Creation in Genesis and Geology

By F. W. Grant


I. The Scriptural Statement, pages 3-19
Mr. Grant here presents a review of the scriptural account of creation, explaining the range of meanings of the terminology.

Page 3:

The Book of Genesis is a "fact."

The Book of Genesis has a hold on even those who oppose it; they are unable to ignore it. Their very opposition to scripture makes it evident how much they feel its power.

Page 4: The style of Genesis is not that of myth.
- There is no obscurity or exaggeration.
- The style is simple to the point of sublimity.
- The language is intelligible even to a child.
- There is no attempt at explanation.
- There is no argument or proof.
- The writer is above his theme, not under its power.
- It has the similitude of veracity.

Page 5: It is either a history or it is an audacious fiction.

Page 6: Scripture does not, and need not, go beyond the primitive fact of observation. "The sun rises, the sun sets" is a description from a man's point of view and it is true; that it is not the whole truth from a cosmological point of view does not imply that it is deceptive.

Page 7: What does "create" - "bara" mean?

Page 8: Beasts are "living souls," man possesses a spirit in addition, by which he has a connection to God.

Page 9: The "creation" of verse 1 is different from the"Making" of the six days.

What does "waste and desolate" mean? (-> page 10)

Page 10: The second day - a second kind of heaven.

Page 11: To produce a cosmos, a world of form and order, an organized whole, in which parts [fit] in proper harmony, there must be the working of "mind."

Light: It is neither created nor made, but called into being.

Page 12: The "firmament" or "expanse" of the second day.

Page 13: The "expanse" includes the atmosphere...

Page 14: The division of land and water, a bound set.

Page 15: Luminaries established; the fourth day.

Page 16: Creation of "living souls." What is a soul?

Page 17: Angels, beasts, and man distinguished.

Page 18: The sixth day: creation of the spirit of man, in the likeness of God; given dominion over the earth.

Page 19: Man's importance to God: "Let us make man."

Page 20: II. The Scientific Aspect.
- The remainder of this essay is devoted to a discussion of the science of geology as it was understood in Mr. Grant's day, and how this reconciles with scripture.
The remarkable thing about his discussion is that he is as careful as possible to avoid the use of theories (hypotheses, as he correctly states) and to stay with established observations. This approach has largely preserved the validity of his arguments. It is interesting to see how little his essay would have to be changed in light of current science. Remember also that this was written nearly a half century before carbon dating.

"We must not think that Scripture is waiting upon science to get its credentials..."

Page 21: 1. Creation; pages 21-25
- Science deals with the products of creation, not the process of creation. It invokes forces and processes of which science can give no account nor observe. Non-observable? Then the scientist may consider creation non-existent. "Natural causation" is preferred, but not better understood. 22 23 24 25

This long discussion, through page 41, is interesting as a well-organized and thoughtful answer to the then-current objections to faith that were brought in the name of science. Mr. Grant has carefully studied the science behind the claims; it's interesting that he's as careful to be accurate about his opponents as he is careful about scripture.

2. Life in its Various Grades. A discussion of the nature of "life." - pages 25-35

- The soul and the spirit, pages 31-34. Mr. Grant has a long and detailed analysis of the difference bewteen the animal soul and the human eternal spirit. "- God is the Father of spririts, not of souls." 32 33 34

3. Kinds.
pages 35-41
A discussion of speciation, and its implications for the creation-evolution debate. It's interesting that Mr. Grant does not debate whether evolution has occurred, only whether theistic evolution is credible. Darwin's writings preceded the discovery of genetics by decades. Darwin thought that over time, under survival pressure, species gradually changed, slowly acquiring characteristics that would adapt them to their habitat, and in this process whole new types of plants and animals would develop.

Early opponents of Evolutionism saw this clearly, and so carefully defended distinct speciation. This essay was written after the birth of genetics, but long before the cellular basis of genetics was understood. They were right in their emphasis on speciation as an argument against evolutionism even if they did not understand fully the scientific barriers to evolutionary processes.

The discoveries of genetics and of cell biology have required the complete overhaul of Evolutionary theory; one of its greatest challenges is attempting to hypothesize a mechanism of how, with discrete genes and complex intact systems within and between cells, any beneficial change might randomly occur. Currently (2002) there is not even a ghost of an explanatory hypothesis; all the proponents of Naturalistic Evolution (my term) do in their eloquent papers is to appeal to their presuppositional stance that God "cannot" exist -- in some very interesting and convoluted ways -- and to repeatedly say about aspects of evolutionary development, either that it is "credible" or that it is "obvious." But they do not have a credible physical mechanism to propose or to test; yet this they must have if they are to adequately defend their position that God cannot exist (or, if a god exists, that he (she, it) must act entirely through "natural" processes).
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4. The Day-Period Interpretation. - pages 41-47
This is an unfortunate discussion of the analogies between geologic periods and the Six Days, which correctly points out that the scriptural days are *not* geologic periods but then spends a great deal of time, I believe unprofitably, on the analogies between them.
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5. The Literal Day Interpretation. - pages 47-61.

This is a long discussion, of interest because of the careful thought that went into it, comparing a simple and now very outdated scientific understanding of more recent geologic phenomena and speculations by Mr. Grant on how these might fit within the scriptural pattern. This discussion is of no lasting merit otherwise, starting with a rather exaggerated and fanciful description of what "waste and empty" probably meant physically. The most impressive aspect of this argument is how adroitly Mr. Grant avoids saying anything that might really damage the spiritual position that he holds.
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