Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 2
Returning more directly to the matter at hand, let’s refer back to the language of Genesis chapter one. It would serve as a great learning experience to slow down and consider how the writer of Genesis constructs the account of creation, and how the Holy Spirit moved this man to pen what we now know was God’s chosen method of developing our world and universe of time, space, and matter.
We will start with Genesis 1:1 which states “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Verse 2 tells us that “the earth was without form, and void (or waste and emptiness NASB); and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The creation of the heavens and the earth seems to have been a simultaneous act though the earth was not at all in the state or form we presently know it. It was without form and void and darkness reigned. Still on the first day of creation God said “Let there be light!” verse 3. God divided the light from the darkness, verse 4. The Hebrew word for “divide” is “badal” and can mean “to divide, separate, distinguish, differ or select.” I only present this as an observation, but God may have created the rotation of the planets at this point, in which the earth spins on an axis and turns from day to night.
This seems to make more sense in light of verse 5, when we read “God call the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” The language here strongly suggests a progression of what we now know as a 24 hour day. God named the difference between day and night, and then the Holy Spirit opts to repeat Himself for emphasis by telling us that evening and morning were “the first day.” An honest reading of Genesis (without reading one’s own opinions into it) leaves the reader with no choice but to accept that Scripture is teaching a literal six-day creation week. The testimony from Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 agrees with this exposition. God commanded the Jews to work six days and rest on the seventh, just as He did. The Day-Age Theory or Theistic Evolution would have to render the command of to keep the Sabbath as “God worked six billion years and rested for the seven billionth; you do likewise.” The common work week we presently have is clearly modeled after the creation week in Genesis with seven days. Saturday is the day of rest for the Jews, while most Christians have adopted the Lord’s Day (Sunday) as their day of rest. Again, this historical witness makes no sense if one adopts the faulty premise of long geological ages.
Verse 6 begins with “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the water from the waters.” Reading on: “Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day,” Genesis 1:7-8. We find God dividing the firmaments, a brief description of events that culminates with evening and morning bringing “the second day” to an end. This description of time elapsing permeates Genesis’s first chapter, and this I think is meant to inculcate the point of the creation account: that we are witnessing the creation of the universe and more specifically our planet, in a swift, day by day act of creation.
Verse 9 continues with “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place, and let the dry land appear.” The gathered water was named “Seas” while the dry land off of which it rolled was dubbed “Earth.” There were multiple “Seas” on the face of the antediluvian earth as the text implies, and we get a glimpse at least of part of what God meant when He separated the waters both above and below the firmament. But this was not the end of day three. Now that dry land was available, God said “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth,” Genesis 1:11.
At this point we have to notice a few things. First, God is repeating Himself numerous times with various phrases. What is the point of such repetition? Well we know it is not for any arbitrary reason, for God does nothing without just reason. No, rather I think the lesson He later teaches Judah is a point to keep in mind when we reach portions of the Bible that appear as overly redundant. “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,” Isaiah 28:9-10. More to the point, the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit told the Philippian church, “For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe,” Philippians 3:1. Repetition of God’s word helps it to sink into our minds, thoughts, and hearts. It isn’t injected internally to be dissected, judged and mutilated by the flawed wheels of human wisdom but esteemed as God’s inerrant word and held in faith and practice as our standard. This includes a comprehensive understanding, Biblically based, of origins.
Also note the term “according to its kind” which is repeated throughout the rest of Genesis chapter one. This implies that plants (and later the animals) are in a fixed state; there is no upward or even downward evolution at work now or then. Microevolution may be suggested (minor horizontal changes within species) but not macroevolution (major changes which transform one species entirely into another via gradual change). Also take note that of the first three days entailed these beginnings: the origin of the universe, the creation of light, the division of light from darkness, the separation of the waters both above and beneath the firmament, the creation of dry land and seas, and the creation of plant life. All of this is prior to the advent of the sun and the celestial bodies or any animal or human life of any kind. Did light exist prior to the sun? Without doubt, according to Scripture. Light is energy, and the first creative act within the darkened and formless universe was the entrance of light, or energy, to begin the ordering of the creation we presently see.