cc13Journal-top-bar
CWJ_interior_header
One Day? Really


Genesis 1:3-5
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Story: Some of you are saying, “T. M. believes the world was created in six days. Six days! He’s more naïve that I thought.” Guilty as charged. I know this view is not a popular position these days, and that those who hold it are generally dismissed and denounced as obscurantists and haters of science (I’m neither). I know as well that this understanding has been challenged or skirted throughout the course of Church history, and that great Christian thinkers have explained that it’s not necessary to regard these as six literal days, especially since the sun wasn’t created until four days into the “week.” Others patiently explain to me that “day” doesn’t necessarily mean “day” but that it can mean “period of years.” Yes, I understand that. The main objection, however, is based on the fact that science tells us to deny this view. But then science tells us to deny the existence of God, the reality of miracles, and the probability of a dead man rising from the grave. Science tells us we don’t need God to figure out the world and our place in it. Science tells us that human beings are not the image-bearers of God but merely a higher form of animal. So, frankly, when science tells me this view can’t be so, I’m not much impressed. I know there are problems associated with regarding these as literal days (“Believe that and you believe that God is a deceiver, like the devil!”), and I’ll deal with some of those in a bit. A basic principle for interpreting the Bible is what theologians call “the analogy of Scripture.” By this they mean that Scripture must be its own interpreter. The Holy Spirit, Paul explains, teaches us the things of God by comparing (see ESV marginal note at 1 Cor. 2:12, 13) “spiritual things” with “spiritual things” – Scripture with Scripture. So let’s ask God if He has any input beyond Genesis 1 concerning this period: “For in six days the LORD made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Ex. 20:11). I can hear it now: “Good grief, T. M.!”

The Structure: I’m going to treat the rest of Genesis 1 as taking place within a single six-day period. You may not hold that view, and I’m not out to persuade you, only to explain what the text seems clearly to say. You perhaps have already dismissed this view of creation as untenable, but if that’s the case, I would ask you, “Why?”

Can Scripture be trusted as a starting-point and foundation for developing a worldview? Why or why not?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
A Word About the Heavens


Genesis 1:3-5
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Story: One day of God’s bara activity has come to an end. It has been a special day, featuring the kind of work only God can do, communicated in terms simple folk such as we can understand. The heavens are in place, together with the earth, light, and darkness. Time exists, and a sense of order and anticipation. We might pause a moment to reflect on “the heavens.” In Scripture “heaven” is used to represent three ideas. “Heaven” is the place where the birds fly and we observe clouds. “Heaven”, or more precisely, “the heavens”, is where the sun, moon, and stars reside. And “heaven” (again, “the heavens”) is the spiritual domain where certain spiritual beings exist (angels and departed saints). So what did God create on the first day? My sense is that the reference to “the heavens” here indicates the spiritual realm. On the first day of creation God called into being the material cosmos and the spiritual realm. Angels are not eternal. The “heavens” in which they dwell, while they remain unseen by us, are a created entity and just as real as the material cosmos which we can see. The spiritual realm had to be created at some point during God’s week of bara activity, because Genesis 2:1 tells us that “the heavens and the earth were finished” during that time period, “and all the host of them.” We’ll need to resort to other Scriptures to fill in some of the details of the goings-on of that realm during these early chapters of Genesis, and we shall do so as the necessity arises. For now, let’s assume that, together with the “bare bones” of the material cosmos, the spiritual world and its non-human inhabitants are in place by the end of day one of the creation week.

The Structure: Moses may not have been the “author” of Genesis 1 (more about that when we get to Genesis 2:4). But he did write down these verses, either as they were revealed to him or as he copied them from other extant materials. Moses does not seem troubled over the idea that God could do all this work in one day. Moses’ thinking was not influenced by a naturalistic, unbelieving cosmology that insists God has no place in the creation, or that, if He does, it must be on man’s terms.

If angels were created on this first day, then their creation was “good.” What “good” are angels?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Evening and Morning


Genesis 1:5
5
And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

The Story: The sun will not be created for three more days. How can there be evening and morning? Let’s note that the sun does not make evening and morning in our experience. It simply marks them. When the sun “comes up” it’s morning. When it “goes down” it’s evening. In parts of the world where the sun is up continuously for long periods, or down continuously for long periods, evening and morning still exist. Could evening and morning, as markers of the passage of time, exist without the sun? Why not? Do “evening” and “morning” here necessarily indicate these ideas as we experience them? Why not? It’s possible, of course, that the use of these terms is but a poetic device meant to suggest that God’s creative work unfolded according to a pattern of the passage of time as we are familiar with it. The modern scientific thinker has his own view about how long it took for the earth and light to come into being, and how that actually occurred, and certainly it took longer than one day. He has arrived at this view from an “under the sun” vantage point, that is, by studying the creation itself – apart from any word from God concerning how to understand His works – and deducing from his observations and our present experience how much time and what means were required to bring creation to its present state. But he will not acknowledge “nature” as “creation”, and this should immediately advise of his bias when it comes to understanding the “stuff” of the cosmos. The modern scientific thinker does not believe that the cosmos is a creation; he regards matter as eternal, uncreated, and essentially without meaning or significance, except such as humans assign to it. He does not believe (and “believe” is the right word) that the cosmos is the work of God but of chance, energy, and time. He insists that so many “billions and billions” of years were required for the cosmos to have arrived at its present state, but this is a matter of conjecture, not of fact, at least, not as the scientific mindset defines “fact.” And he is not open to any word of explanation from God about any of this – at least, not any that he will acknowledge.

The Structure: Is God a Being of such wisdom and power as to be able to create, in one day, something out of nothing and to establish the framework within which the cosmos exists?

What’s the problem with saying that God had to do His creative work within the framework and according to the timetable outlined by the modern scientific worldview?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Day, Night, and Time


Genesis 1:5
5
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

The Story: “Day” and “Night” are convenient ways of demarcating the separation between light and darkness. The words used here are the familiar Hebrew terms for day and night, just as “day” and “night” are the familiar English terms we use to distinguish the two main divisions of a 24-hour period. The day is when the light is out and we can see the world around us. The night indicates the (relative) absence of light. “Day” and “night” are also markers of time, as in “yesterday” or “tonight” or “last night.” The creation of the heavens, the earth, and light marks the beginning of time. This will be more firmly established a bit later, in v. 14. But time is present already at the beginning, as kind of framework for creation. But what is time? To the secular mind, time is the succession of moments out of the past, through the present, into oblivion. For the believer, time is a creation of God. Each moment arrives new from the creative energy of God. The moments of our lives are entrusted to us like the talents in Jesus’ parable (Matt. 25:14-30). Our responsibility is to “make the most” of the time God gives us (note: not our time, the time: Eph. 5:15-17), following His example and instruction concerning how the days and nights of our lives should be employed. In general, we can say that God intends the days and nights of our lives – all the time of our lives – to be invested for wisdom (Ps. 90:12) or “good.” Time, therefore, is the gift of God, as Jonathan Edwards explained (“The Preciousness of Time”). Time is the succession of moments from God, through the present, and returning to God – where the believer trusts that his or her use of time will be received with the assessment, “good.”

The Structure: This is not a verse about time. But time is certainly implied here, and we do not read too much into this passage when making this brief excursus on the subject of time. Day and night succeed one another, just as the moments of time succeed one another. We do not understand what time is from this passage alone. But with this passage as our starting point, we may allow the light of other parts of Scripture (such as I have suggested) to guide us in thinking about this most precious of divine gifts.

Can you see any other ways that God’s work of creation suggests how we ought to use the time He entrusts to us?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Darkness


Genesis 1:4
4
And God separated the light from the darkness.

The Story: The heavens and the earth were created into nothing (and out of nothing). So darkness, which is the absence of light, was over the face of the deep. God created the light into the darkness, but, though light was everywhere present, it did not entirely dispel the darkness. However, God made a distinction between the light and the darkness, separating them one from the other. Right away God sends us a message: Light and darkness do not mix. “Darkness” will be employed throughout Scripture to represent a particular kind of moral and spiritual quality. But the term also signals the idea of mystery, especially when it is attached to God, as in Psalm 18:11. God is said to cover or surround Himself with darkness. This should not be taken to mean either that God is not Light or does not inhabit light, or that He is somehow evil. Darkness in this case is a metaphor for mystery, and certainly, here on the first day of creation, we are deep in mystery, in things too great for us ever to understand exhaustively. That being so, we should be content with a certain amount of mystery surrounding the creation, and all the work of God (Eccl. 3:11). Our task is to understand Scripture and the works of God as fully as we can (2 Tim. 2:15; Ps. 111:2), but not to go beyond Scripture and not to insist that the God of Scripture must conform to our ways of thinking about the world (1 Cor. 4:6; Is. 55:6-9).

The Structure: The image of light bursting into the darkness and being separated from it is important. Here, in the earliest verses of Scripture, we are given an image that the apostles and Jesus will apply to His work of coming to earth in order to address the problem of sin (Jn. 1:1-5, 3:19-21).

Jesus said that believers are the light of the world. Meditate on Matthew 5:14-16 and 1 John 1:8. What are the implications of these passages for our calling in this world?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Good


Genesis 1:4
4
And God saw that the light was good.

The Story: We need to pause on this word, “good.” We’ll see it again – and again – in Genesis 1. We might be tempted to think that God created the light to fit into some pre-existing form, “good”, and that He adjusted and tweaked His creation until it satisfied the standard. That would be wrong. Plato was wrong when he posited the existence of such “forms” and insisted that everything that exists is but an imitation of one or another “form”, such as “good.” Since “good” did not exist outside God, then it could only exist within Him. God is good, as Jesus explained, and “good” is what God says it is. When God declared the light to be “good”, He was saying that the light conformed to His expectations and, more specifically, to Him. The heavens, the earth, and light, as creatures, bear witness to the goodness of God. Light is good because it tells us that God is everywhere, that we are wholly dependent upon Him, that nothing can exist without Him, that He is knowable but only to a certain extent, and that He provides many good things for His creatures – just like light. God “saw” the light not as we would, with our eyes, but as only He can “see” things – intuitively, entirely, eternally, and instantly. Moses’ use of this anthropomorphism (speaking of God in human terms) is simply a condescension to our weak ability to understand God and His bara activity. This is a metaphorical explanation, but that doesn’t mean it is not true or that it does not describe events as they actually transpired. It’s simply communicated in a way that (a) we can understand and (b) we can emulate. We can see light, and we can see that it is good. That’s the way we’re supposed to see light, and everything else.

The Structure: God’s bara work is good. The cosmos is good. Matter is good. Material things are good. The Christian worldview does not subscribe to the notion that insists only that which is spiritual is good. Good is what God says it is, and everything can be used for good if we think God’s thoughts after Him.

How is it possible for something which is good as God made it to become corrupt, evil, or dangerous?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Light


Genesis 1:3
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The Story: The heavens and the earth are in place (more about this later this week). The next thing to be created is light. Light is not the sort of thing that evolves. Either it is, or it isn’t. Light is a strange and wondrous phenomenon, and it’s not entirely understood even today. Light consists of particles – photons – traveling in wave patterns or as waves in all directions. The cosmos is “woven” with light, so to speak. Light provides the tapestry of stuff on or within which – not out of which – the rest of the cosmos will be constructed. Light includes waves and particles that we can see and waves and particles that we cannot see. There are facets of light – even a realm of light (see Saturday) – beyond the ability of the human eye to detect without the aid of instruments. We note that the light did not exist, then God “spoke”, and then light was. Doesn’t that sound sort of instantaneous? The language of the text makes it clear that light had a beginning. It is not eternal. It was not. God spoke. Then it was. Snap! We may doubt or disagree with that, but if we do it will not be because the text is not clear. It will be because some other notion about the nature of light – and of all matter – is guiding our understanding of God’s bara work. Or some other way of reading Scripture other than allowing it to speak plainly for itself is guiding our hermeneutic. We may be OK with allowing God to be “Creator”, but only if He agrees to do it our way. And we may be happy for God to speak in His Word, as long as He does so in ways agreeable to us. But my sense is that, if we do either of these, we’re not getting off on the right foot with divine revelation.

The Structure: We have seen that Moses uses poetic devices and language in recording the events of the creation. That doesn’t mean that his account as a whole is poetry, that is, merely suggestive of reality (as folks tend wrongly to think about poetry). We’ll deal with this a bit later. For now, let’s allow the plain meaning of the text to settle into our heads.

Besides the physical entity, in what other ways is “light” used in Scripture?

BookJobGenesis 1-12 begins the story of God’s covenant and redemption. For a fuller exposition of this story, order a copy of the book, Far As the Curse is Found, by Michael D. Williams, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 273
You must be logged in to comment on Christian Worldview Journal articles.