The Genesis Historic Narrative: Scientific Accuracy

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works. Psalm 9:1 NKJV

?Does Genesis adhere to scientific accuracy?

An excerpt from the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal is an example of a major denomination questioning whether Young Earth Creation (YEC) adheres to science. The tenor of the article might be suggesting that the interpretation of Genesis 1-11 can optionally be determined as literal or symbolic.

Historically, because of Pentecostal theology's fundamentalist roots, Pentecostals have interpreted Genesis as historical narrative that is scientifically accurate, and they reject those scientific findings that contradict this interpretation. But today many people who are technologically savvy and immersed in the popular media's representation of science are members of our congregations. Many of them are uncomfortable rejecting out-of-hand the findings of science that seem to conflict with traditional interpretations of the Genesis account. They are increasingly interested in fostering an integrated view of Christian faith and natural science.
Mike Tenneson, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Evangel University
Steve Badger, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry at Evangel University (Ret.)
A Brief Overview of Pentecostal Views on Origins, Tenneson and Badger, AG Enrichment Journal, Spring 2015

Comment: YEC's are often accused of insisting that Genesis adheres to "scientific accuracy" and that they "reject those scientific findings that contradict this interpretation." The accusation is true, but the story must be understood in full context. The Creation chapters present a historic overview of a series of supernatural events that are not subject to the guidelines of the scientific method, simply because they are supernatural. Creationists believe that the historic (literal) acceptance of a six day creation will be supported by the observational evidence currently available relative to Days 3, 5, and 6 of Genesis 1: the days on which all life forms were created. Genesis 1-11 is a historic account that should be viewed as an overview in which God has identified specific essential events. Statements in Genesis that do define scientific principles present no problem for a young Earth and for science. Genesis 1 states that all living things were created "after their kind." The Bible speaks to the diversity of life as being defined within created species, justifying a plain reading of the text and cited by observational evidence (that which is seen today.) What are rejected by YEC's are the evolutionary beliefs that clearly have not been tested by the scientific method, the most obvious being the missing evidence for the evolutionary origin and complexity of life. Neo-Darwinists (EC's and EV's) hold to the belief that macro-evolution provides the mechanism for the diversity of life. This idea for the development of new species is based on a process that has no transitional support from the fossil record. If new species have been created by an evolutionary process, at least an occasional and observable interim example would be clearly identifiable, whether in the fossil record or in its continuation in more recent history.

OEC theology does not fully agree with the naturalistic macro-evolutionary creation of new species proposed by EV's, but rather believe that God has intervened over long periods to dramatically alter existing organisms. The OEC theory would also leave traces of transitional evidence, unless God spontaneously created new life forms in the same manner as on days 3, 5, and 6 of Creation week. A series of re-creation events for species formation, however, would also require a human addendum to the Biblical text. Either way, a historic account that meets Old Earth requirements is contrived and would require a re-write of scripture.

The Bible does not use "scientific terminology" when describing the Genesis Creation account, but the language alone does not suggest error. Although the EC/EV language seems to be scientific, the evolutionary science supporting the language is in error due to the subjective interpretation of the evidence.

Rather than rejecting a YEC belief, it might be well to review articles that support the "scientific (and historic) accuracy" of Genesis 1-11, available at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and Answers in Genesis (AiG).

Before moving on, we must confess that a literal acceptance of Genesis has the "problem" of the other beliefs mentioned, that being a lack of empirical evidence regarding "beginnings." The referenced chapters must be accepted by faith. It should be noted that the missing evidence must be applied equally to those who believe in evolution and "deep time," The result is that all beliefs regarding origins are based on faith. Science has no answers regarding the beginning of the material world and all of life.

?Does OEC/EC philosophy adhere to scientific accuracy? The search continues!

The missing transitional fossils created an evolutionary necessity for a "credible" response to explain the absence of empirical evidence. Ph.D. paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed the concept of Punctuated Equilibrium to supplement Darwinism. Simply stated, after a period of stasis (no significant change), isolated populations were rapidly modified to create new species, leaving no trace of transitions. Although often mentioned in evolutionary discussions, the PEq theory does not adhere to scientific accuracy.

Evolutionists (EV's) and Evolutionary Creationists (EC's) have attempted to determine how the first cell (life) was created through natural processes (abiogenesis). EC's share the philosophy of the godless evolutionary view (EV) that the origin of the first single celled organism occurred by natural chemical interactions over time. EC's also give credence to a back-up solution that God may have caused the chemicals in the primordial soup to come together to form the first cell. In either instance, they believe that all of life emanated from the single celled organism over eons.

OEC's have varying theories as to how Adam and Eve were formed, whether by a specific act of creation by God, or by an evolutionary transition that culminated with God breathing humanity into the first couple (or "first couples" as some believe.) Both OEC and EC theories disregard the fact that the Bible clearly states that all of life was created "after their kind." Adam was uniquely created by a specific act and in God's image and likeness; both he and Eve were of the "human kind." An evolutionary process that creates new species from existing life forms suffers from an absence of transitional evidence as well as a proven process that adds information to the genome. The theory does not adhere to scientific accuracy.

Brief examples of the Bible's adherence to observational science

The Bible may not read like a science textbook, but the few selected verses below indicate adherence to the principles governing the Universe and biology. The previously discussed verses in Genesis 1 that specify "after their kind" are in agreement with Cell Theory as well as with the science of species reproduction. Genesis 1:27 describes the creation of Adam as being uniquely different than any other species on the planet. "From the beginning" man has had intelligence, creativity, the power to learn, and an awareness of his Creator that is absent in all other life forms. The qualities and capabilities that are inherent in every human are astounding by any scientific standard.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27 NKJV

Following the same principles of adhering to or referencing scientific principles, the following verses are among many: Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1 above cite the order throughout the Universe that cannot be attributed to natural means when reasonable thought is applied.

Trusting the simplicity and inerrancy of the Bible

And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Cor. 15:45 NKJV

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned - Romans 5:12 NKJV

Neither the supposed birth of the first cell (EC) and its transformation into all of life can be justified by a straight-forward reading of scripture. Nor can a time-frame of long ages be read into any Biblical reference to Creation. The Progressive Creationist view (per the RTB website) is that Adam was created/evolved ~50,000+ years ago. In order to create a historic OEC account, the clearly defined Biblical Genealogy in Genesis 5 would have to be substantially revised. What were Adam and his pre-Flood descendants doing for 50,000 years and how do the individuals born during that time fit the genealogy from Adam through Noah in Genesis 5? An OEC/EV account is not confirmed by scripture and requires a completely different understanding of Creation, the Fall, and the pre and post-Flood chronology, at a minimum.

Genesis also defines what is obvious: a day is based on the fact that its duration is 24 hours. There is no scientific dispute that our planet has always seen a 24-hour rotation on its axis (an evening and a morning); and the time for a a single revolution around the Sun gives us seasons over a 365 day period. An OEC/EC account assigning eons to the word "days" is not confirmed by scripture. And, although not realized as such, days and seasons are the first understandable introduction to science for every child.

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years. Genesis 1:14 NKJV

He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows its going down. Psalm 104:19 NKJV

Both OEC & EC beliefs include the addition of general revelation (or nature) as one of God's methods to "help" explain the meaning of His Word. Nature, however, is simply observational evidence, pointing to and confirming the existence of God as stated in Romans 1:20. When belief in God begins with an understanding of His Creation in six literal days, all else is seen with greater clarity. Understanding our Creator begins with the Word as He meant it to be understood. Any effort by OEC's/EC's to redefine His Word by inserting nature in the guise of "science" to create a timeline consisting of billions of years is in error.

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 1 Timothy 6:20 KJV

It might be fair to say that objective science is not in opposition to God's word, but rather the subjective science of evolution is that which is "falsely so called."

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Romans 1:20

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