And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree.
-- Genesis 1:11
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the
earth after his kind: and it was so. -- Genesis 1:24
Notice that God lets "the earth bring forth" the plants and animals, rather than create them directly. So maybe the
creationists have it all wrong. Maybe Genesis is not so anti-evolution after all.
But both Luther and
Calvin rejected any non-literal interpretation of the creation
accounts in Genesis.
At the Reformation the vast authority of Luther was thrown in favour
of the literal acceptance of Scripture as the main source of natural science. The
allegorical and mystical interpretations of earlier theologians he utterly rejected.
"Why," he asks, "should Moses use allegory when he is not speaking of
allegorical creatures or of an allegorical world, but of real creatures and of a visible
world, which can be seen, felt, and grasped? Moses calls things by their right names, as
we ought to do....I hold that the animals took their being at once upon the word of God,
as did also the fishes in the sea."
Not less explicit in his adherence to the literal account of
creation given in Genesis was Calvin. He warns those who, by taking another view than his
own, "basely insult the Creator, to expect a judge who will annihilate them." He
insists that all species of animals were created in six days, each made up of an evening
and a morning, and that no new species has ever appeared since. He dwells on the
production of birds from the water as resting upon certain warrant of Scripture, but adds,
"If the question is to be argued on physical grounds, we know that water is more akin
to air than the earth is." As to difficulties in the scriptural account of creation,
he tells us that God "wished by these to give proofs of his power which should fill
us with astonishment."