In our world today there is much debate about the origins of everything. Atheist are touting their theories of the Big Bang and evolution while Christians are talking about creationism and intelligent design.
Even within the Christian realm there is debate over the creation story itself. Some people want to use the Genesis account to prove the literal seven days of creation. Some people want to show that it was seven periods of time and was a much longer process than literally seven 24-hour days.
There is much discussion to be had on both sides of this issue, and there is much evidence for either stance regarding creation. There is even evidence for evolution – though not as much – in terms of the creative process. This article isn’t meant to persuade you on what the true scientific process of creation really is. What I do want to show you is a couple things you may have missed and one really big thing that is rarely talked about concerning the Genesis account.
Genesis 1:1-2 says this:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Where the bible says “The earth was without form…” there is a potential translational grey area. The word “was” could also be translated “became”.
If this is the case then there’s your explanation for what happened to the dinosaurs and the old age of the earth. If this is the case then beginning in verse three we have the second creation, and in Jesus we experience the third creation, and the bible likes groups of threes.
I’m not sure what Moses was thinking when he wrote Genesis 1:2, but it sure is fun to wonder sometimes. This is NOT the big, rarely talked about idea.
Poetry and Prose
Poetry is a unique literary style that is much different than prose. It usually is meant to invoke an image to get across an idea. It also includes literary devices such as parallelism and simile and metaphor to bring about its conclusions.
The creation account in Genesis is often used as a scientific treatise on the creation of the world, but it is not – in fact, it is a poem. Let me give you one example to show you why I think so.
Do you remember the order of creation?
Day 1: Light
Day 2: Waters above (sky) and waters below
Day 3: Land
Day 4: Sun, moon and stars
Day 5: Birds and fish
Day 6: Land animals and mankind
Day 7: Rest
There is parallelism in the creation story.
Day 1: Light
Day 4: Sun, moon and stars (Sources of Light)
Day 2: Separation of waters
Day 5: Birds that fly in the sky and fish that swim in the waters below.
Day 3: Land
Day 6: Beings that reside on that land.
Then there’s rest on the seventh day.
We wouldn’t take any other poem and dissect it to try to explain the scientific process of anything, so why do we do that with the creation story? It is because we’ve missed the really big question that is answered in Genesis 1-3.
Overlooked and Undervalued
When we read the creation account in Genesis we often miss the big picture. What is the big picture? Isn’t creation pretty big? Yes, it is, but it is not the main point of the creation story.
God had Moses record the creation story for one purpose: to remind us of the nature of God.
When you read about what was created you are called to remember the magnitude and benevolence of Jehovah. When you read about how things fit together you are called to wonder at the wisdom of The Lord of Hosts. When you see what was created you are called to marvel at the image you were created to be the likeness of, and you are called to see that image in others so that your life with theirs is defined by love and compassion for one another.
The creation story isn’t meant for us to use it to argue about how God scientifically created everything. The creation story is meant to show us God in all His splendor and in his unity among himself (trinity).
So, if we are going to talk about the science of creation then may we use science. If we are going to talk about the majesty of Jehovah, them let’s point to the creation story. I fully believe Jehovah created everything and everyone intricately and purposefully. I also believe He used mathematics and biology and chemistry and physics to create this world.
May we be people who don’t miss the forest for the trees. God is too awesome to miss out on Him while we argue about what He’s done and how He did it.
Oh, and one more thing: If we could understand how Jehovah does everything then He would cease to be God, but He is God, and His foolishness is wiser than our wisdom.