googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Does “And God Said” Mean God Didn't Do?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Does “And God Said” Mean God Didn't Do?

I came across a mildly interesting article called, “Plain Reading of Genesis 1.” It's by a theistic evolutionist, Glenn Morton, who tries to make hay of the term, “And God said...” I think it's most amusing that Glenn Morton titled it, “Plain Reading of Genesis 1” since Morton's reading of Genesis is anything but plain. His point in the article is that the “plain” reading of passages like Genesis 1:11 do not say that God made the grass, for example. He points out that God only “said”, “Let the earth bring forth grass.” Here's how Morton explains the “plain” meaning of that passage:

Oh, God is saying things, he isn't creating things, but anti-evolutionists miss that subtlety. Where is the verb Created that applies to God? It isn't there. What is inside the quote? ¶"Let the earth bring forth grass and herb yielding seed." ¶Where is God in that phrase? Who or what is bringing forth? A simple grammar teacher would tell you that the earth is the subject of that sentence and is the thing doing the action--which is, bringing forth.!!!! God didn't bring forth, the earth DID.

I'm not sure where to begin. Morton's “plain” reading is truly incredible.

To Morton's point that the term “And God said...” somehow has removed God from being “directly” involved in the creation, I would direct your attention to the miracles performed by Jesus in the New Testament. Jesus often performed His miracles by merely speaking the words. For example, Jesus said in John 11:43, “Lazarus, come forth.” So I ask, was Jesus “directly” involved in the resurrection of Lazarus? If not, exactly who brought Lazarus forth? Was it Lazarus? Was it the tomb? Did the molecules in Lazarus' body somehow rearrange themselves over vast eons of deep time until Lazarus finally came forth alive again?

Morton also has a very selective way of reading Genesis. It's true that the phrase “And God said...” is used frequently in Genesis. However, Morton glosses over – with barely a mention – other passages that say, “And God made...” or “And God created....” Genesis 1:25, for example, says, And God made the beast of the earth...” John 12:1 attests that it was Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead and He did so by merely speaking the words. Just as Jesus was directly responsible for raising Lazarus with His word, so also God was directly responsible for the creation with His word.

But speaking of the plain meaning, where exactly is Morton's explanation of the plain meaning of the phrase “evening and morning” or the ordinal numbering of days - “first day,” “second day,” etc? If he is so interested in the plain meaning of the text, I maintain the most ordinary meaning of these terms in Genesis 1 is that the earth was created in six days. To believe that “the evening and the morning were the first day” plainly means “billions of years” seems more than a little stretch.

Another thing that is very odd about Morton's article is that he somehow suggests that Genesis “plainly” endorses evolution. Do you really think that the phrase, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature...” plainly means that over billions of years a single-celled creature, through mutation and selection, over countless generations, eventually evolved to become all the diverse land animals? The plain meaning seems far more likely to say that God spoke and all of the land animals came forth in a single day. The Bible is describing an event, not a process.

Finally, Morton seems to acknowledge that the creation of man was unlike the creation of the animals. The Bible states overtly that Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and not descended from a non-human animal. Thus, the plain meaning of the text is that Adam was created fully human in a moment and not the product of evolution. So, does Morton exclude man from evolution or does he ignore the plain reading of the Bible when it conflicts with his theory?

What Morton claims is the “plain” reading of Genesis is little more than quote-mining and special pleading. God made the world and everything in it in six days. The plain meaning of the Bible needs little explanation.

No comments: