Genesis 1 - The Account of God's Creation
A. Thoughts to begin with as we study the Bible: how do we approach the Bible?
1. We come to the Bible knowing there is a God.
a. The Bible does not make elaborate arguments for the existence of God. However, it does tell us how we can know God exists.
b. The Bible tells us we can know God exists because of what we see in creation.
i. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
ii. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
c. Though many seek to deny the effectiveness of the teleological argument for the existence of God (the understanding that there must be a purposeful intelligence Who created this world), it still remains unanswered by the atheist or the agnostic.
2. We come to the Bible believing it is the place where God has spoken to man, perfectly and comprehensively.
a. We believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
i. We can study God, but we can't put Him under a microscope. We can only confidently know about Him what He chooses to reveal to us. What He chooses to tell us is profitable and useful for us.
b. We believe the Bible must be understood literally, that is, as straightforward and true according to its literary context.
i. The Bible is much more than a book; it is a library of books, and books written in different literary forms. Some portions of the Bible give a historical account, others are poetic, and some are prophetic.
ii. We must understand the Bible literally according to its literary context. For example, when David says in Psalm 6:6 "All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears," he is speaking in a poetic literary form. We understand he doesn't literally mean he cried so much, he flooded his room and set his bed afloat.
iii. But when the Bible speaks in a historical narrative, we understand it as literal history, not as make-believe fables and myths meant only to tell a spiritual story.
iv. If we don't approach the Bible this way, then how will we approach it? Then it is all up to how anyone "feels" about the text. Though the teachings of Scripture may have infinite applications, they only have one true interpretation.
v. "The only proper way to interpret Genesis 1 is not to 'interpret' it at all. That is, we accept the fact that it was meant to say exactly what it says." (Morris)
c. We believe the Bible is not a book of science, yet where it touches science, it speaks the truth. After all, if the Bible is false in regard to science or other things that we can prove, how can we trust its reliability in regard to spiritual matters that we cannot prove?
3. We come to the Bible knowing the copies we have in our hands are reliable duplicates (though not perfect duplicates) of the exact writings, which God perfectly inspired.
a. We can know this about the Old Testament by seeing the incredible care and reliability of the ancient Jewish scribes, demonstrated by the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries.
b. We can know this about the New Testament by knowing that because of earlier manuscripts, and a greater number of ancient manuscripts, the New Testament is by far the most reliable and exhaustively cross-checked ancient document we possess. Really, no more than one one-thousandth of the text is in question.
4. We come to the Bible knowing the unique importance of the book of Genesis.
a. The Bible would be an incomplete, perhaps incomprehensible, book without the book of Genesis. It sets the stage for the entire drama of redemption, which unfolds in the rest of the book.
b. Almost all important doctrines and teachings have their foundation in the book of Genesis: the doctrines of sin, redemption, justification, Jesus Christ, the personality and personhood of God, the kingdom of God, the fall, Israel, the promise of the Messiah, and more.
i. Genesis shows us the origins of: the universe, order and complexity, the solar system, the atmosphere and hydrosphere, the origin of life, man, marriage, evil, language, government, culture, nations, religion. It is precisely because people have abandoned the truth of Genesis that society is in such disarray.
c. Genesis is important to the New Testament. There are at least 165 passages in Genesis either directly quoted or clearly referred to in the New Testament; many of these are quoted more than once, so there are at least 200 quotations or allusions to Genesis in the New Testament.
i. Jesus declared the importance of believing what Moses wrote: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:46-47). We can't say we believe in Jesus if we don't believe in Genesis.
d. "I beg and faithfully warn every pious Christian not to stumble at the simplicity of the language and stories that will often meet him there [in Genesis]. He should not doubt that, however simple they may seem, these are the very words, works, judgments, and deeds of the high majesty, power, and wisdom of God." (Luther, cited in Boice)
5. Who wrote Genesis? Moses, with help from actual written records from the past God had preserved. There are indicators of where these records begin and end. Note the phrasing of Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 25:19, 36:1, 36:9, 37:2.
a. "Thus it is probable that the Book of Genesis was written originally by actual eyewitnesses of the events reported therein. Probably the original narratives were recorded on tables of stone or clay, in common practice of early times, and then handed down from father to son, finally coming into the possession of Moses. Moses perhaps selected the appropriate sections for compilation, inserted his own editorial additions and comments, and provided smooth transitions from one document to the next, with the final result being the Book of Genesis as we have received it." (Morris)
B. The first five days of creation.
1. The philosophical importance of knowing God as creator.
a. Jean-Paul Sarte stated the essential problem of philosophy: there is something, instead of nothing. Why? Everything else in our life flows from the answer to this question.
i. If everything around us, including ourselves, is the result of random, meaningless occurrences, apart from the work of a creating God, then it says something about who I am, and where I, and the whole universe, am going. Then the only dignity or honor we bestow upon men is pure sentimentality, because I don't have any more significance than an amoebae; then there is no greater law in the universe than survival of the fittest.
b. Some 100 years ago, there was a great German philosopher named Arthur Schopenhauer. By habit, he usually dressed like a bum, and one-day he was sitting on a park bench in Berlin, deep in thought. His appearance made a policeman suspicious, so the policeman asked the philosopher "Who are you?" Schopenhauer answered, "I would to God I knew."
i. And the only way we can ever really find out who we are is from God. The best place to find out begins in Genesis.
c. There are many possible answers to the question of how everything came into being. Some say, once there was absolutely nothing, and now there is something. Others (including the Bible) say before there was anything created, there was a Personal Being.
d. One day, students in one of Albert Einstein's classes were saying they had decided there was no God. Einstein asked them how much of all the knowledge in the world they had among themselves collectively, as a class. The students discussed it for a while and decided they had 5% of all human knowledge among themselves. Einstein thought their estimate was a little generous, but he replied: "Is it possible God exists in the 95% you don't know?"
2. (1) A simple factual statement: God created the heavens and the earth.
a. This summary statement will be detailed in the following verses, but the Bible simply and straightforwardly declares the world did not create itself or come about by chance. It was created by God, who, by definition, is eternal and has always been.
i. "It is no accident that God is the subject of the first sentence of the Bible, for this word dominates the whole chapter and catches the eye at every point of the page: it is used some thirty-five times in as many verses of the story." (Kidner)
ii. If you believe Genesis 1:1, you really have no problem believing the rest of the Bible.
b. God is the Hebrew word Elohim; grammatically, it is a plural word used as if it were singular. The verbs and pronouns used with Elohim should be in the plural, but when Elohim refers to the Lord God, the verbs and pronouns are in the singular.
i. Rabbi Simeon ben Joachi, commenting on the word Elohim: "Come and see the mystery of the word Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other." Clarke adds: "He must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in the above words."
ii. Leupold quoting Luther on Elohim: "But we have clear testimony that Moses aimed to indicate the Trinity or the three persons in the one divine nature."
c. The simple fact of God's creation is even more amazing when we consider the greatness of God's universe.
i. A typical galaxy contains billions of individual stars; our galaxy alone (the Milky Way) contains 200 billion stars. Our galaxy is shaped like a giant spiral, rotating in space, with arms reaching out like a pinwheel, and our sun is one star on one arm of the pinwheel. It would take 250 million years for the pinwheel to make one full rotation. But this is only our galaxy; there are many other galaxies with many other shapes, including spirals, spherical clusters, and flat pancakes. The average distance between one galaxy and another is about 20 million trillion miles. Our closest galaxy is the Andromeda Galaxy, about 12 million trillion miles away.
ii. For every patch of sky the size of the moon, if you could look very deep, you would see about a million galaxies.
iii. But God did all this Himself: "Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has stretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together." (Isaiah 48:13)
iv. But God is bigger and greater than all His creation: Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? (Isaiah 40:12)
d. If God created the heavens and the earth, then we must forever put away the idea that anything happens by chance. "Chance" merely describes the statistical probability of something happening. Chance itself can "do" nothing.
i. People who are otherwise intelligent often fall into this delusion. Jacques Monod, a biochemist, wrote: "Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution."
ii. But assigning such power to "chance" is crazy. Chance has no power. For example, when a coin is flipped, the chance it will land "heads" is 50%; however, "chance" does not make it land heads. Whether or not it lands heads or tails is due to the strength with which the coin is flipped, the strength of air currents and air pressure as it flies through the air, where it is caught, and if it is flipped over once it is caught. Chance doesn't "do" anything but describe a probability.
iii. When Carl Sagan petitioned the federal government for a grant to search for intelligent life in outer space, how did he hope to find it? By using a super sensitive instrument to pick up radio signals from distant space. When he received those radio signals, he looked for order and pattern, which would demonstrate the signals were transmitted by intelligent life. In the same way, the order and pattern of the whole universe demonstrates that it was fashioned by intelligent life, not by "chance." Scientists detect "chance" in the radio signals constantly (in the form of unpatterned static), but it tells them nothing.
iv. Therefore, when someone says the universe or anything else came about by chance, they are extremely ignorant, superstitious, or just repeating a line they have heard before and have unthinkingly accepted.
e. Only an intelligent designer could create a just-right universe, not "chance." Our universe is a just-right universe.
i. The universe has a just-right gravitational force.
If it were larger, the stars would be too hot and would burn up too quickly and too unevenly to support life.
If it were smaller, the stars would remain so cool, nuclear fusion would never ignite, and there would be no heat and light.
ii. The universe has a just-right speed of light.
If it were larger, stars would send out too much light.
If it were smaller, stars would not send out enough light.
iii. The universe has a just-right average distance between the stars.
If it were larger, the heavy element density would be too thin for rocky planets to form, and there would only be gaseous planets.
If it were smaller, planetary orbits would become destabilized.
iv. The universe has a just-right polarity of the water molecule.
If it were greater, the heat of fusion and vaporization would be too great for life to exist.
If it were smaller, the heat of fusion and vaporization would be too small for life's existence, liquid water would become too inferior a solvent for life chemistry to proceed, ice would not float, leading to a runaway freeze-up.
v. Could all this happen by accident? Not a chance!
f. What did God use to create the world? The Hebrew word "bara" (created) is specific: He created the world out of nothing, not out of Himself. God is separate from His creation. Unlike Eastern and pantheistic perceptions of god, the Bible teaches the universe could perish; yet He would remain.
i. Men cannot "create" in the sense the term is used in Genesis 1:1. We can only "fashion" or "form" things out of existing material. The closest we come to creating is in reproducing ourselves sexually. This is perhaps one reason why Satan wants to pervert and destroy God's plan and standard for sexuality; it is deeply connected to our being made in the image of God.
g. Ginzberg has a fascinating legend on how the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet all tried to be the one to begin the Bible, but in the end, the letter "bet" was allowed, because he said, "O Lord of the world! May it be Thy will to create Thy world through me, seeing that all the dwellers of the world give praise daily unto Thee through me, as it is said, Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen, and Amen." So, the Hebrew book of Genesis begins, "Bereshit God created the heaven and the earth."
3. The Bible's clear teaching of God's creation and the uncertainty of modern science.
a. Scientists act certain about the origin of the universe, but their constant "revolutionary discoveries" prove they are really just groping in the dark. Honest scientists, those not puffed up with a proud arrogance, will admit this.
b. Some scientists may be arrogant when it comes to what can be known of the universe, but we do not have to accept such arrogance. The constantly changing scene of science is illustrated in a sidebar to a science article in the Los Angeles Times titled, "The Big Bang and What Followed It":
In the beginning, there was light - but also quarks and electrons. The Big Bang spewed out energy that condensed into radiation and particles. The quarks joined into protons and careened wildly about in a hot, dense, glowing goop as opaque as a star.
Time (300,000 years or so) passed. Space expanded. Matter cooled. The electrons and protons, electrically irresistible to each other, merged into neutral hydrogen, and from this marriage, the first atoms were born. Space between atoms became as transparent as crystal - pretty much the way it looks today.
The rest, as they say, is history. Atoms merged to form dust clouds, which grew into stars and galaxies and clusters. Stars used up their nuclear fuel, collapsed and exploded in recurring cycles, fusing elements in the process.
Occasionally, a stable planet condensed around a second-generation star, where carbon-based life forms grew into, among other things, cosmologists, the better to contemplate it all.
c. In 1913, an astronomer in Arizona discovered stars appeared to be moving away from the earth at tremendous speeds, up to two million miles an hour. In 1919, another American astronomer named Edwin Hubble used this information to develop a theory of an expanding universe, which is the foundation of the "Big Bang" idea. Early on, other scientists discovered background radiation from all parts of the universe, which they suppose is the leftover "noise" from the first great explosion. But scientists are really not much closer at all to knowing anything about this instant beginning to the universe.
d. In fact, the more they find out, the more they discover how much they don't know. Astrophysicists are faced with another challenge: trying to figure out what "dark matter" is. Dark matter is a term scientists use to explain an enormous apparent excess of gravity in the universe. Dark matter may make up 99.9% of everything in the universe, but no one knows what it is. Though suggestions are offered, they are only suggestions. David O. Caldwell of the University of California at Santa Barbara says, "When it comes to dark matter, the only thing that we are convinced of at the moment is that it's there." But actually, scientists cannot even agree on that! Michael S. Turner, an astrophysics professor at the University of Chicago, said: "It's very humbling. The origin, composition, energy and mass of the most common matter in the entire universe is unknown."
e. This uncertainty is shown in a March 6, 1995, front-page article in the Los Angeles Times headlined, "Rethinking Cosmic Questions":
Ever since people first stood up amid the tall grasses and looked about the world in wonder, religion, mythology and science all have struggled to explain how the world came to be. But when it comes to creation stories, few can hold a candle to the tale cooked up by modern cosmologists.
Dialing back the cosmic clock about 15 billion years, they depict a time before time, a place before space existed. Out of nothing and nowhere, all the energy and matter in the universe exploded into existence in an event that came to be called . . . the Big Bang.
While masterfully spinning ideas out of faith and equations, cosmologists were pitifully short on data. They could not see or measure the phenomena they were trying to explain. "Twenty-five years ago, cosmology was very close to religion," said physicist Roberto Peccei of UCLA.
Experimental cosmologist Chris Stubbs of the University of Washington, "You've got these things that are ridiculously far away and ridiculously faint, and . . . you've got to make sense out of it."
"At times, I miss the old days when I could just work in my office and not worry that someone would disprove my theory in a few weeks" said Rocky Kold of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.
"Many of us who have worked in this field for decades still worry that the whole house of cards is going to collapse," said Princeton cosmologist David Wilkinson.
Recent observations, for example, suggest that the universe is younger than its oldest stars - an enigma that has astronomers scrambling for explanations.
The biggest mystery, however, strikes even scientists as so astonishing as to be absurd: 99% of the universe, according to some estimates, is made of totally unfamiliar stuff. Commonly known as dark matter, it is actually mostly transparent; it neither shines nor casts a shadow. Whatever it is, it is not like us . . . According to some theories, it also is the glue that holds the universe together, and keeps it from expanding forever into endless space.
f. "The study of human origins seems to be a field in which each discovery raises the debate to a more sophisticated level of uncertainty." (Christopher Stringer of the Natural Museum of London)
4. If we can't have confidence in science's ability to answer the question of origins, can we have confidence in the answer in Genesis? Is Genesis a mythical account, only meant to show us the greatness of God in poetic grandeur? Though there are poetic elements to the account, we believe it was still written to record a historical reality. Other Scriptures, in their approach to Genesis 1, demonstrate this:
a. Psalm 136 connects the Genesis account of creation with the rest of Israel's history in a seamless fabric. The creation account is not put in some "historical fiction" category.
b. Jesus quoted Genesis as if it were a purely historical record (Matthew 19:4-6, 23:35).
c. C.S. Lewis said when he heard a Biblical scholar say the Genesis creation account was a myth, he didn't want to know about the man's credentials as a Biblical scholar. He wanted to know how many myths the man had read. Myths were Lewis' business as a literary scholar, and he could see the Biblical account of creation was unlike mythical accounts.
d. Then why isn't Genesis more scientifically written? If God gave us a truly scientific, detailed account of creation, written in scientific language, there would be no one who could understand it, and no end to the length of such an account. Even if it were written in simple, 20th-century scientific language, it would have made no sense to all previous generations and no sense to future generations either.
e. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2). Scientific inquiry is the glory of man; yet it must all be done with utmost humility, realizing God has concealed these matters for man to search out.
5. If God did all this in the beginning, what was before the beginning?
a. God Himself was before the beginning: Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting (Psalm 93:2). But where did God come from? Who created God? By definition, God is the uncreated Being.
i. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)
b. God was in three Persons before the beginning, and the Persons shared a relationship of love and fellowship: "Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was . . . for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:5, 24)
c. Before the beginning, there was an eternal purpose in the heart of God (Ephesians 3:11) to gather together in one all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). God's purpose was to "resolve" or "sum up" all things in Jesus, as if Jesus Himself were the answer to a great and complex problem God has written out on the "blackboard" of the universe.
d. Before the beginning, God had a specific plan to fulfill this eternal purpose, with many different aspects revealed to us:
i. The mission of Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world: He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you (1 Peter 1:20).
ii. Eternal life was promised before time began: in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:2).
iii. The mystery of the gospel (the cross), was foreordained before the ages: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory (1 Corinthians 2:7).
iv. The grace given unto us was given before the world began: who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:9).
v. Believers in Jesus Christ were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world: just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).
e. At some time before the beginning, God created the angels, because they witnessed the creation of the heavens and the earth (Job 38:7).
6. (2) The state of the earth before God organized creation.
a. There may be a sense of resistance to the moving of the Holy Spirit on the earth. Some have speculated this was because Satan was cast down to the earth (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:16) and was resisting God's plan, though his resistance was, of course, futile.
i. Leupold on the Spirit of God was hovering: "The verb . . . signifies a vibrant moving, a protective hovering . . . His was the preparatory work for leading over from the inorganic to the organic."
b. Some have sought to translate the idea in this verse as the earth became without form and void. Their thinking is the earth was originally created not without form and void, but it became without form and void through the destructive work of Satan. However, this is not the plain grammatical sense of the Hebrew.
i. Those who follow this idea look to Isaiah 45:18: For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the Lord, and there is no other." The idea is God here says He did not create the world in vain (the Hebrew word is the same as the word for void in Genesis 1:1).
ii. Based on these ideas, some have advanced what has been called the "Gap Theory"; that there was a long and indefinite chronological gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Most "Gap Theory" adherents use the theory to explain the fossil record, assigning old and extinct fossils to this indefinite gap.
iii. Whatever merit the gap theory may have, it cannot explain the extinction and fossilization of ancient animals. The Bible says plainly death came by Adam (Romans 5:12), and since fossils are the result of death, they could not have happened before Adam's time.
c. When God created the earth, He quite likely built an "old" earth, creating things in the midst of a time sequence, with age "built in."
i. For example, Adam was already of mature age when he was created; there was age "built in." Likewise, the trees in the garden of Eden had rings in them, and there were undoubtedly canyons and sand beaches in Adam's world.
d. "Any impression of Olympian detachment which the rest of the chapter might have conveyed is forestalled by the simile of the mother-bird 'hovering' (Moffatt) or fluttering by her brood. The verb reappears in Deuteronomy 32:11 to describe the eagle's movements in stirring its young into flight" (Kidner).
7. (3-5) The first day of creation: light is created and divided from the darkness.
a. The first step from chaos to order is the bringing of light. This is also the way God works in our lives.
i. Paul speaks about the light brought to us by the gospel: But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
b. God did not have to fashion light with His hands. It was enough for God to merely speak the words, "Light be!" and there was light.
i. Because God created things by speaking them into existence, some have said we can operate on the same principle, speaking things into existence by faith.
ii. This is based on a wrong understanding of Hebrews 11:3 (by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God), which is taken to say God Himself used faith in creating the world. Instead, it says it is by faith we understand God created the world.
iii. Also, some have a wrong understanding of Mark 11:22 which is taken to literally mean "have God's faith" as if we are to have the same faith God has. But the words Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God" cannot mean this, because faith, as Hebrews 11:1 tells us, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What does God "hope" for? What does He not see? An omnipotent, omniscient Being certainly does not need faith. He is the object of faith.
c. We see that light, as well as day and night, exist here before the sun or moon. How can this be?
i. Light is more than a physical substance; it also has a supernatural aspect. In fact, in the new heavens and the new earth, there won't be any sun or moon. God Himself will be the light (Revelation 22:5).
ii. The darkness God sent upon the Egyptians (Exodus 10:21) had a tangible quality to it, far beyond what we usually think of as being associated with darkness; it could be felt. This demonstrates a certain supernatural element, which can be related to light and darkness.
d. Was this a literal day, in the sense we think of a day, or was it a geological age? Did God create the world in six days or in six vast geological ages? Though there is disagreement among Christians on this, the most plain and simple meaning of the text is that He created in six days as we think of days.
i. "If the days were not days at all, would God have countenanced the word? Does He trade in inaccuracies, however edifying? The question hinges on the proper use of language." (Kidner)
ii. "There ought to be no need of refuting the idea that yom means period. Reputable dictionaries . . . know nothing of this notion. Hebrew dictionaries are our primary source of reliable information concerning Hebrew words." (Leupold)
8. (6-8) The second day of creation: God makes an atmospheric division.
a. Here, the Bible recognizes the existence of water vapor in the sky, and the waters of the land are separated from the water vapor in the sky.
b. "The waters above the firmament thus probably constituted a vast blanket of water vapor above the troposphere and possibly above the stratosphere as well, in the high temperature region now known as the ionosphere, and extending far into space." (Morris)
c. Such a vapor blanket would greatly change the ecology of the earth, and Morris suggests several effects of a vapor blanket:
i. It would serve as a global greenhouse, maintaining an essentially uniformly pleasant temperature all over the world.
ii. Without great temperature variations, there would be no significant winds, and the water-rain cycle could not form. There would be no rain as we know it today.
iii. There would be lush, tropical-like vegetation, all over the world, fed not by rain, but by a rich evaporation and condensation cycle, resulting in heavy dew or ground-fog.
iv. The vapor blanket would filter out ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, and other destructive energies bombarding the planet. These are known to be the cause of mutations, which decrease human longevity. Human and animal life spans would be greatly increased.
v. A vapor blanket would provide the necessary reservoir for a potential worldwide flood.
9. (9-13) The third day of creation: the land is divided from the sea; plants and all types of vegetation are created.
a. All this happens before the creation of the Sun (the fourth day of creation, Genesis 1:14-19). This means the plants must have had sufficient nourishment because of the light God had created before the sun and the moon.
i. Those who propose these days of creation were not literal days, but successive "ages" of slow, evolutionary development have a real problem here. How could plants and all vegetation grow and thrive eons before the sun and the moon? No modern evolutionist would argue plant life is older than the sun or the moon, but this is what the Genesis record tells us.
ii. Many have great difficulty on how the sun, moon, and stars could be created on the fourth day, when light (including day and night) was created on the first day. Many have suggested the problem is solved by saying these heavenly bodies were created on the first day, but were not specifically visible, or not finally formed, until the fourth. But Revelation tells us of a coming day when we won't need the sun, moon, and stars any longer (Revelation 21:23). There's no reason why God couldn't have started creation in the same way He will end it.
b. This is the beginning of life on planet earth, directly created by God, not slowly evolving over millions of years.
i. Some scientists are now saying life on earth began when immense meteorites carrying amino acids impacted earth at a time when the sun was cooler and the earth was a watery ball covered with ice up to 1,000 feet thick. The idea is that a meteor hits the ice, breaks through, and "seeds" the water underneath with the building blocks of life, which assemble into an "organic soup." However the process was triggered, the scientists said life on earth began in "a geological instant." But by an instant, they mean 10 million years or less. It takes more faith to believe this than to believe in Genesis!
ii. The fossil evidence also demonstrates life exploded into existence on earth, instead of slowly evolving.
c. The plants were created not as seeds, but as full-grown plants each bearing seeds. They were thus created as mature plants, having the "appearance" of age. The chicken really did come before the egg!
d. The phrase according to its kind appears ten times in Genesis chapter 1. It means God has allowed plenty of variation within a kind, but something of one kind will never develop into something of another kind.
e. And God saw that it was good: God knows what is good. He is not some vague moral neutral. He knows what is good and organizes His creation to result in something good.
i. God does not call the earth good until it has become habitable, a place where man can live.
f. Some have tried to justify the use of drugs (especially marijuana) because Genesis says God commanded "Let the earth bring forth . . . every herb that yields seed . . . the herb that yields seed according to its kind" . . . And God saw that it was good. But certainly, not every herb is good for every purpose. Hemlock is natural, but not good!
i. In fact, the use of drugs in this manner is nowhere approved and is always condemned in the Bible. The wrong use of drugs is often associated with sorcery and the occult.
ii. Sorcery is universally condemned in the Bible (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Revelation 21:8 and 22:15). In both the Old and New Testaments, the word sorcery was connected with the making and taking of drugs.
10. (14-19) The fourth day of creation: the sun, moon, and stars.
a. God made the lights in the firmament of the heavens to be for signs and seasons. Since the beginning, man has used God's provision of the sun, moon, and stars to mark and measure time and direction.
b. God knew exactly how far to set the sun from the earth. A few million miles more or less and life as we know it would be impossible.
i. The intricate balance of our ecosystem argues strongly for the existence of a Creator. We live in a very complex world.
c. Ginzberg quotes a Jewish legend connecting the movement of the sun to the praise of God (as in Psalm 113:3, 50:1, and 148:3): "The progress of the sun in his circuit is an uninterrupted song of praise to God. And this song alone makes his motion possible. Therefore, when Joshua wanted to bid the sun stand still, he had to command him to be silent. His song of praise hushed, the sun stood still."
d. When God set the lights in the heavens to be for signs, it probably includes what we commonly call the zodiac, but was called by the ancient Hebrews the Mazzaroth (Job 38:31-32).
i. Significantly, the sequence of the zodiac is the same in every language and culture, even if the specific names of the constellations change. Also, we know the figures of the constellations suggested to us don't look like those things at all, and, they never did! Yet the names for the figures of the constellations are the same in all cultures. This points to a common, pre-Babel beginning for all these things, before the truth of the constellations was corrupted.
ii. Luke 1:70 and Acts 3:21 speak of holy prophets since the world began. Who are these prophets? Psalm 147:4 and Isaiah 40:26 tell us God has the stars all numbered, and God has a name for them all. Psalm 19:1-6 tells us the heavens contain a message from God.
iii. Astrology is a satanic corruption of God's original "message in the stars," a message outlining His plan of redemption. Because astrology is a corruption, it is to be avoided always by man (Isaiah 47:12-15).
e. With all the other stars in our universe, we often wonder if there is life on other planets.
i. When you take into account all that is necessary for the sustenance of life as we know it, there are few planets able to support life. Taking into account factors such as our galaxy type, star location, star age, star mass, star color, distance from star, axis tilt, rotation period, surface gravity, tidal force, magnetic field, oxygen quantity in atmosphere, atmospheric pressure, and 20 other important factors, the probability of all 33 occurrences happening on any one planet is one in 10 to the 42 power. The total number of possible planets in the universe is 10 to the 22 power.
ii. The U.S. government spends $100 million a year looking for extraterrestrial intelligence. It would be wiser to spend the money looking for intelligent life in Washington.
11. (20-23) The fifth day of creation: birds and sea creatures are created.
a. We see the great variety of birds and sea creatures were created at the same time, not evolving slowly over millions of years; and even though plant life was created before animal life, animal life was not created out of plant life.
i. Among the diversity of animals, many share similar structures: birds, reptiles, mammals, and so forth. This argues at least as persuasively for a common Designer as it does for a common life source. All life did not come from the same primordial cell, but it did all come from the same Designer.
b. Again, all animal life is created according to its kind. God has deliberately structured plenty of variation within a kind, but one "kind" does not become another.
i. For example, among dogs, life is diverse. The teacup poodle is very different from the Great Dane, but they are both dogs. However, they won't become mice, no matter how much breeding is done.
ii. Evolutionists often give convincing examples of microevolution, the variation of a kind within its kind, adapting to the environment. For example, the ratio of black to white peppered moths may increase when pollution makes it easier for dark moths to escape detection; or finches may develop different beaks in response to their distinctive environment. But the moths are still moths, and the finches are still finches. There has been no change outside of the kind. Microevolution does not prove macroevolution.
12. Doesn't the fossil record show these creatures slowly evolved into existence, instead of suddenly appearing?
a. Most people are unaware that Darwin's strongest opponents were not clergymen, but fossil experts. Darwin admitted the state of the fossil evidence was "the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory," and because of the fossil evidence, "all the most eminent paleontologists . . . and all our greatest geologists . . . have unanimously, often vehemently, maintained" that the species do not change.
b. The fossil record is marked by two great principles: first, stasis, which means most species are unchanged in all their documented history. The way they look when they first appear in the fossil record is the way they look when last appearing in the fossil record. They have not changed. Second, sudden appearance, which means in any local area, a species does not arise gradually, but appears all at once and "fully formed."
i. Philip Johnson: "If evolution means the gradual change of one kind of organism into another kind, the outstanding characteristic of the fossil record is the absence of evidence for evolution."
c. The Bighorn Basin in Wyoming contains a continuous record of fossil deposits for what geologists say is five million years. Because this record is so complete, paleontologists assumed a positive trail of evolution could be found. Instead, "the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another." (Johnson)
i. Evolutionist Nile Eldredge writes: "We paleontologists have said that the history of life [in the fossil record] supports [the story of gradual evolution], all the while knowing that it does not." (Johnson)
d. Either evolution happened slowly, with each tiny change building on the last, over billions of years; or the changes came as quick leaps: something like a mouse coming out of a snake's egg.
i. The fossil record totally rejects the idea of millions of tiny changes; the quick leaps are a way of attributing miraculous power to "chance" or "nature" instead of God. While admiring the faith of those who believe in such hopeful monsters, it seems far more rational to believe in a wise, creating, designing God.
C. The sixth day of creation: the creation of man.
1. (24-25) God makes land animals.
a. On the fifth day of creation, God made birds and sea animals, but now God turns His creative attention towards land animals of various types.
b. When we look at the infinite variety of the animal kingdom (both living and extinct), we must be impressed with God's creative power, as well as His sense of humor. Any Being who makes the giraffe, the platypus, and the peacock is a God of joy and humor.
i. To a peahen, the most attractive peacocks are the ones with the biggest fans, but the big fan on the tail makes it difficult to escape a predator. Therefore, the peahen rewards the peacock with the least chance of survival. This is a great problem for the idea of "survival of the fittest"!
c. Again, the critical phrase according to its kind is emphasized. God allows tremendous variation within a kind, but one "kind" will never become another "kind."
2. (26) God plans to make man in His image.
a. The use of the plural (Let Us . . . in Our image, according to Our likeness) is consistent with the idea that there is One God in three Persons, what we know as the Trinity.
i. Leupold does a good job showing that the plurality of let Us make cannot be merely the plurality of royalty, nor can it be God speaking with and to the angels. It is an indicator of the Trinity, though not clearly spelled out.
b. An understanding of who man is begins with knowing we are made in the image of God. Man is different from every other order of created being because He has a created consistency with God.
i. This means there is an unbridgeable gap between human life and animal life. Though we are biologically similar to certain animals, we are distinct in our moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities.
ii. This means there is also an unbridgeable gap between human life and angelic life. Nowhere are we told the angels are made in the image of God. Angels cannot have the same kind of relationship of love and fellowship with God we can have.
iii. This means the incarnation was truly possible. God (in the Second Person of the Trinity) could really become man, because although deity and humanity are not the same, they are compatible.
iv. This means human life has intrinsic value, quite apart from the "quality of life" experienced by any individual, because human life is made in the image of God.
c. What specific things in man show him to be made in the image of God?
i. Man alone has a natural countenance looking upward.
ii. Man alone has such a variety of facial expressions.
iii. Man alone has a sense of shame expressing itself in a blush.
iv. Man alone speaks.
v. Man alone possesses personality, morality, and spirituality.
d. What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
i. It means one possesses personality: knowledge, feelings, and a will. This sets man apart from all animals and plants.
ii. It means one possesses morality: we are able to make moral judgments and have a conscience.
iii. It means one possesses spirituality: man is made for communion with God. It is on the level of spirit we communicate with God.
e. If we are made in the image of God, does God have a human body? No. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Though God does not have a physical body, He designed man so man's physical body could do many of the things God does: see, hear, smell, touch, speak, think, plan, and so forth.
i. "It will hardly be safe to say that the body of man is patterned after God, because God, being an incorporeal spirit, cannot have what we term a material body. Yet the body of man must at least be regarded as the fittest receptacle for the man's spirit and so must bear at least an analogy that is so close that God and His angels choose to appear in human form when they appear to men." (Leupold)
f. The terms for image and likeness are slightly different. Image has more to do with appearance, and likeness has more to do with an abstract similarity, but they both essentially mean the same thing here in this context.
g. Before God ever created man, He decreed man would have dominion over the earth. Man's pre-eminence of the created order and his ability to affect his environment is no accident; it is part of God's plan for man and the earth.
i. In this sense, it is sin if man does not use this dominion responsibly, in the sense of a proper regard for stewardship on this earth.
3. (27-31) God's creation of man and initial commission to Adam.
a. God creates man according to His plan as described in Genesis 1:26. The concept of man being created in the image of God is repeated to give emphasis to the idea.
i. We are plainly told God created man fully formed, and created him in one day, not gradually over millions of years of progressive evolution. The idea that a slow, progressive evolution could produce a complex mechanism like the human body just doesn't hold up.
ii. It is said there would be at least 40 different stages of evolution required to form an eye. What possible benefit could there be for the first 39 stages? The mathematician D.S. Ulam argues it was highly improbable for the eye to evolve by the accumulation of small mutations, because the number of mutations must be so large and the time available was not nearly long enough for them to appear. Evolutionist Ernst Mayr commented: "Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred." Johnson observes: "Darwinism to them was not a theory open to refutation but a fact to be accounted for." (Johnson)
iii. Darwin wrote: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Professor Richard Goldschmidt, a geneticist at the University of California at Berkley, listed a series of complex structures (from the hair of mammals to hemoglobin) he thought could not have been produced by thousands of years of small mutations. "The Darwinists met this fantastic suggestion with savage ridicule. As Goldschmidt put it, 'This time I was not only crazy but almost a criminal.' . . . To suppose that such a random event could reconstruct even a single complex organ like a liver or kidney is about as reasonable as to suppose that an improved watch can be designed by throwing an old one against the wall." (Johnson)
b. The words male and female He created them should not be construed to mean Adam was originally some type of androgynous being, being both male and female. This passage of Genesis gives us an overview of God's creation of man, and Genesis 2 will explain how exactly God created male and female.
i. In our day, many say there is no real difference between men and women. This makes sense if we are the result of mindless evolution, but not it is true that male and female He created them. To God, the differences between men and women are not accidents. Since He created them, the differences are good and meaningful.
ii. Men are not women, and women are not men. One of the saddest signs of our culture's depravity is the amount and the degree of gender confusion today.
iii. But who is superior? A man is absolutely superior at being a man. A woman is absolutely superior at being a woman. But when a man tries to be a woman, or a woman tries to be a man, you have something inferior.
c. Then God blessed them: the first thing God did for man was to bless him. Without the goodness of God's blessing, human life would be not only unbearable, but also impossible.
d. God also gives man a job to do: fulfill God's intention of man's exercise of dominion over the earth. Inherent in this command is that man should be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Man can not fulfill God's plan for him on the earth unless he populates it.
i. In addition, God gave mankind a desire for sex, which would make the populating of the earth quick and likely.
ii. However, many have thought that being fruitful and multiplying was God's only or main purpose for sex, but this isn't the case. The primary reason God created sex was to contribute to the bonding of a one-flesh relationship.
iii. Animals have sexual relations only for reproduction, but human sexual response is different from animal sexual response in many ways. Human ovulation has no outward sign; humans have sex in private; humans have secondary sexual characteristics (only in humans do females develop breasts before the first birth). Only humans demonstrate a constant availability for and interest in sex, as opposed to a "heat" season in animals. In humans, the duration of the sexual interlude is longer and the intensity of the pleasure of sex is stronger, and only humans continue to have intercourse after the end of fertility. None of these specifically human dimensions of sex are required for reproduction, but all of them are useful for sex as a tool of bonding.
e. God gave man dominion over the whole earth, but only vegetation is specifically mentioned as being for food. Seemingly, before the flood, the human race was vegetarian, but after the flood, man was given permission to eat the flesh of animals (Genesis 9:3).
f. God's final analysis of His work of creation is that it was very good. God was pleased with His creation, and so are we!
i. When God pronounced the creation good, He really meant it. At the time, it was entirely good; there was no death or decay on earth at all.
4. What about the fossil discoveries of our "human ancestors" such as Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, and Homo Erectus? The search for our "human ancestors" has been one filled with dishonest science and wishful thinking.
a. Quoting Johnson: "The psychological atmosphere that surrounds the viewing of hominid fossils is uncannily reminiscent of the veneration of relics at a medieval shrine." In 1984, the American Museum of Natural History held an unprecedented showing of original fossils said to depict human evolution titled Ancestors.
b. From Johnson: "The 'priceless and fragile relics' were carried by anxious curators in first-class airplane seats and brought to the Museum in a VIP motorcade of limousines with police escort. Inside the Museum, the relics were placed behind bullet-proof glass to be admired by a select preview audience of anthropologists, who spoke in hushed voices because 'It was like discussing theology in a cathedral.' A sociologist observing this ritual of the anthropologist tribe remarked, 'Sounds like ancestor worship to me.'"
c. Solly Zuckerman is a committed evolutionist and one of Britain's most influential scientists. He also regards much of the fossil evidence for human evolution as nonsense. Zuckerman has subjected key fossils to years of biometric testing and declares that the idea that they walked and ran upright is flimsy wishful thinking. He remarked that the record of reckless speculation in the field of human origins "is so astonishing that it is legitimate to ask whether much science is yet to be found in this field at all." (Johnson)
d. "The story of human descent from apes is not merely a scientific hypothesis; it is the secular equivalent of the story of Adam and Eve, and a matter of immense cultural importance. Propagating the story requires illustrations, museum exhibits, and television reenactments. It also requires a priesthood, in the form of thousands of researchers, teachers, and artists who provide realistic and imaginative detail and carry the story out to the general public . . .. The scientific priesthood that has authority to interpret the official creation story gains immense cultural influence thereby, which it might lose if the story were called into question. The experts therefore have a vested interest in protecting the story, and in imposing rules of reasoning that make it invulnerable. When critics ask, 'Is your theory really true?' we should not be satisfied to be answered that 'it is good science, as we define science'." (Johnson)
e. Evolutionists are not interested in testing if their theory is true. They simply believe once you ignore the creating hand of God, it is the only explanation available, so their job is to figure out how it works, not if it is true.
5. Why is evolution so universally believed today?
a. In the 1920's, a former substitute teacher in a Tennessee school volunteered to be the defendant in a case meant to challenge a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in the public schools. The teacher wasn't even sure he had taught evolution, but the trial went ahead.
b. Prosecuting the case was William Jennings Bryan, former Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, and a three-time Democratic candidate for President. Bryan believed in the Bible, but not literally. He thought the "days" of Genesis referred not to 24-hour days, but to historical ages of indefinite duration. Leading the defense was Clarence Darrow, a famous criminal lawyer and agnostic lecturer. Darrow maneuvered Bryan to take the stand as an expert witness on the Bible, and he humiliated Bryan in a devastating cross-examination. Once that purpose was accomplished, Darrow pleaded guilty on behalf of his client and paid a $100 fine.
c. The trial was therefore inconclusive, but the "Scopes Monkey Trial" was presented to the world by sarcastic journalist H.L. Mencken, Broadway, and Hollywood, and was a huge public relations triumph for Darwinism. People who believed in God's creation came to be thought of as fools and hicks, and evolution was given the veneer of respectability. Combine this with a strong anti-supernaturalism on the part of many scientists and educators, and today's acceptance of evolution is understandable.
d. The same attitude is used to squelch debate and questions about evolution today. "When outsiders question whether the theory of evolution is as secure as we have been led to believe, we are firmly told that such questions are out of order. The arguments among the experts are said to be about matters of detail, such as the precise time scale and the mechanism of evolutionary transformations. These disagreements are signs not of crisis but of healthy creative ferment within the field, and in any case there is no room for doubt whatever about something called the 'fact' of evolution." (Johnson)