Elohim Hashem Jehovah, History, Humanity, Life matters

Possible problems with two Accounts of the beginning of human race

Continuing looking at Wilfred Lambert stated the human race is more than 7,000 years old and two Two creation accounts having Genesis 1:1–2:3 offering a narrative of acts of creation by God spread over ‘six days’, followed by a ‘day of rest’, at which point God’s creative work, it is stressed, was finished.

The wording of Genesis 2:2–3 makes plain that creation by God finished at that point. Chapters 2:4–3:24 is a narrative entirely different in style and content and in no way presupposes what now precedes it. The account of the Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve, of the fall and of the expulsion from the Garden, is entirely different in style from the earlier account: more picturesque, reading like a story. The names of God {Note of the Ed.: “titles” for God} used in the two narratives are also different. The first uses exclusively ‘God’ (Hebrew Elohim), while the second uses ‘LORD God’ (Yahweh Elohim) in its narrative, and ‘God’ (Elohim) only in the dialogue between the serpent and Eve in 3:1–5 {Ed.note: in certain translations}. The most natural explanation of these facts is that the two accounts were composed by different authors, and have been combined by the inspired author of Genesis. The ancients were not inhibited by our sense of literary rights, and freely incorporated in their works anything of great value from earlier works with or without making changes. A comparison of the later Chronicles with Samuel–Kings, and of the first three Gospels with each other, illustrates this phenomenon.

Problems
The problems which the two accounts pose for modern believers arise from their conviction that Scripture, being the Word of God, is true, whereas  those hostile to Christian faith proclaim that the accounts are not true.

English: Adam & Eve in garden of Eden Русский:...
English: Adam & Eve in garden of Eden Русский: Адам и Еван в Эдемском саду (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditionally the two accounts have always been taken to refer to the same creation, and the second one is dated by the figures given with genealogies in the following chapters.  The relevant figures in the Septuagint (Greek) version of Genesis are higher than those of the traditional Hebrew text.  The latter lead to a date of c. 4000 BC for Adam while the former’s figures result in a date more like 5000 BC. Taking the days of the first account as literal twenty-four hour periods means that the universe arose (according to the traditional rendering of Gen. 1:1–2) no earlier than c. 5000 BC, if not a thousand years later.

Study of geology over some centuries now has shown evidence of a succession of different eras represented by layers of rock giving evidence of the development of the earth over millions of years.  While man in this sequence is a relatively recent arrival, the new dating techniques of the current century – radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, and dendrochronology – certainly make a date of even 5000 BC much too late for the origin of man.  Hence, sceptics argue, Genesis is proved wrong.

Two preliminary points can be made before getting to grips with the real problems.  The first is that we absolutely reject the idea put out by some that God deliberately put the fossils in the rocks in 4004 BC to deceive the (recent, western) scientists.  This assigns a totally excessive importance to these people, and denigrates God by making him into a petty trickster.  The second is that while all the failings of modern scientists can and should be taken into account – including rare cases of deliberate fraud – the general result that the human race is more than 7000 years old, and that the universe is very much older, can no longer be considered insecure.  Devout and believing Bible scholars have made and still do make mistakes and Biblical manuscripts have, rarely, been forged, but that is no reason to abandon faith in God.

The major problem of the two accounts of creation is that while for Christian faith they must be true, there are difficulties in harmonising them with the facts of geology and palaeontology.  By stating the problem in this way we have already prejudiced the issues.  Truth has been assumed to be literal truth only.  We have prejudged what God intended by these narratives.  We have raised difficulties which come from our particular cultural background.  We are wanting God’s word to conform to our way of thinking.  There is something both naive and arrogant in such a stance.  The Scriptures were surely meant to communicate God’s will and purposes to believers all down the ages, not only to 20th century believers in a western intellectual environment.  If one insists that Scripture, being true, cannot conflict with the facts of science, the person making such a claim is presuming that his own science is infallibly correct.  Perhaps God’s science is better than ours, and in any case believers before 1800 AD had very little science judged by our own age, yet God was appealing to them as well through his self-revelation in Scripture.

A further serious objection to those who insist that Genesis 1–3 must be wholly literal truth is that any narrative may be mixed in this respect: in part literally true, in part true in other senses.  There is very little literature that belongs wholly to one category or the other.  What appears from a superficial reading as literal only, usually turns out on deeper inspection to have its share of metaphor and other forms of figurative language with which the casual reader is so familiar that he fails to note that literally these items should be judged as untrue.  When the prophet said, ‘All flesh is grass,’ he communicated the basic truth of human mortality in words that are literally untrue.  Flesh is not grass – ask the scientists!

+

Preceding

An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things

Bereshith 1-2 The Creation of the World – The Seven Days

How did the original readers understand Gen 1:1?

We haven’t always insisted that Gen 1 is literal 6*24 hours

Starting from a point in time when two elements existed

Account of origin of man, sin and death

Next: The figure of Adam

+++

Further reading

  1. Made in the Image of God! Really? Me Too? Yep, You Too!
  2. Nature Is A Reflection Of God
  3. In the Beginning, Part IV
  4. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
  5. Trouble in Paradise
  6. Genesis 3:1-8
  7. Genesis: Sin Enters the World (3)
  8. Genesis 3:9-15
  9. Genesis 3:16-24
  10. The Fall of the Deceived
  11. How Did the Moral Fall of Adam Affect the Human Race?
  12. Eve Speaks – The “Fall of Man” from Another Perspective
  13. The Fall of Man
  14. The Fall of Man Into Sin
  15. The Dark Lord (Part One): Samael, Satan, and the Adversary of God
  16. Love and doubt: the central truth of existence
  17. Tip of the Day, May 16
  18. Out of Eden
  19. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Satan’s Oldest Trick In the Book
  20. Researcher finds faults in the Earth’s crust
  21. Racing the rain
  22. How Volcanic Eruptions Ushered in The Dawn Of The Dinosaurs
  23. Geology and the Myth of Deep Time- Confessions of a YEC part 19
  24. Digging for Equality – Famous Female Palaeontologists Part II.2: Mary Anning The later years
  25. The Anthropocene: Geology’s Most Exciting New Theory?
  26. Mistaken Point – 150 things about Canadian palaeo, part 13
  27. Current Canadian Palaeos (2) – 150 things about Canadian palaeo, part 12
  28. Fossil-finding
  29. Science began with belief in a Lawmaker
  30. Scientific Evidence of Creation

+++

Advertenties

5 thoughts on “Possible problems with two Accounts of the beginning of human race”

Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen.

WordPress.com logo

Je reageert onder je WordPress.com account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Twitter-afbeelding

Je reageert onder je Twitter account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Google+ photo

Je reageert onder je Google+ account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s