Thursday, August 7, 2014
Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 3
Verse 14 of Genesis chapter one displays the creation of the heavenly bodies. “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.” We are told that such lights are “for signs, and seasons, and for days and years.” Again this language strongly suggests a literal acceptance of interpreting Genesis. We have a day-night cycle of 24 hours established, and now we have celestial bodies including (as we shall shortly see) the sun and moon to determine “seasons, and days and years.” Though God created light three days prior to the advent of the sun and moon, now He created rotating bodies to circle the earth to provide a clock by which people can gauge time.
The secondary function of said lights was to provide light “on the earth,” Genesis 1:15. When the sun’s light had arrived it was day; when the sun’s light fled it was night. Based on this unchanging standard God erected we have our seasons, days and years as we read from verse 14. We read “God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also,” Genesis 1:16. On day four the stars were created; the earth having been created in a primeval form on day one. Verse 17 reads that God set them in firmament of the heavens (that is outer space) to give light on the earth. Listen to the description! God “set” the sun and moon and stars in their places like you or I would set a lamp on a nightstand for light in our room. Small wonder the psalmist was inspired to write “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork,” Psalm 19:1. Another purpose of the setting of the celestial bodies was to “divide the light from the darkness,” verse 18. Division is a major aspect of the creation week as well as creation itself. God twice divides light from darkness, and divides respective bodies of water and also divides land from water as He organizes the earth in an orderly fashion. It seems reminiscent of a passage in 1st Corinthians where Paul, addressing the church, says, “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,” 1st Corinthians 14:33. The Greek word used is “eirene” and can also be translated order in certain contexts; this passage being one of them. God creates order and peace results, a harmonious condition that is the Creator’s touch. This runs entirely counter to any Evolutionary theory that presents time and chance and long bouts of struggle and misery as the methodology of God’s creation. It maligns God’s character to suggest this twofold accusation; that God created the universe in a manner inconsistent with the Genesis account and contrary to His own character. It reveals a deep-seeded lack of faith in what Scripture says, and the one who inspired it. Sadly, many genuine Christians have fallen into this pit because they fear the intellectual ramifications of professing faith in the inerrancy of God’s word regarding not only their salvation, but origins, “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God,” John 12:43.
Verse 19 concludes day four with further inculcation. “So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Day five commences with the creation of aquatic life. Day three saw plant life abound and covering the earth, presumably also the beds of the seas that formed when God divided the sea from dry land. Now He creates the first of the animals who will subsist off of the diet of vegetation. Did even carnivorous animals eat vegetation? It would appear so, since sin had not yet entered the world and death was the result of sin; first immediate spiritual death which ultimately led to physical death. That death was seen to be cosmological in nature when Adam transgressed the apostle writes “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now,” Romans 8:20-22.
Along with aquatic life came avian life, or the birds of the air, Genesis 1:20. “So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind,” Genesis 1:21. Day five concludes with God blessing them and issuing a command partially similar to the very one that He would give our ancient parents: “Be fruitful and multiply,” verse 22. The point of creating sexuality was to couple the male and female of said species to propagate the species, as per God’s command. Verse 23 finishes yet once more with “so the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
Coming at last to day six we read “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind,” Genesis 1:24. Twice we read that God gives life to marine animals, birds and land animals that He does not grant to plant life. Solomon, when writing in Ecclesiastes, observes, “Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth (at death)?” Ecclesiastes 3:21. The Hebrew term for “spirit” in this passage is “ruwach” and can mean “the spirit of a rational being including its expressions and functions.” This verse is further explained in the same book. “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it,” Ecclesiastes 12:7. Both men and animals die and share a like fate, Ecclesiastes 3:19-20. This describes what becomes of the body when we die. Since we were taken from the earth (Genesis 1:24; 2:7) we return to it and our bodies decay. It is the soul that resides in men and animals that give them what God Himself terms as “life”.