"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fruit Trees: Genesis's Nightmare

Darrick Dean writes on his Sciencewatch Blog under the heading Genesis: The Skeptic's Nightmare:

The probability of the writer of Genesis getting science right 1000s of years before scientists figured it out is, well, zero. Yet the writer did get it right. Is Genesis evidence that a designer inspired the Bible? That God is who the Bible says he is? Find out in The Genesis Question.
I'm not sure why he's chosen now to plug a four year old book. In addition, he won't allow comments on his blog entry (or perhaps he just won't allow me to comment).

In any event, the Genesis account in the Bible most definitely does not "get it right" (and the odds of "guessing" the right order are certainly not zero!)

Genesis 1:1-20 says that God created fruit trees two creation days before the first mention of animal life.

Scientific understanding, on the other hand, is that the first plants with roots (ferns) didn't appear until around 350 million years ago - 120 million years after millipedes appeared as the first land animals. (And you think it's been a long time since lunch ;>).

The only way to can reconcile Genesis with scientific understanding is to add words to the Bible which weren't there to begin with.

This is discussed on the Christian American Scientific Affiliation website:
As late as 1835, respected commentators, speaking of Gen. 1:11,12, said, "here we find the earth bearing a great abundance of fruit, probably ripe fruit, before the sun and moon were made." Only with the coming of modern geology was the Church led to believe that Gen. 1:11,12 was saying that fruit trees did not come into existence until after the creation of fish and animals on Day 5. It seems evident that the concordists are reading modern science into the biblical text


It is time for evangelicals to lay aside extra-biblical definitions of biblical inspiration, and agree with Jesus that inspired Scripture can contain concessions. Genesis 1 is a concession. Or, as a modern missionary, aware of the imperative need for divine revelation to be clothed in the terms of the culture to which it comes, has explained: Genesis 1 is a case of divine contextualization.

Paul H. Seely, The First Four Days of Genesis in Concordist Theory and in Biblical Context, From PSCF 49 (June 1997): 85-95.
That doesn't sound like much of a nightmare to me.


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