As we confront people every day, whether they be believers or skeptics, we must be careful to go back to God's Word as the final authority. Through the years, and perhaps due to a lack of basic scientific understanding, many misconceptions have crept into our pulpits and into the lives of many believers. We would do well to take note of some of these misconceptions so that as we are questioned, we honor Christ with our responses. Here are some of those false, or at the very least, questionable ideas.
Adam and Eve had light hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. The Bible does not state how they looked, so we can't know about their appearance for sure. But, we can assume they didn't have recessive traits like light hair and blue eyes. As the first parents of all living, they would probably have had dark hair and brown eyes which are dominant traits. They would also likely have had medium brown skin, since this color would have contained the genetic material to have children of all skin colors.
Men have fewer ribs than women have. Yes, it is true that God took a rib from Adam to create Eve (Gen: 2:21,22). However, this would NOT cause a change in Adam's DNA and he would not pass this trait onto his children. Men and women both have the same number of ribs. It is also interesting that ribs grow back. After God took the rib from Adam to make Eve, Adam would have had one less rib for a short time until his grew back.
The created earth resembled what we see today. When one looks at a globe or map today, it is very easy to see what almost looks like a jigsaw puzzle. A previous geologic cataclysm cannot be understated. Gen 7:11b (the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up,) . This would create a major shift in land masses and a vast amount of volcanic activity. Secular geologists as well as Creationist geologists believe that there was one landmass in the past which has been called Pangaea.
Rain and rainbows did not exist before the flood. We are not specifically told that there was no rain or rainbows before the flood. In Gen. 2:5b we're told: "for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." (KJV). Verse 6 tells us that "there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." This is thought by many to mean that there was no rain up to the flood. However, this may have changed with Adam and Eve's expulsion from the garden into a cursed world. Rainbows would later be made by God as a symbol of His covenant with man. In Genesis 9:13 God says "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." (KJV) If there was no rain before the flood, then rainbows did not exist before the flood. If there was rain before the flood, then rainbows likely existed, and God repurposed the meaning to be indicative of His promise. We do not know for sure which is the case.
The Bible teaches geocentricism and a flat earth. There is a growing movement that claims this is taught in the Bible. Three common references are: Isaiah 11:12; Revelation 7:1; Psalm 93:1. There are two groups espousing this belief. While reading scripture, we must always look for figurative language, poetic imagery and idiomatic expressions. These verses, clearly fall into these categories. Also, we still speak today about the 4 corners of the earth. This is how we see the earth on a flat map, and it coincides with the 4 points of the compass. We read in Isaiah 40:22 that "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth. . ." (KJV). So, it is incorrect to state that the Bible teaches a flat earth. So, our first motivated group are the true believers. The other group are not part of the flat earth movement, but claim that the Bible teaches this. It is stated with derision by some who would try to belittle anyone believing in the Bible. This in turn, allows them to place on us the perceived dreaded label of 'unenlightened'. However, it was known from at least the 5th Century B.C. that the earth was spherical.
The animals we see today look the same as the animals at creation. Many of us have seen depictions of the ark with a caravan of animals making their way inside. One typical example shows at least 3 varieties of cats--lions, tigers, leopards, etc. However, these would all be from the same ancestral cat kind. This would allow the original male and female cat kind to have the genetic information needed to produce all the variety we see today. So, it would be impossible for the single pair entering the ark to look like the many varieties now populating our planet. The word species is a relatively new term which is not an appropriate match with the Bible word kind. This, of course, is a strong argument for there being plenty of room on the ark for the original kinds-NOT every species we see today.
Adam and Eve ate an apple. This is Unknown. The scripture simply states in Genesis chapter 3 that it is "fruit". We are never told which fruit.
Eden is still in existence today. Based on the massive upheaval of the global flood, Eden could no longer be in existence today. However, technically, the ground is still somewhere beneath our feet, but we have no way to identify it.
The flood consisted of only 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Gen. 7:4 and 12, might cause one to conclude this, but verse 11 makes it clear that "the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (KJV--emphasis mine) Verse 17 tells us that after 40 days the ark floated. Finally, the last verse in chapter 7 says that "the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." This is immediately followed in chapter 8 verses 1 and 2 which say "And God remembered Noah . . . (2) The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained." Therefore, the ark floated after 40 days, and the rain stopped after 150 days. The entire flood event lasted about a year.
Noah had only his family of 8 to help him build the ark. There is no evidence to draw this conclusion. It is entirely possible that Noah hired others to help with the construction. Also, although they would likely have been very skeptical, Noah may have received help from other indirect family members.
The pre-flood civilization was backward and ignorant. This idea is based squarely on the back of a culture saturated with evolutionary dogma. While relating some of the descendants of Cain, we're told about some of their skills. Genesis chapter 4:21b, 22,
". . . he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: . . ." We can even see that God did not hesitate to convey to Noah the plans for the ark, and His confidence that Noah had the intelligence and experience to complete the project. They were clearly a much more advanced people than current day thinking would allow.
All the mountains were the same height as they are today. This again is a common perception, based primarily on the uniformitarian idea that the mountains have remained primarily unchanged, with few exceptions for eons. The massive volcanic activity, and the "fountains of the great deep broken up" during the worldwide flood would have caused much uplifting, shifting and moving of many land masses.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it challenges us to question our own presuppositions. Let's be careful to use caution as we read scripture and not read in what it does NOT say. However, at times, such as in Adam and Eve's skin tone, hair color and eye color, we can use our knowledge of genetics to draw common sense conclusions that are not specifically denied in the Scripture. Let's remember the words of Paul to his beloved son Timothy in II Tim 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV