Young Earth Creationism vs. Theistic Evolutionism

FSSL

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Introduction:
FSSl and rsc2a will be debating their perspective beliefs.

FSSL is a Young Earth Creationist
rsc2a is a Theistic Evolutionist

1) Introductory statement by each participant.
2) 5 reply posts by each poster to keep the discussion from draggin on and on.
3) A final summary post by each participant to actually provide some conclusion.
4) A poll after the debate is finished.
4) Open the thread up to everyone.

We will begin with a statement of our positions and then rsc2a will begin with arguments against FSSL.
 

rsc2a

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I contend that a non-historical understanding is the best way to interpret Genesis 1-2. My argument will begin by examining the overall literary structure of the passages. Secondly, I will address the authorial purpose in writing Genesis 1-2. Thirdly, I will summarize several of the hermeneutical problems with a strict “literal” reading of the text. And, finally, I will discuss the historical understanding of the passages in question (along with a brief statement on the necessary compatibility of theology and science).

Jewish (along with most Christian) teachings typically divide Genesis up into two major sections, Genesis 1-11 & Genesis 12-50, where the first is dealing with all of mankind and the second begins the historical account of the nation of Israel. Furthermore, many ancient Jews (and Christians) understood various parts of the first eleven chapters to be a combination of allegorical, historical, and mythological*. This isn’t a new method of interpreting Scripture to try to “make the Bible and evolution compatible”. Secondly, there are two different creation accounts (Gen 1:1-2:3, Gen 2:4-25). Written for differing purposes, the first account answers the question of Who and the second answers the question of Why?

The first creation account is addressing the question of Who. The Israelite people wanted to know Who their god was. The question of the legitimacy of other gods isn’t always answered in the Bible with a simple denial, as we might expect. The ways in which their legitimacy is questioned include denial (e.g. Deut 4:28, Psalm 115:4, Jer 10:3-5), defeat (e.g. Exodus 7-12, 1 King 18:16-46), and declaration that Yahweh is the greatest of the gods (e.g. Ps 95:3, Ps 97:9). In the first creation account, one sees all three methods employed. In this narrative, one can clearly see the Hebrew Scriptures dismantling bit-by-bit the Babylonian pantheon, the pantheon the Israelites were most familiar with. In the Babylonian story, the gods are formed out of Chaos; in the Hebrew one, God is eternal, He creates from nothing, and the first act of creation is the creation of Order and Law. In the Babylonian story, the now- king of the Gods forms the earth by using the dead body of his murdered grandmother; in the Hebrew account, God forms the earth out of nothing. In the Babylonian mythology, the sun and moon are gods to be worshipped; in the Hebrew account, they are created things…created by Yahweh. In every sense, the first creation narrative is answering Who Yahweh is: He is the only God, He is supreme over all other gods, and He is the Creator of all.

In the second creation account, one can see the Why behind creation. Again, compare the Babylonian account with the Hebrew account. (This comparison also works well for a better understanding of the flood myth.) According to the Babylonian story, mankind is created from the blood of a murdered god; in the Hebrew one, God breathes His own breath into mankind. In the Babylonian account, mankind is created to be slaves of the gods. In the Hebrew account, mankind is created and given dominion. Mankind is stated to be created in the very image of Yahweh Himself. (This meshes very well with first century Jewish teaching on the parallels between Adam/Israel and animals/Gentiles.)

Understanding Genesis does not result in the literary problems created by a wooden “literal” reading. It is not necessary to explain how day and night can occur without the sun. It is not necessary to explain the apparent contradictions in the two creation accounts. It is not necessary to explain why plants were created before the sun. It is not necessary to explain why this understanding doesn’t fit anything we know about science. The overwhelming majority of advocates for a “literal” reading of Scripture themselves acknowledge at there are passages that should not be read “literally”. (e.g. John 6:53)  There is no need to explain this deviation in hermeneutic principle. In short, this understanding stands on its own without needing lengthy explanation.

A note: Accurate observations about the natural world cannot be wrong.  Likewise, most interested in this discussion acknowledge that God’s special self-revelation is not wrong. However, our understanding of either the functioning of the natural world or Scripture (or both) might be wrong. In that case, we need to change our understanding of one or both. Where there is a reasonable way for both science and theology to be complementary and both still be true, then we should consider that alternative. After all, “the heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Ps 19:1-6, also Ps 8:3-4, Romans 1:20)


* In this instance, I am referring to the literary definition of myth which is “a story of forgotten or vague origin, basically religious or supernatural in nature, which seeks to explain or rationalize one or more aspects of the world or a society”. This is different than the modern, vernacular, usage of the word in that “falsehood” is not synonymous with “myth”.
 

FSSL

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I am a Young Earth Creationist. This means that I believe that:
[list type=decimal]
[*]God created the heavens and the earth in 7, 24-hour days with no intervening gaps between those days.
[*]The age of the heavens and earth is tens of thousands of years old, not 4.54 billion years old.
[*]Genesis 1 gives a chronological narrative on the creation of the heavens and the earth
[*]Genesis 2:4 begins a summary of the events in Genesis 1.
[/list]

Biblical Interpretation
Genesis 1-2 is a historical accounting of events that, when interpreted as a narrative, makes entirely good sense to take it literally. The Hebrew language clearly presents the Creation account as a literal creation week. Here are a couple of points:

1) While the word “day” can mean more than 24 hours, whenever the Hebrew word “day” is modified with the ordinal numbers “first, second…” it always refers to an actual, 24 hour day. All Hebrew lexicons identify the use of “day” in Genesis 1 as a literal day.
2) When a Hebrew writer wanted to convey  a narrative of events, he would often say, “and…” at the beginning of a verse and he used evening and morning to mark the day.
3) Moses wrote this section. He also gave a clear statement that the creation week was the same length as a human work week.
“You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ” Exodus 31:14-17
Creationism and Science
Both Creationists and Evolutionists have the same observable data. They both have the same fossils, hydrological features and telescopes. Science is not incompatible with Creationism. Many scientists reject Creationism. The reason they accept Evolutionary theory is not based on having more/better data. It is a matter of assumptions. Evolutionists have an assumption of interpretation. Creationists come with their own set of assumptions as well. It would be convenient to believe that science is not based on assumptions, but since people are involved in observing the data, assumptions are unavoidable.

Creationism and Theology
The creationist has a theologically consistent understanding. The creationist is able to account for a theology of sin, death and redemption.
 

rsc2a

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[quote author=FSSL]Biblical Interpretation
1) While the word “day” can mean more than 24 hours, whenever the Hebrew word “day” is modified with the ordinal numbers “first, second…” it always refers to an actual, 24 hour day. All Hebrew lexicons identify the use of “day” in Genesis 1 as a literal day.[/quote]

Actually this statement is not true. There are dozens of passages (e.g. 1 Sam 27:1, Zech 14:7) where the phrase echad yom "one day/first day" (or similar ones) appears that do not refer to a "24 hour day".

[quote author=FSSL]2) When a Hebrew writer wanted to convey  a narrative of events, he would often say, “and…” at the beginning of a verse and he used evening and morning to mark the day.[/quote]

And there are cases where "evening" and "morning" are used to make days that are clearly figurative.

[quote author=FSSL]3) Moses wrote this section. He also gave a clear statement that the creation week was the same length as a human work week.
“You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ” Exodus 31:14-17
[/quote]

Moses saw a pattern that included Sabbath rest in the seventh "day" in the creation account. There is nothing in that statement forcing a literal understanding of the word. In fact, Hebrews 4 explicitly claims that the seventh "day" of rest isn't a temporal point in time.

[quote author=FSSL]Creationism and Science
Both Creationists and Evolutionists have the same observable data. They both have the same fossils, hydrological features and telescopes. Science is not incompatible with Creationism. Many scientists reject Creationism. The reason they accept Evolutionary theory is not based on having more/better data. It is a matter of assumptions. Evolutionists have an assumption of interpretation. Creationists come with their own set of assumptions as well. It would be convenient to believe that science is not based on assumptions, but since people are involved in observing the data, assumptions are unavoidable.[/quote]

Yes, assumptions are unavoidable. But the basis of science is the scientific method, a method that involves predictability and repeatability. YEC scientists have not been able to provide highly predictable, repeatable results that would invalidate the claims of those who advocate for an old universe whereas those advocates have provided detailed repeatable observations that could debunk the claims for a young earth.

* Minor quibble: One wouldn't compare YEC creationism to evolution. Evolution would be but one argument for an old universe. Other arguments would include physics, astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology.

[quote author=FSSL]Creationism and Theology
The creationist has a theologically consistent understanding. The creationist is able to account for a theology of sin, death and redemption.[/quote]

As can the theological evolutionist. :)

Counter-point 1: If the two accounts are as described below...

[quote author=FSSL]
  • Genesis 1 gives a chronological narrative on the creation of the heavens and the earth
  • Genesis 2:4 begins a summary of the events in Genesis 1.
[/quote]

...and actually one account, then why are there apparent contradictions within the two accounts?

Counter-point 2: Assuming "literal" evenings and mornings, how can there be an evening and morning without the sun and/or earth?

Counter-point 3: What was the intent of the original author in writing? Why do you believe the Israelites concerned with When, How, or Where?

Counter-point 4: If the "plain sense" meaning is our overarching hermeneutic principle for Scriptural interpretation, why should we reject it for passages like John 6:53?
 

FSSL

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You will see that Moses goes out of his way to formulate what a day is and how it is defined. He is, writing about the beginning of time as we know it.

RSC2A: Actually this statement is not true. There are dozens of passages (e.g. 1 Sam 27:1, Zech 14:7) where the phrase echad yom "one day/first day" (or similar ones) appears that do not refer to a "24 hour day".

FSSL: I would like to see those examples. Your 1 Sam 27:1 uses the plural form of “days” which means multiple days, so that does not answer the question.  Zechariah 14:7 is a literal day. God will conquer Jerusalem in a single day. Also, when the Hebrew lexicons use Genesis 1 in their explanation of “day,” they always note that it is a literal day, not figurative. Look at BDB, no advocates of creationism, they note that the use of the word “day” in Genesis 1 is a literal day.

RSC2A: And there are cases where "evening" and "morning" are used to make days that are clearly figurative.

FSSL: True. If the phrase “evening and morning” stood alone, it could be taken for an extended period of time. However, when combined with my other points, an ordinal number, you have a single day, defined by an evening and a morning. Further, the “and” is a Hebraism that indicates that this is a sequence of non-interrupted events.

RSC2A: Moses saw a pattern that included Sabbath rest in the seventh "day" in the creation account. There is nothing in that statement forcing a literal understanding of the word. In fact, Hebrews 4 explicitly claims that the seventh "day" of rest isn't a temporal point in time.

FSSL: Why not take the Bible in its normal, plain sense? We have a narrative, not a poetical or even apocalyptical genre. There is no reason to take this section as anything other than what Moses meant. Moses is not being obscure by using the 7 day creation week as the model of a literal work week.

RSC2A: Yes, assumptions are unavoidable. But the basis of science is the scientific method, a method that involves predictability and repeatability. YEC scientists have not been able to provide highly predictable, repeatable results that would invalidate the claims of those who advocate for an old universe whereas those advocates have provided detailed repeatable observations that could debunk the claims for a young earth.

FSSL: I did not know that evolutionist scientists were able to repeat the Big Bang. Can you explain what they repeated?

RSC2A: Other arguments would include physics, astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology.

FSSL: There are creationists in those fields as well which have the data to back up a creation theory.

RSC2A: FSSL wrote: "The creationist has a theologically consistent understanding. The creationist is able to account for a theology of sin, death and redemption." As can the theological evolutionist. 

FSSL: Can you? How does the theological evolutionist account for millions of years of death before death entered the universe according to Genesis 3 (after the creation week)?

RS2CA: Counter-point 1: If the two accounts are as described below...
Genesis 1 gives a chronological narrative on the creation of the heavens and the earth
Genesis 2:4 begins a summary of the events in Genesis 1.
...and actually one account, then why are there apparent contradictions within the two accounts?

FSSL: What contradictions? Genesis 2 is a summary of Genesis 1.

RSC2A: Counter-point 2: Assuming "literal" evenings and mornings, how can there be an evening and morning without the sun and/or earth?

FSSL: The very first creative act defined the day. Evening and morning are marked by light and darkness. God created the light and that made an observable day.

RSC2A: Counter-point 3: What was the intent of the original author in writing? Why do you believe the Israelites concerned with When, How, or Where?

FSSL: Moses was writing a historical narrative that showed God’s providence. I could go into great detail on the theme of Genesis, but that gets beyond our discussion. The reason I believe the Israelites were concerned with “when, how or where” is exhibited by the fact that we have an Israelite who gave us those details.

RSC2A: Counter-point 4: If the "plain sense" meaning is our overarching hermeneutic principle for Scriptural interpretation, why should we reject it for passages like John 6:53?

FSSL: If the plain meaning is absurd, then it is an obvious metaphor. We have in your example an interesting issue. John was writing a narrative of actual events. This really happened and we can understand this plainly as a literal event. This event involved Jesus metaphors to confound those who had no faith. He told us that he was speaking metaphorically and why He did it. So, we have, in this case a literal narrative of Jesus speaking in metaphors. It is not giving us hermeneutical license to interpret the rest of scripture metaphorically.
 

rsc2a

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Gah! I had most of the reply written and my computer went nuts and I lost it. I am headed to Atlanta this weekend and will reply early next week. :)
 

FSSL

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One correction to the above, if I may:

FSSL: I would like to see those examples. Your 1 Sam 27:1 uses the plural form of “days” which means multiple days, so that does not answer the question.  Zechariah 14:7 is a literal day. God will conquer Jerusalem's enemies in a single day.

1 Sam 27:1 does not use the plural form. 1 Sam 27:1 means one day. It is a literal day.
I mean't Jerusalem's enemies as you can see with the underline.
 

rsc2a

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FSSL said:
You will see that Moses goes out of his way to formulate what a day is and how it is defined. He is, writing about the beginning of time as we know it.

RSC2A: Actually this statement is not true. There are dozens of passages (e.g. 1 Sam 27:1, Zech 14:7) where the phrase echad yom "one day/first day" (or similar ones) appears that do not refer to a "24 hour day".

FSSL: I would like to see those examples. Your 1 Sam 27:1 uses the plural form of “days” which means multiple days, so that does not answer the question.
FSSL said:
One correction to the above, if I may:

FSSL: I would like to see those examples. Your 1 Sam 27:1 uses the plural form of “days” which means multiple days, so that does not answer the question.  Zechariah 14:7 is a literal day. God will conquer Jerusalem's enemies in a single day.

1 Sam 27:1 does not use the plural form. 1 Sam 27:1 means one day. It is a literal day. I mean't Jerusalem's enemies as you can see with the underline.
Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul... - 1 Sam 1:27

The intent here is clear: Then David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish sometime in the the future by the hand of Saul..."

And, this is the exact same phrase used in Genesis 1.

[quote author=FSSL]Zechariah 14:7 is a literal day. God will conquer Jerusalem in a single day. Also, when the Hebrew lexicons use Genesis 1 in their explanation of “day,” they always note that it is a literal day, not figurative. Look at BDB, no advocates of creationism, they note that the use of the word “day” in Genesis 1 is a literal day.[/quote]

Zechariah 14:8 explicitly states that this "day" is longer than a 24-hr period.

On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. (Zechariah 14:6-8, ESV)

Furthermore, many Hebrew scholars have said that the lack of a definite article in the Genesis 1 accounts clearly affirms the idea that the "days" in Genesis 1 are indefinite. (In fact, to claim that the days are definite without the definite article would be reading the text in a way that is inconsistent with the entire rest of the OT, including the very next chapter.)

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Moses saw a pattern that included Sabbath rest in the seventh "day" in the creation account. There is nothing in that statement forcing a literal understanding of the word. In fact, Hebrews 4 explicitly claims that the seventh "day" of rest isn't a temporal point in time.

FSSL: Why not take the Bible in its normal, plain sense? We have a narrative, not a poetical or even apocalyptical genre. There is no reason to take this section as anything other than what Moses meant. Moses is not being obscure by using the 7 day creation week as the model of a literal work week.[/quote]

For five reasons (with 2&3 and 4&5 being linked):

[list type=decimal]
[*]Even "literalists" agree that this hermeneutic isn't always appropriate.
[*]There are multiple genres even within the book of Genesis including (but not limited to) myth, poetry, narrative, and law.
[*]Hebrew scholars themselves (from both the Jewish and the Christian perspective) acknowledge that the first part of Genesis is poetic.
[*]There are multiple other places where Moses describes a pattern that does not fit the chronology as stated. For example, the Feast of Tabernacles is an 8-day feast, yet it is representative of the 40 years in the wilderness.  (Lev 23:33-43) Even more telling, Leviticus 25 speaks about a Sabbath year every seven years; based on this, why not assume that Moses was actually speaking about years in Genesis 1? (Levl 25:1-7)
[*]The Babylonian mythology which the Israelite were most familiar already had a pattern of 7 days/7 nights. For example, Enkidu was tamed after bedding with someone for 7 days/7 nights, Utnapishtim's flood lasts for 7 days/7 nights,  Gilgamesh will be granted immortality of he can stay awake 7 days/7 nights, and on and on and on. (As I mentioned earlier, comparing the Canaanite myth with the Hebrew one is what proves extremely enlightening. In the Canaanite myth, the seventh day is a day of darkness, foreboding, and danger; in the Hebrew myth, the seventh day is holy.)
[/list]

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Yes, assumptions are unavoidable. But the basis of science is the scientific method, a method that involves predictability and repeatability. YEC scientists have not been able to provide highly predictable, repeatable results that would invalidate the claims of those who advocate for an old universe whereas those advocates have provided detailed repeatable observations that could debunk the claims for a young earth.

FSSL: I did not know that evolutionist scientists were able to repeat the Big Bang. Can you explain what they repeated?[/quote]

Biology is not astronomy. ;)

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Other arguments would include physics, astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology.

FSSL: There are creationists in those fields as well which have the data to back up a creation theory.[/quote]

But they don't. That's the whole point. I can measure how quickly sediment is deposited and how quickly it erodes. From that, I can give you an approximate timeline for geological formation. I can tell you how long it takes for radioactive carbon to break down. From that, I can tell you how old a carbon-based object is (up to a certain point). I can tell you how long it takes for continents to move and identify common rocks on separate continents. From that, I can tell you when they separated.

It's math at that point for each one of these examples. And the math doesn't point to a young earth.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: FSSL wrote: "The creationist has a theologically consistent understanding. The creationist is able to account for a theology of sin, death and redemption." As can the theological evolutionist. 

FSSL: Can you? How does the theological evolutionist account for millions of years of death before death entered the universe according to Genesis 3 (after the creation week)?[/quote]

How can the creationist account for plant death prior to the Fall? Or, conversely, why does the possibility of immortality have to be more broadly applied to more than humanity?

[quote author=FSSL]RS2CA: Counter-point 1: If the two accounts are as described below...
Genesis 1 gives a chronological narrative on the creation of the heavens and the earth
Genesis 2:4 begins a summary of the events in Genesis 1.
...and actually one account, then why are there apparent contradictions within the two accounts?

FSSL: What contradictions? Genesis 2 is a summary of Genesis 1.[/quote]

Genesis 1 has plants created before people. Genesis 2 has the order reversed.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Counter-point 2: Assuming "literal" evenings and mornings, how can there be an evening and morning without the sun and/or earth?

FSSL: The very first creative act defined the day. Evening and morning are marked by light and darkness. God created the light and that made an observable day.[/quote]

You have defined the day by the movement of the earth relative to the sun. Neither of which had been created...

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Counter-point 3: What was the intent of the original author in writing? Why do you believe the Israelites concerned with When, How, or Where?

FSSL: Moses was writing a historical narrative that showed God’s providence. I could go into great detail on the theme of Genesis, but that gets beyond our discussion. The reason I believe the Israelites were concerned with “when, how or where” is exhibited by the fact that we have an Israelite who gave us those details.[/quote]

The last statement is what we are debating. :)

Regarding the other, I can clearly show how Genesis 1-11 is dismantling the Canaanite mythology most familiar to the Israelites and proclaiming the Hebrew one to be greater. I can point to sources ancient and modern that recognize chapters 12 onward to begin the history of the Jewish people. And I can do all this while still being consistent with the meta-narrative, historical interpretations, and natural revelation.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Counter-point 4: If the "plain sense" meaning is our overarching hermeneutic principle for Scriptural interpretation, why should we reject it for passages like John 6:53?

FSSL: If the plain meaning is absurd, then it is an obvious metaphor. We have in your example an interesting issue. John was writing a narrative of actual events. This really happened and we can understand this plainly as a literal event. This event involved Jesus metaphors to confound those who had no faith. He told us that he was speaking metaphorically and why He did it. So, we have, in this case a literal narrative of Jesus speaking in metaphors. It is not giving us hermeneutical license to interpret the rest of scripture metaphorically.[/quote]

And the natural revelation of God would tell us that a plain meaning understanding of Genesis 1 is absurd. :) Additionally, we can provide sound and historically valid reasons for the writing of Genesis 1-11 that doesn't require a literal understanding of the periscope.
 

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  • RSC2A: Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul... - 1 Sam 1:27 The intent here is clear: Then David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish sometime in the the future by the hand of Saul..." And, this is the exact same phrase used in Genesis 1.

    FSSL: David was clear about a future, literal day, not an epoch.

    RSC2A: Zechariah 14:8 explicitly states that this "day" is longer than a 24-hr period. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. (Zechariah 14:6-8, ESV)

    FSSL: The battle will occur on a literal day. It will mark the beginning of the Lord's reign. The reign will continue...

    RSC2A: Furthermore, many Hebrew scholars have said that the lack of a definite article in the Genesis 1 accounts clearly affirms the idea that the "days" in Genesis 1 are indefinite. (In fact, to claim that the days are definite without the definite article would be reading the text in a way that is inconsistent with the entire rest of the OT, including the very next chapter.)

    FSSL: Waltke and O’Connor, in their Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax write: “For other ordinal uses, the cardinal numerals are used, standing before the enumerated noun; ordinarily neither numeral nor noun has the article.”

    In ordinals, it is the normal situation to have no article. It is not a matter of definite or indefinite. It is a matter of an oddity in the Hebrew language.

    Here is the Hebrew scholarship on Genesis 1:1:
    • BDB: I quoted what Hebrew scholars say about Genesis 1.  BDB notes, without equivocation that, the days in Genesis are clearly, literal 24 hour days.
    • NIDOTT: The term is also used for day in the sense of the complete cycle that includes both daytime and nighttime, e.g. Gen 1:5: “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day”
    • HALOT: day of twenty-four hours: Gn 15
    • Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament: As in most languages, this basic meaning broadens to “day (of 24 hours)” in the sense of the astronomical or calendrical unit (then it cites Genesis 1)

    RSC2A: FSSL: “Why not take the Bible in its normal, plain sense?” For five reasons (with 2&3 and 4&5 being linked): Even "literalists" agree that this hermeneutic isn't always appropriate; There are multiple genres even within the book of Genesis including (but not limited to) myth, poetry, narrative, and law; Hebrew scholars themselves (from both the Jewish and the Christian perspective) acknowledge that the first part of Genesis is poetic; There are multiple other places where Moses describes a pattern that does not fit the chronology as stated. For example, the Feast of Tabernacles is an 8-day feast, yet it is representative of the 40 years in the wilderness.  (Lev 23:33-43) Even more telling, Leviticus 25 speaks about a Sabbath year every seven years; based on this, why not assume that Moses was actually speaking about years in Genesis 1? (Levl 25:1-7)

    FSSL: The hermeneutic approach begins with language and grammar. If there is an absurdity that is an obvious metaphor, then you and I will agree. However, there is no reason to take Genesis 1 other than a standard narrative using normal language.

    RSC2A:
    • The Babylonian mythology which the Israelite were most familiar already had a pattern of 7 days/7 nights. For example, Enkidu was tamed after bedding with someone for 7 days/7 nights, Utnapishtim's flood lasts for 7 days/7 nights,  Gilgamesh will be granted immortality of he can stay awake 7 days/7 nights, and on and on and on. (As I mentioned earlier, comparing the Canaanite myth with the Hebrew one is what proves extremely enlightening. In the Canaanite myth, the seventh day is a day of darkness, foreboding, and danger; in the Hebrew myth, the seventh day is holy.)

    FSSL: Which came first, the Gilgamesh epic or Moses? Moses is the source material from which these other myths sprung.

    RSC2A: FSSL: There are creationists in those fields as well which have the data to back up a creation theory.[/quote] But they don't. That's the whole point. I can measure how quickly sediment is deposited and how quickly it erodes. From that, I can give you an approximate timeline for geological formation. I can tell you how long it takes for radioactive carbon to break down. From that, I can tell you how old a carbon-based object is (up to a certain point). I can tell you how long it takes for continents to move and identify common rocks on separate continents. From that, I can tell you when they separated. It's math at that point for each one of these examples. And the math doesn't point to a young earth.

    FSSL: Apparently you are quite unaware of the studies of Creationist geologists and hydrologists. Nevertheless, I am going to stick with the biblical text. I will leave the scientific debate end of this to those who are degreed in those fields. Why do I take this approach? Because I believe that the biblical text carries more authority than the research of scientists. As we both know that scientific facts change. The word of God will not.

    RSC2A: “FSSL: How does the theological evolutionist account for millions of years of death before death entered the universe according to Genesis 3 (after the creation week)?” How can the creationist account for plant death prior to the Fall? Or, conversely, why does the possibility of immortality have to be more broadly applied to more than humanity?

    FSSL: Sin made plants thorny. Does the evolutionist deny that there were thorny plants before man? I don’t see much of an issue. How long after creation did Adam sin? A couple of days, a week? We don’t know. But we do know that sin changed both biology and botany without eons of years.

    RSC2A: ”FSSL: What contradictions? Genesis 2 is a summary of Genesis 1.” Genesis 1 has plants created before people. Genesis 2 has the order reversed.”

    FSSL: Genesis 2 is a summary, not a chronological presentation of the creation. It is designed to show the condition of the earth Before sin. This parallels chapter 3 where the narrative shows the condition of the earth After sin.

    RSC2A: “FSSL: The very first creative act defined the day. Evening and morning are marked by light and darkness. God created the light and that made an observable day. You have defined the day by the movement of the earth relative to the sun. Neither of which had been created...

    FSSL: Since no one was on the earth until day 6, the light and darkness, sun and moon all had their established place. When man came into being, there was no question.

    RSC2A: Regarding the other, I can clearly show how Genesis 1-11 is dismantling the Canaanite mythology most familiar to the Israelites and proclaiming the Hebrew one to be greater. I can point to sources ancient and modern that recognize chapters 12 onward to begin the history of the Jewish people. And I can do all this while still being consistent with the meta-narrative, historical interpretations, and natural revelation.

    FSSL: There is no need for Genesis 1-11 to dismantle an epic. The epic came after Genesis 1.

    RSC2A: And the natural revelation of God would tell us that a plain meaning understanding of Genesis 1 is absurd. :) Additionally, we can provide sound and historically valid reasons for the writing of Genesis 1-11 that doesn't require a literal understanding of the periscope.

    FSSL: The natural revelation of God (or Gilgamesh epic) never supersedes the written revelation of God.



    **edit was to fix the formatting of a bullet point. Nothing else was changed.
 

rsc2a

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FSSL said:
RSC2A: Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul... - 1 Sam 1:27 The intent here is clear: Then David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish sometime in the the future by the hand of Saul..." And, this is the exact same phrase used in Genesis 1.

FSSL: David was clear about a future, literal day, not an epoch.
I didn't mention anything about an epoch.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Zechariah 14:8 explicitly states that this "day" is longer than a 24-hr period. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. (Zechariah 14:6-8, ESV)

FSSL: The battle will occur on a literal day. It will mark the beginning of the Lord's reign. The reign will continue...[/quote]

On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. (Zechariah 14:6-8, ESV)

What you are suggesting is that the "day" changes meaning in the same passage with no internal clue that this is the case.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Furthermore, many Hebrew scholars have said that the lack of a definite article in the Genesis 1 accounts clearly affirms the idea that the "days" in Genesis 1 are indefinite. (In fact, to claim that the days are definite without the definite article would be reading the text in a way that is inconsistent with the entire rest of the OT, including the very next chapter.)

FSSL: Waltke and O’Connor, in their Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax write: “For other ordinal uses, the cardinal numerals are used, standing before the enumerated noun; ordinarily neither numeral nor noun has the article.”

In ordinals, it is the normal situation to have no article. It is not a matter of definite or indefinite. It is a matter of an oddity in the Hebrew language.

Here is the Hebrew scholarship on Genesis 1:1:
  • BDB: I quoted what Hebrew scholars say about Genesis 1.  BDB notes, without equivocation that, the days in Genesis are clearly, literal 24 hour days.
  • NIDOTT: The term is also used for day in the sense of the complete cycle that includes both daytime and nighttime, e.g. Gen 1:5: “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day”
  • HALOT: day of twenty-four hours: Gn 15
  • Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament: As in most languages, this basic meaning broadens to “day (of 24 hours)” in the sense of the astronomical or calendrical unit (then it cites Genesis 1)
[/quote]

This article by Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D. examines every usage of yom with ordinals and articles. Furthermore, he cites two other scholars who discuss the usage of ordinals and he states this:

The repeated pattern of the numbering of the creative times in Genesis One is unique. Each of the Hebrew numberings expressed by “yom” + number used in Genesis 1:8, Genesis 1:13, Genesis 1:19, Genesis 1:23, and Genesis 1:31, appear only one time in the Bible. (emphasis mine)

...and...

These results and the uniform absence of the definite article “the” prefixing the Hebrew word “yom,” confirms the basis of Archer’s: “. . . none of the six creative days bears a definite article in the Hebrew text; the translations “the first day,” “the second day,” etc., are in error.”

...concluding that...

1) The uniqueness of the Hebrew numbering of the creative “yom” actually supports the view that the creative “yom” are not ordinary (24-hour) days.
2) The numbering of the creative “yom” does not exclude the “extended period” or “age” meaning of the Hebrew word “yom” when referring to the six creative times. The unique numbering of the creative times adds support for the “extended period” or “age” meaning.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: “Why not take the Bible in its normal, plain sense?” For five reasons (with 2&3 and 4&5 being linked): Even "literalists" agree that this hermeneutic isn't always appropriate; There are multiple genres even within the book of Genesis including (but not limited to) myth, poetry, narrative, and law; Hebrew scholars themselves (from both the Jewish and the Christian perspective) acknowledge that the first part of Genesis is poetic; There are multiple other places where Moses describes a pattern that does not fit the chronology as stated. For example, the Feast of Tabernacles is an 8-day feast, yet it is representative of the 40 years in the wilderness.  (Lev 23:33-43) Even more telling, Leviticus 25 speaks about a Sabbath year every seven years; based on this, why not assume that Moses was actually speaking about years in Genesis 1? (Levl 25:1-7)

FSSL: The hermeneutic approach begins with language and grammar. If there is an absurdity that is an obvious metaphor, then you and I will agree. However, there is no reason to take Genesis 1 other than a standard narrative using normal language.[/quote]

Except that the science says a "plain sense" reading is an absurdity. ;) And there is nothing in the original cultural context, literary context, interpretive context, or scientific context that would not allow for an evolutionary understanding of Genesis 1-2.

Furthermore, it does nothing to address the fact that Moses clearly uses units other than 24-hr days to represent other "days", be those wandering in the wilderness or Sabbath years. Point of question: Moses outlines a Sabbath year based on the creation account; why shouldn't we believe that each "day" in Genesis 1 isn't actually a year?

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A:
  • The Babylonian mythology which the Israelite were most familiar already had a pattern of 7 days/7 nights. For example, Enkidu was tamed after bedding with someone for 7 days/7 nights, Utnapishtim's flood lasts for 7 days/7 nights,  Gilgamesh will be granted immortality of he can stay awake 7 days/7 nights, and on and on and on. (As I mentioned earlier, comparing the Canaanite myth with the Hebrew one is what proves extremely enlightening. In the Canaanite myth, the seventh day is a day of darkness, foreboding, and danger; in the Hebrew myth, the seventh day is holy.)

FSSL: Which came first, the Gilgamesh epic or Moses? Moses is the source material from which these other myths sprung.[/quote]

Based on the texts we have discovered, Gilgamesh has about 1800 years on the earliest copies of the Pentateuch we have discovered. In fact, by comparing the differences in these accounts and the Hebrew one, we can learn even more about Yahweh.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: But they don't. That's the whole point. I can measure how quickly sediment is deposited and how quickly it erodes. From that, I can give you an approximate timeline for geological formation. I can tell you how long it takes for radioactive carbon to break down. From that, I can tell you how old a carbon-based object is (up to a certain point). I can tell you how long it takes for continents to move and identify common rocks on separate continents. From that, I can tell you when they separated. It's math at that point for each one of these examples. And the math doesn't point to a young earth.

FSSL: Apparently you are quite unaware of the studies of Creationist geologists and hydrologists. Nevertheless, I am going to stick with the biblical text. I will leave the scientific debate end of this to those who are degreed in those fields.[/quote]

I am degreed in one of those fields. :)

[quote author=FSSL]Why do I take this approach? Because I believe that the biblical text carries more authority than the research of scientists. As we both know that scientific facts change. The word of God will not.[/quote]

- The Biblical text absolutely carries more authority than the research of scientists. What it doesn't carry more authority than is the physical laws that God used when He wired the universe. Both natural revelation and supernatural revelation are authoritative and both point us to God.
- Scientific facts do not change. Our understanding of scientific facts change. Likewise, the truths of the Bible do not change. Our understanding of the truths of the Bible changes.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: “FSSL: How does the theological evolutionist account for millions of years of death before death entered the universe according to Genesis 3 (after the creation week)?” How can the creationist account for plant death prior to the Fall? Or, conversely, why does the possibility of immortality have to be more broadly applied to more than humanity?

FSSL: Sin made plants thorny. Does the evolutionist deny that there were thorny plants before man? I don’t see much of an issue. How long after creation did Adam sin? A couple of days, a week? We don’t know. But we do know that sin changed both biology and botany without eons of years.[/quote]

Your first statement is an assumption based on a broad reading of a limited text. Your second question isn't important to your argument unless you think Adam didn't manage to make it a single day. It's unimportant to my argument because the question itself wouldn't make sense.

Interesting though...this "Adam"...would that be the same Hebrew word used to describe all of mankind?

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: ”FSSL: What contradictions? Genesis 2 is a summary of Genesis 1.” Genesis 1 has plants created before people. Genesis 2 has the order reversed.”

FSSL: Genesis 2 is a summary, not a chronological presentation of the creation. It is designed to show the condition of the earth Before sin. This parallels chapter 3 where the narrative shows the condition of the earth After sin.[/quote]

So we should read Genesis 1-2:3 as a chronological account but we shouldn't read Genesis 2:4- as a chronological account when there is no exegetical basis for the change in hermeneutic principle?

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: “FSSL: The very first creative act defined the day. Evening and morning are marked by light and darkness. God created the light and that made an observable day. You have defined the day by the movement of the earth relative to the sun. Neither of which had been created...

FSSL: Since no one was on the earth until day 6, the light and darkness, sun and moon all had their established place. When man came into being, there was no question.[/quote]

Actually, the sun and moon weren't created until "day 4".

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: Regarding the other, I can clearly show how Genesis 1-11 is dismantling the Canaanite mythology most familiar to the Israelites and proclaiming the Hebrew one to be greater. I can point to sources ancient and modern that recognize chapters 12 onward to begin the history of the Jewish people. And I can do all this while still being consistent with the meta-narrative, historical interpretations, and natural revelation.

FSSL: There is no need for Genesis 1-11 to dismantle an epic. The epic came after Genesis 1.[/quote]

The archeological evidence suggests otherwise...by about 1800 years.

[quote author=FSSL]RSC2A: And the natural revelation of God would tell us that a plain meaning understanding of Genesis 1 is absurd. :) Additionally, we can provide sound and historically valid reasons for the writing of Genesis 1-11 that doesn't require a literal understanding of the periscope.

FSSL: The natural revelation of God (or Gilgamesh epic) never supersedes the written revelation of God.[/quote]

No. The natural revelation of God is equal to the special revelation of God. When our understanding of these contradict, we must re-examine our understanding of one (or both) of them.
 

FSSL

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For the sake of readability and conciseness, I can boil our differences down to three areas:

What Does Hebrew Scholarship Says About the Length of Days?

You cite an article by Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D. who claims to have examined every usage of yom with ordinals and articles. Furthermore, he cites two other scholars who discuss the usage of ordinals. The problem is that Whitefield supports his conclusions without primary sources. Archer’s The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties and Geisler’s Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics are hardly primary sources for a person dealing with the Hebrew language. This is a very curious thing. Why ignore the standard Hebrew sources in favor of pedestrian books on subjects other than the Hebrew language?

I have provided a Hebrew Grammar and 4 Hebrew lexicons. I find it curious that Whitefield does not address them. He opts for non Hebrew language sources. I could add that all of the major translations of the Bible translate these as ordinals. Surely, if there really was a question, these translators would have provided an indefinite translation.

Ironically, nonCreationist Hebrew scholars recognize the plain meaning of the Hebrew. They do not attempt to redefine “yom.” So, if the Theistic Evolutionist wants to remain in sync with the biblical text, the onus is on him to find or alter the typical Evolutionary model to accommodate what the language clearly says. Otherwise, he could claim that the biblical text was corrupt and wrong.

Is Genesis the Product of Akkadian Myths?

I need to make it clear, I believe that ANE literature, culture and archaeology DO have an impact on our understanding of the Bible. However, with that said, I do not believe Scripture comes from these sources.  Why? Because it is highly speculative and it is the playground of JEDP.

Even writers that present this as “fact,” always frame their discussions with, “could be, no reason to doubt,” kind-of-language. This idea was debunked in 1965 by W.G. Lambert writing in the Journal of Theological Studies. He said, “Genesis shows no knowledge of Mesopotamian matters prior to 1500 B.C., a point of considerable importance.”

Moses depended on two things for the composition of Genesis. Oral tradition along with the revelation of God. Moses did not need to compile material from Mesopotamia.

Is Natural (General) Revelation on par with Specific Revelation?
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

While general revelation does tell us that God is Creator, He is Good, Great, Eternal… it is general. That is, it is incomplete. Therefore, it is not on par with God’s written Word.
Why? Because natural revelation does not have a language which communicates clearly. For example, fossils do not come with a date stamped on them. The Bible does give us genealogies, length of lives and various information that could never be discerned by natural revelation.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 speaks to the primacy of special revelation: “God has revealed what eye had not seen nor ear heard.” That is why Genesis 1:1 begins with the declarative statement, “In the beginning God created…”

What can be observed by natural revelation cannot be fully understood without written, specific revelation.
 

rsc2a

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FSSL said:
For the sake of readability and conciseness, I can boil our differences down to three areas:

What Does Hebrew Scholarship Says About the Length of Days?

You cite an article by Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D. who claims to have examined every usage of yom with ordinals and articles. Furthermore, he cites two other scholars who discuss the usage of ordinals. The problem is that Whitefield supports his conclusions without primary sources. Archer’s The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties and Geisler’s Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics are hardly primary sources for a person dealing with the Hebrew language. This is a very curious thing. Why ignore the standard Hebrew sources in favor of pedestrian books on subjects other than the Hebrew language?
The article does address primary sources, in this case, the actual manuscripts. As Whitefield stated, he compared every instance of where yom appeared with a number in the actual Hebrew texts. He also checked the usage of definite and indefinite articles at each usage of the world. His entire appeal is to the primary source.

[quote author=FSSL]I have provided a Hebrew Grammar and 4 Hebrew lexicons. I find it curious that Whitefield does not address them. He opts for non Hebrew language sources. I could add that all of the major translations of the Bible translate these as ordinals. Surely, if there really was a question, these translators would have provided an indefinite translation.[/quote]

Why would he need to address them? One author whose article he cites, Norman Geisler, is a well known creation-apologist and the second, Gleason Archer, served as an editor for one of those lexicons you are likely citing.

Furthermore, Archer served as Professor of Biblical Languages for 41 years at Fuller Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and served a translator for both the NASB and the NIV while also strongly advocating for the inerrancy of Scripture and a historical Adam.  His is not an uninformed opinion that would state:

In Hebrew prose of this genre, the definite article was generally used where the noun was intended to be definite; only in poetic style could it be omitted. The same is true with the rest of the six days; they all lack the definite article.Thus they are well adapted to a sequential pattern, rather than to strictly delimited
units of time.


In other words, the Hebrew experts including those responsible for translating the text agree with him.

[quote author=FSSL]Ironically, nonCreationist Hebrew scholars recognize the plain meaning of the Hebrew. They do not attempt to redefine “yom.” So, if the Theistic Evolutionist wants to remain in sync with the biblical text, the onus is on him to find or alter the typical Evolutionary model to accommodate what the language clearly says. Otherwise, he could claim that the biblical text was corrupt and wrong. [/quote]

Non-creationist Hebrew scholars like Archer, J.I. Packer (who served as general editor for the ESV translation), Walter Kaiser, and many, many others?

[quote author=FSSL]Is Genesis the Product of Akkadian Myths?

I need to make it clear, I believe that ANE literature, culture and archaeology DO have an impact on our understanding of the Bible. However, with that said, I do not believe Scripture comes from these sources.  Why? Because it is highly speculative and it is the playground of JEDP.

Even writers that present this as “fact,” always frame their discussions with, “could be, no reason to doubt,” kind-of-language. This idea was debunked in 1965 by W.G. Lambert writing in the Journal of Theological Studies. He said, “Genesis shows no knowledge of Mesopotamian matters prior to 1500 B.C., a point of considerable importance.”

Moses depended on two things for the composition of Genesis. Oral tradition along with the revelation of God. Moses did not need to compile material from Mesopotamia. Even Enuma/Elish, the Creation account of Mesopotamia is so [/quote]

Did you just argue that the author of Genesis shows no knowledge of Mesopotamian mythology in spite of the fact that Mesopotamian culture completely surrounded (and crept into) Hebrew culture, the records we have show that Mesopotamian mythology was 1800 years older, and the stories in both the Mesopotamian mythology and Hebrew mythology have an extraordinary amount of parallels?

[quote author=FSSL]Is Natural (General) Revelation on par with Specific Revelation?
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

While general revelation does tell us that God is Creator, He is Good, Great, Eternal… it is general. That is, it is incomplete. Therefore, it is not on par with God’s written Word.
Why? Because natural revelation does not have a language which communicates clearly. For example, fossils do not come with a date stamped on them. The Bible does give us genealogies, length of lives and various information that could never be discerned by natural revelation.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 speaks to the primacy of special revelation: “God has revealed what eye had not seen nor ear heard.” That is why Genesis 1:1 begins with the declarative statement, “In the beginning God created…”[/quote]

Correct. In the same manner, a cookbook is incomplete (although accurate) when what you are looking for is a phone number. Genesis 1:1 tells us God created. It does not tell us how. Genesis 1:1 tells us "who". Later verses tell us "why", especially when you compare the stories to their contemporaries.

If you want to find out the "how", you need to put up the "cookbook" and pull out the "yellow pages".

[quote author=FSSL]What can be observed by natural revelation cannot be fully understood without written, specific revelation.[/quote]

And inaccurate. When I learned how to calculate the trajectory of a thrown object, I didn't look in 1 Samuel. I looked in a physics book.
 

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We have designed this format to allow for 5 rebuttals. I think we have sufficiently covered the high points of our positions. So, this is my last rebuttal and summary:

About the meaning of the word “day”: While RSC2A and I will continue to disagree on the three points I noted above, I believe that a Young Earth Creationist position takes into account the clear, unequivocal language of Genesis 1 & 2. RSC2A has his preferred oldearth advocate as his source of information. Whether the text says, “a first day” (indefinite) or “the first day” (definite), there is no change in meaning. The word “day” remains a “day.” To redefine it requires a bit of unnecessary gymnastics, overstatement of the strength of the Hebrew article, and ignores the other features Moses packed around the word “day.”

I am satisfied with my Hebrew Grammar and Lexicons. They debunk the idea that “yom” is anything other than a 24-hour literal day. These are the scholarly, peer-reviewed primary sources. They are the product of the finest in Hebrew scholarship for well over a century, since the Creationist/Evolutionist debate has developed. Strangely, RSC2A is confident with an old earth advocate's personal study. My sources are accepted as the finest source material for compiling all of the word nuances/semantic ranges by academia.

About the source of written revelation:  RSC2A sees parallels in Mesopotamian myths. There are parallels. However, parallels and the dating of these Mesopotamian myths are disputed among scholars. Scholarship has seriously questioned this in 1965 but there are remnants of those who believe these myths have priority.

About general revelation on par with specific revelation: Again, this is a part of our disagreement. God told us that he spoke and it was. Creation was immediate. We are told this clearly. RSC2A does nto recognize this as answering the question, “how.”
It is clear that RSC2A’s priority is science and he views Genesis 1 as having to fit into current scientific theory. We know that science is not an authoritative, nor entirely accurate discipline. The Word of God is authoritative and must receive the priority.

Thank you RSC2A... This was a very good discussion!
 

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This has been an enjoyable debate and I appreciate the time that FSSL has taken to engage with me.

About the meaning of the word “day”
As FSSL has pointed out, the primary discussion is on the meaning of the Hebrew word yom. I have cited an article where the author clearly shows, after examining every usage of the word in the Hebrew text, that the Hebrew phrasing in Genesis 1 is unique to that chapter and how the original language not only allows for, but strongly supports, an understanding that the word translated as "day" is not to be understood as a 24-hr period...unless Genesis 1-2:3 is to considered poetical.

FSSL has used a lexicon citation to support his case whereas I have appealed to the editors of those lexicons, editors who are Hebrew scholars and have served as editors and translators for the NASB, NIV, and ESV translations, including one scholar/editor who taught Old Testament Hebrew at two premier seminaries for 41 years...all who conclude that the word yom is definitely not a 24-hr period of time.

About the source of written revelation
Of course I see parallels with the Mesopotamian mythology. One would have to be blind to miss the parallels. The overwhelming majority of archeologists also readily acknowledge that the Mesopotamian mythologies pre-date the Hebrew Scriptures by 1000 or more years. Does this make the Hebrew Scriptures wrong? No more than Paul would be wrong for quoting pagan authors, Jude would be wrong for citing Enoch, or Luke would be wrong for utilizing historical records and accounts. However, by comparing the Hebrew mythology with the contemporary (and similar) belief systems, we can learn more fully about Yahweh and who He is.

About general revelation on par with specific revelation
The question is not about which type of revelation is greater, but which is appropriate. As I have stated before, one does not look for recipes in a phone book, nor does one look for phone numbers in a cookbook. My study of Scripture has done nothing to teach me the particulars necessary to design a safe bridge, but likewise, my study of physics has done nothing to teach me how to love my neighbor.

I would absolutely agree with FSSL that Scripture is authoritative. I would disagree wholeheartedly with him in his belief that science is not, likewise, authoritative. I can use science to predict when a thrown object will land and be right every single time. I can use science to predict the quantity of a substance formed in a chemical reaction and be right every single time. In the areas to which it is speaking, science is absolutely authoritative.

What is not "authoritative" is our particular understanding of either science or theology. There is a distinct (and important) difference in what Scripture teaches and what we think Scripture teaches. Hopefully, those two things are more similar than dissimilar but you do not have have to look far into history to find people using the Bible to defend beliefs that are clearly in error. That does not make the Bible fallible; it just means fallible people were reading the Bible. The same argument could be made for science. And, the Bible is clear, the natural world is also a means by which God has chosen to reveal Himself.

In summary, the statement by my worthy opponent that my priority is science and Scripture must be interpreted by what science says is incorrect. My priority is Truth, and we can learn Truth from both science and Scripture as Scripture itself attests to. Science does not have to compete with theology because they are sister revelations of the one God.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo

It vexes me when they would constrain science by the authority of the Scriptures, and yet do not consider themselves bound to answer reason and experiment. - Galileo

 
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I am particularly curious why anyone would believe that Mesopotamian mythology would be a contemporary to Hebrew Scriptures. It would remind rsc2a that the truths of the Scriptures existed before they were ever written down. They were actively and accurately passed from generation to generation before Moses ever put pen to paper. We have no evidence that any Hebrew during Moses's time actively rejected the accounts Moses preached/presented to the Hebrew nation of his time. They knew the traditions. They knew the stories they had been taught throughout their generations. To somehow claim that Mesopotamian mythology somehow influenced for even gives "insight" to a proper understanding of Hebrew history..... is just plain silly. Mesopotamian mythology is just that. Mythology. Just because it includes some references that can be cross referenced to Hebrew teachings doesn't mean that Hebrew teachings borrowed from Mesopotamian culture. Rather its the opposite. To then claim as evidence the timing of the writings of Moses as proof of said beliefs is even more childish. The Hebrew culture predates Mesopotamian mythology. It has its roots in Adam himself.

Which brings me to interesting question I'd like to pose to each of you. I am almost certain of FSSL's answer but I am interested in what our resident orthodoxy expert has to say.

Just who or what is Adam to each of you. I know Theistic evolution is really all over the place when it comes to the idea of "Adam". Its a dangerous thing to play with the truths of original sin.
 
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christundivided

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Timotheos said:
I am particularly curious why anyone would believe that Mesopotamian mythology would be a contemporary to Hebrew Scriptures.
Watch this to learn why:

Lecture 4. Doublets and Contradictions, Seams and Sources

Lecture 3 is also helpful.
Hi Timotheos. Long time no talky. :)

I am well aware of the argument. I gave a clear reason as why to reject the argument. Care to deal with my argument? You know Adam himself knew God. You know Adam himself passed down the teachings of God to his children. You know this. You know of Enoch. You know of Seth. Mesopotamian mythology did not predate Adam, Seth or Enoch. Are you saying it did?

I will also remind you that even if the Genesis account has changed throughout history, this still does not establish Mesopotamian mythology as being a contemporary to Hebrew traditions.

You're reasonable man. Take up the argument.
 

Darkwing Duck

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Here's a question I've always wanted to ask of Theistic Evolutionists - How did sin enter the world?

With the preponderance of scientific evidence to back up their beliefs, Theistic Evolution seems like the correct belief. Yet Theistic Evolution seems to me to have a huge problem when accounting for sin. I've never heard a Theistic Evolutionist explain how we got just 1 man and 1 woman after the evolutionary process. How do they explain the Garden of Eden? How do they explain the Fall of Man?
 

cubanito

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christundivided said:
I am particularly curious why anyone would believe that Mesopotamian mythology would be a contemporary to Hebrew Scriptures. It would remind rsc2a that the truths of the Scriptures existed before they were ever written down. They were actively and accurately passed from generation to generation before Moses ever put pen to paper. We have no evidence that any Hebrew during Moses's time actively rejected the accounts Moses preached/presented to the Hebrew nation of his time. They knew the traditions. They knew the stories they had been taught throughout their generations. To somehow claim that Mesopotamian mythology somehow influenced for even gives "insight" to a proper understanding of Hebrew history..... is just plain silly. Mesopotamian mythology is just that. Mythology. Just because it includes some references that can be cross referenced to Hebrew teachings doesn't mean that Hebrew teachings borrowed from Mesopotamian culture. Rather its the opposite. To then claim as evidence the timing of the writings of Moses as proof of said beliefs is even more childish. The Hebrew culture predates Mesopotamian mythology. It has its roots in Adam himself.

Which brings me to interesting question I'd like to pose to each of you. I am almost certain of FSSL's answer but I am interested in what our resident orthodoxy expert has to say.

Just who or what is Adam to each of you. I know Theistic evolution is really all over the place when it comes to the idea of "Adam". Its a dangerous thing to play with the truths of original sin.
Actually there is another explanation, that Genesis was written down long before Moses edited it. Remember Abram was a rich man who came from Ur of the Chaldeans, where the earliest known writing has been found.

I believe the Bible was gathered in 3 parts:
1- Genesis written by the patriarchs PLUS Job and followed by 400 years of silence, after which Moses edited it and canonized it.
2- The rest of the OT, written by Israel PLUs Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel), also followed by 400 years of silence after which  it was also canonized.
3- The NT which was written by Jews PLUS LUKE, canonized some 100 years or so after John died and followed by, so far, 2,000 years of silence.

Notice the structure, the 400 years of silence and the inclusion of only one writer outside Hebrews (just like Caleb, a non-Hebrew, was also to enter the promised land:there is always a non-Hebrew included).

The Chaldeans were the most intellectuallty advanced group of the east. Abram a rich man could easily have picked up writing from them. Moses being also a highly educated man, would have translated the writings of Abram, who was contemporary to Noah, into Hebrew.

The Mesopotamians would have a distorded creation myth from the same source: Noah and his family.
 
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