The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament Part 3 -- By: Allan A. MacRae

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 110:439 (Jul 1953)
Article: The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament Part 3
Author: Allan A. MacRae

The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament
Part 3

Allan A. MacRae

(Continued from the April-June Number, 1953)

When a person says that he believes in the Biblical account of creation, he is sometimes confronted with this question, “Which story of creation do you accept, the first or the second?”

The idea that the Bible begins with two distinct stories of creation is quite widespread. It lies, in fact, at the very basis of much of the higher criticism of the Pentateuch. It is alleged not only that there are two different stories of creation at the beginning of the Bible, but that these two stories contradict one another.

True scientific approach to any problem requires that the facts be carefully investigated before conclusions are drawn. In every field of thought it is easy to mislead people by making unsupported statements. Let us examine the facts about these two alleged stories of creation at the beginning of God’s Word.

It is quite obvious that Genesis 1:1 to 2:4 presents a comprehensive account of the creation of the universe. This account mentions most of the outstanding elements in the physical universe and tells the order in which they came into being.

Approximately at verse 4 of chapter 2 there is a marked change. The emphasis shifts from the creation of the physical universe to the creation of man and his relation to his environment.

Someone might immediately question why the division should be made at Genesis 2:4, instead of dividing between chapters 1 and 2. Unfortunately not everyone realizes that the chapter divisions in the Bible are not original. They did not even exist until the 13th Century, when an English Archbishop is said to have placed them in the text of his Latin

Bible. I once heard Dr. G. Campbell Morgan say that in nine cases out of ten the chapter divisions are wrongly placed. This statement is far too extreme, yet it is vital that we remember that the chapter divisions are not part of the original Word of God and are not necessarily at the right place. It is quite obvious here that the break should come after the seventh day, rather than between the sixth and the seventh days. Genesis 1 describes the first six days; Genesis 2:1–4 describes the seventh da...

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