Does Genesis One Conflict with Science?


As a Christian, Bible study is a constant, never-ending process of reading, learning, and maturing in Christ. Much of that study is the study of interpretation of what the Bible says. I believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible myself. I’d like to address questions I have received about the interpretations of Genesis One and if such interpretations conflict with science. I was actually trying to put together a chart and I came across this website that explains it very well.

Does Genesis One Conflict with Science?
By: Rich Deem

“I would first like to point out that God has not revealed the entire creation process in the Genesis creation account, but only that which is particularly relevant to mankind. Many events in the creation account of the Bible have been intentionally left out (unicellular life forms, dinosaurs, etc.), I believe, because they would have been difficult to express in the Hebrew language, and would have lead to confusion, since they would not have been understood through the vast majority of mankind’s existence (i.e., only understandable in the last two centuries). The interpretation of the Genesis creation account should not be made independently of the remainder of the Bible, as many “young-earth” creationists do. The interpretation presented here is based upon the creation accounts found throughout the entire Bible (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, etc.) as it relates to God’s creation of the heavens and the Earth, and is consistent with all the biblical texts in addition to the revelations of science.

The Bible was the first written work to describe the expanding universe model for the universe (indicated by verses stating that God spreads out the heavens), which is consistent with the Big Bang model.

Day-Age Genesis Interpretation
Interpretation Day Genesis text (NASB)
Most people read the Genesis creation account without using the scientific method and, therefore, make assumptions that are not supported by the text. For example, the first rule of the scientific method is to establish the initial conditions, or the frame of reference.Genesis 1:2 clearly states that the frame of reference is “the surface of the waters” of the earth. Most people have made the mistake of assuming the frame of reference of Genesis 1 is heaven or somewhere above the earth.What does the text specifically say? The heavens (universe, solar system, sun, earth, etc.) were already created before the first “day” (Genesis 1:1, ~14 x 109years ago). Science tells us that the entire planet was covered in a global sea soon after its creation (3). In other verses, the Bible says that the earth is controlled by the heavens, refuting geocentrism (4). In Genesis 1:2, God was “hovering or brooding” over the seas of the newly formed earth (4.4-3.8 x 109 years ago, 5). We know from science this is where the first unicellular life forms first appeared (6). The Hebrew word, rachaph, translated as “hovering or brooding” is used only twice in the Old Testament. The second reference is to an eagle caring for its young (7). Therefore, it seems likely that the use of the word rachaph in Genesis 1:2 may be referring to God creating the first life forms in the sea. D
1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.1:2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Both science and the Bible (8) have told us that at the earth’s creation, it was covered with a dense layer of clouds and gases which would have made it dark at its surface. Genesis 1:2 says, “darkness was over the surface of the deep.” Next, God removed much of the cloud cover, when He stated, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) This was the light of the Sun (already created) which now “separated light from darkness” (Genesis 1:4). It is very clear from the text that the sun had already been created and the earth was rotating on its axis, since there was light (day) and darkness (night) (Genesis 1:5). D
1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.1:4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.1:5 And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Genesis 1:6-10 describe the initiation of a stable water cycle (9) and formation of continents (10) through tectonic activity (~2.7 x 109 years ago) (11).

1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
1:7 And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
1:8 And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
1:10 And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Plant life was created on the third day (Genesis 1:11-13, ~1.0 x 109 years ago). These verses are probably the strongest argument for the day-age interpretation. The verse says quite clearly that the earth sprouted (or brought forth) vegetation and fruit trees bearing fruit. The English word translated “vegetation” on the third day comes from the Hebrew word deshe’, which refers to small plants, such as grasses and herbs. The other word, ‛eśeb, translated “plants” is even more generic, referring to any kind of green plant. So, the “day” encompasses the time from the formation of the first plants until the formation of the angiosperms. The process described is clearly similar to what we see today. Fruit trees take years to bear fruit, testifying that the third “day” could not possibly be just 24 hours long, as claimed by young earth creationists. Recent scientific evidence shows that plant life began on the land ~1 billion years ago (12) D
1:11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth”; and it was so.
1:12 And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
1:13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Next the translucent cloud layer was removed so that the sun, moon and stars shown through. Notice the unusual construction in Genesis 1:14 which states, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;'” “Let there be” is an unusual way to describe de novo creation (see also verse 1:3). I believe that at this point God removed the translucent cloud cover from the planet to allow the stars, moon, and Sun to be seen from the surface of the earth (the frame of reference of all Genesis 1). The text then reiterates what God had already done in Genesis 1:1regarding the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. The time frame describes events over days, seasons, and years – obviously more than 24 hours long. D
1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth “;and it was so.
1:16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
1:17 And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
1:18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
1:19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Birds (13) (~70 x 106 years ago), whales (14) (~50 x 106years ago) and sea mammals (“swarms of living creatures,” where “creatures” is the Hebrew word nephesh, referring to soulish animals – those that can form relationships with humans) were created on the “fifth” day (Genesis 1:20-21), which would correspond to the end of the Cretaceous period/beginning of the Tertiary.
The fifth day describes a period of time longer than 24 hours as swarms of living creatures are multiplying in the sea.
1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
1:21 And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
1:22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
1:23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
On the sixth day God created the “beasts of the earth” (inGenesis 1:25 the Hebrew word is chayyah, which is best translated as “wild animal,” usually referring to carnivorous mammals (15) (the extinct families Miacidae andViverravidae, appeared ~50 x 106 years ago or current families CanidaeFelidaeMustelidae, and Viverridaeappeared ~30 x 106 years ago ) and the cattle (the Hebrew word is behemah, from which we get the word behemoth, the artiodactyls (large grazing mammals) appeared ~15 x 106 years ago) and the rodents (mammals that “creep on the ground”). Therefore, the wild and domesticated mammals and rodents were created on the sixth day. D
1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.1:25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
The last creation of God was mankind, who was also created at the end of the sixth day. What about humans and three million year old fossil remains of bipedal primates? I believe in a literal Adam and Eve, although I do not believe they lived millions of years ago. The Bible indicates that Adam and Eve had a relationship with God (Genesis 2-3) and the text says that unique among all the animals, humans are endowed with a spirit (Hebrew, ruach, Greek, pneuma), by which they are able to communicate with and love God. Scientists have found no evidence of religious artifacts before about 25,000 to 50,000 years ago (16), which is the point at which I propose God created Adam and Eve. The Bible states that the covenant and laws of God have been proclaimed to a “thousand generations” (17). A biblical generation, described as being 40 years, would represent at least 40,000 years of human existence. However, since the first dozen or more generations were nearly 1,000 years, this would make humans nearly 50,000 years old, which agrees very well with dates from paleontology and molecular biology (see Descent of Mankind Theory: Disproved by Molecular Biology). Therefore, I believe that bipedal primates that existed before Adam and Eve, were just part of the animal kingdom, and were not endowed with the characteristics that make humans distinct from animals. D
1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

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