Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Battle for the Beginning – 5 of 12



5) Does Adam get created (Genesis 2:7) on Day 6 (24 hour period), name all the animals of all the earth (Genesis 2:19), and still have time to make his wedding ceremony with Eve (Genesis 1:26) in a literal 24 hour period??? That's a lot of moving parts. And the scientific/historical creationists still need to answer why the order of creation is flipped (#4 above).

In this post, I move to the 5th problem of the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1-2. There is one problem with which to deal in this paragraph in addition to the back-handed remark concerning the supposed discrepancy in the order. Since I dealt with the order in a previous post, I will address the issue of Adam naming the animals. This supposed problem has one of the simplest solutions of the 12 mentioned by Nathan over at Faithlife.

Before I get to the solution, I think it is appropriate to talk about the underlying presupposition with which Nathan appears to operate. Nathan seems to assume that Adam is naming every living animal under the sun. This is his first mistake. Second, Nathan seems to believe that Adam’s ability to name the animals must be on the same level as our ability would have been. That is Nathan’s second mistake. Finally, Nathan seems to think that he knows exactly what Adam’s naming of the animals would have been like. That is Nathan’s third mistake. Presuppositions are emerging all along Nathan’s “12 problems in the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1-2.

Everyone operates with presuppositions. The question for the Christian is whether or not those presuppositions are the product of divine revelation or something else. Think about it like this, the best way to know that a piece of currency is a counterfeit is to compare it to the genuine. Well, to what can the genuine be compared in order to know that it is the genuine? Nothing. It is the standard. A genuine dollar is genuine because it is the concrete expression of the abstract idea itself. There is nothing beyond the perfect form by which all its types are to be measured. How does this line of reasoning apply in this case? We have two different presuppositions regarding the standard against which biblical claims should be measured. My claim is that Scripture is self-attesting. Scripture is measured against itself. The competing claim is that Scripture can be measured against human reason, modern science, rationalistic philosophies with roots in the enlightenment. Nathan has to find reasons in the text to support his claim of deep time. He needs to do this because he agrees with modern science. Since he agrees with modern science’s view of the age of the earth, man, and the universe, he either has to reject the Bible’s claims out of hand or he has to adopt a method of interpreting the Bible that will accommodate modern philosophies.

What does the Scripture actually say in this case? The Scripture says that Adam named three categories of animals: the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and livestock. To begin with, God brought the animals to Adam. This surely would have expedited the process. Second, Adam was only naming the kinds, not every animal. He would have named everything in the cat family, cat, in the canine family, canines, etc. There would not have been nearly as many animals to name as Nathan presupposes. Even if Adam had to name as many as 2500 kinds of animals, and even if it took him 5 seconds per kind, and even if he took a break every hour, he could have completed the task in under four hours.[1]

At the end of the day, one has to ask why modern interpreters are seemingly so desperate to turn many traditional historic Christian beliefs upside down. The answer to that question is not difficult to discern if only one will take the time to read the most recent literature and listen to the most recent proponents of this movement. It is simply offensive to the modern intellect to reject scientific theories regarding evolution, the age of the universe, and the origin of man. The Bible, if Christianity is to survive, must be recast in light of the new norms. And those new norms revolve around scientific theory and new social morals. Any belief that contradicts modern science or social morality must be purged from the culture at large. Such beliefs are classified as ignorant, backwards, and in many instances, immoral, hateful, and bigoted.

In summary then, as it turns out, there is no problem for the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1-2 when it comes to Adam having enough time to name all the animals. The real problem is in the presuppositions people make, many of them uncritical, about how the text should be approached from the start. In fact, what you will find when you begin to dig deeper into objections to Christian belief, and supposed problems for the historic understanding and teachings of Christianity, is there is hardly an objection raised that is not grounded in uncritical, and unwarranted presuppositions, beliefs, and assumptions about the Bible. As it turns out, the same is true in this situation.




[1] Jonathan D. Sarfati, The Genesis Account: A Theological, Historical, and Scientific Commentary On Genesis 1-11 (Powder Springs, Georgia, USA: Creation Book Publishers, 2015), 327.

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