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Feedback archive Feedback 2010

Genesis, history and Haeckel’s diagrams

Published: 6 November 2010(GMT+10)

This week we have two correspondents. B.F. from Canada makes the common mistake that Genesis, if taken as a polemic against pagan gods, is not meant to be history, as CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati shows. B.G. from Australia informs us that Haeckel’s embryos, which were shown to be fraudulent over 100 years ago, are still used to teach evolution in universities today. CMI’s Dr David Catchpoole responds.

Is Genesis history?

B.F. from Canada writes:

Hello, I am a very conservative Christian whose primary passion in life (behind following Christ) is to find and search out truth.
Before I begin, I would like to say that the discussion of the literary context of Genesis should never be something that splits the Church, a literal interpratation of Genesis is never mentioned in any of the Creeds, so it is not fundamental to salvation. However, I would still like to respectfully raise one issue with Creation Ministries.
Genesis was written as a literary prose used for liturgical use amongst the Hebrew people. It was written in a pre-scientific era with idioms common to the people of the day. It was written to differentiate the Hebrew God from the other pagan gods. I don’t believe that Genesis 1:1 was meant for a scientifically accurate description of creation; that would not have made any sense to the audience. Both theistic evolutionists, and Young earth Creationists attempt to use Genesis for Scientific purposes, however that is not what it was meant for. I don’t want to get into some huge theological debate however my final point is stated as follows: How the earth was created is not a fundamental Christian issue to be fighting over, it makes us seems like a closeminded cult, and it does more harm than good. Christians are supposed to have an air about them that says to the world “I live life because of Christ, and by Christ”. As soon as any Christian is confronted with the topic of evolution, any real scientist will be able to refute every one of the facts presented on this website. Rather than focusing on how “scientific” Genisis is, we should be focusing on Grace, and Grace alone.
May the Grace of Christ be with you always.
God Bless
B.F.

CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati writes:

Dear B.F.

Hello, I am a very conservative Christian whose primary passion in life (behind following Christ) is to find and search out truth.

But then, what is your authority for truth? Is it Scripture or ‘science’?

Before I begin, I would like to say that the discussion of the literary context of Genisis should never be something that splits the Church, a literal interpretation of Genisis is never mentioned in any of the Creeds, so it is not fundamental to salvation. However, I would still like to respectfully raise one issue with Creation Ministries.

As for creeds, this is an argument from silence. It also fails to recognize that they were negative statements designed to refute the heresies of the day. E.g. the Nicene Creed refuted the Arian heresy by stating:

The fact of creation was not in dispute; the Church Fathers all believed that the earth was only a few thousand years old, and nearly all believed in six-day creation.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

The fact of creation was not in dispute, so there was no need for the Creed to refute false views on it; the Church Fathers all believed that the earth was only a few thousand years old, and nearly all believed in six-day creation. Even the early apologist Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John, used the historicity of Genesis 1:27 and 2:7 in his famous Adversus Haereses (documented in Irenaeus and Genesis by Thomas Holsinger-Friesen, reviewed by CMI’s New Testament scholar Lita Cosner for a coming issue of Journal of Creation).

Genesis was written as a literary prose used for liturgical use amongst the Hebrew people. It was written in a pre-scientific era with idioms common to the people of the day. It was written to differentiate the Hebrew God from the other pagan gods. I don’t believe that Genesis 1:1 was meant for a scientifically accurate description of creation; that would not have made any sense to the audience. Both theistic evolutionists, and Young earth Creationists attempt to use Genesis for Scientific purposes, however that is not what it was meant for.

I am afraid you are mistaken about the literary style of Genesis 1–11. It is written in the standard style of Hebrew historical narratives, and blends seamlessly into Gen. 12–50. See Is Genesis poetry/figurative, a theological argument (polemic) and thus not history?

Furthermore, the New Testament writers and Jesus cite its events, people and even the order of events as real history (Genesis: Bible authors believed it to be history). Note that this article is subtitled in a way that addresses your complaint: ‘The important thing is that God created, isn’t it?

I don’t want to get into some huge theological debate however my final point is stated as follows: How the earth was created is not a fundamental Christian issue to be fighting over,

Yet your email is fighting with us …

it makes us seems like a closeminded cult, and it does more harm than good.

Jesus was very closed-minded and exclusivist, e.g. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

Christians are supposed to have an air about them that says to the world “I live life because of Christ, and by Christ”.

But which ‘christ’ (cf. Matthew 24:24)? The true Christ of the Bible affirmed not only Genesis but all the other passages of Scripture that skeptics most love to mock—see Jesus Christ on the infallibility of Scripture.

‘As soon as any Christian is confronted with the topic of evolution, any real scientist will be able to refute every one of the facts presented on this website.’

Oh really? Unlike you, I am a real scientist with an earned doctorate in chemistry from an accredited secular university. A number of my colleagues have earned science doctorates too. And good luck in ‘ refut[ing] every one of the facts presented on this website’, since the facts presented include the roundness of the earth, that the sun is enormously larger than the earth, that water is H2O, and many others.

God bless

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati


Haeckel’s embryo diagrams are still used in universities!

Haechel drawings

Universities still use Haeckel’s fraudulent embryo diagrams!

B.G. from Australia writes:

Hi
I just thought I’d pass on to you that it appears that [a major university in Australia] is still using Haeckel’s diagrams.
A biology student mentioned this during church tonight and I have led him to your site so he can have some ammunition the next time he has class.
Regards
B.G.

CMI’s Dr David Catchpoole responds:

Dear B,

Thanks very much for letting us know that [this university] still presents Haeckel’s figures. And well done for passing on some ‘ammo’ to the biology student. Thanks to ‘foot-soldiers’ such as yourself, the word is getting out!

Regards

David Catchpoole

CMI

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