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  • Writer's pictureHWalker79

Bible: Fantasy-Land? Part 2

Updated: 19 hours ago

What truth is communicated in Genesis One?

A remarkable feature in the text is that God creates the entire Universe through speech. He said “let there be light[1] and there was. My son learnt how to code through a tutorial that outlined the intricacy involved in making an animated monkey pick up a banana. Even this simple command required a complex sequence of numbers, letters and symbols. Yet when it worked, the written code produced a drastically different form: a colourful world with a monkey picking up a pixelated banana and no number/letter sequence in sight.

Francis Crick, who was an atheist, likened DNA to the "language of life" when he presented his ground-breaking findings of the DNA double helix. Genesis One presents an image of a God so powerful that all He has to do is speak life into existence, using the language of DNA that He is fluent in. Computer code seems incomprehensible gibberish to the untrained eye, yet is capable of forging what you’d least expect to arise from a binary sequence: detailed, colourful, ordered, simulated worlds with animated creatures. You could liken this to God using His voice and unlimited power to speak the Cosmos into being.

But if Genesis One is meant to be interpreted literally, then the passage would have to describe, to pre-computer generations, how God’s creative language is similar to programming code. It would have to describe to pre-quantum generations how God creates -- possibly by collapsing the wave function of atoms into concrete forms[2] through observing the wave’s infinite possibilities. Instead, I propose that Genesis One was written with beautifully simplistic phrases to effectively communicate God’s power, abilities and purposes. Yes, it conveys a massive oversimplification of how God created the Universe, but the simple statements pack a serious punch and express everything that we need to know. Genesis One articulates Truth – Truth that is broader than a purely scientific explanation and can resonate with every generation that hears it.


7-day Creation – interpret literally or symbolically?

Why does the account state that all of God’s creative acts took place over the course of a week? How is the term “day” meant to be interpreted? Different thinkers have argued that in the Hebrew language “day” can be translated as an ‘epoch’ or an ‘age’ of time. In the Bible it says that from God’s perspective “a thousand years in [His] sight are like a day that has just gone by[3]. Secular science dates our universe at 13.75 billion years of age. Before Einstein's Special Relativity Theory, time was seen as a constant - wherever you go in the universe, one second will be the same length of time everywhere. However, this belief has been drastically altered by Einstein's findings that time is affected by gravity. Many films set in space have done a good job demonstrating that astronauts travelling at incredible speeds into deep space would experience time passing at a different rate (much slower) than time passing by on Earth. So much so, that any sons and daughters left behind could be older than them when they return. The speed of light experiences no time passing at all; time is relative depending on where you are positioned in the universe and what speed you are travelling. In the Bible, in 1 John 1:5, it says that "God is light and in him is no darkness at all". Dr Gerald Schroeder argues that from God's perspective, the amount of time that has passed since the Universe began to exist may seem like a mere 7 days has gone by.


Two adjacent and contradictory Creation accounts?

In Genesis chapter two, we get a different image of God – a God who is not afraid to get His hands dirty and get stuck in, but only when it comes to humanity. Later on in the Bible, God is described as a Potter and we the clay[6], but here in chapter two we get to see this Potter in action when He makes humans “from the dust of the ground[7]. God spoke everything else into existence; almost in a detached, indifferent way compared to the hand-crafting involved in forming human beings.

Imagine a head architect instructing workers to build a skyscraper – this architect utilises his authority to read out instructions to the workers and they do the heavy lifting and hard graft. This architect supervises the project from afar but still with a meticulous eye for detail, and at the end he is proud of the outcome. However, if you saw that same architect painstakingly fashioning an object to go inside the building, that might get your attention and make you want to find out more. What is so special about that object that the architect trusts no one else to mould it but himself? In Genesis Two, God’s personally hand-crafted creations are made and given names: Adam and Eve.


The contradiction seems to lie when comparing the order of Creation in Genesis 1 with Genesis 2. In Genesis 1, Adam and Eve are made on Day 6 after plants and animals have already been created. In Genesis 2, Adam is made first, before plants or animals exist, and then Eve is made last. How should Christians interpret this?


Were Adam and Eve historical?

St. Paul refers to Adam as if he were a historical figure in many Biblical letters[8] and Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam. This causes embarrassment for some Christians who don’t want to be associated with the controversial connotations attached to the Adam and Eve story which seems to defy science. To avoid the necessity of accepting them as real people, some Christians argue that the whole Bible should be interpreted as a narrative – none of it is meant to be literal history. Then you don’t have to accept Paul’s statements about Adam and Jesus’ genealogy, as they are just myths and legends with a purely symbolic meaning.

The issue I have with this reasoning is that it weakens Christianity’s offer of hope if everything it teaches is mythological. If Jesus’ resurrection is just a symbolic story, with no basis in historical fact, then what good news does it have to communicate with the world? Paul said “if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”[9] How do you explain historical documents that testify to the disciples’ executions because they would not renounce their faith in Jesus, even when threatened with death? If someone asked you to give up believing Harry Potter and the wizarding world were real or face torture and death, I’m pretty sure that would snap you out of your escapist fantasy.


But if the Bible does teach historical fact, then are Christians doomed to be forever mocked by atheists for accepting the historicity of Adam and Eve? Well, even in random, unguided evolution there must have been a first female to propagate the rest of the ‘mutated’ hominin species. Darwinian evolution is powered by random, beneficial mutations giving rise to new species. But if the mutations are random, then you wouldn’t expect humans to arise in multiple locations around the globe simultaneously – the descendants must originate from the first of the new species of its type[10]. Species have to be very similar to each other in order to successfully reproduce and create fertile offspring. If there was a first female hominin, then we may as well name her, and that's exactly what scientists have done – "Mitochondrial Eve"! An article in New Scientist says "If you trace back the DNA in the maternally inherited mitochondria within our cells, all humans have a theoretical common ancestor. This woman, known as “mitochondrial Eve”, lived between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago in southern Africa."[14]

Two creation accounts are presented next to each other in Genesis One and Two. The first shows the order and progression of Creation from the beginning of time. The second puts humans front and centre, created intimately with God’s undivided attention and entrusted with roles and responsibilities. We are here for a very special purpose[11] and God wanted to clearly communicate this and how He views us.


And yet...

Latest scientific discoveries have made me wonder if the 7 Day Creation was meant to be accepted as literal truth after all. Day One records God speaking light into existence and Big Bang Cosmologists theorise that photons were created at the moment of the Singularity stretching outwards. Photons are light particles[12]. Many atheists mock the Day 4 account of Creation which states that God made the stars and sun after the formation of light. So, I was intrigued by the discovery of photons existing before star formation. Steve Robinson (https://www.earthhistory.org.uk/) argues that a giant quasar at the centre of our galaxy was the source of light that God created on Day One and therefore the Earth was created on Day Two, with plants appearing on Day Three without the need of our Sun to give light, until it was established on Day Four.

Some secular Origin of Life theorists are exploring the possibility that life began in deep sea vents, which would concur with Day Four’s version of sea creatures being the first life forms on Earth. And we know that humans were the last species to arrive on the scene as Day 6 also indicates. The 7-day account portrays a journey through time of increasing complexity and greater diversity of life-forms, and that is what Darwinian evolution attests too as well. The Genesis account was written roughly 3500 years ago and Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859, but bizarrely they both paint a similar trajectory. Darwin’s theory of unguided evolution has some large issues that need investigating, but I’ll save that for a later post. The main areas of contention are over the timescale of these two models and if there is intelligence behind life arising or not. Secular science argues for a universe that is nearly 14 billion years old whereas the Biblical model points to a much younger universe.


Is there any evidence for a younger universe?


  • Radioisotope dating works by measuring the radioactive decay of an element such as Uranium 238 into its more stable daughter isotope Lead 206. Secular scientists conclude that it takes 4.46 billion years for half of Uranium 238 in a sample to decay to Lead 206 by emitting alpha particles, which are helium nuclei composed of two protons and two neutrons. This process is known as alpha decay[15].

  • To work out the age of a rock you look at the ratio of parent-daughter isotopes in the sample and calculate how much uranium 238 there must have been at the beginning, from the presence of the daughter isotope. This tells you how much time must has passed.

  • This process largely relies upon assumption as it is impossible to know how much radioactive material was originally present in a rock before it solidified - was there Lead 206 already present? If there were, this would mean that not all the Lead 206 has come via radioactive decay over millennia. If you make the assumption that all the Lead 206 has come from Uranium 238 then this is going to drastically alter the estimate for the age of the rock.

  • Darwin’s Theory of Unguided Evolution existed a couple of centuries before radiometric dating was invented. Therefore, there was an acceptance in the public consciousness that the universe was billions of years old because how else to explain unguided evolution unless the Earth and Universe are extremely old? Therefore certain assumptions about the ages of rock existed prior to the use of radiometric dating techniques. But just to reiterate - there is no way of knowing for certain how much parent element was trapped in a rock at the beginning as no one was there to observe it.

  • Imagine walking into a kitchen and seeing a sink half full of water and a dripping tap above it. It might be reasonable to assume that the sink got filled with water solely from that dripping tap and so it must have taken half a day approximately for the sink to have filled to the extent it has. Unbeknownst to you, someone had just left the room who had half filled the sink and not turned the tap off properly. That water took 30 seconds to fill the sink and it wasn’t as a result of the slowly dripping tap over many hours. Your initial assumption was reasonable but not true in reality. How do secular scientists know for certain how much parent element was in that rock initially to produce daughter isotopes from? The answer is, they don’t - they made an assumption because they are already committed to believing the earth is billions of years old.

  • Another problematic issue with secular views on radioisotope dating is known as the Helium Problem - where is all the excess Helium from the radioactive decay that has been occurring for 4.5 billion years on planet earth? That timeframe should give ample opportunity for the excess Helium to diffuse out of the decaying rocks and make its way into the atmosphere where we should be recording huge levels of Helium, but we don't. Helium diffuses so rapidly that all the helium should have leaked out in less than 100,000 years. Not only is the Helium not in our atmosphere but it is still found trapped in Zircons in the oldest rocks on earth. So why are these rocks still full of helium atoms? Maybe billions of years hasn't gone by since the decay took place...


  • The old age dating of the earth relating to Milankovitch cycles is flawed. These have been used by secular scientists to provide a reason for the distinct and even sedimentation patterns seen in rock layers, such as the chalk beds of the Cretaceous, a period dated 145 to 65 million years ago. Milankovitch cycles propose that every 20,000 years, the Earth's tilt and orbit around the sun is altered slightly, which has a knock-on effect to the climate temperature and can create either a warmer/drier climate or a cooler/wetter one, affecting the sedimentation pattern to change from a distinct chalk layer, to one with chalk mixed with clay (marl). Steve Robinson proposes that the annual pattern of changing seasons (and temperature variations) is a better explanation for even and regular sedimentation patterns of chalk-marl and thus leads to a much younger earth.

  • If 20,000 years has gone by between each distinct layer of chalk-marl measuring around 40 cm, this gives a sedimentation rate of 0.04 mm, or half a hair’s breadth, per year. That is difficult to imagine on a planet as tumultuous as ours. By contrast, if the chalk-marl couplets were laid annually, the sedimentation rate is a much more realistic 2.2 mm per day.

  • Our world is volatile and constantly changing. If the rock layers are billions of years old, then each new addition of sedimentation would equate to tiny measurements per year (0.04mm). This does not fit with what we know of violent coastal erosion; sedimentation laid down quickly in vast amounts during natural disasters, etc.


What does the evidence point to?

If God is real and inspired the writing of the Bible, then you should expect it to be true and have science verify it. But that doesn’t mean you should expect the Biblical accounts to read like a graduate-level textbook of scientific knowledge. How would ancient generations have been able to access the Holy Scriptures in that scenario? The writing of Genesis is able to communicate deep truths about Creation in a format that will enable all humans to access it at a level they can understand, no matter the time period in which they lived. Having said that though, there are indeed many areas of Science that are validating the claims of the Bible. Keep reading to find out more….


References & Footnotes [1] Gen 1:3-5 [2] See a previous post on ‘Miracles & the Quantum Realm’ [3] Psalm 90:4 [4] See four-part series on ‘Why did Jesus have to die?’ And the four part ‘My Purpose?' series. [5] Isaiah 65:17 [6] Isaiah 64:8 [7] Genesis 2:7 [8] 1 Tim 2:13, Romans 5:12-21 [9] 1 Cor 15:17 – see my four-part series on ‘Why did Jesus have to die?’ [10] This poses an issue for random, unguided evolution for starters – you need a randomly mutated male and female of the new species to arise at the same time, and then happen to find each other, in order to have offspring. Not every species can have viable offspring with another – if they are too genetically dissimilar their fertility will not be a match and so no offspring propagated. [11] See ‘My Purpose?’ Series [12] Photon epoch - Wikipedia [13] Luke 18:27


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