Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fourth Day of Creation

Day Four is one of my favourites.  It has a phrase that just blows me away.  We will get there, but first, let us consider what was created.

In contrast to Day One, when God said, "Let there be light," the Bible says, "And God said, 'Let there be lights . . .'"  I find it interesting that until Day Four, the light that was created before had no real source.  It was not emanating from anything, unless, as I mentioned, it came from God himself, but it seems as though the light is separate from him. Here God gives a source to the light.  The two principle ones, of course, being the Sun (the "greater light") and the Moon (the "lesser light").

So what is the phrase that knocks me off my feet?  It is only five words, which indicate the other things that God made on this particular day. The Bible says simply, "He also made the stars."

Have you ever considered the amount of material that is included in those five words?  For about 5,600 years, man thought that all those lights were mostly the same - glowing specks of luminosity helping him find his way around at night.  Galileo was one of the first to be able to differentiate between stars, planets and moons, which he did shortly after the invention of the telescope.  It has been only within the last few decades, however, that we have been able to get a good look at what was created on Day Four.  When we look up and see a "star", it could be a planet, star, galaxy or even a cluster of galaxies, each with billions of stars.  Furthermore, advanced telescopes such as the Hubble have sent back incredible images of deep space, and some of the wonders of the magnitude of the creation of God.

What surprises me is the understatement.  You would think that such an impressive display of creative majesty might deserve more than five words, but that is all that it gets.  It is as if Adam was writing down the events as God had explained before the Fall.  He got the part about "moving on the face of the waters," and "everything after its kind," followed by the greater and lesser lights.  Perhaps at that point he had writer's block, and could not remember what came next.  So he yells to the kitchen, where Eve is washing the dishes, "Honey, what else did God say He created on day 4?"  Eve replies, "Did you mentioned the stars?" Adam slaps his forehead, "Oh, yeah, thanks," and writes, "He also made the stars."

Perhaps the explanation has something to do with the way God relates to us.  I am not sure that he ever boasts about his works for the sake of boasting.  Obviously, he does tell us many times of the things he has done, but with a purpose - to let us know that he is with us, that he cares, that he is able to deal with whatever problem we might be facing. Based on what he has done before, we can trust him with the issues we are facing now, as well as the ones to come.

Describing this truth is truly beyond my ability.  Loui Giglio has done a much better job at trying to put the majesty of God into words.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Third Day of Creation

The first creative act of Day 3 was dry land.  Verse 9 of Genesis 1 says, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear."  While true that God created dry land, let us not overlook a key phrase - "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place."  What implication does that have?

If you look at a map of the world today, you will see that 2/3 of the globe is covered by water.  We believe, of course, that most of that came from the Noahic Flood.  So what did the Earth look like before that?  The phrase "to one place" implies to me that there was more land than water - just the opposite of what we find today.  Together with the water canopy that many think was over the earth, it could be that the entire planet was one big tropical jungle, once everything was in place.

I think this is borne out in the amount of coal that we find in the earth's crust.  Coal, as you may know, is nothing more than plants that have been buried and subjected to intense pressure.  Wikipedia tells us,  "The main mineral resource known on the continent is coal."  Which continent?  That would be Antarctica.  How did such a frozen wasteland get to be covered with vegetation, buried with water and changed to coal?  Well, if the whole earth used to be a tropical jungle, when the flood came, there would be sufficient amounts of available plant life to be buried wherever it landed - in this case, Antarctica.  Furthermore, coal is mined in more than 100 countries in all of the other continents.  Another interesting tidbit is that the worldwide coal reserves amount to approximately 900 gigatons - that is, 900 billion (with a "B") tons, or almost 2 quadrillion pounds.  That is a lot of former plant life!

So, let's talk about the plant life.  Once the dry land was in place, God continued with the next item on His list - vegetation.  "Let the land produce vegetation. . . And it was so."  In "Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan," there is a scene that deals with the creation of a planet.  As the camera flies across the landscape, you can see land appear, followed by plants that grow at an astonishing rate.  The whole planet is ready to go in about 20 seconds.  This is probably not how Day 3 developed.  Remember, we are dealing with 24-hour days.  If God had created a tree, for example, that grew to 24 feet that first day, it would grow at a rate of one foot per hour, or 1 inch every 5 minutes.  An observer would not really have been able to see any development - it would be like watching the movement of a minute hand of a clock.  The rate would have been even slower with smaller plants, and the development of grass would be next to nothing.  This obviously does not take away from the miracle of Creation - it merely serves to remind us that things are not necessarily like what we see in the movies.

Here is first time that we read the phrase "after its kind."  Young Earth Creationists, like me, take this to mean that whatever offspring comes from something that God created will be similar to what the original life form was.  "What?"  Let me explain.  Let us say that God created an original apple tree.  Down through the centuries and millenia, those apple trees produced seeds, which became other apple trees.  Due to various environmental factors, different varieties of apple trees have developed.  This is called Natural Selection.  It is NOT evolution.  Evolution dictates that living things change into other living things - single-celled organisms become multi-celled, then fish, amphibians, all the way to the famous monkeys to man.  Natural selection causes different genetic characteristics to become dominant, leading to speciation.  All the species we have on the Earth at present came from an original "prototype."  Apple trees, then, came from other apple trees - they did not descend from banana trees, and banana trees did not come from apple trees.  God created every living thing to produce something more or less like itself.