didn't think Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose had destroyed my ability to learn and reason. So, I reviewed my notes, reread articles, etc. Then it dawned on me why I felt I hadn't learned much. All I had been reading were other people's ideas and suppositions about the beginning. In reality, they don't have any more facts to go on than you or I do. No one was there to observe the beginning to provide us with a detailed report.
But God saw fit to have Moses give us a brief account on how it all happened. Have you ever wondered why Moses gave us such a simple (yet profound) description of the creation? I think it is a tribute to the inspiration of the Scripture. What God did not tell us is perhaps as significant as what He did tell us. He leaves out any reference to His particular mode of operation in creation. It is written to be a CLASSIC. It is written to fit in and be accurate for whatever level of understanding the reader is at that time.
It seems to me that one can best appreciate Genesis 1 & 2 with a childlike faith and accept it as a simple, beautiful, profound, and factual statement of creation. Hebrews 11:3 says "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God..." A few verses before this the Hebrew writer tells us that faith is the evidence of things not seen. You and I look at our universe and we see "evidences" that the universe was created by a Master Creator. We see the beauty in a flower, birds winging over head, the certainty of the seasons and the water cycle, and we say "It took a great Intelligence to make these marvelous things." These things are indirect evidences. We can't see any direct evidence that God created the universe. He didn't sign His name on the top cliffs of the Grand Canyon or leave his signature in the shape of a chain of islands. We accept it by faith as it says in Hebrews. But, God made man to be inquisitive, so we question How & Why.
If you are the kind of person who tends to want to make science and the Bible unite, I want to suggest to you how that can and cannot be done. If you are the kind of person who tends to tune out science discussions, be sure to tune back in when we start discussing Genesis again in about 10 minutes.
Let's do some defining. A CREATIONIST is someone who believes God created the world as said in Genesis 1-2. An EVOLUTIONIST is someone who says life forms were not created, but are the product of evolution. All life evolved or changed from one single life form. Not all evolutionists are atheists. Many are theistic evolutionists. They say, "Maybe God started evolution." At the same time, not all anti-evolutionists are CREATIONIST. There are atheistic scientists who will agree with us that evolution is a ridiculous explanation for how we got here.
The theory of evolution exists because men who don't want to believe in God must come up with some explanation for man's existence. They use the lack of technical information in the Genesis account as an excuse not to believe in God - an excuse to live without having to give an answer to anyone for the way they live. They turn elsewhere for an answer for how and why we are here.
Now let's look at some of the reasons people point to for not taking Genesis literally.
One excuse they give for this is the age of the earth. [This week at the Park Hill Church of Christ, Dr. Don Patton is lecturing on these very subjects. Brother Patton is a geologist from Dallas. He is speaking every night at 7:00. Last night, he spoke on the age of the earth. Thursday night he'll be speaking on the fossil records.] If you accept the evolutionists' "scientific" methods of dating based on radioactive decay, similar to the Carbon 14 method, then you must concede that the earth is billions of years old. However, not all scientists will accept these dating methods as reliable. These methods are based on certain unproved assumptions or presuppositions. You will not hear a lot of scientists attacking these dating methods because to do so is to be labeled unscientific and preposterous. In fact, non-evolutionist scientists can't get their works published by "SCIENCE" magazines because every article has to pass a peer review before they will publish it. They get rejected. In response to this excuse of the age of the universe, I'd like you to consider some excellent points made by a member of the church, Bert Thompson. Brother Thompson holds a PhD, has taught at Texas A & M and is now at Alabama Christian School of Religion. He is co-editor of a monthly journal on Christian evidences, Reason and Revelation, and is one of the founders of Apologetics Press. He says there are over 75 scientific methods showing the earth to be young, consistent with the Genesis account. One is the decaying of the Earth's magnetic field, which shows that the earth can't be more than 10,000 years old. Also, consider the shrinkage of the sun. The sun is shrinking at the rate of 5 feet per hour. But, had the earth and the sun been in existence 20 million years ago, the sun's surface would actually have been touching the surface of the earth based on the rate of shrinkage. There is also evidence for a young earth in the amount of hydrogen left in the universe, the amount of helium in the atmosphere...and on and on.
Besides the evolutionist needing an old, old earth in order for life to evolve to its present level, evolution has as its base the idea of "Spontaneous Generation." That means something non-living can produce something living. Aristotle believed this. He thought maggots, flies, frogs, etc., spontaneously came to life from putrefying meat, filth, soil. Even up through the Middle Ages this was accepted as scientific fact. If an animal was killed and left to rot, eventually maggots seemed to come to life from that rotting meat. For a scientist to deny this was considered to be denying the reasoning processes of the mind -- you could "see" maggots appear -- and Aristotle taught it. For a Bible student to deny the fact of spontaneous generation was heretical because didn't Genesis say "Let the earth bring forth - and let the waters bring forth - and the earth and waters brought forth..."? This is an example of how scripture can be interpreted to mean what you think it ought to mean. In the late 1800's Louis Pasture put an end to this belief when he proved those maggots came from eggs deposited on the decaying meat and such. So the idea of spontaneous generation -- life can come from non-life -- died. That is, until the evolutionist needed it.
Traditional, general evolution says ALL life on earth today evolved. That from non-living substances a very simple life form spontaneously began - in something like this. [Show jar of "primordial pea soup."] Keep an eye on this and see if something starts wiggling. Wait. I didn't take the oxygen out of my jar, and we don't have the right gases and amino acids and such. Evolutionists say there had to have been an oxygen-free atmosphere for life to have begun. So we won't see any life spontaneously appear today. That's not right. How can that be? We've got to have an ozone layer to protect any life form from ultraviolet light rays. U.V. rays kill in less than a second. Oxygen is needed for an ozone layer. (No conditions like that have ever been on earth. But supposedly we had our beginning in something resembling this.) How can that be? Oxygen here, but not here? I don't know. They don't know. If you want to frustrate an evolutionist ask him that one. And ask him why the oldest known rocks that we know of today were formed with oxygen present.
In the 20th century, we EXPECT science to have answers for us. Yet they can't explain how or why or where this happened. It just did. They have no documentation for this. No one saw it. They can't reproduce it. But, man is here so it MUST have happened. Consider this quote from George Wald, a Nobel prize-winning Harvard professor, "I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. One only has to contemplate the magnitude of the task - life from non-life - to concede that spontaneous generation of a living organism is IMPOSSIBLE. Yet here we are as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation." Did you understand that? This Nobel prize-winning Harvard professor SAYS spontaneous generation is impossible! But here we are, so it must have happened! I'm not a scientist, but that doesn't sound very scientific to me.
Anyway, from this simple life form that came from non-life - all other life evolved through gradual changes. And as you know, man, the highest life form, evolved through the ape line. This evolving was not observed, but are there any evidences of it? For this the evolutionists turn to the fossil record. And they begin their evolutionary charts. Evolutionists love to do these charts showing "scientific proof" of evolution. They want you to concentrate on the change in the skull structure. Yet these characteristics can be found in individuals today. They show no more variation than the variation we see in dogs today or in humans today. If you know the person you're sitting by, look at each other. They take a few bones like this (Lucy) and draw a man like this. Do you wonder how they knew to draw these men? National Geographic spends 70 pages of this November 1985 edition on evolutionary "facts." But, in one small sentence tucked away over here, they say the artist has SPECULATED on skin tone and the amount of body hair and its texture since fossils give no clues. They speculate. They draw it to resemble a monkey because they want it to look like a monkey.
Don Patton said Sunday night there is less evidence of species change NOW than before. Did they lose some? No. Remember the nice charts of the evolution of the horse? It had to be discarded as more knowledge came about. This embarrasses the evolutionists since it got put into so many textbooks.
Bert Thompson says that all the fossils these evolutionists use as "proof" of evolution could ALL fit inside one coffin with room to spare. Even with these nice charts they produce they still have a 29-million-year gap in their chart just before this. Won't all agree that this one is in man's line? One hundred twenty plus years ago Darwin sent out the plea, "Go find missing links." Don Patton said Sunday night that there is still a DESPERATE search for missing links going on. They have not found ANY proof that one species has changed to another.
To review that, we've noted that the evolutionist has a problem with 1) The age of the earth, 2) Spontaneous generation, and 3) Lack of evidence in the fossil records to support their theory -specifically, no missing links. I've just presented the tip of the iceberg of problems the evolutionists have. Yet they have the gall to try to get us to accept evolution as a fact. A FACT is defined as "a verified statement." To believe in something that can't tell how, why, where, when something occurred, can't be proven by scientific method (i.e., can't be observed, can't be reproduced, can't be proven by experimentation, or proven by the Falsification element) is NOT a FACT. It is a FAITH. Now, the Bible's account of creation can't be proven as fact, scientifically, either. But we will admit ours is a faith. I submit to you it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God and the biblical account of creation.
I haven't given enough information today to convert anyone away from evolutionary thought. However, I hope I have reassured you that you don't have to try and unite evolutionary thought with the Bible to be accepted as a knowledgeable person in today's world.
Now let's look at evidences for the Genesis account.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis are sometimes shrugged off as being a myth, allegory or poem that is not to be taken literally. But this is impossible without undermining the integrity of all the rest of the Bible.
Let me give you 4 reasons why Genesis can and should be taken as an historical, literal account of the 6 days of creation.
As we go into our classes today we may find we have different concepts of Genesis 1 & 2. Let's try NOT to let our own prejudices or notions alter the meaning of the message, overwork individual words or look for hidden meanings. Let's resist the temptation to read between the lines -- this is what the Medieval church was doing that we talked about earlier when we noted their belief in spontaneous generation.
Whatever our prior concepts of Genesis 1 are, we must ALL agree that:
We've said that Genesis 1 & 2 are to be taken as a literal, accurate account of the 6 days of creation because:
When we behold the wonders of creation,
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR