Okay, there is a lot to unpack here in the first chapter of Genesis. It is one of the most quoted and most disagreed-upon stories even amongst Christians. Some Christians believe in a literal 7 day creation. Some believe this is meant to be taken figuratively. My personal take is a little of both and some that is entirely my own.
Before we begin, I wish to talk about the almost mystical significance of different numbers in the Bible. This reminds me a lot about the mystical significance of different numbers amongst the Chinese cultures. In the Bible, two of the most prominent numbers are 7 and 40. Seven was used to indicate perfection (example: the 7 days of Creation). Forty was used to indicate completion or fulfillment. Other numbers that also indicated completion or totality in the Bible are: 3, 10, and 12.
Multiples of these numbers were also used. Six was used to indicate imperfection and is most noted as “the number of the beast” in Revelation. Twenty-two and one are the last two numbers worth mentioning of special significance. Twenty-two is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet and was also the number of generations from Adam to Jacob. 22/7 was also used as an approximation of pi, and note that twenty-two is a multiple of 3 times 7 plus 1 (or perfection times completion/fulfillment plus God, which is traditionally what the number 1 was used to represent).
Note: I will mostly use the NIV version of the Bible (taken from biblegateway.com) because that’s what I grew up with. Views that I express are totally my own and meant to spark conversation. I AM NO THEOLOGIAN!
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
I have always wanted creation to occur in a literal seven days. In college, I even theorized how the Earth’s days could’ve started out extremely slowly, especially as it has been proven that our days have gotten shorter as time has passed, aka the Earth has been spinning slightly faster (https://phys.org/news/2015-11-day-earth.html). A push towards this theory is that humans’ natural clocks are slightly longer than the 24 hour day that the Earth presents. (https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/1999/07/human-biological-clock-set-back-an-hour/)
But anyways, now I’m leaning more towards the 7 eras theory – ie each “day” mentioned in the creation story was an era of time, probably millions of years at a time.
My interpretation of these first two verses: God created the universe. The Earth was there, but the outer layer was just water, totally and completely. I’m not quite sure what is meant by “formless”, but maybe it could be that there was no land above the surface of the water.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
And, pop! The sun as we knew came into existence! The Earth caught by its gravity and started a wobbly orbit around the sun. I’m unsure whether the Earth would’ve started rotating here or not.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Atmosphere! Perhaps some kind of gaseous planet or moon collided with the Earth and caused a chemical reaction to occur with the water already present? How do other planets’ atmospheres form? Not an expert on this one.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Land Ho! Did God raise up the land? Or did he let it form naturally? I know Yellowstone is a super-volcano. Was it one of many that erupted to form the mainlands (or Pangea) that we know now?
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Possibly late in the day(?), God created the plants. Or did the land produce vegetation as a result of eruptions or a sort of evolution? Personally, I am neither for nor against evolution. I can see how evolution could happen somewhat, but not quite to the extent that Darwinism suggests. Clearly, there’s some president that says: A flower that hummingbirds ate died off. A similar flower that is deeper exists nearby. Those hummingbirds with longer beaks would survive better because they would get more food. Those hummingbirds would also be more likely to reproduce (more energy, etc.) and pass on their longer beaks. But I don’t see how so many changes could happen to get a frog from, say, a fish.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 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. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
The moon! Ok, my question is: did the moon crash into the Earth perhaps so hard that it started to rotate? (https://www.businessinsider.com/video-moon-drifts-away-earth-4-billion-years-2019-9) Watch the video! The moon has been moving away from the Earth for the past 4 billion years or so. Was the moon more bright like the sun based on its closeness and lava-like state? Sooooo many questions!
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
Question #59: Dinosaurs – would they have been considered birds or the wild animals listed in the next part? (https://www.livescience.com/are-birds-dinosaurs.html) There’s evidence that birds are “descended” from dinosaurs as their skeletal structures and living habits were similar to modern-day birds. This would also make sense as to why dinosaurs and humans were not alive at the same time. This “day” lasted millions of years in order for the dinosaurs to have time to slowly change into the birds we know and love.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to 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.
God made the dinosaurs and the fish. He waited to make the other animals, probably because he knew that the other animals could not survive in a dinosaur world. This period of time probably started in the Paleocene era. If you look at this era, mammals began to rule, and many of our modern-day creatures began to appear in some version.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
It is commonly agreed by scientists that humanoids appeared in the Pleistocene Era (commonly referred to as the Ice Age). Personally, I think this is an awful time for humans to appear, but maybe I just like being warm!
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Ok, I’m setting aside my thoughts and questions about Adam and Eve until chapter 2… (or 3) but I’m really tempted to start now!
Subdue: bring under control. https://georgedowdell.org/2012/06/08/subdue-the-earth/ Read this AMAZING article about what this phrase means. God did not mean “to conquer or vanquish”. Just imagine the Earth as a feisty toddler that needs some discipline.
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Point for vegans! God gave us plants and fruit for the trees to eat. He left other plants for other animals. He says nothing about eating meat or dairy!
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
Woohoo! Good job God! He’s done…and so am I.