Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you - I Peter 3:15.
THE FOLLOWING THIRTEEN EVENTS will be found in Genesis 1 as having been accomplished in the order given:
1. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the
2. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (v.2).
3. "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (v.2).
4. "And God said, Let there be light ... and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night" (vv. 3-5).
5. "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament" (v. 7).
6. "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place" (v. 9).
7. "And let the dry land appear" (v.9).
8. "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind" (v. 11).
9. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years... " (vv. 14-18).
10. "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind" (v. 21).
11. "And every winged fowl after his kind" (v. 21).
12. "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing and beast of the earth after his kind" (v. 24).
13. "So God created man in his own image" (v. 27).
We shall now discuss these claims one by one.
The first claim of Genesis is that God created the physical universe. In the late 1800s, this was considered absurd. Chemistry taught that matter was eternal; it could neither be destroyed nor created. It taught that you could change the form of matter, forming compounds or breaking down those already formed, but that all of the matter was still in existence as matter. It is clearly seen that if matter can neither be destroyed nor created, a serious question would be thrown on this first verse.
At this same time it was thought that the sun's source of heat came from the sun's cooling off. It was thought that the sun must have started as a very large body. perhaps large enough to include all of the planets and it was cooling off and shrinking in the process of forming the solar system. If the sun even started as large as the whole solar system and was extremely hot it would have cooled down to its present temperature and size in a small fraction of the time that we even then knew as the necessary age of the earth. So we had to look for other sources of the sun's heat.
The possibility of actual combustion taking place in the sun was considered. Possibly the sun was composed of something like anthracite coal and it was burning to produce the sun's heat. But again if the sun were to start as large as the whole solar system and be made of the best coal it would have burned down to its present size in too short a time to be a possible answer.
This forced us to still another consideration. It was known that there were such things as radioactive elements, and that they gave off energy as they changed to other elements. This came into popular favor with Einstein's formula, E=mc2, where E is the energy in ergs, m the mass in grams, and c the velocity of light in centimeters per second. In this formula c equals approximately 3 x 1010 cm/sec., or c2 equals 9 x 1020 or 9 followed by 20 zeros. Thus a small amount of mass produces a tremendous amount of energy. This formula not only supposes that matter can be changed into energy, but shows the exact amount of energy produced by a given amount of mass. From this formula the astronomer computed that the sun must be losing about 4,200,000 tons of mass per second in producing the heat which it gives off. This explanation of the source of the sun's heat gave us a plausible explanation of the source of the tremendous amount of heat coming off of the sun continuously.
During World War II atomic physics showed how matter could be changed into energy and the atomic bomb was produced. Today the layman has no question about the ability of matter to be changed into energy. It is just as possible to change energy into matter. This has been demonstrated in out laboratories of atomic physics.
Thus the argument that matter was eternal and there could have been no creation was found to be completely fallacious and has been replaced by the newer proven concept that energy can be changed into matter and matter into energy.
There are many positive evidences that a creation did take place. A few of them follow:
AGE OF THE EARTH
Many attempts have been made at determining the age of the earth. The amount of salt in the oceans has been roughly determined and the rate salt is brought down by the rivers determined. The quotient of these was considered a measure of the age of the earth. But too many assumptions were involved. It was assumed that there was no salt in the oceans to start with and no salt in the ocean beds which could have been dissolved by the oceans themselves. It was assumed that the rivers had always brought salt down at their present rate. It was assumed that when salt once entered the oceans it was never removed. All of these assumptions are evidently wrong; consequently, the age of the earth determined by this method can only be the roughest kind of estimate.
The amount of silt in the delta of a river has been measured and the rate at which the river is carrying sediment to the delta has been roughly determined. Again the quotient of these has been taken as a measure of the age of the earth. But we do not know that that river has always existed since the earth began, nor do we know that the river has always carried sediment at its present rate. Nor are we sure that ocean currents have not moved quantities of the sediments forming the delta. Again our estimates are extremely rough.
These methods gave us a few hundred thousand years for the age of the earth. But we have a better method.
The element uranium is radioactive, and after several changes it breaks down into lead and helium which are stable. Under all producible physical conditions of heat and cold, pressure and vacuum, uranium was found to change at a constant rate and have a half life of 4.51 x 109 years, thus about 1/637th part of uranium changes to lead each ten million years. (Editor's note: More recently, it has been found that decay rates can be made to vary, by a small fraction of one percent, under pressures exceeding a million pounds per square inch. This small change is not normally significant.) In the early work of uranium dating, specimens of uranium which has been sealed in igneous rock at the time of crystallization and which seal had never been broken were selected for study. The amount of lead and the amount of uranium were carefully determined and thus the time back to the solidification of the molten rock, containing the uranium, was determined to a fair degree of accuracy. Helium is also developed with the lead so the amount of helium was also measured and the age determined from it. Since it is known that helium will slowly escape through solid rock, the helium dating was a minimum possible age and will not be further considered here.
The oldest sample of uranium so studied indicated an age of nearly four billion years. The earth, of course, is still older, for much time probably elapsed after the creation of the earth before this particular specimen crystallized. A fair estimate of the age of the earth might therefore be roughly set at five billion years.
THE EARTH-MOON SYSTEM
The tides produced by the moon on the earth are well known at every beach and harbor, but the tides produced by the earth on the moon are many times greater. These have had such a retarding effect on the moon that it has finally slowed down until it now keeps the same face always turned toward the earth. These tidal effects also cause the earth and moon to move farther apart. The physicists have attempted to compute the age of the earth-moon system on the theory that the earth and moon were originally very close together and the tidal effects have moved them to their present positions. The problem does not have a very definite solution because the depths and extents of the oceans throughout the age of the earth are unknown factors and affect the solution; but by making reasonable assumptions they arrived at an age of four to five billion years. This is in very good agreement with the age of the earth determined above.
THE AGE OF METEORITES
We do not really know the source of meteorites but we know they come from outside of the earth. Most of them are believed to originate within our solar system, therefore the determination of their age should give a fair estimate of the age of the solar system. The most recent value for the age of these meteorites is given by Dr. Wood as about 4.5 billion years. 2
THE AGE OF THE SUN
Astronomers seem to be agreed in accepting the idea that the heat from the sun comes primarily from the change of hydrogen into a smaller mass of helium and a large amount of energy. This change is thought to take place in the interior of the sun where the temperature is expressed in millions of degrees. An idea of the age of the sun may then be obtained by attempting to determine the amount of helium on the sun by spectroscopical methods. Then if we assume that the sun has always given off energy at its present rate we could get an estimate of the age of the sun or the length of time required for the sun to generate its present amount of helium. However, we are quite sure that the sun has not always given off radiation at its present rate, and we are sure that our determination of the amount of helium on the sun is very inaccurate. So the result of such a determination can, at best, only give the general magnitude of the age of the sun.
An attempt at this problem has been made and is reported by
"Some speculation might be made regarding the age of the sun by assuming that all of its present helium has been derived from hydrogen. By combining this with its known present rate of formation an estimate of several billion years results."
Dr. Fowler states:
"There is one independent check on the age of the solar system determined by radioactivity in meteorites. Detailed theoretical studies of the structure of the sun, using its known mass and reasonable assumptions about its composition, indicates that it has taken the sun about five billion years to attain its present observed radius and luminosity."
Our galaxy is a great aggregate of stars, comprising possibly as many as 100 billion stars, averaging as large as our sun. Our galaxy is disc-shaped, having its greatest diameter about 100,000 light-years, while its thickness is only about 10,000 light-years. This great galaxy has a tendency to revolve in one direction about its center of gravity. However, there is a great variety of motions of the stars other than this revolution. Several attempts at finding the age of our galaxy follow. An attempt to find the age of our galaxy was made by assuming that in the beginning of our galaxy there was no uniformity of motion, then solving the problem: How long would it take to obtain the present degree of uniformity of motion? The answer with the interchange of energy between different types of stars follows.
The Milky Way, one of the Harvard books on astronomy,
contains the following statements:4
Our galaxy has not been rotating sufficiently long for the interchange of energy between stars of different types to become effective. From our considerations of stellar encounters it would seem very unlikely that the stars would show so much individuality in their motions if our galaxy had existed in its present form for as many as... two billion years. The very fact that we find a fair percentage of all knows stars of spectral class A in clusters of various degrees of concentration is the best available proof that our galaxy cannot have existed in its present form much longer than 10 billion years.
Another attack on the problem supposes that the stars of our galaxy at its beginning were nearly in the same plane, and close approaches of these stars gave some of them components of motion at an angle to this plane. So this problem becomes: How long would it take for our galaxy to reach its present width? An answer to this is given by Fowler as ten billion years. 5 He prefers, however, to give the age a range of seven to fifteen billion years. So no matter what method is used to determine the age of our galaxy the results at present lie within reasonable limits and all indicate that our galaxy did have a beginning.
THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE
We have mentioned the age of our own galaxy. The universe consists of many galaxies, probably trillions, in general moving away from us. It is possible to measure the velocities with which these galaxies appear to be receding from us, or the rate at which the universe appears to be expanding. The time it would take each galaxy to reach its present distance from us should be an approximate measure of the age of the universe.
The spectrum is composed of light separated according to its wave length, running from the longer wave lengths of red at one end to violet, the shorter waves, at the other. Each element produces light of certain definite wave lengths, which appears in the spectrum as a definite pattern of lines, always at the same place in the spectrum unless the source of light is relatively moving toward or away from the observer. If the source is receding, the pattern of lines for any element will appear farther toward the red than they would if the source were stationary with respect to the observer. This shifting of the spectral lines is used extensively to determine the velocities of planets and stars with respect to the earth. Practically all spectra of galaxies (also called "island universes" in earlier editions of Science Speaks - Ed.) have their lines shifted toward the red. These shifts are very great for the more distant galaxies and less for the closer ones. This shift has become commonly known as the "red shift."
The velocities of the galaxies or "island universes" (figs. 1, 2, and 3), as measured by the red shift, increase nearly proportionally to their distances from us. These velocities are so distributed that if the galaxies were to be traced backward they would appear to have originated from one place at one time, many billions of years ago. The estimate for this time mentioned in Fowler's most recent work would bring all galaxies back to one place about ten billion years ago. Radio astronomy is now considering extending this time up to some fifteen billion years. It makes little difference to the consideration of this book whether the age is five, ten, fifteen or even more billions of years.
The red shift indicates velocities for distant galaxies as high as tens of thousands of miles per second. To many this velocity has seemed to be unreasonable, so attempts have been made to explain the shift in some other way than a measure of velocity.Fig. 2. Spiral galaxy M81 in Ursa Major. Courtesy of Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories. Editor's note: this galaxy was incorrectly identified in previous editions of Science Speaks.
The idea was advanced that light might change its speed after traveling such great distances, and consequently change the length of its waves. The velocity of light from distant galaxies has been measured and found to be the same as light from a local source, so that idea has been discarded.
Another theory involves the leaking of energy from photons of light. So far this theory has no scientific background in atomic physics.
Dr. Edwin P. Hubble, in the annual Sigma Xi addresses before the American Association for the Advancement of science, states:6 It may be stated with confidence that red shifts either are velocity shifts, or they must be referred to some hitherto unrecognized principle in nature... The present distribution of red shifts could be adequately described on the assumption that all the nebulae [galaxies - Ed.] were once jammed together in a small volume of space. Then, at a certain instant, about 1,800 million years ago [this instant is now believed to have been much farther back in time - Ed.], an explosion occurred, the nebulae [galaxies - Ed.] rushing outward in all directions and with all velocities. Today, of course, we find the nebulae [galaxies - Ed.] distributed according to their initial velocities. Those moving most rapidly have reached the greatest distances, while the laggards are still in our vicinity. Although this picture is oversimplified, it suggests the importance attached to the so-called "age of the Universe" --- 1,800 million years.
At present the age of the universe is considered as being between ten and twenty billion years. There are many factors, including local variations in the distribution of the velocities of galaxies, which make this number very difficult to calculate accurately.
Dr. Hubble goes on in his paper to point out that other explanations of the red shift may be forthcoming. He also points out some difficulties involved in the above explanation, including a greater concentration of nebulas at greater distances than at the lesser distances. This problem has not yet been solved. (Editor's note - The solution came later; space turned out to be much less homogeneous than was originally presumed.)
It is believed that hydrogen was practically the only element involved in the original creation of matter. The rates of change from one element to another under varying conditions are now quite well understood. Whence the problem: How long would it take to develop our present variety of elements and in the present known quantities? The answer to this question is roughly of the same magnitude as the other ages given above.
ALL STARS HAD A BEGINNING
The radiation of our sun is apparently produced by the loss of about 4,200,000 tons of mass a second. Only about 1/200th part of this is recovered. This means that the sun is running down. The same can be said for all of the other stars. If the stars are all running down they must have had a beginning. They could not have always existed, for if four million tons of mass were added to the sun each second for an infinite period of past time you would have an infinite mass and our sun would have started by filling all space. The same can be said for each of the 100 billion stars in every galaxy. This is impossible. Therefore, every star had a beginning.
Genesis 1:1 does not state a time when the universe was created. As far as scriptural evidence is concerned it does not matter whether everything started five or six billion years ago, ten billion years ago, one hundred billion years ago, or any other assigned time. The above eight items are strong evidence that there was a beginning to our universe.
This evidence is so strong that many astronomers are freely talking about the day of creation. They are even forming theories as to how the universe was created. Some speculation seems to hinge about the concept that the universe was created from a tremendous amount of energy, probably in the form of light. One of these theories would have this energy change to matter in a remarkably short time, requiring no longer than one half hour.7 (Editor's note: Newer theories suggest times as short as a very small fraction of a second.)
Thus Genesis 1:1 is no longer contradictory to science, but completely agrees with both the best facts and theories of science today.
A scientific theory is made to fit the known facts. The theory may or may not be true; it may not even be thought to be true by its author. It helps the student to organize the facts in his mind and it often enables the scientist or the engineer to predict future behavior or happenings. When additional facts are secured, the theory is often revised to cover the new facts or it may be replaced by a new theory. This frequent change does not bother the scientist. It means probable progress toward a final true theory.
Once we said the central four thousand miles of the earth were solid steel. This was the theory based on the transmission of certain earthquake vibrations through the center of the earth. According to observations at that time, the vibrations went through the earth as they would if the center were solid nickel steel. Later findings showed that the vibrations did not travel under all conditions as they would in solid steel, but rather as they would in molten steel. So the revised theory is that the center of the earth is molten steel. (Editor's note: Present theories, based on the precise trackling of seismic waves from thousands of earthquakes, assume a solid inner core and a liquid outer core - both composed of a mixture of iron and nickel.)
Years ago our interpretation about the composition of matter was that the atom was the smallest particle of material. Now we have broken the atom down so that its nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons, with electrons revolving about the nucleus. This was the state of the interpretation of the smallest units of matter for some time. Now we have many additional types of particles making up matter.
We once had two theories as to what light is; both were taught in all physics classes. One stated that light is only a wave; the other, that light is very small particles, traveling through space. One theory accounted for a part of the known facts about light, but it took the other theory to account for the remaining facts. The two theories together made it possible for the scientist to predict most of the behavior of light and thus design new optical instruments. These two theories have been replaced by a very complicated theory in which light is viewed as a quantum, having both wave and particle properties. In many cases the older theories are still used, as they make the calculations simpler while still sufficiently accurate. Scientific theories may be very useful, whether true, partly true, or even, in some cases, when they are technically false.
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." This verse has probably received the most serious criticism of all verses in the Bible from cover to cover. The theories of science about the formation of the solar system, in both astronomy and geology, have a long and interesting history.
THE NEBULAR HYPOTHESIS
For something like a century the Nebular Hypothesis held absolute sway as being practically a proven fact and not merely a theory. The theory went something like this: Any system like the solar system (the sun with its planets revolving about it) started as a gaseous body, shaped like a flat disc, very hot and rotating slowly. Then as the mass cooled off, it contracted and rotated more rapidly. Finally small parts were left behind and formed the planets, rotating, and revolving around the central body in the same direction that the whole gaseous body originally rotated. The central body formed the sun. This theory seemed plausible; it seemed to agree perfectly with the laws of physics as we understood them. A glance at the solar system showed that it filled the conditions of the theory. The sun rotated in the same direction in which the planets revolved about it; nearly all of the planets rotated on their axes in the same direction; and practically all of the satellites revolved about their planets in this same direction and turned on their axes, still in this same direction. This certainly seemed to indicate that this system developed just as the Nebular Hypothesis indicated.
Then too we had photographic evidences. Photographs of what were then thought to be spiral nebulas shown on edge (Fig. 1) certainly were flat discs. Others as seen from the side were quite round (Fig. 2). Others apparently showed pieces of material breaking off and forming planets (Fig. 3).
In about 1920, however, a mathematical physicist went to work on the physics of the hypothesis and showed that if we should have such a body of gas, as described in the hypothesis, it could not possibly throw off small bodies of material to form planets to the central body; but if it divided, it would have to divide nearly in the center, making two bodies of nearly equal masses.8 This did not at all agree with the solar system where the largest planet has less than 1/1000th the mass of the sun.
It was also shown that such a gaseous body would have difficulty in leaving material behind when it shrank; and if it did, this material could not have collected to make a planet.9
It was very disturbing to have such an old hypothesis proved defective, so efforts were quickly made to change the theory enough to overcome the difficulties. They were of little avail, for at about the same time Dr. Hubble, working with the 100-inch telescope of Mt. Wilson, found that the spiral "nebulas" were not nebulous bodies as had always been supposed, but island universes (presently called "galaxies" - Ed.), great aggregations of stars. These were shown to be similar to our own galactic system, but the nearest one was about two million light-years away, that is, the distance light will travel in two million years at 186,000 miles each second. (Editor's note: Recently a much closer spiral galaxy has been discovered. We were not able to see it earlier because it is positioned directly behind the bright core of our own galaxy.) 10
Our own galactic system, of which our sun is just one of the stars, contains something like 100 billions of stars, and our sun would be located more than halfway from the center to the outer edge. The edge of the disc as seen from the earth is the Milky Way. The largest diameter of our system is about 100,000 light years. Each spiral galaxy is thought to be a very similar system to our own, to contain on the average about the same number of stars, and to be, at least very roughly, the same size.
THE NEBULAR HYPOTHESES UNSATISFACTORY
These findings completely removed the Nebular Hypothesis from being a satisfactory description of the manner in which our solar system, or any other planetary system, could have been formed; for the photographic evidence was shown to consist of photographs of galaxies instead of nebulous bodies, and the theory was proved physically impossible. Today the Nebular Hypothesis is mentioned in books of science only for its historical interest.
Until the Nebular Hypothesis was discarded, science did not agree with Genesis 1:2; in fact it contradicted it in every statement. The Nebular Hypothesis said that in the earlier stage the earth was a disc-shaped body of gas, dense and very hot, giving off a great amount of light. Genesis says it was without form, void and dark. Thus the two were exact opposites in every statement. During the century of belief in the Nebular Hypothesis, Genesis 1:2 was one of the main points of attack against the Bible. It did not agree with the theory of science, and furthermore its descriptions did not fit any known physical object or astronomical type of body. As a church we said the future developments of science would probably clarify this verse. Or we translated it in a different manner, so that we could give it a different interpretation. None of these attempts produced any convincing argument of the accuracy of the biblical account.
OTHER THEORIES FAULTY
Following the Nebular Hypothesis, there sprang up other theories, the most prominent ones being the Planetesimal Theory and the Tidal Theory. These were short-lived, as they were both shown to be defective by Henry Norris Russell in his book, The Solar System and Its Origin. (Editor's note: Although it is accepted that our sun and its planets formed from a dark nebula; some of the details of planetary formation appear to have involved "planetesmal" interaction. From the evidence, in its very early stages, our solar system contained many smaller planets which occasionally collided, resulting in the fewer, larger planets we see today. This better describes some of the irregularities in planetary motion, and the formation of earth's moon.)
A DARK NEBULA
But let us come back to this second verse. To what does it refer? What is without form and void and dark? This verse has been quoted by Dr. Alter, Director of Griffith Planetarium, as being the best description of a dark nebula that has ever been written. It is only relatively recently that we have known of the existence of a dark nebula. Before that, all dark nebulas were considered to be merely spots in the sky where there were no stars. Figure 4 shows the photograph which first definitely proved to the astronomers that these were clouds of dark material. On the upper side of the photograph there are large numbers of small stars. These stars extend clear across the picture, but are covered on the lower side by the dark cloud. You can practically see them shining around and illuminating the edge of the nebula. In the center of the photograph, a projection of the nebula extends out from the main body. There can no longer be any doubt about the existence of dark nebulas. They are, perhaps, more prevalent than any other type of astronomical object except stars. Figures 5 and 6 show other dark nebulas in multitudes of shapes. Any recent astronomy text will show you many other shapes of dark nebulas.
The suggestion has been made by science that diffuse nebulas are the source of new stars. Practically every modern theory of the formation of our solar system supposes that our system started from some kind of a diffuse nebula.11 Bright and dark nebulas have the same composition. One has a star close enough to make it radiate light; the other has no such star and remains dark. There are perhaps 1000 times as much dark nebulosity as bright nebulosity.
THE STELLAR SEQUENCE
The sequence of stars, accepted by astronomy, starts the star as a rare gas, only hot enough to give off a faint red light.
The star then contracts, becoming denser and hotter, gradually reaching a high maximum; the temperature then begins to decline and in sufficient time becomes a dead body, giving off no light. The first form of the star, a rare gas only glowing faintly red, differs (in absolute amount) much less from a diffuse nebula than many stars differ among themselves in both density and temperature, If this sequence is followed backward and the big red star becomes still more rare and of lower temperature, the state of the diffuse nebula will eventually be approached. Many authors of astronomy texts start the sequence with the diffuse nebula and have the rare, faint star as the second step. The diffuse nebula is today the most generally accepted starting place for new stars. (Editor's noe: Incipent stars have now been photographed emerging from their birthplace in dark nebulae.)
On discussing the meaning of the words in the original languages with Nathan J. Stone, of Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, as well as other Hebrew scholars, it was brought out that there are concepts of great magnitude and of commotion involved, as well as the meanings in the King James Version. Inserting these additional meanings, the first part of the verse might read something as follows: "And the earth was shapeless, very rare, and darkness dwelt upon its face. It was of unmeasurable magnitude and in great commotion."
With this translation it seems difficult for this verse to refer to anything except a diffuse dark nebula.
We have been able to find the densities of the diffuse nebulas, and they have been found to be extremely rare; rarer, in fact, than a good vacuum produced in our laboratories. So they are dark, extremely rare, and have been found to be in commotion. Now look at the photographs of dark nebulas and see what shape they are. They fill perfectly the description of Genesis 1:2. They are without form, very rare and dark. So today we know astronomical bodies which perfectly fill this description. It certainly is most probable that the earth came from a dark nebula, as the amount of dark nebulosity is many times the amount of bright nebulosity. A bright nebula is simply a dark nebula excited or illuminated by a nearby star.
THE EARTH WAS ONCE WARM
Any theory which develops a planet from a diffuse nebula must have the nebulous material collecting; whether in the nebulous or planetesimal form is immaterial for our purpose. That body must then heat up; whether from original heat in the nebula, radioactivity or otherwise is immaterial. A consideration of early dense vegetation shows a warm humid earth. It certainly had great amounts of water for an extremely long time.
Henry Norris Russell in The Solar System and Its Origin briefly discusses the possibility of our solar system coming from a diffuse nebula and finds no obstacles. Smith and Jacobs also find no obstacles. 12
The Stellar Sequence practically demands that any new astronomical body must come from a diffuse nebula.
All of the really new astronomical theories on the origin of the solar system have it as coming from a diffuse nebula. The Magnetic Field Theory of Sir Fred Hoyle of Cambridge University and the Cloudlet Theory of Dr. William McCrea of the University of London are definite proposals which show how our solar system could have developed from a diffuse nebula.
So today we can safely say that all modern thought about the origen of the earth or the solar system is in agreement with Genesis 1:2.
"And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." This clause lacked meaning for me until the American Standard Version of 1901 changed the word "moved" to "brooded." In discussing the translation further with Nathan J. Stone, I learned that the word normally referred to a dove brooding on her eggs, to bring to maturity the germ of life in them, or to the eagle beating her wings over he nest to drive off an enemy and protect her young. The meaning of the verse then seems to be something like this: And the Spirit of God was gently brooding on the face of the waters, developing and protecting elementary life.
Science claims that life in its earliest primitive forms first appeared in the sea. Nothing could agree better with the last half of this verse. The life spoken of in this verse must be considered to be the elementary, for the more complex types are named at later periods in the following verses.
"And God said, Let there be light ... and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night." The Stellar Sequence is very well accepted in the astronomical world. For a star to go through this sequence, or even a part of it, the star must have a mass greater than 1/100th part of the mass of the sun; otherwise, it cannot heat up to make a star. Since the mass of the earth is only 1/333,000th part of the mass of the sun it could not have become a star and gone through the Steller Sequence. The light described in verse 3, therefore, must be considered to have come from the sun, as it still does, and not to have come from the earth.
This agrees also with the scriptural account in verses 4 and 5: "And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night." Now if the earth had been like a star and giving off light, the earth would have been light on all sides. There could there have been day and night upon the earth.
Thus science is in complete accord with verses 3-5. The central body, the sun, gave off light and lighted the earth so that one side was light and the other side dark. There was day and night.
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament." Firmament is better translated "space." So the verse means that there was water on the surface of the earth, a distance or space of air, and dense clouds above. As a planet cools off it must go through this stage. When the temperature of the earth was near the boiling point, there could have been no deposits of water upon it, for the heat would have evaporated all surface water, and all of the water would be covering the earth as extremely dense clouds extending from the surface upward. When the earth got cool enough, some of this water would condense upon the surface of the earth. The cooler it got, the more water we would find deposited on the earth, and the smaller would be the amount suspended in clouds. Yes, this condition of the earth was necessary, and had to follow the condition when the earth was much hotter.13
"And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place." This certainly indicates that at an early time the earth was well covered with water. The theories of geology very well attest to this early condition.14
"And let the dry land appear.: Different theories are given by geology for the rise and fall of continents which have gone on for great lengths of time. But I think all agree that in its earliest geological stages the surface was quite smooth and of nearly uniform height. When forces such as those produced by shrinkage raised parts of the planet above others, the continents rose above the water.15 (Editor's note: It has been confirmed that the earth was initially very smooth. Geological forces didn't raise the continents until about two or three billion years ago.)
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass," etc. Chemistry has established the fact that it is impossible for any planet to long have any amount of oxygen in its atmosphere without having large amounts of plants to continually replenish the supply. Otherwise the oxygen would rapidly combine with the rocks and metals of the surface and deplete the atmosphere. It seems quite likely that out atmosphere did not contain enough free oxygen to sustain animal life until it was put there by the plants. Basically, plants are the food of animals. Some animals eat other animals, but in the main they must eat plants or they would exterminate each other. Therefore , we know that plants had to precede animals. We are not discussing very primitive forms of plants and animals, but plants and animals as described in Genesis 1:11-27. Perhaps this account in Genesis parallels the precambrian period in geology, but we shall not attempt to be positive.16
The time of the advent of vegetation on this earth has been moved back many times. In about 1950 the most primitive known forms of vegetation were from about one billion years ago. Since then, some graphite beds were proved to be of organic origin and were dated at two and one half-billion years old. (Editor's note: The oldest algae fossils have been dated more than three billion years old. Algae is, of course, not a land pland and is probably not what Genesis addresses here.)
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years ... And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night(Genesis 1:14-18).
This passage also has been one of the great points of attack of the critic against the Bible. He has said that the Bible could not be true, for this passage says the sun was created after vegetation; and that would be impossible, for vegetation could not grow without the heat and light of the sun. Now it is probably true that vegetation could not grow without the heat and light of the sun, but Genesis does not claim that vegetation was created before the sun. The word used in this passage is not "created" but made. Scofield translates this word as "made to function," and it is a legitimate translation. The account of the creation of the sun and moon is given in verse 1, while the account of making the sun to shine on the earth is given in verses 14-18. In verse 5, the early condition of the earth was described as being completely covered with clouds. With clouds this dense we could not tell the time of day, the season of the year. or any other sign that we read from the sun today. So when God made the sun to function for signs, for seasons, for days and for years, He accomplished this by breaking the clouds and letting the light of the sun shine through.
Suppose that today were a very dark cloudy day, and I should tell you that tomorrow I would make the sun shine on the earth. Would you think I intended to create a new sun and put it in the sky to shine on the earth? Certainly not. You would know that I intended to scatter the clouds so that the sun, which had been there for millions of years, could shine through. Let us be just as reasonable in interpreting our Bible.
There is then no contradiction in vegetation appearing on the earth before the clouds were broken away, so that the sun could shine through directly. Before the clouds were broken there was still considerable internal heat in the earth. Otherwise nearly all of the water in the clouds would have already condensed upon the earth, and the clouds would have broken. It is heat that keeps the water suspended in the atmosphere. This means that just before the clouds were broken we had a hothouse condition on the earth. The clouds above scattered the rays of light from the sun so they would not burn the vegetation, just as does the semiopaque glass over a house. And the interior heat within the earth kept everything quite warm, and vegetation grew at its best. You cannot make a better setup for the advent of vegetation than that given in Genesis 1:11-12 (Editor's note: It is unlikely that the earth's temperature was the only, or even the primary, controlling factor here. It is more probable that the presence of plants, slowly changing the composition of the atmosphere, was the primary cause.)
"And God created great whales (sea monsters), and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly." If we turn to geology we find the devonian period designated as the period of fish. The ordovician period, 400 million years old, contains some fish and therefore is a more probable beginning time. The creation of fish certainly could not have come after the devonian period.17
"And every winged fowl after his kind." We might suggest the jurassic or cretaceous period as being the most likely time in geology to be ushered in by the creation of birds. Birds are more fragile than most other animals and have left very few fossils. The best age which we can place on birds at the present is 80 to 130 million years. 18
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth." Here we might suggest that the Cenozoic period best fits the advent of these animals. However, someone may wish to place it earlier. The appearance of mammals is certainly later than that of birds. Perhaps 60 million years ago.19
"God created man in his own image." Modern man's appearance is in the last or Quaternary period. No remains of man are found in an earlier geological layer.20 At present it appears that modern man dates from roughly 100,000 years ago. Other fossis which are categorized as "homo," although not as "modern man," date from about two million years ago. (more detail here)
Thus we find that the thirteen things named in Genesis are in the same order that geology finds them. We must therefore ask the question, from what source did Moses obtain this order? I think there are five possibilities: (1) The information came from the schools of Egypt where Moses was educated. (2) Moses did not write Genesis; it was written at a much later date, such at the Babylonian period of culture. (3) The information came from some other civilization (4) The writer of Genesis just made up the story or sat down and reasoned it out. (5) It came by inspiration of God.
If these are the only possibilities, one of these five must be correct; and if we can prove four to be impossible, we will then have established the fifth. Let us consider them in order.
1) Could this account have come from the schools of Egypt? The answer is no. We have in our libraries accounts taken from tablets of stone, a record of creation as taught by the Egyptians. While it is similar to the account of Genesis in a very few respects, it does not agree in most of its items in the general description of events. It does not agree with present scientific information. Neither Moses nor any other person could have obtained this account in Genesis from Egypt.21
2) Could the account have been taken from the schools of Babylon? The answer must be emphatically no. We have a record of the theories of creation as believed by the people of Babylon. The main one is something like this: In the beginning there were two gods. The two gods fought. one slew the other and out of his flesh he made the earth, out of his bones and teeth he made the rocks, and out of his blood he made the oceans and the rivers. No. this certainly is not Moses' source. Other theories from Babylon are as fantastic.22
Note how very different these stories are throughout from Genesis!
3) We may search every possible source in our libraries, but none gives an account approaching that of Genesis 1.
4) Could Moses have guessed the proper order? If we say yes, the chance is extremely poor. The order of these thirteen items might also be considered satisfactory if items 3 and 4 occupied any place from 3 to 7, inclusive. (Science has not yet advanced far enough to tell exactly where these two items must be.) The probability of Moses guessing and getting the correct order of these items is:
The possible number of satisfactory orders, divided by, The total possible number of orders
In symbols this is 5P2 / 13P13
(5!/(5-2)!) / (13!/(13-13)!)
This is 20/6,227,020,800
Yes, we could say that Moses just guessed, and while he had only one chance in 311,351,040 he did get it right. But this position would be most unreasonable.
Perhaps you say no. that is not likely, but he may have reasoned it out. This is just as unlikely as the other. Suppose you eliminate from your mind the account of Genesis and absolutely all scientific literature on the subject, and sit down to reason it out. What would you write for the account of creation? I do not know what you would write, but I think I should write something like this: In the beginning man was with God in heaven, but he was a physical being. Heaven was made for spiritual beings so man did not get along very well. God and man talked things over and decided that the thing to do was to make a place which was better suited to human needs. Together they planned the earth so that it would have just the right kind of an atmosphere, etc. Certainly I would not put man down at the very end of the list, no matter what else I did. He must have a place in making this earth the wonderful place that it is. Certainly anyone who watches animals and fish knows that animals learn to swim, but fish do not learn to walk. So we would all put land animals first and have some of them learn to swim so well that they just stayed in the water and became fish. Other animals kept trying to fly until the front pair of legs developed into wings. Perhaps you say that I am trying to be ridiculous. I am not. I believe this is a more logical way to humanly reason it out than the account in Genesis. Yes, of course, we would all have God doing some special things for man, such as creating cows and horses to make the work easier for him and thus place them after man. I do not believe any man can logically reason out the order of creation, or even make a reasonable start at it.
Now this number of 311,351,040 does not tell the whole story. This is only the number of ways in which the thirteen things can be satisfactorily arranged. Where did Moses get the thirteen things to arrange? Did Moses know all about dark nebulas so he could write a perfect description of one in verse 2? That is absurd, for the greatest of the scientists, having many photographs of dark nebulas, never guessed one existed until about the 1920s. What chance had Moses, as a man, of writing a discretion of an object to be discovered nearly four thousand years later?
It is certain that at least 1,000,000,000 people lived from the day of Moses until anyone knew what his description meant. We should say, then, that he did not have even one chance in 1 billion of being able to describe a dark nebula. Let's place our estimate at one chance in one billion.
What chance did Moses have of knowing that the earth was once covered with water? I fear that there is no very definite way in which we can answer this question. Surely Moses had a very poor chance of guessing this early condition. Suppose we be conservative and say we will consider that he had one chance in one hundred. What chance did Moses have of guessing that the earth in its earlier stage was completely covered with clouds? Let's consider that his chance this time is one in one thousand. One in one million or more would perhaps be more nearly accurate.
We should ask other questions, such as, What change did Moses have of knowing that life first appeared in the seas? What chance did Moses have of knowing that light first came from the sun and not the earth? What chance did Moses have of knowing that rain began on the earth between the introduction of plants and the creation of fish? "And the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." Most historical geologies will verify this.
We will not evaluate these chances. Our number is large enough already. If you should think that any of the numbers given above are too large, evaluate these three items and you will far more than overcome any reduction made in the earlier numbers.
Now what chance did Moses have when writing this first chapter of getting the thirteen items all accurate and in a satisfactory order? Using the estimates that w have just suggested, we must multiply then all together, and as a result we find that Moses had one chance in 31,135,104,000,000,000,000,000 of getting both the items and the order accurate.
This is an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. Suppose we decide to have a drawing and have this number of tickets printed. In order to get then printed, let us engage more than 8,000,000 presses, each capable of printing 2,000 tickets per minute. And then they would have to run day and night for 5,000,000 years to print this number of tickets. Now let one ticket be marked and the whole mass thoroughly stirred. Then we will blindfold you and let you draw one ticket. Will you get the right one? Your chance is better than Moses' chance would have been of writing this one chapter from the information known in his day.
Again suppose we try to visualize this chance. Suppose these tickets are one and one-fourth inches square, and they are printed from stock which requires one hundred to make a thickness of an inch. How big would the pile be? It could hardly be called a pile, for the tickets would cover the whole United States from Canada to Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, one mile deep when piled straight and even. One ticket was marked to start with. Now stir the whole mass thoroughly, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico. They will now be all messed up and reach a few miles high. Put on your blindfold and start out, dig as deep as you wish, travel s many days as you wish to reach the chosen spot, and come up with one ticket and say, "This is it."
Now is it reasonable for us to say we think Moses took that kind of a chance and got it right? Certainly this is absurd.
5) We have now disposed of the other four items as impossible or completely outside the realm of reasonableness. We must, therefore, accept our fifth supposition, that God inspired Moses in the writing of this chapter, as an established fact. We also have the scriptural claim: "All scripture is given by inspiration of god," and this is strong evidence of its truth.
Let us put the argument in another way. Suppose I claim that I built a certain old house, but I have no witnesses, and people will not believe that I was the builder. How can I prove that I built the house? I can prove that I built it if I can tell several of the things which are hidden in the interior construction, which no one can see by just looking at the house. If the house is torn open enough to reveal the things which I described, and the things are all found, I will have established my claim.
Suppose in such a case I should say: "When the cement was being poured I dropped an old nail set in the cement in the northeast corner. In the southeast corner you will find a lot of old wire packed in with the concrete. You will find in the framing that 2x8 floor joists were used instead of 2x6, as is common. The southwest corner was framed by spiking together four studs instead of the common three." And so I go on and tell you thirteen things that went into that house, running from the foundation to the roof. Then suppose you tear that house down and find the thirteen items placed in exact agreement with my description, what conclusion will you draw about my claim as the builder? This evidence would hold in any court in the wold. No one would question my claim.
We are in exactly the same position with respect to the verification of these thirteen items in Genesis 1. Though they were written thousands of years before science had any information about any of them, science has proved these thirteen things to be true. Perhaps God write such an account in Genesis so that in these latter days, when science has greatly developed, we would be able to verify His account and know for a certainty that God created this planet and the life on it.
The sun is a great power plant. If you were to mark off one square yard on the sun you would find that it is giving off 70,000 horsepower of energy continuously. There are a tremendous number of square yards on the sun's surface - more than 10,000 times the number of square yards on the surface of the earth.
Suppose that we decide to buy the energy that the sun gives off for a period of twenty-four hours. Suppose we can buy this energy for one-fourth cent per kilowatt-hour. To pay for this energy in silver dollars would require enough money to cover the United States four miles deep. (Editor's note: Although the price of energy is now (as of 2004) more like ten cents per kilowatt-hour, the common unit of currency is now paper instead of silver. The price of electricity may have gone up by a factor of forty, but a real silver dollar also costs about forty times what it used to cost. This means the illustration given here is still approximately valid. Just immagine that the entire United States is covered in antique silver dollars, four miles deep.)
This represents a tremendous amount of energy. Yet when God created the sun, He had to put into that act of creation all of the energy that has come from the sun in the five billion years past and all that which may yet come from the sun in the billions of years yet to come. There is still enough energy in the sun to last for another five billion years.
There are 100 billion stars in our galaxy. So let us multiply our concept of the power of God, as shown by our sun, by 100 billion. But how many are 100 billion?
If you were to count 250 a minute, day and night, it would take you just about one thousand years to count to 100 billion. This gives somewhat of a concept of the power needed for the creation of our galaxy and of the greatness of our galaxy.
Multiply this by about a trillion, the probable number of galaxies, and perhaps you will begin to have a concept of this phase of God's power as demonstrated by the radiation of the stars. If we get this concept, we should understand better what Christ meant when he said, "All power is given unto me."
Kinetic energy is a measure of the energy represented by a body in motion. It is proportional to the mass times the square of the velocity.
The great projectiles which we fired during World War II, from the coast artillery, traveled at a maximum speed of about one mile per second. As the earth moves around the sun, it travels at a speed of about eighteen and one-half miles per second. Eighteen squared is more than 300. Therefore, there is more than 300 times the energy in any part of the earth as it travels around the sun than there is in an equal mass of a great coast artillery shell.
The sun with the solar system revolves around the center of our galaxy at a speed of about 134 miles per second. Squared, 134 becomes nearly 18,000. So the solar system has 18,000 times the energy that it would have if it were traveling one mile per second, or in other words if it were just traveling at the speed of a coast artillery shell.
Some galaxies are traveling as fast as 60,000 miles per second. If we think of all of the mass of 100 billion stars, all equal to our sun, all traveling 60,000 miles per second, we have some idea of the nearly unlimited energy represented in the movements of the various parts of the whole universe.
God is still on His throne. How can He be alarmed by the warfare of man, even with his atomic weapons? What a consolation this power of God should be to the Christian!
Gravitation is an intrinsic part of mass and cannot be separated from it. You may lay two books on the table; there is a gravitational force between those two books attempting to draw them together. The moon and the earth have gravitational forces, and we observe them as tides in the oceans. We observe the gravitation of the earth on the moon by its holding the moon in its orbit around the earth. The gravitation of the sun for the earth is very great. Computation has shown that if you were going to replace the gravitational pull of the sun on the earth by a cable, you would need a cable eight thousand miles in diameter. This gravitational pull equals the limiting strength of this cable. In other words the gravitation of the sun on the earth is a force nearly great enough to snap a steel cable eight thousand miles in diameter.
It would be impossible to replace this pull of gravity with a cable. If such a cable could be constructed to run from the earth to the sun, the heat of the sun would melt the end of it and turn it into a vapor. Suppose in the creation, instead of putting this force we call gravity into existence, God had decided to build cables from the sun to the planets and from each planet to its satellites, so that they would be held in place, what would happen when they started revolving in different planes? It would soon make one tremendous tangle. Imagine that God had run cables from each star in our galaxy to each of the other 100 billion stars to hold them together, and then the whole galaxy is started rotating. The tangle, of course, would be indescribable. So we have in this force of gravity something not only of the power of god, but of his wisdom.
Gravitation is a power which man cannot alter, nor can he protect himself from it. You may go out on every hot sunny day and by stepping into the shade of a tree, you may get some protection from the radiation of the sun. You may even relieve the heat by carrying a parasol for shade. You would not be so foolish as to put the parasol under your feet to reduce gravitation. Man cannot change the force of gravity, and how tankful we should be, for if in warfare one nation could change the gravitation under the other, the results would be entirely disastrous. If one nation could reduce the gravitation under another to zero, that nation would go floating off into space. If one nation could multiply the gravitation under another by five, every one in that nation would be immobile. Gravitation is indeed one of the great powers of the universe, and we must obtain a concept of it if we would know the power of God.
If we add together the power of radiation, the power of kinetic energy and the power of gravitation, we may have a little concept of the power of God used in the act of creation. But there are still other powers of God.
OTHER POWERS OF GOD
I believe that the other powers of God are even greater than the physical powers. Let us list just a few of them:
1. Power to write the Bible. This involves the power to take men from various walks of life, in different ages, and give through them God's message to man and produce one continuous revelation.
2. Power to know the future. Power to predict things that are to happen on this earth thousands of years in the future, and to have them all come true to the last detail.
3. Power to hear and to answer our prayers.
4. Power to keep the believers, so that they need have no concern bout their future either in this life or in the life to come.
5. Power to change lives. Power to take the drunkard or the hardest criminal and make of him a child of God.
6. Power to snatch us from the grave and take us to be with Him through all eternity.
No wonder Christ could say, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore ... and, lo, I am with you alway."
when we pray, how often do we:
1. Forget what power God has and ask only for the little things?
2. Wonder if God can hear? How we dwarf His power!
3. Pray for guidance? We need direction in the little things of life as well as in the great decisions.
4. Pray for the lost? We were saved to be epistles and ambassadors. Christ gave His life for others as well as for us.
5. Allow our minds to wander from prayer?
There are many theories of evolution, and it is necessary for us to define what theory we are discussing. We shall refer to that particular theory of evolution which supposes that life, in its most simple form, either developed on this earth spontaneously or was transplanted from some external source. All development from there on was spontaneous. Without any act of God, there developed from this extremely simple beginning all the forms of life, both plant and animal, which now inhabit our planet, or which did ever inhabit it.
I feel that the theory of evolution is considered too seriously by the church and elementary scientists. Many professional scientists in biological and geological fields claim the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the origin of the different forms of life but is only concerned with the changes that take place later. As a theory, it is satisfactory to many scientists. The theory of evolution's being satisfactory only requires that the order and similarity of fossils down through the layers of the earth do not contradict it. These orders and similarities do exist, but their existence in no way proves the theory. It only sets it in a place where it deserves serious consideration. No scientist has been able to reproduce the changes in any form of life that are required by the theory of evolution. All have failed completely to produce any major change, in either plant or animal, of an evolutionary nature. (Editor's note: The field of genetic engeering has recently produced some amazing accomplishments. I suppose these prove that an inteligent designer can indeed modify existing life forms.)
Let us put the argument in another way. Let us accept every bit of evidence that is used for the theory of evolution. Let us accept the order of the fossils, the similarity of parts of different forms of life, etc. Let us accept as fact that animals, which apparently were identical to start with, but which have been separated for extremely long periods of time, do show minor differences. Notice carefully that the scriptural account of creation, written thousands of years before science knew anything about the order of the fossils, requires that the order of the fossils be exactly as they are found. This cannot be explained away. Since the same God created at least the basic forms of plants and animals, certainly we would expect to find great similarities of anatomical structure. Life is told in the scriptures to reproduce after its "kind." It is not said in the scriptures that the offspring is to be a carbon copy of the parent. Our only objection comes when the very creative acts of God are ruled out by the theory of evolution. Even the evolutionists argue that the fact that all members of the human race can crossbreed proves that all of the human race had a common ancestry.
Again, if the theory of evolution were true, there could have been no creative acts by God affecting life. In Part I, we produced the evidence that the account of Genesis is accurate, that God did perform acts of creation starting various forms of life on the earth. Since we have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that God did create, the theory of evolution is in error at least in its claim of no creation.
Every act of God affecting life on this planet, as recorded in Genesis, corresponds to a change in the series of fossils. If God has not revealed what He did in creating the universe, the earth and its life; if He had not told us what He did and in what order, thousands of years before science knew anything about the order of fossils; then we might logically wonder if some great freaks of nature occurred which changed one form of life into another. But God has revealed what creative acts He did and in what order He did them, and we have found the revelation to be accurate. The proof of the truth of Genesis 1 is so absolute that no man can ignore it.
A theory must agree with the known facts. Therefore, all theories of evolution must take into account the creative acts of God, else they automatically disqualify themselves.
The Hebrew word translated "days" in Genesis can just as well mean "period of time." The words translated "morning" and "evening" may also mean "beginning" and "ending." Thus, "And the evening and the morning were the first day" may also mean "And the beginning and ending of this work was the first period of God's time in creating. 23
These words (day, morning and evening) in the Hebrew are practically the exact equivalents of the same English words. If you look then up in your dictionary you will find that "day" can be a period of time and that "morning" and "evening" can be the beginning and ending of any period of time, as well as the beginning and ending of the twenty-four-hour day. Look up "day" in your Bible concordance and you will find the same usage.
Psalm 90:5-6 reads thus: "They are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth." It is evident that morning and evening here are not used to refer to the morning and evening of a day.
This period of time, day, in Genesis may have been a twenty-four-hour period or it may have been any other period of time, even a fraction of a second or a geological age. Psalm 33:6-9 reads: "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap; he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; be commanded, and it stood fast." This passage seems to indicate that the acts of God occupied very short periods of time.
Furthermore, the periods of time in Genesis may have been separated by other and long periods of time. God is counting periods of time in which He was doing work on this earth. If after the first act of God, the first period of time of creation, a million years elapsed before He again acted, this second act would still occupy the second period of time in God's creation. This interpretation is also borne out in prophecy, where God counts time against Israel. If He predicts that any event will happen to Israel in a certain length of time, that time is counted only while Israel dwells in Palestine as a nation. Is not the sixty-ninth week of Daniel long past, and are we not looking for the beginning of the seventieth week?24
At least three different interpretations of the days of Genesis are in common use: (1) That the days are twenty-four-hour consecutive days. This is at once ruled out by geology. (2) That the days are geological ages (e.g., the Devonian period would be one day). I think that this agrees very well with the facts of science, but it would imply that the creative acts of God were slow directive influence, This does not sound like the passage cited from Psalm 33. (3) That the days are the great changes in the sequence of fossils. There is one of these great changes in the fossil sequence corresponding to every act of God recorded in Genesis. After one of these changes fish appear. after another birds appear. after another mammals, etc. If God made new forms of life at one of these and then made no new forms until the next great change and there again introduced new forms, the time involved in these changes would then be the days of creation. The evidence in the geological layers and fossils seems to decidedly favor the last interpretation.
It is not necessary for one of these explanations to be true and the others false. It is possible for some of the days to be of one type, and some of another.
My own personal belief is that most of the days of Genesis are very short periods of time, separated by extremely long periods. Most of the acts of God, recorded in Genesis 1 and 2, can each be identified with changes recorded in geology. This with the scriptural statement "He spake and they stood forth" lends strong support to the interpretation that the days of Genesis are, in part at least, short, intensive acts of creation, separated by long geological periods of time. This makes perfect harmony between science and the Scriptures.
Genesis 1:22 reads: "And God blessed them saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth." Isn't it reasonable to suppose that God gave these forms of life considerable time to accomplish this end?
After finishing the account of creation, which takes all of Genesis 1 and extends to 2:4, God says: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created." In other words, this is the order in which all of these acts of God were done. In the remainder of chapter 2 God enlarges on the things affecting man. There is no contradiction here, merely an expansion.
The second account makes no claim as to order. Many items are left out and the discussions of some of the items occur in a different order. God mentions man then animals. This is logical because He is dealing with man's control of animals. The order here makes no difference. Suppose I should tell you that on a certain day I did a list of things and tell you the order in which I did them. Afterward, if I go back and enlarge on any of the items, must I take them up in the same order in which I enumerated them? Certainly not. You would make no objection to my enlarging on them in any order I might choose. Should we not then give God the same right?
Some geologists date the advent of modern man as far back as 100,000 years, and "homo" as far back as two million years; others may even go farther back. Ussher dates the advent of man as about six thousand years ago. There is a great difference between these two dates.
There are two variable quantities in this picture. In the first place, Ussher may be in error in his six thousand years. He has carefully computed it from the scriptural genealogies, but it is quite possible that there are some gaps in the genealogies. If these gaps exist, the time back to Adam might be much more than six thousand years. Gaps are suggested in a great number of places, such s where Christ is referred to as the Son of David or the Son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1 states: "Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham." There can be no question here about "son" meaning "descendant." The other possibility is that the dating of the early remains of man is in error.
At first the dating of the remains of man seemed to be very unreliable. Many of these remains were found in stream beds where sediment had been washed from place to place with and around the bones, and reasonable estimates of age seemed impossible. But later on, a process was been worked out to date the remains of either plants or animals by radioactive carbon-14. All living matter has been shown to have nearly a constant concentration of carbon-14. when the plant or animal dies, the carbon-14 starts decomposition into carbon-12. It has a half life of about six thousand years and can be used to date remains older than 50,000 years. Since remains of man have thus been dated in excess of ten thousand years, there are probably errors in Ussher's six thousand years.
Some Hebrew scholars claim that the word "begat" only implies a descendant, a son, a grandson, etc. If this is true it could extend Ussher's six thousand years to nearly any length of time. 25
Skulls, or very small portions of skulls, have been dug up, and the anthropologist has attempted to reconstruct the shape of the man's head. These have been arranged in museums in what is supposed to be the order of their ages. This arrangement would indicate how primitive man was at his advent into the world and what wonderful progress he has made since that time. And yet I have never visited one of these displays of primitive man and walked out on the street without being able to pick out, on the shoulders of passersby, close counterparts to every item of the exhibit. We are apt to classify any skull as primitive if it has a sloping forehead. (Editor's note: This would seem to be true for at least some of the more "advanced" finds. My father, who was a Caltech graduate, often joked about his sloping forehead and how his skull might look primitive to an archiologist who only had that part of his skull to go by. Other more primitive fossil finds are close enough in appearance to chimpanzees that they could not be mistaken for modern men. By now the fossil record between the chimpanzee-like creatures and modern men is sufficiently well documented that most of the concerns expressed in this section are largely unnecessary. This section has been left mostly intact because it is historically interesting.)
Professor E.A. Hooton of Harvard University has written:
Some anatomists model reconstructions of fossil skulls by building up the soft parts of the head and face upon a skull case, and thus produce a bust purporting to represent the appearance of the fossil man in life. When, however, we recall the fragmentary condition of most of the skulls, the faces usually being missing, we can readily see that even the reconstruction of the facial skeleton leaves room for a good deal of doubt as to details. The various reconstructions of the skull of Piltdown man by Smith-Woodward, Keith and other experts, differ widely one from another. To attempt to restore the soft parts is an even more hazardous undertaking. The lips, the eyes, the ears, and the nasal tip, leave no clue on the underlying bony parts. You can with equal facility model on a Neanderthal skull the features of a chimpanzee or the lineaments of a philosopher. These alleged restorations of ancient types of man have very little, if any, scientific value, and are likely only to mislead the public. To model a bust of Pithecanthropus erectus from the skull cap and the two or three teeth is a palpable absurdity. We do not know anything of the minutiae of the appearance of the Pithecanthropus, Heidelberg, Piltdown, or Neanderthal types. We have no knowledge of their hair distribution, pigmentation, and the detail of such features as I have mentioned. So put not your trust in reconstruction. 26
(Editor's note: The difficulty in the case of Piltdown man was considerably worse than Professor Hooton realized. As it turned out, the skull was human and the jaw was from an orangatan. Although better preserved and detailed fossils have been discovered since Professor Hooton wrote this, facial reconstruction still requires considerable use of immagination.)
Some feel that a great antiquity of man is necessary to produce the present population of humans. This apparently is not the case. If the flood did occur 4,300 years ago (and it was probably much earlier), and if only the people in the ark survived on the whole earth, there would still be sufficient time to produce the present population. Even if each two people produced, on the average, only 2.6 children in their lifetime the population of the earth would then double each one hundred years. Doubling the population each one hundred years for 4,300 years would produce a population of 10,000,000,000,000. This is over 1,000 times our present population. No, the population of the earth alone does not require a great antiquity of man.
1. See Henry Norris Russell, The Solar System and
Its Origin (New York: Macmillan, 1935), p. 26
2. This was Dr. Fowler in an earlier edition *** fix
3. J. M. Cork, Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics (New York: Van Norstrand, 1950).
4. B. J. Bok and P. F. Bok, The Milky Way (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1957).
5. Fowler, p. 73.
6. Dallas, Texas, December 30, 1941.
7. George Gamow, The Creation of the Universe (New York: Mentor Books, 1961).
8. See W.T. Skilling and R.S. Richardson, Brief Text in Astronomy (New York: Holt, Rinehard P Winston, 1959), p. 310).
9. See Baker and Fredrick, p. 267, for other difficulties with this theory.
10. Edwin P. Hubble, The Realm of the Nebulae (New York: Dover, 1936).
11. Baker and Fredrick, pp. 267-68; Elske Smith and Kenneth Jacobs, Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics (Philadelphia: Saunders, 1973), pp. 108-9; Robert Jastrow and Malcolm Thompson, Astronomy Fundamentals and Frontiers (New York: Wiley, 1972), pp 262-68.
12. Russell, pp. 123-26; Smith and Jacobs, pp. 108-11.
13. Lull, pp. 36-38
14. John Joly, The Evolution of the History of the Earth (London: Oxford University), Preface; p. 107.)
15. Lull, p. 43
16. William J. Miller, Introduction to Historical Geology (New York: Van Nostrand, 1952), p. 70
17. Miller, pp. 137-42
18. Miller, p. 234
19. Miller, pp. 319-27
20. Miller, pp. 327-81.
21. W. Max Muller, Egyptian Mythology: Mythology of All Races, XII (New York: Cooper, 1964), pp. 33-127; 173-83; 212-45.
22. Stephen H. Langdon, Semitic Mythology: Mythology of All Races, V (New York: Cooper, 1964), pp 277-325.
23. See the comments in the Scofield Bible about day, morning and evening, under Genesis 1.
24. I.R. Dean, The Time of the End(Toronto: Evangelical, 1918), pp 19-23; Leon Wood, A commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), pp. 257-63
25. William N. Green, "primeval Chronology" in Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, ed. Walter L. KIaiser (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972.