Appendix 4: Outline of Earth History as Recorded in the Book of Genesis

by Dr. Henry M. Morris:

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

I. Introduction

The Book of Genesis is the most important book ever written, in the sense that it is the foundational book of the sixty-six books of the Bible, the inscripturated Word of God. It is the true record of primeval history and lays the foundation for every key doctrine of the Bible and the Christian faith.

An understanding of Genesis is prerequisite to any real understanding of the New Testament. The books of the New Testament contain over 200 quotations from or clear allusions to the Genesis record (see Appendix 12).

Jesus Christ Himself frequently quoted from Genesis (e.g., Mark 10:6) or alluded to its histories (e.g., John 3:14). In His Biblical exposition of all the “things concerning Himself” while walking on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, He began in Genesis (see Luke 24:25-27). This constitutes an excellent example for us. We should, as He did, begin with Genesis.

II. Authorship of Genesis

Moses is the traditional author of Genesis, as well as the other books of the Pentateuch. However, he was not living during the times recorded in Genesis, as he was during the times of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Therefore, as did the authors of other historical books in the Bible (e.g., Kings), he probably incorporated previous records.

That is, the various sections of Genesis were actually recorded by eye-witnesses of the events described—by Adam, Noah, Shem, Terah, Isaac, Jacob and others. Their respective tablets were then later compiled and edited by Moses into the present format of Genesis, with the various sections demarked by the recurring phrase: “These are the generations of ... ”

See the “Introduction to Genesis” for further discussion of this important subject. Supervising and guiding the entire operation, of course, was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

III. The Only True Account of Origins

The false philosophy of evolution has led the modern scientific and educational establishments to develop elaborate naturalistic development scenarios for the universe and its many components, including human beings. The only true account of origins, however, is given in Genesis. In outline form, with Scriptural texts accompanying, the sequence of origins events as revealed in Genesis is as follows:

  • Fiat Creation of Space/Mass/Time Universe (Genesis 1:1).
  • Formation of Solid Earth and Biosphere (Genesis 1:9, 10).
  • Origin of Stars and Solar System (Genesis 1:14-19).
  • Formation of Marine and Atmospheric Life (Genesis 1:20).
  • Creation of Conscious Animal Life (Genesis 1:21-25).
  • Creation of Man in Image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27.)
  • Origin of Marriage and Home (Genesis 1:28; 2:23, 24).
  • Origin of Decay and Death (Genesis 3:17-19).
  • Origin of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (Genesis 4:2).
  • Origin of Urbanization (Genesis 4:17).
  • Origin of Technology (Genesis 4:20-22).
  • Origin of Nations (Genesis 10).
  • Origin of Different Languages (Genesis 11:1-9).
  • Origin of Chosen Nation Israel (Genesis 12).

IV. The Chronologic Framework of Earth History

The major events in the history of the world and life are interpreted by evolutionists in terms of their system of naturalistic cosmology and geologic ages on earth. The Biblical creationist framework of history is vastly different. These two chronologies are summarized below.

Evolutionary Framework

  • Matter and energy are either infinitely old or else originated in a quantum fluctuation from “nothing.”
  • The present universe originated in a “Big Bang” as an infinitesimal particle of space/time about ten to twenty billion years ago.
  • The solar system either condensed out of a cloud of cosmic dust or by an accumulation of colliding planetoids about 4.6 billion years ago.
  • Life evolved from complex non-living chemicals in a primeval soup about 3.5 to 4.0 billion years ago.
  • Multi-cellular life evolved in the ocean about one billion years ago.
  • Human life evolved from non-human animal life about three to four million years ago.
  • Culture and civilization evolved about nine thousand years ago.
  • Man and civilization will continue to evolve to who knows what in the unknown future.

Biblical Framework

  • Creation of the universe by divine fiat about six thousand years ago (possibly up to ten thousand years ago).
  • Completion of the perfect creation in six days of same duration as modern solar days (Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 20:8-11).
  • Curse on the whole creation, with suffering and death, because of man's sin (Genesis 3:14-18).
  • Cataclysmic Deluge, destroying the primeval world-system and earth structure, in the days of Noah (Genesis 7:14-19).
  • Confusion of languages and dispersion of nations at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
  • Redemption of creation at Calvary (John 19, 20; Colossians 1:16-20).
  • Future restoration of perfect creation and establishment of eternal order (Revelation 21, 22).

V. Attempts to Reconcile Biblical and Evolutionary Frameworks

Because of the peer pressure of leaders in science, education, and society in general, many Christians have tried to accommodate the evolutionary framework within the Biblical framework, or vice versa. Such attempts, however, are futile, and there is no valid reason for Christians not to accept the Biblical record at face value. The various compromise theories, attempting to harmonize the astronomic an geologic ages with the Creation week of Genesis, are as follows:

Literary Framework Theory

  • Evolutionary ages taken as literally true, but Creation week merely an allegory or some other literary device.
  • Interpretive system: “Theistic Evolution” (Evolution taken as God's method of Creation).

Day-Age Theory

  • Evolutionary ages assumed to be same as Creation week (Geologic “ages” = Creation “days”).
  • Interpretive system: “Progressive Creation” (Intermittent acts of Creation interspersed between long ages of either slow evolution or no evolution).

Gap Theory

  • Evolutionary ages taken as completed before the Creation week, with the ages terminated by a global catastrophe followed by reconstruction.
  • Interpretive system: Dispensationalism (Geologic ages relegated to a former dispensation not relevant to present human dispensation).

All three compromise theories have a number of variants, but all make the basic error of accepting the evolutionary ages of astronomy and geology as real history, and then trying to find a place for the Genesis record of six-day Creation. This can only be done, however, by gross distortion of the plain sense of the Genesis record.

VI. Fallacies in Accepting Evolutionary Ages as Real History

Biblical Fallacies

  • Permanence of created “kinds” (Genesis 1:25, etc., 1 Corinthians 15:35-44) does not accommodate theistic evolution.
  • Completion of Creation (Genesis 2:1-3; Hebrews 4:3, 4, 10) does not allow use of present natural processes to “create” or “make” complex systems.
  • New Testament accepts historicity of Genesis Creation and Flood accounts.
  • “Day” defined as literal day at first mention (Genesis 1:5).
  • Exodus 20:8-11 and 31:15-18 require literal days.
  • Contextual use of “day” in Genesis precludes figurative meaning (i.e., “day” defined by numerical sequence and bounded by “evening and morning”—always literal in Old Testament usage).
  • No contextual basis for “gap” between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (note Hebrew connective “and,” beginning each verse in Genesis, indicating continuity for sequence of events).
  • No clear reference in Bible to pre-Adamic race or pre-Adamic cataclysm.

Theological Fallacies

  • Evolutionary ages are the most wasteful and cruel process conceivable by which to produce man.
  • Geological ages are identified specifically by their fossils (billions of fossils known in these “ages”) indicating global suffering, decay and death prior to entrance of sin and Satan into the world.
  • Evolutionary ages imply no purpose in creation (why dinosaurs, for example?).
  • Evolution and eternal pre-worlds characterize all pagan religions and philosophies.

Scientific Fallacies

  • There is no legitimate scientific evidence of any kind for any form of evolution.
  • There are many more natural processes indicating a young earth than an old earth (see Appendix 5.)
  • There are at least twenty-five discrepancies between the evolutionary order of events and the creation order (e.g., plant life before the sun, earth originally covered by water, birds before land animals, fruit trees before fishes, earth before the stars, etc.).
  • Geologic ages assumed to be continuous with present, leaving no room for a pre-Adamic cataclysm.
  • The global cataclysm required by the gap theory would destroy all geologic evidences for the “ages.”

VII. The Flood Theory of Geology

If the geological ages did not actually take place, as the Biblical record clearly stipulates, then the vast geological systems—especially the billions of fossils in the rocks of the earth's crust—must be explained some other way. The obvious explanation is the Genesis record of the Flood. If the Flood did occur, as the global cataclysm so clearly described in the Bible, it would have destroyed any previous geological deposits. Thus the “geologic column,” instead of telling of the evolution of life over many ages, is really telling of the destruction of life in one age.

For a listing of both Biblical and scientific evidences of the worldwide Flood, see Appendix 6. Those who accept the evolutionary ages must reject these evidences, for such a flood would have destroyed all the evidences for any geological ages before the Flood.

Two theories—the local flood theory and the tranquil flood theory—have been proposed by Christians who wish to retain the evolutionary ages in their interpretations of Scripture. Neither will suffice.

Fallacies in the Local Flood Theory

  • Requires breaking the Noahic covenant promising no more such flood.
  • Ignores the many references in both Old and New Testaments to the global Flood.
  • Requires a seventeen thousand foot-high local flood to cover Mount Ararat, where the Ark landed when the Flood waters abated.
  • Makes the construction of a vast ark to hold all land animals redundant, if not ridiculous.

Fallacies in the Tranquil Flood Theory

  • Local floods are not tranquil, so how could a global Flood be tranquil?
  • If all geological strata have been formed by local flood action, how could a global Flood not accomplish even greater geological work?

VIII. The Creative and Formative Works of God

The creation chapter (Genesis 1) describes two basic types of God's work in creating and making all things. His work of “creating” (Hebrew bara involved calling into existence out of nothing (except His own power) basic entities out of which all things would be made. His work of “making” (Hebrew asah) and “forming” (Hebrew yatsar) involved building up complex systems out of those basic entities. Only God can “create;” whenever creation is mentioned in the Bible, God is the one doing it. Man, with enough effort and ingenuity, can make and form complex systems, but God did it instantaneously during Creation week.

Creative Works of God

  • Creation of the physical elements of the universe—space, mass/energy, time (Genesis 1:1).
  • Creation of conscious life (Hebrew nephesh), including both soul and spirit (in the sense of “breath”). Animals possess components of both the created physical elements and conscious life (Genesis 1:21).
  • Creation of human beings in the image of God. Men and women are tri-unities of body, soul and spirit (in the sense of the divine image). The human body is much more complex than that of the highest animal, as is the human soul/breath complex. Only men and women possess, in addition, the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

Formative Works of God

  • Day One: Energizing the Cosmos, as centered in Light Energy (Genesis 1:2-5).
  • Day Two: Formation of the atmosphere (“firmament”) and hydrosphere, both of which are necessary for life and are unique to earth among the planets (Genesis 1:6-8).
  • Day Three: Formation of the lithosphere (the solid earth) and biosphere (earth's cover of vegetation), a necessity for animal life Genesis 1:9-13).
  • Day Four: Formation of astrosphere in a different “firmament” (Hebrew raqia, referring to an “expanse” of stretched-out place), including all the stars, galaxies and planets (Genesis 1:14-19).
  • Day Five: Formation of different kinds of animals for the atmosphere (e.g., birds) and hydrosphere (e.g., fishes), each to reproduce only “after its kind” (Genesis 1:20-23).
  • Day Six: Formation of different kinds of land animals for the lithosphere and biosphere, as well as one male body and one female body (Adam and Eve) to serve as progenitors of all later human beings (Genesis 1:24-31).
  • Day Seven: Completion and sanctification of “all the work which God created and made” (Genesis 1:31-2:3).

IX. Outline of World History According to Peter

The World that Then Was (2 Peter 3:6)

  • Global greenhouse provided by the “waters above the firmament” (probably a thermal blanket of invisible water vapor, which would also prevent strong winds and rains, and filter out harmful radiations from space).
  • Extensive habitable lands, with abundant plant and animal life everywhere (no deserts, ice caps, etc.).
  • Man's dominion and stewardship.
  • Committed to man's care (Genesis 1:28-30; 2:15, 20).
  • Cursed for man's sake (Genesis 3:17-19).
  • Corrupted by man's sin (Genesis 4:11; 6:11, 12).
  • Destroyed by the Genesis Flood (Genesis 6-8).
  • Precipitation of vapor canopy.
  • Eruption of primeval crust.
  • Formation of present fossil-bearing crust.
  • Initiation of atmospheric circulation.
  • Initiation of Ice Age (pluvial age in lower latitudes).
  • Residual catastrophism (ongoing intermittent local floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, etc.).

The World that Is Now (2 Peter 3:7)

  • Held together (“sustained”) by its Creator (Colossians 1:17).
  • Subjected to ongoing decay (Romans 8:20).
  • Naturalistic uniformity of processes (Genesis 8:22; Ecclesiastes 1:4-10).
  • Ultimate disintegration by fiery cataclysm (not annihilation but conversion of mass to other forms of energy (2 Peter 3:10).

The World that Shall Be (2 Peter 3:13)

  • Suffering and death removed forever (Revelation 21:4).
  • Everything made new again (Acts 3:21; Revelation 21:5).
  • Eternal (Daniel 12:3; Isaiah 66:22).
  • No more sin (2 Peter 3:13; xTerm 3:1-3).