Science has its limits and is principally unable to tell us much on the origin of matter and life. The laws we have discovered in creation are all about the existing situation and can't give us a real clue to the origin of matter. Take the law of conservation of matter and energy: this law doesn't fit the bill very well as regards the origin of matter and energy.
That's why it doesn't seem very strange to ask the One Who was there when it all began: the Creator. The Bible informs us about the beginning, in het Old as well in the New Testament. That we don't understand everything seems pretty logical: our understanding is limiteds - so different from that of the Creator. The Almighty God can tell us very well how it all began - and also why and how it all went so wrong.
This page relates the basics of the discussion, the links lead to articles and websites explaining more.
The scientific arguments for (theistic) evolution are discussed on BioLogos?
Some questions listed
A number of things ar important to consider if we ponder on the relationship between Bible and science, like:
The links lead to more information and go deeper into the matter, on this page you will find the basics.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29)
The perspective of the Bible writers
What did the Bible writers know? What was their world view? Did they believe the Earth was flat or not? Did God adapt His revelation to our level of understanding? Different answers are given to these questions:
Both views basically have the same problem, thinking that factually right also means stated in the right scientific language. But that's not how it goes in everyday life. We still speak about sunset and the like That's the perspective of the observer and it doesn't mean you think the Sun orbits the Earth. Your observation isn't wrong and can be used in court eg..
The observer's perspective
The Bible writers wrote from the observer's perspective. The goal always was to convey a certain message (not all factual details are important for the message), but the facts mentioned are right. The Bible always writes historically correct, but not complete and of course not in scientific language: the Book is written for all people, in language than can be understood by all. But the message of the Bible (the theological content) is closely connected to and anchored in the facts.
That's very clear in the NT: without a real resurrection our faith will be void, states Paul (1Cor.15:16). In the book of Acts the disciples always preach about the resurrection, because the Lord really has risen - He wants to be touched after the resurrection to make clear He is not a ghost (Luke 24:39).
In the same way the book of Genesis should be considered historical: it tells us how God chooses Abraham, Izak and Israel and shows us how the people of Israel landed in Egypt. In Exodus we read about the exodus, in Joshua how they enter Canaan - the whole religion of Israel is based on these historical facts. The first eleven chapters of Genesis explain where Abraham came from, the history and dispersion of all nations, the origin of sin: Genesis 12-50 roots firmly in Genesis 1-11 and the language, the way things are told, doesn't change: it remains the same throughout the whole of the book.
When was Genesis written?
Genesis is generally considered to be written by Moses. That doesn't mean he wrote all the details: he might have used available sources. For creation he of course needed revelation by God Himself - either given to Moses or to Adam who handed it down to his descendants.
Abraham probably could write. In Ebla a huge amount of tablets (with cuneiform script) were found that show that writing in Abraham's day was everyday business. There is no need to assume stories were handed down orally - and oral cultures had down their stories much more precise than we think. On top of that: Abraham could have asked Sem for information on the flood and between Sem and Adam only one extra link is needed.
Some scholars argue that Genesis was written and edited in Babylonian context - during the exile. There are some similarities between Genesis 1-11 and Babylonian texts, but:
What difference does it make?
Why is it s important to consider Genesis 1-11 s real history? What's against thinking creation happened through evolution?
Greg Haslam wrote (in book nr. 3)
If God didn't say what He meant in Genesis, why should we trust Him anywhere else? If God couldn't get creation right first time in the beginning and was forced to use a 'hit and miss', 'road-kill' method involving eons of death and destruction, then how long might we have to wait for God to re-fashion the world at the end? It could be long wait for our final resurrection and new residence! Yet both are said to be instant outcomes of Christ's return in the Bible. Why not at the beginning also?
Genres in Scripture - how do I read?
Bible writers use different genres of writing: sometimes factual, sometimes poetic, sometimes prophetic and sometimes they use symbolic language.
The Bible can often be read at different levels. If the Church fathers e.g. saw an allegory in the six days of Creation, it was an extra layer of meaning to them: the historirall meaning still stood firm in their eyes. Many Bible passages show three different layers of meaning:
The testimony of the Old Testament
As is stated the whole history of Israel - and the whole of the salvation history as well - is rooted firmly in Genesis 1-11. Let's take a look at some OT books:
The testimony of the New Testament
It's remarkable how Jesus and the apostel speak about the creation. A selection will prove this point: