Analysis of the Hovind-Jones debate (Is evolution compatible with the Bible) on January 1, 2019
Michael Jones of Inspiring Philosophy interprets the days of Genesis 1 as part of a seven-day inauguration of the universe by God, whereby He sets everything into their proper function. God stepped into a chaotic universe, and made order out of it. You claim that Genesis 1 states that when God had started creating things (b’reshit), he set everything in the universe into its proper function (barah).
I cross-checked Genesis 1:1 with Exodus 20:11, which reads in English as follows: For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. It is interesting to note here that the verb denoted here in bold is not barah (which Jones claims does not mean to create), but asah, which means to make. Hebrew verbs can take up multiple meanings, and depend on context. Thus, Hovind’s interpretation is correct.
Let us look at Genesis 1 in Hebrew: B’reshit barah Elohim et shamayim v’et ha’aretz. I contend that this sentence does indeed mean that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Let us look at the word b’reshit. Jones claims that since the word lacks the definite article, thereby it means “in the time”, when God was creating the heavens and the earth, which does not mean an absolute beginning.
I still disagree. In Hebrew based on context sometimes the definite article may be missing from in front of a word, yet it may still denote a definite subject. I contend that b’reshit still means in the beginning, the absolute beginning. This is because Hebrew, as opposed to English not an analytic type of language. In English we have to declare the definite or indefinite article in order to exactly define a noun or a word. But Hebrew is a different language where this is not necessarily so. There are other languages where not putting the definite article still denotes a definite noun.
Hungarian is such a language. In Hungarian, Genesis 1:1 reads: Kezdetben teremtette Isten a mennyet és a földet. Literally: Beginning.in created God the heaven and the earth. Hungarian even has a -t suffix after nouns which, similar to Hebrew, denote that a noun is an object, like how in Hebrew the word et points to a noun which is an object. Hungarian and Hebrew bear uncanny similarities with one another.
Furthermore, another main problem I have with Jones’ argumentation is this: the title of the debate was Is evolution compatible with the Bible? I noticed that Jones avoided addressing the question. But this was the whole point of the debate. To me it seems that Jones took pains to disprove the young-earth six-day literal interpretation of Genesis. Now, that is one thing, and Jones did try to argue for this, but didn’t follow through in actually demonstrating that biological evolution, however generally defined, is compatible with the Bible.
One must agree, that in a general sense, evolution is, quite simply put, descent via modification. That means that if you have a long chain of organisms, A1, A2, A3, … Bn-2, Bn-1, Bn, where A denotes a species of one kind, and B a species of another kind, there will be somewhere in the middle of this chain a pair of individuals Am-B1 such that A begets B. Thus, we have an instance where kind begets non-kind, however, this contradicts Genesis 1 which states that fruits, grasses, birds and sea creatures all multiply according to their kind. Hovind did demonstrate that what evolution says and what Genesis 1 are in contradiction with each other. Jones ceded this point, thus Hovind won the debate.
Another passage from Scripture also proves this point even further. According to 1Corinthians 15:38-39, “But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.”
This means that all biological beings did not originate from the same original primordial cell billions of years ago. This means that God created different kinds of animals, fish and birds, with its own body, its own flesh. These kinds are separate from one another. Furthermore, God defined, created each body as He pleases, not according to a blind, materialistic process. How can you square an ongoing materialistic evolutionary process with creation within a set time-frame? Evolution is ongoing even now, yet God finished creating the universe in the past. Even Jones’ position claims that God first created, then inaugurated. It is clearly a contradiction.
Another major point that needs to be mentioned is that to me it seems that Jones was trying to demonstrate that God created chaos, at least in the very beginning, and that death and suffering were present in God’s good creation. But God is a God of love and of life, not of death. If death is natural, do you think that people will pass away and die in heaven? Is this a prospect one should be looking forward to? Did God really create the chaotic universe, which was without form and void? Is God sloppy? God’s work reflects upon His character. No, God is not sloppy, but then this implies that God did not create the universe, and therefore we’d be left with a dualist view of the world at best (where God and the devil are co-equal with each other, a rather horrible prospect), materialism at worst.
Because of these considerations there had to be a literal, physical fall into sin, which explains the origin of suffering and death, which is the reason Jesus came to earth, to save us from our sins.
The debate’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/279783962679208/permalink/281918972465707/