A recent posting on Answers in Genesis’ website critiques the day-age or progressive creation interpretation of the biblical creation account that RTB endorses. Their conclusion clearly illustrates their view of RTB’s position:
…progressive creation and its belief in millions of years (1) contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, (2) assaults the character of God, (3) severely damages and distorts the Bible’s teaching on death, and (4) undermines the gospel by undermining the clear teaching of Genesis, which gives the whole basis for Christ’s Atonement and our need for a Redeemer. So ultimately, the issue of a literal Genesis is about the authority of the Word of God versus the authority of the words of sinful men.
Surely it defines understatement to say we disagree with their conclusions. However, my concern here is not to dispute their conclusions or engage in a battle. Instead, I want to clear up a couple of glaring misrepresentations of our position concerning the nature of hominids and the extent of God’s judgment during the Genesis flood.
According to the AiG post, we supposedly believe that Adam and Eve lived roughly 25,000 years ago and that all cultures—two prominent examples include Australian Aborigines and American Indians—dated older than 25,000 years are not human. Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross’s book Who Was Adam? lays out our actual position. In a nutshell, RTB holds that all humans (including the Australian Aborigines and American Indians) descended from Adam and Eve, who were a historical couple existing sometime between 6,000 and 100,000 years ago.
Never would we declare a clearly human culture to be spiritless based on a date that disagrees with our timeline. On the contrary, we would investigate the validity of the date more closely (which resolves the timing discrepancy with the Aborigines) or we would revise our timeline. For the details of RTB’s response to this particular issue see the second quarter issue of Connections from 2004 or read a more recent article on hominids (TNRTB 2/11/10).
According to the AiG post, RTB does not believe the Genesis flood was a universal judgment of all humanity. They reason that because a local flood only affects the region surrounding Mesopotamia, those humans outside the Mesopotamian region were not judged by the flood. Further, (as implied by their cartoon) our model has God reneging on His promise to never send a local flood. RTB’s actual position is that man had yet to move beyond the Mesopotamian region before the flood; so even a local flood would extend judgment universally to all humankind. If it were conclusively shown that people had moved beyond the Mesopotamian region before the Genesis flood, this would alter RTB’s interpretation of Genesis 6-8. Regarding God’s faithfulness to his promises, Genesis 9:11 (NASB) gives His covenant with Noah:
I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. (NASB)
I think it’s safe to say that God has not judged all humanity by a flood since the time of Noah, nor destroyed the earth in the same fashion as the Genesis flood either.
The AiG post raises many other issues, sometimes accurately describing our position, other times not so accurately. We invite critiques of our model because they provide us opportunities to strengthen weak points and discard errors. Our main request follows the godly advice given by my pastor:
Before you critique a position, make sure you understand it well enough to defend it.