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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > Six Days of Creation  


SIX DAYS OF CREATION

God’s design was to accomplish all of His creative work in single, completed acts that progressively moved toward fulfilling His immutable will. He chose to work for six days and to rest the seventh day, thereby establishing the pattern that man was expected to imitate and, in so doing, was displaying His wisdom by setting forth the example intended for man—the creature must work like the Creator worked. For six days God spoke, and when God spoke it was so (Gen. 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30; see: By His Word). When He finished speaking, Creation was complete and God rested.

Each day’s work was accomplished during that day, and each day’s work prepared for the next day’s work. Of course, God could have created everything in a single instance—a concept entertained by some throughout history—but He chose to work systematically; the mystery and power of God are not limited by this fact. Rather, we glimpse God’s consideration for the man He was to create.

The purpose of the six days is to show how God, step by step, changes the uninhabitable and unformed earth of verse two into the well ordered world of verse thirty-one (Young, Studies, 105).

From Genesis we learn that God created all things, that is, the universe, the cosmos. Through Isaiah, God affirms: “I am the Lord, Who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself” (44:24); literally, it reads: “Who makes all.” God makes all, and He makes all things “alone.” Only He is “Elohim: The Creator” (see: Elohim and Theos, The God of Creation, and Elohim: The Creator).

Day One       

On Day One God created the heavens and the earth. Since the sun, moon, and stars were made on Day Four, the word “heavens” must refer to the creation of space, the seemingly endless continuum in which the universe is located. And the first object placed in the unfathomable emptiness was the earth.

Immediately the reflective reader is struck with the absolute inability to reconcile this statement with the theoretical scenario of the evolutionist (see: Question of Evolution). The first object in the cosmos was the earth—an unacceptable fact for the one who begins with human reasoning rather than submitting to the teaching of Divine Revelation. The text affirms that the earth appeared alone and ahead of any of the other heavenly bodies. Initially the earth was the only object in space.

The earth God created was “without form and void” and “darkness was on the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2). In one sense, Creation was complete; in another sense, more work was needed. “Without form” (tohu) speaks of a waste, shapeless mass, and “void” (bohu) describes a lifeless, empty, and desolate place that was uninhabited (two words translated in the NIV as “formless and empty”). What God had just created is also described as the “deep” (tehom), a word which depicts the surging, raging motion of the semi-liquid, semi-solid mass that was in great upheaval. There was no land and there was no light; darkness surrounded the heaving deep, a primordial abyss that was unfit for human habitation. The original Creation was in need of order, life, light, and peace. And the Spirit of God, hovering like an eagle, was there to bring a cosmos out of a chaos.

God said: “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (1:3). From their point of creation the heavens and earth existed in darkness until God spoke these words dispelling the total darkness that engulfed His Creation. According to the text “darkness was on the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:2), consequently the earth as we know it was in existence before there was any light illuminating the earth. Before there was light there was darkness. Paul makes reference to God “who commanded light to shine out of darkness” (II Cor. 4:6).

Matter, therefore, came into being before light. The first day began with darkness and ended with light, so the phrase, “evening and morning,” reflects this fact (In Hebrew culture the day began in the evening—an expression of Creation). So was completed day one.

Genesis 1:1 is both an introductory and a summary statement. It marks the beginning of God’s creative work, and also introduces the reader to the God who is the Creator of all things. Therefore, two points can be made about the heavens and the earth: the universe is not eternal; and the universe is dependent. In the beginning God called into being that which was not, and He continually keeps it in existence (see: The God of Creation).

Thus on Day One the following was created in this order: time (“beginning”), space (“heavens”), the earth, and light. 

Day Two

Days two through four prepared the earth for the fish, birds, animals, and man that were created on days five and six.

On day two the atmosphere (“firmament”; lit., “an expanse” or a “stretched-out space”) was formed, separating the waters of the unsettled semi-liquid, semi-solid mass below from the “waters above,” a reference to the rain clouds or to a water vapor canopy that covered the new earth. This new atmosphere is called “heaven” (Gen. 1:6-8).

Day Three

On day three the surging, raging, semi-liquid/solid mixture was separated into liquid (seas) and solid (earth). Order and structure were beginning to take place; and on the dry land full-grown vegetation appeared: grass, herbs, and trees (Gen. 1:9-13), all with the appearance of age. Evidently, on day three the earth was covered with plush and diverse plant life.

God created a universe that was fully functioning, a fact that undermines the concept that present processes over a vast amount of time explain the development and state of the current earth. Here is the appearance of plants prior to any animal life, a minor, but significant fact that contradicts the scheme of the evolutionary model which has primitive animal life appearing before any plants.

From this minor detail develops a major problem for the theistic evolutionist who would seek to reconcile the Scriptures with the theories of science. How can the message of the Creation—that God is the Creator—be accepted if the details which convey the message are all deemed to be invalid? How can Who (God) be accepted while How (plants before animals) is denied? Must the Scriptures be made to conform to science, or should science be made to respect the Revelation (see: Scripture or Science, Evolutionist versus Theist, and Approach)?

Does Job 38:4-7 speak of the shout of the newly created angels when the dry land appeared on day three?

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for you?

Day Four

On day four God created the sun, moon, and stars; and they became the bearers of light, that is, the light created on day one was made to be localized in the sun, moon, and stars. The newly created luminaries would become the source of that light for the earth, and in so becoming these heavenly bodies would rule the days, the years, and the seasons (Gen. 1:14-19). On day one, God said: “Let there be light”; on day four, God said: “Let there be lights.” Like the plants, the luminaries were made fully functioning, and light from these heavenly bodies, whatever the distance from earth, was seen immediately on the earth. The light was immediately and continuously visible.

Note that the sun, moon, and stars were created and became visible after the earth, with its land and seas, had been created and filled with vegetation—a sequence impossible for the evolutionists.

On days two through four, there were rapid developments. In a very brief period, according to the natural and literal reading of the text, the land appeared, the seas were formed, vegetation was produced, and the sun, moon, and stars were set in the sky. When God commanded all this to be, twice the Scripture reports: “And it was so” (Gen. 1:11, 15). The account does not indicate, nor does it seem to allow, a large amount of time for these things to develop. A sudden appearing of the land, the oceans, vegetation on the land, and the heavenly bodies is the implication of the text—swiftly these things came to be.

The point is that rapid development is just the opposite of the claim of evolution, which postulates that long ages, with slow development or gradual evolution, are required for the appearance and development of what we see. At this point evolution and the Bible cannot be harmonized. Their respective perspectives are decidedly opposite. A decision must be made as to which is followed: rapid change in a very brief period (some would term it catastrophic change), or slow change over very long geological ages (known as uniformitarianism). And the decision that is made on this seemingly minor point has broad implications for interpreting the entire account of Creation (see: Question of Evolution).

The psalmist is surely describing a short duration of gigantic changes in Psalm 104:5-9:

You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever, You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.

Day Five

Day five witnesses the sudden and supernatural appearance of life. God created (Gen. 1:21; bara, same word as in v. 1) fish and birds by His commanding utterance. He spoke and the waters were filled with fish and the atmosphere was filled with birds. The text asserts that God made “every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded . . . and every winged bird” (Gen. 1:21). “Abundance” is the word used to describe the number of fish and birds created. In a moment, in one day, this was accomplished. Lengthy development as the evolutionary model requires is not allowed by the text, which declares that both fish and birds appeared instantaneously, fish and birds of all sizes and apparent age. Also the text does not permit for the evolution of birds from fish, but it affirms that both appeared simultaneously. So ended God’s work on day five (Gen. 1:20-23).

Should the text be adjusted or accepted? Is it legend (Barth and others), or myth (Brunner and others); or is it an accurate record of what transpired? How much should humanistic theory affect the reading of the text? Again the reader is faced with a decision (see: Questions).

Day Six

On day six God ordered all manner of animal life: “cattle” (domestic), “creeping thing” (small creatures and insects), and “beast” (large untamed animals). After God’s fiat, the account simply and succinctly reports: “And it was so” (Gen. 1:24).

Again, as on the previous day, instantly and simultaneously, large and small animals appear. There is no indication of evolution of a simple form into a more complex form, and there is no suggestion of the unimaginable time needed for sure a development. Ages for evolution are not required because God spoke and it was done. Modern viewpoints cannot be made to harmonize with the ancient text. It should not be attempted. Intellectual honesty requires acceptance or rejection, not synthesis (see: Two Options).

God blessed His creatures, and they were told to “be fruitful and multiply”; each was to reproduce according to its “kind” (Gen. 1:21-22, 24-25). The word “kind” that is used of fish, birds, and animals is also used of the vegetation God created on day three (Gen. 1:11-12). What is the significance of this simple and vital word, a word that is used ten times in Chapter One?

Two points are to be made. One, the word “kind” set definite limits to change; kind stays kind. One kind does not become another kind. Two, the word makes possible variations in the kind. On the one hand, there is no evolution of one kind into another kind; on the other hand, there is the possibility of great variety within the kind. Here is a single word that invalidates evolutionary theory. All living things are not interrelated in some biological tree (see: I Cor. 15:38-39).

God has been at work for nearly a week and much has been accomplished. In a short time matter is created and light is brought into existence, the earth and seas are formed, heavenly bodies appear, vegetation covers the earth, fish fill the waters, birds fly in the sky, and animals roam the earth. The shapeless, semi-solid/liquid, uninhabited mass has not only been made fit for life but also filled with life. One work is still ahead. All is ready for the crown of God’s work to appear, a man made in the image of God. And on the sixth day man is made by God from the dust of the earth.

For the creation of man see: Crown of Creation.

For in six days
YHWH made the heavens and the earth,
the sea,
and all that is in them.
Ex. 20:11


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