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Here's a debate between Hugh Ross of "Reasons to Believe" and Ken Ham. These men are popular spokesmen for each of Old Earth and Young Earth Creationism, respectively. In the hour-long discussion, Ken repeatedly shuts down any use of passages other than Genesis to get information about the details of creation. For example, he didn't want to talk about how Job (9:8) or Psalms (104:2) speak of God "stretching the heavens"

Setting aside the whole YEC/OEC debate for the moment, is there a biblical reason to limit creation-detail information to the book of Genesis?

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    I didn't watch this version because my sound is out, but please be aware the poster admits to editing it(it's half the length!), and we can tell from his other videos he heavily evangilizes Hugh Ross's position. I recomend you watch the debate between Ross and Ham on the John Ankerberg show (it's divided over several weeks) for a slightly more in depth debate between the two. Also Ham was not expecting a debate that night as they did not tell him Ross would be there until he came to the studio, so he felt a little ambushed, I watched the pre-show unfold on his facebook page. – 2tim424 May 7 '13 at 6:35
  • @MrB Your edit would have made every valid answer to this question it it's first 2 years of existence into NAA fodder. Editing is great but don't change (much less reverse) the scope of old open questions. – Caleb Aug 2 '15 at 13:55
  • @Caleb Was the removal of the added tags intentional? It seems to me that those were useful additions. – ThaddeusB Aug 2 '15 at 15:21
  • @Caleb 1) My edit would keep Jas's and 2tim's answers valid. 2) Something needs to change about this question. I don't think it really fits Biblical basis, but it's a little bit of a grey area. If it is, then it should be tagged as such. And meta discussions have established that "Is there a Biblical basis" is not an on-topic question. 3) Also, if it is, then Dick's answer is not an answer; as has been established many times on meta and elsewhere, answering "There is no Biblical basis" is not a valid answer to a "What is the Biblical basis" question. – MR. TOODLE-OO'D Aug 2 '15 at 16:31
  • (I'm fine taking this to chat btw. The computer I'm on has chat blocked and I figured the case I'm making is simple enough. Could you respond, either here or in chat?) – MR. TOODLE-OO'D Aug 2 '15 at 16:36
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There is no reason to limit information about the creation week to Genesis, but...

1) There are a number of good reasons to limit information about the creation week to Scripture. For instance, philosophically, the word of God is truth, and all men are corrupt and limited, which makes the revealed word of God the only reliable source for truth.

2) There is good reason to give preference to historical narrative over image-rich, emotional songs, etc. If it is a psalm, its purpose may be to praise God, but may not be to relay historical information about the creation week in a straightforward and sequential manner. (See, for example, Psalm 6:6)

3) Whenever you interpret Scripture, it is always wise to consider the purpose of the passage in question. Genesis 1 is the only passage in Scripture whose primary purpose is clearly to provide information about the creation week.

4) There is good reason to believe that most (if not all) of the information about the creation week that appears subsequent to the first two chapters of Genesis is based on the first two chapters of Genesis.

For these reasons, Genesis can easily be regarded as the best source of information about the creation week, and is certainly the first place I would go in studying the topic.

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    These may be reasons, but they are not Biblical reasons. – DJClayworth May 2 '17 at 14:37
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Short answer: We do need to look at all verses describing creation. But we need to know when creation 'the process' is being talked about and when creation as in 'the physical universe' is being talked about. I encourage you to search the scripture for the phrase "since the beginning of creation" and you will always find human observers being talked about. Besides the clear progression of Genesis ... we know that it is meant to be the historical account by the verse Genesis 2:4

"This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens."

So at the very least, we know with certainty that the purpose of the verses in Genesis was to give the account of creation.

Long Answer: I've seen several debates between Ham and Ross, Hovind and Ross, and Several Others with Ross. If you're referring to the recent TBN debate I could see how you get that idea, they have already debated thoroughly before that though so they were each familiar with the others reasons. But just to clarify the problem is not using other passages, Ham and us all would encourage reading all passages related to creation. The problem is using other passages to try to contradict what Genesis said about creation week. The Bible is full of verses that support a young earth view. And Ken Ham would never suggest otherwise . But the point is that for the most part Ross tries to create a moving target nit picking verses that were not talking about creation week, and proving his(and yes other respected christian leaders) position that we can agree with secular 'science' about the age of the earth. As R.C. Sproul put's it, it's "Hermeneutic Gymnastics". And I would say it's an example of what Jesus said "You strain at a gnat but swallow a camel" , Or Peter "Twisting the scriptures"

Genesis is clearly written in the language of Historical account, Psalms are contemplation and praises to God, not written in a way that says "a happened, then b , then C". So to get historical information out of them is reading something into the text that it does not claim. Job has a written record of conversations that happened, but the content of those conversations where not meant to contradict what Genesis already said.

So the point is we do take the whole Bible to look at creation, but when you find something that seems to contradict and warrant a re-interpretation of what was already plainly spelled out, you need to see what the context is. Is it poetic, is it prophetic, is it just recording what men said, How much do you really have to read into the text to make it say something other than what we already know?

Ross says one thing that is a kind of psychological convincer to make it seem like he's telling the truth, but I encourage you to take it to heart anyway. "It's not enough to take the scriptures literally, we must take them consistently." Which for him includes his interpretation of the "book of nature". I encourage you don't let Ross lead you into what that means, but let the Holy Spirit guide you into understanding what is consistent.

Also there is no YEC speaker that I am aware of that denies the expanding universe. The problem is trying to cram the big bang theory into the verses speaking about God stretching out the heavens.

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There is no biblical reason to limit information about creation to Genesis. If it's in the Bible but not in Genesis, it's still in the Bible! And, as a philosophical point, anyone who reads any of these answers is already going outside of the Bible and thereby relying on our extra-biblical interpretations of Genesis or of the Bible as a whole, so the same person could also read the many expert commentaries that now offer a whole variety of explanations of biblical creation.

To limit biblical creation information to Genesis is like saying that only Genesis is absolutely true, which is like saying that the other books of the Bible are interesting and maybe even useful at times, but not always true. Then, how do we account for the Church Father Origen, who treats the Genesis story as allegorical, saying (De Principiis, Book 4.1.16):

.as even these do not contain throughout a pure history of events, which are interwoven indeed according to the letter, but which did not actually occur. Nor even do the law and the commandments wholly convey what is agreeable to reason. For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? and again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that any one doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally...

If Genesis is allegorical, then we can find other allegories in Psalms and Job. Perhaps when Job chapter 41 has God talking about defeating the chaos monster Leviathan, this was meant as an allegory in the same way as Origen reads Genesis, or perhaps not.

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To address the reciprocal premise, there is actually Biblical evidence not to limit our understanding of the texts to the texts themselves. For example, Jesus and the Apostles frequently referenced and quoted other writings - apocraphyal or Duterocanonical, pseudoepigraphical and other works.

If we want to truly understand the teachings of Jesus and the apostles then, it might be helpful to understand the context and background of the teaching by actually reading and incorporating knowledge of the referenced works, or we might misunderstand the teaching by only being party to part of the conversation.

The same is true of the Old Testament. We should at least consider the idea that Genesis is not the oldest writing about creation and that perhaps there are references to other creation stories inherent to Genesis that influenced the text and should inform the context and background of the writings of Genesis. A comparative analysis of creation stories of the period and era can be greatly informative and enhance our understanding of Genesis and better inform the theological message God wishes to impart to us through this text. Doing so will actually reveal a whole world of nuance and alternative interpretations that both Ham and Ross completely miss - enough to drive a truck through. This exercise is also not even mutually exclusive with the principle that Genesis records literal, actual, scientifically measurable events or that Genesis records the "true and correct" account of creation.

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  • Hello James - can you please cite a single place where Jesus or the 12 apostles quotes from the apocrypha? – Tennman7 Jan 15 at 2:49
  • @Tennman7 - Did you read any of the linked articles in my answer? I can't possibly copy all that to comments. Most of the direct quotes are from Deuterocanonical works. A listing of those appears in the link above. Famously Jude (an apostle) directly quotes 1 Enoch (an apocraphal work). This actually led Martin Luther to lobby against the inclusion of Jude in the Protestant canon. A list of apocryphal references can be found here and in the link above. – James Shewey Jan 15 at 18:46
  • Yes, James Shewey, I did read some. Unfortunately, some similar phrases, but no cases where Christ or the apostles cite the writers of the books, or say "It is written" which we see when Christ quotes OT writers. Thanks. I do agree 100% that Genesis is not the oldest account, and that there are multiple other passages in scripture that confirm the Genesis account. Ken Ham also doesn't teach that anyone should not use other passages from scripture. - it was implied in the opening question. ;-) – Tennman7 Jan 15 at 19:02
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Correctly understood1all physical evidence from the natural world testifies about God:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1) [ESV]

The statement, "things that have been made" means the created world continuously testifies about God's eternal power and divine nature. What was true in Paul's day was true before Paul and is still true today. This passage states not to limit "creation" to Genesis, and just the first seven days.

In addition, the Bible is a progressive revelation about God, and often makes reference to, and use of the created world as part of that revelation; limiting an understanding of creation to Genesis has the effect of negating or denying the progressive revelation of God.

There are two passages in Isaiah which illustrate the need to look beyond the initial seven days in Genesis 1. The first addresses the issue of darkness:

I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

No where does Genesis attribute darkness as a work of creation: it is simply "there" in the beginning. Without Isaiah there is no explicit evidence it was created. Science now claims the universe is composed almost entirely of dark matter and dark energy; without Isaiah, it cannot be stated God created these things, and it is pointless to discuss the existence or significance of "darkness" in Genesis without Isaiah. Also, rather than dispute the existence of dark matter and energy, the Biblical perspective should be to ask why science is claiming this as a "discovery" and not acknowledging they are finally confirming what was written thousands of years ago in Isaiah.

A second passage addresses a Biblical response to the theory of evolution:

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18)

This self revelation of the LORD references the earth as it is found now. In fact, despite widely diverse environments, every part of the earth is inhabited.

One cannot engage in a discussion of evolution from Genesis 1 since the world experienced today can only be traced back in time to the flood. The animal kingdom as it exists today is primarily a result of the flood and secondarily from the first seven days. While both are necessary, it is the later act and revelation which must be considered first. For example, penguins, did not "evolve" in order to survive in Antarctica: they traveled from the Ark in order to inhabit it.

Likewise the physical condition of the earth cannot be presumed to be that which existed during or after the first seven days, since God stated He would destroy the earth. The planet Noah stepped out had to have been altered or even created new. That is to say, in analyzing or discussing the physical evidence found today, a Biblical perspective beyond Genesis 1 is necessary.

As man continues to make "scientific" discoveries, these should be seen as evidence coming from God (as Paul states).2One could go so far as to say the natural world was created by God in such a way that changes which occur naturally are from God. For example, as carbon was created by God, its physical properties and behavior found by man after creation, are also from God. So while carbon14 was not present in any living thing on the seventh day3its subsequent presence in both the environment and living things is a direct result of the way in which God created carbon to behave in the natural world.

When considered as evidence from God, "dating" fossils using carbon14 offers immediate evidence in support of all the Bible says about man's time on the earth. The half-life of carbon14 is 5,730-years, about the number of years some Jewish scholars calculate have gone by since creation. Regardless of the precision of this calculation, the presence of carbon14 in all fossils is consistent with a Biblical age. In addition, the smaller amounts in older fossils is expected from the creation narrative which states the first things were created from the earth (i.e. with carbon12).

Significantly, the half-life is not exact but is given as a range: plus or minus 40 years. The 40-year period is absent from Genesis, but elsewhere is shown to be a period corresponding to judgment. Likewise, the 12 tribes (and later Apostles) "grow" to fourteen names which proves to be unstable, eventually reverting back to twelve. In other words, the created behavior of carbon is identical to the Biblical record of God's work to bring judgment and salvation to sinful man. Is it reasonable to claim these numbers just "happen" to agree with the Bible? But that question cannot be asked if one remains "stuck" in the creation narrative in Genesis.

The proper Biblical perspective is not how long God took to create the earth, but how He went about saving man and how much time He has allowed man to accept His offer of eternal life. How is it possible the "natural" properties carbon and carbon14 are in agreement with what the Bible says about salvation?

Without the entire Bible we run the risk of not focusing on salvation. Any objective consideration of the discovery and behavior of carbon14 leads one to conclude the natural world was created to testify to God's plan of salvation and desire than none should be lost.


1. Correctly understood is essential as the sequence of scientific discovery is first to "discover" a particular physical phenomena and then explain it. The phenomena and explanation are for practical purposes one in the same. However, man's first explanation is always wrong and so man's initial understanding of the phenomena is flawed. For example, Newton used his laws of motion to explain the observed condition of the universe in such a way that it also defined the previous condition. The Newtonian model, which was wrong, was taught as fact for almost 300 years. Only when the phenomena was correctly understood are they useful to understand the physical world as God describes its creation.
2. The factual evidence not how those facts are explained.
3. Carbon-14 forms naturally in the atmosphere when protons from the sun collide with nitrogen and then combine with oxygen. Only after it is taken in by plants which are eaten will it be found in animals.

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This is kind of a pet topic of mine, and one thing I've learned is that what you accept as worth looking at for insight will be almost wholly dependent on what you already think. For example, I grew up realizing the importance of trusting God, and trusting that He will tell the truth is an important part of that. Because of this, I immediately allied myself with young-earth creationism when I encountered it.

For me, Genesis is really the only book that can be relied on to give any sort of accurate timeline, considering it was written as history. On the other hand, I also recognize a lot of support for young-earth creationism outside of Genesis. One prime example is in Exodus, where a 7-day creation is re-affirmed as the example the Israelits should follow.

Some big reasons why it can be important to stick to Genesis in debates is that arguments based on other books are often taken out of context, can be explained very simply, and inherently reject ideas that YEC's consider unarguable. I'll give an example of the latter: YEC's (especially Ken Ham) argue that it is impossible to argue against an atheist evolutionist because the YEC's entire point is based on the Bible, which he considers indisposable, but the atheist will reject all arguments from Scripture. In the same way, verses from non-Genesis books often have the appearance of dodging the issue or ignoring things that should be taken as granted.

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