I’m reprimanding myself even as I’ve just written the rather cheeky headline “Educating Peter” (Educating Rita, geddit) in reference to the formidable Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens; it does feel a touch naughty but, on this occasion, I couldn’t resist. Indeed, I hope he might quietly approve. Peter Hitchens is undoubtedly a great journalist – and I am a mere stickleback to Hitchens’ haddock – but a few hours ago he tweeted something with which I really must take issue.
I admire Hitchens considerably as a journalist and author, and I generally agree with most of his social and political views. Peter Hitchens is a great champion of facts and logic – one from whom I’ve learned much about how to think properly, including, for example, the importance of verifying facts, identifying falsehoods, recognising motives and of understanding historical context – and so it was with some horror that I noticed his Twitter statement “…Genesis is obviously a figurative myth, not a purported factual description.” I’m afraid I simply must upbraid Mr Hitchens, as (1) a professing Christian, and (2) a journalist, for this statement.
There is much that I could say on the subject of Creation/evolution, and I’d like very much to write and publish something substantial on the subject in future, but right now, as midnight approaches, I must confine myself to addressing only briefly the single point as to whether the Genesis creation account is truth or myth, fact or fiction, literal or metaphorical, poetry or history.
My assumption, if I’ve understood Peter Hitchens correctly, is that he believes in God as Creator whilst viewing the Genesis creation account as an essentially poetic attempt to explain origins and point us to God, rather than as a factual historical record of actual literal events. This is not an uncommon position amongst many Christians today, given decades of deception by the evolution propaganda industry, but it is not the position of intelligent, well-informed Christians who have taken the time to make a serious study of the facts of scripture, science and history.
In the context of doubting the historicity of the Genesis creation account because of the influence of the evolution myth (yes, evolution is the myth, the fantasy – not creation), perhaps the foremost dispute is that pertaining to the question of whether the six days of creation are literal or figurative, and I must confine myself to that for now, as it probably goes to the heart of Hitchens’ erroneous view, and it’s all I have time to say something about before bed.
The book of Genesis is history – 100% genuine, bona fide history – and it is in perfect harmony with hard science. The Bible’s Creation/Fall/Flood account is fact, and, backed up by hard science, it stands in stark contrast to the greatest deception in modern history, namely, evolution. The Genesis creation account is a straightforward historical account; it is not poetry. The six days of creation (and the seventh Sabbath day) are ordinary 24-hour days; they are not a poetic device for referring to indeterminate ages of time.
The Genesis creation account is written using the grammatical forms which in ancient Hebrew are used for recording history; the text is neither poetry nor allegory. No serious scholar of Hebrew would dispute that Genesis was written as history and intended to be read and understood as history (and nothing else). Furthermore, that the days of creation are ordinary days is contextually reinforced by (1) their numbering, as complemented by (2) the references to mornings and evenings. Ordinary days are the plain, intended meaning of the Hebrew text.
The idea that Genesis is poetry/allegory/metaphor – anything other than history – is the basis of the Framework Hypothesis, which is probably the most popular view amongst theologians who say they accept biblical authority whilst not accepting that the creation days are ordinary days. Interestingly, and dare I say suspiciously, and even tellingly, if there were any merit at all in this framework approach, it’s curious indeed that nobody interpreted Genesis this way until Arie Noordtzij in 1924! Fishy that, isn’t it? Or perhaps not. The framework view, the idea that Genesis is poetry not history, was conceived with only one motive, which was to dispute the orthodox stance of Jews and Christians throughout history, be they scholarly or not, that Genesis is a historical record of real people and events, in order to make Genesis fit in with the ridiculous claims of macro-evolution. The truth, however, cannot be reconciled with a lie; we can deny the truth, and we can deceive ourselves that a lie is the truth, but the actual truth remains unchanged.
It’s well past my bedtime now, so I must put down the pen on what is a fascinating and important subject. With all due respect to Peter Hitchens, I must urge him – as I would urge anybody as keen as him to know the truth – to reconsider his beliefs on creation/evolution in the light of the many excellent books and other materials to be found on the creation.com website (and elsewhere). Hitchens’ current view that the Genesis creation account is myth is appalling for a thinking journalist whose handling of facts and logic is usually exemplary; I wish him well in the quest to know and understand the truth.