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Month 9:5, Week 1:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5940:241 AM
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 4 December 2016
Genesis 1
How Old is the Creation?

    3 October, 4004 BC

    The 'Age of the Universe Controversy' has been around for a long time. Prior to Darwin's publications and the advent of the doctrine of evolution, the Christian world more or less followed the Bishop Ussher chronology and maintained that the earth and universe were about 6,000 years old. Ussher himself, one time Anglican Primate of all Ireland and Bishop of my mother's father's home town of Derry, concluded that Yahweh finished his work at 9 am on 3 October, 4004 BC. Since then, a lot of science has been done and we have considerably more data to work with.

    Belief in Evolution is Religion, Not Science

    As most of you know I am a Scientist (Biochemist & Systems Analyst) by training as well as a Pastor. I was originally an atheist and a Darwinist though I always had problems conceptualising Charles' ideas and making them fit the known facts, particularly in Genetics. And that's because evolution is a religion, even though most are in denial. One honest evolutionist (and sadly, ex-Christian), Dr. Michael Ruse, admitted,

      "Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion - a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint ... the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today".

    The Evolutionist's Cosmology Anthem

    Evolutionistic Cosmology belongs to a Walt Disney fairy-tale given the way its proponents think:

      "When you wish upon a star,
      nature makes you what you are,
      Anything your heart concocts
      is science true.

      "If your heart is in your dream,
      no proposal's too extreme
      When you hyperspeculate
      as scientists do.

      "Fate is kind,
      she gives reality,
      The sweet fulfillment
      of our observing.

      "Like a bolt out of the blue,
      observation creates you,
      When you eish upon a star,
      your dreams come true."

    From Darwinist to Creationist

    When I became a believer I re-evaluated my thoughts about Origins, thanks to both atheists like Arthur Koestler (The Case of the Midwife Toad) and Francis Hitching (The Neck of the Giraffe or Where Darwin Went Wrong) and the creationists of my youth (A.E.Wilder-Smith, A.J.Monty White, Henry M.Morris, Duane Gish, John Whitcomb, Donald DeYoung, Dean Zimmermann, et al.) and came to the inevitable conclusion that the doctrine of evolution is simply a myth with no basis in scientific fact whatsoever. Even given an infinite amount of time and an infinite number of parallel universes, I could see that it was just not possible to spontaneously generate something out of nothing. It makes no mathematical or statistical sense which is why many distinguished scientists abandoned Darwinism for the equally silly Panspermia Hyopthesis, the diea that we were made by aliens. Do this day evolutionists are unable to answer the fundamental question:

      "How did inanimate, prebiotic nature prescribe or program the first genome?"

    And until they can, evolution must remain within the realm of fantasy and philosophy. It can never be science. It's just a religious creed with science mixed in to give it some respectability.

    No Theistic Evolution

    Neither to I accept the doctrine of theistic evolution, the idea that Elohim (God) began the process of evolution, 'jumpt-starting' it, as it were, and then over billions of years evolution took place. You cannot be a Bible-believing Christian or Messianic and be a theistic evolutionist because evolution undermines so much of Scripture, and most especially the Atonement of Messiah.

    From a Simple Young-Earth Faith

    To begin with, I was a young-universe and a young-earth Creationist...by emunah (faith) because I could not see how the Bible could be interpreted in any other way without doing violence to the p'shat or literal sense of its witness. I remain a Scriptural Inerrantist (in respect of the original autographs) and whilst I do not believe Scripture is a Science text book I do not believe, by the same token, that the little Science it does mention - particularly in the field of orgins and cosmology - is in error either. Time has turned so much of that initial emunah (faith) into sure scientific knowledge. Even if I were not a Christian/Messianic I would still be forced to believe that there is an over-arching conscious intelligence directing everything and that there is no evidence that evolution ever happened. There is enough scientific evidence to powerfully support that thesis.

    The Problem of Distant Light

    One scientific observation, which is incontestable, has always bothered me, though, and that is the undeniable fact that galaxies exist whose light requires millions and sometimes billions of years to reach us on earth. I have heard various explanations. The most promising, advanced by Australian scientist Barry Setterfield, is the claim that the velocity of light has been decreasing over time. He postulates that its initial speed was almost infinite at the point of the creation of the cosmos. There is some evidence that the speed of light has changed, and indeed that universal physical constants aren't actually constants at all. Russel Humphries has developped Setterfield's ideas further which I don't have time to get into today. Let me just say that Setterfield's and Humphries' work are worthy of cautious consideration but I don't think the evidence is convincing...yet...and may never be. I have to say that it still doesn't sit easily with me whilst I am not closed to their ideas.

    Silly Creationist Explanations

    The only alternative to Setterfield et al is the ridiculous claim by many young-universe creationists that light-rays were pre-encoded by Elohim (God) to have images of distant galaxies and times upon them. That is, in my view, special pleading with a vengeance. It also makes Elohim (God) out to be a deceiver, putting on a show, reminding me of the false Jehovah's Witness doctrine that the resurrected Yah'shua (Jesus) only gave the appearance of being physical whilst all along he was actually just a spirit, an idea the New Agers would resonate with. Or the equally silly idea once advanced to explain dinaosaur fossils, viz, that Satan put them in the earth to confuse mankind. I have no time for such kindergarten nonsense.

    Yahweh Did Not Put on a Laser Show

    Back to the idea that light was coded to make, essentially, a hologram for mankind. Why would Yahweh go to all that trouble knowing that mankind would never have the technology to even see distant galaxies until the late 20th century following the construction of the Hubble telescope? Personally, I think such theories make Christians and Messianics appear stupid. Such pop-creationism is as absurd as evolutionism - neither are science, both are laughable.

    The Great Time Gap in Genesis

    For some 15 years now I have come to the conclusion that there is an enormous time gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 or between Genesis 1:1-2 and Genesis 1:3 (depending on your point-of-view). This theory neither contradicts observable science nor does it do violence to Scripture. It requires no evolution, no ape-men, no pre-Adamites, no long time gaps between the Creation Days to accommodate Darwinism.

    The Key Scriptures

    Before I get into this, let me lay out the key scriptures, based on a modified translation by Gorman Gray, and then we'll consider the evidence.

      "In the beginning Elohim (God) created (bara) the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was deserted and empty ('a formless void' - NRSV) and darkness was on the surface of the ocean ('face of the deep' - NRSV). And the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) was brooding ('swept' - NRSV) over the waters.

      Then Elohim (God) said, Let there be light...
      There was evening and there was morning - day one"
      (Gen.1:1-3, 5b).

      "And Elohim (God) said, Let lumenaries in the expanse of the air be for separating the day from the night. And let them serve as signals (signs) to mark seasons and days and years. And let them be lumenaries in the expanse of the air to give light upon the earth. And it was so. Elohim (God) brought forth (asah) two great lumenaries - the greater lumenary to dominate the day (sun) and the lesser lunemary (moon) to dominate the night - the stars also. Elohim (God) gave them forth in the expanse of the air..." (Gen.1:14-16).

      "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?... Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness a diaper/nappy (chathullah, 'swaddlingband' - KJV) for it...?" (Job 38:4,8-9).

      "For six days Yahweh worked on (asah) the air and the land, the sea and all that is in them..." (Ex.20:11).

    Bara and Asah are Not the Same

    Before I say anything else, it is vitally important to point out - because so many English translations get this wrong - that there is a very real difference between the Hebrew verbs bara and asah. They are not functionally equivalent and not therefore interchangeable. The first, bara, means to "create" and the second, asah, can be rendered in over 70 different ways: 'did', 'worked', 'brought forth', 'established', 'prepared', 'made', 'accomplished', etc.. In neither Genesis 1:16 nor Exodus 20:11 does asah mean 'created'. The choices used in this translation are the result of very careful exegesis which we will return to another time.

    Seven Keys to Genesis 1

    David Eckman makes some important observations about the Genesis 1 text that I think we need to examine:

    • 1. The viewpoint of the observer in Genesis 1 was from the surface of the planet;

    • 2. The text presupposed an earlier creation of indefinite length in Genesis 1:1(-2) followed by six days of preparing a stage for the human drama;

    • 3. "The earth" of Genesis 1:9ff. was the land mass that came forth from the waters/ocean, not the whole planet;

    • 4. "The heavens" or shammayim of Genesis 1 was the sky the birds flew about in;

    • 5. The contemporaneity of the Deuteronomistic history (the history from Genesis 2 to 2 Kings) and Job and particularly Ezekiel with his account of the anointed cherub implies a watching good and evil angelic host;

    • 6. Asah and bara are two distinct Hebrew terms, both implying the redoing of a previously existing material - the former deals with the remaking of somethinhg and the second (while only being used of Yahweh) usually involves creating something incredibly different; and

    • 7. Exodus 20:11 refers to the remaking of the planet and not its creation de novo.

    The Circumstantial Clause of Genesis 1:1-2

    There are several evangelical scholars, committed to Bible inerrancy and creationism, who maintain this position. The internationally known scholar, Francis I. Andersen, who has pioneered research in linguistics and rhetoric [1] and has specialised in computer research in the Hebrew text as well as isolating the rhetorical features of Biblical Hebrew, maintains that Genesis 1:1-2 is background to the 6 formative days. He believes that Genesis 1:1-2 is a 'circumstantial clause' that describes the background to the divine facts [2] and isolated features of Hebrew grammar and syntax that support his belief.

    Then there is B.S.Childs of Yale University who is considered by many to be the foremost Tanakh (Old Testament) scholar in the USA and one of the leading ones in the world. He maintained that the 6 days were preceded by a chaotic condition that was conquered by the word of Yahweh. He also maintained that Genesis 1:2 is a circumstantial clause that gives the background to the divine activity to follow [3]. More and more are coming around to this conclusion.

    Formerly a Planet of the Angels

    I have long believed and taught that earth was a malak or angel planet ruled by Heylel or Lucifer before and after his fall, and that it was destroyed because of the angelic rebellion. It was this destroyed planet that is described after Genesis 1:1-2 which was then refashioned (asah) by Yahweh and given to Adam to be his dominion in the place of the disgraced Satan, a reason Satan loathes mankind.

    An Ancient Universe Without Evolution

    This planet, like the universe as a whole, then, need not be young either, nor do we have to concern ourselves with mythical pre-Adamites or long evolutionary age-gaps between the creation yammim or days. These were, literally, six earth 24-hour periods of time in which Yahweh refashioned and repopulated the planet, culminating in Adam and Eve. Not only does this square with the biblical testimony as to this world's origins but it perfectly harmonies with the idea of an ancient cosmos without requiring any evolutionary fantasy. We can maintain an ancient universe of millions or billions of years whilst inisting that earth's current biosphere is very recent, anything from 6,000 to 12,000 years old. And as to how Yahweh made the universe, that is anyone's guess. As a scientist and a theologian I am really only concerned with the present biosphere which was made for me and my Adamic kind.

    Earth Before Its Restructuring

    What did the earth that Yahweh began acting upon in Genesis 1:3 look like? Gorman Gray has pointed out that our immediate neighbour Venus, and Titan, a moon of Saturn, have never experienced a day of light. They do, however, allow considerable translucence to their surfaces and therefore imperfectly illustrate earth's primeval condition. The water-saturated "cloud of darkness" which enveloped the earth ("the waters above" of Gen.1:7) was totally opaque (impenetratable to light), like a black storm cloud.

    What the pre-earth probably looked like before restructuring

    Discarding Creationist Embarrassments

    With this very simple and scriptutally consistent model, we can eliminate with one fell stroke the embarrassment creationists are faced when they are challenged by evolutionists to explain how light was "created" before the sun and stars. They are forced into a corner and have to fantasise about some 'supernatural' light which 'kept things going' until Elohim (God) 'realised' He had created things out of order and popped a sun there as a replacement. We do not need such a fairy tale because the sun, moon and the stars had been created aeons before but were rendered invisible because of the think water-logged canopy covering the earth like a chathullah - diaper, nappy or swaddlingband. All Yahweh had to was re-form the sky and, hey presto, the sun, moon and stars became visible in the earth's own rotational time.

    Many Floods in the Past?

    We can, with this model, also harmonise the existence of incredibly ancient structures on the earth that have apparently not only survived Noah's flood but also much earlier destructions before the re-formation of the earth into Adam's world. This leaves the field wide open for investigating the pre-Adamic civilisations that may have once existed on this orb but which were wiped out because of rebellion. Indeed, we may discover that Noah-type deluges were quite common in the past, and not only here but on other planets too - there is plenty of evidence that someone once lived on Mars and the Moon. Yahweh and His Creation suddenly get a lot bigger and, I suggest, even more interesting [4] without threatening the Plan of Salvation for mankind. The only losers are the fantasies of men.

    Young-Universe Creationists

    I realise that such a thesis will upset a lot of Creationist Ministries who have invested vast sums of money producing large numbers of books and audio-visual resources over many years. But the real tragedy is that a lot more atheists and evolutionists could have been won over to the emet (truth) had these creationists not boxed themselves into a corner with silly doctrines and even sillier scientific rationales. That is not to say I don't appreciate the ground-breaking work these creationists have done because this was absolutely instrumental in showing me the insanity called evolution. At the very least they should acknowledge that there is an alternative way of looking at creation without the dogamtism of a universe that is only a few thousand years old. It isn't 'dangerous' that it is ancient and it doesn't conceed anything to evolution.

    The Gorman Gray Summary

    I'd like to end by sharing with you Gorman Gray's interpretation and expansion of the Genesis Creation Account to put all of this into perspective. I think you'll agree that is makes good sense and takes all of Scripture and the known scientific data (as opposed to speculations and philosophising) into account:

      "In the beginning Elohim (God) created the galaxies, sun, moon and stars probably much as we know them today or their ancestral antecedents. It is not revealed in Scripture when this creatioon took place. It was not chaotic. From the biblical record, it might have been recent or it might have been billions of years ago. For the actual age, we are limited to the questionable guesses of science.

      "The earth was without a biosphere, desolate, sterile and empty, like the other terrestrial planets and satellites of today. It was covered entirely with ocean like the Jovian moon Europa and shrouded in a 'thick darkness of clouds' like Venus for an undefined time (Job 38:9). The darkness did not permeate all of space but only the 'surface of earth's ocean' (Genesis 1:2). The rest of the universe had been filled with light for an unspecified amount of time.

      "The first day on the earth occurred when Elohim (God) thinned out the dense cloud cover. On day four He cleared it completely. During six literal, solar days, 7500 years ago or less, Elohim (God) created and made the biosphere and all living creatures. During the Genesis flood, less than 6000 years ago, the world was ruined and became the vast graveyard of fossils observed today." [5]

    Conclusion

    If you believe in a young earth and universe scenario, you aren't obviously going to lose your salvation, but I do believe you will hamper evangelism amongst scientists and intelligent people generally. The emet (truth) harms no one. I would not personally wish to be more dogmatic than the Gorman Gray Summary above. I strongly recommend his book, The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits?, which opened my eyes to many truths I had never seen before. It is essential reading for Remnant teachers. I am also supplying a link to a young-cosmos critique of it so that you can carefully weigh the evidence [6]. In any event, enjoy the adventure and the journey and learn much to the glory of Yahweh!

    Endnotes

    [1] The study of Rehetoric in the Bible is a relatively new discipline in Bible scholarship that has yielded some very important results. See, for example, Ben Witherington III, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1995)
    [2] Francis I. Andersen, The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew (1974), pp.85-87
    [3] B.S.Childs, Myth and Reality in the Old Testament (1960), pp.32ff.
    [4] See, for instance, Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods: The Quest Continues (Century, London: 2001); Ed. J.Douglas Kenyon, Forbidden History: Prehistoric Technologies, Extraterrestrial Intervention and the Suppressed Origins of Civilization (Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont: 2005) & Forbidden Science: From Ancient Technologies to Free Energy (ibid. 2008)
    [5] Gorman Gray, The Age of the Universe: What are the Biblical Limits (Morning Star Publications, Washougal, WA: 2000), p.98C
    [6] Frank DeRemer, Young biosphere, old universe? of the very respectable Creation Ministries International whose periodicals and journals I receive and study

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