Old Testament Chronology And Its Implications For The Creation And Flood Accounts -- By: J. Paul Tanner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 172:685 (Jan 2015)
Article: Old Testament Chronology And Its Implications For The Creation And Flood Accounts
Author: J. Paul Tanner


Old Testament Chronology And Its Implications For The Creation And Flood Accounts

J. Paul Tanner

J. Paul Tanner is Middle East Director, BEE World.

Abstract

The past two hundred years have witnessed the rise of a dozen or more different views by evangelicals regarding the creation and flood accounts. This raises the question if it is possible in light of the Old Testament chronological data to determine reasonable dates for the creation and flood accounts. Complicating the discussion is the issue of whether or not there are gaps (missing names) in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11.

Introduction

The traditional literal view of creation, the historic position of the Christian church, began coming under attack in the late 1700s and early 1800s, with the gap theory of Genesis 1:1-2 being one of the first alternative views.1 Although the gap theory has fallen out of favor in most quarters, numerous other nonliteral theories (all assuming an old earth view) have replaced it. A description and evaluation of these views is beyond the scope of this article.2 Rather this article takes the position that the traditional

literal view (a single creation that took place in six literal twenty-four-hour days) is the most defensible position exegetically and best accords with an overall theology of Scripture. This view has the advantage of retaining the usual meaning of the Hebrew word יוֹם (“day”) in the context of a historical narrative genre. While it is true that the Hebrew word יוֹם can mean a longer period of time (for example, “the day of the Lord”), such a nuance is hard to justify in this context. After all, the author repeatedly makes the comment, “And there was evening and there was morning, a __ day” (1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). In addition whenever יוֹם is enumerated in the Old Testament (for example, a second day or forty days), it consistently refers to literal twenty-four-hour days. The traditional literal view of creation naturally leads to a young earth position, although the question of gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 leaves some latitude for discussing just how y...

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