Is Genesis 1-2 The Only Creation Account In The Bible?
Many Young Earth Creationists believe that Genesis 1-2 is the only creation account in The Bible. Old Earth Creationists like Hugh Ross and myself believe that there are several creation accounts in The Bible. Looking at these other creation accounts will help us to better understand God's creative activity during the 6 days of creation, and it will also show us just what kind of creation model we should hold to. Should we cling to young earth creationism? Should we embrace an Old Earth Creationist view (day-age or framework hypothesis), or should we embrace Theistic Evolution? Part of understanding which creation model is correct will depend on our scriptural resources of information. Of course, we have to look at the scientific evidence also. What is a creation account? What is the definition of the term "Creation Account"? A creation account is...simply put, a bible passage or passages which speak about God's creative activity. Genesis 1-2 are obviously creation accounts, but there are more. Psalm 104 is believed by many scholars to be a creation account of The Bible, in fact it's been called a non-chronological, poetic parallel of Genesis 1 because when you carefully examine Psalm 104, you find that much of the data you find in Genesis 1 is repeated in Psalm 104 except it's not in the same order as Genesis 1 and it's put in a poetic form. Although it repeats a lot of what we already know from Genesis 1, it also adds information that we didn't have from Genesis 1, such as, it tells us that throughout the creation week God would cause extinction events followed by recreation events (Psalm 104:29-30) and that the lions were predators during the creation week (Verse 21). Psalm 104 also mentions something strikingly similar to the expansion of the universe (Verse 2).
We know Job 38-41 is a creation account because God sets the context for us in verse 4; "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" God's following questions to Job tell us much about the creation "week". John 1 is a creation passage, and tells us that God The Son (i.e Jesus) is just as much the Creator of the universe as God The Father is. Reasons To Believe has made a list on their website of all the relevant Bible passages with regards to God's creation activity.
Saying that Genesis 1 as the ONLY account of creation (Ignoring Psalm 104, Job 38, Job 39, etc.) is no different than saying that the book of Revelation is the ONLY account of the end times (Ignoring 2 Thessalonians, Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, etc.) If there can be multiple accounts of the *end* of the world throughout scripture, why can't there be multiple accounts about the *beginning* of the world? The obvious answer is that to acknowledge passages like Job 38 and Psalm 104 as referring to the creation, young earth theology immediately crumbles. No longer can we say that no animal death occurred before the fall since Psalm 104:21 says that the carnivores' prey is provided to them by God and if Psalm 104 is a parallel account of Genesis 1, then that means that during the creation week, lions were running around killing gazelles and zebras and antelope etc. Psalm 104:9 seems to argue against a global flood "You set a boundary they (the ocean waters) cannot cross. Never again shall they cover the earth".
If Psalm 104 is talking about the creation week, then obviously, God swears that water will never cover the entire planet again after He formed the landmasses through aggressive tectonic activity. So the word "Earth" in Genesis 6-9 must mean something less than the entire planet perhaps the entire Mesopotamian plane, which is fine. The Hebrew word for Earth is Eretz and it has, like many Hebrew words, it has multiple literal definitions. The word Eretz can mean the entire globe, a large portion of land, or simply "dirt" or "the ground". The word "eretz" is used in both the account of Noah's flood as well as in Psalm 104:9. They both cannot mean the entire globe if Psalm 104 truly is an account of God's creative activity during the creation "week". So one usage of Eretz must mean "the entire globe" while the other usage must mean something less than the entire globe, like "a large portion of land" or "the ground". If you affirm that both usages of eretz means the entire globe, you've got a contradiction in The Bible and therefore The Bible is no long inerrant. Most young earth creationists are strict innerentists, and I don't blame them. God's word containing errors would have catastrophic theological implications. I believe in the innerency of The Bible too despite what Ken Ham would angrily tell you. That's why I interpret one usage of eretz as meaning the whole world while interpreting the other usage in the Genesis flood account as meaning a large portion of land. And what am I doing here? Am I reading geology into scripture? Am I elevating science above what the word of God says as many young earth creationists accuse me and my other old earth brothers in Christ of doing? No. I am letting scripture interpret scripture. Letting scripture interpret scripture is a very basic rule in biblical hermeneutics.
In order for a person to maintain biblical innerrency and cling to young earth theology, you must deny that Psalm 104 is a creation psalm because if it is and if The New Testament is telling us that no animals died pre-fall, then obviously there is a contradiction in scripture and therefore, The Bible is not inerrant. Remember Psalm 104:21 is saying that Lions search for their prey!
If Job 38 is talking about the creation, then that means there really was a cloud layer (deep, gaseous primordial atmosphere) on “day” 1 of creation and that’s the reason why it was dark on Earth’s watery surface. The Bible tells us that God said “Let There Be Light” and that light appeared on the Earth’s surface. According to modern science, there was indeed a primordial atmosphere covering the Earth and that the reason this atmosphere was removed was because a Mars sized planet crashed into the Earth about 4.25 billion years ago which ejected the majority of the atmosphere, allowing the sunlight from the outside to enter onto the Earth’s surface (and also prevented the planet Earth from having a runaway greenhouse effect, becoming dry with a temperature hundreds of degrees just like what has become of Venus). We’re not “adding to the word of God” by saying that this is how God removed the atmosphere (or "cloud layer") of the Earth since we’re not claiming that The Bible talks about such an event. Nevertheless God’s other book (the book of nature) seems to provide some circumstantial evidence that this is what happened. The Bible tells us about God’s creation but it doesn’t tell us EVERYTHING about it. It doesn’t say that a planet the size of Mars crashed into the Earth which resulted not only in the ejection of the gassy atmosphere but also formed the moon, but neither does The Bible tell us that God created the planets Jupiter and Saturn nor does it tell us that God created other galaxies than our own but obviously, He did. I know of no young earth creationist who would claim we’re adding to the word of God by saying that God created Jupiter and Saturn. The only way to know about these bodies is to go to the record of nature. Young earth creationists twist the principle of sola scriptura in an attempt to make us old earth creationists look like heretics, and I've got to admit, it really annoys me. Scripture doesn't tell us everything about the natural world. There's nothing in scripture that prohibits belief that God used this collision scenario as a means of creating the moon. The Bible tells us THAT God created the moon, but it doesn't even attempt to tell us HOW God created the moon. This seems to be left open. God could have used a collision event, He could have spoke it into being and it just appeared out of nothing. He could have used any number of means.
And we're certainly not reading into The Bible about the cloud layer over the Earth since The Bible talks about this cloud layer in Job 38:8-9. Yes, science tells us there was this thick layer over the Earth back in the first creation era, but even if we didn't have that data, we could still conclude that on the basis of God's biblical revelation.
Moreover, If Job 38 is an account of creation, no longer are we required to say that God made the sun, moon and stars on the 4th day rather than in the beginning. For more information on this subject, click on these words.
In summary, there are many passages in scripture which comment about God's creative activity just as their are many different passages which speak about the end times. The only reason to deny that they're talking about God's creative activity would be to avoid the implications of the biblical passages.