A few weeks ago, I wrote an article arguing that the single most important aspect of apologetics is knowing what the Bible does and does not teach.
So while we understand that there are certain issues we might label “secondary,” in the sense that they are not required in order to understand the gospel and receive Christ, it should be our ultimate desire and never-ending quest to attain the truth of Scripture.
Yes, even with respect to hot-button issues like the age of the earth.
I am thankful for the apparent renaissance of Christian philosophy, science, and apologetics that we’re seeing today. An unfortunate consequence of this, however, has been the church’s willingness to accept some rather unorthodox views of Genesis. Not all, but many have done so because they feel modern scientists have convincingly argued for an age much older than the biblical writers and genealogists seem to have advanced.
The above is not an indictment from me necessarily, but mainly because I understand and appreciate their sentiment. If the saying “all truth is God’s truth” is true, then it’s perfectly reasonable to anticipate data from the Bible, science, history, philosophy, etc. to line up.
Another commonly advanced idea today is that the genre of Genesis ought to be understood as a sort of allegory; or at least a non-literal document with extra-biblical parallels. On this view, Moses was using his Egyptian upbringing (see Acts 7:22) to leverage the knowledge and wisdom of surrounding ANE cultures, and thus, created the early chapters of Genesis merely to serve as a polemic against these cultures and to teach Israel about the nature of the One True God.
We discuss these views from time to time here on the blog and also on the podcast. But I’d like to take a bit different approach today and look to the New Testament, specifically at the person of Christ. Perhaps one of the best ways to get a clear understanding of Scripture is to see if Christ said anything in particular about a view. Some orthodox Christian beliefs are not drawn from the words of Christ himself, but rather are taken from other parts of Scripture or even are inferred from the teaching of Jesus.1
Therefore, I think if we can show that Christ held a particular view about an issue, we have pretty strong evidence that we’re thinking correctly about it. I’d like to offer what I find to be convincing evidence that Jesus held a particular view of the age of the earth, even if he did not directly comment on it. Jesus’ lack of a direct comment, in many cases, should not be used as evidence against a view. Proponents of homosexuality who claim to be Christians make this mistake all of the time, and apologists are quick to correct them.
And yet, so many argue in this same manner on the age of the earth issue! Lest we have our cake and eat it too, let’s examine just three (though I’m sure there are more) pieces of evidence which I believe show that Jesus held a young age creationist view of Genesis.
#1. The Argument from Deafening Silence
In informal logic there is a fallacy known as an argumentum ex silentio—or, “argument from silence.” This is a fallacious way of arguing in which one attempts to make a case based on the absence of a particular statement (in the case of historical documents). Usually, the argument advanced is simply based on speculation.
In other words, one might say, “Well, since Jesus didn’t say anything directly about homosexual activity in the Gospels, he must have been okay with it.” Sound familiar? This is the kind of thing I mentioned in the introduction, and it’s used all of the time to make the case for views foreign to the biblical writers.
Responding to this exact claim in an episode of STR’s podcast, Greg Koukl flipped the tables on the questioner. First, he readily affirmed that Christ did not say something directly about the issue of homosexuality, but also rightly pointed out that to argue on this basis would simply be an argument from silence, which is fallacious!
But then he made an interesting move. He actually used this to his advantage, calling it something of an argument from deafening silence. Meaning that, when you take the cultural milieu into account, it actually would have been odd had Jesus commented on this issue. It was such a foundational way of Jewish thinking—“one man and one woman becoming one flesh for one lifetime,” per Koukl—that Jesus simply didn’t have to comment on it!
Koukl argued that Jesus largely spent his limited time correcting issues the Jews had a faulty understanding of, but otherwise, his views reflected those of traditional Hebrew thought.
This resonates with me and seems true upon reflection, and I actually think we can reasonably draw the same kind of inference about Jesus’ teaching on the age of the earth. There are a few things in play here as we consider this possibility:
#1. Jesus had no need to make a direct comment about this.
This just seems obvious to me, but I cannot think of a single reason why Jesus would have needed to make a direct comment on the age of the earth at that time unless their current understanding was incorrect. While, certainly, there were a number of views held in his day about the origin and nature of the cosmos (and even the earth itself), Jesus was dealing with folks who widely held a young age understanding of earth’s history.
In that day, there was no calculated, well-developed theory of evolution threatening what Jesus was teaching, and views outside of the Jewish majority (this was, after all, Jesus’ audience) were quite scarce. Therefore, if we are going to infer something about the age of things from Jesus’ teaching, we can do so without expecting a direct statement to be made.
#2. The evangelist’s were not recording every word spoken by Jesus.
It is at least plausible that, at some point during one of his public teachings or even in a private conversation, Jesus did make statements that would directly address his understanding of the age of the earth at that time. Again, I reiterate that the absence of Jesus’ direct comment on this issue in the Scriptures cannot, logically, be taken as evidence that he did not hold a particular view. If anything, the opposite is true.
#3. We should ask ourselves what sort of comment would qualify.
In other words, what sort of statement are we demanding from Jesus that we’d accept to be a comment on the age of the earth? I find that folks often want Jesus to have said something like, “It is now the 4000th year of earth history.” But why? There is good biblical and extra-biblical historical recording from about the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus, and there are pre-Abrahamic statements similar to the above recorded in the Hebrew Bible which aids us in developing a meaningful chronology.
So, when Jesus makes a statement like the one found in Mark 10:6 (“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female”), what can we take that to mean? We’ll elaborate further in just a moment, but let’s survey some general options:
- Jesus understood and agreed with the cultural consensus, and thus rightly taught that Adam and Eve were made to “marry” from the beginning of the creation.
- Jesus actually meant something like “from the beginning of their creation…”, which is just not what the text says.
- Jesus believed in accordance with the cultural consensus, taught that way, but was wrong.
[Note: I’m setting aside for the moment a couple more “technical” suggestions for this passage. I’m intending herein to argue for a natural, common sense way of understanding Jesus. Please click here to read what I take to be a well-reasoned defense against some of the more sophisticated propositions which require a deeper understanding of biblical languages than I currently possess. For even further study, this paper by Mortenson represents an in-depth analysis of Jesus’ teaching on the age of the earth, as well as detailed responses to a number of objections.]
Option number three, despite having been suggested to me by multiple theistic evolutionists (more on this below), seems bankrupt. Perhaps this is a matter of personal conviction, but if my understanding of something disagrees with Jesus’ understanding of it, I am willing to admit that I’m wrong and must do more research. Jesus, being God, is not wrong.
Option number two seems to fail because it simply requires the insertion of words that are not present in the text. One is free to read the Greek on this or the above-cited articles (here and here), but this is accurately represented in the English text. Jesus is simply not dealing with the creation of human life itself. He’s referencing “the” beginning.2
Therefore, option number one seems to be the most reasonable and the most plausible. Certainly, Jesus would not have stated this so carelessly if it’s true that the creation of mankind came nearly 14 billion years after the beginning of the creation! But it’s perfectly plausible that in a natural way of speaking, Jesus could reference a “Day 6” event as having happened in “the beginning.”
In fact, we speak this way all the time! I’ve illustrated elsewhere like this:
I would suggest…that Jesus–being a human like us–used language in a similar way that we do. What if I said to you, “Boy, I sure would love to go to Disney World again. My family went four years ago and loved every minute of it!” Are you going to pull out the calendar and hold me to that? What if we had actually gone three years, 42 weeks, and four days ago? Would that make me a liar? Or unclear by any reasonable standard? Of course not!
The response offered to the above by my interlocutor was that the Disney World analogy fails because no time-frame was mentioned. But that’s where deafening silence comes in! Since the scholarly consensus (remember, Jesus is dealing with highly educated Pharisees here!) in that day was a young age for the creation (this fact seems uncontested–look no further than Josephus3 for confirmation), Jesus must have known that to say “from the beginning of the creation” would be wildly misleading were the consensus not correct!
Furthermore, since that consensus was obviously wrong according to the old age view, and the things Jesus was concerned with correcting were precisely those things they got obviously wrong (see above), it seems that Jesus’ failure to correct them on this point is a tacit affirmation of their view. Incidentally, this also shows that it is the old age creationist who should be looking for an explicit statement on the age of the earth from Jesus–not the young-ager.
This, again, points to either options one or three above being correct, and since option three entails Christ’s fallibility, it seems we’ve no choice but to consider that Jesus himself was, in fact, a young age creationist.
#2. The Foundation for Marriage
The doctrine of marriage is certainly a central teaching of the Bible, and something God is very concerned with. Above, we noted that Jesus’ most explicit teaching on the doctrine of marriage comes from Mark 10:6, and its parallel passage, Matthew 19:4:
(Mark) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. (Matthew) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.
It’s important to note that Jesus is taking this teaching directly from statements made in Genesis chapters one and two—chapters which establish our understanding of the doctrine of creation and the doctrine of man, amongst other things. Now, we’ve discussed the textual reasons to think that Jesus means to say that male and female were created “in” the beginning–not 14 billion years after the initial creation event, but six literal days. We’ll now look at the theological “why” behind this understanding. In other words, there are good theological reasons to think that the doctrine of marriage affirmed by Jesus here is problematic for the old age view.
In his book Faith, Form, and Time, Dr. Kurt Wise writes the following:
According to Scripture, God established marriage by creating man first, then woman from him. The divine origin of marriage justifies its permanence in God’s eyes (Matt. 19:3-9) and explains why the husband is established as the head of the wife (1 Cor. 11:3-10). If old-age chronology is true, Adam and Eve (if they ever did exist) would seem to have been derived from a population of reproducing apes. The acceptance of old-age chronology would require a substantial revision of the Christian doctrine of marriage.
[Note: An assumption made in the above statement is that old age chronology necessitates taking an evolutionary position, even though this is not necessarily true within Christian circles. What Dr. Wise would want to argue in response, I believe, is that evidence for the theory of evolution is well-enough attested and in line with old age chronology that the only reasonable inference if you accept one is to accept the other. There are many good reasons for thinking that non-evolutionary old age chronology as promulgated by organizations like Reasons to Believe (RTB) is unable to solve the contradictions, some of which can be easily seen and inferred from the forthcoming data—even if not explicitly stated.]
Dr. Wise states the issue in succinct form; however, it’d be a worthy exercise to build a cumulative case4 highlighting the contradictions between statements in Scripture and the central dogma of evolution theory (and certain claims of old age chronology in general):
#1. If Evolution is True, Jesus is Wrong About Creation
Since Jesus takes his teaching on marriage directly from both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, it suggests that Jesus understood these to be literal, factual accounts. (Would Jesus base one of the most important doctrines found in Scripture—marriage—on myth?) And since Jesus understands these to be factual accounts of history, the most reasonable method of understanding these passages is according to history—ancient history, to be specific. But when one takes this approach—the historical-grammatical approach—to understanding Scripture, one hardly arrives at any conclusions matching that of evolutionary suggestions. For example:
- Genesis 1 seems to suggest that the Earth was created before the sun. But old age chronology (evolutionary or otherwise!) requires that the sun had to have been created before the Earth! Suggestions, of course, have been made to alleviate this problem, but none of them hold up to rigorous exegesis.5 Furthermore, the only ones that might be convincing exegetically require presuppositions about the nature of Genesis that are foreign to Jesus’ thoughts about it (i.e., we couldn’t use the historical-grammatical hermeneutic), making acceptance of them nothing more than circular reasoning.
- In the Genesis account, we find that flying animals were created before land animals, and plants were created before any animals. On old age chronology, however, we find the exact reverse to be the case.
- Critical scholars (and even many who profess to be evangelical) tend to regard Genesis 2 as a sort of “second” creation account in contradiction with Genesis 1. But since Jesus quotes both in basically the same breath during his conversation with the Pharisees, this suggests that he takes the accounts to be complementary, rather than contradictory.
- Old age chronology requires that animals have been carnivorous for millions of years before God’s creation of Adam. But Genesis 1—which Jesus has affirmed to be historical by basing his doctrine of marriage on it—suggests that animals were created as herbivorous creatures (see Genesis 1:29-30). Strangely, Dr. Hugh Ross (the highly respected figurehead behind the RTB organization) wants to affirm that humans were herbivorous per Genesis 1:29, but in the very next breath, wants to deny that animals were herbivorous despite the fact that the next verse—Genesis 1:30—affirms it.6
- The clearest reading of Genesis 3 suggests that thorns and thistles found in the fossil record are a direct result of the curse God places on the ground because of Adam’s sin. But old age chronology requires thorns and thistles millions of years down in the fossil record before the arrival of humans. Are we to accept that Jesus thought Genesis 1 and 2 should be understood literally7 and worthy of teaching accurate doctrine, but Genesis 3 must be made non-literal in order to avoid being factually incorrect? And once we head down that road, does the Fall itself become non-literal and perhaps factually incorrect?
- Genesis 2 recounts Adam naming all of the land animals and birds. However, if old age chronology is true, there are an estimated 50 billion extinct organisms (representing at least 250,000 species) that Adam never had the chance to name.
- Finally, in the Noachian Flood account of Genesis 6-9 (another historical event affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 24:37), we find that all land animals at the time had a representative on the Ark, but again, this can’t be true on old age theory since the above point notes the existence of hundreds of thousands of species that would not have been on there.8
Perspicuity requires that we take Jesus consistently, lest we find ourselves lost in a sea of confusion, unsure of what the Bible actually intends to teach. And when we do so, it hardly seems plausible that Jesus would speak so confidently of and form doctrine by his understanding of the role of humanity in Genesis 1 and 2, and at the same time deny these other teachings from the same passages and portions of Scripture which are stated with equal lucidity.
#2. If Evolution is True, Jesus is Wrong About Mankind
The next logical “building block” in our cumulative case regarding marriage relates to the doctrine of man, in general. We find Jesus’ affirmation of the doctrine of man in the same passages cited above, which suggests that Jesus’ doctrine of man is derived from taking Genesis 1-3 (as evidenced above) as a fully historical account. As we did a moment ago, we’ll now look to declarations from Genesis about the doctrine of man that must be factually incorrect on evolutionary interpretations:
- Genesis 1:29 teaches with utter clarity that mankind was to be herbivorous. In fact, this is a restriction that we do not find lifted until post-deluge when God is declaring his covenant with Noah (see Genesis 9:3). Yet, the oldest humans in the fossil record show evidence of omnivory—the eating of both plant and animal life.
- Genesis records that the first humans were capable of long life—some (including Adam) living to be nearly 1,000 years old! But the earliest human fossils (on conventional dating) we’ve discovered are living an average of ~30 years, the older person (at ~70 years) is an extreme rarity.
- The Bible offers two important genealogies (found in Genesis 5 and 11) which suggest a hard constraint on the time frame when the first humans must have lived. (Please see here for evidence that these should be considered closed genealogies.) The fossil record, however, provides a plethora of evidence—on conventional, old age chronology—for the existence of the aforementioned omnivory and human age constraints, as well the distribution of humans (both male and female) worldwide, stone tools, the first agriculture, religion, and the first cities well before the time of Babel, Noah, Adam, etc.
- The biblical account found in Genesis 2 suggests that mankind was placed in a physical geographic location known as the Garden of Eden. The Bible claims that a river exits this garden which flows into four separate rivers—the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and the Euphrates—which, in turn, water four separate geographic locations. However, there is no place on the earth’s present configuration which matches this description. This suggests that either the account is incorrect (which would be problematic since Jesus affirmed the truthfulness of events regarding mankind in Genesis 2), or something must have happened which would reconfigure the earth so drastically that it would erase all evidence of such a place. A global flood as described in Genesis 6-9 would accomplish this nicely, but this solution must be false on old age chronology due to geological considerations, rendering a massive contradiction (or inconsistency, if we’re very generous) between such chronology and the teachings of Jesus.9
- In the biblical account we see Eve is made from the side of Adam; yet, we see plenty evidence of male and female existing before Adam on old age chronology!
- In the evolutionary account, a living soul became man through many years of undirected process. But the biblical data suggests that God created man and then man “became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). This draws an insurmountable distinction between the ontological status of humans gleaned from the biblical data vs. on evolution theory. This distinction is even further strengthened when we consider that the Bible teaches mankind and some animals share a similar form of “life”—Nephesh Chayyah. This suggests that man is a separate creation even though his “soulish” properties are shared by some animals—rendering the concept that one is derived from the other to be totally contradictory to the biblical data found in Genesis 1-2.
- Genesis 3:20 states quite clearly that Eve is named so precisely because she was the “Mother of All Living.” (We could, of course, correctly infer the word “humans” after that). But on old age chronology, humans appear way before Adam and Eve and are already quite advanced, relatively speaking.
#3. If Evolution is True, Jesus is Wrong About Marriage
It’s clear to see how the case so far seems to deal a striking blow to the underlying foundation for Jesus’ own teaching about marriage. It stands to reason that, if Jesus draws his doctrine from the first chapters of Genesis, but such chapters are filled with myriad contradictions on old age theories of history, we’ve no reason to think that Jesus’ teaching on marriage is any more correct than these other teachings. But we’ll take our case one step further and take a brief look directly at the doctrine of marriage itself to find if these contradictions persist therein:
- 1 Corinthians 11:3-10 teaches that the husband is the head of the marriage because woman was created for man (vs. 9-10). But a consistent view of old age chronology has man and woman first arriving millions of years before this event, and we’ve no way to know which came first.
- The point of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19:3-9 is that marriage is unbreakable because God created woman from the side of man, and therefore, created marriage! But on old age chronology where Adam and Eve came millions of years after the first humans, this scenario promoted by Jesus never happened, and marriage is nothing more than a man-made ritual which adds only relative cultural—rather than objective spiritual—significance to some naturally-developed evolutionary happenstance.
Again, each of the above contradictions and inconsistencies is literally non-existent if young age creation theory is correct. In other words, they are all explained without contradiction or even any apparent difficulty. By contrast, Dr. Wise points out in concluding from much of the information mentioned above that Genesis 1-11, parts of 23 Psalms, parts of 18 OT books, and parts of seven NT books must be disregarded as inaccurate or false if old age chronology is true and our understanding of the Bible is correct. And applicable to this study, we find that some of this conclusion applies to the very words of Christ himself.
I would argue that the most reasonable inference, then, is that Jesus must have been a young age creationist.
This seems the only consistent way to reconcile the actual statements found in Scripture with Jesus’ apparent historical understanding.
#3. The Logos in the Beginning and the Primacy of Scripture
The case we’ve built so far seems to suggest that the young age creation scenario is the only consistent way to understand the doctrines of creation, man, and marriage, especially with regard to how Jesus himself understood and advanced them. This point will merely serve as a “proof” for the two points above and respond to some common responses from critics of the young age view.
As to the above, there appear to be three old age positions which would each respond in different ways. And although I’m sure representatives of each would respond in a very detailed way, I am simply going to offer my response to the general disposition these views have towards the kind of case I’ve just offered:
#1. The theistic evolutionist might say, “Sure—Jesus believed and taught these things. So did Paul! But we now know from modern science that they were wrong, and the Bible tells us that Jesus does not know everything the Father knows, so that’s okay.”
The above may sound shocking to those hearing it for the first time, but I have had multiple separate encounters now where a theistic evolutionist has told me something exactly like the above. Not surprisingly, many who take this position also regard the notion of biblical inerrancy to be false, and usually place magisterial weight on the most critical scholarship over traditionally held interpretations.
A further element added into the mix may be the claim that Jesus and Paul were only teaching what was culturally accepted by the majority, a claim we examined briefly above.
I see at least two problems with all of this. First, it completely ignores that the Bible explicitly teaches Christ’s presence during the events in the beginning (see John 1:1-14). I have a hard time believing the Scriptures would be inspired in such a way as to allow for a contradiction to arise, such that the Person who framed the universe inaccurately taught how he did it, when he did it, who was there, etc. As to the “cultural majority” claim, I’d like to add to my earlier reflection by making another common sense, rhetorical reflection: Perhaps if the young age scenario was the majority view according to the Hebrew culture, it’s because that’s what they believed history taught them.
Of course, there are numerous scientific reasons to believe the evolutionary scenario is not correct (especially with respect to mankind). See our discussion with Dr. Edgar Andrews here for more of that. But on the basis of Jesus’ beliefs and teachings alone, we have strong reason to believe this is not the correct understanding of earth history.
#2. The day-age theorist (or progressive creationist) might respond by claiming that we are we understanding Jesus and perhaps even the entire creation account wrong because we have not considered some of the other passages which mention the events of creation.
Truth be told, many of the specifics of this position have already been argued against by the reasoning found in this article writ large. If Jesus meant for these passages to be taken historically—which most old age creationists of this stripe affirm—then we can only do so consistently by holding to the young age view as I’ve already shown.
That said, there are two other salient points to be made:
First, the progressive creationist often wants to use passages that are obviously part of Hebrew poetry—such as Psalm 104, for example—to produce the mechanics of the literal events found in Genesis. But I can think of no other linguistic system in which we’d use such reasoning. If there are two renderings of an event—one historical, and one poetic—we’d never use the poetic one (which uses features of language such as hyperbole, imagery, etc.) to determine what actually took place.
Second, this view also ignores the vast Scriptural data which suggests otherwise. Though scores could be given, we’d have to look no further than Exodus 20:8-11 before we find that the events of creation—all of them—took place in six literal days. And since the actual context found in Genesis 1-2 suggests only three possible definitions for the word “day”10 (a 12-hr period, a 24-hr period, and a collective period of six days), we must apply the same rules to Exodus.
To underscore both of the above thoughts, we should remember that since Jesus was present at the beginning, and since Jesus is God, and since it was God who inspired the Scriptures as a whole (2 Timothy 3:16), then every statement found anywhere in Scripture was providentially inspired and/or included by Christ—the second Person of the Trinity. So the fact that Jesus is a young age creationist can be seen not only from his explicit statements in the gospels, but from every allusion and implication found within the entire Canon.
#3. Finally, the framework theorist11 may want to claim that we are using Genesis wrong entirely, and that most of the events found in Genesis 1-11 should be understood not as literal historical accounts, but as non-literal renderings of which the purpose is only to communicate theological and/or polemical truths to the original audience.
First, I should mention that proponents of this view often take no position on the age of the earth. They do not infer a young age nor an old age interpretation from Scripture because they do not believe the Bible comments on this issue in the slightest. Therefore, one could hold this view and affirm young age creation theory at the same time, but they would do so only upon being convinced by the science.
Even so, I’ve got at least four problems with this view.
First, it requires interpreting the Bible using hermeneutical devices which depend upon extra-biblical sources. Folks who argue for this view often cite Babylonian and/or Egyptian creation/flood myths to make their case that Genesis is just another one of these. Proponents of this view want to say that Moses wrote the Pentateuch for the exclusive purpose of presenting polemical information against the pagan gods and theological information about the Abrahamic God. But the testimony of the Scriptures themselves never mentions interpreting via outside vehicles of any kind. In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were were commended because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily.” There is never any indication that the only way to properly understand the Bible is by first considering the pagan writings of other ancient Near Easterners. In fact, this entire view would be decimated upon stronger confirmation of the Tablet Theory, which is widely held among evangelicals and argues that Moses simply edited Genesis from a collection of earlier sources (potentially those mentioned in the toledots).12
Second, it ignores the obvious internal evidence of ancient historical narrative found in Genesis 1-2. Despite some parties’ claim that this is not the case, the overwhelming majority of evangelical Old Testament and Hebrew scholars (both of today and days gone by) see historical narratival information in Genesis 1:1-2:3. It is they who largely affirm the strict possibly of understanding the creation days as ordinary 24 hour days, the absence of important poetical elements like Hebrew parallelism were the document meant to be understand poetically, the appearance of the Waw Consecutive over 50 times—a higher frequency than any other confirmed narrative in the Hebrew Bible, the lack of internal lexical difference between these chapters and the rest of Genesis, the toledot structure of the accounts, the inclusion of specific geographical locations, etc.
Third, it requires biblical genealogies and other mentions to include potentially mythical13 characters for no apparent reason. Rather than to fully develop this point, I’ll again point you to the recent discussion I had with Dr. Edgar Andrews who made this point so well. As one example, consider the author of Hebrews’ mention of Abel in Hebrews 11:4. In this great faith chapter, the author includes many characters of uncontested historical veracity. These would have been enough to make the point! And yet, we see the inclusion of Abel—a character who must be mythical if his father, Adam was—treated in the mix as a historical figure.
Finally, it fails to consider a more robust doctrine of divine inspiration and places unwarranted emphasis on the original audience of the documents. While we want to be very careful to include the author’s intent with respect to his original audience in every case of biblical documents, we mustn’t ignore the dual authorship of the Bible. In other words, it was not only written by humans to a human audience directly before them. It was also divinely inspired to communicate truth to each and every generation. I’ve argued elsewhere that the only consistent way to interpret Scripture is by considering human attestation, spiritual illumination, and divine preservation.14 Any imbalance will necessarily lead to incorrect conclusions. While I am no “anti-intellectual” and fully see the value in Old Testament/Hebrew scholarship, I am forced by my conscience to hold views that appear to be more consistent with Jesus’ own teaching when such scholarship disagrees.
Although the above responses are not detailed enough to provide a thorough refutation of each respective view, they address some of the more foundational premises to the views in question. These premises, if false as I’ve argued, fail to provide a satisfactory reconciliation for data I’ve offered in points one and two.
Therefore, I think the only proper and consistent conclusion we can reach based on what has been argued herein is that Jesus was a young age creationist. By holding this view, we can make sense of the fact that Jesus never contradicted the seemingly obvious interpretation of Scripture by suggesting that ancient history extends much further into the past than traditionally thought. Truly, his silence on the matter is deafening!
We can also affirm that the statements of Genesis 1 and 2 fully support and provide a firm foundation for Jesus’ teaching on marriage. There is no contradiction because old age considerations do not have to be reconciled via any of the above-mentioned vehicles. Finally, we’ve found such vehicles wanting and therefore unable to provide the reconciliation necessary to make sense of the biblical data.
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- For example, the word “trinity” is not found in the Bible, yet holding a trinitarian view of God is literally essential to being a Christian.
- See also Mark 13:19 and Luke 11:50-51 where the exact same Greek phraseology is used in reference to what can only be understood as the beginning of the actual creation event.
- We’d be careful to note that Josephus was likely not a Pharisee–despite testimony from his autobiography–for reasons outside the scope of this article. Nevertheless, his historical information regarding Hebrew beliefs and culture is generally taken to be accurate.
- Much of this case will also be based on information given by Dr. Kurt Wise, as he is considered an honest and reliable source by those on both sides of the origins debate. Much can be found in his book mentioned above, and much of the below is adapted from a lecture which can be viewed here.
- Sarfati, though I must disagree with his unnecessarily disparaging language, is helpful on this point: “Some assert that what really happened on this fourth “day” was that the sun and other heavenly bodies “appeared” when a dense cloud layer dissipated after millions of years. This is not only fanciful science but bad exegesis of Hebrew. The word ‘asah means “make” throughout Genesis 1, and is sometimes used interchangeably with “create” (bara’) — for example, in Genesis 1: 26– 27. It is pure desperation to apply a different meaning to the same word in the same grammatical construction in the same passage, just to fit in with atheistic evolutionary ideas like the big bang. If God had meant “appeared”, then He presumably would have used the Hebrew word for appear (ra’ah), as He did when He said that the dry land “appeared” as the waters gathered in one place on day 3 (Gen. 1: 9). We have checked over 20 major translations, and all clearly teach that the sun, moon, and stars were made on the fourth day.” (Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, Kindle locations 5548–5566. Emphasis in the original.)
- For support for this claim, see Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, Kindle locations 5374–5389.
- No doubt, some will take issue with my claim that Jesus understood these accounts literally, even if they admit he did take them historically. But for the life of me, I see no other option! Jesus seems to take the Bible as if it actually means what it seems to say, which seems logical if the Bible is the Story of the way things really are, and is characteristic of a natural (literal) interpretation. That said, the point of this article is not even to argue for a “literal” interpretation, but a historical one. So even if this one evidence were discounted on that view, the cumulative case still suggests that the old age view is inconsistent with a historically-accurate Genesis.
- An adjacent point worth noting is the unnecessary inclusion of all land animals if the local flood theory promulgated by RTB and others is correct. By this time on old age chronology, we have animals distributed worldwide, and there would be zero reason to infer that any animal species found large distances away would have needed to be included on the Ark—let alone all land animals. In addition, Jesus juxtaposed his affirmation of the flood against another worldwide—global—event: “the coming of the son of man.”
- One could certainly posit an extent for a “local” flood which would accomplish this reconfiguration; but such a supposition would have to be arbitrary since the Bible gives no clear understanding of the geographical extent of this deluge, if not global.
- The overwhelming majority of Hebrew scholarship is in agreement with this. The context does not allow for the stretching of these days.
- In this case, I am using this term to include all of those who argue for a historical, yet non-literal interpretation of early Genesis. I realize that there are many views within this camp and certainly want to avoid over-generalizing, but hopefully, the reader will understand the sheer impossibility of detailing the minutia of each and every view.
- Simply, this is because it would clearly show that each of the above-mentioned myths are mere “bastardizations” of the historical account. These, as I’ve argued here with respect to the Flood, actually support the Bible’s claim that such events actually happened.
- To be fair, many who hold this view do still see Adam, Eve, etc. as historical characters. Sadly, many are perfectly fine with their non-existence! Of course, even those who regard Adam, Eve, etc. to be historical on this view must hold it somewhat arbitrarily. If some of the account is mythical, where to draw the line? How do we avoid the slippery slope of mythicizing the whole thing? They may appeal to the statements of Jesus to do so. But then, on what basis do they ignore Jesus’ clear affirmation of the historicity of the entire account! One must sacrifice consistency in order to be arbitrary—a double-edged sword, it appears.
- I should have used the word “inspiration,” but wanted to convey the idea of relevance through multiple generations of Christians, which I think is better captured by the word “preservation.”