I was sitting in an airplane in the summer of 1992, part way through a very long flight headed for Russia to help start churches. Out of boredom I grabbed an old magazine from the seat pocket in front of me and was stunned to read that scientists had proven by DNA that we all came from one man and one woman, based on studies started in 1987. And to think the book of Genesis had stated that all along. How nice of science to confirm scripture I thought. :)
I had seen charts where researchers had worked backwards to find the origins of man using population figures. Working backwards from the billions on the planet today, figuring birth rates, disasters natural and man-made, plagues and such, they calculated that around the time of Jesus there were about 170 million people alive. Working further backwards estimates for the time of Abraham in about 2000 BC show around 5 million were alive.
Here is an easy to read chart: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-by-year/
Is the world held in place on the back of a turtle?
I'd long sought answers to explain apparent contradictions between Genesis and science, and believe that science merely discovers how God does things using natural law. But filling in those gaps between Bible and science is more difficult.
There is a basic rule of learning: Man can only write and think about things he is familiar with. Therefore creation stories that reference things familiar to man prove themselves to be from man's imagination, and not of divine origin. If there are explanations of natural things clearly not found in things familiar to ancient man, we can only conclude that information came from outside of man.
For example, the creation story from Babylon says fresh water and salt water mixed which created the gods and goddesses. One of which was murdered and half of her became the land and her other half became the waters. Another that the earth is on a turtle's back (Hindu). The Norse had a cow that gave birth to Buri as she licked a salt lick, and so it goes. Some Native American creation stories include a raven creating man from a pea pod and the Celts believed a white mare (horse) gave birth to the first god...It is interesting that many of these have a Father who produces a son, like Buri above, who had a son by a means not explained, named Boor, who came into being over 3 days.
Outside source of knowledge
But the Bible is very different as you know, with thoughts and concepts clearly sourced from outside nature and things familiar to ancient man. For instance Genesis saying God created mankind from one man and one woman in His likeness and image. We didn't come from a pea pod nor a cow, but how could ancient man know that except from a source outside themselves?
The book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible. It is ancient Jewish poetry and wisdom, which is why it is included with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and 'Songs', and takes place after Noah but before Abraham - as noted by no priesthood, individual offerings to God, God talking to Job from a whirlwind, etc).
Job 26:7 reveals God 'hangs the earth on nothing' in 'the empty space'. How did Job know about the emptiness of space or that the earth 'hangs' there on nothing? That knowledge is outside normal human experience. Job didn't say the earth sits on a turtle - the knowledge of earth hanging in empty space came from outside man's thinking.
The Bible indicates the earth is round: An example is Genesis 1:9 that says all the land was gathered in one place and the waters gathered together separately. With gravity holding all things together, if you remember your high school geometry, that can only happen on a sphere.
If that's hard to understand, try pouring water on a table and then spin that table and see if the water stays put. Even with a center of gravity at the middle of the table, the water would fly in all directions in a disorganized mess. Only a sphere can retain land and water at equal distance from the gravity source. The earth is rotating around its axis at 1000 mph (1609kph), and if it wasn't a sphere with gravity at its core, everything would act as water on your table top if you spun it.
The person of Wisdom describes how He was present when the Father created the earth, stating in Proverbs 8:27: "When He established the heavens, I was there. When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep..." That's a circle. How did ancient man know that?
The theory of evolution
The Biblical creation story demonstrates we are each created, thought up by God, who has a purpose for us and each part of creation. God reveals Himself as the I AM, the ever present one, the one who will be what He will be. That means our best days are ahead of us for we are in Him and He in us: He is the God of the future, of never ending ages in Him.
By contrast the theory of evolution says all the universe is a giant cosmic accident, a chance occurrence of the meeting of molecules. Therefore man is an accident. And if man is an accident then morals are what man says they are. Right and wrong is a matter of opinion. If one thinks it is moral to loot and steal and another believes it is wrong - both are right! It's all an accident that provides no framework of absolutes by which to measure life.
What is the point? If I am an accident, my purpose in life is my own decision; If I decide I don't have a purpose I can end my life. What does it matter? Evolution is a hopeless existence. A few atheists have told me, "When I die it's like a bug on a sidewalk, I'll just cease to exist." That thinking is the end result of believing all the universe is an accident.
My response has been that I can prove we are eternal beings very simply. Most will readily acknowledge that inside themselves they feel the same as they did when they were young, but their body has changed around them. Their body has aged while inside they have not. That unchanging, ageless inner self proves we don't need our earth body to live, for our unchanging internal selves have shown over the decades we are eternal and will live on after our body ages to the point of ceasing to function.
Paul wrote in Romans 1 that seeing God in creation and acknowledging God as Creator is the most basic way to know Him. Romans 1: 20-31 says if a person rejects Him as Creator, He will allow that person to go their way, allowing them to think all kinds of ungodly thoughts leading to a life of sin.
That foundation of God as our Creator is what allows the rest of our faith to be built properly. If a person believes the theory of evolution is fact, while also claiming to know the Father and Lord, the house of their faith has a cracked foundation and a few cracked walls. They will be off in other areas as well, without even realizing it quite often.
Most every person wonders first within themselves 'Why am I here?' and 'What is my purpose in life?' Those questions are the first opportunity to acknowledge God exists, that we and nature were created, and not a cosmic accident.
Genesis isn't a science book, and there are many voices out there lending confusion to the issue, but unanswered questions should not be a cause for us to dis-believe. About all else, we know faith in Jesus is eternal life, beyond that the answers can wait.
But filling in some blanks can be helpful...So here are some thoughts that may explain some things you've wondered about...and we'll get into that next week as we look at macro-evolution and micro-evolution. One is Biblical, the other is not. Until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org