Problem: Genesis contradicts evolution
Verses: Genesis 1-2; Status: Serious / "Weak"

It's fairly obvious that the creation account in Genesis contradicts the biological theory of Darwinian evolution - a theory which biologists generally regard as proven beyond doubt by evidence from molecular genetics, paleontology, biogeography, comparative zoology, and other fields of study. However, since most (all?) inerrantists don't believe in evolution, it seems pointless to argue on this basis - the problem is Serious if you accept evolution, Weak otherwise.

Is Genesis really incompatible with evolution? (Yes.)

Genesis presents the creation as a six-day process, but it's possible to see these "days" as representing much longer periods of time. Some people (most notably Oxford biologist Andrew Parker) have gone so far as to suggest that Genesis is entirely consistent with evolution. But this is not so:

Plants are created at Genesis 1:11 (day 3) even though the sun isn't created until 1:14 (day 4). This is wrong: the sun had existed for about a billion years before there was life at all, and even if life could exist without the sun, photosynthesisers couldn't.

Birds are created at Genesis 1:20 (day 5), before land animals, which are only created at 1:24 (day 6). This is also wrong: birds evolved from land animals, almost certainly dinosaurs; a large number of feathered dinosaurs are in the fossil record, and Archaeopteryx was both bird-like and dinosaur-like.

(The ESV's notes suggest that "birds" might be the wrong translation, with "flying things" (i.e. insects) as a possible alternative. This would still be wrong: flying insects evolved from land-based creepy crawlies.)

Whales are apparently created at Genesis 1:21 (still day 5, before land animals) which is wrong for the same reason; whales evolved from land mammals, via creatures like Ambulocetus.

Updated: 2009-12-02

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