Neil Diamond and the Historicity of Genesis

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Last night Nancy and I had the privilege of watching an advance screening of Is Genesis History? It is showing at select theaters around the country this coming Thursday, and so what you need to do, as Neil Diamond once exhorted us—and who better to exhort on such an important matter than Neil?—is pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and everyone go.

Here is the website for the movie, and here is a link you can use to find out the nearest location for any folks around the country you may want to invite.

The movie is a documentary, so don’t go expecting explosions or motorcycles. But apart from that deficiency, as a documentary, it is quite engaging and intelligently done. Arguing for a recent creation of the earth, they tackle a subject that challenging in a way that was entirely up to the challenge. So there are three basic things I wanted to say in my commendation of the film. This is why I would like to encourage everybody involved to pack up everybody else, and just go. The film is worthwhile for three basic reasons.

First, the makers of this film understood how important it was to not be cheesy. The impression that well-trained secularists have of young earth creationists is that we are just two evolutionary mutations up from flat-earthers, and this film will do much to dispel that prejudice (for that is what it is, prejudice). What you will see is a long series of scientists and scholars with terminal degrees, pointing things out that are thunderously obvious if you would just look at them straight on. These scholars are all clothed and in their right minds, none of them jabbering, and all of them presenting arguments that cry out for engagement. If you have unbelieving friends who are willing to talk, this will give you plenty to talk about. And you won’t find yourself distracted from the main topic at hand (e.g. is any of this true?) by cheesy elements in the presentation. This is a good presentation, free from such distractions.

Second, the makers of this movie understand why the apologetic for young earth creation needs to emphasize Genesis 6 before Genesis 1. Make no mistake—both are the word of God, and both need to be affirmed in the most robust ways possible. But the world around us, the world we are invited to investigate, the world we actually see, is the world that was shaped by the Flood. If you consider sedimentary layers of rock that cover a significant portion of the United States, or the fossil record, and try to fit it into Genesis 1 and 2, and you will find yourself thinking that God must have created all these rock layers and fossil bones as a false flag operation, designed to test our faith.

But the fact is that we have no way of knowing what creatio ex nihilo looks like. We do know how sedimentary rocks form, and we do know how canyons are cut, and we do know how rapidly it can happen. And this means that flood geology provides us with startling evidence against uniformitarianism. This movie spends a good deal of time on that startling evidence. A layer of sedimentary rock covering much of our continent is a photograph of a flood, and it is a photograph of a flood of at least that size. Right? Just as you can’t have basalt without volcanoes, so also you can’t have sedimentary rock without water. And you can’t have that much sediment without a lot of water. A lot of water is what we call, out here in the provinces, a flood.

And third, this movie sees clearly the foundational nature of the early chapters of Genesis. You cannot jettison it and keep the rest. There are those who believe they can wave a figurative language wand over the first chapters of Genesis, but it is not really possible. For many reasons, the first chapters of Genesis are the cornerstone for most of the elements of the Christian faith. The whole thing stands or falls here. This crucial truth is grasped and wonderfully expressed in this movie.

As Michael Bull once expressed it, somewhat mildly: “It’s not that I hate Christian academics who don’t believe Genesis. I just think they are devils who should be publicly beaten with rods.” Allowing for some Australian overstatement, there is no mistaking the fact that Genesis is crucial, and the historicity of Genesis is equally crucial.

Check this movie out.

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Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago

Reverend Wilson,

Thank you for standing so firmly on this topic. There are far too many foundational issues at play for us to be timid about this. I ran hard up against this topic as I educated my children here in the northeast. We really do get treated like we are either simpletons or outright dangerous. It is very nice to know that someone with your influence and bully pulpit is willing to take a confident stand.

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago

“Bully pulpit”? I thought that was an insult.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

Not that I know of.

This is what I meant by it:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bully_pulpit

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago

Ha, it’s the English from England use of bully. I always thought it was more like using an influential position to bully people around. Thanks!

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

I have never actually heard the word bully used in this manner in any other place except this phrase.

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
4 years ago

Bully for you, Mr. Durden, sir! Bullly!

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago
Reply to  Capndweeb

Bully for you, Mr. Durden, sir! Bullly!

And Bob’s your uncle.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

I think it was on Foyle’s War that a character whimsically said, “And Robert’s your mother’s brother!” I had a Steve Rogers “I got that. I got that reference” moment.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Do you enjoy “Call the Midwife”? I thought the nuns were too nice to be realistically drawn, but they turned out to be Anglican nuns. Nary a ruler in sight.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

I’ve yet to see any of those though I’ve repeatedly heard good things about it. I’ll have to check it out at some point.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Capndweeb

In Canada “bully for you” is usually meant sarcastically, a bit like “Well, big deal.”

Capndweeb
Capndweeb
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Interesting. And here all this time, I thought Canadians were incapable of sarcasm–well unless by some cosmic tragedy they were deprived of their Timbits.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  Capndweeb

Or their Kraft Dinner.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

The term was coined by Theodore Roosevelt. He meant that the presidency is a good position to influence people with your ideas. But not to bully them in to accepting those ideas!

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Girlsplain much, jilly?
Kidding, kidding.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

I girlsplain every chance I get. That’s because I regard this board as my bully pulpit!

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Nuthin’ but net!

"A" dad
"A" dad
4 years ago

Steele and I are in Massachusetts. Care to give us a hint on your northeast state?

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

I am native to Wyoming, but I married a college girl into a family with like 12 generations in Maine. So, we landed bout halfway between Portland and and the White Mountain Forest area. Just far enough away from the in-laws in Augusta, but still way too much snow for my liking. Even after 40 years of it, I can’t stand it.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago

Maine, the home of my 24 and 21 pound cats. The home of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, my role model. It sounds beautiful, even with all the snow.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Yes, it is beautiful, especially the mountains. And honestly, now that I have all the lazy man equipment I need, it ain’t so bad. But being 67 years old makes playing in the snow in single digits all but impossible, which rules out like 3 months a year.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago

I spent six years living on the part of the Alaska Highway that runs through northern British Columbia. We needed a snowplow just to clear the access road from our house to the highway. It snowed from October to the end of April, and it was unbearably cold. Now, on a sunny winter’s day, I can see the snow crowning the distant San Gabriel mountains. And that is as close to snow as I ever plan to get for the rest of my life.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Amen to that.

I basically envision Heaven as being 85 and sunny forever. While we can be certain there will be no snow in Hell, I really hope to never see any in Heaven.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago

I would be happier with 75 but am prepared to make concessions!

"A" dad
"A" dad
4 years ago

Bummer man, we could have met in summersworth NH a few weeks ago, to hear our host speak! Let us know when you are in Boston!

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago

Neil Diamond and the Historicity of Genesis

Clickbait.

jillybean
jillybean
4 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

Neil Diamond’s was the first concert I was allowed to go to without an older brother or sister tagging along making sure I didn’t get into trouble. This was 50 years ago!

oldagg
oldagg
4 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Drove from Shreveport LA to College Station TX – met my buddy with his 1965 Mustang convertible and on to San Antonio for Neil Diamond!! Great!! That was 1969.

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago
Reply to  oldagg

You from Shreveport? I grew up about 20 miles north of Monroe in Bastrop, and I went to LaTech.

My mom got a 67 Camaro brand new when she went to college. Dad still drives it.

LittleRedMachine
LittleRedMachine
4 years ago

thank you very much! Wading through all the political quips over the past year, I knew there was something I come to this website for. This is it. Will go see and take others with me.

ME
ME
4 years ago

Hmmm, looks interesting.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago

“You cannot jettison it and keep the rest.”

You can however read it differently without jettisoning it. Just saying.

Bill Ludlow
Bill Ludlow
4 years ago

From the trailers and posters this appears to be nothing but a rehash of long debunked creationist nonsense. I wouldn’t expect to see anything new.

Reformed Roy
Reformed Roy
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill Ludlow

Thank you for lowering the bar. It increases my expectations of enjoyment.

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill Ludlow

Ludlow wrote:

From the trailers and posters this appears to be nothing but a rehash of long debunked creationist nonsense. I wouldn’t expect to see anything new.

I was expecting to see something new from detractors, but this appears to be nothing but a rehash of the same old content-free ad hominem dismissal.

Ludlow doesn’t bother to mention even one particular, but somehow is moved to write a review of the trailer.

Reformed Roy
Reformed Roy
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

, you are one of the reasons i don’t often post. it’s usually predestined redundancy, with yours put forth in all-around better form.

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Reformed Roy

Thanks to Reformed Roy for the compliment.

Mark Lussier
Mark Lussier
4 years ago

I’ve always had a desire to understand Genesis more fully in light of the evidence that has kept me in a state between compromise and denial. I have recently completed reading The Lost World of Genesis One, by John H Walton that has opened the door of my understanding with new insights that bring glory to the Creator. The premise of the book examines the first chapter of the Book of Beginnings as a description of creation which gives the various components in days one through 5 a functional purpose as opposed to the modern understanding of material origins.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lussier

Why refuse to take it at face value?

Mark Lussier
Mark Lussier
4 years ago

I think the presuppositions of our modern understanding can alter how we define face value. This also causes us to alter or ignore some of the other evidence so that it may ‘fit’ the narrative. The question should perhaps be, how did the ancient culture understand the face value of the text?

St. Lee
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lussier

With all due respect, should not the question be, “how did God mean the text to be understood?” After all, it was written just a much for our benefit as for “the ancient culture.”

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago
Reply to  St. Lee

Yes, of course. A Biblical text can always mean more than the original author meant but it can’t mean less. It must mean at least what he meant.

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago
Reply to  St. Lee

Did God mean for us to take into account what the writer understood?

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lussier

This is why we ought to be willing to weigh the weight of historical views of this topic who didn’t have our presuppositions.

Once that is done, we see that those who hold to the traditional view are much more in line with faithful biblical interpreters who didn’t share our modern presuppositions. And it is those who hold to a modified view that are viewing the text through a modern prism.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago

Face value to us is different than it was to the author of Genesis. We unconsciously impose modern categories on the book just because that’s the way we think. It takes work to even see what we’re doing and much more work to see what the author thinks he’s doing.

Farinata degli Uberti
Farinata degli Uberti
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Your qualification assumes facts not in evidence. Actually, early Jewish thought (as represented first by Moses, and then by the Apostles) clearly held Adam and Eve to have been real people and our first parents. The word for books that contain real information about the past is “history” and it means pretty much the same thing now as it always has.

Duells Quimby
Duells Quimby
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

I agree. We really have to dig deep, and read and re-read to see what Moses wrote. And pray for the illumination of the Spirit.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Then shouldn’t we weigh the historical position more heavily, as opposed to looking for new renditions based on modern presuppositions? This seems to argue for holding the traditional view.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago

Yep, and the ancient one more heavily than the traditional one.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Are you suggesting the ancient one was theistic evolution or the gap theory or the day-age theory? If not, you are not helping your case. As best I can tell the ancient position is virtually the same as what we call the traditional one. If you have evidence to the contrary, I am happy to read it, but if we want to avoid placing our own pre-conceived notions onto text, we have to be willing to hear history and reject some new interpretation that is explicitly based in that new paradigm, in this case the paradigm of uniformitarianism.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago

None of the above. Check out the book Mark Lussier mentions at the top of this thread.

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lussier

Mark Lussier wrote: The premise of the book examines the first chapter of the Book of Beginnings as a description of creation which gives the various components in days one through 5 a functional purpose as opposed to the modern understanding of material origins. I’m not familiar with this book, and I’m not opposed to metaphorical interpretations of Genesis at all. What I am opposed to is the appeal to metaphor as an excuse to ignore and skip over the actual features and requirements of the text itself. In other words, if morning and evening, and light and darkness are… Read more »

Tim Brenner
Tim Brenner
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I’ve recently had the thought (and perhaps this has been formulated elsewhere- I’m not overly familiar with all the interpretations) that when God said “let there be light” it isn’t speaking of the actual creation of light, but rather the moment in time when God fixed his gaze upon the formless void that he intended to work on. I have no problem with the idea that God created everything in the universe “in the beginning” and the formation of the relevant part to us (that being our planet, galaxy,etc) happened over six days time. Couldn’t the greater portion of the… Read more »

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim Brenner

This is an interesting start. It seems to preserve the creation week, as a normal week, with life arriving only during that week (no evolution or death prior to that week), but it suggests that the non-living creation could be much older. I can readily accept the idea of a difference between the original light of the first few days, and the greater and lesser lights which weren’t governing until mid-week. The presence of light defines the day, with intervening darkness, which, according to the narration, implies an orbiting or rotating system with a vantage point on the earth itself.… Read more »

Tim Brenner
Tim Brenner
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

The only gap I think that the text itself may hint at is found in the curious presence of water or “waters” seemingly before any description of God’s creative action. When was this water created? On what day? It seems to read quite naturally as an account of how God took special notice of a particular portion of his creation, which may have been brought into existence and left in a rudimentary form for a long, long time before being properly suited for living beings. And of course there is the question of when God created angelic beings as well.… Read more »

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim Brenner

Tim Brenner wrote: The only gap I think that the text itself may hint at is found in the curious presence of water or “waters” seemingly before any description of God’s creative action. I think I see what Brenner means, but it’s not the case that water was present “before any description of God’s creative action”. God’s creative action is described in the very first verse, where He “created the heavens and the earth”. But if Brenner just wants to suggest that there was a really really long lightless period before God finally created some light, then I don’t see… Read more »

Tim Brenner
Tim Brenner
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I should have spoken more clearly. What I meant was that there seems to be water before there was the first day, as we would define it by morning and evening. Obviously not before ANY creative act, unless we are to believe it existed with God eternally, which of course I don’t.

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

“The term day (yom) is carefully defined by God to require the presence of light, and there must be an intervening period of darkness” Two clarifying questions, please?: First, by saying “intervening period” — would you be referring to a period of time, primarily? In other words, are you referring to the first “separation” of light and dark as one of time rather than space? When you read that God “divided” the light from the darkness, are you take that division as one of time over which the earth was shadowed vs lighted? Secondly, when God says calls or names… Read more »

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

PerfectHold wrote: In other words, are you referring to the first “separation” of light and dark as one of time rather than space? I’m not trying to add any requirements to the text. I’m simply observing that a day requires light, and darkness must intervene in order to distinguish one day from the next. In other words, one day, in the Genesis 1 context, cannot mean millions of light and dark cycles. This is simply not allowed by the text. If someone wants to take light and darkness, morning and evening, greater and lesser lights, etc, to be something metaphorical,… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Let me try it this way, if you will. “Let there be light, and there was light” — Does the text inform you of what this first light was illuminating? — was it earth alone, heavens & earth? other? Does the text tell/imply for you that this initial light was a physical, created feature? Was it at first independent of all physical sources/generators? Does the text later inform you that the light would become dependent upon stars? If not, is that something you assume by reason of …? Do you understand from the text that this first light was continuous… Read more »

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

I’m not sure where PerfectHold’s questions are leading. I don’t object to most of his musing, but neither am I trying to add any requirements that are not in the context of Genesis 1. PerfectHold wrote: Do you understand from the text that this first light was continuous / permanent in nature? — as opposed to say being turned off and back on again intermittently? I’m open to other suggestions, if someone wants to present a complete theory about a light that switches on and off, rather orbiting earth, or rather than a rotating earth. Again, I’m not trying to… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

It’s looking like you understand the text to be saying that there are periods after light was initiated that the light then disappeared either altogether or on portions of earth?

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

PerfectHold wrote: It’s looking like you understand the text to be saying that there are periods after light was initiated that the light then disappeared either altogether or on portions of earth? The text expressly says that God separated the light from the darkness. There was evening, and morning between each day, and the darkness God called night. This entails that the light could not have been continuously present, from the same vantage point, across multiple creation days. By definition in this context, there needed to be intervening periods of darkness (and evening and morning) between each. These cyclic features… Read more »

PerfectHold
PerfectHold
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Sounds like you are saying that the text claims our globe regularly went dark?

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  PerfectHold

No. I’ve not said any such thing. I’ve said that, since light defines each day, there can’t be multiple days without some period of darkness separating each of them. That is the textual requirement. I made no comment on the scope of the darkness.

Billtownphysics
Billtownphysics
4 years ago

It looks interesting and well done, I’m taking my family out to see it tomorrow night.

Qodesmith
Qodesmith
4 years ago

You had me until “recent creation of Earth…”

Ginny Yeager
Ginny Yeager
4 years ago

Thanks for linking to this movie. Much appreciated. I think dating lady earth’s skin layers is the most important topic in scientific Christian apologetics. The whole evolution debate hinges on the age of the rocks that hold the fossils.
Somewhat related, what’s going on in Antarctica that is so important as to warrant a trip there by John Kerry on election day?

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Ginny Yeager

Perhaps he just had some extra fuel to burn?

According to the internet, the last few Secretaries of State exceeded or nudged a million miles of travel while in office (Kerry was 1.3 million miles). Hillary Clinton was apparently eager to claim boasting rights for breaking travel records.

I guess low carbon footprints are only for the peasant class.

Ginny Yeager
Ginny Yeager
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Possibly. But Newt Gingrich is down there now and no-spring-chicken Buzz Aldrin made the trek recently and had to be medevac’d out. Several other well-known folks (whose names escape me at the moment) have been down there recently as well.
I’ve heard a few rumors on the internet that something big was discovered that would tie into the history of the earth topic in this post. Normally, I would poopoo such rumors, but for Kerry to go down on election day seems fairly significant. Just wondered if any of you’all had heard anything.

katecho
katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Ginny Yeager

Whatever it was, Gingrich apparently had some free time to enjoy a little sea kayaking with his current wife.

Kilgore T. Durden
Kilgore T. Durden
4 years ago

Did anyone get out to see this yesterday?

John Warren
4 years ago

unabashedly splitting infinitives–love it!

“to not be cheesy”