DOES GENESIS HAVE GAPS IN THE GENEALOGIES?

OT scholar: Genesis teaches a short timescale

More from Dr Travis Freeman. He serves as Professor of Old Testament at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University (B.A.) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D.). He has been a young-earth creationist for over twenty years and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society Creation Fellowship. He chats with Dr Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries. Go to http://www.creation.com for more from Jonathan.

Sadly, many Christian colleges teach that there are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. Dr Freeman points out that there can be no time gaps, because: The biblical text gives the number of years between the births of the descendants of Adam in the line leading to Noah. By adding these numbers together, we can calculate the number of years from Adam to Noah. These numbers would be superfluous, even misleading, if generations are missing between fathers and sons. In fact, one strains without success to even imagine why the author of Genesis would include these numbers unless he meant to tie the generations together in a continuous sequence without chronological gaps.

“This type of genealogy seems to be designed for chronological purposes and never contains gaps, at least none that anyone has ever demonstrated. In fact, every biblical genealogy of this sort has been shown to be without gaps.Thus we can calculate that Genesis 5 and 11 record that about 2008 years passed between creation and Abraham’s birth around 1996 BC, thus rendering a creation date of about 4004 BC.”

Dr Freeman also pointed out that this understanding is hardly a novelty. Rather, “nearly all Bible scholars, Jewish and Christian, from the first century BC to about AD 1800 understood Genesis 5 and 11 as setting forth a no-gap chronology of ancient history. So, unless we are prepared to show how all of these scholars were wrong, we should reject the idea of gaps.”

Why was this clear understanding doubted from around AD 1800? Dr Freeman reminds us this is when old-earth ideas started to become popular in ‘science’, due to the Flood-rejecting uniformitarian dogma of Hutton and Lyell, explicitly designed to “free the science from Moses.” Long-age beliefs almost invariably come from such outside ideas being imposed upon the text, rather than anything in the text itself.

But don’t other genealogies, such as the Matthew 1 genealogy of Jesus, have gaps? Dr Freeman points out that this is a different genre, and a key difference is that Matthew 1 does not record the number of years between generations. This type of genealogy often contains generational gaps, that is, some names are omitted for the sake of brevity or symmetry.”

The doctrine of creation

One of Dr Freeman’s most popular classes is his ‘The Doctrine of Creation’, which he summarises in three statements:

  1. God created all things in six twenty-four-hour days about 4004 BC in mature form.
  2. God created all living things according to distinct kinds that were programmed to produce only their kinds but able to adapt to their environment within their kinds.
  3. God ravaged the earth with a catastrophic flood which began about 2348 BC, lasted about a year, covered the entire world, destroyed and rebuilt Earth’s crust, left behind millions of fossils, left behind vast coal and oil deposits, and permanently altered Earth’s environment.

Since Dr Freeman teaches at a school that affirms the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, I asked how all that is supported by the Bible. He pointed out that Genesis 1 declares that God created all things in six days. He explained that when modified by a number or by the phrase ‘evening and morning’, the Hebrew word for ‘day’ always means a solar day, not an indefinite period of time, in the Old Testament.

Also, the same chapter describes Adam, Eve, fruit trees, and other living things as mature at the time of their creation, and it says that they would reproduce after their kinds. That is, one created kind did not evolve into another, leading eventually to a group of human-like creatures.

Dr Freeman also stresses that Genesis 7 and 8 describe the Flood of Noah’s day as year-long, worldwide, earth-devastating, and deadly to all land vertebrates but those on the Ark. These things would be responsible for the formation of most of Earth’s sedimentary rock layers and fossils. Moreover, it is encouraging that more geologists now recognise that catastrophism provides a better explanation for the geomorphology we observe today than uniformitarianism.

LIVE ETERNALLY NOW – Practice the Presence of God

There is only one way to live eternally now and that is to endeavour to walk constantly as in His presence. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to indwell our spirit. We need to remind ourselves constantly of His presence and purpose, to be our counsellor, our teacher, our comforter. If you have not read the book “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence then get it now FREE on Amazon as a Kindle ebook. Let me give you two powerful quotes from the book.

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When we are faithful to keep ourselves in His Holy Presence, and set Him always before us, this not only hinders our offending Him and doing anything that may displease Him, at least wilfully, but it also begets in us a holy freedom, and, if I may so speak, a familiarity with God, wherewith we ask, successfully, [for] the graces we stand in need of.” (Brother Lawrence, c.1614–1691)

All things are possible to him who believes…They are less difficult to him who hopes, they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.” (Brother Lawrence, c.1614–1691)

Moreover, if we did walk in His presence continually, I am sure we would start to see the power return to the church. Perhaps, we would begin again to see the church growing as the early church did, as recorded in the Book of Acts. “Continually, more and more people believed in the Lord and were added to their number – great crowds of both men and women as they met regularly in the temple courts in the area known as Solomon’s Porch… The apostles performed many signs, wonders and miracles among the people and the believers were wonderfully united.“

How difficult it is now, to find a church that believes in an inerrant/infallible Bible, and therefore teaches the truth:

1. God created a perfect world: the pinnacle of His creation was a man and woman made in God’s image to be in relationship with Him.

2. Death and suffering in the world is a direct consequence of their disobedience (SIN).

3. Sadly, just ten generations after Adam, wickedness caused God to judge the world with a world wide flood just 4,000 + years ago. Noah’s Flood is responsible for the billions of fossils found in rock layers all over the world, and the fossil fuels, not billions of years of slow gradual change.

4. Just about 200 years after the flood, God judged wickedness again, by confusing the languages at the Tower of Babel. This act is responsible for the dispersal of people groups and establishment of all the nations.

5. Another 300 + years, God then established a nation, Israel to represent Him. Sadly again, they did not do a good job, but its existence today as prophesied by most of the Old Testament prophets, is proof God exists, and the Bible is God’s Word.

6. Finally, just over two thousand years ago, God the Father sends His Son, Jesus, to divide history into BC and AD. It was also at the prophesied time and place. Jesus has provided the only way back for mankind into a right relationship with our Heavenly Father and the promise of eternal life. The penalty for SIN is death and Jesus the sinless son of God died in our place so we can be made righteous before God in Him.

Will you repent of your SIN, recognise Him as Lord of the Universe and accept His free gift of eternal life?

7. Jesus will return again also as promised and prophesied. Moreover, fulfilled prophesy indicates the time is near. God’s history book gives us the timing of all of these events (not the day or hour: “but you, brethren, are not in darkness so that this day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thess. 5:2-4). The world is just 6,000+ years old not billions as Satan would have you believe. God has and is constantly at work in His world. Sadly, much of the traditional church has been deceived and just as Jesus foretold, at His second coming, the majority of people including many church goers (apostasy – a great falling away) will be like the people of Noah’s day who perished when the flood came.

Are you prepared for Jesus second coming. Have you searched the Scriptures and heeded John’s instruction in Revelation: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3

DEFEND GOD’S WORD – GET EQUIPPED

In the famous tale from Homer’s “Odyssey” the fortress of Troy was defeated by the Greek army leaving a large wooden horse (secretly filled with soldiers) behind as a supposed gift. The Trojans willingly took it into their city leading to their defeat.

This video retraces how ‘deep time’ infiltrated the church in a similar way, and led to the lack of biblical authority we see today.

Biblical Genealogies are Trustworthy Historical Records

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1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 take these genealogies to be completely historical. So theistic evolutionists who would relegate these genealogies to mythical status have to reckon not only with the plain teaching of the chronogenealogies, but how the rest of Scripture treats them as well.

Adam to Noah

The first genealogies we find in Genesis (in chapters 5 and 11) are called ‘chronogenealogies’ because the age of the father at the birth of the son are given. This allows us to know with a very high degree of accuracy (within a year) how much time passed during each generation. It also lets us know there is no gap between the names.

Shem to Abram

The most noticeable element of the genealogy is the steady decrease in lifespans. The antediluvians all seemed to live very long lives. But after the Flood, each generation lives shorter and shorter lives, until many children die before their longer-lived parents, and even before grandparents and beyond. By the time of Abraham, lifespans were only about twice what we experience in the modern-day world.

These genealogies are actually indications that Genesis intends to be taken as history, and not myth, because the chronology claims to set each person in a specific place in history. Many of the people in the genealogies are not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, so their only purpose seems to be to link one important character with another (linking Noah back to Adam, for example). By the time Moses wrote Genesis, most of these names would not be otherwise significant to the Hebrews.

Matthew’s genealogy

The purpose of Matthew’s genealogy was to trace the legal line of rightful heirs to the throne of David. This of course included biological descent, but also some ‘adoptive’ relationships where a man had no descendant, or whose descendants were disqualified. Matthew’s genealogy used obvious ‘telescoping’ where less important people were omitted.

Matthew claims that his choice of names is significant because of the number of generations listed “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to Christ fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17). The most plausible significance for this is because the numerical value of the letters in David’s name added up to 14. God is in total control of history. After all it is HIS story.

Luke’s genealogy

When we interpret the genealogies correctly, we see that they are trustworthy historical records.

Luke’s genealogy looks a lot more complete, and was probably the biological genealogy of Mary, so we see Jesus’ biological ancestry from David, and from Adam. We would expect that Luke would want to give us a complete chain to link Jesus biologically with David. But from Adam to David, he uses the Old Testament sources which indicates his confidence in them as Jesus had total confidence in them – Mt 5:18.

Luke’s genealogy is unusual in that it starts with Jesus and goes back to Adam—all the other genealogies go from father to son. This allows it to end with, “the son of Adam, the son of God.” This means that the genealogy starts and ends with a “son of God”, and nicely makes the theological point that Jesus is linked to all of humanity via common descent from Adam.

Trustworthy historical records

When we look at the biblical genealogies, we have to appreciate the purpose behind each of them, and that helps us to interpret them correctly. And when we interpret them correctly, we see that they are trustworthy historical records.

Extracted from article by Lita Costner “Are There Gaps in the Biblical Genealogies” http://www.creation.com