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It's OK to Believe in Both Creation and Evolution
by D. R. Cruise
This book is now in print.
As requested by the publisher, this chapter has been replaced with a synopsis. To read the unabridged chapter, please order the book. [more]
The purpose of Chapter Two is to suggest that the Book of Genesis and the Science of Evolution do not contradict each other as much as some claim. The ideas presented in this chapter are not new. However, the author puts them in his own words and embellishes them a little.
For the record, the author continues to caution against an overly literal interpretation of Genesis. Therefore, he must admit that this chapter only weakly supports the purpose of this book.
It is included for academic interest and to show there are many ways to look at the first chapter of Genesis. In the interest of intellectual honesty, Sections 2.9 and 2.10 at the end of this chapter put forth some arguments against the material of this chapter.
Some people believe that the first chapter of Genesis is a chronology of cosmological, geological and biological evolution. In fact, some are more convinced of general evolution by Genesis than they are by Darwin.
Of course, there is an important distinction. They see evolution as God-driven, whereas non believers see it as happenstance. [more]
Let us examine the word, day, which appears early and often in the first chapter of Genesis. Even in our day (:-) the word has several meanings. It can mean the period from sunrise to sunset. It can mean a 24-hour period, in which case we really mean a day plus a night.
We also use expressions such as George Washington's day. By this we do not mean that George only lived for 24 hours, or that he completed all of his historical accomplishments during a single rotation of the Earth. In this meaning of day, we refer to an arbitrary length of time connected to a specified historical event, here, the life of George Washington.
Could the word day in Genesis mean a long period connected to a specific event? Indeed, some scholars say that the ancient Hebrew word, yowm, was sometimes used in that fashion. [more]
Suppose that the reader is an astrophysicist who is familiar with the theory of the Big Bang. How would she explain the theory to a herdsman with a limited vocabulary? She probably would be reluctant to try, but let us request that she explain it as best she can. [more]
The explanation might go as follows. All of the stuff of the universe was once in a single tiny ball that exploded with a big bang.
As it scattered throughout space, some of it stuck together and became bright shiny stars. The space between the stars remained dark. She may report that light separated (or divided itself) from darkness. [more]
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Genesis I: 1-5
Let us examine the above quotation. Does it describe the first day of Genesis or might it describe the Big Bang (or both)? No one can deny that it describes a cosmic event using a small, limited vocabulary. [more]
Next, we consider the formation of the Earth. To describe it to our herdsman, we not only have to deal with his limited vocabulary but also with his limited perspectives.
Every primitive person knew that the Earth was flat and therefore above and below were legitimate ways of dividing the universe as they saw it. As it appeared to them, the Earth below was roughly equal to the rest of the universe above.
In the enlightened theory of our day, the Earth and the other planets were formed from debris left over from the integration of the sun (and, in turn, from the disintegration of earlier stars). Streams of gases and particles were attracted into the areas where they were the most dense. Eventually the denser parts coalesced into nearly spherical planets. [more]
The streams of gases and particles were fluid in the sense that they could change their shape and they could flow. Of course, the only word the herdsman had for fluid was water. It was the only common, visible thing the herdsman knew that could flow and change its shape.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and morning were the second day." Genesis I: 6-8
When the Earth first formed, it was very hot. It fact, it was hot enough that much of the world's water resided in the atmosphere as vapor.
As time passed the Earth cooled enough that the water condensed and ran to the lowest regions leaving the higher regions relatively dry. [more]
This set the stage for plant life to appear. The theory of evolution says that single cell plants came first, but the herdsman could not see or understand cells. So the appearance of plants was explained to him in terms of the plants that he was familiar with. [more]
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. 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. And the earth 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. And the evening and the morning were the third day." Genesis I: 9-13
As the Earth continued to mature, another change took place that relates to the modern concern about global warming. Contained within the Earth today are vast deposits of oil, coal, and natural gas. Each of these contains large amounts of carbon. [more]
The air is where much of the carbon resided when the first plant life appeared. For reasons discussed in Chapter Seven, evaporation from the oceans mostly offset the greenhouse effect. As a result, thick clouds covered the Earth.
Plants started removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As more plants grew, older plants died without returning their carbon to the atmosphere. Eventually dead plants with their trapped carbon became oil, coal and gas deposits.
Less carbon dioxide led to less evaporation from the seas and the clouds became thinner. Eventually large breaks in the clouds occurred and the undiffused light of the sun and the moon reached the surface of the Earth for the first time. [more]
"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: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." Genesis I: 14-19
Next, let us continue the story of biological evolution. (Remember that it began on day three with the story of the plants.)
There is one tenet of evolution theory that not one of its followers would dispute. After all, there is much to argue about. What is a species? At what point can a species be considered distinct from an ancestor species? What are the evolutionary paths that led to birds, mammals and especially humans?
Evolution scientists can and do argue all these questions (and properly so). But there is one part of the theory about which there is no argument. Life began in the waters. [more]
"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. 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 its kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day." Genesis I: 20-23
We now come to the human presence on the Earth. Evolution theory says that our particular species goes back about a hundred thousand years (some say more; some say less). This leads to another time problem, one that goes beyond the definition of day.
The Book of Genesis enumerates every generation from Adam and Eve down to historical times. If we analyze the data, we find that Adam and Eve lived somewhere around six thousand years ago. How does this calculation reconcile with evolution theory, which puts our biological equals on the Earth perhaps as far back as a hundred thousand years, or at least fifty?
Three possible answers suggest themselves: (1) Evolution theory is wrong. (2) Genesis is wrong. (3) God and evolution scientists are choosing different starting points. Consistently with the purpose of his book, the author will pursue and explain the third possibility. [more]
Many people believe that because the creation of Adam is a distinct entry in the Bible, and because he is the first person to be mentioned, that Adam was the first human. (To put it another way, they believe that Adam, along with Eve, were the results of a special creation).
But, how was Adam created and how long did it take? Some believe that he was created over billions of years through God-driven evolution (i. e. that he was part of general creation). In that case the inference that he was the first human is not correct [more]
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them , and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish 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." Genesis I: 24-28
Evolution scientists see evidence that the evolutionary process is not steady. There were periods where evolution was rapid with many new species emerging, and other periods where evolution slows and apparently takes a rest. We are perhaps in a period of relative rest now. [more]
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended the work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." Genesis II: 1-2
Some people point out that there is no mention of evening and morning on the seventh day. Perhaps the seventh day is still in progress. (:-)
The author summarizes possible conclusions for the reader's consideration: [much more]
There are arguments against the material in this chapter. Two of them follow:
(1) "If one wields a big enough hammer, one can put the square peg in the round hole." This metaphor implies that our connection between Genesis and evolution is highly contrived. [more]
(2) Then there is the second argument. Every fundamentalist knows that a day is exactly 24 hours - exactly 1440 minutes - exactly 86400 seconds. [more]
Honesty requires the author to admit that the evolution-only people can mount arguments other than the two above. They can do so against every interpretation of of the days of Genesis suggested in this chapter.
Creation fundamentalists also could, and many do, mount arguments against them. The author, himself, could play the "devil's advocate" (:-) and argue against his own interpretations.
However, the very fact that the interpretations are arguable makes the author's point. No one can say for certain that creation and evolution are contradictory notions. People will continue to read the first chapter of Genesis and many will see evolution as well as creation.
Before proceeding to the next chapter, the reader should note that Chapter Three does not follow from, or depend on, Chapter Two. It is a completely different approach to the same issues.
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