Volume 12 - Issue 2
Some scientific issues related to the understanding of Genesis 1–3By Ernest Lucas
This article was first presented as a paper to the Old Testament Group of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research in Cambridge. Dr Lucas was a research chemist for seven years, and is now Director of Studies at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
Although the title of this paper is, ‘Some scientific issues related to the understanding of Genesis 1–3’, I think that I must begin with a theological issue. This is, ‘Is it ever right to take scientific issues into account when seeking to understand Genesis 1–3, or any other part of Scripture?’ This question is raised by Professor Blocher in his study In The Beginning,1 and his answer is a qualified ‘No’. He says, ‘We must curb the desire to make the scientific view play a part in the actual interpretation; the interpretation must cling solely to the text and its context’.2 My first reaction on reading this was to agree with it, but on reflection I began to have doubts. Blocher himself admits that the sciences of language and history are in fact used as tools for interpretation. I would add that they are indispensible tools. Why should it be different when it comes to using the findings of the natural sciences? I cannot see that there is any difference in principle involved here. If there is not, then I think that we must widen my original question to ask, ‘Is it right to take the results of extra-biblical study into account when interpreting Scripture?’ Once we do that it is clear that the answer is, ‘Yes’—unless we define biblical study so widely that it includes not only learning OT Hebrew and NT Greek but also the study of the archaeology, culture, history and geography of the Ancient Near East in biblical times. But why stop there? Surely the natural history of Bible lands should be included too, so opening the door to the natural sciences. If their findings impinge on any part of Scripture, surely they should be taken into account? If this is agreed, we then need to ask what principles might govern the use of extra-biblical knowledge in biblical interpretation. I am going to take a short cut here and simply take my stand with one of the outstanding Christian exegetes, John Calvin. Although critical of pagan thinking and convinced that the fallenness of man includes his intellect, Calvin did not disavow the use of extra-biblical knowledge in exegesis even when it came from non-Christian sources. It seems to me that there are three principles which governed his attitude to, and use of, such knowledge. These are not ad hoc principles but flow from his theology.
Scripture and truth
Calvin’s doctrine of ‘common grace’ led him to conclude that all truth is God’s truth and that the light of truth still shines even in the heathen. Hence he says, ‘If we hold the Spirit of God to be the only source of truth, we will neither reject nor despise the truth, wherever it may reveal itself, lest we offend the Spirit of God’.3 One of the reasons why Blocher is hesitant to admit the use of scientific findings in exegesis is a desire to protect the authority of Scripture. However, the authority of Scripture is really the authority of God the Spirit who inspired it. Calvin is asserting, I think rightly, that all truth is inspired by the Spirit and has his authority. It does not compromise the authority of Scripture to recognize this. Blocher is aware of this argument and responds to it by saying that the truths of nature are grasped by us in a fallible manner, whereas in the Bible we have truth expressed infallibly. My reply to this is that the distinction is an unreal one. There is in science, as in any discipline, a core of well-established facts which can be relied upon with confidence when interpreting Scripture. Where Blocher’s caution is valid is when one steps beyond this core into the realm of heavily theory-laden facts and theories proper. Also, whilst the Bible gives us truth infallibly expressed, we grasp that truth fallibly, and anything that will help us to understand it more clearly is to be welcomed.
Scripture is for all
Calvin held strongly to the Reformation doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture, its accessibility to everyone. This led him to what has been called the doctrine of accommodation. The language of the Bible is ‘adapted … to common usage’4 because the Holy Spirit ‘would rather speak childishly than unintelligibly to the humble and unlearned’.5 Calvin even accepts that there are what he calls ‘vulgar errors’ in the Bible.6 By this he means that the writers sometimes express themselves in time-bound concepts of their day which later knowledge shows to have been mistaken. Hooykaas points out that there is here in the idea of the divine word veiled in human words a parallel with the doctrine of the Divine Word becoming man in Jesus.7
The doctrine of accommodation is extended by Calvin beyond the question of the way truth is expressed in the Bible to the question of the subjects covered. Because the Bible is ‘a book for laymen’, he says, ‘He who would learn astronomy and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere’.8 He therefore refused to join those who used the Bible to attack the newly emerging astronomical ideas of his day.9
If one accepts the doctrine of accommodation one can suggest that one use of the findings of science in interpretation might be to determine when the language of the Bible is ‘adapted to common usage’. This will prevent some statements being taken in a woodenly literal way when they should not be. An example of this use of science is found in Calvin’s comment on Gn. 1:16.10 Some exegetes of his day insisted that this verse teaches that the sun and moon are the two largest heavenly bodies. Against this Calvin argues that since the astronomers had shown that Saturn is larger than the moon, and only looks smaller because of its distance from us, the language here is simply that of appearance. Things are expressed by the Holy Spirit in the way that the common person sees them to be in nature without the aid of telescope and calculator.
Scripture and Christ
There is a second reason why Calvin refused to use the Bible as a source text for scientific knowledge of a specialist kind. This is his belief that the primary purpose of the study of the Bible is to know God in Christ. Thus he says, ‘We ought to read the Scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them. Whoever shall turn aside from this object, though he may weary himself throughout his whole life in learning, will never attain the knowledge of the truth.’11
So to conclude this section I want to suggest that we should follow Calvin and accept gratefully, as God-given, all truth, from whatever source, that might aid us in understanding Scripture. This must be used with care, especially discriminating between reliable facts and theories or opinions. We should accept too his caution that since the Bible is written for the lay person using common idioms and concepts, and with the aim of presenting Christ to us, we do well not to drag it into scientific disputes. Thirdly, we should, like him, have the humility to accept that the findings of the scientists might sometimes help us by pointing out places where the Holy Spirit has made use of ‘common usage’ or ‘vulgar error’ to express the truth.
Let me illustrate these conclusions briefly by a non-controversial example. It is easy for us to conclude that the medieval scholars who opposed Copernicus on the basis of a few verses, mainly from the Psalms, were being stupid. After all, poetic language is to be taken figuratively, isn’t it? Well, is it? It is true that poetry uses a much higher proportion of figurative language than does prose, but not every statement in poetry is figurative. We need some means of deciding when it is figurative. Often it is simply a matter of common sense, as when we read of the hills singing and the trees clapping their hands.12 But what of statements about the sun moving through the heavens and the earth being immovable?13 Common sense would suggest that these are literal statements. It is only acceptance of the scientific evidence for a helio-centric view of the solar system that leads us to say that this is the language of appearance and that we need not take it literally, even if the original author would have done. To this we can add the consideration that it is not the Bible’s purpose to teach us astrophysics anyway.
We must now turn to the scientific considerations that are meant to be the main topic of this paper. In view of what I have already said about the use of scientific information when interpreting the Bible, my intention here is primarily to indicate the boundary between fact and theory in areas that might impinge on the understanding of Gn. 1–3.
The age of the earth
Until the late 18th century it was widely held that the genealogies in Genesis implied that the earth was created c. 6,000 years ago. However, developments in geology and astronomy between c. 1750 and 1850 led nearly all educated people, including Christians, to accept that the earth is much older than this, probably millions of years old.14 It is important to note that this issue was settled in most people’s minds well before the issue of Darwinism arose. It is only in the last 25 years or so that a significant number of Christians have once again tried to argue for a ‘young’ earth. It seems to me that the evidence for the earth being very old is very convincing. Here I can give only a few examples:15
(1) Seasonal factors such as rainfall and the amount of plant debris carried down by rivers mean that the clay deposits laid down at the bottom of lakes or seas are built up in a series of distinguishable annual layers which can be counted like tree rings. The Green River shale deposits in the mid-western USA contain several million such layers.16 Moreover, the thickness of these layers shows a 111/2-year cycle, which correlates with the well-known rainfall cycle due to the sunspot cycle. Clearly this rock was several million years in the making, and so the earth must be at least that old.
(2) According to radioactive dating methods, the oldest rocks on earth are nearly 4,000 million years old. Much the same date is found for the oldest moon rocks and meteorites. Radiometric dating is not free from problems. Scientists are well aware of this and so are continually investigating possible causes of error and how to avoid them.17 Unfortunately, ‘young earth’ advocates tend to seize on their admissions of discordant results without giving due consideration to the explanations for them. For example, Creation News 33 (Spring 1979) carries an article on the Rb/Sr dating method which reprints a data table from a paper in Science (1976) showing discordant results found by this method for some igneous rocks, and claims that this is evidence that the method does not work. The main point of the original paper is dismissed in a sentence: ‘The authors of the paper explain the errors[!] as being due to varying degrees of inheritance of source area radiometric age characteristics for material which has been transported by plutonic or volcanic processes.’ I do not know whether that makes sense to you! It almost seems like an attempt to smother in jargon the very credible explanation of the discordances given in the paper. This is that whilst still molten, the igneous rock had picked up pieces of the older rock over which it flowed without completely melting them. These were then incorporated into the new rock as it solidified. The discordant ages were given by these older, foreign, intrusions. The point of the paper is not that the Rb/Sr method is useless, but that inclusions of older rocks in lava flow must be looked for so that it is clear what is being dated. It was irresponsible, to say the least, of the author of the Creation News article not to make this clear. Unfortunately this is not an isolated example of such handling of material by proponents of a ‘young earth’ theory.
(3) The stars are like controlled H-bombs. The composition, mass and temperature of some are measurable. Using this data and current knowledge of nuclear physics, astrophysicists can estimate the ages of stars. The oldest in our galaxy come out at about 10,000 million years.18 This is in good agreement with the age of the earth (which would have formed some time after the galaxy), being c. 4,000 million years.
(4) Spectroscopic studies of the galaxies show that we are 3 living in an expanding universe. The available evidence c supports the view that this expansion is due to an original ‘Big Bang’ which happened some 15,000 million years ago.19 Again this is a reasonable figure in view of the probable age of our galaxy.
It is important to note that the four dating methods I have mentioned are all quite independent of each other. This increases one’s confidence in them when the results they give are consistent with each other.
In the light of this kind of evidence I think that only two options are open: acceptance that the earth is as old as it indicates, or acceptance of the postulate put forward by Philip Gosse20 in the mid-19th century, that God created the earth with an appearance of age. However, if the latter view is to be held consistently one cannot decry the accuracy of scientifically derived dates for rocks, etc., nor should one look for evidences of a ‘young’ earth. To do this would imply that God had been inconsistent or incompetent in his act of creation. The true age of the earth could then only be known by revelation—as Gosse believed it was in Genesis.
The origin of life
Although Darwin did not claim to explain the origin of life itself, only the origin of species, it has become almost axiomatic today among evolutionary biologists that the first living cell arose on earth by a gradual, natural process. This is referred to as pre-biotic or chemical evolution.21 This is not the place to attempt a critique of the theories propounded in this area, especially as a good one is available in Faith & Thought (1982).22 All that I want to do is to point out that whilst some chemists have been busy trying to think up ways in which the complex molecules that are essential to life might have been produced on the primitive earth, some mathematicians have been busy calculating the probabilities of such a thing happening by chance even if the conditions were ideal for the necessary chemical reactions. The problem that is being addressed here is that the complex molecules are built up of sub-units that have to be arranged in particular ways and not just haphazardly. Professors Hoyle and Wickramasinghe conclude that the chance of the most important proteins needed for life arising by chance is about 1 in 1040,000, i.e. the odds against are 1 followed by 40,000 zeros, which would take you a few hours and some 40 pages to write out!23 Faced with this virtual impossibility, they conclude that life could not have arisen on earth but must have come here from space. The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist F. Crick has also come to the same conclusion.24 Crick believes that, given the whole universe as a laboratory, life probably arose somewhere by chance and spread to earth. Hoyle and Wick-ramasinghe are driven to conclude, reluctantly, that there must have been a creative intelligence at work which brought life into being and guided its spread throughout the universe.
Other mathematicians have done similar computations of the probabilities of an original living cell evolving into a complex creature by random mutation. Again the odds against this are astronomical.25 Most recently, Professor H. S. Lipson ends his studies of this matter with the reluctant conclusion that evolution cannot be a chance process and that the only alternative is to postulate a Creator.26
Now I am not suggesting that Christians should seize on these calculations as proof that there must be a Creator. I am simply pointing out that the widely held assumption that life could have arisen spontaneously on earth by normal chemical processes is no more than a dubious assumption.
In anti-evolutionary writings one sometimes finds statements such as the following: ‘Fossils are used as the only key for placing rocks in chronological order. The criterion for assigning fossils to specific places in that chronology is the assumed evolutionary progression of life; the assumed evolutionary progression is based on the fossil record so constructed. The main evidence for evolution is the assumption of evolution!’27 This is quite unfair. The first person to develop the technique of using fossils to establish the relative dates of rock strata was William Smith in the late 18th century. He was a creationist. He built up the first ‘geologic column’—a sequence of fossil forms—before Darwin was born and when evolution was not an issue. He realized that certain fossils always occurred together. Moreover, in places where several undisturbed strata lay one on top of another, the different fossil groups always appeared in the same order. It is true that in any one place only a part of the geologic column is attested, but it is not too difficult to build up the whole picture. If in one place the sequence of fossil types is ABCDEFG, and in another it is FGHIJK, and in a third it is IJKLM, and so on, one can quite reasonably deduce the whole sequence. This was firmly established and in use as a means of dating rocks in relation to one another well before Darwin propounded his views.
If one accepts the reliability of radioactive dating of rocks and couples this with the fossil record, one is led to the conclusion that life has a long history on this planet. Moreover, it is a history in the course of which the forms of life have become increasingly complex. Amongst the animals the overall fossil sequence is: simple invertebrates→more complex invertebrates→vertebrates. Amongst the vertebrates it is: fish→amphibians→reptiles→mammals. This much I take as fact. When we try to explain how the fossil record came to have this form we enter the realm of theory. In chapter 10 of The Origin of Species Darwin admits that whilst the fossil record seems at first sight to imply a process of evolution, it also poses some problems. He mentions two: the absence of transitional forms between the separate species, genera, etc., and the sudden appearance of several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom in the earliest fossiliferous rocks. His only real answer to these problems was that the study of fossils was still a fairly young science and that as more and more fossils came to light the missing links would appear to close the gaps. 130 years later the situation has hardly changed. A recent defender of Neo-Darwinism says, ‘There are now some cases in which evolutionary change can be seen in the fossil record. A few dozen could be listed. But the most striking thing about them is their rarity’.28 He can only echo Darwin’s hope that in the future the picture will improve.
The near absence of transitional forms has led to modified evolutionary theories which postulate periods of rapid and marked change.29 It is also the basis of ‘Age-day’ creationism and Progressive Creationism.30
The origin of Man
I have neither the time nor the expertise to discuss the question of the relationship of the various fossil hominoids and hominids to one another and to modern homo sapiens.31 I simply want to make three points.
The first is simple yet important. It is that there is no dispute over the fact that modern man forms a single species. This, of course, is in accord with the biblical claims.
The second point is that it is quite clear that homo sapiens has a great deal in common not only with the primates, or even the mammals, but also with the whole animal kingdom. In fact the fundamental biochemical processes of life are much the same in a yeast cell as in a human cell.32 Creationists see this similarity as evidence of a single creative mind at work. Theistic evolutionists agree, but add that the combination of similarity and difference suggests that this mind worked through a unified evolutionary process.33 The continuity between humans and animals may be relevant to understanding the biblical statements that Adam as well as the other living creatures was brought into being from the dust of the earth.
My third point is another obvious one, yet it sometimes gets lost in the heat of debate. This is the question of how one defines ‘Man’. Prehistoric anthropologists of necessity use such criteria as skeletal structure, brain shape and size, evidence of use of tools, other evidence of culture, etc. The biblical definition is clear, if not simple: Man is the one creature, male and female, that bears the image of God. Theologians are not fully agreed as to just what this means, but there seems general agreement that it implies the ability to relate to God in a personal way.34 I do not see how this ability could leave any definitive fossil evidence, and so attempts to correlate Adam and Eve with any particular fossil hominids would seem fruitless. There is, however, one approach that I find interesting and fairly convincing, though not without problems. This is Pearce’s cultural approach.35 He argues that the culture depicted for Adam and Eve and their sons is that of New Stone Age people, and that the geographical region where Eden is placed is in the area where this culture arose some 10,000 years ago. Pearce regards Adam and Eve as the result of a divinely engineered genetic change. As a result they stood in a line of physical continuity with their predecessors, but on the supra-physical level something new was introduced by divine fiat. This, of course, is not a scientifically testable hypothesis.
Acceptance of an evolutionary connection between Adam and Eve and earlier hominids does require that the narrative in Gn. 2 concerning their creation from the dust of the ground be taken as metaphorical or symbolic. Kidner defends such a reading, pointing out that God’s use of natural processes is described in terms of the potter’s art in Jb. 10:8ff. & Ps. 119:73.36 Some conservative scholars might resist any suggestion that elements in Gn. 2 and 3 should be taken symbolically as the thin end of a wedge which inevitably results in reducing the whole narrative to ‘myth’ (whatever that term might be taken to mean!). This is an over-reaction which must not be allowed to blind the exegete to the nature of the language being used. Blocher1 both makes a strong case for recognizing the use of symbolic motifs in Gn. 2 and 3, and shows that an exegesis based on this recognition need not lead to the denial of an historical basis to the narrative. Taken as symbolic language, Gn. 2:7, as Kidner puts it, ‘would by no means disallow’ that God shaped homo sapiens by a process of evolution. Nor does it support that view.
If one accepts the great age of the earth and the fossil record, one has to accept that death was a feature of life on earth before the fall, if that was an historical event. Dr Cameron has focused on this issue as a major argument against evolution in his book Evolution and the Authority of the Bible.37 It is not a new issue. It was widely discussed in the 19th century both before and after the publication of The Origin of Species. Many Bible-believing scholars came to the conclusion expressed by J. Orr (a contributor to The Fundamentals) that, ‘There is not a word in the Bible to indicate that in its view death entered the animal world as a consequence of the sin of man’.38 That was written at the end of the century, but the same view had been expressed some 60 years earlier by J. P. Smith in an interesting book39 in which, amongst other things, he argues that the command, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’, in Gn. 1, implies ‘the departure of precedent individuals’40 to make way for their offspring so as not to overcrowd the earth, and that the threat of death would not have been comprehensible to Adam and Eve unless it already existed in the animals. One of the fullest discussions of the question of death before the fall is that in a sermon preached in Oxford Cathedral by William Buckland on 27 January 1839. He discussed Rom. 5:12, 17–18; 8:19–23; 1 Cor. 15:21; and Is. 11:6–9, and to my mind showed convincingly that ‘though most clearly inflicted as a punishment on man, it [death] is by no inspired writer spoken of as a penal dispensation to any other living creature excepting Adam and his posterity’.41 It is not my intention to repeat the exegetical arguments used by Buckland et al. Those who are interested can read and weigh them for themselves. I will simply focus on a few other key issues.
The first is the notable crux interpretum Gn. 2:17. The standard commentaries can be consulted for the various views. I simply want to take my stand with the view summed up by Blocher when he says,42 ‘In the Bible, death is the m reverse of life—it is not the reverse of existence.… It is a diminished existence, but nevertheless an existence’, and that in Gn. 3 God’s threat is carried out in a multiplicity of ways. Human existence is diminished by the effects of the curses, and above all Adam and Eve are cut off from the tree of life and from the fellowship with God (the ultimate source of life) that they had enjoyed in Eden. Moreover, to quote Kidner again, ‘these words [i.e. 2:17] do not necessarily imply that man was not naturally mortal. God “alone has immortality” (1 Tim. 6:16, RSV), and the presence of the tree of life in the garden indicates that if man is to share the boon it must be an added gift’.43 From this I conclude that the mere cessation of physical existence on earth should not be equated with the ‘death’ threatened in Gn. 2:17. It is sin and its effects that give that event its sting, and incorporate it into ‘death’ in the biblical sense. It has been suggested that the translation of Enoch and/or Elijah perhaps illustrate what God prepared for man. This may or may not be so. We can only speculate in this area, and others, about what would be the case if there had been no fall.
Let me speculate for a moment. There is here a problem of methodology. I think that all too often we look at the worst examples of what happens now and let them colour our thought. Maybe we would do better to look at the best of what we know now and see it as a pointer to what God intended. As a pastor and relative I have been at the bedside of Christians in their last hours whose sense of peace and joy at the prospect of ‘being at home with the Lord’ has deeply touched those around them in hospital. Maybe this is how God intended we should cease our existence on this earth and go into his presence in eternity. What makes this passing hard for us now are such things as fear of the unknown (for the non-believer), untimely death, the suffering that may precede it, etc. These, not the event itself, are what we should perhaps see as the result of the fall. But what of growing old? Again, it is the tragic cases of senility that fill our vision. However, many people grow old with dignity, charm, and little physical suffering, Maybe this is the scenario we should concentrate on. It may be objected that the process of ageing is one of degeneration and so is inherently evil. I do not see that physicaldecay can automatically be equated with moral evil. It is conceivable that it is a neutral process which God can use for his good purpose of taking us through a range of experiences which enable us to mature morally and spiritually, including the experience of coping with increasing physical lns.
A second issue is how we are to envisage the effect of God’s cursing the ground. Arthur Lewis44 is of the opinion that, ‘Nothing in the narrative suggests that the realm of nature has been altered in a fundamental way. There is no indication that the Lord God added thorns to the roses or sharp teeth to carnivorous animals’. However, the matter is one of long-standing dispute. I think that Blocher points the right way forward for cautious speculation when he says, ‘It is permissible to think that the disruption affects that [man-nature] relationship before anything else, beginning with the weakening and disorder of man himself. If man were perfectly sturdy, no microbe could do him any harm. If he had all the faculties that were his at creation, he would be able to turn the upheavals in nature to good account, without suffering at their hands’.45 Modern medicine is taking increasing account of social and psychological factors in disease. This is not only a matter of bad conditions and bad habits causing bodily damage. There is growing recognition that both the susceptibility to disease and infection, and the ability to combat them, sometimes have a social/psychological element. It is therefore possible that in a perfectly ordered society a person at peace with God and so with him/herself would not suffer from disease as we know it, even though sharing the earth with the very bacteria and viruses that trouble us.
Finally, there is the admittedly difficult issue of animal pain and suffering. Is this a result of the fall? I think that this is not necessarily the case. From one point of view pain can be seen as a good. It has a defensive and educative purpose, steering animals away from harmful situations. It is conceivable that one could construct an argument parallel to the ‘freewill defence’, to the effect that in creating a stable world with fixed natural laws it was necessary for God to include pain in his scheme. The question of evil comes in when pain is gratuitously inflicted by one creature on another.
I have argued that biblical scholars ought to take scientific facts into consideration when interpreting the Bible. It seems to me that the great age of the earth, several thousand million years, is one such fact. A second is the fossil record. This shows that life has been on earth for hundreds of millions of years, and that in this time life forms have become more diverse and more complex. Moreover, it means that animal and plant death preceded the fall of man. Another relevant fact is that modern man consists of a single species. Finally, I would include the fact that on a physical level of body structure and biochemistry we have much in common with the animal kingdom, whilst being strikingly different in other aspects of our being. I have briefly explored some of the implications of these facts for the interpretation of Gn. 1–3. Much more thought needs to be given to this.
Acknowledgments: I wish to thank Mr P Helm of the Philosophy Department, Liverpool University, the Revd M. Roberts of the University Extra-Mural Department (Geology), and Dr O. R. Barclay for reading the script of this paper in draft form, in whole or part, and making helpful comments and criticisms. They do not necessarily agree with what is said in it!
1 H. Blocher, In The Beginning (Leicester, 1984), pp. 24ff.
2 Ibid., p. 27.
3 J. Calvin, Institutes, II.2.15.
4 J. Calvin, Comm. Genesis, 1:16.
5 J. Calvin, Comm. Psalms, 136:7.
6 J. Calvin, Comm. Psalms, 58:4f.
7 R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science (Edinburgh, 1972), p. 119.
8 J. Calvin, Comm. Genesis, 1:6.
9 Calvin did on one occasion deny a moving earth, but on title grounds of common sense, not Scripture. See C. A. Russell, Cross-Currents (Leicester, 1985), p. 42.
10 J. Calvin, Comm. Genesis, 1:16.
11 J. Calvin, Comm. John, 5:39.
12 Is. 55:12.
13 Ps. 19:6; 93:1; Ecl. 1:5.
14 M. B. Roberts, ‘The Roots of Creationism,’ Faith & Thought 112 (1986), p. 24, says that by the end of the 19th century ‘… “young earthers” were a very rare species indeed—even amongst evangelical Christians.
15 For a useful layman’s guide to the evidences, see A. Hayward, Creation and Evolution (London, 1985), pp. 82–113.
16 T. H. Clark and C. H. Stearn, The Geological Evolution of North America (NY, 1960).
17 Details of radiometric dating methods and results can be found in: E. I. Hamilton, Applied Geochronology(NY, 1965); D. Yorke and R. M. Farquhar, The Earth’s Age and Geochronology (Oxford, 1972); T. Kirsten, ‘Time and the Solar System’, in S. F. Dermott (ed.), The Origin of the Solar System (NY, 1978), pp. 267–346.
18 According to R J. Tayler, The Stars: Their Structure and Evolution (London, 1972), calculations show that it took 30 million years for the sun to form from a galactic dust cloud, and that its lifetime should be about 8,000 million years. He says that the evidence is consistent with it being 4,500 million years old (p. 123f.). Firm ages can only be obtained for star clusters. The oldest of these are about 10,000 million years old (p. 165f.). This indicates the likely age of the galaxy.
19 M. V. Zambeck, Handbook of Space Astronomy and Astrophysics (Cambridge, 1982), gives the age of the universe (the ‘Hubble Time’) as (9.6–9.78) x 109 years (p. 5).
20 P. Gosse, Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot (London, 1857).
21 On this see for example, M. Calvin, Chemical Evolution (Oxford, 1969); M. G. Rutten, The Origin of Life(London, 1971).
22 J. H. J. Peet, ‘Chemical Evolution—Some Difficulties’, Faith & Thought 109 (1982), pp. 127–154.
23 F. Hoyle and N. C. Wickramasinghe, Evolution From Space (London, 1981).
24 F. Crick, Life Itself (London, 1981).
25 P. S. Moorehead and M. M. Kaplan (eds.), Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Philadelphia, 1967).
26 H. S. Lipson, Physics Bulletin 30 (1979), p. 140; 31 (1980), pp. 138, 337.
27 H. Morris (ed.), Scientific Creationism (San Diego, 1974), p. 136.
28 M. Ridley, The Problems of Evolution (Oxford, 1985), p. 11.
29 For examples see: R. Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution (New Haven, 1940); S. J. Gould, The Panda’s Thumb (London, 1980). Rather different, but trying to deal with the same problem, is the view that life arose spontaneously on earth more than once, as suggested by G. A. Kerkut, Implications of Evolution(Oxford, 1960).
30 See D. A. Young, Creation and the Flood (Grand Rapids, 1977) (Age-Day view); B. Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Exeter, 1967) (Progressive Creationism). A somewhat different ‘ancient creationist’ view is that of A. Hayward, op. cit. no. 15.
31 J. Reader, Missing Links (London, 1981), gives a not too technical account.
32 W. M. Becker, The World of the Cell (Mento Park, CA, 1986), says, ‘… virtually all cells oxidize sugar molecules for energy, transport ions across membranes, transcribe DNA into RNA, and undergo division to generate daughter cells … all cells are surrounded by selectively permeable membranes, all have ribosomes for the purpose of protein synthesis, and all contain double-stranded DNA as their genetic information’ (p. 19).
33 For theistic evolutionary views see R. J. Berry, Adam and the Ape (London, 1975); D. C. Spanner, Biblical Creation and the Theory of Evolution (Exeter, 1986).
34 For a survey of views see D. Cairns, The Image of God in Man (London, rev. edn 1973).
35 E. K. V. Pearce, Who was Adam? (Exeter, 1967).
36 D. Kidner, Genesis (TOTC) (London, 1967), p. 28.
37 N. M. de S. Cameron, Evolution and the Authority of the Bible (Exeter, 1983).
38 J. Orr, The Christian View of God and the World (Edinburgh, 1897), p. 197.
39 J. P. Smith, The Relation Between the Holy Scripture and Some Parts of Geological Science (London, 1839).
40 Ibid., p. 261f.
41 W. Buckland, An Enquiry Whether the Sentence of Death Pronounced at the Fall of Man Included the Whole Animal Creation or was Restricted to the Human Race (London, 1839), p. 12.
42 H. Blocher, op. cit., p. 171f.
43 D. Kidner, op. cit., p. 64f.
44 A. Lewis, ‘The Localization of the Garden of Eden’, BETS 11 (1968), p. 174.
45 H. Blocher, op. cit., p. 183f.
Bristol Baptist College