LETTERS TO A JW

Gwyn Watkins

Gwyn Watkins has corresponded with a Jehovah’s Witness for seven years.  (#117 page 5) Part of one letter follows:

(Investigator 118, 2008 January)



To disprove evolution all that is needed is to find just ONE 'out of place' fossil such as an angiosperm in the pre Cambrian, a mammal in the Devonian or a member of the Ape family in the Cretaceous era. I'm 99.99% certain you will not find one.

As a matter of interest the minister at the SDA lectures I attended a couple of months ago tried to prove that fossilised latter day species are to be found in earlier age rock strata. He cited the case of Polystrate Tree Fossils that intersect several layers (beds) of sedimentary rocks. There is a simple geological explanation for these fossils and I'll be writing in more detail on this in a future Topic on Evolution.

We also could not agree on the age of the universe. You stated that although mankind was created by God 6000 odd years ago, the Universe itself could have been formed countless years earlier. I thought we had discussed this earlier this year and I think I demonstrated convincingly in my letter of 10th February 07 that Genesis describes how the universe was created in seven days only.

You did not reply to my letter so I assumed you did not reject my explanation. Below is an extract from the letter to which I referred:


One Day of Genesis

In support of your assertion that the one day in the seven days God created the world represents a thousand(s) of year(s) you quoted Psalm 90:4 — For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (K. J.)

I’m surprised you have accepted such a piece as "proof" of evidence. It's another example of how various religious organisations interpret Bible passages to conform to their own preconceived and often bigoted beliefs, irrespective of the true message that the original writer intended when he wrote it.

Surely, to any unbiased reader, the Psalm's meaning is clear and unambiguous — while God is permanent and time is eternity, a thousand years or more to him is just like a day as we experience it; gone in a flash!

The above is true of your other "proof" — 2 Peter 3:8, — with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (K.J.) Again the writer is emphasising the eternity of God and the frailty of man.

To accept your interpretation implies that any word in the Bible can be regarded as an analogy. The word day in my Concordance appears 175 times and the only ones (Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8) you can bring up as support are in fact analogies. If we accept these two analogies how can we be certain that other Bible text words are not to be taken on face value as they may be analogies as well?

All other days mentioned in the Bible are clear enough as 24 hour periods and nowhere is there an unambiguous indication that the days of Genesis are nothing more than days of 24 hours duration. Genesis 1:14 makes it abundantly clear that a day is a day of 24 hours(!) and to have to separate one day from the next day by a period of a 1000 years is utter nonsense. Yet you are prepared to believe that God in all his wisdom sometimes stipulates a day in Genesis to be 24 hours but in just two other verses for it to indicate a thousand years or more!

My contention is that the conventional view of the Bible's use of the word day is the correct one and not that of the Fundamentalists whimsical one. This claim is reinforced when we see how the word year(s) is used throughout the Bible. Year(s) appears 40 times and in every instance it's applied to indicate a year as we know it. It seems ridiculous therefore to expect God to use a day nearly all the time in Genesis as 24 hours but in the same chapter he decides arbitrarily for Gen: 1 & 2 to employ the word 'day' as meaning a thousand years. Perhaps I'm wrong in this and he actually intended us to understand that a 'day' in Genesis was consistently a millennium or more.

Thus, for example, when God set down the rain for forty days and forty nights during the Flood, (Gen. 7:4), what he really meant was forty thousand years and not the normal day of 24 hours. Better still are the real crackers of Gen. 7:24 and Gen. 8:3 where we'll find the flood waters prevailed upon the earth for a hundred and fifty thousand years! Come on, John, you can do better than that.

Again what about Gen. 1:17 19? 1 never realised that when I go to bed around 10.30pm each night, my night's sleep will be around half of a 1000-year day. Thus, 500 years will have elapsed when I wake up in the morning unless, of course I need to relieve myself in the toilet at 250 years, after which I go back to bed and sleep away until morning arrives 250 years later. It seems, John, as if your organisation eats the cake and has it too!

You also brought up the old chestnut of not being able to name or give details of any human event before the year 4,000 years B.C. and I'm surprised you haven't twigged on this one yet. May I ask you to give details of written events recorded by any of the countless tribes in the world who had not been exposed, up to couple of centuries ago, to our so called "civilization"? Fiji would be one such country but Lapita pottery estimated at over 2,500 years old has been discovered there. Also, "primitive" (in our view) tribes are existent in parts of New Guinea and Africa that even today have no written records of their past history. Doesn't that give you an insight why no writing existed in pre historical times? Why the term "pre historic"? History begins with writing.


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