Science in Christian Perspective
Comments on Tanner
Mr. James Murk, M.A., Instructor in Anthropology and Sociology
Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois
It seems quite probable that the "days" of Genesis do not refer to measurable periods of time but to a sequence of creative events. There is certainly no comparison of the length of time involved in each of the first five days, according to Mr. Tanner's paper, and the 6th day. I am personally most interested in his suggestion that the 6th day of creation begins sometime in the "late Pleistocene."
What does "late Pleistocene" mean? (Also, does the indication of "the creation of man as a spiritual entity" imply his physical creation or evolution earlier?) The so-called "Upper Pleistocene" includes the interglacial period before the last glaciation beginning maybe 175,000 years ago. "Late Pleistocene" might also mean 25,000 years ago. The problem of correlating the fossil and prehistoric cultural evidence for early man with the Biblical account of the creation of man is far from being settled. Most Christian anthropologists, however, would suggest a middle, even an early Pleistocene date for the creation of Adam. I personally am a dissenter from this view and have a paper concerning it.*
I do take exception to an incidental argument in the paper which contrasts the English and Hebrew vocabularies. Mr. Tanner is selling the Hebrew short when he implies a small vocabulary. Probably no living language of any primitive people has less than 20,000 words, and spoken Hebrew doubtless had many more. Also the great bulk of the million words claimed for English, (and this in itself is an exaggeration) are terms related to our technology and science. Few speakers of English have a working vocabulary of more than 40,000 words.
* Mr. Murk's paper developing his views on a late Pleistocene Adam was presented at the A.S.A. convention In August, 1964.