FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – With the media attention stirred up over the Feb. 4 debate between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham over the viability of Creationism as an explanation of universe origins, Christians are bound to find ample opportunities to start conversations and answer questions from friends, families and co-workers about the Bible’s explanation of origins.
A recent, four-part blog series on TheologicalMatters.com by Southwestern Seminary Old Testament professor John Yeo provides a helpful complement to the debate and could prove helpful in these conversations. Yeo’s series, titled “The Inerrancy and Historicity of Genesis 1-3,” examines four questions related to the topic:
In Yeo’s first article, he sets the stage by briefly explaining the foundational doctrine of inerrancy as outlined in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Because many objections to a literal, historical account in Genesis 1-3 boil down to a question of the nature of Scripture, Yeo begins the series with an affirmation of inerrancy.
In his second article, Yeo addresses the five most popular opinions on the literary genre of Genesis 1-3: epic myth, exalted prose, semi-poetic, polemical theology, and historical narrative. In particular, Yeo counters the view advocated by scholars like Eastern University professor Peter Enns, who say Genesis 1-3 is merely an example of ancient Near Eastern (ANE) myths similar to those found among Israel’s Mesopotamian neighbors.
Because of the Bible’s similarities with ANE myths, Yeo says, “Enns believes that the Bible should be interpreted like any other book.” However, Yeo argues that the Bible is a unique book of divine revelation. Through textual analysis, he demonstrates that Genesis 1-3 is actually historical narrative rather than myth.
In the series’ third article, Yeo examines the various interpretations of the Creation account in Genesis from evangelicals who consider themselves biblical inerrantists. After reviewing the two most common non-literal interpretations, including the day/age view and the framework view, Yeo explains the literal six-day, 24-hour view of creation, to which he holds. In particular, he examines the meaning of the word “day” in the Creation narrative as a lynchpin in the discussion.
In the final article, Yeo zeroes in on the debate regarding the historicity of Adam and Eve. He outlines the views of Enns and University of Alberta professor of science and religion Denis Lamoureux, who say Adam was a metaphorical and poetic device rather than a literal, historical human being. Yeo counters their claims, addressing the text’s literary structure and surveying both Old and New Testament passages to demonstrate the Bible’s own claims that Genesis 1-3 is, in fact, a historical reality and Adam was a historical person.
This series on “The Inerrancy and Historicity of Genesis 1-3” can be accessed at http://swbts.us/1khd8fT.