THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
Genesis 1 contains the account of the creation of the material universe. . In addition, there are a few supplementary facts revealed in the first seven verses of Genesis 2. The word universe is derived from Latin and means “all together,” the totality of all things that exist, the cosmos, the world, the heavens and the earth. The Genesis account is the only reliable information we have on the subject, and it contains what God's people should believe about how the world came into existence. Jesus verified the authenticity of the Genesis account when He said to the Pharisees, “Have you not read that He who at the beginning made them male and female and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh...Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate'” (Matthew 19:4-6). Jesus revealed here that the Genesis account of creation was to be understood literally. He affirms that the marriage of Adam and Eve was the first marriage and established the fact that marriage is a Divine institution. So we can dismiss at once the opinion that the Genesis account of creation is not true history, but only a legendary tradition of the ancient Hebrew people. Genesis 1 is not written in figurative language.
As we begin the study of the Creation Week, the controversial question arises, were the six days of creation ordinary twenty four hour days or did each day last millions and millions of years? Now, both cannot be true. If one is true, the other is false. In my study of Genesis 1 and 2, I find no evidence whatsoever. that the six days of creation were anything other than twenty four hour days. Much circumstantial evidence exists that prove they were ordinary days. First, if you will sit down and read Genesis 1, you will find nothing in the writing itself that would give the slightest indication that each day lasted millions of years. I read it and I couldn't find anything that would suggest such long periods of time. There is nothing in the chapter itself that even remotely suggests such an idea. We learn from this that the idea did not originate in the Bible but came from outside the Bible. A second evidence is found in verse 5 which says, “So the evening and morning were the first day.” One morning and one evening are mentioned as forming one day. If the day was a million years in length, you would have a half million years of daylight and a half million years of darkness.. This presents a scientific problem. How could trees, plants, and vegetables grow during a million years of darkness? This is an unscientific idea. This necessarily implies that the six days of creations were six periods of days just as we know them.
Another strong evidence for a twenty four hour day is the testimony of the man who wrote Genesis 1 and 2.. Open your Bible to Exodus 20:11 where Moses was explaining why Israel should observe the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship. Moses said they should observe the Sabbath, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This implies that the first day of creation was a Sunday and continued for six successive days, and God finished His creative work on Friday. God rested on Saturday in the sense that no more creative work was done. The creation of the universe was completed in six days, and for this reason Saturday was hallowed and became the day of rest and worship for God's Old Testament people. We have no other explanation than the Genesis account of creation for the division of time into seven twenty four hour days, which make up a week (fifty two of which make up a year). I can't imagine God saying He hallowed a day that lasted a million years.
I will present one more evidence that the days in Genesis 1 were indeed twenty four hour days, and it may be the strongest evidence of all. If Moses had knowledge of the creation account, it is implied the world from Adam to Moses(2500 years) knew about it and understood the creation days to be ordinary days. The Hebrew people for 1500 years believed the creative days were twenty four hour days, for their very calendar was based on twenty four hour days. Saturday, the seventh day, commemorated the creation of the world by Jehovah God. If those days were millions of years long, we would have to conclude all who lived from Adam to Moses wee misled, and the nation of Israel was misinformed for fifteen centuries, believing something that was not really true. But this is not all. Not only were the Jews deceived for 1500 years, but Christians also were deceived for 1800 years. So far as we know from the records of history, Christians believed the world was created in six twenty four hour days until the year 1859 when Charles Darwin published his book, “The Origin of Species”, in which he introduced to the world the theory of Evolution. It was only after this date that people began to believe that the six days of creation lasted millions of years. Our learned friends would have believe that the human race had no way of understanding Gen. 1, and was in ignorance until Charles Darwin wrote his book in the 19th century A.D..
Having now established a very important truth about Genesis 1, let us now turn to the creation week and see how our world came into existence. Most of Genesis 1 is very easily understood. The record is well written and the facts are clearly stated.. The only difficult part is the first day of creation as related in the first five verses of Genesis 1. It will help
us to understand what happened on the first day of creation if we keep in mind that this very first day was an ordinary twenty four hour day, and
everything mentioned in verses 1-5 was all accomplished in a twenty four hour period. It doesn't take God a million years when He wants to make something.
The first thing that happened on the first day of creation is expressed in verse 1 which says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Now there are two questions to be answered. Who did the creating and just what did He create? Moses said God did the creating, but was it God the Father, God the Son , or God the Holy Spirit? .At the time of this creation, there were three persons in the Godhead and all were present on this occasion. We know this for on the sixth day God said, “Let us make man in our image...” The plural pronouns “us” and “ours” most likely is a reference to the other two persons in the Godhead. This indicates all three had a part in the creation. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This is the same beginning as in Gen. 1:1 When the heavens and earth were created, someone was with God at that time called the Word and is said also to be God.. This being called the Word was the second person of the Godhead. Twice John said this person was with God in the beginning and then John adds , “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Later in the same chapter John says this one called the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. It was the second person of the Godhead who came to this world to live for 33 years, and He assumed the form of Jesus of Nazareth. Paul also tells us that this same person was with God at the time of the creation. Col. 1:16 and John 1:10 proclaim that all things were created through God the Son and for God the Son.
Therefore, we know who it was who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth. It was not God the Father, but the second person of the Godhead. We are distinctly told this world was made by Him and for Him. The world was made for the second person because He was to come and live in this world.. At that time He was not Jesus, but He was the One who came to this world and assumed the form of Jesus. It can also be rightly said that God the Father created the heavens and earth, even as Moses said, but He did not do it personally. He used the second person as his agent and creator. If I authorize a contractor to build me a house, can I not say I built the house. I simply used him as an agent to do the work. In the same way, the Father planned the creation and used the second person to do the creative work. The creation of the universe was a combined. effort of the Trinity. In creating the world, the Second Person was simply carrying out the will of the First Person.
The doctrine of the Trinity was not understood by Moses or the nation of Israel. The New Testament gives us a fuller understanding of Genesis 1:1. We now know which person in the Godhead did the creating on the first day. It was God the Son.
The next question is, “ What did He create? To answer that question we must go to verse 2 which says, “The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Verse 1 tells us God created the heavens and earth, and verse 2 tells us what the world looked like on that first day. It wasn't a pleasant sight. The earth had come into existence, but what was its condition?. It was without form and void and covered with water and in utter darkness. Void means it was not inhabited by human life, animal or fish life. All life was created later in the creation week. It was without form, which seems to mean that it was not fully organized with respect to land and water. It could not be seen, being submerged in water. No life existed on it, and it was totally unready for human habitation. This tells us something very important about the first day of creation. On that first day, the universe was not completely formed. The sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day. To say the least, it appears that on the first day, the universe was in a crude form of existence; it was incomplete and much remained to be done.
I think it is reasonable to conclude that on the first day that all the matter of which our universe is composed came into existence, but most of the creative work remained yet to be done. I studied Astronomy in Indiana University, and I learned in that study that there are 92 Chemical elements in the universe, from which every thing in the universe is made. These 92 elements is the stuff out of which God made the universe. Moreover, all of the elements are found in only three forms of matter: gas, liquids and solids. The earth and the planets are solids; the stars are gaseous and the oceans are liquids. Some of our preachers and other Bible scholars believe that God the Son created these 92 elements on the first day, brought the fundamental elements into existence from which the universe would be completed. On the first day, the universe did not look like it looks today. The architectural design of it as planned by God was not completed on the first day. I would conclude my thoughts on the first day by saying that only two things happened on that day. The building blocks of the universe came into existence and the heavens and earth that came into existence were incomplete, unfinished and unorganized. The second thing that was created on that day was light. We are not told how He created the light or what the source of it was. Such was the first twenty four hours of the creation week.
There is little difficulty in understanding the remainder of Genesis 1. The rest of the universe was created and organized into the world as we see it today. This was accomplished by separate creative acts in six days. It is unnecessary to enter into a detailed explanation of the successive creative steps by which the earth and all the heavenly bodies were brought into their present form. On the first day light was created; and on the second the atmosphere was formed. On the third day the water was collected into the oceans, seas and lakes, and the dry land appeared which immediately was clothed with grass, herbs and trees. On the fourth day, the sun, moon and stars were made, or became visible. On the fifth day all marine life and bird life were created. On the sixth day, land animals were made, and last of all man was created and was given dominion over these lower creatures. On that same day Eve was created.
In conclusion, I will mention an interesting differing view that some sound preachers and Bible scholars have on the creation week. One of the highly respected preachers in our brotherhood in years gone by was Bro. H. Leo Boles. He wrote nine books on the Bible, and his most outstanding book was entitled, “The Holy Spirit.” It was his view that on the first day of creation the second Person of the Godhead just created the matter, the stuff, the 92 elements of the universe, and the universe was in an incomplete, unfinished condition.. The Holy Spirit then took all this material and finished the creation of the universe in the six days. Verse 2 speaks of the Spirit of God brooding over the waters of the submerged earth. Boles believed this was the Holy Spirit who also had a part in the creation. I quote this statement from his book on the Holy Spirit, “God called into existence through Christ the Word, the material, and the Holy Spirit guided the arrangement of the elements into a complete system that we now call the universe. There was no universe until after the Holy Spirit had functioned.” It is true that other scriptures speak of the creative power of the Holy Spirit.
All I can say about this view is that it cannot be proved. Gen. 1 does not actually say that the Holy Spirit created light and lifted our earth out of the waters and filled it with living creatures. The preacher and others may possibly be right, but it must remain as an opinion since the Holy Spirit who wrote Genesis 1 did not tell us clearly that the second Person only started the creation and He himself finished it. If the Holy Spirit did not have part in the creative acts of the creation week, then the other explanation would be the second Person of the Godhead, called the Word, started the creation and finished the creation six days and did it all in less than a week's time.