Genesis 1:29 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
God gave man authority and responsibility to regulate nature and to advance civilization. Nature was to serve man, not vice versa. This does not give man the right to abuse nature, however. [Note: See Gina Hens-Piazza, "A Theology of Ecology: God’s Image and the Natural World," Biblical Theology Bulletin 13:4 (October 1983):107-110.] Neither does it justify giving animals and plants the "rights" of human beings.
"Man is the climax of creation, and instead of man providing the gods with food, God provided the plants as food for man (Gen 1:29)." [Note: Wenham, p. xlix.]
Gen 1:29 suggests that man was originally a vegetarian. After the Flood, God told man that he could eat animals (Gen 9:3). The animals may also have been herbivorous at first (Gen 1:30). [Note: See Ham, et al., pp. 29-30.]
Gen 1:27-31 are a general account of human creation. The more detailed account of the creation of Adam and Eve follows in Gen 2:4-25. These two accounts do not necessarily reflect a two-document composition of the creation story, but they illustrate the writer’s purpose. In chapter 1 He wanted to emphasize the creation of humankind in the larger context of the cosmic creation.
1. "Evolution" (both Darwinian and neo-Darwinian) asserts that all living organisms arose from a single, simple cell through a process that took millions of years. This first cell resulted from the accumulation of chemical and protein elements that came together because of unknown change factors over a long time period. This view contradicts Scripture, and it is not scientifically demonstrable. [Note: See John C. Hutchison, "Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory and 19th-Century Natural Theology," Bibliotheca Sacra 152:607 (July-September 1995):334-54.]
2. "Theistic evolution" attempts to blend Scripture and scientific theories. It holds that God ordered and directed the evolutionary process. This view fails to explain specific statements in the text of Scripture adequately; it accommodates the text to scientific theory. The major problem with this view is that it is not completely true to either science or Scripture but is inconsistent. [Note: Representative evangelicals who hold this view include Kidner; Waltke, An Old . . ., p. 202; and Edward J. Carnell, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics. See David H. Lane, "Special Creation or Evolution: No Middle Ground," Bibliotheca Sacra 151:601 (January-March 1994):11-31; and idem, "Theological Problems with Theistic Evolution," Bibliotheca Sacra 151:602 (April-June 1994):155-74, for refutations of this view.]
3. "Special creation" asserts that God produced the world and all life forms through a series of supernatural acts. Some special creationists believe He did this in a relatively brief period of time. Others, such as progressive creationists, believe the creation process took thousands of years. This view gives primacy to the text of Scripture and interprets it more literally, historically, and grammatically. [Note: Representatives include Bush, Davis, Schaeffer, Young, et al. See Warren H. Johns, "Strategies for Origins," Ministry (May 1981), pp. 26-28, for good brief explanations of the evolutionary theories and eight creationist theories of origins. David L. Willis, "Creation and/or Evolution," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 29:2 (June 1977):68-72, set forth criticisms of both creationism and evolutionism. Every Christian who accepts evolution should read Charles C. Ryrie, "The Bible and Evolution," Bibliotheca Sacra 124:493 (January-March 1967):66-78; and Kenneth A. Ham, The Lie: Evolution. See also idem, Genesis and the Decay of the Nations, for an explanation of the effects of evolutionary teaching on humanity. Jobe Martin, The Evolution of a Creationist, is also helpful.]
"Progressive creationism" teaches that God created the universe in several acts of creation that time periods of indefinite duration separated. The process of evolution was at work within these eras and accounts for the development of phyla, species, etc. [Note: See Hugh N. Ross, Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy. For a critique of the claims in this book, see Mark Van Bebber and Paul S. Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross.] The following quotation distinguishes theistic evolution from progressive creationism.
"I do not believe in theistic evolution. Theistic evolution means simply that God guided the evolutionary process so that it is not to be explained on a purely naturalistic basis. It assumes that all living things, including man, are biologically descended from a common ancestor. By contrast with theistic evolution, Scripture indicates that God made different basic kinds of beings and that all existing plants and animals are not descended from a common ancestor." [Note: Russell L. Mixter, "A Letter to President Edman, March 26, 1962," Bulletin of Wheaton College (May 1962), p. 5. See also Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture; Pattle P. I. Pun, "A Theology of Progressive Creationism," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 39:1 (March 1987):9-19); and W. I. LaSor, "Biblical Creationism," Asbury Theological Journal 42:2 (1987):7-20.]
I do not believe that Scripture supports progressive creationism, as these notes will explain.
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Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
Copyright 2012, Dr. Thomas Constable. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Dr. Thomas Constable graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1960 and later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dr. Constable is the founder of Dallas Seminary’s Field Education department (1970) and the Center for Biblical Studies (1973), both of which he directed for many years before assuming other responsibilities. Today Dr. Constable maintains an active academic, pulpit supply, and conference-speaking ministry around the world. He has ministered in nearly three dozen countries and written commentaries on every book of the Bible. Dr. Constable also founded Plano Bible Chapel, pastored it for twelve years, and has served as one of its elders for over thirty years.