Book of Genesis - In the Beginning...
The Book of Genesis is the "Book of Beginnings" in the Bible. Genesis, Greek for "Origins", recounts the Creation of all things in six literal 24-hour days, the Fall of Mankind and the Curse, the subsequent Worldwide Marine Cataclysm (Noah's Flood), the Dispersion at Babel, and finally the birth of the Jewish Nation. Together, these events cover roughly 2,370 years of Earth's history. The Book of Genesis is divided into two principal sections: (i) Chapters 1-11 covers the Creation to the Dispersion and (ii) Chapters 12-50 covers the birth of Israel, from the calling of Abram (Abraham) until the death and burial of his great grandson Joseph in Egypt.
Book of Genesis - The Impact of Modern Geologic Science
Until the early 19th Century, the Book of Genesis was generally held to be an accurate account of world history, including the recent Creation of all things by a personal, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator God. This was the worldview held by many of the founding fathers of our modern scientific disciplines.
However, there was a paradigm shift in the early 19th Century with the birth of "Uniformitarianism" and the popularization of Evolutionary Theory in the form of Darwinian Evolution. The shift began with the publication of Sir Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology in 1830. In this classic work, Lyell championed Uniformitarianism, a theory first put forth by James Hutton towards the end of the 18th century. Uniformitarianism is in stark contrast to the Biblical "Catastrophism" found in the Genesis Flood account, thus casting doubt on the Bible's veracity as a whole. Furthermore, Uniformitarianism assumes an "Old Earth," contrary to the "Young Earth" creation account in the Book of Genesis. Lyell claimed it was his intention to "free the science from Moses." He certainly achieved his goal. Lyell successfully led a revolution in geologic thought, from traditional Catastrophism to Hutton's Uniformitarianism.
It wasn't until late in the 20th Century that Uniformitarianism was finally disproved by such observed geologic features as poly-strata fossils, misplaced and missing geologic layers, lack of erosion between layers, the deficiency of bioturbation, undisturbed bedding planes, the limited extent of unconformities, soft-sediment deformation, well preserved surface features between layers, etc. Although Catastrophism has been vindicated by the weight of recent scientific evidence (including the abundant marine fossils found atop every mountain range in the world), many geologists tenaciously cling to the Uniformitarian paradigm. And so, tragically, Uniformitarianism -- with its alleged Geologic Column based upon the assumption of uniformity -- is still taught as fact in the public schools and the general media today.
Book of Genesis - The Impact of Modern Biologic Science
The credibility of the Book of Genesis was not only affected by Lyell's geologic theories, but his book indirectly influenced modern biologic thought as well. Principles of Geology (1830) had a profound impact on a young British Naturalist named Charles Darwin. Darwin was inspired by Lyell's Geologic Column and shared Lyell's presuppositions. This inspiration greatly influenced Darwin's keen observation of the variations within distinct kinds of plants and animals. Darwin extrapolated these variations over time, and produced his classic work, Origin of Species, in 1859. In his book, Darwin sets forth the idea that each individual species has evolved from common ancestors. These common ancestors evolved from a string of prior common ancestors, with the origin of all ancestors being an initial single-celled organism that spontaneously arose naturally from inorganic matter. Thus, Darwin reasoned, the idea of a Creator God was obsolete.