Different Views of Genesis 1 and 2

Is Genesis History? Are the early chapters of Genesis a historical account? By “history,” we simply mean that the events recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis actually occurred in reality. To borrow a phrase from the late Francis Schaeffer, the events in Genesis occurred in real “space and time.” It is beyond our aim to give a robust case for why the events in Genesis are true. The aim of this paper is to identify what the author intended when he wrote these accounts. Did he intend them to be accurate accounts of the past? We think so.

Did Genesis Borrow the Creation and Flood from Mesopotamian Myths? Several ancient Near Eastern mythologies predate the Hebrew Scriptures by several centuries, containing many similarities with Genesis. Consequently, critical scholars argue that Genesis copied from these creation and flood mythologies.

Theistic Evolution: A Critical Evaluation Theistic evolution (or “evolutionary creationism”) is the view that God created everything—from molecules to modern people—through completely natural processes. How does this integrate with biblical theology?

Young Earth Creationism: Is it the ONLY View? Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is the view that God created the universe in six, consecutive, and literal 24-hour days. By adding together the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11, they date the age of humans (and thus the universe) anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Is this the only way to interpret the early chapters of Genesis?

Young Earth Creationism: A Biblical Evaluation Do the genealogies of Genesis date the age of the Earth? Does the Hebrew word “day” (yôm) always refer to a 24-hour period of time? Does the Hebrew word “day” (yôm) refer to a long age of time in Genesis 1? Does “evening and morning” require a 24-hour period of time? Does Exodus 20:9-11 require that the days of Genesis were 24-hour periods?

Young Earth Creationism: A Scientific Evaluation What is the scientific evidence for an old Earth and an even older Universe? To put this frankly, the evidence is overwhelming, and it comes from several independent fields of scientific study.

Old Earth Creation: Day-Age, Analogical Days, and Intermittent Days Old Earth Creation holds to the current scientific consensus regarding the age of the Earth (4.5 billion years), as well as the age of the universe (13.7 billion years). However, Old Earth Creation is a broad term. Technically, everything other than Young Earth Creation would fit within this view. For clarity, we will consider several prominent forms of Old Earth Creation that distinguish it from the other views: Day-Age, Analogical Day, and Intermittent Day interpretations.

Gap Theory Interpretation Gap Theory is also called the Ruin-Restitution Theory or the Recreation View. As the name suggests, this view holds that there is a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. How much time transpired? Scripture doesn’t say, but most gap theorists agree with the standard ages of the universe and the Planet Earth. During this gap of time, the Earth “became” formless and void. Gap theorists often claim that this was a divine judgment—perhaps caused by the fall of Satan. Genesis 1:3 and following describe God’s recreation of the world (or perhaps a local region).

Creation of the Promised Land John Sailhamer holds to a view which he calls “historical creationism,” or what we might call the “Creation of the Promised Land.” Put simply, everything after Genesis 1:2 describes the preparation—not the creation—of the Promised Land for human beings.

Literary Framework Interpretation This perspective holds that Genesis 1 is arranged around a literary framework. Thus Genesis 1 explains God’s creation topically—not sequentially or chronologically.

Revelatory Day Interpretation The Six-Day Revelatory Interpretation states that God revealed how he created the universe to Moses over the course of a literal week—not that he actually created the universe in a literal week. Proponents of this view include P.J. Wiseman, Donald J. Wiseman, and Bernard Ramm.

Days of Divine Fiat Interpretation From this perspective, the six days of creation refer to God’s perspective from heaven—not Earth. While God announced his decree over six consecutive 24-hour days in heaven, the results took place over indeterminate periods of time on Earth. According to Hayward, God’s commands are followed by parentheses, explaining the effect on Earth.

Functional Interpretation of Genesis: A Critical Evaluation of John Walton John Walton is the premier proponent of the Functional View of creation, though Dennis Venema (a biologist) and Scot McKnight (a NT scholar) also share this perspective. According to this view, Genesis 1 does not describe the origin of material things, but rather their order and function.

Genesis as Mytho-History: A Critical Evaluation of William Lane Craig’s Thesis Recently, Dr. William Lane Craig has argued that Genesis 1-11 is primarily in the genre of “mytho-history.” What does he mean by this, and what should we think of his proposal?