The Heavens Declare

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My Musings – God continues to bring order out of the universe that He created.

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Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky –The creation of the “lights in the expanse of the sky” on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. On the first day, God had said, “let there be light,” and there was light. But this was a chaos of light, scattered and confused. Now it was collected into countless luminaries and made more glorious and serviceable. God is the God of order, and not of confusion. The creation of light on day one, was now being set in order in the various heavenly bodies. The atmosphere being purified by the vegetation, would make the sun, moon, and stars visible in the sky. They are described as being “in the expanse of the sky.” This is how they appear to the eye, though we know they are really at vast distances from it. These lights may be said to be “made” on the fourth day—not created, indeed, for it is a different word (meaning light bearers) that is used here, suggesting what had previously been created were now being ordered and set in place for their intended purpose.

To separate the day from the night – The “creation” of the lights in the heavens on the fourth day parallels the creation of light in general on the first day. These lights produce another separation—day from night. These terms are meaningless without the existence of the sun and the rotation of the earth.

Let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years – The lights were “signs” that mark off time periods (days, seasons, years). They were not astrological signs, correlating heavenly movements with events on earth. The worship of heavenly bodies is condemned.

The greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night – This refers to the sun and the moon, but the writer deliberately avoids the words “sun” (shemesh in Hebrew) and “moon” (yareach in Hebrew), as these correspond to the names of West Semitic deities: Shamash and Yarik. The Book of Genesis affirms that they are created objects, not deities. They merely divide (separate), govern, and give light in God’s creation.

The greater light – Many scientists believe that the sun and the rest of the solar system was “born” about 4.6 billion years ago, being formed from a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust known as a solar nebula. As the nebula collapsed because of its gravity, it spun faster and flattened into a disk. Most of the material was pulled toward the center to form the sun.

The lesser light – The Moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite and was formed around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system. The reigning theory is that a Mars-sized object impacted with a very young, still-forming Earth about. The planetary object that impacted Earth has been dubbed “Theia” by scientists because in Greek mythology, Theia was the mother of the moon goddess Selene. When Theia hit Earth, a portion of our planet came off and eventually hardened into the moon. This theory does a better job than others of explaining the similarities in chemical compositions of the Earth and the moon, however it doesn’t explain why the moon and the Earth are chemically identical.

He also made the stars – The Milky Way galaxy, is home to the earth’s solar system. Scientists say it was formed a little more than 13 billion years ago, just a few billion years after the Big Bang. The galaxy is estimated to be about 100,000 light years in diameter and 1,000 light years thick. It is part of a system of 50 galaxies known as the Local Group, which is part of the Virgo Supercluster. Containing as many as 50 billion planets and 400 billion stars, the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. It has a center “bulge,” surrounded by a flat disk comprising several loose arms that contain stars and their orbiting bodies, as well as gases and dust.

God “also made the stars” almost sounds like an afterthought. But scientists estimate that there are about 2 trillion galaxies in the universe and that each galaxy has about 100 million stars.  And yet still, “these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14).

My Advice – The psalmist proclaims that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalms 19:1-4).  The whisper may be faint, but no one can claim that they do not hear it.  Do not just hear it, listen to it.  The heavens declare HIs glory and so should we.  One day, we all will.  Why not start now?

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  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. https://www.bighistoryproject.com/chapters/2#the-birth-of-the-sun
  3. http://www.openculture.com/2012/02/the_birth_of_the_moon.html
  4. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  7. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  8. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  9. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  10. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  11. Lowery, K. (2007). The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 3). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  12. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  13. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:15–16). Biblical Studies Press.
  14. https://www.space.com/58-the-sun-formation-facts-and-characteristics.html
  15. https://space-facts.com/the-moon/
  16. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/4-theories-about-how-moon-formed
  17. https://someinterestingfacts.net/facts-about-milky-way-galaxy/

Land Ho!

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My Musings – As we continue to compare the account of Genesis  with current scientific theories (setting aside the apparent time discrepancy), I continue to be amazed at what God commanded Moses to write (in simple enough terms for early man to grasp the essentials – I AM who I AM, and I created all this) is not contradicted by man’s “advanced learning” over the centuries.  Did I say amazed?  Not amazed at all.

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Let the Water Under the Sky Be Gathered to One Place (Seas) – In the beginning the water covered the whole earth. As the waters that covered the earth were ordered to retire (“let dry ground appear”), they “gathered into one place.” The waters, he called seas.

Until around 2.5 billion years ago oceans covered almost the whole of the planet. The oceans would have been devoid of fish, which had not yet “evolved” (of course, they were not created until the fourth day). Back then life consisted of nothing more complex than algae and bacteria. As the earth’s mantle cooled, land would have gradually appeared (initially 2% to 3% of Earth’s surface, compared to 28% today) as the oceans became deeper and regions of high relief on the continental crust formed.

Let Dry Ground Appear (Land) – As dry land emerges above the surface, the receding waters are collected to one place. Land was already there beforehand, but it was of no use because it was under water. This is one more work of separation, land is separated from seas, just as previously waters (above) were separated from waters (below), and light separated the darkness.

The first protocontinents (an actual or hypothetical landmass that might later be enlarged into a major continent or broken up into smaller ones) began to form about 4 billion years ago. During this period, plate building blocks known as cratons (giant rock cores) came together and causing them to rise to the surface (“let dry ground appear”). Over time, the first supercontinent (a hypothetical former single large continent) broke apart to ultimately form our current seven continents. The first supercontinent (if water gathered to one place, then land gathered to one place) was probably Columbia, which formed around 1.8 billion years ago. Scientists conjecture that breaking apart or supercontinents and coming back together of the subcontinents occurred several times over the Earth’s history.

Let the Land Produce Vegetation – God’s command for vegetation to grow is the first indirect command in the creation sequence. Previously, God has directly spoke each created thing into existence. This time He commands the Earth to produce plant life. The Hebrew word translated “vegetation” normally means “grass,” but here it probably refers more generally to vegetation that includes many of the plants and trees.

Scientists believe that plants first moved onto the land during the Ordovician period, although plant life (single-celled plant organisms and multicellular algae) had likely appeared in the oceans as early as 1 billion years BCE. It was not until the Carboniferous period that plant life expanded from the coastlines and edges of lakes and began to more fully resemble modern plants. The first trees appeared in the Devonian period. These trees did not produce flowers and in fact it was not until 135 million years ago (Cretaceous time period) that the first flowering plants became abundant. Perhaps in preparation of a certain garden?

While oxygen is essential for life on Earth, the atmosphere did not originally contain oxygen. The process responsible for producing most of the Earth’s oxygen is known as photosynthesis, the process in which plants and certain other organisms convert sunlight into oxygen. Land-based, plants — such as flowers, grasses, ferns, shrubs and trees — produce up to half of the planet’s oxygen. Rainforests, with their dense canopies and vast diversity of plant species, are themselves responsible for one-third of the Earth’s oxygen production. The rest of the world’s oxygen comes mainly from photosynthesis caused by the phytoplankton in the oceans. It stands to reason why God started His creation of life with plants. Oxygen was a precondition to life and plants were a precondition to oxygen.

According to Their Various Kind – The Hebrew word translated “kind” indicates that God was concerned with defining and dividing time, space, and species. The point is that creation was an ordered process, as opposed to “evolving” from disorder. And what God created and distinguished with boundaries was not to be confused. Kind refers to the broad distinctions between different types of plants. All created things (including animals and humans) reproduce within the parameters set by God. With respect to plants, there are an estimated 375,000 species, with more being discovered each year. Some 297,326 of these species of plants have been identified.

My Advice – Do not be too hasty in relegating the Genesis account to allegory or fairy tale.  When we are served a meal by a master chef, we do not need to ask how the “soup”was made. We simply enjoy that it was made especially for us.

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://palaeos.com/archean/archean.html
  3. http://odec.ca/projects/2002/food_for_life/history_of_plants.htm
  4. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  5. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  6. https://metro.co.uk/2008/12/31/early-earth-was-covered-in-water-274995/
  7. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:9). Biblical Studies Press.
  8. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 5). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  9. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  10. https://io9.gizmodo.com/a-history-of-supercontinents-on-planet-earth-5744636
  11. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  12. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  13. https://www.reference.com/science/did-plant-life-begin-appear-earth-d57a1645b8cf9459
  14. http://www.infobharti.com/how-and-why/plants-and-animals/when-did-plants-apear-on-the-earth.php
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:11). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  17. https://sciencing.com/process-responsible-producing-earths-oxygen-19636.html
  18. https://www.wisegeek.com/how-many-species-of-plants-are-there.htm

 

Water We Talking About?

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My Musings – Separation of light from dark (last Sunday’s blog), is something we can observe and thus is easier to understand than today’s blog, the separation of waters above form the water’s below.  But never underestimate the ability of God to reconcile science to His Word.  It just takes time for the wisdom of man (current scientific theories) to catch up to a right understanding of the Word.  He’s got all the time in the world.

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Let There Be An Expanse – The Hebrew is alternatively translated “expanse, firmament, vault.” It is that element that divides heavenly [atmospheric] waters from terrestrial [liquid] waters. The ancients believed the sky was a dome that separated the [terrestrial] heavens above the sky from the earth below. The view that the sky was a solid dome was common in the ancient Near Eastern cosmology shared by the biblical writers. There are, in fact, two “domes” encircling the earth.

The first “dome,” the ozone layer, is one of the layers of the stratosphere (the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere), which is a mass of protective gases clinging to our planet. Both oxygen and ultraviolet light was required to form the ozone layer. Since there are no other planets with oxygen in our solar system, this makes an ozone layer unique to Earth. Before the existence of the ozone layer, life was restricted to shallow water [the fifth day]. This is because water shielded harmful radiation. When ozone started protecting Earth from deadly UV rays, life could finally diversify on land [the sixth day]. The ozone layer has a primary function of absorbing ultraviolet sunlight. The absorption of ultraviolet rays has many effects, such as atmospheric temperature regulation and protection of biological entities.

The second “dome,” called the Van Allen belts, are a pair of dynamic regions of trapped radiation, separated by a void and held in place by the Earth’s magnetic field. They protect the planet from the radiation of space and the effects of solar weather. Without Earth’s magnetic field, these cosmic storms and high energy particles would strip away our atmosphere, destroying our cellular structure and evaporating our oceans in the process. “Luckily” for us, we have our magnetic shield (the magnetosphere) to protect us from most of these harmful particles. When the charged particles come into contact with the magnetosphere, they don’t disappear; they are merely deflected around the planet, forming what we call the Van Allen belts.

To Separate The Water Under From The Water Above – On the first day, God separated light from dark. On day two, God began to form the earth by means of a second act of separation – the waters above from the waters below. An expanse—the atmosphere—was placed in the midst of the waters, thus separating the clouds above from the condensed water below. The separation of the water made a distinction between the waters that are now wrapped up in the clouds and those that cover the sea, the waters in the air and those in the earth. This suggests that previously there had been a dense moisture enshrouding the earth, but not covering the earth.

It is theorized that Hydrogen was the first atom to form after the Big Bang, followed by Helium and a small amount of Lithium. These basic atoms often fused together to make heavier atoms (like oxygen). When hydrogen atoms came in contact with oxygen atoms, water formed in thick layers of ice on rocky objects (comets, asteroids or meteoroids) that were swirling around the cosmos. Assuming water did not exist on Earth or any other planet at the birth of the solar system, it has been speculated that the water must have “flown in” from the outer reaches of the solar system, riding on comets, asteroids or meteoroids.

Though scientists have scoffed at the idea of water above the firmament, there is vast amounts of water “stored” in outer space. Recently, astronomers discovered the largest (140 trillion times all the water in the earth’s oceans) and farthest (12 billion light years away) reservoir of water ever detected in the universe in a distant quasar. There is also water vapor in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 less than in the quasar.

God Called The Expanse Sky – Though the Hebrew word can mean “heaven,” it refers in this context to “the sky.” The atmosphere is an important part of what makes Earth livable. It blocks some of the Sun’s dangerous rays from reaching Earth. It traps heat, making Earth a comfortable temperature. And the oxygen within our atmosphere is essential for life. It is the only known planet with these conditions.

My Advice – Never bet against the inerrancy of God’s Word.  It is simply amazing that the account in Genesis was simple enough to be grasped by early man, and complex enough to confound even modern man best theorizing.

 

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. http://www.geologypage.com/2013/10/hadean-eon.html
  3. https://www.britannica.com/science/Hadean-Eon
  4. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  5. Major Contributors and Editors. (2016). Firmament. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  6. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/ozone-layer/
  7. https://earthhow.com/ozone-layer/
  8. https://www.reference.com/science/ozone-layer-5f3afce70d7830e3
  9. http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/09/studying-earths-protective-radiation-belts/
  10. https://futurism.com/recent-news-on-earths-van-allen-radiation-belt.
  11. Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed., p. 53). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.
  12. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  13. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  14. https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/earth-get-water-origin-history-carbonaceous-chondrite-asteroid-big-bang.html
  15. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/universe20110722.html
  16. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:8). Biblical Studies Press.
  17. https://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html

Let’s Call It A Day

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My Musings – What difference does a day make?  This is a question we should not take too “lightly.”

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God Said – This phrase occurs repeatedly in the account of creation and means willed, decreed, or appointed. In each instance the spoken Word of God was followed by an immediate result. “I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay.” (Ezekiel 12:25).

Let There Be Light – The first thing God does is correct the darkness, for without light there is only chaos. The light was natural, physical light. Its creation was an immediate victory because it dispelled darkness. Light and darkness in the Bible are also symbolic of good and evil. Here began God’s work, which will culminate in the age to come when there will be no more darkness. “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness.” (Isaiah 45:6-7).

The Light Was Good – The Hebrew word used here, tov, has a broad range of meaning but generally describes what is desirable, beautiful, or right. God is declaring that what He has created is good. “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).

Separated Light From Darkness – The creation of light did not eliminate darkness, but rather was a separation of the light from the dark matter. On a macro-level, as the cosmos expanded following the “big bang,” the galaxies and stars that were formed grew further and further apart (separated), with the darkness of space in between. On a micro, level, with respect to the earth, the revolution of the earth on its axis, produced the ultimate separation between day and night. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

Day and Night – The division of time into day and night represents one of God’s first acts in the ordering of creation. God is bringing order out of the initial chaos. It’s clear that in the Creation account there are distinct sequences and order. Chaos and randomness are rejected. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalms 19:1-4).

Evening and Morning – The expression “evening and there was morning” specifies the length of a “day” (yom, in Hebrew). While the author may have meant a 24-hour day, less specific interpretations are possible. The Hebrew word yom can refer to a 24-hour cycle [day and night, one revolution of the earth on its axis], the daylight hours [“God called light day”], or an unspecified future “someday.” The meaning of the word, though, does not settle the debate over whether the passage references a literal six-day creation or symbolic days. In addition, while the sun (which marks the change from evening to morning) was not created until the fourth day, presumably the earth was already spinning on its axis for the one revolution that came to mark our days. Following are some of the more prominent explanations for what is meant by “day.”

Literal 24-Hour Days – The days described in Genesis are literally 24-hour periods of time. This is indicated by the phrase “evening and morning” and the coupling of the Hebrew word yom with a number (e.g. “the first day”).

Day/Age – The days of Genesis are a chronological description of the remote past, where each “day” corresponds to a long period of time (e.g., the geologic time periods, eras or epochs).

Progressive Creation – Creation occurred over six 24-hour days, each of which was separated by long periods of time allowing His creation to “be fruitful and multiply.”
Literary Framework – The days of Genesis do not describe a linear sequence of 24-hour days. The first chapter of Genesis conveys a structured outline of creation activity where the description of days 1, 2, and 3 conceptually parallel days 4, 5, and 6. Days 1–3 are preparatory to the acts of days 4–6.  Charles Pfeiffer (The Biblical World, Baker) suggests this pattern:

Work of Dividing                                   Works of Adorning
1st: light                                                     4th: sun, moon, stars
2nd: air and sea                                       5th: birds, fish
3rd: land, plants                                      6th: animals and man

Revelatory Days – The six days described in Genesis are 24-hour periods (more or less), but creation did not occur on those days. Rather, over the course of six days God revealed to the writer how He created the heavens and earth [perhaps like John received the Revelation when he was in the Spirit on the LORD’s “day?”].

Analogical – The six days of creation are an analogy for the normal human work week preceding the Sabbath.

Religious Polemic (Defense/Rebuttal) – The creation described in Genesis reflects ancient pre-scientific cosmology as understood by the ancients, and not the “science” understood by modern man. How one understands the days is less important than the actual purpose of the account, which is to assert that YAHWEH credited with the creation (defense), while discrediting the claims of rival deities (how we have come to revere science?) that are otherwise associated with the cosmology and its descriptive elements (rebuttal).

Appearance of Age – Simply stated, the idea of “creation with appearance of age” means that God created things to superficially look as if they had a been around for a while. For example, when Adam was created, he no doubt looked like a mature adult, fully able to walk, talk, care for the garden, etc. When God created fruit trees, they were already bearing fruit. In each case, what He created was functionally complete right from the start—able to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Stars, created on Day Four, had to be seen to perform their purpose of usefulness in telling time; therefore, their light had to be visible on Earth right from the start. God’s proclamation that the completed creation was “very good” necessitated that it be functionally complete, operating in harmony, with each part fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.

Relative Days – Time is not absolute, or so said Albert Einstein. It is flexible. It can be stretched so it flows at different rates. But the different flows are only observable by comparing one flow of time relative to the other flow of time (relativity). Most people are aware that as speed increases, time slows down relative to time at slower speeds. Someone making a round trip to a distant planet traveling at the speed of light would age much slower than the loved ones he returned to. “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalms 90:4). Fewer people are aware that as space stretches (and along with it the light waves are also stretching), time also slows down, and the universe has stretched a lot since the “big bang.” “He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40;22)

So, how does this help reconcile 13.8 billion or so years to 6,000 or so years? Relative to God’s perspective (looking forward as the universe expanded), each day of creation was a literal 24-hour period. And it continued to be as He continued His creative work. Relative to man’s perspective (looking back on a universe that has expanded enormously) the collective six-days and the “earth” years that have since passed, the universe could very well be 13.8 billion or so years old [and 6,000 or so years old].

Regardless of which view one holds, there is no demonstrated conflict between creationism as it recorded in Genesis and scientific fact. The real conflict is not between God’s revelation in the Bible and scientific fact; it is between some interpretations of what the Bible says and the various scientific theories about the age of the heavens and the earth. In the end, these differences will be reconciled and “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess” their Creator.

And these are but the outer fringe of His works;
how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14)

My Advice – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5, NIV 1984).  Accept the light.  It will be the best “day” of your life.

References

All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/02/28/first-light-ever-shone-universe-picked-astronomers-revolutionary/.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:3). Biblical Studies Press.
Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 28–29). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 1, p. 31). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (pp. 22–23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
https://www.icr.org/article/did-god-create-with-appearance-age/ Institute for Creation Research.
https://sixdayscience.com/six-days-2/.
Geisler, N. L. (1999). Genesis, Days Of. In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (p. 273). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

 

And It Was So

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My Musings – Perspective.  It’s easy to lose sight of it amongst all the scientific jargon and mumbo jumbo.  But if you step back to get a better perspective of the big picture it is beyond awesome (a much overused word).  And yet, “these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14).  Outer fringe?  Faint whisper?  Now that’s perspective for you.

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Beginning – That “singular point” that scientists call “The Big Bang”, in which all matter, energy and time “sprang” into being, was God speaking it all into existence. This was the beginning of time (for us), a period of remote and unknown antiquity, hid in the depths of eternal ages, before the world began.  After all, what is 13.8 billion years (more or less), to a God that was preexistent (to exist beforehand, before time) for all of eternity past (infinite)? And if this all preceded, and was in preparation for, what occurred on the seven “days” of creation that followed, there is no controversy in the aging of the “building materials” that God created, whether is was 13.8 billion years ago or 6000 years ago. “The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.” (Proverbs 8:22-23, emphasis added).

Created – The Hebrew word is “bara,” which in the Old Testament is used exclusively for divine activity (Yahweh is always the grammatical subject). This implies that people cannot create in the way God creates [true], and no lesser “god” can claim to be creator. The term also conveys the idea of ordering and determining function (e.g., underlying physical and thermodynamic laws and principles) to the cosmos. While it always describes the divine activity of fashioning something new, fresh, and perfect, it does necessarily describe creation out of nothing (for example the creation of man), it often stresses forming a new, reforming, renewing (initially the earth was void and without form). Clearly the initial “big bang” was creation out of nothing, but not from nothing. It was from God. After all, what is creating something out of nothing to a God who is omnipotent (having unlimited power; able to do anything)? “By faith we understand that the universe was formed (had a beginning) at God’s command (caused), so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (began to exist).” (Hebrews 11:3)

Heavens and Earth – This expression is frequently employed to denote the world, or universe, for which there was no single word in the Hebrew language; the universe consisting of a twofold whole. The opening (heavens) and closing parentheses (earth) that encompassed the entire creation (cosmos). From God’s perspective (the heavens) to man’s (the earth). From the one sending the revelation to those receiving it. Keeping in mind that those originally receiving the message had not developed scientifically and could not be expected to understand any of that. God was attempting to communicate what, not necessarily the details of how, because the details at that point in time were not necessary. It is, however, interesting to note how man’s advancing scientific “big bang” theory of the beginning (previously the claim was there was no beginning, the universe always existed), has drawn closer to that rudimentary description God originally provided. Interesting, but not surprising. After all, what is the entire cosmos to a God that is infinite (has no boundaries or limits, not confined to the universe He created in time or space)? “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.” (1 Kings 8:27).

Formless and Empty – In the more poetic King James Version, “void and without form.” What else might one expect from the “letting loose” from a single point of origin and in the “blinking of an eye” of all matter and energy to form a universe that stretches to an observable edge of 45.34 billion light-years in radius? After all, what is 45.34 billion light years (times two) to a God that is omnipresent (present everywhere)? The two words (formless and empty) designate a state of material devoid of order, prior to God’s meticulous work on it. There was nothing in it desirable to be seen, for it was “confusion and emptiness,” an alternate translation. It was shapeless, it was useless, it was without inhabitants, without ornaments. Not even the shadow or rough draft of things to come (other than in the mind of the Creator). First, He created the building materials, then He set to building and furnishing it. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalms 8:3-4)

Darkness – Scientists surmise that until around a few hundred million years or so after the Big Bang, the universe was a very dark place, with no stars and no galaxies. God did not create this darkness. Light was not necessary until something was made that might be seen by it. For what is light, to a God’s whose glory and holiness is so bright that no living creature can gaze upon it and live? “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Over the Surface of the Deep – The Hebrew word is tehom, which refers to the primordial or primeval sea—the cosmic waters of chaos. The coincides with the scientific theory that in its beginning, the earth was a giant, red hot, roiling, boiling sea of molten rock – a magma ocean. As the earth began to cool, water vapor began to escape and condense in the earth’s early atmosphere. Clouds formed and storms raged, raining more and more water down on the primitive earth, cooling the surface until it was flooded with water, forming the seas. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Spirit of God Hovered Over the Waters – In the darkness of this chaos (darkness, formless, emptiness) the Spirit of God moved to prepare for the effectual creative Word of God. The Hebrew translated as “hovered” or “moved” means “to brood over; to incubate.” How much of that sense might be attached here is hard to say, but the verb does depict the presence of the Spirit of God moving about mysteriously over the waters, presumably preparing for the acts of creation (Days one through seven) to follow. The earth was formless, so God formed what He wanted. The earth was empty, so God filled up what He had formed. Regrettably, scientists, in general, have no place for the Holy Spirit in what precedes or what follows. Science on the other hand, as we will someday fully appreciate, welcomes its Creator. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6).

My Advice – Simply this, praise God!

References

  1. All Scripture references, unless otherwise indicated are from the New International Version, 1984.
  2. https://www.space.com/25126-big-bang-theory.html
  3. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  4. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  5. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:1). Biblical Studies Press.
  6. Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 1, p. 29). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
  7. https://www.businessinsider.com/size-of-the-universe-2016-8.
  8. Hamilton, V. P. (1995). Genesis. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 11). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  9. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  10. https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/science/firstLight.html
  11. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 4). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  12. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  13. http://www.extremescience.com/earth.htm.
  14. Ross, A. P. (1985). Genesis. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 28). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ge 1:2). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Times and Exact Places

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My Musings – To what extent will God go to save us?  He gave His only Son, what more could we possibly expect?  Though the cost was high, He doesn’t force Himself on us.  He gives us freedom to choose for ourselves.  Yet, He wants that choice to be an informed choice.  So much so, that “He determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live.”  Why? “So that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him.”  And that’s not all.  He stays close.  By our own efforts He is beyond our reach.  So He stays close to us and reaches out to us.  But we still have to “reach our for Him.

There is a parable called the prodigal son.  It is more aptly called the prodigal’s father.  For “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  (Luke 15:20, NIV 1984).  That’s our father.  He’s waiting and watching while we are “a long way off,” “though He is not far from each of us.

My Advice – Don’t question why you are where you are and the time that you are.  There is a reason.  You are in the most likely time and place for you personally to find Him.  Seek Him. Reach out for Him. He is not far off, even though you may be.

Designed by God

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My Musings – Call me an optimist, but I actually believe that creationism and science must be compatible.  God is a God of order.  From disorder (“void and without form“) He brought about order.  This includes the underlying laws of science.  To the extent that current scientific theories appear to contradict intelligent design, means that science has not yet caught up (if it ever can).  But science is handicapped to the extent “as a matter of principle” it automatically rules out a hypothesis that has never been disproven – God created.

As it stands today, the differing viewpoints (the Word of God versus the word of man) appear to be irreconcilable.  Let’s take a look, but I’d bet on the words that are capitalized.

The Word of God – “In the beginning [time] God [cause] created [energy] the heavens [space] and the earth [matter].” (Moses, he spoke with God face-to-face).

In the Beginning – No scientist or historian can improve upon this simple statement. It refutes the atheist, who says there is no God; the agnostic, who claims we cannot know God; the polytheist who worships many gods; the pantheist, who says that all nature is God; the materialist, who claims that matter is eternal and not created; and the fatalist, who teaches that there is no divine plan behind creation and history. God’s personality is seen in this chapter, for He speaks, sees, names, and blesses. The scientist may claim that matter just came into being, that life happened, and that all complex forms of life gradually evolved from lower forms, but he cannot prove his claim. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).

God – Elohim (sometimes El or Elah), the English form “God,” the first of the three primary names of Deity. This name is formed from El, strength, or the strong one, and Alah, to swear, to bind oneself by an oath, implying faithfulness. (Scofield, C. I. (Ed.). (1917). The Scofield Reference Bible: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments (p. viii). New York; London; Toronto; Melbourne; Bombay: Oxford University Press).

Created – The word means that which did not exist before was now made, for the Hebrew word used is not yatsar, which signifies to frame or form, but bara, which signifies to create. This means that the world was made from nothing, refuting those who claim that unformed matter existed from eternity. (Calvin, J., & King, J. (2010). Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis (Vol. 1, p. 70). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software).

The Heavens and the Earth – This phrase refers to the entirety of creation (Cosmos, Universe). The Old Testament often uses opposing word pairs to refer to a totality. (Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 1:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press).

The Word of Man – “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” (Job 38:2-4, NIV 1984).

Time – “Our universe is simply one of those things that happen from time to time.” (Edward Tryon, scientist and a professor emeritus of physics at Hunter College of the City University of New York).

Cause – “The most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing, for nothing.” (Quentin Smith, professor emeritus of philosophy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan).

Energy – “Almost everyone now believes that the Universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big Bang.” (Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge).

Space – “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” (Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science).

Matter – “There is nothing unusual about the earth. It’s an average, unassuming rock that’s spinning mindlessly around an unremarkable star in a run-of-the-mill galaxy – a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” (Carl Sagan, astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences).

Third Rock from the Sun: Expanding Our Understanding  – Adapted from The Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel.

Average Unassuming Rock? – Planets require a minimum mass to retain atmosphere (form oxygen, retain heat). If too big, the surface gravity would be less likely to form ocean basins and mountains (whole earth would be smooth and covered by water). Continental drift, which is found only on earth in our solar system aids in the formation of mountains (no water world). This helps balance greenhouse gases (regulates livable temperatures). The earth’s location, its size, its composition, its structure, its atmosphere, its temperature, its internal dynamics, and its many cycles (carbon, oxygen, etc…), which are essential to life, testify to the degree that our planet is exquisitely and precariously balanced.

Spinning Mindlessly? – Planets in other solar systems usually have elliptical orbits, taking them, at times, too close (too hot, water, critical for life formation evaporates) to their “sun” and at other times too far away (too cold, water freezes, ice ages). The Earth’s orbit has an eccentricity of less than 0.02, which means that it is very close to being circular. In our solar system, Jupiter, because of its mass and gravity, attracts comets before they can penetrate the inner solar system and endanger the earth. Inner planets (Mars and Venus) do the same with asteroids. Our moon stabilizes the tilt of the earth’s axis, making seasons possible. Without the moon, the tilt would swing wildly with major temperature swings. The moon also increases tides, which helps distribute ocean nutrients moderate temperature. The moon “just happens” to be the right size and right distance to help create a habitable planet.

Unremarkable Star? – Our sun is among the top ten percent in mass. With smaller suns, a planet would need to orbit closer to maintain enough heat for liquid water (needed for life). But this would be too close, causing the planet to stop spinning (same side always facing the sun) and large temperature variances between sides. The effect of the flares of our sun compared to most other stars is less heat spike and radiation. Many other stars do not produce enough ultraviolet light, which is necessary for oxygen to build. Light is stable preventing temperature swings. The sun’s metallicity is near golden, which contributed to formation of its planets. The sun’s circular orbit is unusual compared to other stars its age, keeping our solar system (and hence the earth) from getting too close to spiral arms in the galaxy.

Run of the Mill Galaxy? – The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy with “safe zones” between the spiral arms (such as where the earth is) for habitability. These zones are away from exploding star formations and the nucleus (black hole) that has destructive energy and high radiation. Outer regions do not have enough work heavy elements to form planets. Elliptical galaxies are less massive and luminous, and do not have enough heavy elements for planets to form. Irregular galaxies are distorted and appear ripped apart, with no safe zones for planet formation and existence.

“And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 25:14, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Don’t bet against intelligent design.  It “might” not be an intelligent bet.