B) THE MEANING OF CREATION
The creation account is a glorious record of God's works. All of it was and remains to be good.
Wherever we turn, we see the awesome power and design of God. Only in later years with powerful telescopes, satellites and precise computer-enhanced microscopes are we beginning to see the true magnificence of His works. All these marvelous designs swirl about our lives providing more and more evidence of the glory of God.
How do our hearts respond to this God? Do we ever think He could have done better? With our height? Our race? Our sex? Our life? We too are the creation of God called to fulfill His wonderful purpose and design for our lives. Shall we testify to His righteousness in wrath at our ways of trying to foil His purposes or shall we use our life to amplify His light, love and goodness through our lives.
The creation account is headed by Genesis 1:1,
Heaven and Earth: This phrase can stand for the universe or totality. Some think of heaven as the spiritual aspect of the world while the earth the material. Others think that the heavens speak of Gods realm, perhaps including even the stars but certainly including the spiritual world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The best description is everything but God Himself.
Below is a chart of the seven days and what occurred on each of them. This will take us right to the end of this section in Genesis 2:3.
Most people who discuss this chapter never get to understand the message. They are too busy repeating senseless arguments. We have included four theories and given simple answers so that we might not get consumed in the arena of arguments: Gap Theory, Literal days, Framework Hypothesis, Modern Science.
The Gap Theory was popular teaching back in the 19th century in Great Britain and America. It proposed that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. There was never found any support for this.
With a little bit of investigation we discover that Genesis 1:1 starts a whole section up to 2:3. Every verse begins with the same popular Hebrew conjunction (waw- see right). Genesis 2:4 starts a new section; it does not start with this conjunction (can mean 'and,' 'but,' then,' 'so,' etc.).
The English versions don't necessarily show this unity because they use different English words for the same Hebrew word. The NASB insists on starting each with a conjunction but the NIV departs and does not always start with a conjunction (examples 1:12, 16,17). The KJV alone faithfully repeats the 'And' at the beginning of every verse. We see one unity, one creation. No gaps.
One wonders why there is so much time spent on whether the days in Genesis are true days as we know them or not. There are many today who still deny a literal day. The basic reason these people deny literal days is to bring scientific knowledge under the umbrella of Christian teaching. With good motives, they fear that if what they discovered that which did not agree with the scriptures, then they would need to give up their faith. But their faith is weak and inconsistent and their arguments have done much harm to many Christians.
These proponents of non-literal days assert that a day could mean any time period. During the days of the early 20th century, evolutionary proponents seemed to have an edge on facts that went contrary to the scriptures. But with further research, we are seeing that truth always supports truth. We should trust God's Word and just wait on those things that seem incompatible with what God's Word says.
For example, at one time evolutionists had us all believing that man evolved and used different 'link' fossils to prove it. Now their work is proven untrue. The books don't mention these fossils anymore.
As discoveries have widened, we have discovered how cells work. The complication chemical gene structure could not have evolved. Scientists are abandoning gradual evolution. The cell functions as a wonderful efficient factory that could not have come by chance.
Others are ensnared by the geological strata. They are convinced the aging of the rocks deny God's Word so they change God's Word. We just don't know enough. Interesting scientific research at the University of Arizona shows that the supposed time needed to lay such strata could be done rather rapidly using Mt. Helena's volcano as an example. His repeatable experiment demonstrates the just what we see in our strata today. We simply need more time to understand God's ways; we must not depart from God's Word.
Some still scared about this suggest that the scriptures can be taken either way. Let us note the most basic arguments for literal days of creation.
(1) Usage of the Word Day
The word 'day' is used in Genesis 1 to convey the time period of a day as we today know it. Nothing has changed. Yes, Genesis 1:14 does use day as an opposite of night suggesting day can be used as a period of daylight. In English we use the word, daytime. The Hebrew word for 'day' (yom) can have a range of meanings as most Hebrew words do.
However, whenever the ordinal number is used with day, it is always the 24 hour day referred to, though starting with the darkness (evening) and proceeding into the light (daytime).
The seventh day is purposely kept open ended. We see from this that if this was not a literal day, then it would not make sense to speak of days in such clarity and finality. The burden is on those who see these as non-literal 24 hours to show that the sun has changed axis or scripture that speaks otherwise.
(2) Day before Light
Some are concerned about the term 'day' being applied before the sun and moon was made. This can be easily understood once we allow the fact that God established the day (time) before the sun and moon. He made the sun and moon to govern the day. This is not a totally foreign scriptural idea.
(3) The Sabbath Command
The first time the Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20:8-11 as part of the Sanctity Covenant, God authoritatively commands His people to keep the sabbath. The pattern is based upon the creation as the following scripture shows us. This makes perfect sense if there was a literal week of creation. We are meant to understand the six days of man's labor to imitate God's six days.
The sabbath, of course, was to imitate the seventh day. This argument only works if there were literal days.
The Framework Hypothesis is a particular 'mentology' (i.e. mental methodology) which asserts that the days are not literal days or even time periods but literary markers for assumed poetic and organizational reasons. The markers then form a framework in which we are to understand the whole creation passage. There are many theories not worth discussing and this is one of them!
If these words are not presenting what God said and did, then they are not truth but falsehood. People use such arguments to introduce their teachings which disagree with scripture.
The concept of create and creation is preserved for us all the way through God's Word all confirming a genuine creation by God (119 times - search 'creat'). Besides this, note Jesus' own words.
Modern science is based upon three principles. Interestingly, all three had its origin in or were consistent with Christian teachings.
1) The world is real and the human mind is capable of knowing real nature.
Christian scientists founders of key creation (scientific) principles.
Isaac Newton - Dynamics
Even non-Christian scientists can apply these principles from Creation to their work and make discoveries. If they do not believe in God, though, are they not embarrassed using Christian teaching to live out their lives?! They are living by faith.
If we have so much confidence in the world God made, maybe we ought to put more trust in God who made and sustains the universe!
Or better yet, for a little bit more get the Old Testament Library which has this book along with powerpoints, videos and hundreds of other articles, all presented with understanding and applying God's Word to our lives. Great deal!
Genesis Introduction: Introduction to Genesis | Outline and Genealogies | Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) | Unified Themes of Genesis