Teaching High School HomeSchoolers About Genesis 1

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Teaching High School HomeSchoolers About Genesis 1

GENESIS 1

If we interpret Genesis 1 in the light of what is actually there, we will find a very different picture than what has been proposed. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God created first of all an expanse and an earth – the word “heaven” means expanse. We seem to think of heaven as sun, moon and stars, but according to Genesis 1:14-17 the stars are hung in the heaven, or something we call space. Evidently before God began His creative activity, before Genesis 1, there was no such thing as space. God created space, mass and time to declare His power and Godhead.

In the beginning, then, God created this great expanse and the earth. In verse 2 He describes what the earth is like –“without form, and void.” In other words, it is empty and vain, unfinished, void of life, as described in Isaiah 45:18.“Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” According to this verse there is one body of water; earth or land exists, but a careful reading of the description in Genesis 1 indicates that land is completely covered by water. We may envision a rotating body of water shrouded in darkness in a vast expanse.

God then created light and divided it from the darkness. On Day 2 God divided the water from above the firmament and from under the firmament, establishing a unique atmosphere for the earth. On Day 3 God called the dry land out of the water. He let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and the dry land appeared. God called the dry land earth; the gathering together of the water he called seas. He now said, “Let the earth

[the dry land area] bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and fruit trees.”On Day 4 God divided His singular light source to create a sun and moon, now distributing that light source, forming stars and star groups as He created the heavens.

Then on Day 5 God created the fish of the sea and fowl that fly above the earth. On Day 6 He created cattle and creeping things. Also on the sixth day He created man, and after seeing that man was not complete, He created woman. At this point, when God finished all His creative activity, He pronounced it “very good.”

Those who argue for a gap theory say that Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” is evidence that people must have inhabited the earth prior to Genesis 1:26, 27. However, the word “replenish” in Hebrew means “fill” or “refill.” Even the English usage of “replenish” may indicate filling the first time. A proper translation would be “to fill” – simply fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air. This was God’s purpose for man.

According to Genesis 2, Adam was created full-grown and intelligent. The day of his creation he was able to walk through the Garden of Eden and name all the animals. In addition, the trees of the Garden were growing and giving fruit, though created only a few days before Adam. As Adam looked into the heavens, he could see the light shining from the stars. By stretching out the heavens (cf. Isaiah 44:24), God created the stars, and the light from the stars was visible on earth, giving the appearance that they had been shining for years, though created only two days before. Because all of God’s creation appeared originally in a mature form, showing evidence of age, we can account for much of the discrepancy between the age of the earth given by the Biblical account and the age as given by the evolutionist. Remember, Adam was created as a full-grown adult.

George Gaylord Simpson, a leading evolutionist, admits that if one grants the premise of the appearance of age, he could not disprove that the earth was created one second ago, in 4004 B.C., or four and a half billion years ago. However, the creationists assume that the earth was created with the appearance of age. God says He did just that: He created man full-grown, a universe perfectly functioning. True creation, unlike evolution, does not predicate a gradual development form the simple to the complex. As the Bible clearly illustrates, creation begins only with God’s eternal power and brings forth a mature product.

DETERMINING THE AGE OF THE EARTH

We now come to a major dilemma. If no gap exists between Genesis 1:1 & 1:2, thus denying the insertion of a long period of time, how do we solve the discrepancies concerning the age of the earth? Certainly there is a serious discrepancy between an age of four and a half billion years and an age of 6000 years. To place the problem in a figurative perspective, both evolutionist and creationist are examining a burning candle which is six inches high at the moment and burns at the rate of one inch per hour. The question is asked: how long has the candle been burning? In order to determine this, they need to know the length of the candle when it was lit. For instance, if the candle were originally eleven inches high, burning at the rate of one inch per hour, they can determine that it has been burning for five hours.

Two of the principal dating methods for obtaining the age of the earth are uranium-lead and thorium-lead, based on the half-life of uranium and thorium. These methods are used with rocks that contain uranium and thorium as well as other minerals. In order to explain this method let us assume that we have a rock which is completely uranium. Theory would state that in four and a half billion years, or the half-life of uranium, this rock would be half uranium and half lead – in four and a half billion years half of the uranium would turn into lead. We know the present amount of uranium, we know the present amount of lead, we know the present rate – but how long has this process been going on? Was it created in almost its present condition – half uranium and half lead? The evolutionist assumes that the rock was totally uranium in the beginning and has been decaying for four and a half billion years, with nothing ever changing its decay rate. Moreover, it is assumed that nothing has occurred to greatly affect the uranium and lead content of the rock. All things have remained constant.

Return to the illustration of the candle. Remember, it is six inches and burns at the rate of one inch per hour. One way to determine how long the candle has been burning is to measure the amount of carbon dioxide being expelled from the burning candle. If all of the carbon dioxide in the room were measured and we assumed that it all came from the candle, we could determine how long the candle had been burning.

What problem might we encounter? If someone were breathing in the room, and additional amount of carbon dioxide would be produced. Carbon dioxide, naturally present in the atmosphere, would also be in the room – as well as the carbon dioxide coming from the candle. Therefore, if we assume that all of the carbon dioxide in the room emanated from the candle, an age or length of time for the burning candle is going to be greater than the actual time the candle has been burning. Our dilemma is clear: the amount of carbon dioxide coming from the candle, from breathing and from the atmosphere cannot be separated. Since all carbon dioxide from all three sources is identical, it cannot be traced to its origin.

Lead is found in its natural state in the earth and is also present from the decay of uranium. By looking at lead you could not determine if it were naturally present or the product of the decay process. Unless you can separate the two, you cannot really judge the length of the decay process. Assuming that all of the lead in the earth came as a result of decay, you might come up with an age of four and half billion years for the earth. But let us return to the example of the candle. As the candle burns and decays, it gives off a certain amount of carbon dioxide, but it also emits a secondary by-product – wax drippings. No wax is naturally present in the room where the candle is burning, so we can be quite sure that all of the wax drippings came from the candle. But then we must ask “Did the candle always burn at the same rate?”

If it did burn at the same rate from beginning to end, we could measure the wax drippings and determine very accurately how long the candle has been burning. By comparison, as uranium in rocks decays into lead, it gives off a secondary by-product, helium. At the present rate of formation the total amount of radiogenic helium in the earth today can be accounted for within the last 12,000 years. Efforts to demonstrate that helium can escape the atmosphere seem futile since helium is being added to the atmosphere by the solar wind. This means that it is totally impossible for the earth to be four and a half billion years old on the basis of the uranium-lead and thorium-lead dating systems, for there simply is not enough helium, enough by-product present.

Using the helium method, measuring the other by-product of uranium decay instead of lead, one finds that it gives an earth-age of something like 12,000 years – if one assumes there is no helium to start with. But helium is a basic element, and so its natural presence would move the earth-age date to an even younger age.

There are other ways of looking at the uranium-lead and thorium-lead dating systems. In some rocks natural lead is not present, as evidenced by the absence of lead 204. Yet lead 208 exists in these rocks without the parent element thorium. Now it is impossible to have a daughter element without a parent element, at least if it is a by-product of some decay system. Yet at times we find lead 208 with very little or no thorium. This causes some scientists, such as Dr. Melvin Cook, a Ph.D. from Yale, to examine the system. He was curious about the ratio of nitrogen 14 and nitrogen 15 in the atmosphere which is different from the ratio of nitrogen 14 and nitrogen 15 in certain uranium-thorium minerals containing lead isotopes but not lead 204. Because lead is a very active element in nuclear reactions and would pick up fast neutrons freely, Dr. Cook compiled some calculations on fast neutron capture to indicate that the actual process was as follows: uranium was not decaying into lead, but lead 206 gained a neutron and became lead 207 which in turn gained a neutron and became lead 208. This discovery clearly resolved all the discrepancies between nitrogen 14 and nitrogen 15 ratios. Furthermore, this is the most logical way one can account for lead 208 being found in rocks without thorium, the parent element. According to Dr. Cook’s calculations the uranium to lead system would give a zero age for the earth. These calculations show that the hands of this clock have not moved. When we consider the effects of the helium method gives a maximum age of 12,000 years, we can see there is strong evidence that the earth is very young.

Another method of dating, a little more accurate and easier to deal with, is carbon 14, a radioactive substance which possesses a half-life of 5570 years. It is estimated that a certain constant number of carbon 14 atoms are being produced each year in the upper atmosphere. When the total amount of carbon 14 atoms in the earth has built up to the point where the number of carbon 14 atoms decomposing in one year is equal to the number of carbon 14 atoms being produced in the upper atmosphere, then equilibrium will be reached. This process should take only 30,000 years, and since most evolutionists feel that the earth is older than 30,000 years, it is assumed that equilibrium has been reached. Yet it is now admitted by scientists that only enough decomposing carbon 14 atoms can be found to account for the system being two-thirds of the way to equilibrium. This means that the atmosphere is much younger than 30,000 years in age. If we agree only with the known measurements established by Libby and others who invented the method, we find that there is a non-equilibrium model (the rate of formation of carbon 14 in the upper atmosphere is still greater than the amount of decay)which can be used to correct for the assumption that equilibrium has been reached. All carbon 14 dates which have been published in the science journals can be telescoped to within the last 4000 years by this non-equilibrium model, and a maximum age for the earth of 11,500 years is established. At least that is the maximum age for the earth’s atmosphere, and it would be hard to conceive of the earth existing without an atmosphere. Carbon 14 certainly has a half-life which is commensurate with a young age for the earth and seems to be a reasonable dating method when it has been properly calibrated.

When we examine what the scientists have to say, rather than taking their word at face value, and compare it with the Bible, we find that there is no need to stretch out the days of creation, no need to formulate a gap between Genesis 1:1 & 1:2. If we are willing to stand behind what the Bible affirms – that God created the heavens and the earth by His power in six literal days, as He says He did – our position can be supported by the actual facts of science. There is no known discrepancy which would disprove Biblical statements. Antithetical proposals are simply the assumptions of men who choose not to believe in God and who are trying to document the development of animals and plants apart from God. They wish to rely on natural processes rather than upon any supernatural force. The evolutionary position is held by faith. How much better to place our faith in a Biblical position of a supernatural God, who has the power and the authority to accomplish what He says He did.

By |April 3rd, 2015|Bible Studies for HomeSchoolers|Comments Off on Teaching High School HomeSchoolers About Genesis 1

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