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What Does the Bible Say About..Time and Creation?

When talking about evolution, you said, "That said, I believe that the Bible is true and consistent. Therefore, I must believe that macroevolution is wrong because of its insistence on vast time periods to develop the various classifications of life. If God created in seven days of twenty-four hours each, that necessarily means that man and the dinosaurs came about within days of fish and birds. Of course, there are some who want to believe that God created the initial cells and let evolution run its course, but that requires them to mythologize the Bible." My question is, why can Genesis not be symbolic, like Revelations? That those real times are symbolic of actually thousands of years. Mans seven day week is less than a blink in time.


There are several reasons that we cannot interpret Genesis as symbolic, like the Revelation. The most obvious reason would be that the Revelation is written in a style that is clearly symbolic, while Genesis is written in a style that is very straightforward. If Genesis told about a lamb with a sword coming out of his mouth or a woman on a seven-headed beast it might be different. Instead Genesis tells a story as if it is true. If you say the first three chapters are merely symbolic, then the whole book must be rejected as history. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become mere symbols. Historical narratives cannot be interpreted as historical narratives. If this is true of Genesis, then it is true of any book of the Bible. The gospels would then be symbolic rather than a true biography of Jesus. Nothing would be what it seems. In fact, if you can interpret Genesis 1 symbolically, what would keep you from interpreting the Revelation (or Ezekiel or Daniel) literally? You would have to expect a beast to kill a full third of the population of the earth with one swipe of his tail.

A second reason to take it literally is that if you don’t then you have to reject most of the New Testament. Jesus took Genesis literally. (Matthew 19:4-6) Paul bases several arguments on a literal interpretation of Genesis. (Romans 5:12-19) That just leaves the books of Hebrews, James, Peter, Judas, and possibly John, and even those become suspect. Essentially, if you reject Genesis as being what it claims to be, you have to reject the Bible.

A third reason is the establishment of Sabbath for the Jewish nation. “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:10-11) If they were not seven literal days, why would God set aside a literal day as if they were? God here equates the days of the week to the days of creation. It appears to be a one-to-one correspondence, not a many-to-one.

One web site I have recently visited argues for the literal truth of the Genesis account. One of the points one of the authors on that site makes is that an interpretation that allows for evolution over long periods of time requires one to believe that death came before sin. The Bible says it is a consequence of sin. You can’t have it both ways. Either Genesis is symbolic and sin is irrelevant (and therefore the death of Jesus is irrelevant) or Genesis is true and there was no death before Adam and Eve sinned (and no long periods of evolutionary time).