DAY ONE: LIGHT AND DARKNESS (Genesis 1:1-5)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
God starts with a "formless and empty" ball of water in the sky in complete darkness. God commands light to come and it does. There is no sun, moon or stars yet. Just a "light" for the day and "darkness" for the night.
There was "evening and morning"...the first day. This is specific and literal language in the Hebrew cultural lexicon. In fact, it's as clear as saying "there was a dawn and a sunset on Sunday." The first day of the week is Sunday. In the Hebrew context, a new day began at sunset and ended 24 hours later with the next day's sunset. Consequently, we are immediately given the daily "frame" of creation: seven literal days (24 hours in length). The use of a number preceding the word "day" (Hebrew: yom) adds more weight. Every time the word "yom" (which can mean an indeterminate amount of time) has a number in front of it, it defines it as a specific, solar day in time. For example, just a few chapters later in Genesis 7:11 we see "yom" (day) again, with a number preceding it:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.
Note the number (17) before the word "day" (yom). Note also the specificity of this historical verse. Noah is 600 years old. It's the second month and seventeenth day of that month. And ON THAT DAY, the great flood began. In biblical interpretation there is a simple rule that if a word is consistent in meaning throughout the text then it's consistent in meaning for ALL texts. In other words, if all examples of the use of "yom" (with a number preceding it) point to a specific solar day (everywhere its used in the Hebrew Old Testament), then it's safe to assume that "first day" and "second day" and "third day"...and so on...are also indicative of SOLAR (24-hour) days in Genesis 1. It's poor biblical interpretation to throw out a clear and consistent reading just because we're trying to bend the text to match science.
To further cement a literal solar day view in Genesis 1, the writer adds the phrase "evening and morning." This is unique to the Hebrew culture (who, again, mark days from evening to evening). Consequently, employing this term confirms clearly a 24-hour (solar) day. It's an idiom or figure of speech. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, the usage of "morning and evening" is predominant, except when it's speaking to actual time (literal days). For example, in Daniel 8:14, the prophet Daniel receives a vision about 2,300 "evenings and mornings" or 2,300 specific days that will pass before the prophecy was fulfilled. And that's what happened. After 2,300 literal days (75.5 months or a little over six years) his prophecy proved true. We say our day "dawns" and then "sets." For the Hebrew there was a "setting" and then a "dawning."
DAY TWO: WATER SEPARATES FROM WATER (Genesis 1:6-8)
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
On day two, God splits the waters to create a "ball within a ball" formation. The primitive earth is nothing but H2O and wrapping it is another layer of water. This water canopy is a protective layer that will explain many of our questions, not just in Genesis but also in the ancient fossil and geological evidence we uncover.
For example, geological history records that at one time our earth was "warm and wet" all over the planet, even at the North and South Poles. Geological sciences also observe how these tropical environments produced lush vegetation inhabited by giant insects and great beasts (including dinosaurs who are mostly vegetarian in nature). In Genesis we further learn that mankind is living to great ages, hundreds and hundreds of years old. Adam lived 930 years. Methuselah lives to 969 years. Did they count time differently or was something else at play? Later in Genesis, a global flood will cover the entire planet. How can that be? Even if it could rain for 40 days (and nights) today--and that would be locally catastrophic--there's simply not enough atmospheric moisture to flood the entire planet.
But what happens on day two explains all these problems and questions.
A water canopy surrounding the planet created a natural global greenhouse (with a uniform temperature between 68 and 72 degrees) that trapped carbon dioxide beneath it. A water canopy would also prevent the age-inducing ultraviolet rays of the sun from reaching the earth's surface. It would also be the source for most of the water that would flood the earth later in Genesis. Furthermore, a warm and wet climate, rich in CO2, would produce explosive plant life. The inability for ultraviolet rays reaching the earth's surface would suppress aging, allowing life forms to live far beyond--even hundreds of years longer--than we do today. This would explain the giantism--including the dinosaurs--we find in the fossil record. Reptiles and fish, in particular, grow all their lives. A 100-year old sea turtle is huge. Can you imagine one that's 600 or 900 years old? It would be a dinosaur size beast! Finally, the water canopy explains how God flooded the earth. He didn't use the same atmosphere we enjoy today. He had a water canopy to collapse instead...and there was plenty of water up there.
Finally, note once again, the consistency of the Genesis historical record. This is day two--the second day--and there was an "evening and morning" attached to it. These are not long ages in between these days. A day isn't lasting a thousand or a million years, as some "old earth" creationists argue. The language is clear and specific. It's only been 48 hours since God started to create His "heavens and earth."
DAY THREE: DRY LAND AND VEGETATION (Genesis 1:9-13)
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
On day three, God focuses on the inner ball of water. First, He "gathers" the water and creates land formations. The waters are called "seas." God is happy and He notes it's "good." Then God creates vegetation, all forms of vegetation. Plants and trees. The text is also clear that every "kind" of plant and tree reproduced "according to their kinds." In other words, an apple tree produced another apple tree. A daffodil produced another daffodil. And a palm tree produced another palm tree. This also made God happy. He noted that this, too, was "good."
The use of the reproductive term "according to their kinds" will appear elsewhere in Genesis 1 in relation to all forms of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, animals and man. This term clearly contradicts the evolutionary narrative that one form evolved into another form, one species evolved into another species, or, most specifically, that man evolved from ape. The biblical narrative has no room nor compatibility with evolutionary processes (which is entirely of human origin).
Finally, note once again, the numbered day (three) and use of "evening and morning." It's now been 72 hours since God started to create.
DAY FOUR: SUN, MOON AND STARS (Genesis 1:14-19)
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault 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 vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
On day four of creation, God now lays out the universe: the sun, moon and stars. The purpose for these lunar luminaries is clear: to light the earth and to mark time (days, months, years). Up to this point, the day and night have been marked by a generic "light" created on day one. God now shuts down this light, presumably, to light the day and the night through the sun, moon and stars. These lights are outside the earth and the water canopy.
As mentioned on day two, the water canopy protected the earth from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays. This water canopy existed until the great Noahic flood happened. Not surprisingly, the first thing Noah viewed when the sun shone directly onto the planet was a rainbow. A rainbow happens when the the sun's ultraviolet rays travel through moisture in the atmosphere. It was only possible to have a rainbow after the Flood, not before, because the water canopy would've prevented it. The Bible gives this little detail to confirm how the world changed after the Flood. Another detail is the age of man. A simple survey of post-Flood life spans show they rapidly decrease (now that the sun is directly hitting the planet). By the time of Abraham, only a little over 400 years. the life span is has declined to just over 100 years.
One final note: the fact God creates plants on day three and the sun on day four cannot be overlooked. What do plants need to grow? Warmth and light. Even through a thick water canopy, surrounding the whole earth, the light of the sun would get through, as well as its warmth. However, the dangerous UV rays would've bounced harmlessly off the outer water shell (just like it does today). We can observe this this process today just by looking at underwater organisms and vegetation. Not only do underwater things grow large, they also grow old (in fact, the oldest things on the planet live under water, safe from UV age-inducing rays). Everything grows just fine "under water" just like the pre-Flood earth vegetation did. It's probably why God created vegetarian dinosaurs and demanded mankind to be vegetarian prior to the Flood. The earth was a great big garden of GREEN and God needed herbivores to keep it mowed.
And note, again, the numbered day with "evening and morning" attached. It's now been 96 hours since God started to create. Oh, and it was still good!
DAY FIVE: FISH AND BIRDS (Genesis 1:20-23)
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
On day five, God begins to populate the planet with living creatures. He begins in the oceans, lakes, rivers and streams and then turns to the sky to create the bird kingdom. Suddenly the planet is buzzing with activity. God not only blesses the fish and birds, but also commands them to "be fruitful" and reproduce "according to their kinds." Once again, the biblical narrative contradicts the popular origin narrative of evolutionism. A trout produced another trout. An eagle produced another eagle. A seagull produced another seagull.
One of the ideas in dinosaur research, popularized in books and movies like Jurassic Park, is that dinosaurs evolved from birds rather than lower reptiles. This is necessary because evolutionists cannot explain how dinosaur fossils are found at the icy polar regions of our planet. Their solution is reimagining dinosaurs as "hot-blooded" beasts who, like birds today, migrated south in the winter and north in the summer. The problem is the fossil evidence contradicts this idea. With exception to a few highly speculative examples suggesting some reptiles had feathers, dinosaurs generally show a reptilian nature. For example, we have unearthed fossilized dinosaur skin that compares favorably with modern reptiles. For the creationist, finding cold-blooded beasts at the poles is not an issue. The water canopy, once again, would create a warm, wet global greenhouse environment.
And, yes, the time-stamp remains: evening and morning, day five. It's now been 120 hours since God started creating...and his best stuff is going to be rolled out in the next twenty-four hours!
DAY SIX: ANIMALS, REPTILES, INSECTS AND MAN (Genesis 1:24-31)
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
On day six, God is going to cap his creation with a flourish (and flurry) of amazing creatures. On this day He turned to the land and created both domestic and wild animals. Everything from aardvarks to zebras. He also created the reptiles, amphibians and insects..."all the creatures that move along the ground." As before, each of these beasts will reproduce "according to its own kinds" and God will be pleased and call it "good."
But God isn't done. He now shapes His greatest and most supreme creation: a human being. The text will particularly note a few traits that all humans possess. First, we are created in the likeness (image) of God. In other words, humans have emotions (the ability to express sadness, anger, joy, fear, regret, remorse) just like God. Humans have distinct ability to think, create and communicate on a higher level than the animal, bird or fish kingdoms. Humans are created with gender: male and female. And humans have a responsibility to be caretakers for the planet. We are stewards not just consumers. Just like God will tend to His creation, humans must work their own little patch on the planet.
God also commands humans (and everything else on the planet) to be vegetarian. This is a commandment for a purpose. The water canopy would create a natural greenhouse perfect for plants and trees. God needed the rest of His creation to keep it in check. In paleontology, we know the vast majority (some theorize up to 90%) of dinosaurs were herbivores, most notably the sauropod species. It's a common paleontological idea that "sharp teeth and claws" are signs of a meat eater in the past, but that's assumptive and it's not even true when compared to animals today. Grizzly bears, for example, have sharp teeth and claws and are omnivores, and, in fact, in some regions (like Glacier Park, MT) eat very little to no meat. Fruit bats have sharp teeth and claws (and they eat, as their name implies, fruit). Even the Galapagos land iguana that Darwin noted is purely vegetarian--and armed with sharp teeth and claws. The biblical narrative is clear. In the beginning, the entire planet was vegetarian. This limitation was only lifted after the great global Flood. In Genesis 9:3 we hear God informing Noah: Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. In other words, humans are omnivores.
When God surveys the whole of His creation--particularly humans--He concludes that it is "very good." Day six is in the books. Evening and morning. It's been 144 hours of creativity and God is both happy and satisfied.
DAY SEVEN: GOD RESTS (Genesis 2:1-3)
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. hen God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
On day seven, God is tuckered out. He takes a break and enjoys a siesta. This "sabbath" rest will do two things: 1) create the seven-day week that marks time: weeks, months, years. And 2) invoke a pattern for healthy living. Humans need to rest, sleep, relax and nap...and God will later command a regular rest "day" in his "Ten Commandments" to Moses (Exodus 20:8-11):
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The seventh day is Saturday. It's the day God appointed for man to relax, rest and restore.
It's been noted by some Bible students that, unlike the other six days, in Genesis 2 the "seventh" isn't defined with an "evening and morning." Some even go so far to suggest the seventh day is eternal in nature, that God continues to rest. But that view is both short-sighted nor logical. It's clear in Exodus that the seventh day is part of the six days. It's not unique in time (eternal vs. 24 hour solar day). If that was true, then why do we have a Saturday (day 7) at all? Why not make our weeks six days long? No, the pattern for seven days in a week goes all the way back to creation. We have marked time with seven-day weeks since the beginning. Seven days. 52 weeks. Ten years in a decade. A hundred in a century. A thousand in a millennium.
Some believe that God's ordination of the Saturday as a "Sabbath" means that's the only proper day for worship. And while its true that the ancient Israel did, over time, fold in various festivals to coincide with Sabbaths, for the most part a Sabbath (or "shabbat") was mostly for rest (not worship). In fact, by the time of Jesus, there were thousands of rules constructed around proper Sabbath-keeping to enforce people to shut down. You could only walk a few blocks. You couldn't tie a rope. You couldn't lift more than a few ounces. Unfortunately, as Jesus pointed out, this type of extreme Sabbath keeping missed the point: the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-27):
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
In general, there's nothing wrong with worshipping on Saturday, anymore than worshipping on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. However, there is indication in the New Testament, and very early historical documents (like the Didache or "Teaching of the Twelve") that the "churches" (gatherings) chose to meet on "The Lord's Day" (Sunday) to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on the "first day of the week." Acts 20:7-11 indicates the church at Troas met "on the first day" to "break [the] bread" (Lord's Supper/Eucharist). In 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, Paul encourages believers to collect offerings when they gather on the "first day of the week."
In the end, we must remember the PRINCIPLE of the Sabbath is to "relax, rest and restore." If attending a worship service on Saturday or Sunday is part of that relaxation and rest, that's to be encouraged (although, let's be honest and admit it creates work for those who lead and teach). Nevertheless, a once a week "service" is not what we generally see in the New Testament. Rather, the early church met (in some places, like Jerusalem and Corinth) on multiple days of the week. Yes, Sunday was eventually selected as the day to gather offerings, participate in the Lord's Supper and enjoy deeper instruction in the Word of God, but it wasn't the only day these activities happened. Jesus' point must be the guide: the Sabbath was made for man (to rest and relax) not man for the Sabbath (to work out his righteousness).
Okay, so Saturday is the day for rest and relaxation, but what if you have to work on Saturday? The principle remains: we need one day a week to rest and relax. Maybe its Monday not Saturday. Maybe its Thursday not Sunday. God took a day off, once a week, and that's what He desires us to do too. That's the heart of the command to "keep the Sabbath day holy." We need a day in our week to get away, knock off, step down and rest up.
Perhaps Paul's admonition to the Romans is a great conclusion to this matter (Romans 14:5-8):
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
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