Reading Genesis 1 literally

Creationists claim to read Genesis literally. This indeed is one of the proclamations made in the IEAC Reaffirmation Statement which says in its background that the various signatories “accept the creation record as literal in its details”.  This is a fine sounding declaration.  We thought we would align Genesis 1 in the KJV with the old earth creation model promoted by The Lampstand Magazine (a promoter of the Reaffirmation Statement).  Lots of words had to be deleted or added.  Be warned you might be upset.  The intention is not to upset but rather demonstrate the old earth creation view is NOT a literal reading.  Neither is the young earth creationist view, as should also be evidence from the below.

1 In the [current] beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was [had become] without form, and void [because all previous life had been destroyed]; and darkness was upon the face of the deep [because vapours surrounded the earth which blocked out the sun, moon and stars[1],[2]]. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light [again]: and there was light [although the sun remained hidden].

 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness [commenced the rotation of the earth[3]].

 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day [in the current creation].

And God said, Let there be a firmament [air[4]] in the midst of the waters [as there used to be], and let it divide the waters from the waters [hold up clouds[5] once again].

 And God made the firmament [air], and divided the waters which were under the firmament [air] from the waters which were above [in] the firmament [the air]: and it was so.

 And God called the firmament [air] Heaven [sky]. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven [sky] be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear [reappear]: and it was so.

 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

 11 And God said, Let the earth [again] 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.

 12 And the earth [once again] brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years [as they had been in the previous destroyed creation]:

 15 And let them be [once again] for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

 16 And God made [revealed] two great lights [which were hidden by not yet made clouds beforehand]; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also [at an earlier time].

 17 And God set [reset] them in [a long way above] the firmament [air] of the heaven [sky] to give [a different] light [from the first day] upon the earth,

 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness [as they had in the previous creation]: and God saw that it was good.

 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

 20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven [air of the sky].

 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth [as they were before].

 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth [once again] the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind [as an immutable law of species[6],[7]]: and it was so.

 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us [once again[8]] make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

 27 So God created man [Adam]in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female [Adam and Eve] created he them.

 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [re populate] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good [Adam & Eve were neither mortal nor immortal, everything except for the serpent – which was the carnal mind – was very good and the animals who were also very good were dying/not-dying – delete as appropriate]. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day [of the current creation].

 

What is the point? No-one reads Genesis in the same way as the original audience.  The strict creationist who denies science plays any role in their understanding of the bible is reinterpreting Genesis.  No one understands Genesis strictly literally – including young earth creationists.  None of this negates the powerfully message of Genesis 1 – that God created everything in His power and wisdom.  None of it changes His purpose, to fill creation with people who perfectly image Him like His son.  None of it should divide us either.

_______________________________________________________________________

[1] Roberts, R “Sunlight before the Adamic Era” The Christadelphian Vol 28 page 219 (1891)

[2] Mansfield, HP. Genesis – Expositor.  Page 34 Logo Publications (1992)

[3] Mansfield, HP. Genesis – Expositor.  Page 34 Logo Publications (1992)

[4] Allfree, M. D., Matthew. (n.d.). The Deception of Theistic Evolution.

[5] Allfree, M. D., Matthew. (n.d.). The Deception of Theistic Evolution.

[6] Editorial “Creation, Emphatic Teaching of Scripture”  Lampstand Magazine  May-June 2013 edition page 133

[7] Perry, Phil 2016 “Theistic Evolution Refute” version 1.9

[8] Note some old earth creationists think angels were men in a previous creation on earth (hence the skeletons) eg J Thomas. There is a divergence of views which would require more literal versions than we have space for

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5 thoughts on “Reading Genesis 1 literally

  1. Bruce Philp

    It seems to me that you need more than just “[because all previous life had been destroyed]” in verse 2 – something along the lines of “notwithstanding millions of well-preserved fossils containing intricate detail, including even ants in amber down under the water”! Seeing photographs of ants in amber was the beginning of the end of John Thomas’s “Gap Theory” for me – it just didn’t seem tohu and bohu any more.

    Also, do you need more hyperliteralist modifications in verse 12 to get in a whole year’s output from the seasonal fruit trees? They’re actually “yielding” fruit, they’re not just “for” fruit – compare the creations of the 4th day, which are “for” times and seasons”. It might be possible to read “the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself” non-literally, as merely having the potential to bear fruit later on – because that’s what seed does – but that view is not “endorsed” by verse 29, in which (reading literally) God has given [not will give] humankind every tree, in the which is [not will be] the fruit of a tree yielding seed.

    Thank you, COD. What you say needs to be said.

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  2. Glenn Munro

    You guys at COD obviously have nothing better to do with your time than come up with this nonsense. My advice, just read Genesis 1 and believe it thats all we are asked to do.

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  3. COD Post author

    Of course the more we read Genesis 1 the more we love it and see it as an epic description of God’s power and purpose rather than a science text book.

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  4. Stephen Pogson

    Then there is the most significant fact that Jesus was, and is, literally and directly involved with creation from the very beginning … Col. 1:15-17, Heb.1:8-12 & John 1:1-3,9-11. But no doubt you must explain this away in your efforts as Christadelphians to diminish the greatness and glory of Jesus. Rev21:23 (message from Stephen Pogson) This is the most profound aspect of Genesis 1.

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  5. COD Post author

    You and I probably agree Jesus was central to creation as the crowing glory and centrepiece for whom and around whom all was designed. If you perceive this as diminishing the glory of God’s son then I guess we have some differences yes, but thank you for your comment.

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