The New Movie: Is Genesis History? Answer: It Depends on Who Is Doing the Interpreting

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” ― George MacDonald link

Is Genesis History was released for a one day showing in movie theaters on February 23. There will be some showings after that date. Check local listings.


My beliefs as an evolutionary creationist

I believe that God created the universe "ex nihilo." I believe that God is the creator of everything we see in the universe.

I believe that God created man specifically the moment he breathed life into the man.

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.(Genesis 2:7 NIV Bible Gateway)

In this account, I believe the dust of the earth could be our DNA. I do not believe it had to be literal dust like that which is hiding under my sofa at this particular moment.

Mankind's physical features do not separate us from the animal world. For example, God breathed life into man's nostrils. Most mammals have nostrils. Gorillas stand upright, have arms and legs, and two genders: male and female. So do men. I believe that the difference between mankind and other animals is this part of the above verse.

breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,

I believe that God's breath imparted our immortal soul which distinguishes us from the animal kingdom.

I also believe that the earth and universe are very old, billions of years, in fact. I also believe that God could have used the mechanism of evolution as scientifically described. In fact, I have evolved and now consider myself an evolutionary creationist but am open to all thoughts on the matter. However, I firmly believe the earth is quite old.

Whether or not anyone agrees with me, I am still a Christian and I take the Bible very seriously. Yes, the Bible has history in it. However, the Ancient of Days, the Creator of language, uses all sorts of devices in the Scriptures to bring us into His realm. He uses poetry, allegory, metaphor, type/anti type, symbolism, simile, parables, and even humor.

Therefore, the Bible has history but it has so much more. I believer that some of Genesis contains history and some of it contains word pictures to help us to understand the creation of the universe by a complex, Triune (try to easily define the Trinity) God who is incomprehensible to us mortals in any complete fashion. He has given us the Bible and it is perfect in that it brings us into some understanding of God. We see this in the Apostle's Creed which is agreed upon by most Christians, regardless of denomination.

However, no matter how deeply some might disagree with me on my understanding of creation, they must admit that I am a Christian who believes that God created the heaven and the earth. We merely disagree on His methods.

Tim Keller vs Tim Challies

I have no problem with the young earth creationists pushing their views on the matter even though I think they are dead wrong and that their science is deeply flawed.

However, they cross the line when they claim that young earth creationism is the only valid interpretation of Genesis. Tim Challies wrote Is Genesis History? as a movie review. Challies is a young earth creationist but he knows that many of his New Calvinist BFFs have become old earth creationists.

It’s not an easy time to be a six-day creationist. For some time now, the weight of conviction within the Evangelical world has swung toward views that demand an old earth. 

He appears to overlook his friend, Tim Keller, in the next statement. It always amuses me that within this tight crowd, they deliberately overlook some of the beliefs of their celebrity leaders. Tim Challies deeply admires Tim Keller.

While few Christians are full-out theistic evolutionists,

Keller wrote a post for Biologos in which he discusses his position. Biologos is the organization started by the world renowned scientist, Dr Francis Collins, in order to promote the idea that those who accept evolution can be deeply committed Christians. The following are some excerpts from Keller's paper which I urge everyone to read in its entirety.

The conclusion—we may read the order of events as literal in Genesis 2 but not in Genesis 1, or (much, much more unlikely) we may read them as literal in Genesis 1 but not in Genesis 2. But in any case, you can’t read them both as straightforward accounts of historical events. Indeed, if they are both to be read literalistically, why would the author have combined the accounts, since they are (on that reading) incompatible? The best answer is that we are not supposed to understand them that way. In Exodus 14-15 (the Red Sea crossing) and Judges 4-5 (Israel’s defeat of Syria under Sisera) there is an historical account joined to a more poetical ‘song’ that proclaims the meaning of the event. Something like that may be what the author of Genesis has in mind here.

So what does this mean? It means Genesis 1 does not teach that God made the world in six twenty- four hour days. Of course, it doesn’t teach evolution either, because it doesn’t address the actual processes by which God created human life. 

…If Adam and Eve were historical figures could they have been the product of EBP? (ed: Evolutionary biological processes) An older, evangelical commentary on Genesis by Derek Kidner provides a model for how that could have been the case. First, he notes that in Job 10:8-9 God is said to have fashioned Job with his ‘hands’, like a potter shaping clay out of the dust of the ground, even though God obviously did this through the natural process of formation in the womb 

…My conclusion is that Christians who are seeking to correlate Scripture and science must be a ‘bigger tent’ than either the anti-scientific religionists or the anti-religious scientists. Even though in this paper I argue for the importance of belief in a literal Adam and Eve, I have shown here that there are several ways to hold that and still believe in God using EBP.29 

Only the young earth interpretation is valid.

Tim Challies likes this movie because he says it offers "proof" regarding a young earth. Sadly, he overlooks the main point of the movie.

The bulk of the film is an examination of the earth, of life, and of man and the universe. In every case, Tackett goes on-scene with an expert in his field as they discuss one of these areas. They consider geochronology and its dating methods, they examine soft tissue that remains within dinosaur bones, they discuss the geologic evidence of a catastrophic and worldwide flood, they map the spread of humanity from a central point. Together, they build a compelling case that Genesis is meant to be a historical account of the world’s origins and earliest days. They show that the universe is providing evidence to back its claims. 

Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, a believer in an old earth but not in evolution, mentions the movie which has limited showing in theaters starting on February 23.

this movie presents a young-earth and global flood view as the only valid interpretation of the Genesis text.

Christians can believe in an old earth and evolution and still take the Bible seriously.

When a movie is released that calls into question the beliefs of serious Christians such as Keller, Collins and myself, then that movie is causing an unnecessary division in the body of Christ. One day, in heaven, we will be presented by all sorts of surprises. I believe that hows of creation will be one of those. Even then, God will still be God and we will still be part of that creation. Perhaps understanding the enigmas of creation will be an eternal process.


Comments

The New Movie: Is Genesis History? Answer: It Depends on Who Is Doing the Interpreting — 625 Comments

  1. john smith wrote:

    And evolution has done nothing but ruin the public school system to where nobody learns anything anymore other than that they’re just a monkey and should have monkey sex accordingly. Aside from the New Calvinism and other doctrinal issues in evangelicalism, I think the reason that so much sexual abuse is going on is they actually buy into evolution.

    I’ll betcha Cain offed Abel because Cain believed in that silly evolution he learned in the public school system! Snort!!! (Sarcasm off)

  2. Muff Potter wrote:

    I recently read a piece on Dawkins’ method of getting around the need for an intelligent designer

    I’ve heard of similar arguments about self-organizing systems. But the problem is life requires the assembly of very complex information (encoded in DNA), beyond all the complexities of getting all the right chemical together without them self-destructing. Self-organizing systems, such as crystal formations, are highly ordered but have extremely low information content. This is a major hurdle origin of life researchers have not been able to solve. And they seem to be losing the race because the more they investigate the more complexity they find. Their basic answer right now is nothing more than a faith statement: “we know life self-generated because we can observe living things.” They eventually will need to propose and test viable ways for life to self-generate.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Bet I can push it over 1000

    This thread lost its steam when the YEC-advocates went silent. There was quite a lot of discussion while they were engaged. I wonder why they left.

  4. @ Ken F:
    I don’t know much about Dawkins methods but by what I have read, he gets really irate when instead of saying “we don’t know”, it becomes “must be God”.
    Another aspect of life’s mystery is the nature of consciousness.
    How does this bundle of biological mass know that it’s Jack?
    Dawkins and other atheists insist the answer must be God free.
    We all have our biases. I would like to see science tackle these issues without taking either side. Just let the data speak for itself.
    That’s why I respect scientists like Galileo & Darwin. They let the truth lead them, even if it led them against the prevailing society.

  5. @ Ken F:
    Eventually the argument becomes circular. You won’t change their minds & they won’t change yours.
    However this is one of the most civil and enlightening discussions on the topic I’ve ever had.
    Big thanks to all who contributed, whichever position you took & a big thanks to our moderators.

  6. Jack wrote:

    I don’t know much about Dawkins methods but by what I have read, he gets really irate when instead of saying “we don’t know”, it becomes “must be God”.

    I see this same problem coming from both sides (at least from the people who yell the loudest). On one side it is the “God of the Gaps” argument. On the other side it is the “Evolution (or some other position) of the Gaps” argument. When people are unable to say “I don’t know” it leads to ideological answers that don’t help move the discussion forward. I very much agree that we should let the scientific evidence lead where it leads. Likewise, I believe folks should examine their interpretations of the Bible to see if there could be other viable options. I also agree with you that this has been a great forum to raise these issues. I find it refreshing to have real dialogue involving thorny questions without folks going ideological. Thanks for participating.

  7. Ken F wrote:

    This thread lost its steam when the YEC-advocates went silent. There was quite a lot of discussion while they were engaged. I wonder why they left.

    To be fair, I wouldn’t bother commenting much on a thread where the prevailing mindset was pro-YEC.

    Whereafter, Jack wrote:

    We all have our biases. I would like to see science tackle these issues without taking either side. Just let the data speak for itself.

    As Jack rightly indicates, there is ultimately no common ground between the two positions. But that doesn’t mean I believe the two positions are equal. I agree that scientists owe it to themselves to follow the evidence. It doesn’t matter whether I like the idea of a finely-tuned universe: if that’s where the available evidence points, then that’s where my cosmology should rest. I also biblicists owe it to themselves (never mind to God himself) to use the Bible properly. I cannot argue that the Bible is “literally true” and then arbitrarily pick and choose which bits I’ll take literally and which bits I’ll ignore (having made up a suitable excuse).

    Actually, there is at least something in common between those two extreme positions: there adherents all, ultimately, believe what they personally want to whilst appealing to some form of higher authority for it.

  8. Ken F wrote:

    This thread lost its steam when the YEC-advocates went silent.

    I’ve been through a number of these YEC-OEC discussions. This one was was fairly typical. The YEC advocates can’t refute the science based claims and their faith based pseudo science arguments aren’t accepted. Personally, I accept the reality of creation as described by present cosmology and have argued the implications of the 1978 and 2011 Physics Nobels argue for an ancient created universe. This really doesn’t help in debating YECs as the universe is estimated to be 3 times older (about 13.5 billion years) than our solar system.

  9. @ OldJohnJ:
    When it comes to planetology…

    For many years, I’ve been writing articles for the online SF RPG zine Freelance Traveller under my real name, my most recent being a series of detailed world writeups. Two of which made the cover of FreeTrav’s Jan/Feb 2016 & 2017 issues.

    Jump Destination: Agudegh (Jan/Feb 2016, featured/cover article, p.4)
    (Note: “Vargr” are one of the stock non-human races of the core game, literally Wolves uplifted by a Forerunner race long ago. “Belters” are asteroid prospectors/miners.)
    Jump Destination: Telerine (Mar/Apr 2016, p.9)
    Jump Destination: Korvo (May/Jun 2016, p.18)

    Index page for all of the above, plus others (Bryant’s World, Evansion/Korranion, Khorlu, Tanna-Sheru, etc):
    http://www.freelancetraveller.com/features/culture/reference/worlds/index.html

    Jump Destination: Geolan & Wasphome (Jan/Feb 2017, featured/cover article, p.6)
    http://www.freelancetraveller.com/magazine/2017-0102/FT079-20170102-ANSI-A.pdf
    (current issue at this time; not yet on index page)

    System Generation/Adaptation from ACCRETE (Nov/Dec 2016, p.41)
    http://www.freelancetraveller.com/features/preproom/adaptaccrete.html
    (Technical article on adapting/generating planetary systems for the game)

  10. What depresses me is the confusion/conflicts that YEC creates in young people… i know, i went through it myself. You study hard, take your math and science classes seriously, and honestly, and the data and logical conclusions indicate old earth…. then what… you have been, and continue to be taught you are bad and a “compromiser”, or worse…. all along you are just trying to honestly look at the data… if you raise questions, the zeolous YEC soon attack your character…
    then it get worse, and you see how the YEC arguments are not just wrong, but very decptive, or worse.. then what?

  11. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    then what?

    I don’t know. When I was 4 I had the great enlightenment that there was not only no easter bunny and no santa claus but also there was no jesus and my parents were lying to me. It was a huge faith crisis all around. I never got past the crushing realization that ‘out there’ is a pack of lies and liars, and those that believe the lies and the liars, and nobody is to be trusted; you just have to figure it out for yourself. I am now quite old and this realization has influenced everything in my life to some extent for all my life. But at least the old earth thing was not even a bump in the road, since I had ceased to believe people long since.

    I do not think that people get over the crushing reality that they have believed something which is not accurate and that people who knew better did that to them in the first place. Maybe that is the day that people grow up. Life goes on.

  12. okrapod wrote:

    When I was 4 I had the great enlightenment that there was not only no easter bunny and no santa claus but also there was no jesus and my parents were lying to me.

    My wife and I chose to tell the truth to our kids about Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. We did not want them to wonder whether or not we were telling them the truth about other things. Since my wife is German she told them about the real St Nicholas. Our grown kids tell us they are glad we told them the truth early on. They don’t feel like we robbed them of some kind of childhood joy, which was one of my concerns at the time. But we still put some gifts under the tree from Santa – often the gag gifts.

  13. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    What depresses me is the confusion/conflicts that YEC creates in young people… i know, i went through it myself.

    What’s even sadder is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Both extremes of the pendulum, Ken Ham at the endpoint of one arc, and the strict materialists at the other, do not advance the cause of building a better world in the here and now.

  14. Muff Potter wrote:

    Both extremes of the pendulum, Ken Ham at the endpoint of one arc, and the strict materialists at the other, do not advance the cause of building a better world in the here and now.

    The only cause they advance is Counting Coup against The Other.

  15. okrapod wrote:

    When I was 4 I had the great enlightenment that there was not only no easter bunny and no santa claus but also there was no jesus and my parents were lying to me. It was a huge faith crisis all around.

    When I was a kid, my parents told us that Santa was a game people play, but don’t tell your cousins because they don’t know. So I’m always interested to hear how people reacted to finding out the truth. It seems not a problem for most people, but seriously bothers others.

  16. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Besides SETI there is the Drake Equation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation

    The problem I have with this equation is that’s it’s great for a group of science oriented college kids to discuss while drinking too much beer. But others take it as “science” as it’s math and looks complicated. If you look at the basis for the various terms in the equation, most are the subject of wild estimating. Sophisticated estimating but wild non the less. And constantly changing estimates on top of all of that.

    But various non science oriented things like the NYTimes and such will haul it out at times as if it’s “real” “hard” science.

  17. @ Tarheel:
    I concur that the Drake equation is just an estimate. The Kepler mission has reduced some of the uncertainty. Still, as a topic, I think its persistence is indicative of a widespread desire to find some evidence that life is inevitable in the universe. A counter topic is the Fermi Paradox – “where are they?”. Two possible answers: life on our planet is unique, faster than light interstellar travel is not possible. Lots to speculate about here.

  18. OldJohnJ wrote:

    A counter topic is the Fermi Paradox – “where are they?”. Two possible answers: life on our planet is unique, faster than light interstellar travel is not possible. Lots to speculate about here.

    A solution to the Fermi Paradox is staring us right in the face — or rather, we’re staring at its screens all the time. SOCIAL MEDIA.

    Once a civilization get to Information Age and develops SOcial MediA, everyone goes into SOcial MediA Cyberspace and never comes out. (Just yesterday at a birthday lunch at my shop, two of the Customer Support guys never lifted their eyes from the smartphone in their hand. If it wasn’t a birthday lunch, it would have been everybody — I’ve seen it. Eating with one hand holding their smartphone in front of their face with the other, stroking and caressing their Precioussssssssss…)

    “The last invention in human history will be the Holodeck.”
    — Dilbert

  19. Muff Potter wrote:

    What’s even sadder is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Both extremes of the pendulum, Ken Ham at the endpoint of one arc, and the strict materialists at the other, do not advance the cause of building a better world in the here and now.

    But it’s “I”M RIGHT! YOU’RE WRONG! HAW! HAW! HAW!”, and that’s what’s truly Important.

  20. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Once a civilization get to Information Age and develops SOcial MediA

    HUG, I think you’re on to something. In fact, I suspect we’re in or at least very close to positive feedback threshold for SOMA. Just think how much more time self driving cars will provide for SOMA activity.

  21. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Once a civilization get to Information Age and develops SOcial MediA

    HUG, I think you’re on to something. In fact, I suspect we’re in or at least very close to positive feedback threshold for SOMA. Just think how much more time self driving cars will provide for SOMA activity.

    I understand that’s one of their big selling points. (Besides “OOOO! Nifty Tech!”) Driving is a distraction from gazing at the phone screen.

    There’s been stories of Millenials & post-Millenials who instead of getting drivers’ licenses, just bum rides from Mom or friends all the time and spend all the ride gazing dewy-eyed at their Preciousssssssssss…

  22. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Once a civilization get to Information Age and develops SOcial MediA

    HUG, I think you’re on to something. In fact, I suspect we’re in or at least very close to positive feedback threshold for SOMA.

    Want to see panic attack withdrawal symptoms?
    Hide someone’s smartphone.
    I’m not making that up; studies have actually documented withdrawal symptoms when unjacked.

    And there are stories of big phone App developers having psychologists — specialists in addiction — on their App design teams. Specifically to make the App as addictive as possible. Move over, crack, here comes Bloodhype and/or Zu’ur.

  23. Salvation does not come from believing in every single thing in the bible. Because if that’s the case, then David isn’t saved. There wasn’t the new testament back then, so how can David be saved? And neither would Abraham be saved. Because there wasn’t even the old testament yet, so how can Abraham be saved?

    As such it doesn’t matter old earth or young earth. Now one is right and one is wrong. But in this case you can believe in either and still be saved. Salvation doesn’t come from believing correctly in everything in the bible. The bible is not where salvation lies.

    Instead salvation comes from realizing one being hopelessly trap inside sin. And that God loved the world so much that he sent his only son Jesus to die for the sins of all of mankind. And whoever believes in salvation through Jesus would be saved. Even Abraham and David were saved by having a relationship with God through Jesus. Abraham saw Jesus (John 8:56-58). David also knew of Jesus (Matthew 22:41-46)

    It is the relationship with God that saves us, not on knowing and believing correctly. The demons knows more than our knowledge and believe correctly. The demons knows that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The demons also believes that Jesus is the only way to salvation. However because the demons rejects God, they are all destined for eternal hell fire.

    And now we realize how much God loves us, we go love god in return and love our neighbours. And we cannot help but share this good news Gospel with them.

    When God judges a sinner, it is almost like a righteous judge placing judgement on his own murderous son. If this son repents, Jesus already paid the penalty and this son will be set free. However if this son do not repent then no matter how much God loves him, this son must pay for murdering his neighbor.

    If we love God. We will try to get this son to repent.

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