Creation—Part 1

Today Creationism is asserting itself, claiming the scientific evidence that all matter and distinct species of plant and animal life, including man, are the result of intelligent creation, and that this is far more tangible than the vague theories of Evolutionists.

They rightfully assert that belief in a created beginning should not be merely a religious concept, but as a science, should be given equal importance with the predominant study of evolution in educational curriculum.

To this we heartily agree—and reason further that statements made by the Creator himself, even though relegated by many to the field of religion, should agree with the evidence of science.

Does not this seem logical?

“Evening and Morning”

THE Bible’s approach to the subject of creation starts with the reasonable assumption that a Creator, an intelligent First Cause, already existed—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) While many scientists lack faith in the existence of a personal Creator, attributing all the creative works to the operation of natural law, there are many others who admit their inability to explain the operation of natural law except from the standpoint that back of it there is an intelligent Lawgiver. And many scientists today are freely admitting that the Darwinian theory of evolution has not been proven, hence should not be accepted as the answer to the problem of creation.

Professor Beale, of King’s College, London, a distinguished physiologist, said: “There is no evidence that man has descended from, or is, or was, in any way specially related to any other organism in nature, through evolution, or by any other process, in support of all naturalistic conjectures concerning man’s origin, there is not, at this time, a shadow of scientific evidence.”

Professor Virchow, a naturalist of worldwide fame, said: “The attempt to find the transition from the animal to man has ended in total failure. The middle link has not been found and never will be. Evolution is all nonsense. It cannot be proved by science that man descended from the ape or from any other animal.”

Sir William Dawson, an eminent geologist of Canada, said: “The record of the rocks is decidedly against evolutionists, especially in the abrupt appearance of new forms under specific types and without apparent predecessors. … Paleontology furnishes no evidence as to the actual transformation of one species into another. No such case is certainly known. Nothing is known about the origin of man except what is told in Scripture.”

A moment’s reflection upon the immensity and grandeur of the universe should suffice to convince us that behind all this display of intelligence and power must be the design of a great Being who is not only the Creator, but one who is worthy of our reverence and worship as God. Well did the prophet write that only the foolish say in their hearts, “There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1) David wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1,2) Surely no truer statement of fact than this has ever been written!

An appreciation of the infinite power of the Creator and of our littleness should make us teachable. And how marvelously is the power of God manifested in his creative works! Think for a moment of our own solar system, which is but an infinitely small part of the universe. We would stand appalled at the great power of the Creator did not the Scriptures assure us that he is as loving and kind as he is wise and powerful.

The Creative Days

The six days of creation outlined in the first chapter of Genesis are descriptive, not of the creation of the earth, but of its gradual preparation for vegetable and animal life. Genesis 1:2 explains that, as originally created, it was “without form and void”; that is, its ultimate contour, as God designed it, had not been developed, and it was empty of all forms of life. There were neither mountains nor valleys, trees nor shrubs, rivers nor oceans; but the earth “was.”

A recognition of the division made in Genesis between the creation of the earth and its later preparation to be the home of man eliminates all need for controversy between science and the Bible concerning the age of the earth or the length of time required for its creation.

It is the so-called fundamentalist viewpoint of Genesis which is in sharp conflict with the well-established facts of science. This viewpoint, briefly stated, is that approximately six thousand years ago the sun, moon, and stars, together with our own planet, Earth, were created in six twenty-four-hour days. Such a view cannot be substantiated in the light of science today.

But this does not mean that the Bible itself, surveyed in the light of its own revealing testimony, is not scientifically correct. If science can prove that millions of years elapsed during which this earth came into being as a shapeless, empty mass, well and good. The Scriptures neither deny nor affirm these guesses and near-guesses of the scientists, but state simply that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

And what is even more important for the student of God’s Word to note is that the six days of Genesis (chapter one), during which the earth, already created, was undergoing stages of gradual preparation for human habitation, were not short periods of twenty-four hours. They were, rather, epochs of time sufficiently long to permit the accomplishment of the work assigned to each.

In view of the wide scriptural use of the term “day,” it is strange anyone should conclude that the creative days of Genesis were only twenty-four hours in length—in fact, Genesis 2:4 refers to the entire creative period as one day.

The Bible speaks of “the day of temptation in the wilderness,” which was forty years long. It prophesies the coming of “the day of God’s wrath,” a period of time at this end of the age in which the selfish kingdoms of this world are set aside, preparatory to the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom. The Bible also refers to “the day of judgment,” which is to be a thousand years long. It will be during that thousand years that Christ will reign over the earth to bestow God’s promised blessing of life upon a sin-sick and dying world.

Not only in the Bible, but outside it as well, the term “day” often relates to a period of time longer than twenty-four hours. We speak, for example, of Washington’s day, of Lincoln’s day. It is in this sense that the term is used in Genesis. That the creative days were not twenty-four-hour periods, the length of which is controlled by the relationship of the earth to the sun, is apparent from the fact that the sun was not made to rule the day until the fourth creative epoch.

Another internal evidence substantiating the fact that the time divisions of Genesis, called days, were not twenty-four-hour periods is found in the description of what occurred during those days. Concerning the fifth day, for example, we read that “God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”—Gen. 1:21

It should be observed that the fish and fowl were not merely created during the fifth day, in order to bring forth their own kind in later days, but rather, they were created and brought forth during that one “day.” This language clearly indicates a lapse of time sufficient to permit the waters in a natural way to swarm with fish, and for a plentiful supply of birds to multiply. The development during the other days similarly indicates the passing of long periods of time.

The Genesis sequence of progress, from one epoch to another, harmonizes with the findings of geology, which indicate that there was a slow and orderly progression in the appearance of plant and animal life. First came lichen and mosses, then grasses and herbs, while fossils of trees and other higher forms of vegetation are found for the first time in a stratum immediately below that in which feathered birds made their initial appearance.

Geological evidences clearly reveal, even as the Bible states, that the first forms of animal life upon this planet were creeping sea creatures. Their remains are found in the lowest stratum, rare and fully preserved. In the Cambrian rock stratum next above are found fossils of trilobites and other shellfish in abundance. Immediately above this appear the fossils of fish of a very low order, without backbone or skeleton, but possessing fins which enabled them to swim.

Then, in the layer next above are found fish of a higher order—vertebrates with full skeletons—similar to many of the varieties with which we are familiar today. Above these are found amphibians—froglike or lizardlike creatures which were able to live both in the water and on the land. Then came reptiles, then birds, then mammals, and finally man, who was the crowning feature of God’s earthly creation.

The Scriptural Outline

“Let there be light: and there was light.” Thus, briefly, is summed up the result of the first creative day. This result was accomplished, the Scriptures declare, by the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters. The nature and physical cause of light is as yet but imperfectly comprehended. We do know that it is a prime essential throughout nature, and, as should be expected, it was first in the divine order when the time came for the Creator to prepare the waste and empty earth for human habitation.

“The evening and the morning were the first day.” As with the Hebrew lunar days, so also with these epoch days, the evening came first, which marked the beginning of a gradual accomplishment of the divine purpose, reaching its culmination in the morning of that day, or epoch. This first period, or day, of Genesis is scientifically described as azoic, or lifeless.

The work of the second day (Gen. 1:6-8) was wholly devoted to the production of an atmosphere. This was probably accomplished in a natural way, as are many of God’s wonderful works, though nonetheless of his devising, ordering, and creating. The Scriptures state that the firmament, or atmosphere, which was then caused to surround the earth, separated waters which were above it from those below.

This would indicate that previous to the creation of atmosphere as it now surrounds the earth, the entire planet was virtually encased in a canopy or ring of moisture so dense that there was little difference between it and the waters which lay upon the earth’s crust. When the morning time of the second day ended, the divine intention respecting it was complete. The separation of the clouds and vapors above the earth from the surface waters by an atmosphere had been fully accomplished.

The work of the third creative day is described in Genesis 1:9-13. It was the dividing of land and water upon the earth, and the development of vegetation. Geology fully corroborates this record. It points out to us that as the earth’s crust cooled, the weight of waters would tend to make it kink and buckle. Those parts being depressed became ocean beds, while those forced up by the buckling constituted mountain ranges.

It is not necessary to assume that all changes of this kind occurred in the one epoch. It is more reasonable to conclude that the third day merely witnessed the beginning of this work to a sufficient degree of progress to make possible the introduction of vegetation. Geology indicates that some changes in the earth’s surface are of comparatively recent date. Still further changes may occur.

As the waters drained off into the seas, vegetation sprang forth, each after its own kind, with seed in itself to reproduce its own species. This matter is so fixed by the laws of the Creator that although horticulture can and does do much to give variety, yet it cannot change the actual nature of species. The different families of vegetation will no more unite and blend than will the various animal species. This shows design, which can be accounted for only by acknowledging the existence of a supreme and intelligent Creator.

Geology agrees that vegetation preceded the higher forms of animal life, even as the Scriptures show. In this early period, vegetation was extremely rank in growth. Mosses, ferns, and vines grew immensely larger and more rapidly than now, because the atmosphere was laden with carbonic and nitrogenous gases. Plants which now grow only a few inches or a few feet high, even at the equator, then attained a growth of forty to eighty feet, with a diameter sometimes of two feet or more, as is demonstrated by fossil remains.

It was during this period, geologists claim, that our coal beds were formed. Plants and mosses having a great affinity for carbonic acid gas, stored up within themselves the carbon which formed coal, preparing thus our present coal deposits, while purifying the atmosphere for the animal life of the later epoch days. These vast peat bogs and moss beds in turn were covered over by sand and clay, washed over them by further upheavals and depressions of the earth’s surface. This procedure must have been repeated many times, for coal beds are found one above another with various strata of clay, sand, and limestone separating them. Thus the work of the third epoch day progressed. In geology, this period is styled the carboniferous era.

Sun and Moon Appear

“God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Gen. 1:16) It is unnecessary to suppose that the sun and moon were created after our earth. We may as properly lay stress on the word rule in this passage, as on the word made. The thought is that God caused the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night. The sun and the moon existed long before this; but not until the waters above and below the firmament were separated, and other changes had occurred in preparation for life upon the earth, could the light from the sun and the moon penetrate sufficiently to divide the day from the night.

Nor is it necessary to assume that the sun shone as brightly upon the earth then as now. It was discernible even though shining through heavy banks of fog and a carbon-laden atmosphere. In the progressive work of preparing the earth for the higher forms of vegetation and animal life, it is logical that the Scriptures should remind us at this point that the influence of the sun became necessary toward this end.

That the Bible does not attempt to give us further details is strong evidence of divine overruling in its writing. God knew that the human mind would be utterly unable to grasp the scientific processes by which the sun, or, as a matter of fact, any other part of the universe, was actually made. Were the Genesis account of creation merely the guesses of an ambitious human, he could not have restrained himself from the urge to relate many details which would have no other foundation than his own imagination.

During the fifth epoch day of Genesis, fish and birds were created. (Gen. 1:20-23) The extent to which warm oceans at that time swarmed with living creatures, from the jellyfish to the whale, may be judged by the profusion of life in the warm southern seas of the present time. Reptiles, living partly in the water and partly on the land—amphibians—belong also to this period.

There doubtless was an overlapping of the fourth epoch work into the fifth day, when continents and islands were gradually rising and subsiding. This would account for the remains of shellfish now found in the highest mountains. The immense beds of limestone in all parts of the earth are sometimes called ‘shellfish cemeteries’, because they are composed almost exclusively of conglomerate shells.

In this connection it is well to note, for whatever significance may be attached to it, that the Bible does not state that God created separately and individually all the myriad kinds of fish and reptiles. Divine energy, called the Spirit of God, brooded over the waters, and they brought forth living creatures according to God’s design. The processes are not declared—one species may, under divinely arranged conditions, have developed into another. Or from the same original protoplasm different orders of creatures may have developed, according to varying circumstances. No one really knows, and it is unwise to be dogmatic on this point. It is not for us to dispute that even the protoplasm of the Paleozoic slime may have come into existence through chemical action of the highly mineralized waters of those seas.

What we do hold is that all came about as a result of divine intention and arrangement, hence that all the various forms of life were created by God, whatever may have been the channels and agencies used. We claim further, on the authority of God’s Word, and verified by all scientific tests, that when the Creator’s intention concerning each species had been reached, no further change was possible. In all the ages since, no changes in species of either plant or animal life have ever been produced.

Man Created

The sixth creative day spans the period of time during which the higher forms of the brute creation were brought forth, and toward its close, man was created. (Gen. 1:24-31) By the beginning, or evening, of the sixth day, conditions on the earth were becoming more settled. The earth’s crust was thicker by hundreds of feet of sand, clay, coal, and various other minerals. The earth’s surface was sufficiently above the sea and well enough drained by mountain ranges and valleys to be ready for the lower animals. These the Scriptures divide into three general kinds: first, earth reptiles, cold-blooded breathing lizards, snakes, etc.; second, beasts of the earth, or wild beasts; third, domestic animals especially suited to be companions for man, and referred to here as cattle.

By this time the air was purified. The rank vegetation of the carboniferous period had absorbed from the air the excessive hydrocarbons which previous to this time would have destroyed breathing fowl and animals. We may reasonably assume that it was toward the close of the sixth epoch day that God created man. His creation was the last of this period. It was in preparation for man, whom God appointed king of the earth, that the work of the creative epochs had been carried forth.

In the Image of God

In describing the creation of man the Scriptures use a very different expression from that employed to explain the previous creative processes. It is not, “Let the earth bring forth,” as in the case of the lower animals but, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Whatever may be said in favor of a possible limited evolutionary process in the creation of the lower animals, this language permits of no such interpretation concerning the creation of man. The detailed statement of Genesis 2:7 makes this fact even more positive. There we read, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Not only is man said to have been created in the image of God but he was fitted to rule over the beasts of the field. He was endowed with the gift of speech, and was able to reason rather than to be guided merely by instinct. He was given ability to discern between right and wrong, and a conscience to guide him. Man was also given a capacity to enjoy harmony of sound, as in music. Gorillas and monkeys have no music in their souls, nor do they have voices capable of producing harmonious sounds.

Man was also endowed with a faculty for worship, which, perhaps more than any other one thing, separates him from the lower animals. This was one of the qualities which reflected in him the image of God. He was so constituted as naturally to reverence and desire to serve his Creator.

That man should be thus created is surely a marvelous manifestation of divine wisdom. If we could imagine the human race endowed as it is with intelligence and yet utterly devoid of any sense of moral responsibility toward a higher power, the tragic chaos and horrible suffering that would result is readily discernible.

The harmonious functioning of God’s great universe of inanimate worlds is due to obedience to divine law—blind obedience, to be sure, but obedience nevertheless. Should we expect that man, the highest order of God’s earthly creatures, could fulfill the purpose of his creation without obeying the laws of God? But the fact that man was created in the image of God and given the ability to obey or disobey, lifts his obedience out of the mechanical into the intelligent and voluntary.

To render intelligent and voluntary obedience to divine law, it was necessary that man be endowed with the desire and ability to recognize the need and advantages of obedience. Such recognition is possible only through belief and conviction that the Creator, as God, is worthy of being obeyed and to such a full extent that one’s whole being belongs to him and should be devoted to the doing of his will. This is true worship, the faculty for and proper use of which will yet result in the entire human race living happily on this earth forever!

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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