The Genesis Historic Narrative: Competing Theories

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1 NKJV

?Are competing theories to the Creation account justified by objective science?

The declaration of God's glory in Psalm 19:1 clearly defines His power as seen in Creation and that His majesty can be observed throughout the cosmos. Although the Psalm makes no mention of periods of time, it is without question that a definitive age of the material world is supported in the Creation chapters of Genesis and all of nature is the visible proof of His existence.

Romans 1:19-20 NIV 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The verses in Romans also do not mention the age of Creation but do state that God can be clearly seen by the evidence observed in the order and complexity of the material world. The Bible further confirms the aforementioned evidence by citing the specific and definitive dating found in Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 5, leading up to the time of the Flood.

This section will explore several theories put forth by the OEC/EC communities regarding the age of the Earth and the origin and complexity of life. In the attempt to discredit the Genesis version of a six day Creation, the OEC/EC interpretation of the evidence suffers from what can best be described as "subjective science."

Old Earth Creationism (OEC) and Science

Reasons to Believe (RTB), a Progressive Creation group under the leadership of Dr. Hugh Ross, has been influential in successfully promoting the idea of an ancient Earth. The view by RTB of what constitutes evidence and the interpretation of the evidence is often subjective. An article on the RTB web site states the following:

When did Adam and Eve live? The Bible gives some parameters but leaves the question open. Three different lines of "scientific evidence" (albeit imprecise) help provide an answer. First, the oldest archaeological evidence of humanity (tools, religious artifacts, etc.) dates back around 80,000 years ago. Second, scientists have found fossilized human remains with ages in the 100,000 year range. Third, genetic dating using molecular clock analysis of mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam yield dates between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. The consistency of these three independent lines of evidence instills some confidence that Adam and Eve lived somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago. This date fits within the Biblical framework and strongly argues for a recent origin of humanity.
Age of Adam Reasons to Believe,
Note: The above referenced article is no longer available, but a more recent paper on the RTB site also suggests dates for the creation of Adam and Eve, "would lie between 50,000 and 120,000 years ago. However, the date could be stretched back as far as 230,000 years."
When Did God Create Adam and Eve?, Hugh Ross, October 19, 2016

Comment: The three lines of "imprecise scientific evidence" suggested by the RTB article have been debated and consist more of theoretical and philosophical interpretations with an ancient Earth still remaining difficult to prove. The age-dating methods are unreliable at best and are the subject of many YEC research projects. A search on will present a number of scientific papers and videos describing radiometric dating.
The third line of the "(albeit imprecise) scientific evidence ", the molecular clock analysis cited by RTB, is based on problematic beliefs at least equal to that of the evolutionary faith in radiometric dating. ICR also discusses the molecular clock issues in the article
Is the Cambrian Explosion Problem Solved?,, Brian Thomas, M.S., Dec. 12, 2011

RTB incorporates general revelation (nature) and special revelation (the Bible) into their interpretation of God's word. General revelation is considered (by RTB) to be the 67th book of the Bible and is referenced as being evidence in support of an old Earth. This belief is dramatically illustrated by the highlighted statement in the above RTB quote, suggesting that a 50,000 year old Adam "fits within the Biblical framework." A more important question would be: How does an "ancient Adam" fit into an OEC historic narrative and offer a verifiable timeline for a re-interpretation of Creation week?

The RTB excerpt also begins with the statement that, "The Bible gives some parameters" (on Adam's age). It may be prudent to read the Bible's brief declaration affirming the verifiable age of Adam:

"And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. Genesis 5:3 NKJV"

The above verse confirms, without ambiguity, that Seth arrived on the Earth 130 years after the the sixth day of Creation. Reading the verse with anything other than a literal interpretation defies logic. The YEC belief is that the material world, including the concept of time, began with the Biblical Creation week.

RTB also offers "evidence" that Noah's Flood was not worldwide, but regional according to the following excerpt from an article on their website:

A quick reading of the English text of Genesis 6-9 gives readers - at least since the time of world exploration - the impression of a global event. However, scientific evidence to the contrary seems clear and compelling. This evidence includes the lack of sufficient quantities of water and the ark's inadequacy to hold every land-dwelling species on Earth. This dilemma produces a painful tension for those who take both the Scripture and science seriously.
Noah's Flood: A Birds Eye View, Reasons to Believe, Dr. Steve Sargianis

Comment: Information readily available on the web pages of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) * indicates that ~71% of the Earth's surface is covered with water and that 96.5% of all the water is in the oceans.

It also may be interesting to note that the web site NEWTON Ask A Scientist , operated by Argonne National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy presented information contrary to the idea that the Earth's water is insufficient to support a global flood. Following is a student's question and the response:
Q: "If the earth was a perfect smooth sphere how deep would the water level be?"
A: "A smooth Earth would be entirely covered with water to a depth of ~1.6 miles."

The references from these two sites clearly contradict the idea that there is a lack of sufficient quantities of water to substantiate the Genesis flood.
* USGS, How much water is there on, in, and above the Earth?

Dr. Sargianis continues:
Following rigorous rules of biblical exegesis (discovering the original intent of text), a thoughtful reader finds that a global flood interpretation is neither as obvious nor as consistent as a superficial reading may suggest op. cit.

Comment: The general comments in the above seem to be substitutes for evidence as demonstrated in just a few of the highlighted words. The article uses the phrases "a thoughtful reader", and "a superficial reading", suggesting that the greater insight of an evolutionary scientist can override the very clear evidence that is being ignored.

19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits* upward, and the mountains were covered. Genesis 7:19-20 NKJV

It could be argued that, even with sufficient water to cover the Earth, a submerged Mt. Everest at 29,000 feet above sea level would still be difficult to explain. Research by creation scientists is available that theorizes how severe volcanic activity and the rapid movement of the tectonic plates may have caused post-Flood mountain ranges to rapidly exceed their pre-Flood elevations.
Evolution Exposed: Earth Science, Chapter 9, Plate Tectonics, Roger Patterson, Feb. 10, 2011, Answers in Genesis

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:11-12 NKJV

A critique of OEC Progressive Creationism was written for ICR by John C. Whitcomb, Ph.D., co-author of The Genesis Flood with Henry Morris, Ph.D. A brief excerpt may encourage the reader to view the entire article:

The intricate details of Genesis 1-2 are sufficient in themselves to negate the theory of Progressive Creationism. This discussion must await a future article. However, our purpose at this time is to demonstrate that stretching the days of creation to millions of years to accomodate secular theories becomes even more absurd when we allow the entire Bible to shed its essential light upon the first chapter of Genesis.
Progressive Creationism, John C. Whitcomb, Ph.D, June 1, 2003, ICR

Evolutionary Creationism (EC) and Science

In a September 6, 2011 science blog, Rachael Held Evans directs Creation questions from her readers to Dr. Dennis Venema. Dr Venema is affiliated with the Biologos Forum and holds a Ph.D in Genetics & Developmental Biology. An excerpt from the dialogue at Ask an Evolutionary Creationist serves as an example of "evolutionary science":

Evolution is actually very good at producing similar results over and over again: consider how similar ichthyosaurs (descended from terrestrial reptiles) and dolphins (descended from terrestrial mammals) are.

Ichthyosaur, National Geographic, livescience, Art by Raul Martin
Dolphin, Defenders of Wildlife, photo Kristian Sekulic

Comment: EC's and EV's believe that increased complexity can occur by natural processes and chemical interactions. When stating that "evolution is very good at" something, it implies that intelligence is involved. A natural random process cannot be "very good" at anything "over and over again" without the issertion of intelligence and planning. EC's may claim God's input along the way, but that would reside outside of adherence to evolutionary belief. It should also be noted that being "similar" (as in the "similarity" between the ichthyosaurs and dolphins) does not necessarily mean "descended from", and to suggest that comparison in itself is scientific is subjective.

The claims of evolutionists often invoke what is purported to be proven science, but the reality is that objectively interpreted evidence is required for their theory to rise above the hypothetical. Dr. Venema's hypothesis that the ancient Ichthyosaur and a dolphin are descendants of land-based reptiles and mammals respectively leaves out the fact that the story is pure conjecture. The idea that sea creatures changed into amphibians, were then transformed into terrestrial mammals over long periods of time, and then returned to the sea as porpoises and whales is completely without merit. Note the image below and quotes describing how a "grand story" remains just that!

The following YEC articles will further explain why the fish to amphibians to terrestrial mammals to seafaring mammals does not "hold water":
Creating the Missing Link: A Tale About a Whale", Duane Gish, Ph.D., 1983. Acts & Facts 12 (9).
Scientific Roadblocks to Whale Evolution, Acts & Facts. 1998. 27 (10)

Pakicetus: The Walking Whale

A comment made in 1994 by Philip Gingerich, Ph.D. University of Michigan, stated that Pakicetus was a creature perfectly intermediate between a land animal and a whale. The blue areas highlighted in the fossil skull image above show the bones that were actually found.

A related "whale story" is that told by Dr. Victor B. Scheffer, National geographic, vol. 50 December 1976, pg. 752, entitled Exploring the Lives of Whales. An excerpt is below:

The whale's ascendency to sovereign size apparently began sixty million years ago when hairy, four legged mammals, in search of food or sanctuary, ventured into water. As eons passed, changes slowly occurred. Hind legs disappeared, front legs changed into flippers, hair gave way to a thick smooth blanket of blubber, nostrils moved to the top of the head, the tail broadened into flukes, and in the buoyant water world, the body became enormous.
Exploring the Lives of Whales, National geographic, vol. 50, December 1976, pg. 752

Comment: To re-use the emphasized words in the above: Apparently, the only thing that has become enormous is the tale told in the name of science.

As previously mentioned, believers in an old Earth claim that a literal Genesis account does not meet the standards required for scientific accuracy, arguing that Genesis chapters 1-11 should be interpreted to accomodate long ages. It is interesting, however, that the interpretation of the evidence by OEC/EC's (as well as ID's and EV's) does not meet the rigorous demands of objective science. In addition to the examples previously identified, and those in the pages of In6Days: A Biblical Creation Study Guide, the evidence does not support evolutionary theory or an ancient Universe.

A glaring foundational problem for evolutionists is that the idea of a first cell (life) being created in a "primordial chemical soup" by a process called abiogenesis is without empirical evidence. (see details at In6Days: The Origin of Life) The cornerstone of evolution was always dependent on the combined studies of the origin of life and the complexity of life. A "movement" gaining popularity with evolutionists is to separate these two into "related" but not inter-dependent fields of study. Specifically, the idea states that the origin of the first cell does not have to be scientifically proven in order to validate the second premise that life's complexities developed through an evolutionary process. If it seems too preposterous to believe that any serious scientist would admit support for such a failure of basic logic, the following is from the pages of BIOLOGOS:

Strictly speaking, abiogenesis is not part of evolutionary theory, in that evolution is the theory of how life changes over time, not how life may have arisen from non-life.
Evolution Basics: At the Frontiers of Evolution, Part 1: Frontier Science, Abiogenesis and Christian Apologetics, Dennis Venema, BIOLOGOS, June 19, 2014

Comment: It would seem logical that the origin of life would surely be a point of scientific interest before arriving at conclusions regarding the complexities of life. A cavaliering thought process should be disturbing when a foundational tenet of a theory cannot be verified by objective science.

A final quote from Biologos regarding EC philosophy should be of great concern, particularly with regard to their belief that the Adam and Eve of Genesis 1 and 2 were not to be taken as a literal first couple.

... the data are clear that humans have been created through an evolutionary process and there never was a time when there was a single first couple, two peoples who were the progenitors of the entire human race. Within that framework, BioLogos does not take a position on the existence, in history, of two unique individuals, Adam and Eve.
"Christianity TodayChristianity" Cover Story, BioLogos, Darrel Falk (Editorial), May 31, 2011

Comment: Churches that have trusted the Bible as an unchanging source of truth should be attentive to what is being proposed: Adam and Eve are being presented as fictional characters. Before this revisionist doctrine makes further inroads into the Church, the leadership should be aware that it represents a re-statement of Christian faith. The transition from Old Earth Creation (OEC) to Evolutionary Creation (EC) and finally to Evolution (EV) accelerates as Genesis is read as stories simply to teach a truth. The difference is God or "no-God": "Have it your way!."

Return to main page press (BackSpace / <--)   or   The Genesis Historic Narrative Index