Home gospel artiste Science has more facts about the existence of God than the Bible- Dr. Emmanuel, Old Testament Scholar

Science has more facts about the existence of God than the Bible- Dr. Emmanuel, Old Testament Scholar

by Church Times

 

 

                                                                                      Dr. Femi Emmanuel, Lecturer West Africa Theological Seminary

Dr. Olufemi Emmanuel is a lecturer at the West Africa Theological Seminary. He holds a PhD in Old Testament studies. In this interview with Church Times’ Dayo Emmanuel,  he gives insight into the Old Testament book of the Bible

What is it about the Old Testament?

First we need to first understand the whole essence of the Bible. It is not the book of history though it is historical. Though there are lots of scientific things in it but it is not a science book. Every aspect of human life is in the Bible but it is not a sociology book.  It is basically a theological book. If you like you can call it a book that teaches us about God. The theme of the Bible is God and man in a salvation relationship. God created man to have relationship but sin came in and all the issues that played out between God and man revolve around sin and reconciliation. And that is the essence of the Bible.

The Old Testament is a product of the Jewish experience. God chose the Israelites to be a launch pad for the human race. The Old Testament is 98% Hebrew and 2% Aramaic. Aramaic is a dialect to the Hebrew. It is like the Ijebu language to the Yoruba language in Nigeria. But you can see the Old Testament from three aspects. You have the Pentateuch which is the Torah that is Genesis to Deuteronomy; then you have the prophetic writings and then you have the writings. The prophetic writing started from Joshua, some scholars include Ruth some don’t. From Joshua, Judges, all the way to Chronicles, then you have the writings.

What qualifies some prophets as Major and Minor Prophets?

It is the volume of their writings. As a matter of fact Amos who is classified as a minor prophet is an 8th century prophet. He is not minor in the sense of the quality of his work. But because of the volume of his work he was classified as minor. You have Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Amos was one of the earliest.

Genesis is divided into two parts. Chapters 1 to 11 that is the first part then you have Genesis 12-50 as the second part. 1-11 are the preambles like preface to the book actually preface to the entire Pentateuch which is the first five books of the Bible. It is generally believed that Moses wrote the five books but if you look at it academically and you are sincere you will know that there are certain things that couldn’t have been written by Moses. A larger portion could have been written by him

If you look at Genesis 10 when the account of the sons of Noah; Japheth, Shem and Ham you find the account of those people the Bible used the word ‘gentile nations.’ If we are to take the Bible chronologically, the idea of Gentiles could not have been. The nation of Israel was not born by that time so the gentile nations could not have been. Would you call Noah an Israelite?  Abraham was not born then so some of these accounts do not follow chronological sequence. The Old Testament was put together largely by Ezra the scribe and some other writers. In theology there is what is called canonization; the process whereby the books of the Bible were recognized by certain standards that meets acceptance and can be used to determine faith.

So you think Moses did not write all the books ascribed to him?

In my opinion I don’t subscribe to it that the major account of creation was written by Moses. If you study the Pentateuch you would see that there were a lot of accounts of creation. The stories were drawn from various sources. We have various accounts. There is what is called the Amana letters. There are 400 of such letters. It was from there the account of the patriarchs were drawn. The editors of the Old Testament sat down and got materials of different accounts particularly the creation story.

Some people say the entire chapter1 of Genesis is rendered as a hymn. It is also believed that the very first line of that chapter: In the beginning God created heaven and earth indicates the heading for the chapter. One of the things about the Jews is that the first sentence of their writings is often the lead or what is called headline in journalism. So sometimes if we don’t do an in-depth study we would just compare it with the second verse. The second verse is an explanation to the first verse.

 

“In my opinion I don’t subscribe to it that the major account of creation was written by Moses. If you study the Pentateuch you would see that there were a lot of accounts of creation. The stories were drawn from various sources. We have various accounts. There is what is called the Amana letters. There are 400 of such letters. It was from there the account of the patriarchs were drawn. The editors of the Old Testament sat down and got materials from different accounts particularly the creation story”

 

Some translations say heavens but the KJV says heaven?

The heaven in that context does not necessary mean where God lives. It means the firmament. Verse two is the explanation of verse one.

 Some people say between Genesis 1 and 2 there was a kind of suggestion that there was a world before the world God created. How will you react to this?

If we really understand how the Hebrew people render their writings we will not buy that conclusion. I do not believe there was another world before the present world. As far as Genesis verse 1 and 2 is concerned there was no other world. That is why we have to be careful about the translation we use. Books of the Old Testament were named according to the first word. Genesis means in the beginning. The English translators were the ones who put things the way we see them. That is why the origin, the Genesis. It is in Genesis you find the origin of everything the Bible discussed; the origin of the family the origin of sin and even the origin of salvation.

 

“The Bible does not make case for the existence of God. It is taken for granted. The people who put the Bible together don’t have problem about the existence of God. Science probed and began to find that even the creation actually proved that the earth did not exist by itself that there is an intelligence; an organizer behind it. If you watch the documentary you will see that mathematically there is a relationship between you and the flower beside your house. There is something working in you that is working in the trees around you and the sky.  Everything God created is working in proportion”.

 

 

How do we now reconcile science and the age of the earth?

Do you know that science now has more facts about the existence of God than the church? I have documentaries about that. Modern day science now has more evidences to prove the existence of God. I was so surprised when I watched some of these documentaries.  The Bible does not make case for the existence of God. It is taken for granted. The people who put the Bible together don’t have problem about the existence of God. Science probed and began to find that even the creation actually proved that the earth did not exist by itself that there is an intelligence; an organizer behind it. If you watch the documentary you will see that mathematically there is a relationship between you and the flower beside your house. There is something working in you that is working in the trees around you and the sky.  Everything God created is working in proportion.

What is the gist of the documentary since you have watched it?

The bottom line about the documentary is that everything that God created are in one accord showing there is an intelligentsia behind them. Every creation rhymes. Now for me we cannot just look at the Bible narrowly. There has to be a broad perspective, there is a reason why the Bible began with ‘in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…’ The text or sentence unfolded things. What led to the creation? The verb created shows there was nothing. If there was a creation before there was nothing in existence before. The earth was primarily null and void; that means there was nothing.

There are arguments that the earth is billions of years old?

The last surviving theory of Darwin has been completely knocked out. There are overwhelming evidences against it. For me the earth is an old earth. The Bible on some grounds is chronologically arranged but on a larger ground it is commonsensically arranged. I don’t know what would have happened if chapter 11 of Genesis came before chapter 10. If it had come earlier the account of Noah and his son would have been different.

When you begin to read Genesis you will see the account like Adam lives so and so number of years and he died. The death of Adam closes the account of Adam and just any other person in that passage of genealogy. The idea of the formula is to narrow down the accounts. All these accounts were narrowed down to Abraham which is actually the beginning of the redemption story.

The Bible was written within a space of 1400 years.  The writers never lived at the same time but they still worked together. They were able to establish that the creator who made the heaven and the earth was the one who called Abraham.

So we cannot get the age of the earth?

People who say the earth is billion years old could be right or wrong. We can never get the age of the earth. The issue is this: Is the creation of the earth magical? God said let there be vegetation. Did the vegetation just come up? How long does an iroko tree take to grow to a full tree? Did things just evolve? People have said did Adam have belly button or umbilical cord? Basic thing was that God created the heaven and the earth. For all these long Adam lived before Eve was formed nothing in him resonated with the animals. So over time, he was asking questions. When we are reading the Bible we just read it as we see it. But it is good we read with meaning and ask questions. God is not a magical God. For example it took Noah about 100 years to build the ark. Another thing is that were the people then using this our calendar year? Day and night rotation is 24 hours and that was how it was from then.

Can we say science only keyed it into the calculation?

It takes 30 days to have a full moon. The seasons too take same time to come to pass. Or how long did it take Abel to be in Eve’s womb? They are human beings it must have taken nine months. So right from that time they have identified yearly counting. God told Abraham by this time next year, so there has been time and season since then too.

 

The last surviving theory of Darwin has been completely knocked out. There are overwhelming evidences against it. For me the earth is an old earth. The Bible on some grounds is chronologically arranged but on a larger ground it is commonsensically arranged. I don’t know what would have happened if chapter 11 of Genesis came before chapter 10. If it had come earlier the account of Noah and his son would have been different.

 

 

There are other contending issues like the sons of God and the daughters of men in the Old Testament. Who are these people?

They are beings. I want to believe that when the earth was still young when it was still close to creation there were a lot of super mysterious things. Some of these beings can’t be traced again. Look for instance someone like Melchizedeck, no beginning no end. Where did he come from? The sons of God mentioned in the Bible were not ordinary men. In the book of Jude we read that the angels that did not keep their estate. I think they are angels who came in form of human beings.

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