Is Genesis 1 Believable?

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Is Genesis 1 Believable?

Andy Whiddon, 2011

Introduction

Smart Trumps Dumb

When I was a teenager in the early 1960's, I used to argue with my best friend about the origin and purpose of life. Mike was his name. He was an agnostic and much smarter than I was. Mike knew about existentialism, transcendentalism, humanism, and many other isms about which I knew nothing. He took pride in being an objective freethinker and had intelligent answers to things for which I had no questions. I argued the default and traditional view of life that the Bible was inspired and that God did it all. My flimsy understanding of Scriptures was not very convincing to either Mike or myself. In particular, I was stuck with defending Genesis 1.

"SIX DAYS NO WAY," said Mike. After seriously trying to defend the creation story, I gave up when I realized that Genesis said that light was created both in day 1 and 4. That made no sense to me and no one I talked to could explain why the first page of the Bible would contradict itself. After a few more readings, the six-day creation story began to sound like a fairytale and not the source of eternal truth. I was embarrassed to try and defend it. I reasoned that if I could not believe the beginning of the Bible, then out with the whole thing. Mike won the argument and I too became agnostic. Mike was an inquisitive agnostic and I was an indifferent agnostic.

Life Trumps Death

Over the next 40 or so years, we went our separate ways and never again talked about life and its meaning. In a nostalgic attempt to contact Mike, I did a Google search and found out he had died at age 57. His obituary said that he became a beloved and renowned professor with a Ph.D. in Sociology, just what you would expect. I was truly saddened that I had waited too long to talk once again with my old friend. He had challenged me to question all and to honestly know my beliefs. 

As for me, in spite of my disbelief in the creation story of Genesis, through grace I became a midlife Christian at age thirty-five.  I reasoned that if Christ believed the creation story that was good enough for me so then let it be. Besides, I was too busy working 60 hours a week and raising a family. Fast forward - now retired, in my sixties, tired bones, and with time on my hands. Mike is dead and I am alive. My Christian faith is deep and not at risk, but a nagging question remained about the believability of Genesis 1.  

Mike, this One is for You

In memory of Mike, I challenged myself to once again study Genesis 1 and put to rest if it was believable to me or not. I reread the chapter about 50 times and researched many beliefs and disbeliefs. Did I mention that now I had time on my hands? For believers, opinions abound concerning why there were two light creations (day 1 and 4), how the word "day" should to be interpreted (old Earth, young Earth, gap theory), and how God of the gap explains things we do not understand. For nonbelievers, in particular I found it amusing that many atheists and agnostics seemed to be smug and enjoyed making fun of believers for being naïve and nonscientific.

I found it interesting that over the past half-century both mainstream Bible believers and atheistic scientists had changed their core beliefs. Especially for the new crop of younger believers, to be more science friendly most of the faithful have opted for the old Earth  interpretation of the word "day" in Genesis 1 instead of the traditional young Earth  (24 hours for each creation day). Not to be outdone, scientists made a major hypothesis shift from firmly believing that the universe is eternal to a new position that time, space, matter, and energy had a definite beginning in the Big Bang. "In the beginning" now has a new meaning for both believers and the scientific community.

So Mike, here we go. In my study I ran into many surprises, insights, and downright revelations I had never seen before. I found out that indeed the creation story in Genesis 1 is believable and I am satisfied. To the reader, bear with me and walk through my thoughts. If you are a believer, you will get new information and inspiration to defend your faith. If you are an atheist, agnostic, or skeptic, you will understand how Genesis 1 is believable, even though you do not believe.

The Study of Genesis 1

Who am I? I am just the guy next door with a normal quest to understand clearly what I believe. The underlying question: Is Genesis 1 Believable? If you are looking for a scholarly, theological, or scientific study, you will not find it here. I purposefully chose not to argue hot issues, but rather to simply examine literal Scriptures as I see them. My writing style is primarily notational rather than narrative. Scriptures (1) used are from three interpretations: King James, Young's Literal Translation, and the American Standard. 

Before getting into the verse-by-verse study, the following are some important points to better understand my views.

1. Moses was not Simple or Stupid

Moses, the author of the first chapter of Genesis, had a first class education in Egypt and was a smart guy. You might not agree with his message, but compared to other ancient creation stories (Egypt, Greek, Roman, and others) he was very ingenious and inspired. You decide where the inspiration (2) came from, but surely a fair minded person must admit that his writings were way beyond normal ability.  

I believe that when he wrote that light was created both in day 1 and 4, this obviously seemed contradictory and illogical, but he wrote it anyway. When he wrote that "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth," these words were way beyond human experience and imagination, but he wrote them anyway. You might say he was trying to fool the ancient Jews, but if he was he surely did a poor job by writing things that were totally foreign to their way of thinking.

2.  All Words in Genesis 1 are Intentional

When Moses wrote the first page of the Bible, every word written was the best available to express his thoughts.  He only had about 9,000 ancient Hebrew words to use, so each word was well intended as to the order, tense, and construct. With a few primitive words, he expressed very radical and world-shattering thoughts.

Literal, figurative, mystical - these are our words we use to try explain meaning.  When Moses wrote the word "day," he likely had no concern as to if it meant 24 hours or an undetermined period of time. That is our concern. We might disagree about the interpretation of words, but I believe that every word used was deliberate and intentional as written.

3. The Creation Order is Vital, not Time

No matter how you interpret Genesis 1, the sequential order of the creation story is of central importance. The order is objective, straightforward, fixed, and nonnegotiable. No reasonable person would argue that day 5 should really come before day 1 or that day 6 should actually come before day 3. We would make a big mess of things rearranging creation periods according to our own taste.

The time required for each creation day is subject to interpretation and, in the big scheme of things, probably not very important. What we really need to concentrate on is that in the beginning God created and He used time. Time ultimately was created as a convenience for man so we can understand the order of things.

4. Dirt and Water - a True Revelation

As I did my study, I asked the question: When were dirt and water created according to Genesis 1? You might think the answer is obvious, but it was not to me. It was a true revelation, maybe even an epiphany, to discover an answer that opened up a new understanding of Genesis 1 for me.

A casual reader might reason that dirt (earth's elements) was created in day 3 when land appeared. No, that was when dry land was separated from the waters. For water, you might reason that it was created in day 2. No, that was when waters were divided into ground waters (seas and such) and atmospheric waters (sky and such).

The answer is simple and straightforward. Dirt and water were created in day 1, in the beginning. Verse 1 says that: "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth." These words refer to the physical universe with its dimensions of time, space, matter, and energy. All elements of the cosmos were created, including those that compose dirt and water. Scientists can fill in the blanks as to which elements they believe came first, but it all happen in the beginning -- day 1.

5. Active Creations and Caused Events Differ

Even though you have to read between the lines, to my understanding the literal words in Genesis 1 support the idea that two distinct methods (3) were used to prepare the world for human existence: active creations and caused events.  Active creations occurred when verses say that "God created" and are found in days 1, 5, and 6. Caused events occurred when the words "let," "let there be," and "set" are used in days 1, 2, 3, and 4. As caused events, the subject item is not directly being created, but rather appears to be altered, changed, expanded, or otherwise modified.   

Day 1 - The Universe and Light

(Verses 1 through 5)

King James

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Young's Literal

1In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth --  2the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters, 3and God saith, `Let light be;' and light is.  4And God seeth the light that [it is] good, and God separateth between the light and the darkness,  5and God calleth to the light `Day,' and to the darkness He hath called `Night;' and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day one.

American Standard

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2 And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

My Comments

1. In verse 1, time, space, and matter (anything that has mass and takes up space) were created. Time was "in the beginning" and space and matter were the "the heavens and earth." The cosmic universe with all of its elements now existed, including dirt and water.

2. Notice the underlined word "created" in verse 1. The Hebrew word "bara" is used meaning "to shape, fashion, or create" always with God as subject (Strong's Concordance, word H1254).

3. Also in verse 1, notice that the word "heavens" comes before "earth." The order is important. I believe that Genesis indicates upfront that the universe (heavens) is the foundation of creation and not the Earth (old geocentric belief). The earth was not foundational, but it was the focus.

4. In verse 2, the Earth was dark, void, and without form.  Our world was a lifeless bit of mass in space with all other matter and no visible light --like a small speck of rock with no purpose or particular path. Why darkness? It was dark because sun light energy had not yet appeared. Our earth had all of the elements required for life, but was dead.

5. In verse 3, notice the underlined words "let there be." The Hebrew word "hayah" is used, meaning "to arise, appear, to come about, exist, take place" (Strong's Concordance, word H1961).

6. In verse 3, light energy was not being created, but already existed in matter and in effect was appearing and taking place. As a caused event, energy that fuels our sun and stars was converted from matter by the words "Let there be light."

7. Perhaps the matter-energy light conversion resulted in what scientists theorize to be the Big Bang where the universe exploded and expanded (in the beginning).

8. At one time, scientists believed the universe was eternal. Now, scientists generally agree that there was a beginning of time, space, matter, and energy. Steve Hawking, an outspoken atheist and famous scientist, stated that: "All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning." Einstein's famous equation E = MC2   provides proof that matter and energy are interchangeable and that energy can be converted from matter. Moses wrote before Hawking and Einstein.  

9. Moses wrote that God was the creator, the source and first cause of all that came into existence. There is no indication that God was part of the universe, but rather beyond, external, and outside of it. Some people such as pantheists and deists reason that God is nature and part of the universe, but Scriptures say not. It is like a masterful artist that sculptures a beautiful statue; he created the statue, but he is not contained or enclosed in the statue. 

Day 2 - Waters Divided

(Verses 6 through 8)

King James

6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And 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.  8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Young's Literal

 6And God saith, `Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters, and let it be separating between waters and waters.'  7And God maketh the expanse, and it separateth between the waters which [are] under the expanse, and the waters which [are] above the expanse: and it is so.  8And God calleth to the expanse `Heavens;' and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day second.

American Standard

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.  7 And 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.  8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

My Comments

1. In day 2, the earth's atmosphere came into being from existing surface waters. Firmament simply means sky. Modern science agrees that the early earth was first covered with water.

2. In verse 6, notice the underlined words "let there be." The Hebrew word "hayah" is used, meaning "to arise, appear, to come about, exist, take place" (Strong's Concordance, word H1961). Our atmosphere was not being created, but rather was appearing. I believe this was a caused event that modified that which already existed into something else. 

3. In verse 6, notice the underlined words "midst of the waters." These words provide decisive proof that surface waters existed on the earth before being divided. Some argue that in day 2 waters were created, even though the word "created" was not used. No, the verse clearly indicates that waters already existed (created in day 1 in the beginning).

4. In verse 7, notice the underlined word "made". The Hebrew word for "made" is "asah," meaning "to do, work, deal with, act, act with effect, produce, prepare, appoint, ordain, or institute." (Strong's Concordance, word H6213). In essence, God was causing the waters to be divided and not creating them. Moses intentionally used the word "made" and not "created."

5. From a naturalistic viewpoint the order appears logical. In day 1 all was created with the earth dark-void and then light energy was converted from matter (perhaps Big Bang); day 2 the thermal heat from the energized sun evaporated existing waters on the earth's surface to product gaseous vapors which became our atmosphere.

Day 3 - Dry Land and Plant Life

(Verses 9 through 13)

King James

9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.  10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.  11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.  12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Young's Literal

9And God saith, `Let the waters under the heavens be collected unto one place, and let the dry land be seen:' and it is so.  10And God calleth to the dry land `Earth,' and to the collection of the waters He hath called `Seas;' and God seeth that [it is] good.  11And God saith, `Let the earth yield tender grass, herb sowing seed, fruit-tree (whose seed [is] in itself) making fruit after its kind, on the earth:' and it is so.  12And the earth bringeth forth tender grass, herb sowing seed after its kind, and tree making fruit (whose seed [is] in itself) after its kind; and God seeth that [it is] good;  13and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day third.

American Standard

 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.  10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.  11 And God said, Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees bearing fruit after their kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth: and it was so.  12 And the earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after their kind: and God saw that it was good.  13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

My Comments

1. In verse 9, dry land was separated from the waters.

2. Notice the underlined words "let" and "appear." Land was not being created, but rather arose or appeared where it had not been seen from the earth's surface before. I believe it was a caused event.

3. From a naturalistic viewpoint, I expect that as land arose from the waters the tectonic plates were rising and shifting, massive volcanoes erupted, and the earth was in complete turmoil.

4. In verse 11 and 12, plants came in existence after their own kind.

5. Notice the words "let the earth bring forth." It appears that in day 3 plant life came into existence using the earth's soil elements that already existed (created in day 1 - in the beginning).

Day 4 - Lights Seen

(Verses 14 through 19)

King James

14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:  15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.  16And 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.  17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,  18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.  19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Young's Literal

14And God saith, `Let luminaries be in the expanse of the heavens, to make a separation between the day and the night, then they have been for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years,  15and they have been for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth:' and it is so.  16And God maketh the two great luminaries, the great luminary for the rule of the day, and the small luminary -- and the stars -- for the rule of the night;  17and God giveth them in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth,  18and to rule over day and over night, and to make a separation between the light and the darkness; and God seeth that [it is] good;  19and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day fourth.

American Standard

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years:  15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.  16 And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.  17 And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth,  18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.  19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

My Comments

1. Prior to day 4, I believe that the earth's atmosphere was thick and impervious to the point where direct light could not shine and be seen on the earth. The condition would be like a very heavy cloud covering existed so the sun's light was blocked from view. Indirect light was sufficient for plants to live.

2. I believe that during day 4 the cloud covering was thinned or otherwise altered so light from the sun, moon, and stars could now be seen from the earth's surface. It would be like very heavy clouds being lifted so the sunshine could be seen.

3. Notice the underlined words "let there be," "let," and "set." The word "created" is not used. The sun, moon, and stars were created in day 1, in the beginning. In day 4 they were appearing from an earth's vantage point for the first time and now were visible.  I believe this was clearly a caused event. 

4. Notice the underlined word "made". I believe that Moses intentionally used this word rather than the word "create." The Hebrew word for "made" is "asah," meaning "to do, work, deal with, act, act with effect, produce, prepare, appoint, ordain, or institute." (Strong's Concordance, word H6213). In essence, God did not actively create the lights in day 4; He acted with effect so the lights could be seen. Unfortunately, some Bible translations interchange the words create and made.

5. I believe that at times Moses used observational language. By this I mean he described things from an earthly viewpoint as he understood them. We commonly use observational language. This is similar to you saying: "The sun rose today." Literally, the sun did not rise, but rather the earth rotated.  It would be like the Apostle John describing visions in Revelation - writing about what he saw from his viewpoint but not necessarily fully understanding all of the meaning.

6. Some suppose that initially Christ was the day 1 light and was replaced by day 4 lights. No, this does not work. Day 1 light was part of creation. This would mean that Christ was created. Christians believe that Christ is eternal and not created, made, or fashioned. Why would Christ be replaced by anything? Why would Christ be created? (4)

7. Others suppose that a temporary light in day 1 was replaced by permanent lights in day 4. The Scriptures do not support this and the position is not really defendable. It ignores the words "let there be" and "made" which indicate that sun, moon, and stars already existed and were simply allowed to be seen and shine through the atmosphere.

Day 5 - Fish and Bird Life

(Verses 20 through 23)

King James

20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.  21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.  23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

Young's Literal

20And God saith, `Let the waters teem with the teeming living creature, and fowl let fly on the earth on the face of the expanse of the heavens.'  21And God prepareth the great monsters, and every living creature that is creeping, which the waters have teemed with, after their kind, and every fowl with wing, after its kind, and God seeth that [it is] good.  22And God blesseth them, saying, `Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and the fowl let multiply in the earth:'  23and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day fifth.

American Standard

 20 And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.  21 And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed,after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good.  22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.  23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

My Comments

1. In day 5, fish, bird, and similar life were actively created according to their kind.

2. Notice the underlined word "created" in verse 21. The Hebrew word "bara" is used meaning "to shape, fashion, or create" always with God as subject (Strong's Concordance, word H1254). This was an active creation.

3. Notice the underlined words "let the waters." Words that follow are different in the three translations: "bring forth," "teen," and "swarm," respectively. I believe the central thought is that fish life emerged from or within the waters.

4. Notice the words "let the waters bring forth." It appears that in day 5 living creatures came into existence using elements that already existed in water (created in day 1 - in the beginning). 

5. Does the water bringing forth fish life support the scientific theory that life originally came from the sea? I do not know.   I do know that Moses wrote before science.

Day 6 - Land Life and Man

(Verses 24 through 31)

King James

24And 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.  25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.  

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.  31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Young's Literal

24And God saith, `Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind:' and it is so.  25And God maketh the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, and God seeth that [it is] good.  

26And God saith, `Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that is creeping on the earth.'  27And God prepareth the man in His image; in the image of God He prepared him, a male and a female He prepared them.  28And God blesseth them, and God saith to them, `Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over fish of the sea, and over fowl of the heavens, and over every living thing that is creeping upon the earth.'  

29And God saith, `Lo, I have given to you every herb sowing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which [is] the fruit of a tree sowing seed, to you it is for food;  30and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to every creeping thing on the earth, in which [is] breath of life, every green herb [is] for food:' and it is so.  31And God seeth all that He hath done, and lo, very good; and there is an evening, and there is a morning -- day the sixth.

American Standard

 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.  25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good.  

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  27 And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  28 And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food:  30 and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.  31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

My Comments

1. For day 6, land creatures were brought forth from the earth and man was created.

2. In verses 24 and 25, for land creatures notice the underlined words "let the earth bring forth" and "made." The words "bring forth" mean to sprout or shoot (Hebrew word "dasha", H1876, Strong's Concordance). Scriptures clearly indicate that God used the elements in the earth that already existed (created in day 1) to develop and sprout life in day 6.

3. In verse 26, notice the underlined words "Let us make man." Though not revealed in the time of Moses, I believe the plural pronoun "us" is referring to the Trinity: God, Christ (4), and the Holy Spirit.   

4. Also in verse 26, notice the underlined words "in our image."  Image means likeness. I believe important God-like characteristics given to mankind include realization of existence, language, intellect, will, and ultimately the knowledge of good and evil. Beyond the basic instincts of other creatures, we are able to perceive, communicate, reason, and choose.

5. In verse 27, notice the underlined word "created" used with man. I believe the word "created" was intentionally used for man and woman instead of "brought forth," indicating a very special creation and hierarchy of importance.

6. Also in verse 27, notice that the word "created" is repeated three times. Generally, the repetition of words in a text is used to emphasize a high magnitude of importance. As an example, a teacher might say: "This is very-very important, now pay attention."

7. I find it extremely interesting that the word "created" is only used five times in the entire chapter of Genesis 1:

  • Verse 1 (day 1) ...God created the heavens and earth (1 time);
  • Verse 21 (day 5) ...God created sea creatures (1 time);
  • Verse 27 (day 6) ...God created man ...God created he him ...created he them (3 times).

A high magnitude of importance is expressed in verse 27 by using the word "created" 3 times about man. Every word was intentional as written and this emphasis is remarkable. It is as if Moses is saying: "This is very-very-very important, now pay attention." Verse 27 makes it undeniably clear that God especially created man (above all other creations).

Summary

When studying Genesis 1, I used the viewpoints that:

  • Moses was not simple or stupid;
  • All words in the chapter are intentional;
  • The creation order is what is really important and not time;
  • The cosmic universe was created "in the beginning" in day 1 (including dirt and water);
  • God used active creations and caused events to prepare the world for human inhabitation.

As an overview of all 6 days of creation in Genesis 1, from beginning to end I was surprised to discover that:

IN THE BEGINNING God actively created time, space, and matter as our material universe; caused events were used to alter and let light energy emerge, waters separate, land arise, and lights appear; plant, fish, bird, animal, and other life were brought forth from the water or land; and God personally created man and woman in His own image AT THE END.

In summary of Genesis 1, I believe that:

  • In day 1 time, space, and matter were created and part of matter was converted into light energy (perhaps Big Bang);
  • In day 2 the light energy heated the earth's surface and through evaporation our atmosphere came into being;
  • In day 3 land arose from the ground water likely through the rising of the tectonic plates and massive volcano activity;
  • In day 4 a cover of thick atmospheric gases was lifted so the sun, moon, and stars could now be seen from earth;
  • In day 5 fish and bird species were created and brought forth from the waters according to their kind;
  • In day 6 the land creatures were brought forth from earth and ultimately, God created man and woman in His image.

Scriptures support that active creations were used in days 1, 5, and 6 and caused events were used in days 2, 3, and 4.

Conclusion

So, Mike, here we are. Yes, Genesis 1 is believable to me and I am satisfied. I am saddened that I could not tell you face- to-face and have you read my thoughts. It indeed is very important that we really examine and understand our beliefs. At times, I told my kids when they were growing up that: "Life is the strangest experience you will ever have." It is strange and amazingly wonderful. For the skeptic, if the beginning of the Bible is believable, maybe the end is too.

How long did it take for God to create our world? I have absolutely no idea. Does it really matter? The central theme of the creation story is not how long it took, but rather that God was the Creator. I do not believe that God zapped things into being like a wizard gone wild. He called it work and it took time. Afterwards, he was pleased and said it was very good. Did God create a perfect world? Yes, according to His purpose and plan for man to inhabit it.

Copyright 2011 by Andy Whiddon. All rights reserved.

Notes

(1)  Especially when studying a difficult verse, I usually cross-reference and compare interpretations to better understand the meaning. As we all know, intentionally or not, interpreters at time reflect their own preconceived notions and prejudices. When on line, I use BibleGateway to compare versions and Strong's Concordance to study the root definition of Hebrew and Greek words. You can Google to find them (both are free) and it is sensible to place them in your Favorite list.

(2)  Scriptures state that "God said" and thus I believe inspiration came from the Holy Spirit (God).        

(3)  Active creations and caused events are words I made up to explain the two methods of bringing things into being. I have no knowledge of others using these words in the same sense as I use them.

(4)  According to the John, before time began, Christ was already in existence with God. Christ is the Word in John 1:1-5:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

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