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Theistic Evolution: On the Origin of Man – Christadelphian Answers

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Theistic Evolution: On the Origin of Man

It is a common challenge for the modern Christian to unify his belief in the Bible, which describes God as the Creator of all, with the current trend in popular thinking that all living things evolved through random modification and subsequent natural selection. The commonly resulting belief is “Theistic Evolution”: an attempt to combine the Creation and Evolution theories. Theistic evolutionists believe the Bible the inspired word of God, yet also believe man’s existence on Earth to be derived from millions of years of evolution.

We consider the philosophical and theological credibility of ‘Theistic Evolution’ with particular reference to the origin and development of Man.

Argument 1: The Origin and Trend of Morality

Evolution insists humans developed from less complex animal life. (1) Therefore the initial moral state of the human species must be zero (amoral). By contrast the Bible insists the first man was created by a direct act of God, and created in a state described as ‘very good:’

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day. (Genesis 1:27,31)

The Bible also describes the first man as displaying positive moral attributes by tending and caring for other living things, albeit at God’s behest:

The LORD God took  the  man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work  it and take care of  it (Genesis 2:15)

This results in a natural contradiction between the two theories. Resolution of this contradiction may be possible: one could argue a species is not human until it evidences a positive moral behaviour (a wholly arbitrary distinction, but not immediately impossible). Alternatively one may argue Adam’s initial lack of discernment between good and evil does describe an amoral state (The Bible states it was only after eating the fruit that he came to know good and evil: see Genesis 3:1-24), regardless of the caring nature of his work in Eden. These are both unlikely postulates, but arguably possible.

originalsin
‘Original Sin,’ Rapp

An inviolable tenet of evolution is that all characteristics of an individual develop gradually. Any lasting developmental change to the species is argued to be so small as to be completely invisible between successive generations (2) (itself a frustrating assertion since it excludes comparison between all living life-forms from the sphere of evidence). No catastrophic discontinuities (i.e. very sudden changes in development), either positive or negative, can be accepted: they directly violate this edict. But the Bible insists that within the generation of one man, Adam: “sin entered the world” through this *one* man; and, further, that the actions of this one man had a fundamental effect on the entire species:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned… Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:12,14)

It is impossible to reconcile these differences: at least one theory must be rejected.

The overall direction of the morality of man. Evolution claims the natural selection process refines the qualities of the species over many generations, ever tending towards properties beneficial to the species as a whole. (3) Thus the trend of morality for the human species must be heading in the upward direction, unless it is argued that morality is a disadvantageous trait per se, in which case it should never have emerged species-wide at all. But the Bible declares the reverse: that man’s moral behaviour is deteriorating:

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

The contradiction between these two descriptions is insurmountable. Indeed it is a core tenet of scripture, which theistic evolution necessarily denies, that if man is to ever attain a morally perfect, or even ‘good,’ state then a reversal of his current direction must be effected from an outside agency:

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts 2:38-40)

Argument 2: The First Humans

neanderthals
Neanderthals, 1967, Frazetti

The Bible states unambiguously that there was initially one human alone (Adam) and that there was no similar helper found for him:

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Genesis 2:18-20)

ada
Adam and Eve, Hamjadi

Yet clearly if Adam had evolved gradually he would be surrounded by an entire species identical to him! He would have two direct parents, and potentially siblings, who had all undergone minuscule modifications for millions of years. This state of affairs would have yielded thousands, even millions, of potentially suitable helpers for him and obviated the necessity for Eve to be created.

New Testament scriptures corroborate the Genesis claim, also insisting that Adam was the first human in the genealogical line.

…the son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:37-38)

This statement does not leave room for an evolved genealogy, theistic or otherwise.

By the same token evolution necessitates that Eve was not the first female, for both male and female forms of the species would have been in existence for millennia. In contradiction the Bible demands that Eve was the “mother of all the living,” (the context excepts Adam from this list):

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.  (Genesis 3:20)

This again is an insoluble contradiction: if the Bible story is true, then neither Adam nor Eve can have had similar parents or peers, or indeed any parents or peers at all. Again, either evolution or the Bible must be rejected, and the notion of theistic evolution fails entirely.

 Argument 3: The First Human Death 

Death
Death

A further fundamental difficulty arises for theistic evolutionists when considering the origins of human death.

 In the case of mankind evolving, ‘death,’ the loss of consciousness and subsequent decay of the physical body, would have been occurring for millennia within man’s species. Indeed the ongoing repetition of the birth/death cycle is a necessary component of the evolution sequence. The Biblical stance directly refutes this notion and presents a contradictory scenario outside of the scope of any form of evolution to accept. The Bible describes a situation where Adam would not see death as long as he was obedient to the commands God gave him:

 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

 A theistic evolutionist might argue that a human death sentence associated with a certain crime does not prove human death was not occurring anyway. But the later writings of Paul clinch the matter with certainty, explaining that events in Eden really were the first occurrence of a human death in the world.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

More importantly these references teach that death was not the original state of the man: it is not the way God made him to be! This is a vital scriptural lesson, which the reader should appreciate is completely impossible to obtain alongside any form of evolutionary belief in the species of man. If evolution (however Theistic) is true, death is and always was a familiar bedfellow to the human race and not the result of any violation of an initial beauty and a greater plan.

 Conclusions

 The general populace accept the veracity of evolution unchallenged and thus a religious individual may well attempt to adopt some form of evolutionary belief to gain respect within that populace. Yet the general populace is largely scientifically ignorant, and so, ironically, can only explain the rationale of evolutionary theory by faith and hearsay. The ‘preaching’ of evolution in this way is doubly ironic, since it mirrors well the behaviour of religious fanatics of yesteryear, who compelled acceptance of religious dogma throughout the general population. (4)

Overall it is shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the Biblical descriptions of human history fundamentally contradict the necessary core teachings of evolution. However much the Bible account is defocused from fact into metaphor (itself a dubious practice), and however much the theory of evolution is deified to picture God lighting the fuse of a deliberately designed evolutionary sequence, the theories remain unmarriageable. This conclusion is not reached at the premeditated intention of the author; indeed the reverse is desirable to gain common ground amongst the widest audience. It is rather through considered assessment of the necessary consequences of evolution and the Biblical record that these ideologies are concluded mutually exclusive. This does not prove either the Bible or Evolution true or false, but it does prove that no version of ‘Theistic Evolution,’ however much it dilutes either or both contrasting theories, can be sensibly defended.

In particular, union between evolutionary progression and the Biblical record is shown to be an untenable position by consideration of the irreconcilably different histories of the origin of man, with particular regards to his state of both morality and mortality. It is not for want of either effort or intention that this marriage cannot be achieved; rather the reverse is true. It is only after, and precisely because of, detailed consideration of the stipulations and necessary philosophical and theological consequences of the available theories that one is compelled to conclude that the two accounts cannot be harmonized. If evolution is correct the Bible does not give accurate description concerning the origin of man, even in metaphoric form, and therefore cannot be the Word of God and should be rejected. Conversely, if the Bible is true, then man most certainly did not evolve, and speculation that he did can be rejected with equal confidence.

The theological implication of man existing by creation and not evolution is itself educational when considering the Biblical claim that man’s purpose is to reflect God’s image (Genesis 1:26). It implies the essence of God cannot grow from physical and chemical fusion of energy and matter, but rather can only be derived from the source (God) itself. It implies that that which truly should reflect the image of God does not have origins of chance synthesis in a warmed and electrified pool of proteins, but rather exists causally from the deliberate intention and creative power of a Sentient and Omnipotent Force.

Perhaps that does not overburden the senses after all.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

John Pople, Mar 2005

 

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End Time Prophecies are interpreted using the Bible, not man made ideas or notions.
Key Biblical subjects such as the Trinity, Devil/Satan worship, Holy Spirit Gifts & much more are all dealt with extensively from the Bible’s viewpoint and not man’s.We will demonstrate how Christian beliefs have become corrupted, and reveal the ‘Truth’ as taught by the 1st Century Apostles.

Can “Special Creation” and TE/EC be taught from the same platform? -.Christadelphian Answers

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One of the refrains we hear from those who support or accept that TE/EC can be accepted in Central Fellowship is “I am happy if you wish to continue to believe in God creating the world in six literal days – just allow me my belief that we got here by God using evolution.”But can this position be maintained Biblically? Do the Scriptures of Truth, that should be the arbiter in these discussions, allow for such a proposition that two opposing views of our God be promulgated from the same platform?

What does Scripture say?
Firstly let the Apostle Paul issue a note of caution – “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” – 1 Corinthians 14:33. The context of the whole section in which this verse is located is the counsel of the Apostle that there should not be differing voices in the Ecclesia. We should all be speaking the same thing – to the edification of the body as a whole and not to the ‘glory’ of the individual. The Apostle’s inspired comment in verse 33 is also to be seen in the context of verses 7 to 9 which in turn are based on Numbers 10:1 – 9. “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air.” Can we imagine what would have happened in the camp of Israel if there had been uncertainty as to the meaning of the trumpet sounds issued at God’s command when the children of Israel where to move camp? Imagine the disorder in a camp that accommodated many thousands tents if there had been dispute among the leaders or even just confusion among the people as to what the trumpet blasts meant.

In 1 Corinthians 1:13 the Apostle brings this principle ‘up to date’ in an ecclesial context by asking “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” The breadth of issues covered by this need for unity of message is seen in Ephesians 4:3 – 6: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
The need for consistency of teaching and living the Truth can be gauged from the strength of the words of our Lord in Revelation 3:15 – 16: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” The Lord is just as blunt in Luke 11:23: “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”

The lack of a middle ground in the preaching of the Gospel (i.e. the concept of teaching differing ideas from the same platform) can be seen in parable after parable that come from our Lord. The Parable of the ‘Two Ways’ in Matthew 7:13 – 14 and Luke 13:23 – 24 shows that it is not possible to walk two paths at the same time. Matthew 7:24 – 27 shows the folly of trying to build on contradictory foundations. There are only wise and unwise virgins in the Lord’s estimation. There is no middle ground in the preaching of the Gospel message by our Lord.
The Apostle James brings to bear the same principles in his third chapter: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (verse 8 to 12)
Thus the incompatibility of Creation and Evolution means that we cannot teach both from a Christadelphian platform. We cannot have an ecclesia that claims to uphold the Word of God as its foundation teaching contradictory messages. It is foolishness indeed to think that the ecclesia can accommodate such a divergence of views whereby some brothers and sisters believe that Adam and Eve are the progenitors of the entire human race whilst others believe that our predecessors have been here for countless generations longer than portrayed in the Biblical genealogies and that consequently many of our fellow inhabitants of this planet have no relationship to Adam and Eve at all. In this context we do well to take note of the sound warning of the Apostle Paul (on a different topic) in 1 Corinthians 14:23 – “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

Let us be wise and realise that we should all be preaching the same message. Yes, as demonstrated by God Himself in Scripture, the method of the delivery of the message can change to suit the circumstances but the principles of the message do not change – EVER. Consider James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

If we all speak the same thing we will be able to “with joy … draw water out of the wells of salvation.” – Isaiah 12:3 to the praise and glory of our Creator.

Reproduced here with kind permission of http://christadelphiananswers.info/

Further concideration

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Bible Truth and Prophecy, – Welcome to our channel run by the Christadelphians Worldwide to help promote the understanding of God’s Word to those who are seeking the Truth about the Human condition and Gods plan and Purpose with the Earth and Mankind upon it.
We are always keen to receive your feedback, you may leave comments in the comments area below or alternatively email us at Feedback@ChristadelphianVideo.org and we will get back to you with a reply as soon as we can.

For more information on the Christadelphians
b­logspot
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Thisisyourbible

Read a variety of booklets on-line concerning various key Bible subjects.
Free Bible Booklets

Bible Truth & Prophecy is a remarkable on-line tool for establishing just how far removed from the teachings of the Bible mainstream Christian teaching has become.

End Time Prophecies are interpreted using the Bible, not man made ideas or notions.
Key Biblical subjects such as the Trinity, Devil/Satan worship, Holy Spirit Gifts & much more are all dealt with extensively from the Bible’s viewpoint and not man’s.We will demonstrate how Christian beliefs have become corrupted, and reveal the ‘Truth’ as taught by the 1st Century Apostles.

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 7 B.Burt

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Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so.

A RELIABLE RECORD

Thus the book of Genesis is no different from all other parts of the Word of God.  It was written by men, inspired of God, who lived at the time of the events which they recorded.  These things were indeed written for our learning, but they were also written for the spiritual benefit of those who lived through those times (Rom.4v23-24), who had witness born to them in contemporary Scriptures concerning the purpose of God with them and in their lives.

This view of the book of Genesis is highly significant in the context of current discussions on the origins of the heavens, the earth and life upon it.  It argues that the Genesis record is a factual account, written by contemporary prophets of the events which happened in their times.  Thus, for example, the record of the Flood in the Bible is the original account, written down at the time by those who were in the ark.  The Babylonian account (The Gilgamish Epic) came later, it borrowed details from the Genesis account and its author invented others.  Thus the ark of Gen.6 is 300 cubits long, 50 wide & 30 high.  These figures have been demonstrated to be the correct proportions for a very stable vessel.  The ark of Uta-Napishtim (the Babylonian Noah) is a cube of side 120 cubits – unlikely to give its occupants a smooth voyage in a rough sea!

gen1

It is not without significance that the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles take the Genesis record very literally in their references to it and quotations from it[1].  There is a great weight of confirmatory quotations in the New Testament from the first three chapters of Genesis and a similar number of quotations from chapters 4-11 – in fact two thirds of the NT quotes are from the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

We can rely on this record, we can trust this record, it is the Word of the living creator God, written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Bernard Burt

[1] See “A book in which Jesus and his apostles believed”, The Testimony May-June 2013 p.236

[1] There is one detail in Genesis which the author is aware of which does not fit with the concept of Moses being the final ‘editor’ of the Genesis manuscript – Gen.14v14 refers to Abram reaching “Dan”.  This must have been an even later inspired geographical update – possibly by Samuel?

[1] See “A book in which Jesus and his apostles believed”, The Testimony May-June 2013 p.236

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 6 B.Burt

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Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so

THE INSPIRED EDITOR

The evidence within the book of Genesis points to the fact that the so called Higher Critics were right in their conclusion that Genesis consists of a series of manuscripts, written by different authors, brought together & completed by an editor.  The writer remembers bro Edward Whittaker saying “The Higher Critics have done the hack work for us – but don’t follow their conclusions!”

There are clear evidences of ‘editorship’ within the text of Genesis.  Gen.14v3 has already been commented upon above.  It is one of several verses within the chapter where additional geographical details have been added, viz.:

 

Ref Addition
v.2 Which is Zoar
v.3 Which is the salt sea
v.6 Which is by the wilderness
v.7 Which is Kedesh
v.8 The same is Zoar

gen1

Bela was renamed Zoar by Lot in Gen.19v22 after he had fled there from Sodom.  The Vale of Siddim became the Salt Sea after the overthrow of Sodom – Gen.19.  En-mishpat was presumably named Kadesh (holy) by the Children of Israel when they camped there – Num.13.  Yet in all of these additions, there is no hint of who might have made them.  However in Gen.50 there are two more geographical additions which are more revealing.  “And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan…wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, which is beyond Jordan” (Gen.50v10-11).   Atad was on the direct route from Egypt to Hebron (see Ex.13v17).  It is believed to have been on the border between Egypt and Canaan and therefore was an appropriate place for the party to stop and mourn.  But it is described in the verses cited above as being “beyond Jordan” – this is the viewpoint of the compiler of the book of Genesis, dwelling at that time in a tent “in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho” (Num.35v1) where Moses finished writing the words of the Law and formally delivered them to the Levites (Dt.31v24-26).

Thus, there is a sense in which the traditional view that ‘Moses wrote Genesis’ is correct but the fullness of the matter is that Moses took the Scriptures (Ga.3v8 & Jas.2v23) which the children of Israel had brought out of Egypt (the “Testimony” of Ex.16v34!) and bought them together into the book of Genesis which we have today, adding by the Spirit such details as he was directed to do[1].

[1] There is one detail in Genesis which the author is aware of which does not fit with the concept of Moses being the final ‘editor’ of the Genesis manuscript – Gen.14v14 refers to Abram reaching “Dan”.  This must have been an even later inspired geographical update – possibly by Samuel?

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 5 B.Burt

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.

EARLY WRITING

But did those early prophets write?  It has already been suggested above that Adam wrote at least Gen.4.  To this can now be added two other lines of evidence.  The first is that within the book of Genesis there are evidences of contemporary writing.  Gen.10v19 “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon…as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha”.  Yet after the events of Gen.19 one could not “go” to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah or Zeboim at all – they had been overthrown in the fiery destruction of the cities of the plain.

Thus Gen.10v19 – and probably the rest of Gen.10, must have been written before the destruction of Sodom.  Gen.14 records the battle between the Babylonian kings, headed by Chedorlaomer & the local kings in the land, including the kings of the four cities mentioned above.  v.3 states “All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea”.  Clearly, after the destruction of Sodom the site of the battle was inundated – but Gen.14v3 describes it as a dry valley.  Further comment will be made on the structure of this verse later.gen1

The second line of evidence for contemporary written Scriptures in the time of the Patriarchs is found in the New Testament.  Gal.3v8 “The scripture (Gr. graphe = writing), foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed”.   This passage shows that Abraham had at least Gen.12v1-3 as a written Scripture in his lifetime.  Similarly Jas.2v23 & Romans 4v23 show that Abraham also had Gen.15v6 in writing before the time of the sacrifice of Isaac – else how could he “fulfil” this “Scripture”?

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 4 B.Burt

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 Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so.

EARLY PROPHETS

It has already been suggested that Adam was a prophet, the first of a sequence of prophets who appear throughout the book of Genesis.  Jesus in Lk.11v51 informs us that Abel was a prophet – although not one word spoken by him is recorded in Scripture!  Jude v.14 tells us that Enoch was a prophet & v.14-15 detail his prophecy.

Lamech (Gen.5v29) named his son prophetically and Noah spoke prophetically of the future for his sons in Gen.9v25-27.  God, in Gen.20v7, told Abimelech that Abraham was a prophet; Ps.105v15 adds Sarah to the list – a prophecy of hers being recorded in Gen.21v10 – and confirmed to be an oracle in Gal.4v30.


gen1

Isaac prophetically blessed Esau & Jacob in Gen.27 & 28 and Jacob did so to his sons in Gen.49.  The book of Genesis closes with the prophecy of Joseph in ch.50v24-25.  So, throughout the time span of the book of Genesis there was always at least one prophet alive on the earth, God did not leave himself without witness in those early days[1].

[1] See “For the Study & Defence of the Holy Scripture” by Bro Edward Whittaker: p.22-23 for further details on this point.

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 3 B.Burt

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 Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so.

THE DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK

            An obvious feature of the book of Genesis is the repeated phrase “these are the generations of”.  These occur as follows:

 

Ref Section
2v4 These are the generations of the heavens & the earth
5v1 This is the book of the generations of Adam
6v9 These are the  generations of Noah
10v1 These are the generations of the sons of Noah
11v10 These are the generations of Shem
11v27 These are the generations of Terah
25v12 These are the generations of Ishmael
25v19 These are the generations of Isaac
36v1 These are the generations of Esau
36v9 These are the generations of Esau
37v2 These are the generations of Jacob

 

Biblical scholars have historically taken this phrase to mark the introduction of a new section of the book, relating to the descendants of the person named in the phrase. Because scholars are convinced that it is a commencement phrase, James Moffatt in his translation actually moves Gen.2v4a back to before ch.1v1!  But when Genesis is examined carefully it will be seen that the phrase actually marks the conclusion of a section.  Ch.2v4 clearly does refer back to the section 1v1 to 2v3.  All the details we have about Adam, apart from his age at the birth of Seth & his age at death (5v3-5) precede Ch.5v1.

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Ch.5v1 actually refers to “the book of the generations of Adam”.  The Hebrew word is the normal word for “book” as used, for example in Nahum 1v1 “The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite”.  Adam (who was a prophet – compare Gen.2v23-24 “Adam said” with Mt.19v5 “[God] said”) could have written all of Gen.4 – he died during the lifetime of Jabal, Jubal & Tubal-Cain, so he would have known them but not their children.  Gen.4v3 say that “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground…” – brought to whom?  His father, standing at the altar?  So throughout the book of Genesis, the person named in the phrase “these are the generations of…” would have known / experienced the events in the narrative previous to the phrase which contains his name.

Are Genesis 1 and 2 two different creation stories? Pt 6

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1)  Different depictions of God & method of creation

The theistic evolutionists suggest that Genesis 1 gives a transcendent description of God but in Genesis 2 we have a more anthropomorphic depiction (human characteristics applied to God), and that this is good evidence for Genesis 1 and 2 representing two differing stories.

 

Sunrise-300x300Proponents of this view assert the description of God’s method of creating as evidence for this. In Genesis 1 God speaks, and it is done. In Genesis 2 God forms, breathes and plants, which, it is suggested, are all human based concepts. But this is a very poor argument, and careful reading reveals that God’s activity is also described in anthropomorphic terms in chapter 1, where He “called,” “saw,” and “rested” (1:8,12; 2:1).

 

2)  Different names of God used

In Genesis 1 God is described as “Elohim”, whereas in chapter 2 He is “Yahweh Elohim”. This is claimed to be yet another indication that the two accounts should be viewed as being different, perhaps with different authors. But this is mere assumption and the argument is unconvincing. In scripture differences in the Divine name and titles are placed in the text for a purpose:

  • Elohim, meaning “mighty ones”9conveys the idea of strength. The concept of the angels completing the work of God is certainly incorporated within Genesis 1:26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”.
  • Yahweh, meaning “He who will be”10is often connected in scripture to God’s glory and purpose revealed in others.

6 “The pronoun ‘them’ is printed in italics as the translators’ indication that there is no comparable word at this place in the Hebrew text….It would have been a tremendous task within such a short compass of time, for Adam to inspect and name every one of the various forms of animal life that had been brought into being; and the Hebrew does not require it. If the pronoun “them” is eliminated (as the Hebrew text would permit), the reading would suggest that only certain species were brought before Adam… This does not mean that the animals were paraded before Adam to ascertain from among their number as to whether there was a “help fit for him”, but rather, at the conclusion of the inspection, there was a sense of loneliness as far as Adam was concerned” Christadelphian Expositor, Genesis 2:19-20, H P Mansfield, Page 67.

 

7 “The time when this took place must have been the sixth day, on which, according to chap. i. 27, the man and woman were created: and there is no difficulty in this, since it would not have required much time to bring the animals to Adam to see what he would call them, as the animals of paradise are all we have to think of”. Genesis, Commentary on the Old Testament, C F Keil & F Delitzsch, Vol. 1, Page 87.

 

8 “Is it necessary to assume that the angels led to Adam all the enormous variety of creatures already made? A wide and diverse selection, those living in the garden, would surely suffice to demonstrate to Adam’s high intelligence (no Neanderthal low-brow!) that amidst them all he was really alone (apart from his occasional fellowship with the angels). The animals learned that Adam was their master, made to have dominion (Ps 8:6), and in turn he was impressed with their essential inferiority. Thus, one of Adam’s first school subjects (though not the first) was zoology”. Genesis 1-4, Harry Whittaker, Page 71.

 

9  “The Memorial Name”, Phanerosis, John Thomas, Page 65 (Logos edition)

 

10 “Ehyeh And Yahweh”, Phanerosis, John Thomas, Page 137 (Logos edition)

 

It is quite a leap in logic to assume that the use of “Elohim” in Genesis 1, and “Yahweh Elohim” in Genesis 2, indicates that the chapters have different authors, or tell different stories. If we are indeed dealing with the word of God then we must conclude that God may have chosen a different style deliberately, for a purpose. Genesis 1 is a more holistic description of the complete creation, and so it is reasonable that the might of God’s creative power should be emphasised. Genesis 2 introduces man, the pinnacle of God’s creation, and the only creature capable of displaying and manifesting God’s glory. It is therefore appropriate that in Genesis 2 the memorial name of Yahweh should be used.

 

3)  The creation of man

It is by the proponents of theistic evolution that Genesis 1 and 2 give two different stories and contradictory statements regarding the creation of man. Genesis 1:27 says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them”, whereas Genesis 2:7 states that “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. Whilst it is true that there is a difference in the description of the way man is created, we submit that the two descriptions are not at all contradictory. Genesis 1 describes how that man was made like the Elohim, whereas Genesis 2 gives us some of the details of how man was created.

 

Conclusion

Having examined the key arguments we believe that the idea that Genesis 1 and 2 are two different accounts is flawed, and has to be read into the text. Simply on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ’s usage of Genesis 1 and 2 in Matthew 19, and on the apostle Paul’s usage in 1 Corinthians 11, we must see Genesis 1 and 2 as the same account, speaking of the same events at the same time period. They are historical and literal accounts, and we can and must believe and trust them. We have a choice – to believe in God’s inspired word, or to seek to undermine this by trusting in the ideas and opinions of man: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)

 Matthew Davies / Mark Allfree

Nottingham Forest Road Ecclesia November 2015

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 2 B.Burt

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 Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so.

THE TEXT OF THE GENESIS RECORD

The creation record in Gen.1v1 – 2v4 (in which God is referred to as Elohim) is significantly different to that in 2v5-24 (in which God is called Yahweh Elohim) – to the point where some critics have (wrongly) suggested that the two accounts contradict each other.  The history of the line of Cain in Gen.4 stops with the record of the sons of Lamech who lived some time before the flood.  Why are we not told about subsequent generations and their doings?  The record of the flood in Gen.6-7 contains a number of apparently duplicated statements – why should this be if the record was penned by a single author?  The first eleven chapters of Genesis contain a number of Babylonian words and the last fourteen chapters feature Egyptian words[1] why the difference between the beginning and the end of the book?

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It also needs to be noted that although there are in the later books of the Bible quotations from the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy which are attributed to Moses (Mk.7v10 quotes Ex.20v12; Jn.8v5 quotes Lev.20v10; Acts 3v22 quotes Deut.18v15/19); there are no such attributions to any quotation from Genesis.  In other words, there is no place where Genesis is quoted with the addition of the words ‘Moses wrote’.

[1] Clues to Creation in Genesis, P J Wiseman, p.103

THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS Pt 1 B.Burt

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 Over the next few weeks, we will be serialising a paper by Bro B.Burt (Cov West) for those who did not see it when it was first published.

We will reproduce this in short ‘snippets’ to make it easier to digest and comment upon should you wish to do so.

CONFLICTING VIEWS

In response to the question “Who wrote the Book of Genesis?” the average Christadelphian would probably reply “Moses”.  This view is of course firmly held by the Jews, the primary meaning of the word ‘Torah’ being the first five books of the Bible, the contents of which, they believe, were given to Moses by God, either at Mt. Sinai or in the Tabernacle.

In 1878 the German theologian Dr Julius Wellhausen published his ‘Documentary Hypothesis’ in which he argued that the material in the first six books of the Bible was originally written between 950BC and 500BC (time of Solomon to the Babylonian captivity) by four different authors (the Yahwist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist and the Priestly source) and that their writings were subsequently combined and revised by editors with a final editor or redactor (thought to be Ezra) being responsible for the completion of the books.  Wellhausen’s Higher Critical views have been challenged in recent years, but only in the direction of more source documents (the fragmentary theory) and more editors.  Critics of the Bible are in favour of these theories because they underpin the basic (humanistic) assumption that the religion of the Hebrews evolved over the centuries, changing from original  animism through Babylonian & Egyptian type polytheism into Jewish monotheism.  We would, of course utterly reject such a view, believing that the Genesis record was “wholly given by inspiration of God in the writer(s)” – BASF Foundation Clause.

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This article will show that actually the considerable labours of the Higher Critics are not without profit, providing we firmly reject their conclusions and seek Biblical solutions to the question of the authorship of Genesis – solutions which are in harmony with our belief in the verbal inspiration of the text and of the way in which that text is quoted and commented upon by Jesus and his apostles in the New Testament.

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