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Are Science and the Bible at Odds?

Now let’s look at three Non-Concordist interpretations:

Those who hold to the Framework View interpret the Genesis account of creation to be a figurative framework that describes real history. This view maintains there are two “registers” of creation: the upper (invisible) and the lower (visible). The complete seven-day framework, they assert, is a metaphorical appropriation of lower-register language denoting an upper-register temporal reality.

“Why did Moses employ the anthropomorphic picture of God going about His creative labors in six days and resting on the seventh? He did so in order to communicate a theological message,” writes Dr. Lee Irons in his article on the subject. “The theological point of this literary structure is that the creation was made by God to be subordinate to man and through man’s obedient work as God’s regent exercising dominion over creation to enter God’s own rest. God’s purpose for creation was, through Adam’s obedience, to be ultimately transformed and glorified in order to be the theater of God’s glory and the eternal dwelling place of glorified humanity.” 

Those who hold to the Analogical Days View believe that not everything in the Genesis account needs to be taken as historically sequential. It is possible, they assert, that parts of some days overlap and that events on a particular day may be grouped for logical rather than chronological reasons. Says John C. Collins who developed this interpretation, “Genesis 1:1–2:3 is not a scientific account… I would claim that it lays the foundation for all good science and philosophy, by telling us that the world came from a good and wise Creator.”

Those who hold to the Functional Cosmic Temple View argue that the use of the Hebrew verb bârâʼ (בָּרָא) in describing God’s creative activity refers to the creation of function rather than material. The key functions necessary for life were created during the first three days: the basis for time on day one (periods of light); the basis for weather on day two (water cycle); and the basis for food on day three (land and vegetation). The seventh day, the day of rest, represents God taking up His dwelling in the functioning cosmic temple. In this interpretation all the functions meet the needs of humanity, with God’s presence serving as the defining element of existence.


~ Conclusion ~

Science and the Bible need not be at war with each other.

Many Christians believe that a literal, traditional view of the Genesis 1 story is the only alternative for “true” Christians. They simply can’t fathom how ANY Bible-believing Christian would deviate from the view that God created the universe in six consecutive 24-hour days, or that the earth is much older than about 6,000 years.

Other Christians view this perspective to be narrow, if not silly. Could God have created the earth in six days? Of course, without breaking a sweat. But the length of time it took Him to do so isn’t the point of Genesis, they believe, so it doesn’t need to taken literally.

Let’s be clear on how we should view the word “literally.” Professor Norman Geisler does a great job in a reply he gave in an interview posted on the Billy Graham website:

“Everything in the Bible is literally true, but not everything is true literally. Jesus said, ‘I am the vine, I am the door.’ No one looks for a doorknob or hinges, or leaves coming out of His ear. The Bible has parables, and it has figures of speech. We adopt the literal method of interpreting the Bible as opposed to the allegorical method, where you spiritualize the meaning of the Bible. For those proponents, the resurrection didn’t happen literally, it was just a spiritual resurrection in the hearts of the disciples.”

As Christians it’s critical that we have a proper understanding of God’s Word—even as we disagree on particulars.

“Christians of one perspective,” writes BlueLetterBible.com, “are becoming skeptical of the genuineness of the salvation of those who hold to another interpretation.” Our view: The body of Christ needs to recognize that well-meaning Christians can hold differing interpretations of Genesis 1 and still remain within orthodoxy.

Surely Christians can agree on this: The book of Genesis shows us the creativity and power of our Creator. It shows us that God is in the details; that our universe is not the result of a haphazard accident, but part of a meticulous plan—however long He took to make it. And His creation matters to Him. Thus, you and I matter to Him. Some day God will fill us in on all the details. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait. 

This blog post highlights Josh and Sean McDowell’s recently revised apologetics classic, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. We are certain this fully updated and expanded resource will be an effective evangelism tool for you, and strengthen your faith by answering the toughest questions tossed to you by skeptics. Know what you know, because it’s true. But share this truth with LOVE!

If you’d like to start from the first blog post in this series, click here: Apologetics: Apologizing for Believing in God?

This article about science and the Bible originally appeared here.

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