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Genesis Chapter 1: God Created The Heavens And The Earth... But When?!

 

A Response To All The Talk About Creation Science VS Evolution After The Ken Ham and Bill Nye Debates.

I've been listening to the Phil Vischer Podcast and I was moved by all the positioning we Christians do on this topic of Evolution VS Creation. I love a lot of what he has to say about the bigger picture.

I have a confession to make. I used to be that belligerent creationist that gave my science professors grief in college, in some ways I still am. I was the type that loved to argue too.

But my understanding has shifted and broadened from the way most Christians in North America see this topic. It's been a slow change, but I've taken a dramatic leap forward in the last week.

This post is kind of technical, it has a lot to do with using words correctly, but if you stick with me to the end, I think it will have real life application for you in your walk with God and with people. 

If your curious what I could mean by this, take a journey with me to the first day of creation...


 

First Things First: Language Comprehension

Before we can get into Genesis, we need to take a quick look at language.

So if you've applied for a college degree, or even an advanced job, in the last few years you'll have seen these language construction and comprehension tests.

Like this one from "EnglishClub.Com"
For each question, choose the answer that is closest in meaning to the original sentence 
Example
Linda has a white cat and a black cat.
 
She has one cat.
Linda's cat is black and white.
She has two cats.
Linda likes brown cats.

This kind of ability to pick apart language construction is important if we are to properly understand what the bible is telling us, and just as importantly what it is not.

There are things the bible makes claims to that we either need to believe or we must chuck the whole book as irrelevant. But it's important that we not make a claim for God, that He himself has not made. I believe that we've done this with Genesis 1, at least in part.

Let's examine the basic language structure of the following sentence.


"In 2010 I bought my house and moved in. And now the fence is broken, so I went to the store and bought a new fence post to fix it."

One could assume by mere casual read that I fixed the fence post in 2010. Yet others might see this and assume that it was not in 2010, but in fact at some point afterward. How would you know who is right?

There is not enough information here to make a firm decision on the exact time frame from when I moved in to when I fixed the fence.

However, we cannot tell how much time elapsed between moving in and fixing the fence. Did the fence post need fixing 2 days after I moved in, 100 days, 6.5 Billion days after I moved in?

All you can logically determine from reading this is that I moved in to the house in 2010 and at some point afterward the fence post needed fixing so I went to the store and bought a new post to fix the fence.

This is important as we now take a look at what might be the most disputed three sentences of the entire bible. 


God Created The Heavens And The Earth... Then some other stuff happened:

Genesis 1 New King James 

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
 
2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"... So the evening and the morning were the first day.

So, English students, what does the text say?

The text says that:
  • Verse 1:
    • Time Began: at some point time started ticking, there was in fact a beginning.
    • In said beginning, God created the heavens (galaxies and such) and the earth (the planet on which we live now). 
  • Verse 2:
    • The Earth was present, void of any form, dark, and deep waters covered the earth. Form here would indicate formations (mountains, valleys, etc.)
    • The Earth was present before God said "Light Be". Minutes before, Hours before, days before, 6.5 billion years before... the text gives no indication. Therefore we cannot draw any conclusions regarding that time frame from this one verse. 
  • Verse 3:
    • God created light, and that was the first day of our creation story, or the creation that brought mankind into being and therefore, the creation that matters to us. 
    • At some point after the earth was created, God decided to move in and that is when the clock started ticking for the Story of Man.  

And Now: Transition Statements


Some translations even translate verse two: "And the earth was..." or "Now the earth was..." or And now the earth was...". A close look at the interlinear translation tool from Bible Hub shows us the construct of the compound Hebrew word translated "And The Earth" is "wə·hā·’ā·reṣ". And or Now is appropriate of the word in context.

This would indicate a transition to a new topic, or next level idea, or transition from one event to another. The wording used in Hebrew is " X happened, and now Y is happening...". That is up for debate, but that's how I read it. Genesis 1:1 is an event that predates Genesis 1:3. Genesis 1:2 is the transition statement between the two.


Read what is says, not what it doesn't say.


However, even without the detail of "And/Now", we see a situation here where most people have read this to say something it doesn't say.

They say:

God created the heavens and the earth, and he did this by saying "Light Be" on the first day. 

Yet we see clearly in verse two that before light was created the earth was already there, dark and void of life or form.

We also see that the "First Day" actually isn't the first day of ALL creation, it's the first day of "Mankind's" creation story, or the current creation that is.

We know from multiple passages that Angels predate mankind. Job 38:7 even shows us that angels were with God as he created the heavens and the earth. There are some who have built a case for a creation prior to ours, I haven't researched it enough to put full stock into it, but it is an interesting hypothesis and there's reasons to believe and to doubt it. But it's an interesting idea. (Click Here To Read PreAdamite World/Earth)

Either way, it's not relevant to our story of redemption which is the only story God's Word records for us. The only facts recorded in God's Word are those that matter to us, shed light on our existence and the ongoing story of our redeemer and redemption. Hints are given of other things, but only hints.

God hasn't told us the exact nature and details of Angels in full detail, because it doesn't matter to our story. It matters enough to drop hints and give a few details, that is enough for us. God tells us what we need to know, He doesn't indulge our curiosity at all times. In the same way, creation of the heavens and earth prior to day one of OUR creation are not fully relevant and so we only get to see a glimpse in certain places in the bible into that distant, "Pre Man" past.

I think he may have done this hinting in Genesis one, which is why Creationists and Evolutionists, although fundamentally there will always been disagreements, aren't as far off from each other as they both might think.


What can we say about creation then? 


At some point in the past, there is no possible way from any scripture that we can determine when, God created the heavens and the earth. (6,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago, 6.5 Billion years ago... there is no way to know from the bible).

At some point after that initial creation, the heavens and earth are DONE, and the earth is sitting here formless and void. God moves on the earth. God says "Light Be" and day one of creation kicks off.

I do take these to be literal days, for now, but I'm open to considering any logical biblical interpretation that still holds to be theologically sound in the grand scheme of the whole bible. I suppose I'll explore that idea later.

So where does that leave us?

Given basic historical context and extrapolation of time-lines it's within reason to say that earth (as we know it with it's life forms) is between 6,000-10,000 years old. Earth (as a planetary body in the universe) could be any age, even 6.5 billion years, if true science can prove that age, I accept it.

I would even postulate that charts (such as these) are indications that the Bible more accurately reflects evidence in the fossil records than evolution, but that is another article.


http://www.nap.edu/books/0309063647/xhtml/images/img00104.jpg



What if, as someone I trust as close to God told me recently, creation days were 1,000 years each? Making that 6,000 of creation leading up to Adam and Eve? Just a thought. Not saying it's true or not.

Here the thing, if it's even possible to be unsure, can we place as strong a theological pressure on it as we tend to? Can we assign to "Young Earth" the same weight we assign "Jesus Literally Raised From The Dead"? Again, just thinking through it... not saying either way is true or not.


So does that mean an old earth or young earth? You decide. Tweet That!

Christians: Could Darwinians be half right?

Atheists and/or Darwinians: Could Christians be half right?

I know, too scary for both sides to admit.

So, I promised you some life lessons to walk away with.


I can't count the times I've seen some video or website putting out an idea, and some "Christian" is being loud and obnoxious about how the idea is "lies and heresy". It might be science and creation, or some person talking about Christian prosperity, or some other topic.

I have to ask myself what is the fruit? What is the fruit of any conversation you are having with other people? If you are arguing, being mean, name calling, putting the person down (vs discussing the idea or concept rationally and calmly).... what is your end game? What do you hope to accomplish?

It's tempting when I feel I'm right and I feel "they" are wrong, to dig in to them. But if I "win the argument but loose the person" was that really any help?


I've learned that when I am feeling argumentative I secretly know I might be partially wrong, I appeal to emotion instead of reason to "Win The Fight"!
My end goal in talking to other people ought to be two things (it's not either/or it's both of these):


  1. Win Their Heart
  2. Learn From Them

    It may be that someone who is wrong about one thing still has something to teach me, or may have facts I do not know about that thing or about other things. If I'm arguing with them I won't be able to acknowledge that information and learn from it. I may even be the one who is wrong, and not know it.

    It is also true that even if I am 100% right, which is pretty hard to do unless you are God, it is not the argument, idea, or concept that must be won. It's the heart of the person. If you win the person's heart to trust you care about them as a person, that you are a seeker of truth and not looking to beat them up with your ideas, then you have a much better chance of eventually winning them over to a useful conversation.

    I've learned the most powerful thing you can say to a person to win them over is: "That's a great question... I don't know for sure! Here's what I think might be true? (Or What do you think might be true?)"

    If you just argue the point you will turn off the other person, they will tune you out and leave un-changed, and your blood pressure will be higher. Neither of you wins. Both are unchanged. Both feel worse about the other person.

    That's called a Loose-Loose situation.

    If you are always seeking truth, and your idea is true, your idea will stand the test. If you are not seeking truth then you will be afraid your idea will not stand the test and you'll be forced to either abandon the idea or embrace a lie/myth. Just seek Truth, and Truth Himself will shine! ("I am the Way, the Truth, the Life...." Jesus)

    So here's my parting question: 

    Are You Seeking Truth? Or are you so committed to an idea that you aren't even open to truth seeking any more. 

    To Respond: Leave a comment on this post




    PS


    *JUST in case you wondered. I did buy my house in September 2010. Today is 04/03/2014 as I write the first draft for this post. I worked on that fence post today, and I will have put it back together tomorrow when the concrete dries. PSS: I put it back together! Yeah! PSSS: I actually replaced a fence post once in Summer 2013 and now. So I did it twice. 



    *Note to all my friends and family. 
    I still believe the bible is 100% accurate, to the very Hebrew/Greek Letter. But how much of our understanding is based on English interpretations and modern ideas imposed on a text to answer questions it was never intended to answer? There's a thought to ponder... 

    If we understand Psalms 23 better by learning about the background of the life of an ancient shepherd, could we learn more about creation by understanding more about who Genesis was written to and how those who heard it would have been thinking? Hmm... That's another article. 




    This Weeks Resources:

    Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael J. Behe (Author)
    Naming Darwin’s Black Box to the National Review’s list of the 100 most important nonfiction works of the twentieth century, George Gilder wrote that it “overthrows Darwin at the end of the twentieth century in the same way that quantum theory overthrew Newton at the beginning.” Discussing the book in The New Yorker in May 2005, H. Allen Orr said of Behe, “he is the most prominent of the small circle of scientists working on intelligent design, and his arguments are by far the best known.” From one end of the spectrum to the other, Darwin’s Black Box has established itself as the key text in the Intelligent Design movement—the one argument that must be addressed in order to determine whether Darwinian evolution is sufficient to explain life as we know it, or not.

    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowedby Ben(Hosted by) Stein (Author)
    Big science has expelled smart ideas from the classroom... What they forgot is that every generation has its Rebel! That rebel, Ben Stein (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) travels the world on his quest, and learns an awe-inspiring truth...that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure, and even fired - for merely believing that there might be evidence of "design" in nature. Perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance. In the film Ben says "Enough" - And NOBODY messes with Ben!




    ______________________________________________


    By Darrell Wolfe


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      Disclaimers:

      FOR MY FULL DISCLAIMER: See my "Start Here About" page. Click Here

      Information here is As-Is. These are the opinions of a fellow traveler and seeker of truth. I am not a doctor, lawyer, licensed financial advisor, tax preparer, etc, etc... I'm just one guy, sharing what he's learned. As such, the information may be as true or faulty as the guy on the buss stop giving you directions. If you need accurate information I encourage you to seek the help of a professional in your field. 

      * I do make money from this blog. 1 Tim 5:18 says the worker is worthy of his wages. I do earn affiliate commissions or freebies from some of the products I discuss at various points on this blog. Regardless I only suggest things that have personally helped me, or someone I know. If you click on an "Affiliate Link" and you buy something I'll get a cut. Thanks for your support! 

      I am a conservative Christian. I write from a bible-centric point of view. I welcome people from other points of view to jump into the conversation. If you don't like bible-centric writing: I encourage you not to read my posts.... Unless you want to learn something new. 

      * In all you do: Live Long and Prosper, with GOOD SUCCESS! 


      Thank you, Darrell Wolfe

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      Hi! My name is Darrell G. Wolfe. I am a wealth of random information and I make complicated things simple at DarrellWolfe.com.

      I have a knack for absorbing information, breaking it down to its root elements, and teaching it to others.

      Most importantly, I help purpose-driven people to understand their place in His-Story and provide them the tools they need to fulfill their unique position of opportunity and influence in this world (their Topos).