Response to Jack Gibson
- The following is an email from Jack Gibson, a theistic evolutionist, who wrote in answer to some questions that I had written on the Church of Christ Banned List and had copied the Maury and Baty list. My target was Rick Hartzog and/or Robert Baty, who both say they believe in the Biblical account of creation, but they believe that the universe and the earth are much older than 100,000 years.
Mr. Gibson wrote: Jerry McDonald : You ask ; " Is there anything in the Genesis account of creation that demands that the creation days be considered as anything but literal days as we know them ?"
Jerry, I for one, do not believe that the Genesis account indicates that the
creation occurred in 6 literal 24 hour days 6,000 years ago. The Genesis account certainly does not confirm such an account and I believe any interpretation of the Genesis account that draws this conclusion is false.
Genesis 1:1 is a summary account of creation: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
McDonald: When you take into consideration the words that Moses wrote in Exodus 20:9-11:
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
It is easy to see that even Moses understood that the creation week took place in six literal days because he used the creation week to set the Jewish work week. I realize that Mr. Hartzog takes the position that we are still in the sixth day of creation, but the Bible teaches that this is not true because Genesis 2:1,2 says Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. If you notice, the scripture said that the heavens and the earth were finished and God ended his work and then he rested. All of this is past tense, not present or future.
The statement In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth is not a summary account. It is the beginning of what is about to happen. You may be placing too much emphasis on the word And in verse 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Strongs Hebrew Dictionary (Sword Searcher Bible Program) says:
Strong's Hebrew Dictionary
Search for H776 in KJVSL
Ura 'erets eh'-rets
from an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land):--X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X natins, way, + wilderness, world.
A literal translation would be: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, void; darkness was upon the face of the deep. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God said, Let there be light. When you remove the words and there is no way you can say that the first is a summary and the rest is the account of what happened. All of it is the account of what happened. The word and is not in the Hebrew text and cannot be used to show that verse 1 is a summary while the other is a sort of giving of the account.
Mr. Gibson wrote:
The remainder of the account in Genesis deals with the specific order of that
creation . But according to that account , the sun and the moon , that regulate the days and seasons was not created until the fourth day. This means to me that at least the first four days of creation were not literal days. This is not a matter of
dealing figuratively with the language of Genesis, but simply a proper interpretation.
The fact that the sun and the moon were not created until day four shows that these days had to be literal days. Plant life could not have survived for eons of time without the sun and plant life was created on day three, And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so (Genesis 1:11). How did plant life live without sunlight if the days were not literal?
You say we arent dealing with figurative language, but simply a proper interpretation. Well, I agree that we have to have a proper interpretation, but if a passage demands a figurative interpretation then the only way to properly interpret it is to give it a figurative interpretation. In order to give it a figurative interpretation you have to name the figure, and show what the figure points out, and what constitutes that figure. If the passage fails those tests it cannot be given a figurative interpretation. If it cannot be given a figurative interpretation, then the only proper interpretation that you can give it is a literal interpretation which goes back to my position. Give it a proper interpretation, yes, but you dont have a literal interpretation, a figurative interpretation and a proper interpretation. You have a figurative interpretation and a literal interpretation, and the proper interpretation will be the one which best fits that passage in its
Mr. Gibson wrote:
With respect to evolution, which is a scientific theory with substantial
scientific evidence , I believe the accounts in Genesis of the creation of the plant and animal kingdoms is consistent with an evolutionary account , Genesis 1:11 says ; "Let the earth bring forth vegetation" . Genesis 1:20 says ; "Let the waters bring forth the moving creature that hath life and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open fermament of heaven" . And Genesis 1:24 says ; "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind , cattle and creeping thing , and beast of the earth after its kind. These passages certainly sound like an account that is consistent with evolution. You can call me a theistic evolutionist if you like.
PROMOTER OF UNITY AND FELLOWSHIP AMONG ALL CHRISTIANS
I have to disagree with you that there is any scientific evidence with regards to Darwinian evolution. The evolutionary theory is so full of holes that even the staunchest proponents (such as Richard Dawkins) cannot answer the simple questions such as where did the first molecule come from?
The Genesis account of creation doesnt resemble evolution in any way form or fashion. If you will notice that each thing produced after its own kind, while in evolution this is not the case. In evolution things produced things that were not after their own kind. How anyone could look at the Bible and say that he can see evolution in the first chapter is amazing. That is like Rick Hartzogs statement that God is still creating and we are still in the sixth day of creation.
Do you, Jack Gibson, believe that in Darwinian evolution that things produce after their own kind?
In Christ Jesus
Jerry D. McDonald
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]