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Hooray for ice cream!!!

Which one is your favorite?! I like strawberry, because strawberry is obviously the best flavor. I don’t care what you say, I like it. And no, I don’t want to try chocolate or vanilla or whatever “yellow” is, because I already know what I like.

Does anybody know where I’m going with this yet?

Good. Me neither.

Actually I do. See, picking your favorite ice cream really just comes down to which one you like better. It’s not a matter of analysis- you just LIKE IT, LOVE IT, GOTTA HAVE IT! Which is fine for ice cream. But what about other things in life? More important things, like…taking the time to consider whether or not God actually exists, then which God to believe in, AND (when you’ve got that settled) how to interpret your religious text (theology). Sadly, there is too little forethought that goes into any of these by far too many people (like when I got pistachio instead of rainbow sherbet?! What was I thinking?!).

I’d love to go through and talk about ALL the different theologies (mine being the best. jk. but…maybe), but today we’re going to focus on specifically the theologies surrounding Genesis 1 and 2 and take a quick look at some of the the pros and cons. So read through, and think critically.

Let’s dish out the 4 popular views:

1. Young Earth Creationism (YEC)

2. Old Earth Creationism (OEC)

3. Theistic Evolution (TE)

4. Framework Interpretation(FW)

1. YEC – This is the “traditional view,” also referred to as creationism, creation science, or the 24 hour view. YEC views the days of creation as 24 hour days, in succession, including a 24 hour rest day as the 7th day. By working backwards through the genealogies in the Bible, they can put the date of Adam and Eve on the Earth anywhere between 6,000-10,000 years ago. YEC believes in a global flood that happened around a few thousand years ago with water covering every mountain peak, which is why the earth is shaped the way it is today. YEC also believes in a historical Adam and Eve.

Why
1. It’s a direct reading of the Bible.
2. The words “evening” and “morning” specify a 24 hr day.
3. The creation days are likened to a 7 day workweek in Exodus 20:11

Why Not
1. It lacks mainstream scientific support for the age of the Earth
2. It lacks strong evidence for why the Earth appears to be old
3. Genesis 2 seems to imply a longer period of time
4. The phrase “evening…and…morning” imply a 12 hour day (24 would require two evenings, like 8pm to 8pm)

2. OEC – Genesis one describes different epochs of time where God miraculously intervened to create life over time to prepare the Earth for humanity. OEC rejects naturalistic evolution as an explanation for all the variety of life on Earth, but accepts the mainstream view for the age of the Earth (~4.5 billion years). OEC is skeptical of theistic evolution as means for creation from biblical and scientific grounds. OEC (despite minor subcategories) generally believes in a historical Adam and Eve.

WHY
1. The Hebrew word for day (yom) has three literal definitions, 12 hr day, 24 hr day, and a period of unspecified time, which seems to coincide with Genesis 2 better.
2. The signal phrase for an end to the day “and there was evening and there morning, the ____ day,” does not appear on the seventh day, implying the seventh day is not a 24 hr day
3. The events of Genesis 2 seem to imply a longer time than a 24hr day view allows.
4. The use of the “generations” to describe the entire creation week
5. It is in line with modern scientific evidence

WHY NOT
1. Exodus 20:11 gives an inspired interpretation of the length of creation as a week
2. The objection of plant and animal death before the fall of Adam based on Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:25-26
3. It contradicts the commonly held view of the Jewish and Christian history of a 24 hour day interpretation
4. It is in contention with the mainstream scientific community’s idea of the evolution of life

3. TE – Also called evolutionary creationism, or continuous creationism, TE suggests that God created the world in such a way that it could unfold through natural laws. God guided the evolution of the Earth, universe, and life which accounts for all of the improbable odds the existence of life as we know it. There are varying degrees of miraculous intervention throughout history, but most believe that Adam is the result of God infusing a preexisting hominid with a spirit (the image of God). There are also different opinions on whether Adam is a historical person that existed around 50,000-150,000 years ago, or a figurative representation for the first human that existed 6,000-10,000 years ago.

WHY
1. The Hebrew word yatsar in Genesis 2:8 and 2:19 means to “to form out of preexisting material” is an allusion to evolution.
2. The Genesis account should be considered poetic like Job or Psalms.
3. This view coincides with mainstream scientific thought.

WHY NOT
1. TE seems to contradict biblical passages that imply God’s intervention (Genesis 1:24-25, 1:27, 1:21)
2. It seems to contradict the biblical evidence that Adam was the historical first human being
3. Its beliefs were formed to align with science, which is continually changing.
4. It limits the Bible’s ability to speak on science

4. FW – The creation story of Genesis is meant to convey a message; the events are in a topical order, not chronological. The days are grouped in 3’s, the first three days are days of forming (light and dark/sky and seas/land and vegetation) and the last three days are days of filling (sun and moon/birds and sea creatures/land animals and humans). The story is not historical, and is meant to show that Adam, or man, is meant to be king of the Earth (psalm 8, read it) and that God is king of Creation. This viewpoint can fall in line with both OEC and TE perspectives.

WHY
1. (see OEC or TE support)
2. The parallelism between the days suggests poetry.
3. Moses probably wrote Genesis 1 as a polemic against idol worship by the Hebrews.

WHY NOT
1. The numbering of the days 1, 2, 3, etc imply chronology.
2. Dispute as to whether the Hebrews would have understood Genesis 1 in this manner.
3. It may limit the ability of the Bible to speak on science

Take a look at these websites for more information:
Young Earth Creationism
Old Earth Creationism
Theistic Evolution
Framework Interpretation

Think you have any other pros and cons to add? Go ahead and comment with them

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