EarthriseI read the creation account in Genesis today, and I have more questions about creation now than I ever did before. It’s almost like the opposite of “familiarity breeds contempt.” Rather, the more knowledgeable I am about the events, the more curious I am about how it all worked. I see things I never saw before. And I also find myself questioning the explanations I’ve heard or read in exposition of the passage.

Here’s one. When did God create water?

Before the six “days” of creation start, Scripture says, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” (1:2, emphasis mine)

So where’s that water come from? In fact where did that formless and void earth come from? The logical answer seems to be, Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

But many Bible scholars tell us today that the Jewish way of writing is not the linear approach we Greek-influenced thinkers write. Their method was cyclical. They wrote and moved a step to the left and down, then down another step, then to the left again, to the left and up, up and to the left—and they’re back in the vicinity where they started. Consequently, “God created the heavens and the earth” was not one thing followed by a different thing, but it was the great thing—the topic sentence, if you will—followed by details that expounded on it in cyclical fashion.

Well maybe.

As most people calculate the days of creation, then, light came first.

But what is light? According to the day-by-day listing of creation, light came on day one but the sun didn’t come until day four. So there was light from some source apart from the sun. And that source would be what? What did God create when He created light? Was it the particle/wave electromagnetic radiation—photons that move through space at a measured speed? Except space didn’t exist yet. And this light came from what source? If there are no stars, no sun, no human whose retina responds, what is light?

So far, we’re only on verse 3 and we have uncreated water and created light that emanates from who knows where and consists of who knows what. Hmmmm. This creation story isn’t so easy.

But what if day one doesn’t start with light? What if verse 1 isn’t a topic sentence but actually tells us what God created in the beginning—an earth, formless and void, dark and covered with water, for which He then created light.

Of course that doesn’t answer the question, what was the source of that light? Except we know from other places in Scripture that God Himself is light, so it would seem from His being, He brought forth light.

All this to say, I believe the Bible one hundred percent, but it isn’t always easy. And why should it be? God who spoke the world into being isn’t exactly manageable either.

I kind of look at the Bible like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We have the pieces and they all fit to make a whole picture, but we’re looking at the image on the box top through a murky lens called sin. It keeps us from seeing where some of the parts fit, so we have to try this piece or that to see where it belongs best. And some pieces, we just have to wait until the end when all the rest comes together before we can see clearly where they go.

The questions about creation simply grow in number when we get to Genesis 2 where it appears God made Adam before He made other animals:

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (2:18-19)

So which is it, Genesis 2 or Genesis 1:

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (vv25-26a)

Of course atheists and progressives are quick to jump on such “discrepancies” and say they prove the Bible is wrong or pure myth or a fabrication from some deceiver trying to create a religion.

These differences make me ask questions. How can this be? I know it is, because God put it in His word: “All Scripture is inspired by God . . .” God who cannot lie, who is never wrong, inspired both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. So I look for possible ways the two passages can fit together. As a result, I come up with some “what if’s.”

Here’s the first one. What if Plato was right about his theory of forms and there exist non-material abstracts that are the highest form of reality? Consequently, before God formed animals from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2), He first formed them as a non-material reality, an abstract concept of lion (which he allowed Adam to actually name) and bear and butterfly (Gen. 1).

It’s a “what if” and I’m sure there are other possible ways that the two can fit and both be true without chalking up the creation account to pure myth. What seems most clear to me are these two realities: 1) in the beginning God; 2) God created.

Those are not confusing or hard concepts. They are simple, straightforward, all encompassing, and true—repeated over and over and over in Scripture with unwavering certainty. Whatever parts are murky because sin has muddled the picture, those two corner pieces are crystal clear.

And it is from the known that we read Scripture, not from the unknown. So we take the truth of God’s existence and the truth of His creative work, and we view the Bible and the world from those basics, and others like them.

We might have a pile of what-if’s and even some parts that have no apparent way of fitting, but we can be confident that in the end, where they belong and how it all comes together will become abundantly clear.

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 6:41 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. That’s a great point Becky. We struggle and agonize over making all of the puzzle pieces fit, and sometimes they just don’t. Maybe part of faith is knowing we can never get this puzzle built. Maybe God made it that way, to force the choice between knowing and just trusting sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That and the fact that there’s probably a whole lot we simply cannot understand! 😀


      Liked by 2 people

      • Ha, true that Becky. I am intimately familiar with not getting stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting, Becky. I have never felt that conflict in Genesis, but I have had many non believers bring it up. For me it is simply a literary device, the Hebrew style of writing. Genesis I is an over view of the entire story, a summary like the back of a book jacket. Genesis 2 begins to provide the details.

    As to “hovering over the waters,” I love the beauty of that phrase. Someone once described big bang evolutionary creation as the earth having once been bone dry with a heavy mist “hovering over it.” I thought it was a fascinating description.

    As to God being Light even in the absence of the sun, Rev 4:3 tries to describe it to us too, “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald..”

    I really do like some of the puzzles in the bible best. I often think they were deliberately placed there to encourage us to think, to discuss, and to keep us guessing 😉

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  3. I find the creation account to be very poetic, and if it is in poetic form it is a bit silly to expect everything to be linear and in logical order. If God had given us a complete scientific account of His acts of creation, the book of Genesis would be 24 thousand volumes long and all of the Hebrew scribes who had to copy and recopy the thing would have gone mad.

    I trust God when He says He created heaven and earth. I don’t need all the details.

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  4. It is true. It is a puzzle with many pieces but the more we read and study over the years, the more we see the pieces come together. It is awesome. The first light was God illuminating the spot of the universe. When He comes into it, it is full of His glory. Right from the beginning there is light. I love that.
    I find it laughable that the atheists call us “flat-earthers” when the Bible clearly states that the earth is round.

    Ecc 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

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  5. I’ve never noticed this before. It is truly thought provoking. I believe that Revelation proves that there are many things in the Bible our tiny minds just can’t comprehend. Perhaps this is another question we will just have to wait for the answer to.

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