All in a day’s work: don’t take Genesis too literally!

Admittedly, I rarely keep up with things over at Reasons to Believe, so I must thank the author for sharing with me his recent article: The Sixth Creation Day: Biblical Support for Old-Earth Creationism. This article highlights some of the basic conflicts that arise in Genesis 1–3 when forcing the literalist hermeneutic of YEC onto its narrative portrait. For those who would posit that Young-Earth readings are but a matter of basic reading comprehension, we can justifiably prescribe to them some of their own medicine in reading about the sixth day.So what is the argument from the sixth day of creation? Dr. Travis Campbell writes that “put simply, too many events occurred on creation day 6 to be squeezed into 24 hours.” Dr. Campbell includes here the creation of land animals and mankind, planting of the garden in Eden, causing all sorts of trees to grow, covenant making, naming of creatures, and forming and introduction of a mate for Adam (the beginnings of human sexuality), among others. I will add that all the events of the Eden narrative appeal to the common experience of the Near Eastern reader, as the first of mankind is described through the experience of Israel and is placed in a microclimatic and geographic oasis similar to their own. Thus it would be unreasonable (i.e. unfaithful to the text) to view Adam as anything superhuman.Dr. Campbell further addresses some outlandish objections by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, author of Refuting Compromise, a book targeting the scientific and theological positions of Reasons to Believe. When I say ‘outlandish’, I specifically have in mind Dr. Sarfati’s conjecture that in naming all the animals, Adam could have taken:

“…five seconds per kind, and [taking] a five-minute break every hour, he could have completed the task in well under four hours. This hardly seems onerous even for people today, and with Adam’s pre-Fall stamina and memory recall abilities, the problem disappears totally.” (emphasis mine)

In other words, Sarfati goes to extreme rhetorical lengths to accommodate scripture to his reductionistic reading, and in the process, he misses entirely the point why the author of Genesis cares to inform us that “whatever ‘the adam’ called every living creature, that was its name.” (Gen. 2:19b)

To find out what it means that mankind was commissioned to name the animals, and why man reacted to woman as he did, I highly encourage you to read Dr. Campbell’s article.

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