Statement of Faith from “Answers in Genesis”
“The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events
and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research
into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth and the universe.”
First Biblical Creation Narrative
Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a
(1-2) In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the earth –when the earth had been shapeless and formless, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and God’s spirit was hovering on the face of the water —
Notice that this passage does not imply that earth was created from nothing (ex nihilo), the material already existed, being shapeless and formless, or “tohu and bohu” in Hebrew. The darkness is also not created, nor is the water, the deep, or the “tehom” in Hebrew. There is linguistic similarity between the Hebrew word tehom and the word for the Babylonian deity, Tiamat, the goddess of the deep whom, according to the Enuma Elish, was defeated by Marduk who then split her in half to create the world. Half of her was used to create the “heaven”, half was used to create the “earth”.
All these components are already in existence, in a mass of chaos. We have the shapeless and formless earth, the water, and the darkness, awaiting some necessary action from the creator.
“and God’s spirit was hovering on the face of the water”
The Hebrew word translated here as “spirit”, is “ruach” which means breath or wind. In other words, the elements were waiting on the infusion of air. Present now are the earth, water and air.
(3) God said,“Let there be light.” And there was light.
(4) And God saw the light, that it was good, and God separated between the light and the darkness.
(5) And God called the light “day” and called the darkness “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning: one day.
Evening and morning: one day, one solar day. In our current world we think of morning and evening as one day, in the ancient Hebrew world, the day began at sundown, not at sunrise. In the Hebrew mythology, it is simply not difficult for the deity to accomplish all this in one day. He’s the creator.
According to the story, what has God created? He has created time. He has established the definition of “one day”. Time, or more specifically, a very certain period of time is >the< purpose and focus of the First Genesis Creation Narrative. The purpose, the very reason for the narrative, is minimized by Christian creationists. The most critical part is taken from the very apex of the story and marginalized to a subservient position by those who twist the text. There will be more comment on this in the closing of this little expose’.
Words in the Hebrew language draw pictures. That is what language does, it allows the reader or listener to “see” what the author or speaker is saying. “Ruach” creates a mental image of blowing wind, or the breath, of God. “Tohu and Bohu” stir up an image of chaos; everything combined together, shaken or stirred until nothing is recognizable. Tehom creates a visual image of an infinite aquarium, so to speak. Water, water, water, eternally deep, eternally wide and eternally long, the abyss, the deep, the tehom.
(6) And God said, “Let there be a space within the water, and let it separate between water and water.”
The word translated here as “space”, translated into the King James Version as “the firmament” is “raqia” a visual image of something hammered out, like a metal bowl or a kettle drum. Raqia can also mean something hammered flat, like gold leaf. Context determines usage.
The space, the raqia, is within the water, separated between the “water and the water”, the next verse will clarify further.
(7) And God made the space, and it separated between the water that was under the space and the water that was above the space. And it was so.
Now it is evident that there is water both above and below the raqia, the space, the firmament, the bubble in the midst of the water. Now the bubble needs a name.
(8) And God called the space, “skies.” And there was evening and there was morning: a second day.
There is now a name for the bubble; the skies, or in Hebrew, shamayim. It is translated in the King James Version like this. “And God called the firmament Heaven.”
“Chiefly, the upper part of the universe in contradistinction to the earth (Gen. i. 1); the region in which sun, moon, and stars are placed (Gen. i. 17). It is stretched out as a curtain (Isa. xl. 22), and is founded upon the mountains as on pillars sunk into the waters of the earth (II Sam. xxii. 8; Prov. viii. 27-29).” http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=472&letter=H&search=shamayim#ixzz0nH7L7ZrG
God has created “time” on one day and “space” on the second day. Are these the focus of the story? No, they are key developments leading up to the focus, the teaching, the message of the story of the First Biblical Creation Narrative.
There now exist the bubble, the shamayim, in the midst of the waters, surrounded by the abyss, or the tehom.
(9) And God said, “Let the waters be concentrated under the skies into one place, and let the land appear.” And it was so.
(10) And God called the land “earth,” and called the concentration of the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
God drew from the abyss and separated the earth and water, giving the ground in the bubble the name “earth” and the waters in the bubble the name “seas”, which fill the bottom of the bubble. Or perhaps it fills the top of the bubble, depending on how one is floating in the tehom.
This is now the exact opposite of a snow-globe universe, the basic cosmological foundation for all the texts of the Hebrew bible AND the texts of the Christian New Testament.
“And God saw that it was good.” Party on.
(11) And God said, “Let the earth generate plants, vegetation that produces seed, fruit trees, each making fruit of its own kind, which has its seed in it, on the earth. And it was so:
(12) The earth bought out plants, vegetation that produces seeds of its own kind, and trees that make fruit that each has seeds of its own kind in it. And God saw that it was good.
(13) And there was evening, and there was morning: a third day.
Does the text say that God created the plants? No, it says “Let the earth generate plants….and it was so”. “And there was evening, and there was morning: a third day.”
(14) And God said, “Let there be lights in the space of the skies to distinguish between the day and the night, and they will be for signs and for appointed times and for days and years.
(15) And they will be for lights in the space of the skies to shed light on the earth.” And it was so.
(16) And God made the two big lights – the bigger light for the regulation of the day and the smaller light for the regulation of the night – and the stars.
(17) And God set them in the space of the skies to shed light on the earth
(18) and to regulate the day and the night and to distinguish between the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
(19) And there was evening, and there was morning: a fourth day.
Notice that the lights are clearly identified as being “>in< the space (raqia) of the skies (shamayim)”. The purpose of these lights is stated. They are to be a calendar and clock, “for signs and for appointed times and for days and years.”
Day 1 – Time
Day 2 – Space
Day 3 – earth, seas and plant life
Day 4 – The lights >in< the bubble.
(20) And God said, “Let the water swarm with a swarm of living beings, and let birds fly over the earth on the face of the space of the skies.”
(21) And God created the big sea serpents and all the living beings that creep, with which the water swarmed, by their kinds, and ever winged bird by its kind. And God saw that it was good.
(22) And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply in the earth.”
(23) And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.’
Verse 21 says that God “created” (bara’) many flying and sea animals, even creating mythical creatures. This is only the second time this word is used in Genesis, the first time is in the introduction, the first verse, “In the beginning of God’s creating (bara’) the skies and the earth…”. The “big sea serpents” is a translation of “gadowl tanniyn”. It should be noted that the Babylonian deity, Tiamat, is often pictured as a serpent of the deep. Isaiah 27:1 references that YHWH will “punish leviathan the swift serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” and Second Isaiah says in 51:9, “Art thou not it that cut Rahab in pieces, that pierced the dragon?” In the Priestly story of Moses and Aaron confronting the Egyptian pharaoh, Aaron’s staff does not turn into a snake (nahas), but into a serpent (tanniyn). If these mythical creatures are representative of previous cultural deities, Genesis says that God created them.
(24) And God said, “Let the earth bring out living beings by their kind, domestic animal and creeping thing and wild animals of the earth by their kind.” And it was so.
(25) And God made the wild animals of the earth by their kind and the domestic animals by their kind and every creeping thing of the ground by their kind. And God saw that it was good.
God creates the animals that walk the earth, including “domestic animals”. (Think about it)
And he was happy. But no one else laughed or smiled.
(26) And God said, “Let us make a human, in our image, according to our likeness, and let them dominate the fish of the sea and the birds of the skies and the domestic animals and all the earth and all the creeping things that creep upon the earth.”
(27) And God created the human in His image. He created it in the image of God; He created them male and female.
(28) And God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and dominate the fish of the sea and the birds of the skies and every animal that creeps on the earth.”
“Why does God speak in the plural here? Some take the plural to be “the royal we” as used by royalty and the papacy among humans, but this alone does not account for the fact that it occurs only in the opening chapters of the Torah and nowhere else. Others take the plural to mean that God is addressing a heavenly court of angels, seraphim, or other heavenly creatures, although this, too, does not explain the limitation of the phenomenon to the opening chapters. More plausible though by no means certain, is the suggestion that it is an Israelite, monotheistic reflection of the pagan language of the divine council. In pagan myth, the chief god, when formally speaking for the council of the gods, speaks in the plural. Such language might be appropriate for the opening chapters of the Torah, thus asserting that the God of Israel has taken over this role.” Commentary on the Torah, R.E. Friedman, p. 12.
(29) And God said, “Here, I have placed all the vegetation that produces seed that is on the face of all the earth for you and every tree, which has in it the fruit of a tree producing seed. It will be food for you
(30) and for all the wild animals of the earth and for all the birds of the skies and for all the creeping things on the earth, everything in which there is a living being: every plant of vegetation, for food” And it was so.
(31) And God saw everything that He had made, and, here, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
And that is where christian creationists seem to like to end their story, with the creation of mankind, and God issuing the command for them to subdue and dominate the earth. But in doing so, they have to completely massacre the text as it is written and reject the very purpose of the writing.
From the “Institute for Creation Research”
“All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development that involve evolution in any form are false.”
BUT the story has not even reached the climax, the purpose, the very reason for existing, a conclusion that christian creationists have simply cast aside and wholly rejected.
(1) And the skies and the earth and all their array were finished.
(2) And in the seventh day God finished His work that He had done and ceased in the seventh day from all His work that He had done.
(3) And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because He ceased in it from doing all His work, which God had created.
(4) These are the records of the skies and the earth when they were created
It was not in six days, but “in the seventh day God finished His work”. The message of the First Biblical Creation Narrative, its very reason for being, according to the authors, is that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The very first thing to be made holy in the Torah is a unit of time, the Sabbath. If God made that day holy, one who accepts the bible and the deity of the bible should also keep that seventh day holy.
*Quotations from Genesis are taken from R.E. Friedman’s English translation of the Torah
- Creation, Cosmology, and Context (RJS) (beliefnet.com)
- A scientific diagram of the ancient Hebrew cosmos [Concept Art] (io9.com)