Is Natural and Biological Diversity A Testament of God’s Creative Power or a Consequence of Sin? Reflections on “Is Genesis History?”

In my reflections on the recent film “Is Genesis History?” which appeared on the Biologos website yesterday I made the following observation:

“Recently I found myself in a theater taking in scenes of God’s creation through the documentary Is Genesis History? hosted by Del Tackett.  This beautifully produced film transported myself and the rest of a clearly awed audience to many natural wonders of this world. Even though my interpretation of Genesis is much different than his, I could share with the Tackett (and the audience) a great sense of wonder at these magnificent scenes.  So you can imagine my surprise as I watched the final scene which found Dr. Tackett looking out over a landscape similar to my mountain experience and proclaiming, “It’s glorious, but represents the judgement of God.”

As surprising as this statement may sound, Dr. Tackett was only stating the logical conclusion which flows from his young-earth creationism (YEC) worldview. For him, what you and I experience is not so much God’s good creation as it is the end-product of God’s judgement.” 

I was reacting to the very last scene in the film which presents a young-earth perspective on how Earth’s physical and biological history should be viewed in light of a literal-day interpretation of the Genesis text.   I left the theater with many thoughts but that last scene is what stuck with me the most.  When we look at mountains, waterfalls, deserts and glaciers are we reminded of God’s curse or his creative power?  Likewise, when we see the incredible adaptations that species display that allow them to live in nearly every environment on earth do we blame Adam’s sin for bringing this variation into the world?  The young-earth perspective on how sin corrupted the physical creation would suggest that these features of the world are judgment not creation.   But this view of natural and biological diversity does not fit with that of the authors of the Bible.

Please visit BioLogos.org to read the rest of my reflections  (Mountains, Meadows and Marmots:  Creation or Judgement?) on the final scene of the film “Is Genesis History?”

In that article I mention my own mountain top experience in contrast to that presented in the film.  Below are some additional pictures I took on my La Plata Peak hike in Colorado last summer that set the stage for my commentary.

Andrew (my oldest son) on top of La Plata Peak, Colorado (14350 feet)

Yours truly at about 1300 feet on the side of La Plata Peak, Colorado. July 2016 Photo: Andrew Duff

I enjoy relaxing on a ridge coming off of La Plata Peak. I was able to spend about 2 hours just hanging out taking pictures and interacting with the animals.

View from trail to La Plata Peak, Colorado Mountains

Trail down from La Plata Peak, Colorado

Comments

  1. johnscorner says:

    Wow! Thanks for the link! And thanks for writing your thought-provoking post on BioLogos in the first place. Question, however: Is your quote from Dr. Tackett exact . . . or is it a paraphrase?

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    • That “quote” is the best memory of myself and two others who took notes during the movies. So I can’t be absolutely certain it is word for word correct but it should be and if it isn’t it should capture the sentiment of what was said.

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  2. So,,, the YECcies think that a pre-sin Earth was all smooth and flat and warm and fuzzy? Lessee,,, that means diamonds (coming from deep in the Earth via volcanoes) are the result of sin; and, obviously, every other gem. That would mean all fossils, petroleum, sedimentary rocks, bodies of water, 90-plus percent of all species,,, you get my point I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is considerable diversity of opinion in this area among YECs. I get the feeling very few have spent any time really thinking about the pre-Fall Earth and what it would be like other than just saying no death of animals. Some think that that pre-Flood world would have been vastly more diverse than the world we have today. This is partly becuase there are so many different fossils represent extinct things that must have lived some time. But was all that diversity present before the Fall? That is more interesting but rarely written about. Even so I am sure that many YECs believe there was much biolgoical diversity but geologically speaking there was not likely as much diversity. Certainly all fossils, oil and coal, sedimentary rocks were formed after the Fall. Not doubt a very foreign world to us and yet the biblical authors seem to take the world they see around them as the world God created.

      Liked by 1 person

    • johnscorner says:

      Thanks for the link, Micah!

      !!! . . . I so appreciate Dr. Walker’s desire to defend his (and AiG/CMI’s) interpretation of Genesis.

      “If only” he (and they) would admit that they are dealing with INTERPRETIVE issues!

      Why is he able to affirm the difficulties surrounding the interpretation of “Nature” (“Nature does not tell a story. It is people who make up stories”), but he won’t acknowledge that, as a document written in an ancient language, the Bible itself, too, on its own, doesn’t tell stories. It, too, must always be interpreted by people (hopefully with the aid of the Holy Spirit and, potentially, some OTHER human preacher/teachers [Acts 8:30-31; Rom. 10:14). And the young-earth creationists who interpret the Bible are every bit as limited in their wisdom and knowledge, and every bit as subject to the foibles and failures and vicissitudes of human nature as are the evangelical, Bible-believing old-earth creationists.

      I don’t know how far I want to go in responding to Dr. Walker’s critique. But I will at least begin a response.

      The authors whom Walker critiques say, “Our worldview is based on a belief that the Bible is true – cover to cover, from Gen. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21.”

      And Walker dares suggest they are being “disingenuous, since BioLogos refuses to affirm biblical inerrancy. . . .”

      But the article is not by BioLogos. It is by the authors. So how dare he impugn the authors’ character by the fact that they had their article published on a site that, for reasons noted, does not make the kinds of faith claims for its owner that these authors make for themselves?

      Authors: “A false dichotomy is created . . . by giving the viewer the impression that the world is divided between those who believe Genesis is history and those who believe it is merely a collection of myths.”

      Walker: “They argue there is no dichotomy and then proceed to prove there is a dichotomy. . . .”

      !!! Talk about poor interpretation! The authors did NOT argue there is no dichotomy. They said there is a FALSE dichotomy. They suggest there is at least one additional interpretive option. . . .

      Walker: “[A]s usual with compromisers, they have misrepresented Augustine, who was a young-earth creationist, and appeal to a theological liberal like Bonhoeffer.”

      Read Augustine’s LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF GENESIS and it is obvious he was no young-earth creationist in any sense that Walker, AiG and/or CMI would want to promote. I won’t attempt to defend the reference to Bonhoeffer. (Though while he was at it, I’m astonished Walker didn’t point out that C.S. Lewis was no fundamentalist nor, even, a strict, Bible-only, evangelical. But perhaps he would like to attack Warfield as a “compromiser”? Or how about Spurgeon? [See http://johnscorner.blogspot.com/2009/02/honesty-its-such-lonely-word.html%5D)

      Walker: ” ‘Possible truth?’ That the earth was shaped by a global flood is only ‘possible truth?’ Yet they began by saying, ‘Our worldview is based on a belief that the Bible is true—cover to cover, from Gen. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21.’ If they really believed what they claimed there would be no question that there was a global Flood.”

      If only! If only there weren’t good reasons to consider alternate interpretations of the words and phrases that the young-earthers interpret to mean the flood was global and not local (though vast). . . .

      Walker: “The only reason they invoke wind is because a huge water flow would be too much like the biblical Flood. Yet, when the actual evidence is examined, such as dune angle, particle size distribution, etc. it is clear that the deposits were water deposited.”

      I don’t know the science. I am quite sure, however that Walker is incorrect when he suggests that the only reason the authors would invoke wind is because they are precommitted to denying the historicity of (not “the biblical Flood”, BUT) a global flood as imagined by advocates for a young- (i.e., 6,000- to 10,000-year-old) earth perspective.

      Walker: “When we are trying to get to the truth of the situation we cannot take what the secular, long-age geologist says without question. We always need to dig deeper and check what the actual evidence is.”

      From what I know of Dr. Duff (I don’t know the other authors), I am sure he would agree. So the purpose of Walker’s statement here? To imply that the authors do “take what the secular, long-age geologist says without question”? (!!!)

      Authors: “… young-earth creationists are a tiny minority among practicing Christian scientists, especially in fields of science relevant to the question of the earth’s age …”

      Walker: “Truth is not established by a vote. We need to test all claims against the Word of God.”

      Again, from what I know of Dr. Duff (I don’t know the other authors), I am sure he would agree. So the purpose of Walker’s statement here?

      Walker: “Scripture gives abundant information for us to know that God created the world about 6,000 years ago.”

      “Know”? And is it “information” that the Scriptures give that lead us, in this area, to knowledge?
      Or to inference?

      By way of parallel, would Dr. Walker care to make a claim, in similar fashioin, about his views about baptism (paedo- v. adults-only) or eschatology (preterist, premill, amill, postmill, etc., etc.)? “Scripture gives abundant information for us to know that [my (group’s) expressed view concerning (baptism or eschatology) is the correct view]”?

      I’ll stop here.

      Once more: I want to affirm that I appreciate Dr. Walker’s desire to defend his view. HOWEVER. I find his “defense” rather lacking.

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