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What Does Genesis Say?

Examining the Genesis Creation Account


The first chapter of Genesis offers a profound and insightful account of creation, which deserves careful examination to understand its harmony with known facts rather than molding it to fit preconceived theoretical frameworks. The Genesis account is not intended to detail the "how" of creation but rather the "what" and "when," presenting major events in a progressive sequence.


The Perspective of Earthly Observers


Genesis describes creation from the standpoint of someone on earth, providing a viewpoint that would be comprehensible to human observers if they had been present. This perspective is evident in the description of the fourth Genesis "day," where the sun and moon are referred to as the "greater" and "lesser" lights compared to the stars. While scientifically, many stars are far greater than the sun, from an earthly perspective, the sun and moon dominate the sky, making them the most significant luminaries for an observer on earth (Genesis 1:14-18).


The Pre-Genesis "Day" Earth


Before the first Genesis "day," the earth already existed, though its age is not specified. Genesis 1:2 describes the pre-creation state: "Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God's active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters." This indicates a primordial earth covered in water and shrouded in darkness, awaiting the creative acts that would follow.


The Length of a Genesis "Day"


The term "day" (Hebrew yohm) in Genesis 1 can denote various lengths of time, not necessarily a 24-hour period. Genesis 1:5 shows that God divided the "day" into periods of light and darkness. Additionally, Genesis 2:4 refers to all six creative periods collectively as one "day." William Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies supports this broader interpretation, noting that "day" can signify a long period or an era marked by significant events. This flexibility allows for the possibility that the creative "days" could span millennia.


The Creative Days


First "Day"


Genesis 1:3-5 recounts the creation of light: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day." This light likely came from the sun, though the sun itself was not yet visible due to a thick atmospheric cover. The light appeared gradually, initiating the cycle of day and night.


Second "Day"


Genesis 1:6-8 describes the formation of the expanse (Hebrew ra·qiʹa‛), which separated the waters above from the waters below. This expanse, or atmosphere, would later allow for the appearance of celestial bodies and the development of weather systems. The expanse is called "heaven," encompassing both the sky and the broader heavens where celestial bodies reside.


Third "Day"


On the third day, dry land appeared as waters were gathered together (Genesis 1:9-10). This would have involved significant geological activity. Additionally, vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees were created, setting the stage for the sustenance of future life forms (Genesis 1:11-12).


Fourth "Day"


The fourth day saw the creation of the sun, moon, and stars as discernible sources of light (Genesis 1:14-16). These celestial bodies were set to govern the day and night and to mark seasons, days, and years. The previously diffused light now allowed an observer on earth to see the sun and moon directly, highlighting the structured order of the cosmos.


Fifth "Day"


The fifth day brought forth marine life and flying creatures (Genesis 1:20-23). The waters teemed with living souls, including the great sea creatures, and birds flew across the expanse of the heavens. This diversification of life indicates the rich variety of God's creation.


Sixth "Day"


On the sixth day, land animals were created, categorized as wild and domestic creatures (Genesis 1:24-25). Finally, man was created in God's image, signifying a unique position among all creatures (Genesis 1:26-27). This creation of man involved forming Adam from the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, making him a living soul (Genesis 2:7).


Harmony with Scientific Understanding


The Genesis creation account remarkably aligns with scientific observations in several ways. It presents a sequence of events that match the general order of geological and biological developments as understood by modern science. The creation of light, formation of the atmosphere, appearance of dry land and vegetation, and the subsequent creation of animal life reflect a logical progression that is consistent with scientific findings.


The Genesis creation account provides a coherent and scientifically sound description of the major stages of creation, emphasizing the order and purpose behind each act. Its accuracy and harmony with known facts suggest a divine source of knowledge, reflecting the wisdom and power of the Creator. This account stands as a testament to the unique creation of the universe and all life within it, underscoring the special place of humanity as made in the image of God.


RELATED ARTICLES


Discover whether the Bible supports the view that God created the earth in six 24-hour days. Explore the meaning of "day" in Genesis.


Explore whether evolution is a fact or fiction from a Christian perspective. Examine the evidence for microevolution versus macroevolution.


Uncover the evidence that supports the Bible's account of the origin of races: tracing all humanity back to Adam and later to Noah's sons.


About the Author

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).


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