Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What is Early Genesis? The Modified Tablet Theory

Secular scholars claim that the book of Genesis is basically a forgery, made by priests and fraudulently ascribed to Moses during or after the Babylonian exile. Fundamentalists assert that the book was penned in its entirety by Moses under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is a third view, less known, that leaves the door open for Divine Inspiration but assets that Moses did not start with a blank slate when he compiled the first 36 chapters of Genesis. Rather, he had a series of clay tablets from some of the previous patriarchs of the Bible which were already treated like sacred texts. This is the tablet theory. In its original form, there are a few places where it does not fit well with the text, but if the theory is modified as described in this video those objections go away while at the same time providing reasonable alternatives to all of the arguments advanced by secular scholars.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Model that can Bring Reasons to Believe and BioLogos Together

Edit: I wrote this before I realized that BioLogos did not want to come together with RTB. So know I hope that RTB wants to come together with Peaceful Science around the Christ-Centered Model for early Genesis.

Reasons to Believe is one of the oldest and best groups out there, if not the best, which takes the "Old Earth Creationist" position. BioLogos does not take such a formal position on creation issues, but the common view of their work is that they defend a position of "Theistic Evolution." That is, God set things up and got the ball rolling, but after that it all unfolded without the need for His further intervention.
I can't help but notice that the model for creation in Early Genesis, the Revealed Cosmology merges both of these models nicely. Though it ultimately comes down on the Old Earth Creationist side, it argues that what creation was trying to do was theistic evolution, but our natural universe simply could not pull off fulling God's will by itself! It could not do so without His further direct intervention- in other words the natural universe has the same problem we have! 
I am not going to go into all of the details here, but the premise is that in Genesis chapter one God is separating the natural from the supernatural universe until the mid-point of the third day. After that creation is happening at different rates of responsiveness to God's Word in the two realms. 
On the first part of day six for example, we see the pattern. In verse twenty-four of Genesis chapter one God initiates the sixth day by commanding the land, in whatever realm it may be natural or supernatural, to bring forth living creatures after their kind. The land in the supernatural realm, the third heaven, does so immediately and exactly as God says. High Heaven then reports “And it was so.”
But while the land above performs His word completely, we learn in verse twenty-five that in our world God Himself must act subsequent to High Heaven reporting "it was so" in order to fulfill His word on this earth. Our natural world can’t seem to get started until God makes “kinds” of land animals. Unlike in the heavenly realm, the earth only brings them forth after God has made the kind, or category, for the earth to work with. Since we can't do His will without His intervention either, this is a suitable universe for beings in our spiritual condition.
Ironically, what occurs in the land above sounds a lot like “theistic evolution”. God commands the land to bring forth the living creatures by kinds and the land does so. But it is not our land. It’s the land those who love God will enjoy in the life to come. Down here on earth, creation can’t pull this process off without God’s continued direct intervention. God has to “make” the land animals kind by kind. He puts on the earth patterns of what is heaven and the earth then takes it from there.
In this view of things, the many disputes between those who think life diversified via theistic evolution versus those who believe God used direct creation seem almost irrelevant. Which view is correct? Well, both are correct in their respective realm. On the one hand, in the realm we live in God had to directly make prototypes of the animals by kinds. So that’s divine creation. On the other hand, its only divine creation because this realm doesn’t have it together yet- what happened in the land above looked more like theistic evolution.
According to this passage that is not what happened down here though. God directly intervened and got things going for “the land.” In the record of nature that might still look a lot like theistic evolution, because nature (the land) was working off of a pattern which worked very much like “theistic evolution” in the heavenly realm. In this mixed realm of darkness and light, the land could not pull it off alone. So both sides are right and both are wrong. Can’t we all just get along here?
Imagine a color printer that an adult can use to print off a color picture from an electronic file at the touch of a button. The adult does not have to actually paint the picture. The printer does that for them on their command, and then “reports” when the job is done. Then the adult hands that picture to a small child with a paint set, and the adult asks the child to paint a copy of that picture. The child needs a lot of help from the adult to get started, but once the adult gets them started they finish up. It is a very imperfect copy of the original, but the adult compliments them on it just the same. The child then reports that the adult “saw that it was good”. It was not a perfect copy of what was above, but it can be used to accomplish whatever the adult had in mind.
In this analogy, the printer is the land above and the child with the paint set is the land in our realm. The result would also look similar to the original yet not prepared in quite the same way- much like our record in nature may look similar to what it would if theistic evolution produced the results we see, yet those results were not strictly produced by that method. 
In short, it may be that RTB and BioLogos can actually defend the same Biblical Creation Model by somewhat modifying the models they are each putting forth. As we learn more and more about the truth of God's Word our models can be expected to be more and more refined, much like the record of nature allows scientists to refine their models. 

Get the book.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Worst Way to do Exegesis on Genesis Chapter One

Young earth creationists maintain that "yom", the Hebrew word translated "day" in Genesis chapter one, refers to a literal 24-hour day. I and other old earth creationists maintain that it refers to an extended period of time. Today I would like to address one of the most common arguments young earth creationists use to support their position in scripture. This would be the use of the terms translated "evening" and "morning" with the word "day".

Actually, I am not insisting that they are completely wrong. I only maintain that the days of Genesis one refer to an extended period of time in this realm. One of the main thesis in my book about early Genesis is that Genesis chapter one describes creation occurring in two realms, the realm above and the realm below. The realm above exists in His will and responds to God's commands quickly, perfectly and without the need for His further intervention. In the realm below conforming to God's commands is a long drawn-out process with lots of errors and mis-steps and is not even possible without His intervention. In other words, it's a suitable place for flawed and sinful human beings like us. Time does not pass at the same rate in that realm. For all I know, maybe it all happened in what an observer up there would experience as six literal days. But that was there and no human observers were around anyway. We are here and here it took ages.

No one disputes that the word "yom" in the Old Testament can mean either a literal day, the hours of daylight only, or a long and indefinite period of time. The argument from the Young Earth camp is based on how the Hebrew word translated "day" is used elsewhere in scripture when paired with the Hebrew terms translated "evening" and "morning".  Various YEC sources have made various claims about this relationship, some factual and some not.

For example one of the largest YEC outfits, Answers in Genesis, in this article makes the claim that "in over 100 instances where the phrase “evening and morning” accompany the word yom in the Old Testament (as it does in the days of Creation in Genesis), it always refers to an ordinary 24-hour day. " This is not true because there are not even close to 100 instances of the phrase "evening and morning" being paired with the word "yom" in scripture. We don't even have to quibble about whether the instances refer to an "ordinary 24-hour day" because the instances don't even exist! The phrase is found with "yom" in early Genesis, and the other claimed ninety-four instances are not to be found.

Even in the handful of cases where "yom" exists with just one of the terms the structure is different. In the first five days of Genesis chapter one, there are no articles or prepositions associated with the terms for "evening" and "morning" or the word "yom". It just says "(became or it came) Evening, (became or it came) Morning, a Day X". If I say "in the evening we called it a day" then I have referred to a specific evening by the use of the word "the". There is no definite article like that in Genesis chapter one, at least until the work wraps up on the sixth "day." Thus you can't validly argue that the usage is the same when the sentence structure associated with the term is different.

"Evening" in Genesis one is not associated with a specific evening because it does not say "the evening"on any of those first five days. Nor does it have other qualifiers or prepositions to modify what is meant by "evening" as passages outside of Genesis do. It is terrible scholarship to define the meaning of a term used without definite article and modifiers by seeing how it is used with them in other circumstances.

For example the phrase "Twilight for the Gods", the title of a movie made in the nineteen fifties, does not refer to a specific evening but rather a condition of increasing fading of power and respect that the 'gods' in question are experiencing. The campaign slogan "It's Morning in America" does not refer to a specific morning, but rather a time when things are improving and people are more optimistic. They don't refer to a literal day or dusk, even though both terms use that as imagery. In the same way the use of these terms in Genesis chapter one without the modifiers which tie them to a specific literal day should not be assumed to be literal.  As with the movie title, "evening" can just as well be describing a condition rather than a literal time period. In this case a condition that some aspect of creation is subject to prior to God's Word intervening. Like the campaign slogan, "morning" could be referring to a condition rather than a specific literal morning- the result after God's Word orders some aspect of creation to His will.

Another source, "Creation Today" in an article by Ken Hovind, says "The words “morning” and “evening” occur together, without “day” 38 times outside Genesis 1. Each of these occurrences refers to a literal 24-hour day."

Well, he is a lot closer to right than the "Answers in Genesis" claim cited above, but I want to show you some of the "38 times" and you can see that just because a verse of scripture has the words for "evening", "morning" in it does not mean that it is referring only to a literal 24 hour day. In very few of those cases is the phrase "evening and morning" even used together in that order, and that is on top of the differences in definite articles, prepositions, and modifiers I mentioned previously. Because of all that it is not reasonable to give them too much weight in determining what the same words mean when used differently in Genesis chapter one. It is really misleading and over-simplistic scholarship even if the other uses of the terms really did refer to a "literal 24-hour day", but the fact is they don't.

Here is an example. In Exodus chapter eighteen the three words are used together twice as shown...

Exodus 18:13 -- And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening.
Exodus 18:14 -- So when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?

In Exodus 18 the phrase "morning until evening" refers to LESS than a 24 hour day- it is "from sunup to sundown". This is important to our discussion because Genesis chapter one says "evening and morning" and so if YEC reasoning applies it then it is literally describing a night rather than a day just as the terms in reverse order in these two verses are describing daytime and not a whole day. Thus the most "literal" view of the terms in Genesis chapter one don't make sense. 

Another example actually used the words "evening" and "morning" in the right order.
Exodus 27:21 -- "In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.

Here the phrase means "perpetually" or "continually". It is not a 24-hour day- it is for all generations as long as there is a flame to keep burning. It's an indefinite period of time. The following verse in Leviticus is very similar....

Leviticus 24:3 -- "Outside the veil of the Testimony, in the tabernacle of meeting, Aaron shall be in charge of it from evening until morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute forever in your generations.

In Job the brief life of a man is compared to the time from morning to evening- so the words are used to describe a period of time that, though brief in the grand scheme of things, is far longer than a literal twenty-four hour day...

Job 4:20 -- "They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding."

Psalms 90:6 uses similar language to describe the brevity of the life of a plant.  Daniel 8:26 is more controversial, but it does have the terms for "evening" and "morning" in it and it does refer to a period of more than one literal day.

So among these thirty something instances I think you can see there are many places where the terms are used to mean something other than a "literal 24 hour day". The way the Young Earth Creationists are trying to determine "usage" is that they are taking a tally for where the same word is used, regardless of whether or not it is connected to the other parts of the passage in the same way, and using a "majority rules" mentality. That is, however the word is used most often in other situations is the way it should be used in this situation.

Look, that is a valid scholarship tool when used properly, but here it is not being used properly. Part of the reason is that they are ignoring the other language elements of how the terms are used as I have shown. But it is also because this situation in Genesis chapter one- the foundation of creation- is a unique situation. It is not like those other situations so any allowable use of the words must be considered in order to discern context. Sticking with what the word means in the majority of uses will steer you wrong.

Imagine you had a document with many accounts in it. Some are from offices settings where the phrase "just a second" comes up. Another set of stories is from a track coach. One story is about a duel. You cannot determine how the word "second" is used in the last account by how it is used in the first two. You have to consider every allowable meaning and see what fits the rest of the circumstances- especially if somewhere else in the document there is a reference to the account of the duel.

The principle I am claiming here is that the context of words in a passage is better determined by what the rest of scripture says about that passage rather than how similar words are used in different passages. Take for example the account of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar. The way that words used in that account are used in passages about other subjects may offer us some value, but whatever value we get from that must be superseded by what Galatians Chapter four says about the passage. That is, we can't continue to insist that it is simply a story about a guy, his wife, and a concubine when Galatians tells us that its real meaning is much more than that. 

What the rest of scripture tells us about the account means more than how the same words in the account are used elsewhere. What the rest of scripture tells us about the days in Genesis chapter one must be considered more authoritative than a word count of how similar words are used in different passages which describe different situations using different sentence structure. 

Now a Young Earth Creationist might be tempted to say "OK then, look at Exodus 20:11 and see what other passages say about Genesis chapter one." Well, they have that one wrong too. One reason has to do with what is said about the time "Before the First Day". Another reason, and this undermines their claim that "every instance of the word 'yom' when used with a number refers to a literal 24-hour day", is that the seventh day in Genesis chapter one (and thus Exodus 20:11) is not a literal 24-hour day according to the passages in the New Testament. This is shown in the chapter about "The Seventh Day."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thesis #19: Adam Was Created More than Ten Thousand Years Ago

This article is largely an excerpt from the book "Early Genesis, The Revealed Cosmology". In this book I present evidence to support each of my Twenty-Five Theses Where the Church is Getting Early Genesis Wrong." This article speaks to my nineteenth thesis.

Some well-meaning old-earth creationists have suggested that the genealogies in early Genesis have significant gaps in them. That is, many patriarchs whose names were not recorded lived between the death of one patriarch and the mention of the next. This is in an effort to find a view of the scriptural record which aligns with the record of nature regarding the existence of mankind. That is, the genealogies of Genesis give a certain number of lifetimes with a certain number of years, and if one counts them up with no gaps then Adam could only have been so old and no older. Therefore it is suggested by some that these records have substantial gaps.

I find that idea unlikely. The genealogies are constructed so as to track time as well as lineage. If they are riddled with gaps then they are useless for their intended purpose. In fact they would be worse than useless, because they would actually be misleading.

I don’t have a problem with their being difficult to sort through, because they are very ancient records translated from a very different culture. We should expect that. But that is not the same thing as being misleading even when properly understood. At any rate, the truth of the matter is that Adam does not have to be placed back at the beginning of mankind. Once you know who Adam is (see book for details), the age of the human race verses the scriptural record of the age of Adam becomes a non-issue.

Perhaps the most straightforward reading and calculation of that age is that done by Bishop James Ussher in the 1600s. He was not the only fellow to attempt to make the calculation, but the others all came up with similar dates. By their reckoning Adam was formed sometime near to 4,000 B.C. or just over six thousand years ago.

Their dates varied a bit because, for example, the record gets a bit fuzzy after the time of Abraham. There is a dispute as to exactly when Moses led the children of Israel out from Egypt and the times and places up until the reign of King Solomon. There is evidence, both within the text and in the archeological record, which points to an earlier date for the Exodus than conventional wisdom suggests, but since that question is beyond the scope of this book I shall leave it aside for now.

Six thousand years is a very long time in human terms, and if I am right about the first two accounts in Genesis coming from Adam, and/or his immediate descendants, then early Genesis would still constitute the oldest written records which we have deciphered. It would not however, be the oldest writing known. As of the publication of this book, the Dispilio Tablet holds that record. It was discovered in northern Greece by Dr. George Hourmouziadis and has been dated at around 7,300 years old. It has not been deciphered.

Nevertheless, the age estimate of about 6,000 years to the time of Adam must be considered the minimum estimate. The other reasonable way to look at the genealogies in early Genesis pushes the dates back even further than that. While I don’t see justification for the practice of trying to shoe-horn unwritten generations between the lives of the listed patriarchs, there is another way to interpret them which is more reasonable. This alternative interpretation pushes the formation of Adam back significantly, but not to the degree necessary to place a date for Adam at the beginning of the human race.

Before we dive into this method of calculation, and its results, I want to make two points. One is that some readers whose minds have been conditioned by existentialist assumptions will be tempted to recoil and dismiss the idea that the extremely long life-spans recorded particularly in Genesis chapter five could be literally accurate.

Ironically many of these same readers will come upon some article about science’s power to extend the human life span to comparable figures and simply accept at face value that someday we will be able to accomplish the task. For example Aubrey DeGrey has claimed, without drawing notable derision from mainstream science and media, that the first person who will live for 1,000 years has probably already been born. Modern man has little trouble believing that he can extend human life-spans to around 1,000 years, but immediately dismisses the idea that God could have done so! We need to examine our hearts with our heads and understand that our faithlessness is not the rational position, but rather it’s the depths of irrationality.

Further, by the view of Genesis described in these pages the Bible does not make the claim that all ancient humans had extended lifespans. Rather only Adam and some of his near descendants enjoyed such life-spans. In Genesis chapter forty-seven Jacob is brought before Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks him right away how old he was. This surely indicates that Pharaoh was impressed with his age. Jacob replied that he was 130 years old, and that his days were few in number compared to his fore-fathers. If everyone attained to such years then Jacob’s age would not have been notable enough to be the first topic of conversation. Thus the Bible implies that not all humans had extended life-spans.

Perhaps Adam possessed genetic and epigenetic gifts that we are only now beginning to understand how to re-claim. Perhaps his time in the very presence of the LORD God had a healing and life-giving effect on him which lasted several generations. How long would we live if Christ came to visit us every month and healed every infirmity, even the ones we didn’t know we had? We shall see in scripture that patriarch life spans began to decline rapidly once Yahweh changes His methods and quits interacting with them as much. But I get ahead of myself.

The second point I wish to make before describing this view of the genealogies is that those who wish to greatly extend their age do have a point regarding the meaning of the word “begat.” It is an interesting word. It can mean “became the father of”, or it can mean “produced the line of (became an ancestor of).” The idea of “Father” for this culture went back multiple generations. The Jews of Christ’s sojourn thought of Abraham as their “father” (Mat. 3:9). The context in which “begat” is given can determine what it means.

With all that being said, let’s get into the text. The two great genealogical records in Genesis are in chapter five and in chapter eleven. Except for the beginning and ending generation in each, they have a similar format. I shall take a few verses from chapter five to demonstrate:

6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

7 And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:

8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

The second genealogy has a similar format, except that the last line is omitted. The total lifespan of the years of the patriarch is not stated separately. It is necessary to add the number of years until the next line is begat with the number of years the patriarch lived after begetting it in order to determine the length of life of the patriarch. That is a trivial calculation though, especially because the second list is shorter.

To calculate his dates, Ussher added, for example, the 130 years of Adam until Seth was born with the 105 years of age at which Seth “begat” the subsequent line of Enos. This is a reasonable possibility in the case of Adam to Seth because the previous text makes clear that Seth is Adam’s direct son. Time is being counted here from “birth” to birth: the “birth” of Adam to the birth of Adam’s son Seth. The question then becomes whether or not the particular wording in the first generation (verses 5:3-5) is establishing a pattern for use when tracking the time of subsequent generations or showing a difference in the normal pattern for the subsequent generations?

If you have reached this point in the book you have probably detected the consistent way which I use to approach scripture: Every difference in the text matters, and when there is a difference in the text it should be interpreted as meaning something different. They are not using variations in the language haphazardly, but the text is saying something different with the differences in the language, even if our western eyes are not familiar enough with nuance to ‘get it’. There is also circumstantial evidence in chapter eleven for the method of calculation I am about to give, which I will discuss when we reach that point.

The other reasonable possibility is that the typical wording in this chapter indicated not necessarily a son of the patriarch, but instead a descendent of the patriarch who was born around the year of that patriarch’s death. The newborn would then be used to track time for the next generation. They used the lives of patriarchs like a calendar, for reference points in their history. In that case the figure to use to track time would not the length of time from one “begetting” to another begetting, but rather the total length of years of the life of each patriarch.

So here is my view: In those cases where the text did not clarify that the next generation begot was a son, it was instead referring to a descendant who was born about the time the previous patriarch died and who would then be used to track time. The year of begetting only indicated the time that the line leading to the next calendar-patriarch was first produced.

The exception to this pattern would be found right at the beginning of the genealogy. In that case, the case of Adam to Seth, the wording makes it clear that the counting is to be from the birth of the patriarch until the time the patriarch begat their son. But maybe that wording was not trying to define a rule for the other entries which lacked it, but rather trying to highlight that this particular generation was an exception to the rule used to track time in subsequent generations. That is, from life time to life time, not from begetting to begetting.

It is well known that once Israel had kings, they tracked time by the length of time the king had been on the throne. For example, “In the 32nd year of King Azariah” is a specific time. When his reign was over, the following year would be the “first year of” his successor. That would have been the case even if the successor had not been his son, but his grandson. They did not start tracking time with the birth of the next generation, but when the next generation took the throne on the death of the previous one.

The problem of how to track time is something we never think about because we have had the B.C./A.D. system for many generations. For early human civilization though, there was no such system in place. They had to create one, and do so in an environment where at least some blessed men could live hundreds of years after the birth of their first-born.

The children of Adam may not have had kings with reigns in those early days, but they had patriarchs with descendants. What I am suggesting is that they used the lifespans of the patriarchs as a calendar, and when one died they used a descendent born around the same time as the next calendar-patriarch. So unless the text explicitly indicates that the next generation is the “son” of the previous man named they used the entire length of the life of the patriarch to track time. The age of the preceding patriarch when they “begat” the following patriarch is a record of when the line leading to that following patriarch was begun, not the age of the first patriarch at the birth of the second.

We then use 130 years to count from Adam to Seth, because the text makes it clear that Seth was his son. But from Seth to Enos onward we use the whole lifespan of the calendar-patriarch to measure the years. Thus 912 years are added from Seth to Enos, and 905 from Enos to Cainan, and so forth.

One may count time in this manner until one gets to Lamech. The text indicates that Noah was not only begat by Lamech, but was also named by him, and further that Lamech made a curious prediction about his son. Because the text does not follow the rule of the previous passages in format, we revert here to the method of calculation used for Adam and Seth. Lamech begat Noah at 182 years of age so we add that number of years to the total calculated to this point, bringing us to a total of 6,230 years from the formation of Adam until the birth of Noah.

If we then consider that Genesis 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood, and add that 600 years to the total, we find that a space of time of 6,830 years would have occurred between the formation of Adam and the flood of Noah. That is the total from the first of the two great genealogies.

We then go to the second great genealogy in Genesis Chapter 11 to determine the space of time from the Great Flood to Abraham. Verse ten says that Shem begat Arphaxad two years after the flood. If we then add the life of each patriarch up, using the total span of years just as we did in the previous genealogy, until the birth Terah, we find there is a total of 2202 years.

Things then get a bit fuzzy because the text does not tell us in what year of Terah’s life Abram (soon to be Abraham) was born. It only says that by the age of seventy he had begat Abram, Nahor, and Har’an. This is another variation in the pattern of the text and the end of this chapter makes it plain that Abram is the direct son of Terah.

The reader may find it odd that the age of the previous patriarch at the birth of the succeeding patriarch is carefully documented throughout the chain until one gets to Terah and Abraham. From our perspective they would be the most important figures in the chain, yet Terah’s age at the birth of Abram is not precisely given. While this may be perplexing to someone with an Ussherian view of the genealogies, it makes perfect sense in the calendar-patriarch framework which I am proposing.

Under this framework, they never knew until the patriarch died which son would be the one to produce a descendent who would be born in the same or following year of the death of the patriarch. The best Terah could do in his lifetime is list the age by which he had finished bearing sons. It would be up to the next generation to fill in the exact year at which the next line was begun and the name of the calendar patriarch who would follow.

For example, if he gave birth to Nahor at thirty, Abraham at fifty and Haran at seventy, then he would not know which of those figures to use to say what his age was when the line of the next calendar-patriarch was begotten. It could have been a descendant of any of the sons. The next generation could provide a more precise figure after the identity of the next calendar-patriarch was established.

In Terah and Abraham’s case this procedure would have presented an embarrassing difficulty. Indeed as lifespans got shorter and fertility lower the system would grow less workable. When men lived long enough to see their sons to the fourth or fifth generation it was easy for them to have a descendent who was born the year of, or the year after, their death. A man with three sons whose descendants also had three sons would have 81 great-great grandsons. If the role of calendar patriarch could pass to male descendants who came from daughters, then double that number. Either way, someone would soon come around to fill the role. For ancient people in their situation, it would have been a very sensible way for them to communicate with fellow clan members about exactly when in the past specific things happened.

But Terah and Abraham were no longer in that situation according to 11:27-32. For one thing, Terah lost one of his sons so young that he was only able to produce one son of his own- Lot. Another of his sons, Abraham, had a wife who was barren during the life of Terah. The third son of Terah was Nahor. He had sons, but he separated from his father. Nahor stayed behind in Ur and did not immigrate with the rest of the family to Har’an. The clan was small, and it was broken up by geography as well due to the immigration of Terah.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that after Abraham we don’t see another great genealogy in Genesis, or the rest of scripture, in the style of those found in chapters five and eleven. The conditions under which those genealogies were created ended when human lifespans went down and the fertility of Abraham’s line took a temporary dip. That specific form of genealogy stopped when the conditions necessary to sustain it no longer existed. Those conditions were long life spans and high fertility. This was the calendar-patriarch system.

So we do not know the exact age of Terah at the birth of Abraham, only that it was 70 or less. If we add seventy to the 2202 years of the previous total of the lives of the patriarchs we come to a figure of 2272 years. This is my calculation of years from the great flood to the birth of Abraham.

Our calculation here will have to be a rough one. Due to the end of the calendar-patriarch system I described, the numbers in the text of Genesis are much more straightforward counting from Abraham back to Adam than they are from Abraham to say, the Exodus or Solomon. Of the two “mainstream” dates for the Exodus, I favor the minority view with an earlier date, but such disputes are beyond the scope of this work. The “error bars” for the period beyond Abraham to the Exodus are pretty large anyway, so I will just pass on sorting all of that out here and use Abraham’s birth as a starting point.

Common estimates for Abraham’s birth are from 1850 B.C. to as early as 2150 B.C. Let’s say that 2000 B.C. is a good rough date for the birth of Abraham. I propose we work back from that date to find the approximate date for the formation of Adam.

So then Abraham was born roughly 4,000 years ago. The time from Abraham back to the flood was an additional 2,272 years, and from the flood to Adam was another 6,830 years. This means that Adam was brought forth by The LORD God about 13,102 years ago. So the dates would look like this:

Adam was created: about 13,102 years ago or 11,102 B.C.

The Great Flood: about 6,272 years ago or around 4,272 B.C.

Birth of Abraham: about 4,000 years ago or 2000 B.C.

That last date is non-controversial, at least when one puts 200 year error bars on it (and subsequently the other dates as well). I shall leave it to more learned scholars to test the ideas laid out in this volume and refine the dates in more detail.

The Ussherian date for the flood, 2348 B.C., is more problematic than the dates I suggest when one considers what the tenth chapter of Genesis says happened within a couple of generations after the flood. For example, verses 8-12 of chapter ten tell us that Nimrod (the grandson of Noah in Ussherian accounting, the descendent of Noah in my view) established what amounted to a kingdom consisting of several cities, some of which are lost in the mists of time, but one of which was Akkad. While the location of that city is also presently unknown, we do know that it was destroyed in 2154 B.C. with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire.

By Ussher’s dates, in the space of a meager 206 years Ham would have had to father Cush. Then Cush would have had to father Nimrod. Then Nimrod would have had to grow up, and then Nimrod would have had to found a kingdom whose beginning included Akkad- which would be destroyed by the time he would have been, in terms of the life spans of those men, barely middle-aged.

In addition to that, it is well known that the Akkadian Empire was founded near or at 2340 B.C. by Sargon the First. That was about eight years after the Ussherian flood date. Sargon ruled for at least 40 years and was succeeded by his sons. That empire collapsed about 150 years later. From what little we know of them Sargon and Nimrod do not match up well.

David Rohl in his book From Eden to Exile: A Five-Thousand Year History of the People of the Bible (Greenleaf, 2009) provides substantial evidence that Nimrod is the same person as Enmerkar, the first, or second depending in the exact status of his father, King of Uruk (Erech) after the Flood according to the Sumerian King’s List. Enmerkar is the grandfather of Gilgamesh who built up the walls of Uruk and was the focus of an epic Sumerian story. The exact time of Enmerkar’s reign is unknown, but the description in Genesis fits well with a period archaeologists call the “Uruk Expansion” from around 3,600 B. C. to 3,100 B.C. This fits far better with a flood date of around 4,272 B.C., which gives mankind seven hundred years to rebuild civilization and erect cities, and then city-states to become an empire like the one founded by Nimrod/Enmerkar.

Not that I am sold on the location as the landing place of the ark, but I should note that in 1953 a German, Dr. Friedrich Bender, obtained a small bitumen covered wood sample from a region on Mt. Judi in Turkey where it was said that pilgrims were taking wood left from the ark of Noah. His C14 dating showed the wood to be just under 6,500 years old. The Bible and Spade Journal reprinted his findings in English in 2006.

Returning to Adam, the calendar-patriarch view produces a date for Adam which makes a lot of sense considering what the Bible says about him. This puts the date and location of Adam just before the dawn of agriculture and just before the dawn of the domestication of livestock.

I don’t think this is a coincidence. The human race had lost its way, and instead of becoming protectors of the earth, it had become the most terrible of its predators. Man was a plunderer, not a nurturer as originally intended. We were far from the intent of God in Genesis chapter one when He had created them and granted them dominion.

In short, the human race had abused the dominion they had been given. Instead of becoming stewards of nature and what was in it, they became super-predators. In contrast, Adam was specifically made and trained “to tend the garden and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). In Adam, as in Christ, God provided the pattern. He became the example which they could live by. Adam and his ilk were the seminal agriculturalist, and the seminal pastoralists, of mankind.

I don’t say that agriculture and animal husbandry were never tried earlier. I feel sure they were, since it was the God-desired orientation of man from the beginning. But the earlier attempts did not stick. Man had not pulled it off. He had back-slidden into a less civilized manner of life.

Adam, in terms of both time and place, was in the right spot to have introduced these things to mankind in a way which did stick. The human race began a Great Leap Forward which began about the time and the place which I am suggesting Adam lived. That seems too neat to be a co-incidence. So then it seems that the advent of Adam did raise Man up, but Adam was only able to do this because he was helped up himself. We will see in Genesis chapter two that Adam’s accomplishments were not strictly a result of his own efforts. Yahweh provided the man Adam with a powerful head start.

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Thesis #14: The Morning of the Seventh Day in Genesis One did not Begin Until After the Cross

This article is largely an excerpt from the book "Early Genesis, The Revealed Cosmology". In this book I present evidence to support each of my Twenty-Five Theses Where the Church is Getting Early Genesis Wrong." This article speaks to my fourteenth thesis. It may be a little hard to understand without the prior material in the book leading up to it. It also starts off a little plodding, but if you press on to the end I believe you will find the result well worth it, for it shows early Genesis to be both history and prophecy at the same time.

After the sixth day of Creation God completed His work and rested. This is described as the seventh day, or the Sabbath. The passage says that God blessed and set apart the seventh day. Genesis Chapter two reads:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

This Sabbath rest, or completion of His work, continues to this day. We don’t see the sort of wholesale changes to the surface and atmosphere of the planet described in the passage. We don’t see whole new categories of living things spring up. We will never see another Cambrian Explosion for example, because we are in the “seventh day”, God’s Sabbath rest, even still. He has ceased ordering the physical features of the planet so as to make it sustain advanced life. He has ceased the creation of new phyla of living things. That work is completed.

Genesis never does end the seventh day, as it ended the previous six, by saying “the evening and the morning were the seventh day.” The Sabbath rest that God entered into on the seventh “day” is ongoing. I have heard it said that His finished work of creation is a shadow pointing to His finished work in Christ, who (in Matthew 12:8 et al) called Himself “Lord of the Sabbath.” As you read on to the end of this chapter I think that you will see that the full truth is even more glorious than that!

Hebrews chapter four teaches us that God’s Sabbath rest is available to believers today, one which paradoxically we must labor to enter into (because we keep trying to substitute our own efforts for faith?). We can rest from our own efforts to attain right standing with God through works and instead enter into the rest of His already completed work.

Indeed the Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2: 16-17:

“16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

So the Sabbath for man (the seventh day of rest) is just a shadow of the real Sabbath- whose substance, or body, is Christ. The Sabbath for the Land (the seventh year of rest) is just a shadow of the real Sabbath- whose substance, or body, is Christ. The original Sabbath of the Creation is Christ Himself. The substance, the body, the intent, of the each of these Sabbath rests is found in Christ. He also “finished” His work to redeem Mankind. He completed the work of obtaining right standing before His Father by living the sinless life that we could not.

That is the substance of the Sabbath rest for which both Man’s Sabbath and the Land’s Sabbath are mere shadows. Unlike the shadow Sabbaths, which last only for the particular length of time assigned to each of them, the type Sabbath of Christ’s finished work on the cross is eternal.

This is the real Sabbath, or rest. It is a Sabbath which, according to Hebrews chapter four, believers can enter into. We do that when we repent of our own ways and further when we accept by faith that God’s ways are just. We do that by, rather than trying to earn our way to right standing with Him, we instead love and trust Him and the Righteousness He has provided in the penal substitution of Christ.

The way to enter into His rest is to rest from our own efforts to attain our own right-standing before God and instead learn to love and trust Him more. Every Sabbath mentioned in the law should be seen in this light, whether it is the 24 hour Sabbath of man, the one year out of seven Sabbath for the land, or the Creation’s Sabbath where God rested from His Creative works and ceased issuing “work orders” to the natural universe. It all points to Christ, the Word.

Christ is the substance, or body, of what we consider the “Sabbath” and Sabbath days are but shadows pointing to Him. This is further confirmed when we see that the Word of God was actively working in Genesis chapter one. Christ, the Logos, or Word according to the first chapter of John’s Gospel, actually created the material universe. We know this because it says in the first chapter of Colossians (and is confirmed elsewhere):

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

The surrounding verses make it clear that the “him” is Christ, God the Son. So when Genesis chapter one shows God creating the universe and the world, it is God the Son actually doing the work - just as He also did the work of attaining right-standing with God the Father. And just as the seventh “day” never ended in Genesis, so the rest that Christ obtained for us through His atonement for our sins will never end.

It’s not a twenty-four hour period. It is not something that we have to repeat week by week, it’s an eternal rest made possible by the finished work of Christ. Trying to force the text into being about literal 24-hour creation days doesn’t point to Christ, it diminishes Him. It actually blurs the picture concerning what God is saying about Christ and the Sabbath. I will further demonstrate this when discussing when the Sabbath Day in Genesis One began.

This understanding adds new depth to the teachings of Jesus on the Sabbath. He said “The Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath.” It becomes a statement on law and gospel. Man was not made to earn his way to salvation by works such as keeping the Sabbath. Rather the substance of the Sabbath is a rest from our own works because The Word of God has finished the work for us. Truly the Sabbath is for Man- for His salvation!

The Book of Hebrews in chapters three and four has a long argument which touches on the Sabbath, and also on the contents of the previous chapter concerning the variation in observed time. It is a difficult passage to understand outside of the context of what we discussed earlier (in the book) regarding what perceived time would look like in a place where space was unchanging as compared to what we see in the natural universe.

These are things about the nature of time and space that humanity did not understand before the middle of the 20th century. In spite of this, several paradoxes in scripture are cleanly resolved once this understanding of space-time is applied to the passages! Generations of Christians had to accept on faith that they were true, even if they could not give a good explanation of how they were true. Today, we can explain.

Chapter three of Hebrews says “5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we…”

Moses was, in his life, in his acts, in his acquisition of the Law and composition of the Torah, testifying “of those things which were to be spoken after”. That is, about things which were yet to be plainly revealed. What he was saying in his own day was really meant to point to things in the future which would be spoken about long after the Torah was composed. The things in the Torah and the law were mere shadows of the reality which came to pass in our realm much later- in Christ.

Though Moses and Joshua came well after Adam and the events of early Genesis, Hebrews 3:5 says that when Moses recorded them he was testifying of things which were to be spoken of later. This is much like the diagram in the previous chapter. In Heaven, the Sabbath day had started at the last of the foundation of the world. On earth, the true meaning of that Sabbath had not yet reached earth. This is what is alluded to in the mysterious words of the following chapter (4) in Hebrews:

3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

So even though the “rest” was supposed to be on the seventh “day” in Genesis chapter two, God spoke over a thousand years later of men entering that rest as a future event. In one place in scripture the Sabbath rest of God began long ago, but in another place it is thousands of years later and it is still questionable whether or not they are able to enter into it. What gives?

Even if the first six days were literal 24-hour days, surely the seventh day is not. It is a rest that men had still not entered into (because of unbelief) all those generations later. It happened in Heaven long ago (“although the works were finished from the foundation of the world”), but on earth men had not entered in (“if they shall enter into my rest”). Like I showed in the diagram, time here is stretched, and we see only the foreshadowing of things which have long since transpired in the eternal sphere. Moses lived in the fore-shadow of what was to come, and when he wrote of that foreshadow it testified to the coming reality which cast the shadow.

In verse nine the passage points out that other scripture still speaks of yet another day to enter into that rest. It was not a day in the life of Adam, and not a day in the life of Moses. As the Apostle Paul writes further, starting in verse eight of Hebrews chapter four…

“For if Jesus (editor’s note: many modern versions read “Joshua”) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

His rest is not limited to one of our days. We can celebrate one day out of seven to rest, but those days are not the Sabbath. They are only shadows of it. The true original Sabbath rest is not a particular solar day that happened on earth long ago. It is a spiritual condition we can enter today. The true Sabbath Day of rest had not begun here on earth in the time of Adam. It had not even begun at the time of Moses and Joshua, for Paul points out that it said in another Old Testament passage that there “remaineth” yet another “day”, another Sabbath rest for the people of God…..

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

If we believe in Him then the rest which He entered into becomes our rest. And what is the “labor” which we must do to enter in? Jesus said (John 6:29) “This is the work of God: to believe on the One whom He has sent.” We must work to have faith, rather than fall back in faith on our own works. That is unbelief, which prevents us from entering in. How then might we strengthen our belief? Well, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17).” If you truly hear what His Word says, then you will believe. You will not have to psyche yourself up to believe. You just will.

Since hearing His word is the key, hear then what His word says about the Sabbath in Genesis chapter two, and what it does not say:

1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Notice that though the creation was finished at the end of the sixth day in verse one, God did not end His work at the end of the sixth day. He ended it on the seventh day. The heavens and the earth were completed at the end of day six, but God did not end his work then. They were done, but God’s work was not done. He had yet one more work to perform, which is mentioned here only obliquely.

I guess you might call this a “gap theory” in Genesis that I do accept. There is a gap between verse one and two, not in the first chapter of Genesis, but in the second. Things were finished and complete on the sixth day, but God’s work was not ended then, but on the seventh day. I shall endeavor to show that what happened between verses one and two was the fall of Adam. Because of that God had one more work to do. That work, which ended on the seventh day, was redeeming what He had created in the first six days.

To demonstrate this first let us consider what is not said. The text in Genesis chapter two never says concerning the first Sabbath “the evening and the morning were the seventh day.” Notice that not even the “evening”, or start of the day, is mentioned. Many have pointed out, as I have, that the seventh day in early Genesis never ended, but now we see that the teaching of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews was that, as far as we on earth could tell, the Sabbath day never even began in early Genesis. In heaven it did, but on earth it did not happen in the time of Adam, or even that of Moses. When then did this true Sabbath, still ongoing today, begin?

In the gospel of John chapter five Christ says something quite remarkable when the Pharisees complained that He was working on the Sabbath:

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Jesus said that the Father was working right up until then, so He was going to work too! Jesus was telling them that the Father had never stopped working. He did not stop working on the seventh solar 24-hour day- either the original one or the one the Pharisees were complaining about. The Father was working continually up until that point.

Wait, didn’t the Father take the seventh day off? How then could He be working right up until that point? The resolution to this mystery is that the rest which came from finishing the work on that first Sabbath had already occurred in heaven. The manifestation of that event had not quite reached earth. Much like a radio broadcast of a live event in a distant galaxy would not reach the earth for eons of time, we understand that what which was accomplished in heaven at the beginning was now about to be received on earth.

We know that God’s Sabbath had not yet begun on earth because of what Paul said in Hebrews three and four about the order of things in the time of Moses and Joshua. Moses was testifying of things in the future, and they were looking to a future day. We know that it had still not occurred when Jesus told the Pharisees that His Father was working right up to that moment.

Sure, God had finished making heaven and earth, and the host of them, but He had other work to do, and would not rest until all was accomplished. God finished His creation, but not His work. Or more precisely, His work was finished long ago in heaven but the manifestation of it had not yet reached the earth below.

Then when did it reach this earth? When did God take His rest? When did the morning of the seventh day spoken of in Genesis finally begin on this earth?

The answer to all of those questions is the same. The work ended when Christ announced on the cross “It is finished”. His rest began on that Sabbath day. He “ceased from His labors” by resting in the ground until the resurrection! Since that time Christ and the Father have been at rest. The Holy Spirit works still, but Christ sat down at the right hand of God, as is written in Hebrews 10:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

God was not finished with His creation until the cross. Up until then the Father had been working, and so the Son would work as well. Jesus was serving notice that as God He was not on an earthly seven-day schedule. He was on the Father’s seven day schedule. He was still on the sixth “day” and would continue His work of “making Man in our image” right up until He proclaimed “it is finished!” on the cross. Then the seventh day could begin and that day continues up until the present time.

The rest spoken of in Genesis chapter one was completed in heaven long ago (Revelation 13:8), but was not revealed here on earth until the resurrection. 1st Peter chapter one shows that Christ was chosen before the world began, but only revealed in these times…..

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

The work was determined in the heavenly realm in the beginning, testified to by Moses in the law, but revealed on earth in Christ 2,000 years ago. Why is the seventh day so special? Was God in need of rest? Was He really looking forward to His day off so that He could finally do all the things that He wanted to do? That is seeing God as man, but He’s not.

He did not bless the seventh day because He could finally get a rest, but so that we could finally share in His rest. He blessed the day because His efforts to deliver the things He had created and made were fulfilled on the Sabbath. This is “testifying of things not yet spoken of.” This is speaking of a day which Moses had not yet lived through.

He did additional work beyond making and creating everything. There was also His work of redeeming the human race which He created and made. He built creation with the freedom to choose other than Him, but also made a way for its errant inhabitants to be delivered from the consequences of that choice- if they repent. This work He completed on “the seventh day”, and therein He rested.

While the debate rages on whether or not early Genesis is reliable history, the truth is now being revealed with each page of this book that you turn over: Not only is early Genesis reliable history, it is also reliable prophecy! As it is written, He has “declared the end from the beginning”. Because the history is reliable you may know that the prophecy is also reliable. And as some of this prophecy has come to pass you may know by the prophecy being reliable that the history is also reliable.

After all these accusations hurled against the reliability of early Genesis by the uninformed, we at last come to understand the truth of the matter. The only thing unreliable was our ability to understand it! The reliability issue lay not in the veracity of the word, but rather in the understanding of the readers.

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Thesis #7: The Heavens and the Earth were Created Before the First Day

This article is largely an excerpt from the book "Early Genesis, The Revealed Cosmology". In this book I present evidence to support each of my Twenty-Five Theses Where the Church is Getting Early Genesis Wrong." This article speaks to my seventh thesis.

Some readers might be surprised to learn that the first “day” in Genesis does not begin in verse one. A careful reading of the text shows that the first “day” does not begin until verse three. God does not create the heavens and the land on “day one”. Rather, on day one He separates darkness from light in a universe which had previously been created, as is stated in verse one. Therefore the universe had existed for an unstated amount of time prior to the first day.

I support that claim based on two things. First, in verse one the Hebrew word translated “created” (bara) is in the “Qal perfect” form. That form is used to indicate completed action. That means it is talking about something which had already happened. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The text moves on from there to say that the earth was formless and void “and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters”.

So verses one and two are like a “set-up” of the account of God’s intervention on the earth, which starts off “formless and void”. These two verses are not a part of the first “day”. Instead they are setting the scene for the account of the days, each an intervention of God in some area, which follow.

Just look at the structure of the other days. Each one starts with “And God said”. God makes a statement, creation responds, the text describes God doing something related to His statement, and then the text says (in all but the seventh day) that the “evening and the morning” of this process was day “X”. Here is the pattern of the six days….

1.    God speaks…
2.    Creation responds (sometimes recorded only as “and it was so”)
3.    God acts (sometimes only “seeing” and sometimes more direct action)
4.    Day is summed up: The evening and the morning, day X.

Each of Creation’s days starts off with “And God said”. To fit the pattern, this would include the first day. The first “And God said” is found in verse three. Therefore verse three is the beginning of the first “day”. The first two verses then can only be referring to things which occurred before the first “day” occurred.

Ok, it’s clear from the structure of the six days that day one does not start until verse three. That leaves us with “in the beginning” as something before that. “The beginning” started before the first days of creation started. How long before that? One might be tempted to ask “how long does the beginning take”? Actually I think that is asking the wrong question here.

Young earth creationists often point to Mathew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 to show that Jesus considered the creation of mankind to have occurred “in the beginning of creation”. Their thinking is that since the creation of the cosmos was also “in the beginning” then the heavens and the earth could not have been created billions of years before people. So even if heaven and earth were created “before the first day” they assume they were made in a very brief period of time.

This argument does not make sense logically. Jesus said male and female were made “at the beginning of creation” when the text shows they were made at the end of the creation “week.” So either Jesus is referring to the beginning of the creation of men and women, or He considers the beginning of creation to be when the creating is finished on the end of sixth day. Either way makes no statement about how long it took to create the heavens and the earth or how long the earth stayed formless.

In earlier versions of this work I also had more speculative textual answers to that objection. But I now think the better answer is to keep it simple. We are the ones bound by time, not God. We are the ones who have trouble with the idea that “the beginning” can take immense amounts of time while the middle and end of the story are wrapped up in a comparatively brief time. To us, it should not take vastly more time to create a world than that world is scheduled to last. But that’s us. The whole objection is based on the idea that God views time the same way we do, but that idea is explicitly rejected in scripture. 2nd Peter 3:8 says...

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

Peter asks believers not to be ignorant about just one thing, but apparently that’s too much for us! We are so wrapped up in ourselves that we just can’t get out of our own time-bound skin to appreciate things the way that God sees them. God is not bound by time. He has no problem taking fifteen-billion years to set up a story that plays itself out in tens of thousands of years. Nor to Him does the set up necessarily take any longer than the playing out. That we have trouble grasping this is no limitation on Him, it’s our limitation.

Haven’t you see elaborate patterns of dominoes which have been set up just for the purpose of watching them fall in a particular way? It may have taken hours for the creator to set up a series of dominoes which fall in a matter of seconds. The first six dominos to fall may be the “beginning” of the story playing out- but it took a lot of time to even prepare that beginning. So even we humans, made in His likeness, sometimes have a penchant for similar things. The joy comes from the setting up of the event as much as the event itself. The beginning of the event comes long after the set-up for the event. The life of the event takes much less time than the set-up.
Further, we don’t even know if God considered the set up as “taking more time”. The amount of time one perceives passing depends on the position of the observer- and remember no humans were around to observe the events of Genesis chapter one until the very end of it. From our view setting up the dominoes was a lengthy process. To Him, the falling of the dominoes may be the lengthy process. And we were not around!

In the next three chapters I am going to communicate some pretty heady stuff about time and perspective. By the end of it I hope you will see that the argument being used from Mark 10:6 is based on a flawed assumption about God and time.
To be clear, I am not advocating for the old Scofield “Gap Theory” which postulated a long gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 during which a prior creation populated the earth and was destroyed. I am just saying that the test allows that there was a large interval of time between the creation of the heavens and the earth and the start of the first “day” in verse three. I am not claiming there is a missing story there.

My point is simply that the text shows that Creation’s first day does not begin until verse three. So regardless of how long the “days” of chapter one are, verses one and two happened an undetermined amount of time beforehand.

I also want to point out that the heavens are something which God creates, not something He is contained within or bounded by. 1 Kings 8:27 et al point out that “the highest heaven cannot contain Him.” God is not constrained to exist “in” Heaven. He is beyond the heavens. He may be “in” heaven in the way that I sit “in” a chair. I am not within the chair. As it is written (Isaiah 66:1) “Heaven is My throne and the Earth is My footstool”. Later on, a person of the Trinity does enter within heaven, but I get ahead of myself.

Another thing I want to point out is the condition of creation prior to God filling it with Light. It was not a good place to be. The initial conditions are not good, in any realm of creation. They are dark and foreboding. When it says “the deep” in this passage, the Hebrew word “tehom” is used. This term also means “abyss”, and can refer to subterranean waters. It is thus comparable to the Greek term used to describe the place where the spirits who left their proper abode are kept in chains (Jude 1:6), or the place in Revelation from which such creatures emerge (Rev. :11). In Luke 8:31 the demons who possessed a miserable wretch begged Christ not to send them to “the deep.” The word here again refers to an abyss. 

The initial conditions of creation were like the realms where the very worst spirit offenders are kept in custody, like some sort of other-worldly super-max facility. Perhaps the “abyss” spoken of in later scripture is a realm or void where things have been left exactly as creation was at this point. It is a space utterly lacking in the light of God’s wisdom, judgement, personality, or word.

Even vice enjoys the fruits produced by virtue, and even evil spirits dread to be confined to a place where the light of God has in no way entered. They don’t want too much of it to shine, they wish to lurk about in the evening shadows. Despite this, they dread the deep and utter darkness.

So did God create the universe as a place of evil? Consider what evil is. He created it as a place of darkness- a place which lacked His Divine light. This is not because He made creation evil, but because He had not at this point illuminated it with His own Word. Evil is not a thing in itself, it’s the absence of good in a thing. It’s the absence of God, or more precisely (since God is omnipresent) an absence of His Word. When He made something outside of Himself, it could not help but be dark until His Word was injected into it.

I know that a lot of people are convinced that God created an unfallen universe which was in a state of perfection comparable to that of heaven at its holiest, but that is not what the text says. The text says that when God creates something outside of Himself it is an undesirable place to be- until He begins to put His Word and His actions into it.

I should also mention something about Exodus 20:11 while I am on this subject, and it is a verse which I will have more to say about later. It says that “For six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth” as well as what is in them. Though the King James Version says “For in six days….” we find that the word “in” is not a part of the original text. Plus the word translated “made” here, and in Genesis, is different from the word translated “created” in Genesis 1:1.

I will go into more detail in a bit but my point is that you cannot equate Exodus 20:11 with Genesis 1:1. This is because 1) Genesis 1:1 speaks of the creation of the earth and the universe before God spoke the first day into existence in Genesis 1:3 while Exodus 20:11 speaks of God’s work on the heavens and the earth during the six days of Genesis chapter one.  And 2) the word “in” is not in the text. It is not saying that God created the world “in” six days. Rather He worked on His creation for six days. He created it “in the beginning”.

This fits a lot better with the context of the verse, where it is arguing that man should rest from his own labors on the land for one day out of seven because the Lord Himself did the same. He worked for six “days” and on the seventh He rested. Farmers do not “create” the earth they farm, but they do make it into something productive. That is mostly what the Lord did during the so-called “Creation Days.”

That is why I object to even the term “Creation Days” (I prefer Creation’s days). The Hebrew word translated “created” is not even used in regards to God’s activities on days one through four. He did most of His “creating” prior to the first day. Until the creation of Man, the rest of it was ordering the heavens and the earth He had previously created. Then He worked on them. 

For more information on the true message of early Genesis please see this book....


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thesis #4: Inheritance from Adam is not Where We Got our Sin Nature

When it first struck me that the formation of Adam in Genesis chapter two was at most a subset of the account of the creation of “man” in Genesis chapter one, I set off to find scriptures to invalidate the idea. After all, it seemed contrary to every version of the story in every Sunday school class I had ever heard. One of the places I felt confident that I would find scripture which refuted this rash notion was in Romans chapter five.

What I thought Romans chapter five said was that sin spread from Adam to all of mankind because we were his descendants. I thought that it said that we inherited his sin nature by virtue of our physical descent from Adam. If that were so, then the idea that not all men were physical descendants of Adam would be out the window. Adam’s main biblical role would then be the physical father of the human race, rather than the figure of Christ, who is “the firstborn of many bretheren” (Romans 8:29).

It turned out that the idea that inheritance from Adam is the mechanism by which we get a sin nature is more of what I call "theology that is not in the Bible". In this writing I shall examine the scriptures used to promote this error and show how they are being misunderstood or wrenched out of context. This article is largely an excerpt from the book "Early Genesis, The Revealed Cosmology". In this book I present evidence to support each of my Twenty-Five Theses Where the Church is Getting Early Genesis Wrong." This article speaks to my fourth thesis.

Here is the key passage from Romans chapter five:

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come .
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Verse twelve does not say that we inherited our sin nature from Adam because we are his physical ancestors. It says that sin (God’s definition) entered the world through Adam and because of that death “passed” upon all men. Why? Was it because Adam was their ancestor? No, but rather “because all sinned.”

“Entered” in this verse is the Greek word eiserchomai and it is used in the metaphorical sense of “arise, come into existence, begin to be”. Another way to put it is to “come to life.” Sin came to life and mankind died when Adam transgressed. Paul himself used very similar language nearby, in chapter seven of Romans when he describes the role of the law and sin. Here I quote chapter seven, verses eight and nine. This time from the New International Version:
“… For apart from the law, sin was dead.9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.”
If you will read the whole passage you will see what I am suggesting about how sin “entered” the world. I say the same thing Paul says about the relationship between sin, death, and the law. Before he knew the law, he had life and sin was dead. But once the commandment came, sin came to life (it entered his world) and he died. What I am suggesting is that the condition Paul describes is just what it was like for those men who lived before Adam. They were alive apart from the law. They were acting out of God’s will, but there was no law and hence no accountability.

Once Adam, as the stand-in for all mankind, broke the law then sin came to life and Adam died (as the Bible defines death). If any of them had been perfect, they would not have died, but none of them were. All of them needed the protection afforded by Adam as the stand-in for all of mankind, even as we need the protection afforded by Christ as our stand-in.

Sin sprang to life. What was once dead had existence in the world. That is what is meant by sin “entering” the world. There is no need for theologians to concoct another method of entry of sin into the world besides the one Paul describes two chapters later. Sin was dead before Adam’s failure. After that, it was alive and Adam was dead. Sin entered, became alive, in the world.

That word “passed” is from a Greek word deirchomai, which means just that- to pass through or spread through. It is used to describe events like going on a journey or the children of Israel “passing through” the Red Sea. It has nothing to do with inheritance. Paul could have used the word for inheritance, kleronomeo, if he had meant that.

Notice that Paul writes that sin entered the world but death passed through the world. Sin entered the world, but did not pass through the world like (spiritual) death did. Without law, sin was dead. There was no way for it to bring any spiritual death. But it was only waiting for knowledge of the law to become alive. It was only waiting for the failure of the stand-in in order to become animated.

When Adam chose to be his own god, sin sprang to life. It entered the world by animation, as would some creature made of stone that suddenly became viable. The stones were always there, all around, but until they had life, the creature did not exist. It did not enter the world until it came to life.

Death did pass to all men. Not that the evil deeds were greater, but our knowledge that they were evil was greater. The deeds were old. The guilt was new. The shame was new. The separation from God due to willful disobedience and a stained conscience was new.

Romans 5:12 is saying that spiritual death passed, or spread through, all of mankind when Adam sinned, not because of his sins, but because of theirs. Mankind was already doing things God disapproved of, but they were doing so in a state of innocence, like children. As it says in the next verse, “where there is no law, the penalty for sin is not imputed.” That is, it is not charged to one’s account.

The souls who died before Adam’s sin are not damned to Hell. As for the souls between Adam and Moses which are spoken of, we can only hope for their sakes and the Father’s sake that they are among the captives carried off by Christ in the oblique reference made in Ephesians 4:8.

God made the man Adam as the stand-in for all mankind, as the Second Adam Christ is also. When he was given a law, the state of innocence was over. When Adam broke the law his role as stand-in for man afforded no protection for the rest of the human race.

If any of them had been perfect, it would not have mattered that the stand-in had failed. They would not have needed Adam’s protection. But because they had their own sins, they did need it, just as we need the protection of the Last Adam. At that point, death reigned. They were condemned, even before the law was given, because, as Paul points out earlier, they had a conscience, a sort of natural law put in their hearts, so they are without excuse.

Prior to the Garden no man was ever asked to live as a person who had faith in God rather than themselves. Adam was the “first man” who had that fateful choice. God decided to take man from a state of innocence to a state of responsibility. He did it with what is still the key question- do we have faith in God to determine what is good and evil, or do we wish to decide that for ourselves?

To give mankind the best possible odds, God did not start accountability with each person, from lowliest to most privileged. He started at the top. He started with the best man on earth, the one with the most ideal circumstances and possessing the greatest privilege: The one who had received the breath of God which is the Holy Spirit and the one who had daily fellowship with the LORD. The one with a spouse created of him and for him. That one would be the stand-in for mankind to see if man would, for an age, be liberated or mired.

Should he pass the test, then that one would be the one in whom God would reconcile creation to Himself. That one would begin, with his wife, a Royal Priesthood, and a Holy Nation that would take His glory to the ends of the earth. Then a Millennium of peace would be ushered in, ending in a New Heaven and a New Earth. I say that this was what God wanted the First Adam to do, because it is what the Last Adam is doing and has done. I will offer more scriptural proofs as we go on.

I remember thinking in my prior misunderstanding how unfair it seemed that we would all be condemned to have a sin nature because of the choice of Adam and Eve. But now I see that we always had that nature, and only the absence of law kept sin out of our lives. The way God choose to do it gave us the best possible odds, and humanity still blew it. This creation, which was never made to be eternal, came built in with the capacity to trust ourselves more than God. Not that God is the author of sin, but He authored choice. It is the wrong choices, the choices outside of faith, which are sin.

Man was always in need of reconciliation. From the day the first man was made and from the moment we ourselves are born, we needed to be re-connected to our Creator to produce righteousness. We can’t do it on our own. Man did not just get saddled with a sin nature when Adam came along. We had one, but we were not penalized for it. We sinned from the start, but since sin was dead in the absence of law, we were let off the hook. In the beginning the penalty for sin was not imputed because as it says, there was no law. We were not held accountable until God gave the man, Adam, a law. This command not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil embodied the very choice every man must make between faith in God or faith in self (or anyone or thing else) to determine right from wrong.

As Paul said of the idol worship of the pagans in Acts 17:30: God winked at wrong-doing (idol worship in that example) in the times of ignorance, but now calls on us to repent. God’s revelation to man is progressive, and the more we know about who He is the more responsible we are to live in that knowledge. Israel was held to a higher standard than the heathen nations around her. Christians are expected to have a higher standard than the faithless. God had given man dominion over the earth. In Adam, God began the process of progressive revelation to man.

Mankind always needed reconciliation, and Adam was the figure of He who was to reconcile us. Even as Christ was the royal representative on behalf of the whole human race, his foreshadow Adam was meant to be also. Adam was given every chance to make the right choice. God did not pick a representative stand-in for the human race who had poor circumstances. Rather, he had ideal circumstances. He had it “as good as it gets”.

Even as Christ came from a special place of fellowship with God the Father, Adam had a special place of fellowship with God- the Garden of Eden planted by the LORD God Himself with every pleasant tree that gave good fruit. There would be no deflections about poor environment or a disadvantaged upbringing that some men still use to hide behind or obfuscate the truth. The truth is that man cannot be righteous in himself even in the best of circumstances. Adam and Eve did not make the choice of faith. They made the choice of self.

And so, as verse 14 says “death reigned from Adam till Moses.” Mankind went from a state of innocence to a state of sin, and their stand-in now afforded no protection. Until the Law of Moses came there was no other law to keep in order to obtain right-standing with God through obedience to law. Man had still not, and most still do not to this day, learned the lesson that it is faith God desires. Even the first law, the commandment to Adam, was about faith. If our faith is truly in Him, our obedience will in time follow. If it is not, then no matter how determined our efforts are to be righteous by following the law, we will fail.

While the mass of mankind sought a law, a list of rules to follow in order to earn right-standing on a basis of our own choosing, one man got it right. In Ur of the Chaldees, one descendent of Adam we now know as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. That is not to say that he was righteous, but God counted it as righteousness. Abraham did what his ancestor Adam failed to do. He believed God. And from this descendent of Adam would come another- Moses the lawgiver.

Once Moses came, God gave man The Law. Man at last had his list of rules he so coveted. A way he might keep score or have some basis of negotiation with which he might bargain with his Maker. Death did not have to reign. Righteousness could come through following the law, if anyone could do it.

But of course man can’t do that. Death reigned from Adam until Moses, but it reigned even still. That is because the law, meant to give a way to back to life, instead produced more death. But the point of all of that death, produced by more law springing more sin to life, was to make it clear to man, to all of us, how guilty we are. It was to show how hopeless it is to count on our own works to be righteous. It was for the purpose of driving us to God’s real goal: Grace obtained by faith. Let’s look at that bit of Romans chapter five:

19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

When there was no law, it was easier for men to kid themselves in the period between Adam and Moses. They might be tempted to think that though Adam failed, they would not have in the same circumstance. In the absence of law, they might concoct their own law and their own rationalizations when they broke it. All were locked up under sin when Adam fell, but they might not see the true depth of their sinfulness absent the law. And so law was given. It put man under even more sin. It made men more aware of their sinfulness because they then had a Divine standard to which to compare their actions.

Though this enumeration of rules bound man up in sin, it also allowed man a way of escape. For if the law could be kept by a new stand-in then we might be protected, even as they were protected in the absence of law. They were protected by their ignorance of God’s requirements, but we are protected because our stand-in not only fulfilled the requirements, but paid the debt for our failure to do so in His own Person. This is another way in which the free gift of God is greater than the offense. Let’s take another look at verse fifteen:
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Here Paul compares the spread of grace to the spread of death and says that grace was spread on different and better terms. If man was in perfection instead of just innocence before “the fall”, then this makes no sense. Why did the grace of God abound “more” than the spread of death? They are on the surface quite symmetrical. Through the offense of one, death spread to the many. Through the obedience of one, grace abounded to the many. So why is the second better than the first?

The answer for the spread of grace being better is simple: Death spread to the many, but those many were already in sin, it’s just that sin was dead before Adam’s choice brought sin to life. The grace abounds more because not only does it spread by God’s gift rather than our own works, but it pays the penalty for sin whereas before sin came to life there was no penalty to pay but the potential for one to spring up was always there. The spread of sin unleashed the potential of sin that was already latent. It did not “make” the sin. The free gift took away the penalty for the sin- it removed its “potential energy” to take life.

It is the difference between living on a field of land mines which have never been activated vs. having someone detonate all of the mines safely for you. Once the mines are activated, your situation is worse, but the potential for them to cause you trouble was always there, even before activation.

The problem of the land mines becoming activated is a problem, but the solution of someone safely detonating all of them for you is a blessing which is better than the original problem of the mines coming to “life”. Not only is the “activation” threat gone, but the underlying thing that was activated is also rendered harmless.

I might add that the idea that the spread of the gift was similar to the spread of the offense makes no sense if sin was inherited by blood in the one case but not the other. The comparison makes better sense if we accept what the Bible says about who Adam was in Romans 5:14, a figure of Christ. The symmetry works if we lay aside our traditions that are not really found in the Bible (that he was the physical father of all humans). Adam was meant to be humanity’s champion and redeemer, because he was a figure of Christ. He was our stand-in. If any of us could have hoped to make it, it was Adam.

What does this say about the doctrine of Original Sin? It doesn’t change the bottom line. Mankind, disconnected from God, is inherently prone to sin. It only changes the reason why this is so. It is not so because Adam was our forebear, it is so because connection to the Creator is the only way we can be righteous. We have to abide in the vine.

Creation was designed to be disconnected from God, yet have the ability to re-connect with Him. Until that re-connection is made we choose with an imperfect moral compass. Only the absence of law in the beginning, not early man’s moral perfection, kept sin out of the world as a live force. Even the best of our motives will be mixed, tainted with sin. Christ came to reconcile the creature to the Creator.