God Created

As I alluded to in my last post, I have now dived into Genesis, which of course begins with creation. I don’t know if there is a more controversial subject. In discussion after discussion and debate after debate atheists and Christians come at the beginning of . . . everything, from differing perspectives.

The bad news, or maybe the good news, is that I don’t take a traditional view of Genesis 1, starting with the first verse. In case it may be unfamiliar, here it is:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I’ve heard traditional Bible scholars who hold to the infallibility of Scripture explain that this verse is a sort of prelude to the more detailed account of creation that will follow. The problem, as I see it, is the next verse:

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.

Followed by this: “Then God said, . . .”

In other words, before God said the things that would initiate the “six day creation” there was already something there, a formless earth, empty, water covering it, darkness. As I read these verses, it seems to me that God created before He created, if we are to limit Him to six days. I think it has to be this way, if for no other reason than that during the “six days,” God never made water. He divided the water. He gathered the water, but He never spoke and the water came into being, as He did with light and stars and fish and animals and plants. So water, I suggest, was part of the verse 1 creation. So is that formless void and the darkness.

Then there is the issue of the “days.” Some Bible scholars adamantly hold to the fact that these were 24-hour days. Except . . . the first “day,” God did not create the sun by which we determine time. In fact on the second “day” God still had not created the sun. Nor did He create the sun on the third “day.” Not until the fourth “day” did God bring the elements of the universe into being—the sun, the moon, the stars—by which we tell time.

And of course “we” have not been created yet, so who is actually calculating these 24 hours of a “day” of creation?

As it happens, God Himself explains that in His reckoning of time, a day is like a thousand years.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

In fact, the Hebrew word for day, transliterated as yowm, not only means “day” but also “time, period (general)” and even “year.”

In truth, God didn’t even need 24 hours to create. He spoke and out of nothing, that which He commanded, came into being. “Let there be light; and there was light.” How long did that take? Twenty-four hours?

My point is this: the interpretation of the meaning of “day” is not something to fight over. It’s not a significant part of the narrative, though I’ve heard sermons that say otherwise. I’ve heard preachers say that someone who doesn’t believe in a six 24-hour day creation, doesn’t really believe the Bible. That preacher never addressed the issue of water or the void earth and when those might have been created. Because according to the Bible, they didn’t come about in the six “days.” He also never correlated the verse in 2 Peter and God’s reckoning of time as different from ours with the Genesis account.

In other words, the people who hold staunchly to a six 24-hour day creation are, in my opinion, missing the Big Picture. What Genesis teaches is that God created. He did so in an orderly manner, bringing into being that which He made by speaking those things into existence, including stars, which we know today would include solar systems and galaxies. And finally, as an example for us, He separated the creative process into six time periods which He equated with days, before resting on the seventh day.

I’m not sure what precisely that means, either. Did God pick up and continue working at the end of the seventh 24-hour period? Did He only rest from His work of creation? Does that mean He created more afterward? Or did He work at something else? Does He continue to rest every seventh day?

Those questions are kind of silly, but I think it illustrates the point: God wanted to give us an example about how we are to construct our week. What’s especially funny, I think, is that I suspect some of the very people who cling so tightly to the idea of a six 24-hour day creation, completely ignore the idea of rest on the seventh day.

Of course, on the flip side are the atheists who scoff at the idea of God creating at all, whether in six seconds, days, thousands of years, or any other time period.

The thing they miss is that the universe coming into existence is not something that science can speak to, apart from saying that yes, the universe had a beginning. But this one time, unrepeatable event is beyond the purview of science that depends on observation and repetition.

The idea that evolution is somehow part of the equation is erroneous. Evolution has nothing to say about the origin of the universe. Honest scientists agree: when it comes to how the universe started, they have no clue, though they have theories and hope that one day we’ll figure it out. Below is a short video that gives the basics in the first 1:15:

The conclusion of this scientist that something sprang into existence from nothing, is exactly what Christians have been saying since Genesis was written. But what the scientist has apparently missed is God who spoke.

The real issues of Genesis, then—the narrative that matters—is that God created and that He revealed to us what He wanted us to know about the process. How long was a “day”? God didn’t say. Where did the light come from when the sun had not yet been created? God didn’t say. Did God use evolution to bring life into existence? Well, actually, that one He did say.

For one thing, He stated that the animals were all made after their own kind. That rules out Mankind evolving from lower forms of animals or other animals doing likewise. In addition, He created in an orderly manner, which rules out the element of chance. Thirdly, in chapter three of Genesis we also learn that death came about as a consequence for sin, so the idea that various animals went through a mutation from a previous form and that they did so in order to survive, is not possible because death was not yet a factor.

In truth, Genesis gives us the only reliable account of the origins of the universe because the only person who was there, who knows how it all went down, is God. And He says very clearly, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

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Published in: on September 25, 2019 at 5:30 pm  Comments (8)  
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  1. Great post 😊

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    • Very interesting. It goes along with many of the things I have been wondering about, too. I have been reading extensively — from all positions — and have reached some conclusions I would have never reached had I not read various positions and re-looked at the Bible itself with some new insight. Still have a lot of questions. Evry positions has its problems and questions. I no longer think of Gen 1-3 as a “creation” story. It was written to a illiterate people with no scientific background. It was written, I have concluded, to tell them there is a creator God who wants connection with people, but because of their waywardness and wandering away from Him, he has set about a way to reconnect with them — on his terms. It told them there was not only a creator, but one to whom they are accountable to. It is a poem, not unlike what other nations had, but one that clarified what life was about.
      Trying to work on the details, i.e. “day”, “kinds”, “light” is not really what the text is about. I don’t know if I can accept Walton’s Temple idea, but it seems much closer than those from the literalist viewpoint. It is very obvious that the universe — earth include — is FAR older than 6000 years. That alone means a literalist interpretation is not feasible. In fact, trying to force a literalist interpretation on believers is a dangerous to our youth and scientifically aware adults. Given a take it or leave it position has forced many to doubt or turn from their faith. It is a dangerous teaching. I don’t care if some believe it, but just don’t force it on others and make it a take it or else position. A growing number of apologists and Christian science-aware folks are becoming aware that the Bible is still true, but our interpretation may need to be modified. God is all-powerful and creator of all. How and when he did it is a point of personal conviction. ( I refer to Romans 14 – matters of personal conviction and not an essential part of the gospel should be between the individual and his God.) How and when God created is not an essential part of the gospel, even though some try to make it so.

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      • I agree with much of what you said, but I take issue with the idea that the earth must be far older than 6000 years. Did God create Adam as a baby or a full-grown man? If a man, why did he appear older than a newborn? There’s nothing that says God didn’t create a mature earth. The people who think the earth must be as old as it “looks to them” are trying to explain the existence of the universe apart from God. But God can make mountains without having them go through the evolutionary changes of a billion years. He can. So I think that’s one more piece of evidence that says, Genesis is about the very thing God revealed to us, not more, not less.

        Thanks for bringing your thoughts to this topic.

        Becky

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        • Preamble: God could have made everything yesterday and given us all memories to make us think we had been around for many years. He could have, but I am convinced he didn’t. God is a God of truth. All facts point to him. If anyone can prove a fact, event, history, ancient creation, it points to him. He is not afraid of any fact. If facts don’t correlate with our understanding or interpretation, then the facts are not wrong, our understanding is.
          1. I don’t believe that what we see in the universe is deceptive. God displays his glory in the universe and all creation. If careful studies indicate great age and God only made it appear that way, i.e. stars, trees, varves, etc., but he was really faking it and not revealing the truth, that would be a serious problem.
          2. There are many scientific tests that confirm great age. Varves are one of the most dramatic: Hundreds of thousands of thin, annual layers whose age has been confirmed by several independent tests. These are so fine, so detailed and distinct, they could not have been laid down by the flood. The flood would have been highly chaotic with incredible tsunamis, volcanic action, meteors striking the earth and mountains being created.
          3. Much more could be offered, but whatever the age of the earth, He is creator, redeemer, and coming king. He could create anyway he chose to, I just think we can search out how great, powerful, and amazing he is by being careful students of the Word and creation. “When I see the stars . . .”

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          • I agree that what happens a lot of time is that our understanding is off.

            In this article, I’m trying to think outside the box a little. We don’t have to think we must believe A or B, there are no other choices. We do have to believe the Bible, no doubt about the wisdom of doing that. But believing the Bible doesn’t mean believing the most common interpretation of the Bible. We might actually be having an understanding issue if we overlook some things that are right there in the Bible, because they don’t fit our accepted narrative.

            I don’t think God was “faking it.” There’s another Man’s understanding issue. We figure out how much time has passed, so conclude that God did something He said He didn’t do.

            I see no answer here to the obvious logic that if God created Adam as a full grown Man, not a baby, He may just as well have created a full grown earth. Our understanding, that no, God couldn’t do that but had to only start a “natural process” that played out for years, leaving fossils of dead animals before death and the curse actually came into being, is our wrong way of understanding, I think.

            Becky

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  2. Amen!

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  3. The problem with your reasoning, as I see it, is that in Exodus 20:11, God explicitly states that He created “the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them…” in six days. He includes both the heavens and the earth, as well as the water in His statement.

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    • Thanks for pointing out that verse, Jim. A couple things to consider: no Scripture contradicts another Scripture, so if God says there was water and a void and darkness over the surface, then He created the things in the six “days,” that does not mean that actually He created the water in those six “days.” But He did gather the waters, and this, I would think, explains the idea of Him creating the seas. Not that He created water, but there were no separate bodies of water, distinct from dry land, until God spoke that division, that grouping, into existence.

      Also interesting to note: the word for days in Exodus is the same one used in Genesis 1 for day. In other words, the translation could still be better rendered “time.”

      Maybe. I’m not adamant about this point because I don’t think it’s the main issue God wanted us to know when He revealed that He had created . . . everything. As I said in the article, He could just as easily have created in a breath or in a blink of an eye. He did not need 24 hours any more than He needed 24 million or billion years. It’s silly, I think, for us to make a big deal of that which we cannot know. God chose to call the time frame “days” for our benefit, so that we would get the picture of His orderly process, bringing one thing after another into being and evaluating it as good. And He wanted us to have an example of the way our week should look. As I said, I think too many get all hot and bothered about the idea that these were 24-hour days, but completely neglect that God set this up to show us our need for rest one day a week.

      Another possibility—maybe He gave it to us to show us what a week actually was! But none of that is central to Genesis 1. The source of all things, God the Creator—that’s what this narrative is about.

      Thanks for your comment, Jim. I appreciate interacting about these things.

      Becky

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