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Genesis Chapter One

Many believe that the Bible, especially the first chapter of Genesis, is incompatible with the science of origins. In this study sheet we will examine this chapter and compare it with a scientific perspective. We believe there is a remarkable correspondence with science.

1. What is the purpose of the first chapter of Genesis?

The purpose is to give a sequence of events that relate to the creation of the earth and man, showing that God is the creator of all. The author does not even attempt to establish the absolute age of the earth nor does he attempt to give a detailed account of the whole creation process. For example, neither insects nor dinosaurs are mentioned as they contribute little to the appreciation of our place in God’s great creation scheme.

2. Does the universe have a beginning?

The Bible clearly states the heavens and the earth were created in the beginning. The "hot big bang" model, the most accepted theory, also postulates a beginning. According to this model the universe, including time and space, began from what is called a singularity.

3. Was there a cause to the creation of the universe?

Again the Bible clearly states that God is the Cause. If you accept the idea that the universe is not infinite in reference to time, but that it is contingent, logically you will conclude there was a cause. The alternative is to believe that it just popped into existence.

4. When was the universe created?

The Bible, contrary to popular opinion, does not set a time. The "hot big bang" model suggest the Universe was created 12 to 16 billion years ago.

5. Don’t the six "days" of creation indicate a recent creation?

If you read Genesis 1 carefully, you will discover that the universe was created before "day one". The "days" of creation do not indicate absolute age, but a sequence of events. There are reasons to believe that the "days" of creation were not consecutive 24 hours days.

6. What was the condition of the earth?

The Bible describes it as formless and void. Science suggests the solar system began as clouds of interstellar gases and dust. Under the influence of gravity they condense from a sphere into a flattened disk, which spins more and more rapidly until it separates into a primordial core and a series of concentric rings that coalesce into proto- planets. What could be more formless and void than a ball of gases and dust?

7. What was the condition of the surface of the earth?

The Bible says that as the earth became better organized water covered the surface that was enshrouded in darkness. The darkness was a result of the gases, dust and water vapor, which made the atmosphere opaque. This atmosphere was probably a reducing atmosphere like that of the planet Jupiter.

8. How did light appear on "day one"?

The atmosphere was transformed from a reducing to an oxidizing atmosphere by the gradual warming of the layers of the atmosphere resulting in the loss of ammonia and methane and the retention of the slightly heavier water vapor. Thus the atmosphere was changed from opaque to translucent. Light appeared on the surface of the earth and day and night became recognizable.

9. What was the result of creating the expanse on "day two"?

The Bible states that God made an expanse, separating the water under the expanse from the water above. We would say that a stable water cycle was established through the continued easing of volcanic activity, gradual increase of the luminosity of the sun, development of the oxidizing atmosphere and the stabilization of the upper atmospheric layers.

10. How did dry land appear on "day three"?

Dry land appeared probably by the pulling away of the moon which was in closer proximity to the earth.

A basin was formed into water flowed and a continent was formed on the opposite side of the earth. This continent was a single landmass. Plant life was created at this time, no mention is made of simple ocean life.

11. Were the sun, moon and stars created on "day four"?

No, the change of the atmosphere into an oxidizing atmosphere becomes more complete. The condition is very humid with an abundance of carbon dioxide creating a humid greenhouse effect. Lush vegetation covers the earth producing oxygen as the atmosphere changes from translucent to transparent. The sun, moon and stars become visible from the surface of the earth.

12. How do the life forms reproduce?

The life forms reproduce after their kinds. The Bible states this is a principle, which was true at creation and is true now. There are limits in genetic variation. Mendel’s experiments in plant genetics demonstrated quite conclusively that the range of variation possible within a species was limited and offered no possibility of development into a new and different species. In addition there is no possibility of transmission of acquired characteristics because there is no way to encode into the genes of the parent.

13. What are the translation possibilities for the Hebrew word, "yom", which is translated "day".

"Yom" can indicate:

The earth’s 24-hour day took on temporal significance only when the signs, the heavenly reference points became visible from the surface of the earth on the fourth day. Further, the Hebrew words for "morning" and "evening" also are used for "beginning" and "ending".

14. When was animal life created?

The living creatures, including the great sea animals, various lower vertebrates, probably including reptiles and amphibians, and birds, were created on the fifth day. Invertebrates, presumably, were created earlier.

15. Could there be overlaps in the creation days?

To insist that the creation events of Genesis must be specifically limited to the creation days in which they are mentioned is to read too much into the text. It can more reasonably be stated that each event or life form was primarily introduced on the creation day indicated and that each creation day was pre-eminently one of the introductions of the event or life form(s) described. For example, though most

of the lower vertebrates were introduced on the fifth day, a few may have been introduced on the fourth and sixth day.

16. When were the higher animal forms such as mammals and man created?

These higher forms were created last in the sequence of events, on the sixth day.

17. What distinguishes man from all other creatures?

Man, alone, is created in the image or the likeness of God. This likeness probably refers to man’s moral, intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual nature. Man is distinct from all other animals, in that he has:

18. Is the Bible compatible with science?

Although the first chapter of Genesis was not intended to be a scientific document, a brief outline of origins is given that is truly remarkable. The believer need mot be embarrassed, for though not every aspect of creation is mentioned, that which is, is consistent with what man has learned about the universe.

Much of this material was adapted from Hugh Ross PhD. Check out "Reasons to Believe"


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Last Update   09/26/12