As I noted earlier, I’ve been reading through John Walton’s book, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. It is certainly worth reading; Walton makes a good case that we should read Genesis 1 as a text that is all about the functions of the created order. There’s a lot more to it (and it is tough to summarize in one post), but I do think many of his points are valid. Here’s one little section from the middle of the book where he briefly discusses some other views of Genesis 1. This is the section about the young earth view of Genesis 1.
First, he says the challenge the young earth creationists (YEC) face
“is to account for all of the evidences of great age of the earth and of the universe. They do this by offering alternate theories allegedly based on science. For example, they typically account for the visibility of the stars by suggesting that light was created in transit. Most propose that the geological strata were laid down by the flood, and some contend that the continental drift has all taken place since the flood. They commonly use the idea that God created with the appearances of age to account for some of what is observed.”
Walton sees flaws in this approach (as do I). He says,
“I would contend that this view goes too far in its understanding of what we need to do to the biblical text. It goes too far in its belief that the Bible must be read scientifically, and it goes too far in its attempts to provide an adequate alternative science. It uses a particular interpretation of the biblical text to provide the basis for scientific proposals about rock strata, an expanding universe, and so forth.”
“The YEC position begins with the assumption that Genesis 1 is an account of material origins and that to ‘create’ something means to give it material shape. It would never occur to them that there are other alternatives and that in making this assumption they are departing from a face-value reading of the biblical text. … Reading the text scientifically imposes modern thinking on an ancient text, an anachronism that by its very nature cannot possibly represent the ideas of the inspired human author” (p. 108-109).
There is more to this argument – I’ve just picked a few paragraphs to summarize things I thought were worth pondering. I’ll probably post more on this later, but I do think this book is a must-read for those of you who are interested in the discussion about the ancient text of Genesis 1 and the modern [scientific] interpretations.