Institute for Creation (Credulous) Research (Retards), PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voi

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

________________________________________________________________________ Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voice: (619) 448-0900 FAX: (619) 448-3469 ________________________________________________________________________ |||||| |||| |||| |||||||||| ||| |||||||| |||||||||| |||| ||||| ||||| |||| ||||| ||||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| |||||| |||||| |||| ||||| ||||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||||||||||||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||||||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| || |||| |||| ||||||||||||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||||| ||||| ||||| ||||| |||||| |||||| ||||||| |||| ________________________________________________________________________ No. 251 "Vital Articles on Science/Creation" May 1994 ________________________________________________________________________ Star Formation and Genesis 1 by James Stambaugh * Copyright (c) 1994 by I.C.R. All Rights Reserved * James Stambaugh, M.L.S., M.Div., is Librarian for the Institute for Creation Research. ________________________________________________________________________ Most astronomers accept the idea that stars form by gravitational collapse of a cloud of gas and dust, and that this process takes a minimum of 210,000 years.[1] The consensus is that it was the Big Bang that made all this possible. There are Christians who assert that the Bible can be harmonized with the Big Bang and this process of star formation.[2] Dr. Hugh Ross, an astronomer and minister, is the most prominent spokesman for this position. He postulates that the sun was formed before the earth and that it is wrong to view Genesis 1:14-19 as an account of the actual creation of the sun, moon, and stars. All God tD do was to clear the cloudy atmosphere so that these celestial objects simply "appeared"[3] or became visible. E. J. Young, a Hebrew scholar, takes the opposite view: 'That the heavenly bodies are made on the fourth day and that the earth had received light from a source other than the sun is not a naive conception, but is a plain and sober statement of the truth."[4] These interpretations are at odds with each other, so both cannot be true. At least one of them contradicts what God said in Genesis 1:14-19 concerning Day 4. God's Command Throughout the Genesis 1 narrative God speaks and something happens as a result. These commands are characterized by the wording: "Let there be ____." One such command appears in verse 3 (light); two in verse 6 (expanse and divided waters); two in verse 9 (waters gathered and appearance of dry ground); one in verse 11 (sprouting plants); one in verse 14 (luminaries); two in verse 20 (sea creatures and flying animals); one in verse 24 (land animals); and one in verse 26 (man). All, with the exception of one, are used in the sense of God speaking to His creation. In the exception, one gets the sense of one member of the Godhead speaking to the others: "Let us make man." This command (i.e.: "Let there be ____") is known as a _jussive_.[5] God used this command consistently in the first six instances to refer to something brought into existence that did not previously exist. Regardless of whatever these commands signify, _ex nihilo_ (out of nothing) or _de novo_ (something new), they represent a fundamental change in the object that is "created." One may wonder, since no clues in the text suggest another view, why in the command concerning the luminaries, Dr. Ross proposes something radically different: The sun, moon, and stars are mentioned on the fourth day, and the opening sentence for the fourth day uses the Hebrew word "hayah" -- "let there appear the sun, moon, and stars." So what the text is telling us is on the first day, the cloud layer was transformed from opaque to translucent so light could come through; on the fourth day, the clouds broke so that the observer on the surface of the ocean for the first time, could see the sun, moon, and stars.[6] If this is truly the correct interpretation, then this exceptional command on Day 4 would represent the only non-creative command God issued in Genesis 1. All the other commands, as even Dr. Ross notes, are a creation of something that was not in existence before the command. We should ask: What is so exceptional about this command that requires such a radically different interpretation? It would appear, from reading Genesis 1, that each of God's commands brought something into existence that did not previously exist! Hebrew Verb Construction While the Hebrew language may seem frightening to some, it really is not. The style of writing of Genesis 1 is historical, using the _waw-consecutive_ to express consecutive action (waw=and). Biblical historians use this style to: "express actions, events, or states, which are to be regarded as the temporal or logical sequence of actions, events, or states mentioned immediately before."[7] What this means for Genesis 1 is that God describes a sequence of events that occur one after the other throughout the creation week. We see this sequence reflected in the English as "And God said," "And there was," or "And it was," with which each verse in Genesis 1 begins. Each occurrence signifies that some action followed another in a real time sequence. This is very important as it relates to the events of Genesis 1. Francis Andersen observes: "A string of WP (waw-consecutive) clauses in narrative prose (historical) stages events as occurring in a time sequence one after another. It is implied that one is finished before the next begins, so it is possible to speak of the verbs as 'perfective' in aspect."[8] So the events of Genesis 1:14-19 have an opening waw-consecutive "And God said," and a closing pattern of waw-consecutives "and it was evening, and it was morning" separating the 4th day from the previous and subsequent commands God issued. The point for the interpreter is that each day in Genesis 1 must be a completed event! So God began His creation of the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4 and finished them on that same day. This also rules out the concept that the days may overlap in some manner. Appeared or Established If the syntax and context suggest that God created the sun, moon, and stars in Genesis 1:14-19, how do those who maintain that they were created earlier argue their case? Dr. Ross would suggest that a key word in this passage is _nathan_, which appears in Genesis 1:17 translated "set." Here is how he defines this word: "set; put; place; appoint; bring forth; apply; ascribe; cause to appear; show."[9] The word, _nathan_, does have a broad semantic range, as Dr. Ross observes. However, its usage falls under three basic categories: "give, put or set, make or constitute."[10] In Genesis 1, God is establishing or setting the functions of these celestial bodies. However one may view the definition of _nathan_, it is not used with the significance "cause to appear." The second word of importance is _hayah_. Dr. Ross defines this as "become; cause to appear or arise; cause to be made or done; come into existence; come to pass; make into something."[11] This word also has a wide semantic range, of which "to appear" is part. Yet, its basic meaning is one of existence: "It seems, however, that from the very outset, _hayah_ was used to refer to 'being' in the sense of 'exist, be present' and of 'come into being, happen'."[12] If "to appear," as the sense that Dr. Ross suggests, is the interpretation of _hayah_ in 1:14, then one must consistently apply this meaning in 1:3 (let light appear), and twice in 1:5 (let an expanse appear and let a dividing appear). These four occurrences must be interpreted in a consistent manner. But Dr. Ross does not do this. He interprets the word to mean "appearance" on Day 4, but interprets it to mean "come into existence, on all the other days.[13] The Stars "Made" Earlier? Those who believe that the stars were formed before Day 4 make a point from Hebrew syntax. Hebrew does not have a specific way of communicating a pluperfect tense. A pluperfect is: that which denotes that an action or event was completed before a given time. So, in Genesis 1:16, some would translate the first portion of the verse "now God had made the two great luminaries." The argument is that God made the stars before He created the earth, and now simply describes their function for the earth. Note Dr. Ross's explanation: Now you'd also see in the fourth day it uses the word _asah_ for the Sun, Moon, and stars, but it's in the past tense. God made -- past tense -- and it's in a parenthetical context after the _nathan_ usage. Which means that it could have been made any time before.... There is only one past tense in the Hebrew, you can't tell if its pluperfect or whatever.[14] The point is that if _made_ is pluperfect (i.e., had made) in verse 16, then it must be referring back to an earlier "making," but how much earlier? Some have proposed the events of verse 1 or verse 3, but it could just as well be simply referring back to verse 14. The word _made_ occurs two other times in Genesis 1. Each one could possibly be translated as a pluperfect, so if verse 16 is pluperfect, we would expect the others to be pluperfect also. But how does this effect our understanding of Genesis 1? The first occurrence is on the second day (verse 1:6), when God said "let there be an expanse." Then we see in verse 7, "and God made the expanse." This should then be translated "and God had made the expanse." But this seems unnatural and contradictory. The other occurrence is on Day 6 (verse 1:24), when God said, "let the earth bring forth living creatures." Then we see in verse 25 "and God made (or _had made_) the beasts of the earth." Yet even if we accept the pluperfect tense in these instances, they are simply pluperfect to the previous command. The uses of _made_ function as a description of what was accomplished as a result of His command. We can see this kind of function with other verbs in Genesis 1 that could be translated as pluperfects (verses 12, 21, and 27 are results of verses 11, 20, and 26). So what God _made_ in verse 16 is clearly intended to be the same as that which God spoke into existence in verse 14. To conclude that the pluperfect refers to a long-ago, unrelated event, introduces meaninglessness to Scripture, and introduces a concept totally foreign to what God is telling us! An Historical Interpretation It would be useful to gain some insight from an early church father, Theophilus. He differs greatly from the views of Dr. Ross and the modem cosmologists as he says: On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it.[15] It appears that Theophilus clearly understood the significance of this passage and would dispute current theories. We realize that when all the facts are discovered and rightly interpreted, science and Scripture will be in full agreement. Until that time, we must "take every thought captive" (II Corinthians 10:5) and make it obedient to Christ. The Bible is to be the standard for all thought! This means that we must not seek to insert foreign ideas into the Biblical text. Conclusion In the beginning of this article, we drew attention to two vastly different interpretations of Genesis 1:14-19. If current theories of the origin of the universe and star formation are correct, then the Bible is wrong. God did not say exactly how He created the stars, so we should attempt to build scientific models describing His actions, which utilize the best scientific data and that are consistent with Biblical revelation. The purpose of this article was to examine the Biblical data and determine what the Bible says about the creation of the stars. This article should be thought of as establishing a Biblical foundation upon which a scientific model can be built. References 1. R. Kippenhahn, _Stellar Structure and Evolution_ (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990), p. 260. 2. One can examine any of Hugh Ross's books to substantiate this point: _Genesis One: A Scientific Perspective_, revised edition (Sierra Madre, CA: Wiseman Productions, 1983); _The Fingerprint of God_, 2nd edition (Orange, CA: Promise Publishing Co., 1991), _The Creator and the Cosmos_ (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1993); _Creation in Time_ (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994). 3. Hugh Ross, _Genesis One_, p. 10. 4. E. J. Young, _Studies in Genesis One_ (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964), p. 95. 5. Bruce Waltke & M. O'Connon, _An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax_ (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 568. See E. Kautzsch, _Genesius' Hebrew Grammar_, 2nd edition revised by A. E. Cowley (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), p. 320. 6. Hugh Ross, _Resolving The Timescale Issues_, Creation/Evolution audio tape (Pasadena, CA: Reasons to Believe, 1990. 7. Kautzsch, _Genesius' Hebrew Grammar_, p. 326. 8. Francis Andersen, _The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew_ (The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1980), p. 87. See also Thomas J. Finley, "The WAW-Consecutive with 'Imperfect' in Biblical Hebrew," in _Tradition and Testament_, ed. by J. Feinberg (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), pp. 241-262. 9. Hugh Ross, _Word Studies in Genesis One_ (Pasadena, CA: Reasons to Believe, 1983), p. [3]. This is the same response he gave at a lecture: _Genesis One: An Ancient Earth -- Recent Man Interpretation_ (audio tape), 1989. He says that: "according to the lexicons _nathan_ has 36 definitions so it's not that well-defined a word. But you will see 'to set, to allow to appear' at the top of the list." 10. _Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament_, S. V. "Na~ta~n" by Milton C. Fisher, 2:608. 11. Ross, _Word Studies_, p. [2]. 12. _Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament_, S. V. "Ha~ya~h" by K. H. Bernhardt, 3:372. 13. Ross, _Genesis One_, p. 7. 14. Ross, _Genesis One: An Ancient Earth -- Recent Man Interpretation_, 1989 (tape 2). 15. Theophilus, _To Autolycus_ 2.4, Oxford Early Christian Texts, as cited in Louis Lavallee, "The Early Church Defended Creation Science' Impact 160 ICR _Acts & Facts_ (October 1986): ii. ________________________________________________________________________ This "Impact" was converted to ASCII, for BBS use, from the original formatted desktop article. Comments regarding typographical errors in the above material are appreciated. Don Barber, ICR Systems Administrator Fax: (619) 448-3469 All ICR staff members adhere to a Statement of Faith in the form of two documents: "Tenets of Scientific Creationism" and "Tenets of Biblical Creationism." (see Impact No. 85) ________________________________________________________________________ As a missionary organization, ICR is funded by God's people. The majority of its income is provided by individual donors who desire to proclaim God's truth about origins. Gifts can be designated for research, the graduate school, seminars, or any special part of the ICR ministry. All others will be used where most needed. We pledge to use them wisely and with integrity. If you would like to receive our free monthly newsletter "Acts & Facts," or our free quarterly devotional Bible-study booklet "Days of Praise," just request them by contacting ICR at (619) 448-0900. ________________________________________________________________________ We believe God has raised up ICR to spearhead Biblical Christianity's defense against the godless dogma of evolutionary humanism. Only by showing the scientific bankruptcy of evolution, while exalting Christ and the Bible, will Christians be successful in "the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4,5). Member, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability --- *** ---


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank