18. Genesis 1
— Major Theories —
The creation account tells us where everything came from, and mankind is so curious about its origins that many billions have been spent in trying to figure it out. And because over the last two centuries some deep insights have been gained in this, the story of Genesis 1 is no longer the sole authority. Trouble is that Genesis 1 seems to reveal completely different proceedings than the fossil record and the Hubble telescope.
Paul writes in Romans 1:20 that God's invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature can be clearly seen through what has been made. And the Psalmists exclaim numerous times that the skies declare God's grace, creation God's intend. We really shouldn't fear to look closely at what has been made and try to learn from it. And we certainly should not accept interpretations of Scriptures that are obviously flawed, just to have something to believe. There's no gold good enough to make a Golden Calf that is either effective for us or pleasing to the Lord.
The 6 x 24 Hours Theory
Traditionally, the creation week was seen as 6 (or 7) periods of 24 hours in which planet earth was created. Today only small enclaves of traditional churches cling to this interpretation.
The 7th day is not concluded and cannot be a 24 hour period. Furthermore, the 24 hour day comes from the rotation of the earth; facing the sun's rays during the day and away from them during the night. If the sun was created on the 4th day, where does the light of day 1 come from, and how can the first 3 days be 24 hour days?
This interpretation is not congruent with the fossil record, which means that either Genesis 1 is a lie or the fossil record. Some have argued that God created the earth with the fossils in it, in order to test our faith in His Word, but that goes flat against the nature of God as described in Scriptures. God does not ever lie or trick us by presenting confusing data.
The 6 x 24 theory leaves earth to be approximately 4000 years old which is not consistent with scientific observations.
A very strong point of the 6x24 theory which cannot be denied
The 6x24 theory is the only popular theory that stays true to the word yom, which only means 'day' anywhere in Scriptures. The problem that arises when the fossil record is viewed is however not addressed by this theory, and its yom-victory is void.
The Ostrich Approach
When the various scientific theories began to gain authority, the religious crowd needed to adjust their beliefs in order to ensure being taken serious. Hence the 'head in the sand' approach. Genesis 1 is 'only' a myth and shouldn't be taken seriously and certainly not literally.
When God deployed His Law into Israel He argued His authority by identifying Himself as the one who created the heavens and the earth in six days (Exodus 20:1 & 11). If that's a myth, God and His Law are myths and Jesus, who fulfilled the Law, is also a myth. It is impossible to maintain that the creation account is a myth, and the rest is true. The Bible is either entirely true or entirely false. Jesus once said that we should be either hot or cold - stand where we stand, believe what we truly believe - but not lukewarm.
If Genesis 1 is an untrue representation of our origin, why was it preserved? Think of the flat-earth hypothesis, the heliocentric model, alchemy, bloodletting, the steady state model, superstring theory... all abandoned myths which science debunked. Now science has revealed that the universe did not come about in 6 days, and is far from ± 4000 years old. Still, Genesis 1 is part of the most loved and most revered documents man has. Why hasn't it been abandoned like all the other folly myths?
Lincoln once said, "You can fool all people once, and some people all the time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time". No explaining or coercing can make anything that important; the love of Genesis must have come from within, a natural, fundamental kinship of mankind over many centuries with a story that no one understood.
Not a myth. Just something else.
The Gap Theory
Made famous by Hall Linsey, this particular idea demands that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 a gap in the narrative exists. The word translated with 'was' (the earth was void and formless) may also mean 'became' (the earth became void and formless). It is then believed that God created the heavens and the earth in a perfect state but that the angelic insurrection which identified Lucifer as Satan, wrecked it all. Satan was thrown to earth (Revelation 12:4 & 9) and hence it became void and formless.
Scriptures link earth's decay to the fall of man (Genesis 3) and the work of Christ consists of the salvation of the sons of Adam that still suffer his fall. If the gap-theory is anywhere near true, there must have been some kind of restoration after the fall of Satan in order to produce Paradise. The Bible does not speak of any such proceedings, nor does it present the cosmic situation to consist of two distinct fallings. Rather is the fall of Satan and the fall of man considered to be one and the same event. Satan revolted and dragged man with him, all described in Genesis 3. Before the fall things were perfect. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was perfect, Lucifer before he became Satan was perfect, and mankind was perfect. The gap-theory leaves God to be a clumsy creator and a lousy manager. Didn't He know His own rule that anything that can go wrong must go wrong? Create an unstable situation and let it run indefinitely will certainly cause trouble.
There's not a whiff of beef to the gap-theory; it does not explain anything, is not congruent with either scientific records or Scriptural revelations and is a myth at most.
The Framework or Kingdom Theory
Probably the most favored theory among academics this idea organizes the six days in three groups of two. It is said that God first created three kingdoms (space on day 1, water on day 2, and land on day 3) and then filled them with inhabitants (celestial bodies on day 4 to occupy the space of day 1, sea-dwellers on day 5 to occupy the waters of day 2, and land-dwellers on day 6 to occupy the land of day 3).
Space (or the heavens) was certainly created on day 1, but so was earth and also the waters (because that's what God's Spirit hovered over). On day 3 the earth is not created but made dry. On day 2 the waters are separated, not created. What is created on day 2 is the firmament that separates the waters. This firmament is again called the heavens. Moreover, on day 5 not only sea-dwellers are created but also birds that are to breed on earth. The kingdom-theory consists of an organization which gravely distorts the story. It is simply inconsistent.
The kingdom theory demands that God created realms first and then filled them with inhabitants. Nowhere in Scriptures is this done this way. In fact, making kingdoms for people is done so often and always in the same way, that a principle may be derived: the Voyager Principle.
The Voyager Principle
In the making of a kingdom, the people are always created first, they are always misplaced in some form or other, go on a journey and then arrive at their rightful place of residence.
Examples of the Voyager phenomenon:
- God creates Adam outside the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:7) then He places him there (2:8 & 15).
- Abraham is called, then brought to Canaan.
- Jacob is called, then brought to Canaan.
- Israel emerges, then brought to Canaan.
- Even the Body of Christ is made, then brought to the New Jerusalem.
The kingdom theory suggests that God started creation in a way which is opposite to the way it evolved. Very unlikely.
And if that isn't enough, the kingdom theory doesn't explain anything. It doesn't explain why or how, it only suggests a structure that doesn't even exist. The only common ground the Kingdom Theory has with the creation account is that it is void and formless.
The validity of any Creation Theory hinges on how it gets away with the six explicit days mentioned in the account.
Let's have a look at:
The yom problem →