Was the World Created in Seven Days

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embellishment

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The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, has always held a particular fascination for me.

In this video, John Lennox challenges us to dig deeper into the creation account detailed in the Book of Genesis. I find John very easy to listen to and his intelligence and sense of humour really come through in the video.

SEVEN DAYS THAT DIVIDE THE WORLD

The video is long. But it is time well spent if you enjoy being challenged to think though what can be a difficult and challenging topic.

For those who prefer to read rather than to listen, here are the Amazon links to John’s book from which the above lecture was adapted:

Seven Days That Divide the World, by John Lennox (Available from Amazon.com)

Seven Days that Divide the World, by John Lennox (Available from Amazon.ca)

Here is a review (chosen for its brevity and conciseness) of the book posted on Amazon.ca by Paul R. Bruggink.

This book primarily makes a biblically based case for an old earth, or at least that the Bible does not preclude an old earth. The book begins with a well-developed analogy between the current young-earth/old earth debate and the 17th century fixed earth/moving earth debate.

He concludes this portion of the book with a final lesson from the Galileo affair: “The Galileo incident teaches us that we should be humble enough to distinguish between what the Bible says and our interpretations of it.

The biblical text might just be more sophisticated than we first imagined, and we might therefore be in danger of using it to support ideas that it never intended to teach.

The Bible could be understood to teach that the earth was fixed. But it does not have to be understood that way. At least, Galileo thought so in his day, and history has subsequently proved him right.” (p. 35)

Lennox continues the analogy with the fixed-earth controversy: “There we saw that, although Scripture could be understood as teaching that the earth did not move, that was not the only logically possible interpretation.

Here we see that, although Scripture could be understood as teaching that the earth is young, it does not have to be interpreted in this way.” (p. 53)

Along the way, he makes a number of points, including “it is Scripture that is inspired and not my particular understanding of it” and the importance of distinguishing between the facts and how to interpret them.

Lennox has a nice, brief summary of the three main interpretations of the days of Genesis 1: the 24-hour view, the day-age view, and the framework view. He then presents his case for the fiat days view, a variation of the day-age view in which “the six creation days themselves could well have been days of normal length … in which God acted to create something new, … spaced out at intervals over the entire period of time that God took to complete his work.”

He also has a brief discussion of the four different meanings of the Hebrew word yom (day) in Genesis 1 & 2, and the obligatory discussion of death before Adam’s sin.

The book has five appendices which cover (1) the relationship of the Genesis account of creation with other Ancient Near East accounts, (2) John Walton’s functional interpretation of Genesis (in which he disagrees with Walton’s insistence that Genesis 1 has nothing to do with the material origin of the universe), (3) the beginning according to Genesis and science (the Big Bang), (4) the two accounts of creation (Genesis 1 & 2), and (5)a 28-page discussion of his views on theistic evolution.

In this discussion, Lennox comments on the versions of theistic evolution described by Francis Collins, Michael Behe, Simon Conway Morris, and Denis Alexander.

While he accepts biological evolution, he makes a case for the special creation of Adam and Eve as another intervention (singularity) in history, along with the Big Bang, life from nonlife, the Incarnation and the Resurrection. He winds up by suggesting that, just as science and the Bible have converged on the beginning of the universe, science and the Bible may also converge on the origin of life.

All in all, this is a very worthwhile book, both for non-Christians who has been put off by the young earth creationism of some Christians and for Christians “who are disturbed not only by the controversy but also by the fact that even those who take the Bible seriously do not agree on the interpretation of the creation account.”

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