Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
Published May 2006
In this chapter, DeYoung summarizes the work of Steven Boyd concerning how to properly interpret Genesis.
THE GENESIS ACCOUNT OF CREATION
As is typical with any young earth creationist interpretation of the different positions one may take with regards to creation, Boyd (and DeYoung) show that they do not understand the old earth creationist position. They describe three different possible positions of belief in Genesis. First, some believe it is not accurate scientifically, and they believe the Bible is simply wrong (the atheists). The second group believes Genesis is poetry, and not necessarily history. The third and final group believes Genesis is a literal, truthful account of creation. It is to this group that the young earth creationists belong. However, it also contains all the old earth progressive creationists, like Dr. Hugh Ross and myself, and some theistic evolutionists as well. I'm certain the authors did not intend this, but that is the truth. DeYoung does mention that this group believes in 24-hour creation days. Since many old earth creationists are literalists, DeYoung does not speak for everyone who is a literalist, and in making such a claim, he shows his ignorance of old earth creationism.
This is a matter of omission, I believe. DeYoung and other YECs are smart people, and thus they must realize that one can be a Christian, and believe in a literal translation, and an old earth. They do not, however, what this to become public knowledge, for they fear some of their own young earth creationists may abandon them for a more rational, scientific position.
Because this chapter focuses on history vs. poetry, and because old earth progressive creationists believe just as young earth creationists do, this chapter has no implications with progressive creationism. Some theistic evolutionists, who are non-literalists, would be affected by the discussions in this chapter. Because this chapter says little against old earth belief, the review will be short.
NARRATIVE AND POETRY DEFINED
This section describes the difference between narrative and poetry. Nothing here of interest for the old earth believer, unless you are a non-literalist theistic evolutionist.
HEBREW VERB FORMS
This section presents little of interest to the old earth creationist.
PAIRED SCRIPTURE TEXTS
This section deals with narrative versus poetry in more depth, analyzing several passages of Scripture to show the difference to the reader.
SAMPLING AND VISUALIZATION OF TEXTS
DeYoung throws out some impressive numbers meant to show the exhaustive nature of this study. The idea is to make this look like a scientific analysis of this issue. While this is good stuff, it hardly fits with the name of the group, which is Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth.
APPLICATION OF STATISTICS
The RATE authors came up with a statistical model for examining whether or not a story is poetry or narrative.
HISTORICAL FICTION VERSUS NONFICTION
The authors refer to other stories in the Old Testament as literal history, to which I agree, as will most old earth creationists.
THE MEANING OF GENESIS 1:1 - 2:3
The RATE group concludes that: 1) it is not possible to interpret the creation account as poetry or metaphor; 2) since Genesis 1:1-2:3 are narrative, it should be read as other Hebrew narratives are read, and 3) when it is read as narrative, "there is only one tenable view: God created everything during six literal days." As a progressive creationist, I can agree with all these statements. The last statement refers to six literal days, but does not address the length of those days. Clearly, the young earth author is inferring a 24-hour day, but it could be a "day" to God, which could be billions of years. Or, the "day" could represent a literal amount of time which refers to specific acts within the creation story. Just because it is "literal" does not mean that it must be a 24-hour day...millions of progressive creationists testify to this fact!
While I agree that Genesis is literal, one final caveat must be given. One must be cautious of young earth methods of Biblical interpretation. They have a history of inventing rules to support their viewpoint...rules which do not exist in Hebrew. For instance, the use of an ordinal with the word "yom" (day) always signifies a 24-hour day, is an example of an invented rule. Hebrew experts, who are young earth creationists, accept this rule, but old earth creationist Hebrew experts do not. Therefore, when dealing with Hebrew, take the words of young earth creationists with a grain of salt.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
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about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
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Can You Be A
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