Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Genesis 1 and "old-earth" vs. "young-earth" creationism

When the Bible says “day”—as in, “that was the first day”—what does that mean? Of course, to modern ears, my question might sound Clintonian (“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”). As a first pass, it reads to us like a literal day. On the other hand, "with the Lord, a day is like a 1000 years" (Ps 90:4, II Pet 3:8) and we worship a God who is outside of time. So let’s keep the question open at least a little longer…

The bulk of the debate is between those who embrace “Old Earth” (OE) creationism or “Young Earth” (YE) creationism. (There are other theories; I’ll teach/blog on some of those in the coming weeks.) First, it’s important to note that “creationism” encompasses both—while many proponents of Evolution, out of ignorance or to score cheap/false rhetorical points—use the term to refer to YE only.

YE argues that the days of creation in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days; OE argues that each day represents an indefinite period. Each side claims to be literal—the OE side arguing that the original intent of the text allows (or even requires) a day/age approach. It should be noted that there is no debate here over the WHO of Creation, but disagreement over HOW and WHEN. (As I posted earlier, both have varying sorts/levels of disagreement with Evolution as a comprehensive explanation for the development of life.)

I’ll spend a little bit of time on the science and church history angles before spending the bulk of this post on the biblical evidences.

From a scientific angle, the most prominent OE proponent is Hugh Ross with Reasons to Believe; the most prominent YE proponent is Ken Ham with Answers in Genesis. I don’t know enough about science to say definitively; when I listen to one or the other, each side often sounds reasonable. Of course, the bulk of modern science seems to support OE, but we certainly have other categories of evidence to consider.

I’m also impressed by physicist Gerald Schroeder’s both/and theory in The Science of God. He argues that Creation occurred over six days from a cosmic perspective and the universe is 15.75 billion years old from earth’s perspective. This lines up with OE science, the manner in which light travels, and the relativity of time.

With respect to what the church fathers have written, I’ve read both sides—most recently in a useful “Three Views” book on Genesis 1. Without going back to the original sources, I am not clear on the extent to which OE views—or more broadly, non-24-hour-day views—were prevalent. (I care about this issue, but not nearly that much!) That said, it is quite safe to say that there was little dogmatism on this question until the mid-late-19th century.

Here’s a crucial but oft-overlooked issue. Beyond the available evidences—scientific, historical, and biblical—there is the vital question about the weight one should attach to each category. God reveals Himself through nature (Rom 1:20), but how good are we at reading that “book”? God reveals Himself through history, but how good are we at understanding His activity in history? God reveals Himself through His Word, but how good are we at interpreting it? Moreover, in each field, we all bring biases and pre-conceived notions to the table. The Bible is not a science or a history book, but is accurate insofar as it touches on science and history. But what is that extent—and to what extent can we trust our interpretations of each category, individually or in combination? YE’ers will say that we should not “compromise” with science. But what would they have said, ex ante, about those who abandoned the traditional understanding in church history of an earth-centered universe? More recently, some YE’ers have abandoned Ussher’s (traditional) date of 4004 BC to approximately 8000 BC—in order to line Scripture up with archaeology. When are such adjustments to be considered compromise rather than merely improving our understanding of nature, history, and the Bible? 

So, what does the Bible say about this? The YE case is quite clear; it takes more time to develop the OE case. First, let’s consider the key Hebrew word in question. 

1.) In Genesis 1:5, “day” (the Hebrew word yom) is used in 1:5a to refer to the daylight part of a day—and in 1:5b as a complete ‘one day’. (See also: Genesis 1:14-19.) 

2.) In Genesis 2:2-3, the 7th day does not mention an evening or a morning, suggesting that this day has not yet ended—and is, thus, (far) longer than a 24-hour day. (In Heb 3:7-4:11, the 7th day is extended at least until Christ’s 1st coming. See also: Do we interpret Ex 20:9-11 and Jn 5:17 as literal or metaphor? Are Lev 8:33 and Lev 25:8 to be read as a direct comparison or metaphor?)

                3.) Genesis 2:4’s ‘when’ in the NIV is literally “in the day (yom)”—again, clearly more than one day.

                4.) In Genesis 2:17’s “when” is again “in that day”—but here, implying a moment (3:5).

In sum, there are five different meanings for yom in Gen 1-2. Elsewhere, yom is translated 950x in the NIV as “day”, 474x as “days”, and numerous other singular and plural words. I’ve read YE’ers who claim that yom must be seen as a 24-hour day, but this is not required biblically (Hos 6:2) or apparently by Hebrew grammar. And recently, I read that yom was the only Hebrew word available for a long period of time when Genesis was written (olam became available later).

Second, how did Adam complete all of the Day 6 tasks (1:24-31; 2:7-9,15-22) and feel 2:18,20,23’s profound sense of (boredom and) loneliness in less than 24 hours?! (Feel free to insert a joke about men here!)

Archer notes that Linneaus took several decades to classify all the species known to Europe. Biblically, to be human is to be limited, even in a pre-Fallen state. And even if Adam were super-skilled, why would we infer that he was also super-bored?!

Moreover, if God was in no hurry with Creation (six days vs. instantaneous and “saw that it was good”), why would he want Adam to be rushed (vs. careful study and admiration)? If Christ was here for 33 years, why would Adam’s vital work be accomplished in just a few hours? As Ross and Archer note: “As God introduces Adam to the three levels of His creation—the physical, the soulish, and the spiritual—He teaches and prepares Adam for life on earth and for the care and keeping of the land, the plants and the animals…Throughout Scripture we see that God offers no shortcuts to experience, knowledge, discipline and maturity.”

In a word, the YE assumptions here are extra-biblical—if not anti-biblical—and difficult to reconcile with what we know theologically.

Third, there are a handful of passages which seem odd—if not incoherent—without the earth’s antiquity: Hab 3:6, II Pet 3:5; Job 15:7, Ps 90:2,4, Pr 8:22-31, Eccl 1:4, and Mic 6:2. As Randy Baker notes: “The Bible uses the antiquity of the founding of the earth as a suitable metaphor for God’s eternality. If the earth is only 144 hours older than the human race, this metaphor loses its force.”

YE’ers express concerns about Rom 5:12 (I Cor 15:21-22)? But this should be interpreted as Paul speaking to the figurative/spiritual death of man, not the physical death of man or animals. There are very good reasons to believe that plants died pre-Fall—and some interesting arguments for even animals dying pre-Fall.

One other consideration: the universe may have been created with “apparent age”. (YE’ers rely, in varying degrees, on apparent age—for example, with respect to stars and starlight created in transit.) This may seem deceptive, but almost by definition, we’d probably find apparent age in newly created rocks, Adam & Eve as adults, mature trees/plants, etc. Note also that Christ’s first miracle—Jn 2's water to wine (following Jesus as Creator in Jn 1)—was an act of creation, resulting in something with apparent age! And remember Dolly, the DNA-cloned sheep? Her DNA looked six years older than she ‘is’. One final thought: apparent age would only be “apparent” since we can’t see well/deeply enough.

So, what are the options for the Biblical Christian?

1.) literal days with YE scientific evidences

2.) figurative days with day-age explanation and OE scientific evidence

3.) Schroeder’s both/and: cosmic vs. earth’s perspective on time

4.) figurative days with “literary framework” (more later)—focusing on the parallels between days 1-3 and 4-6

5.) literal or figurative days with “apparent age”

Bottom line: There is no reason to be dogmatic—except to say that we’re not sure. Biblically, dogmatic YE’ers are “weaker brothers” (Rom 14). They view all OE’ers as compromisers, but this cannot be supported biblically. And clearly, this issue should not be a stumbling block for non-Christians or Christians. In fact, Christians should be “thoroughly equipped” to argue both sides—to minister and evangelize more effectively—whether they believe one side or another. So, focus on the flaws of Evolution—and know at least two of the many sides of this debate.


At January 20, 2010 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Eric, I'm curious what your thoughts are on Genesis 1:14 where it says "let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years..."

I have no understanding of the original language, but if I assume that "yom" was the only available way to describe a period of time then it begs this question: what available noun was used to express the "years" in 1:14? And why would this same noun not be used earlier in Genensis 1 to describe long periods of time?

I pose those questions, not as a trap. I truly do not know the answer and it's something I've contemplated and have been unable to find a sufficient answer.

At January 20, 2010 at 10:05 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

A good question...thanks!

I'm not sure, but going to my concordance, it looks like:

The word translated as "seasons" is usually translated "meeting" (the Tent of Meeting) or "appointed times"-- connecting to the festivals Israel celebrated. Days is yom. And "years" is sanah-- which is a year.

So, a longer period of time is available, but not a (very) long period of time-- unless the writer puts a specific number in front of "year" (e.g., "Adam lived 930 years") or perhaps something more vague like "many years". But now (if not before), I'm in over my head in Hebrew!

At January 20, 2010 at 10:19 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

[“As God introduces Adam to the three levels of His creation—the physical, the soulish, and the spiritual—He teaches and prepares Adam for life on earth and for the care and keeping of the land, the plants and the animals…Throughout Scripture we see that God offers no shortcuts to experience, knowledge, discipline and maturity.”
In a word, the YE assumptions here are extra-biblical—if not anti-biblical—and difficult to reconcile with what we know theologically.]

"anti-biblical"? - that is rather strong language of the YE position. I guess you would be an OEer, then? :-)

In any case, this point doesn't seem to make sense. How much time God spent preparing Adam during the "creation days" has more to do with the timing of the Fall rather than how long Creation took.

In any case, "Evening/Morning" make a pretty good case for a 24 hour day in my opinion. I wonder how those words translate out?

Also, great point about this being anything but the main point. It could be a potential red herring and we don't want to be divisive.
However, in this area, as in others (like eschatology), God did it/will do it a particular way - it's either "oe" or "ye"/ a,pre or post-millenial, etc. I do not think there is anything wrong with studying the Bible and coming to some type of conclusion.

At January 21, 2010 at 1:45 AM , Blogger Marshall Jones, Jr. said...

I'm with PianoMom - I'm a YE'er for now (I'll get that out in the open up front). I appreciate this write up - I hadn't considered the other position in a while.

Still, the "evening and morning" section seems clear to me, though an understanding of the original language would sure help.

Also, Exodus seems to equate the six days of creation with the six working days in a week:

". . . Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work. . . For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. . ." -Genesis 20:9-20

I'd like to think I'm open to the possibility of OE creation. Either way, though, saying YE is extra-biblical (if not anti-biblical) seems quite a leap from a straight forward reading of the Scripture.

Having said that (and perhaps already proving the following point), I liked what you said about the YE'ers being the "weaker brothers." Touche... Don't tiptoe, but be ye careful, Marshall: righteousness > rightness.

-Marshall Jones Jr.

At January 21, 2010 at 8:25 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Yes, along the lines of Marshall's reasoning, this should say

"Biblically, dogmatic YE’ers and OE'ers are “weaker brothers” (Rom 14)".
Although I think what you were trying to say (and it's probably true) that YE'ers have more of an issue in this area.

Is calling the YE position extra-biblical or anti-biblical being dogmatic?
Would I be thusly labelled if I had said the OE position was extra or anti-biblical?

At January 21, 2010 at 8:46 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I meant for "extra-biblical and perhaps anti-Biblical" to describe the three paragraphs of that section, not just the Ross quote.

PianoMom and Marshall,
I lean quite a bit toward OE, but cannot come close to eliminating YE. Moreover, I think the "apparent age" and Schaefer's "both/and" explanations preserves room for YE and OE. That said, it should not be a test of faith-- and believers should be equipped to argue for YE and OE.

The term "extra-Biblical" is provocative but accurate. The term-- and its reality-- is not something to fear. But it is something to worry about-- and at the least, to (try to) recognize its role in your interpretations of Scripture. We all bring biases to the table. And when the information provided is so limited (as it is in Gen 1-2), one necessarily brings in outside assumptions to draw inferences.

OE'ers are accused of this all the time-- but it's true of both sides, by definition, since we know so little. And my impression is that the average YE'er has not considered that they bring extra-biblical assumptions to the table.

"Anti-biblical" is a stronger and more debatable thing for me to say. But in preparation for teaching Genesis 1 this time, I was really struck by what the YE'ers implicitly assume about Adam and God. These assumptions are at least awkward in concert with what else has been revealed about God and what it means to be human.

I cited the Exodus 20 passage in my post-- and I agree that a straight-up reading of that passage (by itself) gets you to six 24-hour days. That said, it can be read as metaphor (or back to Schaefer's both/and). And given the other considerations, it's not an open-and-shut case.

At January 21, 2010 at 9:10 AM , Blogger PianoMom said...

So, YE'ers make extra-biblical assumption in that the events of Day 6 could have happened so quickly - they rushed all around and the day was over.
On the flip side, OE'ers do the same in assuming Adam went for a (much) longer period of time without sinning - to develop experience, wisdom and maturity.

"Anti-biblical" seems too strong a term to apply to either; but if it applies to one, it applies to the other.

At January 21, 2010 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Agreed, if so. But does the OE position necessarily imply anything about the length of Adam's sinlessness?

At January 21, 2010 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Aaron Burgess said...

Great entry and dialogue. The Biologos Foundation might be helpful to those interested in this debate.

The issues that emerge in this internal debate amongst Christians are often a matter of hermeneutics.

I am of the opinion that the Genesis 1 passage is more akin to poetry than prose. This poetic form is obvious in both the Hebrew and English translations. It reads like a hymn and many Hebraic scholars believed it to be a hymn. Read the passage and you will see a poetic rhythm that builds around the concepts of "forming and filling."

This account was most likely transmitted orally for centuries until someone wrote it down. The easiest way to maintain an account or story without codifying it in writing is to capture it in song or poetry. Poetry and song are easier to memorize and pass down. A society's history can typically be cataloged through song. This is why so much of the Old Testament is poetic. It is indicative of a society that stored its history orally.

The poetic nature of this text creates problems for those who would like to interpret it "literally." Whatever "literal" means we usually understand almost immediately that poetry is primarily figurative.

If this is the case, then this passage tell us nothing about the "literal" age of the earth or about the scientific mechanisms that enabled creation. This of assumes that science is a "literal" form of human inquiry.

At January 21, 2010 at 1:54 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

OE would imply a long period of sinlessness if you are saying that God's character requires that Adam spend time developing maturity and discipline and experience. That's what your quote stated.

"Yom" can mean anything, evidently. The text goes to the trouble of saying evening/morning. You have to spritualize those words away, to account for OE, and I am uncomfortable doing that for 3 words (18 altogether) in one chapter.

Here's what I think happened - I have no idea if this really what happened and I realize I am making extra-biblical assumptions:

The actual physical creation occurs on the six days as described - 24 hour days. God rests on the 7th day.

Events which began on Day 6 such as working in the garden, caring for the animals, communing with God, continue afterward for a short time... then the Fall.

It's possible that a lot fewer species of animals existed at the Creation - microevolution has not yet happened; naming takes less time. It's also possible Adam found none like himself and was profoundly lonely. Anyone ever go off to camp or college where you don't know anyone; it doesn't take long to feel very alone.

This is my take on the Bible and events. I understand that Christians can disagree and that doesn't bother me but my view is not "anti-biblical"

At January 21, 2010 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Aaron, thanks for your encouraging words, the link, and the comments on poetry, oral transmission of the text, etc.

In a future lesson and blog entry, I'll talk about the "literary framework" view and then eventually the "cosmic temple inauguration" view-- both of which rely on the angle you've described.

At January 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...


The point of the quote, in context, is that God doesn't seem to be in a hurry with these sorts of things elsewhere. So, why here-- when there is, literally, all the time in the world?

The quote could result in anti-biblical notions, but is not in itself anti-biblical. I would say the same thing about certain YE arguments: YE is not an anti-biblical position, but if one is not careful, one may rely on anti-biblical arguments or implicitly anti-biblical assumptions.

It's interesting and fitting that it's evening/morning rather than morning/evening. Whatever else the former means, its symbolism is quite powerful.

A lot fewer species of animals is troubling since it ascribes a power to Evolution that is unlikely-- as per our earlier post/discussion on that topic.

Adam getting lonely is no surprise. Getting lonely so quickly-- especially when he was so busy and had not previously known a non-lonely state-- seems remarkable.

At January 21, 2010 at 3:55 PM , Blogger Don Sherfick said...

Eric, as a fascinated bystander to this thread and its subject matter, I have to say that whoever coined the phrase "angels dancing on the head of a pin", never switched the channel to the "young vs old" earth debate and its related issues!

Without detracting one whit from the idea that Holy Scripture was divinely inspired [leaving exactly what that means to more angels on more pins], isn't it possible to just say that the simple story of Genesis reflected what earlier man conceived about his/her world and its origins? Does one really have to argue endlessly over this passage or that to just put the matter is proper perspective?

As to what a "day" is, can't one for example simply acknowledge that way back when, as indeed now, an earthly observer sees the sun come up every 24 hours. A celestial observer, whether God outside of time (or even in it), or man somewhere else in the solar system where the sun is always shining, is simply not going to bound that interval in hours, let alone centuries.

Besides, the sandwich in the back corner of my refrigerator is far older than anything others in this dialogue can conceive of.

At January 21, 2010 at 4:10 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Hey Don, thanks for checking in!

Yes, I think it is important to consider Genesis as an "ancient cosmology"-- that we should first of all, try to figure out what it would have meant to its original audience.

Your earthly/cosmic perspective point is similar to Schroeder's point about the relativity of time.

I would also agree that needing to argue this is not important-- except in dealing with dogmatism by either side, which can result in an unfortunate and ridiculous stumbling block for those who might otherwise enter the Kingdom more easily.

I thought your New Year's Resolution was: less time on blogs; more time cleaning the fridge!

At January 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Don, I know you were talking to Eric, but that was very funny - lol!

I think you are right in your opinion. The overall ideas of Genesis count for a lot.

But it gets literal on a certain level.
Were Adam and Eve real people? Did they really eat the fruit and get banished?
Is Sin for real?
We take certain truth/words in Genesis very seriously and literally so that's why we discuss it, I think. Of course, Eric is still my brother. :-)

Eric -- nothing about my last comment? Do you still think YE possibly "anti-biblical"?
Is it dogmatic to label it so?

I need to get off the computer and clean out my refrigerator too!!:-(

At January 21, 2010 at 4:36 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

tried to address that in my second paragraph from 3:44...

At January 21, 2010 at 4:39 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

I'm not sure if YE is anti-Biblical. But it's definitely anti-scientific. I could elaborate on how convincing the scientific evidence for deep geological time is, but Eric has already pointed out that YE's themselves acknowledge an appearance of oldness in creation. So YE is incompatible with science; you can't do science if you are forced to disregard fundamental observations of a geological or astrophysical nature. This is a pity, because modern science has its origins in the expectation that we can understand the universe because it was created by a rational God. Indeed, the early scientists soon found rational laws that govern the universe, laws modern science is built upon.

At January 21, 2010 at 4:49 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

William, have you read Schroeder's work? You're probably in a better position to evaluate that than I am.

William makes an important and oft-overlooked point about the connections between Christianity and science.

At January 21, 2010 at 5:22 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Thanks for the resonse, Eric.
You did point out reasons to consider YE unbibilical but not OE so it's good to clear that up.

It seems God did not limit Adam's time in the garden; Adam's sin did.

As far as science goes, evolution on a micro scale across a species (panther, wildcat, cheetah, lion, housecat, etc) could have done a WHOLE lot over 7000 years. This is a scientifically proven and undisputed fact. Evolution (capital E, as you like to refer to it) cannot explain anything about origins, or development of the different "kinds" (as the Bible puts it).
If micro-e had not yet happened, there may have been far less animal types to name. It makes perfect sense, actually.

As far as feeling profound loneliness, I went to college and had a very unexpected experience with this. I couldn't wait to get out of my house and told everyone I would not be back until Thanksgiving. I even went early. Family dropped me off at the dorm and I sat there all alone on the bed after they left (my roommate had not yet arrived) and a profound sense of despair came over me - homesickness, I guess - I was completely alone. I'm not a typically depressed person.
Anyway, it can happen rather quickly.

William makes a fabulous point.

[modern science has its origins in the expectation that we can understand the universe because it was created by a rational God]

Francis Schaeffer goes through this in his book, How Shall We Then Live

At January 21, 2010 at 5:28 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

OE gets accused of being unbiblical all the time! As an example, OE can be unbiblical if it stems from a desire to start with science and make scripture fit that.

Yes, Adam's sin (and God's subsequent punishment) limited his time in the Garden-- whether on Day 7, 8, 9, etc. Of course, after that wild and crazy Day 6, he would have needed to catch up on his sleep with some power-naps.

I don't think your analogy holds, since you had a life of previous fellowship to compare to your surprising loneliness. Seems like apples and rocks.

At January 21, 2010 at 5:40 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

I don't appreciate your sarcasm

[I don't think your analogy holds, since you had a life of previous fellowship to compare to your surprising loneliness. Seems like apples and rocks.]

...I guess that's what I get for sharing

At January 21, 2010 at 5:52 PM , Blogger Marshall Jones, Jr. said...

I don't think he's trying to be sarcastic... comparing applies and oranges is really too close of a comparison if he's trying to say you can't compare the two.

I think what Eric is saying might be a legitimate concern. Still, I think it takes more to draw out the point about Adam's boredom than the evening and morning section.

Back to my first comment about the Exodus verse, it certainly is a comparison, but it seems a closer, stricter comparison than the other passages I know of that seem to support OE.

I'm off to a Bible study right now actually, but I'll catch up more later. Thank you for your replies, everyone.

-Marshall Jones Jr.

At January 21, 2010 at 5:57 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

PM, I'm not trying to be sarcastic at all. Apples and rocks is my way of saying apples and oranges is too close of a comparison. Let me try again; be patient with me!

On Day 6, Adam had NO sense of human fellowship-- and very little sense of any fellowship-- with which to compare what we're calling loneliness. When you went away to college, you knew what it was like to be with people-- and then, you were comparing that state to the experience of loneliness. Weren't you lonely because you had had significant fellowship?

At January 21, 2010 at 7:36 PM , Blogger Don Sherfick said...

This just in:

Carbon dating methods have placed the contents of my 'fridge. But I don't care to disclose the results at present.

I also have my computer running program that (1) calculates the approximate number of angels on a head of a pin; (2) the number of years since the Big Bang; and which then takes the results and multiplying them by the number of times Eric will again run as a third-party candidate for Congress after apparently bowing out for November 2010. He got a contribution from me last time around, my first to anybody other than for the Presidential race in my seven decades. I'd give him the contents my my new stainless steel refrigerator if he runs again.

Well, maybe not all of it.

At January 21, 2010 at 8:54 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Here's a quote from our church:

"In matters of doctrine, unity;
in matters of opinion, liberty;
in all things love."

So, Eric and I will just have "agree to disagree" and move on as brother and sister

Thanks for another laugh, Don. Things were getting a little heavy!

At January 22, 2010 at 4:24 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

YE’ers will say that we should not “compromise” with science. That is what you said. However I say YE'ers should not compromise with the faith of others. It is not faith vs. science, it is a by faith interpretation of scripture and science by YE'ers, OE'ers, and evolutionists. It fails observable science since no one saw it happen.

At January 22, 2010 at 11:41 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

I just reread Genesis 1&2.

2:18 God says "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him"

Then after Adam names everything, it says in 2:20 "But for Adam, no suitable helper was found"

It doesn't say anywhere that Adam was profoundly and deeply lonely. It justs says he had no suitable helper. Maybe Adam didn't realize the depth of his own need relationally, but only that there was no one else like him and that he desired a helper. God, knowing the true depth of this need, says that it is not good for Adam to be alone and decides to make Eve.

If this is the case, a "profoundly lonely Adam" is an extra-biblical assumption OE uses to make its case and that should be noted.
Also, the YE case doesn't really need a profoundly lonely Adam.

There - I've solved all the issues!! Everyone can switch over to the YE side!!! Just kidding :-)

Simply pointing this out in an attempt to be truthful and accurate; not trying to be the dreaded "dogmatic"

At January 23, 2010 at 1:27 AM , Blogger Marshall Jones, Jr. said...

Sorry for my last comment - I was in a hurry if I remember correctly.

I just Bible Gatewayed a couple "adam" and "lonely" and "alone" combinations. No results. Good call, PM... now I'm wondering how that got started.

Anyway, looking forward to the continuation of this theme in future posts.

-Marshall Jones Jr.

At January 23, 2010 at 4:58 PM , Blogger Tracy Krauss said...

I'm not a scientist, but there is so much evidence pointing to Intelligent Design that it amazes me when main stream science passes it off as just so much 'religious hoo-ey'. As to the Ye vs. OE models, I think I'll pass on a definitive choice until I get to heaven. I'm content to know that God's hand is evident no matter what the time frame. This has always been a topic that has fascinated me, however, and I recently had my first novel published which deals with much of this evolution vs. creation debate. in "And The Beat Goes On', an archeologist finds evidence of Pterodactyl and human remains together, leading to speculation, sabotage, and even murder, as he and his team try to uncover the truth. It is available at Of course, once again, I'll qualify that with 'I'm not a scientist', just an author, but I did try to do my homework so to speak, and present both sides of the issue.

At January 23, 2010 at 5:34 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

PM and MJ, I agree that there are extrabiblical assumptions with however we handle the 6th day.

We do know that Adam does an extraordinary (inhuman?) number of things on that day. But we don't know whether God provided a suitable helper-- as unsolicited or in response to Adam's felt or expressed need. The latter seems far more likely to me, but we don't know for sure.

Tracy, your novel sounds interesting. Here's a link for those who might be interested:

At January 29, 2010 at 6:45 PM , Blogger strattones said...

Eric, the best answer to your last question is “both.” There is no need to create an either/or scenario. If you follow the order presented in the text, the decision to create a helper for Adam began with God. God is triune, and having created Adam in His own image, obviously intended Adam to live in a community. Therefore, he intended Adam to live in a community all along.

But rather than create Eve from the get-go, God created the animals first. He brought them before Adam to teach him that he had no suitable helper. The insinuation is that each of the animals had helpers and, by observing the animals, Adam realized he did not. In this way, God used the animals to teach Adam about himself. This conclusion is supported by many other instances of this in Scripture. For example, Israelites meditated on my clean animals chewed the cud or had split hooves. Solomon told them to observe the ant, etc. By observing the animals, Adam realized he had no one like himself.

I doubt it took him very long to come to this conclusion. How many pairs of animals would you need to see to do it? I don’t think it makes much sense to believe God had only created one sex of animals at this point. The text doesn’t say that and it implies Adam realized he was alone as a consequence of observing and naming the animals.

It also wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that Adam asked God if He had created a mate for Adam or that over the course of this process Adam began to realize the absence of human fellowship for which he was created.

Lastly, Adam’s statement of “At last...” can as easily be explained by his hope of finding a mate among the animals, but being disappointed time and time again. “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” is, among other things, the recognition of the fitness of Eve as his helper.

Your weaker bother,


At January 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Thanks Mark...I'm not exactly sure what you're responding to; it's been a long time since this thread was updated.

Anyway, we'll get to the bulk of your comments on chapter 2 over the next two weeks.

Thanks for stopping by!

At February 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM , Blogger Eddie said...

To those wondering about the usage of the words "and it was evening, and it was morning":

In Genesis 1 the words “evening and morning” are Ereb and Boqur. These words denote the ending and the beginning of a Yom.
Syntactically speaking, Ereb and Boqur have no relationship to the actual duration of the Yom. That is to say, if the Yom was a year long (one of the possible lengths of time for a Yom) then the morning of the Yom would be January 1st and the evening of the Yom would be December 31st. The Ereb and Boqur of the Yom signifies the ending and
beginning of the Yom, no matter the duration of the Yom, be it an hour, a year, or a billion years.

That there is “an evening and a morning” in Genesis 1 is a fact used by many people to prove that the Yoms are 24 hour days. However, Young Earth creationists hold that the sun was not created until the 4th Yom. This means that there was no literal sunrise or sunset. This means that they must agree that the “evening and morning” spoken of in Genesis 1 has nothing to do with the sun.

At February 8, 2010 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Thanks, Eddie; I had not heard about that previously. I'll do a word study and otherwise check into it.


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