Are Geological Ages Irreconcilable With Genesis? -- By: Herbert W. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 088:351 (Jul 1931)
Article: Are Geological Ages Irreconcilable With Genesis?
Author: Herbert W. Magoun

Are Geological Ages Irreconcilable With Genesis?

Herbert W. Magoun, Ph.D.,

Many futile attempts have been made to harmonize Genesis and geology. Does that prove that they cannot he reconciled? Hardly. Possibly the attempts have failed for lack of certain needed items, such as a recognition, for example, of the difference between Hebrew and Aryan mental processes. Then, too, there are astronomical elements in the problem, which are now available and easy of comprehension. At the very beginning, however, it is necessary to remember certain fundamental principles. They are usually neglected.

First. If the Bible is inspired, as it must be, no cosmogony that fails to tally with its teachings can be sound. Second. If the Bible is inspired, the meaning of its original inspired form is the only one that can be admitted into the discussion. Third. If the geologic ages tally with that meaning, they are probably correct and should be accepted. Fourth. Due allowance must always be made for differences in the mental processes of different races in such a discussion as this, since, otherwise, no sound conclusion can be reached. Fifth. Only broad general outlines can be in-cluded in the argument, because Genesis is the very essence of brevity. Sixth. The limitations of an early language in the matter of scientific terms of a technical sort must always be allowed for, since no other method of procedure is either fair or right. Seventh. All quibbling should be ex-cluded, because it is subversive of the facts, it always obscures the truth, and it never leads anywhere.

The first item needs no discussion. It is self-explanatory and self-evident. The second does need some discussion; for it is vital, if the truth is ever to be known. In only one form have we an inspired Bible, the one written in Hebrew and Greek. All other versions are mere transla-

tions that are more or less imperfect and more or less unsatisfactory. The English one (the R. V. less so than the A. V., in some respects) contains actual blunders here and there, as when it uses “kill” to translate a verb meaning “murder”, as well as other verbs (ten in all), or employs “wall” to render fifteen different Hebrew terms, or uses “sit” to translate six Greek verbs meaning to recline in some fashion, seven more that mean to sit on the ground or a mat in a squatting position, and one that means to mount an animal for a ride. Such infelicities are common—almost too common. The translators could have done better.

Again, ab, rendered “father” (to Pharaoh) in the story of Joseph, is now known to be really an Egyptian word meaning “overseer”. A phrase...

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