What Did God Create on the First Day of Creation in Genesis 1?

The First Day

The glory of the Bible is that, unlike the writings of other ancient nations which demonstrated a belief that water was the primal material before the existence of any gods, it claims that God was in the beginning and that He created all that is.  Both the Gap theory and a relatively new theory, which posits that the six-day-creation-clock didn’t really start ticking until God uttered the words “Let there be light” in verse three, suggest that the first day didn’t start in verse one but in either verse two or verse three, respectively.  Let us simply analyze, biblically and linguistically, the full range of the key Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1–2 and see what they mean and if they support the idea that a time gap exists in those verses.  (English words for which the Hebrew equivalent is given are italicized.)

 

In the beginning God created (ברא bara) the heavens and the earth (את השׁמים ואת הארץ et hashayim ve’et ha’aretz).  The earth was without form, and void (ובהו תהו tohu vavohu); and darkness was on the face of the deep (תהום tehom). And the Spirit of God was hovering (מרחפת merachefet) over the face of the waters (המים על־פני al pnei hamayim).

 

Bara and Asa

 

The first key word isברא  created (bara) which is used a total of 53 times in the Old Testament.  The basic and majority times used form of the word, which is used in Genesis 1, has the general meaning of create, shape or form.  It has been suggested that the word bara used here in Genesis is a different type of action than the word עשׂה (asa – do, make, fashion or produce) used in Exodus 20:11 where God says that he made the heavens and earth in six days.

 

Bara and asa are for the most part synonymous with one important distinction between them: bara is used only of God’s actions and never of man’s.  There are countless examples of where man can asa (do or make); however, only God can bara.  There is by implication creation ex nihilo, but the major thrust of the word bara lies in its use by God only and on the initiation of something new.  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes concerning asa and its distinction from bara:

 

The word [asa] occurs with great frequency in the Genesis account of creation, which is the first great act of God in history. The significant interchange between the words bara’ “create” and ‘asa is of great interest. The word bara’ carries the thought of the initiation of the object involved. It always connotes what only God can do and frequently emphasizes the absolute newness of the object created. The word ‘asa is much broader in scope, connoting primarily the fashioning of the object with little concern for special nuances. The use of bara’ in the opening statement of the account of creation seems to carry the implication that the physical phenomena came into existence at that time and had no previous existence in the form in which they were created by divine fiat. The use of ‘asa may simply connote the act of fashioning the objects involved in the whole creative process. (TWOT: 1708 asa)

 

As the TWOT notes, the use of asa is a broader term than bara, but we see from the context in which the words are used that they can be used interchangeably to a large extent.  Perhaps the best example is Isaiah 45:18 where God is disparaging those who put their trust in idols rather than in Him, the true God and Creator of all.  Notice that the three words that are used, create, form and make all describe the same event – the creation of the heavens and earth.

 

For thus says the LORD,

Who created (bore בורא) the heavens,

Who is God,

Who formed (yotzer יוצר) the earth and made (oseh עושׂה) it,

Who has established it,

Who did not create (braha בראה) it in vain,

Who formed (yatzarah יצרה) it to be inhabited:

“I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18)

 

This verse is incredibly specific, especially in regards to the creation of the earth.  First of all, God declares that He is the one who created (bore בורא) the heavens – which could also be translated as Creator of the heavens.  Next He says that He is the former (yotzer יוצר) and the maker (asah עושׂה) of the  earth, a seeming confirmation of the supposed distinction of bara and asa.  However, God continues by saying that He created it, where the word it, is the third person singular feminine possessive suffix.  Put simply, it means that the word it is attached to the word created.  The word it must refer to earth because the earth is a singular feminine noun and heavens is a dual masculine noun.  Clearly and unmistakably God declares that He created, formed, and made the earth.  Thus, to suggest that Exodus 20:11 (“For in six days the LORD made [asa] the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them…”) is not parallel in thought to Genesis 1 is to ignore the evidence in favor of one’s own theory.

 

The Heavens and Earth

 

Thus far verse one has told us the when of creation – in the beginning, and then the how – God created something completely new (bara), which only God can do.  Now we are up to the what, which is of course: the heavens and the earth.  The question before us is understanding what precisely that means since immediately in verse two we are told that the earth was formless and void (תהו ובהו tohu vavohu); the earth must have not been fully complete.  Thus, just what did He create?  What are we to understand by the heavens and the earth?  Did He create them complete or could that term be understood as the material that He would later form, as if He first created the clay and then worked it into a suitable form?

The answer to this enigma lies in the fact that there is no single word for universe in Hebrew, which is confirmed by the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “The Hebrews had no proper word for ‘world’ in its wide sense of ‘universe.’ The nearest approach to such a meaning is in the phrase ‘the heavens and the earth.’”[i]  Thus, stating that God created the heavens and the earth is equivalent in our day to saying that He created the universe; it encompasses all that is.[ii]  Bible commentators Keil and Delitzsch note the significance of the first creative act found in the Bible:

 

[…] there is nothing belonging to the composition of the universe, either in material or form, which had an existence out of God prior to this divine act in the beginning (Keil & Delitzsch Genesis 1:2).

 

That is to say, God essentially created the building blocks before beginning construction.  The term the heavens and the earth here might be thought of as the raw material, the elements that God created out of nothing that He would form and fashion later to His liking.  Consider that before God created anything, there was only God.  There was no universe, no vacuum of space, nothing whatsoever.  There was only God.  Thus as part of His creative act, He had to create a dimension that was apart from Him – in which He could further manipulate and form the basic elements according to His will.  Keil & Delitzsch again comment:

 

This is also shown in the connection between our verse and the one which follows: “and the earth was without form and void,” not before, but when, or after God created it. From this it is evident that the void and formless state of the earth was not uncreated, or without beginning. At the same time it is obvious from the creative acts which follow (vv. 3-18), that the heaven and earth, as God created them in the beginning, were not the well-ordered universe, but the world in its elementary form; (Keil & Delitzsch 1866: Genesis 1:1)

 

Tohu Vavohu

 

“The earth was without form, and void (תהו ובהו tohu vavohu)” (Genesis 1:2a)

 

Verse two tells us that the matter God created was still in no particular shape or form.  There was no planet earth as we know it today, but the raw material that God had created, (according to Genesis 1:2b) was still in no special shape.  It was still unformed and unorganized.  These words do not in any way suggest that there had been an earlier creation, as proposed by the Gap Theory.  They do not suggest that the earth was a wasteland waiting to be recreated.  The word tohu in Genesis 1:2, according to the TWOT, refers not to the result of a supposed catastrophe (for which there is no clear biblical evidence) but to the formlessness of the earth before God’s creative hand began the majestic acts described in the following verses. As Jeremiah 4:23 indicates, the earth always has the potential of returning to tohu wabohu if God decides to judge it. (TWOT Tohu)

Furthermore, the text says that the earth “was without form, and void” and not “became without form, and void” as the Gap Theorists argue.[iii]  The Hebrew והארץ היתה vehaaretz hayta is what is known grammatically as a copulative clause.[iv]  The Hebrew letter vav (or waw) attached to the noun (the earth) acts as a type of parenthetical[v] statement that is to suggest a reading: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  (Now the earth was without form, and void.)”  Thus the earth was desolate and void (tohu vavohu) at the very beginning of God’s creation and did not become as a result of God recreating it.

 

Tehom, the Deep

 

The rest of verse 2 seems to indicate that the creation of the heavens and the earth was water.  That is to say, that all of the matter of the universe was comprised of water and that water was formless.

 

…and darkness was on the face of the deep (תהוםtehom). And the Spirit of God was hovering (מרחפת merachefet) over the face of the waters (על־פני המים al panei hamayim). (Genesis 1:2b)

 

The apostle Peter comments on the creation of the world from water, “…that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water” (2 Peter 3:5)

 

It is also interesting to note that several ancient creation myths (cosmologies) had water as the original and eternal substance from which gods subsequently emerged.[vi]  The Bible, of course, demonstrates the superiority of God over His creation since He is the one who made the waters, and not the one emerging from the waters.  These ancient myths, I believe, are a distorted memory of the true creation account in which water was the first substance God created.

Tehom accurately describes well the water that was there in the beginning.  It is best translated as deep, depths, or abyss.  According to A. S. Yahuda, a word similar to tehom appears in the ancient language of Akkadian, which has a very similar meaning, thus helping us to better understand its use in the Bible:

[…] [tamtu] is conceived in its primordial condition as […] the primeval water as a sea, an ocean, before the earth was created by the heaping up of mud on the shore of this tamtu. (Yahuda 1933: 128)

Physicist Dr. Russel Humphreys, in his book, Starlight and Time, describes his theory based on the observations of this verse, how water might have then been transformed into the other known elements, “…this verse suggested to me that the original material God created, the deep, was pure water, which He then transformed into other materials”[vii] (Humphreys 2004: 72).

 

Merachefet, God’s Energizing of His Creation

 

And the Spirit of God was hovering (מרחפת merachefet) over the face of the waters (על־פני המים al panei hamayim). (Genesis 1:2b)

 

The last word to analyze, מרחפת (merachefet), found also in Deuteronomy 32:11[viii] denotes the fluttering, hovering, or brooding motion of a bird over its nest.

 

As an eagle stirs up its nest,

Hovers (מרחפת merachefet) over its young,

Spreading out its wings, taking them up,

Carrying them on its wings, (Deuteronomy 32:11)

The purpose of the act of brooding by a bird over its nest is to provide warmth and nurturing to its young.  The movement is that of the bird gently shaking and moving its body in fairly small motions.  It also contains the idea of the bird covering its young with its wings, enveloping them in order to bring them to maturity.[ix]

It seems that at this point God began to energize the raw material that He made in verse 1.  The oscillation on the face (or surface) of the deep, which is really what the hovering could be compared to, created the movement of the inert elements.  It is interesting that all matter and energy at their core are simply wavelengths; “matter acts as both a particle and as a wave” (Koehler 1996).

 

We saw above that the Hebrew letter vav attached to the front of the word hayta (was) created a type of parenthetical statement.   The fact that מרחפת (merachefet) is a transitive participle substantiates that verse 2 is not a new thought or even the first act of God but a clarification of what came before it in verse 1.

 

God Speaks

 

The sequence of events is that the first thing that God did was to create the heavens (space) and the earth (material) – that is, He created a place or dimension outside of Himself and then the matter to work with, which we are told was without form and empty.  Then God, hovering over the face of the deep, decreed light to exist.  These are the first recorded words of God, but in fact, the third creative act.

 

This view can be strongly defended from the Hebrew grammar.  The typical sequence of a narrative is to start with a verb in the simple past tense[x] (Genesis 1:1 begins with bara – created in the simple past tense) thereby signifying something new or dramatic to the story.   Verse 2 we saw is a parenthetical statement explaining what is meant exactly by the creation of the “earth”.  The action picks up again in verse 3 with the use of a sequential past tense[xi].  The use of a different kind of Hebrew verb marks quite clearly that the writer understood the actions of verse 3 to be a continuation of the previous two verses.  Hebrew expert Dr. Buth notes that this is the normal storytelling construction in biblical Hebrew.

 

The sequential past tense is used to present the next event in the story or the next event in a sentence.  If the writer wants to mark a break in the flow of the story for any reason, then they do not use the sequential past tense.  For a past event they would need to put something other than the verb at the beginning of the sentence and then use a simple past tense (Buth 2005: 52).

 

Not only is verse 3 a continuation of verse 1, but the entire creation account of Genesis 1 uses the sequential past tense.  Consequently, according to the grammar, there is no break between verse 1 and the rest of the chapter.

 

Thus, there is no reason to try to place millions of years between any of the first three verses since they are all part of that first day.  Light was created on the first day, along with the very building blocks necessary for even the light to shine, which was energized by the movement of the Holy Spirit over the face of the deep.  There exists, therefore, no reason to believe that the length of the first day was any different than that of any other, nor was there a previous world that fell only to be recreated, nor was there even a geologic creation some billions of years earlier.  The first three verses of Genesis 1, the first day, all occurred within 24 hours just like the rest of the days as we shall see.

The Days in Genesis 1

 

The days in Genesis 1 should certainly be understood as literal, 24-hour days due to the usage of the limitation of the evening and the morning[xii] found throughout Genesis 1 (the fact that the sun was not created until the fourth day is irrelevant since the rotation of the earth is what constitutes a day – the light source is immaterial).  Even though the evidence seems to point to literal, 24-hour days in Genesis one, the old-earth camp is still persuaded that these days are long periods of time rather than normal (24-hour) days.  They suggest that the usage of ordinal numbers (first, second, third, fourth etc.) rather than cardinals as noted previously, denotes different eras of time and thus the first era (day) is followed by the second era (day) etc. where each day equals an unknown but extremely long period of time in which the slow processes of evolution, with God’s help, had enough time according to Darwin’s model of slow change.

 

There are some fatal flaws to this theory, however, from a biblical perspective.  First of all, the first day of Genesis in the Hebrew is not actually defined as the first day, but rather as day one or yom echad יום אחדThe word echad is the cardinal number one and should not be understood as first ראשׁון rishon, but as in the series one, two, three, four, etc.  We have seen previously that any time day occurs with a cardinal number, it always refers to a literal, 24-hour day.  So we can conclude that the first day of creation was 24 hours.

 

God Defines the Days for Us

 

The absolute solution to this puzzle of the length of the days in Genesis is given by God Himself.  After taking the children of Israel out of Egypt, God led them to a place called Mount Sinai where He gave them the law.  In Exodus chapter 20 verses 9 and 10, God states,

 

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”

 

There is no doubt whatsoever that God is talking about a regular workweek.  The people were to work six (literal) days and then they were to take a day off, something very different from the custom of the peoples around them, who generally didn’t take any days off.

 

In verse 11 of chapter 20 God gives the reason and history behind the seven-day week:

 

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.

 

Here God unequivocally declares that He created everything in only six days.  As with the other times that a cardinal number appears before the word day (yom יום), here too it is used as a literal, 24-hour day.  So God makes perfectly clear how long he took to make the universe (just in case anyone should be confused).  If these days are not taken as literal days then neither can the Sabbath be taken as literal.  However, the fact that the Sabbath is a literal day starting at sunset Friday evening and lasting until the following Saturday evening goes back in Hebrew tradition as far back as Mount Sinai and is a very cherished day.  Since we know that the Sabbath has always been considered a literal span of 24 hours, we can safely conclude that the six days of creation are to be taken literally as well.

 

It would seem that God wanted to reiterate[xiii] the message for those that still didn’t get it.  In Exodus 31:15, 17 He says,

 

“Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death […] It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

 

There is no way to circumvent this declaration: the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, observed for 24-hours every week, is a sign between the Jewish people and God.  Transgressing the covenant was punishable by death.  The Israelites knew exactly how long it was – for not knowing would cost them their life.  The Sabbath was/is 24 hours and therefore, so are all of the other days of the week, which is how long it took God to create the heavens and the earth. This is a far cry from an indefinite period of time!


[i] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia “World”

 

[ii] This is not to overlook the speculation that there may be parallel universes.  However, by definition the word universe should encompass all that exists in the dimension of time and space.

 

[iii] For further discussion see: Weston W. Fields, (1976) Unformed and Unfilled p. 58.

 

[iv] For a further discussion on the copulative clause see: Kautzsch and Cowley, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, p. 484, section 154a, footnote 1.

 

[v] Joüon, P., & T. Muraoka, (2003; 2005: electronic version, Logos Software) note the use of the copulative clause (also known as the vav explicativum):

On the other hand, a nominal or verbal clause with Waw forms a sort of parenthesis and precedes the main clause as in Gn 13.2 ואברהם כָּבֵד מאד now Abraham was very rich … ; 24.16 now the young girl was very beautiful…; Jon 3.3 now Nineveh was an enormous city; Gn 48.10 וְעֵינֵי ישׂראל כָּֽבְדוּ מִ ֫זֹּקֶן now the eyes of Israel were heavy because of old age; Josh 4.10 “whilst the priests … stood (עֹמְדִים) in the middle of the Jordan … the people hurriedly crossed over (וַיְמַהֲרוּ וַיַּעֲבֹ֫רוּ).” This same type of clause is also found used in an independent fashion: 1Kg 1.1 (at the very beginning of a narrative) now King David was old, advanced in age; Gn 37.3 now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons.

 

[vi] “In almost all primitive creation stories in Egypt, the eternal substance that existed in the beginning and whose origin is not explained is water, the primeval ocean, Nun.”  (Redford 1992: 398)

[vii] See Humphreys 2000: Appendix C, section 15 for a detailed, mathematical explanation of the physics involved.

 

He also notes that he based “a theory about the origin of the planetary magnetic fields on the possibility that the earth and other bodies in the solar system were originally created as pure water” (Humphreys 2004: 73).  He remarks that his theory has been extremely successful in predicting measurements of the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune.

 

[viii] The word is in the Pa’al form in Jeremiah 23:9.

 

[ix]Keil and Delitzsch confirm this “The creative Spirit of God, the principle of all life (Psalm 33:6; Psalm 104:30), which worked upon the formless, lifeless mass, separating, quickening, and preparing the living forms, which were called into being by the creative words that followed. רחף in the Piel is applied to the hovering and brooding of a bird over its young, to warm them, and develop their vital powers (Deuteronomy 32:11). In such a way as this the Spirit of God moved upon the deep, which had received at its creation the germs of all life, to fill them with vital energy by His breath of life.” (K&D 1866 Genesis 1:2)

 

[x] Dr. Randall Buth notes “in telling stories, the past tense is used with a special word order to grammatically signal events as a break in the flow of the story.  It marks a discontinuity.  That is, something is put in front of the verb […]  This is done when the author wants to break the time flow of the story, or when the author wants to mark a boundary of unity […]”  (Buth 2005:52).   There could be no better way to indicate that Genesis 1:1 is an absolutely new and dramatic event than by using the simple past tense (also commonly referred to as the perfect or qatal tense).

 

[xi] This is commonly known in Hebrew grammar as the vayyiqtol tense.

 

[xii] Numbers chapter 28 verses 3 and 4 show that a literal day was comprised of morning and evening.  “This is the offering made by fire which you shall offer to the LORD:[…] day by day (ליום), as a regular burnt offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, the other lamb you shall offer in the evening […]” (Numbers 28:3- 4, emphasis mine).

 

[xiii] Interestingly Deuteronomy 19:15 says that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”  Perhaps God has repeated Himself to assure us of the certainty of the statement.

Do We Really Need to Study Prophecy?

As a student of prophecy I sometimes wonder if most of my time would not be better spent simply sharing the Gospel, something I believe is of great importance. Should I devote less time to “meatier” matters and focus more on the basics?

Recently while reading through the book of Hebrews I discovered the answer to my question. In chapter five, the writer of Hebrews finished explaining about Melchizedek and then admonishes the readers that the things he would like to say are “hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” (Heb 5:11 NKJV)

The writer says to his listeners, “though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Heb 5:12 NKJV) What is so surprising is that those “first oracles of God,” those “elementary principles of Christ” that is, “milk” are defined as the Gospel. The author lists them as

  • repentance from dead works,
  • and of faith toward God
  • of the doctrine of baptisms,
  • of laying on of hands,
  • of resurrection of the dead,
  • and of eternal judgment.” (Heb 6:1-2 NKJV)

The author says that “everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:13-14 NKJV) The milk here is of course extremely important; just as a baby vitally needs milk during those first several years, so too does the baby Christian.

A newly-born-again person cannot be expected to skip drinking milk and go directly to eating meat. On the other hand, just as a baby eventually begins to reduce his need for milk and replaces it with more meat, so too should the believer begin consuming more than basics, “leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ.” (Heb 6:1)

The author desires to share the mystery of the person of Melchizedek – something that is not absolutely necessary for salvation. A person can and should be able to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus without having to know about the finer details of a slightly obscure passage from Genesis and Psalms. According to the writer of Hebrews, every believer ought to be moving in this direction; he should not be merely fed milk and for good reason –  God desires that we grow up so that we can learn and digest some deeper and really exciting things in his Word!

The study of prophecy is therefore incredibly important. In fact, God wants us to press on to understand it and chew on it like a wonderful steak that will cause us to grow strong. What then do we do with the elemental principles? Do they not have any place as we grow in our faith and knowledge of the Lord? The answer appears simple: if we had not fed on the milk we would never have been able to eat the meat. As a teacher of the Word, I must remember to feed milk to those who need it and then introduce the meat when ready. And for my own life, because I never want to forget the goodness of the Gospel, I am going to enjoy a glass of milk once in a while feasting on steak!

 

Did God Use Evolution When He Created the Universe?

Many Christians have succumbed to the belief that God used the process of evolution within the creation framework. They would suggest that the six days of creation in Genesis were not absolute literal days of 24-hours but some how allowed for the slow process of billions of years of evolution.  They accept the Bible as God’s divine book yet also accept the many facets of evolution as indisputable fact and are forced to squeeze the needed evolutionary time into the pages of the Bible.  Before looking at the evolution plus God theories, however, let us first consider what exactly Did God Use Evolution?evolution is.

What is Evolution?

Evolution in its most basic sense is any process of formation or growth; development, derived from the Latin meaning unrolling, according to Random House Dictionary (2006).  There are many things that evolve, so to speak, in our world.  All that we mean, however, is that there is a slow, gradual change occurring in different facets of life.  Let us consider a few examples.

The Changes in Language and Culture

We can speak of the slow progression of the English language as an example of evolution.  The English of today is clearly not the same as that of Shakespeare’s day.  They are both English, but many things have changed radically so that words and expressions of his day have a completely different meaning today.  The change in language is something that happens slowly and in small increments, but we can all agree that it happens.  Consider how it is that we use different expressions than our parents did and our kids use different words and expressions than we do.

Cultures are also going through a process of change or evolution as well.  The culture of America is without doubt different today than it was 50 years ago.  Things that were unacceptable back then are sometimes considered normal by today’s standards.  In both of these examples, however, we are using the word evolution as a description of the slow change that is taking place and as such, the concept is completely acceptable.  After all, these changes are observed linguistically and culturally by experts in the respective fields and simply by the general public.  In other words, we can easily document and conclusively prove that those changes have actually occurred because the starting point is only 50 years ago and not 15 billion or even 6000 years ago.

From Micro to Macro to Abiogenesis

Douglas Futuyma, expert in biological evolution

Using the word evolution to describe the slow, steady changes that we undoubtedly witness in languages and cultures is indeed a correct use of the term.  If that were the only way that it was used then there would be no problem whatsoever.  However, the reality is that evolution has been given a new role and meaning; it is used to describe the entire progression of the universe starting with the Big Bang until the present day.  The different phases of evolution include: particulate, galactic, stellar, planetary, chemical, biological and cultural.[1]  Biological evolution purports to explain how life started from non-life (properly called abiogenesis) and then how those single-celled organisms eventually turned into you and me.  Douglas Futuyma, a foremost expert in biological evolution notes,

In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution…is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual…Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.  (Futuyma 1986)

The above definition is rather misleading, however.  Dr. Futuyma should define for us the three different concepts that he is dealing with under the broad category of biological evolution, which are: Natural Selection (adaptation to an environment, which is sometimes called microevolution), molecules-to-man evolution (change in kind, e.g. reptile to bird, which is sometimes called macroevolution) and abiogenesis (a nonliving piece of rock to a living single-celled organism).  Neither the Bible nor literal six-day creationists are in any way against the concept of Natural Selection, which was actually first introduced by a creationist Edward Blythe.  Changes in species populations, by adapting to their environment, have in fact been witnessed to occur.

Charles Darwin correctly noted that the beaks of the finches on theGalapagos Islandschanged according to the climatic conditions.  He called this evolution.  From there he postulated his theory that these small changes, given enough time, could account for all of the living creatures on earth. Darwinfailed to note, however, that the finches were still finches.  They never turned into something else other than finches. Darwinobserved the species’ ability to adapt to its surrounding (which is easily ascribed to an amazing Creator) and from there made the leap of faith that with the magical element of time, one creature will turn into another.

According to Its Kind

The belief in molecules-to-man evolution – that single-celled organisms turned into more complex creatures, which turned into something else, all the way to you and me – is what stands in direct conflict with the Bible and specifically the six days of creation.  Genesis 1:24 specifically states that on the fifth day, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind [מין min]: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so.”  This verse acts as an insurmountable obstacle to those who would try to bridge (macro)evolution and the Bible.  God’s words cannot be misconstrued here.  He plainly says that different living creatures will come forth according to their own kind and not from one common ancestor of all.  He then defines what He means by enumerating the creatures: “cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth”, rendering impossible the paradigm that everything came from a different creature smaller and simpler than itself.  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains:

Some have argued that when God created “min” [class, kind, species], he thereby fixed the “species.” This is a gratuitous assumption because a link between the word “min” with the biologist’s descriptive term “species” cannot be substantiated, and because there are as many definitions of species as there are biologists…God created the basic forms of life called “min” which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes species, sometimes genus, sometimes family or sometimes order. This gives no support to the classical evolutionist’s view which requires developments across kingdom, phyla, and classes.

Dogs Are Still Dogs

Animals reproducing fertile offspring according to their own kind, is what we see in nature.  We see hundreds of varieties of dogs, but dogs are still dogs.  This (largely human-caused) variation in dogs is often called evolution.  This is reflected in the Seed Magazine article “The Human-Influenced Evolution of Dogs” (Anthes 2006), which discusses not the macroevolution of how a non-dog turned Dog breeding is not macro evolutioninto a dog, but how through human intervention “the domestication of dogs by humans has given rise to the immense diversity of the canine species by allowing otherwise harmful genetic mutations to survive.”  (Anthes 2006)   This “evolution” that Anthes refers to is nothing more than variation within a kind.  Nevertheless, she is echoed by theNaturalHistoryMuseum inLondon which says that the breeding of dogs shows evolution as well.  (Batten 1996)   Here again, we are given an example of Natural Selection (adaptation and variation, which are factual and observed) and are led to believe that it is equivalent to molecules-to-man evolution.

However, there is no “evolution” of the dog at all, other than variation due greatly to humans.  Interestingly, the study of genetics confirms that all dogs have come from a common ancestry. “Most breeds have developed during the past 500 years, […] Before humans began breeding dogs for certain traits or behaviors, dogs were more general in their appearance or morphology […]” (Dalke 2002).  The multiplicity of dogs is not a proof of evolution but of dog’s best friend manipulating him to better suit man.  “Breeds tell us more about human preferences than about dogs […] Dog breeds are the result of human preferences—selected traits taken from generation to generation.” (Dalke 2002).  “The Human-Influenced Evolution of Dogs” would be better titled “Man’s Breeding of Dogs”.


[1] See: http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/

splash.html

 

Do We Need to Interpret the Creation Account Literally?

Does it really matter what one believes about God’s creation?  Whether we believe in a literal view of Genesis or that God used evolution; who really cares?  There are many reasons that deem this question to be extremely important.

God’s Word is Above His Name

First of all, the Psalmist declares that “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name” (Psalm 138:2 emphasis mine).  God’s has magnified His word, (the Bible [i]) above His name.  In Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands Interpret God's Word Literallyforever.” Thus, God is very concerned about the reputation of His word.  And if the Bible is from God, then, logically, it should be accurate and faithful in all that it says.  Consequently, we read that “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5, 6).  We want to neither add to nor subtract from His words since no true follower of God wants to be found a liar by God.  It follows then that six, literal days or fifteen billion years of creation are two radically different claims.  These are so dissimilar to one another that it certainly could be asserted as adding to or subtracting from His words depending which is in fact correct.

Genesis is Foundational

Secondly, Genesis chapters 1-11 are the foundation of our worldview.  Where we start often determines where we end up.  If we interpret those six days to mean simply six days, then we have an easy path for the remainder of the Bible – what it says is what it means.  However, if we start down the path that the Scriptures do not say what they actually mean – that there is a buried allegorical meaning that must be mined out of them to truly get to the real meaning, then we will find ourselves not really ever absolutely sure what the Bible means.  Since looking for the underlying meaning so much depends on the cleverness of the interpreter rather than on the evidence of archeology, history, biblical grammar, philology and comparative linguistics, the interpretation becomes very Genesis is Foundationalsubjective and fuzzy.  If the Bible cannot be trusted regarding our origin, how can we trust it regarding our destiny?  If six days really means something else, then how do we know that Jesus’ statement “no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6) doesn’t also mean something else?  Or how do we know that “he who believes in Me, though he may die, shall live” (John 11:25) doesn’t mean something different?  If Genesis, the foundation of our origin, where God created man and man disobeyed God and fell, is not accurate or trustworthy, then how do we know that anything else in Scripture truly is?  How then do we know that the promises of Heaven are true?

The Origin of Marriage

Consider some of the foundational teachings that originate in those first 11 chapters of Genesis.  The first description of marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  If Adam and Eve were not really our first

parents and God didn’t really form them as stated in Genesis, then do we really become one flesh?  We are left without a clear precedent for marriage.  Jesus certainly invoked the first marriage account as a defense against those trying to justify divorce.  “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘…Because of the hardness of your heart He wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:5-8).  He then added, “so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”  The fact that Jesus said “from the beginning…” proves (if we take Him literally) that He clearly claimed Adam and Eve to have been created in the

beginning not billions of years later as predicated by evolution.

The Origin of Sin and Death

Genesis chapter three offers us an insider’s view into how sin, death, and suffering came into the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (whom Jesus stated were created in the beginning) to God’s commandment.  If we spiritualize this chapter of the Bible, then what is the historical foundation of our sin-filled world?  How do we account for death if Adam and Eve were merely allegorical or symbolic figures who never actually walked this earth and disobeyed their Maker?  However, if we use the simple method of literal interpretation, then understanding becomes very easy.  Understanding Genesis chapter three literally seems to be what Paul did in Origin of Death Found in GenesisRomans:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.  (Romans 5:12-14)

Paul states that Adam sinned and so through him, one man, sin spread to all.  He also mentions that Adam is a type of Him who was to come.  By saying that Adam is a type in no way is he suggesting that Adam was not a real person; rather Adam was the first of a kind, that is (sinful) humanity, and so too Jesus was the first of a kind (humanity holy and without sin).  In verse 17 Paul says, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”  Because Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus and since he unquestionably believed Jesus to be a real, historical person, then we can safely conclude that Paul also believed Adam to be a real, historical person.

The Promise of the Redeemer

Jesus the Redeemer of the WorldThe importance of the book of Genesis as being a trustworthy and true account of historical and actual events is hopefully evident.  Not only does it contain the true history of man’s fall, but also the promise of the coming redeemer.  In Genesis 3:15 God promised that someday, one of Eve’s offspring would come and make right and annul the effects of their disobedience.  “And I will put enmity between you [the Serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  Ancient Jewish interpretation [ii] of this verse likewise understands the verse to be a promise of the coming Messiah and His remedy for man.  To dismiss the creation and fall of man as figurative and not literal is to undermine the very heart of the Bible’s message of the coming redeemer.

Taking the Genesis creation account literally is extremely important and the evolutionists know it which is why the American Atheist Magazine spells it out in case there was any doubt.

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” [iii]


[i] I believe the Bible is a faithful and reliable historical document inspired by God.  There are numerous excellent books and websites on the subject, which demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible.  Visit  christiananswers.net/ for general questions and answersingenesis.com for answers to many Bible and science questions.

[ii] “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons…Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha. [Messiah]” (Targum Jonathan, Genesis 3:15)

[iii] – R. Bozarth 1979: 30, “The Meaning of Evolution” American Atheist Magazine, (emphasis mine)

Could God Really Create in Just Six Days? (Part 2 of 3: Geological Evidence)

The Rocks Speak

Radiometric Dating

Radiometric Dating

The other seemingly unsolvable enigma is that of radiometric dating of rocks yielding ages billions of years old. According to the popular definition of Wikipedia, “radiometric dating is a technique used to date materials based on a knowledge of the decay rates of naturally occurring isotopes, and the current abundances” (Wikipedia Radiometric Dating 2006). Since these decay rates occur extremely slowly, it is believed that the material being dated is of great antiquity. There are inherent problems involved with this method, thus not making it a failsafe method of dating rocks.[1] The work on Polonium radiohalos by Dr. Gentry and the work on Zircon crystals by the RATE team strongly challenge the accepted assumptions involved with radiometric dating. In fact, their independent research has yielded some “rock solid” evidence that the earth is not billions of years old but only several thousand.

Order The First Six Days Here

Polonium Radiohalos

Beginning in 1987, nuclear physicist Dr. Robert Gentry began examining discolorations in minerals. He has since examined over 100,000 of these “radiohalos” found in rocks making his work the foundation of polonium halo research. He describes these “radiohalos:” “Etched within earth’s foundation rocks (the granites) are beautiful microspheres of coloration, halos, produced by the radioactive decay of primordial polonium, which is known to have only a fleeting existence” (www.halos.com/index.htm).

An example analogous to Alka-Seltzer is given demonstrating the fleeting life of the radioactive polonium. It is this moment in which the radiohalos can be captured that yields proof to them having cooled instantaneously (during time of the flood according to the RATE team, see below) rather than the supposed slow cooling of the earth suggested by evolution.

polonium radiohalos

polonium radiohalos

A speck of polonium in molten rock can be compared to an Alka-Seltzer dropped into a glass of water. The beginning of effervescence is equated to the moment that polonium atoms began to emit radioactive particles. In molten rock the traces of those radioactive particles would disappear as quickly as the Alka-Seltzer bubbles in water. But if the water were instantly frozen, the bubbles would be preserved. Likewise, polonium halos could have formed only if the rapidly “effervescing” specks of polonium had been instantly encased in solid rock.

An exceedingly large number of polonium halos are embedded in granites around the world. Just as frozen Alka-Seltzer bubbles would be clear evidence of the quick-freezing of the water, so are these many polonium halos undeniable evidence that a sea of primordial matter quickly “froze” into solid granite. The occurrence of these polonium halos, then, distinctly implies that our earth was formed in a very short time, in complete harmony with the biblical record of creation (www.halos.com/index.htm).

Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth

An eight-year study began in 1997 that involved seven scientists with the primary goal of clarifying the chronology of the earth by studying, in particular, the properties of zircon crystals, (similar to the work of Dr. Gentry with polonium). The research has now culminated in evidence strongly indicating that the earth is young. The seven scientists gave their research effort the acronym RATE, which stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth. The findings of their research are available in a two-volume set Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, in a layman’s version (book and DVD) called Thousands Not Billions by Dr. Don DeYoung who offers a partial summary of their research:

RATE research obtained some of the first high-precision data on helium diffusion in zircon. A theoretical model based on this data gives an age for the earth of about 6,000 years. The presence of helium in zircons is a serious challenge to the concept of deep time. The helium also represents compelling evidence of accelerated nuclear decay in the past (DeYoung 2005: 176).

These and many more resources demonstrating that the apparent Achilles’ heel of the Young Earth Creation model is not a fatal blow are available at the Institute for Creation Research’s website (icr.org).

The findings of Dr. Gentry on polonium radiohalos and the RATE team on zircon crystals provide compelling evidence based on thorough investigation, experimentation, and observation that the earth is not billions of years old, but is rather approximately six thousand years old, thus implying that the creation week was six literal days.

The Grand Canyon and Mount St. Helens: Keys to Geology

Strata of Grand Canyon

Strata of Grand Canyon Photo Anna Hamp

The Grand Canyon is certainly one of the earth’s most amazing places. It leaves us in awe of its size and beauty. There are, however, many questions that are raised in relation to it. The most central questions are how did it form and how long did the process take? The answer lies in looking primarily at the canyon walls. There are hundreds of thousands and even millions of layers also known as strata. These layers, when looking from the side, look like many pieces of cardboard stacked upon another. The accepted geological explanation for these strata is that each layer represents an annual or few years’ cycle of deposition of minerals. Then the Colorado River (at its current rate) cut through the canyon exposing the strata that had already been laid down.

Therefore it is believed that since there are millions of strata, it must have taken hundreds of thousands or millions of years to form. Could there be, however, another plausible explanation for the almost innumerable layers?

 

Cataclysmic Change

 

On May 18, 1980, scientists and tourists from all over the world witnessed an event that would provide a much better and almost inescapable model than the standard uniformitarianism model. In that year, Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington erupted so violently that it lost over 1,300 feet of elevation and the entire inside of the mountain fell down the face of the mountain depositing the sediment in the valley below. Trees for miles north of the mountain were leveled and burned. The beauty of the mountain and lake below was altered forever. However, the event that would ultimately challenge the slow gradual change model of the Grand Canyon did not occur until two years later when, in the winter of 1982, another eruption occurred. At that time, due to the accumulation of snow on the mountain, when the eruption occurred, the massive amount of snow almost instantly turned into water and began rushing down the mountain. The huge surge of water carved a canyon ¼ the size of the Grand Canyon.

The Canyon Formed Quickly

 

What is so astounding, however, is that the canyon took only several hours to a few days to be formed. The power of the water quickly cut through the sediment that had been laid down two years prior in the first eruption (an event that occurred over a period of a few hours.) The walls of this mini Grand Canyon exposed almost identical stratification as found in the Grand Canyon. If both the strata from the deposition of the sediment and the deep cutting of a canyon (even through solid rock) can be formed in as little as a few hours, then how do we know that the stratification of the Grand Canyon is not also the product of massive sediment depositions left behind

Little Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens (photgraph by Douglas Hamp)

Little Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens (photgraph by Douglas Hamp)

from a worldwide flood and the cutting of the canyon is not also an enormous release of water which happened shortly after? Austin notes:

The small creeks which flow through the headwaters of the Toutle River today might seem, by present appearances, to have carved these canyons very slowly over a long time period, except for the fact that the erosion was observed to have occurred rapidly! (Austin 1986: 3).

Footprints in the Ash

Drs. John Morris and Steven Austin have written a book, Footprints in the Ash, that deals at length with the overwhelming evidence. The book shows that formation of the Grand Canyon could have occurred quickly as a result of a worldwide flood rather than over millions of years just as things happened quickly on a smaller scale at Mount St. Helens. The evidence of Mount St. Helens provides a better and more consistent model of the age of the earth as being young, which, as we have seen, is the only acceptable conclusion one may come to from reading the Scriptures.

Go to part one here.

Go to part three here.


[1] For detailed results on the dating of a rock of known age, see: answersingenesis.org/creation/v23/i3/radiodating.asp.

Could God Really Create in Just Six Days? (Part 3 of 3: The Fossil Record)

The Testimony of the Fossil Record

Charles Lyell predecesor to Darwin

Charles Lyell

One final area to consider is the fossil record because it is considered to be proof positive of an old earth and the transitional forms needed to support the model of molecule-to-man evolution. Just as the traditional interpretation of stratification at the Grand Canyon, which indicates millions of years of age, is not necessarily the best interpretation of the data when compared with the Little Grand Canyon at Mount St. Helens, which happened very quickly, so too the traditional interpretation of the geological column as representing millions of years is to be questioned. The geological column is the supposed order of evolutionary life forms as recorded in the fossils found in sedimentary rocks. James Hutton in Theory of the Earth (1795) and Charles Lyell in Principles of Geology (1830) popularized the idea that the earth was hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of years old based on the study of sedimentary rocks.

As fossils were found in those rocks, the fossils were claimed to have a similar age to the rocks. The geological column was a major source of inspiration and basis for Charles Darwin in the development of his evolutionary hypothesis. Though no “missing links” had been found in his day, he remained hopeful that the fossil record would eventually yield the intermediary fossils so badly needed to support his model. Nevertheless, he notes the conspicuous lack of evidence for his model:

The number of intermediate varieties which have formerly existed on earth must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory” (Darwin 1902 edition, emphasis mine).

About 150 years have passed from when Darwin penned that statement, and unquestionably, millions of fossils have been found, but none of them are “missing links” needed to substantiate his ideas. This is not only according to young-earth arguments (consistent with six literal days of creation), but also according to numerous evolutionists. The geological column, drawn in detailed tables in text books, is the basis of the dating of the evolutionary stages. Ironically, this column, which is at the heart of the evolutionary time-scale, is merely a construct, a mental abstraction (Encyclopedia Britannica 1985: 779). Derek Ager, past president of the British Geological Association notes: “Nowhere in the world is the record, or even part of it, anywhere near complete” (Ager 1993: 14). The geological column is the primary way by which fossils and rocks are dated. When a fossil is found, the rocks around it are checked to determine the age of the fossil and vice versa, when a particular rock is found, it is compared to the surrounding fossils to determine its age.

This type of circular reasoning is noted by several evolutionists. J. E. O’Rourke, in the American Journal of Science states: “The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately” (O’Rourke, Volume 276: 51). R. H. Rastal of Cambridge plainly acknowledges, “It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical standpoint geologists are here arguing in a circle.” He then further defines what he means by circularity: ”The succession of organisms has been determined by a study of their remains embedded in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the organisms that they contain” (Encyclopedia Britannica 1976: 168). Another evolutionist, Tom Kemp of Oxford, also is aware of the circular reasoning involved in the dating of the geological column. He states: “A circular argument arises: Interpret the fossil record in the terms of a particular theory of evolution, inspect the interpretation, and note that it confirms the theory” (Kemp 1985: 67). D. B. Kitts of the University of Oklahoma stated regarding the circular foundation of the geological column in Evolution, Volume 28: “But the danger of circularity is still present. The temporal ordering of biological events beyond the local section may critically involve paleontological correlation [the geological column]” (Kitts 1974: 466). Kitts goes on to say “for almost all contemporary paleontologists it [the geological column] rests upon the acceptance of the evolutionary hypothesis” (ibid). There are many more evolutionists that have made similar statements that are beyond the scope of this chapter to cover. Nevertheless, notice that accepting the geological column rests on the acceptance of evolution and in turn evolution is confirmed by the geological column. All of the evolutionists here agree that using the rocks to date the fossils and also using the fossils to date the rocks is circular reasoning. If one of the keystones upon which the supposed millions and billions of years of evolution is built is faulty, (due to the fallacy of circular reasoning) then the fossil record is not a valid objection to a literal six-day creation.

Six Days Are Enough

We asked whether six days were enough for all the events of creation to occur in light of perhaps the greatest objections to a literal, six-day creation. Though we only scratched the surface of enormous areas of study, we did see that there are excellent answers available. It is possible from a physics standpoint for the earth to be young and for the light from the edge of the universe fifteen billion light years away to have arrived in the span of six earth days. Likewise, the study of polonium “radiohalos” and zircon crystals provides weighty evidence that traditional methods of dating the rocks of the earth may be faulty. The data actually seem to confirm an earth of approximately six thousand years. We also saw that when the Grand Canyon is compared to the Little Grand Canyon at Mt St Helens, Washington, which is known to have formed rapidly, then millions of years are not required. In fact, the evidence points to the Grand Canyon having formed quickly from a cataclysmic event, such as a cataclysmic flood. Lastly we saw that, according to evolutionists, the way in which fossils and rocks are dated is by circular reasoning. While these may not be the ultimate solutions to the four big “scientific” objections to a literal, six-day creation, they do sufficiently demonstrate that excellent answers exist. Thus we can affirm that the Bible is reliable in all that it records, especially regarding creation.



[1] For detailed results on the dating of a rock of known age, see: answersingenesis.org/creation/v23/i3/radiodating.asp.

Could God Really Create in Just Six Days? (Part 1 of 3: Starlight and Time)

If we truly affirm that God made the heavens and the earth in six literal days several thousand years ago, we are forced to consider four questions that have a direct association with such a worldview. If the heavens and the earth are young, then: (1) How could light from the edges of the universe, which is estimated to be 15 billion light years away, be here now? (2) Why does radioisotope dating seem to point to the vast majority of the earth’s rocks being many billions of years old? (3) How do we account for the many layers of strata in places like the Grand Canyon indicating that it was formed over millions of years? (4) What about many fossils in the geologic column which are claimed to prove millions of years of evolution? We will very briefly touch upon these enormous areas of study just to see that there are very plausible answers from a literal, six-day creationist perspective.

These four questions have essentially served as the foundation of the evolutionary time scale and provide a dilemma for all who hold the Bible as God’s Word. A solution popularized by Dr. Hugh Ross is to set up the witness of creation on a par with God’s written Word. He says:

God’s revelation is not limited exclusively to the Bible’s words. The facts of nature may be likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible. Just as we rightfully expect interpretations of Isaiah to be consistent with those of Mark, so too we can expect interpretations of the facts of nature to be consistent with the messages of Genesis and the rest of the Canon.

Some readers might fear I am implying that God’s revelation through nature is somehow on an equal footing with His revelation through the words of the Bible. Let me simply state that truth, by definition, is information that is perfectly free of contradiction and error. Just as it is absurd to speak of some entity as more perfect than another, so also one revelation of God’s truth cannot be held as inferior or superior to another (Ross 1994: 56–57).

Dr. Ross is of course correct in that we expect the facts of nature to be consistent with Scripture. The problem, however, is not with the revelation of nature as a testament of God’s power. Indeed, Psalm 19:1 even supports such a statement: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Paul in the book of Romans (1:20) adds decisively “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” There is no conflict between the Bible and nature, but rather with man’s interpretation of nature and the Bible. God’s general revelation of nature correctly interpreted is always 100 percent consistent with God’s written revelation the Bible.

Dr. Ross is assuming that the evolutionary paradigm is the correct interpretation of nature. He has failed to mention that many of the theories that have provided us with ages of the earth and the universe are based on the evolutionary belief that there is no God. He has also erred because the Bible never changes. The truths contained therein never change and have withstood the testing of skeptics and critics for over two thousand years. However, man’s interpretation of the world around him has done nothing but change as long as man has kept history. By making creation the sixty-seventh book of the Bible by which we can interpret the Bible, he is requiring man’s interpretation of nature (with all of our biases and incomplete knowledge) to be the judge of the Bible. Rather, we need to let nature be subject to the interpretation of the Bible, for only then will the correct interpretation be obtained.

Starlight and Time

The question of how could light from fifteen billion light years away arrive in just six days has been taken up by Dr. Russell Humphreys. Star Light and Time In his book, Starlight and Time (PDF download) (2004), he proposes an answer to the seemingly unsolvable enigma. The foundation of his theory lies in the fact that we know for certain that clocks change based on how close one is to a strong gravitational field or potential. He points out that the atomic clock in Greenwich, England, which is at sea level, ticks five microseconds slower per year than an identical clock in Boulder, Colorado (Humphreys 2004: 12). Because the clock in Boulder is approximately one mile higher in altitude than its counterpart in Greenwich, it ticks five microseconds per year faster. The Boulder clock is further away from the center of the earth, approximately the center of gravity, and is in a weaker gravitational field as a result. Dr. Stan Sholar, a retired aerospace scientist, confirms the reality of this phenomenon:

One should make a distinction between the rate of passage of time and the behavior of clocks, or anything that measures time. If we define time as behavior of clocks then this distinction disappears. Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity shows that lengths change with velocity, and clocks, whether pendulums or atomic, respond to such, but also to gravity. For clocks in GPS satellites, we have to correct for the slightly non-circular orbits where velocity and altitude vary continuously.

For example, near apogee (the greatest distance from earth), the slower velocity causes the clock to run faster, due to Special Relativity. Also here there is a General Relativity effect due to the higher gravitational potential (though lower force) causing the clock Evidence of a young universeto run even faster at the higher altitude. The point being that it is actually an even more profound example because of the fact that the clocks on orbit are much higher than Boulder CO, and relative to Greenwich (Sholar, personal communication September 23, 2006).

Thus, just here on earth we find concrete evidence that the measurement of time’s rate of passing changes according to the proximity of the clocks to a strong gravitational field, as approximately indicated by proximity to the earth’s center of gravity. Humphreys then notes that the mathematics demonstrate that while the earth’s clock was ticking at what he coins “Earth Standard Time” the clock in the outer parts of the universe was ticking faster and hence “the light has ample time in the extra-terrestrial reference frame to travel the required distances” (Humphreys 2004: 13).

I spoke personally with Dr. Humphreys at a conference in Anaheim, CA in February of 2005 after hearing him present his theory. After sharing with him how much I liked his theory, he humbly replied that his was not the final answer, but merely a plausible explanation. Dr. Humphreys presents a theory to solve such a difficult dilemma, but in the end, it is not the answer but a plausible explanation, which is satisfactory because none of us was there to witness exactly what techniques God used. Nevertheless, what is crucial to note is that there are scientifically plausible theories that support the biblical account without seeking to spiritualize, or allegorize, or even dismiss the clear writing of the text.

From The First Six Days: Confronting the God-Plus-Evolution Myth