googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Some Comments on the Creation Week: A short series

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Some Comments on the Creation Week: A short series

A while back, I taught a short series on creation for my Sunday school class. It was supposed to last for the summer and I had planned on covering several topics like the role of creation in evangelism, various ways some Christians reinterpret Genesis in order to fit it with popular scientific theories, and how to answer some of the more common objections people raise against creation. One lesson I had planned was to cover the days of the creation week, giving a short description on what happened each day. However, there were so many questions asked and such interest shown that the single lesson I had planned ended up being stretched over 5 lessons.

It was during that time that I realized that, even though the language of Genesis 1 is straight forward and easy to read, many Christians don't stop to consider the full impact of what is happening on each day – not so much from a spiritual perspective but rather from a physical one. To that end, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a short series of post, each covering one day of the creation week. This isn't meant to be a treaty on the subject. Instead, I hope to simply open a few eyes to the realization that what is being described were real events that literally shaped the world.

Because they were real events, understanding the days of the creation week helps us understand science. Rather than reinterpreting Scripture in order to make it fit with secular views of our origins, we can use the clear meaning of the words in Genesis to gain an appreciation of the physical processes that were occurring.

As I go through this series, I may mention popular reinterpretations of Scripture but they won't be my focus. I've written before about some of the most common ways Christians interpret Genesis in order to reconcile the Bible with science. In this series, I won't spend much time rebutting alternative interpretations but will present the most obvious meaning (as determined by a plain reading of the text) as the correct meaning.

It's my plan to spend a single post addressing each day of the creation week. The only exception to this might be the sixth day, where I may spend an extra post covering some of the events described in Genesis 2. I'm also going to try to post twice per week so this won't be stretched out over months. Please keep checking back. And, of course, comments are encouraged.

God bless!!


Steven J. said...

You already reinterpret Scripture to make it fit secular views of cosmological matters not directly connected to "origins." Take, e.g. the account of the fourth day, in which the sun is created after the Earth and sea. Now, of course, an omnipotent Creator could make a heliocentric solar system this way, as He could build a house and put in the foundation later -- or as He could create whales before creating an ocean, or herbivores before creating plants. But Genesis 1 has God, in these cases, building the foundation before building that which rests on it, so the creation of the sun after the Earth implies at least a geocentric cosmology, yet you show no interest in defending such a cosmology. You will likewise insist that references to "the windows of the sky" are clearly figurative, although we know that other middle eastern cosmologies (and indeed extrabiblical Jewish writings like the book of Enoch and the histories of Josephus) speak explicitly of the sky as a solid dome with doors or hatchways in it. In short, you have already reinterpreted the days of creation to fit "observational" science.

On a largely unrelated note, your illustration has dinosaurs being created on day six. This is common among young-earth creationists, while old-earth creationists tend to identify dinosaurs with the gadolim tanninim of Genesis 1:21, created on the fifth day (and note that with the discovery of feather pigment bodies in the fluff of Sinosauropteryx, we have clear evidence of feathers in non-bird dinosaurs, which might be taken as implying that they belong among the fifth-day creatures even in a young-earth creationist paradigm).

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

I read this comment after having published my comments on the First Day. I've already drawn attention to the creation of light on day 1 and how it is separate from the creation of the sun on day 4. I can understand how the wording of the text could be understood within a geocentric paradigm but I don't agree that the passage explicitly teaches geocentrism. There's nothing about the clear meaning of the text that contradicts heliocentrism.

Because there was day and night, I suggest it means the earth was already rotating. We know then that physical laws had already begun operating. However, I can't say with certainty that the earth was already moving along its orbital path around where the sun would soon be. I suspect it had, but four days is hardly enough time for the earth to begin experiencing seasons as it does now as it orbits the sun. So what difference does it make exactly when it began moving in its orbit? It's not quite the same thing as building a house then shoving its foundation under it later.

If the ancients took certain figurative passages literally, it does not mean the Bible endorses their errors. Even today, we use figures of speech we know aren't literal. I might say, for example, “It's pouring the rain.” Of course, the rain is not literally being poured out. If some, unlearned person heard my comment and believed the rain is literally being poured out from somewhere in the sky, what is that to me? His ignorance doesn't affect my intended meaning.

Finally, whether or not dinos had feathers (I still lean toward “not”) it is not the criterion used to determine their day of creation. Pterosaurs may have been created along with flying birds. Terrestrial dinos would have been created on day 6.

God bless!!