Were Creative Acts Sudden?

A Study of Genesis 2:19

by W Wolnizer on April 1, 1979

Three different Hebrews words are used in the Genesis account of creation—bara, to create; asah, to make; and yatsar, to form (as a potter). The one used in 2:19 is yatsar.

This article is extracted from a booklet by W. Wolnizer of Hobart, Tasmania, which in turn was based on a letter written by him in the magazine Assembly Links in September 1965. The letter was a response to a Dr Miller’s defense of a Christian belief in evolution.

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every foul of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what be would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (Genesis 2:19)

The geological time scale of millions of years is also an evolutionary inference, based on uniformitarianism.
Dr Miller states: “Genesis 2:19 does not say that the creative acts of God were ‘sudden.’” I would comment as follows: Three different Hebrews words are used in the Genesis account of creation—bara, to create; asah, to make; and yatsar, to form (as a potter). The one used in 2:19 is yatsar. Now, whatever may be understood by this word, it cannot mean “to cause to develop by means of natural selection through immense periods of time.” The same word is used of the formation of Adam’s body, and implies pre-existent material. The word bara, however, is used of calling into being without the aid of pre-existing material. Now, if we understand the word “create” as it is defined in the Oxford dictionary, i.e. “bring into existence,” then creation must be sudden, for a thing can be half made or half formed (i.e. asah or yatsnr), but it definitely cannot half exist, for existence is an absolute. The late Dr J.E. Shelley, of Brisbane, pointed out, God did not explain creation to us finite beings, but He demonstrated it in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ when He was here on Earth. Ponder John 2:1–11—did the water gradually evolve into wine? Or think of the miracles of feeding thousands with a few loaves and fishes: were these miracles of creation instantaneous, or did they involve immense geological periods? The answer is clear to the Christian! The geological time scale of millions of years is also an evolutionary inference, based on uniformitarianism, i.e. that changes in the structure of the rocks take place at a uniformly slow rate, whilst no regard is paid to the effect of universal cataclysms like the Flood in Noah’s day which would, if admitted, upset this enormously inflated time scale.

Dr Miller states: “The account of the creation of Eve, while it is an objection to the ‘Genesis describes evolution’ idea, need not militate against the view which regards Genesis as non-scientific.”

Dr Miller also states: “The appropriate Christian attitude towards evolution is not clear-cut. A large number of ‘Bible believing Christians’ can and do accept the theory.”

Dr Henry Morris freely admits that a large portion of the conservative wing in Protestantism has yielded to evolution. This was done because many leaders hoped thereby to reach a larger number of educated men with an intellectually acceptable interpretation of Scripture but it is emphasized that the trend is fraught with danger to the historic Christian Faith. To the extent that the theory of evolution is accepted, Dr Morris goes on to say,

One can anticipate a rapid subsequent yielding on other points of theology and Biblical interpretation as well. Acceptance of evolution is logically followed by the rejection of a high theory of Biblical inspiration, then by rejection of the doctrine of the fall and the curse, and finally by the rejection of the substitutionary atonement. This historic sequence has been repeated again and again in churches, schools, denominations, periodicals, and many other Christian enterprises and organizations over the past 100 years. In a very real sense, the theological capitulation to evolution has been the forerunner and the basis of the development of modernism in religion. This is true not only of the old pre-war modernism or religious optimism but also of the so-called Neo-orthodoxy, which has so swept the post-war religious world, led by such men as Barth, Banner, Niebuhr, and others.1

However, Dr Morris goes on to say in his book (page 26):

In spite of the unanimous agreement among evolutionists that all intelligent people agree with them, however, there are many who do not. Furthermore, the writer is convinced, from having discussed the subject with hundreds of people, that the main reason most educated people believe in evolution is simply because they have been told that most educated people believe in evolution! Very rarely is such a person able to do more than repeat a few stock evidences for evolution, and almost never has he given any really serious consideration to the question of their real implications.

In closing, I should like to quote from another work by Dr Henry Morris, The Bible and Modern Science:

It is absolutely impossible to believe in the Bible as the complete and literal Word of God and to believe in the theory of evolution. But, more than that, it is almost impossible to believe in a personal God of any sort if one believes in evolution. The so-called theistic evolutionists, who manage to think of evolution as “God’s method of creation,” and who profess to see evolution a grand and beautiful and orderly process of nature—one that enlarges and develops one’s conception of God—are being inexcusably inconsistent. Evolution, by its very nature, is materialistic; it is nothing but an attempt to explain the facts of biology in terms of laws of nature without the necessity of recourse to the idea of the supernatural or the divine. Mechanism and the doctrine of chance constitute the very quintessence of evolution.

Originally published in Creation 2(2):24–25, April 1979

Footnotes

  1. Quoted from page 23 of The Twilight of Evolution.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.