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Week 7 - Creation-Evolution

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Biological Evolution

(Week 7 of SBTS 28960)

A.      Biblically,

1.      humans and a variety of plants and a variety of animals came to be in the course of a single week of time

a.       The Creation Week of Genesis 1 involved 6 earth-rotation days of time (see the argument in the ‘Deep Time and Theodicy’ discussion)

b.      Plants were created on Day 3 (Gen. 1:11-12)

A)    in two (plants with seeds and plants with fruits containing seeds) or three (some translations – e.g. KJV – render ‘vegetation’ as an additional plant category to the seed and fruit plants; other translations – e.g. NIV – consider the seed and fruit plants to be subdivisions of ‘vegetation’ groups) plant categories.

B)     ‘after its/his kind’ – both for the plants as a whole (Gen. 1:11) and for each of the plant categories (Gen. 1:12) – at the very least indicating that multiple kinds (not just multiple individuals) of seed plants and multiple kinds of fruit plants with seeds were created.

c.       Sea animals and flying animals were created on Day 5 (Gen. 1:20-21)

A)    in two different categories (sea animals and flying animals)

B)     ‘after its/his kind’ for each animal category (sea and flying animals) – at the very least indicating that multiple kinds of sea creatures and multiple kinds of flying animals were created.

d.      Land animals were created on Day 6 (Gen. 1:24-25)

A)    in three animal categories (cattle, beast of the earth, creeping things)

B)     ‘after its/his/their kind’ for each of the animal categories – at the very least indicating that multiple kinds of cattle, multiple kinds of beasts, and multiple kinds of creeping things were created.

2.      different organismal groups had separate origins

a.       Different higher groups of organisms had separate origins

A)    The 6 days of creation involve separate, non-overlapping periods of time, because on each day there is

1)      creative command (‘and God said let…’);

2)      fulfillment (‘there was’ or ‘the earth brought forth’ or ‘God made/created’ and/or ‘God divided/set’ and/or ‘and it was so’);

3)      divine evaluation (‘God called’ or ‘God blessed’ or ‘it was [very] good’); and

4)      closure (‘and there was evening and morning, _th day).

B)     Different organisms were the result of separate creations on different days (plants on Day 3; sea and flying animals on Day 5; land animals on Day 6), so at the very least these groups had separate creations.

b.      Humans were created separately from animals.

A)    Gen. 2:7 indicates that “man became nephesh hayam” – the latter translated ‘moving creature’ for sea animals in Gen. 1:20 and ‘moving creature’ for land animals in Gen. 1:24 – so man became a living creature; a living creature did NOT become man.

B)     At death humans are return to the dust from which they were created (Gen. 3:19) – not from animals.  This same made-from-ground with subsequent enlivening is also seen in the dry bone valley resurrection in Ezekial 37:1-14.

c.       ‘after its/his/their kind’ phrase (used 10x in Genesis 1) may indicate that at least thousands of different types of plants and animals were created in the Creation Week:

A)    ‘after its/his/their kind’ is simultaneously associated with multiple taxonomic levels:

1)      seed + fruit plants on the one hand (apparently: Gen. 1:20) and seed plants and fruit plants separately on the other (Gen. 1:21)

2)      flying + land animals on the one hand (apparently: Gen. 8:19) and land animals (apparently: Gen. 1:24) and flying animals separately on the other (Gen. 1:21; 6:20; 7:14).

3)      all flying animals on the one hand (Gen. 1:21; 6:20; 7:14) and individual types of flying animals on the other (Lev. 11:13-22; Deu. 14:12-18)

4)      cattle + beasts of the earth + creeping things on the one hand (apparently: Gen. 1:24) and cattle, beasts of the earth, and creeping things separately on the other (Gen. 1:25; 6:20; 7:14)

5)      all creeping things on the one hand (Gen. 1:25; 6:20; 7:14) and particular types on the other (Lev. 11:19)

6)      locusts on the one hand (Lev. 11:22) and bald locusts (presumably a specific kind of locust) on the other (Lev. 11:22)

B)     In its most specific application (in the Mosaic food laws) the phrase ‘after its/his/their kind’ is most specifically applied to taxonomic divisions down to species within genera:

1)      beetles (Lev. 11:22) make up an order of insects

2)      grasshoppers (Lev. 11:22) make up a suborder of insects

3)      locusts (Lev. 11:22) make up a family in the grasshopper suborder

4)      bald locust (Lev. 11:22) represent one or more species within the locust family

5)      ravens (Lev. 11:15; Deu. 14:14) are species within a single genus

C)    ‘after its/his/their kind’ may refer to a multiplicity of groups of sexual organisms which reproduces faithfully (i.e. more of the same kind), as ‘after its/his/their kind’

1)      is only applied to plants (Gen. 1:11-12) and animals (Gen. 1:20-21, 24-25; 6:20; 7:14; 8:19; Lev. 11:13-15, 18, 22, 29; Deu. 14:12-15, 18; Eze. 47:10) – and not, e.g., to the stars (Gen. 1:16) – possibly because it only refers to biological organisms.

2)      is used while referring to the saving of animals through the Flood ‘two by two’ and ‘by male and female’ (Gen. 6:18-20; 7:13-16) – possibly because it refers to sexually reproducing organisms.

3)      is never applied of humans – possibly because there is not a multiplicity of groups (God ‘hath made of one blood all nations’: Acts 17:26)

4)      seems to mean something a bit different from ‘every sort’, given how ‘every winged animal after its kind’ is distinct from ‘bird of every sort’ in Gen. 7:14 – possibly because it is referring to true-breeding kinds.

D)    After the Flood, the earth was repopulated by each separate kind re-diversifying.  It is likely that the earth was initially filled in a somewhat similar manner, suggesting that each separate kind was separately created.

è The ‘after its/his/their kind’ may indicate the separate creation of plants and animals down to lower taxonomic levels (perhaps different levels in different groups?) – probably averaging between genus and order.  If at the family level, thousands of kinds were created in the Creation Week.

3.      the order of creation requires that plants came before sea animals and flying animals came before land animals.

4.      organisms were probably created instantaneously in mature form

a.       God seems to desire things to exist in a mature state, so He is likely to have created things in a mature state (e.g. Jesus’ creation of wine and bread and fish involved creation of food and drink in fully mature form).

b.      the mode of origin of biological kinds

A)    was God.  NOTE: God + evolution è origin of all organisms, so the more evolution does, the less God does and the more divine is evolution itself.

B)     was God’s Word (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; John 1:1-3)

1)      not ‘natural’

2)      While Christ was on earth the usual response to an oral proclamation was instantaneous.

C)    was probably instantaneous (because of God’s nature):

1)      God is independent of space and time, so His ‘normal’ mode of creation might also be expected to be independent of space and time.

2)      God’s wisdom might suggest efficiency and instantaneous creation is most efficient.

3)      God’s power and authority over the creation would suggest that the jussives of command in Genesis One would be fulfilled instantly.

4)      Creation in longer than an instant is only justified by God working and resting as an example to man (Ex. 20:11).

D)    ended at the end of the Creation Week (Gen. 2:1-3).

E)     The creation processes cannot be deduced from present processes (II Pet. 3:3-7).

5.      the original creation did not include natural evil (disease, overproduction, human & animal suffering and death – see ‘Deep Time and Theodicy’ discussion).  Natural evil (including death and overproduction, with the resultant struggle for existence, natural selection, etc.) is part of God’s curse in response to (following) man’s sin (i.e. Man brought about death and natural selection.).  Thus, whatever the mode creation it could not have included natural evil.

B.      Biologically,

1.      Platonic essentialism (that categories of perfect, unchanging, non-physical entities – genera – exist, which can be logically divided into smaller categories of perfect, unchanging, non-physical entities – species) became the foundation for Aristotle’s biological species concept (perfect, unchanging, non-physical ‘forms’ which somehow shape the physical form of individual organisms during development), which in turn, became the foundation of early biology’s essential species concept (populations of organisms which averaged close to the unseen, unchanging species essence).  Platonic essentialism (NOT the Bible) is the basis for

a.       Linnaeus’ binomial (species within genera) classification (used today)

b.      biologists (even today) choosing a ‘type specimen’ (an individual closest to the unseen essence) to define a species, and

c.       biologists (even today) listing ‘essential’ characteristics of species.

d.      belief in fixity of species (firmly entrenched in biology long before the time of Darwin (consistently questioned by creationists as early as Linnaeus)

2.      With the great trans-oceanic explorations of the 17th century, European biologists encountered a host of new plants and animals.  Curiously, the flora and fauna of similar environments in different parts of the world harbored very different plants and animals (e.g. tropical rain forests are composed of different organisms in Africa, South America, and Australia; deserts housed different organisms in the American Southwest, South America, Saharan Africa, and Australia).  This challenged the idea that modern animal and plant species had spread out from the ark to repopulate the earth after the Flood.

3.      Charles Darwin (1809-1882) observed that plants and animals on islands (like the Galapagos Islands) were often most similar to species on adjacent islands and on the nearest mainland continent.  Since it seemed odd that a Creator would have created very similar organisms near to each other, this suggested that the island organisms were descendant from the mainland forms.

4.      Origin of organisms by common descent with modification seems to explain many disparate categories of data.  For example:

a.       microevolution: small within-species changes are observed or strongly inferred in present populations.  For example:

A)    change in character frequencies by natural selection

B)     speciation by polyploidy

C)    ring species

D)    various levels of genetic incompatibility among populations

b.      macrobiogeography: entire groups of organisms (e.g. the Australian marsupials) – including their fossils – which are restricted to one place on earth (when it would seem that dispersal from an ark should send them to multiple locations)

c.       hierarchial classification: organisms can be classified into species within genera within families within orders within classes within phyla within kingdoms (expected if successive branching events separates the tree of life into a series of smaller groups (branches) nested within (branching off of) larger groups (branches)).

d.      isomorphisms: similarities among organisms which permit hierarchial classification – especially when the similarities are in the same anatomical position but in structures of a very different function.  These isomorphisms are particularly impressive when different sets of isomorphisms generate similar hierarchial trees of classification.  Different types of isomorphisms:

A)    adult isomorphisms (more similar features in the adult forms suggest closer relationship)

B)     embryological isomorphisms (similar organismal development for longer periods of development suggest closer relationship)

C)    molecular isomorphisms (similar molecules suggest closer relationship) (examples of molecules used in this way: blood proteins; cytochrome C, DNA)

e.       suboptimal improvisations: organismal structures which are known to have better designs in other organisms (Wouldn’t a good God have given this organism the better design?).  Examples include:

A)    present features which exist in more perfect form in other organisms because evolutionary history did not provide the animal with the more perfect structure (e.g. the thumb of the pandas which is not as versatile as the primate thumb)

B)     present features which are reduced forms of more perfect features in the organism in the past (e.g. the hind limb bones which develop and become resorbed before birth in sperm whales)

f.        fossil sequences

A)    of kingdoms (3 billion years of only bacterial fossils before about one half billion years of bacterial, algal, and protistan fossils, before finally getting to the first animals and plants)

B)     of divisions (the 10 tracheophyte land plant divisions appearing in perfect sequence from the rhyniophytes through the angiosperms)

C)    of classes (the fish before the first amphibians, amphibians before the first reptiles, reptiles before the first mammals, non-primate mammals before primates, non-apes before apes, and non-human apes before humans)

D)    within families .(e.g. the horses, the camels, the elephants, the brontotheres all showing increasing body size and hypsodonty)

g.       fossil transitions

A)    the predicted form of the oldest plant being discovered in Cooksonia

B)     the plant Baragwanathia before the first sphenophytes

C)    the predicted form of the oldest chordates being discovered as Pikaia

D)    the fish-amphibian transition (e.g. Tiktaalik, showing increasing leg bone development in the fins)

E)     the reptile-mammal transition (the cynodonts showing the jaw bone reducing to a single bone)

F)     the dinosaur-bird transition (Archaeopteryx and Cretaceous fossils, showing birds losing teeth and bony tails)

G)    the land mammal-whale transition (protocetids, etc., showing reducing hind limbs and nares moving to the top of the skull)

H)    ape-human transition (australopithecines showing increasing brain size and acquisition of upright posture)

I)       radiolarians, foraminifera, and cercopithecines showing gradual transition from one species to another.

C.      The general concept of biological evolution (common ancestry of all organisms – sometimes called ‘the fact of evolution’) is incompatible with the Bible because

1.      the Bible requires many separate origins for plants and animals – and evolution posits only one origin for all organisms.

2.      the Bible suggests an instantaneous origin of many separate organisms in adult form – and evolution posits evolutionary development for every organismal group.

D.      The currently accepted path of biological evolution (largely based upon the fossil record) is incompatible with the Bible because

1.      the Bible claims natural evil only post-dates human sin – whereas the paleoevil evidenced in the fossil record evidences (with deep time) intense natural evil for 100s of millions of years before the oldest human fossils.

a.       astronomical natural evils (the fossil record records impacts from meteorites, comets, and/or asteroids)

b.      geological natural evils (the fossil record records countless examples of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides)

c.       climatological natural evils (the fossil record records countless storm, tsunami, and flood deposits)

d.      biological natural evils (the fossil record records countless examples of disease, suffering, and death)

2.      the Bible claims land plants came before sea animals and flying animals came before land animals – whereas the fossil record suggests the opposite order for each of these

3.      the Bible claims the creation of organisms occurred in a single week of time – whereas the fossil record (interpreted in deep time) suggests evolution has required at least 3.5 billion years of time to accomplish its task.

4.      the Bible claims that lands plants were all created before the creation of sea and flying animals was begun, and the creation of the sea and flying animals were all created before the creation of the land animals – whereas the fossil record suggests heavy overlap (hundreds of millions of years) between the origin of these groups and evolutionary stages would have to be defined arbitrarily.

E.       The currently accepted mechanism of biological evolution (natural selection acting upon mutation-generated variation) is incompatible with the Bible because

1.      the Bible claims natural evil only post-dates human sin – whereas evolutionary mechanisms are completely dependent upon natural evil:

a.       virtually everything in the world is at war with an organism (“struggle for survival’;  “nature red, tooth and claw”; “a world at war”)

b.      mutation (copying errors) acted upon by natural selection (a natural evil involving differential death) is the currently popular mechanism of biological change.  Therefore, natural evil è man (rather than man è natural evil).

2.      the Bible claims that the process of creation terminated at the end of the Creation Week – whereas evolutionary mechanisms are thought to have been operating throughout all of earth history, including in the present.

3.      the Bible claims the creation of organisms occurred in a single week of time – whereas mutation and natural selection would generally require at least thousands of years to evolve even just one species from another (let alone the origin of all our millions of present species)

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