Genesis & Modern Science

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    Clouser, Roy

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    Genesis Regained: Creation not Creationism

    "The first part of this article concerns the theological doctrine of creation, which not to be confused with the theory of creationism. The doctrine of creation is that there is only one unoriginated being, God, on whom all else depends for existence. It goes on to say that God has called into existence ex nihilo everything found in, and true of, the temporal/spatial cosmos...What will be different about my presentation of it is that it will be based on the text itself rather than a sharp partitioning of humans into natural and non-natural sides, or a wave-of-the-hand dismissal of the text as, say, poetry. The second part of this paper will not, however, proceed to the conclusion often drawn by those sharing my view of Genesis. Often that view of the text is then hitched to the hasty inference that religious belief and science have nothing – or almost nothing - to do with one another. In opposition to that position, I will argue that all theories are regulated in a fundamental way by whatever they take as self-existent, and that no theory can fail to contain or presuppose some such belief."
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    Hill, Carol A.

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    Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis

    "Among the greatest stumbling blocks to faith in the Bible are the incredibly long ages of the patriarchs and the chronologies of Genesis 5 and 11 that seem to place the age of the Earth at about 6,000 years ago. The key to understanding the numbers in Genesis is that, in the Mesopotamian world view, numbers could have both real (numerical) and sacred (numerological or symbolic) meaning. The Mesopotamians used a sexagesimal (base 60) system of numbers, and the patriarchal ages in Genesis revolve around the sacred numbers 60 and 7. In addition to Mesopotamian sacred numbers, the preferred numbers 3, 7, 12, and 40 are used in both the Old and New Testaments. To take numbers figuratively does not mean that the Bible is not to be taken literally. It just means that the biblical writer was trying to impart a spiritual or historical truth to the text—one that surpassed the meaning of purely rational numbers."
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    Hyers, Conrad

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    The Narrative Form of Genesis 1: Cosmogonic, Yes; Scientific, No

    "A basic mistake through much of the history of interpreting Genesis I is the failure to identify the type of literature and linguistic usage it represents. This has often led, in turn, to various attempts at bringing Genesis into harmony with the latest scientific theory or the latest scientific theory into harmony with Genesis. Such efforts might be valuable, and indeed essential, if it could first be demonstrated (rather than assumed) that the Genesis materials belonged to the same class of literature and linguistic usage as modern scientific discourse. A careful examination of the 6-day account of creation, however, reveals that there is a serious category-mistake involved in these kinds of comparisons. The type Of narrative form with which Genesis 1 is presented is not natural history but a cosmogony."
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    Kline, Meredith G.

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    Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony

    "To rebut the literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by the young-earth theorists is a central concern of this article. At the same time, the exegetical evidence adduced also refutes the harmonistic day-age view. The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about cosmic origins. The opening section gives a biblico-theological sketch of the two-register nature of cosmology as presented in Scripture. The second major section shows how two-register cosmology informs and shapes the treatment of both the space and time dimensions in the Genesis prologue. It is found that a metaphorical relationship exists between the two levels; the heavenly level (upper register) is described in figures drawn from the earthly level (lower register). As for the seven-day scheme, it belongs to the upper register and is, therefore, to be understood figuratively, not literally. The point of the concluding section is that Genesis 1, on any view that identifies the narrative order with the temporal sequence, would contradict the teaching of Gen. 2:5 concerning the natural mode of providence during the creation process."
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    Lamoureux, Denis O.

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    Evolutionary Creation

    " The primary purpose of Genesis 1-11 is to offer a Divine theology concerning the Creator and His creation with special regard to men and women. This Holy Spirit inspired revelation includes the foundational spiritual truths that God is the Creator, the creation is very good, all humanity is created in the Image of God, and human sin is utterly real and utterly significant. Evolutionary creationists assert that this Divine theology is delivered using an ancient scientific understanding of nature and ancient poetic literary techniques. In other words, the Holy Spirit came down to the knowledge level of the ancient Hebrew writers and their readers in order to communicate as effectively as possible the Lord's revelation."
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    Pilbrow, John R. & Allan J. Day

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    Cosmology, Creation and the Biblical Record

    "Modern cosmology starts with the so-called Big Bang at what physicists call a singularity in space and time which represents the beginning of space and time - a creation -ex nihilo. The implication scientifically is that space and time were created at the singularity about 15 billion years ago. The physics of the very earliest times are not known however, but it is certainly true to say that science and theology find no contradictions. Even if the no boundary speculation of Hawking is true, as discussed above the theology of creation is concerned with why there is something rather than nothing. Theology and science concur, but are asking different questions."
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    Rüst, Peter

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    Genesis Reconsidered

    "The Bible and creation have been called the two books of revelation. The trend to disparage attempts at harmonization is mistaken, resulting from inadequate care in interpretation. Their primary aims are different, but interpretational crosschecks are meaningful. Taking Genesis 1–2 to reveal different modes of God’s creating, and to constitute a continuous narrative, rather than two 'creation stories,' resolves some otherwise unsolved problems."
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    Seely, Paul H.

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    The Three-Storied Universe

    "The Bible assumes that the universe consists of three stories. The top story consists of a hard firmament which serves to divide a part of the primeval ocean from the other part of that ocean which is on the earth. The middle story, the earth, is where flesh and blood men live. The bottom story, Sheol, is where the souls of the departed live. The firmament is hard, not gaseous. This is evidenced by the etymological meaning of the Hebrew word for firmament, the logic of the case, the ease with which Moses could have described a gaseous firmament had he so desired, Biblical cross references, and the absence of any evidence to the contrary. The earth is presumably, but not necessarily flat. The bottom story is not just figurative language for the state of the dead, nor is it simply equivalent to the meaning of 'grave'. It is, as we see in Numbers 16:30-33, I Samuel 28:815, and elsewhere, the subterranean realm of the dead. The Bible assumes that the universe is three-storied; but, we do not believe that Christians are bound to give assent to such a cosmology, since the purpose of the Bible is to give redemptive, not scientific truth. The relationship of science to Scripture is this: The Bible gives redemptive truth through the scientific thoughts of the times without ever intending that those scientific thoughts should be believed as inerrant."
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    Tang, Alfred

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    The Multiple Gaps Theory: A Contemporary Revision of the Science and Theology of Creation

    "Genesis 1 contains scientifically and historically reliable information about the origin of life and the origin of the universe. It tells us that God is the Creator of the universe and life. Genesis 1 embodies a chronological outline of Divine creative activities from which it is possible to construct a cosmogony that consists of six creation periods. Each of these creation periods begins with a twenty-four-hour creation day followed by a time gap. It is called the Multiple Gaps Theory. In this model, the earth is old but life is relatively young. And the existence of the universe depends on a Creator and His special creation."
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    Watts, Rikki E.

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    Making Sense of Genesis 1

    "What might we conclude about the truth claims and significance of Genesis 1? Given its genre—a highly stylized form and unrealistic content—I would suggest that it is not to be taken "literally" in the popular modern Western sense as a blow-by-blow, chronologically accurate, account of creation. No one in the ancient world, apart from the isolated account of the time taken to build Baal’s palace, seems particularly concerned with these kinds of questions. Our chronos-fixated age measures things in nanoseconds and smaller—but not theirs."
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    Zimmer, J. Raymond

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    Genesis 1 as a Sign of the Evolutionary Record: Art and Implications

    "The semiotics of C. S. Peirce permits a new way of constructing relations between the sign systems of theology and the evolutionary sciences. Signs are constructed using phrases in the Genesis 1 text as sign-vehicles and aspects of corresponding evolutionary epochs as objects. The artist connects the pair on the basis of natural sign interpretants, thus constructing a sign where a passage in the biblical text stands for an aspect of a corresponding evolutionary era. The accumulation of signs yields a global sign that operates according to the logic of Steven Meyer’s 'God hypothesis.' Both Genesis 1 and the evolutionary record belong to a single reality."