Research Report #12 (1983)
Copyright © 1983 by Robert J. Dunzweiler. All rights reserved.
Originally Delivered as the Fall Lecture Series at
Philadelphia College of the Bible November 1-4, 1971
|A series of four lectures which suggest a way in which both Biblical and scientific data concerning the nature of God's creative activity can be synthesized in a unified creationist view as an alternative to evolutionism. In Lecture One a case is made for the need for such an alternative and a survey/appraisal of various creationist views is made. In Lecture Two an outline-summary of the creative events of Genesis 1-2 is proposed, incorporating both Biblical and scientific data. In Lecture Three the problem of the proper relationship of Biblical and scientific chronologies is analyzed and a time-frame for the structuring of God's creative activity is proposed. In Lecture Four the question of the meaning of "kinds" is explored; the paleontological record is reviewed, and a proposal for the synthesis of the Biblical and paleontological data is offered in which these two records of God's creative activity provide mutual intelligibility.|
|Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written.|
A Proposed Creationist Alternative to Evolutionism
Evolutionism is that view of reality which holds that natural
operating exclusively by means of natural forces, are responsible for
whole range of physical, chemical, biological, psychological, and
phenomena which make up the history of the universe.
Ordinarily, when we think of evolution we think of only one phase -
the biological phase. Yet, as Sir Julian Huxley points out in his book
in Action, the overall process in the comprehensive sense is
to comprise three main phases: the inorganic (or cosmological) , the
(or biological), and the human (or psycho-social).1
Evolutionism is thus the view that the process of evolution is
Upon analysis, this view can be seen to contain several constituent propositions:
(1) Either matter is eternal or it has simply, of itself, come into being.
(2) The complex structure of the physical universe has evolved from the simple unorganized condition of primeval matter.
(3) Living material has evolved from non-living matter.
(4) All living things - whether monerans, protistans, plants or animals - have evolved from the simplest living things.
(5) Man has evolved from animals.
(6) Each of the above processes took place by means of the
operation of previously-existing natural forces.
In connection with our topic, I should like to point out the fact
there are good reasons why an alternative to Evolutionism is needed.
such reason is that Evolutionism makes a claim that it is the only
and credible explanation of the origin and development of the universe,
of life, and of man, and that any other explanation is unworthy of
To substantiate this charge, it is necessary only to quote from one of
a number of writers who express themselves on this point. Horatio
Newman, when he was Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of
The nature of the proof of organic evolution, then, is this: that, using the concept of organic evolution as a working hypothesis it has been possible to rationalize and render intelligible a vast array of observed phenomena, the real facts upon which evolution rests.... There is no other generalization known to man which is of the least value in giving these bodies of fact any sort of scientific coherence and unity. In other words, the working hypothesis works and is therefore acceptable as truth until overthrown by a more workable hypothesis. Not only does the hypothesis work, but, with the steady accumulation of further facts, the weight of evidence is now so great that it overcomes all intelligent opposition by its sheer mass. There are no rival hypotheses except the outworn and completely refuted idea of special creation, now retained only by the ignorant, the dogmatic, and the prejudiced.2
Another reason why an alternative to Evolutionism is needed is that
Evolutionism is presently confronted with virtually insuperable
in connection with the question of a causal explanation of the origin
matter and of life, the question of adequate evidences for its claims,
and the question of a mechanism which is sufficient to produce new
orders, classes and phyla of living things. Unless it can give
answers and solutions to these questions and problems, it hardly seems
scientifically accurate, logically sound, or ethically responsible for
Evolutionism to make such extravagant and immodest claims for itself,
to vehemently denounce all opposition as being ignorant, dogmatic and
However, the question may now be raised as to why a Creationist
alternative to Evolutionism is needed. One reason that immediately
to us is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to
compartmentalize in one's mind conflicting religious beliefs and
beliefs. Unless reconciled, one set of beliefs tends ultimately to
the other. Unfortunately, it is usually one's religious beliefs that
sacrificed upon the altar of scientific belief. In this day of
tensions between religion and science, an alternative that synthesizes
one's religious beliefs with one's scientific beliefs is desperately
There are many students and teachers, laymen and pastors, seminarians
professors, scientists and theologians, who are seeking for a
responsible, coherent synthesis which will include both religious
and scientific beliefs in their integrity.
A second reason why I believe a Creationist alternative to
is needed is that, as a Christian, I believe that the Scriptures are
only inerrant and unfailing rule for faith and life, and that they do
a number of truths concerning God's creative activity. In those places
where the Scriptures speak on matters which have a bearing upon
questions, Christians should be ready to listen. I realize, of course,
that this view has not always been held by all believers, as is evident
by a quotation from Augustine's defense against the Manicheans. He
"We do not read in the Gospel that the Lord said, 'I sent to you the
who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon,' for he wanted
to make Christians, not mathematicians."3
Herman Bavinck, commenting upon Augustine's statement, pointed out that when the Scripture, as a book of religion, comes into contact with other sciences and sheds its light upon them, it does not suddenly cease to be God's Word but continues to be such. He then added:
When it speaks about the origin of the heaven and earth, it presents no saga or myth or poetical fantasy but even then, according to its clear intention, presents history, which deserves faith and trust. And for that reason, Christian Theology, with but few exceptions, has held fast to the literal, historical view of the account of creation.4
But there is yet a third reason why a Creationist alternative to
is needed. I firmly believe that the only self-consistent, coherent
to Evolutionism is Creationism. Creationism alone answers the question
of the ultimate origin of matter and of life; Creationism alone
the similarities which form the basis of the alleged evidences for
from comparative anatomy, comparative physiology or biochemistry,
vestigial organs, taxonomy, geographic distribution, genetics,
and physical and cultural anthropology, and Creationism alone provides
an adequate mechanism for the appearance of new kinds of living things.
May I say that I do not believe that any Christian need ever be
to be, or to be called, a Creationist. Of course, I say this
I believe that Creationism is not only the best view theologically, but
also the best view scientifically! On the other hand, I believe that a
Christian who chooses to remain in wanton ignorance of either the
Biblical facts or the accessible scientific facts should feel ashamed,
and not proud! For how can such a Christian obey the scriptural
in 1 Peter 3:15 - "But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord, being
on every occasion for a defense to every man who asks of you a reason
the hope that is in you."?
Having come thus far, it is needful to pause and to reflect upon the
way in which we have come. We began with a definition of Evolutionism,
and took note of its several constituent elements. We then suggested
why an alternative to Evolutionism is needed, and especially a
alternative. But what is Creationism? We must now propose a definition.
Creationism is that view of reality which holds that the triune God,
employing supernatural and natural forces as well as second causes,
for the purpose of glorifying Himself, created or brought into
being the universe and all things in it, whether material or
and sustains, or holds in being, all things according to His good
Unfortunately, having said this much, we discover that we have not
said enough. For there are several views of God's creative activity,
each of them claim to be the Christian view! Now whenever there
is a multiplicity of views differing from one another, the applicable
axiom is that, although one of them may be correct, yet
of them cannot be correct. It is even possible that all of them
are incorrect, or that some of them contain elements which are correct.
Although the limited scope of these lectures prevents extensive
of those views of God's creative activity which Christians have from
to time espoused, perhaps a brief mention of these views is in order.
Upon examination, those views which have claimed to be Creationist appear to fall into one of four basic types, as follows:
(1) Non-Scientific Creationist View - This category includes those views which regard the Creation account in Genesis as mythical or symbolic, those which regard the Genesis account as a pictorial-relevatory account of Moses' visions during six consecutive days, and those which understand the events of the six days to have been arranged by means of some non-chronological framework, whether topical, logical or literary. Although these views differ from each other at many points, yet they are agreed upon two crucial emphases. The first emphasis of each form of the Non-Scientific Creationist View is that science and theology occupy two distinct spheres, and any conflict between these spheres is settled the moment both are content to remain within their proper boundaries. The second emphasis of each form of this view is that in Genesis 1 the author offers us a story of creation. It was not his intent to present an exact report of what happened, but to impress the reader with the fact that all that exists has been created by God.
(2) Theistic Evolutionist View - This category includes those views which hold that God, having brought into existence the primal matter of the universe, and having created living material, proceeded to create all forms of life mediately, that is, by employing the process of evolution as His mode of operation. Some who espouse the Theistic Evolutionist View hold that the creation of man was part of this process, whereas other advocates of this view hold that, because of his spiritual nature, man must be viewed as a special creation. Most proponents of this latter view hold that, at the least, man's soul must have been a special creation of God.
(3) Scientific Creationist View - All varieties of this view, whether they are named "Progressive Creationism," "Threshold Evolution," or simply "Scientific Creationism," hold that God created primal matter, living material, all of the basic "kinds" of living things, and man, as special creations. The many points at which they differ arise out of differing approaches to and methods in the interpretation and correlation of the relevant scriptural data or scientific data or both.
(4) Anti-Scientific Creationist View - This last category
all of those views which reject the conclusions, the methodology, or
data of science as capable of making a significant contribution to the
interpretation of those scriptural data which are relevant to the
of Creation. Thus those views which advocate a recent date for the age
of the universe, or earth, of life, and of man; which affirm the
of the "fixity of species," i.e., the dogma of the inherent
of one species giving rise to the development of another; or which
the Noachian Flood as a proper and adequate explanation for both the
and the sequence of the sedimentary strata of rocks in the geologic
fall within this category. However, as we have already mentioned, its
prominent characteristic is its rejection of the data and observations
of science as an aid to the better understanding of the relevant
By way of a critical analysis of one aspect of these four basic
of views of God's creative activity, it is instructive and interesting
to note the attitudes taken by each of these views toward the
data on the one hand, and the scientific data on the other. The Non-Scientific
Creationist View does not take into consideration the scientific
while according them independent authority within their own realm, and
does not do justice to the biblical data, abstracting from them their
aspects. Small wonder that we are left with myths, pictures, or empty
in which Revelation is divorced from history!
The Theistic Evolutionist View takes the scientific data
but does so in such an uncritical fashion that it does violence to the
exegesis of Scripture. It thus commits the error of inverted
in that it allows its imperfect understanding of the scientific data to
exercise a controlling influence over its Biblical exegesis.
The Scientific Creationist View takes both the Biblical and
scientific data in their integrity, and then attempts a synthesis of
Its chief problems lie in at least four directions: (1) the problem of
maintaining the proper order of priorities; (2) the problem of the
of weight to be accorded to the scientific data wherever those data
upon theological understanding; (3) the problem of the relative
of our understanding of the Biblical facts on the one hand, and our
of the scientific facts on the other; and (4) the problem of the
of a fine balance between the interpretation of both sets of data.
the problems are not insuperable obstacles; they are simply
safeguards, which proponents of the Scientific Creationist View must be
careful to observe.
The Anti-Scientific Creationist View, although it attempts
do justice to the Biblical data, does not do justice to the scientific
data, but actively rejects or speculatively reinterprets them. As a
it does justice to neither set of data. Having rejected God's General
of his creative activity as a possible source of truth, in favor of a
ideal of objective, certain, clear understanding of God's Special
in Scripture, this view must of necessity be characterized by a
and emasculation of the truth of the doctrine of Creation. Having begun
by denying the theological value of God's Revelation in nature, the
Creationist View ends by misinterpreting both God's Revelation in
and His Revelation in nature.
We are thus brought face to face with the question of which of these
Creationist views to adopt. At this point I must confess that the
Creationist View, the Theistic Evolutionist View, and the
Creationist View, because of their failure to do justice to both the
and the scientific data in their integrity, are unacceptable views of
creative activity, at least to me personally and professionally. As to
the Scientific Creationist View, no variety of this view has thus far
to synthesize, to my satisfaction, both the theological and the
elements in the doctrine of Creation.
At long last, therefore, I come to the "proposal" part of my topic,
"A Proposed Creationist Alternative to Evolutionism." This proposal has
two parts, the first rather brief, and the second somewhat more
In this lecture I shall present only the first part of the proposal,
part which deals with the definition of the term "Creation."
In order to set forth the scriptural understanding of this word, and
in order to avoid the semantic ambiguity which so often accompanies its
use in discussions of this nature, I should like to suggest three
for the term.
First of all, "Creation" means the bringing into being of that which
did not (either in its substance or its form)
exist. An example of this meaning would be the creation of the original
matter-energy complex of the physical universe. This usage we shall
Nihilo Creation (i.e., "creation from nothing").
Secondly, "Creation" means the bringing into being of that which did
not (in its form) previously exist, employing
An example of this meaning would be the creation of Adam's body from
dust of the ground. This usage we shall call Immediate Creation
(i.e., creation by direct action of God, using previously existing
Thirdly, "Creation" means the bringing into being of that which did
not (in its form) previously exist, employing both
and secondary causes. An example of this meaning is the
by God, through human parents, of each child born into the world. This
usage we shall call Mediate Creation.
In each of these three usages - in Ex Nihilo Creation, Immediate
and Mediate Creation - it is important to remember and to recognize
in the context of this discussion it is God who is the Creator. But it
is also important to remember that when we speak of God's activity in
we must from time to time clarify the statement "God created
by specifying whether God created ex nihilo, or immediately,
or mediately. This also means that when we read a statement in
concerning God's creative activity, we must occasionally ask ourselves
the question, "Which meaning of 'creation' is intended in this usage?"
At this point someone may be wondering, "Of what value are these
and how do they contribute to the subject at hand?" This is a perfectly
proper question. However, instead of attempting to justify the making
these distinctions by giving reasons, I shall attempt to
their value in a series of concrete instances.
To implement this purpose, I propose to examine these three meanings
of the term "Creation" as those meanings are conjoined with various
of God's creative activity. By doing so, we may be able to determine
these distinctions are artificial trivialities, interesting oddities,
fruitful tools of systematic understanding.
In keeping, therefore, with this intention, I should like to present
another Creationist View of the creative events of Genesis chapters one
and two. In thus doing, I shall include in the body of facts to be
both the Biblical facts and the scientific facts, or to put it in
terms, both the data of Special Revelation and the data of General
Lest there be some objection to the inclusion in this synthesis of both
sets of facts, we must hasten to point out that the assertion in Psalm
19:1 that "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament
His handiwork" is not only a truth of Special Revelation; it
affirms the reality of General Revelation. This means that if
ever hope to read God's account of His creative activity properly, we
learn to read it from both books of Revelation - the Book of Scripture
and the book of nature. Or, to express it more precisely, we must learn
to read the book of nature through the spectacles of the Book of
In the second lecture, then, I shall propose an outline/survey of
creative events of the first two chapters of Genesis, attempting to
both the scriptural and the scientific data, and to unify all of the
data in one self-consistent and coherent system of truth concerning
This conception of God's creative activity, which we shall refer to as
Unified Creationist View, shall then form the structure of my
Creationist Alternative to Evolutionism."
Let us now, by God's grace, set out to regain a deeper and fuller recognition of the great truth that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they who dwell therein," and let us strive to reclaim all of nature as God's creation, and as the sphere in which God's glory, God's eternal power, God's divinity, and God's Creatorship are wonderfully manifested.
The Unified Creationist View
In this second lecture on the subject, "A Proposed Creationist
to Evolutionism," we have set for ourselves the task of presenting the
second part of our proposal, namely the structuring of the scriptural
the scientific data, and the unification of these data in one
and coherent system of truth concerning the doctrine of Creation.
However, before proceeding to this task via a summary-outline of the
creative events of the first two chapters of Genesis, let us briefly
two basic definitions and the first part of our proposal.
Evolutionism, we have stated, is that view of reality which holds
natural processes, operating exclusively by means of natural forces,
responsible for the whole range of physical, chemical, biological,
and sociological phenomena which make up the history of the universe.
have also noted that this view implies several constituent
(1) Either matter is eternal or it has simply, of itself, come into being.
(2) The complex structure of the physical universe has evolved from the simple unorganized condition of primeval matter.
(3) Living material has evolved from non-living matter.
(4) All living things have evolved from the simplest living things.
(5) Man has evolved from animals.
(6) Each of the above processes took place by means of the random
of previously-existing natural forces.
Creationism, on the other hand, is that view of reality which holds
that the triune God, employing supernatural and natural forces as well
as second causes, has, for the purpose of glorifying Himself, created,
or brought into objective being, the universe and all things in it,
material or non-material, and sustains, or holds in being, all things,
according to His good pleasure.
However, as we noted, there are four basic types of Creationism. We
have called these four types the Non-Scientific Creationist View, the
Evolutionist View, the Scientific Creationist View, and the
Creationist View; and we have stated that, of these four basic types of
Creationism, the first, second and fourth are unacceptable to us
and professionally, and that no variety of the third (i.e., the
Creationist View) has thus far seemed to be adequate or entirely
We are therefore proposing yet another alternative.
The first part of our proposal concerned the definition of the term
"Creation." We have suggested three meanings or usages of the term, and
we have called these three usages by the names Ex Nihilo Creation,
Creation, and Mediate Creation. By Ex Nihilo Creation is meant Creation
out of nothing in an instantaneous event. By Immediate Creation is
Creation using pre-existing material but not secondary causes, in
an instantaneous event or a gradual process. By Mediate Creation is
Creation employing both pre-existing material and secondary causes in
an instantaneous event or a gradual process.
In my first lecture I mentioned that the second part of our proposal
would be set forth in this present lecture, by means of an examination
of these three meanings of the term "Creation" as those meanings are
with the various aspects of God's creative activity. At that time I
proposed doing this by drawing an outline-survey of the first two
of Genesis, attempting to synthesize both scriptural and scientific
in one unified, coherent account. Let us now attempt this ambitious
This second part of my "Proposed Creationist Alternative to
is structured by a series of fourteen events, all of which concern
creative activity as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2. Let us now consider
events in numerical order, noting one or two interesting aspects of
Event #1 (included in Genesis 1:1) - God's Ex Nihilo Creation
of all the matter-energy and the space of the universe, together with
properties, several billion years ago.
Although Genesis 1:1 does not specifically mention the creation of
matter, yet it includes that creation. Since matter is not eternal, it
must be created; and it is here that we learn of this creative event.
point of fact, this creation refers to God's bringing into being, from
nothing, all of the basic units of matter and energy found in the
universe - neutrons, protons, electrons, and various other atomic and
It has been estimated that the entire observed universe contains 1080
particles (i.e., 10 followed by 79 zeros). For most of us, this is an
number! And yet God has created them from nothing, by the Word of His
Incidentally, by way of comparison, the entire earth contains 1050
atoms (10 followed by 49 zeros), and a single cup of water contains 1025
atoms (10 followed by 24 zeros, or 10 trillion trillion atoms).
With respect to the age of the universe (and thus the age of primal
matter), a number of astrophysicists, computing back from the present
of expansion of the universe to the beginning of the expansion, have
at a figure of 10-13 billion years. In addition, astronomical evidence
indicates that the energy emitted by certain galaxies (whether in the
of light waves or radio waves) left those galaxies several billion
Event #2 (included in Genesis 1:1) - God's Mediate Creation
the basic structure of the universe, a process which began after the
of primal matter-energy, and continued for a vast period of time of
This process, which proceeded during the long phase of the universal
expansion of the universe, refers to the formation, out of the original
gaseous agglomerate of energy and matter, of the various elements; and
to the condensation of enormous amounts of galactic gas into the large
groupings of galaxies and stars which form the essential structure of
Event #3 (included in Genesis 1:1) - God's Mediate Creation
our own galaxy (the Milky Way Galaxy), a process which occupied a long
period of indefinite duration.
The Milky Way Galaxy, as it presently appears to us, is a vast
of star clusters, stars, interstellar gas, and interstellar dust,
in the shape of an enormous disk somewhat bulged in the middle (viewing
it edge-on) or in the shape of a pinwheel, containing spiral arms
outward from a central nucleus (viewing it from the top). The size of
galaxy is almost beyond comprehension. The distance from one edge to
opposite edge is roughly 100,000 light years, i.e., the distance light
travels in 100,000 years. Since light travels at 186,000 miles per second,
the distance covered by a star's light traveling from from one edge of
our galaxy to the opposite edge would be 587 quadrillion miles (587
by 15 zeros), and it would take that light 100,000 years just to cross
our galaxy! When we stop to consider the fact that there are at least
billion galaxies in the observed universe, our minds reel and stagger
the very thought of such vastness, and we cannot help recalling the
words: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon
and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art
of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? ... O Lord, our
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
Event #4 (recorded in Genesis 1:2-5) - God's Mediate Creation
of our solar system, comprising a system of planets orbiting the sun
rotating about their own axes, a configuration which not only produced
light to shine upon the planet Earth, but also provided for a division
between day and night upon the earth.
Here I should like to mention a particular scientific theory of the
origin of the solar system: the Fowler-Greenstein-Hoyle theory. Now in
order for any scientific theory of the origin of the solar system to be
called a good theory, it should be able to explain at least five sets
(1) The fact that the sun has most of the mass of the solar system (750:1), whereas the planets have most of the angular momentum (200:1).
(2) The fact that the orbital planes of the planets are mostly within five degrees of the mean plane of the system.
(3) The fact that the planets and their satellites (with only a few exceptions) both orbit and rotate in the same direction as the sun rotates.
(4) The fact that the planetary orbits are nearly circular.
(5) The fact that the inner planets are made of less volatile
(i.e., which does not vaporize as easily) and are more dense than are
The Fowler-Greenstein-Hoyle theory of the origin of the solar system
proposes that the whole solar system was at first a dark, tenuous
which, as it revolved, contracted into a slowly spinning disk. When
was well advanced, this disk began to glow. The center of the disk,
still further, became the hot sun. The gaseous outer portion of the
magnetically connected to the spinning sun, moved outward and cooled,
to form the orbiting planets.
There are three reasons why I mention this particular scientific
(1) Most of the contemporary theories of the origin of the solar system are similar to the Fowler-Greenstein-Hoyle theory.
(2) This theory is not in conflict with the Biblical facts, but fits
them rather well. The dark, tenuous, disk-shaped-nebula concept fits
well with the Biblical statement, "And the earth was without form (or
and empty; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."
(3) This theory fits the scientific data quite well.
This fourth event, the creation of our solar system, provided for
light and for day and night, since it is the earth's rotating motion in
relation to the sun that gives us the alternating periods of daylight
darkness which we know as day and night. This is in perfect accord with
the scriptural account in which we read, "And God said, Let there be
and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God
the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the
He called Night." (Genesis 1:3-5)
Event #5 (recorded in Genesis 1:6-8) - God's Mediate Creation
of the earth's atmosphere, and the subsequent separation of water above
the surface of the earth from water covering the surface of the earth.
The word translated "firmament" in Genesis 1:6, 7, 8 - (raqiya)
- means "that which is stretched out, an expanse." Our proposal is that
this expanse was the atmosphere, or what we call the sky (in the near
of that word). In verse 8 of Genesis 1, God calls this expanse
Our present atmosphere is a rather thin blanket covering the surface
of the earth to a height of about 100 miles. It is comprised of
(78%), oxygen (20.9%), water vapor, and small amounts of argon, carbon
dioxide, neon, helium, methane, and other gases. It should be noted
nitrogen and oxygen comprise 98.9% of the total volume of atmospheric
Professor Russell W. Maatman, a member of the department of
at Dordt College, asserts in his book The Bible, Natural Science
Evolution, that there is considerable mineralogical evidence that
early atmosphere was largely carbon dioxide, and that it was almost
devoid of oxygen (in contrast to our present atmosphere which, as we
mentioned, contains 20.9 % oxygen). Such an atmosphere would have been
capable of holding a great deal of water, in the form of thick clouds.
Thus the initial atmosphere or "firmament" would have provided a means
of dividing between water above the surface of the earth, and water
the surface of the earth.
Event #6 (recorded in Genesis 1:9-10) - God's Mediate
of dry land, by the structuring of earth's surface into land and seas.
At the present time, of the total surface area of the earth
square miles), 29% (or 57,000,000 square miles) is dry land, and 71%
140,000,000 square miles) is covered with water. In primeval times, as
we learn from these verses, the entire surface area of the earth was
The separation of dry land from water would of necessity involve the
uplifting of enormous land masses, with the concomitant creation of
ocean basins. It is instructive to note that, at present, the average
of the oceans is much greater than the average elevation of the land.
average depth of the oceans is about 2½ miles, while the average
elevation of the land is about ½ mile. Thus if the continents
entirely eroded away, and the material composing them placed in the
the earth would be covered by a universal sea approximately 1.8 miles
Whether one holds the theory that the continents are presently where
they always have been, or the theory that whole land masses have
to form our present continents, is not crucial to the essential
of the Genesis account. However, it is interesting to note that twice
these verses (verses 9 and 10) we read of the gathering together of the
waters into one place. Is this significant?
This form of expression could be thought to suggest the idea
that only one land mass existed in the distant past; and that later the
single land mass broke up to form our present continents. This is
the Theory of Continental Drift, a theory which has practically swept
field of geology in the last few years. This
is a possible interpretation
of verses 9 and 10. Of course, these statements could also mean simply
that God gathered the waters into their own places ("place" taken
so that dry land could appear in its own place.
Event #7 (recorded in Genesis 1:11-13) - The beginning of
Immediate Creation of various "kinds" of land plants.
Here in these verses we have the first mention of the creation of
things. It is instructive to note that Moses makes no mention of
and Protistans, - two whole kingdoms of very simple microscopic living
plants. He speaks only of plants which grew on the land. Of course, it
should be pointed out that if Moses, by means of a Special Revelation,
had spoken in the inspired Scriptures of these microscopic creatures,
one reading his words at any time during the next three thousands years
would have had the slightest notion of what he meant!
In verses 11-12 three general categories of plants are mentioned:
"herbs which produce seeds," and "fruit trees which produce
fruit." The word "vegetation" and the word "herb" are quite general
and would appear to have a very wide range of applicability.
It is fascinating to note the fact that the creation of plants is
before the creation of animals. Is this a mistake on Moses' part? Or is
it merely a coincidence?
In reply to these questions, we must point out that plants are
of manufacturing their own food, by means of photosynthesis. Green
which contain chlorophyll, take carbon dioxide and water, and using the
energy from sunlight, break down these substances and synthesize their
constituent elements into energy-rich sugar plus oxygen and water. Some
animals eat these energy-rich plants, and thus obtain the energy needed
to carry on life functions. Other animals eat these animals, which in
have eaten energy-rich plants. And man eats both energy-rich plants and
animals which (directly or indirectly) have eaten energy-rich plants.
we discover that, as far as utilizable energy for the carrying on of
functions is concerned, animals and men are dependent upon plants. It
therefore no mistake nor coincidence that Moses mentions plants as
been created before animals and man.
One further word about the fact that only three general categories
plants are mentioned is in order. Botanical taxonomists classify all
plants into more than 350 thousand species. One may with propriety ask
whether 350 thousand species of plants were intended to be included
this simple three-point classification. I should like to suggest that
list in Genesis was not intended to be exhaustive, but only
of all plants. Yet, as a representative list, in which part is given
the whole (as in the figure of speech called synecdoche), its
are clear: God is the Creator of all plant-life.
Event #8 (recorded in Genesis 1:14-19) - God's Mediate
of the appearance of the sun, the moon, and the stars (as viewed from
We have already spoken of God's creation of the firmament or
and have proposed the idea that the expanse is earth's atmosphere. We
also mentioned the mineralogical evidence that the atmosphere during
early history was largely composed of carbon dioxide. And we have
that, with a carbon dioxide blanket (which would cause a slight
in atmospheric temperature), much of the water on the earth's surface
be in the form of water vapor, and the weather would be continually
As soon as the created plants began to grow, they commenced, by
of the process of photosynthesis, to consume the carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere and to produce free oxygen. Of course, through the process
cellular respiration, they also took in oxygen and released carbon
However, since the rate of photosynthesis slightly exceeded the rate of
respiration, the atmosphere, over a long period of time, was gradually
converted from one containing a very large percentage of carbon dioxide
and almost no oxygen, to one containing very little carbon dioxide (33
thousands of one percent, on average), and a sizable amount of oxygen
As the carbon dioxide percentage decreased, the temperature
also. Gradually the water vapor condensed, and the thick clouds began
dissipate. Then at some point in the process, the cloud cover broke up,
and the sun, moon, and stars became visible from the surface of the
And thus the now-visible sun, moon, and stars became light-bearers, to
clearly distinguish day from night, to give light upon the earth, to
God's Creatorship and Providential Rulership, and to mark off periods
time, including days, seasons and years.
Event #9 (recorded in Genesis 1:20-23) - The beginning of
Immediate Creation of various "kinds" of aquatic animals and various
The animals mentioned in these verses are classified according to
environment in which they move. The environment of the various "kinds"
of "living creature that moves" is, in this case the water. This
also includes the "great sea monsters," and probably the amphibians, as
well as all fish and marine invertebrates. The environment of the
"kinds" of birds and other flying creatures is twofold: the firmament
heaven (i.e., the air above the ground), and the ground.
In addition, we are told that God blessed the aquatic animals and
celestial animals with the blessing of fruitfulness, that they might
and fill their ecological niches throughout the earth, both in the seas
and on the land.
Event #10 (recorded in Genesis 1:24-25) - The beginning of
Immediate Creation of various "kinds" of terrestrial animals.
Three basic categories of land animals are mentioned here: "cattle,"
"creeping animals," and "living animals of the earth." The principle of
division upon which this classification is based could very well be the
method of locomotion. Thus these three categories could be viewed as
animals that move by walking upon the ground, animals that move by
on the ground, and animals that move in the ground itself (presumably
digging or burrowing).
In any case, it would appear necessary to break down these three
into various "kinds" of each category, and we are told that God called
these "kinds" of terrestrial animals into existence.
Event #11 (recorded in Genesis 2:8) - God's Immediate
of the Garden of Eden.
There may be a question as to whether this creative event should be
placed before the creation of Adam, or between Adam's creation and
creation. There can, of course, be no question that it must be placed
Eve's creation, since God placed Adam in the garden (2:15) and put him
to sleep there (2:21) in order to create Eve.
Since both male and female are spoken of in the general creation
of Genesis 1:27, it would appear to make very little difference whether
one places the creation of the garden before Adam's creation or after
However, I prefer to view the creation of the garden as coming before
creation, so that the newly-created man would be located in the Garden
of Eden from the very beginning of his existence. Thus I prefer the
translation of Genesis 2:8 - "And the Lord had planted a garden
eastward in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed."
Where was this beautiful paradise located? Well, beyond the fact
it was somewhere in the Middle East, we know next to nothing about its
precise location. Perhaps like the mythical lost continent of Atlantis,
that beautiful garden was destroyed, wiped out, and completely
from the face of the earth. Perhaps when we are in glory we shall learn
of its location and its end. In the meanwhile, we are urged, not to fix
mournful and longing eyes upon paradise lost, but rather to look
to a better Paradise, one regained for us by Christ and prepared for
who love Him.
Event #12 (recorded in Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:7) - God's Ex
Creation of man's soul, and His Immediate Creation of man's body.
The Scriptures tell us that God created man in His own image and
This likeness is stamped upon man's soul. As God is a Spirit (i.e., a
so man is a spirit (a person). As God's nature has the attributes of
power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, so man's nature, as
in God's image, had the attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, justice,
goodness, and truth. However, whereas God possesses these attributes in
an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable way, unfallen man possessed them
in a finite, temporal, and changeable way. Thus there is both likeness
and unlikeness in God's creation of man in His own image: likeness,
God created man in His image; unlikeness, because God created
man in His image.
The creation of man's body, as recorded in Genesis 2:7, is an immediate
by God, using pre-existing substance (in this instance, "dust from the
ground"), but not secondary causality. The substance from which
Adam was formed was not living substance before God communicated life
it at this point.
In connection with this assertion, the translation in the Authorized
(King James) Version is unfortunate, since it obscures a very important
truth, and also makes the verse teach something that simply is not
Genesis 2:7 should be translated, "And the Lord God formed man of dust
from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life, and man
became a living being" (or "living creature"). The Hebrew
says that man became
Looking back to Genesis 1:20-21, we notice that God created aquatic
life. This life is called .
In Genesis 1:24-25, God created terrestrial life. This life is also
And then in Genesis 2:7, as a result of divine inbreathing of life into
the body which God had created for him, Adam became a .
The facts are clear: Adam was not a living creature before
2:7; the animals were living creatures before the time of
2:7; therefore Adam could not have been descended from the animals,
in that case Adam would have been a living creature
became a living creature, which is plainly absurd. And further,
since Genesis 2:7 is speaking of the creation of Adam's body,
of the bringing of that body to life, neither Adam as a whole
Adam's body descended from animals.
Event #13 (recorded in Genesis 1:27 and 2:19-23) - God's Ex
Creation of woman's soul, and His Immediate Creation of woman's body.
It should be emphasized that God also created woman in His own image
and likeness. Again, this likeness, as in man, refers to woman's soul.
As to her body, however, she was created from Adam's flesh and bone,
from dust from the ground. Nevertheless, since Adam's flesh and bones
formed from the dust, Eve also (indirectly) was from the dust; and, as
a result of the Fall, was destined, by the sentence of death, to return
with Adam to the dust. Thus the curse in Genesis 3:19 falls upon both
and Even, and upon all of their posterity.
Event #14 (recorded in Genesis 2:1-3) - The Cessation of
Immediate Creation; the continuation of God's Mediate Creation.
By "cessation of God's Immediate Creation" is meant the completion
God's purposed activity of bringing the universe and its constituent
into being. This expression is not intended to deny the reality of
or to deny the immediate character of God's redemptive acts.
I do not believe the words, "He rested on the seventh day from all
work which He had made," mean that God was tired out from all that
and therefore needed to rest up for a day before He took up the job of
keeping everything running. Rather, I believe that this "resting from
is better understood as a cessation, a stopping of God's creative
in the Ex Nihilo and Immediate senses. Of course, His Mediate creative
activity continued, continues, and shall continue until the end of
This then is an outline-survey of the structure of what I have
the Unified Creationist View. This is my proposed Creationist
to Evolutionism, the value of which I must discover through further
and thought, as well as through the evaluation of your judgment.
I pray that the Spirit of Truth will open our eyes to two things: to the glory of God that is being revealed day unto day and night unto night throughout the entire vastness and beauty of His created universe, and to the need of relating the truth of that revelation to the truth which He has been pleased to give us in the Scriptures. May God grant still better, less imperfect, more competent syntheses than this!
The Unified Creationist View and the "Days" of Creation
In the first two lectures of this series, we attempted to sketch
in broad outline, a "Proposed Creationist Alternative to Evolutionism."
At the outset, having defined the terms "Evolutionism" and
we attempted to demonstrate the need for such an alternative. We then
to present our proposed view, the first part of which was a careful
of the three basic meanings of the term "Creation." In the second
we presented the second part of our proposal, which took the form of an
outline-summary of the creative events of Genesis 1-2. The resulting
we called the Unified Creationist View.
We now come to the question of the chronology of the first two
of Genesis. Actually, there are two important questions that relate to
the chronology of the events of these chapters. The first question
the chronological meaning of the term "day." The second question
the relationships of the events of the seven "days" and of the seven
themselves to the geologic and paleontologic records. Let us now
ourselves to these two questions.
What is the chronological meaning of the term "day" in the Genesis
of the seven creation "days"? This question places before us the task
determining the Scriptural meaning, according to usage, of the Hebrew
The Authorized or King James Version translates the Hebrew word yom
in the following ways: 1167 times yom is translated "day," 63
it is translated "time," 30 times it is translated "today," (in these
the Hebrew has the definite article); 29 times it is translated "daily"
(in these cases yom is associated with various prepositions and
adjectives); and 18 times it is translated "forever"!
Quite apparently the King James translators viewed yom as
a fairly broad range of meaning!
Upon examination of a large number of usages in context, the possibilities of meaning of the Hebrew word yom appear to contract to essentially four:
(1) A period during which there is light upon a part of the earth's surface, relative to a particular location on earth; or simply a period of light. Thus in Genesis 1:5 we read, "And God called the light yom"; and in Genesis 1:16 we read that God made "the greater light to rule the yom."
(2) A period during which the earth makes one full rotation upon its axis; or a 24-hour day. In Exodus 20:8-10 we have an instance of this usage. There we read: "Remember the yom of rest, to keep it holy. Six yamim ( - plural of yom) shall you labor and do all your work. But the seventh yom is the rest of the Lord your God."
(3) A relatively determinate period (i.e., a period with fairly well-determined boundaries) during which some event or series of events takes place. This period could be short or long. In Genesis 41:1 we read: "And it came to pass at the end of two full yamim (plural of yom), that Pharaoh dreamed." This is translated "years" in the Authorized Version, and I believe that the translation is correct. If so, then we take note of the fact that this Scripture is speaking of two full years during which Joseph was in prison, and yet it uses the plural of the word yom. In Exodus 13:10 Moses commanded the children of Israel, "Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in its seasons from yamim to yamim." And in Proverbs 25:13 we read the words, "As the cold of snow in the yom of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him." Here yom means the time of harvest, the season of harvest.
(4) A fourth possibility of meaning is that of a relatively
period (i.e., a period without well-defined boundaries) during which
event or series of events takes place. This could be a brief
period or a lengthy indeterminate period. In Genesis 35:3 Jacob
to his household, "Let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make
an altar unto God, who answered me in the yom of my distress,
was with me in the way which I went." In this usage yom simply
time. In Genesis 40:3 we read of what Pharaoh did to his chief
and his chief baker: "And he put them in prison." In verse 4 we are
"and they continued a yom in prison." Here
yom simply means
a period of time, a season of time of indefinite length. In
31:25 we read of the virtuous woman that "Strength and honor are her
and she shall rejoice in the yom to come." Here all is
without boundaries in time. Yom simply means time.
But we are now faced with the question: Which of these four
of meaning was intended in Genesis 1-2? In which sense shall we
the seven Creation yom's? Are they periods of light, 24-hour
relatively determinate periods, or relatively indeterminate periods of
There are at least five important considerations which bear upon the question of how we are to understand the time value of the seven Creation yom's:
(1) The light-darkness separation, and the calling of light "Day" and of darkness "Night";
(2) The evening-morning pattern ("and it was evening, and it was morning") which is associated with yom's 1-6;
(3) The appointment of the sun to rule over the "Day" and of the moon and stars to rule over the "Night";
(4) The time-period occupied by each yom. This could be:
(a) the period during which God spoke His creative command
(b) the period during which God's creative activity was exercised
(c) the period during which God's creative command began to achieve fulfillment
(d) the period when a particular aspect of God's creation was completed
(e) the period during which God spoke His creative command, and saw it completely fulfilled.
(5) The question of the time consumed in the fulfillment of God's
commands. How shall we interpret the Biblical record? Were the creative
commands of God fulfilled in a moment, or in a twelve-hour period, or
a twenty-four hour period, or in a relatively short period of time, or
during a moderately long period of time, or throughout a vast period of
time? Could some of these commands have been fulfilled in an
event, and others by a long process? Notice: there is no question here
of whether God could have created all things instantaneously,
He had so chosen. The question here is simply, How
did He create
With these five considerations in mind, and attempting to keep the Biblical data in view, I should like to propose a chronological-aspect meaning of the seven yom's of Genesis 1-2. This proposal has two parts:
First, as to the time-period indicated by each yom, I
the meaning, "the period during which God's creative command began to
fulfillment." Thus the seven yom's would fall into seven
of time, the first six of which would be creative periods (i.e.,
during which some aspect of God's creative activity would be
Further, these creative-aspect periods would be marked by three
stages: the beginning stage, the stage of essential fulfillment, and
completion stage. The beginning stage of each creative-aspect period
be marked by God's creative command, "Let there be!" These commands are
recorded in Genesis 1:3, 1:6, 1:9, 1:11, 1:14-15, 1:20, 1:24, and 1:26.
The stage of essential fulfillment, in which God's creative command
to achieve fulfillment, would be marked by the recognition, by God,
His handiwork was good. These appraisals of the value of God's
toward the accomplishment of His eternal Plan and Purpose are recorded
in Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25 and 1:31. I propose
that the first six yom's coincide with six stages of essential
in six distinct creative-aspect periods. The completion stages
of the creative-aspect periods are not generally marked, in Scripture,
by a special notation. The reason for this may become apparent in facts
which we have yet to consider.
To summarize my proposal, then, I propose that the first six yom's
fall within six creative-aspect periods of indefinite length, and that
they coincide, not with the beginning stage or the completion stage,
with the stage of essential fulfillment in each creative-aspect period.
Second, as to the duration of each yom, I propose that the
separation factor, the day-night oscillation factor, and the
pattern factor all combine to point to a literal day, i.e., a period
which the earth makes one full rotation upon its axis.
Combining the two parts of this proposal concerning the yom's
of Genesis 1-2, we thus far define a yom as a literal day which
marks the stage of essential fulfillment in each of six creative-aspect
periods of indefinite length. In this scheme, these Creation yom's
are separated from one another by indefinite, sometimes vast, periods
We have thus far considered the first question related to the
of the events of these chapters: namely, the question of the
meaning of the term "day." We must now consider the second question,
concerns the chronological relationships of the events associated with
the seven days to the geologic and paleontologic records.
The Standard Geologic Relative Time Scale divides all geologic time
into five eras. They are called the Archeozoic Era (meaning "beginning
life"), the Proterozoic Era (meaning "fore- life"), the Paleozoic Era
"ancient life"), the Mesozoic Era (meaning "middle-life"), and the
Era (meaning "recent life"). These five eras are divided into periods,
and some of the periods are further divided into epochs and ages. The
Era and the Proterozoic Era are frequently lumped together under the
"Pre-Cambrian" (the Cambrian Period being the first period of the
Geologists, using radioactive techniques, have computed the age of
earth to be 4.55 billion years. Precambrian time represents almost 87%
of this figure, or 3.95 billion years. Thus the beginning of the
Era (which is the same as the beginning of the Cambrian Period) is
600 million years ago. The beginning of the Mesozoic Era is dated at
million years ago. And the beginning of the Cenozoic Era is dated at 70
million years ago.
The word "paleontology" means the study of ancient being. The
record is both fascinating and illuminating. It is made up of literally
billions and billions of fossils, which have been found in practically
every corner of the earth. These evidences of former living things are
found in the various strata of the geologic column, and they tell a
important story which is directly relevant to our understanding of
In the pre-Cambrian eras of the geologic column, there are very few
fossils, and these are of relatively simple living forms. Some algae,
bacteria, a few worm tracks - these are the only evidences of living
before the Cambrian. However, in the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic
a veritable population explosion unfolds before the eyes of the
Almost every major phylum appears in the Cambrian! Algae, Arthropods,
Chordates, Porifera, Coelenterates, Annelida, Mollusks, Echinoderms,
Protozoans - all appear in the fossil record quite suddenly!
In the Ordovician Period of the Paleozoic Era, the Bryozoans and the first Vertebrates appear, the latter in the form of jawless fishes.
In the Silurian Period of the Paleozoic, the simplest vascular plants, the oldest known land plants, and the first land animals (scorpions) appear.
In the Devonian Period, Fungi, the first known seed-bearing plants (seed ferns), the first boney fishes, and the Amphibians appear.
In the Mississippian Period, the first Bryophytes appear.
In the Pennsylvanian Period, the first Conifers, primitive insects, and primitive reptiles appear.
In the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era, modern insects appear.
In the Triassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, the first dinosaurs appear.
In the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, the first flowering plants, the giant dinosaurs, the first birds, and the first mammals appear.
In the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era, the last dinosaurs and the first modern birds appear.
In the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era, a large number of new mammals appear, together with the Primates, which include lemurs, tarsiers, monkeys, and apes.
In the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era, most of the modern families, genera, and species of plants and animals appeared, together with humans.
This, then, in very brief outline, is what we are told by the record
of the rocks.
Now we come to the crucial question. Can the scriptural record and
record of the rocks be synthesized and correlated? A number of men,
theologians and scientists, have made the attempt but have been
Perhaps they have not been willing or competent or patient enough to
examine the data in each other's field, or perhaps they have not taken
each other's data in their integrity. But if we believe that truth is a
unity, and that God's revelation in nature and His revelation in
are true, then we must conclude that such a synthesis can be made and
to be made!
Toward this end, therefore, I should like to present a proposed
of the Creation Days and the creative events of Genesis 1-2, and the
of geology and paleontology. The conceptual structure which I propose
that of a series of creative-aspect periods, some of which partially
in time, and all of which are marked by a beginning stage, a stage of
fulfillment, and a completion stage. In all of these creative-aspect
(except the first), the stage of essential fulfillment falls upon a
literal day, which is numbered. In the total configuration, the seven
of Genesis 1-2 are arranged in numerical order 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (See
diagram of One Possible Structuring of the Creation Days and the
Events of Genesis 1-2.)
The arrangement of the fourteen creative events which we enumerated
in our second lecture is thus as follows. The Ex Nihilo Creation of
matter(1), the Mediate Creation of the structured universe (2), and the
Mediate Creation of our Milky Way Galaxy (3), all fall into a Pre-Day 1
creative-aspect period. The Mediate Creation of our solar system (4)
into a second creative-aspect period, which culminates in Day 1. The
Creation of our atmosphere (5) falls within a third creative-aspect
which culminates in Day 2. The Mediate Creation of day land (6) and the
Immediate Creation of land plants (7) fall into a fourth
period, which reaches its stage of essential fulfillment in Day 3, but
continues through Day 6. The Mediate Creation of the appearance, from
earth, of sun, moon and stars (8) falls into the fifth creative-aspect
period, which culminates in Day 4. The Immediate Creation of aquatic
and of birds (9) falls into the sixth creative-aspect period, which
its stage of essential fulfillment in Day 5, but continues through Day
6. The Immediate Creation of terrestrial animals (10), the Immediate
of the Garden of Eden (11), and the Ex Nihilo Creations of Adam's and
souls, together with the Immediate Creations of their bodies (12 and
all fall within the seventh creative-aspect period, which culminates in
Day 6. Day 7 then initiates the period of the cessation of Ex Nihilo
Immediate Creation (14).
But how does this conceptual structure correlate with the combined
of astrophysics, geology, and paleontology? First of all, on the basis
of astrophysics, we postulate a pre-earth period of time which
back to the Ex Nihilo Creation of primal matter. This pre-earth period
would correspond with our Pre-Day 1 creative-aspect period. Day 1 would
then fall near the beginning of the Precambrian, and Day 2 farther on
the early Precambrian. Day 3 would fall in the later Precambrian, and
4 near the close of the Precambrian. The sixth crative-aspect period
then begin with the paleontologic record in the Cambrian, and Day 5
correlate with the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era. The seventh
period would begin in Silurian Period of the Paleozoic, and Day 6 would
fall in the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era. Day 7 would then
after the appearance of humans upon the earth, during the Pleistocene
of the Quaternary Period. This conceptual structure can no doubt be
with greater ease if seen in the Diagram of One Possible Structuring of
the Creation Days and the Creative Events of Genesis 1 & 2, noting
especially the correlation with geology and paleontology.
In this third lecture, then, we have attempted to raise and to
two important questions. The first question had to do with the
meaning of the term yom, with particular reference to the
Days of Genesis. We have proposed literal, 24-hour Creation Days,
by intervals of varying length, and marking the stage of essential
in overlapping creative-aspect periods (i.e., periods of time during
God accomplished some aspect of His creative activity).
The second question which we raised had to do with the correlation
the Creation Days and the creative events of Genesis 1-2 with the
records of astrophysics, geology, and paleontology. We have proposed a
correlation which, although it does not answer all questions which
be raised, yet does attempt to show that the scriptural record and the
record of the rocks are not, at any essential point, in conflict, but
are beautifully in agreement with one another.
Of course, we must confess that this is exactly what we expected,
only because we have constructed this synthesis, but primarily because
we are convinced that God's inspired revelation of Himself in Scripture
is true, and that this revelation in Scripture cannot conflict with
revelation of Himself as Creator in nature! It is one and the same God
who has revealed Himself as Creator in Scripture and in His creation!
But now a problem arises. Does this discussion imply that the
by most paleontologists of the record of the rocks as proving evolution
from non-living to living material, and from living material to all the
forms of living things on earth today, is a correct interpretation?
it is important to distinguish between a Creationist interpretation of
the record, and an Evolutionist interpretation of the same record. This
distinction raises the question of exactly what God created,
this in turn points our attention to the need for discovering the
of the Biblical "kinds" which Genesis tells us God brought into being.
However, this subject must be reserved for our next lecture.
THE UNIFIED CREATIONIST VIEW
Part One: Three Meanings of the Term "Creation"
EX NIHILO CREATION - The bringing into being of that which did not (either in its substance or its form) previously exist.
IMMEDIATE CREATION - The bringing into being of that which did not (in its form) previously exist, employing previously-existing substance but not secondary causes.
MEDIATE CREATION - The bringing into being of that which did (in its
form) previously exist, employing both previously-existing substance
Part Two: A Proposed Structuring of the Creative Events of Genesis 1-2
|Creative Period||Creation Day||Creative Event||Reference|
Nihilo Creation of primal
(2) Mediate Creation of the structured universe
(3) Mediate Creation of the Milky Way Galaxy
|2nd||Day 1||(4) Mediate Creation of our solar system (thus light, and thus day and night)||1:2-5|
|3rd||Day 2||(5) Mediate
Creation of earth's
atmosphere, and the subsequent separation of
water above the surface of earth from water covering earth's surface
|4th||Day 3||(6) Mediate
Creation of dry
land, by the structuring of earth's surface into lands
(7) Immediate Creation of land plants begins
|5th||Day 4||(8) Mediate
Creation of the
appearance of sun, moon and stars in the sky (as
viewed from earth)
|6th||Day 5||(9) Immediate Creation of aquatic animals and birds begins||1:20-23|
|7th||Day 6||(10) Immediate Creation
of terrestrial animals
(11) Immediate Creation of the Garden of Eden
(12) Ex Nihilo Creation of man's soul
Immediate Creation of man's body
(13) Ex Nihilo Creation of woman's soul
Immediate Creation of woman's body
|--||Day 7||(14) Cessation of
Mediate Creation continues to present
Standard Geologic Relative Time Scale
|Eras||Periods||Epochs||Fossil Record - Appearance of New Life Forms|
|No new basic forms
Most modern families, genera, species present, first humans
|All types of carnivores, many
types of horses
and browsing animals
First mastodons, giant ground sloths, primitive dogs, horses, antelopes
First true carnivores, first cats (saber-toothed), first apes
First rodents, first rhinoceroses, first monkeys
First hoofed mammals, first flesh-eating mammals, first lemuroids
|Last dinosaurs, last toothed
birds, first modern
First flowering plants, giant dinosaurs, first birds, first mammals
Last seed ferns, first dinosaurs
|Last trilobites, last
eurypterids, first modern
First conifers, first primitive insects (wingless), first reptiles
First bryophytes (mosses and liverworts)
First fungi, first seed-bearing plants, first amphibians
First land plants, first land animals
First bryozoans, first vertebrates (jawless fishes)
Almost every major phylum of living things
|Proterozoic||Marine worms (trails, burrows)|
(oldest surface rocks)
(age of earth)
The Unified Creationist View and the "Kinds" of Creation
In the first two lectures of this series, we attempted to establish
the need for a self-consistent, coherent, responsible Creationist
to Evolutionism, and we proposed the Unified Creationist View as that
In the third lecture we dealt with the chronology of the Creation Days
and the creative events of Genesis 1-2. We proposed the conceptual
of several overlapping creative-aspect periods (i.e., periods of time
which God accomplished some aspect of His creative activity), each of
was marked by a beginning stage, a stage of essential fulfillment, and
a completion stage. Within these creative-aspect periods we arranged
creative events of Genesis 1-2. We defined the Creation Days as literal
24-hour days and proposed that these days marked the stage of essential
fulfillment in each of these creative-aspect periods (with the
of the first creative-aspect period, which we placed prior to the
period marked by the creative command, "Let there be light," which
culminated in Day 1).
Having proposed this conceptual structure of the creative events and
the Creation Days, we attempted to correlate this structure with the
of astrophysics, geology, and paleontology. We found that they
rather well. This, in turn, suggested the question, "If we correlate
scriptural record with the scientific record, do we not thereby place
stamp of approval upon the essential arrangement of the geologic and
data as given by men of science in these fields? And, since this
is used by paleontologists as a very important evidence for the theory
of evolution, do we not thereby give up the entire Creationist case in
favor of Evolutionism?" To this question we suggested that a
must be made between a Creationist interpretation of the fossil record
and an Evolutionist interpretation of the same record. From a
standpoint, this raised the question of the meaning of the Biblical
which God created. And it is to this question that we now turn.
The Hebrew word translated "kind" is used ten times in the first
of Genesis. It is used a total of 31 times in the Hebrew Old Testament.
This Hebrew word ()
is transliterated min. But now we must ask the question: What
One of the first principles of lexicography is that the meaning of a
word is discovered by an examination of its usage in context.
this connection we are fortunate to have as many instances of min
in Scripture as we do have, and we are doubly fortunate in the fact
30 of its 31 occurrences are found in the writings of one author,
Moses. We thus have a fairly solid base upon which to build our
of the meaning of this Hebrew word.
As we approach the question of the usage of the word min,
that could affect its meaning strikes us almost immediately. In every
of its 31 uses, min is preceded by a preposition, and it is the
same proposition in every case. This preposition ()
has the meanings "to, according to, for." It would appear that the
"according to" best fits its usage in these cases.
Unfortunately, this preposition has sometimes been translated by the
English preposition "after," and this has caused readers to think that
there is some temporal idea, some time component in the Scriptural
There is no idea in the Hebrew preposition l] of something "coming
something else, or of one thing "following" another. This time idea
be expunged from our understanding, if we wish to correctly interpret
usages. The meaning of this preposition, in all of its usages with min,
is simply "according to."
Let us proceed, then, to an examination of those scriptural passages
in which min is used. However, lest we enter upon this
of a portion of the Word of God in a careless manner, let us pause and
ask ourselves, "What method of examination will best facilitate
In inductive studies in which a considerable number of items are
it is sometimes quite sufficient to study them in simple enumerative
At other times, especially when the items to be studied differ in
of difficulty, it is often more efficient to begin with the less
problems and proceed to the more difficult ones. In this study, we
adopt the latter approach.
Let us begin at Genesis 6:19-20. Here we read God's words to Noah:
And from every living thing, from all flesh, two of each shall you cause to come into the ark, to preserve alive with you; they shall be male and female. From the bird, according to its kinds, and from the cattle, according to its kind, and from every creeping animal of the ground according to its kinds; two of each shall enter unto you to preserve alive.
It is important to note that there is no time element, no
sequence in this passage. Verse 20 says nothing about birds, cattle,
creeping things which come after other birds, cattle and
things. Verse 20 also says nothing about animals being similar to
their parents. I mention these things at this point because these two
of coming after and being similar to are the ideas most frequently
with the translation "after its kind."
In this connection, I believe that the King James Version's
of min with the preposition is misleading to English-speaking
today. What can the phrase "after its kind" as it is ordinarily
mean in this context? What can it mean for Noah to take "fowls after
kind" into the ark with him? What can it mean for Noah to take "cattle
after their kind" into the ark? What was Noah to understand by such a
Did God wish Noah to make certain that he took into the ark only those
birds and those cattle which had been begotten in their parents'
Such an interpretation reduces a simple command to meaninglessness!
At this point I must speak frankly. There are many exegetes and
who appear to firmly believe that, unless
min with its preposition
is translated in every case by the phrase "after its kind," a potential
loophole is opened which could be interpreted as providing aid or
to evolutionists. And such a loophole must not be opened, even at the
of interpreting Scripture in a faulty, incorrect or meaningless way!
This allegation receives support from the fact that, by translating
with its preposition exclusively (with one exception) by the phrase
its kind," twenty out of thirty uses become meaningless for present-day
English, and the remaining ten uses are all in Genesis 1, where we are
dealing with Creation! But what does it matter that twenty uses become
meaningless; Creationism has been preserved, and Evolutionism has been
deprived of a potential weapon! Is not the good accomplished thereby
than the evil?
To this we must answer with all the earnestness and vigor at our
Christianity does not need the well-intentioned but exegetically
hermeneutically unsound, theologically indefensible, and ethically
attempts on the part of some Christians to save other Christians
Christian young people) from the faith-destroying theory of
What Christianity needs in this desperate hour is a straightforward
of the Word of God in its integrity! Let those who wholeheartedly
in the truthfulness of the Scriptures set them forth truthfully!
But how, then, shall we translate this passage in Genesis 6 in a
way, while simultaneously preserving its integrity? Actually, in the
understanding of the inspired Word of God, these two purposes never
Scripture can only be meaningful if its integrity is preserved; and if
its integrity is preserved, it will be meaningful.
In this passage God told Noah that "from the bird, according to
kinds, he was to take two of each into the ark. "The bird according
to its kinds" simply means "various kinds of birds" which Noah
to take into the ark. The correctness of this translation is reinforced
by the clause, "two of each shall enter unto you." The phrase "two of
certainly does not mean that only two birds, two cattle, and two
animals of the ground were to enter the ark with Noah, but rather that
two of each kind of bird, two of each kind of cattle, and two of each
of creeping animal of the ground were to be brought into the ark.
This translation receives further support from the record of
of God's command, as found in Genesis 7:13-14. This passage states:
In the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth the sons of Noah entered, and the wife of Noah and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark. They, and every living animal, according to its kind, and every cattle, according to its kind, and every creeping animal which creeps upon the earth, according to its kinds, and every bird, according to its kinds, every winged bird.
Here we do not read that Noah brought into the ark those animals
after and were similar to their parents (the idea
with the expression "after its kind"). We read simply that Noah brought
into the ark two specimens of each kind of living animal, each kind of
cattle, each kind of creeping animal, and each kind of bird. Thus the
"according to its kind" as the translation of min with the
is not only the proper translation, it also makes good sense!
Proceeding now to Leviticus 11, we discover that min is used
five times in connection with animals that are not to be eaten. Verse
states that the kite, according to its kind, is not to be eaten.
this is not addressed to that famous species of kite-eating tree which
plagues Charlie Brown; it is a prohibition to the children of Israel
the eating of the various kinds of long-tailed, long pointed-winged
called kites!) Notice what this verse does not say. It does not
say that the kite which has come after and is similar to
its parents is not to be eaten. It simply says that the various kinds
birds known as kites are not to be eaten!
The same is true in Leviticus 11:15, 16, 19 and 29. The children of
Israel are forbidden to eat various kinds of raven, various kinds of
various kinds of heron, and various kinds of tortoise.
In Leviticus 11:22 we find that min is used four times in
with animals which may be eaten. The children of Israel are permitted
eat various kinds of locust, various kinds of bald locust, various
of beetle and various kinds of grasshopper. In all of these cases,
of translating min with its preposition by the phrase "after
kind," we should translate it by the phrase "according to its kind."
In the second giving of the Law, as recorded in Deuteronomy 14,
are four instances of min. They are found in verses 13, 14, 15
18, and they all concern animals which are not to be eaten by the
of Israel. In verse 13 they are forbidden to eat the vulture according
to its kind. In verse 14 they are prohibited from eating the raven
to its kind. In verse 15 they are commanded not to eat the hawk
to its kinds. And in verse 18 they are told not to eat the heron
to its kind. All of these uses are quite transparent. They are simply
to eat any kind of vulture, raven, hawk, or heron. There is not the slightest
hint, in the expression of
min preceded by
of the idea of animals being "after their kind," i.e., of animals which
have come after and are similar to their parents. The entire thrust of
the expression is the inclusion, within a given category of animals not
to be eaten, of all the various kinds of that category. Thus we
the expression in the Hebrew, "according to its kind," or "according to
In Ezekiel 47:10 we have the only usage of min outside of
Pentateuch. This is also the only instance out of 31 uses in which the
is translated "according to" in the Authorized Version. The passage,
of the great river which flows from beneath the Millennial Temple,
And it shall come to pass, that fishermen shall stand upon it, from Engedi even to Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread out nets; their fish shall be according to its kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceedingly many.
This passage would appear to be speaking of the many varied kinds of
fish which shall inhabit the great river of the Millennial Temple, and
the Authorized Version translates it in exactly this fashion.
This brings us to the disputed uses in Genesis 1. The word min
with the preposition
occurs ten times in the first chapter of Genesis. Three of these
are associated with the Immediate Creation of plants, one instance is
with the Immediate Creation of aquatic animals, one instance is
with the Immediate Creation of birds, and the remaining five instances
relate to the Immediate Creation of terrestrial animals.
One point, which may at first appear to be a truism but must
be made, is that these plants and animals which God created did not
before God created them. There are many who are quick to give assent to
this proposition, but who reject its clear implication. The clear
of this proposition is that, in the Genesis account of Creation, we are
not dealing with
reproduction, but with the original creation
of all living things. Genesis 1 is not speaking of plants reproducing
other plants; it is speaking of God creating plants. Again,
1 is not speaking of animals
reproducing animals; it is speaking
of God creating animals. With this clarification firmly in
let us proceed to an examination of min in the first chapter of
In the following translations I have translated
min with the
preposition in the same fashion as in all the instances already noted.
I have done this for at least three reasons:
(1) An examination of the 21 instances of min outside of Genesis 1 has revealed the fact that min with the preposition uniformly means "according to its kind(s)."
(2) Twenty of those 21 instances fall within the writings of Moses (7 in Genesis, 9 in Leviticus, and 4 in Deuteronomy); Moses also wrote Genesis 1.
(3) In Genesis 1 we are dealing with the Immediate Creation of all living things; i.e., their initial coming into existence by God's creative commands. In Genesis 1:11-12 we read:
In the English it is difficult to phrase the words of these verses in such a way as to show the connection of min with its antecedent. Verse 11 connects min with "fruit tree." This may be expressed by reading, "Let the earth cause to sprout forth various kinds of fruit tree which produce fruit whose seed is in it." Likewise verse 12 connects min with "herb" and with "tree." This may be expressed by reading, "And the earth produced various kinds of herbs yielding seed, and various kinds of trees producing fruit whose seed is in it." Although this mode of reading may seem a bit awkward, it is the only way in which to show the proper relationship of the words concerned.And God said, Let the earth cause vegetation to sprout forth; the herb yielding seed, the fruit tree producing fruit whose seed is in it, according to its kind, upon the earth. And it was so. And the earth produced vegetation, the herb yielding seed according to its kinds, and the tree producing fruit whose seed is in it, according to its kinds, and God saw that it was good.
In Genesis 1:21 we read:
And God created great aquatic animals, and every living being that moves, which the waters multiplied according to their kinds, and every winged bird, according to its kinds; and God saw that it was good.Here we understand the statements of fact to mean simply that God created various kinds of aquatic animals and various kinds of birds. There is no thought of reproduction here, since aquatic animals and birds did not exist before this creation; this passage speaks only of their original creation in various kinds.
In Genesis 1:24 we read:
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living being according to its kind, cattle and creeping animal and living animal of the earth, according to its kind. And it was so. And God created the living animal of the earth, according to its kind, and the cattle, according to its kind, and every creeping animal of the ground according to its kind; and God saw that it was good.Here there is absolutely no thought whatever of terrestrial animals "reproducing after their kind"; the thought is simply that of God's calling forth from the earth all the varied kinds of living being: cattle, creeping animal, and living animal of the earth. Verse 25 should be understood to mean that God immediately created different kinds of the specified categories of land animals. And there is nothing more in the combination of min with the preposition than this!
But now, having ascertained the Biblical usage of min, we
ask the question: "To what level in the scientific classification of
and animals does min correspond? Is it the equivalent to a
Can it sometimes refer to a genus, or a family, or an order, or a
or a phylum?"
An analysis of the level of the classification of the Biblical
uncovers a rather remarkable fact. The word min is associated
categories of plants and animals which range from the level of
to the level of phylum, and which include all levels between! From this
information we may learn a very important truth: the word min
not denote one specific level in scientific classification
as species, for example). Another truth which we may learn from this
is that, in Genesis 1, where we read of God's original Creation, the
of plants and animals range from family up to phylum, and therefore we
may not say that the Bible says that God created all plants and animals
on the level of our present species. In the case of some living things,
God may have created on the level of our present orders, in some cases
on the level of our present families, in some case on the level of our
present genera, and in some cases on the level of our present species.
Perhaps the paleontologic record could be of help in learning on what
classification level or levels God created the various "kinds" of
|Scripture||Nature of Kind||Taxonomic Level||Scientific Group Name|
|Gen 1:11||Fruit trees||Some orders of a subclass||Dicotyledonae|
|Gen 1:12||Herbs||Some orders of 2 subclasses||Mono- and dicotyledonae|
|Gen 1:21||Aquatic animals||Several phyla|
|Gen 1:24||Terrestrial animals||Several phyla|
|Gen 1:24||Creeping animals||Several phyla|
|Lev 11:22||Bald Locust||Species (?)|
|Lev 11:22||Grasshopper||Suborder or Superfamily||Acridiidae & Locustidae|
Another truth which we learn from this study is that the Bible does
say that the development of new species is an impossibility. As a
of fact, if God originally created some living things on the present
of family (for example), then all of the members of the family have
developed, which means that new genera as well as new species have
The Bible simply does not teach the dogma of "the fixity of species."
a matter of fact, this dogma grew out of a mistranslation of min
with the preposition
coupled with a mistaken identification of the Biblical word min
with the scientific concept "species."
But further, the Bible does not even say that God created all of the
original "kinds" of plants and animals in such a way that no new
could develop from the original "kinds." I realize that in saying this
I am desecrating the "sacred cow" of many who believe that the limits
variability established by the phrase "after their kind" is the last
of Creationism against the flood-tides of Evolutionism. However, not
this translation "after their kind" is Biblically correct, I do not
it theologically correct! And therefore I do not find it a crucial
for Creationism, nor a great bulwark against Evolutionism.
But let us pause for a moment and reflect. Does this mean that the
is now wide open for a thorough-going Evolutionistic interpretation of
the record of the rocks? Is the way now cleared for the Evolutionist's
assertion of amoeba-to-man development? Having given up the phrase
its kind," which was the one remaining defense against Evolutionism,
we now become Evolutionists?
Before we answer too hurridely (thereby running the risk of making
of ourselves), let us consider what the record of the rocks tells us.
for a competent and unbiased (i.e., unbiased in favor of Creationism)
of that record, let us note the words of the "Dean of American
George Gaylord Simpson, in his book The Major Features of Evolution.
The record already acquired is amazingly good. It provides us with many detailed examples of a great variety of evolutionary phenomena on lower and intermediate levels and rather abundant data that can be used either by controlled extrapolation or on a statistical sampling basis for inferences as to phenomena on all levels up to the highest. Among the examples are many in which, beyond the slightest doubt, a species or a genus has been gradually transformed into another. Such gradual transformation is also fairly well exemplified for subfamilies and occasionally for families, as the groups are commonly ranked.... In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.5It is most important to realize what Simpson is saying. Gradual transformations leading to new species, new genera, some new subfamilies, and occasionally new families are witnessed to by the record of the rocks. However, most new species, genera, and families appear quite suddenly; i.e., the record of the rocks is absent of ancestors from whom they could have descended. Moreover, practically all new orders, classes, and phyla appear quite suddenly; i.e., without ancestors. How are these systematic deficiencies, these discontinuities, these gaps in the fossil record to be overcome? Simpson says that this can be done by extrapolation and inference from what we are able to see on lower levels to what we are not able to find on higher levels. To say that such an explanation of the systematic gaps in the record of the rocks, especially on the higher levels, is quite unsatisfactory, is to utter a gross understatement! But how then can these gaps be explained?
I would propose that the record of the rocks is a natural record of
God's creative activity. I would further propose that the reason that
new species, genera, and families, and practically all new orders,
and phyla appear quite suddenly in the fossil record is that these
represent separate creative acts of God in the bringing into existence
of new "kinds" of plants and animals. I would still further propose
these distinct creations of new "kinds" of plants and animals be
with the chronological framework which was presented in the third
of this series.
In that lecture, we proposed a chronological framework for the
of the creative events and the Creation Days of Genesis 1-2. This
consisted of seven creative-aspect periods, some of which overlapped in
time, and all of which were marked by a beginning stage, a stage of
fulfillment, and a completion stage. In each of the creative-aspect
from the second to the seventh, the stage of essential fulfillment
with a specific literal day. These were the six Creation Days of
In synthesizing the concept of distinct creations of new "kinds" of
plants and animals with this chronological framework, as well as with
and paleontologic history, I would propose the following:
(1) That the Immediate Creation of various "kinds" of plants be placed at various intervals in the fourth creative-aspect period, beginning in the later Precambrian and continuing through the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era.
(2) That the Immediate Creation of the various "kinds" of aquatic animals be placed at intervals in the sixth creative-aspect period, beginning near or at the inception of the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era and continuing through the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era.
(3) That the Immediate Creation of the various "kinds" of birds be placed at intervals in the sixth creative-aspect period, beginning in the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era and continuing through the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era.
(4) That the Immediate Creation of the various "kinds" of terrestrial animals be placed at varying intervals during the seventh creative-aspect period, beginning in the Silurian Period of the Paleozoic Era and continuing through the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era.
(5) That the Ex Nihilo Creation of man's soul and the Immediate
of man's body be placed at the close of the seventh creative-aspect
somewhere in the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era.
Thus, by combining the conceptual structure of our proposed chronological framework for the events of Genesis 1-2 with the conception of creation at varying intervals of all the various "kinds" of plants, animals, and man in the world, we arrive at a synthesis of the relevant Biblical and scientific data, which we have called the Unified Creationist View. However, this is not the completion of our task; it is only the beginning. Yet, as a beginning, it is our "Proposed Creationist Alternative to Evolutionism." May God grant that this work shall be carried forward, by His grace and for His glory!
1. Julian S. Huxley, Evolution in Action (New York: The New American Library, 1953), p 10.
2. Horatio Hackett Newman, Evolution, Genetics, and Eugenics (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1956), p 51.
3. Augustine, "De Actis cum Felice Manichaeo," in Patrologia Latina 42.525, caput X.
4. Herman Bavinck, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek (Kampen: 1928), 2:458.
5. George Gaylord Simpson,
The Major Features of
Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), pp 359-60.
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