Does Genesis 1 Teach Science?

Does Genesis 1 Teach Science? March 2, 2018

John Walton insists that Genesis doesn’t “attempt to address cosmology in modern terms or address modern questions. The Israelites received no revelation to update their ‘scientific’ understanding of the cosmos.”

Then too: “Throughout the entire Bible, there is not a single instance in which God revealed to Israel a science beyond their own culture. No passage offers a scientific perspective that was not common to the Old World science of antiquity.”

John Lennox (Seven Days That Divide the World, 139-41), who quotes these passages, finds them puzzling. Or worse: He finds them flat mistaken.

He notes that “the question whether the universe has a beginning or not has been around for millennia,” and Genesis answers the question in an unparalleled way. Where, he wonders, did Israelites learn their cosmology, if not from Genesis, which didn’t “update” earlier cosmologies but “was uniquely distinct from those cosmologies. . . . In contrast to the view that the universe was made from preexisting gods, Genesis teaches that the universe was created by one God who spoke it into existence from nothing” (140-1).

The claim that the universe was created by “word” is a “non-scientific” claim by the standards of modern science, but, Lennox argues, it has scientific import: “This revelation, that God by his Word imparts energy and information to create and structure the universe, is profoundly new. . . . it converges with some of the deepest insights of a modern science that has come to realize the fundamental nature of information and its irreducibility to matter and energy” (141).

Walton’s claims assume a particular view of the interests of ancient people, of the nature of science, and of the uniqueness of “modern” questions and concerns. He concludes that ancients weren’t concerned with the origins of the physical universe, and that therefore Genesis doesn’t address those concerns.

This looks like an effort to wish away challenging questions with a wave of the hand. It addresses some of the same questions that modern science does, as many readers – including many ancient ones – have assumed.

Scholars have longed claimed that ancients gave mythical answers to scientific questions. Walton won’t even allow his ancients to ask scientific questions. In the end, Walton’s position is, ironically enough, a retread of the old contrast of the contrast of primitives and the enlightened. And there is nothing more modern than that.

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  • John Martin

    Genesis 1:1

    Baraisheyath Bara Elohiyem Eth HaShomiyem Weath Hearetz

    “In the Beginning was brought forth Elohiyem Eth The Heavens and the Earth.”

    בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

    Colossians 1:15-18 witnesses by the Shama “Obey”, the Spirit of the Torah, that Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they bethrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Who is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth before the creation of worlds within the Set-Apart Bosom of the Dark Waters of The Greater Yahuweh The Father, The Ancient of Days and the Infinite Being of the Creation? The round# in Genesis 1:1 is equivalent to 2 + 200 + 1 + 300 + 10 + 400 + 2 + 200 + 1 + 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 + 1 + 400 + 5 + 300 + 40 + 10 + 40 + 6 + 1 + 400 + 5 + 1 + 200 + 90 = 2701. The machosheb “calculation” 2701 is equivalent to the Hebrew words HaBuware Yahuwashe Yahuweh HaQoten HaBon HaDober HaShomi MaHocheyaq Shal Yahuweh HaGodawol HeAbi Ethayiq Yowumiye “The Creator Yahuwashe The Lesser Yahuweh The Son, The Word, The Shama “Obey” from The Bosom of The Greater Yahuweh The Father The Ancient Days” such as 5 + 2 + 6 + 200 + 1 + 10 + 5 + 6 + 300 + 70 + 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 100 + 9 + 50 + 5 + 2 + 50 + 5 + 4 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 300 + 40 + 70 + 40 + 5 + 8 + 10 + 100 + 300 + 30 + 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 6 + 30 + 5 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 70 + 400 + 10 + 100 + 10 + 6 + 40 + 10 + 1 = 2701. What is this Eth-The Light of the upper firmament of the Heavens that is the power of the Father in His Son who is the Passover on the Cross that shines within us and restores us from death in sin to life in his Father’s Spirit? The round# plus the no# of words in Genesis 1:1 is equivalent to 2 + 200 + 1 + 300 + 10 + 400 + 2 + 200 + 1 + 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 + 1 + 400 + 5 + 300 + 40 + 10 + 40 + 6 + 1 + 400 + 5 + 1 + 200 + 90 = 2701 + 7 words = 2708. The machosheb “calculation” 2708 is equivalent to the Hebrew words Chashoketh-HaMayim El Yeday HaBon Yahuweh HeAleheyam HaDober Beayidabol Bahayawobol Shal HeAyin SowuphYahuweh HaGodawol HeAbi Ethayiq Yowumiye “The Dark Waters (Psalms 18:11) by The Son of Yahuweh The Word on 1-14-32 in the Jubilee of The Infinite Being The Greater Yahuweh The Father, The Ancient of Days” such as 8 + 300 + 20 + 400+ 5 + 40 + 10 + 40 + 70 + 30 + 10 + 4 + 10 + 5 + 2 + 50 + 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 + 5 + 4 + 2 + 200 + 2 + 1 + 10 + 4 + 2 + 30 + 2 + 5 + 10 + 6 + 2 + 30 + 300 + 30 + 5 +1 + 10 + 50 + 60 + 6 + 80 + 10 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 3 + 4 + 6 + 30 + 5 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 70 + 400 + 10 + 100 + 10 + 6 + 40 + 10 + 1 = 2708. Finally, What is the Dark Waters of the Father in His Son of the upper firmament of the Heavens? The full spelling# plus the ordinal in the Hebrew words Chashoketh-Hamayim “The Dark Waters” (Psalms 18:11) is equivalent to 8 + 10 + 22 + 21 + 10 + 14 + 11 + 17 + 22 + 6 + 5 + 1 + 13 + 13 + 10 + 6 + 4 + 13 + 13 = 219. The machosheb “calculation” 219 is equivalent to the Hebrew word HaRuwach “The Spirit” such as 5 + 200 + 6 + 8 = 219. In conclusion, and the End of the Matter, And The Gospel of John 1:1-5 by the Shama “Obey”, The Set-Apart Spirit of The Torah witnesses Genesis 1:1 by the reading:

    John 1:1-5

    “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

  • John Martin
  • David E Timmer

    Leithart suggests that Walton condescends to the biblical authors by not “allow[ing] them to ask scientific questions.” But if there is any condescension here, it is coming from Leithart. Walton does not suggest that modern scientific questions are better, more sophisticated, or more valid than the questions that guided the biblical writers. They just happen to be questions that engage us and for which we have developed a conceptual framework. If we try to force Genesis into our framework, we fail to show respect to either their framework or ours.

    Yet Walton’s position in no way excludes the possibility that Genesis might connect with or inform modern scientific ideas, such as information theory. Why should it? Different need not imply unrelated, much less inferior. That implication resides only in Leithart’s mind.

  • toddh

    Time to read up on ANE cosmology…

  • Tee Eef

    What we need to understand is that God is Spiritual so without full understanding the spiritual perspective you can not be able to compare and understand how God operates. God is not human. He just created us in his image and imparted his spirit on us by that we may be able to operate like him. God’s Spiritual powers are more than and above very other power one may think of, He is above the science because science is limited to human capacity and yet God is above all that.

  • vanessa

    Reading the prophets, the message of the Spirit, from the Pentateuch to Revelation is written:

    ” I am the First and with the Last: I am He”

    I do understand that there is no room for any form of Existence before of after.

    Science is a study that focuses on the creation and the creatures, the Bible is a study revealing the Creator .

    There is a connection but the subject covered by the area of study is different

  • Amateur Christian

    An interesting and challenging article to someone like me with sympathy for Walton’s position. But I’m not quite persuaded.

    Sure, Genesis and astronomy/geology/biology are both interested in the origins of the world. But science is interested exclusively in the world’s material and efficient causes. Genesis’s teachings concern primarily its formal and final causes. Saying that Genesis teaches no science at all might be an exaggeration, but it’s much closer to the truth than insisting Genesis is a scientific account in the modern sense.