November 18th, 2010
The Bible's Records of Creation - Written in Legalese?
Surveying the sordid history of our world, it’s obvious that social relations between humans are often plagued by misunderstanding. A lot of this misunderstanding is due to unclear language.
To address this chronic human problem, we have established courts of law. Courts, in turn, have developed their own distinctive method of communicating clearly. Lawyers employ a language style known to non-lawyers as “legalese.” One of the main features of “legalese” is repetition. An idea is repeated in using different words or phrases, so that the desired meaning will be as clear as possible.
It shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible sometimes uses a similar technique for truth-telling. This is especially the case where the Bible touches on the subject of creation. Perhaps because no human witnesses were there to share in most of the creation events, and because they may seem strange and far outside of our everyday experience, God has taken care to tell us about creation in language similar to “legalese.”
For example, we are told in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20:11 that God created the world in six days. Since the word “day” sometimes can mean an indeterminate period of time, the days are numbered, indicating that they occur consecutively and regularly.
Furthermore, each day is said to have an evening and a morning, which are the basic elements of a day. If there is any doubt about the message of Genesis1, and whether the days are really ordinary days, we should stop and ask ourselves, “If God was trying to communicate the idea of ordinary days, is there any way He could have made it any plainer?”
The average person often has difficulty understanding legal documents because legalese tends to be wordy and complex. However, Genesis1 uses relatively few words to tell us just what we need to know about the six days of creation. It does so with complete scientific accuracy and legal specificity. It tells the story with few words and so simply that a child can easily understand it. (Ironically, it’s the learned theologians and scientists, exceedingly wise in their own eyes, who have the most trouble understanding and believing it!)
If lawyers or scientists had written Genesis1, it would be tens of thousands of words long, and much harder for the average person to understand. Its remarkable combination of clarity, brevity, accuracy, and simplicity is a testament to the genius of its author. It is a document worthy of the claim of divine inspiration.
By Dr. Dave Demick (Guest Writer)
original article published:
January/February 2006 Think and Believe
The Genesis Record by Henry Morris
Please use the new Discover Creation search engine - at the top of each page - to look for more detailed articles on things discussed in our "Creation Nuggets."