Rightly Dividing

Bullet Two – Chronological Sequence

Every verse in Genesis chapter one (except for verse 1) begins with the conjunction “and.” Here is one example where the ESV sacrifices for the sake of readability, translating many of the verses in chapter one with “and” or “then” or “so,” but not all of them. The NASB goes back and forth between “and” and “then,” but is at least consistent in recognizing the repetition of the conjunction. For the curious, the Hebrew conjunction is the same vav (or waw) that begins each verse.

Moses doesn’t skip through the story, he moves step-by-step, directly from one work to the next and from one day to the next. Not only are his readers intended to feel the immediacy of the progression, Moses leaves no empty space for long, indefinite periods of time. We go to bed, so to speak, and there’s more creative work by God the very next morning.

The immediacy of movement is one piece of evidence, but perhaps even more conclusive is that the sequence of evolution conflicts with the order of creation in Genesis one. For example, Moses reports the creation of vegetation on the third day (the third “age” according to most progressive creationists), the creation of birds and fish on the fifth day, and the creation of animals and insects on the sixth day. Evolution, however, supposes that the sequence started with simple cells (3 billion or so years ago), that gradually developed into to complex cells (2 billion years ago), then into multicellular life (1 billion years ago), to simple animals (600 million years ago), to ancestors of insects (570 million years ago), to complex animals (550 million years ago), to fish (500 million years ago), and then to land plants. This rough timeline is according to the Wikipedia entry which may or may not be every evolutionists’ preferred arrangement.

That means even if God did use evolution to form and fill the earth, the sequence of development is off. Maybe Moses jumped around, but that seems unlikely in light of the genre and the flow of thought. The crux of the matter is that the creation account, as it’s told in Genesis, can’t be made to correspond with the evolutionary chronology.