Summary of Genesis Chapter One
Here the various statements made in chapter six will be summarized. The statements are arranged alongside the N.I.V. Biblical text to expedite comparison. Grouping is both by scriptural “day” and scientific age.
Day 1: About 15-20 billion years ago Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created God created matter, space and the heavens and the earth." time. About 4.5 billion years ago Genesis 1:2 "Now the earth was formless The matter from which God and empty, darkness was over formed our earth and solar the surface of the deep, and system comprised a shapeless the Spirit of God was hovering nebula in dark space. God set over the waters." to work on it to accomplish His intentions. About 4.5 billion years ago Genesis 1:3 "And God said, 'Let there be Sunlight became visible from light,' and there was light." earth at this time. At some point, God caused the sun to ignite - quite literally as a giant continuously-burning hydrogen bomb. This verse may either refer to this or to when God cleared some of the nebular dust away. Genesis 1:4, 5 "God saw that the light was God finished clearing the good, and he separated the nebular dust away and the light from the darkness. God earth cooled. The earth's called the light 'day,' and back side became dark. Its the darkness he called 'night.' original atmosphere was And there was evening, and stripped. there was morning - the first day." Day 2: About 4 billion years ago Genesis 1:6-8 "And God said, 'Let there be The earth cooled some more. an expanse between the waters Some of the volcanic steam to separate water from water.' which now surrounded it So God made the expanse and condensed into water which separated the water under the covered the earth's surface. expanse from the water above God made an air space between it. And it was so. God called the dark clouds and the the expanse 'sky.' And there surface water. was evening, and there was morning - the second day." Day 3: About 2.5-3 billion years ago Genesis 1:9, 10 "And God said, 'Let the water God caused the earth's crust to under the sky be gathered to form continents which pushed one place, and let dry ground up through the oceans. (God appear.' And it was so. God had created single-celled plant- called the dry ground 'land,' like aquatic life by this time.) and the gathered waters he called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good." Date undetermined - maybe 1-2 billion years ago Genesis 1:11-13 "Then God said, 'Let the land The first terrestrial plants must produce vegetation: seed- have been created at this time. bearing plants and trees on There is, as yet, no fossil the land that bear fruit with evidence for them. Large amounts seed in it, according to their of oxygen first appeared in the various kinds.' And it was so. atmosphere about 2 billion years The land produced vegetation: ago. God continued to create plants bearing seed according other kinds of plants during to their kinds and trees subsequent "days." bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day." Day 4: Genesis 1:14-19 "And God said, 'Let there be God "brought forth" the sun, lights in the expanse of the moon and stars in that order sky to separate the day from by clearing the thick cloud the night, and let them serve layer from around the earth. as signs to mark seasons and He "presented" them in the days and years, and let them heavens where they could be be lights in the expanse of used for the figuring of the sky to give light on the seasons etc. earth.' And it was so. God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day." Day 5 About 500-600 million years ago Genesis 1:20-23 "And God said, 'Let the water God created an "explosion" of teem with living creatures, aquatic life forms. He began and let birds fly above the making true fish a little later earth across the expanse of - 400 million years ago. The the sky.' So God created the first "winged creatures" were great creatures of the sea and insects - 350 million years ago. every living and moving thing God made the first amphibians with which the water teems, 350-300 million years ago. The according to their kinds, and oldest known true feathered every winged bird according to birds appear overlapping day its kind. And God saw that it six - during the time of the was good. God blessed them and dinosaurs. said, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the fifth day." Day 6: About 230 million years ago Genesis 1:24, 25 "And God said, 'Let the land God made the reptiles, including produce living creatures the dinosaurs, beginning about according to their kinds: 230 million years ago. Most livestock, creatures that move mammals were created later - along the ground, and wild beginning 65 million years ago. animals, each according to its God created the first tool-using kind.' And it was so. God made man-like apes about 2-3 million the wild animals according to years ago. their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." Possibly 40 thousand years ago Genesis 1:26, 27 "Then God said, 'Let us make God created Adam - the first man in our image, in our fully modern man. likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image ..."
This chapter examines our present situation and suggests a strategy for correcting it.
Chapter 7: Repairing the Damage
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15, Emphasis mine.
As explained at the beginning of this book, before we attempt to correct atheists, we have been instructed to remove errors from our own arguments (Matthew 7:5). Consequently, the church must abandon the young-earth position. This applies to all of us – not just the relatively small number of vocal creationists who are promoting the young-earth error in their lectures and books. Leaders without followers are not really leaders at all. Therefore we are all responsible and must all do what we can to correct the error.
Probably the most important first step which we need to take is to stop laughing when an atheist is made out to be a fool by a Christian. Laughing in this sense is a way of showing someone that we have judged them to be a fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.'” (Psalm 14:1). But we should never laugh – not even at true fools. In Matthew, Jesus warns us:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1, 2.
Here Jesus has all but promised us that if we laugh at a fool, we will come to discover that we ourselves have been the fools. In fact, the Proverbs seem to lump fools and mockers (or scorners) together as a single group (Proverbs 1:22).
More importantly, we must remember that our goal is to lead atheists to Christ – not to drive them farther away! Every time a scientist has said (correctly) that some particular fossil was millions of years old, and we laughed at him, judging him to be a fool, we have actually driven him farther from salvation. Now we have come to find that we ourselves have been the fools; we have been rude fools too – laughing openly at men who told us the truth. Consider this too, we have laughed at men who knew they spoke the truth and then watched us laugh.
Perhaps young-earth creationists have a zeal for God but, unfortunately, one which is not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). Paul the Apostle originally channeled his powerful zeal for God against the early Church. What are we doing with ours? Young-earth creationists have, for the most part, merely generated smoke in an ill-fated attempt to conceal the true age of the universe. It would have been better if they had spent their time suggesting consistent structures of ideas which actually explain the scientific facts.
Far worse has been done than just making smoke! When erring young-earth arguments were made, how were they supported? Might more have been misrepresented than just the scientific facts? What about the scientists themselves? Consider this reaction by Harvard’s Stephen Gould:
“Faced with these facts of evolution and the philosophical bankruptcy of their own position, creationists rely upon distortion and innuendo to buttress their rhetorical claim. If I sound sharp or bitter, indeed I am – for I have become a major target of these practices.” 1
We have not used good science or good manners – it is well known that we have not. The evolutionists certainly have not been righteous either; but there will be time to address that – after we get our own act together.
Much of the teaching of evolution is founded upon “religious” atheism instead of scientific evidence. This is why evolutionists have religious faith in the “facts of evolution” where scientific caution would be more befitting a scientist. It would be nice if we creationists were in a position to point this out to them; but we are not likely to be heard. None of us will be taken seriously. It is assumed that all creationists are careless about their facts. If only we could just start afresh! But we cannot; sin always leaves scars – even when the real price has been paid for us.
We are losing an important battle – not against true science, but against another religion. Evolutionism is being preached in our schools and courtrooms and is beginning to interfere with our personal lives. We live in a society which willingly censors Biblical teaching of any kind from our public schools under the pretense of separation of church and state, yet our children are subjected to years of atheistic religious indoctrination. Furthermore, this mischief is funded by our tax dollars! There is a great deal at stake here; we desperately need to be taken seriously.
This is not likely to happen – especially since the books which young-earth creationists have been offering as a substitute contain fiction from cover to cover wherever the subject of dates occurs. If young-earth creationists had not done such a poor job of presenting God’s creation, then we probably would not now be hearing atheists tell us that evolution is a “fact.” The evolutionist’s arguments only look good when they are compared to young-earth arguments; if the latter were not so bad, the former would not look at all plausible; the evolutionary view is not really convincing.
Evolutionism is not a position which men have been intellectually forced into by the world’s data; God has left enough evidence. His own account of how He created our universe is pleading for recognition. Naturalistic evolution is a position which men have taken in spite of a great deal of data. Some have taken this position to avoid having to give an account to their Creator. Others might feel we creationists have left them no viable alternative.
There might still be hope, but we must stop insisting that the Bible tells a fairy tale about a ten-thousand year-old universe. Instead, we must reason out what the truth really is; then our preaching of Christianity could fit the universe’s facts as well as the Bible’s. Maybe then scientists would not try so hard to close their eyes and ears to the truth. As Paul says:
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20, Emphasis mine.
If we creationists would simply allow God’s universe to speak for us instead of against us, then maybe a few more scientists would be able to see the hand of God at work in His creation and would come to know the saving truth.
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – Jesus, John 3:16, 17.
Wisdom’s Call – Proverbs 8
Proverbs chapter eight contains an interesting parallel to Genesis 1. It is included here so readers can compare the old-earth understanding, presented in Chapter 6, with another Biblical account describing God’s creation.
Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgement are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.
“Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.”
Table of Appendices
- 1: Predictions
- 2: Arguments For Twenty-Four-Hour Days
- 3: Real World Clocks
- 4: The Gap Theory
- 5: The Ussher Chronology
Appendix 1: Predictions
Here this author would like to make some predictions based on his understanding of how science and Genesis dovetail – the understanding which has been presented in this book. Those who are interested can test the claims made here with new scientific discoveries as they become available. This will provide a means to help determine if this author’s understanding is correct or if we must look for another one.
- Precambrian land plants (older than the oldest aquatic animals) should be discovered eventually.
- No evidence will ever turn up that men preceding modern man ever wore clothes. (There was no knowledge of sin.) Although it can be argued that clothes were needed for warmth in the ice age climate (even if not for modesty) this author is betting (perhaps unnecessarily) that the Neanderthals and other pre-humans had sufficient body hair.
- More evidence will continue to sharpen the separation between the Neanderthals and modern men. Archaic homo will eventually resolve into another distinct “kind.” Evidence will eventually sharpen the difference between modern men and the Archaics as well.
- Something will eventually turn up which will make sense out of the difference between the Ussher chronology (six thousand years) and the carbon-14 chronology (about forty thousand years).
- Future young-earth “proofs” will continue to have errors in them.
Appendix 2: Arguments For 24-Hour Days
“Many Christians suggest that we should give God sufficient time to create this complex world by stretching the days of creation into hundreds of millions of years, so that each day of creation would equal an age. Is this legitimate? Well, actually it is amazing, when we begin to study the first chapter of Genesis, to discover that we have a built-in scheme of interpreting the length of these days, which shows that these must have been the same kind of days that we know today. For example, Genesis 1:14 says that God created the lights to divide the day from the night, and that they were to be for signs, for seasons, for days and years. If the days are ages, then what are years? If a day is an age, then what is a night? In other words, the whole passage becomes ridiculous when we begin to stretch or reinterpret the word ‘day.’
“It is perfectly correct that in the Bible occasionally the word ‘day’ means a long, indefinite period of time, such as the ‘Day of the Lord.’ But never when the word ‘day’ is connected with a number does it mean anything other than a twenty-four hour period – for instance, the second day, the fourth day, the sixth day. Furthermore, whenever the word ‘day’ is connected with the qualifying phrase ‘evening and morning,’ we find a technical Hebrew expression that speaks of the rotation of the Earth’s axis in reference to a fixed light source, passing through a night-day cycle. 
“Genesis chapter one is explained by Exodus 20:9, 11, when God spoke to Israel and said, ‘Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work … For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.’ Obviously God was speaking in terms of literal days. No Jew in his right mind would think that God meant ‘six indefinite periods shalt thou labor and rest a seventh indefinite period.’…”
– And God Created, Edited by Kelly L. Segraves, C. 1973, Creation-Science Research Center, San Diego, Ca. Volume II, pp. 62, 63. Bracketed footnote mine.
“As has been mentioned before, the Bible does not state the age of the world; consequently, several opinions are held by creationists. They can be divided easily into two major groupings: those who believe that the account of the creation of the world refers to six literal days, and those who feel that the six days were a figurative way of referring to indefinite periods of time. Both have some very good reasons for holding the positions they hold.
“Arguments for six literal days are:
“1. This would seem to be the normal way to interpret the passage (Gen. 1).
“2. The term ‘day’ when used elsewhere in Scripture usually means literal twenty-four hour days.
“3. It is hard to understand the reasoning of the argument of a Sabbath of rest on the seventh day after the six days of work creating the world if they were not six literal days (Gen. 2:2).”
– Creation Vs. Evolution Handbook, Thomas F. Heinze, C. 1973, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pp. 104-105.
“… Many sincere and competent Biblical scholars have felt it so mandatory to accept the geological age system that they have prematurely settled on the so-called day-age theory as the recommended interpretation of Genesis 1. By this device, they seek more or less to equate the days of creation with the ages of evolutionary geology.
“However, this theory, no less than the gap theory, encounters numerous overwhelming objections which render it invalid. In the first place, the order of creative events narrated in Genesis 1 is very different from the accepted order of fossils in the rocks representing the geological ages. A number of these contradictions will be noted in the course of the exposition.
“Second, as already pointed out when discussing the gap theory, the geological ages are predicated on the fossil record, and fossils speak unequivocally of the reign of suffering and death in the world. The day-age theory, therefore, accepts as real the existence of death before sin, in direct contradiction to the Biblical teaching that death is a divine judgment on man’s dominion because of man’s sin (Romans 5:12). Thus it assumes that suffering and death comprise an integral part of God’s work of creating and preparing the world for man; and this in effect pictures God as a sadistic ogre, not as the Biblical God of grace and love.
“Finally, the Biblical record itself makes it plain that the days of creation are literal days, not long indefinite ages. This will become conclusively evident as we examine the actual wording of these verses. Even though it may occasionally be possible for the Hebrew word for ‘day’ (yom) to mean an indefinite time, the specific context in Genesis 1 precludes any such meaning here.
“If the reader asks himself this question: ‘Suppose the writer of Genesis wished to teach his readers that all things were created and made in six literal days, then what words would he use to best convey this thought?’ he would have to answer that the writer would have used the actual words in Genesis 1. If he wished to convey the idea of long geological ages, however, he could surely have done it far more clearly and effectively in other words than in those which he selected. It was clearly his intent to teach creation in six literal days.
“Therefore, the only proper way to interpret Genesis 1 is not to ‘interpret’ it at all. That is, we accept the fact that it was meant to say exactly what it says. The ‘days’ are literal days and the events described happened in just the way described. This incomparable first chapter of Scripture tells us what we could never learn any other way – the history of creation. ‘For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it’ (Exodus 20:11).”
–The Genesis Record, Henry M. Morris, C. 1976, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, pp. 53, 54.
Appendix 3: Real World Clocks
A Discussion for Those Having a Technical Background
This appendix will try to explain the problem of synchronization of clocks in the same way in which it is often presented to beginning physics students. This illustration is silly enough to be interesting, while it is serious enough to accurately demonstrate the principles involved.
First we must picture in our minds a barn located anywhere in space (or on a planet) with two doors which open outwards on the two opposite front and back walls. We will assume that those two doors are 9 meters apart. Next we will picture a very fast traveling pole vaulter who is carrying a 10 meter pole. If the two doors are both open, the pole vaulter can run (carrying his pole) in through the front door, through the barn, and out through the back door without any difficulty. There will, of course, be a short period of time when his pole will extend out of the barn through both doors at the same time.
Next we will make our pole vaulter run very fast – 80% of the speed of light – and have him run through the barn again. This time the effects of Einstein’s special theory of relativity will be apparent. If we stand next to the barn and observe the pole vaulter, his pole will appear to us (in our frame of reference) to have shortened to a new length equal to its original length (10 meters) times the square root of (1-(v*v)/(c*c)). This is explained in detail on pp. 35, 36 of Modern Physics: an Introductory Survey. 1 (The equation we are using is identified as “2-28” at the bottom of page 36.) Because our vaulter is running at 80% light speed, v/c, is 0.8 and so (v*v)/(c*c) will become 0.64, which when subtracted from 1 leaves 0.36, whose square root is 0.6. When we multiply this factor by the original length of the pole (10 meters), we find that the pole now appears (to us at least) to be only 6 meters long.
So at this speed, the pole fits easily into the 9 meter barn. This means there is a very brief instant, while the vaulter is running through the barn, when we could very quickly slam both doors at the same time and open them again before there was any problem. We could, in principle at least, take a picture of the entire pole safely inside the barn with both doors closed. So far there is no problem.
9m 6m \_________/ 1) ______ .8c -> _________ / \ _________ 2) | ______ | |_________| \_________/ 3) ______ _________ / \
Now, how does this appear in the pole vaulter’s frame of reference? It is a basic precept of relativity that all experiments must give the same results when viewed from any frame of reference. Referring to Modern Physics again p. 29:
“As the Michelson-Morley experiment revealed, there is no ether,  and therefore no way of specifying any universal frame of reference. In other words, if we observe something changing its position with respect to us, we have no way (even in principle) of knowing whether it is moving or we are moving.” – Emphasis theirs. Bracketed footnote mine.
So now we must look at this from the pole vaulter’s frame of reference. Let us assume that it is the pole vaulter who is standing still (we ourselves will be standing beside him) and that it is the barn which is whizzing by around us at 80% light speed. This time it is the barn that appears to shorten by the same 0.6 factor (because the relative velocity, v/c, is still 0.8) – to a length of 9 meters times 0.6 which is equal to 5.4 meters. The 10 meter pole will no longer fit!
So what is going to happen when both of the barn’s doors are closed at the same time as they were when we observed the way the universe behaves as seen from the barn’s frame of reference? When the pole vaulter finally sits down after the experiment has been completed to discuss its results with the observer who stood by the barn, will they disagree as to whether or not there was a collision? Will the pole vaulter show his splintered pole as evidence and the barn observer show a motion picture sequence which proves that the pole was never even touched? Of course not! There cannot be any evidence, even in principle, which would prove in any absolute sense whether it was “they” or “we” who were moving.
As we saw in Chapter 4, the phrase at the same time is completely without meaning when high speeds or large distances are involved. If this phrase had any meaning, then we would have an unresolvable paradox here; but the phrase has no meaning and, as we will see, we do not have a paradox.
Let us return to our example. We will have an observer, who is standing by the barn, decide when to close and re-open the two doors. (We will give him very long arms so that he can close and re-open both doors at the same time.)
What would happen, according to Einstein’s laws, is that the pole vaulter would see this single event (both doors closing then re-opening) as two separate events. First he would see the barn’s back door (the one he would pass through last) close and re-open while the leading end of his pole (although well inside the barn) was still a safe distance from that door. (2a). This would be before the hind end of the pole had made it into the barn at all.
5.4m 1) 10m \______/ __________ ______ / \ <- .8c 2a) \______ __________ | ______| / 2b) \______/ __________ ______ / \ 2c) ______/ | __________ |______ \ 3) \______/ __________ ______ / \
An instant later (not at the same time), he would see the front door (the one he has passed through first) close and re-open, but only after the hind end of the pole was safely inside the barn and clear of that door. (2c). At this time, the leading end of the pole would already be sticking through the other door and well out of the barn. The motion picture sequence which the pole vaulter might have filmed would confirm the absence of simultaneity as would any other recording instruments which he carried.
Only when we give up our pre-relativistic notion that two events can happen at exactly the same time – and that different observers will agree as to what this means – does the world really make sense. Otherwise there would be many paradoxes like the one just presented.
Finally, the conclusion of the preceding example will be confirmed with the best possible authorities – beginning with Nobel prize winner Richard P. Feynman, who before his recent death was a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech: “If we look at the situation carefully we see that events that occur at two separated places at the same time, as seen by Moe in S’, do not happen at the same time as viewed by Joe in S.” 3 (Emphasis his.) Next, another Nobel prize winner – Albert Einstein himself: “There is no absolute (independent of the space of reference) relation in space, and no absolute relation in time between two events,” 4 (Emphasis mine).
This is actually the way God made his universe! There really is no such thing as being at exactly the same time when two different events are separated by a distance.
Appendix 4: The Gap Theory
The gap theory places a huge time gap between the first and second verses of Genesis 1. According to this theory, Satan was evicted from heaven long ago and exiled to the earth. Satan then destroyed the earth between the first and second verses of Genesis 1 and God then re-created it in the rest of the chapter. This theory is an old attempt to correlate the supposedly short “days” of Genesis with the antiquity which science speaks of. It is presented in the notes of the Scofield Bible under Isaiah 45:18. Isaiah says:
“For this is what the Lord says – he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited …” – Isaiah 45:18.
Here the word “empty,” and back in Genesis 1:2 the word “formless,” are both translated from the Hebrew “tohuw.” Genesis says that the earth was made “tohuw” (meaning empty, vain, waste, or something like “wild”) but Isaiah says that it was not. Obviously one or the other of these verses needs a little bit of interpreting.
What the Scofield Bible did with this pair in its notes was to translate the word “was” in Genesis 1:2 as “became.” This is acceptable as far as the Hebrew is concerned. Thus Genesis 1:2 would read, “And the earth became without form and void …” So even though God did not originally create the earth “tohuw” it later became “tohuw” as a result of Satan’s fall.
There is a much simpler way to interpret Isaiah. Notice that God “did not create the earth empty (tohuw), but formed it to be inhabited.” What Isaiah means here is easily seen from the implied comparison between the two states of the earth; what is meant by “tohuw” here is “uninhabited” – or in this particular context “not to be inhabited.” Isaiah is contrasting the earth’s initial state with the fact that it was later to be inhabited. Whatever else a person believes, they must accept the fact that the world was uninhabited at the time when God first created it. All that Isaiah 45:18 says is that it was not intended that it should remain that way forever. 1
This is really a much cleaner way to interpret the Bible. There is no need to hypothesize a giant gap between the first two verses of Genesis – one which God has said nothing about and for which there is no scientific evidence. We do not need to claim that Satan came along and messed the world up. The Bible tells us that Adam did that.
Examination of those verses where Satan’s fall is referred to (Isaiah 14:1-20, Ezekiel 28:11-19, Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:3-13) does not unambiguously identify the event as being past or future. Good arguments can be made either way. For example, in Luke 10:18 Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” This would seem to refer to a past event; but then Jesus might have been speaking prophetically. The Bible also seems to tell us that Satan had not yet been evicted from heaven even as recently as Job’s time. Job 1:6 says, “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.” This verse establishes that Satan had access to heaven at that time. Satan is regarded as the accuser of the brethren before God even today (Rev. 12:10). From this it would seem that he has access to heaven and has not yet, even at this present time, been evicted.
To avoid this sequencing difficulty, Christians sometimes divide the casting down of Satan into two separate parts: first the casting down to earth and later the final casting out of heaven. This is cumbersome at best; but as was explained back in Chapter 4, there is another explanation. The very nature of time is not as simple as we normally presume.
Consider what we really mean when we say, “at this present time” – “now” as it appears to us in our earthly frame of reference or “now” as it appears to God in His? According to Einstein’s laws, it can be impossible to know, even in principle, which of two widely separated events came first and which second – and here we are dealing with one event in heaven and another on earth! Satan is being cast from heaven to earth. Here the problem becomes vastly more difficult.
God is the one who calls things which are not as though they were (Romans 4:17) and knows what is going to happen in our future. The relationship of time between heaven, where He resides, and earth seems to be past our understanding. This is true even if the relationship of time between two observers in different earthly frames of reference isn’t already completely past our understanding. But perhaps we have grasped just enough of a taste of the truth from studying time in God’s creation to give us a glimmer of what sort of thing the heavenly reality might be. It will not be a simple question of “before” or “after” as we understand those terms.
In any case, no matter how one chooses to treat the fall of Satan, there is no reason, scientific or scriptural to hypothesize a time gap between the first two verses of Genesis 1. The scientific account of the universe’s creation matches Genesis without any supposed time gap. The Bible says nothing about Satan ever having destroyed the world. We should not assume any such theory when we have not been provided with either scientific or scriptural reason to do so.
Appendix 5: The Ussher Chronology
This appendix will attempt to reconstruct Archbishop James Ussher’s 1650 AD calculation of the year in which God created Adam. Ussher used the genealogies provided in the Bible to reach a date of 4004 BC. (As explained in Chapter 6, this does not agree well at all with the scientific evidence which would place the first actual men many thousands of years earlier.)
King Solomon will serve as a starting point from which to work backward. Solomon was a modern enough figure that he can be tied to history fairly well – at least rough dates are available. Solomon assumed the throne of Israel at about 960 BC. 1 This date is probably fairly accurate; but in any case it will certainly be accurate enough for the present purpose; after all, this concerns an error of about thirty thousand years.
The chronology can be extended backward from Solomon to Adam one step at a time as follows: 1 Kings 6:1 tells us that 480 years elapsed between the time the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt and the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. This means that 476 of those years had elapsed by the year in which Solomon assumed the throne (960 BC). So it may be concluded that the children of Israel left Egypt 476 years before 960 BC, or in about the year 1436 BC.
Next Exodus 12:40 tells us that the children of Israel stayed in Egypt for 430 years before Moses led them out. 2 From this it can be calculated that the children of Israel entered Egypt about 1866 BC. This period may include the period preceding the captivity because a shorter span of time is given in Acts 7:6 for the captivity itself. Presumably this 430 year period in Egypt began when Jacob moved there. This should be at least reasonably close to the actual beginning of that period. (But this is an assumption.) As we learn from Genesis 47:28, Jacob had lived in Egypt for seventeen years at the time of his death at the age of 147 years. It follows that Jacob’s age was 130 years when he moved into Egypt. This means that Jacob was born 130 years before 1866 BC or somewhere near the year 1996 BC.
Next, Genesis 25:26 informs us that Jacob’s father Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born. This puts the birth of Isaac at about 2056 BC. Similarly, from Genesis 21:5 we find that Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born, putting the birth of Abraham at about 2156 BC.
>From this point back to Adam the dates come quite rapidly. Chapters 5 and 11 of Genesis are summarized here:
Genesis 11:10-26: 3
Terah born 70 years before Abraham .................2226 BC Nahor born 29 years before Terah ...................2255 BC Serug born 30 years before Nahor ...................2285 BC Reu born 32 years before Serug .....................2317 BC Peleg born 30 years before Reu .....................2347 BC Eber born 34 years before Peleg ....................2381 BC Salah born 30 years before Eber ....................2411 BC Arphaxad born 35 years before Salah ................2446 BC Shem born 100 years before Arphaxad ................2546 BC
Genesis 5:3-32: 4
Noah was born 500 years before Shem ................3046 BC Lamech was born 182 years before Noah ..............3228 BC Methuselah was born 187 years before Lamech ........3415 BC Enoch was born 65 years before Methuselah ..........3480 BC Jared was born 162 years before Enoch ..............3642 BC Mahalaleel was born 65 years before Jared ..........3707 BC Cainan was born 70 years before Mahalaleel .........3777 BC Enos was born 90 years before Cainan ...............3867 BC Seth was born 105 years before Enos ................3972 BC Adam was made 130 years before Seth was born .......4102 BC
Ussher probably used some different verses than these and probably tied them to a different point in history as well. Still, 4102 BC. agrees well enough with his 4004 BC. This is where the 6000-year-old figure for the age of the earth comes from; 4000 years BC. plus nearly 2000 years AD. adds up to about 6000 years ago. Actually this calculation does not give the date of the earth’s creation – only of Adam’s, which was sometime during the sixth “day” – and, of course, the Bible does not say how long the “days” of Genesis really were. Still, this chronology provides enough trouble even if it only applies to Adam!
It is normally assumed that there are many gaps in the Biblical genealogies; most creationists agree there are thousands of years’ worth. The only remaining dispute is over just how many thousands there may be.
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Chapter 7 Footnote:
- Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes, Stephen Jay Gould, C. 1983, W.W. Norton & Co., N.Y., p. 259. [Return]
Appendix 2 Footnote:
- Historically, the understanding that the earth turns on its axis was not even suggested until Aristarchus (born 310 BC) nor the theory made well known until Nicolaus Copernicus 1473-1543 AD. The Sleepwalkers, Arthur Koestler, C. 1959, The Universal Library, Grosset and Dunlap, N.Y., p. 49. It follows that this idea has no bearing whatsoever on the Biblical expression “evening and morning.” [Return]
Appendix 3 Footnotes:
- Modern Physics: an Introductory Survey, Arthur Beiser, C. 1968, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc., Reading, Massachusetts, pp. 35, 36. [Return]
- The term “ether” refers to a hypothetical “fluid” that light waves were once thought to travel through. It was supposed to be the absolute universal stationary frame of reference. [Return]
- The Feynman Lectures on Physics, by Richard P. Feynman, C. 1963, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass. Vol. 1, p. 15-7. [Return]
- The Meaning of Relativity, by Albert Einstein, C. 1945, 1950, Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp. 30, 31. [Return]
Appendix 4 Footnote:
- The same conclusion will be reached by studying Jeremiah 4:23-28. The phrase “formless and empty” is elaborated upon in this passage emphasizing the absence of inhabitation, e.g. light gone, no people, birds flown away, towns in ruins. [Return]
Appendix 5 Footnotes:
- The Conquest of Civilization, James Henry Breasted, C. 1926, 1938, The Literary Guild of America, Inc., N.Y., p. 187. (This event was synchronous with the death of King David.) [Return]
- See also Acts 13:17-20. [Return]
- Actually Genesis 11:26 says, “After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.” The three were probably each born in different years. Although Abram is listed first (being the most important from the Jewish perspective), it appears from other scripture that he was not actually the first born of the three. Genesis 11:32 tells us that Terah died in Haran at the age of 205. We see from Acts 7:4 that Abram (Abraham) moved from Haran to Israel only after Terah died. And finally Genesis 12:4 tells us that Abram was 75 when he left Haran. This means that Terah must have been about 130 (or older) when Abram was born. This introduces a 60 year (or greater) error to the traditional chronology. [Return]
- Here, in Genesis 5:32 the text says, “After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.” It is improbable that all three were born within the same year. There are clues as to exactly when Shem was born. Genesis 11:10 says that when Shem begat Arphaxad he was 100 years old and that Arphaxad was born two years after the flood. This means that Shem was 98 when the flood ended. Genesis 8:13 tells us that the flood ended when Noah was 601. Noah would have to have been about 503 when Shem was born if he were to be 601 years old when Shem was 98. This only introduces a three-year error. [Return]