Besides disagreement about the timing and mechanism of the creation of the universe, obviously there is controversy over the apparent scientific evidence of ancient plant and animal fossils, dating back millions of years, and a common Jewish and Christian idea that the universe and the earth are only a few thousand years old. Many Jews and Christians interpret the first chapter of Genesis with the thought of inserting the entire period of creation into six 24-hour days (as previously discussed).
More than likely, most of these people (and maybe you, the reader) also imagine God’s vantage point of His Creation to be above the earth’s atmosphere, looking down upon the earth He has created, as the events in the first chapter of Genesis unfold. I will show how this point of reference inevitably rejects scientific evidence that the universe and earth are, in fact, billions of years old (at least from our “slowed-down” point of view—see “frame of reference”: P-II), and how I believe that this is a faulty point of observation to begin with.
From a point of view somewhere outside the earth’s atmosphere (that is, as God would perceive things looking down on His Creation from heaven or from outer space), “light” would have been created as described by the phrase, “Let there be light...” (Gen. 1:3a). Then the sun, moon, and stars seemingly would have come into being three days later, described as follows:
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, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 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. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness (Gen. 1:14-18a).
At least one problem arises here, though. If vegetation (seed-bearing plants and trees) came onto the scene in Gen. 1:11,12, before the sun was created, they would have had to exist for some period of time at a temperature of
A critical point is the location of the Observer in this chronicle. Although the Observer is God, in this passage He is not observing from somewhere in heaven or outer space. Rather, we are told that “...the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen. 1:2c); so the surface of the earth is the point of reference and the location from which we should visualize the unfolding of the remainder of the chapter.
At the point in time of Gen. 1:2 (that is, after the heavens and earth already had been created), and at this location (upon the planet’s surface), the earth was seen not only to be formless and empty but to be dark as well. What explains the darkness? It was dark because the light from the sun (which previously had been created in 1:1 as part of the heavens) simply could not travel to the earth’s surface due to debris and thick clouds in the atmosphere.
The fact is that as a planet forms (as part of an accretion disk) around a star, there will be interplanetary debris and a primordial atmosphere surrounding the planet which will block out the star’s (that is, its sun’s) light to the planet’s surface. One reason, I believe, that God has allowed scientists to observe planets and their moons and to understand how they form is to point out how the earth was formed. Why would our planet be any different, and why should God wish to mislead and deceive us with the knowledge we have gained by observing nature? So, in Gen. 1:2, the sun’s light could not reach the earth due to the thick atmosphere around it consisting of rocks, dust, ammonia, and methane. Furthermore, without the sun’s light, no life could exist as yet.
In Gen. 1:3, the phrase, “Let there be,” does not mean that light was “created” at this time. In fact, it had already been created in 1:1 along with the rest of the universe. “Let there be” means “let there appear”; in other words, at this time, the light that already was there then was permitted to pass through the now-thinning atmosphere so that the light could be seen on the surface of the earth (the location of observation). Although light, at that time, only was able to diffuse through the cloudy, translucent atmosphere, enough was able to get through to enable the Observer (the Holy Spirit) on earth to perceive a distinction between daytime and nighttime (1:5a).
It is important to state here that bara, the Hebrew word for “created” in Gen. 1:1, refers to the divine activity of bringing something brand new into existence which previously was nonexistent.
Bara appears in the manuscripts only twice more after Genesis 1:1, once for the creation of nephesh, or soulish animals—those creatures endowed with mind, will, and emotions (namely, birds and mammals)—and again for the creation of adam, or “spirit” beings—those creatures endowed with the capacity to respond to God Himself.
Nature records seem to imply that life initially formed as a cell in the oceans. But it would have to have formed relatively soon after the primordial earth was cool enough for life to exist—much too soon for amino acids to spontaneously form protein nucleotides and then, in turn, DNA and RNA. Even most atheistic scientists agree on this. Then how could this life begin, if not by natural causes? It was by the act of God’s creating life out of nothing (Heb. 11:3), manifesting His Power through the Holy Spirit (see “Power”: C-6, P-IV), who was “moving” or “hovering over the waters” (Gen. 1:2c). In the Living Bible, the verb is “brooding,” pointing to a God deeply involved in and concerned with His Creation, as a hen is with her chicks.
In Gen. 1:14,15, the cloud layer finally had broken, because the atmosphere had become transparent due to the oxygenating of the air by the thriving plants. Again, “Let there be lights” means “Let there appear lights”; as a result of the transparent atmosphere, the light from the sun, moon, and stars finally could be transmitted, unobstructed, to the surface of the earth.
Scientists have calculated that if large amounts of plants had been placed on the continents without the presence of advanced animals, it would have taken 2,000 to 3,000 years for the oxygen content of the earth’s air to increase from about 1-2% up to 20-21% (which is what it is now). This would have transformed the atmosphere from a translucent to a relatively transparent state.
Furthermore, an ozone (O3) layer would have been produced in the atmosphere, thereby protecting the advanced animals, soon to come onto the scene, from ultraviolet radiation. (Today, this ozone shield is being irreversibly destroyed due to our release of chlorine ions into the atmosphere; just one chlorine ion can disintegrate hundreds of thousands of ozone molecules, one right after the other, before it is bound up by another element and rendered harmless.)
Now, “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” (Gen. 1:16). However, the word “made” used here is not bara (created) but, rather, asah, the pluperfect or completed tense of the verb “made” (that is, “had made,” at some point in the past).
The sun, moon, and stars were not created (bara) at this time; they already had been there since Gen. 1:1 (which encompassed a period of a few billion years, from an earthly point of reference). Since they finally could be observed from the surface of the earth, they were identified simply as the bodies in outer space which could be seen in the daytime (sun) and at nighttime (moon, stars). They were the “...lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night,...serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and...give light on the earth” (1:14,15).
Finally, “God created man in his own image...” (Gen. 1:27a). Again, “created” here means bara, or the bringing into existence of something completely new out of nothing.
Although pre-human hominids, walking on two legs and using tools, apparently were here up to one million years ago,
The most reliable Hebrew scholars would place the Creation of Adam, the first human or spiritual being, at between 10,000 and 35,000 years ago, with the outside limits being 6,000 and 50,000 years. There now is evidence disclosing that, before the appearance of humans, hominids may have become extinct.
Let me clarify one thing at this time. By calling Adam the first “spiritual” being, I do not mean to imply that animals themselves do not possess “spirits.” Since I believe that the mind is a part of the spirit (see “spirit, soul, body”: C-6, P-I), then I do feel that animals have at least this basic aspect of a spirit. However, I do not believe animals have the portions of the spirit, possessed only by humans, which enable them to form a relationship with the Creator and to judge between good and evil, right and wrong; only humans have this ability. And it is impossible for animals naturally to develop this segment of the spirit, since it is God-given; therefore, it is not possible for any animal to “evolve” into a human.
I do believe that “evolution” in the plant and animal kingdoms does occur. After all, evolution is simply a change over some period of time. The change may be slow or fast, it may involve improvements or impairments, and it may be due to natural causes (for example, a chameleon being able to change to match its background or animals being bred by people for specific purposes or appearances) or supernatural causes (that is, God intervening and guiding changes in the adaptation process of plants and animals).
However, there has been no valid observation of any new plant or animal species coming into existence since mankind arrived on the earth. On the contrary, at least half of the species have become extinct since the creation of man; whereas, before man there was a great proliferation of species, the evidence of which rests in fossil records. This is because God ceased bringing anything new into existence, whether out of nothing or out of something, beginning on the seventh “day” (Gen. 2:2,3). He still remains at rest today, as far as creating goes—but this will not last indefinitely (see “new heavens and new earth”: C-13, P-II).
What are the chances that a complete video camera system—containing an aperture which changes size to let in varying amounts of light, a lens to move forward or backward to change the focus of the incoming light, a video tape at the back on which to record the images of the objects being photographed, the outer casing, and the motor to run the components—ever could randomly “evolve” from a collection of parts, unaided by a life form to intelligently “put the pieces together”? I must believe that this would be impossible, given even an unlimited amount of time, much less a few billion years. And an animal or human eye (not to mention the brain to which it is connected), as well as the marvelous mechanics of binocular vision, are vastly more complex than a video camera system. Even Charles Darwin himself said,
To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.
A single cell is vastly more complex than the visual system or even an entire organism, since a complete animal or person, ultimately, is formed out of the trillions of bits of information found within this cell. Yet, evolution scientists believe (and expect the public to accept without question, which many people do) that life as we know it, with immeasurable complexity and diversity—from a single cell on up to a human—developed randomly from non-living components without intervention from a supernatural Source. Caryl Matrisciana and Roger Oakland, in The Evolution Conspiracy, state,
Often evolutionists will argue that it takes a series of mutations or mistakes in the genetic code to develop higher orders of complexity. Given long periods of time and random chance events major changes can supposedly occur in an organism. But no one has ever been able to explain how this “hit and miss” process could create complex organs like lungs, hearts, or kidneys. How would the immune system come into existence gradually over millions of years of time? It is obvious that creatures with such highly specialized structures essential for survival could not manage to exist while these structures and functions were evolving.
By looking at these examples of bionic comparisons, we can see a pattern of logic. There is no question in our minds that inventions made by man are the result of intelligent design and planning. There is a zero possibility that they could have arisen by spontaneous chance. The same holds true for man himself.
Some hold the view that between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2, the earth was populated with people and animals as it is now, but that the entire earth was destroyed by a flood due to the evil of mankind. The alleged evidence of one proponent of this theory, Finis Jennings Dake, may be found in Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible and is associated with commentaries on verses such as Gen. 1:1,2; Psalm 104:6-9, 136:6; Isa. 14:12-14, 45:18; Jer. 4:23-26; Ezek. 28:12-14; and 2 Pet. 3:5,6.
Evangelist Marilyn Hickey, who has also espoused this view on her daily TV show, “Today with Marilyn,” additionally suggests that the spirits of the great multitude of pre-Adamite people killed in this flood may be the disembodied demons which have attempted to control post-Adamite people (longing to dwell again within physical bodies) throughout the ages, up to the present time. Furthermore, the King James and Masoretic Text Versions of the Old Testament state that God told Adam and Eve to “replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28b), and she feels “replenish” indicates to fill the earth with people again as it was before. Most other translations, though, say “fill the earth,” which may simply mean to fill the earth with people from that point forward. “Replenish” also might refer merely to mankind’s responsibility to keep the earth in good running order, working to replace and repair what he has depleted or harmed in nature (such as natural resources, a breathable atmosphere, and certain animal species).
If God created the universe and everything in it, and I cannot doubt for even a moment that He truly did, then He deserves recognition and praise from all of His Creation. A psalmist put it well:
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens (Psalm 148:1-13).
It is my belief that the purpose of God’s creating the entire universe was so that one planet, Earth, could and would sustain the type of life, humankind, with whom God, forever, would have very special dealings. The next chapter should begin to give the reader an idea of how this personal God has chosen to interact with us, primarily through the people of a unique and specially chosen nation—Israel.
Proceed to Chapter 2
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.