The creation of the world

The birth or Earth“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  This simple but profound statement explains that out of nothing, God created everything.

God created our world in six days.  The first three days involved acts of separation, progressing from large acts of separation to smaller acts – separating light from darkness, earth from the sky, and land from the oceans and lakes.  It was during the first three days that the foundation of our world was created.  On day four, the elements of our galaxy coalesced, forming the stars and other heavenly objects in the sky.  During days five and six, life came into existence and God’s grand plan for mankind began.

Day 1 – light and dark

On the first day God created light, saying “let there be light”.  He called the light “day” and he called the dark “night”.  After creating the world, it was filled with water.

Day 2 – earth and sky

On the second day, God separated the water and made the Earth and the sky.

Day 3 – oceans, lakes, and plants

On the third day, God rearranged the waters on earth to create lakes and rivers and dry Earth.  He created plants and trees on the dry Earthm designed so they propagate using fruit and seed.  God reaffirmed what he created (i.e. “and God saw that it was good” and reaffirmed that things were going as planned).

Day 4 – sun, moon, stars

The creation of animalsOn the fourth day, God took the light that he had created on the first day and made stars, the Sun, and the Moon.  He recognized that they would be used for illumination and that their cyclical nature would serve various functions.  For the first time in Earth’s history, there was night and day.

Day 5 – fish and birds

Paralleling the acts of the second day, on the fifth day, God created fish and birds to live in the lakes and rivers.  He gave each kind of fish and bird the ability to procreate.  Again God reviewed his work and was pleased with the results.

Day 6 – animals and man

On the sixth day, God created animals, including a very special animal, the human being, that he made “in his image” specifically for the purpose of ruling over everything that had been created.  As with the plants, fish, and birds, he designed each animal with the ability to procreate.  He pointed out that his creations had the ability to consume plants for food forming a “circle of life”.

Day 7

By the seventh day, God had completed his work and “rested”.  He blessed this day as a celebration of his work.

What the story means to us today

The creation story sets the stage for the entire Bible excursion.  Every story has a beginning and Genesis sets the stage for our journey by pointing out that God created everything in our world and that he did so in an ordered and purposeful manner.

The story demonstrates the immense power of God, something we tend to underestimate.

Additional thoughts and considerations

GodThere are several important points of interest in the Creation verses.  Firstly, on day five, God created animals. The Bible says that after creating the animals, he blessed them.  This is the first time God blessed any of the things that he created.  Later, he would bless Adam and Eve too.  It’s useful to note that God only blessed animals and people, both of which are life forms that procreate.

The verse “Let us make man in our image” bears the question, who is the “us” that is referred to?  Many theologians believe that the reference to “us” is referring to God and his angels.  Others believe it refers to a three-tome entity comprised of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Interestingly, the Creation story specifically mentions God providing food to man in the form of seed bearing plants.  It was not until after the great flood that the Bible specifically sanctioned eating meat which presupposes early Man may have been vegetarians.

The science behind the story of Adam and Eve

The Big Bang Theory

On day one, God said, “Let there be light”.  You may wonder about the difference in the “light” mentioned here and the creation of the Stars, Sun, and Moon that followed on day four.  Remember that light is energy.  Scientists propose as theory that a “big bang” occurred when the universe was created and that the universe began with a large, hot explosion.  This Big Bang theory event most certainly began with a huge flash of light.  This is further supported in verse 13 which specifically points out that day 4 was the first day to witness morning and evening.

The Creation Controversy

Chance Law vs. Intelligent Design

God in rays of lightNo section of the Bible sparks as much controversy as the “creation” chapters.  There are two fundamentally different possibilities for human origin: blind natural process (chance-law) or purposeful intelligent design (creation).

Chance Law proposes that humans arose through random mutations that were preserved through “natural selection” (i.e. only the strongest survive).  Darwin proposed and became famous for this theory.  For instance, if a tree has high hanging fruit that is difficult for the monkeys to reach, a long armed monkey will fare better and hence have a better chance of survival than a short armed monkey.  Hence, long armed monkeys will propagate while short armed monkeys die out.

On the other hand, intelligent design theory postulates that humans originated due to the intentional arrangement of their matter, including their DNA-based genetic code, by an intelligent agent.  Many scientists today feel that our DNA structure could not have developed by chance.  It is much too complicated, with too many structural possibilities, to have been formed by random mutations, no matter how much time was allowed for these mutations to occur.  Statistically, they believe is mathematically impossible for humans to have randomly formed on their own – some sort of intelligent design was required.

Still, several religions do not believe in a literal translation of the creation chapters and accept “evolution” as a viable explanation for the creation of man that does not contradict what is written in Genesis.  They accept the scientific theoretical explanations and point out that they do not necessarily fall out of line with Christian beliefs.  For instance, some note that the Bible specifically says, “let the land produce living creatures” which could be a reference to evolution of fish and birds  into land-based creatures.

Timing of creation events

Some argue that the timing and elapsed time of the creation as calculated by biblical scholars and scientists differs and furthers the controversy and disagreement between scientists and theologians. Some bible scholars believe that the “days” mentioned in the Bible are indeed 24 hour days while other scholars posit that the “days” could encompass any length of time (especially the first few days of the creation story during which time there was no Sun and Moon to differentiate the 24 hour cycle) and that days are simply a means to communicate six-undefined segments of time.  As such, some scientists propose that the world is much older than Genesis indicates.

Finally, it is important to point out that the very first Hebrew word in the bible is “bereshith” which is typically translated as “in the beginning”.  There are two possible translations for this phrase: (1) a specific, absolute beginning of all time or (2) a more nonspecific, general  beginning of time. Thus, the timing of mankind’s beginning is unknowable.

Overall, the difference in opinion is a fundamental difference in point of view, the difference in scientific theory seeking hard proof to validate those theories, and Christian “faith”.  In the end it really does not matter.  As scientific theory advances, it will fall into line with Christian beliefs and will continue to evolve and advance, most likely until the end of time.

Bible Text

NIV Version

Chapter 1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2 Now the earth was a formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”  7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.  8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.  12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,  15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.  16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth,  18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”  21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”  23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.  25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,b and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.  30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Chapter 2

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he restedc from all his work.  3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The Message

   1       First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. 2       Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
3       God spoke: “Light!”   And light appeared.
4       God saw that light was good and separated light from dark.
5       God named the light Day, he named the dark Night.  It was evening, it was morning—   Day One.
6       God spoke: “Sky! In the middle of the waters; separate water from water!”
7       God made sky.   He separated the water under sky  from the water above sky.   And there it was:
8       he named sky the Heavens;   It was evening, it was morning—   Day Two.
9       God spoke: “Separate!   Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place;   Land, appear!”   And there it was.
10       God named the land Earth.   He named the pooled water Ocean.   God saw that it was good.
11       God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties   of seed-bearing plants,   Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”   And there it was.
12       Earth produced green seed-bearing plants,   all varieties,   And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts.   God saw that it was good.
13       It was evening, it was morning—   Day Three.
14       God spoke: “Lights! Come out!   Shine in Heaven’s sky!   Separate Day from Night.   Mark seasons and days and years,
15       Lights in Heaven’s sky to give light to Earth.”   And there it was.
16       God made two big lights, the larger   to take charge of Day,   The smaller to be in charge of Night;   and he made the stars.
17       God placed them in the heavenly sky   to light up Earth
18       And oversee Day and Night,   to separate light and dark.   God saw that it was good.
19       It was evening, it was morning—   Day Four.
20       God spoke: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!   Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!”
21       God created the huge whales,   all the swarm of life in the waters,   And every kind and species of flying birds.   God saw that it was good.
22       God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean!   Birds, reproduce on Earth!”
23       It was evening, it was morning—   Day Five.
24       God spoke: “Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:   cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds.”   And there it was:
25       wild animals of every kind,   Cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug.   God saw that it was good.
26–28       God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them   reflecting our nature   So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,   the birds in the air, the cattle,   And, yes, Earth itself,   and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”

27       God created human beings;   he created them godlike,   Reflecting God’s nature.   He created them male and female.
28       God blessed them:   “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!   Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,   for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
29       Then God said, “I’ve given you   every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth   And every kind of fruit-bearing tree,   given them to you for food.
30       To all animals and all birds,   everything that moves and breathes,   I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.”   And there it was.
31       God looked over everything he had made;   it was so good, so very good!   It was evening, it was morning—   Day Six.
2:1       Heaven and Earth were finished,   down to the last detail.
2       By the seventh day   God had finished his work.   On the seventh day   he rested from all his work.
3       God blessed the seventh day.   He made it a Holy Day   Because on that day he rested from his work,   all the creating God had done.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

The NET Bible

1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
1:2 Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.1:3 God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! 1:4 God saw that the light was good, so God separated the light from the darkness. 1:5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” There was evening, and there was morning, marking the first day.
1:6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water. 1:7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so. 1:8 God called the expanse “sky.” There was evening, and there was morning, a second day.
1:9 God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. 1:10 God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good.
1:11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” It was so. 1:12 The land produced vegetation—plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. 1:13 There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.
1:14 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, 1:15 and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” It was so. 1:16 God made two great lights—the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. 1:17 God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth, 1:18 to preside over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 1:19 There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.
1:20 God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 1:21 God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. 1:22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 1:23 There was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.
1:24 God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” It was so. 1:25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the cattle according to their kinds, and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.
1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
1:27 God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.” 1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” It was so.
1:31 God saw all that he had made—and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 The heavens and the earth were completed with everything that was in them. 2:2 By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

 

King James Version

1 IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And 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.
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 the evening and the morning were the first day.
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 the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven 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 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. 12 And 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.
14 And 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: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And 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. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the 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 the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And 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. 21 And 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. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And 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. 25 And 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.
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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So 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 fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And 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. 30 And 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. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

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