The Ten Commandments and Evolution


#1

I’m a theistic evolutionist that finds logic in compatibility with science and the Bible, but there is one part that really bothers me. Since the Ten Commandments were given to us from God himself, would he have lied to us when he told us that he created the world in six days?

I have come up with several conclusions and have heard a few from others, they go like this.

  1. This is truly symbolic stuff, don’t worry about it.

  2. Moses wrote about the creation days in Genesis after hearing from God that he created the world in six days. Moses understood these days as symbolic and put them down that way.

  3. The six day creation interpretation in the Ten Commandments was added in later (something I doubt).

  4. The first thing the book of Hebrews tells us is that God spoke in various ways through the prophets of long ago, so they didn’t understand much back then except for the theological stuff. The full truth of scripture is given to us later through revelations.

Anyways, I keep telling myself that it must be option 4, though I am unsure. Anybody have an answer to this, and please, I don’t wish to hear anything about YEC. Thanks, and God bless! :slight_smile:


#2

Could you explain #3 more? In my reading of the commandments I don’t see any reference to the creation story.


#3

I don’t have a Bible at hand right now because I’m at school, but when God talks about how we should honor the Sabbath, he makes reference to his six day creation. If God himself said this, did the people at the time know he was speaking symbolically, or was this hidden from them? I don’t know. I have trouble with how this is compatible with theistic evolution except for the conclusions I have presented.


#4

I don’t have a Bible at hand right now because I’m at school

Here you go:
Exodus 17It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.’ "

biblegateway.com/

If God himself said this, did the people at the time know he was speaking symbolically,

I believe any view like theistic evolution was pretty foreign to Jews and most Christians until very recently.

I have trouble with how this is compatible with theistic evolution except for the conclusions I have presented

The Scriptures and Darwin’s theory are difficult to reconcile. Hence the strong creation movement:
icr.org/
answersingenesis.org/

Thanks,
Tim


#5

youtube.com/watch?v=n-BFEhkIujA

I like a lot of what Huckabee says in the above link.


#6

Timmy Z, I used to be a part of the YEC movement, but I am now a theistic evolutionist. The links you show me I know well, but please understand that I am one of the individuals on this site that do not agree with the science. I do not deny that these people are good Christian people, though.

The days being taken symbolically are not new, since many Christians before Darwin actually believed in an old earth and some early church fathers, like Augustine, understood that these days couldn’t be literal, especially with the science at his own time.

I thank you for your response to my question Timmy Z, but I was hoping for fellow theistic evolutionists to answer my question. :slight_smile:


#7

The ten commandments appear in two places - first in Exodus 20, and then again in Deuteronomy 5. In Exodus we see the reference to the six days of Creation, but we do not in Deuteronomy. Both are rendered as quotes in my Bible, but they are different. At the end of the list in Deuteronomy Moses says “These words, and nothing more, the LORD spoke with a loud voice to your entire assembly…”

So what does any of this mean? Why two different direct quotes of God, both ostensibly recorded by Moses? I don’t know. But if you believe that God inspired the Genesis account as allegory, why could God not have spoken in the same allegory? Or that a later author was inspired to add the reference to ‘connect the dots’ for the reader?


#8

Thanks for the answer TMC! :thumbsup: I also keep in mind Leviticus 25, where God told Moses to observe sabbath for the land. What is odd about this sabbath, though, is that it is replaced by six years of work and then one year of rest, and not days.


#9

Most modern Biblical scholarship thinks that Moses created a oral tradition for the Torah, that that tradition broke up when Israel broke up in two kindoms and was matched again after the return of the exile. That explains the contradictions, repetition and additions to the early biblical text. Like all texts, there must have been versions and editions until the last ones did the final draft to be considered fully inspired.


#10

G E N E S I S 1
literary features of the biblical creation story

~ The ancient creation story in Genesis 1 bears several literary features that reveal its essentially poetic structure, as opposed to its being a straightforward historical narrative, as modern “creationists” wish to assert.

~ The Scriptures contain virtually no additional references to any of the individual days of creation outside of Genesis 1. After the first chapter of Genesis, only the Sabbath receives any more specific attention. Thus, the modern creationist movement is giving the six days of creation far more emphasis than the Jews and the biblical writers ever did, even though the accounts were written by them and for them.

~ The creation account in Genesis 1 resembles a hymn, and is thus sometimes called the Hymn of Creation, or the Poem of the Dawn.

~ The creation accounts contain a number of alliterations (a poetic device) which are evident in the original Hebrew, but are essentially lost in the translation to English.

~ The Genesis 1 account contains several instances of Hebrew parallelism, a common feature of ancient poetry. These literary devices are clear in the Hebrew language, but are not evident in the English translation.

~ Repetition (a common feature of Hebrew poetry) plays a prominent role in the Genesis 1 account. The sentence “And God saw that it was good” serves as a refrain, tying the various creative acts of God together. Phrases like “and it was so” or “And God said” appear several times in repetition.

~ God’s creative activity is treated not literally, but anthropomorphically (using human imagery to describe divine activity). God “speaks,” “sees,” “moves,” “breathes,” etc. These are clearly figurative descriptions, familiar features of ancient poetry. We know (as the ancient Hebrews did) that God doesn’t literally do these things, since he is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24), and these are activities of a physical being. But literary license permits these colorful images.

~ The biblical writer uses numbers 3, 7, and 10 in a very specific and coherent way. The account starts with three elements to be formed----earth, darkness, and watery deep. These are dealt with within two sets of three days. Create is used at three points. The phrase “and it was so” appears seven times, as does “God saw that it was good.” The phrase “God said” appears 10 times, as does “make” and “according to its kind.” All of these numbers carry significant symbolic meaning within Hebrew literature, particularly in poetry.

~ There are particular places in the Genesis 1 account where the words rhyme, an obvious feature of poetry. As in the case of the alliterations and parallelisms mentioned above, this is completely lost in the translation from Hebrew to English.

[continued below…]


#11

…continued from above]

[FONT=Trebuchet MS]~ The elaborate internal structure of the Genesis 1 creation account is far more characteristic of poetry than of a straightforward historical narrative. No scientific literature ever uses these kinds of literary devices. If this account is contrasted with, say, the story of Abraham and Isaac, it immediately becomes clear that this is very different kind of literature.

~ Finally, when the creation story is discussed elsewhere in the Bible, it is absolutely clear that its literary form is poetry (see, for example, Job 10:8-11; 38:1, 4-9).

~ So, then, there are many reasons, evident within the very structure and mode of expression of the biblical text itself, why we should not require that modern science agree with the Genesis account of creation, nor that it be approached in a strictly literalistic manner. As Pope Benedict XVI has wisely observed:

[/FONT][FONT=Palatino Linotype]“Now more reflective spirits have long been aware that there is no either-or here. We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God…does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced herewith* two complementary---- rather than mutually exclusive----realities*.”[/FONT]

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#12

Thanks, Don, I was very excited to see the logic in your reply :smiley: Would God, speaking in the Ten Commandments, be speaking in this poetic form? I surely hope so, then this question would finally get out of my head! :smiley: Thanks, and God bless! :thumbsup:


#13

The Ten Commandments are recorded in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, in passages that are somewhat more straightforwardly narrative in their literary forms than is Genesis 1 which, as I’ve shown, is essentially poetic in form. The references to “six days of creation” are references to this highly poetic section of Genesis.

The Church’s approach to Scripture is spelled out here:

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html
catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/PBC_Interp-FullText.htm

I’d suggest making a copy of these excellent treatments, and studying them at your own pace.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#14

Timmy Z, I used to be a part of the YEC movement, but I am now a theistic evolutionist. The links you show me I know well, but please understand that I am one of the individuals on this site that do not agree with the science. I do not deny that these people are good Christian people, though.

The days being taken symbolically are not new, since many Christians before Darwin actually believed in an old earth and some early church fathers, like Augustine, understood that these days couldn’t be literal, especially with the science at his own time.

I thank you for your response to my question Timmy Z, but I was hoping for fellow theistic evolutionists to answer my question.

Jcarlson,

I didn’t say I was a YEC. I was just pointing out that there is a reason for YECists. (the difficulty harmonizing darwinism and Scripture)

-Tim


#15

ok, thanks Tim :slight_smile:


#16

Did Moses write Genesis before he was given the ten commandments? :confused:


#17

This post and the next were an excellent defence of theistic evolution without resorting to lesser methods of debate.

I have to tip my hat to you Donald45. You’re doing a great service to those exploring theistic evolution in my opinion. :tiphat:


#18

Many thanks, Mr. Ex Nihilo. This is information I’ve dug up during my own study of these issues. If others find it useful, I couldn’t be more pleased.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#19

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