In July 2017 The Lampstand Magazine included a unfortunate and inaccurate insert on evolutionary creation. This post deals with their astray commentary on Gen 1-3 in the insert table. Below is a preproduction of their table on Gen 1-3 with a simple repudiation underneath
|EC teaches||The Bible teaches|
|Gen 1-3 can be interpreted in different ways depending on the sophistication of the reader as long s God is acknowledged as the prime mover.
|A literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 is supported by Jesus and the apostles (Matt 19:4-5, Mark 10:6-7, 1 Cor 11:7-9, 2 Cor 4:6, 11:3, 1 Tim 2:13-14, 2 Pet 3:5)
|Gen 1 & 2 are not parallel accounts. Gen 1 is an account of functional origins well after the material origins (which occurred via evolution). Gen 2 is a sequel focussing on Adam and Eve as archetypal representatives of humanity.
|Gen 1 & 2 are both about the material origins of life on this earth as we know it today. Gen 1 outlines creation day by day. Gen 2 is an expansion of the events relating to 6th day, particularly the creation of man and woman and their environment. Christ quotes both Genesis 1 and 2 in answering the question on divorce (Matt 19:4-5, Mark 10:6-7) proving that the creation of “male and female” in Gen 1 is the same event as the creation of Adam and Eve in Gen 2.
Interpretative options with Gen 1-3
The Lampstand insistent only a literal interpretation can be taken. However they are either ignorant of or ignoring the reality of numerous “literal” options. The Lampstand takes an Old Earth model. By contrast The Christadelphian Magazine in recent times has leaned towards a Young Earth model. Which literal approach is actually literal? Furthermore over time our community has accepted long days, 6 days of fiat and other approaches. To insist on a literal approach sounds wonderful – but in the context of multiple “literal” approaches is a hollow objection.
The requirement of “literal” based on the readings adopted by Jesus and the apostles is again inconsistent. The Lord with his apostles accommodated the language of demons along with various medical misunderstandings as well.
For obvious reasons, The Lampstand omits any discussion on the solid dome of the sky in Genesis 1 or light appearing before the creation of the sun and so forth as these problems somewhat undermine their insistence on literalism. Ignoring the problems and evidence provided by those of a contrary opinion is not a convincing approach.
In passing, readers will note the odd and unbiblical phrase “Gen 1 & 2 are both about the material origins of life on this earth as we know it today”. The literal reading of Genesis 1 describes the material origins of the dry land, sun, moon and stars as well as life. Why the odd phrase and limiting of Genesis 1? Because Old Earth Creationists believe the sun moon and stars had already been created. The table supports Gen 1 being partly functional origin (sun moon and stars) and partly material (life as we know it). All this while demanding a simple literal approach.
Are Gen 1 and 2 parallel accounts?
The Lampstand had space to include many quotes which they think support their case but omitted any contradictory quotes. They forgot to include that EC’s distinguish Gen 1 and 2 based on scriptural facts eg:
- Gen 2:4 uses the phrase “these are the generations of”, a Hebrew term used 11 times in Genesis to introduce a new record. Basic bible study shows the text literally marks Gen 2:5 off as a new history.
- Both the animals and the birds are created after Adam in Gen 2:19 (a fact disguised by the KJV and other versions ALTERING THE TEXT to change the tense to try and harmonise the records). Paul uses the order of words to make a point in Heb 7:2 and Christ makes one out of tense in Mark 12:26-27. Changing the tense is altering God’s word.
- Similarly vegetation is specifically not in existence because there are no humans, it comes after Adam per Gen 2:5, 8-9 – which contradicts the order of Gen 1
- Stylistic differences are also present but are secondary compared to the above simple clear differences
Scripture distinguishes between Genesis 1 and 2. You cannot claim to be a literalist while discounting (or rather just ignoring) the textual evidence which distinguishes the two.
What of Jesus quoting from Gen 1 & 2 in one passage? Does this mean Christ thought the two passages describe the same event/day? No. All it proves is both chapters are relevant in considering God’s principles relating to marriage (one man with one woman, not siblings, together forever). Two united pieces of evidence doesn’t mean a unity of events – hardly a radical idea.
The practice of parsing two passages together is not unique either. Eg in Luke 7:22 Christ joins Isa35 and Isa 61. Why? Were the passages contemporaneous? No but they have a common theme. Even in the very context of Matt 19 we find Jesus putting together some of the 10 commandments from Exod 20 and Lev 19 in Matt 19:18-19. A lawyer does the same thing when articulating the greatest commandment in Luke10:27 – parsing Deut6 and Lev19. Christ uses the same formula although splits the command into two (while not acknowledging they are from different parts of the law). Paul follows the same pattern in Gal 3:8 (which draws on Gen 12:3 and Gen 22:18) and again in Gal 3:10 which draws on Deut27:7 and Deut 28:58.
What does this mean? Simply that Christ, inspired writers and even bible scholars joined scriptural quotations together based on common themes and ideas. To demand it means a single event in Genesis 1 and 2 is a misunderstanding and failure to recognise this practice.