How I Approach the Book of Genesis

Lambert Dolphin


 The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us. But more than this, he is the heir of all things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth. Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ; nothing less will do. (from the pen of A. W. Tozer)


Introductory Note: Recently a friend wrote me concerning the teaching of evolution in the public schools. He asked me a number of questions about the age of the universe, the fossil records, geologic ages, and scientific evidences for the Flood. After calling his attention to a number of web sites on Internet which deal with these matters in detail I thought it would be helpful for me to briefly describe my own approach to Genesis (and the Bible in general).

As a Christian, I have willingly consented to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all areas of my life, mind, emotions, will. This is the package deal that, (according to the promises of the Bible) guarantees I will ultimately be a whole person, able to enter into eternal life.

In acknowledging the authority of Jesus over me, I also consent to the authority of the Apostles and the OT Prophets. I take the Bible to be an accurate, reliable, self-consistent document and agree that I will allow Scripture to judge my life and my actions.

I note that Jesus Himself took the Tanach (Old Testament) to be the very Word of God which could not be broken. He quoted Moses as authoritative. He did not treat the Pentateuch as symbolic, mythological, or non-historic. He lived by the Book. So I have no right to interpret the Bible differently than Jesus did. Scripture interprets Scripture, so I will find the OT fully consistent with the NT in every detail.

Parenthetically, I note that a number of modern Bible "scholars" insist that the Old Testament must be interpreted in the light of ancient culture. This can be carried to far. God is able to speak through His Word in any generation--to any people. Neither has human nature changed over the centuries. "God means what He says and says what He means." See Ray Stedman's message, The Authority of the Word and his message By What Authority.

The Bible does not tell us the age of the universe, in fact I believe Ecclesiastes lets us know that the actual age of the universe may well be indeterminate. (See Therefore I feel no compulsion to defend the idea of a recent creation.

I note that the genealogies from Adam to Christ in the OT are complete, so that I can establish continuous continuity between the first Adam, the father of our race, and the Last Adam, Jesus the Lord. Even if there are a few gaps in the genealogies (which I don't think is the case), this forces me to consider that Adam lived less than 10,000 years ago. Arthur Custance documents the OT and NT genealogies with great care.

The entrance of death into the world is clearly spelled out in Romans 5-6 as originating in the sin of Adam. Likewise Romans 8:19-24 tells me that the Second Law of Thermodynamics went into affect because of sin--the universe has been damaged and the laws of physics disrupted by sin.

A few simple calculations of population growth rates convince me that filling the earth with people takes at most a few thousands of years! Had man been around on earth a million years, the universe would now be full of fossils. See

Genesis One tells me about a "hands-on" creation by God which rules out the scientific naturalism of the Big Bang Theory (which violates the Second law in any case). See

God is Himself truth. "It is the glory of God to conceal things. The glory of kings is to search them out." It is in the nature of things that when men refuse the revealed truth of Scripture and the Spirit, that God "gives men over" to deception--to false theories about everything! This is the clear teaching of Romans Chapter 1. If people do not honor God He allows them to believe models of reality which are false. In part,

"...the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen."

Therefore individuals and groups of individuals can be blinded and deceived and this happens routinely down through history in every field of human endeavor. In times when Christian influence is strong in a culture, the pursuit of truth for its own sake is valued--but this is not true in most areas of study today--it is not even true in most churches.

What happens when I assume Genesis is true and then ask God to explain these mysterious verses to me? At that point, I am not trying to force fit the current scientific views to the Bible, I am free from the prevailing zeitgeist and the Holy Spirit is free to teach me. Naturally I expect that what I learn from the Bible will in fact be consistent with what science has found in the long term. I have a couple of articles on the methods and limits of science on my web pages which may help, for instance,

I do not mind if my world-view is not in full harmony with the prevailing secular model of the world. The god of this world is a liar and deceiver and a destroyer. Science gives a very limited amount of data about the physical world only--without revelation from God we would never know nearly enough about our universe and ourselves to develop a consistent view of things--science is limited to the material world, to rigid rules and assumptions and can never arrive at ultimate truth because the Truth is ultimately a Person.

I am warned in strong language by the Apostle Peter in his 2nd Letter to be on guard against "scoffers" (mockers) who will deny the Flood--or any other past intervention from outside the system. Why this strong warning from the Apostle? Why his great concern about what prevails in all of modern science--namely the doctrine of "uniformitarianism." (which falsely claims that the laws of physics have been constant over time, thus the history of the universe can be extrapolated backwards from the [resent to the beginning [t = 0] without any discontinuities). Peter says this:

First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation." They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (2 Peter 3:3-13)

My personal friend Ian Taylor in Canada has written an extraordinarily fine history of the Darwinian revolution (now in about the 4th or 5th printing). This book "In Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order" is most revealing in showing how scientific paradigms change over time, and not always because more truth is being discovered.

The American Scientific Affiliation by charter is, I understand, committed to theistic evolution so one expects their papers to hold to a unique interpretation of the Bible which I believe is indefensible. I was active in the Stanford Chapter some years ago, spoke to one of their meetings in Toronto once. There are many fine scientists in ASA and ACG--but this organizations has a somewhat different world-view than I do so on some things I do not endorse everything their members write.

Berkeley Law professor Phillip Johnson, by the way, deliberately takes NO position on the age of the universe or the mechanisms of creation. He considers these non-issues in the court room. The real issue has to do with science versus pseudo-science. There is no need to bring the Bible into the picture at all.

Evolutionary theory is in fact a religious world-view (atheistic). Everyone operates with some sort of religious or philosophical presuppositions. In our society the state endorses humanistic naturalism as the official state religion. These underpinnings of modern biology are carefully concealed. Thus if MORE about evolutionary theory is taught in school the whole house of cards will quickly collapse and the leaders whose jobs and academic status are at stake know this.

"It has never been possible for me to persuade myself that the universe could have been created, and we, homo sapiens, so-called, have, generation after generation, somehow made our appearance to sojourn briefly on our tiny earth, solely in order to mount the interminable soap opera, with the same characters and situations endlessly recurring, that we call history. It would be like building a great stadium for a display of tiddly-winks, or a vast opera house for a mouth-organ recital." Malcolm Muggeridge, Confessions of a Twentieth-Century Pilgrim.

Is There Really Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth? (Matthew S. Tiscareno)

Scientific Evidence for a Youthful Universe (Answers in Genesis)

Estimates of the Age of the Earth

The historical direct method for finding the age of the Earth. One of the earliest records on the age of the Earth was the Rabbinical Chronicles of about 1550 B.C. that gave a creation date of about 5,760 years ago from the present time, approximately 2000 A.D. 23,17 About 150 A.D., Theophilus gave the creation date as about 7,529 years ago.10,23 In about 225 A.D., Julius Africanus gave a date of 7,500 years ago.10 In 382 A.D., the Roman Catholic Vulgate gave a date of 7,199 years ago.23 In 1654, Ussher gave the date as 6,004 years ago. 23 For these historical data, the mean and standard deviation (M ± SD) are 6,798 ± 851 years. If we allow a confidence interval of plus two SD to minus two SD from the mean, as we did for the height example above, then the age of the Earth at the 95% level of confidence would be between 5,096 and 8,500 years ago. There does not seem to be anything that would cast doubt on this range of dates. Therefore, objective science requires acceptance of the direct estimate of 6,798 ± 851 solar years for the age of the Earth by the historical method.

The 19th century indirect estimates for the age of the Earth. Several evolutionists of the 19th century claimed that the Earth was millions of years old. In about 1800, Buffon estimated the Earth’s creation date and, from the year 2000, the date would be 75,032 years ago.10,23 In 1850 from solar thermodynamics, Lord Kelvin estimated 25 million years ago.11 From geology in 1860, Darwin estimated 100 million years ago.14 In 1870, Lord Kelvin revised his estimate to 100 million years ago.10 In 1897, he revised it again and this time to 40 million years ago.57 In 1899 from ocean salinity, Joly estimated 100 million years ago.10 These indirect estimates by scientists in the 1800’s averaged, M ± SD, 60,845,839 ± 44,747,534. If we allow the plus to minus two SD from the mean as was done for the historical estimates, then the age of the Earth at the 95% level of confidence would be between 150,340,908 years ago and 28,649,230 years into the future. Obviously, the Earth has been in existence for thousands of years and any set of data estimating it coming into existence millions of years into the future must be rejected out of hand. For that reason, the indirect estimates from the 19th century must be rejected. Altogether, they represent evolution anti-biology exhibit # 11.

The 20th century indirect estimates for the age of the Earth from radioisotopes. Radioisotopes were discovered at about the turn of the 20th century and in 1921, they were used to indirectly estimate the age of the Earth. In 1921, the estimate was 1.5 billion years old.10 In 1931, the estimate was 1.6 to 3.0 billion years old 10; in 1932, 1.6 billion 29; in 1930 to 1940, 200 million 40; in 1947, 2 billion 47; in 1952, 1.6 billion 19; in 1955, 2.5 billion 38; in 1957, 3 billion 50; in 1961, 3.3 to 5 billion, 2.1 to 5 billion, 3 billion 1; in 1962, 2.6, 3.29, 3.4 to 5.0, 4.3 ± 0.4 billion 30; in 1963, 3.5 billion 43, 2 billion 57; in 1966, 4.55, 4.75 billion 18; in 1968, 4.5 billion 49; in 1971, 4 billion 52, 5 billion 15; in 1975, 4.5 billion 11; in 1978, 4.5 billion 32; in 1981, 4.6 billion 12; in 1984, 4.8 billion 40; in 1991, 4.54 billion years old 13. These data averaged, M ± SD, approximately 2.61 ± 1.79 billion years for the age of the Earth. If we allow plus to minus two SD from the mean as was done for the historical and 19th century estimates, then the age of the Earth at the 95% level of confidence for radioisotopes would be between 6.19 billion years old and 971 million years in the future. Obviously, the Earth has been in existence for thousands of years and any set of data estimating it coming into existence nearly a billion years into the future must be rejected out of hand. For that reason, the indirect estimates from the radioisotope data of the 20th century must be rejected.

Bias. Besides unreliability, another reason for rejecting the radioisotope data is their bias for older ages of the Earth. Note that the estimate in 1921 was 1.5 billion years old whereas the estimate in 1991 was 4.54 billion years old. These data would have us believe that in the 70 solar years from 1921 to 1991 the Earth, and everything on the Earth, aged 3.04 billion years. Such bias is another reason for rejecting the indirect estimates from radioisotopes. See Figure 18.

Data from Biology for the 21st Century and the Life Science Prize Tested Devolution, Evolution, and Genesis, 2005, pp. 11, 12. Supplied by J. Mastropaolo, mailto:jmastropaolo@SOCAL.RR.COM. 12/29/09

September 11, 1999. August 2, 2002. January 2, 2010.

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