Genesis Reconsidered - Creation and Evolution

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Genesis Reconsidered

English > Fields of Research > Genesis Interpretation

A. Held & P. Rüst (1999), Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 51/4, 231-243;
Original web publication by the American Scientific Affiliation (but with defunct addresses):

The German version of this paper has been extended and the main points brought up-to-date:
P. Rüst & A. Held (2003), "Der Genesisbericht und die Evolution"
, Texte aus dem VBG-Institut 1/03, 28 S. (VBG).


The Bible and creation have been called the two books of revelation. The trend to disparage attempts at harmonization is mistaken, resulting from inadequate care in interpretation. Their primary aims are different, but interpretational crosschecks are meaningful. Taking Genesis 1-2 to reveal different modes of God's creating, and to constitute a continuous narrative, rather than two "creation stories", resolves some otherwise unsolved problems.

Vierwaldstättersee (Lake of the Four Cantons), Switzerland: Axenfels near Flüelen UR. Folded rocks (Helvetic nappes, Cretaceous sediments)


- Sediments accumulated in clear series of different types, extending over large areas and marked by different fossil assemblages, must have become solid rock layers. If these then fold into smooth bends without breaking, they must first have been transported from the bottom of the ocean (where they formed) deep into regions of the earth where temperature and pressure were high enough to make them pliable. Then the whole package must have been brought up during a mountain building process and eroded to become visible.

- All this must have taken very long times, in the millions of years at least - which of course is confirmed by many independent dating methods. In the case of the Axenfels, it amounts to about 100 million years.

- Young earth creationism, therefore, is out.

- Does this make early Genesis a collection of myths? Not if a feasible harmony can be found between a historical Adam indicated in Genesis and later Bible passages quoting it, on the one hand, and genuine humans living many thousands of years earlier, which is demonstrated by science, on the other hand. This is what our paper is about. There must have been preadamites living between the two different events of the first humans being created in God's image (Gen.1:27) and Adam being formed for a new task (Gen.2:7).

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