Part 1 of 2

The Days of Creation

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” —Genesis 1:31

IN THE Book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-five, verse nine, the great God and Creator of the universe says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” A moment’s reflection emphasizes the truthfulness of this statement. Indeed, when we consider the wisdom manifested in the works of God with which we are surrounded, and as demonstrated in all the far-flung reaches of the universe, we realize that his thoughts must be higher than ours. But in his infinite wisdom, and by his great ability, he is able to convey to our puny minds at least some of his high thoughts relating to his human creation.

God speaks to us in our own language, for how else could we understand what he says? Speaking of the writers of the Old Testament books, the Apostle Peter explains that they wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; that is, the power of God. (II Pet. 1:21) Just how the power of the Almighty conveyed to the prophets what he wished recorded is beyond the comprehension of our finite minds. This is one evidence of God’s wisdom and ability that is as far above the capacity of our minds to understand as the heavens are higher than the earth.

We open this lesson with these thoughts because it will deal with a chapter in the Bible, which, in its thirty-one short verses, reveals a sequence of steps in which the Creator prepared the earth for plant and animal life, carrying forward the work of establishing the earth until it became a fit habitation for man. Geologists and astronomers have written countless pages on the same subject, and basically have told us nothing that is not contained in these thirty-one verses. Instead, they have done much to confuse and distort the facts as they are now becoming more and more recognized.

Our contention is, then, that only God, who understood all the facts of creation because he was the Master Workman, could have caused them to be written in so few, yet meaningful, words. Even so great a geologist as the late Professor J. D. Dana, of Yale University, asserted with great emphasis that the wisdom displayed in this chapter cannot be accounted for in any other way than to have been inspired by God, the great Architect of creation whose work it describes.

The Beginning

The opening verse of the chapter is a simple statement of fact—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Few will deny that the heaven and the earth did have a beginning, and here we are told that the Creator was responsible for it. It does not attempt to tell us how. The creative forces put into motion by God which brought into being the countless millions of worlds and set them spinning through space under orderly control would be quite beyond our comprehension in any case. Nor has man, even man of this so-called brain age, discovered any further information concerning creation than the few simple words set forth in this verse. There are many theories of creation, but they are only theories. Astronomers now think the universe is continually expanding, but they are not sure. What seems to be an expanding universe may be merely the astronomers’ expanding ability to see more of it.

Oh yes, modern man has acquired a great deal of information. He even knows how to split an atom, but since he does not know how to make an atom, or how atoms were made, he has nothing whereof to boast. Atoms, we are told, are the building blocks of nature. This is doubtless true, but to know this does not take us beyond the simple statement of Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

God could have had that text read, “In the beginning, by the use of atoms, the heaven and the earth were created.” But then, how much more would we have known? We would have to ask, “What is an atom?” and the real answer to this question would have been beyond our ability to understand, so the Lord knew it was better not to tantalize us with details which we could never comprehend.

From this simple statement of Genesis 1:1, we learn that the heaven and the earth were already in existence when the work of the six creative days, described in the remainder of the chapter, began. “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” verse two informs us. The earth ‘was’, because already created, but ‘without form and void’, or empty. Its fixed contour, as designed by God, had not been reached. There were neither mountains nor valleys, trees nor shrubs, rivers nor oceans. It was void, or empty, of all forms of life.

“The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (vs. 2) The word Spirit, used here, translates a Hebrew word the basic meaning of which is ‘wind’. Its broader meaning is ‘invisible power’, and the ancients used it to describe the unseen and inexplicable power of God. The Lord tells us, then, that the shapeless, empty earth was prepared for human habitation through the exercise of his power. More than this we could not understand.

By reasoning from the known to the unknown we reach the conclusion that there are invisible forces beyond the reach of human understanding and control. While in our modern world we believe we know more about power than did the ancients, it would perhaps be more correct to say that man has now learned just a little in the way of harnessing power. Beginning with the steam engine, and then on to the electric dynamo and motor; gasoline engines; electronics; and the split atom, we have witnessed the exercise of power millions of times greater than is contained in our own brawn and muscle.

Yes, we see railroad trains a mile long hauled along the tracks at sixty to ninety miles an hour, through the controlled use of evaporating water or burning oil; we see a giant flying machine rise from the ground carrying scores of passengers and tons of freight, and force itself through the air at from three hundred to five hundred miles an hour. Seeing these, and the many other modern uses of power, we say to ourselves, perhaps, How wonderful is man, and how marvelous are his creative works!

But hold! Just what has man created? Basically, nothing. He has simply learned how to use—in many instances, misuse—some of the materials which God had already created. He has learned how, in a very limited way, to use these materials without really understanding what they are, or how they were created. The molecules of iron, they say, are held together by magnetism; but what is magnetism? Oh, magnetism is an electrical energy. But what is electricity? No answer!

So on down the line from coal to hydrogen, which, when used to power bombs, might well destroy the world. Should we ask your most brilliant scientists just why, basically, these substances behave as they do, if they replied at all it would be to say they do not know, or else admit the truth, which is that they are creations of God and contain in various forms the invisible and unexplainable power of God. And, after all, how limited is man’s control of divine energy which has been bottled up in the things which God has created! How helpless is man, with his gadgets, in the face of a tornado, a flood, or an electrical storm!

So, the Spirit, the power of God moved upon the face of the waters; that is, the creative work continued, as it had begun, by the use of divine power. When we consider the amount of power stored up in a single atom, and realize the Creator produced all the power of all the atoms in the countless millions of worlds which he had created, our faith can readily lay hold upon the fact that such a God could easily accomplish his design in preparing this planet for the habitation of man.

“God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (vs. 3) This is in sequence to the statement that darkness was upon the face of the waters. God’s power was exercised. At his command light emerged from darkness. Where did it come from and where did the darkness go when the light took its place? Job was asked this question but could not answer, nor can our Einsteins of today. (Job 38:18-21) Beyond the fact that light thus appeared at this very early stage in the earth’s preparation for man, we know little.

“God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (vss. 4,5) Since nothing in this account has yet been said about the sun, which provides the measuring line of our twenty-four hour days, it is apparent that the Lord is here using the word day in its broader scriptural application, to denote, that is, a period of time, or era, during which certain things came about. We speak, for example, of Washington’s day, and Lincoln’s day. The first day of creation was the period of time during which the developments described in verses two through five took place.

Some have mistakenly concluded that because the beginning and closing of the creative days are described as the evening and the morning, the reference must be to twenty-four hour sun days, but the Scriptures do not restrict us to such an interpretation. The Prophet David speaks of the entire period when sin and death reign in the earth as a ‘night’, saying, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”—Ps. 30:5

The eve of an event looks toward its beginning, so appropriately, the beginning of each creative day is referred to as the evening. To us the evening introduces the night, which is a time of darkness, and each of the creative days did begin in a measure of obscurity and darkness. Not until the developments designed for each period were nearing completion did the light of the morning reveal the purpose of the mysterious workings of divine power during that day.

The first creative period is properly designed as azoic, meaning lifeless. The main development of this day was the appearance of light, how and from whence, our minds cannot comprehend. The simple statement that it was accomplished by the power of God is all we can grasp. A dog can be taught certain things, but it cannot understand all its master does. But the fact that the dog is so limited in understanding does not prove the things which are beyond its mental grasp are not real, or do not exist.

The Second Day

“God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” (vss. 6-8) Here is described the creation of the atmosphere surrounding the earth.

Neither animate nor inanimate life on earth can exist without air. Logically, therefore, the creative work of this day must precede the creation of life. And this marvelous arrangement of the water under the firmament and the waters above the firmament contributes to life, not only through the direct use of the hydrogen and oxygen by plants and animals, for we see God’s wisdom and economy again displayed in the creative work of this day in the arrangement for the cycles of life-giving waters from the oceans to the clouds, back to earth into the oceans, and again to the clouds, that the land might be kept properly moistened to produce the needed food for man and beast. See Job 38:25-28

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