WELCOME TO THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

    

 

THE CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY: PART TWO

 

   How old is the earth and its life forms?

        Determining the age of the earth and its life forms is a critical issue for both evolutionists and creationists. Evolutionists  of all strips believe the earth and life forms are millions of years old and have come to where they are today as a result of multiple million of years of gradual geological and biological development. Many evolutionists believe this has occurred only through what are referred to as uniform processes, an approach generally referred to as uniformitarianism.

     Uniformitarianism:

        Uniformitarianism is the belief that the universe, earth and all life forms have developed from slow, gradual, uniform natural processes that began with the Big Bang.  It is believed these uniform processes have been the same throughout history and can be compared with the forces of nature observable today.  When evolutionists look at the fossil record, mountains, oceans, rivers, canyons, coal and oil reserves and all geological and biological activity, it is all viewed from the perspective that everything has developed as a result of the slow and relentless forces of nature operating in a uniform way over millions of years. 

      Catastrophism:

       In addition to seeing geological and biological development occur in a gradual uniform way over millions of years, some evolutionists believe there is sufficient geological evidence to conclude that geology and life forms have been impacted by extraordinary catastrophic events such as great floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and space objects such as asteroids. This view is found among theistic evolutionists, progressive creationists, gap theory creationists and even among young earth creationists.

       As covered in Part One, both theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists believe a creator God created processes whereby the universe, earth and life have came to be  Theistic evolutionists see God creating evolutionary processes and letting things pretty much develop in a random fortuitous manner within these processes. 

        As mentioned near the end of part one of this series, both theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists view the Big Bang as the method by which a creator God brought the universe into existence. They believe God created space and time along with energy and matter through the Big Bang and thereby established the processes that have led to millions of years of cosmological and geological evolution.

       Catastrophism and progressive creationism:

        Progressive creationists reject biological evolution, however. They feel the fossil record does not show transitional stages of development but instead shows completed development of millions of livings organisms which they believe date back millions of years. It is believed these living organisms were created during six epochs of time represented by the six-day creation account in Genesis. The first two verses of Genesis are seen to reflect a developing physical universe and earth that began with the Big Bang.

        Genesis 1:1-2:  In the beginning God created the heaven (Hebrew word rendered "heaven" is in the plural, should be "heavens") and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (KJV).

        The following six-day creation account is seen as as six epochs of time covering multiple thousands and perhaps millions of years of creative activity.  This is sometimes referred to as the “day-age” theory. Progressive creationists point out that the Hebrew word yō·wm, translated day in the six day creation account, can mean an extended period of time and is used in other Old Testament passages in this manner.

        The “days” of creation which follow Genesis 1:1-2, are seen as beginning the progressive creation of life forms culminating in the creation of man many thousands of years into this process. It is believed these are the life forms found in the fossil record and the fossil record results from various cataclysmic events that occurred over millions of years subsequent to the creation of life forms.

       The Genesis flood is not seen as one of these cataclysmic events but rather as a local event affecting only the Mediterranean area.  It is believed this overall approach harmonizes science and the Bible and is the best explanation of the various discoveries in the fields of geology and paleontology that indicate an old earth.  This approach to origins is elucidated in the book, The Genesis Question, by Hugh Ross, www.reasons.org.

     Criticism of Progressive Creationism:

         Critics of this approach believe it to be incompatible with the “days” of creation described as “evening and the morning” time frames.  It is felt this designation of days within the framework of evening and morning clearly show the days of the Genesis creation account to be twenty-four hour periods as we know them.  Even though the seventh day of the creation week is not described in this manner, it is still believed to be a twenty-four hour period.

       In Genesis 1:5, God separates day from night and it’s recorded that there was "evening, and there was morning--the first day." In Genesis 1:7-8, we see God separating water under the expanse called sky from the water above it. "And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day."

       In Genesis 1:11-13, God is seen as having the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees. "And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day."  In Genesis 1:16-19, God makes the sun, moon and stars. "And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day." In Genesis 1:20-23, God is seen as creating water living creatures, and birds.  "And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day" Next Genesis records God creating land creatures and finally creating man. "And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day"

       Scripture shows a six-day time frame is used as the template for establishing the Sabbath. The seventh-day Sabbath is established in relation to the first six days of the creation week being twenty-four periods. Since the Sabbath is seen in the context of working six days and resting on the seventh day, the creation is seen as occurring in a literal twenty-four hour per day six-day time frame. It is believed the passage in Exodus 20 establishing the seventh-day rest period in contrast to six days of work is strong evidence for taking a literal approach to defining the six-day creation period as six twenty-four periods.

        Exodus: 20: 9-11: Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (NIV).

        While the semantic range of the Hebrew word yō·wm can and does at times designate a period of time longer than 24 hours, it is believed that when yō·wm is used with a cardinal or ordinal number and combined with the words evening and morning, it can only mean a 24 hour day and never a long period of time. It is believed that yō·wm must be understood by words or phrases that modify yō·wm and that context must be considered. .

       For example, In Genesis 2:4 we read "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day (Hebrew bə·yō·wm) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens" (KJV).  Here the preposition "" is used and along with context, it can be clearly seen that yō·wm means more than a 24 hour period. Here yō·wm describes the entire period of creation time. Was this period epochs of time involving millions of years of progressive creationism or simply a summation of the six days of creation recorded in Genesis one? 

       In Genesis 1:5, we see it said that "God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (Hebrew: ’e·ḥāḏ  yō·wm). Here the cardinal number one (Hebrew ’e·ḥāḏ)  is used which is translated in the Revised Standard Version and other translations as "one day." The following 5 days are rendered as ordinal numbers such as second day, third day, and so forth. It is believed when this is combined with "evening and morning" modifiers, this cannot mean anything but 24 hour days.   

       It is instructive that the two Hebrew words ‘e·reḇ (evening) and ḇō·qer (morning) are combined with yō·wm 19 times outside of Genesis 1 and can be seen by context to always identify with a 24 hour day. Even when ‘e·reḇ (evening) and ḇō·qer (morning) appear without yō·wm (some 38 times), these two words are always seen to designate a 24 hour day. It is instructive that Jesus saw the combination of day and night as a 24 hour period.

       John 11:9-10: Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.  It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

       Six day creationists argue that God could not have been more plain in communicating to us that the creation took place in a six day timeframe and conversely if God really did create over millions of years, He could not have been more misleading.

       Progressive creationists argue that because Genesis 2:4 reads ""These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, this indicates long periods of time. The Hebrew word translated "generations" is ṯō·wl·ḏō·w(toledoth). The Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines ṯō·wl·ḏō·was meaning generations, families, races or histories. On page 380 of The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ṯō·wl·ḏō·wis defined as "what is produced or brought into being by someone or follows there from." In view of this, some translations render ṯō·wl·ḏō·w in Genesis 2:4 in the following manner.

       Genesis 2:4a: This is the account (ṯō·wl·ḏō·wṯ) of the heavens and the earth when they were created (NIV, NAS, NET).

       It should be evident that there is nothing in the use of the Hebrew word ṯō·wl·ḏō·where to suggest the creation event involved millions of years of creative activity as proposed by progressive creationists.

      The Gap Theory:

        Another approach to understanding the Genesis creation account within the context of an ‘Old Earth” is to view Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth) as referring to a period millions of years ago when God created a perfect universe. This creation included a beautiful earth with plants and animals and even prototypes of man.

        Verse two says "And (Hebrew waw) the earth was without form (Hebrew: ṯō·hū), and void (Hebrew bohu); and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (KJV)Some translations render the Hebrew waw  as "now" or "but." The Greek Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek) renders waw as δὲ which is rendered into English as "but."  Joseph Thayer, author of Thayer’s Greek- English Lexicon, writes that δὲ is a “participle adversative distinctive disjunction and that it serves to make a transition to something new."  Therefore, waw is seen here as a disjunctive which means it shows separation between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 as opposed to using it as a conjunctive which would show no separation between 1:1 and 1:2 and forces the conclusion that God created the earth as ṯō·hū and bohu.

       Gap theorists see the earth as becoming ṯō·hū and bohu as the result of a cataclysmic event that occurred sometime after te earth's initial creation as recorded in Genesis 1:1.  This resulted in the earth becoming formless and void. The Gesenius Hebrew/Chaldee Lexicon defines ṯō·hū as “wasteness, that which is wasted, laid waste, emptiness.” Bohu is defined as "emptiness, voidness, something void and empty." Strong's Dictionary defines bohu as "to be empty," and "an indistinguishable ruin."

        Tō·hū appears 20 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is rendered as "waste," "chaos," "desolation," "confusion," and "emptiness" in various translations.  Bohu appears just three times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is  rendered as "chaos," "emptiness" or "void" in various translations. Tō·hū and bohu  appear together only twice in The OT in addition to Genesis 1:2. In both these cases it can be seen by context that judgment was being brought against a nation that would move that nation being a viable entity to experiencing complete destruction. Some believe this is Scriptural evidence for how Genesis 1:2 should be understood in relation to Genesis 1:1. A perfect earth became a desolation due to God's judgment upon an existing population of living organisms.

       Isaiah 34:11: The desert owl and screech owl  will possess it; the great owl  and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos (ṯō·hū) and the plumb line of desolation (bohu).

       Jeremiah 4:23:  I looked at the earth, and it was formless (ṯō·hū) and empty (bohu); and at the heavens, and their light was gone.

       Some gap theorists believe the earth became ṯō·hū and bohu as the result of a rebellion of Satan and a third of the angels who are believed to have inhabited the earth before the six-day creation. Their rebellion is seen as resulting in war between God and the forces of rebellion which resulted in much destruction to the earth and its solar system. After an unknown period of time, God is seen, in a literal six days, restoring the earth to its previous condition. 

       This restoration involved the separation of water and land, the clearing of the atmosphere to reveal the heavenly bodies, the reintroduction of life forms and the creation of man. Thus a great gap of time is inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3. It is believed that beginning with Genesis 1:3 we see what amounts to a “recreation.” This recreation is believed to have occurred during a period of six literal days.

       Contrary to progressive creationists, who see the fossil record being formed during the period covered by events beginning with Genesis 1:3 (six great epochs of time), those taking the gap approach see much of the fossil record forming due to the destruction that occurred during the supposed Satanic rebellion. This rebellion resulted in the earth becoming without form and void as described in Genesis 1:2. This approach assumes there were physical living organisms inhabiting the earth prior to the six day recreation and that the fossil record is a witness to their life and death.  

        Those who hold to this position believe Genesis 1:2 should read: “And the earth became without form and void” rather than was without form and void.”  The Hebrew word translated “was” is הָיָה (hā·yə·ṯāh) [hayah], [Phonetic Spelling: (haw-yaw].  This Hebrew word, in its various tenses, appears 3,561 times in the Old Testament and is almost always rendered as "was" in English translations. Some feel this word can only be translated as “became” when followed by the preposition le which is not the case in Genesis 1:2.  An example of hayah with the preposition le is Genesis 2:7 where it’s recorded, “and the man became (hayah) a living being” (NIV).

       However, some scholars feel hayah could be translated “became” in Genesis 1:2 despite it lacking the preposition el. This conclusion is based on the determination that the verb hayah has a basic notion of becoming, emerging or coming into being. It is instructive that in the KJV and RSV, hayah is rendered "became" or "become" more than 30 times without the preposition el being present.

       One Hebrew scholar I read points out that the verb “hayah” is in the past perfect tense in Genesis 1:2 and thus it is grammatically correct to render hayah as “had been” in Genesis 1:2. Therefore, this passage could be saying the earth had become without form and void at some undisclosed time in the past. It is instructive that the well respected Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines hayah as "to fall," "to come to pass," to become" and "to be." James Strong, in his Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, defines hayah as "to exist, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic and not a mere copula or auxiliary." A copula is a connecting word. 

       It has also been pointed out that the verb hayah in Genesis 1:2 is in what is called the qal perfect form. This verb is found in this form a number of times in Genesis and in every case it is seen by context to describe a condition of becoming as opposed to a static state of being.      

       In The Complete Word Study of Old Testament King James Version, it is stated that when the verb hayah was used, it was not used in a copulative construction but only in a dynamic non static sense.  Therefore, even when hayah is rendered as "was," it can be seen to denote a changed or changed state of things. In applying this principle to Genesis1:2, hayah is seen as being used to denote movement of the earth to becoming ṯō·hū and bohu and not that the earth was created ṯō·hū and bohu.

       In his book entitled "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, OT scholar Gleason Leonard Archer writes that, “Properly speaking, this verb hayah never has the meaning of static being like the copular verb ‘to be.’ Its basic notion is that of becoming or emerging as such and such, or of coming into being."

       Some Hebrew scholars instruct that when a Hebrew writer makes a simple affirmation as to the existence of something, the verb hayah is never used. The "something" is simply stated as existing. In other words, if Genesis 1:2 is stating the condition of the earth at the time it was created, the writer would have simply described the earth as ṯō·hū and bohu with darkness over the face of the deep. However, since the writer does use the word hayah in Genesis 1:2, it should be seen in its meaning of "to become" or "to take place" and Genesis 1:2 should be rendered as "But the earth became ṯō·hū and bohu." 

       It is noteworthy that the Latin Vulgate rendered hayah as exsisto (become) some 13 times in Genesis chapter one. Of the 27 times hayah appears in Genesis chapter 0ne, the Septuagint renders hayah as γίνομαι (become) 22 times.  This Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures renders hayah as γίνομαι (become) a total of 146 times in Genesis as a whole.  This is in addition to multiple hundreds of other times throughout the OT hayah is rendered as γίνομαι (become). In many if these cases, hayah is not followed by the preposition le.

       In his Greek-English Lexicon, Thayer defines γίνομαι as “to become,” to come into existence,” “to begin to be,” and so forth. It is used in both the Septuagint and the NT Greek Scriptures to express these meanings.

       This all being said, it must be acknowledged that the Septuagint translators rendered hayah with a Greek word that means  "was" in Genesis 1:2 as did Jerome use a Latin word that means "was" in the Latin Vulgate rendering of Genesis 1:2. Some feel Jerome was influenced by the Septuagint version of Genesis 2:1.

       For those who believe hayah should be rendered as "became" in Genesis 1:2, The overriding question is why hayah is rendered as "was" in most English translations of Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was (hayah) without form and void” 

       It is often reasoned that hayah can be rightly rendered as "become" or "became" in OT passages only if there is contextual support for such rendering. It is believed Genesis 1:2 does not provide such contextual support. For example, hayah is rendered as "became" in Genesis 3:22, 19:26, 21:20, Exodus 7:19 8:17 and 9:10 where the context clearly supports such rendering. These passages clearly show a change in circumstances and thus makes "became" a logical rendering.

       Gap theorists point out that while it is true that there is no overt demonstration in Genesis 1:2 of a change from one circumstance to another circumstance, neither should it be assumed that such change had not occurred. To make such an assumption is to bring a reader bias to the rendering of hayah in this passage.  It is also pointed out that even if the word "was" is the better rendering of hayah in Genesis 1:2, "was" could still imply became. We use the word "was" in English all the time in this manner. For example I could say "I broke my wife's favorite flower pot and she was angry."  The obvious meaning here is that she became angry.  My wife moved from not being angry to being angry.  Rendering hayah as "was" in Genesis 1:2 doesn't preclude the earth moving from a condition of perfection to one of ṯō·hū) and bohu).

       If Genesis 1:1-2 is a unified whole with no gap in time between the two narratives, we must conclude God created the earth in a state of waste and disarray and then proceeded to work on this wasted earth to produce what the six day creation account reveals. We must determine whether this is a reasonable conclusion or is such conclusion problematical?

       Some have suggested that Genesis 1:1-2 is a unified whole but there is a gap of time between verse two and verse three which begins the six day creation account.  Under this perspective, God initially created the earth a waste but allowed some time to elapse between that creation and the beginning of the six day creation account. This conclusion appears very unlikely in that Genesis 1:2b shows God's spirit hovering over the water and then verse three begins with God saying "Let there be light and there was light."  If there is any gap here it would have to be between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

       It is to be noted that in the Masoretic Text (the commonly used Hebrew Text of the OT) and in many other Hebrew manuscripts as well, there is a small mark called a rebhia at the end of Genesis 1:1. This small mark is seen as a disjunctive accent which is there to advise the reader to pause before going to the next phrase (Genesis 1:2). This mark is seen even where no verse division exists. Gap theorists believe this indicates a possible gap of time between verse one and verse two. 

        Those who take the gap approach point out that Isaiah uses the same Hebrew word translated “without form” in Genesis 1:2 to say God did not create the earth “empty” (Hebrew: ṯō·hū).

        Isaiah 45:18:  For this is what the LORD says-- he, who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be "empty" (Hebrew: ṯō·hū), but formed it to be inhabited-- he says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other (NIV).

       It is felt that if God did not create the earth empty (without form), it must have become that way sometime subsequent to its creation.  Critics of this interpretation of Isaiah respond that Isaiah is simply saying God did not create the earth to be empty but to be inhabited. However, this doesn’t preclude the earth from once being inhabited after an initial creation and then becoming uninhabited due to some event that caused the earth to be ō·hū.  Furthermore, the phrase "he did not create it to be "empty," as seen in the NIV, is actually "he did not create it "empty." The phrase "to be" is not in the Hebrew.  Here are some other translations.

       For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain (ṯō·hū), he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else (KJV)

       For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it a chaos (ṯō·hū), he formed it to be inhabited!): "I am the Lord, and there is no other (RSV).

       For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it,  He established it and did not create it a waste place (ṯō·hū), But formed it to be inhabited), "I am the Lord, and there is none else (NAS).

       For this is what the Lord says, the one who created the sky –he is the true God, the one who formed the earth and made it; he established it, he did not create it without order (ṯō·hū), he formed it to be inhabited – “I am the Lord, I have no peer.

       From all appearances, Isaiah seems to be saying God did not create the earth ō·hū. If He didn't create it ō·hū it must have become that way which is what Genesis 1:2 indicates.

       Young earth critics of the gap theory believe this theory is nothing more than a reaction to scientific findings that appear to provide evidence for an old earth.   

        In response to such criticism, those holding to the gap position point out that the gap theory had been taught prior to current day geological discovery.  They cite the The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, where the Dutch scholar Simon Epíscopius (1583-1643) taught that the earth had originally been created before the six days of creation described in Genesis (1952, Vol. 3, p.302). This was roughly 200 years before geology discovered “evidence” for an ancient origin of earth.

       There is evidence in the Hebrew Midrash of belief in an existing earth prior to the six day creation account. The Midrash is the oldest pre-Christian commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures. There also is an ancient Aramaic translation of the Genesis 1:2 which reads "and the earth was laid waste."  Thomas Aquinas (AD 1226 to AD 1274) reportedly wrote in reference to Genesis 1:1 that "but it seems better to maintain that the creation was prior to any of the days."  This appears to reflect the view that the creation of the heavens and the earth preceded the six day creation account. 

       Origen, (AD 186 to AD 254) wrote in reference to Genesis 1:1, "It is certain that the present firmament is not spoken of in this verse, nor the present dry land, but rather that heaven and earth from which this present heaven and earth that we now see afterwards borrowed their names."  Origen further observed that this condition resulted from a disruption where he used a Latin word which means “to throw down.”    

       In 1847, author John Harris published a book entitled Pre-Adamic Earth. Harris points out that Genesis 1:1 reveals that God created the heavens and earth and the earth and Genesis 1:2 reveals the earth came to be in a state of being wasted and empty. This is followed by six days of creative activity where the creative activity of each day is preceded by the phrase “And God said”

       Genesis 1:3:"And God said," Let there be light" etc. Genesis 1:6: And God said, "Let there be an expanse" etc. Genesis 1:11: Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation etc. Genesis 1:14: And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky" etc. Genesis 1:20: And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures" etc.  Genesis 1:24: And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures" etc.

       Harris believes these “And God said” introductions to each of the six days of creation suggests a distinction between an original creation of the heavens and earth and God speaking into existence a restoration of what had become a wasted earth due to some event or events that are not revealed. It should also be noted that it is only the earth that is spoken of as without form and void, not the heavens.

       Genesis 1:2 says “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."  It is to be noted that God was presiding over an already existing earth having darkness and waters before he begins to say in Genesis 1:3 “let there be light” and all the other things he commands during the next five days of the six day creation account. Genesis 1:3 begins with an already existing heavens and earth. There is nothing in the account of the first day of the six day creation account that suggests this is when the heavens and earth were created, let alone created in a wasted state of being.  Does this suggest a preexisting earth that is antecedent to the six day creation?  

       To postulate that Genesis 1:1 takes place on the first day of the six days of creation is to postulate that God created the earth in an initial state of ṯō·hū “wasteness" and Bohu "emptiness" as recorded in verse two.  We must ask whether it is reasonable to believe God created the earth in this manner before proceeding to develop it in the manner seen in the rest of Genesis chapter one. 
   
       Some who hold to the gap approach will cite Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 as evidence for Satan having once lived on the earth with access to God's abode in the heavens. It is believed these passages of Scripture show Satan losing his position of authority because of pride and rebellion against God. God then casts Satan to the earth which resulted in a great galactic battle that resulted in the earth and our solar system becoming damaged.  

       Both Isaiah and Ezekiel begin by describing the demise of specific human rulers but appear to insert descriptions of the demise of a supernatural ruler into the narrative as well.  Some who teach the gap approach believe these passages speak of God’s judgement upon Satan and his allies (fallen angles) for their rebellion which led to the temporary destruction of the earth and its solar system.

     Criticism of the Isaiah/Ezekiel connection:

      Critics point out that neither Isaiah nor Ezekiel say anything about a battle between God and Satan or the destruction of the earth occurring because of a presumed rebellion of Satan.  Such conclusions are felt to be very speculative and unsupported by any hard evidence. Gap Theorists are seen as reading into the text what isn't there.

       The context in Isaiah is clearly addressing the King of Babylon and the context in Ezekiel is clearly addressing the King of Tyre.  It is pointed out that Scriptural writers often use rhetorical exaggeration (hyperbole) in describing events. It is felt that it is exactly such hyperbole that is being used here in describing the attributes of human rulers who are shown as having once held positions of prominence but are now being brought down to nothing. It is believed the context of these two chapters clearly relate to earthly kings and nothing more.  For an in-depth discussion of the Isaiah and Ezekiel passages under consideration, go to "Origin and Significance of Satan and Demons: Part One."

       Some gap theorists cite the KJV and ASV translation of Genesis 1:28b which reads "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." They see the word replenish to indicate that the earth was once filled with life but because of a cataclysmic event all life was destroyed leading to a believed recreation starting with Genesis 1:3.  They see God instructing Adam and Eve to repopulate the earth.  

       However, the Hebrew word rendered "replenish" is ū·mil·’ū and means "to fill" and is so rendered in most translations of Genesis 1:28 and throughout the OT narrative.  Rendering ū·mil·’ū replenish is to miss-translate this word. 

       Some believe the gap theory is negated by Exodus 20:11a which states “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” Young earth creationists believe this shows the creation of the heavens and earth occurred within the six day timeframe. Some scholars have identified the two nouns heaven and earth as a figure of speech called a merism which is the naming of two extremes to indicate totality. Since there is no word for universe in Hebrew, this would be equivalent to "heaven and earth" meaning universe. In applying a merism to Exodus 20:11a, this passage could read "For in six days the Lord made the universe."  

        Gap theorists point out that the Hebrew word עָשָׂה (asah) which is translated “made,” has the basic meaning of “to labor, to make and produce by labor” (See Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament). Therefore, it is believed this passage could easily be saying that in six days God labored to restore the earth and heavens to a previous state of being. Furthermore, this passage speaks not only of the heavens and earth (a figure of speech called a merism) but speaks of the sea and all that is in them.  Thus the figure of speech called a merism is seen as not applying here.

       It is instructive that beginning with verse 7 of the Genesis creation account and going to Genesis 2:2, a tense of the Hebrew asah (way·ya·‘aś) is used to describe God laboring  during the six days. In Genesis 2:1-2, we see God resting from His labor (way·ya·‘aś) that He labored (way·ya·‘aś).  

       Genesis 2:2: By the seventh day God had finished the work (way·ya·‘aś) he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested  from all his work (way·ya·‘aś).

       A scholarly examination of the gap theory in general can be found at https://custance.org/Library/WFANDV/chap1.html 
  
      Catastrophism and a young earth age:

        This approach sees the universe, earth and life being created by God in a six day time frame as described in Genesis chapter one. Genesis 1:1-2 is seen as part of the first day of creation. This approach believes the fossil record was established during the catastrophic events associated with the Noachian flood.  This approach believes the dating methods used by paleontologists to teach a very old earth and universe are based on many uniformitarian assumptions which do not hold up when compared with a geologic record that reflects catastrophic events rather than a uniform development. 

       Those who take the “Young Earth” approach, point out that the geologic record shows billions of fossils which are the remains or casts of remains of plants and animals that suddenly died.  To become fossilized, a plant or animal must be buried quickly.  Fossilization is not occurring today as it requires sudden death, sudden burial and great pressure all occurring at the same time. 

        Fossils are only found in sedimentary rock and not in the granite that underlay's it. Virtual “graveyards” of dinosaur bones have been found at various locations showing sudden death and burial. Animals thought to be lower on the evolutionary chain are mixed together with animals higher up on the chain. Both marine and land dwelling fossils have been found to have undigested food still in their intestinal tract. Both marine and land life are found clearly out of their natural habitat in the fossil record.  Trees and other plant life are found fully fossilized, sometimes straight up, sometime upside down and at various other positions in the strata.  Such plants would have decomposed under normal conditions. 

        All this tells the young earth creationist that a catastrophic event of major proportions occurred which resulted in the kind of geologic record that has been discovered.  The Genesis flood is seen as that event.  Evolutionists and even some other creationists, as shown above, counter by saying the fossil record has been shown to be much older than the Genesis flood which is believed by young earth advocates to have occurred around 2348 B.C.  Young earth advocates, however, believe the dating methods of evolutionists have been shown to be highly flawed. There are presently several dozen dating methods used to determine the age of fossils, and artifacts of all kinds.  Young earth advocates point out that all such dating methods base their accuracy on certain assumptions about the environment. Young earth proponents believe these assumptions to be speculative and problematical. One major dating method is called carbon-14 or radiocarbon dating. 

     Radiocarbon dating:

       At the heart of the age-of-the-earth debate is radiocarbon dating. This dating method works best on things that were once alive and are now dead. It measures the time elapsed since death but is limited in scale to no more than about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago. Other methods, such as Uranium/Lead, Potassium/Argon, Argon/Argon and others, are able to measure much longer time periods and are not restricted to things that were once alive. For example, when these other methods are applied to igneous rocks, which are rocks of volcanic origin, they measure the time since the molten rock solidified.

       What is radiocarbon dating?  Cosmic rays that enter our atmosphere from outer space strike the earth and transform nitrogen (nitrogen-14) to carbon of which some is radioactive carbon (carbon-14).  Carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide.  This carbon dioxide containing carbon-14 diffuses throughout the atmosphere and is absorbed by living organisms. After forming, carbon-14 begins to decay and has a half-life of about 5,730 years which means half of it will decay in that time frame. At the death of an organism, the carbon-14 continues to decay.  Analysis of the carbon-14 with a Geiger counter can determine the amount of carbon molecules still present in the organism and therefore determine the age of the organism.

        The assumptions that have to be made with radiocarbon dating is that cosmic rays from outer space have always reached the earth in the same amounts and therefore have produced the same amount of carbon from consistently uniform amounts of nitrogen.  Since the geological record indicates one or more catastrophic events have occurred throughout history rather than the uniform flow of events as most evolutionists believe, creationists believe such catastrophism could have greatly altered the degree of cosmic radiation along with levels of nitrogen and subsequent levels of carbon-14.

       Young earth creationists believe that problems identified with radiocarbon dating demonstrate its lack of accuracy.  For example, mortar from Oxford Castle in England was dated by radiocarbon as 7,370 years old. Yet the castle is less than 800 years old. Mortar samples can be given normal carbon-14 tests since mortar absorbs carbon-14 containing carbon dioxide from the air.  Wood cut from a living, growing tree that had been dead for just a few days, was dated as having died 10,000 years ago. Living snails had their shells radiocarbon dated and were found to have “died” as much as 2,300 years ago.

        Because of such radical discrepancies in radio carbon dating and numerous other problems identified with this method, many young earth creationists believe this method of dating is highly unreliable and cannot be used as evidence for an old earth as evolutionists claim.  Other dating methods such as uranium-lead dating and amino acid decomposition/  racemization dating, have been shown to be unreliable as well because of the impact of environmental factors on the materials these dating methods are used on.        

     The Canopy Theory:

        Some young earth creationists believe that a water-vapor canopy covered planet earth prior to the Genesis flood. This belief is based on both Biblical and geological considerations. In the six-day creation account in Genesis, God is seen as creating a separation between waters above and waters below the separation.

        Genesis 1:6-8: And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day.

        Young earth creationists believe a water-vapor canopy would have resulted in a more uniform temperature throughout the earth.  The geological record shows fossils of plants and animals found in Arctic rocks are essentially the same as those found at lower latitudes.  Large coal deposits and petrified wood have been found in Antarctica.  Coal is formed from compressed vegetation, primarily trees. A 1978 U.S. Geological Survey Report shows that Alaska once teemed with tropical plants. On Canadian islands, within the Arctic Circle, are buried forests of trees with root structures that show they grew in the area where they were suddenly buried. A good deal of oil is found in the Arctic Circle. The geological record definitely suggests a more uniform climate, and/or a different distribution of climate on the earth in the past than is the case today.

        Creationists who subscribe to the canopy view point out that a water-vapor canopy would have negatively affected the level of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere and therefore the levels of carbon-14 being created before the flood would have been considerably less.  The Genesis flood account speaks of the floodgates of the heavens being opened. It is believed the flood removed the canopy of water which took away the greenhouse effect such canopy would have had in maintaining a uniform climate.  The removal of the canopy would also allow greater cosmic radiation and the production of more carbon-14 than was previously the case.

       This production of carbon-14 would have gradually increased as the atmosphere cleared of volcanic debris which it is felt prevailed after the flood due to a great deal of volcanic activity connected with the flood.  It is believed that plants, animals and humans living before the flood and for a time after the flood would have received much less carbon-14 than is true today.  Since radiocarbon dating is based on present levels of carbon-14, this would make earlier life forms appear much older than they actually are.

       See www.scienceagainstevolution.org/v10i10f.htm for an in-depth discussion of the problems associated with using carbon-14 dating to establish the age of organic material. I will address the issue of carbon-14 dating again as we proceed with this series.         

      Criticisms of the Canopy Theory:

        Not all young earth creationists ascribe to the idea of a canopy of water vapor or liquid water surrounding the earth before the flood. Some believe such a canopy would have created too much of a green house effect resulting in too hot a climate for life to flourish. If it was a vapor canopy, it is felt such canopy would rapidly diffuse through the atmosphere. Once the vapor contacted the earth’s surface, it would condense. If it was a liquid canopy, it is felt it would quickly evaporate and diffuse through the atmosphere. Therefore, it is believed neither type of canopy could have survived for the many centuries that preceded the flood.

        It is pointed out that ozone in the earth’s upper atmosphere blocks the Sun’s destructive ultraviolet light, but a canopy surrounding the atmosphere would not be protected from ultraviolet light. Therefore, water in the canopy would dissociate into hydrogen and oxygen, effectively destroying such canopy.

        It is also pointed out that the earth revolves around the sun once a year creating seasons.  At both the Arctic and Antarctic, the sun shines only six months out of the year and when it does shine it is low in the sky.  It is felt a canopy would have further inhibited what little sunlight there is and such conditions would not allow for growth of the massive amounts of tropical vegetation necessary to produce the large coal deposits seen in Antarctica.

       It is felt by some that the Noachian flood created the disposition of great amounts of vegetation and dead animals at the poles thus accounting for the fossil record and the presence of coal. Others postulate that the earth's poles where different before the flood and the area of the present poles was tropical in climate at one time which accounts for the fossil record in these areas showing an abundance of living organisms having once lived in these regions. 

      The Hydroplate Theory:

       Some creationists, who reject the canopy theory, believe when Genesis 1:6-8, speaks of an expanse separating the waters from the waters, the writer is actually recording that the waters on the earth were separated from subterranean waters below earth. This approach is referred to as the Hydroplate Theory and is discussed in great detail in the book, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, by Walt Brown, www.creationscience.com.

       The Hebrew word translated “expanse” in Genesis 1:6–8 is raqia.  It is translated “firmament” in the King James translation and “expanse” in most Hebrew to English lexicons and modern English translations. While its original meaning is uncertain, its root, raqa, means to spread out or to beat out as one would a malleable metal. It can also mean “plate.”

       The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures called the Septuagint translated raqia 16 out of 17 times with the Greek word stereoma, which means “a firm or solid structure.” The Latin Vulgate used the Latin term “firmamentum,” which also denotes solidness and firmness. It would appear the King James translators coined the word “firmament.” Today, “firmament” is usually used to mean sky, atmosphere, or heavens. In modern Hebrew, raqia means sky or heavens. However, originally it could have meant something solid or firm that was spread out.

        Creationists who hold to the Hydroplate Theory believe the flood was largely caused by waters that spewed forth from subterranean deposits below the spread out (“expanse”) solid crust of the earth.  This water lifted into the atmosphere as gigantic geysers that came down as torrential rains. This release of multiple billions of gallons of water into the atmosphere and upon the earth created tremendous change in the geology of the earth and also changed the earth’s axis and rotation from what it had been.  This is believed to account for the fossil record showing living organisms in places where such organisms could not survive within the present polar axis of the earth.

         The Hydroplate Theory, as well as other interpretations of the Genesis flood and its relationship to the age of the earth, will be discussed in more detail later in this series.

       Both the Canopy and Hydroplate Theory are attempts to explain geological formation and how the fossil record came to be within the framework of the Noachian flood.  These theories see the age of fossilized organic material as being much younger than the ages determined by carbon-14 and other dating methods used by evolutionists.

      The fossil record:

        Evolutionists believe the fossil record supports their view of an old earth and the gradual development of life forms.  They believe that the finding of simple life forms in the lowest levels of sedimentary rock strata with gradual progression to more complex life forms in higher levels of rock show a progressive development of life.

        Creationists point out that both simple and advanced life forms are found throughout the geologic rock strata.  Simple life forms are often found to have structures as complex or more complex than the higher life forms found in the higher strata. Evolution requires transitional life forms to be present in the geological record. Evolutionists claim transitional forms exist as seen in the gradual development of species over long periods of time.  For example, the horse is seen as progressing from a very small animal having several toes to the horse we see today having one toe called a hoof.

       Creationists see this as the adaptation of a created species to environmental changes and not the transition from one species to another.  This microevolution within species is recognized by creationists. What is denied by creationists is macroevolution which is the transition of one species into another.  It is believed that of all the multiple millions of fossils that have been found and cataloged, all show a completed development with no evidence of one species gradually turning into another species.

        What the geological record shows is millions of life forms suddenly being killed and buried alive in strata of sedimentary rock throughout the world.  Such life forms are found at all sedimentary strata levels including the highest mountains. Fossils are not found in the granite rock that underlay's sedimentary and other types of rock formations.  While some of these life forms are now extinct, many are the same as life forms living on the earth today.

        As previously stated, for a dead organism to become a fossil it has to be preserved very quickly. Plant and animal organisms will deteriorate rather quickly once dead.  Yet many fossils are preserved very much intact and even found with undigested food in their intestinal tract thus showing very rapidly occurring burial.  Millions of fish have been found fossilized in a state of agony with no apparent threat from a predator. There are thousands of examples of this rapid burial.  In Texas, large amounts of fossilized clams have been found with their shells closed.  When a clam dies, its shell opens.  These clams were apparently buried alive. 

        The fossil record clearly shows a rapid burial of life forms at some point in earth’s history. The fossil record does not show transitional life forms. There is no evidence of intermediate life forms where one species can be seen as transitioning to another species. Therefore, creationists believe there is no geological evidence to support the evolutionist perspective that there has been gradual development of simple to complex.  This is felt by creationists to be devastating to evolutionary theory. For additional information on the fossil record and many other aspects of the evolution/creation controversy, please go to www.evolution-facts.org. Also: See Parts Eleven and Twelve of this series for additional discussion of the fossil record. 

        In our next installment in this series, I will continue to discuss dating methods used in determining the age of rocks and fossils.

PART THREE