Navigating Genesis

Hugh Ross


Relates this book to his "The Genesis Question", 2nd Ed. of 2001. This is an update in consideration of the many new discoveries.

Ch. 1 Personal Journey

p 11 Big bang and beginning

p 12 Bible as unique among the holy books.

p 13 Addresses those portions of Genesis 1-11 that overlap the record of nature and addresses challenges raised by skeptics.

Ch. 2. Reasons for Resistance

p 15 "..advances of the twentieth century breathed new vitality into belief in the biblical Creator." Cosmic beginning 13.8 billion years ago - in agreement with Genesis 1:1. Also anthropic fine tuning for life. Exploring why resistance persists.

p 16 Mentions Shermer, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett as those who ridicule belief and confidently assert that science contradicts the Bible.

p 16 Science-Scripture Models

  1. Separatist models
  2. Conflict models
  3. Science and scripture can complement each other
  4. Science and scripture can be constructively integrated.

p16-17 Stephen Jay Gould and his NOMA

p17 Richard Dawkins and the young earth groups advocate a conflict model.

p18 Complemntary models, cites Francis Collins and the ASA.

p18-20 Constructive integration models

p19 cites Belgic Confession , advocates concordant view of science and scripture

p20 Old Testament scholar Friedrich Delitzsch wrote "All attempts to harmonize our biblical story of the creation of the world with the results of natural science have been useless and must always be so."

p23 "Unfortunately, many zealous Bible believers confuse their favored interpretation of the Bible with the Word of God itself."

Ch. 3. Creation of the Cosmos

p25-26 "bara" creation contrasted with asa and haya and dasha etc.

p27 Nine kinds of nothing

p28 Creator outside space and time, unique. Penrose & Hawking: beginning of space and time, Bord, Guth, Vilenken extensions

p28 Reference frame shift wbtween verses 1 & 2 to surface of the Earth.

p30 Biblical testing

p31 Early earth dark and water covered. Ps 104:6, Job 38:9 speak of clouds

p32 References C. John Collins and Rodney Whitefield

p32 Looking at Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, "the universe and Earth already are in place before the events of the six creation days."

p33 Box on Gap Theory. References a thorough treatment of it in "The Christian View of Science and Scripture" by Bernard Ramm.

p34 Points to an unspecified interval of time between the universe and Earth and between Earth and Day 1 in the Genesis narrative.

p34 >3400 planets and some data about orbital properties for >1000.

p34-35 Data about planetary atmospheres, suggesting that Earth's primordial atmosphere may have been 200x its present atmospheric mass.

p35 Box "How Long Are the Creation Days?" Discussion of yom and pointer to more thorough discussion.

Ch. 4. Creation Days One and Two

p38 Claims Job predates Moses writing by a few centuries or more.

p38 Good discussion of "hovering over the water"

p38 Day one, light comes through

p39 Earth atmosphere should theoretically be 2x the mass of that of Venus, but is actually 91x less.

p39 Earth's Moon is 50x more massive relative to its host planet than any other in solar system

p39 In section titled "Moon Miracle" he describes the formation of the Moon. Has similarities to my Formation of the Moon section. Need to make more detailed correlation.

p40 Summary of life-favoring changes caused by nature of moon formation. Ref Canup for moon and Ward for stabilizing the obliquity of Earth.

p41 A list of the "just right" characteristics of Earth

p41-42 water cycle

p42 Sun in "middle age" is extremely stable

p43 Illustration and discussion of Sun's luminosity

p44 Discusses climate

p44 "Dome" controversy

p45 Box "Runaway Climate Change"

p46 Ref Ps 148 for God's design of atmospheric regions

Ch. 5. Creation Days Three and Four

p47 The understanding of the Earth as having emerged from a "water world" state is late in scientific understanding, but is indicated in Genesis 1:9 and Psalm 33:7 Relates to plate tectonics. Job 38:8-10 also addresses this. Psalm 104:8. Formation of lighter silicates to "float" over heavier basalts.

p48 Graph of land mass coverage. Notes three eras with Pangaea being latest single land mass at 0.25 billion before current continent breakup.

p49 Discusses one of the problems skeptics cite in Biblical record about land plants when fossil record places advanced plants such as fruit trees after animal life.

p50 Box "More of the Scientific Story" Optimum land and sea ratio.

p52-53 Day four discussion, Sun and Moon visible in the sky. Discussion of carbon content. Discussion of biological clocks, which the animals of creation days 5 and 6 need.

p54 "made" or "had made". Role of atmospheric ozone in protecting life.

p55 Box "Divine Light Source" further discussion of when Sun was made. Good discussion.

p56 Discussion of critical ozone balance

Ch. 6. Creation Days Five and Six

p57 Details of Earth "meticulously prepared" for advanced life

p58 Explosive speciation in Avalon explosion (575 million) and Cambrian explosion (543 million).

p58 Illustration of Earth's oxygenation history - ref Partin - need to include in HyperPhysics

p59 Oxygen crucial to life explosions

p59 Quotes Dawkins from The Blind Watchmaker. Also quotes Wray and Peterson, et al. (see Cambrian Explosion)

p60 Day 5, sourish animals - nepesh - attributes of mind, will, emotions. Only second time the word "bara" is used.

p61 Sea mammals timing, discussion of transition from fresh to sea water.

p62 Discussion of transitional forms

p63 Box, Size Matters about extinction risks

p65 Why dinosaurs missing in the Biblical record.

p65-66 Dinosaurs in the Bible, behemoth and leviathan, but not as thorough as in "Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job" Ch 12.

Ch. 7. The Final Act (For Now)

p69 Day 6, the plural used with God, discusses trinity briefly.

p70 Third and final use of the word "bara" in making man.

p71 Box Three origins of life, three uses of "bara".

p71 List of uniquely human qualities

p72 Anthropologists' six "big bang" events indicating the arrival of homo-sapiens

p73 Discussion of difficulties of geneologies.

p74 DNA dates for Adam and Eve including y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA dates.

p75 Hominid discussion and Box "Biblical Date for Adam's Creation".

p77 Table of extinction rates for large mammals - 94% for Australia, he explores connection to hominids.

p78 Quote of Kenneth Miller's critique of intelligent design.

p79 Psalm 104 quote.

Ch. 8. Source Controversy

p81 Neat reflection on Genesis 1 - a 1 page treatment survives 34 centuries to align with modern findings.

p81 Discusses Enuma elish, Atrahasis Epic in terms of their similarity to Genesis

p84 Genesis correctly identifies 4 initial conditions and 10 transitional events - none of the other sources come close.

Ch. 9. Message of Day Seven

p85-88 Discussion of the cessation of speciation

p88 Duration of the 7th day through the current era.

p90 Table of creation texts

p91 Describes writings of <325AD as not committed to 6 24-hour creation

p92 Box: Unequal or overlapping days

p92 Romans 8:18-23 and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

p93 Some arguments against "No death before the fall" position.

Ch. 10. Spiritual Perspective on Creation: Genesis 2

p95 Genesis 1 focuses on physical creation, what and in what order, but Genesis 2 focuses on the "why, or purpose of creation." Genesis 2 set in Eden and what happened to the first humans.

p95-98 Discussion of locations and landscape, with map of probably location of Eden on p99. Discusses archaelogists' findings.

p100 Argument from the long series of tasks for Adam that day is much longer than single 24 hr day.

p102 Vegetarian diet? interesting discussion

p103 Animals came when? Gen 2:19 controversy, tense of verb, animals had been made in past.

p104 Reasonable "Eve from Adam's side" discussion

p106 Box "What is a Kind?"

Ch. 11. How Far the Fall? Genesis 3

p109 Evil before Eden

p109-110 The fall, exclusion from tree of life

p111 Did the fall change physics? Reflection on 2nd law. This page covers a lot of ground. Quotes Stenger on suffering. Problem of suffering.

p111 Asserts no change of physical laws with the fall invoking Jeremiah 33:25 and Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 . Also argues scientifically from sensitivity of Sun to physical laws. Argues that Adam and Eve's process of digesting food, for example involved the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Lots of implications of p111!

p112 Cites Paul in Romans 8:20-22 as affirming that the 2nd Law has been in effect by the will of the Creator until the present time.

p112 Good discussion of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and cosmology. It's necessity and fine tuning.

p113 Tackles "death before the fall". Brings in and interprets Romans 5:12 and 1 Cor 15:20-22. "Nowhere does the Bible claim that plants and animals did not die before Adam sinned."

p113 On predation, brings in Psalm 104 where God takes credit for providing prey for the lions. Also Job 38.

This chapter raises so many issues that I need to come back and reflect on it some more.

Ch. 12. Cain's Story: Genesis 4

p117 Good discussion of God's dialog with Cain.

p119 Discusses Cain's wife and city. Takes long life spans as a good part of the answer.

p120 Discusses the mark of Cain.

p121 Table of potential population growth.

Ch. 13. Possibility of Long Life Spans: Genesis 5-6

p123 Good discussion of the difficulties. Akkadian and Sumerian records also report extraordinarily long life spans.

p125 Table of factors limiting life spans.

p126 Box The Canopy Idea

p128 Discussion of telomerase activity

p129 Discussion of a supernova

p130 Genomics and Humanity's Origin box

Ch. 14. Sons of God and the Nephilim: Genesis 6

p131 Intro to Sons of God and Nephilim

p132 One interpretation is sons of God as male descendants of Seth and daughters of men as female descendants of Cain. Nephilim as wicked men of renown in battle. Associated with giants.

The rest of this chapter just left me confused and with no good answers.

Ch. 15. Boundaries of God's Wrath: Genesis 6

p139-140 Discussion of sin's damage to a whole people group

p141-142 Description of the extreme depravity

p142 boundaries of God's wrath

p143-144 Arguments on limiting the flood to the area of depraved people.

Ch. 16. Global or Worldwide Flood? Biblical Evidence

p145 "Our global perspective naturally colors our interpretation of Scripture."

p146 Six other "worldwide" events which were not global: Joseph in feeding world, Solomon, Caesar's taxation, Pentecost, Paul, Colossians.

p146-149 Argues that it is all people

p152 Waters returned to the places they had come from.

p152 Ark's landing place, not Mt. Ararat, but "mountains of Ararat" which covered 100,000 sq miles.

p154 "Worldwide" but not global

Ch. 17. Global or Worldwide Flood? Scientific Evidence

p155 "The credibility of the biblical flood story has been called into question for all the wrong reasons." " assert a global deluge is wholly unnecessary for upholding biblical inerrancy - as unnecessary as it is inconsistent, both internally and externally."

p155 "From a scientific standpoint, the assertion of a relatively brief, relatively recent global cataclysm that accounts for all of Earth's major geologic features flatly contradicts the physical evidence."

p155-156 Arguments against a year-long flood leaving significant evidence thousands of years later.

p156-157 Argument for Mesopotamia flood.

p158 Maps of proposed flood area

p157 Global argument overview with list of topics relevant to the arguments

p157-158 Marine fossils on high mountains and plate tectonics.

p159 Water Source and Rapid Plate Tectonics "Global flood models face a serious water shortage. To inundate all of Earth's surface would require more than four times the sum of all the water currently present in Earth's oceans and lakes, in Earth's atmosphere, and within Earth's crust."

p159-160 Describes some of the preposterous proposals to make the flood feasible, including radioactive decay rates increasing by factors of a billion.

p161 Global flood advocates need extremely aggressive plate tectonics driven by vastly accelerated radiometric decay.

p161 Astronomical evidence of constancy of decay rates, and core-drill data to 800,000 years.

p162 100,000 yr cycle of eccentricity of Earth's orbit detectable in deep core drills.

p162 Marine sediment core off coast of South Island, New Zealand reveal some 3.9 million years of southern hemisphere's climate history. It shows the 100,000 yr variation in Earth's orbit eccentricity and evidence for the constancy of the radiometric decay rates.

p162 Bristlecone pine chronology now >8500 years, 5000 from living trees and 3500 additional by overlap with dead trees.

p163 European oak and pine chronology extends past 11,000 years.

p163 Palmer's Oak in California with clone collection 15,600 +/- 2500 years, the world's oldest living plant.

p163 Diagram of Earth's eccentricity cycles 100,000 yr

p165 Shows the implausibility of the global flood requirements on plate tectonics.

p167-168 Shows implausibility of fossil fuel deposits coming from one global flood.

p170-171 Animal diversification downstream from a global flood would be super-evolution.

Ch. 18. The Ark's Passengers: Genesis 6-9

p174 Discusses reason for ark, 100yr to build, adequate warning of people

p174 Contrast with Lot, where moving out of area was possible. Common theme was that God sent adequate warning of impending judgment.

p175 Surmises a large work force available to Noah

p176 Animals: "Nothing in the Genesis text compels us to conclude that Noah's passengers included anything other than the birds, mammals, and perhaps a few of the higher reptilian species that lived in the regioins then inhabited by humans."

p177 "By including the regions' bird and mammal species in the rescue, God enabled Noah and his family to rapidly restore ecological balance in the flood zone and, just as rapidly, to relaunch civilization."

p178 "Noah's job included caring for breeding pairs of the various nephesh species living in the vicinity of humans."

p178 "So a reasonable estimate of the number of animal pairs aboard the ark may have been many hundreds of species at a minimum .."

p179-180 Searches for the ark. 1995 CBS special. Lots of ways to dismiss these stories.

p180 Other ancient flood stories. 200 distinct stories. Least distorted is Babylonian flood story , the Gilgamesh Epic.

Ch. 19. Origin of Nations and Races: Genesis 9-11

p183 Post-flood peoples resisted settling beyond Mesopotamia.

p184 yearning for peace, but there is no peace.

p184 "we assume human goodness will somehow prevail. But history shows otherwise."

p186 Nimrod's building of great cities. Tower of Babel.

p187 Ancient land bridges. Bering Strait bridge 40000 to 11000 bce.

p188 Bering Bridge passable 14000 to 11000 bce.

p188 Queen Charlotte Island to BC passable 10200 years ago.

p189 Time of Peleg, dividing the Earth

p190 Origin of races

p191 Ham's penalty and the curse of Canaan. Discredits dark skin as a result of the curse.

p193 Civilization's spread, large agriculture 9000 BC

p194 Map of spread of wheat cultivation based on DNA studies

p194-5 Domestication of goats 10000 bce

p195 Noah 30000-50000bce, Tower of Babel 40000-11000 bce, Abraham 4000 bce

Ch. 20. Higher Criticism

p197 Richard Simon 1678 and Campegius Vitringa 1707 pegged as first scholars to mount attack on Genesis account for "internal inconsistency".

p197 Emergence of "higher criticism". Jean Astruc founder of OT "critical" studies 1753

p198 Johann Eichhorn, theologian, popular resistance to Ussher. With German colleagues labeled OT documents as late 800-500BC, dubbed "higher critics".

p199 List of scriptures in defense of Biblical faith

p199 Some protestants took Bible to be reliable guide for doctrine and practice but not for history or the natural realm. Christian fundamentalists reacted with "sola scriptura".

p200 The Great Divide - fundamentalists and conservatives vs "higher critics"

p201 Polarization and alienation. Critique of the critics - recommendation of an integrated approach to science and faith.

Ch. 21. "Creation Science"

p203 "creation scientists" or "scientific creationists" arose in early 20th century. Flood geology from George McCready Price with The New Geology in 1923, benefitted in popularity from Scopes trial.

p204 Bernard Ramm's appeal for rational approach to science and faith in his "The Christian View of Science and Scripture" actually backfired with a heightening of Price's popularity.

p205 Ramm's slide toward higher criticism and TE fires up John C Whitcomb, Jr and he teams up with Henry Morris to publish "The Genesis Flood" in 1961. It pretty well captured the church in America.

p205 Morris and 9 others in the sciences formed the Creation Research Society (CRS) in 1963, bringing "a spectacular revival of flood geology and recent creationism". In early 70s CRS splintered in a way that actually multiplied its influence.

p206 Henry Morris founded Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in 1972. So much influence that secular organizations and media started equating "creationism" with their position.

p206 cites Ronald Numbers in 1996 "[T]heir once marginal views, inspired by the visions of an Adventist prophetess [Ellen White], now define the very essence of creationism."

p206 Ken Ham in late 80s came from Australia to US to work for ICR and then left to form Answers In Genesis. After internal conflicts other affiliates formed Creation Ministries International (CMI).

p206 AIG is now world's largest creationist organization with over 150 employees and income >$22 million.

p207 About AIG and CMI: "In addition to taking aim at evolution and evolutionists, they now invest substantial effort criticizing Christians who accept the scientifically established ages of the universe, Earth and life, regardless of these individuals' stance on the truth of the Bible. One tactic is to label such people (and I am among them) as 'compromisers'."

p207 "YEC offers a simplistic response to the problem of evil. Whatever appears flawed or painful or difficult or destructive in the world need not be attributible to God as part of His 'very good' creation. All such things entered creation only after Adam and Eve sinned. Decay and death are assumed by the young-earth view to be evil in all contexts. Never mind that decay is essential to the digestive process or that abundant biodeposits aid our spread of the gospel message."

p207 This is a very good page of response to YEC

p207-8 "One of the many ironies of creation science may be seen in its explanation of how life "diversified" after the flood. The doctrin they chose to crush evolutionism forces acceptance of dramatically more efficient evolutionary processes than what any nontheist biologist would dare to propose. As Philip Kitcher, philosopher of science at Columbia University observed, 'the rates of speciation "creation science" would require to manage the supposed amount of species diversification are truly breathtaking, orders of magnitude greater than any that have been dreamed of in evolutionary theory.'"

Ch. 22. New Criticism

p207 New interpretive approaches

p210 Framework interpretation

p211 Two or more Adams

p212 Functional origins and John Walton. Also Johnny Miller and John Soden in their book "In the Beginning .. We Misunderstood".

p213-4 Hugh thinks this has hints of NOMA. Hugh is quite eloquent here in objecting to taking science out of the discussion. "The motivation to uphold the authority of God's Word and to eliminate conflict between the scientific record and the Bible I can and do fully appreciate. However, to do so by proposing that the Bible is totally silent on material origins seems a bridge too far. It also seems an unnecessary and false extreme to assert that science is powerless to address theological issues."

p214 Interesting discussion of how much science the ancients new, like the diameter of the Earth, etc.

p215 Box "Can Science Access God?"

p216 Section on Pursuit of Truth

p218 "Peacekeeping vs Peacemaking" "Each of the new approaches I have encountered for ending the conflict over the meaning of Genesis I requires limiting the Bible's revelatory power, nature's revelatory power, or both."

Ch. 23. More Than Myth

p219 Quotes OT theologian Ellen van Wolde about the significance of people having a story of their origin. Responds with some of his personal story, similar to what he shared in beginning of "The Creator and the Cosmos". Advocates using science to test.
















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