Why I Try Not to Obsess Over the Genesis Debate
by J Warner Wallace
I’ve had my share of homicide cases that involved unanswered questions. In fact, every case raises a number of substantial and difficult issues. In my most recent investigation, a “no body, missing” from 1981, the biggest question was simply, “What did the defendant do with the victim’s body?” Another important question was “How did he move her car across town without anyone noticing him?” Over the course my investigation, I often wondered about these two issues, and I knew that these questions would certainly be important to the jury once we got to trial.
While I didn’t have definitive answers, I did have many reasonable theories. After all, the suspect had plenty of time to dispose of the body and plenty of opportunity to move the victim’s car. He also had a car that was large enough to transport the victim and there were a number of close locations that could be used to bury, sink, or (use your imagination) otherwise dispose of the victim. Nothing about the historic timeline of the murder precluded my suspect. There wasn’t anyone, for example, who could testify that they were personally aware of the suspect’s activity
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during the time of the crime or during the time when the victim’s car was moved. So, although there were unanswered questions and we lacked a specific, detailed explanatory model, the fact that any one of our reasonable “hypotheticals” could explain what happened allowed us to focus on other evidence to make our case against the suspect. If our suspect was, in fact, the killer, these unanswered questions had no impact on our case: the evidence we presented was sufficient to determine his guilt, and the jury simply became comfortable with the fact that every case has unanswered questions.
I take a similar approach when examining the numerous explanatory models that my Christian brothers and sisters offer to explain Genesis 1. The interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis has become one of the most divisive issues in the Christian family. I have brothers and sisters in the faith who hold to one (or more) of the following interpretive models…
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