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Genesis 1:1-2:3; God Creates Our World, Part 4
by Karl Kemp
7/14/2014 / Bible Studies
We continue with a few more excerpts from Extended Note K, "Intelligent Design, Not Evolution" here at the beginning of Part 4, then we will start a verse-by-verse study of Gen. 1:1-2:3.
EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH PAUL CHIEN THAT DEALS WITH THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION (Interview of Paul Chien by Fazale Rana & Hugh Ross in an article titled "Exploding With Life!" in "Facts for Faith," 2nd quarter, 2000. "Dr. Paul Chien, chairman and professor of biology at the University of San Francisco, is not only a renowned zoologist with published papers in more than 50 journals and several international lecture tours to his credit; he is also a devout Christian bursting with spiritual vitality and with first-hand observations of the big news on biology's 'big bang,' the Cambrian Explosion. A senior fellow of the Discovery Institute...." I quoted a little less than one page from this interview in Extended Note K):
It was in 1984 that "complex animals were first found among the Cambrian creatures" by paleontologists.
I'll quote what Chien says in answer to the question "How does this discovery impact those using the evolutionary paradigm?" "It presents them quite a problem. When we look at these early Cambrian fossils, we can conclude that roughly all the living phyla we see today were represented then.
In fact, there were a dozen more phyla on earth then than there are now. They seem to have gone extinct just after the beginning. So if you look at the origin of animals, in terms of phyla, or in terms of different body plans, they were all there very near the beginning, all together. We see no evidence of a slow, gradual kind of evolution.
This is a significant point about the Cambrian explosion that isn't often talked about: We see these different body plans, or different animal phyla, coming out first, before a diversity of species comes out. In other words, the development happens from the top down instead of from the bottom up.
[Then, in answer to the follow up question, "So, are you saying that the Cambrian explosion shows evolution 'going the wrong way?' " Chien responded:] "Yes. ... CREATION IS GOING ON [my emphasis]."
I'll quote part of Chien's answer to the question "How rapidly did this Cambrian burst of life occur?" "The western literature states the duration of the explosion as 5 to 10 million years - but the latest figure given by Chinese scientists...is 2 to 3 million." And later in the article he points out that "When people talk about how fast the explosion went, prominent figures in the field say, 'A few million years is many generations.' But in terms of the kinds of changes we see, a few million years is nothing."
Lastly, I'll quote part of what Chien says in answer to the question "How can Christians use the Cambrian explosion to defend their faith - even to share the gospel?" "I've found that explaining how the Cambrian explosion supports the biblical doctrine of creation is quite effective, especially among Chinese scholars - the very Chinese who were educated in Taoism and atheism.
The two major evidences they had for their views were the steady state theory of the universe and the Darwinian theory, and now both supports are broken. When you explain that to them it really makes them think."
EXCERPTS FROM "THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION: BIOLOGY'S BIG BANG" BY STEPHEN C. MEYER, P. A. NELSON, AND PAUL CHIEN (I downloaded this article from the Internet; I found it under "Cambrian Explosion." The article was posted by the Discovery Institute, with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, www.discovery.org.articleFiles/PDFs/Cambrian.pdf. The article is fifty pages long and contains many points and details that I won't be able to get into here. Also, because of the technical nature of this paper, I won't include most of the footnotes. I quoted eight pages from this article in Extended Note K. There is no way that I can begin to cover all of the important information contained on these eight pages in these brief excerpts.):
I'll quote part of "I. Introduction: Design Without a Designer?" (pages 1, 2). "In this paper we test the claims of neo-Darwinism, and another fully naturalistic version of evolutionary theory known as 'punctuated equilibrium.' ((I had a footnote: I'll include a few sentences from the brief article under "Gould, Stephen Jay" from the CD of the 2002 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. He was a "U.S. paleontologist and evolutionary biologist," who "joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1967." "With Niles Eldredge (born 1943), he developed the controversial theory of punctuated equilibrium (1972), a revision of Darwinism that proposed that the evolutionary creation of new species occurs in rapid bursts over periods as short as thousands of years, which are followed by long periods of stability.")) We will do so by comparing the empirical expectations of these two theories about the history of life against the data of 'the Cambrian explosion'.... We shall show that the Cambrian fossil record contradicts the empirical expectations of both these theories in several significant respects. ... [They go on to say that the evidence fits design.]."
I'll quote part of "II. The Cambrian Explosion" (pages 2-6). "The term Cambrian Explosion describes the geologically sudden appearance of multi-cellular animals in the fossil record during the Cambrian period of geologic time. By the close of this event, as many as forty-one separate phyla first made their appearance on earth. Phyla constitute the highest biological categories or taxa in the animal kingdom, with each phylum exhibiting a unique architecture, blueprint or structural body plan. ...
... Geologically speaking, 5 million years represents an extremely small fraction of the Earth's history. ... Yet almost all the major innovations in the basic architecture of living forms occurred abruptly within just such a small fraction of the earth's history during the Cambrian. ...
... ...in almost all cases, the body plans and structures present in Cambrian period animals have no clear morphological antecedents in earlier strata. ...
... Cambrian rocks display at least two-thirds of the basic body plans or architectural designs of the animal kingdom. ..." (pages 2, 3).
"... The major body plans that arise in the Cambrian period exhibit considerable morphological isolation from one another (or 'disparity') and then subsequent 'stasis.' ...
...the sudden emergence of the various animals of the Cambrian explosion represents a dramatic discontinuous or 'quantum' increase in the information content (or specified complexity) of the biological world. ... ...beginning about 570 million years ago, the first multi-cellular animals arrived on the scene.... Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred. [[Where did all that "quantum" increase in information content come from? By the way, I don't know enough to accept or reject these dates (scientists, including Christian scientists, can be wrong) but I am sure that the earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old.] ..." (pages 4, 5).
I'll quote a small part of what the authors say under "III. Testing the Neo-Darwinian and Punctualist Mechanisms" (pages 6-15). "...the data of the Cambrian explosion actually contradict the empirical expectations of neo-Darwinism at nearly every point. ...
III.D. Summary Assessment (pages 14-15) ...
These problems underscore a more significant theoretical difficulty for evolutionary theory generally, namely, the insufficiency of attempts to extrapolate micro-evolutionary mechanisms to explain macro-evolutionary development. ...
[In the next section of this paper the authors deal with objections to their position (pages 15-24). I won't quote any of that material.]
V. Evidence of Design? (pages 24-43)
V.A. The 'Quantum' Increase in Specified Biological Information. (pages 25-38)
V.B. The Persistence of Morphological Isolation or Disparity (Stasis). (pages 39-40)
V. C. An Inverted Cone of Diversity: Disparity Preceding Diversity. (pages 40-42)
V. D. Sudden Appearance and Absence of Ancestral Precursors. (pages 42-43)
This is the end of the excerpts from Extended Note K in the original 273 page paper on Genesis chapters 1-3. (We are still in the Introduction of this paper on Genesis 1:1-2:3.)
My primary goal for this paper (the original paper on Genesis chapters 1-3) was/is to present an accurate, relevant, verse-by-verse explanation of Genesis chapters 1-3. I also wanted to address in as constructive a way as possible the young-earth controversy that has become so divisive in segments of the body of Christ; many are saying (even insisting) that Christians are unfaithful to God and the Bible if they don't agree with the young-earth date for the universe and the earth. We desperately need the truth, the balanced truth in every area, including the interpretation of Genesis chapters 1-3. WE HAVE NO NEED TO FEAR THE TRUTH! IT WILL STAND! All real truth, including scientific truth, is God's truth!
I'll close this Introduction with the following excerpts from G. H. Pember:
EXCERPTS FROM G. H. PEMBER IN EXTENDED NOTE C THAT DEAL WITH EZEKIEL CHAPTER 28 AND WHERE DEMONS COME FROM ("Earth's Earliest Ages" [1975 Kregel reprint, originally published in 1876]; Pember taught the gap view of creation):
Commenting on Ezek. 28:13, Pember says, "Now Satan was indeed in Adam's Eden: he did not, however, appear there as a minister of God, but as an apostate and malignant spirit eager for the ruin of the new creation. Hence the Eden of this passage [Ezek. 28:13] must have been of a far earlier date. ...
" ... So, probably, in remote ages [in the "preadamite world," which for Pember would have existed between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2, and for me would have existed before Gen. 1:1], before the first whisper of rebellion against God, Satan [before he became Satan/the devil], as the great governing head and the viceroy of the Almighty [at least Satan had a high-level position under God], assisted by glorious beings of his own nature [angels], ruled over the sinless dwellers upon earth. At the same time he directed the worship of his subjects, and expounded to them the oracles of the all-wise Creator.
But his weight of glory was more than he could bear: pride lifted up his heart, and he fell from his obedience. Then, doubtless, corruption appeared among his angels [I had a footnote: Revelation 12:4 with 12:7-9 indicates that a third of God's angels followed Satan in his rebellion.], and so descended to those who were in the flesh [who became the demons]. [[I had a footnote: I suppose it's possible that the beings that lived on the "primitive/preadamite" earth (assuming there was such an earth and there were such beings) were all spiritual beings (like the angels), but it seems probable that many of them had more substantial bodies (more like the physical bodies of our present world).]] ...
We are...apparently able to discern in the New Testament clear traces of the two orders of Satan's subjects, the spiritual, and those who were in the flesh [in the preadamite world]. For there are three distinctive terms applied to the dwellers in the Kingdom of Darkness.
The first is...the Devil.... ... In the second place we find mention of the angels of Satan (Matt. 25:41), who are doubtless the spiritual intelligences which God appointed to assist him in his government, and who chose to follow him into sin. [At least we know that a third of God's angels followed the devil in his rebellion against God.] ... But another class of Satan's subjects is much more frequently brought before us, that of the...demons.... ... Now these demons are the same as evil and unclean spirits, as we may see from the following passages. 'When the even was come they brought unto him many that were possessed with demons; and He cast out the spirits with His word' (Matt. 8:16). ...
But they [demons] must be carefully distinguished from angels, bad as well as good. [It seems clear that a large number of demons, not a large number of angels, were possessing the man spoken of in Mark 5, for example.] For angels are not mere disembodied spirits [demons are "disembodied spirits," according to Pember, and I believe he is right], but - as we may learn from our Lord's declaration that the children of the resurrection shall be equal to the angels - are clothed with spiritual bodies [bodies designed for living in the heavenly dimension], such as are promised to us (compare Phil. 3:21; Luke 24:39) if we 'shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age and the resurrection from the dead' (Luke 20:35). ...
... ...may not these demons be the spirits of those who trod this earth in the flesh before the ruin described in the second verse of Genesis, and who, at the time of that destruction, were disembodied by God, and left still under the power, and ultimately to share the fate, of the leader in whose sin they acquiesced? Certainly one oft-recorded fact seems to confirm such a theory: for we read that the demons are continually seizing upon the bodies of men, and endeavoring to use them as their own. And may not this propensity indicate a wearisome lack of ease, a wandering unrest, arising from a sense of incompleteness; a longing to escape the intolerable condition of being unclothed - for which they were not created - so intense that, if they can satisfy its cravings in no other way, they will even enter into the filthy bodies of swine? (Matt. 8:31). [[Based on what Mark 5:10 says about the demons imploring Jesus earnestly not to send them out of the country, we can speculate that they may have lived in that same territory on a "primitive/preadamite" earth. Although it's undoubtedly true that demons (at least some of them) have a craving to appropriate a physical body, Satan's use of them certainly involves fighting against God's kingdom and the destruction of men, not satisfying demonic cravings.]]
We find no such propensity [to dwell in the bodies of men or animals] on the part of Satan and his angels. ... They may, indeed, possibly enter human frames; not, however, from inclination, but only because such a course is absolutely necessary for the furtherance of some great conspiracy of evil" (pages 55-59).
May God's will be fully accomplished through this paper and His people be edified! In Jesus' name! (This is the end of the Introduction for this paper on Gen. 1:1-2:3.)
GENESIS CHAPTER 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [[I'll quote a few verses from the New Testament that deal with God's work of creating in the beginning and make a few comments. JOHN 1:1-3: "In the beginning [before any creating had taken place] was the Word [the "Logos" (Greek); the Son of God; He is an uncreated Being; if He had been created, He wouldn't be deity (God) with the Father and the Spirit], and the Word was with God [The "Logos" "was with" God the Father], and the Word was God [These last words of John 1:1 confirm, along with many other verses in the Bible, that God the Son is deity with God the Father]. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." The "all things [that] came into being through Him" clearly includes all the other beings in the universe, whether cherubim, seraphim, archangels, angels, men, demons, etc. COLOSSIANS 1:16 confirms this last point, "For by Him [God the Son] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him." Included with the "all things [that] were created [by Him]" is physical matter. God created all things out of nothing: HEBREWS 11:3 says, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." We can understand these things "by faith" because God has revealed them to us in His Word.
The most common interpretation for these words of Gen. 1:1 among Christians has always been that they speak of God's original creation of all things, including matter, out of nothing in the absolute beginning of His work of creating.
Excerpts from Bruce K. Waltke, from the Chapter Titled "Prologue (1:1-2:3)" ("Genesis" [Zondervan, 2001]. Waltke wrote the book "with Cathi J. Fredricks.")
Commenting on the words "In the beginning" (Gen. 1:1), Waltke (who, for one thing, is a Hebrew scholar) says, " 'Beginning' refers to the entire created event, the six days of creation, not something before the six days (In a footnote Waltke says, "This is a relative beginning. As verse 2 seems to indicate, there is a pre-Genesis time and space.") nor a part of the first day. Although some have argued that 1:1 functions as merely the first event of creation, rather than a summary of the whole account, the grammar makes that interpretation improbable" (page 58). (In a footnote Waltke mentions that those who hold that view believe 1:2 shows the earth in a state before God has completed his work of creation, and he mentions that Martin Luther and John Calvin taught that view.)
I'll also quote Waltke's first sentence commenting on the verb "created [bara]" of Gen. 1:1, "This telic verb refers to the completed act of creation" (page 58). (Waltke has a footnote: "A telic verb (i.e., die or sell) only finds meaning at the end of a process. The Hebrew term ["bara"], meaning 'to create,' only refers to a completed act of creation (cf. Deut. 4:32; Ps. 89:12; Isa. 40:26; Amos 4:13), so it cannot mean that, in the beginning, God began the process of creating the cosmos.
((I had a three-paragraph footnote: The Hebrew verb behind "created" here in Gen. 1:1 (and in Gen. 1:21, 27; 2:3, 4; 5:1, 2; Ezek. 28:12, 15; and often) is "bara." This verb doesn't require us to think of creation out of nothing (as you often hear it said). It is frequently used for the creation of man (e.g., Gen. 1:27; 5:1, 2; Deut. 4:32; and Psalm 89:47), and Gen. 2:7 shows that God formed man (referring to his physical body) "of dust from the ground" that already existed. The verb is used in Psalm 51:10, where David asked God to "create" in him a clean heart. The verb is used in Isa. 45:7 of God's creating "calamity," speaking of His work of judging. Furthermore, there is nothing about the word "beginning" in Gen. 1:1 that requires us to think of the absolute beginning. The beginning in view must be discerned from the context (cf., e.g., Isa. 41:26; Jer. 17:12).
I'll quote part of what David Atkinson says regarding God's creative work and "bara" ("Message of Genesis 1-11" [Inter-Varsity Press, 1990], pages 21, 22). "It is important to see that what God creates is something distinct from himself. This chapter has no place for pantheism - the idea that 'God' is another name for 'everything.' It is true that God indwells the world, and the world has its being 'in God,' but God remains God, and in transcendent distinction from what he has made.
It is important also to notice that elsewhere in the Bible, the word bara is used in the context of salvation. The unique word for God's creative activity is much more commonly used of his liberating and saving actions in history. [In a footnote he says, "cf. Isa. 43:1ff." The Hebrew verb bara is used in Isa. 43:1, 7, and 15; it is used in those verses of His creative work of redeeming, saving, and ultimately glorifying His people, the people of true Israel.] The God who makes things is the God who also makes things new. [Atkinson has a footnote, "Isa. 43:19."] The God who we see in Genesis 1 is the Creator of all, we learn from a broader biblical picture is also the redeemer, sustainer, re-creator, and the one who brings all things to completion. God's creative activity in history is not only the preservation of what he has made; it is a continuous, creative engagement with his world, leading it forward to its future glory. [He has a footnote, "Cf., e.g., Rom. 8:18-22; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21:4; Matt. 19:28."]." Atkinson believes, by the way, that Gen. 1:1 speaks of God's creating everything out of nothing. (This is the end of the footnote.) )) Many commentators of our day disagree with this interpretation (that Gen. 1:1 speaks of God creating all things out of nothing), but I suppose it still is the most common view among Christians. This is the viewpoint of those who hold the "gap view" of Gen. 1:1, 2. (I very briefly discussed the "gap view" in the Introduction of this paper. The gap view is discussed in some detail in Extended Note A of the Appendix of original 273 page paper on Genesis chapters 1-3.)
I'LL INCLUDE SOME EXCERPTS FROM "EXTENDED NOTE A," "EXCERPTS DEALING WITH THE GAP VIEW OF CREATION" (The Gap View is quite important):
EXCERPTS FROM JAMES MONTGOMERY BOICE'S EXPOSITIONAL COMMENTARY ON GENESIS ("Genesis," Vol. 1 (Baker, 1998; originally published in 1982 by Zondervan):
I'll quote part of what Boice says in the chapter titled "Views of Creation: The Gap Theory" that deals with Gen. 1:1, 2, under the heading "A Popular Viewpoint." Boice doesn't fully endorse this view, but he has many positive things to say about it. "This theory is also called the restitution or recreation theory. Arthur C. Custance, who has written an excellent book in the theory's defense, traces it to certain early Jewish writers.... [I quoted from Arthur Custance in Extended Note A, but I won't include any excerpts from him in this paper. As I mentioned, you can get a copy of my original paper.] ... It was in Scotland [at the beginning of the 19th century], through the work of the capable pastor and writer Thomas Chalmers, that the idea gained real coherence and visibility.
Chalmers was anxious to show that the emerging data concerning the geological ages was not incompatible with sound biblical exposition. So according to him, Genesis 1:1 tells of God's creation of an original world in which all things were good, for God cannot create that which is bad. Lucifer ruled this world for God. Lucifer sinned. God judged the world along with Lucifer, as a result of which the world became the formless, desolate mass we discover it to be in Genesis 1:2.... The earth continued like this for indeterminate ages in which the various rock strata developed. It was only at the end of this period that God intervened to bring new order out of the prevailing chaos, which is what Genesis 1:3-31 describes. These verses actually describe a recreation.
Chalmers wrote in the early 1800s, but his views thrived around the turn of the century as they were picked up by the various writers of early fundamentalism. ... [Boice mentioned and quoted from G. H. Pember, "Earth's Earliest Ages" (1976); Arthur W. Pink, "...Gleanings in Genesis" (1922); and Harry Rimmer, "Modern Science and the Genesis Record" (1941).] ...
The single most effective teacher of this view was C. I. Scofield, who included it in his notes on Genesis in the astonishingly popular Scofield Reference Bible. [This is the Bible I used for several years after I became a born-again Christian in 1964.] From there it became the almost unquestioned view of fundamentalism..." (pages 57, 58).
EXCERPTS FROM DONALD GREY BARNHOUSE (Boice mentioned Barnhouse too), "The Invisible War" (Zondervan, 1965):
"Probably one of the commonest errors in Biblical interpretation is the thought that the first verse of Genesis and the second verse are closely connected in time. ... (pages 9, 10).
"That something tremendous and terrible happened to the first, perfect creation [of Gen. 1:1] is certain. We know that later the earth which had become waste and empty was re-formed and refashioned in the six days and peopled by the newly created beings, Adam and his wife; and that this renewed and restored earth...was later cursed on account of man's sins. We have every right to argue from analogy that the original creation...fell into chaos because of the righteous judgment of God upon some outbreak of rebellion. We believe that there is sufficient light in the Word of God to give us more than a few details. ...
... God may well have created the earth over the course of millions or billions of years; or He may have done it in the flash of a second and then allowed it to go on in its perfect form for untold millions of years. We do not know. Again, after the earth was blasted in judgment and had become a wreck and a ruin, it may have remained in that state for another period of ages. We do not know. ..." (page 18).
"...in the third chapter [of Genesis we come] to the introduction of a new character, a malignant being who is immediately revealed as the bitter enemy of both God and the newly formed and created man. ... ...if, as some would have it, the Lord created the heavens and the earth in the six days and saw that all was good, whence did this enemy creep in? There is no place in such a theory for the origin of evil and the beginning of rebellion against the Creator. [Barnhouse went on to speak of the fact that the chaos, etc. (of Gen. 1:2) resulted from God's juddment of Satan's rebellion.] ...
[After mentioning that the high level being who became the devil and Satan originally had significant authority in God's original perfect creation of Gen. 1:1, he says:] There came a time when this being, filled with pride because of his own power and attainments...set up an independent rule.... As a result of this proud revolt against the will of God, the Lord God Almighty blasted the material universe...and the earth became...a wreck and a ruin, a chaos, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Much later...God moved to re-form, to refashion, this earth. ..." (pages 21, 22).
As Barnhouse continues he discusses quite a few verses on the fall of Satan and on the fact that the Bible shows that Satan has a world government (including Ezekiel 28; 1 Tim. 3:6; Luke 4:6; Eph. 6:12; and the angelic princes of Persia and Greece mentioned in Daniel 10). It is clear that Satan has substantial authority on the earth (cf. John 12:31, "ruler of this world"; 14:30, "ruler of the world"; 2 Cor. 4:4, "god of this world"; and Eph. 2:2, "the prince of the power of the air"). (This is the end of the excerpts from Extended Note A.)
I have always agreed with what the gap view teaches regarding verse 2, but I never was fully satisfied with that view's interpretation of verse 1, especially the transition from verse 1 to verse 2. When I was first confronted (some ten to fifteen years ago; now some twenty to twenty-five years ago) with the viewpoint that Gen. 1:1 does not refer to God's original creation of all things out of nothing in the absolute beginning of creation, but to His creation of our present world (you could call it a recreation), starting with the earth in the desolate state pictured in verse 2, it sounded quite plausible - now I'm quite convinced that is the correct viewpoint. For some excerpts and discussion dealing with this viewpoint, see Extended Note B in the Appendix of this paper, "Excerpts Dealing with a Modification, or Two, of the Gap View of Creation; for One Thing, Genesis 1:1 Doesn't Speak of the Absolute Beginning." That Extended Note deals for the most part with the interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2.
I'll include some excerpts from Extended Note B at the beginning of Part 5 of this paper.
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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