by Bronwyn Pearse.
This is the second article of a three piece blog.
A quick overview: What the words mean! (6 Ref)
When we talk about Genesis 1.1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” There is no word for the universe in Biblical Hebrew. The meaning of ‘The Heavens and earth is ‘the totality of physical reality’. That means everything; stars and our sun included. In saying that, this text is probably the most misunderstood Biblical text in history.
The point of view for Genesis 1.1 is the universe.
However, in Genesis 1.2 the point of view changes from the universe to the surface of the earth. “darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.”
The observers’ view of the six days of creation’s perspective is from the surface of the universal ocean that covers the earth. Looking up from below the clouds.
Job 37: – 39: a creation text, provides more detail. About the early earth, God says, “ I made the clouds its garments and wrapped it in thick darkness.” It was dark on the surface of the earth because of the cloud cover.
There are over half a million nouns in the English language and less than 4000 in ancient Hebrew. So what of it? Well, many words were given multiple applications. The word ‘day’ in ancient Hebrew has four different meanings (to which scholars agree) All but one is used in genesis.
1. Part of the daylight hours (watch in the night.)
2. All the daylight hours (12hrs)
3. 24 hours.
4. Long, but finite, a period
For example, Genesis 2.4 says “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”
We often use this term like ‘The day of the dinosaur’ or ‘in my day’. About earlier life: it means a long period in this context.
Each creation day is bracketed by an evening and morning telling us that there are a definite beginning and end. Interestingly though there are an evening and morning for days: one/ two / three / four/ five and six. You would expect to see it for day seven but it’s not there.
Does that mean we are on the seventh day? Psalm 95, John 5, Hebrews 4, refer to us still being in God’s seventh day.
For the science buffs amongst us, this answers the fossil record enigma. Why do we see so many speciation events before humanity and so few after?
None of the scientists or scientific textbooks can explain this anomaly. But in this Biblical context, God is resting from his creation. The answer is made clear.
When you read the Bible literally and consistently it is clear that these days of creation are seven consecutive long periods. There is no contradiction between what the Bible teaches and what the book of nature teaches regarding the time scale of creation. That puts the age of the earth at approximately four billion years. (6)
While the account in Genesis 1: doesn’t say everything. It is prescriptive. It doesn’t make generic statement’s like, ‘God created everything and placed people on earth to enjoy it.’ There is an order to it. An order which aligns with the scientific record.