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Vol. X • 1988

Moses vs. Evolution1
Robert J Clinkert

Evolution is more than a theory of biological and celestial origins. It is a principle of interpretation that pervades almost all academic disciplines. For example, according to the documentary hypothesis," the Pentateuch shows the evolution of religious thought in early Israel. The documentary hypothesis claims that the first five books of the Old Testament were not written by Moses, but by a series of other writers. The earliest of the "sources" the "Jehwist" and "Elohist," expressed a primitive stage of nature-worship based on the kinship group. A later source, the "Deuteronomist," recorded the next stage of evolutionary development—the religion of the prophets which supposedly elevated ethics above cultic rituals. The final stage of the evolution of Israel's religion was expressed by the "Priestly" source which ushered in Judaic legalism.

Over the years, conservative Bible scholars have repeatedly debunked the documentary hypothesis. Now, however, a surprising trend is developing among liberal Bible scholars—they are becoming disillusioned with the documentary hypothesis.'

According to Professor Blenkinsopp, of Notre Dame University, scholars now merely "pay lip service" to the documentary hypothesis, but no longer use it as an analytical tool. Some prominent liberal scholars such as Rolf Rendtorff and Brevard Childs (Yale Divinity School) have openly abandoned it.'

In a related development, the June 28, 1986 Jerusalem Post announced the discovery of the "oldest Bible text," which predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by four hundred years. This text, written on a silver amulet, exactly quotes the benediction from Numbers 6: 24-26: "The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift His countenance upon thee and give thee peace. "This text, found in a First Temple Period burial tomb, is dated to the 7th Century B.C. by its style of printing and other artifacts found with it such as pottery. The fact that the text was found in a lay person's tomb inscribed on an amulet indicates that the text was already widely known and used during the 7th Century B.C.

Since this particular text is attributed to the Priestly source of the documentary hypothesis, it should not have "evolved" until during or after the Babylonian Exile (586 B.C.) because the exile experience supposedly caused this development of priestly legalism. But the amulet has been clearly dated to the 7th Century B.C. (First Temple Period, Pre-Exile). Thus we find yet another contradiction in the documentary hypothesis and the evolutionist principle of Biblical interpretation. This house divided against itself is destined to collapse.

1 Bible Review, Winter 1985, "The Documentary Hypothesis in Trouble."

Reprinted from Fall 1986 Newsletter of the Midwest Creation Fellowship, P O. Box 75, Wheaton, IL 60189-0075.

"Moses vs. Evolution"
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