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What I would like us to do is look at this passage just like we would look at any other passage in the bible. To do is go through these verses and apply the same rules of interpretation just like I would with any other passage of scripture. It may also be reasonable to compare the conclusion of such study and see how these views compare to each other and to the views of science. The question then becomes is our views of what scripture says and science compatible?
This passage tells us here that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. So, let’s start with the first day (Gen 1:3-5) When it’s talks about light here it is talking about the element of light, not what we would simply think of as a light emitting heavenly body like the sun. God then saw the light was good, and he divided the light from the darkness. When the text tells us when he saw the light was good, it means the light was useful for something. It was declared good, because it had a purpose.
That was the first day, so what about the second day (Genesis 1: 6-7) Evidently when God created the earth, the earth was covered with a thick formless mass of water. In this verse we see God separating water from water, and he calls the space between the two, the firmament. Meteorologists will tell you today that clouds are made up of entirely of water vapour. In the K.J.V. in verse 7, we are told God called the space in-between the firmament. (Gen 1: 8) At this point the view of the heavens above are covered by a very thick cloud covering full of heavy
So, the first day he creates light.
The second day he creates the sky, the atmosphere.
For the third day. (Gen 1:9-10)
Keep it in mind that until we get up to verse 9 the surface of the earth is still completely covered in water. Here he separates the water from the surface of the earth creating dry land, continents and oceans as well as seas and lakes. And God calls the dry land earth and the waters, seas and then God say that it was good. The term good means fit for purpose, and that purpose as we shall is good for populating with plants, animals and humans. (Gen 1:11-12) There you have it the first 3 days and God has created light, the firmament, the oceans and the dry land, and all different kinds of plants and vegetation. In these three opening days. God takes thing from the chaos of verse one to the created order of verses 2 and 3.
If you take this passage at face value and take account of the use of the word day I think you are driven to the conclusion that the six days described here appear to be 6 literal 24-hour days. This has been the traditional view, one held by both Jews and Christians for many years. However, some point out that a solar day cannot have begun until the fourth day. Other who hold the revelatory day interpretation, they say this is a literary passage not a literal passage. The problem with that view is that later in Exodus Ch 20 Moses will say God made the earth in six days, not God revealed the earth in six days. Remember it was Moses who wrote this Genesis account we are looking at. I personally believe if you handle this passage of scripture like any other, you are likely to reach the conclusion that these must surely be literal 24-hour days. Importantly I also believe that this viewpoint doesn’t clash with scripture or the current scientific viewpoint.
There are 4 reasons why I believe it to be so.
- The normal meaning of the Hebrew word translated day is usually always referring to a 24-hour period of time. (That’s not my opinion, that the opinion of the Hebrew professors)
- In the Old testament when the word day is used to indicate a longer period of time, an era, and not a single day, it does not have a number in front of it. (Notice in this passage each day is named signally, the first day, the second day, etc).
- With the adding of the expression evening and morning to each phrase is seems to add extra conviction to the fact that this is referring to a 24-hour day.
- Finally, Verse 14 also places days these days within the context of a 365-day year. Therefore, it cannot be referring to a longer period of perhaps 1000’s of years. (Let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years).
Furthermore, several New Testament passages of scripture which refer to this text seem to take it literally assuming it is referring to individual 24-hour days. Like II Cor 4:6, 2 Peter 3:5 Acts 4: 24. Therefore, taking Genesis Ch 1 at face value it seems to me to be talking about literal 24-hour days. If we hold this view are science and scripture now contradicting each other. What about those galaxies and stars million and billions of light years away? Let me try and deal with this important issue. Christians believe in what is called a direct creation. God spoke, and it came into being and Christians historically have always believed in the fact that God creates with what is referred to as “apparent age”. Understanding that means that the current scientific understanding does not necessary contradict with Genesis chapter 1. How can you say that distant objects millions of light years away does not contradict what the Bible says? It’s very simple. The bible simply says, “God said, let there be light”. God created everything in the universe by the power of His spoken word with what is called “apparent age”. This is a very important concept, because the bible is not contradicting the fact that the stars and planets are billions of light years away. It simply suggests that God created them that way. God created them – in their places – exactly as we see them – with apparent age. God created all of it, like that, from the beginning. As a matter of fact, that is the way God always creates – full stop. He created Adam, with apparent age. He did not create a baby, he didn’t create a boy, he created a full grown adult mature man, with apparent age. The same thing is true of the garden of Eden. When he created the garden, it was done in a moment. If you or I needed to grow a garden the scientific fact would be that we would have to grow it from scratch over many years. You would have to plant, to water it to fertilize it and to wait a long period of time for the garden to gradually appears. That’s the way God did it, that is the way God does it. God created the Garden of Eden instantaneously with “apparent age”.
The best illustration of all is the fact that Christ himself miraculously created with apparent age. Jesus at the wedding of Cana turned water into wine instantaneously. Jesus took a jar of water and turned it into wine in an instant. The wine he created, was created instantaneously with “apparent age”. God does not need long periods of time he simple speaks and it come to pass. Direct creation. ex niello, out of nothing, with apparent age.
Only 100 years ago science thought there was just one Galaxy which we called the milky way. Then a scientist named Edmund Hubble built a telescope and put it in the Californian mountains and in 1919 he gazed heavenward and noticed distant objects were moving and they weren’t single stars they were other galaxies and he noticed that the universe went way beyond our galaxy. We trust the latest scientific theory as far as it shows us what we can understand at this point, up to this point, from this point? However, good science means that the theory will be revised upon, expanded and accelerated. The writer to the Hebrews told us this. (Heb 11: 3)
A sovereign God created the universe, meaning if God made it, named it, therefore He is Lord over it.
God created light in order for it to shine in the darkness. The New Testament uses light shining in the darkness as an illustration of conversation. John 1 says Jesus is the light of the world who shines in the darkness. That’s why one of the oldest and favourite ways of describing a conversation experience is to say, “I saw the light”. What God did with His Word from the beginning he can do again on this day, in the same way. By shining his truth and love into your heart.