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The Genesis Code, Part II

February 19, 2011

In my previous post, I discussed the central premise of “The Genesis Code” movie and noted that its attempt to reconcile Genesis with modern science rested on a quack theory of physics that isn’t taken seriously outside of creationist circles.

Leaving aside that premise, I want to consider the video’s description of the 6 days and how they correspond to the actual history of the universe. Not everyone would insist, as this movie does, that the 6 days were 6 literal earth days. Many Christians, realizing that the Universe is much older than 6000 years, have attempted to interpret the 6 days as 6 epochs of time that correspond to actual history. The Genesis Code does much the same thing. Let’s see how they do.

Day 1 (15.75 Bya to 7.75 Bya)

Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The Genesis Code tells us that at the moment of the Big Bang, all of matter, time and space were created. The earth only existed in the form of stardust that would later congeal to form the planet.

For some reason the movie doesn’t have much to say about the first 8 billion years of the universe’s existence (although it’s possible that this portion of the trailer has been edited). There’s no mention here of the fact that the first stars began to shine approximately 100 million years after the Big Bang. I would have thought that would fit nicely with the creation of light in Day 1.

The movie appears to make no attempt to explain why the first two verses of Genesis describe a pre-existent earth covered in water. This makes perfect sense when one considers how other ancient near eastern creation accounts (such as the Enuma elish) described the gods bringing order out of watery primordial chaos. It makes no sense whatsoever for a time period in which the earth does not yet exist.

Day 2 (7.75 Bya to 3.75 Bya)

Genesis 1:6-8

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

For some reason The Genesis Code doesn’t quote the above passage for Day 2 (as it did for Day 1). Rather, an actor tells us that according to the Bible on Day 2, “The heavens as we know them were created and the chaos that would eventually become the earth was separated from the rest of creation.” This is disingenuous. Day 2 in Genesis does not describe the formation of the earth or the heavens. It describes the creation of the sky. It presumes that the earth already exists and that a separation of the waters below from the waters above is necessary to create the sky. Again, this makes perfect sense when one considers that ancient cosmologies presumed that the earth was covered by a vaulted dome that held back the waters above.

The scientist character in The Genesis Code proceeds to tell us that during this time period (7.75 Bya to 3.75 Bya) the Milky Way formed, as did our sun and the earth. Pinning down when the Milky Way formed is not easy because it’s a very slow process. But the time frame given in the movie is definitely wrong. From what I can discern, the Milky Way is estimated to have formed between 13.5 Bya and 8.8 Bya. The earth and sun did form around 4.5 Bya, so at least that claim is correct.

But why are we even talking about the formation of the Milky Way, the earth and the sun? That’s not what happens on Day 2. Where is the remarkable scientific confirmation of the Bible’s claim that on Day 2 the sky appeared by separation of the waters? There isn’t any evidence for this, of course. In fact, the temperatures on earth for almost this entire period wouldn’t have even permitted liquid water (until 4.4 – 3.9 Bya).

Day 3 (3.75 Bya to 1.75 Bya)

Genesis 1:9-13

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

The Genesis Code conveniently truncates the above passage down to, “The oceans and the dry land appeared, as well as the first forms of plant life.”

Once again, the movie has omitted portions of Genesis that its makers know are completely inconsistent with the scientific data. The passage does not say that the “first forms of plant life” emerged. It says that the land produced seed-bearing plants and fruit-bearing trees. These are very late evolutionary developments. Seeds don’t appear in the fossil record until roughly 400 Million years ago, at the earliest. It’s even worse for fruit. Flowering plants (which are required to produce fruit) don’t appear until 140 Million years ago. According to The Genesis Code, Day 3 ends at 1.75 Billion years ago! So the Genesis Code is off by 1.3 Billion years for seeds and 1.6 Billion years for fruit.

So what does the scientist in The Genesis Code tell us occurred on Day 3? He says that at 3.8 Bya the earth cooled, liquid water formed, and almost immediately the first plant and animal life, photosynthetic algae and bacteria appeared.

He’s roughly correct about the earth cooling and bacteria appearing shortly thereafter, but the reference to plant and animal life is nonsense. From 3.5 Bya to 1.75 Bya, the only life forms that existed on the planet were simple prokaryotes and bacterial mats known as stromatolites. In fact, the first animal life doesn’t appear until approximately 600 Million years ago and plants don’t appear on land (the entire gist of Day 3 in Genesis) until about 450 Million years ago.

In essence, the movie has taken a time frame in which life on earth was dominated by nothing more than simple single-celled organisms and tried to tell us that this somehow fits Day 3 in Genesis during which all vegetation is said to have appeared.

Once again, The Genesis Code resorts to misreading Genesis and misrepresenting science in order to make the two fit.

To be continued … [Click here for Part 3]

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2 comments

  1. I’d like to correct you a little, I recently saw the movie.

    My comments are directed at your criticism of day 1.

    The Hebrew language did not have a word for universe (so the word for earth is implied to have taken its place), as is pointed out in the film, and they made another point on “water” essentially meaning everything. Before the Big Bang, the proto-universe would have been dark because it would have been so massive that light could not escape, similar to a black hole (yes, I do know about Hawking radiation) but much more intense. In the film they also show a small computer simulation of the proto-universe, and it looked like a small, black, bubble of fluid (similar to water in zero gravity). As for the creation of light, that happened when the little hot black fluid ball exploded (the Big Bang).


    • Seth, thanks for your comments. A couple of responses: (1) It’s not so much a matter of Hebrew lacking a word for “universe”, but rather the ancient Hebrews lacking even a concept of a universe. (2) Why should the Hebrew word for “water” be interpreted to mean “everything”? The word (mayim) is used repeatedly in Genesis 1, including verse 21, where the context clearly means water. (3) I grant that light would have first emerged during the time frame given for Day 1, so I’m not sure I understand your point on this score.



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